#81  
Old 12-09-2012, 12:27 PM
I'd like to elaborate just a bit more on my best film of the year comment, my favorite author is Denis Johnson. /Justification.

Best film of the year.
Reply With Quote
  #82  
Old 12-25-2012, 06:14 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycheoutsteve View Post
Look, I'm all for social commentary, even if the commentary being presented differs from my own take on the subject, but IMO this film is way too harsh with its critique. It's overly cynical to the point of ugliness and disgust, and it does not accurately parallel the country I live in. Every country has its flaws, but America is multi-faceted; a country of many different people, traditions, and customs. You can't finger point and boil everyone and everything in it down to selfishness and greed.
I'd say it IS, to an extent. Let's face it -- greed and the lure of power are pretty much humanity's Achilles Heels. No matter how many history lessons one learns (Napoleon, Hitler, Idi Amin, etc.), people still keep doing purely self-serving shit at the expense of others. Power should be wielded INclusively; the moment you make it exclusive is when all the trouble starts. Why the average person still fails to see this is beyond me.
Reply With Quote
  #83  
Old 12-28-2012, 11:47 PM
Good but not great. Close but not quite. Better than most but not epic.

I like Andrew Dominik. Chopper was over hyped but interesting, Jesse James was an above average flick made great by the work of Casey Affleck. He has a unique style and makes serious, R rated dramas. Which, as far as I'm concerned, earns him extra credit from me. Serious, hard R rated movies are coming fewer and further in between. So I hope this guy does well with this and gets more opportunities.

Killing is his best work to date. The tone of the film was perfect. I loved the gangsters talking like gangsters. I've read and heard the complaints about how the film was too heavy on the conversation and too light on the killings. I loved the exchanges between the characters. To me this was better than several recent gangster flicks that failed to deliver like American Gangster and The Departed. But not up to the level of the classics like Goodfellas, Casino, and Godfather I know, that's an awful lofty standard to set. But that's the way it is when one decides to make a mob movie.

I really liked Gandolfini here, definitely his best work since the Soprano's. There is no doubt he stole the show. Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn were very good as the two bit losers who were in way over their heads. Ray Liotta was solid as well.

Which brings me to the place where I feel the film falls short of being epic. Brad Pitt is not a gangster. Brad Pitt is hip, he is cool, and he is soft. James Gandolfini is a gangster, Ray Liotta is a gangster, but Bard Pitt is not. I never bought into him in this role. And I am not a Pitt hater. He is just not a hard ass, it is so obvious he is not that it took me out of the film.

Ben Affleck would have worked here, Tim Roth could have pulled it off, Sean Penn would own this role, Josh Brolin has just the right amount of nasty, or Ben Foster would be perfect as Jackie. Anyway, point is Brad Pitt was miscast IMO. He is just not believable as a badass. This is the one thing this movie missed on. I feel if the role of Jackie was re-cast this one ranks right up there with the greats.

In the end, 8/10 and one I'll definitely give another watch in a month or two.
Reply With Quote
  #84  
Old 12-31-2012, 02:14 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by hoojib127 View Post
I'd say it IS, to an extent. Let's face it -- greed and the lure of power are pretty much humanity's Achilles Heels. No matter how many history lessons one learns (Napoleon, Hitler, Idi Amin, etc.), people still keep doing purely self-serving shit at the expense of others. Power should be wielded INclusively; the moment you make it exclusive is when all the trouble starts. Why the average person still fails to see this is beyond me.
Maybe so, but I don't know if anyone in the world really has a tangible solution to that problem. Whatever the case, someone's always going to end up being more powerful than someone else, and therefore they'll probably have more influence over a greater number of people. There are some people who use their power for the greater good, but I do agree with you that there are many people who use their power to benefit an exclusive few, especially in America. However, those type of figures generally fall into the 1% of the population that is extremely wealthy or powerful, they're not representative of the bulk of America's population.

This movie just made me feel a little hopeless and empty coming out of it, and maybe that was the intention. It's not a feel-good film, it's meant to be a wake-up call, but I can't help thinking that not only was the sledge hammer message unnecessary, but it came down on the wrong people.

I don't know about audiences across the country, but there were quite a few middle age and even elderly audience members at the showing I attended. No one acted immaturely, and everyone seemed to grasp what the film was trying to say, but every person had virtually the same reaction by the end; everyone walked out saying in a sarcastic tone something akin to, "Well...that was interesting," as if no one in the theater expected, or felt they deserved 90 minutes of preaching about how hollow and shallow their country, or their species is.

After all, it's pretty safe to assume that those that thought the message of the film was necessary and warranted didn't go out and buy a homeless person a sandwich after their showing. They probably just carried on living like the rest of us, even though they were ok thinking, "Man, that movie was spot on!" That's as far as they took the supposed wake up call they had just received. Yet somehow, some of them probably find it fit to think that those who doubt the film's importance or quality are merely ignorant and naive sheep. Well, I hate to burst their bubble, but the people they mock probably didn't need the wake up call in the first place.

I think this is because the bulk of movie-going audiences across the country are made up of working class citizens; people that tend to be aware of the problems of their country because they're smack dab in the middle of them all the time. They don't need an overly simplified and heavy handed reminder about how backwards some things are today, they get that from the media, which compounds fear and anxiety into the average citizen on a daily basis. This isn't because we should be afraid to the degree the media makes us so, it's because fear sells.

As Digi exclaimed earlier about himself, I too think I've been on this planet long enough to know a thing or two about how people behave and react in certain situations. The difference is that I tend to give most people the benefit of the doubt, thinking that most people are inherently good and will make the moral choice in most situations. For example, I think that if someone gets shot and there are people around to help, they will employ common sense and wait till the scene is safe while calling emergency services, but they will come to that person's aid when it is safe enough to do so. Most people will not ignore the situation like Brad Pitt's character.

Whether or not the film was trying to generalize about the whole population of America, making a statement on people in general, or just trying to critique certain factions of society is up for debate. Although, I do think it is odd to include lines in the film like "America's a business," or "we're not one nation," if your goal was NOT to make a general statement about the population of a country. As I write this response, I am keeping myself open to the idea that the critique could extend to more general subjects like human relationships and the nature of our species, but at some point you have to stop and think how much content am I adding to this film that wasn't actually there? Seeing as how this film had all the depth of puddle, I feel that's a fair question.

I honestly have to question the necessity of films like Killing Them Softly. They concentrate so hard on getting their message out, which doesn't really need to be heard in the first place, that they forfeit all possibility of crafting an interesting movie with more subtle political undertones. What has the film accomplished besides slamming us over the head with the message, everything is a transaction? The characters are preachy, annoying, and mostly uninteresting, the plot is paper thin, and at 90 something minutes the movie crawls at a snails pace most of the time.

This is not to say that I'm against message movies or movies that critique society, it's just that I think not only should the movie be well rounded, (good characters, plot, etc) but that it should say something that people need to hear. Also, I tend to think that the better message movies out there end by at least suggesting a way out of despair, and not simply just reiterating what was said before or making general observations.

This is what gives depth to movies like Citizen Kane, which is not a happy film, but it ends with the character calling back to a symbol of a what really should have mattered to him in his life. It wasn't just satisfied with saying, power and wealth corrupt or make men greedy and shortsighted. If the film went that way it would have been much less interesting.

The directors and writers behind films like Killing Them Softly often overestimate how important or significant their films are, or how significant these types of films can be to the general movie going public. If you're going to beat someone over the head with your message, why not make it enjoyable or employ it in a film in which all the other elements are just as engaging and developed? Kubrick was obviously aware of this fact when he directed Dr. Strangelove, but Andrew Dominik didn't get the memo with Killing Them Softly.

As I stated before, the people who need to hear what this movie has to say about America, or relationships in general will probably never see this film. That's the problem with films like this; they have their heavy agendas and their sledge hammer tactics, but not only do they preach to the choir because the average working class citizen is usually the only type of person that see's them, but they only manage to inspire a bunch of mindless finger pointing and dead-end pseudo-philosophical ranting. It's like a person that has nothing new or interesting to say to an audience that climbs up on a soap box and spins their wheels for 90 or so minutes.

I don't want people thinking that I'm naive and ignorant of the suffering and inequality that goes on in the US or elsewhere, but I kind of think this film spends an awful lot of time bitching and moaning when it could have been much more interesting.

Like it or hate it, that's my take.
Reply With Quote
  #85  
Old 12-31-2012, 03:09 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycheoutsteve View Post
For example, I think that if someone gets shot and there are people around to help, they will employ common sense and wait till the scene is safe while calling emergency services, but they will come to that person's aid when it is safe enough to do so. Most people will not ignore the situation like Brad Pitt's character.
Evidence would suggest that this is incorrect. We have a psychological tendency to ignore situations like this, especially when there are other people around. Numerous experiments have been conducted examining this bystander effect. The common real life example is the murder of Kitty Genovese. People in her apartment complex witnessed her get attacked over a period of 30 minutes and it took that amount of time for a person to pick up a phone and call the police from the comfort of their own apartment.

While I basically never agree with Armond White, I think his review of the film is pretty spot on (although I liked the movie a little more than he did). It's not like the film is a code to live by or anything, but it's bold, daring, and doesn't pull its punches. Something like The Ides of March felt like it was on the cusp of actually conveying its anger, but seemed to hold back a bit.

Like Dominik said, this is his pop song. It's not like it's going to change the country, but it gives Dominik an opportunity to express his anger via a gangster picture and will create discussion amongst those who have interest in doing so. If you didn't like the movie, that's cool, but I don't think it needs to cover the ground that you wanted it to cover. It's like saying that when Bob Dylan wrote Positively 4th Street, he should have also said that his hypocritical fans are probably still good people. The song is addressing hypocrisy, nothing more. If you want to look at the good that happens in America, there are other films that convey that.

Last edited by Bourne101; 12-31-2012 at 03:21 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #86  
Old 12-31-2012, 03:58 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bourne101 View Post
Evidence would suggest that this is incorrect. We have a psychological tendency to ignore situations like this, especially when there are other people around. Numerous experiments have been conducted examining this bystander effect. The common real life example is the murder of Kitty Genovese. People in her apartment complex witnessed her get attacked over a period of 30 minutes and it took that amount of time for a person to pick up a phone and call the police from the comfort of their own apartment.

While I basically never agree with Armond White, I think his review of the film is pretty spot on (although I liked the movie a little more than he did). It's not like the film is a code to live by or anything, but it's bold, daring, and doesn't pull its punches. Something like The Ides of March felt like it was on the cusp of actually conveying its anger, but seemed to hold back a bit.

Like Dominik said, this is his pop song. It's not like it's going to change the country, but it gives Dominik an opportunity to express his anger via a gangster picture and will create discussion amongst those who have interest in doing so. If you didn't like the movie, that's cool, but I don't think it needs to cover the ground that you wanted it to cover. It's like saying that when Bob Dylan wrote Positively 4th Street, he should have also said that his hypocritical fans are probably still good people. The song is addressing hypocrisy, nothing more. If you want to look at the good that happens in America, there are other films that convey that.
Well I'll agree to disagree about the psychological tendencies of most people for now because I need to take a look into the evidence you suggested so I can better understand everything, but I don't want you to think that I wanted a film that focused on solely the good of America instead of the one we got. I've kind of moved beyond my original criticism of the film being unjustified in it's critique. After all, everyone has a different way of looking at the world and it's pretty much impossible to say in a general way that such and such is the way the world is without coming from a subjective standpoint. So, in other words, I think I was wrong to say Dominik wasn't justified in making his criticisms, but I still have other issues with the film.

Rather than just restate everything and waste space, I'll just say that all of my new concerns are listed in my last response. It's a little lengthy, but hopefully I managed to convey the idea that my problem with Killing Me Softly wasn't that it was cynical. I just listed the gun shot scenario as an example of my personal view on how people act.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump