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In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2014 9:19:54 PM PDT
Goal Hum says:
that's sweet aha aha! I like it! aha aha!

Posted on Jul 9, 2014 9:14:05 PM PDT
hey my name is JennyBoyce i want to get this because i like it

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2014 3:20:13 PM PDT
Goal Hum says:
definitely worth a watch.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2014 7:04:31 AM PDT
D. Larson says:
Yeah, but it keeps them out of mischief. Like when the kids are squabbling, at least you know where they are.

And then you can go into the next room and mix yourself a nice stiff drink, knowing that as long as the noise keeps going, they aren't trying to give the dog a haircut, not playing with leftover fireworks and they haven't gotten into the power tools.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2014 11:50:26 PM PDT
C McGhee says:
Goal Hum- 47 Ronin

I'm not generally attracted to today's movies involving Ronin but, I can be suckered by period appropriate scenery & sets. Sounds like a rental for me. Bring on the popcorn.

I just checked the reviews & it seems divided between those that love the mythical action movie & those that actually know the story of the 47 Ronin. I don't know it & will take the ride free-fall.

Posted on Jul 8, 2014 9:26:50 PM PDT
Goal Hum says:
Watched 47 Ronin.
Keanu Reeves was awfully inexpressive as usual.
I hated the "floating fabric" of the witch. But the medieval costumes and sets were beautiful.
This film was a fictionalized homage to the 47 Ronin who commited a collective seppuku ( ritual suicide) to preserve their Lord's honor, by killing an official who plotted against him, and forced him to commit a seppuku.

For the scenery, the sets and the Homage, I will give it a 4* /5. But I will subtract 1* for Keanu Reeves. Final rate: 3*/5

Posted on Jul 8, 2014 8:53:59 PM PDT
D. Vicks says:
Saw the Alien Nation film BODY AND SOUL.****1/2

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2014 2:27:57 PM PDT
Then the concerts must be less tiresome than two people having a pissing contest, like what's been happening on this discussion.

Posted on Jul 8, 2014 1:13:01 PM PDT
D. Vicks says:
I read the Pythons are receiving good reviews for there concerts.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2014 12:25:12 PM PDT
Tony: But what is substance? You are arguing for a modernized Victorian aesthetic, in which (what I would posit) a relatively narrow definition of important Meaning (in more terms, without even the saving grace of morality or ethics) trumps style and craft. (Peter Gay points that out as the fundamental weakness of Freudian artistic criticism.)

The difference between The Hustler and Lynch's films is very simple. Lynch's films are interesting to look at, and provoking to the intellect in a way that a film about pool, even when enlivened by good performances, can never be. I don't find the people, or the situations, interesting in the least. I'll go a step or two further, and say that airy comedies, like The Palm Beach Story and Cold Comfort Farm, to name two, are far more interesting that the likes of The Hustler. What, after all, is that film about?

As for the feminist stuff--oh, please. How very deadly, and how very reductive.

All I can say, without getting ruder than I intend, is that you value what you call content over style. My position is exactly opposite. You praise Un Chien Andalou--but it's all style, in its way exactly like Lost Hightway, a set of images designed to provoke the unconscious. Content without style is polemic--like Schlinder's List. Style without content can be Fragonard, or color field painting, or any of a number of different and interesting and provocative things.

Your professor was, by the way, dead wrong about symbolism. Symbols can have absolute and definable meanings in pre-modern art--a woman with a tower is St. Barbara, Mercury pointing upwards in La Primavera is about the ascent of the soul, May 3 in Chaucer means the overthrow of the carnal Venus, from the legend of the finding of the True Cross by St. Helena. A director, too, can certainly use a symbol in a concrete way--the monoliths in 2001 are both objects and symbols. Sometimes you do have research what an artist means--in his writings, his biography, or his milieu.

Have you read Dune? If you have, you will perhaps better appreciate what Lynch does.

My statement isn't a message--it's a philosophical point, open to discussion. The best remark about message is still Goldwyn--"If you want to send a message, use Western Union."

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2014 11:18:00 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 8, 2014 11:33:46 AM PDT
Tony says:
WAS: "One man depth is another man's obviousness."
That is a very smug comment that I will choose to ignore.

For me, Surrealism--just like Realism or Naturalism--isn't very compelling in itself unless it attaches itself to something of substance, whether it's a character, story, or central idea or theme. Imagery that isn't rooted in any story impulse, it's power dissipates quickly. It's merely a style. If a movie is just about arbitrary images, it limits it's provoking effect for the viewer. Have you noticed how cats and dogs will look at a TV screen on which there are things jumping around? It is to that level of the brain's reptilian complex that that base images or stark surrealism will apply to.

A few more small examples of expert use of the Surrealism technique from Bunuel in his "Tristana": The character Don Lope is overbearing as well as old and increasingly fearful of losing Tristana. As his possessiveness rises, so does her discontent. There are dreams that involve Don Lope's not-too-neatly severed head that are classic Buñuel. The director is also playing with the idea of self-image and in that Tristana will pay a price for her beauty.

Also close by is Saturno the mute teenager. Buñuel uses Saturno's inability to speak as a corollary thematic element of restrained desire that finds liberation late in the film, when Tristana gives herself over to a thrilling moment of erotic exhibitionism from her balcony.

It's a great feminist treatise about an escape from patriarchal subjugation.

You trash "The Hustler" for being neither "amusing" or "enlightening" and "not having anything interesting to say about anything", yet do any of Lynch's movies have any of those attributes? Amused or enlightened viewers of his films won't be. Intrigued maybe? Only at a sensory level. I can think of filmgoers on a date, seeing his movies and then -- what? I guess they'll laugh at it, irony being a fashionable response to the experience of being had. On the other hand, "The Hustler" was a fascinating look at a group of people and their personalities and ended up being a powerful movie. The commentary on the dvd with Paul Newman and a psychologist from UCLA was fascinating.

I stand by "Dune" as being an awful movie. An incomprehensible, unstructured, and pointless excursion. The movie had so many characters, so many unexplained or incomplete relationships, and so many parallel courses of action that it's sometimes a toss-up whether we're even watching a story.

The satire in "Blue Velvet" was sophomoric to a degree. Everyday town life is depicted with a deadpan irony; characters use lines with corny double meanings and solemnly recite platitudes. Also, why do we need the sendup of the "Donna Reed Show"? What are we being told? That beneath the surface of Small Town, U.S.A., passions run dark and dangerous(which seems to be the point of the movie)? Don't stop the presses.

"transcendent importance of works of art as the physical embodiments of culture and history, and the overwhelming need to protect and defend them from barbarians."
That statement is, in a very real sense , a message. Any discussion would lead to obvious conclusions(just as obvious as my brief comments on "Discreet Charm" by the way.)

In a way, your criticisms of "The Hustler" contradict that entire fourth paragraph.

"Mood, style, image are just as potent, and generally more interesting, than any overt content."
Those are mechanics of good cinema but by themselves they usually won't work.

Ambiguity is fine in a movie as long as the movie piques our interest and gives us an entrance point into the movie so we are engaged intellectually and emotionally. Or one of the other. In the one "film as an art form" class I took in college the professor stressed "If you have to ask or find out what something symbolizes, it doesn't." And I find that to be true.

That is a lovely painting.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2014 6:32:00 AM PDT
I'm glad you enjoy it, Budas Root.

Re: It's not an easy film

True. Usually I'm not a movie viewer who requires things to be spoon fed to him; that's part of why I like a lot of David Lynch's creations. Sometimes you have to dig a little, or leave your "straightforward narrative" brain at the door, or just let things wash over you and enjoy it.

I was thinking about "Blue Velvet" earlier, and it struck me that Lynch may have been a fan of the Hardy Boys mystery book series as a lad; Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) using the ruse of apartment bug exterminator in order to snoop around Dorothy Vallens' home seems almost like a scenario out of a sleuth story. (Well, maybe a mid-20th century teen sleuth book wouldn't delve into sadomasochism!).

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2014 5:33:50 AM PDT
Budas Root says:
It's not 1930s Poland, it's contemporary Poland. And real life is sometimes taxing. It's not an easy film, but not as difficult or impossible as some make it out to be. It's actually quite exciting to me.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2014 9:11:03 PM PDT
Re: and you really feel like you've gone through something real.

I really felt like I'd gone through something taxing. Mind you, it's always rather fun to take a Lynchian ride, to some degree. There are often touches of wonder and shock and comedy and horror.

One day I will revisit "Inland Empire". Just for the foreboding atmosphere and for Laura Dern. Ugh, but I'll have to endure those stupid rabbits again. And all that nonlinear, bewildering stuff involving 1930's Poland and hookers and so on.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2014 8:56:53 PM PDT
Hard to say. Probably. "Inland Empire" is vintage Lynch in that someone is actually someone else and what you see is something else or not real. Like so many Amazon reviewers say about IE, "We go down the rabbit hole". But there are lots of boring stretches to this wonderland.

Oh, and speaking of bunnies, in this film we sometimes are shown a few creepy humanoid rabbits in their surreal retro sitcom living room (complete with Honeymooners-like audience laughter and cheers that emit occasionally after each rabbit speaks some ambiguous line of dialogue) ... creatures, I'm told, which are from a series of short films of Lynch's from 2002. No thanks.

I don't know if this Rabbits sort of thing is chock full of meaning and symbolism or merely something that a movie maker deems really cool.

"Lost Highway" is similar in the "Inland Empire" dual persona theme (in LH, Bill Pullman becomes someone else in jail, etc), with touches of film noir, and of course the freaky Robert Blake with his garish makeup (he was the only thing I found captivating or interesting in "Lost Highway").

Bottom line:
These weird Lynch films, even though I find some of them tedious (and some mesmerizing like "Mulholland Drive" or "Eraserhead") ... they are provocative in that they stir up strong and diverse opinions from film fans.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2014 7:49:08 PM PDT
Budas Root says:
Oh, I love it. It's so cathartic when you get into that last half hour and it's still getting stranger and stranger, and then all of a sudden it just gets this heavenly transcendent feeling, the music, the images, and you really feel like you've gone through something real.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2014 6:36:43 PM PDT
Goal Hum says:
Was it worse than Lost Highway ?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2014 5:44:56 PM PDT
Inland Empire(2006): No desire to watch a three hour hallucinatory dream.

It felt like three days.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2014 5:09:48 PM PDT
Tony: One man depth is another man's obviousness. Surrealism isn't, necessarily, satire--in fact, when you push surrealism into satire you can loose its power to provoke and disturb. Bunuel is more likely to try to inject satire than Lynch. And I certainly wouldn't call Wings Of Desire surreal--fantastic in the sense of being a fantasy, which is again quite different. Not all surrealism is fantasy, nor all fantasy surrealism.

The Crying Of Lot 49 is not at all like Heller. It's not absurdist. It's not antiwar. It's not really a satire--parody and satire are quite different. It is in its own way a paranoid nightmare that is often very funny. It also uses elements from physics in a way that very few other modern writers do. Two of the (very few) comparables are Michael Frayn's play Copenhagen, and Tom Stoppard's play Arcadia--which may be the best play written in English since Shaw. And yes, that means it's better than Williams or O'Neill.

The Elephant Man is a bit more emotionally charged than most of Lynch's other work, to be sure. I couldn't disagree with you more on the following: Dune is in my book a near great film, too rushed in the final third; there is nothing sophomoric about Blue Velvet--it is nearly perfect--and Hopper "engaging" instead of scary as heck?; I can't say that Wild At Heart is my favorite of his films, but I certainly don't think its too much, particular since each element you name really can be the same; praising something as being like Hemingway is no praise to me, since I see Hemingway is being entirely surface and nothing that a high school freshman can't tease out on his own--I can't comment on A Straight Story, since I haven't seen it as yet. I can think of few writers who interest me less than Hemingway. Woody Allen's acid little portrait in Midnight In Paris was right on the mark.

Inland Empire is difficult, to be sure, but I'm glad I watched it. Lost Highway and Eraserhead are both nightmares, of course--as it the first half of Mulholland Drive.

I long ago gave us using deep and profound (a synonym) as critical terms. So often what is call deep is right on the surface--and for me it is almost a critical given that, if you can summarize the so-called message of a film in a sense, it's usually a bad film. I prefer the term thought-provoking. Mood, style, image are just as potent, and generally more interesting, than any overt content. I'm writing a review on other thread about The Monuments Men, which has some faults, and some virtues (like its deliberately old-fashioned stance) that could be construed as faults. Some might reduce it to a message. I would not--since there is something there far more interesting than a message, but an idea, about the transcendent importance of works of art as the physical embodiments of culture and history, and the overwhelming need to protect and defend them from barbarians. It's a idea that provokes discussion--and discussion is interesting.

Messages don't do that.

That's one of the reasons why, if I am being global in discussing art in all its forms, that I stress ambiguity, in the sense of invoking complex and even contradictory reactions as one of the supreme functions of art, as well as offering the transcendent vision (something that we rarely see in films, and mostly in fleeting images). Do you know Ingres' portrait of Napoleon as a Roman emperor? (This image is cropped--the original is square, but it gives you an idea-- One of the greatest paintings in Western art, and one that invokes at least two completely contradictory impulses. In one way, it's one of the great archetypal images of imperial glory, like the Prima Porta Augustus; on another, could it equally well undercut Napoleon's imperial pretentions? How much more interesting that it's both, and more besides.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2014 3:29:01 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 6, 2014 3:35:46 PM PDT
Tony says:
WAS: I'll look into Pynchon. "The Crying of Lot 49" seems like good satire in the same vein as "Catch 22".

The difference between Lynch and Bunuel is Bunuel uses surrealistic images as a pre-cursor for comedy, and through the comedy we see his point and views on different facets of society and on grand themes. One evident theme of his is entrapment. His characters are often driven by psychological compulsions that inhibit their free will. They cannot get loose. He places them in either literal or psychological bondage, and forces them to watch with horror as he demonstrates the underlying evil of the universe. He also indulged in subjects such as sadomasochism and anti-clericalism pretty frequently.

An example of his surrealist comedic approach would be from "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeioisie" where the characters are having a feast and their consummation of their feast is prevented by a series of disasters -- some real, some dreams, some obviously contrived to feed some secret itch of Buñuel's. At first there is a simple misunderstanding; the guests have arrived on the wrong night. Later, at an inn, their appetites are spoiled when it develops that the owner has died and is laid out in the next room. Still later, there are interruptions from the army, the police... and the guests' own dreams. All of the fantasies of public embarrassment are here, including a scene in which the guests sit down to eat and suddenly find themselves on a stage in front of an audience.

The short "UN CHIEN ANDALOU" was remarkable. "Wings of Desire"(1987) was a good movie that could be considered surreal. Cronenberg's "Videodrome"? Sure.

On the other hand Lynch uses the surrealistic approach to elicit puzzlement, or as you say, evoke a dream-like feeling, and he usually does it very well but Bunuel's movies contain more depth so to speak. He also distinctly tries to combine other elements with surrealism such as satire and realism and it doesn't always work out to the desired effect. I'll go through his filmography with a few quick comments:

Eraserhead(1977): Thinking about it, I actually liked it. There was a consistent tone to it and it worked as a horror movie. It was pure surrealism.
The Elephant Man(1980): Talk about sentimentalism.....
Dune(1984): A disastrous screenplay. Practically unwatchable.
Blue Velvet(1985): I don't dismiss it; I admire it, but it had conflicting tones in the story ruining the some of the expertly crafted surrealistic scenes in the movie. The satire was rather sophomoric. Hopper is engaging though.
Wild At Heart(1990): Tried combining to many elements(satire, melodrama,soap opera, and exploitation ) in one movie.
Twin Peaks(1992): Haven't seen it
Lost Highway(1997): We already discussed that one. 135 minutes inside a dreamscape is too long for me.
The Straight Story(1999): Good movie. Felt like a Ernest Hemingway story. Simple on the surface, deep thematic undercurrents(redemption, mortality, guilt) underneath.
Muholland Drive(2002): His best and a cinematic achievement.
Inland Empire(2006): No desire to watch a three hour hallucinatory dream.

Posted on Jul 6, 2014 8:25:43 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 6, 2014 8:32:59 AM PDT
Tony: I look forward to Anderson's Pynchon film. Pynchon is one of the best contemporary American novelists. If you wish to try him, I suggest (strongly) starting with The Crying Of Lot 49, which is short and more accessible than V, which preceded it, or Gravity's Rainbow, which followed. For a short novel, it's remarkable dense, full of conspiracy theory, the best parody of Jacobean revenge tragedy ever written, and an underlying structure based on the information theory solution to the Maxwell demon paradox. I used it as a text for college freshman when I was teaching English composition.

Without (again) going into a lot of detail, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse is a lot more than an anti-Nazi parable. It's permanently on my list of greatest films--for performances, image, script, cultural resonance (which goes way beyond specifically Germany in the early 30s to the heart to totalitarianism), and a blend of genres--thriller, political, philosophical--that few other films have. M was not subject to Nazi censors, since it was released in 1931, before the Nazi party took control of Germany. Two years--Testament was released in 1933--made a great deal of difference.

I have no time for Chaplin--but Sunrise is a very fine film indeed. It's not as sentimental as Chaplin, by a long short.

The whole point of surrealism is to destroy overt meaning and conventional logic. In that respect, Lost Highway is very nearly as pure a surrealist text as the two early Dali / Bunuel films. In dealing with surrealism, you cannot get hung up on conventional meaning. Andre Breton, the founder of surrealism, defined it as "pure psychic automatism." Not everything needs an overt message--in fact, overt messaging is in most ways the enemy of art. The fact that both main characters remain enigmatic in The Master is good. The problem is, I don't believe that there is anything at all in the Phoenix character. If that was a deliberate choice, then it was an aesthetic misstep. Certainly Bunuel was a great surrealist director; Lynch is just as pure a surrealist, but with different aims. (An interesting question, of course, is how many really good examples of surrealism in film are there. One can go back to the 1920s for some of Man Ray's films;there are Bunuel and Dali films, Dali's dream sequence in Spellbound, and his Disney film, Destino; there is late Bunuel, and Lynch. But many others who are label surrealist, like Fellini, are not in my view surrealist at all, but merely appropriating elements of surrealist imagery without the underlying philosophy of the movement. I think that some of Cronenberg might be called surrealist--particularly his early film Stereo.)

Boy, you really don't like Lynch, do you. Have you seen Eraserhead? I can't see how one can dismiss Blue Velvet. I've seen virtually all of Lynch's work (not The Straight Story, which is uncharacteristic, or some of the short films) and there are few directors I admire more. I even like Dune and Fire Walk With Me. And Twin Peaks was, arguably, the best thing on television, ever. A year or two ago, I watched the entire series again. Wonderful. It hooked me completely within minutes, from Pete calling Sheriff Truman and saying "She's dead. Dead. Wrapped in plastic."

Things don't get better than that.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 5, 2014 5:41:40 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 5, 2014 11:33:08 PM PDT
Tony says:
WAS: Hopefully Paul Thomas Anderson's next movie will be better. He's adapting a detective novel by Thomas Pynchon(an author I'm unfamiliar with) with Phoneix in the lead role again which is out later this year. Even if viewed as a character study, "The Master" wouldn't be successful because both of the leading characters remain enigmatic right to the end.

As for "The Hustler", it's just a matter of taste.

Lynch's movies are well made, but after perusing his limited filmography the only two movies of his I liked were "Muholland Drive" and "A Straight Story". A great movie about dreams I've seen is Altman's "3 Women". The best surrealist director I think would have to be Luis Bunuel. At least he understood the absurdity of of his movies and injected a lot of humor into the proceedings. In "Lost Highway", what did you feel Lynch was communicating about dreams or nightmares?

After reading up on some info about "Sunrise", it seems like one of those tedious Chaplin flicks.

Anything from the Fritz Lang cannon was good. "Mabuse" without going into great detail, was a good anti-nazi parable. A small observation on Lang's "M": In the movie, an innocent old man, suspected of being the killer, is attacked by a mob that forms on the spot. Each of the mob members was presumably capable of telling right from wrong and controlling his actions (as Becker was not), and yet as a mob they moved with the same compulsion to kill. There is a message there somewhere. Not "somewhere," really, but right up front, where it's a wonder it escaped the attention of the Nazi censors.

Posted on Jul 5, 2014 8:20:57 AM PDT
In re: Fire Walk With Me: I for one don't think it stinks, although one must see it as a pendant to the series. There are hours of additional material that never made it into the film, including an explanation of how Cooper exits the Dark Lodge. A director's cut with the additional material has been tied up for years.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 5, 2014 8:18:32 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 5, 2014 8:19:00 AM PDT
CM: Just to close this off--I for one really don't see a connection between Metropolis and Testament, except of course the same director.

"Heerschaft" in Mabuse isn't a direct quote from Nazi ideology. It's Mabuse's own philosophy--which the regime, rightly, saw as a barely disguised attack on the consequences of its actions and the philosophy on which they are based. We see a similar pattern being played out now, in the current president's attempt to assume the mantle of Louis XIV and other dictators--"L'etat, c'est moi." The White House, however, can't silence the House, the Supreme Court, and at least some of the news media.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 5, 2014 5:23:42 AM PDT
Funny how some Amazon reviews for "Fire Walk with Me" are glowing (and 5 stars). I don't see it. As a gift to the TV show's fans, the movie stinks. As a stand alone film, it stinks.
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Initial post:  Jun 15, 2012
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