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JULY 2017 MOVIE THREAD

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Return of the Movie Club

 

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Saw the live action Disney Beauty and the Beast last night. I was pretty turned off for the first half. It has a very synthetic quality whenever they attempt to closely approximate the animated film, but it sort of finds its footing with the stuff they added or translated over from the Broadway show. It has the problems that plague a lot of Condon films, but I'm still glad I watched it. 

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Baby Driver was fucking tremendous. It's like someone decided to make a Fast & Furious movie but with people who could act (or great actors not sleepwalking through their roles), a cohesive plot, and with a good script.

 

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Personally I thought it was an overrated border-line mess.  The chase scenes were great, but the other stuff felt like it was pasted together with semicoherence. Its a fun ride, but it never adds up to the sum of its parts. The script felt like it needed at least one good rewrite to get where it needed to go, but didn't have it. I only say overrated because I have no idea how it managed to go so high on the tomatometer. . . . 

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24 minutes ago, Kuetsar said:

Personally I thought it was an overrated border-line mess.  The chase scenes were great, but the other stuff felt like it was pasted together with semicoherence. Its a fun ride, but it never adds up to the sum of its parts. The script felt like it needed at least one good rewrite to get where it needed to go, but didn't have it. I only say overrated because I have no idea how it managed to go so high on the tomatometer. . . . 

What did you think was kinda messy, personally?

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I liked BABY DRIVER, but it was the first Edgar Wright movie where I didn't walk out of the theatre absolutely drunk in love with it.  I think leaning into the "action" half of "action comedy" for a change led to him playing it more straight, which, it turns out, doesn't necessarily play to his strengths.  Instead of circumventing the tropes of heist and chase movies, he devotes himself to reverently recreating them.  And no matter how flawlessly he accomplishes that, I'm always going to find that angle less satisfying.

To me, this played a lot like Wright's DEATH PROOF, Tarantino's misstep into the realm of pure homage.  Which also coincidentally (?) was about car chases.  Granted, Baby Driver is WAY better than Death Proof and operates at a greater degree of difficulty considering what Wright does with the soundtrack.  But at their cores, I think their flaws are similar.

Speaking of which, Wright deserves a lot of credit for making the music gimmick work and delivering a coherent film, but ultimately, I think the gimmick sucks all the air out of the spaces where the characters should be living.  At times, it really feels like everybody in the movie is racing to keep up with soundtrack.  As a result, everybody's just playing a type, and while I think Baby's story all adds up just fine, the emotional beats in this serious movie don't land as powerfully as they did in his sillier ones.

In the end, this just kinda felt like one of the world's best directors showing off.  The question is who he was showing off for.  I think it'll be interesting to look back at this film in 10 years and figure it out.  Is this for his next girlfriend or his ex-girlfriend?

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If he was making it for Anna Kendrick, he'd have cast her in it.

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47 minutes ago, EVA said:

I liked BABY DRIVER, but it was the first Edgar Wright movie where I didn't walk out of the theatre absolutely drunk in love with it.  I think leaning into the "action" half of "action comedy" for a change led to him playing it more straight, which, it turns out, doesn't necessarily play to his strengths.  Instead of circumventing the tropes of heist and chase movies, he devotes himself to reverently recreating them.  And no matter how flawlessly he accomplishes that, I'm always going to find that angle less satisfying.

Maybe it is just because I like the Cornetto trilogy but don't profess my undying love for it, I think it is my favorite Wright film. Probably because it is more accessible to me as an American, but I thought most of Baby Driver was on point.

I'll try to be non spoilerish as possible: The one thing I thought was kinda a flaw off the type of my head was the usefulness of Spacey's character. If someone like Bats does a little research (or has enough intuition to know the type of people he does jobs with), why the fuck would he need to Doc to plan these things? It can't be that hard to find a good driver and plan someone thing lasts all of two minutes. Moreover, why would Buddy need someone like Doc? Unless he is totally enamored with being a criminal and not being a square, Doc serves no purpose. The post office recon scene only serves to strengthen that assessment.

Let's go over this highly detailed plan that you concocted that can be explained in 45 seconds by the Rainman kid. Right.

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Spoiler

The main issue is that Spacey's debt get resolved to quickly, so Baby's motivation for the last job is murky at best. Is he doing it for the money? Or just because his adopted dad and Lily James are threatened? Lily James is great, but her segment stops the momentum that had built up, but that had as much to do with the resolution coming way too early in the film. He obviously wants out, but rather than do the gun run, and try to sneak out, why not just grab her and fly that afternoon? Was Jamie FOxx's offing of the cops the last straw?If so, why not just take the out when Spacey gives it to him? Its inferred that Spacey has this organization, so the old guy is threatened? If he plans on betraying the gang at the postal service, why not just drive off? Or crash the car later, after they had got the fuck out of dodge? Did baby panic? Also what the fuck is Spacey still doing there, after it was clear everything had gone FUBAR?

I tihnk a better ending would have had Baby run instead of going with Spacey on the last mission(or sneaking away at 2 a.m.), then getting chased down by Hamm and Foxx, or anything really. I didn't hate the movie, I just had a hard time getting in to it, and was just kind of disappointed overall.

My issues with Baby Driver, as there is no way to do it non-spoilerly. FWIW, my favorite Wright movie is easily Hot Fuzz, I liked Shaun, and didn't quite "get" World's end either, so it just might be me. . . .

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I was disappointed

Jon Bernthal never came back.  I guess he was dead.

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1 hour ago, Kuetsar said:
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The main issue is that Spacey's debt get resolved to quickly, so Baby's motivation for the last job is murky at best. Is he doing it for the money? Or just because his adopted dad and Lily James are threatened? Lily James is great, but her segment stops the momentum that had built up, but that had as much to do with the resolution coming way too early in the film. He obviously wants out, but rather than do the gun run, and try to sneak out, why not just grab her and fly that afternoon? Was Jamie FOxx's offing of the cops the last straw?If so, why not just take the out when Spacey gives it to him? Its inferred that Spacey has this organization, so the old guy is threatened? If he plans on betraying the gang at the postal service, why not just drive off? Or crash the car later, after they had got the fuck out of dodge? Did baby panic? Also what the fuck is Spacey still doing there, after it was clear everything had gone FUBAR?

I tihnk a better ending would have had Baby run instead of going with Spacey on the last mission(or sneaking away at 2 a.m.), then getting chased down by Hamm and Foxx, or anything really. I didn't hate the movie, I just had a hard time getting in to it, and was just kind of disappointed overall.

My issues with Baby Driver, as there is no way to do it non-spoilerly. FWIW, my favorite Wright movie is easily Hot Fuzz, I liked Shaun, and didn't quite "get" World's end either, so it just might be me. . . .

I would say to that...

Spoiler

The resolution wasn't him working to end his debt. The resolution was getting away from that lifestyle completely as it seems like he had been working for Doc for a long time. Despite Doc taking the lion's share of his full cut, he still had enough to put underneath the floorboards. The problem is twofold: for one, being a criminal even as a getaway driver is not something you can start and stop. He is living this crazy, adrenaline fueled lifestyle around various psychos and reprobate. No job or career is going to replace something like that so soon. Also, what job can he get that would pay him that well with I'm assuming no experience and no real education. Debora and Baby couldn't sustain their dream lifestyle on the wages of a diner waiter and pizza delivery driver. That money he had was basically fuck around/rainy day money.

Second, taking care of the adoptive father is not exactly something you can drop on someone else especially if you really care about him. The whole drop him off on the porch in the rocking chair and leave a tape for the staff was a last ditch, on the fly type thing. I dunno what nursery home accepts old people like babies left on a doorstep. Anyway, he not only had to get himself out of that lifestyle but everyone he cared about. Tipping off the post office lady and giving the purse back to the lady he carjacked showed he was compassionate even though he was very detached from the idea of someone taking cash that wasn't theirs. The thing was once Doc didn't care he was hiring loose cannons, everything involving these heists became super sloppy. Bats had a different code than everyone else, and that makes extremely problematic for someone like Baby. Baby's plan at first was to sneak out in the dead of night, but Buddy put a kabosh on that. Once Bats was alerted to this, his only choice was to go through it. He wasn't planning to betray them on the actual job. What threw him off was the post office lady alerted the security guard instead taking the clue and minding her own goddamn business. He knew Bats was going to kill everyone and likely him as well once the jig was up. Based on what we knew about Bats/Leon, he was the type of hunt someone like Baby down and anyone close him and enact some murderous type shit. So that first plan probably wouldn't have worked in the long run anyway because Bats could have tracked him down. The second plan was spur of the moment.

 

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I liked it. I guess I was expecting something more from it. Not sure. I chuckled at the two guys in the DGK gear.

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I loved Baby Driver. Just pure joy the entire time. The chemistry between Elgort and Lily James was intense. It had a quality that kind of reminded me (probably intentionally) of Clarence and Alabama in True Romance. 

Oh, and I was listening to the Phantom of the Paradise soundtrack on the way to the theater, so I popped for Paul Williams showing up. 

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My short response to Baby Driver: Is "the worst film made by the best director of the last 13 years" a meaningful criticism in any real way?

My longer response, stolen from somewhere else I posted it:

I loved the set pieces and I loved the odd ball characters that dropped in and out. The editing was phenomenal (Wright films are five for five in virtually flawless editing) and here even more than his previous films, the editing frequently was the joke.

Those three red cars overhead shots thrilled me more than almost anything I’ve seen in a theater this year (only that one sequence in Wonder Woman tops it)

But Edgar Wright has always, in the past*, married his brilliant, off kilter style and strange supporting characters to well drawn, rounded main characters. Here, nobody except Bats is much more than a sketch. Hamm does spectacular work with what little he’s been given here though.

Wright directed the two funniest movies (Shaun and Fuzz) so far in the 21st century, my favorite movie of the last decade (Pilgrim) and another brilliant genre film in World’s End… I’m not exaggerating when I say he’s my vote for best director in the last 13 years. This is his worst movie so far, but I’m not sure how meaningful of a criticism that is given the previous four movies.

*Excepting Don’t, obviously

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This is Foxx's best performance in minute. I saw Sleepless a couple of months ago and oh boy was that awful.  Bats/Leon was more his real life personality than all the roles he has been forced to play over the last seven or eight years.

Django came on TNT last night, and his performance the first half of the film is in stark contrast to the back half. The dumb slave thing is just insulting (granted the white savior of King Schultz doesn't help at all) and doesn't really jive given how he conducts himself in the flashbacks on the Carrucan plantation. His line delivery early on is suspect at best until he comes alive (when they arrive in Greenville). He just isn't a character actor like studio execs probably think he is after Ray. With him turning 50 in December, those multifaceted, complex characters he probably wants to play are going to be extremely limited even compared to the limited work he gets already. He isn't going to get the same pass Denzel got playing badass roles as a black actor over 50. Baby Driver saved him because he ain't had a hit in a while.

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I thought Foxx was really excellent, but he's definitely been miscast in a lot of stuff over the years. He can be very good, he's just had the misfortune of being put in a lot of situations where his weaknesses are exposed.

Though, I never got the impression he was supposed to be dumb at the beginning of Django. The whole film's a deconstruction of how white exceptionalism worked as a cocoon for the perpetuation of the slave system, so he was an intelligent slave playing dumb to appease his captors' intellectual vanity. 

As far as Baby Driver, whenever Foxx veers off towards caricature  he reaches for genuine notes that ground it again. But I think you could say that for everyone in the film. Frankly, Elgort is a dynamo. He creates a whole-cloth character using his entire body. In those tracking shot scenes, he's motherfucking Fred Astaire. 

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Meanwhile, I thought Kong: Skull Island was shit.

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5 hours ago, (BP) said:

I thought Foxx was really excellent, but he's definitely been miscast in a lot of stuff over the years. He can be very good, he's just had the misfortune of being put in a lot of situations where his weaknesses are exposed.

Though, I never got the impression he was supposed to be dumb at the beginning of Django. The whole film's a deconstruction of how white exceptionalism worked as a cocoon for the perpetuation of the slave system, so he was an intelligent slave playing dumb to appease his captors' intellectual vanity. 

When he was on Big Daddy's plantation looking for the Brittles with Big Daddy's bed wench slave, he goes "I iz free". He wasn't talking to a white person and this girl wasn't bright enough where he had to pull a con. Before Schultz even told him about the con they were going to be pulling, a lot of his vernacular didn't line up to the guy who had just been sold at a slave auction. Not that I want someone to be doing the eyebucking, inarticulate slave character, but I don't think Quentin had a good grasp of what Django was before he became a badass. In the flashbacks, he was talking to Big John Brittle like Jamie Foxx would. However, he doesn't know what a bounty is and the certain concept/connotation of words. So I'm guessing they filmed the flashbacks either later (when they were filming in New Orleans) or Tarantino was so enamored with Django being this badass gunslinger that he just told Foxx to wing it until he got there. 

"You saw Roots when you were ten years old, right? Talk like that!"

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On 7/2/2017 at 7:03 PM, Kuetsar said:
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The main issue is that Spacey's debt get resolved to quickly, so Baby's motivation for the last job is murky at best. Is he doing it for the money? Or just because his adopted dad and Lily James are threatened? Lily James is great, but her segment stops the momentum that had built up, but that had as much to do with the resolution coming way too early in the film. He obviously wants out, but rather than do the gun run, and try to sneak out, why not just grab her and fly that afternoon? Was Jamie FOxx's offing of the cops the last straw?If so, why not just take the out when Spacey gives it to him? Its inferred that Spacey has this organization, so the old guy is threatened? If he plans on betraying the gang at the postal service, why not just drive off? Or crash the car later, after they had got the fuck out of dodge? Did baby panic? Also what the fuck is Spacey still doing there, after it was clear everything had gone FUBAR?

I tihnk a better ending would have had Baby run instead of going with Spacey on the last mission(or sneaking away at 2 a.m.), then getting chased down by Hamm and Foxx, or anything really. I didn't hate the movie, I just had a hard time getting in to it, and was just kind of disappointed overall.

My issues with Baby Driver, as there is no way to do it non-spoilerly. FWIW, my favorite Wright movie is easily Hot Fuzz, I liked Shaun, and didn't quite "get" World's end either, so it just might be me. . . .

Spoiler

Until Doc pulls the swerve at the end, Baby is terrified of him. Doc's only sign of benevolence before that point is that he hadn't killed Baby for stealing his car. He doesn't believe that he actually has an out with Doc, because when he thought he was already out, Doc pulled him back in. 

 

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On ‎7‎/‎1‎/‎2017 at 4:39 PM, Elsalvajeloco said:

Baby Driver was fucking tremendous. It's like someone decided to make a Fast & Furious movie but with people who could act (or great actors not sleepwalking through their roles), a cohesive plot, and with a good script.

It was a really good movie.

It was very interesting to see a new spin on the old not I'm Not With Those Guys philosophy. 

Baby honestly believed that "Hey, I'm just the driver," separated himself from not just the gang, but from criminality in general.

Of course that all came crashing down to the ground in the third act.

God, the chemistry between Elgort and James was insane.  If you told me they were a couple in real life, I'd believe you.

 

 

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I came away from Baby Driver thinking it was trying to hard to be cool, it was sorta like a flare bartender all of the tossing of bottles doesn't make up for the lack of booze in my drink. I'll note the only Wright movies I really enjoyed were Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.

 

Spoiler

Jon Hamm is basically Bob Denver to me, I can't separate him from the role that made him famous, I was chuckling when he was trying to be a bad ass or the sorta indestructible killing\driving machine at the end.

 

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On ‎7‎/‎2‎/‎2017 at 7:37 PM, Elsalvajeloco said:

I'll try to be non spoilerish as possible: The one thing I thought was kinda a flaw off the type of my head was the usefulness of Spacey's character. If someone like Bats does a little research (or has enough intuition to know the type of people he does jobs with), why the fuck would he need to Doc to plan these things?

Bats is not unintelligent, but he obviously doesn't have the patience or resources to cultivate and maintain the connections and logistics required to pull off those jobs.

And as he mentioned in the diner, his cash goes to support his vices so he doesn't have the loot to spend on keeping the right people paid up so that he can continue his activities. 

I'd love to know Bats's "I use drugs in order to support my robbery habit," was improv or if It was scripted dialogue.  Brilliant!

Doc is a facilitator and criminal concierge and doesn't like to get his hands dirty, so he plans the jobs so that his crew isn't burdened with the details.  

Doc strategies, the crew executes, everyone gets paid. 

All parties involved stick to what they're good at.  This is the critical point of the movie's theme since Baby thinks that the thing he's good at doesn't make him a criminal like the rest of Doc's crew. 

You also see this sort of thing in the movie, Layer Cake, when XXXX makes the important distinction between being a gangster and associating with gangsters as if one makes you a bona fide criminal and the other doesn't.

There is also the thing where Bats screws the pooch by killing off the very same corrupt cops Doc uses for intel and supply because Bats is a murderous, paranoid bastard that has no experience with big picture stuff.  That is all Doc's realm.

Some of those dynamics are probably legit since Wright consulted with a reformed bank robber for some of the concepts in the script and the rest is pure heist film homage.

One of the real criticisms I had with the movie was foreshadowing.  There are no red herrings in this movie.  Everything matters, so it does not surprise you when:

Spoiler

The Butcher's thugs show up in Act III looking for revenge since Bats was stupid and psychotic enough to try to save a buck by murdering the arms dealers.

Or

When Baby suddenly realizes that his foster father and Deborah are liabilities because Buddy and Bats are dirty enough to try to get to him through his loved ones or that the police may come down on them as accessories if the does not take the entire rap himself.

 

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2 hours ago, J.T. said:

Bats is not unintelligent, but he obviously doesn't have the patience or resources to cultivate and maintain the connections and logistics required to pull off those jobs.

And as he mentioned in the diner, his cash goes to support his vices so he doesn't have the loot to spend on keeping the right people paid up so that he can continue his activities. 

I'd love to know Bats's "I use drugs in order to support my robbery habit," was improv or if It was scripted dialogue.  Brilliant!

Doc is a facilitator and criminal concierge and doesn't like to get his hands dirty, so he plans the jobs so that his crew isn't burdened with the details.  

Doc strategies, the crew executes, everyone gets paid. 

All parties involved stick to what they're good at.  This is the critical point of the movie's theme since Baby thinks that the thing he's good at doesn't make him a criminal like the rest of Doc's crew. 

You also see this sort of thing in the movie, Layer Cake, when XXXX makes the important distinction between being a gangster and associating with gangsters as if one makes you a bona fide criminal and the other doesn't.

There is also the thing where Bats screws the pooch by killing off the very same corrupt cops Doc uses for intel and supply because Bats is a murderous, paranoid bastard that has no experience with big picture stuff.  That is all Doc's realm.

Some of those dynamics are probably legit since Wright consulted with a reformed bank robber for some of the concepts in the script and the rest is pure heist film homage.

One of the real criticisms I had with the movie was foreshadowing.  There are no red herrings in this movie.  Everything matters, so it does not surprise you when:

  Reveal hidden contents

The Butcher's thugs show up in Act III looking for revenge since Bats was stupid and psychotic enough to try to save a buck by murdering the arms dealers.

Or

When Baby suddenly realizes that his foster father and Deborah are liabilities because Buddy and Bats are dirty enough to try to get to him through his loved ones or that the police may come down on them as accessories if the does not take the entire rap himself.

 

Correct, but why does he have patience for Doc? Because if I know Doc is using cops, the last thing I'm about do is square up with him about why I killed said corrupt cops. We do criminal shit in the streets, but I don't know you from a hill of beans. You might be the feds. You would be next on my hitlist.

Also, from the jobs Bats was on, these seem far from idiot proof because the first pair of guys he was with were actual idiots. He could have planned the shit out. All Doc was supplying was the driver.

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1 hour ago, Elsalvajeloco said:

Correct, but why does he have patience for Doc? Because if I know Doc is using cops, the last thing I'm about do is square up with him about why I killed said corrupt cops. We do criminal shit in the streets, but I don't know you from a hill of beans. You might be the feds. You would be next on my hitlist.

Working under the relatively safe assumption that Bats has worked for Doc before or at least they respect each other's reputation, it is evident that they both realize the benefits of collaboration. 

Doc has the plan and Bats gets to indulge in murder for the sake of entertainment while also making money.

Since neither one of them is in jail, to date the relationship worked out up to the events of the movie. 

Baby has obviously not worked with neither Bats nor Griff before their respective jobs since we know that Baby has been the driver for all of Doc's jobs that required a wheelman and both Bats and Griff give Baby a lot of shit about Baby's habits and abilities which implies that they've never met.

The comedy of errors begins when Doc tells the crew that they need to pick up the hardware for the Post Office job themselves..  

Doc knows the identity of the arms dealers and does not bother to include the crew in on this info.  We know this is the key blunder since Doc meticulously hints the audience in on the fact that he normally supplies the crew with weapons, but for whatever reason (plot advancement via the mistaken identity gimmick) this time the crew needs to fetch their own guns.

Doc introduces the x-factor by not sticking to his own game plan and making his own arrangements.

Who does he send?  Two paranoid criminals who will kill rather than be caught and one guy who uses psychotic delusions of entitlement to justify homicide.

1 hour ago, Elsalvajeloco said:

Also, from the jobs Bats was on, these seem far from idiot proof because the first pair of guys he was with were actual idiots. He could have planned the shit out. All Doc was supplying was the driver.

Well:

1) I don't think that JD and No-Nose were idiots.  They were just out of their league and they definitely weren't professional enough to keep cool when things went sideways.

2) The job was a simple smash and grab.  No vaults to crack or security to scope.  Not a complicated scenario until Bats murdered one of the guards in cold blood.

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