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      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeOct 17th 2006
     
    I think we talked about this here before, but it just recently came out on DVD here and I just finished watching it. Brilliant. Not as layered as the first two films, but in it's own way, the relative simplicity of the narrative serves it well. Indeed, it's the only one of the three in which all of the characters' motivations make total sense to me. Oldboy was somewhat absurd, and Sympathy for Mr Vengeance was somewhat better, but also a little contrived (not quite the right word - of course it's contrived, but perhaps it's more obvious there than here). It's the last in the series, and I'm glad it is, as I think they're starting to repeat themlselves a bit. Still, it's an excellent film and might even be my favorite of the three (second would be Mr Vengeance, though all three are really great films)

    And considering that this film came out here this year, I have to say I'm much more impressed with this year's offerings than with last year's. I've already seen a good 4 or 5 exceptional films, and we haven't even gotten into the 4th quarter rush of academy award contenders. Let's see:

    Lady Vengeance
    United 93
    Brick
    The Departed (which was great, btw, though perhaps comparisons to Infernal Affairs lessen the impact a bit - still a great film)

    And lots of honorable mentions: Hard Candy (which I'd put in a similar bucket as Lady Vengeance), Inside Man (which I was shocked that I loved), and a couple that I haven't seen yet but have potential (notably The Proposition)

    A pretty good year so far (much better than last year).

    ~tallman
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      CommentAuthorDyre
    • CommentTimeOct 17th 2006
     
    Lady Vegeance is in my Netflix queue, as is Brick and Primer, but there's some things ahead of it (City of God is coming next) and my roommate and I only just sent Inside Man back after having it laying around for like three weeks (oops). I quite liked Inside Man as well. I don't think I'd even heard of it before (my roommate's choice to rent it).

    I'm hesitant--no, scratch that, I'm, in all likelihood, not going to see the Departed. I like Scorsese for the most part (although Gangs of New York was very disappointing to me even overlooking my next reservation) but despise Leonardo DiCaprio. Perhaps if I get enough recommendations I'll check it out on DVD.

    Alien Resurrection is on TV. It seems like such an odd movie for Jean-Pierre Jeunet to direct. I've only seen two of his other movies (Amelie and City of Lost Children) but his direction style seems so much more suited to whimsical quirky stuff like those two films than a sci-fi action piece. There's too much... puppet-like behavior from projectiles and the face-huggers and stuff like that and the way the camera moves isn't at all suited to serious-action-movie/tension-building type stuff. Have any of you seen A Very Long Engagement? I've been meaning to see it.
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      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeOct 17th 2006
     
    City of God is great... Inside Man shocked me because I'm not normally a fan of Spike Lee joints, but it was indeed great. Actually, I think it's one of the best films of the year, but again, this is a good year so far...

    Eh, I don't get the whole "I hate Leo" thing that so many people seem to have... I've always thought he was a decent actor, and he's pretty darn good in The Departed (before seeing the movie, I was worried that all the accents were going to be annoying, but they turned out ok). Have you seen Infernal Affairs? The Departed is very similar, but they make some changes (most notably with Jack Nicholson's character and with the addition of Mark Wahlberg) that make it sorta different. It's strange. Maybe I should write a blog entry. It seems like the only people who don't like this movie are the people who absolutely LOVE Infernal Affairs and can't stand any changes.

    There's a scene in Alien Resurrection early on where Winona Rider's character is trying to pick up a drink while wearing boxing gloves. It's almost unbearably cute, and wholly out of place in that film. It's a kinda lame film, and I agree that Jeunet was an odd choice to direct. The script was pretty lame too.

    Never seen A Very Long Engagement. It sounds vageuly familiar, but I don't know anything about it and going to IMDB feels like too much effort right now:P

    ~tallman
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      CommentAuthorDyre
    • CommentTimeOct 19th 2006
     
    Inside Man went in a completely different direction than I would expect for a film about a bank robbery, which I thought was great. I was left wondering how Clive Owen's character knew about the safety deposit box in the first place but I also get the feeling that another 'social elite' type, like someone else who might hire Jodie Foster's character, if not that character herself, must have tipped him off.

    I haven't seen Infernal Affairs but if a film is based on another film, I tend to appreciate there being differences (otherwise why not just watch the original). I think the same thing can work when the source material isn't another film (sometimes) but if done well a faithful adaptation can be great. (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is surprisingly faithful to the book, although some people probably don't like either.)

    Ha, yeah, the bit with the boxing gloves is great! Adorable.

    A Very Long Engagement is another Jeunet film with Audrey Tatou (Amelie) about two lovers separated during WWI. Tatou's character ends up going off to search for her soldier lover. Uh, movie ensues, I assume. It seemed more interesting to me because it's Jeunet than just the storyline.
    • CommentAuthorSamael
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2006
     
    A bit late to the party, but I finally watched Lady Vengeance last night.

    I'm actually on the opposite side of the fence on this one, my tall friend. Lady is definitely my least favorite of the three.

    I think it has arguably the strongest story/premise of the three movies, but I think that the whole thing doesn't come together as well as either of the other two do. I love the idea- the story is strong and the questions it raises (ethically/morally speaking) are good. I don't like the way it was all put together, though. I felt like it didn't really flow as well as either of the other two did- there were a couple of times where it took me a minute to realize that we were in a flashback, and the relationship between some of the characters was difficult to understand at times (example: The creepy priest- how did he fit in with anyone, really? And why was he taking pictures of her?).
    Also, to be honest, I cared less about any of the characters in Lady than I did in Mr. or Oldboy. At least Oh Dai-su was kind of cool, and I couldn't help but feel bad for both of the main characters in Mr. For some reason, I was having a hard time feeling bad for most of the characters in Lady.

    Still, not a bad movie by any stretch. Mr. Vengeance holds the top spot, though.
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      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2006
     
    Oh Dai-su was definitely cool, and that plays a huge part in making the film bearable (otherwise, some of the odd things about the story would have sunk it, I think). I didn't have any problem with the characters in Lady, and like I said, it seemed to me that it was the most believable of the three films. Not that Mr. had bad characters, but I'd say they were roughly on par with Lady's characters in terms of sympathy...

    The flashbacks were indeed a little odd and interrupted the flow of the film a bit at the beginning, but I was fine with that. But there are disorienting parts in all the films, and I think that's part of the point. Piecing together what happened and why the various players are acting the way they are is part of the fun.

    However, Lady is also the least layered in terms of the vengeance - in both Oldboy and Mr. there were multiple layers of revenge that are revealed as time goes on... but I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with the more simplistic story...

    ~tallman
    • CommentAuthorSamael
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2006
     
    Hmmm.

    I liked piecing together what happened, but I think I was bothered by the fact that some of the flashbacks seemed to happen without any reason and without clueing us in that we were entering a flashback. I liked figuring out what happened (although, honestly, even that apparently wasn't completely clear- the guy I was watching it with didn't think she actually had anything to do with the kidnapping- he didn't realize that she'd helped with the kidnapping but was innocent of the murder). It was definitely the most believable- Oldboy, while all kinds of cool, is patently ridiculous. I mean, really- you're going to imprison someone for over a decade because you were knocking boots with your sister and someone saw and told his friend? And you- the guy trapped for that long... after you figure it all out, you're going to cut out your tongue because this crazy fuck says you talk too much?

    But I definitely had a more emotional reaction to Mr. than I did to Lady. I just didn't feel any emotional connection to what's-her-name... Guama? (I'm too lazy to look it up). I felt a little bit bad for the families, but since they were in it so little, it was hard to really connect with them.

    In Mr. I felt really strongly for both of the main characters. I mean, both of their lives turned to shit, when the plan fell apart, but neither of them were evil characters, and I loved the ambiguity in the title- which one is Mr. Vengeance? Both of them? Neither of them?

    I don't think that there's anything wrong with a simple story, either. Lady definitely has the strongest story. I'm going to have to see what else Park has worked on. I know he's got a short on 3 Extremes (which I own, but have only watched the first story of).

    IMDB, here I come.