March 08, 2007

Friday Talkback

Your feedback is important to us. Please take a moment to tell us what you think of [name of publication]. We will use your feedback to continue to improve our services. When you are done, click [applicable command] to send.

21 comments:

theoldboy said...

While I'm not sure if I want to actually cry foul on the 300 backlash, especially when so many of its voices are more eloquent than my own, I think even attempting to read 300 as allegory is just bullshit, no matter how tempting it may be. Snyder clearly has no political agenda or really any apparent political consciousness outside of that of the author of whatever source material he is working with. I don't think Frank Miller is really right wing, just a 13 year old boy. Pure scrotal storytelling. I don't think I'm giving up on Snyder just quite yet, as I think he does know how to make a movie, but wonder how his delivery of Watchmen will turn out, since there's so much inherent strength in the written material that Miller's texts tend to lack.

Jared said...

300 has always looked like this year's piece of overrated juvenile junk (see 2006's V For Vendetta). I have no idea what the hype for this movie was about ever, it looks like someone applied a bunch of color filters to another boring sword and sandals flick in an attempt to cause an epileptic seizure.

Cap said...

I have no idea what the hype for this movie was about ever

Best use of Nine Inch Nails in a trailer ever.

O'JohnLandis said...

I wonder if the simple fact that it's a violent, self-justifying muddle doesn't make it a decent allegory in spite of itself.

Game. Set. Match.

theoldboy said...

Before 300:
This is Sparta!

After 300:
This is Sparta?

Meh, I don't have the stamina to hate the thing. The first half is pretty tits, give or take the campy, primitive dialogue. It felt like I was in for whatever those geeks are babbling about over how this 300 thing is gonna rock me to death, but then the faithfulness to Miller blows up in Snyder's face. What may be moderately satisfying on the page isn't at all on the screen. Jared's V for Vendetta comparison doesn't work: V is leagues better. 300 is a string of wicked-looking hand-cranked shots thrown up on the screen because Zack Snyder thought it would be tits, while V clearly comes from an organ somewhere above the sack. (as a minor fan of the film, I'd say the heart, but I guess one could say colon if one is so inclined) V at least says something other than how badass the Spartans were and how faggy the Persians were--which is all that's there for all intents and purposes. 300 is a political vacuum, all yelling without really knowing what the words coming out of its mouth mean. V at least ends audaciously, 300 just steals the ending of Braveheart with none of the actual pathos.

Randolph said...

300 (Zack Snyder, 2007)

Fulminant Action Cinema à la bonheur, splendid depictions of sanguinary battles of never seen before epic proportions and sheer brilliance, cinematic master strokes set against sceneries, which literally caress the inclined spectator's senses, an adequate realization of Frank Miller's opulent pictorial selection - alot has been augured, however nothing, absolutely nothing at all has been delivered by berserking noviate director Zack Snyder. His current faux pas of a movie is a swan song to good taste, the demise of Western Culture, the cessation of all artistic talent and creative work. Blustering, obscene, final.

Spartan King Leonidas (Gerard Butler), his body bedewed with virgin olive oil, covered with leafage and studded with a single mistletoe to obscure his puny pudendal area, raises his voice. What has risen advance to the position of a well-known saying among the fanatic, juvenile crowd world-wide within just a brief lapse of time is now belched, blazed out of the King's throat, hurled towards his bewildered adversary, before the audible, the verbal ejaculation is followed by the exaggeratedly stylized display of a kung fu kick. The film's key scene.

Because it is exactly this preposterous formula, that Zack Snyder, self-proclaimed associate of the film director's profession, employs for what feels like an approximated 387 minutes. Eruptions of torment, turned into fuming furiosity, which has evidently been dammed up for decades, are dished up to the marvelled youngling, 15 years of age, fashionable recitative admiring, multifariously clueless and now almost motionlessly persevering in his state of ecstasy, as he watches the described spectacle unfold, performed in a homoerotic manner by some the previously mentioned ptilosis sporting dance ensemble, their most outstanding characteristic being the egregiously low relevance on any level.

The opponent, cannon-fodder-like tripe, which first and foremost is supposed to impress us with its variety, partially though with the curious sight of its bizarreness, gets to be raped for hours in the most imbecile and technically inferior way imaginable, in order to guarantee the execution of the aforementioned pattern. The youngling rejoices, delights in the symbiosis of excessively slow-motioned, rapidly fatigueing violence and pungently pretentious seeming "coolness", trapped in his own confinedness, which is stamped and defined by devastating ignorance. The adult intellectual remains silent - agony, relentless agony, oh-so gladly would I escape from thee and be it into death.

And as though this rampant, wordless uproar, set against an, infact, miserably animated backdrop, was not enough of the paltriness already, Snyder empties yet another salt shaker into the bleeding heart of the cineaste, the art lover - dialogue lines, somewhere between delusion and abomination, between the medieval pageants of capuchin monkey John the Bellows, Riefenstahl concoctions and ludicrously manipulative cable television hokum, recited with maximally fervent pathos, on the one hand inspiring the boy, rejoicing his heart, on the other hand catapulting the mature into a crisis of faith, suicidal tendencies included. According to the former, these are ageless quotations, archetypal instant classics, according to the latter, we are dealing with the embodiment of the preliminary apex - or rather the nadir - of the intellectual, cultural, social decadence, which has afflicted us so sneakingly and, subsequently, has beaten us down in both an unsuspected and remorseless fashion.

And, thus, the only reasonable, the only remaining conclusion has to be a reference to the proverbially most imperishable of all emotions, the faithful companion in the darkest of hours, the deepest of forests, the bleakest of bungholes - hope. For I can only wonder what kind of alternative there could possibly be after reaching this absolute rock bottom.
On the same note, hope is all I have to offer to Zack Snyder, whom I would like to wish a successful and, most notably, a recreative future career, despite his more than impudent invidiousness I am reviewing right now.

Nevertheless, there's one thing that has to be put down in writing and be made perfectly clear in this recension once more: My palate has not been regaled by your meagre offering, Mr. Snyder.

- ZERO STARS (out of four)

Jefferson said...

300 actually had me until they trotted out the giant pale mutant guy with the mantis claws instead of forearms. "... the fuck? What movie is this?"

permazorch said...

300. Pah!
I knew this one was gonna suck dogdick.

theoldboy said...

Was Randolph doing a parody of one of Walter's reviews, or was that actually a serious review? I can't tell, because either way it is sort of glorious at times, even if he isn't able all the time to form coherent thoughts from his ten million dollar choices of verbiage.

Bill C said...

I suspect Randolph's review was an unsolicited audition of sorts.

Just watched this weekend's "Ebert & Roeper", and I've decided that Roeper needs to fall down a well. His review of The Host was that it was "gross" and "stupid" and "not like anything I've seen before," all three of which betray him as borderline illiterate. I'm sorta smitten with his co-host du jour, the lovely Kim Morgan (consider her video pick of the week: Baby Doll; Roeper's? that obscure arthouse hit from 2006, Casino Royale), to whom Roeper was utterly dismissive when she tried to discuss The Host as an allegory that's just as valid as it would be if it were about Hurricane Katrina or Sars instead of a giant monster. "We're learning a lot about Kim Morgan!" was his patronizing response. Unless my ears deceived me, I believe he also used "truthiness" unironically, like it's a real word.

I guess I shouldn't watch the show at all, but the terrible beauty of car accidents and all that. If he were really worth his salt as a critic, Roeper would realize that The Host is ten times the movie that Babel is. Actually, something tells me he does realize that, he's just too worried he won't be taken seriously if he says so. Ironically.

Randolph said...

Yes, Bill, your're right. It was an audition. May I take your place now?

Randolph said...

-r*

Rick said...

I'm sorta smitten with his co-host du jour, the lovely Kim Morgan

She would seem like a good match for Alex, judging by her statement, "severed heads are beautiful". I liked her because she said she has seen Baby Doll 30 times. But she also liked Black Snake Moan, and said that she wished I Think I Love My Wife went in more of a Labute direction, so weirdly enough she came off as a misogynist.

theoldboy said...

That Roeper is a brain-damaged troglodyte spat from the darkest depths of Satan's sperm spout is no surprise, but he seems to have something against Asian cinema.

James Allen said...

I liked Travis take on the film Fuck, which seemed to me to be a rather useless extention of the film The Aristocrats (also put out by Thinkfilm) which at least had a point about how different people create/react to obscenity. Travis observation about "the self-righteous piety of comedians" basically hits the nail on the head. I mean, it's easy to have at guys like Alan Keyes, but a lot of these comedians have to get over themselves.

And one small nit, George Carlin never battled the FCC, a radio station that played his record did.

Bill C said...

I think that may have been some overzealous streamlining on my part, James; I've amended it on Travis' behalf to de-implicate Carlin.

tmhoover said...

No, I think that was my cock-up. Boiled things down a little more than I ought to have- my apologies. Though I'm glad to see you liked the article, James.

ryan said...

Roeper is pretty much insufferable, but I'll take him any day over Captain Quote Whore himself, Peter Travers. I can't begin to tell you how pissed off I was when he popped up on the one segment on "The Departed"'s second disc, educating the ill-informed with his oh-so-insightful commentary...

"What you have to understand about Martin Scorsese, is that he came from Little Italy..."

"So when people saw 'Mean Streets', they said 'What is this movie?!''

Man, what a sharp one he is.

James Allen said...

No need to apologize, Travis. And yes, I really enjoyed the piece. You made a point about libertarianism that was quite cogent:

What happens is a typically libertarian confusion of personal freedom with actual activism--one is considered to be protecting the American Way simply through doing one's thing and never being challenged on the issue.

Being someone of a general libertarian bent I appreciated the observation. It gives my mind a little to chew on.

Which leads me (I'm going somewhere with this?) to last week's episode of South Park where everyone's favorite libertarians wrangle with the word "nigger." What started with a hilarious set-up had no real payoff, and although I'm still an ardent defender of the show, Parker and Stone's approach (at least to social issues) is starting to bear diminishing returns.

Jared said...

Roeper doesn't like anything that doesn't spell it out for the dumbest kid in class and it aggravates me that a lot of my friends have similar taste and love big obnoxious clunky movies like 300 and Casino Royale (Okay, Daniel Craig is good but the movie is no good? Is this a fair compromise? Craig+Roger Michell will=First great Bond flick since Connery) and despise movies like The Fountain because it's too "artsy" and alien for them. He panned "The Host" too? Does this guy just not like movies?

Bill C said...

Well, the worst part is that he gave The Host a thumbs-up--but felt the need to condescend to it all the same.