March 12, 2009

I Am Curious CMYK

Have you read my review of The French Connection Blu-ray yet? You might want to take a moment to skim it if you haven't been following the controversy surrounding the disc.

Alex already provided an
illustrated example of the picture's own retiming in the previous thread, but for the fuck of it, let's take a look at how a couple of films would be affected by the 'Friedkin process.' This isn't satire, by the way--I followed the recipe outlined in the featurette "Color Timing The French Connection" to the best of my abilities. Are the differences "subtle," as Friedkin claims? More to the point, do you dig the pastel look, or are you suddenly grateful for all that Friedkin hasn't directed?

2001: A Space Odyssey


Poltergeist


Oh, and one last Watchmen thing: Sam Hamm's draft of the screenplay recently showed up online, and those who found the Zack Snyder film ideologically muddled would do well to peruse this adaptation, the first Watchmen script to be commissioned: with studios now fearing the wrath of fanboys over the most minor deviations from canon, its irreverent treatment of the source material elicits nothing less than a feeling of culture shock. Hamm, of course, wrote the Tim Burton Batman as well as the hilariously awful first draft of its sequel. Bruce Wayne's big dilemma in that one? What to get Vicki Vale for Christmas!

22 comments:

Walter_Chaw said...

Jumpin' Jesus, is that for real? Is there any recourse for Roizman?

Bill C said...

Sadly true. And Roizman's hands are tied, mainly because the damage is done.

The very last cap is probably the most evocative of the FRENCH CONNECTION-on-BD experience, for whatever it's worth.

Ian Pugh said...

Hamm's script is pretty much everything you'd expect from the guy who wrote Batman. Feather-light, maddeningly impersonal, and utterly ridiculous... but admirably consistent within its own internal logic. The silliness of Veidt's plot--and its execution--exceeds any complaints about its silliness in the original novel, but drop Ozymandias altogether and turn him into the superheroes' shadowy control-tower leader and it makes a lot more sense. Regardless of how it would have turned out, I'd love to see what this movie would have looked like in 1989: Sigourney Weaver as the Silk Spectre, Arnold Schwarzenegger as Doc Manhattan--and Robin Williams as the Comedian has a certain apocalyptic fascination about it, even if the character wouldn't have mattered as much (hell, at all) in this version.

And for once I'd like to see Friedkin fuck around with one of his films that could actually use a fresh re-evaluation. In lieu of that blindly defensive commentary he gave on the Cruising DVD, maybe he should have re-edited it, if only to see if he still feels the same way he did back in 1980.

theoldboy said...

How did Sam Hamm get a copy of the screenplay I wrote when I was 15?

Dave Gibson said...

RE: Friedkinized

Sweet Jesus--don't let him near Suspiria---or To Live And Die in LA for that matter...

Si said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Si said...

Re: Batman Returns, I suppose in that respect we really can be thankful for Daniel Waters' intervention. (For the record, Heathers is an old favourite of mine. (Which is probably why I actually appreciated Mean Girls, too - also, Lindsay Lohan was appealing in a way she'd never be again, and the film did introduce me to Tina Fey.))

Bill, do you intend to review the Batman films of the Burton/Schumacher era any time soon? And does anyone here think that Chris Nolan should quit the Batman franchise while he's ahead? I'm unsure about that, but all I know is that third time rarely seems to be lucky for franchises; see Return Of The Jedi, all Star Treks after The Wrath Of Khan (none of the follow-ups came close to equalling it) and Spider-Man 3 as good examples.

I suppose I could make exceptions for Harry Potter 3 and The Bourne Ultimatum, but then in more than one way the latter follows in Identity's footsteps in many ways: substitute Treadstone for Blackbriar, one well-respected actor for another (David Strathairn in place of Chris Cooper), one well-respected veteran for another (Albert Finney in for Brian Cox), one star of a highly rated indie foreign film for another (Daniel Bruhl, star of Goodbye Lenin!, replacing Franka Potente) and allow Julia Stiles to virtually reprise the Franka Potente role. She even gets her hair cropped the same way. Then again, this all could be intentional...

Finally, Ian, just wanted to commend you on a couple of your reviews. I just read your review of Tootsie again, and as much as I love many parts of that film, you're right to point out how Michael's all too easily absolved. Also, your slamming of For Your Eyes Only did catch me by surprise initially (it is my favourite of Moore's Bonds BECAUSE it's more down-to-earth than the others), but you made a brilliant point regarding the film's have-your-cake-and-eat-it attitude towards vengeance. Melina's as much right, if not more, towards vengeance as Bond has - it's just supposed to easier for us to be on his side because, as you said, he is our eternal protagonist.

Although there is an added poignancy to the death of the Liverpudlian (!) Countess, knowing that the first Mrs. Brosnan would pass away ten years after the film's release.

Bill C said...

Sigh. (No pun intended.) Warner switched PR firms mid-stream and so far none of their March releases have shown up at FFC HQ yet--er, except for that WONDER WOMAN cartoon. I'm still hoping the Bats Anthology arrives, because I do want to cover it and can't really afford it otherwise.

Speaking of BOURNE THREE (as three as a flow-er), watched it again recently and I'm not sure it's good enough to exempt from that rule of thirds. Even Damon seems bored.

That's actually probably a more interesting avenue of discussion than FRIEDKINIZED! (jazz hands!): exceptions to the rule of thirds. I kinda dig STAR TREK III myself, but it's no WRATH OF KHAN, that's for sure. Does GOLDFINGER count? ROCKY III is of course the shizznit, and NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3 is the one I put on when I need a Freddy fix.

Patrick said...

So the Watchmen game lets you play as Rorschach to beat up bad guys? Oh well, it had to happen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5d-_rf843k

Rule of Three: Buffy, Third Season?
Lord of the Rings?
Harry Potter 3 is pretty much the best of the series so far.

Rocky 3 was great, Lethal Weapon 3 was at least alright and better than 4, and some people like Mad Max 3 (I don't), and some people say Alien 3 is not as bad as it's said.

Jefferson said...

This New yorker article on Tony Gilroy sort of delves into the backstory on Bourne 3. That said, I've read it three times and I'm still at a loss to see just why Gilroy got so pissed at Paul Greengrass over the second installment. Call it the Law of Big Swinging Dicks -- the more of them you put in a room, the more likely the chance of a collision.

Si said...

Actually, Bill... Goldfinger probably DOES count, since I'd say it's my fourth favourite Bond at the minute. Then again, it was a cut below my all-time favourite, FRWL. Second for me is OHMSS (I'd love to have seen your take on that, Ian), then Casino Royale '06.

Obviously I forgot to add Batman Forever as a 'third time unlucky' example, but I think we all agree on that anyway. Still, I don't think even THAT could've prepared us for Batman and Robin. Both Akiva Goldsman-scripted films, so should we be surprised?

Come to think of it, here's another interesting topic of discussion: which Goldsman films do you actively hate above all others? I, Robot and, of course, B & R come close for me, but NOTHING tops The Da Vinci Code for badness. I still remember almost dozing through the second half of the film on my 26th birthday, and my groan at Audrey Tautou's "walk on water". Proof of just how much she needs Jean-Pierre Jeunet or Stephen Frears to be effective.

DaveA said...

I guess no one's reading old comments, so I put it here:

Now that sort of exoticism has lost its appeal; people want, instead, enough grit and violence to convince themselves that what they are seeing is authentic; but it's still tourism.

Salman Rushdie on Slumdog in an article about film adaptations. Although I often do not agree with him (Remains of the day is actually one of my favourites, if only for Hopkins), it's still an interesting read. Only accessible via Google Cache by now:

http://209.85.129.132/search?q=cache:Yp58VILXBGAJ:www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/feb/28/salman-rushdie-novels-film-adaptations

Stephen Reese said...

I felt the only good Bourne film was the first one. Kill off Franka and no humanity remains, nothing for Bourne to aspire to or desire. Plus, she's so pretty. ;)

Jefferson said...

Goldfinger is both the best and the worst of Bond -- it was delightfully entertaining, but it stuck all the ridiculous Bond tropes so firmly in place that it took Daniel Craig to dislodge them, and even then the job only got half done.

Si said...

I think you hit the nail on the head there, Jefferson - that is EXACTLY why I prefer FRWL, OHMSS and CR '06, because they are not so formula based. Even LTK and FYEO (yes, Ian, I mean this) are superior in some ways... Moore's camaraderie with Carole Bouquet is terrific to watch. As are the appearances of Cassandra Harris and Topol, even if Julian Glover and Michael Gothard are hardly the greatest villains. (And you're supposed to ignore the silly Lynn Holly Johnson subplot, too...)

Walter_Chaw said...

Children of the Corn 3 - with f/x by Screaming Mad George, is the best of the series. I really, really like Mad Max 3, too, better than the first two. Agreed on Bourne 3, by the by, that thing does not bear up under any kind of scrutiny.

Dave Gibson said...

If we're talking third parts of genuine, thematically linked trilogies then--Three Colours: Red; if we're talking "filmed deals" then
"Maniac Cop 3:Badge of Silence"

I thought Spidey 3 was the best of the bunch.

jer fairall said...

Three three's I love, descending in order of popular opinion:

The Good The Bad & The Ugly
Die Hard With a Vengeance
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Bemis said...

Walter - I'm amazed that someone else feels that Thunderdome is better than Road Warrior (which is still great), as I usually get scoffed at for saying that.

jer fairall said...

Oh yeah--re: the Synecdoche DVD/Blu-Ray release...

Great feature Walter (and friends)! Deeply refreshing to hear such great dialogue on a film, especially this one. Lets hope this starts something of a trend on future releases. Ebert talking about Kane and Casablanca is cool, Richard Schickel heaping praise on Eastwood is...acceptable, so lets let more and more critics have their say on worthy pictures.

One thing that I particularly found myself nodding in agreement with was Walter's statement about how critics are constantly bemoaning the quality of American films, and yet here is a homemade masterpiece that so many of them let slip by (or outright dismissed). I may be guilty of holding critics to a somewhat higher standard here, but when it comes to this film (and do I even need to talk about it? 3/5 of the FFC declared it the best of '08, and all I really gotta say at this point is "me too!"), I don't find myself expecting the average filmgoer to like it--although ask me again once I've heard from someone who is *not* a critic-- but any of the critical pans that I've read since seeing the film I have a hard time getting through or taking seriously. Anyone who spends the bulk of their time watching and thinking about film who isn't up to the challenge of this one simply isn't doing there job. It's hard not to see Synecdoche's 62% on Rotten Tomatoes to Slumdog Millionaire's 94% as anything but deeply discouraging.

Has anyone come across a negative review of Synecdoche that *is* well thought-out, deeply analytical or even a little bit convincing?

Anonymous said...

Any chance we'll see an FFC look at Knowing?

Paiea said...

Bourne Supremacy remains the only standout for me. Alien 3 is much more interesting and challenging for the audience than Aliens (though that one is still great fun). Harry Potter 1 is more charming than all of its sequels because the kids were natural and the adults weren't bored out of their skulls yet.

Agree with Bill on Search for Spock, I like how the Genesis Planet turns out to be a fraud and that saving Spock came at a steep price. As for Bond, OHMSS has always been my fav.

(On a side note, R.I.P. Natasha Richardson.)