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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.83
Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 - 11:52 pm:   

I know there's been a bit of talk on here recently about Frank Darabont's adaptation of King's "The Mist", but I think the film deserves its own thread.

I've just watched the R1 Special Edition (with the b&w version included on the 2nd disc), and was absolutely blown away. The film, for me, is almost flawless; possibly even one of the best horror films I've ever seen - certainly the best of this decade.

Thomas Jane is excellent, Marcia Gay Harden is terrifying as Mrs. Carmody, and the creature set-pieces are simply amazing. The scene in the pharmacy is something I doubt I'll ever forget - it was truly, truly terrifying. The passing of the behemoth was awe-inspiring in a way I'd forgotten horror films can be.

And that awful, horrific, soul-destroying ending. Fuck me, it tipped the film right over from brilliant pulp horror into genuine, emotion-shredding terror. Real horror. I was in tears; I feel emotionally drained. I mean, I love bleak endings, but this one really turned me over and kicked the shit out of me. There are no reassuring words here, and even if there were, they don't sound a bit like Hartford or hope.

What a film. What a film.
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.157.94.235
Posted on Friday, March 28, 2008 - 01:24 am:   

Yep, agree with all that - apart from those final seconds which were annoying, as it spoiled the finish for me, really; I'd rather it had ended after that incident in the car, and not moments later with a resolution in sight. Small quibbles really; still a top notch production.

And it did already have its own thread!

:-)
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.83
Posted on Friday, March 28, 2008 - 08:37 am:   

[!!!!!!!!!!!!WARNING: ZED'S POST CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS. DO NOT READ THIS THREAD IF YOU'VE NOT SEEN THE FILM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]

But those final seconds were heartbreaking. What is the only thing worse than having to kill your child? Realising that you did not have to do it. It was the final twist of the knife: the single most pessemistic turn I've seen a mainstream Hollywood film take.

The film pushed every button I have, referenced my every fear - claustrophobia, big insects, a father helpless to protect his son, humanity turning on each other, fundamentalist religious mania. Genuinely terrifying.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.83
Posted on Friday, March 28, 2008 - 08:45 am:   

Btw, I took a little peek at the b&w version late last night, and it looks sweet. The monsters look even better, blendng in more seamlessly.

The intro by Darabont is interesting. Apparently, the Cohen brothers filmed THE MAN WHO KEW TOO MUCH in colour and released it in b&w. The same technique was used on this version of THE MIST.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.83
Posted on Friday, March 28, 2008 - 08:45 am:   

And it did already have its own thread!

I know...I only found it ater I started this one. :-/
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.20.53.161
Posted on Friday, March 28, 2008 - 08:50 am:   

[!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SPOILER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]

>>>What is the only thing worse than having to kill your child? Realising that you did not have to do it.

But it felt like vulgar to me, like a gimmick. Just an opinion.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.20.53.161
Posted on Friday, March 28, 2008 - 08:52 am:   

[!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SPOILER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]

I would have preferred the military not to have turned up at all. In a way, that ruined the film's acocalyptic vision. Social order was restored to some degree.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.83
Posted on Friday, March 28, 2008 - 08:57 am:   

****************SPOILER******************


Social order, maybe, but personal order was given a final kick in the face. And the sight of that woman from the start on the back of the army lorry was yet another thrust of the knife: his excuse for not helping her was "I have my own son to worry about". But look at how he ended up. If only he'd walked her home...

Oh, and we haven't even mentioned the fate of his wife.

The more you think about it, the more pessimistic it becomes.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.83
Posted on Friday, March 28, 2008 - 09:00 am:   

But it felt like vulgar to me, like a gimmick. Just an opinion

Jesus, it felt the opposie to me. Not a gimmick, but a kind of truth: all hope is lost. No one can save you because you already did the unimaginable. Yeah, the monsters might be gone, but the monster you have unwittingly become whilst trying to do what you thought was for the best will go on forever.
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Gcw (Gcw)
Username: Gcw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.144.23.232
Posted on Friday, March 28, 2008 - 09:01 am:   

Whens the bugger out in the cinema then?

gcw
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.157.94.235
Posted on Friday, March 28, 2008 - 09:56 am:   

[!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SPOILER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]

I would have preferred the military not to have turned up at all. In a way, that ruined the film's acocalyptic vision. Social order was restored to some degree.


That's the problem I had with it too - it seemed liked a sop to Joe Moviegoer. The bit in the car I was fine with.
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.157.94.235
Posted on Friday, March 28, 2008 - 09:57 am:   

gcw - I looked on the BBFC's site the other day and could find no mention of the film, suggesting either it's not appearing at the cinema or on dvd here, or that my eyes have finally given up.
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Tom_alaerts (Tom_alaerts)
Username: Tom_alaerts

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.78.35.170
Posted on Friday, March 28, 2008 - 09:59 am:   

I also thought that the epilogue was a cheap, lazy shock. I would have preferred it ending in the car. That would have been dramatic enough and in some way it would have felt more "honest" to me.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Friday, March 28, 2008 - 10:14 am:   

Ah, well, we'll have to agree to disagree. I thought it was devastating.
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Tom_alaerts (Tom_alaerts)
Username: Tom_alaerts

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 194.78.35.170
Posted on Friday, March 28, 2008 - 11:34 am:   

I am curious about the b&w version however. Are there any pictures of it online?
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.224.183
Posted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 - 03:25 pm:   

To paraphrase the Comic Book Store guy from THE SIMPSONS: "Worst movie ever."

If this isn't the single worst movie of last year - and so far this one too, of what I've seen - I surely don't know what is. Films like this make me despair of film; and of horror, all aspects of that genre. Thank God there are the Ramsey Campbells and others out there, keeping the standards high enough so that it doesn't sink into this level of dreck irretrievably forever. (Hell, thank God for THE ORPHANAGE, recent proof of life.)

THE MIST was clearly intended as a TV movie, you can tell by the fade-outs every 15 or 20 minutes; it must have been too gory and intense for TV, which is why it was decided to release it as a feature. The CGI makes the CGI from THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN look like a Spielberg level achievement - these monsters and such were laughable, awful, ludicrous. Computer-game-y shallow. Pathetic.

As was every element of the story. It would take too long to enumerate how, how, how... I can only say "cringe-worthy" every aspect of the writing - character-development, plot, depth, etc. - that this film is. To say "comic book" is to elevate it too highly.

I am just plain stunned that something this wretched, worthless and empty ever got made... it's truly depressing to me. No, not the ending: the ending is hilariously over-the-top. It makes you laugh - - like you laugh at the end of PIECES, or NIGHTMARE CITY; the laughable over-the-top ending of SAW III is a study in gravitas, compared to this pile of garbage.

I will give it its due though: the first 10 minutes, which build some good intensity. That's it, though. I liked the little touches: the gallery of paintings at the opening includes, that I could recognize, THE THING, and King's GUNSLINGER. When the lead remarks on the others' wrecked car - "1980, cherry" - a reference is being made to King's novella itself, published in 1980. And, prophesying, ala crazy Xtian woman, what is going to happen to that same novella, over the next 2 hours.....
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.159.81.125
Posted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 - 03:28 pm:   

We'll agree to disagree then!
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.83
Posted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 - 03:29 pm:   

I couldn't disagree more, mate. I thought it was one of the best horror films I've ever seen. The monsters were absoluetly great: those skull-faced spider-things scared the bejesus out of me...
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Barbara Roden (Nebuly)
Username: Nebuly

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 216.232.103.134
Posted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 - 05:20 pm:   

Amazingly, our local video rental place, which stocks about 25 films (all of which seem to feature Rob Schneider or Adam Sandler or have numbers after the titles), had The Mist yesterday, and as it's one of my favourite King stories we rented it and watched it last night. Christopher fell asleep halfway through, so I think it's safe to say he was underwhelmed, but Tim and I watched it all, and enjoyed it for what it was. I thought the creatures were pretty good; they're not supposed to look like anything on earth, and didn't, so a certain amount of plasticity, for lack of a better word, was fine with me.

The scene set-up was good, as was the establishing of character once everyone was at the store. Having seen Jeffrey DeMunn in the trailer I expected him to play Norton - he looked just as I'd pictured Norton to look - but Andre Braugher was excellent. Frances Sternhagen simply was Mrs Reppler, that 'tough old broad'; when she looked at Jim and commented about him and his sister being underachievers and then headed out to the pharmacy we all said 'Miss Lang', as that is precisely how that now-retired teacher from Tim's school would have reacted in that situation (she'd probably even have improvised the flamethrower). Toby Jones was excellent as Ollie - great American accent - and Marcia Gay Harden, although not the Mrs Carmody of the story, is such a good actress she managed to take a fairly one-dimensional character and make her believable, and terrifying, without resorting to chewing the scenery.

What didn't work so well (for me, anyway; your mileage may vary) - and look away now if you haven't seen the film, because there are a couple of spoilers ahead - was the way in which everyone except the little group with David was definitely with Mrs Carmody; I got the feeling, from the story, that there was a pretty sizable 'undecided' faction at the end, not agreeing with Mrs C but not willing to risk leaving the store either. I thought the death of the one soldier was protracted at best, unnecessary at worst. I would have preferred to leave the question of what happened to Stephanie unanswered, as in the story. I think the antagonism between Jim and David before the loading bay scene came out of nowhere, and suggests that something was cut from earlier in the film that explained it.

And the ending. Hmm. My own preference would have been to film what King wrote, which is wonderfully open-ended; could have done some wonderful visuals with the empty Howard Johnson's, and David fiddling with the radio dial and catching that one word; but perhaps Darabont felt the final line - 'The other is hope' - was too close to Shawshank territory, especially as it would have to be done in voice-over la Morgan Freeman. When Tim went to bed I read him the final pages of the story, from when they try to get back to David's house, and he agreed it was a better ending (he guessed what the final word would be before I got to it). He also liked King's description of the thing that passes over the truck more than what we saw in the film.

As for the ending that's in the film; I'd have preferred if it finished as David is standing outside the truck screaming. As it is, Darabont seemed to be rubbing our noses in it: 'See? See how futile life is?' And the shot of the woman in the army truck with her kids, the one from the store at the beginning, also seemed to rub our noses in it, and negate everything the other characters went through in the store: 'Hey, you could have had it easy and been saved, too, but no, you wouldn't listen. . . .'

All in all, an enjoyable film: suspenseful and well-acted, and if it departed from the source material in a few places - as any filmed adaptation of a written work must - well, the original story is on my shelf, and I can pull it down any time.
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Gcw (Gcw)
Username: Gcw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.100
Posted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 - 08:41 pm:   

I'm amazed at the differences in opinion here for this film...I don't think I have ever known such polar opposites.

Makes me more determined than ever to see the bloody thing!

gcw
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Barbara Roden (Nebuly)
Username: Nebuly

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 216.232.103.134
Posted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 - 09:03 pm:   

Thinking some more about the creatures in the film, which were, I suspect, almost all CGI save a few models that got stomped or smushed or whacked with a broom: it reinforces what I feel about CGI versus old-school special effects, i.e. effects that had to be physically created somehow, whether it's Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion creatures in something like Jason and the Argonauts or Rob Bottin's work on Carpenter's The Thing: CGI looks TOO perfect, in a way, and I can never quite forget that the actors are reacting to a suggestion of what's going to be there rather than a real something, or rid myself of the niggling feeling that while the actors are undoubtedly giving it all they've got while the director yells 'It's got huge wings and eyes on stalks and is covered with . . . slime!', they'd be just that much more convinced and convincing if the winged, stalk-eyed, slimy things were actually there. In The Thing, part of the convincingness (is that a word?) comes from the knowledge that there really was a head with legs scuttling across the floor, and that the actors are watching and reacting to it. If it were ever remade (heaven forbid), I'm sure the SFX would be all sleek and shiny and look like $100 million, but I doubt they'd be half as real-looking as what we've got now.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.83
Posted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 - 09:26 pm:   

GCW - the film has also garnered such polarised review elsewhere. Google it and see.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.83
Posted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 - 09:27 pm:   

Barbara - I'm in your camp regarding effects. Nothing has yet beaten Bottin's work on THE THING.
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Barbara Roden (Nebuly)
Username: Nebuly

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 216.232.103.134
Posted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 - 09:49 pm:   

Thanks, Gary.

And I realise that the actors in Harryhausen films weren't reacting to, say, real sword-wielding skeletons; but the skeletons themselves, being real models, have the convincing look of something that really exists, rather than something conjured up on a computer.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.83
Posted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 - 11:07 pm:   

I know exactly what you mean, Barbara. It's the same problem I have with a lot of CGI: too shiny. I like to see the rubbery tentacles and the clumsy monsters. Harryhausen was my god when I was a young boy - I loved the Sinbad films, Jason and the Argonauts, Valley of Gwangi. I still love them now. Pure bliss.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.83
Posted on Saturday, March 29, 2008 - 11:09 pm:   

Not to forget Clash of the Titans...the ending, with Medusa, is still creepy as hell. The film's failings are made up for by the effects, which are simply beautiful. And scary.
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Barbara Roden (Nebuly)
Username: Nebuly

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 216.232.103.134
Posted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 - 12:03 am:   

Clash of the Titans is great fun (except for the mechanised owl, which I could do without), and the special effects are wonderful. Plus Judy Bowker is undeniably lovely, and it's great to play 'spot the distinguished British thesp doing this for the paycheque'.
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John_l_probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 90.199.0.20
Posted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 - 12:37 am:   

Super Laurence Rosenthal score as well.

The only reason I nearly did classics at A level was because screenwriter Beverley Cross was an Oxford Classics scholar and I thought maybe I might get to write Harryhausen movies if I read Latin & Greek at Oxbridge
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.250.218
Posted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 - 01:51 am:   

[SPOILERS] Okay, Mrs. Carmody alone: this parody of a Xtian freak is laughably unbelievable. At least make Jesus-freaks *believable* freaks! There are simply no freaks who spout what she's spouting, as she does, and then goes the way she does. When she inexplicably starts yelling for the child to be killed, I'm sorry: this is simply inconsistent character structure. This is poor, bad, yucky writing. Lazy, stupid, bad, cliche-ridden, rotten writing. Demanding human sacrifices?!? F*ck me, don't make me out to be that stupid, puh-lease.

A guy runs into the store, covered in blood, and says "There's something in the mist." Then the mist hits. Then there's (to the people in the store, they think so) an earthquake. And then David and the others see the tentacle monsters, they tell Brent... and he doesn't believe them?! No one in the store does?!? But they won't leave the store because... um, why exactly? The scary mist? Total inconsistent character creation.

There's horrible monsters killing everyone in sight. It's called: total sanity end-of-the-world meltdown. And David & co. are worried about the Xtian nut, to the point where they think they're going to have to brave what's been established as the ultimate inescapable killing zone?! With his kid?!? (Can someone tell me why NO ONE in these kinds of movies EVER says, "Yeah, I saw this in a movie once, do you think...", etc.; we'll get the most lame-brained current cultural references in films - but no, NO ONE ever goes to the movies!)

Here's an example of a simple film/story point, that is a gigantic no-no: The one guy's in horrible pain from his burn wounds, might die. The "heroes" brave the horrors outside to make it to the pharmacist to get him medicine. They run into a (lame) horror show of (lame) CGI spiders. They make it back, barely. Whoops! Burned guy died already, off-screen. Dying off-screen is a cheap-ass cop-out. Making your protagonists perform tasks that do not in some way achieve success, is what's called, sloppy poor rotten bad story-writing.

Sorry - this one's dog-turd-esque. Now the Italians, in translation, will know what it was like for us to watch DEMONS here in America, as they laugh themselves silly in their mostly-empty theatre seats....
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Griff (Griff)
Username: Griff

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.100
Posted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 - 11:11 am:   

"I know exactly what you mean, Barbara. It's the same problem I have with a lot of CGI: too shiny. I like to see the rubbery tentacles and the clumsy monsters. Harryhausen was my god when I was a young boy - I loved the Sinbad films, Jason and the Argonauts, Valley of Gwangi. I still love them now. Pure bliss."

Sister!
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.161.168.215
Posted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 - 03:22 pm:   

In fairness to cgi though, that big bastard near the end was more than fine by me, pixels or no pixels!
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.83
Posted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 - 04:55 pm:   

Oh, yes. One of the most haunting and awe-inspiring scenes I've ever seen in a horror film. It's still in my head.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.5.4.60
Posted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 - 05:21 pm:   

It was an... interesting moment.... But it was a - well, wasn't that in PET SEMATARY? Not the movie, the book: the Wendigo passing ominously in the night, as he's taking his wife back to the burial grounds.... More effective there, and evocative. Here - sorry to disagree with all you fine folk here! - a total waste of an admittedly nice image.

Bottom line: I just could not for one moment accept any of these people as real people - they were all cardboard cut-outs, egregious stereotypes, emotional windbags, and comic-book-mentality dimwits.

Sigh... maybe I'm just grumpy.... Oh, there's Mr. Emoticon indicating I am. Well, there you go then.
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Barbara Roden (Nebuly)
Username: Nebuly

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 216.232.103.134
Posted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 - 06:25 pm:   


quote:

Here's an example of a simple film/story point, that is a gigantic no-no: The one guy's in horrible pain from his burn wounds, might die. The "heroes" brave the horrors outside to make it to the pharmacist to get him medicine. They run into a (lame) horror show of (lame) CGI spiders. They make it back, barely. Whoops! Burned guy died already, off-screen. Dying off-screen is a cheap-ass cop-out.




Dying off-screen is a cheap-ass cop-out? Someone tell Shakespeare, quick, so he can rewrite Henry V and show us Falstaff actually dying, rather than have Mistress Quickly tell us about it.

Seriously, stuff happens off-screen in films all the time; it has to, otherwise films would be several hours long. To take your specific example (someone dying): no, each and every time a character - even one we've come to know - dies in a film, we don't have to see it; sometimes it's enough for us to be told that it happened.


quote:

Making your protagonists perform tasks that do not in some way achieve success, is what's called, sloppy poor rotten bad story-writing.




No, I'd say that's what's called being realistic. Life is filled with people performing tasks that don't in some way achieve success, and films reflect this unfortunate tendency.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.83
Posted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 - 08:35 pm:   

I agree with Barbara wholeheartedly on the last point.

Craig - these "flaws" in the writing you're focusing on are all in the original novella: Darabont's film is very faithful to the source up util that controversial ending.

The passing behemoth is a scene that simply had to be there becaue everyone remembers it from the story, and the characetrs are more or less as King wrote them - even down to chunks of dialogue.

I respect your opinion, but I have the exact opposite one.
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.21.189.60
Posted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 - 09:46 pm:   

Problem with the story is that we're pretty much left in the dark as to what actually caused the phenomena. Of late I've been watching old Twilight Zone episodes and there's always some sort of resolution, like in the powerful "Where is Everybody?"--without the explanation at the end it would only be half a story, wouldn't it? I suspect King didn't know where he was going and wrapped things up when he felt he was done with the thing
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.161.168.215
Posted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 - 10:15 pm:   

I thought there was a reference, possibly by one of the soldiers, about scientists breaking through to another dimension or world...
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Tom_alaerts (Tom_alaerts)
Username: Tom_alaerts

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.244.147.43
Posted on Sunday, March 30, 2008 - 11:22 pm:   

indeed, and if I remember well there is a similar reference in the novella. I don't mind that we don't learn more, in a way this is (like cloverfield) seen from the eyes of the characters who don't know what is happening. In many other movies the action would switch to a military base where a professor explains what's happening to the generals, but I am ok that this doesn't happen here.

About the sfx: yes it is true that the computer generated effects still tend to look a bit slick, and that's why for scary creatures they still can't surpass those in The Thing. But, with all the continuing refinement I am convinced that this will happen in just a few years.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.44.101.203
Posted on Monday, March 31, 2008 - 01:33 am:   

One of the best cross-overs-into-another-dimension is in Time Bandits, when the gnome smashes the 'wall' with the skull and we see that vast castle. Just watched it again today (it was a newspaper freebie) and it brought back that memory of nearly shitting myself when I saw it back in 81/2.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.255.226
Posted on Monday, March 31, 2008 - 02:47 am:   

Barbara, Shakespeare's description (through Mistress Quickly) of Falstaff's dying is of course nonpareil; but his killing Falstaff off-screen is, indeed, a bit of a "cop out." It's hard to say, because Shakespeare didn't want to continue chronicling this overwhelmingly popular character, some theorize. A better example might be Cordelia dying OS, and Lear coming in with her over his arms... or maybe Lady Macbeth.... But this is Shakespeare. It's more stunning to have Cordelia arrive dead, all of a sudden. Lady Macbeth, though, supports what I'm saying: critics have always complained about the way Shakespeare offed her, and have even conjectured there's elements missing from this play. Because it feels ***wrong***.

No, I'm sorry, I stand by these basic story points, but maybe I should narrow them down to film...? All actions taken by protagonists must lead, even if indirectly, to success: plans always succeed. If they don't, the net result is an uncomfortableness at the flaw, like a sonnet with an eleven-syllable line.

If you want real life, Barbara, open your door and go outside, or read the newspaper, or watch the TV news. But these are stories... and they follow basic structures, that, violated, result in an uncomfortable feeling of displeasure.

We could have had, for example, David in the end swerving to avoid a darting deer, and smashing into a tree, and killing everyone in the car. Sure, according to your theory, these quirky horrible things happen all the time in real life. Therefore it's perfectly as justified as any other option in a story... um, no. Not so.

Going back to Shakespeare: Iago states his primary goal early on - he is angry that the Moor didn't make him his lieutenant, and that Michael Cassio got the job instead. So he does these incredible horrible machinations to worm his way back, driving Othello mad with jealousy, and rage, until he says to Iago "Now art thou my lieutenant" (3.3.481). Iago has achieved his goal... the play would feel strange and awkward had he not... even though now he's going to pay for it....

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Barbara Roden (Nebuly)
Username: Nebuly

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 216.232.103.134
Posted on Monday, March 31, 2008 - 04:15 am:   


quote:

No, I'm sorry, I stand by these basic story points, but maybe I should narrow them down to film...? All actions taken by protagonists must lead, even if indirectly, to success: plans always succeed. If they don't, the net result is an uncomfortableness at the flaw, like a sonnet with an eleven-syllable line.

If you want real life, Barbara, open your door and go outside, or read the newspaper, or watch the TV news. But these are stories... and they follow basic structures, that, violated, result in an uncomfortable feeling of displeasure.




Well, we're going to have to agree to disagree. Sure, there are some films I see where I want everything to end all shiny and happy, with all the protagonists intact and all their plans massively successful; but sometimes I want to watch films that reflect life as I see it around me every day, where people do the right things for the right reasons and still get shat on, where the best laid plans go awry, where vice triumphs and virtue gets its nose ground into the mud, and then stomped on for good measure. I don't see why films should be exempt from showing these things, unless all people want from all films is an affirmation that the world isn't the way it is, and happy ever after is the inevitable result.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.17.15.3
Posted on Monday, March 31, 2008 - 07:09 am:   

You know, Barbara, I'm in total agreement with you on that last paragraph. In fact, Shakespeare agrees with you throughout that paragraph as well. I think we may have gotten off-track, and I may not have been clear....

I mean, on a basic, structural, mechanics-of-story level - not the thematic level, but the level at which story is put together - I mean at that level, all plans must always succeed, though they usually do in roundabout ways. Globally, or thematically, or philosophically, or motivationally, no, plans do not always succeed. In fact, motivationally, success is usually exactly perpendicular to desire. And that, is what makes stories so meaningful and resonant.

When the burn victim in THE MIST was suffering, and the others then risk their lives to go to the pharmacist... only to fight spiders and such... then come back, and then find out the fellow's dead, having died off-screen... this, to me, cheats the reader/viewer: why take us on this silly escapade? To show us more monsters? This is the realm of TV, where you have action filling gaps of time for filler. It's a violation.

(Now, if the drugs they had stolen, proved, say, to defeat some of the beasts in some way, or came in as a useful weapon to hand against Mrs. Carmody at a key moment, or whatever, then: that would have worked on a basic story level. The hero's plans - globally, to fight off the villains and save others/themselves - had succeeded, in a roundabout way, and at a different time [if they hadn't had gone, the wouldn't have had the drugs, etc.].)

The problem is, we're following a novel too closely, and novels and films (which are filmed plays, really) are different beats. But I hear you Barbara! We agree, in essence.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.242.245
Posted on Monday, March 31, 2008 - 08:29 am:   

Zed, I didn't realize the film was so close to the story, which I really should read... shame on me... and, I must admit, I really did like that one bit with the passing behemoth, a nicely scary sequence (but, again, in that dissatisfied mind of mine, it just made me miss it in the PET SEMATARY movie)....

Like I said, the 1st 10 minutes were great. Now, rewriting King/Darabont, here's how I'D have done this:

Set up the same. They get to the store. Guy comes in, saying "There's something in the mist," but he's confused, unsure, doesn't know how he got mucked up... maybe he fell down hit his head?... unusuable data. Maybe he mentions "things," a tiny evocation of something.

The mist hits - better not go out there, it might be toxic. **This gives a compelling reason for characters to stay inside**, which was lacking, especially the moment the woman left (if she left, the last thing someone sees/thinks they see, is her stumbling... the mist taking effect?... more reason to stay in...)

Boom, "earthquake" hits. People are scared now, in heightened state of fear. Then the incident in the docks. When they come out complaining of tentacles, it really is one of those sequences where it's logical to discount them. Movie goes on from there.

Logical, consistent, steadily-increasing tension, and not overstepping the situation.

Now fix the 1000 other problems, you got a good movie.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.20.53.161
Posted on Monday, March 31, 2008 - 09:13 am:   

>>>All actions taken by protagonists must lead, even if All actions taken by protagonists must lead, even if indirectly, to success: plans always succeed. indirectly, to success: plans always succeed.

The thing, is, Craig, you sound like a screenwriter critiquing this film. That's a very *technical* criticism. Interesting that none of us non-screenwriters felt it was a problem. Maybe that's because we're haven't got your eye, or maybe it's because we tacitly believed the whole setpiece in the pharmacy was justification enough for the unsuccessful foray. I don't know. All I do know is that this is a riveting sequence, a case of "How cool was that?" rather than "How does this fit thematically and dramatically into the overarching structure of the piece?". It's a monster movie, after all. I mean, take Jurassic Park - this old guy wants to test out his new super-zoo, so he gets his grandkids over to go round it, riiiiight. Nature of the genre beast, innit? Then again, I'd argue that JP has fewer pretensions than The Mist...

Am I suggesting that in this pulp tradition action takes precedence over characterisation (which remains *broad* to say the least)? Mebbe. Is it fair to say that The Mist is caught between wanting its cake and eating it - trying to be a serious drama with monsters? Perraps. Am I saying the film is both flawed and brilliant, half-Craig, half-Zed. You know, I think so.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Monday, March 31, 2008 - 01:39 pm:   

I watched it again last night, with Craig's points in mind, and still thought it was excellent. The perfect amalgamation of B Movie ideas and A Movie ideals.

*******SPOILERS********

The pharmacy scene is there both to show us the extent of the situation and to give us that snippet about the "Arrowhead Project", which then adds context to the suicide of the soldiers (and the murder of the soldier).

The burns victim dying offscreen adds drama for me: during the pharmacy raid, his brother doies. The failure of the whole trip adds to the sense of futility (which is important in the final scenes of the film).

The passing behemoth is very important in the movie - in fact it becomes a pivotal scene. This is when David realises the true scope of what has happened. He finally realises that they are all really doomed - which then leads to his final desperate act.

The entire last 15 minutes of the film elevate it, IMHO, to another bracket; it shifts from a great monster movie to a truly apocalyptic (both personal and othwerwise) scenario.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Monday, March 31, 2008 - 01:56 pm:   

>>All actions taken by protagonists must lead, even if All actions taken by protagonists must lead, even if indirectly, to success: plans always succeed. indirectly, to success: plans always succeed.<<

There's nothing that turns me off a film more. In real life, plans rarely succeed; therefore I don't want to see such an unrealistic approach in the films I watch, unless it has the name Disney on it.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.20.53.161
Posted on Monday, March 31, 2008 - 02:55 pm:   

Unless I'm mistaken, I think what Craig's talking about is that all fictional scenes must serve some purpose to the story. Just having a bunch of characters going next-door in order to shoe-horn in some SFXs, etc, is sloppy. In his opinion. Personally, I'd defend a monster flick from such an accusation - just as I'd defend a comedy for contriving a scene to create only laughs. However, with The Mist, there seems to be an uneasy relationship between the monster mash and the serious drama, and I guess this is what Craig's getting at. I can see his point, but still reckon, as Zed does, it can be defended.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.20.53.161
Posted on Monday, March 31, 2008 - 02:58 pm:   

I remember China Mieville's essay about the 'New Weird' which claimed that it isn't always necessary to have every scene have fictional significance; sometimes it's good just to induce the effect: "How cool was that?" And the pharmacy scene was cool in that sense.

Lighten up, Craig, it's only a monster mash! ;<)
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Karim Ghahwagi (Karim)
Username: Karim

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 212.97.200.24
Posted on Monday, March 31, 2008 - 03:40 pm:   

What was that golden rule?: in a short story not a paragraph should be excessive, in a novella, not a page, in a novel- not a chapter. (Can't remember where I picked this up- Dan Simmons I think.) but I better leave that to those that write...And China Mieville is great, and constructs massive stories, so he might have a slightly different view...

I have to admit the detour supermarket scenes did seem like filler of some sort, but they were necessary I think and quite entertaining. I wasn't frightened, though I should have been. And in contrast to nearly everyone, I don't find spiders to be frightening at all- unless of course they are the size of a car, or flesh eating and gathered in the thousands...
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.20.53.161
Posted on Monday, March 31, 2008 - 04:03 pm:   

But in a monster movie, why should we regard a great set-piece as excessive or superfluous? It's the nature of the genre-beast, after all. I admit that such sequences can be combined with other fictional stuff, but the primary purpose of them is to thrill and delight. Nowt wrong with that.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.246.232
Posted on Monday, March 31, 2008 - 04:59 pm:   

Great points all. I forgot about the tid-bit of info from the dying MP, so there was that. But in all movies, and in horror especially, there's action, and information. Horror protags are allowed info, if not often success in action; but this one bridges the line, and true, wants it both ways.

To get further "film school" on this, it felt awkward that they went back to the supermarket after the pharmacist. Of course they had to, that whole world was unresolved, his kid's there, and so on... but change of setting, get-in-get-out, that's the realm of film.

And here may be the final point I should make about this, the first point I made above: this was clearly a TV movie, or TV mini-series. In TV movies/series, it's okay to do all these novelistic things, to take diversions, have action sequences for the sake of it, etc. In fact, I know if I had been told this ahead of time, instead of being sold a "film," none of these particular criticisms would have arisen... I'd just write it off as TV. Still think it, sorry, lousy in the end, capable of so much more... but there's always the next movie....
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.83
Posted on Monday, March 31, 2008 - 08:48 pm:   

I'm not going to win you over am I, mate?
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.20.53.161
Posted on Monday, March 31, 2008 - 09:55 pm:   

Let's just beat him up.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.83
Posted on Monday, March 31, 2008 - 10:07 pm:   

We can throw rubber spiders at him.
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Karim Ghahwagi (Karim)
Username: Karim

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 83.93.30.31
Posted on Monday, March 31, 2008 - 10:54 pm:   

But they have to be really big spiders
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John_l_probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 90.199.0.2
Posted on Monday, March 31, 2008 - 10:59 pm:   

Well my copy is in the post and after all the above I'm going to be very interested to finally see it
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.17.161.135
Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - 04:44 am:   

I wish I could sit down with you, Zed, I could at least explain, scene by scene, why I have serious critical problems with the film. I know I could... and at least you'd see where I'm coming from, and vice-versa....

And Fry, I'd like to sit down with you too, calmly explaining my problems with the film; and so, distracting you, I'd kick your chair out from under you, and go GOODFELLAS on your a**.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.20.53.161
Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - 08:18 am:   

Nothing more terrifying than an outraged...screenwriter.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 83.98.9.4
Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2008 - 06:24 pm:   

To return to the discussion of sfx in Carpenter's The Thing, you know they did the scientist's arms being amputated by making up a genuine amputee as the scientist and attaching blood squibs or whatever you call them to his stumps.
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Thomasb (Thomasb)
Username: Thomasb

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 69.236.164.76
Posted on Saturday, April 05, 2008 - 03:55 am:   

I found it a little clunky myself. The CG wasn't that good and the dialogue ham-handed and too on-the-nose. I.e., characters discuss how people can turn into savages, then a scene of them turning into savages: kind of like Mr. Sociologist with his pointy stick at the blackboard. I also found the ending was overly pretentious for what it was (It's one thing when the monsters win; another when the heroes croak themselves). I would've preferred it open-ended like King's original story.
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Chris_morris (Chris_morris)
Username: Chris_morris

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 98.220.108.241
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 05:04 am:   

>>Dying off-screen is a cheap-ass cop-out. Making your protagonists perform tasks that do not in some way achieve success, is what's called, sloppy poor rotten bad story-writing.

I'm no fan of "The Mist" -- the story; I doubt I'll see the movie -- but I'm going to have to disagree with Craig's complaints above. It's hard to take seriously any rule that is so often (and so successfully) broken. Take for example any of the films of Tarkovsky/Antonioni/Bresson/Claire Denis/Bruno Dumont/among many others -- those filmmakers would laugh at those statements. Not to mention "No Country for Old Men," which violated both of Craig's rules and still won this year's "Best Picture" Oscar.

I think Craig's been reading too much Robert McKee.

Craig's discussion reminds me of the "Chekhov's gun" rule -- in Anton C's words, "If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there."

The problem, of course, with this rule is that experienced viewers (or readers) are well aware of it, and the instant they see that pistol in Act I, they know an awful lot about Act II. Better writers, in my view, use expectations like those against the viewer/reader -- and that nearly always means breaking so-called "rules."
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.5.14.187
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 06:34 am:   

[SPOILERS] Chris, in my humble opinion, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN failed ultimately for its ending: Josh Brolin's character died off-screen, and Tommy Lee Jones' character proved worthless and pointless. I think I know the point the Coen brothers were making, a deep one, an artistic one; but that doesn't mean it worked. I know it didn't work from anecdotal experience: everyone I know who saw it, felt extreme dissatisfaction verging upon actual dislike of the film, for its ending. I have to include myself.

Agatha Christie is a great example of the writer doing it right, for her day: she took familiar elements/conventions of the genre, and knew exactly what to tweak, and what not to. She knew that surprising your reader was essential, but not to the point where important conventions of the genre were violated.

Red-herrings abound in her stories - but every red herring had a reason, or a revelation of its own. Poirot doesn't find a shoe-print outside the victim's window, then discovers later the murderer came in through the door, without explaining that shoe-print. To do so, would be showing no respect to the reader.

AC had many different varieties of "murderers": in one book, everyone did it; in one book, the narrator did it; in one book, the detective did it! But she knew enough to know that, though you can surprise the reader pleasantly in that arena, you can't in others: there was always the detective gathering the suspects together, and the long unravelling of the "truth," that resulted in the revelation of the murderer.

I say "for her day" above, because in time, most genres become stale, and need expansion, additions or subtractions to the convention list. But some are unassailable, as the one I've stated: all actions performed by the protags/heroes, must eventually result in some form of success.

Chekhov is right, but it's better stated as I've heard it: if you show a gun, you better shoot it. A great example of both adhering to, and having fun with, this exact convention, is in the wonderful little film THE OPPOSITE OF SEX (which, btw, won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay that year).

Viewers are experienced, Chris. So are readers. They are so sophisticated, that you can't put anything over on them. And they don't want to be surprised, whatever you may think.

When you sit down to see a film, this is what's going on in your head: What am I watching? What kind of film is this? What can I expect? A viewer is anxious, until the "template" can be matched. For most viewers, this is done before the first frame of film starts - they've seen the trailer, the poster, the dvd box, etc.

Imagine finding a blank video tape. Throwing it in, sitting down. Watching the studio logo come up. Realize a film is about to start. Notice what your mind does... racing to find the template... to find the "convention list" against which to match the unfolding film... and that's not a bad thing... because there is only uncomfortable anxiety until that template is located.

And once located, if it's violated?... Naughty, naughty.

Watch THE MIST, Chris, and see if I'm right.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.83
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 09:00 am:   

Craig, it seems to me that you're coming from the angle of mainstream cinema - films designed for a mass audience. I remember you saying you thought TRANSFORMERS was a great film.

Personally, I want these conventions violated. I want to be suprised. If someone shows me a gun in the first act, I want that gun to turn into a cucumber and totally throw my expectations down the pan.

Fr example, I recently watched a few of Fassbiner's gangster films for review, and these expectations were violated so much that the films became like dreams. I loved the experience, and I'll remember these films more than any Hollywood efforts that follow the rules.

I still think this debate is about taste rather than anything else.
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Tony (Tony)
Username: Tony

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 217.44.101.203
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 12:09 pm:   

Transformers was chos!
Craig; Truman Capote loved Agatha Christie's stuff, too (just me taking another chance to mention him).

I think there are rules to writing/structuring films. People who play with them have to be smart enough to know how to show they are playing with them, not let it feel random and like a mistake, which is a different thing altogether. I can see this difference when I watch movies, and it irks when a piece just feels sloppy rather than being genuinely playful. I'll still see The Mist, of course, and will decide which camp it falls into then.

Funny - recently I had a dream in which there was what I felt to be a continuity error, a mistake. It scared me enough to wake me, and did not feel dreamlike at all. It made me realise that even dreams have a sort of structure, a sense that must not be broken. I say MUST - it feels more like it's mechanically natural for dreams to be 'correct' to themselves.
And I agree with you about the surprise thing, Craig.
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Ramsey Campbell (Ramsey)
Username: Ramsey

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 195.93.21.100
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 12:36 pm:   

Everyone I know who has seen No Country for Old Men admired it, certainly including the ending.

Plans in fiction must always succeed? Not at all. (Interestingly, Charles Barr, in his great monograph on Laurel and Hardy, defines their recurring structure as "L & H set out to do something, and they fail".) I'll go further. I'm deeply suspicious of received notions of how narratives should work. Narrative should be a process of fresh discovery for its creator. (Whoops, now I'm setting rules...) Of course fiction can be a way of tidying up reality - of depicting how we would like it to work - but it certainly needn't be.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.219.8.243
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 01:35 pm:   

Transformers was chos!

Tony, I may be the only person on this forum who knows what that means. :-)

I'm deeply suspicious of received notions of how narratives should work

Me too, Ramsey. I also find it tiresome when films stick to these percieved rules.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.2.133.184
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 04:10 pm:   

A very interesting fictional exploration of the rules of fiction appears in ATONEMENT. I can't recommend this film highly enough.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.2.133.184
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 04:13 pm:   

>>>Imagine finding a blank video tape. Throwing it in, sitting down. Watching the studio logo come up. Realize a film is about to start. Notice what your mind does... racing to find the template... to find the "convention list" against which to match the unfolding film... and that's not a bad thing... because there is only uncomfortable anxiety until that template is located.

And doesn't PSYCHO violate this rule when Marion gets murdered? The whole film shifts from a petty crime caper to something far darker indeed. Brilliant moment.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.5.9.59
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 04:42 pm:   

Gary: PSYCHO had occurred to me afterwards, with the great twist (at the time: we all humankind seem to pre-know it now) of the lead getting knifed. But it actually fits too my idea, that the audience must receive what it expects - i.e., must not be surprised - before it can allow itself to be, oh, shocked, to use a different term.

The film's called PSYCHO. It has scary horrible music. It was filmed in stark b&w, a deliberate departure for Hitchcock at that point. It pounded with tension, once Marion leaves standard-noir-ville Phoenix. The audiences of the time were prepared, going in to see one scary movie - weren't there adverts, demanding audiences not reveal the ending when leaving the theatre? The build-up to the moment that Janet Leigh takes the shower, is a build-up of dread and anxiety. We know something scary's going to take place... we just didn't think they'd actually kill the lead. They did: deliciously so, we are shocked. But, not surprised by structure, form, etc.

If you rip open a shower-curtain with a rolled up newspaper, that's comedy.

Mr. Campbell, if I may respectfully disagree: your Laurel & Hardy quote makes my point. L&H established/became their own genre - audiences expected to go in, and see L&H create grand schemes or perform simple acts, that fail, over and over. Their failures are their successes, in their topsy-turvy world: the key is, the structural worlds they chose to inhabit, aren't violated. The rules are set for their world, and then strictly followed (another Hollywood-ism, alas, but there it is).

Narratives need not be anything at all, any specific form, of course. There's no Ministry of Structural Integrity in Fiction. FINNEGANS WAKE is the most structure-less work of all. AMERICAN PSYCHO is head-scratchingly constructed, with its tangential rhapsodies on Whitney Huston, and Huey Lewis & The News. Both create, however, anxiety in the audience: FW, to the point where it has virtually no readers; AP, where the anxiety is welcomed and culled, being a novel about the psychotic schisms in American culture... there's ways, and ways, to do this....
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.5.9.59
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 04:54 pm:   

TRANSFORMERS, by the way, is a great film, in its own right... is that what "chos" means, Tony?... and it's a good one to remind us of here, because - unlike THE MIST, or perhaps, better than THE MIST - it so builds up that Lovecraftian dread: the other-side, the monstrous alien, coming into the Earthly world. The first half of TRANSFORMERS stands beside Spielberg's WAR OF THE WORLDS as the two greatest Lovecraft-flavored nightmares to come out of Hollywood, in this Century so far. (Well, that I've seen - heard good things about THE HOST too.)

Ah, but what about that 2nd half? When the lovable comical heroical Transformers appear, and turn the film back into a comic book? Doesn't this violate the expectations set up in the 1st half?... Nope, sorry, it don't. Unlike many other theoreticians, I may be the most radical of all, because I believe extra-story elements are part of the story; i.e., the advertisements, memories/knowledge of "Transfomers" source material, "buzz," hype, etc., all build expectations in the audience that are eventually met.

Wow, when you think about it... TRANSFORMERS may be one of the most amazing works of art of modern times... it begins by shocking the audience! Even pre-PSYCHO shocking! And then settles into its structures!

Move over Lynch and Altman, here comes Bay!
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.2.133.184
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 05:08 pm:   

This debate is becoming infrangible. I kind of get what Craig's saying, but reckon it's at a level where only academics get erections (yes, that's *me* saying that - bet some of you never thought you'd see the day).

Anyway, I liked The Mist. It had some cool monsters in it. :<)
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Chris_morris (Chris_morris)
Username: Chris_morris

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 12.165.240.116
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 05:11 pm:   

>> all actions performed by the protags/heroes, must eventually result in some form of success

For many people, including most of my friends, the greatest era in the history of film was the 1970s. One of the hallmark features of 1970s films was the downbeat ending. In fact, it's hard to think of a film from the seventies that ends with the protagonists' success. Ratso Rizzo dies, Apollo beats Rocky, McMurphy gets murdered, Butch and Sundance jump off the cliff, the killer gets away in Chinatown ... heck, even the Bad News Bears lose. (I know there are exceptions. Brody gets the shark, Ripley gets the alien, and Newman and Redford win in THE STING. But still.)

(Um. Perhaps I should have noted "SPOILERS" above?)

I wonder, Craig: If people prefer successful heroes and don't want to be surprised, why then are the films of the 70s so revered? Why don't people prefer movies like ARMAGEDDON or THE ROCK or SHORT CIRCUIT 2?

And, getting away from film, why is Cormac McCarthy an award-winning bestseller?
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.16.76.115
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 05:41 pm:   

Sorry, Gary, my priapism here....

In CHINATOWN, Gittes does succeed - he's trying to solve a mystery, and he does: that's the ultimate victory for a detective. Some of his ways of going about gaining success don't end like he'd like: the cut to the nose, the incident in the orchard.... But each of these actions taken, do lead him - clues along the way - to success. Like horror, he's permitted his gnosis; but no one said the killer was going to be caught....

AND, btw, we are set up to expect this: Gittes had some incident of tragedy, never explicated, that occurred in Chinatown; he (and we, the audience) are warned, as if by the old wise man of fantasy: Beware the depths of Chinatown! Keep following this, and you'll wind up there! Wind up there, and you will pay dearly.... He doesn't heed these warnings, and the audience understands what comes from it....

We get a flavor of this dire warning, with Bardem's dire deep intonations to Brolin, and the outcome. Me, I just don't think it works.

Ratso Rizzo, btw, wasn't the "hero" of MIDNIGHT COWBOY.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.2.133.184
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 05:56 pm:   

Craig, I guess the thing is on this board that we're more reviewers than critics. Your argument is very interesting, but I guess most of us here respond to movies on the level of their content rather than their mechanics (both of which can be as fully complex as the other).

From my own discipline, this debate reminds me of a social psychologist arguing with a biologist. ;<)
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Chris_morris (Chris_morris)
Username: Chris_morris

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 12.165.240.116
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 06:06 pm:   

Robert Towne originally wrote a "happy" ending for CHINATOWN, one that Polanski disagreed with. Rumor has it that after the Manson murders Polanski felt Towne's ending wasn't realistic enough. Polanski successfully campaigned for the ending that appears now. The killer may be identified at the end of the movie, but he also is revealed to be more than just a killer: he's an incestuous child-molester and he gets away with his crimes. It's sort of hard to see how this is a success for Nicholson's character.

>> Ratso Rizzo, btw, wasn't the "hero" of MIDNIGHT COWBOY.

True, although his death marks the tragic ending for the real hero.

However, it's also true that Brolin's character isn't the hero of NO COUNTRY -- at least not the meaningful one.
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Chris_morris (Chris_morris)
Username: Chris_morris

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 12.165.240.116
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 06:09 pm:   

I suspect that Gary F wants this debate to end -- although I'm not sure why -- so I'll shut up now.
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.2.133.184
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 06:14 pm:   

No, please continue. I'm just trying to provide some context.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.16.87.211
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 06:56 pm:   

I see your point, Gary... but just for the record, I did begin this WAY back, with a simple viewer's response... that turned academic, I guess... or, I felt, that needed reasons for me to say why it didn't work for me....

I've read the original script for CHINATOWN: contrary to popular myth, it is far from a "perfect" screenplay, and Polanski immensely improved upon it. Polanski took out those elements that didn't work - including the ending - and made it something that had form and meaning.

My broad point is this, which is an old truism in fictions of all sorts: everything in a story must have point and purpose. You DON'T show a gun, if you don't intend to shoot it - unless you're making an ironic point, or some kind of point; at which point, the gun has been symbolically "shot" anyway.

You don't have characters running to the pharmacist, and then running back, with the end result being: so what?

That's all....
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Gary Fry (Gary_fry)
Username: Gary_fry

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 82.2.133.184
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 07:33 pm:   

My feeling is that your statement "plans must always succeed" has been generally misunderstood here. I think, way up, I got intuitively what you were saying, because when I write I feel that way, too: that everything that's 'seen' or whatever needs a purpose, even if just to embellish character or whatever.

As for the pharmacy scene: I'd still defend a monster movie for contriving a scene to show some great beasties. No, not defend; maybe forgive is a better word. Yes, forgive.

The issue, it seems to me, is that The Mist has pretensions to be more than a monster movie, and that the excuse for some monsters (the phramacy scene) cheapens its aspirations. It's a B-movie trying to be a serious drama, and it gets caught between the two.

Or: the lived world of the characters is superseded by the expectations of the sub-genre. But you know, this isn't such a problem. In Howards End, Forster delibertately let his symbolism overrule his realism for fictional effect. I can't claim that The Mist operates on his level, but there's at least a similarity in the fact that there are two layers at work here: the realism of the world of the characters; and the conventions of the fictional mode. The Mist is flawed, in my view, because it wants its cake and wants to eat it. But those beasties were way cool. That's why I forgive it.

I'm off for a lie down.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.83
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 08:58 pm:   

>>The Mist is flawed, in my view, because it wants its cake and wants to eat it. But those beasties were way cool. That's why I forgive it.<<

You see, I take the opposite stance. I forgive the film any flaws because it's ambitious. yes, those beasties were cool, but the final 20 mintes of the film was epic.

Ambition counts for a lot in my worldview, and can overcome a lot of other percieved weaknesses.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.83
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 09:42 pm:   

Craig - btw, I just wanted to say that I do respect your opinion. I simply disagree with it. I'm enjoying this debate, though; i hope you are.
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Chris_morris (Chris_morris)
Username: Chris_morris

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 98.220.108.241
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 03:26 am:   

I don't have a problem with Craig's "broad point" except to say that it probably applies more to film, drama, and short stories than it does novels. Novels are amazingly elastic and are often improved by meandering thoughts and unnecessary digressions. Novels that follow the everything-must-have-a-purpose rule, in my experience, somehow feel simple, bare, and streamlined.

It should probably be reiterated here, then, that both THE MIST and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN first appeared as novels (arguably so in the former case anyway). This may explain the presence in each film of the narrative excesses that so trouble Craig.

Like Zed, I've enjoyed this debate. It's true that a lot of this comes down to taste -- but that's precisely why I'm wary of "rules" like Craig's. Virtually any rule you can think of can be overcome by a strong writer.

One more thing: Craig said in an earlier post that a viewer coming across an unknown film will try to find a "template" for it and will be disappointed if the reality of the film disagrees with that template. (Or words to that effect, of course.) I agree with the idea of the template, but as a viewer myself I must say that when I encounter a film that willingly (and skilfully) violates that template I feel only exhilaration and delight. Few moviegoing experiences are the equal of it, in my opinion.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.254.152
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 04:58 am:   

I too have been greatly enjoying this debate, Zed. I love getting into the nooks and crannies of the craft, even as nerd-ishly boner-fying it is....

I think Gary said it best, when he said that THE MIST is "a B-movie trying to be a serious drama, and it gets caught between the two." Its pretensions are through the roof, at least the film's pretensions. I am SO forgiving of horror, you see... I too admire (usually) whatever's there, and give it lots of leeway... but to me, personally, this film just smacked me around as a film-goer. To me, the most egregious element, was not telling me this was intended as a TV-movie. I have as yet no proof of this, and I'm sure it would be easy to find out; but I'm just sure of it, and that's a level of lying I don't like.

Half-baked fare fobbed off as a movie is false advertising. It's like, lie to my face, and I'll hold your lies against you. Should have been honest and up-front: i'd basically have, let me think a moment... mmm... I really think I wouldn't voice one concern over this flick. TV movies are allowed so much more wiggle room, to the point where they virtually can't make errors worth noting. I'm not a fan of TV movies, I generally avoid them, and I mean all of them... but I will rarely attack them, they are just not to my taste.

Chris: not to be contentious, but I don't agree - you think you want to be surprised by a "violated template," but in reality, you don't. You want what every viewer wants: to be stimulated within the confines of the template. Sorry, you, and everyone else on planet Earth, aren't special in this regard.

Imagine this: a movie starting off as a slapstick comedy, starring Ben Stiller, going halfway... then he is killed off, and a secondary character takes over - say it's Javier Bardem - and it becomes a bleak, terrible, shocking, horrific tragedy. Imagine the story being bisected, not completed in one part, with a new one beginning in the second: no, imagine the two forming a single story, but with two totally different "templates."

Uncomfortable, isn't it?... The reason this is not done, as cutting edge as it may seem, is that both templates require different arcs and components; and so both must achieve completion to qualify as a working piece of fiction.

It's like that old "paradox," the unstoppable force hitting the immovable object, what would happen? But the question is illogical - a universe with immovable objects precludes unstoppable forces, and vice-versa - so there is no answer. The same with "violated templates": you can't violate a story template perse, because a template requires a complete arc - a specific set of beginnings, middles, and endings, with their necessary components - to BE a viable template.

It's like asking someone to judge the full effectiveness of a story, but only giving them half of it. Or portions of it. The question is moot: we need the full story. Without it, we can only judge those portions. But as a whole, we say, it isn't a story, because ipso facto it's incomplete.

... And so, the "template" theory of fiction....
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Chris_morris (Chris_morris)
Username: Chris_morris

Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 98.220.108.241
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 05:58 am:   

Dude, I don't even know what you're talking about anymore.

The "template," as you described it in an earlier post, seemed to me to be a generic set of preconceptions. Upon viewing an unknown film for the first time, a viewer will indeed call upon his knowledge of genre to anticipate the structure of the story. Of course a template like that can be complete: I haven't seen RUSH HOUR 3, but I saw 1 and 2, so I think I can guess with fair accuracy the overall story arc of the third film from beginning to end.

The movie will place Chan and Tucker in a situation where they have to investigate a crime/stop a master criminal/prevent a crime/etc. There will likely be scenes where Chan is uncomfortable in some American setting and scenes where Tucker is uncomfortable in an Asian one. These scenes will be milked for maximum gags. One or both of them will make a mistake that sets back the case. Possibly one or both of them will be formally taken off the case but will continue investigating anyway. Eventually disposable clues will lead them to a one-on-one (two-on-one?) with the master criminal in a scenic location. Chan and Tucker will prevail. It's true I don't know the exact gags or set pieces in the film, but those are just decoration, really. I know enough of it to know I don't have to see it.

Your Stiller/Bardem example is not a story that violates a template so much as it is two templates mashed together. Even so, AUDITION, LOST HIGHWAY, PSYCHO, and BLOW UP, to name just four films off the top of my head, pull off the effect you're describing with terrific success.

>> you think you want to be surprised by a "violated template," but in reality, you don't. You want what every viewer wants: to be stimulated within the confines of the template.

Lastly, Craig, I'd prefer it if you didn't put words in my mouth. As an editor and a writer I take words very seriously. I dislike it when those words are distorted or dismissed as meaning something very different. I meant what I said about violated templates, at least inasmuch as I understood the term "templates." I won't dispute your ability to like drivel like TRANSFORMERS if you won't dispute mine to like, say, TIME OF THE WOLF, L'AVVENTURA, or, indeed, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.239.229
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 08:39 am:   

The downfall of non-verbal communication... so much gets lost, or taken as "attacks"... when none are, of course, intended... let alone putting words in others' mouths....

My point is, Chris, no one in America would make a silly movie like my silly Stiller/Bardem example. But they could, it's physically possible. So, the question to ask is, Why not? Because, we Westerners don't take well to such wild violations of structural forms. When structures are violated - "mashed together," as you put it, a term which works for me - they work against the work of art. I stand by this, and the vast amount of literature/movies bear me out.

This is such a complex issue, that it really doesn't belong here on this board. We're getting into a form of theory of fiction; much of which I have culled from my own limited experience as a viewer/reader... so, judge accordingly.

To utterly simplify: there are genre-specific structures, and cross-genre structures.

THE MIST, I maintain, failed (in part) for not living up to cross-genre structural patterns. Within its given genre - horror - it thrived. Not well, to me, but that's an aesthetic criticism.

I do however maintain my radical stance, and don't back down - I apologize if I spoke FOR you, Chris, which I did not mean to do. I meant to just offend everyone at once, not just you, because I'm speaking FOR everyone when I say this:

I firmly believe that we want to be comfortably ensconced within what I am calling here, for the sake of this argument, a "template," as soon as possible, when encountering a given film/book/play/etc.

People do NOT wander into Blockbuster blindfolded, and grab a movie off the shelf, and throw it in their dvd players. If they do pick a movie based on a title alone at a theatre, some consideration is given to identifying the "template": a fellow might see the title, THE FAIRY PRINCESS TEENIE-BOPPER, and think, "Not horror." But most people don't say, "Honey, pick a title, don't tell me what it is, and let's just wander into the theater and see what comes up on screen."

But even if they do, the mind races to identify the template. It wants that template identified. Even if that template is "wild experimental mish-mash." Until that template is identified, the viewer is anxious. And we as readers/viewers want that (that particular, that specific) anxiety to go away.

Now I must define "want," I see - I mean, subconsciously, unconsciously, whatever-ly. Instinctually. Stimulus-responsively. That kind of want. Not the "want" that wants to go see a horror movie: the first "want" is already appeased by the time that second want grabs FRIDAY THE 13TH off the shelf. Am I any clearer, or am I spiraling into a kind of insanity even I can't comprehend anymore...?
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 83.98.9.4
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 11:20 am:   

I think I'll jump in here. Audition fills exactly your "silly" example. It starts off as a silly little rom com then halfway through we see that sack fall over behind her while she's on the phone and we realise that there's someone in it. Within half an hour she's sawing the lead guys leg off with cheesewire!

You kind of shot your own arguement down when you talked about Laurel and hardy

"L&H established/became their own genre - audiences expected to go in, and see L&H create grand schemes or perform simple acts, that fail, over and over. "

If L&H could create their own genre and set of conventions, anyone can.

Every set of storytelling conventions starts somewhere and is breaking the rules set down somewhere else. If people didn't break the established rules then writing would never progress in any genre - movies or literary.

Another point which needs to be made is that this is my opinion. Everything you have stated is your opinion. However, you choose to state your opinion as objective truth. Sorry mate, but on this topic IMHO you're wrong.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 218.168.176.251
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 11:59 am:   

I just got back from seeing THE MIST at the local cinema, and while I have some quibbles about how certain things were handled, I do think it was a good film, overall.

I'm not sure about the ending. On one hand, it did pack quite an emotional punch. On the other, though, it didn't seem convincing to me that just a few minutes after that awful scene the armed forces would turn up, and just like that the mist is gone. The idea of it being that easy to dispatch all of those horrible, immense, alien creatures just seemed to me to trivialise everything that came before.

I partly agree with Gary and partly agree with Craig on this one, I think. The characters did strike me as one-dimensional, more so than in King's novella (which I plan to read again, as soon as my new copy of DARK FORCES arrives).

I loved the way many of the larger creatures were mostly only partly visible, hidden behind the veil of mist. Especially the 'passing behemoth' as Zed so aptly named it. I'm looking forward to watching it again on DVD.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 218.168.197.220
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 03:38 pm:   

I've just been watching THE MIST again, on DVD this time (it just arrived, coincidentally, on the exact same day I went to see it at the theatre!) and I'm enjoying it even more the second time around.

Maybe it's just me, but upon watching this I kept thinking of Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. There's a similar theme of society (or a microcosm of it) breaking down, of people turning on each other from within while being attacked from outside forces; even the ending was quite similar, in a way.

Next up: the black & white version...
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.233.212
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 04:19 pm:   

Time to put a gun to the dead horse's temple....

These are all my opinions, of course, needless to say (apparently, though, not to write). I stand by them.

Quickly: Laurel & Hardy don't violate my theory. They are firmly ensconced in the comedy genre, and follow the larger conventions of same; but of course they've managed to create their own template: artists establish within their work, their own set of expectations, etc. We come to expect a certain something from an RC story - that expectation is a mental "template" - and my contention is, that we as readers desperately "want" (here) RC to fulfill those expectations. To the degree he does, we are to a degree satisfied... to the degree he does not - that is, to the degree he experiments wildly beyond the expectations of the template - we remain "anxious."

I've got a much better example than AUDITION, yes, a seeming foil to my argument that came to my mind, and that is: YAJI AND KITA, THE MIDNIGHT PILGRIMS (2005). This film is wonderful, and I highly recommend it. And it's a 100% mish-mash: it's wild comedy, on top of searing drama, on top of a musical, on top of horror, on top of fantasy, back and forth and back and forth head-spinningly.

This would form the basis of another gigantic conversation, but let me sum it up thus: Eastern fictions follow their own "templates," conventions and structural patterns, that are wholly "alien" to Western templates. Our story structures go back thousands of years, but are confined to our own "rivers," for the most part; Eastern "rivers" have their own structures and expectations. That is why so much Anime can seem like films from another world - nothing complicated really, we are just dealing with "alien life form" structures here.

But, quickly enough, we get that... and so, yet another template comes into being....
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 218.168.176.23
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 10:19 pm:   

This eastern versus western thing is largely a myth, in my experience. Fiction is fiction, wherever you come from, and you decide the rules yourself, not from rulebooks that supposedly exists for writers on different sides of the world.

AUDITION is different from so many other films (both western and eastern) because the director is an experimenter who likes to subvert conventions; the fact that he's from "the east" is largely incidental. The majority of Asian films adhere to conventions (such as happy endings) as stringently as western films.
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John_l_probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 90.208.214.21
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 10:39 pm:   

Well I've just managed to see THE MIST and I must say I have to echo Zed's initial comments wholeheartedly. It's a bloody long time since I've been actually scared in a film, actually on the edge of my chair, and actually laughing out loud at the fact that just when I thought it couldn't get any better it did.

Criticisms? Well I didn't think it opened well - for the first twenty minutes or so I thought I was in for something rather dull and uninvolving. Of course that just meant that when the monsters showed up the effect was all the greater.

Seriously - I loved it. I can understand what people have said about the ending & my feelings are mixed. The sight of the woman in the lorry looking down at him at the end was a real kick in the guts, and made the whole thing unremittingly bleak and futile. I can quite see why Zed loved it. I loved it too.

Finally, I notice that for the last 20 minutes or so Mark Isham's score gives way to 'The Host of Seraphim' by Dead Can Dance from their 'Serpent's Egg' album, in case anyone's interested. I've been a fan of DCD since their track De Profundis was used in Demons 2

And now I've managed to make an Italian film reference I shall bid you goodnight
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.240.83
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 11:06 pm:   

John, I can't thank you enough for telling me what that music is: it's absolutely beautiful.
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Gcw (Gcw)
Username: Gcw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 88.144.57.87
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 11:20 pm:   

Too knackered to review The Mist, suffice to say...i really enjoyed it, not perfect or groundbreaking, but miles better than the average fodder which passes for Horror at the flicks these days.

Good stuff.

gcw
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 218.168.185.55
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2008 - 12:22 am:   

Yeah, I recognised Lisa Gerrard's voice as soon as that whole end sequence started. I thought it was quite effective, as was Mark Isham's score as a whole.

I've just watched the DVD with Frank Darabont's commentary, and he actually mentions NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD at the end (it wasn't just me, then).

!!!SPOILER ahead!!!

Watching it a second time, I feel the ending is a bit of a cop-out. It just doesn't strike me as convincing that less than two minutes after killing his four companions, including his own son, the military would just roll onto the scene and the mist evaporate. It was an intense scene, for sure, but I think it would've been better to either keep the ending from the novella or have it end after the shootings, with David wandering off into the mist or something. As it stands, the ending feels more than a little manipulative and false to me.

I also found some of the acting of Mrs Carmody's little 'congregation' more than a little silly.

The huge monster passing by was terrific, an image that'll stay with me forever. However, I can't help but feel that too much was shown - in the novella, it's even more effective because you only see these immense legs reaching up into the void, and the rest is left up to the imagination. Having said that, it was really well done, as were most of the effects.

Still, a good film overall, and certainly one of the better King adaptations.
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Huw (Huw)
Username: Huw

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 218.168.185.55
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2008 - 12:28 am:   

Gary, if you liked that music, I strongly recommend that you hunt down a copy of Lisa Gerrard's album THE MIRROR POOL. It's sublime.

Despite some minor criticisms, I really think this is one of the better monster movies of recent years. Darabont did a great job, on the whole, and he was very faithful to King's novella. Imagine what it would have been like if directed by Mick Garris. Now, that's a scary thought...
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Hubert (Hubert)
Username: Hubert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 78.22.238.19
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2008 - 08:40 am:   

Dead Can Dance were fabulous, especially WITHIN THE REALM OF A DYING SUN, which is full of dark, romantic music. This is THE gothic album for me.
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John_l_probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.253.174.81
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2008 - 08:48 am:   

Hubert! Within the Realm... is my favourite DCD album. When it first came out I played it so much the vinyl wore out & I now have it on CD. Tracks like 'Summoning of the Muse' still gets used as incidental music on BBC stuff.

Zed - That would be another criticism, actually - I know that music so well that it probably didn't have half the impact as if I had been unfamiliar with it, but never mind. If you can't find 'Serpent's Egg' I think it's also on 'A Passage in Time' which was a kind of DCD greatest hits. Or of course it's on the Varese soundtrack album.
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 83.98.9.4
Posted on Monday, August 04, 2008 - 04:37 pm:   

Saw this on Saturday and I can almost unreservedly say I loved it. the ending was great (if a tad depressing), the performances were uniformly good.

One tiny niggle would be the dialogue in the car at the end - Him - "There's only four bullets" Her - "But there's 5 of us".

Well done scriptwriter, you can count. So can the vast majority of the audience. We'd all spotted the significance of only 4 bullets. Maybe they should have cut the second line and given the "Only 4 bullets" to the woman. Then his "I'm sure I can think of something" would still have worked.

Other than that, this was a great film, one of the best horrors for a long time. Anyone else notice that Mrs Carmody was right on all points...
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.229.182
Posted on Monday, August 04, 2008 - 05:16 pm:   

The only thing missing from this film, was yet one more bullet, for me.
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John Llewellyn Probert (John_l_probert)
Username: John_l_probert

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 213.253.174.81
Posted on Monday, August 04, 2008 - 05:23 pm:   

Usually I only re-evaluate movies I think are awful and other people see some good in, but I might have to rewatch The Mist to try and see what you find so awful about it, Craig;->

Have you seen SALVAGE yet, by the way?
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.4.229.182
Posted on Monday, August 04, 2008 - 05:54 pm:   

No! I forgot! Bad Craig! I'll go get that one, I'm in the mood to see a good horror.... After THE RUINS, which actually wasn't too bad - scary in spots, creepy premise, nicely compact - lousy ending, but so what? Not great, hardly... but not bad. I had such low expectations going into it.

And maybe my expectations were too high going into THE MIST?... I had remembered my brother telling me that at The American Film Institute, where it was special screened (with Darabont attending), it got amazingly good reactions... did my expectations go up at that?... probably....

I can sum up again what I disliked: the CGI was awful, but let's just give it that. It just felt like (it {had} to be!) a TV movie fobbed off as a theatrical release - it had TV beats, TV emotional range, TV filler-tasks, and TV characters - especially Mrs. Carmody, who take away the "C" and the "M" and put a "P" in front, and you get her in a nutshell. (That's nuts-hell.) Even a fan like Weber caught the lunacy-stupid level of that ending... puh-friggin'-leeze! I was insulted by it! Personally insulted!

Beh, I've gone on a rant now... look what you did John!... just be happy you're not sitting next to me on a Greyhound right now!
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Weber_gregston (Weber_gregston)
Username: Weber_gregston

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 83.98.9.4
Posted on Monday, August 04, 2008 - 06:02 pm:   

I didn't say the ending was lunacy-stupid, I just said that they needed to cut one line from the dialogue.
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Craig (Craig)
Username: Craig

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.17.13.212
Posted on Monday, August 04, 2008 - 07:30 pm:   

WELL... you shoulda.
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Mick Curtis (Mick)
Username: Mick

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 86.157.91.38
Posted on Monday, August 04, 2008 - 07:55 pm:   

Craig - I saw THE RUINS some time back, and thought it was an ok little film - not the greatest, but it still stood out amongst the usual fare.
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Zed (Gary_mc)
Username: Gary_mc

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 81.96.242.126
Posted on Monday, August 04, 2008 - 09:37 pm:   

Craig - read King's novella and you'll realise how faithful Darabont's adaptation was.
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Jonathan (Jonathan)
Username: Jonathan

Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 63.198.193.88
Posted on Tuesday, August 05, 2008 - 07:53 pm:   

Our booth at San Diego Comicon this year was right next to Thomas Jane.
He really likes that he's not going to be in the next Punisher movie.
Bitter? Thomas Jane? Surely not
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Frank (Frank)
Username: Frank

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 213.158.199.77
Posted on Friday, September 11, 2009 - 06:05 pm:   

Jonathan - Thomas Jane has every right to be bitter. I've never read the comic, so is it as bad as the movie, or was it a bad adaptation?

Just for the record: I know nowt about comics.
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Steve Bacon (Stevebacon)
Username: Stevebacon

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 90.209.108.231
Posted on Friday, September 11, 2009 - 11:40 pm:   

http://www.play.com/DVD/DVD/4-/6565882/-/Product.html?dpr=195433

This is unbelievable.
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Simon Bestwick (Simon_b)
Username: Simon_b

Registered: 10-2008
Posted From: 86.24.165.182
Posted on Saturday, September 12, 2009 - 12:51 am:   

Ooh! Yes. Me like. Will order. STILL not seen this film, so it's about time.

Totally agree re comments above on Lisa Gerrard/Dead Can Dance, btw. Just listening to 'The Host Of Seraphim now, with 'Gloradin' and 'Sanvean: I Am Your Shadow' from 'The Mirror Pool' lined up next.

Anyone here familiar with the music of Dark Sanctuary? If you like DCD/Gerrard, you'll probably like this.

A couple of samples:

L'Arrogance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cg06IHNPfHo&feature=PlayList&p=E0F17E4A78F6AC9D&p laynext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=56

L'Inconnue: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-9rNgfnM3I&feature=related

Les Memoires Blessees: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EflIzNZnaY&feature=fvw

(And yes, they're French.)
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Steve Bacon (Stevebacon)
Username: Stevebacon

Registered: 09-2008
Posted From: 90.209.108.231
Posted on Saturday, September 12, 2009 - 12:57 am:   

Simon, watch the black and white version. I think it definitely adds something.

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