Update Saturday 12/11/16: A perfect example of this is the film Nocturnal Animals, which I have seen today.
It started with a stomach churning scene of gyrating obese women, who probably haven’t seen their private parts in decades, to a scene of someone having a bowel movement outside on his porch, to a cancer stricken sheriff who, abandoned any sense of professional conduct….
Soon they had two or three storylines going simultaneously, some of whom never really had an ending. The worst thing about it, was that with a good bit of editing and a concentration on maybe one or two (at most) of the storylines, it could have been a worth while film.
Too many artsy aspirations with dead women showing up naked and purposely laid out on a bright red sofa in the dessert. I don’t really like films that you have to decipher. What was the ending about? Its meaning totally eluded me and the person I was with. Please stick to the fashion industry Tom Ford!
Original Blog 6/2/14
There has been a spate of very long films, almost lost in the misguided belief that every nuance of a story line has to be teased out, regardless of how superfluous it is.
2 1/2 hours plus is usually undeserving of any storyline. Where are the editors ( I am available for hire) Where is the regard for people’ asses and necks?
One of the best films around has been August Osage County. This film was originally based on a three hour Pulitzer prize winning play by Tracy Letts.
Okay, most scenes were impactful, but what was the ambiguous ending about? Was Barb driving off in her pj’s to drive back to Colorado, or to emulate her father’s actions?
The end of a film is surely not the best time for open ended puzzles. Meryl Streep was as powerful as ever, and Julia Roberts excelled in a kind a role she should always play.
For me, this was the downfall of both The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle. Too many rambling and unnecessary scenes. The over indulgent praise that some films get (like 12 years a slave) really makes you realise how some movie “critics”, can be completely bought by the studios.
Best film on slavery ever made? Possibly, but almost too hard a look at how low we can sink as human beings. It was as agonising to watch as the subject matter. The story keeps moving though, and attention cannot but be held.
One of the surprisingly good movies recently for me was Philomena. I would usually have shied away from a movie with a storyline like this. Nasty nuns, teenage mothers and the bad old times, are hardly good ingredients for a watchable movie .
I think it must be the power of Dame Judy Dench, to ignite this sad story with her special force, and some good location choices, even if her Irish accent was a little dodgy in parts.
Surely when it come to films, not saying that less is more, but rather that every scene has to have an impact, all in support of the overall story.
One film that really misses this point was Prisoners , a film which would have benefited greatly from being half an hour shorter, cutting out some of the rambling storylines and empty characters.
One of the features of a good film, is that it totally enables you to suspend for a couple of hours, your own crappy mundane reality.
As the Oscars season approaches, I am fully behind August Osage County, which ticked most of the boxes for me, and will for you too, I’m sure.
Update 17/3/14: A case in point about films that get artificial praise is The Stag ( this revew is linked because its one of the few honest ones). Where was the comedy? A stomach churning script and imbecilic men, is a recipe for a big waste of time. The only saving feature, was that they got their kits off providing a welcome deflection for just how dismal this film is). Maybe they should have done the entire film in the nude?
Links used for this blog@
False praise for 12 years a slave: http://www.vulture.com/2013/10/most-effusive-praise-of-12-years-a-slave.html