Monthly Archives: December 2021

Noel’s Deep Thought

Joyeux Noel mes amis!

Tonight’s deep thought is brought to you by a semi-tradition I’ve had over the past few Christmas Eves, which is to watch a double-feature of Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, 1999) and Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015).

EWS  CRL

In cinematic language, a close-up of an object or a face is sometimes just a close-up of an object or a face.  Other times, it signifies, “Hey! I’m important narratively, remember you saw me.  I might be the murder weapon, I might be the clue to let you know if some event was all a dream or that someone was lying.”

As I was watching Carol tonight, I interpreted a particular scene differently than I have the previous times I watched it.  The man in this scene makes his first appearance a few minutes prior in what seems like an inconsequential interaction with Rooney Mara.

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In many movies, a similar ostensibly “meaningless” exchange between a main character and a random person is just that, but in other films, there are no random persons.  Any character with more than a couple of lines functions like the close-up of an object or a face.  What other films are like Carol in this way?  You think some guy in a scene is there for small talk purposes until the film hints (or you’ve got a hunch), “Oh, that was not-quite-foreshadowing but definitely an important plot point.”

~!~

This entry was adapted from a post I’d articulated on my bookface.

Pic creds: IMDB, Amazon

The last attempt at being serious aka The Last Duel

I wasn’t interested in watching The Last Duel (Ridley Scott, 2021) at all until I read Eddie’s review at Jordan and Eddie.  I didn’t want to see it at the theatre, so I waited until it came out on DVD, which it just did.

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I’m not sure if I like this movie or not…because I can’t get past the impression the opening sequence through Jodie Comer‘s first scene gives me: whenever there isn’t an action sequence and neither Harriet Walter nor Jodie Comer is on screen, I keep thinking I’m watching Matt Damon, Adam Driver, and Ben Affleck reenacting for a Renaissance festival…or that everyone’s doing an immersive, medieval-themed retreat.

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Pic creds: IMDB, Barnes & Noble

The Football sequences should be stellar

Or at least consistent with the televised game aesthetic since the directors have much experience operating cameras for televised sports.  I didn’t know about this film until I came across this Military.com article.

American Underdog (Andrew Erwin, Jon Erwin, 2021) chronicles how Kurt Warner became a football star in his late twenties.  Based solely on appearances, Zachary Levi is a good choice.  Oui?

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Will I be watching this film?  Je ne pense pas.  The trailer watches like it’s the whole film.

Pic cred: IMDB

Shang-Chi Esteem Energy

Because “esteem energy” sounds better than “still gas” and “yet air.”

= Shang = yet, still, to esteem

= qi = air, gas, energy (as in vitality)

I thought about watching Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Destin Daniel Cretton, 2021) at the theatre but didn’t.  I’m glad that I didn’t…not because I’d have thought I was wasting my money or time, but because I’m so glad I can watch it now on DVD with subtitles in English, French, or Spanish (I really wish there were traditional Chinese subs too, afterall, 既然這部電影裡國語講得不少 為沒有 繁體中文字幕? Hmm?  Je veux savoir.

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I just have a few things to impart (in order order):

Un ~ Meng’er Zhang is my favorite part of this movie.
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Deux ~ Ronny Chieng is in it for a very brief amount of time and he was a scene-stealer.
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Trois ~ Ben Kingsley? Quoi?

Quatre ~ The fight choreography and the camerawork together is so stunning, satisfying, and exciting.  Moreover, the cutting and editing allows for actually seeing the moves.  I was tempted many times to fast-forward just to get to the next sequence of spectacle.  Honestly, I got a bit bored by the time Michelle Yeoh appeared on screen.  I did not, however, fast-forward.

Cinq ~ I don’t know about you, but I want a movie focused on the mythological creatures.
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Six ~ Simu Liu and Awkafina have really good buddy chemistry with each other.  Their line delivery was lot funnier than I was expecting.

Sept ~ If you plan on getting it on DVD or Blu-ray, make sure you watch through the ending credits — all of the ending credits.

Huit ~ Overall, while I like Shang-Chi and am glad I watched it eventually, I don’t love it.  I kinda like Black Panther a lot more (as far as Marvel properties and tent-pole blockbuster movies go).  There are too many people credited (and uncredited) in stunt work to just list, so here you are with a screenshot:
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Dix ~ 清明節 (Qingming Jie) is mentioned a few times in the film.  What is Grave or Tomb-sweeping Day?

When I was in Chinese school, we had to memorize a poem about Qingming Jie.

清明時節雨紛紛,
路上行人慾斷魂。
借問酒家何處有,
牧童遙指杏花村

Decades later, I can still recite it.  Curious about how to pronounce the words in Mandarin?  This guy enunciates very deliberately before he jumps into a song .

Pic creds: IMDB, Amazon