Saturday, October 4, 2014

Inherent Vice(2014) and Mr Turner (2014) at the New York Film Festival 2014

A long day at the New York Film Festival had me see 2 movies over 7 hours. One a world premiere the other the film before the world premiere plays to the masses.

It's after 9PM which means I can talk about Paul Thomas Anderson's INHERENT VICE the first Thomas Pynchon film adaption. The crowd to get in was so huge they had to arrange a second press screening.

The plot of the film concerns Doc Sportello, a drug addled PI who is hired by an ex-girlfriend to look into a plot to extort money from her current boyfriend, she then goes missing, as does the boyfriend and it all somehow ties into the corrupt LA underworld.

I'm not going to go into a long discussion. I've asked Hubert to really write about the film, but I did want to get my thoughts on the subject noted.

Its a good film but not a great film. The guys who I saw after the MR TURNER screening who were insisting that it was a classic and a masterpiece simply because Paul Thomas Anderson directed it need to get their heads examined,it's nowhere even close to being great.

The problem with the film is that it has weird tonal shifts that don't work. Billed as a Abrahams/Zucker Brothers comedy, the film was for much of it's running time devoid of laughs. Yes Martin Short is Oscar worthy and fall on the floor funny, but the rest of the film just sort of lays there. Its a comedy by someone who doesn't know comedy. (MR TURNER got bigger and more laughs- no really it did)

Mostly the film is a semi-hardboiled detective film with odd characters. Its a mystery that makes no sense on any real level. And I'd like to take exception to those saying that the Howard Hawks BIG SLEEP doesn't make sense, it does, bits don't, Chandler said sometimes you have to do that to move things along, but over all it hangs together- INHERENT VICE's central story makes no sense.

I have a lot of reservations and problems with the film, but I won't go into them since I know I'll have largely forgotten the film by years end. Though I will ask why is this two and a half hours?

Another reason I'm not going to rant and rave about the film is anything I have to say isn't going to matter. The crowds waiting to go into the screeings tonight were crazed, with some people doing some really weird things including paying 400 bucks for two tickets.

Its a movie guys, Its a movie and it opens December 12.

Hubert's look at the film should be up soon.

The press conference was amusing with Michael K Williams going on about how he thought the director hated him (in a humorous way) and Martin Short just being funny. It was an okay press conference kind of hampered by there being 12 people from the film on stage.. (And no Joaquin Phoenix didn't say a word)

After the screening Hubert Alec, Joe Bendel and myself stood around talking about the film for a half an hour. It was a good discussion about the film and how it will be viewed by audience.

While we were standing there various actors came out. When Martin Short came out he paused by our group, looked straight at me and said "Thank you" in a loud voice. I have no idea why he did that, but it was one of those odd moments that just sort of happen.

Mike Leigh's MR TURNER is about the painter JMW Turner. Timothy Spall plays Turner as we watch him paint and go through the last several decades of his life.

A beautiful film, the film was shot to look like some of Turner's paintings, this is one you have to see big. The look and the beauty of the film is the reason you should see this in the theater.

I like the film but I don't love it. Its a bit too plodding and brooding for my tastes. I know the early word that had the film and Spall's performance being one of the best of the year had me wanting more. Spall is good but as anyone who's seen the film will say you'll remember the grunts more than the dialog.
Mike Leigh and cast in the filmmaker's box at the end of the film

The abbreviated Q&A was good. The discussion about how the characters were created, a mix of historical research and Leigh's improvisation, was intriguing.

Ultimately it's a good film, and leave it there since John is going to take a stab at the film down the road.

Okay, that's the end of the report on today at the New York Film Festival. Look for the report on the next two days during the week since I'm not going to be home until after midnight each night.

For more pictures from today go to our tumblr page here.

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