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whiskeypriest
Posted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 9:10 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 6916 Location: "It's a Dry Heat."
Well, I watched L.A. Confidential last night for the first time. First, I join in praising the acting; uniformly excellent. Usually, I don't care much for Russell Crowe, but here, why, it's almost like he was born to play an unintelligent mook prone to uncontrolled fits of violence. Particularly, I think it's Spacey's best work that I've seen, much better than his Oscar work in the vastly overrated Usual Suspects, for instance. And James Cromwell was superb. I'm only aware of seeing him in a handful of roles; he's been good in all of them, but his turn here was a revelation. The scene where he offs Spacey jarred me, even though having read this forum I knew it was coming. (Thanks for the spoiler alerts. Bastards.)

But I had a couple problems with the film, that at first blush at least keeps me from praising it too highly. First, I hated hated hated the times the director superimposed an earlier shot of a character over the screen, as if we were not smart enough to figure out that the dead girl was the prostitute with the nose job, for instance. A smart film like this one should trust the audience to get it.

Second, you know, when a character asks another one, "Would you shoot a suspect who is surrendering in the back to prevent some lawyer from getting him off?" and the character answers "No", well, you pretty much know how the movie is going to end, don't you. There's a difference between foreshadowing and telegraphing. The movie does it a second time, too, when Spacey and Pearce are talking about how they got into police work and Pearce mentions the imaginary name he's given to the guy who killed his father, followed by a scene where Spacey whispers that name to Cromwell, followed by a scene where Cromwell asks Pearce - and only Pearce, mind you! - if he knew the guy. Oh, I never saw that coming. There is no reason for Cromwell to ask only Pearce about the guy, except to move the plot along to Pearce's recognizing that Cromwell is the villain. There were other, better, subtler ways to reach that conclusion, and the movie should have seized them.

Finally, the "rape" scene didn't work for me at all. Not for a minute. Again, it seems an obvious plot contrivance. I think it would have worked better (given that the point of the scene was to allow photos to be taken) if Basinger had been the agressor.

But still, great acting and dialogue; wonderfully shot, great music. Just a few little quibbles with an otherwise excellent film.

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whiskeypriest
Posted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 9:14 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 6916 Location: "It's a Dry Heat."
Oh, and I am somewhat torn between praising the excellent cinematography and arguing the movie should have been in Black & White. Color photography diminishes noir, and neo-noir.

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whiskeypriest
Posted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 9:26 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 6916 Location: "It's a Dry Heat."
Oh, and how the f*** did Bud Wite survive that final shoot-out? Didn't Cromwell shoot him in the face, point blank? What, is this some sort of mystical Jules and Vince moment? Movie ends better with him dead, I think.

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mo_flixx
Posted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 9:31 am Reply with quote
Joined: 30 May 2004 Posts: 12533
Re: the "rape" scene. Yes, it is problematic.

But having Pierce be the aggressor (not Basinger) reinforces the ruthless, evil quality he projects and undermines the "golden boy" quality he has managed to manufacture.

As the aggressor, Basinger would lose our sympathy. In the film she's able to carefully negotiate the fine line between bad girl and victim.
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Marj
Posted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 4:02 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 10497 Location: Manhattan
Whiskey,

I know from reading some of your other posts that you're not a great fan of color movies. Still I think in today's day and age, a filmmaker better have an awfully good reason for filming in black and white. Two films that immediately come to mind that did were, Good Night, and Good Luck and Schindler's List. And it may be more of a challange to film noir in color but I personally think Hanson was up to it and then some.

If you go back a few pages of our discussion, you'll find some posts regarding the rape scene. And if there is one real problem I find with LAC it's that you actually have to watch it a few times to get all the plot twists.
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mo_flixx
Posted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 6:00 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 30 May 2004 Posts: 12533
CAPOTE is another film in b & w...and I think it _had_ to be in b & w.

ASK THE DUST (cinematography by Caleb Deschanel, dir. by Robert Towne) is a color film set in the 30's that achieves a marvelous golden, muted look. The subject matter is not noir, but the muted, almost monochromatic look of the film makes for a wonderful period atmosphere.
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marantzo
Posted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 8:12 pm Reply with quote
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I don't know which Capote you saw mo, but the one I saw was in colour. Beautiful Manitoba colour.
mo_flixx
Posted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 8:17 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 30 May 2004 Posts: 12533
marantzo wrote:
I don't know which Capote you saw mo, but the one I saw was in colour. Beautiful Manitoba colour.


I guess I'm thinking of IN COLD BLOOD - funny how the mind plays tricks on us.
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marantzo
Posted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 8:17 pm Reply with quote
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OK, that's better.
billyweeds
Posted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 11:11 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 20423 Location: New York City
mo--I agree that In Cold Blood should have been in b&w--but why did it have to be?

Psycho
had to be; not, I think, In Cold Blood, though I'm glad it was.
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mo_flixx
Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 8:23 am Reply with quote
Joined: 30 May 2004 Posts: 12533
billyweeds wrote:
mo--I agree that In Cold Blood should have been in b&w--but why did it have to be?

Psycho
had to be; not, I think, In Cold Blood, though I'm glad it was.


Obviously it didn't _have_ to be. That's purely my personal opinion.

If the movie were made today, it probably _wouldn't_ be.

The 1996 version with Eric Roberts was probably shot in color.
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Joe Vitus
Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 8:34 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 14498 Location: Houston
At the time, black and white stood for realism, and seriousness, which is why any movie with adult content was generally filmed in black and white. So in the vocabulary of the era In Cold Blood did have to be filmed in black and white.

Of course, once television went to color, and stopped paying as much to movie studios to run movies shot in black and white (which did not advertize the up-to-dateness of color television), all movies started to be filmed in color in order to assure continued profits. Before allowing Bogdanovich to film The Last Picture Show in black and white, the studio first had to get assurance from theater owners that black and white movies did not, by definition, make less money.

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ehle64
Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 8:47 am Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 7149 Location: NYC; US&A
Paper Moon would have been a completely different film in color, too.

whiskey -- I don't know whether or not you were joking, but generally, in a genre-specific forum, spoiler alerts are not necessarry. If a paticular film you haven't seen is being discussed, read on and be spoiled, or better yet, see the film, go back to the beginning of the discussion and please, please add your thoughts. As you did. Thanks.


Last edited by ehle64 on Mon Aug 07, 2006 11:21 am; edited 1 time in total

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Trish
Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 9:18 am Reply with quote
Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 2438 Location: Massachusetts
mo_flixx wrote:
Re: the "rape" scene. Yes, it is problematic.

But having Pierce be the aggressor (not Basinger) reinforces the ruthless, evil quality he projects and undermines the "golden boy" quality he has managed to manufacture.

As the aggressor, Basinger would lose our sympathy. In the film she's able to carefully negotiate the fine line between bad girl and victim.


It wasn't a damn rape scene !! drop that idea and there will be no problem with the scene I haven't a clue why you guys got that in your heads
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marantzo
Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 9:53 am Reply with quote
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You're right Trish.

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