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A few reviews

TM2YC

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Stardust Memories (1980)
Having watched this soon after 'Annie Hall' which covers some similar themes, 'Stardust Memories' is more acidic, sarcastic and misanthropic in comparison. It's still very funny though and Gordon Willis' black & white cinematography is gorgeous. Woody Allen plays Sandy Bates a film Director suffering a mid-life crisis, he's basically Allen himself and the constant mentions of people preferring his "earlier, funnier movies" is clearly a dig at his detractors. He deploys 4th-wall breaks, dream sequences, flashbacks, visits from aliens and the ever present voice of film-critics alternately praising and dismissing Bates' work (both sets of opinions are presented as misguided and shallow). 'Stardust Memories' is heavily inspired by Federico Fellini's '8 1/2' but much funnier and better in my opinion. One of the best visual gags was the giant pieces of artwork in Bates' minimalist apartment, they're so outrageously on-the-nose about his character's emotional state, Allen is laughing at the use of such metaphorical set decoration.




Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies (2017)
Amanda Ladd-Jones
directs a documentary about her father Alan "Laddie" Ladd Jr., Producer and top executive at several studios, including his own 'The Ladd Company' ('Blade Runner', 'The Right Stuff', 'Once Upon a Time in America' etc). It's ironic that 'Star Wars' is viewed as the film that ended the artistic, creative-driven era in Hollywood, when Ladd was a champion for the artistic freedom of his Directors and put his reputation right on the line for George Lucas. Ladd-Jones wisely presents the interviews with a refreshing technical honesty, which was needed as you might have thought this was a fawning tribute to her father but you can really see that everyone is genuinely excited to tell her and the world about what a great guy "Laddie" is. Lucas, Ridley Scott, Richard Donner, Sigourney Weaver, Mel Brooks, Ron Howard, Mel Gibson (and many others) queue up to tell anecdotes. A bit I didn't know anything about was Ladd putting women in top positions in the film industry, decades before that conversation was seriously being had.

 

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Alien 3 (1992)
Some people really disliked 'Alien 3' but I always had a soft spot for it. Maybe it's that I was at an age when the first three Alien movies sort of arrived in my consciousness at around the same time, so I hadn't built up the kind of expectations that older viewers had over 14-years (or 6 years since 'Aliens'). Plus I played the hell out of the fiendishly difficult 'Alien 3' computer game on my Amiga 500+ and read the Alan Dean Foster novelization. Naturally I re-watched the superior 2003 extended/workprint/assembly/special-edition/whatever version on the blu-ray, rather than the Theatrical Cut. It's definitely a deeply flawed movie in all kinds of ways but has enough to keep it an interesting and worthy entry in the franchise, unlike most of the subsequent films and spin-offs which are basically trash. David Fincher brings his usual strangely beautiful grimy and dark vision, full of lice, mud, rust and bodily fluids. Perhaps that twisted sensibility is part of the problem when he's dealing with a script that already feels like it's designed to violate everything you loved from the last movie. So Fincher depicts Hick's body as a horrific pile of gore and broken jaw pieces, he lets us hear the cracks of Newt's bones as her naked corpse is sawn open, Bishop is in such a denuded state that he begs for death and of course Ripley is nearly raped and then commits suicide. As a blood drenched horror movie and as a disturbing phycological drama it works on it's own but as the third part of a franchise it's such a downer.

The fairly serious and well acted study of the troubled characters is slightly at odds with a cheesy 80s slasher-movie mentality, where it's all about the gory kills and it's got that lame 90s R-rated tendency to have people shouting "F*ck!" in every other sentence just because they can. I'd forgotten the laughable scene where the deprived prisoners are sitting round drinking bottles of Coca-Cola which they've somehow got, any excuse for product placement. The CGI and the FX compositing is terribly dated (although it looked bad in 1992 as well), which is a shame because the Alien puppets and suits are maybe the best ever. Compared to the incredible music of Jerry Goldsmith and James Horner, Elliot Goldenthal's score is mostly unmemorable. The insistence of Ripley to withhold the truth from the others for the first hour for no obvious reason gets silly. The cast is fantastic, there are so many top character actors but it never struck me before how odd it is that most of them are British. I assume it's because the film was made in the UK and Fincher didn't want the cast to be attempting phony American accents but it's never explained in the plot. The Alien POV cam zooming through the corridors, up walls and across ceilings is brilliantly done. I like the Dillon character, who looks like a weight-lifter priest. This time I noticed he's wearing what looks like a pagan Sutton Hoo helmet medallion, that combined with his Nation of Islam style glasses and Southern Gospel voice, embody the ad hock religion the prisoners seem to be following. I like the overall message that no matter how bad these men are, or what their crimes were, they still have the capacity to sacrifice themselves for others.


 

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The Color of Money (1986)
I wish many belated sequels were more like this follow up to 1961's 'The Hustler'. It feels like an earnest answer to the question, "what would the life of this character really be like after 25-years", not "let's just remake the same film". Paul Newman's elderly pool hustler "Fast Eddie" Felson looks loaded down with the years gone by, regrets and opportunities missed but with experience and perspective too. Newman deserved his "best actor" Oscar for the performance, it's all about watching how he watches others, silently weighing up the odds. I went in expecting him to be relegated to the mentor of Tom Cruise's cocky young pool ace but he's just the protagonist/antagonist for Eddie's story. Martin Scorsese uses lots of whip pans, dollies, rack ins and zooms to bring a lot of energy to a movie that's mostly set in and around pool tables. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio's performance is fascinating and Forest Whitaker has a sparkling early cameo. 'The Color of Money' isn't quite up there with Scorsese's greatest films but it's still a quality movie.


This is a great fan trailer cut to the music from 'Drive':




The Mayfair Set (1999)
'The Mayfair Set'
feels like a transitional work for Adam Curtis. It's halfway between the clearly defined episodic structure of his early documentaries and the long form essays he made afterwards. So he's trying to do both, make one complete argument and one overall story but also stand-alone episodes, so there is a lot of unnecessary repetition when you binge watch the thing. The four parts take in; arms dealers Adnan Khashoggi (uncle of the recently murdered journalist Jamal) and Sir David Stirling and his private armies; the rise of asset-stripping in the UK and Africa; corporate raiders like Sir James Goldsmith, insider trading and the increasingly malign influence of pension fund managers; and finally how Mohamed Al-Fayed and the unshackled markets challenged the UK establishment and the earliest stirrings of the Brexit movement (20-years early). It's shocking to see all this being (mis)managed by a small number of members of an exclusive Mayfair gambling establishment, the Clermont Club. The spectre (pun intended) of the private-island and giant-yacht owning Bond villain comes up a few times. All the footage of a possessed Goldsmith raging against the perceived financial and political mistakes of anybody who isn't him is something to see!

 

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The Color of Money (1986)
I wish many belated sequels were more like this follow up to 1961's 'The Hustler'. It feels like an earnest answer to the question, "what would the life of this character really be like after 25-years", not "let's just remake the same film". Paul Newman's elderly pool hustler "Fast Eddie" Felson looks loaded down with the years gone by, regrets and opportunities missed but with experience and perspective too. Newman deserved his "best actor" Oscar for the performance, it's all about watching how he watches others, silently weighing up the odds. I went in expecting him to be relegated to the mentor of Tom Cruise's cocky young pool ace but he's just the protagonist/antagonist for Eddie's story. Martin Scorsese uses lots of whip pans, dollies, rack ins and zooms to bring a lot of energy to a movie that's mostly set in and around pool tables. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio's performance is fascinating and Forest Whitaker has a sparkling early cameo. 'The Color of Money' isn't quite up there with Scorsese's greatest films but it's still a quality movie.
It's an awesome movie. The only low point IS Tom Cruise, as usual. It's just not really a Gangster movie, which kind of socks but it's still red.
 

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another fanedit...

Split Unbreakable Glass by Wraith

When I returned to this forum about four years ago after being gone for several, I noticed that several of the editors that I considered to be the masters (geniuses some) of their craft had disappeared. They had moved on to another forum (no names), got banned (sometimes you have to follow rules, m.), or disappeared entirely. Sure, fanediting geniuses like Q2 and TM2YC stuck around, fortunately. And a lot of new masters arose. Much to my dismay, one of the disappeared ones was Wraith.

About three years later...Guess who returns to the forum? Wraith. With a great big bag of fanedits to share. I guess it's obvious what he was doing for those six years. I always thought of him as a frustrated genius who didn't always execute his ideas in a manner that would please all of his critics. Amazing ideas. I just don't think everyone gets him.

I've watched so many fanedits lately, its difficult to keep up with my promises to review them. So I held off on requesting this edit. Even though I respect Wraiths edits...I didn't really care for the movies it is derived from. I liked Unbreakable, but bought the others out of curiosity, watched them and put them in the chest. Then the edit was recommended to me by a prolific editor here whose opinion I respect. And then another. And another. So I checked it out.

Quite honestly, I wasn't really prepared for this edit. I couldn't make his description make sense. Then I watched it...the first time. My initial reaction was...WTF? So I watched it again. Same reaction. Then I pulled out the originals and watched them. I scratched my head. I wasn't quite sure I grasped what Wraith had accomplished with this narrative structure. Then I watched the edit again. That time I was blown away. Split Unbreakable Glass is a very deep, multilayered masterpiece in narrative restructuring.

I felt a compulsion to understand what I had watched. Wraith and I began a long discourse in which I learned what was in his mind as he compiled this amazing edit. Wraith was very transparent with me. I learned so much about the creative process that goes into such a masterpiece. There were so many "how the hell did he do that?" moments that were answered. I am still amazed at things most viewers won't even notice.

The order of scenes from the films themselves are all over the place if they are laid out the way that they appear in the edit. However, that was to fit the narrative structure of the edit. If they are played chronologically, you find many gaps. However, in the context they were placed in, the viewer fills in the gaps.

Wraith sustains the viewers attention by presenting self contained packages of information, which are very digestible, at the same time leaving an element of "I want more"...That keeps people engaged.

The edit is presented in three acts which are very thematically disciplined. Scenes are shifted into other chapters or acts to maintain that discipline in order to ensure viewer investment.

Most of Split is gone because it contained far too much of a horror element. Had it not been watered down, it would distract from the intended pacing and unbalance a very carefully planned build up. Keeping that low in emotional tone overall had the unexpected effect (on me at least) to both significantly lift the conclusion from Glass and conclude with the best ending.

Musical motifs were only cross fertilized where they served the character or emotional moments...Long takes where preseved where they were best needed rather than trimming for trimming sake.

Glass is used to frame the early scenes. Dr Staple is not a new character. There is a reason why the film opens with her. She is in the first and last shots deliberately. This edit is about The Coalition of Evil...we just don't realize it. Having her open completely changes the first scene and Glass still frames Elijah, which is vital.

I hope enough people watch this for the revelations that can still be fleshed out, even though we think we know these movies well. Each time I watch it I learn something new.

Even though the edit seems long, its really not. There is just enough room to breathe and for the viewer to absorb and go on the journey...and the journey is what this edit is about.

I love fanedits and the creative process. I am so grateful for the many hours that Wraith spent with me to let me into his mind regarding this edit. I will treasure that memory for a long time.

This will be Wraith's opus. Hell, it will be one for fanediting in general. It shows just how creative you can get.

The sad thing is...history has proven that far too many creative geniuses burn a fire so bright that it burns them out. Then they disappear. It's up to us as fans to keep them encouraged with positive feedback so that they stay with us a bit longer and share their wonderful gift.

A masterpiece that must be seen by all who appreciate a good movie/fanedit/art.

Two very enthusiastic thumbs held as high as I can hold them!



Yeah, Wraith, it was a thesis!
 
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TM2YC

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Ride the High Country (1962)
Sam Peckinpah's
first proper feature Western (after one he had little control over). It shows few signs of the violent, innovative style that Peckinpah would inject into the genre with 1969's 'The Wild Bunch', it's a fairly traditional Western but a top quality one. Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott play two old world-weary cowboys, with failing eyesight and ragged clothes, hoping a job to transport gold from a mine to a bank will revive their fortunes. A couple of impetuous youngsters accompany them, to add some good natured bickering between the generations. The first act is spent at a leisurely, amiable pace but it's needed to establish who these characters are and that they are old-fashioned men with principles. This mostly uneventful time spent in their pleasant company is abruptly contrasted when they arrive at the remote mining camp and find it full of drunkards, gamblers, prostitutes, rapists and every other form of sin. It gets very dark. We've seen that our two heroes know right from wrong but we're less sure if they still have the guts and vigour to stand up to the villains, or if they still care about upholding what's right. There is a big plot twist which I didn't see coming for a second, so I'm looking forward to a 2nd viewing to spot all the clues I know were there. The dialogue is beautiful stuff (an uncredited re-write by Peckinpah), McCrea's line "All I want is to enter my house justified." being one of the most eloquent and multi-layered.

 

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When You're Strange (2009)
Even though I love The Doors' music, the fawning tone of this documentary nearly put me off the band for good. It talks about the group like they were rock icons from birth, as if they were never real people with interesting lives. Johnny Depp talks utter b*llocks on the voice-over of the "Morrison was a quixotic poet wizard, tumbling through the sensual desert of possibility, tuned into his own shamanic dream" variety (I made that up but you get the idea) like it's out-takes from his 1998 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' recording sessions. No doubt there is some amazing footage of the band playing live though and the music is of course incredible.

 

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Paper Moon (1973)
An utterly delightful depression-era road-trip comedy-drama from Peter Bogdanovich, starring Ryan O'Neal and his 8-year-old daughter Tatum O'Neal. It would make a neat double-bill with 'Rain Man', as it's also about a conman and his growing relationship to an estranged relative on the road. Ryan plays Moze, an ineffectual, childish, small-time, conman who finds himself "lumbered" with what we assume is his daughter after her mother is buried in the opening scene. Tatum's Addie proves to be much more cunning, persuasive and determined than her adult counterpart. Tatum's performance is so strong for a child actor and it might be Ryan's best turn as well. They can both do comedy and drama, so I got really worried for their characters by the end. The black and white visuals looked incredible on the Masters of Cinema blu-ray and the jukebox Jazz score sets the period very well. Definitely straight on to my favourite movies list.

 

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The Century of the Self (2002)
Adam Curtis
traces a line through 20th Century history, beginning with Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis concept, the developments of his ideas by other family members, to it being applied to marketing and politics. Like 'The Mayfair Set' it's divided into four parts but unlike that last work, 'The Century of the Self' feels like one whole that you need to watch together. The parts explore; Sigmund Freud and his nephew Edward Bernays who basically invented what he dubbed "public relations", selling an image to people, instead of just a product; Freud's daughter Anna making psychoanalysis popular in America and the rise of "focus groups"; counter cultural ideas opposing Freud, like EST training and "self actualisation"; finally how the Bill Clinton and Tony Blair campaigns targetted swing voters through psychology (the latter aided by Freud's great-grandson Matthew, a PR consultant). The last argument is talking about exactly the kind of precisely targeted marketing/campaigning techniques that are done by algorithm now but were done by boffins then. The ideas don't seem to have changed in 20-years, just the processing power which has allowed consumers/voters to be modelled ever closer. The best bit is the clip Curtis found of a blatant 50s/60s US car commercial "subliminally" selling to women, which says the car is "nearly 4 inches longer!" then cuts to her practically having an orgasm while caressing the steering wheel :LOL: .

The hilarious vintage car commercial (NSFW, well the audio anyway):


 

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The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
Martin Scorsese's 'The Last Temptation of Christ'
was notorious at the time, drawing condemnation from the Vatican, protests, censorship, bans, death threats for Scorsese and even a terrorist bombing of a cinema where it was being shown. Watching it now I'm struggling to see what was so controversial? It's not inflammatory, or disrespectful and treats the story, life and struggles of Jesus with great seriousness. It's chiefly concerned with his doubts, pain and confusion as a man but never suggests he isn't divine also. Harvey Keitel's performance as Judas was nominated for the 'Worst Supporting Actor' Golden Raspberry but again, I can't see why. Did they not watch him with angry tears in his eyes confronting Jesus in the final sequence? The last part as it segues from "It is accomplished!" into Peter Gabriel's celebratory church-bell Rock score is magic. One criticism I can agree with is the length, it's nearly 3-hours of people in shawls debating religion in the desert, sometimes they are standing, sometimes they are sitting. It felt long but I wasn't bored at any point either. I think Christian viewers would find the film powerful (speaking as a non-believer), so it's a shame if a lot of them have been put off watching it after all the claims of "blasphemy". By the way, the Criterion blu-ray is the way to go because another blu-ray transfer I saw was poor.


Siskel & Ebert's contemporaneous reviews are glowing and similarly unable to see what is controversial, finding it a "devout movie" and "a religious experience":


Lin-Manuel Miranda speaks about his very personal relationship with the film:


Peter Gabriel's fantastic credits music:

 

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It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, though I still listen to Gabriel’s score all the time. From what I remember the issue with Keitel was that his Brooklyn accent stood out like a sore thumb.
 

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It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, though I still listen to Gabriel’s score all the time. From what I remember the issue with Keitel was that his Brooklyn accent stood out like a sore thumb.

I read that some viewers/critics had had that reaction but it's not like he was trying to do an accent and failing (which can be highly amusing), he's just speaking in his own voice, nobody else is doing an accent in the movie. Maybe it was a radical thing back '88 to do that? HBO's recent award winning 'Chernobyl' had everybody doing there own Yorkshire/Scottish/Swedish accents instead of Russian and nobody seemed to mind. You go to the theatre and nobody is putting on an Italian accent to play Julius Caesar.
 
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I think it’s an American thing. Americans hear a neutral American, English, Scottish, Australian, Irish accent and think, “oh yeah that sounds like the biblical Middle East.” 🤣

But a heavy NY, Boston, southern, Texas accent? It doesn’t fly. It’d be like Arnold doing Shakespeare.
 

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Maybe it was a radical thing back '88 to do that? HBO's recent award winning 'Chernobyl' had everybody doing there own Yorkshire/Scottish/Swedish accents instead of Russian and nobody seemed to mind.

So they were taking their cues from the 17th greatest film of all time, Valkyrie. :D
 

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The Age of Innocence (1993)
More than half of Martin Scorsese's films have been "period dramas" in the true sense of those words but 'The Age of Innocence' is his only one that fits the usual image of the genre. Scorsese really takes you into the impossibly mannered and emotionally restrained world of 1870s New York high society. By the time you get to the scene where Newland simply unbuttons Ellen's glove and kisses her wrist, you understand they are so chased that this might be the most erotic moment of their lives. Nobody ever says what is truly in their hearts but Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder make it clear through their eyes. The tone, style, period setting, changing fortunes of the characters and atmosphere provided by the voice-over reminded me a lot of 'The Magnificent Ambersons'. The lustrous detail of the costumes, props and interiors would be enough to sustain 139-minutes without any drama, they look stunning on the 2018 Criterion 4K restoration. There are several traditional glass-shots/matte-paintings (at a time when they had gone out of fashion and/or been replaced with CGI) that are some of the best I've ever seen. I had to pause the movie a few times to watch them again and sometimes I still struggled to believe they weren't real. The sweeping romance of Elmer Bernstein's score is easily up there with his finest work. I also loved the gliding camera moves but I was less keen on the frequent cross-fading mid-scene for no obvious reason. This is sadly the last film in which Scorsese's two adorable parents would both make one of their many cameos (it's dedicated to his father).


This is might be merely the least impressive of the glass-shots!:

16544_12_large.jpg
 

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The Thing from Another World (1951)
Knowing what the hokey creature looked like and after listening to the opening scenes with the male characters exchanging "Hur, hur, women!" banter I feared this was going to be very dated. Actually I thought the gabbling overlapping dialogue felt quite naturalistic for the 50s, the scientific ideas are treated seriously and the first full appearance of the creature (through a doorway) gave me a genuine jump scare, which is impressive 70-years later. "The thing" just looks like a big lumbering Frankenstein beast (not a patch on the shapeshifting John Carpenter reimagining) but it's used sparingly, with much more screen time devoted to the human characters imagining what "the thing" is up to when they can't see it. I really liked the cynical reporter character but I could've done without the weak love subplot. The insane full-body burn is something to see, it looks like the inferno is in danger of engulfing the whole set and the main actors and I wasn't entirely sure if the people running in with fire extinguishers were supposed to be soldiers from the base, or panicking film crew. I found it amusing that all the mayhem is caused by an electric blanket being left on.




The Thing From 1951 (2021) aka The Thing (1982)
After watching the 1951 Howard Hawks' 'The Thing', I watched The Scribbling Man's fanedit of John Carpenter's 'The Thing', which converts it into a black & white, 4:3, 1950s style movie, with no swearing and appropriately reduced violence. I could never tire of JC's film but a fresh way to enjoy it was still welcome. The reframing of the scope shots, down to academy-ratio worked seamlessly and the spooky 50s rescore was a treat. My favourite bit was the new music over the jump-scare where "the thing" runs past the camera in the dark. The beauty of this 1982 classic is that you can never be fully sure of who is "the thing", when they get copied, or if some of their actions are because they're human, or because they're alien, so the film will always be fascinating to rewatch.


More info in the project thread: https://forums.fanedit.org/threads/the-thing-from-1951.20347/
 

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The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)
Sam Peckinpah
decided to follow up his violent action-packed hit 'The Wild Bunch' with this more amiable and comedic Western. The subtle dry sense of humour begins immediately as the titular prospector holds a sarcastic dialogue with God as he marches through the arid desert, after his two treacherous partners steal his water and leave him to die. This sets it up as a traditional revenge plot but the unexpected meanders of life take the story in a very different direction. Whether by divine intervention or not, Hogue discovers a spring near a stagecoach route and realises it's the only source of water for miles, so there is money to be made. Jason Robards is wonderful in the title role, crabby, pig headed and nearly illiterate but he's got a kind, romantic soul. His romance with town prostitute Stella Stevens is really lovely and tender. They're both wishing for something better but fearful to embrace it in case fate takes it away. The bit of dialogue when they are about to have their figurative "wedding night" is one of the all-time great lines as she says "You've seen it before, Hogue" and he smiles at her and replies "Lady... nobody's ever seen you before". Puritanical religion is repeatedly mocked throughout the film, including David Warner as a sex-mad priest and Hogue accidentally collapsing a tent on some Bible-bashers. Hogue's attitude, outlook and backstory had parallels with Robards' character "Cheyenne" in Sergio Leone's 'Once Upon a Time in the West'. So I'm tempted to now view 'The Ballad of Cable Hogue' as a film about Cheyenne's father in my personal "head canon" (even though it presumably takes place sometime after history wise).




Sam Peckinpah: Man of Iron (1993)
The Arrow 'Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia' blu-ray comes with an insane sounding new bonus 10-hour "Director's Cut" of this Sam Peckinpah career retrospective but I opted for the more manageable original 95-minute version instead. However, the quality and passion of the interviews is so high that I might give the long version a shot one day. The likes of James Coburn, Ali MacGraw, Kris Kristofferson and Jason Robards speak with misty eyes and rueful grins about their departed friend. Kristofferson plays guitar and Robards also reads incredible extracts from Peckinpah's correspondence with real gusto. The most moving tribute is from screenwriter Jim Silke who sheds a tear recalling a last day with Peckinpah that was like they were young men again. The self-destructive demons that haunted Peckinpah were clearly formidable. His only escape seemed to be making movies but his erratic behaviour and substance abuse because of those same demons increasingly made studios unwilling to let him make movies... a sad vicious downward spiral.

 

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A fanedit...

Mission Impossible II The Spence Edit

Spence is one of my favorite faneditors. I love his approach. He sees films in a unique way that helps him to find the best attributes of films that others may overlook for obvious reasons. He said, "I won't edit a film that I don't like."

That is why I was in a state of amazement when he chose to edit Mission Impossible 2 and present it as his reintroduction after a long absence from fanediting. I know we are all glad to see him back...but with this monster?

I couldn't figure out why Spence would choose the worst film in this overblown Tom Cruise ego gratifying franchise. That was my first impression when he allowed me to preview this edit several months ago.

To be honest, the franchise is alright from an action standpoint. Never boring and usually well made, but I don't care for Tom Cruise in these type of roles. I didn't like him as a Charles Bronson wannabe in the Jack Reacher films (I loved the books, so that was very disheartening). I definitely don't like him out of character trying to out Bond the plethora of actors who have played Bond.

Mission Impossible 2 has moments of excitement, moments of sheer idiocy and moments of sheer idiotic excitement. It's never boring, but it features Tom Cruise in his cocky, wise-guy mode, rather than his earnest, searching, don't-hate-me-because-I'm-beautiful mode.

The movie seems something less than the sum of its parts. It comes off as an aggressive live action cartoon. That is part of the appeal bit it negates any chance it might have had of making any emotional impact (which was unlikely from the start).

The movie has downright ridiculous moments. The dove flying in when the hero appears, the gratuitous sex scene, the score, the out of franchise music choices which cause it to be stuck in an era...but the most ridiculous contrivance of all, although cool in theory, is the characters' ability to put on elaborate prosthetic masks and voice patches, then rip them off after someone has been fatally duped. That's above and beyond the suspension of disbelief in any reality.

So much for my disdain for the original. I wondered what the ???? was Spence thinking?

Straight out the gate Spence improves the movie exponentially by incorporating in-franchise music as the score, causing the edit to feel more in line with the other entries in the series. I cannot overstate what an improvement this is to the edit as a whole.

Spence also recognized the need to more evenly distribute the action throughout the film to create a more even pace which drastically improved the momentum and rewarded the viewer's investment. I love what he did with the shootout at the Biocyte facility. Major improvement!

And...(to quote L8wrtr...) My man! Spence either trimmed or removed much of the over the top John Woo moments, that ventured into cartoon territory. The edit takes the plot and the franchise more seriously, as a result and becomes a far better investment of the viewer's attention.

Spence states that this franchise is his favorite (I am sorry that we can't agree on that. I still respect you!). He felt that this film had elements that haven't aged well and that there's a really good movie in there...that the script is a solid Hitchcock esque caper full of twists, turns, backstabs and reveals. The performances overall great, with Tom Cruise giving a charming turn as a softer and more romantic Ethan, a deliciously dirtbag villain, and one of the best female leads the series has had. Also, though they lay the "John Woo-ness" on a little too thick at times, the action is well staged and choreographed.

His goal was to remove the dated elements of MI-2, pick up the pace, and bring it more in line with the other films in the series.

And in that...he achieved remarkably! I did enjoy this edit far far far more than I thought I would all three times that I watched it and I did finally figure out what the ???? he was thinking...

Two very enthusiastic thumbs up for the edit (and you are required to own the original) but avoid watching it at all costs!
 
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