Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
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An uneven film, though worth seeing for Tony Todd and Virginia Madsen. Tony Todd in particular has absolute authority over the picture whenever he's given screen time, though Madsen handles her difficult role with ease. The rest of Candy Man, aside from the sets, is average. One particular shot, where Madsen awakens to find herself in the middle of a murder in progress, is executed brilliantly. I found the direction to be a bit stilted for the majority of the picture, perhaps due to some amateurish script writing and execution. I should praise the look of the film though, as well as the practical effects- they're great, and the cgi for the larger effects is done tastefully enough. I did not care for the music though- it soars and clashes against the look of the film. The sound seemed poorly edited as well. One scene of child dubbing was spotty, but the stock sound effects were distracting (noticeable when characters open and close doors off screen). Bad mixing on the adr. This is a turn the film up with subtitles type of mix but, once again, Tony Todd defies limitations and has a suitably powerful and creepy voice. Candy Man: good, worth watching, could've been much better.
Hypnotic and potent. The allegory resonates ever more strongly as time passes, and the visuals have not lost their ability to mesmerize, even if the stock and transfer show their age. Strangely, the eroticism popular critics point out in the film features very little nudity, and is instead evocative without being obvious. There is something psychological in effect as the film's couple comes together, perhaps coming down to the sparse sound and lack of excess dialogue. The dream team of Teshigahara, Abe, Segawa, and Tekemitsu should have made more films together.
Low budget, pulpy, sleazy, and cheesy, but also immensely entertaining. Wings' cowboy boot and denim wearing wise-guy ex-cop character is hilarious. The script is a little uneven- some cracks and jokes work and some reveal an amateurish hand. The ending is dark but effective. I also like the score, the shots, the performances of the supporting cast, and especially the tone, which really does make Living to Die seem like a pulpy noir from the days of gritty detective serials. Criminally underrated. Perhaps the most underrated action film of all time.
General audiences will have the same complaints they did in the 80s, and for that, I say Villeneuve and his creative team were largely successful in telling the Hollywood Drone Committee where to stick it. However, 2049 is still a modern film, and its interpretation of the first film removes some thematic ambiguity for some critical plot perspective. Is the film weaker for it? That's what I find myself thinking. One particular line, when Gosling's "K" is confronted by the gigantic rendering of a key character, about pain seems to put some definite lines where before we only had a broad stroke. The character of Deckard has also been similarly defined- whether or not, as an old-school fan, you think the writers really understood the character is another story, but Ford's portrayal lacks the edge and animosity of the original.
Complaints are minor: A critical omission is Vangelis' Blade Runner theme. They couldn't have put it in the ending credits somewhere? Leto, for all his pomp and eccentricity lacks the commanding authority of Turkell. Gosling has a good show; in fact, I was very pleasantly surprised with the majority of the cast, but Leto's Wallace is a glaring short-fall where a more potent figure could have been. I think Leto was up to task but his character read a tad- tropsey. Perhaps it's Turkell's fault for establishing such an omnipotent and God-like persona in the original that he himself created a trope- and the characters of Wallace and Tyrell mirror each other closely.
The sets and visuals are simply sumptuous. This is perhaps the most beautiful sci-fi film I've seen since... the original. While the original Blade Runner had an omnipresent feeling of viscous density, 2049 is a bit cleaner even when it attempts to be dirtier. The street-level action in the first film, even if it really was just one street shot 20 different ways, came out heavy on the gritty punk aesthetic, while 2049 is a bit more cyber in this regard. The aerial shots in 2049, nostalgia aside, are far superior to what we saw before By now, I'm sure you find I'm nitpicking specific details of 2049 and comparing it closely to the original. I say for all this, 2049 definitely gets a pass then, if I'm sitting here comparing it favorably to a film we've had almost 40 years of bonding time with.