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Tony Grist

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The Oscars Loom [Feb. 20th, 2019|11:02 am]
Tony Grist
"Oscars on Sunday", said Ailz.

We have a great nephew called Oscar. "So what's he up to?" I wondered.

Then I thought about Oscar Wilde.

And only at the third attempt did I catch her drift. "Oh, those Oscars...."

I don't have any favourites. Or any tips. I don't believe I've seen any of the films that are up for awards- apart from Peter Jackson's Great War movie- the one that slows down and colourises old newsreel; I think that's up for something- and really ought to win because it's a landmark.

I don't keep abreast of the movies anymore. I read the reviews but if I get to see the films themselves it's usually a long time after their release. I only just got round to seeing last year's best picture winner, The Shape of Water. And it disappointed me. 

To be honest most of the new(ish) movies I get to see disappoint me. I started taking notice of cinema in the late 60s- and I don't think it's just fogeyism that causes me to think that that was a golden age and the one we're living through now is at best silver and maybe no better than bronze. Are there filmmakers working now who make the heart leap the way Bergman, Fellini, Kubrick, Antonioni, Pasolini, Godard or Resnais did- or indeed the Hollywood New Wavers who followed shortly after? I'm happy to concede that TV is better now than it was then, but cinema- no.

Still...

We were in Sainsbury's in Hastings this week and I found a rack pushed to the back of the shop which had cheap DVDs on it- and on the side that was hardest of access there were copies of Carol, 12 Years a Slave and Phantom Thread- all movies I thought I'd quite like to see a few years back- and I bought them- and when I get a moment I'll be giving them a spin.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2019-02-20 02:34 pm (UTC)

It's been rare that I've been captivated by a film in the last 20 years or so. Mostly my reaction has been "oh that was ok but..."
And  like you I haven't kept up at all with the current crop.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2019-02-20 03:41 pm (UTC)
When I see a new movie I generally come away thinking, yeah, but it's been done before...


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[User Picture]From: howlin_wolf_66
2019-02-20 03:44 pm (UTC)
The theory is that there only 7 story archetypes, so everything will have echoes of something else ...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2019-02-20 04:19 pm (UTC)
That's very true,

But I'm thinking less of story and more of storytelling. I think the ways in which you can tell a story on film have been pretty thoroughly explored.

Something similar happened with the novel. The modern novel was invented in the 18th century, had its heyday in the 19th and had exhausted most of the formal possibilities by the beginning of the 20th. Finnegan's Wake isn't the last novel, but it is, arguably, the last novel of the heroic age.
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[User Picture]From: howlin_wolf_66
2019-02-20 03:41 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed all of those. I would certainly say there are directors who are operating close to Kubrick's level out there. All of the rest worked outside of the Hollywood system anyway, so maybe what you're really querying is the state of modern AMERICAN cinema... There will always be good films out there; more choice just means a more diffuse collection, is all...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2019-02-20 04:29 pm (UTC)
The American director I expect the most of (these days) is Paul Thomas Anderson.

I think the decline is worldwide. Whenever I watch a highly praised European or Asian movie I get the same feeling as I do with highly praised American ones. For instance There was an Italian movie that came out a few years back that won prizes all over the place and I came away thinking, "Yeah, but it's a pastiche of La Dolce Vita and not nearly as good."
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[User Picture]From: matrixmann
2019-02-20 04:17 pm (UTC)
Find the same, but not just movies with big promition, even the ones aside from the big mainstream make it hard to find a good one in between them or some which sounds interesting.
I figure it has to do with demand to the mind which makes it for me.
Most stuff doesn't demand my brain really. And that's what's bad about them.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2019-02-20 04:31 pm (UTC)
Oh yes, it's not just the big pictures that disappoint me; the small arthouse movies disappoint me too.

There are exceptions....
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