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Thread: EBERT AND ROEPER'S BEST of 2002

  1. #1
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    EBERT AND ROEPER'S BEST of 2002

    This weekend Ebert & Roeper did a show on the best of 2002. Each had interesting picks. 5 of the films haven't screened in Canada yet, so the jury is still out for me.

    Their picks for best film? Pretty SAFE choices, boys!

    E: Minority Report
    R: Gangs of New York
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    Minority Report is No Safe Bet

    Minority Report is not a safe bet for best picture. In reviewing my movie review of June 28, 2002, I pointed out the poor quality of special effects, particularly the futuristic cars, and the number of flaws in the plot as well as the style over substance at the beginning of the movie. To be the best movie of year, such blemishes make it unlikely that this movie can be considere the "best." See my review at: http://us.imdb.com/CommentsShow?0181689-297

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    Minority Report is definitely not best pic material

    I agree. I was just referring to people disagreeing with Ebert-it would be a safe choice for a LIST of the best films. NOT the oscars.

    I would love Gangs of New York to win Best Picture, but in my gut I fear it won't. I think word has permeated Hollywood that Scorsese will get his best director oscar (finally). I just hope those voters (and there are a hell of a lot of young actors voting) can smarten up and give the man some time on stage for a standing O in march.

    Who will win best picture? A little harder to guess this year, but in a pool, my pick is About Schmidt.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    Best Picture - My feeling is that it will be About Schmidt or Far From Heaven....I preferred the latter but liked both.

    Roepert and Ebert really going out on a limb there...

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    too little fun

    You've put your finger on the year's most overrated movies (not counting "The Hours"), but you are forgetting what a downer they both are. My bet is the Academy will look elsewhere; I certainly hope so, not that either isn't worth watching, and not that the Oscars often go to any of my personal choices.

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    P.s.

    "Gangs of New York" and "Minority Report" are neither of them successful artistically or in popularity. E and R were rewarding their directors an A for Effort, that's all.

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    Minority Report-good but..

    I acknowledge the "A" for effort on Minority Report, but truth be told, I WALKED OUT.
    The film was more than halfway over and I just wasn't into it. Great to look at (no shortage of visual splendor) it just had no juice for me. Jaws & A.I. will always be my favorite Spielberg films.
    I was scratching my head when Ebert called it a masterpiece.

    I agree: since the 70's, the Academy has rarely chosen to honor films that I think were worthy. I can think of 4 only:

    The Godafther
    One Flew Over The Cuckoo's nest
    Amadeus
    The Last Emperor
    (A case could be made for The Deer Hunter, Gandhi, Platoon, Schindler's List & American Beauty, but I digress)

    Cannes is usually bang-on accurate with the films it honors. (NO Palm D'or WINNER for 1975? PLEASE!)

    In my mind I've given it to Barry Lyndon..
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    Again I find you strike a cord because I love AI (I just rewatched AI at home on DVD and still find it enchanting, magical, and extremely though-provoking), and I have no opinion on Jaws (at the time it was the kind of thing I'd avoid and I've never gone back and watched it through). You were smart to walk out on Minority Report. Why didn't I think of that? But Spielberg thoroughly redeemed himself with Catch Me If You Can, arguably less "flawed," but less wonderful, than AI. Cannes is quite another animal, isn't it?

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    Yes To AI and Jaws

    I will add my sentiments for the great film making of A.I. and even Jaws for its time.

    A.I. was clearly misunderstood by many people.

    And while Jaws added nothing new to movies, it set a standard for popular mainstream movies by incorporating all of the movie making tricks of the trade from the past that made movies popular - the scare factor, the cast of characters (a scientist, an everyman, the rebell, the girl, and the politician), the humor, the science and the art of something. There was something for everyone, well balanced and edited into the movie with an artist touch. Jaws packaged the classic elements of the perfect movie for box office receipts and the general public - suggestive of the blockbusters to come.

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    Jaws

    Chris, you should see Jaws again. I hadn't seen it since I was 12 last month, and it is a great piece of entertainment.

    Once Spielberg has you (the scene where that night swimmer chick gets the rope-a-dope) you ARE LOCKED. And tricks is right (thanks tabuno)- steven is a magician at keeping you alert to the fact that there is a shark out there that is ready to eat boats.

    Like they said in the documentary- when you finally get a glimpse of that great white, you jump back two feet! The film would have been (as Polanski said) "a joke with no puch-line" if the shark wasn't scary. Steve pulled out all the stops. Especially when Shaw gets eaten!
    He scares for the whole film then ends on a high-great work. Bravo SS. (The film looks & feels dated, but no big deal-the story works)
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    Misunderstanding of AI

    It's a bit of a mystery to me why AI got such short shrift with the critics. As far as I know only one major one really praised it. That was Andrew Sarris in the New York Observer, who was almost the lone voice of real admiration for something that to me seemed, and still seems, quite exceptional. But Sarris is one of our most passionate writers about movies, and his stand is important. (To see Sarris's original comment go to http://www.observer.com/pages/story.asp?ID=4478. ) Sarris's review takes note right away of the fact that the movie is a collaboration of Kubrick in spirit with Spielberg, and he calls it "a fabulous fable," which it is. He also takes note of the fact that this movie is too strong for children, which it also is. In fact I was watching part of it with my (middle aged) sister recently and she practically ran from the room during the Flesh Fair sequence, and she never came back, because she found it, and the whole movie, too disturbing to bear. There is so much powerful stuff in AI, maybe that's why so many critics chose to reject it. Despite the similarity to the Pinocchio and Frankenstein stories, AI really contains a lot of material that is very fresh and challenging, stuff that's extremely relevant to our lives and future prospects. It's hot stuff, and was too hot to handle, I guess.
    Given my admiration for Spielberg at his best, I guess I need to go back and watch Jaws, if he's really a master there too. I'll consider that a duty.

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    This topic is now called "Spielberg's Best"..

    We've turned turtle into a Spielberg rant page...
    no matter. I could write a thesis on why A.I. is incredible. Steven reached the "wonder' level that only he can do with this one.

    I may seem to use the word masterpiece a lot, but I'm careful when I drop it on a film. A.I. is probably the only Spielberg film I would in all confidence lay it on. I was completely riveted by A.I. You believe Haley Osment is a lost robot. (kid should have gotten an oscar nom.)
    "Teddy" destroys the likes of Jar Jar Binks. Even the toy's line delivery is chilling: You will break".
    Gigolo Joe is just a joy to see in action. (Jude Law could play a mime if he wanted)

    The visuals? Blade Runner meets The Wizard of Oz. Rouge City is lit up better than Vegas. I could go on and on...THIS IS a masterpiece.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    A.I. Didn't Meet Public/Marketing Expectations

    A.I. is one of those cult movies that does not have a general audience to see it. It's not a children's movie. It's not a romance or typical drama. It's not an action movie or a traditional thriller. It's not even a light comedy with the little boy and his sidekick. This movie really is a dark and serious sci fi movie that took audiences by surprise. This is no cute E.T. movie. There are many human characters that we can't sympathize with. The movie, in fact, would be better watched by people of artificial intelligence than by human beings who really don't come across very well in this movie. Even William Hurt, in the end, is a bad guy who doesn' even understand what he created. So what's to like in this movie, especially, for the vast majority of those who can actually pay to go see the movie in the 22nd century? Unless, you're some alienated person who can actually look passed the images and dizzying cinematography, you probably won't like A.I. - it's too beyond humanity to appreciate I'm afraid. I'm going to have to look for my human birth certificate to see if it's real.

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    You guys are keeping me up way past my bedtime, but I have to say something more about AI too. The movie is too universal in its meanings to call it a cult movie. AI examines and twists and turns and redefines in a very moving way what “human” means. The movie goes beyond the human but it also delves very deeply into what it is to be human. David, the “mecha”, is more human that his “real” parents, who fail him, just as we humans so often fail other species because of lack of sympathetic understanding--except when his mother comes back to him artificially for a single magical and unrepeatable day, for that one brief reconstructed moment she is kind and loving. David’s longing to be a “real boy” is sentimental and sweet, yes, but it’s also a heart wrenching equivalent of what Frankenstein was all about, the longing at the same time to be a higher being, to be with one’s own kind, and to be accepted back into Paradise. When it comes to explanations of why this movie didn’t “succeed” when it’s actually a masterpiece, I guess I just don’t get it. It’s true that maybe AI didn’t fit market expectations, but how can you know? If it had been given the right spin it would have. No, you’re right, it’s too sad and too alienating and strange to be a big hit, but I wasn’t talking about that; I was talking about why 99% of the critics dissed it when it’s so remarkable.

    I didn’t think Haley Joel Osment should have received an Oscar nomination for his performance; I thought he should have flat out gotten the Oscar for Best Actor. He is luminous and magical in the role of David. He can make me cry and not many actors of any age can do that. He has a quality in the movie that is beyond “acting.” You can’t explain it. He gives off an emanation of purity and longing and love that can’t be described or accounted for in technical terms. Very remarkable, unforgettable. Needless to say, he “is” the movie. Extraordinary. And wonderful directing. Sublime.

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    Critical Response to A.I.

    Originally posted by Chris Knipp: why 99% of the critics dissed it when it’s so remarkable.
    Rottentomatoes.com collected 162 reviews of A.I., 121 or 75% were considered "fresh". Even some of the lamentable "rotten" reviews had positive comments. Most "critics" don't go beyond what-is-it-about-'n should-U-see-it. A good critic,steeped in film culture and willing to delve deep into a film's meaning, technique,etc. is a godsend. Pardon my laziness and ponder these observations from my favorite critic.

    "A.I. is the most philosophical film in Kubrick's canon, the most intelligent in Spielberg's, and possibly the film with most contemporary relevance that either one has made since Dr. Strangelove"

    "Is the cloned Monica(mom), resurrected and corrected to satisfy a robot's programmed cravings, much closer to "human" than David, created and programmed by man in his own image? Is the love of either character genuine? The line separating life from death, being from nothingness, remains as ambiguous as the line separating orga from mecha. It's a line very much like the one separating viewers from the characters in a film."

    "When the Blue Fairy comes back for an encore inside the suburban home, I'm reminded of the monolith slab reappearing inside the hotel room just before Bowman gets reborn as Star Child. The Fairy and the slab are both mental projections of the protagonists, but whereas 2001 ends with tragic rebirth, A.I. ends with the implication of sweet annihilation."

    "The prime issue for the modern world may be our willingness to treat non-living matter as if it were alive and people as if they were objects. The issue is raised every time we see someone walking down the street talking on a mobile phone and ignoring everyone around, every time we hear a mecha voice on an answering machine."

    Jonathan Rosenbaum
    The Chicago Reader

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