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Thread: EBERT AND ROEPER'S BEST of 2002

  1. #16
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    Chicago's Ebert Doesn't Believe In Artificial Emotions

    Across the street apparently, Ebert's review of A.I. (June 29, 2001) reveals Ebert's refusal to give David any real human characteristics, only our weak human projections of ourselves onto a mechanical machine. While he lauds the movie and its cinematic greatness, he serious faults the substance of the movie's insinuation that artificial intelligence can translate into anything that human should be really concerned about.

    It's difficult to distinguish between what is real and what we "think" or "perceive" is real. Do we, as humans, create reality or is reality out there? Are emotions, morality objective actual existing phenomena with an independent reality other than what we give it? Is David nothing more than our own imbued imaginative projections of what we think ought to exist? Or is David really something more, a moral being in its own right? Ebert had no problem, had no hesitation to dismiss A.I., however well it was put together, because in the end he just didn't believe. Perhaps, many of the other critics didn't either.

  2. #17
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    Rosenbaum is like a brother to me...

    I have a few BFI classics books, and Rosenbaum did the one for Jarmusch's Dead Man. I can only hope to be as perceptive as Jon.

    Like Lester Bangs, his writing is something worth reading for itself, not just the films he talks about. I always look forward to his top ten in Sight & Sound. He and I have the same "likes". great critic.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  3. #18
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    Glad to be wrong on this

    Very fine observations by Rosenbaum. Iím glad to have this drawn to my attention. Iím also ever more glad to be so wrong about the percentages on AI and the critics. Thanks.

  4. #19
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    Re: Rosenbaum is like a brother to me...

    Originally posted by Johann
    [B]I have a few BFI classics books, and Rosenbaum did the one for Jarmusch's Dead Man.Like Lester Bangs, his writing is something worth reading for itself
    I get such joy from your comments. If there's any rockers out there, the best rock'n'roll book ever is Lester Bangs' Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung.
    DEAD MAN is simply the last great Western and one of my favorite films of the 1990s. It's being reissued on DVD at a lower list price on 3/3/03. Maybe folks will want to talk about it. I wonder what you think about complaints that its pace is too slow. I will search for Rosenbaum's BFI book.

  5. #20
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    Dead Man is in my top ten of all-time faves for good reason.

    When films get poetic, I get emotional. Dead Man is pure poetry, and I hunker down when I prepare to watch it. I ususally listen to some JJ Cale or Jefferson Airplane's last great album "Long John Silver"with a little "talkin' to Bob" if you know what i mean..

    Machine is a legendary town like Tombstone, but I don't think Wyatt Earp would want to move there.

    "Stupid fucking white man" -nobody (he who talk much, say nothing)
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  6. #21
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    "Dear Man" would also be one of my favorites of the last decade.

  7. #22
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    Sorry: I meant DEAD MAN!

  8. #23
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    Do you have any tobacco?

    "William Blake! You were a poet! and a painter!"

    This flick is full of atmosphere and great ambiance. Largely due to Neil Young's incredible soundtrack. I made a tape of the soundtrack from the library-Depp & Farmer speak throughout.

    On a sidenote, Gary Farmer is a great supporting canadian actor. (You can see him with DeNiro & Norton in "The Score"-which was shot in Montreal. And again in jarmusch's "Ghost Dog") He is a well respected native actor in Canada-like Graham Greene. (See "The Education of Little Tree" to see Graham in fine form)

    And how about the Legend of Johnny Depp? This guy has become somewhat of a hero of mine. I always look forward to Johnny's new films. (Chocolat sucked, tho. Sorry, Johnny)
    The Man Who Cried is waiting for me to get home to watch it tonight. I'm pretty excited....Depp, Turturro, and my honey Christina. What a feisty little vixen she is... rrrrwowwrrr
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  9. #24
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    Ricci rocks my world. If you havent seen Pumpkin, hunt it down. Your Ricci appreciation will grow beyond measure.

    Depp - been a big fan since 21 Jumpstreet. What a show. Peter Deluise, Holly Robinson, Dustin Nguyen and the Deppster rocking the highschool halls in search of illicit activity.

    P

  10. #25
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    Depp might not agree with you. He described Jump Street as "fast food." But of course the cornel of genius was there I guess.

    I love the name Dustin Nguyen.

  11. #26
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    And of course Dustin Nguyen aka Vinh Van Tran playing Japanese character, Harry Ioki made things all the more culturally complex. Yeah, 21 was fastfood, but I was a wee 13 yrs old when it came out. Had me pretty excited about impending highschool experiences. Unfortuantely, the reality was much less exciting....

  12. #27
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    I recall seeing 21 Jump Street after school in jr. high (along with Degrassi-for those canadians in the house)

    Depp said when he took a break to shoot Cry-Baby with John Waters he was energized by making movies again. (He contemplated quitting acting when Oliver Stone cut almost all of his scenes from Platoon)
    Then he got a "huge break" when Tim Burton agreed to cast him as Edward Scissorhands in a coffee shop in L.A.
    Did you know he turned down the lead roles in Speed & Interview With A Vampire?
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  13. #28
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    A I horribly flawed

    I have studied Steven Spielberg's career my whole filmatic life. I emulated his film style while I attended film school. When he is on, his films are not only entertaining but poignant. His successes are brilliant, while his failures are disasterous. He can point with pride to Jaws, Close Encounters, ET, Schindler's List, Raiders, Jurassic Park, et al. However he can also turn away with shame with 1941, Hook, and I'm afraid to say, A.I.

    The problems with A. I. are almost too numerous to go into but some of the most obvious are the subject matter itself. While a rather interesting vehicle for Kubrick and his eccentric tastes, given Spielburg's history, torture and child abuse are not usual Spielberg subject matters. Kubrick loves to delve into controversial, while Spielberg just wants you to laugh and cry and possibly pick up a thing or two.

    A. I. was a difficult film to both watch, and experience. Film is a medium of experience. I remember going opening day. In the audience were not just film critics but great fans of Steven's. By about the second hour, I noticed how people were squirming uncomfortably in their seats. It seemed wrong somehow to watch this poor child going through the most unspeakable fear and terror and then have the medium call itself "entertainment". This is a perfect example of "The Emperor's New Clothes". Only no one had the guts to tell him he picked the wrong script.

    There can be no doubt of his craft as a filmmaker, despite the premature crowning of a Lifetime Achievement Award by AFI. Steven will continue to delight audiences with his magic and skill. "Minority Report" and "Catch Me..." are much better examples of when Steven is on. Steven was off for A. I.

  14. #29
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    A.I. not a dead letter

    To Cinemabon: I'm glad to have A.I. come up again even if your take on it is different from mine. I know it is flawed, but "horribly flawad" and "disastrous" are a bit strong. I find the subject matter, which you think a mistake from the start, immensely stimulating. There are lots of longeurs, boring parts, excessive contrasts of disparate segments, but so are there in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and though opinions vary on that one it has its undying fans, of which I am one. Some of the slowness of A.I. is very Kubrickesque. The whole epic scale of the piece is Kubrickesque. If you don't think Kubrick a master, then we part company completely. On A.I. I am aware that I am out on a limb, though Andrew Sarris is out there with me! It just bombed from the get-go and though more critics were kind to it than I had realized, as I've learned from this discussion, it just didn't get taken seriously overall. I just watched part of it with my sister and she found the early part of it too disturbing and couldn't finish watching the Flesh Fair episode. It calls for a lot of openness and patience and if you stick with it, it can be immensely moving, as well as thought provoking. Maybe some day people will go back to it and reassess it. Surely you will grant that technically it has exquisite and wonderful things happening.

    I don't agree, and don't think you would really say, that when we go to the movies we should never, ever be subjected to a painful story, or that it's true as you say that "It seemed wrong somehow to watch this poor child going through the most unspeakable fear and terror and then have the medium call itself 'entertainment'." Not all movies are fun. You could say exactly the same thing about The Pianist, but you'd be wrong. The medium doesn't always define "entertainment" in the sense of "fun" or "a lighthearted distraction." Film can be deeply troubling and that can acccount for some of its finest moments.

    Spielberg is a popular artist and yet Schindler's List is hardly a "fun" picture. And he has dealt before with suffering and alienation of small non human creatures -- E.T. I doubt that he would disown A.I. The whole point is that David is capable of suffering, and loneliness and longing, because he has been made capable of loving. His suffering is the point.

  15. #30
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    painful versus insightful

    While a film like Schindler's List is painful to watch because of the gruesome torture endured by Jews during World War II, the story is also a factual one. Facing up to certain facts can be a painful experience. Take the Spielberg film which I consider to be his break out film. Honored by the Academy with eight nominations, the voters however completely ignored "The Color Purple", which to my mind is also a "painful" film to watch. The African American has endured injury after insult in this country. Spielberg's film showed an absolutely brilliant take on black life in the early twentieth century based on Alice Walkers insightful and beautiful novel (which comes out in special edition next week on DVD).

    Kubrick's films "Paths of Glory" and "A Clockwork Orange" are also 'painful' films to watch. Mostly because they show the frailties of human beings in the glare of the media spotlight. Both films are exceptional examples of Kubrick's great cinematic genius.

    A.I. was an uncompleted work by Kubrick. So he was never able to complete it beyond the script level. Would he have made the film Spielberg made? I doubt it. This movie had a certain sick cuteness that was not Stanley's cup of tea.

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