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Thread: DUNKIRK (Christopher Nolan 2017)

  1. #31
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    Closest 70mm screening is in Montreal...
    I will see it Chris, for sure. 70mm might not happen, tho. Which sux, because that IS the format to see it in.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  2. #32
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    I was looking, I thought they had it in Toronto. Where are you? But IMAX is arguably the best format. I have seen it in both. Admittedly 70mm was awesome. Superb closeup detail. Sharpest big images I've ever seen.

  3. #33
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    I'm in Ottawa. Toronto is six hours away. Montreal is 2.
    The last two films I saw in 70mm were 2001 and PT Anderson's The Master.
    I'll never forget those screenings. Great to hear that Dunkirk delivers the cinema.
    Christopher Nolan needed to make something good this time. He was slipping into Shyamalamadingdong territory....
    Last edited by Johann; 07-24-2017 at 10:25 AM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  4. #34
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    He achieves greatness here. I was not ever a Nolan fan, but I went to see this twice in three days, IMAX then 70mm. The 70mm only cost $6! The Grand Lake in Oakland is an independent more humane cinema.

    This site may list locations in Ottawa where you can see Dunkirk in large format. Check it out. There seem to be many locations but maybe not Ottawa.

    https://www.frontrowcentre.com/locat...n-70mm/126417/

    Really simply IMAX with the square format is what he most had in mind, so you don't have to see it in the wider format 70MM. But however you see it, it will be worth your while.

    The metacritic rating is 94% from critics and that's based on over 50 reviews! But some people don't like it - like tabuno. If you come in with preconceived notions, maybe you won't like it. Come to it with an open mind and take it as it comes (but it won't hurt to understand the time-scheme structure or to do some prepping on the history.

  5. #35
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    The Brilliant Mind of Chris Helps Again

    Chris nicely handles the ending scene time jumps with his commentary. Personally, I'd rather watch sci fi time jumps than its use in war dramas. For me, there's enough going on that a simple linear, not fancy director stuff is needed to really offer up a great war movie. But Chris makes a good point on how to experience the continuously flying fighter plane and its pretty hard to comment reasonably without watching the ending again. I think Christopher Nolan has Inception (2010) on the brain when it comes to time jumps or compressions. At least in that movie, the whole approach to watching the movie was explained prior to having to experience the movie in its entirety.

    I'm with Chris regarding whether or not to see this movie. It's probably better to see this movie and make your own decision along with his idea of making sure you see it in IMAX. Having watched it with the screen almost in my face isn't the best way of experiencing any movie, even Tootsie (1982) where I ended up in the front row on the corner of one of the largest theaters in Utah at the time. That was the time when people packed the large theaters on the 70 mm wide screens.
    Last edited by tabuno; 07-24-2017 at 08:53 PM.

  6. #36
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    "Brilliant" is bosh - it's just the way the film is made. Actually it is explained at the beginning for this one too, though I admit I didn't quite get it the first time. It says - but didn't you say you couldn't read the subtitles because of your awkward seat? : "The Mole: one week. The Sea: one day. The air: one hour." Those titles come right at the beginning. It made perfect sense in retrospect when I read a review, but at the time I didn't quite get it. I just kept an open mind, and thought the filmmaking was splendid so I gave it the benefit of the doubt. I didn't really care - every scene, every shot was wonderful. And full of humanity.

  7. #37
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    Chris is brilliant not the movie

    I don't believe Dunkirk made you brilliant. You already were.
    Last edited by tabuno; 07-25-2017 at 12:35 AM.

  8. #38
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    Positive Time's Review Re-Examined

    Stephanie Zacharek, a Time’s film critic, July 31, 2017, appears to critically rave about Dunkirk for its elaborate and impressive visual and sound effects, its emotional details, and the trust in the faces of the movie. She’s especially impressed by Mark Rylance’s performance as an aging seaman and owner of a small boat coming to the rescue of British soldiers at risk in Dunkirk during World War II, 1940. Even though she quotes the director, Christopher Nolan, calling this movie a “ride” perhaps for marketing purposes, she expands on the movie’s strengths as containing the fears of claustrophobia and drowning as well as how this movie sustains its dramatic tension using “small strokes” and “bits of history” including an aerial battle and one of supposedly frightening proportions of a ship being suddenly sunk by a torpedo.

    All in all, Zacharek’s description of Dunkirk might be adequate in themselves, but in the context of other movies, Dunkirk has plenty of competition and in many cases, specific examples where other directors have excelled in their visual and sound effects, emotional details, and even in the faces that the audience members are to trust. The “ride” of Dunkirk, seems to be exactly that, a ride of glimpses and bits of war time experiences as if one is being transported along in a number of sequential and concurrent expensive theme park rides at Disneyland or Universal Studios.

    What seems to be missing is the elaborate and impressive visual and sound effects from a movie like Russia’s Aleksey Germany’s elaborate and impressive visual and sound effect masterpiece of Hard to be a God (2013) about a scientist who is sent to help a local Medieval society on the planet Arkanar. What is even more impressive is that even seen and heard on a Lenovo 16” laptop, the images and the audio effects are superior to that of Dunkirk as experienced on the big screen.

    Even though Mark Rylance’s performance appears adequate he seems to be stuck in a fictionalized, melodramatic, and sensationalize plot where one of his boy is the accidental victim of a rescued soldier’s clumsy attempts to have the small boat captained by Rylance’s character turn around. Because of the myriad of interruptions and time jumps used by Nolan, the sustained faces we are to trust in become a disjointed discontinuous riot of the feelings and emotions cut short and interrupted by the two other plots being offered up by Nolan. As such, the sustained dramatic tension that Zacharek seems to enjoy seems rather to become an intrusive annoyance when compared to the sustained intensity as experienced in Wolfgang Peterson’s The Perfect Storm (2000) where George Clooney’s character as a commercial fisherman is caught up in the storm of the century. As for a sinking ship, it was pretty predictable that something bad was about to happen in Dunkirk and for it to occur with the coincidence of having the main character survive to go onto further extraordinary experiences turns this movie more into a mainstream survival movie, even more so than the more plausible Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in The Revenant (2015) or the riveting experience of the classic sinking ship where Leonardo gets to suffer perhaps even more in Titanic (1997) even though everyone knows what happens to the ship.

    The many of the faces we are to trust in Dunkirk, appear to be two dimensional characters without backstories, without emotional depth, apparently seemingly just reacting, reacting to some written script and on location in Dunkirk and elsewhere. It’s hard to identify or feel emotionally attached to characters who seemingly come and go in bits and glimpses on the screen. As two British soldiers make their way toward a rescue boat with an injured man in a stretcher, even as the tension mounts and the stirring string musical accompaniment, reminiscent of the eerie music of Mica Levi from Jonathan Glazer’s horror movie Under the Skin (2013) , there is a corresponding odd conflicting tension of hope that they will not succeed in their apparent covert and seemingly unfair attempt to save themselves.

    The fear of claustrophobia and drowning as well as the stunning aerial combat scenes are arguably decent, but in competition with the intense emotional, sometimes breath stopping rush surrounding similar suffocating experiences found in such movies as the underrated Alien: Resurrection (1997) or the more popular suspense action movies with emotionally riveting water scenes from Bourne Supremacy (2004) or Casino Royale (2006), Dunkirk appears to sink as an pinnacle of achievement. Finally, for aerial combat scenes, the broken and disjointed intercutting as well as both the use first and second person photography seems to be unable to sustain the smoothly execution of the continuing tension, anxiety, worry, and even strategy employed in a literal battle to the death used perhaps more effectively in such other movies as Star Wars (1977) or The Fifth Element (1997) even considering that these were sci fi movies.

    As for epic and big as well as small and intimate scale, one of the most intriguing and immersive, compelling war movies might be Enemy At The Gates (2001) set during the much less familiar Battle of Leningrad.

  9. #39
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    I have read some reviews but not Stephanie Zacharek's in Time Magazine. It's a terrific review, with some good background on the history, and I sympathize with her on several important things: I was not an IMAX fan but am for seeing Dunkirk, and I was not a Nolan fan but am - big time! - for Dunkirk. Dunkirk is a game-changer. I notice she calls it a "masterpiece" and that the movie is on the cover of Time, which she writes for, with the caption "The Miracle of Dunkirk." That's referring to the historical event, but suggesting the new movie is a miracle too. So I don't know how this review feeds your anti-Dunkirk cause!

    Again I'm often impressed by the number and variety of other movies you can come up with by way of comparison in discussing a new film, and again you mention several I haven't seen, or even heard of - Hard to be a God this time, and Enemy at the Gates. But again some of them don't seem relevant - it's apples and oranges - or just movies that are fine but in quite different ways - like Under the Skin - or technically impressive but not really good movies - The Fifth Element; or good only in a limited way - The Perfect STorm. Again you trot out your "Disneyland" or "theme park ride" slur, which is just that, a slur, totally unfair for a film with such rich, visceral, realistic detail. Speaking of detail, I like Zacharek's description: " a supreme achievement made from small strokes, a kind of Seurat painting constructed with dark, glittering bits of history." A massive operation, a disaster turned into a triumph, constructed out of small rich details: a pointillist landscape.

    But again you bring up the idea that the characters are shallow and we can't be moved by them because of that: whereas I argued that you don't have to know a lot about a person/character to care quite a lot about him. In the case of Mr Dawson (Mark Rylance) by the way you may reveal too much, and also somewhat misstate the case: George is not "one of his boy[s]" but his son's friend, or just neighbor, as Stephanie Zacharek says; Dawson's a recreational sailor so "aging seaman" might not be the right term. Dunkirk as I've said before is rich in small details, and it's important to get them right. Have you not noticed all that Zacharek says about "faces" - about how much they mean in depicting a historical event, and how brilliantly Nolan uses them, his actors, here? Humanity, tabuno, this film is packed with humanity, and just because you haven't seen it and only see a "theme park" "ride" doesn't mean it isn't there!

    Whether or not these various films you mention have elements in which they excel over Dunkirk, this does not prove that Dunkirk is - despite the extravagant praise it has, in my view justifiably, received - somehow not up to par, not really as good as they are. Your criticism, almost condemnation, of Dunkirk rests almost wholly on the same slurs you have repeated before, the claim that it's incoherent because it intercuts three separate "scenes" of the evacuation and that they are just "Disneyland" thrill rides. If Nolan called Dunkirk a "ride" that was a great opportunity for you, but it was unfortunate, and inaccurate and he was doubtless, I'm guessing, just being British and modest. It's obviously a great deal more than a "ride." Zacharek says Nolan "clearly knows it's more than that." So again, I don't know how your references to her review support your attempt to reduce Dunkirk to just one among many action movies, and far from the best. Zacharek emphasizes right at the start how Nolan "puts so much care" into the "emotional details" of his film.

    But this you overlook, and it's essential: this film is full of humanity and deeply stirring, but manages the feat of not being sentimental. It's cunningly constructed out of the "pointillism" of a wealth of tiny, precisely observed human details - like the one of the drowning man still clutching the tin cup that Zacharek keenly admires, or the blind man Alex doesn't realize is blind but Tommy does, which I liked so much. Zacharek also mentions other details of gestures and expressions by Tom Hardy and Mark Rylance that are so precise, so important, and so much contribute to our sense of their humanity, and all this in performances that at first seem simple, even faceless. But Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy are literally just about England's two finest actors today, so they're anything but simple and faceless. This is a picture that I'm convinced will richly reward repeated viewings. I've already gone back and seen it in 70mm after my initial IMAX experience and I saw a lot more the second time, but with each detailed review I read, like Zacharek's, which I thank you for calling my attention to, I discover some more small details I'd missed.

    It seems every time there is a really fantastic film that I care a great deal about, I become aware that there are people out to denigrate and run it down. This was true with Brokeback Mountain. That was a film that was exceptional and meant a lot to me. But of course it notoriously didn't win the Oscar it deserved and it was attacked and dismissed by some. Its gay theme was too controversial for some. Dunkirk is controversial in its own way. It belies conventional war movie expectations. How can it still be a great war movie, lacking many of their trappings and not even having a battle, or the blood and gore post-Private Ryan moviegoers expect? But it is.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-25-2017 at 01:42 PM.

  10. #40
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    You're not known for seeing movies twice Chris, especially within days of seeing it, so it must be good.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  11. #41
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    That's right johann. And the chance to see it in another spectacular format was a big enticement. I'm keen for you to see it.

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    Emotional Punch Is Missing

    I don't even get a twinge of an emotional sadness, despair, and longing from any moment in Dunkirk as when I experience James Bond, the stiff, unattached British Secret Service MI-5 man helpless as both he and the audience must witness the soulful death of Vesper Lynd as she helplessly falls deeper and deeper in the depths of the murky waters trapped in her cage, nor the poignant stinging last moments as Franka Potente's character succumb to the dark waters trapped in their vehicle as her body sinks further and further into darkness, even climatic scene of Leonardo DiCaprio's last handhold, a character the audience has become closely attached to, sinks along with the Titanic that becomes lost in the depths of her maiden voyage.

    It is hard for me to believe that without the intimate attachment and emotional connections that appear deficient in Dunkirk and as Chris implies are not important that the humanity and real vital connection to human beings that Dunkirk appears to neglect can really make Dunkirk anything more than a visual, but somewhat empty feast for the eyes and hears. Like 3-D that Chris as I recall had an aversion to and I enjoyed with a storyline, the best movies must have more than distant human features along with some amount of emotional connection to our characters. For me, it the human meaning of the individual that also matters not just the Vulcan Star Trek sacrifice for the one when it comes to movies, individual faces matter for me and I must care and become more aware of the characters before I can offer up some semblance of empathy.

  13. #43
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    Some Support By Local Newspaper Film Critic

    Maybe it's just Utah, but here's a quote in today's local Utah newspaper by Chris Hick's:

    "None of which is to suggest the film is perfect. As with other Nolan films, the dialogue is often garbled or drowned out by the incessant rumbling music; the timeline jumps around, sometimes incomprehensibly, and the story is paper-thin, with characters that are merely cardboard stereotypes."

    Is this a description of a great war movie?

  14. #44
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    Life in Utah?

    Yes, well tabuno you can always find condemnations and dismissals of the greatest films. You yourself have shown that you did not respond emotionally to Dunkirk and you had a bad, awkward seat, up too close so you could not read the subtitles and at a bad angle. Does this show the film has no emotional impact? No, it shows it had none on YOU.

    But I see that Chris Hicks said in Deseret News that Dunkirk is "a mind-blowing, visceral film, especially on an Imax screen." Though intending to limit his praise, he said Dunkirk "Certainly is an experience." So though it left him wishing for his favorite old war movies, like you, he didn't suggest that he was unmoved by it, that it had no effect on a viewer. He probably had a better seat.

    Hicks makes much of the fact that a lot of Dunkirk was shot on IMAX cameras and ought to be seen in IMA cinemas, but he seems uninformed when he says "y. (Films aren’t really “films” anymore; they’re “digitals,” or perhaps “pixels.”) when in fact some of the greatest directors are making a point of shooting on film, including (see Tasteofcinema):

    Christopher Nolan
    Quentin Tarantino ("I’m very hopeful that future generations will be much smarter than this generation and realize what they lost.")
    James Gray
    Paul Thomas Anderson
    WEs Anderson
    Steven Spielberg
    Richard Linklater
    Andrei Zvjagintsev
    Sam Mendes
    Darren Aronofsky
    Woody Allen

    And of course films aren't called "digitals" still less "pixels." Your Ricks is both retro - he prefers old war movies to this new innovative one and an enforcer of the status quo - "pixels."
    there are also a lot of smaller, lesser known filmmakers who use film as part of their process, for the richness of image that can be achieved with it. But I have a feeling Ricks saw mostly big and loud.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-25-2017 at 04:41 PM.

  15. #45
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    The problem with Dunkirk is not the seating, but the contents or lack of it.

    While I admit that I had a lousy seat for viewing and that I didn't see the movie in IMAX the whole idea just as with those people who were enthralled by Avatar (2009) when it came out, I also felt that as is the case almost a decade ago, there will always be something bigger and more dazzling movie spectacles to come with special effects, technological advances, 3-D, and so forth. As I said before the public will be inundated with virtual reality, Matrix style come this next decade that amaze even more.

    I've been careful to point out where other movies have been better at creating this supposedly vital element of Dunkirk's supposedly amazing photography, "you are there" effect with more emotional intensity. I've also been careful to point out the even the more important lack of content that Dunkirk fails to offer as a substantive movie that's needed to connect the audience with important aspects of humanity, putting real faces to the characters that have depth. Thus even though I had a lousy seat and I wasn't able to enjoy the movie's flash and sizzle like Richard Gere's character Billy Flynn displayed in the Oscar-winning movie Chicago (2002), the problems of Dunkirk's substantive content can't be smoothed over and covered up by the fancy visuals and auditory advances that will only age with time and be easily surpassed by the next scientific gadget within a few years.

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