astonishing cinematography

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Two girls, first love, superglue and Robert Frost.

dangbenedict  asked:

When you become coherent again I would LOVE to hear your take on the trailer and the teasers in it so far as a fan of Strange from the comics :)

hey :-) it’s taken me a lot longer to get coherent than i was expecting. i think i’ve watched it now… well, lots. and 99% of it, is incredible. this is a teaser. we haven’t seen the doctor at all. yet it feels so complete and portentous. damn it scott; well done.

(Oh hang on, have to watch it again….. Ok done.)

there are now so many reports and reviews around and i guess everyone must be pretty saturated with the teaser’s meanings and imagery. (by the way by far the best one i’ve read is by Abz.)

some observations though; this is a labour of palpable love. it’s the oath and shamballa in terms of origins, but there’s a kind of awe and respect for the story that really seems be coming from the production. given how long feige has wanted this (and given how powerful and important dr strange has, and will be in the MCU [we just haven’t seen it yet]) this makes sense.

scott derrickson in his films has been long focused on spiritual examination; on morality vs religion; on what makes a person good or bad. and what constitutes truth (you saw all of this in sinister / exorcism of emily rose / the day the earth stood still). this is that worldview and line of enquiry right from the outset.

we’d all wondered how dark marvel was going to go. well; this is a whole new level. the scene in crash (bloody LOVED the symbolism of stephen disconnected from his submerged hands; foretelling the type of gesture he will later use to unleash cosmic fury) and the scenes in the hospital; this is a physically broken man.

 i love his accent. it’s so shocking; this is (imv) the biggest leap from his usual signature baritone and he’s going to lead an entire movie around that. I can’t get my head around that all. and his fucking acting, it kills me. in two minutes we’ve seen half of the emotional spectrum already. He’s so good at expressing deep waters that belie even deeper torrents (sorry, tortured metaphor). and i adored that even in his arrogant neurosurgeon moments, the turmoil is still so resonant.

nepal scenes with the ancient one were great but definitely stylistically a homage. currently my only qualm to date (and this might be premature and possibly overwrought) was tilda’s tibetan incarnation of the AO a white albeit androgynous woman, could still be read as an evocation of the asian sage trope (maybe costume and hair or lack thereof, contribute to that). to be fair that IS the actual story and the filmmakers are being incredibly authentic. but i would’ve loved to see the AO as more transcendent, perhaps not even in human form.

the astral form scene – AO as morpheus – is stunning, iconic. all the reaction vids just peaked at that moment. such a marvel moment. and the “teach me” moment? i have no words. I think that utterance is now in my DNA. I mean; look at him…

 i can see much recognition for this film in this tiny vignette; the costumes are wonderful as is set design, the cinematography is astonishing. such beautiful nods to the ethereal palette of tarkovsky and the bleached, desiccated tones of nolan. and kurosawa in there as well…

 the one thing i’ve been hearing the past year is “who the hell is dr strange” and this has been answered. watching the trailer reactions vids i realised two things; there is already an entirely new audience amped for this film and for benedict (all the hardcore fanboys describing benedict as sexy af and bad-ass gives me life), and secondly; “teach me” now seems like a universal plea from fans as much as from the broken doctor. :-)

thinking about it. this trailer/teaser isn’t just a film, it’s practically a parable.

Ranking the Star Wars Films:

7.  Attack of the Clones (2002) (Director: George Lucas)
Attack of the Clones, for me, will always be the worst in the series.  I could write pages on this film but in summary the cons are just too numerous and too massive to ignore,  while there’s some solid action (the massive Jedi fight in the arena and the fight between Obi-Wan and Jango Fett are particular highlights) it is heavily weighed down by the worst effects in the series (in relation to the respective times the films were released). a poorly structured, planned and paced plot, numerous plot holes, poor characterisation and a romance story so bad it has become perhaps the second most infamous thing in the franchise, (we all know what the first is, and believe me I will get to that later.) 

The stand-out bad element here though is the atrocious dialogue, easily the worst in the series,  Anakin’s conversations with Padme manage to simultaneously sound whiny, immature, childish, pretentious and melodramatic at the same time, (”You are in my very soul, tormenting me.” “I’m haunted by the kiss, you shouldn’t have given me”, “I don’t like sand”)  this was a performance which earned Hayden Christensen a fair amount of undue scorn, as people failed to take in the similarly weak performances of greats like Samuel Jackson, Natalie Portman and Christopher Lee. also failing to put the scrutiny on the common denominator of these performances.  George Lucas’ screenwriting.  the only ones I’d say who really pull through this film with credibility are Ewan McGregor, who is given much more to do here than his near side-character role in Phantom Menace, he’s the only one of the protagonists who manages to convey any genuine emotion throughout.  the other would be Ian McDiarmid who plays the dual-handed nature of Palpatine’s slimy nature behind a genial front brilliantly.

Overall though, this one… just doesn’t work at all   
4/10

6. The Phantom Menace (1999)  (Director: George Lucas)

The most hated film in the series perhaps, but i’m going to give it some credit here.  for one It makes better use of practical effects and sets than the later prequels, the action is great, (Podrace is brilliant as is the Duel of the Fates) and Jake Lloyd is nowhere NEAR as bad as people act like he is, (watch his goodbye scene with Shmi and tell me this kid has no talent) Darth Maul is a threatening villain with a fantastic design (even if he has no development) John Williams is on top form, and while the characters aren’t well-developed I don’t have the urge to slap them everytime they speak like in AOTC.   That is about where the positives end however, the plot is once again a mess. the acting is mediocre, the cinematography is bland, and Jar Jar Binks is in it. A LOT! as for Jar Jar Binks, people call him the worst thing in the star wars films… and yeah, he is. his voice and mannerisms are offensive to both morality and your senses, and the brand of ‘comedy’ he brings to the series is simultaneously child-pandering and groan inducing. 

It’s better than Attack of the Clones… but it’s not good by any stretch.
4.5/10


5. Revenge of the Sith (2005) (Director: George Lucas)

Generally regarded as the best of the prequels and with good reason, Revenge of the Sith trims the extraneous shit (for the most part) that dragged down it’s predecessors and delivers an enjoyable (if very heavily flawed) movie. the action is excellent, the acting is probably the best of the prequels (personal preference, I’d take Christensen’s over-dramatic delivery over Neeson’s ‘I don’t give a shit’ delivery any day of the week) the cinematography outside of the scenes which are purely devoted to conversation is actually pretty good, the pacing is better, John Williams steps up to a whole new level and at times the atmosphere is fantastic with two scenes in particular standing out (The Opera House scene, and the scene where Anakin and Padme stare across Coruscant while both contemplate what might happen in the near future) there’s actually a lot to like in this film. but it’s still plagued with issues. conversation scenes are woefully dull due to lazy editing and cinematography, the overuse of green screen is extremely noticeable, the plot is still riddled with holes, and Anakin’s actual turn to the dark side is hopelessly rushed.  going from hesitantly assisting in the murder of one Jedi, to murdering children in the space of one scene transition. the dialogue is also pretty appalling still. . It’s not really a good film technically, but for me it does just enough right for me to enjoy it. at the very least it’s more watchable than the other prequels.    
6.5/10

4. A New Hope. (1977) (Director: George Lucas)

Yeah. here’s a controversial choice. I advise anyone who disagrees to read on,

anyway, A New Hope, often known just as Star Wars. the film that started it all. and what can you say about a film this big and iconic? it became a hit for good reasons, the pacing is pitch perfect, (to the point where this film is used as the prime example of pacing in film schools) the action for the time and even to an extent now, is great, the special effects are a fucking MARVEL for when it was released, and the characters are immediately likeable and well-developed. Luke is a fantastic protagonist, Obi-Wan is a great mentor figure played ably by the late Alec Guinness in spite of the actor’s disdain for the movies, a true example of professionalism if there ever was one.  the villains are also great, Grand Moff Tarkin for me is the most underrated villain in the series, his poise, and cold dignity are just fantastic to watch, and then there’s Vader.  one of the greatest villains in media history. Now for me, he didn’t really earn that claim until later, but he’s still excellent here, imposing, intimidating and mysterious, with James Earl Jones providing an unbelievable presence to him. however the movie isn’t perfect, the dialogue at times is corny, as is the acting, and plot is a bit too basic at this point, with a few notable gaps in logic. (”yep, we won’t destroy that Escape Pod, that’d be a waste of our infinite ammunition, it has no life readings and droids don’t exist in this world!”). primarily. I just felt the later films built on this one emotionally to the point where I just enjoy them more which really isn’t a detriment to this film, as the first act it couldn’t really be that in depth or emotional..

regardless. A New Hope is a great film and a perfect starting point for the original trilogy.
8.5/10

3. Return of the Jedi (1983) (Director (Richard Marquand)

And this’d be the other half of that controversial choice, while still beloved, Return of the Jedi is generally regarded as the weakest of the original trilogy, I can’t say I don’t understand why,  the pacing’s more than a bit off, Leia and particularly Han don’t have that much of a role, the Ewoks are a bit child-pandering and their defeat of the empire’s forces is more than a touch too implausible.  but for me, the good parts outweigh the flaws,  the final space battle is phenomenal, an utter astonishing feat of cinematography, Effects and action,  the beginning scenes with Jabba are simultaneously tense and fun, the rapport between the characters seems genuine and the resolution is genuinely emotional with a sense of gravity and weight befitting the final victory of the Rebel Alliance.  but the absolute highlight is Luke’s confrontation with Vader and the Emperor, the atmosphere throughout these scenes is just chilling, the duel is brilliantly paced, and it’s resolution is fitting and emotive

Overall I’d say ANH is the better film from a technical standing… but I love Return of the Jedi more. 
9/10

2. The Force Awakens (2015)

God I love this movie…. I FUCKING LOVE THIS MOVIE!  I’m going to avoid spoilers in this one, but all you really need to know is the Action is the best in the series, the comedy is the best in the series, the cinematography is fantastic, the acting is among the best in the series. and the characters are just fantastic, instantly likeable and well-developed John Boyega and Daisy Ridley are STUNNINGLY good despite their relative inexperience and they lend this film a level of heart that the prequels sorely lacked, the film establishes more likeable and believable relationships in minutes than the Prequels did in hours.  Kylo Ren and General Hux are also fantastic as villains, the film’s resurrection of GORGEOUS practical effects is truly majestic and it’s all tied into a well constructed and well-paced package.  there are a few flaws I could pick with the plot but they are small to say the least. the only large issue is that the film bears too strong a similarity to a New Hope, in that too many ideas are outright repeated.but it barely matters in the end, I don’t think i’ve ever had this much fun watching a movie. this is a GLORIOUS return to form for the series,  
9.5/10

1. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

This is a masterpiece.  not just the best star wars film but one of the best films of all time,  just as Force Awakens was the best Star Wars film for action and comedy, Empire is the best star wars film for grit, atmosphere and mythos,  the character development here is top notch, the atmosphere is tense with an overhanging looming threat that could fall at any time, and when it does, it’s unbelievable,  the film opens with the Rebels having their asses kicked and that sets the tone, As Luke immerses himself in training and we discover the depths of the force and the mythology of this universe through the incredible atmosphere of Dagobah and the insightful but deceptive offerings of Yoda, the other characters desperately attempt to flee an empire with a reach that seems infinite.  Vader pursues the other heroes relentlessly, that ferocity and drive ramps his intimidation factor into the stratosphere.  the climax is near enough perfect.  Luke’s confrontation with Vader here is one of my favourite scenes in any piece of media. the emotional depth, atmosphere and grit cement this movie as something truly special, and it is one of the few films that even at a stretch I can’t really think of any genuinely notable flaws.  there are small nitpicks of course,  but nothing that has any real effect on the film as a whole

Empire Strikes Back is a film masterpiece, and the best star wars film

10/10