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10 August 2003 @ 09:52 am
rain  
Sunday is not living up to its name. It's overcast, with occasional rumbles of thunder, and I am pleased.

(Why is there no rainy-day saying for Seattle? E.g,. "The rain in Seattle falls mainly on the cattle." Hmm.)

Last night I watched Daredevil and I have to say, I didn't hate it. The first half, especially, was visually stunning, as if they'd handcrafted every single frame of film. Plus, I loved DD's gorgeous catacomb of an apartment--lights out, everything in it monochrome, the boxing gloves hanging there in memoriam, the sensory deprivation tank. I've had a little thing for blind heroes ever since watching "Blind Fury" (plus, this called to mind "The Sentinel" at times) and when DD stripped for his shower and I saw his incredibly scarred back I made a helpless guh sound. Scar kink, too. And it was wonderful, for that small slice of the movie--with the scars and the pills and the tank--that they showed a superhero who paid a serious physical toll for his escapades.

I think that if it had been anyone but Affleck in the role, this could have been a hit without too many other changes (short list: flesh out the story a bit, make the romance less stupid, give Bullseye a personality, stop trying to give a billionaire's daughter street cred). But he is nothing but movie star beefcake these days. No presence, no soul. I've really only watched a handful of movies he's been in, but it's obvious that the kind of roles he had in "Chasing Amy" and "Dogma" let him play to his strengths--he's a goof, a not particularly bright smart aleck, a poor dumb jerk with a misplaced heart. He just doesn't belong in A-list movies like "Pearl Harbor" or "Sum of All Fears" or this, trying to straighten himself into characters that have no edges, nothing to cling to. (Matt Damon is suffering the same fate over in "The Bourne Identity" et al.) Is this the same guy who made a film called, "I Killed My Lesbian Wife, Hung Her on a Meat Hook, and Now I Have a Three-Picture Deal at Disney"?

Given the darkness of the film--and it really did try hard for dark--they should have had Christian Bale, or someone like him, play Daredevil.

A few lessons I've taken from this film:
  • Colin Farrell should not be bald.
  • Superheroes should not be upholstered in burgundy vinyl.
  • Girls should not fight.
Okay, just kidding about the last. Except when they are Jennifer Garner and start waving around silver-plated tridents like some maddened lobster with excess cleavage.

I had some more to write here, but for some stupid reason I have a stomach-ache. Must figure out what to do with it.
 
 
 
Estepheia: Spike & Xanderestepheia on August 10th, 2003 10:14 am (UTC)
I agreee and... then I don't.
I liked the same sequence in DD, the toll DD paid for his life of violence. However, I thought Ben Affleck did a good job. I don't like him much in other movies but as DD I thought he was terrific. Understated in some of the scenes.
I thought Jennifer Garner sucked dead toads through a straw. *shrug*
But mostly the camera work was so so. There were a few good instances of mis-en-scéne, but on the whole the editing was too fast and destroyed any sense of time and space. The action became to hyperbolic and unreal because it did not use the location well. And there were way too many gratuitous still shots of boots in puddles with the camera languidly traveling upwards following DD's leg yadda yadda. I thought the film had a fragmented feel that didn't look deliberate but was a by product of stiving for a fancy look. Just my two cents.

Loved 'Blind Fury' a lot. One of my favorites.

I love fic in which blindness plays a part. Don't we all ;-)
Not enough S/X blindness fic around, that's for sure.

And the scar kink? Oh yeah. Gets me every time in the Sharpe movies when Sean Bean takes his shirt off. Oh boy.

I wish I could put you on retainer to write a nice h/c fic, chain you to your desk or something. :-)
I guess I'll cave soon and trundle off to read Repo, after staying away from it for months now.
Anna S.eliade on August 10th, 2003 10:31 am (UTC)
There were a few good instances of mis-en-scéne, but on the whole the editing was too fast and destroyed any sense of time and space. The action became to hyperbolic and unreal because it did not use the location well.

Oh god, I can't remember the last time I truly enjoyed a fight sequence in a movie. They're all crap these days--CGI and ridiculous physics-breaking flips and muddy movement. In fact, I had the thought during this last night that it would have played much better if they'd tried for greater realism--kind of like what they pulled off in "Unbreakable." Okay, you'd have to accept the toxic eyeful that gave DD his wonder senses, but it would have been cool if DD was more obviously this guy burning the candle at both ends and doomed to die early: he's bent on over-compensating for his handicap, hyped on his own superhero myth of invulnerability and fearlessness, getting progressively crazier as he dare-deviled himself around town. But they took the usual easy route out. The flying scenes were dumb--diving off buildings and such into window-washer scaffolding (as if you could fall a few hundred feet without death) is just silly.

I guess I'm not a comic book purist--because I would love to see them take supehero characters like this and size them down a bit to fit into our own world. There's this fatal disconnect between our reality and the universes they construct for superhero movies--we just don't care that much, because these guys in tights are effectively made of rubber, never end up in the hospital, never deal with minor annoyances, always dodge bullets and run up walls, etc.
Brassy Hagmiggy on August 10th, 2003 10:54 am (UTC)
Oh god, I can't remember the last time I truly enjoyed a fight sequence in a movie. They're all crap these days--CGI and ridiculous physics-breaking flips and muddy movement.

I remember one review of Pirates that said something to the effect of, "And unlike the CG blurs you see in every other movie's fight scenes, here you see people stand and hack at each other with swords in creative ways. Errol Flynn would be proud." For a movie about zombie pirates and Johnny Depp's eyeliner, they really did a fine job of blowing competitors out of the water (errr...) when it came to making enjoyable fight sequences. The battle between Jack and Will in the confines of a blacksmith's shop was a much better example of a well-constructed cinematic fight than superheroes zooming all around a giant metropolis.

It boosted my confidence a very tiny amount that Hollywood hasn't entirely succumbed to the notion of fast camera work being more important than a skilled choreographer.
Anna S.eliade on August 10th, 2003 10:59 am (UTC)
The battle between Jack and Will in the confines of a blacksmith's shop was a much better example of a well-constructed cinematic fight than superheroes zooming all around a giant metropolis.

Oh, you're right--that was very good. More of that is what we need. But of course I don't need to qualify my statement because "I can't remember" is accurate enough. {g} I have a poor memory.
Brassy Hagmiggy on August 10th, 2003 11:03 am (UTC)
Hee! Also, one of the very few things I liked about Firefly (at least before "Ariel" aired... love that ep) was that people weren't all Tekken about fighting; they really and truly looked like they were fighting.

So, that's obviously what the world needs to make it a better place: more people believably pounding the shit out of each other.
Estepheiaestepheia on August 10th, 2003 12:00 pm (UTC)
I guess I'm not a comic book purist--because I would love to see them take supehero characters like this and size them down a bit to fit into our own world. There's this fatal disconnect between our reality and the universes they construct for superhero movies--we just don't care that much, because these guys in tights are effectively made of rubber, never end up in the hospital, never deal with minor annoyances, always dodge bullets and run up walls, etc.
That's how I feel. I read a few DD comic books and thought he was a fairly 'human' superhero, a bit like (graphic novel) 'Batman' - someone who has weaknesses and shortcomings.

I liked the first X-men movie because of the prologue in which the Magneto's abilities manifest themselves in a concentration camp. It rooted the X-men world in reality - unfortunately that realism is soon undermined again. I know the X-men movies are popular and they *are* entertaining, they even manage decent characterisation, especially if one considers the large cast, but on the whole it's difficult to care for characters who are so far removed from my own anxieties and interest. IMHO they didn't appear human enough.

The same applies to DD. Where he was human, even though enhanced, he was vulnerable and fragile. That's when I liked him. That's why I root for him in fight scenes because he can get hurt.
Matrix Reloaded is a good example too. We are told Zion is the real world, but IMHO the characters are not very human. Neo seemed more human when he still lived in the Matrix. It's hard to feel for him or any of the other characters. They are just too cool, unreachable.

That's just me, obviously. And my BtVS trained storytelling sensibilities. *sigh*
Tehomettehomet on August 11th, 2003 05:55 am (UTC)
I liked the first X-men movie because of the prologue in which the Magneto's abilities manifest themselves in a concentration camp. It rooted the X-men world in reality - unfortunately that realism is soon undermined again.

I thought that sequence was breath-taking. And I think it was the best thing in the two movies, so far, although I do still like them.
My Beautiful Sinking Ship: the triobitterbyrden on August 10th, 2003 10:22 am (UTC)
yes yes yes on the colin farrell bald thing.

i liked DD's bondage suit. better than tights and not as swishy.

in fact, the outfit was the only thing i liked about the movie, in retrospect.

do you like comic books? if you do, and you haven't heard about it already, see if you can find one called "Alias" (not related to jennifer garner, or the show). or click here for amazon notes.

side note, i just spent four hours watching "falling for a dancer" and prefer a depressing irish miniseries that shows me young colin with his shirt off to even fifteen minutes of bullseye.

Anna S.eliade on August 10th, 2003 10:34 am (UTC)
Ooh, Alias sounds really good. I've added it to my Wish List. :) Thanks!
Destinadestina on August 10th, 2003 10:42 am (UTC)
And it was wonderful, for that small slice of the movie--with the scars and the pills and the tank--that they showed a superhero who paid a serious physical toll for his escapades.

I was going to post about this to my own LJ but was overcome with laziness, so I'll say it here instead. You know what I loved? The fact that DD's cowl gets ripped off him repeatedly in the movie. I always had this serious irritation that the hero would be bruised and bloody and nearly dead (a la Batman) but no one ever managed to see his secret identity. Either they were interrupted before they could unmask him, or it apparently never occurred to them. Here, the poor guy gets outed around every turn! I thought that was as funny as it could be.

And Jennifer Garner was hot. *g*
Anna S.: darieneliade on August 10th, 2003 10:47 am (UTC)
I was going to post about this to my own LJ but was overcome with laziness, so I'll say it here instead. You know what I loved? The fact that DD's cowl gets ripped off him repeatedly in the movie.

Yes! I noticed and liked that too. As you say, very funny. {g} And his identity is figured out by the reporter at the end, who decides to keep it a secret. (Shades of Jack McGee with a heart and conscience.)
Michelle Christian: Frankentimmovies_michelle on August 10th, 2003 10:47 am (UTC)

I also agree and disagree. About different and similar things. Well, I think I've covered all my bases there...

The scars were great. The sensory deprivation tank was great. I liked the character's darkness. And the set design and some of the camera work was great.

But.

On the positive side, I don't think Ben Affleck was that bad. (Is it weird or stupid that I liked how messy his hair was, too? Not in a mussed-hair-kink kind of way, either.) And I thought Jennifer Garner did a pretty good job, too. And even with the sexy hero girl outfit, it was one of the more pracitcal I've seen: She wasn't likely to fall out of it at any point, and while tight, it didn't seem painfully so. Sort of like a leather sports bra.

On the negative side, I thought that the whole thing would have improved without the over-explaining vo. "I waited outside for my father." And we see him waiting outside for his father. I think we could have gotten that without them telling us, too. Even with this as the set-up for the rest of the line "Sometimes I think I'm still waiting," we didn't really need any of it, because, yeah, he wears a costume like his father's and has his gloves and all of that. I think I could have figured that all out on my own, thanks. And I think the rest of the vo was just as unnecessary. (I will stop myself from repeating the rest of my rant about unnecessary vo and the dumbing down of films.)

It was both too short and dragged, so fleshing out the story while cutting some of the deadweight would have been good. And I don't think it had the respect for the characters that some other comicbook movies, such as X-Men, have had, and which I think is necessary to make these things work. Respect the source and take it seriously as a story, not as "just a comicbook." Sheesh.

I will agree, though, Colin Farrell looks much better with hair. I want Bullseye's coat, though. *g*
Anna S.eliade on August 10th, 2003 10:58 am (UTC)
On the positive side, I don't think Ben Affleck was that bad. (Is it weird or stupid that I liked how messy his hair was, too? Not in a mussed-hair-kink kind of way, either.)

It's funny how fans notice the same things. {g} I mused approvingly on his hair during the movie too. Heh. I think it was deliberate, a nod to his blindness, and props to them for thinking of that.

"Sometimes I think I'm still waiting," we didn't really need any of it, because, yeah, he wears a costume like his father's and has his gloves and all of that.

Good points about the VO's, though they didn't bother me that much.

And I don't think it had the respect for the characters that some other comicbook movies...

Unfortunately, I don't know anything about the source, so any deviations are lost on me. (And I suppose that can actually be *fortunate* for watching some adaptations.)

I will agree, though, Colin Farrell looks much better with hair. I want Bullseye's coat, though. *g*

I liked his background--the fact that he had a distinct nationality. His Irish lunacy was very appealing. I don't know if that was comic-book canon or not. I wish they'd have let him have more lines, to show off his accent. (He really is Irish, isn't he?)
Michelle Christian: Cowboy Bebopmovies_michelle on August 10th, 2003 11:10 am (UTC)

Unfortunately, I don't know anything about the source, so any deviations are lost on me.

Actually, my knowledge of the original books is limited, too. I just think that there's all these people jumping on the comicbook-movie bandwagon and not actually paying attention to the fact that these are actual stories, with depth and characterization and the like. For the most part. *g*

I liked his background--the fact that he had a distinct nationality. His Irish lunacy was very appealing. I don't know if that was comic-book canon or not. I wish they'd have let him have more lines, to show off his accent. (He really is Irish, isn't he?)

Yes, CF is *very* Irish. I was also pleased that they let him keep his accent, as I didn't expect Bullseye to be Irish, too, though I don't know the actual nationality of the original character, either. I just know that he's scary and a goofball and I love him. *g*
Tehomettehomet on August 11th, 2003 05:53 am (UTC)
collation
eliade wrote: (He really is Irish, isn't he?)
Yeah, Colin Farrell's from down the road in Castleknock. Castleknock being a relatively well-off suburb of Dublin.

I enjoyed the DD discussion, particularly the points about it being rare to have a superhero on whom the mileage shows. And I have a question. Why would a blind man choose to use a sensory deprivation tank?
Anna S.eliade on August 11th, 2003 09:06 am (UTC)
Re: collation
When he went blind, his other senses overcompensated (toxic radiation as plot device to create mutant-like abilities), so his hearing, for one thing, was painfully sensitive and he had to block it out. But also his sense of touch, smell, etc.
(Anonymous) on August 12th, 2003 07:03 am (UTC)
Except when they are Jennifer Garner and start waving around silver-plated tridents like some maddened lobster with excess cleavage.

Hee! I knew there was a reason she reminded me of the Little Mermaid...well, not a reason, but a series of subconscious prompts (the boobage, the hair, the Sebastian-like cutlery). Also, Jennifer Garner could no way no how ever be Greek.

Elizabeth
Random adoration Anna, I adore you. /random adoration)