399 House of Games

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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CSM126
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#51 Post by CSM126 » Mon Jun 18, 2007 6:40 pm

domino harvey wrote:Mamet was praising the one with Tony Danza.
Yeah. Good movie.

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Gigi M.
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#52 Post by Gigi M. » Tue Aug 07, 2007 4:34 pm


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colinr0380
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#53 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Aug 07, 2007 4:44 pm

DVD Beaver wrote:Lindsay Crouse, whom you may remember as the nurse in The Verdict (written by, at one time husband, Mamet) and a brief stint on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (among other things)
I remember her the best from the underrated Iceman by Fred Schepisi. :D

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The Elegant Dandy Fop
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#54 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Tue Aug 07, 2007 7:21 pm

Those are some of the best looking menus I've ever seen.

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Gigi M.
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#55 Post by Gigi M. » Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:07 pm

Back cover.

Is Orion back in the game?

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souvenir
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#56 Post by souvenir » Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:25 pm

Gigi M. wrote:Is Orion back in the game?
No, I don't think so. House of Games is licensed from MGM, who controls the Orion output. Earlier in this thread someone reported this was a quid pro quo for the Criterion laserdisc Raging Bull commentary that showed up on MGM's SE last year.

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justeleblanc
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#57 Post by justeleblanc » Sat Aug 18, 2007 5:40 pm

I just watched this film the other day for the first time and I found it to be incredibly predictable. And stylistically, it seemed to be an exercise in genre film making clearly made by someone with a misunderstanding of the film noir genre -- and even worse, a complete misunderstanding of cinema as a whole. I remember him once saying that art in cinema should come from the editing, but clearly Mamet was merely regurgitating what wiser souls have claimed, because HOUSE OF GAMES couldn't be any more conventional. He was trying too hard and it became annoying. There are a few plays of his that I do enjoy, but I can't stand how pretentious he can be, maybe this pretense is a gimmick.

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Via_Chicago
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#58 Post by Via_Chicago » Sat Aug 18, 2007 6:13 pm

Want to talk about Mamet's pretension? Just read his book about filmmaking, and the whole section about how to make something cinematic. Oy. #-o

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domino harvey
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#59 Post by domino harvey » Sat Aug 18, 2007 8:39 pm

the commentary for this is a lot of fun, which is doubly impressive seeing as Mamet's last attempt with Edmond was so bad. Great con stories from Ricky Jay and typical Mamet-bon-mots from the man himself, which is either a plus or minus for some of you based on the last few posts in this thread!

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Via_Chicago
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#60 Post by Via_Chicago » Sat Aug 18, 2007 8:57 pm

Mamet's a pretty great screenwriter (at least of dialogue), but he's a so-so, hit-or-miss kind of director. His book On Directing isn't particularly interesting or insightful.

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What A Disgrace
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#61 Post by What A Disgrace » Sat Aug 18, 2007 9:22 pm

souvenir wrote:No, I don't think so. House of Games is licensed from MGM, who controls the Orion output. Earlier in this thread someone reported this was a quid pro quo for the Criterion laserdisc Raging Bull commentary that showed up on MGM's SE last year.
I wish Criterion had gone after a William Wyler film or two, instead.

Not that this is bad...but The Big Country is one of my favourite films.

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Cronenfly
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#62 Post by Cronenfly » Sat Aug 18, 2007 10:57 pm

Think House of Games was the only fresh title MGM trusted Criterion with given their past Orion work (Robocop, Unbearable Lightness of Being, etc)? Perhaps others, like United Artists titles, were out of the question (thus no Sweet Smell of Success, for instance)? It does seem a strange choice if it was Criterion's (though justifiable given their recent American indie kick: afterburn, perhaps?) given all the other things MGM owns that they aren't going to do anything/ anything else with that Criterion could work wonders for.

EDIT: Sorry for more or less regurgitating what you said earlier, Jeff, while not making any worthwhile comments of my own. I still haven't mastered making worthwhile posts yet.
Last edited by Cronenfly on Fri Aug 31, 2007 9:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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The Elegant Dandy Fop
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#63 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:49 am

This thread, which began with so much praise, now ends with hatred. I really can't see how anyone can hate it, and in all honesty, it's in my Criterion top ten.

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#64 Post by TheRanchHand » Sun Aug 19, 2007 2:23 am

I'm going to a screening tomorrow for a new indi film and Mamet will be there.

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justeleblanc
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#65 Post by justeleblanc » Sun Aug 19, 2007 11:20 am

The Elegant Dandy Fop wrote:This thread, which began with so much praise, now ends with hatred. I really can't see how anyone can hate it, and in all honesty, it's in my Criterion top ten.
Top ten, meaning you put this ahead of at least some Bunuels, Godards, Ozus, Fassbinders, Antonionis, Renoirs, etc?

Didn't you find the film incredibly predictable? Wasn't the ending just a rip off of Altman's THE LONG GOODBYE (though I'm sure others did that before him)? Wasn't the camera and lighting just obnoxiously artificial? Wasn't the psychology just pop-psychology? Wasn't the acting laughable? Sorry for attacking.

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domino harvey
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#66 Post by domino harvey » Sun Aug 19, 2007 11:45 am

justeleblanc wrote: Wasn't the acting laughable?
You are usually one of the saner posters here, but what is this? You said earlier you like some of Mamet's plays, well which plays? Have you seen other Mamet movies, or even filmed adaptations of his other works? I only ask because this is a common initial reaction to Mamet and I think you are selling him incredibly short by assuming that he doesn't know perfectly well what he's doing.

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The Fanciful Norwegian
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#67 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Sun Aug 19, 2007 11:54 am

The lack of a Jonathan Katz commentary seems like a real missed opportunity.

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justeleblanc
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#68 Post by justeleblanc » Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:05 pm

domino harvey wrote:You are usually one of the saner posters here, but what is this? You said earlier you like some of Mamet's plays, well which plays? Have you seen other Mamet movies, or even filmed adaptations of his other works? I only ask because this is a common initial reaction to Mamet and I think you are selling him incredibly short by assuming that he doesn't know perfectly well what he's doing.
In terms of plays, I have seen productions of THE WOODS, GLENGARRY, OLEANNA, and his adaptation of THREE SISTERS, and maybe others in college. In terms of films, I've seen most of his stuff.

I didn't mean to imply that the acting is not a deliberate choice. I guess it's similar to Hal Hartley in that respect, but for me it doesn't add anything to the film other than the director's signature. And the "laughable" comes from how Mamet deals with the psychology of the characters, especially with his wife -- more in terms of their physical acting, rather than the dialogue. There was something so obvious about it. Laughable may be too harsh of a word. Simplistic is just as harsh.

And again, these attacks may be slightly out of disagreement of the DVD release. I probably wouldn't have minded HOUSE OF GAMES had it not been given the Criterion treatment. Similarly THE SPANISH PRISONER was fine, but I would probably really hate it if Criterion were to release it. Others in this forum also do this from time to time and I wonder if its out of respect for the truly great film directors.

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The Elegant Dandy Fop
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#69 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:42 pm

Well, when I think in terms of top ten, I have the habit of picking one film among my favorite directors, otherwise my top ten list would be all the Fellini, Renoir, Godard, Powell, and Welles films (which result in a top thirty list). Mamet is not for everyone but without a doubt one of my favorite writer/directors.

Once again some one attacks the acting. I can see why people wouldn't like it, but I love the acting, everything is set to a certain metronome, and in the poker scene, everyone speaks in rhyme, or in at least alliteration. Maybe I love hearing slick dialogue and Ricky Jay a bit much, but it's honestly a favorite film of mine.

Anyone else not like the Kent Jones essay too much? I didn't really get a feeling he gets a kick of Mamet outside this film.

For those that haven't yet, hear the commentary. It great especially to hear Mamet say "Orion can go fuck themselves, and if they're not out of business, they fucking should be".
TheRanchHand wrote:I'm going to a screening tomorrow for a new indi film and Mamet will be there.
What movie and where? I would love to go.

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Cronenfly
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#70 Post by Cronenfly » Sun Aug 19, 2007 1:02 pm

The Elegant Dandy Fop wrote:For those that haven't yet, hear the commentary. It great especially to hear Mamet say "Orion can go fuck themselves, and if they're not out of business, they fucking should be".
Maybe part of the reason MGM didn't want to handle this themselves...
Last edited by Cronenfly on Fri Aug 31, 2007 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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justeleblanc
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#71 Post by justeleblanc » Sun Aug 19, 2007 2:22 pm

The Elegant Dandy Fop wrote:Well, when I think in terms of top ten, I have the habit of picking one film among my favorite directors, otherwise my top ten list would be all the Fellini, Renoir, Godard, Powell, and Welles films (which result in a top thirty list).
I totally respect that. And sorry if I became way too judgmental.

Still, is the film supposed to be predictable?

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Belmondo
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#72 Post by Belmondo » Sun Aug 19, 2007 5:47 pm

I always loved this movie and I enjoyed the bonus interviews with Lindsay Crouse and Joe Mantegna - both of which address some of the issues previously raised regarding acting style and the use of language.

To my surprise, Lindsay Crouse feels that the movie is trying to do more "with pictures rather than language"; and Joe Mantegna reminds us:

"if it ain't on the page
it ain't on the stage;
same with movies
except it doesn't rhyme."

Nice to see them both. Did I mention that I always loved this movie?

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kaujot
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#73 Post by kaujot » Sun Aug 19, 2007 6:00 pm

I have always found Roger Ebert's Great Movies to be a very good examination of the film. Certainly better than Kent Jones's essay.

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domino harvey
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#74 Post by domino harvey » Sun Aug 19, 2007 7:59 pm

I was really surprised Ebert wasn't asked to be involved, especially since he was probably this film's biggest proponent upon release.

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kaujot
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#75 Post by kaujot » Sun Aug 19, 2007 8:03 pm

I would have loved an additional Ebert commentary. Too bad any commentary from him is out of the question for the time being.

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