First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

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DarkImbecile
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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#51 Post by DarkImbecile » Sat Sep 01, 2018 12:04 am

I’ll elaborate on this further when I have a chance, but First Man was incredible: a thriller of the highest order rooted in an examination of the particularly human insanity that is the impulse to look upon the empty spaces of the world, other worlds, and infinite space and feel compelled to fill it with ourselves.

The cast - led by Gosling and Foy but with notable appearances by Kyle Chandler, Jason Clarke, and Ciaran Hinds - all do quite well, but the star is Chazelle, whose fourth feature is both technically unassailable and a major stylistic departure that makes his future even more promising. I imagine there will be those who take issue with the use of Armstrong’s family story as a dramatic/tearjerking crutch, but those elements are deemphasized relative to a more traditionally structured biopic by the focus on how genuinely absurd must be the species and society that would make a priority of strapping men onto the tip of a skyscraper-sized bomb to try to win an impossibly epic and also possibly pointless race.

Also, fuck a bunch of Foxes and Friends; that pointless attempt at a smear will be long forgotten by the time this starts winning Oscars.

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hearthesilence
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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#52 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:36 pm


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domino harvey
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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#53 Post by domino harvey » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:37 pm

Couidnt even get through that "review"

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DarkImbecile
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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#54 Post by DarkImbecile » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:40 pm

Right-wing patriotism smear vs Left-wing identity politics attack: which misguided narrative will win out? Stay tuned!

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tenia
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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#55 Post by tenia » Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:58 am

Chazelle was asked about the polemic yesterday on a French TV talk show, and he said he omitted the flag planting because everyone saw that humpteen times in various movies, and he wanted instead to focus his movie on other lesser shown stuff.
Seems quite simple to me.

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bdsweeney
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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#56 Post by bdsweeney » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:20 am

domino harvey wrote:Couidnt even get through that "review"
It reads like Brody went into the film with an agenda and was looking for a fight. I certainly didn’t read the protest scenes like Chazelle was mocking the movement (and certainly didn’t with the performance of ‘Whitey On the Moon). Brody is either very disingenuous with his reading or blind to his own bias.

Yes, the film places it’s concerns with the hard work that went into the moon program (just as his previous two films are concerned with the ‘sacrifices’ made to follow one’s dream). While I’d appreciate Chazelle to acknowledge that not everyone who is successful needs to do so at the sacrifice of happiness (e.g. the pursuit of a happy relationship ... plenty of happy, successful, talented people are also in happy, loving lives), surely showing the benefits and qualities of hard work is not solely a quality that belongs to the right wing?

As for the film itself, it has many qualities to recommend it... not least Claire Foy’s performance, its lack of pretension with the narrative and its photography (though I could have done without the handheld camera in some sections). With its restraint, what it doesn’t quite provide is the emotional punch it’s going for. But it’s well worth a watch.

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Foam
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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#57 Post by Foam » Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:39 am

I'll give it some credit, this is the first film of its kind where you really feel the palpable danger of these missions not from a kind of "thriller" syntax but from something much more immediate and physical; these flight scenes are filled with wildly shaking camerawork and feature creaky, clunky ships inflicting punishment both on the pilots and the viewers. Yet overall I was unmoved by the monotonal dreariness of the proceedings. Maybe it's because I recently saw The Right Stuff and For All Mankind both for the first time (richly textured films capturing a beauty and romance of space flight which I buy into) that I just couldn't swallow Chazelle's miserabilst kitsch take on the subject.

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hearthesilence
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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#58 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:47 am

bdsweeney wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:20 am
It reads like Brody went into the film with an agenda and was looking for a fight. I certainly didn’t read the protest scenes like Chazelle was mocking the movement (and certainly didn’t with the performance of ‘Whitey On the Moon). Brody is either very disingenuous with his reading or blind to his own bias.
I hope this is the case. It sounds bad the way he sees it, but it wouldn't be the first time he's been way off with his observations.

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diamonds
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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#59 Post by diamonds » Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:30 pm

For what it's worth, Armond White hated it, so it can't be that much of a right-wing fetish object.

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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#60 Post by connor » Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:41 pm

Ah, so Brody thinks this movie is reactionary but American Sniper, which made his list of the top 25 movies of the 21st century so far, is morally complex:
Richard Brody on 'American Sniper' wrote:Even in the young man's easy days of sporting adventure, his character bears the seed of the awesome price that he'll pay for his distinction, but it's a distinction that arises from the enduring spirit of the Western, translated into modernity—for better and worse.
1. Movie honoring the ingenuity, daring and sacrifice it took to do the unthinkable and put a man on the moon: REACTIONARY.
2. Movie honoring a self-admitted Islamophobe and pathological liar who believed he was on a holy crusade to kill infidels in an illegal invasion of a sovereign nation and by his own admission killed a woman cradling a toddler in her arms on top of 160 others: MORALLY COMPLEX.

New Yorker liberals: they never disappoint.

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Big Ben
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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#61 Post by Big Ben » Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:49 pm

I'll add that Chris Kyle's statements are sketchy and his book "documents" things that never happened. The film version flat out certain fabricates events so looking at Brody's review in retrospect...yikes. I certainly expect embellishment or certain things to be left out but calling First Man reactionary is peak buffoonery especially given his maudlin view of American Sniper.

connor
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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#62 Post by connor » Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:00 pm

Big Ben wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:49 pm
I'll add that Chris Kyle's statements are sketchy and his book "documents" things that never happened. The film version flat out certain fabricates events so looking at Brody's review in retrospect...yikes. I certainly expect embellishment or certain things to be left out but calling First Man reactionary is peak buffoonery especially given his maudlin view of American Sniper.
I actually went into American Sniper thinking perhaps Eastwood had indeed made a morally complex film. And maybe the liberal critics were overlooking that complexity and just having a bit of hysteria (perhaps guilty consciences considering how many of them were pro-war back in 2002/3) as they're having now under Trump. But no: Eastwood takes fascist Kyle and his terrifying view of not only "his mission" but the Iraq war and turns it into geopolitical truth.

Wars in Eastwood movies that are "complicated": WWII, the American Civil War (The Outlaw Josey Wales, those hilarious cutaways in The Beguiled to his yankee hypocrisy).

Wars in Eastwood movies that are correctly boiled down to good vs evil: the invasion of Grenada, the Iraq War.

Uh, okay.

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bottled spider
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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#63 Post by bottled spider » Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:57 pm

Somebody needs to make the movie Accidental Right Wing Fetish Object.

I can't get past the sheer incompetence of Brody's writing. Take one sentence:
It is a film of deluded, cultish longing for an earlier era of American life, one defined not by conservative politics but, rather, by a narrow and regressive emotional perspective that shapes and distorts the substance of the film.
The antecedent of "that shapes and distorts" is not the immediately preceding regressive emotional perspective, but the longing that appeared twenty-two words earlier. So why not just structure the sentence "The substance of the film is distorted by a deluded longing for ..."?

He punctuates like an asshole: "... not by conservative politics but, rather, by a narrow..." should be smoothed out to "...not by conservative politics, but rather by a narrow..."

Concision is a basic. Deluded and cultish, narrow and regressive, shapes and distorts smack of undergraduate essay padding.

What is a cultish longing anyway? And I defy anyone to explain what an emotional perspective is.

Serenity now.

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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#64 Post by kubelkind » Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:58 pm

As regular readers of his column, not to mention his Godard biog, probably know, Brody goes a little too far sometimes. I think his heart is in the right place (and the Godard book is a treasure trove of info) but if something rankles him, he can turn into a proper pub bore, with a tendancy toward unreadable and self righteous virtue signalling.

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bottled spider
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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#65 Post by bottled spider » Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:02 pm

I don't think I've read any Brody before -- unless he's written a Criterion booklet? So in fairness, replace "Brody's writing" above with "the three paragraphs of the review I attempted before giving up".

I can think of a few literary critics who are gold when they write about what they appreciate, but turn embarrassingly juvenile when they attack what they dislike.

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HJackson
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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#66 Post by HJackson » Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:32 am

tenia wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:58 am
Chazelle was asked about the polemic yesterday on a French TV talk show, and he said he omitted the flag planting because everyone saw that humpteen times in various movies, and he wanted instead to focus his movie on other lesser shown stuff.
Seems quite simple to me.
I thought this was the lamest excuse given that a shot of the flag planting would have added about 20s to the screentime, but after watching this absolutely extraordinary film I think Chazelle is right. It's a hard decision to justify properly without spoiling the film though. I hope some prominent people on the right have the courage to admit they were wrong after seeing it (I was certainly duped on this one, although Gosling's original comments didn't help much...) This thing deserves so much better than the partisan shit-show that it's currently at the centre of - although Richard Brody is right that this film would have been much better if it had taken a few minutes so Neil Armstrong could randomly pull a person aside, forget about his grief and mission, and say what he thought about the lady astronaut Russia used a few years before the main action of the film.

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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#67 Post by Kirkinson » Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:43 am

bottled spider wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:57 pm
He punctuates like an asshole: "... not by conservative politics but, rather, by a narrow..." should be smoothed out to "...not by conservative politics, but rather by a narrow..."
In Brody's defense on this one point only, the New Yorker (in)famously loves their commas, and has done so for decades, so you can probably blame this one on the copy editor's commitment to that tradition.

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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#68 Post by whaleallright » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:25 pm

Brody has always struck me as like a lot of folks you meet (and overhear) at places like Film Forum in NY: intelligent, well-educated and -read, decently worldly, right-minded, modesty "bohemian" (that beard), but unreasonably convinced of their own brilliance and that every thought they have is worth sharing with the world. Which is fine, except that Brody has a gig writing film criticism for one of the few "major" publications of cultural criticism left, and the rest of those folks just take it home to their UWS apartments. I guess he's a step up from the absolutely colorless Anthony Lane and David Denby but he's still a bore.*

*Case in point: Brody's knowledge of film history is clearly superior to Lane's or Denby's, but it also feels warmed-over (like he's dimly recalling books he read 30 years ago) and distinctly skin-deep. The minute he tries to make some positive claim about, say, the history of the close-up in film, I can hear a thousand actual film historians shudder in embarrassment.

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Foam
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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#69 Post by Foam » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:21 pm

This was a bad review, but since everyone seems to be piling on I'll just say that IMO Brody commands a certain authority as a critic because of his familiarity with the history of the medium which, make no mistake, puts almost if not all of his contemporaries to shame. Film critic is a different job than film historian, so it's refreshing when a critic does bother to master that history (Brody being known for watching about 3 movies a day). No less than David Bordwell has said of Brody that he's "seen just about everything." The trouble is when his ideological idiosyncracies get in the way, like in this instance.

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domino harvey
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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#70 Post by domino harvey » Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:24 pm

Armond White is well-seen and knows his film history too. Both now seem to prefer choosing to use that to twist a film to their will rather than bringing universally-observable ideas in the film to the forefront

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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#71 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:18 am

LQ saw this without me to conduct a film chat afterward and said it was "fine" multiple times without being able to really figure out why everyone in the chat loved it. Somehow I am now more intrigued after this lukewarm and mysterious spousal reception.

Maybe I can urge her to expand on that here.

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tenia
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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#72 Post by tenia » Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:00 pm

Kirkinson wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:43 am
bottled spider wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:57 pm
He punctuates like an asshole: "... not by conservative politics but, rather, by a narrow..." should be smoothed out to "...not by conservative politics, but rather by a narrow..."
In Brody's defense on this one point only, the New Yorker (in)famously loves their commas, and has done so for decades, so you can probably blame this one on the copy editor's commitment to that tradition.
I always found English writers to massively underuse commas, as if they were deducted from their wages somehow. There certainly is some space in between under and over-using them, though.
But this sentence "... not by conservative politics but, rather, by a narrow..." definitely looks like what I would write in French and nobody would care about these 2 extra commas.

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bottled spider
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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#73 Post by bottled spider » Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:33 pm

In that sentence, "rather" could be deleted without any change in meaning, so it makes little sense to emphasise the word by separating it out with commas. In an already needlessly convoluted sentence, that punctuation does nothing to facilitate comprehension, and it sounds pompous and pseudo-academic.

Inserting a single comma between "politics" and "but" carves the sentence at its joints, making it easier to follow his train of thought (such as it is). It's a question of placement rather than quantity.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#74 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:16 pm

bottled spider wrote:In that sentence, "rather" could be deleted without any change in meaning, so it makes little sense to emphasise the word by separating it out with commas.
But that's exactly when we're supposed separate conjunctive adverbs with commas: when there's no change in meaning. Unrestrictive adverbs are often used as pauses or asides, so they get separated from the rest of the sentence. It's restrictive adverbs that don't get commas.

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domino harvey
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Re: First Man (Damien Chazelle, 2018)

#75 Post by domino harvey » Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:19 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:18 am
LQ saw this without me to conduct a film chat afterward and said it was "fine" multiple times without being able to really figure out why everyone in the chat loved it. Somehow I am now more intrigued after this lukewarm and mysterious spousal reception.

Maybe I can urge her to expand on that here.
Everything about this movie looks "fine," I am in no rush to see it but am sure once I do it'll be a solid, three star, never need to see it again experience

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