Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

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John Cope
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Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#1 Post by John Cope » Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:27 pm

At long last, Mandy. There is no other film I'm looking forward to more this year.

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colinr0380
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Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#2 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:34 pm

That looks very interesting. If the premise seems slightly more graspable than Cosmatos's previous film, it still looks to have a similar style! What did you think of Beyond The Black Rainbow, John Cope?

(EDIT: I like the idea that Mandy might feature an animated sequence that could be the equivalent of the central flashback scene in the previous film)
Last edited by colinr0380 on Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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John Cope
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Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#3 Post by John Cope » Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:39 pm

colinr0380 wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:34 pm
What did you think of Beyond The Black Rainbow, John Cope?
Loved it.

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cpetrizzi
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Re: Trailers for Upcoming Films

#4 Post by cpetrizzi » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:43 am

John Cope wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:27 pm
At long last, Mandy. There is no other film I'm looking forward to more this year.
Jesus, what a trailer. I'm hooked!

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Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

#5 Post by Peter-H » Sat Sep 01, 2018 4:08 pm

Mandy is the second film by Panos Cosmatos, the director of Beyond The Black Rainbow and I'm really excited for this one because it's getting great reviews, it apparently centers around an especially bonkers Nicholas Cage performance, and the trailer makes it look pretty insane. Mandy hits theaters September 14th.

Edit: Why can't this movie have it's own thread? Why did my thread get moved to the trailer section?

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thirtyframesasecond
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Re: Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

#6 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:59 am

'From Visionary Director...' is the kind of thing M Night Shyalaman modestly prefaces his movies with. Cosmatos has only directed one previous movie, so this is particularly impressive. Still, I am looking forward to this.

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zedz
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Re: Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

#7 Post by zedz » Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:31 pm

Mandy is pretty much exactly what you'd expect. The most interesting thing about it is the sluggish, drugged-up pace for the first hour or so, which really seemed to nonplus much of its target audience. The final half-hour is non-stop bonkers, however, so all was forgiven. I found it stylish but shallow, and less fun and inventive than I'd hoped.

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Lost Highway
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Re: Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

#8 Post by Lost Highway » Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:52 pm

I loved the look and sound of Beyond the Black Rainbow but I also found it interminable till it livened up in the last 10 minutes, when it suddenly became a slasher film. I could go and see Mandy on Wednesday when it opens Berlin‘s Fantasy Filmfest but it’s also getting released here on Blu-ray in a couple of months, so I may wait for that.

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Re: Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

#9 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:32 am

I had the opposite reaction to Beyond The Black Rainbow from Lost Highway, feeling that the turn into slasher film territory in the penultimate scene was the major flaw, totally unnecessary (especially because it involves two characters never seen before, who exist only to get killed!) and rather broke the wonderfully hypnotic tone (or sluggish, drugged up pace!) of the rest of the film. Though admittedly the slowness is one of the more extreme tests of an audience needing to get onto a film's wavelength outside of a Sokurov film, which ironically makes that penultimate scene even more jarring! Luckily the very final scene pulled things back somewhat.

So in some ways I'm glad to hear that Mandy still features the tone that zedz notes! And the turn into violent craziness sounds as if it should be a lot more motivated here as well.

I suppose my only other question about the film so far is whether Barry Manilow plays on the soundtrack? :)

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thirtyframesasecond
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Re: Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

#10 Post by thirtyframesasecond » Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:11 am

Hopefully 10cc's I'm Mandy Fly Me also makes it.

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Lost Highway
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Re: Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

#11 Post by Lost Highway » Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:16 am

colinr0380 wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:32 am
I had the opposite reaction to Beyond The Black Rainbow from Lost Highway, feeling that the turn into slasher film territory in the penultimate scene was the major flaw, totally unnecessary (especially because it involves two characters never seen before, who exist only to get killed!) and rather broke the wonderfully hypnotic tone (or sluggish, drugged up pace!) of the rest of the film. Though admittedly the slowness is one of the more extreme tests of an audience needing to get onto a film's wavelength outside of a Sokurov film, which ironically makes that penultimate scene even more jarring! Luckily the very final scene pulled things back somewhat.

So in some ways I'm glad to hear that Mandy still features the tone that zedz notes! And the turn into violent craziness sounds as if it should be a lot more motivated here as well.

I suppose my only other question about the film so far is whether Barry Manilow plays on the soundtrack? :)
I think the ending makes no sense and is a totally WTF change of direction, but something finally happens ! I like the film but think it would have been better had it lost 30 minutes. I feel like that about other overextended retro genre-homages primarily concerned with style, like The Love Witch, The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears and almost any film by Guy Maddin (whose work I adore but most of his films could be improved by a good editor). Of course I get that one persons "sluggish" is another persons "hypnotic" but for that a film needs to have a little more substance than Beyond the Black Rainbow.

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Re: Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

#12 Post by Cde. » Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:17 am

zedz wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:31 pm
Mandy is pretty much exactly what you'd expect. The most interesting thing about it is the sluggish, drugged-up pace for the first hour or so, which really seemed to nonplus much of its target audience. The final half-hour is non-stop bonkers, however, so all was forgiven. I found it stylish but shallow, and less fun and inventive than I'd hoped.
Agreed. The first half is much more interesting and has some arresting play with colour and editing. The second half is way too self-aware of the Nicholas Cage meme, and the action is boringly staged.

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Re: Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

#13 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:04 pm

I agree with some users here that [parts of] the second half don't hold a candle to the hypnotic qualities of the opening hour of the film, but this was a really enjoyable slice of grindhouse cinema with a truly special look to it, though it comes with one caveat - I'm not sure Cosmatos can ever make another film that looks or feels like this again. I've never seen any filmmaker set up to experience absolute reputational whiplash the way he is, if his next film is a colorful heavy metal showpiece it's going to likely (and probably justly since this crossed my mind in the first place) like someone who can only do one thing over and over. Which Mandy should show is very much not the case - within all the thick grain and color tints and shifting light sources there are some truly transcendent moments. Take, for one, a dissolve that occurs prior to one of the film's many moments of self-aware humor, juxtaposing two faces in such a magnificently hypnotic way that you don't even realize it's happening until you do, which provided me with such a charge, having no real expectation to find such joys beyond the surface of this film.

Nicolas Cage is great (but he's almost always great), and if anything I just wish he had a little more to do, at times. By virtue of the cinematography, there are times that you can hardly see him, or are paying attention to something else other than his performance since this whole thing is fucking insane, and that sort of dwarfs his contribution a little, especially since Andrea Riseborough absolutely runs away with this - she's magnetic, with a nervy Shelley Duvall quality that I haven't seen since, well, Shelley Duvall. This will likely catapult her career (LQ reports that while she didn't care for it much, Nancy will likely do some work to that end as well), and I can only hope she finds the sorts of roles that Duvall was so good in - she possesses such a unique and beautiful raw nerve that this film is a love letter to, and with that sort of versatility the possibilities are endless for her.

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Re: Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

#14 Post by ianthemovie » Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:53 pm

I loved this, a few of the sniggering campy Nic Cage touches aside, which came as a pleasant surprise because I was kind of scared I would hate it. It's an amazing feat technically; I found the use of lighting and optical effects, slow motion, dissolves and superimpositions (as mfunk noted), as well as the relentless pounding score, absolutely mesmerizing. The shots of Cage driving through landscapes that look like the illustrated covers of old-school horror/sci fi paperbacks were especially beautiful. I found it to be legitimately scary as well, partly due to the villains being really well cast (I think the last time I saw Linus Roache it was in The Wings of the Dove in 1997, so I was not expecting this kind of performance from him) and partly due to Cosmatos' use of production design, sound and color (those neon reds!)

Not to draw too facile a comparison, but after so many horror movies with complicated high-concept plots (Hereditary, The Witch, It Follows, etc.) it was refreshing to see a horror movie with a really simple, almost cliche story, but told in a way that was visually imaginative and striking. The plot and the script are borderline dumb but I still prefer this to a lot of other recent indie horror because it was so amazing to look at and listen to.

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Re: Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

#15 Post by Cde. » Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:49 pm

I agree that it was genuinely scary, but a lot of my problems with the movie stem from how it undermines itself in the second half. After all the dread of the protracted build up, the villains were all dispatched way too quickly and easily. It took a turn for the silly. It doesn't help that, based on this evidence, Cosmatos is way better at directing a dark mood piece than an action romp.

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Re: Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

#16 Post by Cameron Swift » Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:03 am

I wanted to love this. The visuals were quite striking, but the second half of the movie descended into the cartoonish, bloody violence that Nicolas Cage typically finds himself in. I can't put my finger on exact moments but there were times where it reminded me of two of his other films - Drive Angry and Ghost Rider

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Re: Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

#17 Post by Foam » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:37 pm

Those who are so inclined can justifiably lob the "all style but finally stupid" complaint at it, but for me that in no way undermines the film's achievement since you could level similar complaints at the feet of Apocalypse Now or other agreed upon masterpieces as far as I'm concerned. I'm also sad that for many viewers, here and elsewhere, there is some kind of felt discontinuity between the first and second hour. For me that's no more of a divide than between the two parts of Kill Bill--different gears for sure, but recognizably the same vehicle. If anything, I thought this was one of the most impressive examples of sustained, pulsing, aesthetic unity in an entertainment romp this decade. There are definitely things about this film that bothered me (my religious sensibilities were certainly offended) but ultimately films with this much combined imagination and vision and entertainment value are rare enough that when one like this comes along and just full throttle tries to be an uncompromised progressive metal album, it's difficult for me to feel anything but thankful.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#18 Post by Finch » Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:04 am

MANDY by Panos Cosmatos: I found this very disappointing, actually. Andrea Riseborough has an otherworldly presence that gives the first half hour or so its power, and the film has a lot of trippy images as well as a very good score by the late Johansson. But the one-liners and dialogue in the second half are painful to listen to and the film trades the mysterious mood for Nicholas Cage doing bonkers stuff, and it all starts to feel very laboured.

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Re: The Films of 2018

#19 Post by dda1996a » Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:33 am

I felt the complete opposite. The first 40 minutes we're absolutely deadly, with nothing remotely interesting. That Jesus cult leader was obnoxious as fuck and I just wanted him to shut up. Once Cage starts going over the top the film becomes enjoyable at least.
But honestly the film is so dumb and narratively dead.
He starts his rampage with the most badass characters and ends with the most weakly characters.
Honestly the film has no arc, I'm supposed to care about a relationship we are barely privy to.
At least the trippy visuals and over the top characters and fights in the second half make the film at least tolerable.
Nothing like a good chainsaw fight.
At least the Gaffers had a good time on set.

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Re: Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

#20 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:12 pm

I liked the simplicity to the plot of Mandy with the revenge structure being an easily graspable premise to then elaborate on enormously with very stylised imagery and soundscape. Plus locations (both this and Beyond The Black Rainbow have gorgeously idiosyncratic houses that feel as if they came straight out of a Grand Designs TV show!), characters and equipment, from weapons to vehicles! (I especially like the hillbilly ATVs with the buck tooth headlights!)

This feels just as drug focused as Beyond The Black Rainbow in many ways. It even also seemingly features another nod to William Burroughs (after the vial bearing a "Benway Pharmaceuticals" logo in the previous film) with the bizarre giant insect that the acolytes bring out to drug Mandy in preparation for her meeting with the cult leader. I think the big theme of Mandy (which was also at the centre of Black Rainbow as well) is the difference between individual idiosyncratic creativity as an internal driving force set against an externalised collective consciousness, usually achieved through drug experimentation that gets everyone working on the same level, but removes individuality, emotion and even at the furthest extremes a person’s very humanity. With the attempts of the organisation, whether a scientific institute or religious cult, always in danger of falling apart through personal foibles breaking through and undermining the dispassionate, 'managed' approaches to human behaviour.

In the first half we see Mandy with wilfulness in the face of coercion (as in the story of refusing to kill the starlings as a child), ability to seek out her own reading material and connect with it in her own way, and most of all a sense of creativity and imagination beyond the bounds of mundane reality. Aside from a smoke she does not need drugs to reach that level of ‘elevated consciousness’, and seemingly seems attracted to Red to provide the grounded side to her life (much as Red can leave his lumberjack job and retreat back into the forest and a more mystical way of life, for a while at least until ‘real life’ intrudes. It is perhaps not unintentional that the cult church at the end is set in a completely deforested area with the church made out of the wood. And that perhaps in turn vaguely suggests the film is an ecological one, with Red’s lumberjack having to endure sacrifice to atone for his actions before becoming a vessel for the woods themselves, although that may be pushing it too far! It is amusing to wonder about how this would work in a double bill with Joe though!).

She gets seen by the cult leader who wants her for a certain quality that she possesses, kidnapped (by Hellraiser types who were pushed too far into madness by a bad batch of LSD, so they have in some ways gone too far beyond the limits and now exist in a new entirely drug addled dimension beyond even the cult’s reach. Much like Barry in Beyond The Black Rainbow got pushed too far by the experiments whilst the girl was experimented on ‘just the right amount’, or rather she was experimented on when still a baby compared to Barry being an adult at the time he was experimented on) and drugged in a forceful attempt to induct her into the polygamously pansexual cult. But even drugged Mandy is able to laugh at the leader’s behaviour (that includes full frontal exposure whilst rhapsodising Patrick Bateman style over his favourite music) and it might be less the ridicule than Mandy’s ability to still have her own feelings about the situation that drives the cult leader mad more than anything.
SpoilerShow
This then twists around later to Red taking every drug available to try and get on the level of the Hellraiser types and also to power on through the pain of his wounds. Yet taking the tainted LSD is in some ways the ‘no going back’ moment for him as well, and since Red is only living for revenge at that point is understandable to do. That actually works on Red and he ends up getting on about the same level of all of the bad guys (which takes the form of a number of synchronised duels emphasising how alike both parties are), culminating in a ‘who is the God around here, anyway?’ standoff in the cavernous bowels of the church.

Then after that final confrontation Red gets pulled back from becoming another one of those Black Cult Hellraiser-types driven insane by the drugs by a vision of his lost love. Whilst Red is irredeemably insane at the end, instead of being trapped inside a vision of hell as in much of the rest of the film, he is led by his love of Mandy into inhabiting a vision of one of her fantastical sci-fi landscapes instead. If one was going to lose one’s mind entirely, this seems at least the most comforting way to do it, and also the only way to forever be reunited with someone who long before in reality blew away in the wind as nothing more than ash.
So I liked this a lot – it is ‘simpler’ than Beyond The Black Rainbow in some ways, but it also hangs together better in its final section as the gory murders feel a bit more motivated in a revenge film than they did in an abstract sci-fi one. But in some ways both films end exactly the same way, with the main character ‘liberated’ from their burden but also left entirely adrift in a world they do not really know any more (that moment of Red watching that Cheddar Goblin advert is an early example of that, as it feels like it works as a bizarre and humourous non sequitur but is also surprisingly emotional as well for anyone who has been bereaved and then finds that the world as shown through the television screen is carrying on with its broadcast day regardless of how tonally out of whack it is with the world as it now seems to the viewer).
Last edited by colinr0380 on Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

#21 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:11 pm

Any film that relies solely on its aesthetic bonafides, real or imagined, is in trouble— think on any film you’d qualify as an aesthetic masterpiece, and I guarantee you there’s more going on in it than that aspect alone. Mandy is a confused, arrogant, incoherent mess that does nothing with the single trick it knows. Since I’ve seen music videos in the last five years, nothing in this film’s heavy metal vaporwave aesthetic is remotely new or of interest. I’ve seen bad films from directors who still had good instincts, but Cosmatos has none and exhibits zero narrative competency. His visual stylizations are so one-note and repeatedly employed that even if I hadn’t seen this kind of thing a million times before, surely I have by the end of it. This film doesn’t even have the courage of its wacko alternate reality given the post-credits shot of
SpoilerShow
Riseborough’s fantasy drawings, indicating much of the film is Cage’s hallucination even before LSD comes into play.
I saw this described somewhere (maybe here?) as the film equivalent of an ironic wolf t-shirt, and that it is.

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zedz
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Re: Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

#22 Post by zedz » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:38 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:11 pm
heavy metal vaporwave aesthetic
Nailed!

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Never Cursed
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Re: Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

#23 Post by Never Cursed » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:53 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:11 pm
I saw this described somewhere (maybe here?) as the film equivalent of an ironic wolf t-shirt, and that it is.
That's sir_luke quoting a negative Letterboxd review, although he took it to be a compliment!

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Re: Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

#24 Post by Big Ben » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:12 am

I thought of Mandy more as a cinematic tone poem than anything else because of it's lack cohesion vaporware is an apt description. Vaporware however is intended to invoke that muzak feel for a variety of reasons and as such I'd argue Mandy is intended be as obtuse as possible. The most famous piece of vaporware that I can think of is Lisa Frank 420/ Modern Computing and listening to it I cannot believe there is any intended cohesion either and that it's intended to provoke a very certain type of polarization. That is to say it's to be taken as deeply ironic or not at all. In terms of whatever Mandy actually is I can't bring myself to be bothered to much by the way it presents itself but I can absolutely see why people don't like it.

I'm reminded a lot of Jodorowsky where the uncanny nature of the film doesn't just arrive from the narrative but how it's madness is presented en toto. And that includes sound and voice distortions, explicit violence and sexual images, vivid or contradictory use of color etc etc. I suppose what I'm trying to say is that if you can obfuscate norms to a certain degree you can create an uncanny presentation, one that comes off as mystical much like a drug trip. Whether or not an individual buys into that is entirely on them though. The gag for me is that it doesn't actually have meaning and much like any number of drug induced states some people continue to insist that everything involved does have some semblance of meaning.

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