Marvel Comics on Film

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Brian C
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#251 Post by Brian C » Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:43 pm

swo17 wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:21 pm
He didn't specifically call out Marvel. Some thoughtless interviewer asked him what he thought of Marvel movies and all Scorsese did was give his honest opinion. If anyone deserves our ire it's that interviewer
Yes, but he did follow that up with an NYT op-ed that criticizes franchise filmmaking somewhat more broadly but also repeatedly singles out Marvel.

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DarkImbecile
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#252 Post by DarkImbecile » Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:58 pm

Brian C wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:37 pm
I don't really understand the usefulness of this line of logic. I mean, I think I speak for everyone when I say that, yes, I'd love for there to be "more and better" good movies. Who wouldn't? But aside from the banality of the question, this is treading dangerously close to "why don't they release only what I want?" territory.

I think no one's really talking past each other here, it's just that I think a lot of people (myself included) aren't really on board with either the "things are so much worse now" complaint or the snobbery underlying the discussion here. You don't like the current wave of franchises and I don't either, but other people do, and well, that's life. But that's always been true, at least for me - as much as I love going to the movies, my tastes have only occasionally (and seemingly only incidentally) synched with the general public's. I don't see why it makes sense to me to sit around scolding other people for it. It is what it is, and there's still more to watch than I can make time to see.
The fact that this isn't a particularly controversial stance is exactly my point; if someone makes an offhand comment that aligns exactly with what I bolded above, why is it snobbery and doom-saying instead of someone's fairly bland opinion about the state of movie-going and what they would prefer? And why should you or anyone else feel the need to "well, actually..." people about what's popular or why it's popular or what has always been popular in response?

And, of course, the only person scolding anyone in the last page or so of posts is you swooping in to decry undeclared snobbery while also making a point of noting how different your tastes are than those of the common folk.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#253 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:29 pm

DarkImbicle wrote:you swooping in to decry undeclared snobbery while also making a point of noting how different your tastes are than those of the common folk.
You're being a bit unfair. Brian C's observation about his tastes seems pretty neutral.

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DarkImbecile
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#254 Post by DarkImbecile » Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:44 pm

Ah, you’re probably right (though I’m not sure it’s any more unfair than calling the conversation up to that point snobbery). I’m irritated about something else and letting my crankiness out on this thread, so apologies and good night to Marvel Comics on Film.

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tenia
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#255 Post by tenia » Thu Nov 07, 2019 4:53 am

knives wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:13 pm
I just find it strange to target Marvel.
Marvel is symbolic though because of the share of the BO they're taking, and by extension, they're representative of Disney's current ominous position in cinema. They're not Universal with Fast and Furious, or Paramount with Mission Impossible, or MGM with James Bond, or even Warner with their DCEU. They're all of them combined, and within this, Marvel, much more than Pixar and probably even more than Star Wars, embodies the movie industry in its most heavily industrial way of working : products brainstormed-to-death by shareholders and executives with no other purposes than maximising profits not through their intrinsequial cinematographic qualities but rather fool-proof business plans.

It's not to say things are so much worse now than before, but I understand how this shift in the business-side of things can make some very wary of what will happen next.

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TwoTecs
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#256 Post by TwoTecs » Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:50 pm

Brian C wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:37 pm
I think no one's really talking past each other here, it's just that I think a lot of people (myself included) aren't really on board with either the "things are so much worse now" complaint or the snobbery underlying the discussion here. You don't like the current wave of franchises and I don't either, but other people do, and well, that's life. But that's always been true, at least for me - as much as I love going to the movies, my tastes have only occasionally (and seemingly only incidentally) synched with the general public's. I don't see why it makes sense to me to sit around scolding other people for it. It is what it is, and there's still more to watch than I can make time to see.

At any rate, going mostly unremarked here is that the big reason more theaters aren't showing The Irishman is that Netflix and NATO can't work out a deal on the theatrical exclusivity window. In other words, the reason exhibitors aren't showing it - as with Roma and others - has nothing to do with it not being sufficiently focused-grouped or franchisey. Which perhaps undercuts Scorsese's argument just a tad.
The theatrical exhibition problem for The Irishman only exists because Scorsese couldn't get funding from anywhere except Netflix. That is the root of the problem, not that Netflix couldn't cut a deal with the theaters.

Why do you keep saying "snobbery", when Scorsese made a point to praise all sorts of films. He is criticizing the mode of production first and foremost and those criticisms are based on well documented evidence.

Also I can't believe people are arguing for corporate products to be treated the same way as the works of artists with a straight face. If the artwork does not exist to express the thoughts, feelings, tastes of the person creating it, then there really is no point to it. There is no art without the human element.

Also would be nice if people stopped drawing a false equivalency between Keaton test screening his films and Disney test screenings films with multiple endings. Keaton never had the resources for changing films and for gathering audience data like Disney has.

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knives
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#257 Post by knives » Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:59 pm

TwoTecs wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:50 pm
Also would be nice if people stopped drawing a false equivalency between Keaton test screening his films and Disney test screenings films with multiple endings. Keaton never had the resources for changing films and for gathering audience data like Disney has.
If he had don't you think he would have used them?

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#258 Post by BenoitRouilly » Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:15 pm

knives wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 6:28 pm
So? Let's play the imagination game. What do you think those six movies would be without Marvel (also Marvel would in an average year make up only half of that)?
Disney had a 22% market share in 2017. So that's nearly 1 in every 4 tickets sold. And 38% in 2019.
I know it's a Marvel thread, but I don't think Scorsese singles out Marvel. In his Op-Ed he expands on his Empire interview quip. He refered to "modern film franchises", thus it includes Disney, WB, Universal, Sony... (the big 6 tally a market share of 83%)
But he also talks about the poor distribution of quality artfilms : I made a while back a graph of Film Comment's top50 of the year 2011, which compared their widest "screenage". The Tree of Life came first, with 237 max screens = 0.6% of available screens (which USA distribution is contrasted with other countries). And Rise of the Planet of the Apes (a franchise) came 46th. Incidentaly Hugo is also ranked there as a "blockbuster release" (with 2608 max screens)

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Brian C
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#259 Post by Brian C » Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:35 pm

TwoTecs wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:50 pm
The theatrical exhibition problem for The Irishman only exists because Scorsese couldn't get funding from anywhere except Netflix. That is the root of the problem, not that Netflix couldn't cut a deal with the theaters.
Sure, Netflix funded the film. They still wanted to show it in theaters! But NATO exhibitors won't show it unless Netflix keeps it off streaming for 60 days. You can read all about it here.

At any rate, why would it be the root of the problem that Netflix funded it, per se? Theaters were still willing to show it, under the same conditions that they make for any other movies. The point is, theaters were not saying "we won't show that because it's not a focus-group tested franchise movie."
Why do you keep saying "snobbery", when Scorsese made a point to praise all sorts of films. He is criticizing the mode of production first and foremost and those criticisms are based on well documented evidence.

Also I can't believe people are arguing for corporate products to be treated the same way as the works of artists with a straight face. If the artwork does not exist to express the thoughts, feelings, tastes of the person creating it, then there really is no point to it. There is no art without the human element.
How is it not snobbery? I realize people are bristling at the word, but I wouldn't use it if it was just a matter of personal tastes being discussed.

The whole premise of this argument is that movies that aren't made a certain way don't count as true "cinema." DarkImbecile wasn't willing to grant that they're even movies - he described them as "pretending to be movies". The argument being made by Scorsese et al is not merely "these movies don't align with my personal tastes, and I prefer these other movies," it's "these movies are inherently inferior to true cinema and it's a threat to international culture that so many people like them." What is anyone supposed to call that if not snobbery? Certainly MCU fans can see this for what it is, even if you can't.

And all I'm saying is, these are matters of taste. The MCU films are cinema, Scorsese films are cinema, Hitchcock films are cinema, Bela Tarr films are cinema - it really can't be any other way. Watch what you like, praise and defend what moves you, criticize what doesn't. But don't fool yourself into thinking that your preferences mean anything about the inherent value of a movie - I think I've said this before, but if hanging around this forum for 10 years has taught me anything, it's that there's probably someone around who's able to put forth a thoughtful defense of even the worst pieces of shit out there.

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knives
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#260 Post by knives » Thu Nov 07, 2019 6:10 pm

Brian C wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:35 pm
I think I've said this before, but if hanging around this forum for 10 years has taught me anything, it's that there's probably someone around who's able to put forth a thoughtful defense of even the worst pieces of shit out there.
So what you're saying is we should have Colin marathon the MCU? Jokes aside Matt Singer, a former Dissolve writer, has written pretty extensively about superhero film particularly in the American context going all the way back to the original Captain Marvel serials. While off hand I'm not aware of any indepth writing specific to the MCU he's done he has given some pretty indepth appreciations to the concept.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#261 Post by nitin » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:16 am

I eagerly anticipate the next round of twitter war once this question is settled and Coppola and Scorsese are canceled, are Marvel movies good cinema...

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#262 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:27 am

knives wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 6:10 pm
So what you're saying is we should have Colin marathon the MCU?
8-[

This made me think that I actually have not sat down and watched a Marvel superhero film from this cycle at all as yet. I think the last specifically Marvel film I saw was the 2005 Fantastic Four film, which was before this all got going in earnest and probably does not count. Otherwise in terms of other superhero films since then I think that I have only seen Watchmen and the 2015 Fantastic Four to be able to form an opinion on them.

But I'm probably not the best person to look at these films, as I remember as a kid seeing the Superman films and finding them entertaining at the time but otherwise they slipped frictionlessly away (except for the lady being turned into a robot at the end of Superman III, which traumatises me to this day!), and I moved on to other things with nary a second glance. Much like the Star Wars films for that matter. Films really got more important to me in my early teens (around 13) when I did get rather obsessed with re-watching 2001 and the first three Alien films over and over!

(Frankly whilst I remember watching Superman and Star Wars (and Supergirl!) as a kid I have a much more vivid childhood memory of sitting in a paddling pool in the front garden of my old home in Cornwall on a beautiful Summer's day looking up at the clouds in the sky lazily thinking about what it must be like to be trapped in Tron's electronic world! And how horrible it must have been like for all those computer programmes losing their reason for being and their connection to the real human 'Users' (who guide them like dieties, so losing them is like losing one's connection to God), only to be forced into slavery by playing gladiatorial death games! If a film can inspire at least some viewer introspection along those lines, then that's why it is worth making)

EDIT: I just remembered that I saw Ant-Man last Christmas! Though I do not remember too much about it except for that very early scene where Michael Douglas is de-aged whilst all of the younger actors have old age make up applied to them to make them look crustier, which I found quite amusing! I think I got so pre-occupied considering how strange that single moment was that the film was halfway over before I started to pay attention to it again!

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TwoTecs
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#263 Post by TwoTecs » Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:43 pm

knives wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:59 pm
TwoTecs wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:50 pm
Also would be nice if people stopped drawing a false equivalency between Keaton test screening his films and Disney test screenings films with multiple endings. Keaton never had the resources for changing films and for gathering audience data like Disney has.
If he had don't you think he would have used them?
No.

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TwoTecs
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#264 Post by TwoTecs » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:04 pm

Brian C wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:35 pm
TwoTecs wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:50 pm
The theatrical exhibition problem for The Irishman only exists because Scorsese couldn't get funding from anywhere except Netflix. That is the root of the problem, not that Netflix couldn't cut a deal with the theaters.
Sure, Netflix funded the film. They still wanted to show it in theaters! But NATO exhibitors won't show it unless Netflix keeps it off streaming for 60 days. You can read all about it here.

At any rate, why would it be the root of the problem that Netflix funded it, per se? Theaters were still willing to show it, under the same conditions that they make for any other movies. The point is, theaters were not saying "we won't show that because it's not a focus-group tested franchise movie."
Why do you keep saying "snobbery", when Scorsese made a point to praise all sorts of films. He is criticizing the mode of production first and foremost and those criticisms are based on well documented evidence.

Also I can't believe people are arguing for corporate products to be treated the same way as the works of artists with a straight face. If the artwork does not exist to express the thoughts, feelings, tastes of the person creating it, then there really is no point to it. There is no art without the human element.
How is it not snobbery? I realize people are bristling at the word, but I wouldn't use it if it was just a matter of personal tastes being discussed.

The whole premise of this argument is that movies that aren't made a certain way don't count as true "cinema." DarkImbecile wasn't willing to grant that they're even movies - he described them as "pretending to be movies". The argument being made by Scorsese et al is not merely "these movies don't align with my personal tastes, and I prefer these other movies," it's "these movies are inherently inferior to true cinema and it's a threat to international culture that so many people like them." What is anyone supposed to call that if not snobbery? Certainly MCU fans can see this for what it is, even if you can't.

And all I'm saying is, these are matters of taste. The MCU films are cinema, Scorsese films are cinema, Hitchcock films are cinema, Bela Tarr films are cinema - it really can't be any other way. Watch what you like, praise and defend what moves you, criticize what doesn't. But don't fool yourself into thinking that your preferences mean anything about the inherent value of a movie - I think I've said this before, but if hanging around this forum for 10 years has taught me anything, it's that there's probably someone around who's able to put forth a thoughtful defense of even the worst pieces of shit out there.
I didn't say the problem was Netflix funding it, the problem was the studios not funding it. The streaming services obviously care more about their service than playing it in theaters. Directors know that and make that compromise. The sad thing is that someone bankable like Scorsese making a film like The Irishman has to make that compromise. And where does that leave anyone else.

I don't see how it is wrong to say that movies made a certain way don't count as "cinema". Yes, at the most technical level they are art and they are cinema but that is not what is being talked about here. You are misrepresenting Scorsese's argument by only looking at it in the most literal way while missing what he is saying about the franchise films taking the artist and the artistry out of the "art".

Scorsese isn't just talking about preference. I am sure there are many auteur-driven films that he does not like. That is how it is for many people. You talking about inherent value is again besides the point. Scorsese is arguing for a vision of cinema just as Truffaut and Sarris did. Responding to Truffaut's A Certain Tendency of the French Cinema by saying all visions cinema are equally valid without contending with his arguments would not be a very smart response. Just as turning this into all opinions are equally valid and good is not a very smart response.

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knives
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#265 Post by knives » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:09 pm

TwoTecs wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:43 pm
knives wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:59 pm
TwoTecs wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:50 pm
Also would be nice if people stopped drawing a false equivalency between Keaton test screening his films and Disney test screenings films with multiple endings. Keaton never had the resources for changing films and for gathering audience data like Disney has.
If he had don't you think he would have used them?
No.
Considering how on two of his films, The Navigator and Sherlock Jr, he completely changed the third acts to accommodate test screenings I'm curious as to why you would say no to him doing basically the same thing on a more precise level?

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Toland's Mitchell
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#266 Post by Toland's Mitchell » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:21 pm

I'm late to this discussion (because I just joined the site yesterday). I've had this conversation with multiple folks on other platforms. I agree with Marty for the most part. His original 'Marvel movies aren't cinema, they're theme parks' comment was a jab singling out the MCU. But his opinion piece from last week goes way beyond Marvel. He was criticizing the entire franchise-hungry Hollywood mentality (which applies to both film-makers and audience). Thus he wasn't singling out Marvel anymore at this point.

I appreciated his chicken-and-egg analogy. It seems the Hollywood blockbuster has been perfected over the past 20 years. As Marty put it, the films that are "market-researched, audience-tested, vetted, modified, revetted and remodified until they’re ready for consumption." Again, this applies to audiences as well. The more audiences are served the same thing, the more they want of that same thing. For example, The Force Awakens was basically a lame remake of New Hope, but audiences seemed to love it. Whereas Last Jedi was a bit different, but audiences didn't seem to love it. Of course, this doesn't stop the major studios from producing them because audiences keep watching them anyway. Have audiences been brainwashed?

Anyway, Marty is correct in saying it's a rough time if you're an auteur filmmaker seeking theatrical release, or if you're an independent theater owner. If you're not an established name, try getting funding for a non-franchise film. And try getting theatrical distribution. Good luck. Marty struggled to get Silence made a few years ago. And only Netflix was willing to fund The Irishman. No major studio wanted to fund a new Scorsese movie for theatrical distribution. Crazy, right? That's how insane the franchise mentality has become. I agree Marty comes off as snobbish, but he's also a victim. He wants people to see his movies on the big screen, but the current state of the business is making it more and more difficult. That's Marty's major concern. He feels the type of movies he produces are slowly disappearing. I don't know how accurate that is, but I'd agree with him that would be a huge loss.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#267 Post by Monterey Jack » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:45 pm

I just find a rich irony in the fact that Scorsese is chastising a genre of films that basically pioneered the "de-aging" tech he's using extensively in The Irishman...tech that ballooned the film's budget to such an extreme degree that no studio would touch it for a wide theatrical release. And now his piece of "pure cinema" will for the most part, be consumed on a home-based streaming platform that's essentially killing off movie theaters entirely!

I can totally understand one's frustration with today's climate where the "mid-budget" studio drama or comedy has become virtually extinct, and flashy, shallow, F/X-driven franchises rule the multiplexes, but Scorsese's movies have been heavily F/X-intensive since at least Gangs Of New York. I also seem to recall more than one critic sniffing at his stylized remake of Cape Fear as being for "The Freddy Kreuger generation", basically saying his film was concerned more with whiz-bang camera and editing tricks that telling a compelling or coherent story (which I believe is bunk, but some thought that way back then). Maybe had Scorsese did the sensible thing and cast OTHER ACTORS to play the younger versions of De Niro, Pacino and Pesci, he could have made his film for a reasonable budget and gotten a wide theatrical release.


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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#269 Post by DarkImbecile » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:12 pm

Case closed

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mfunk9786
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#270 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:34 pm

RIP to the characters

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tenia
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#271 Post by tenia » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:39 pm

It's good to see you can be that powerful and retain such a sense of humor.


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TwoTecs
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#273 Post by TwoTecs » Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:00 pm

Monterey Jack wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:45 pm
I just find a rich irony in the fact that Scorsese is chastising a genre of films that basically pioneered the "de-aging" tech he's using extensively in The Irishman...tech that ballooned the film's budget to such an extreme degree that no studio would touch it for a wide theatrical release. And now his piece of "pure cinema" will for the most part, be consumed on a home-based streaming platform that's essentially killing off movie theaters entirely!

I can totally understand one's frustration with today's climate where the "mid-budget" studio drama or comedy has become virtually extinct, and flashy, shallow, F/X-driven franchises rule the multiplexes, but Scorsese's movies have been heavily F/X-intensive since at least Gangs Of New York. I also seem to recall more than one critic sniffing at his stylized remake of Cape Fear as being for "The Freddy Kreuger generation", basically saying his film was concerned more with whiz-bang camera and editing tricks that telling a compelling or coherent story (which I believe is bunk, but some thought that way back then). Maybe had Scorsese did the sensible thing and cast OTHER ACTORS to play the younger versions of De Niro, Pacino and Pesci, he could have made his film for a reasonable budget and gotten a wide theatrical release.
Scorsese has said again and again that he wanted to make The Irishman the way he did, ie with the same three actors playing the characters at each stage of their life. That was a non-negotiable aspect for him.

Surely you don't believe the level of F/X In Scorsese's films is the same as Marvel films? Also Marvel films are not style for style's sake either. Don't pretend like Marvel would ever allow an over the top performance like DeNiro's in their films or would ever have a scene like Cady kissing the teenage girl.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#274 Post by Monterey Jack » Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:44 pm

TwoTecs wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:00 pm
Scorsese has said again and again that he wanted to make The Irishman the way he did, ie with the same three actors playing the characters at each stage of their life. That was a non-negotiable aspect for him.
But why? It's pointless, an example of a filmmaker jerking off with the coolest current film technology to no apparent purpose but to make eagle-eyed viewers squint at the screen every time one of his "de-aged" actors walks across it looking for the seams. Look at it this way...if this tech existed in the 70's, we would have had a de-aged Marlon Brando playing himself in the flashback scenes of Godfather Part II, and De Niro wouldn't have won his first Oscar. It's just a way for directors and studios to squeeze a few more precious years' worth of performances out of their aging actors before they die...and, with the recent news about James Dean's likeness being resurrected for a role in an upcoming movie, basically extend their presence across the very barrier of death itself. Creepy. 8-[
Surely you don't believe the level of F/X In Scorsese's films is the same as Marvel films? Also Marvel films are not style for style's sake either. Don't pretend like Marvel would ever allow an over the top performance like DeNiro's in their films or would ever have a scene like Cady kissing the teenage girl.
A movie like The Aviator or Hugo would definitely qualify for films that have a huge amount of F/X work, even if a lot of it is supposed to be "invisible". And, yeah, Scorsese's Cape Fear is a lot more psychologically disturbing than it's detractors made it out to be in 1991, but didn't I already point that out? And, again, it was a filmmaker using what was, at the time, the state-of-the-art in filmmaking technique to update a "dated" thriller from thirty years earlier, and a lot of critics at the time though he was just being show-offy and gratuitous, which are the same charges Scorsese is leveling at the current MCU "Amusement Park" approach to event cinema. I dearly love Scorsese's work, but I also enjoy a really good superhero movie as well. It's like a line from an episode of Frasier, where Martin says to his two snobbish sons, "You know, your mother loved going to the opera...but she could enjoy a good ballgame, too."

With Scorsese's thoughts about the MCU, and Spielberg railing against Netflix movies as not qualifying for Oscars (despite his good buddy Marty's new film debuting on the service!), they could not sound more grumpy or geriatric.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#275 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:46 pm

Monterey Jack wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:44 pm
But why? It's pointless, an example of a filmmaker jerking off with the coolest current film technology to no apparent purpose but to make eagle-eyed viewers squint at the screen every time one of his "de-aged" actors walks across it looking for the seams.
This could not be any more subjective - I forgot about it around five minutes into the film - obviously part of my mind knew it was being employed, but I became wrapped up in the story. Guessing the same can be said for most people who see the film, since I expected it to be very distracting and it wasn't.

Also, the performances across the span of ages in the film are excellent, and I'm glad I got to see these actors play those parts. I wouldn't have been seeing that had Scorsese cast younger actors to play those characters for a good 60% of the runtime of the film, and that would have been a real shame.

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