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April 21, 2010

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preston

or 'Radio Ga-Ga'?

Excellent post, can't wait to see this in May.

Rob

Didn't respected auteur David Fincher direct the video for "Express Yourself"? Actually, I'm the right age for that video to be steeped in nostalgia now.

Glenn Kenny

Ha! You know Rob, I believe he did. Oh well. I don't think "Se7en" is that smart, either...

S. Porath

Is the the Gottfried Huppertz score present? I saw the movie with Mororoder's the first time, and had to force myself into liking it. But once I saw it with the original score, I was totally overwhelmed in all the right ways. Great Wagnerian score, and nothing less would really fit.

Andrew Wyatt

Here's a question one of the cinephiles here should be able to answer: Was Helm's Maria the first film robot that looked identical or nearly-identical to a human? I ask because it's always struck me that one of Metropolis' most stunning achievements is Helm's performance, which is just so goddamn unsettling and riveting. It's would be all the more stunning if Helm were a pioneer in the world of android-playing thespians. I mean, what, if anything, did she have as a point of reference for her performance? If Lang just told her, "Remember, you're a machine, but you look like a human" and she devised all the performance's little expressions and movements and mannerism and tics on her own, without having any preconception for what a robot-in-human-skin should act like... well, it strikes me as one of the most vital pieces of creative work in science fiction.

The Siren

" I don't think "Se7en" is that smart, either..."

Bless you for that Glenn.

lazarus

I remember back in 1989 at the MTV awards Fincher had three of the four or five nominee spots for Best Direction. If I'm not mistaken they were the aforementioned Express Yourself (the winner), Aerosmith's Janie's Got a Gun, and Don Henley's The End of the Innocence.

Fincher won the award again the following year for Madonna's Vogue.

Glenn's right: Seven isn't that smart (however entertaining and well-made), though neither is spelling it in that contrived fanboy way with the "7" in place of the "v". The Game is a much deeper, meditative film, and never gets credit for it because of the gimmicky plotting. I think it makes a great companion piece with Benjamin Button, actually, and looks stronger in retrospect because of the connection.

Randy Byers

The clock-looking gizmo may not make logical sense, but it's a wonderful visual symbol of factory workers as slaves to the clock. Although of course Lang has to make everything too obvious by turning the factory machinery into an infernal image of Moloch. Less meaning! More delirium! Or more Maria, as the case may be. Oh hell, more Rotwang! Less Freder!

Brian

lazarus, I agree with you on THE GAME-- it's the Fincher film I enjoy the most, and it's a nice reminder of what an underrated performer Michael Douglas really is. There are, as you say, a lot of plot contrivances in the film, but he holds it together with that quiet, terrifying calm he has in the early sections-- no matter how silly the events of the narrative, he gives himself over to them with great sincerity. And it would make an interesting double bill with WONDER BOYS.

Glenn Kenny

Lazarus, I was under the impression, perhaps mistaken, that the stupid spelling with the numeral subbing for the "v" is actually the proper spelling of the title. Verily, that's how it's listed in the incredibly reliable IMDB. I don't like it either. Just trying to follow proper usage. I'd be happy to spell it as the word is actually spelt if that's in fact how the title goes. Jeez, a guy tries to do due diligence on copy and he gets called a "fanboy" for his trouble, why the fuck do I even bother...

lazarus

Technically you're correct, Glenn. According to IMDB both spellings are legit, but notice how it's spelled on the poster that appears in the corner of the page!

Officially or not, that numerical spelling is just lame, its Nine Inch Nails aesthetic beyond dated. Sometimes you gotta sidestep journalistic integrity to thumb your nose at these kinds of things. I mean, who can remember how Singleton's Boys in the Hood is actually written out?

Rob

FWIW, "Boys in the Hood" actually looks quite odd to me. But I figured Glenn was being at least a touch ironic--as well as accurate--in spelling Seven that way. I mean isn't the statement "I don't think "Se7en" is that smart, either..." almost tautological when you use that spelling?

PaulJ

I'd love to hear you guys elaborate on what you dislike about "Seven". Me, I'll admit that its philosophical/theological underpinnings don't resist much rational examination, but what I like about the film is how it sucks you into its worldview, to the point where you don't care about it, nor about how gimmicky the premise sounds on paper. And the ending, of course, is the perfect cherry on top of that (erm... well, a bleak, nihilistic cherry, anyway).

If you want to see a stupid version of "Seven", watch "The crimson rivers", the french film by Mathieu Kassovitz.

Zach

Seven (Se7en) might not be that smart, but Zodiac is. And so is Fight Club, in its raucous, wacky way.

Glenn Kenny

Re spelling and such: Yeah, I dunno. I haven't had call to write about Singleton's film in a while, so I'm not sure how I'd handle it. I suspect I would be strongly inclined to go with the version as printed. After all, one doesn't write the name of Soderbergh's debut as "Sex, Lies And Videotape" just on account of not liking the serial comma, does one?

As for, um, "Seven:" a conceptual serial killer movie in which the murderer shows his disdain for "lust" by murdering the goddamn hooker clearly hasn't thought things through that thoroughly. Not just stupid, but crass, exploitative, misogynist. Well made, yes. But here Fincher would have done well to have looked below the attractions/possibilities inherent in its surfaces...

lazarus

"After all, one doesn't write the name of Soderbergh's debut as "Sex, Lies And Videotape" just on account of not liking the serial comma, does one?"

Maybe the guy from Vampire Weekend would.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford_Comma_(song)#Song_Title_and_Meaning

Your criticisms about Seven are certainly valid, but I'd take Andrew Kevin Walker more to task for creating it than Fincher for not changing it. It's better directed than written, that's for sure. Glenn, I'm wondering what you think of The Silence of the Lambs, which in my opinion is just as crass, exploitative, and misogynist, despite the female lead. It's one of the most overrated films I've ever seen, and I can't believe people still celebrate its undeserved Oscar wins, Foster excepted.

Circumvrent

Amazing piece, really can't wait to see this new version - I've been lucky enough to have only seen Metropolis on the big screen so far. Just wanted to mention that I see you have May 6th as the opening date at the Film Forum where the website itself says it starts screening on the 7th.

Asher

I think Mabuse Der Speiler is a vastly better film; Metropolis to me is a really interesting failure, albeit one whose high points, and there are many, outshine most directors' entire careers.

Paula

I just saw Metropolis (digitally projected, with live music by the Alloy Orchestra) at Grauman's Chinese; it was the closing night big event of the TCM Classic Film Fest. This gorgeous new print, with the rediscovered footage, with that music, on that enormous screen -- well, it blew everyone's mind. It was stupendous. The rediscovered footage really helps. This is the first time the story truly hung together for me. You all have a treat in store.

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