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March 24, 2011


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Look. You have to say which Tom Waits song--or explain in more detail what is so egregious about it other than that you know he knows him--because I can offhand think of at least three that would not be silly in the least. You've sold me on avoiding the film. Please extend the kindness of letting me actually do so. Pretty please.

Glenn Kenny

@ Brian: "Down There By The Train." You know, with the line "I saw Judas Iscariot carrying John Wilkes Booth." It's not just silly, it's mildly insulting to the actual woman who's ostensibly being memorialized in the scene.


My beautiful Jena Malone! What have they done to her hair?


"Visionary director Zack Snyder"? The 'visions' I can get to experience by banging my head against a wall are more entertaining -- and *still* less harmful to my brain than his NeoConservative wank-fantasies.

Kevyn Knox

I am going later tonight to see Sucker Punch, but I am afraid. I really really really liked his Dawn of the Dead remake (on spur of the moment I would call it my favourite remake ever - bold statement I know!) but I loathed 300 (though the visuals were kinda nifty in a "do you like movies about Gladiators" kinda way). Then I was one of about seven people who liked Watchmen. So I suppose, as long as one discounts that Owl thing he did last year, Sucker Punch is destined to be hated by moi. Ghastly though? Ughhh.



They should have just called it PUNCHING THE CLOWN, because I have high hopes that I will have a MASSIVE erection during this. Nonstop LITTLE OUTFITS and chicks being PLAYFUL LESBIANS. I hope they show all their little feet!


mark patterson

Somewhat off topic but still speaking about movie fantasies (but this time with the director kinda maybe exploring what those fantasies mean) did anyone else really like LIMITLESS?

Jeff McMahon

I don't think Snyder is neo-conservative as much as just totally oblivious to the ideas his movies contain (I attribute the good things in Dawn of the Dead entirely to James Gunn). I do fully agree that he's a wank-meister of the highest order.

I also hope Lex has an erection of such quality and quantity that the theater's management is called to intervene.

Fabian W.

I liked Watchmen too, and I think his obliviousness to certain tendencies of his style had something to do with it.
What I never understood was why, after the accusations of homophobia for 300, Ozymandias had a file called "Boys" on his computer. Anyway.

Fabian W.

...since that wasn't in the original graphic novel (which is a masterpiece, duh) was what I meant to say.

That Fuzzy Bastard

Or why Ozymandias was turned into a gay Nazi rather than the book's much wittier Robert Redford parody. Which would be relatively inoffensive if it made sense, but were we really supposed to believe that creep was the most beloved celebrity on the planet?

Matt Miller

Veidt's villainy was played up because Snyder bought into the idea of Rorshach as the hero. It's the same reason he has a "boys" file on his computer: Rorshach suspects Veidt is a homosexual in the comuic, therefore Snyder makes him homosexual in the movie.

Matt Miller

"Comic," rather.

Chris O.

Speaking of BASQUIAT, where has Jeffrey Wright been? One of our best character actors who, ideally, would be doing more daring fare. I see he's in SOURCE CODE, however.

Chris O.

Also, not defending Schnabel or his choice, but he says this of Waits and the song's inclusion in a Q&A at comingsoon.net (after singing a verse of Dylan's "Not Dark Yet," interestingly enough):

"...but Tom Waits was always close to my heart. He breaks my heart. His ballads and in the movie, at the end, when he says, "And even the soldier who pierces the heart of the Lord is down there by the train." It's about forgiveness."

Fabian W.

And wasn't the symbol OzyCorp basically a Rosa Winkel, a violet patch worn by homosexual concentration camp prisoners? It just gets weirder and more stupid. That title sequence was really great, though. (Just like Waits' version of "Down There By The Train", by the way.)

Fabian W.

Or the symbol OF OzyCorp, I should say.

Dan Coyle

Ozymandias is implied as bisexual in the comic; Snyder's explicit coding of him as gay in the movie is probably the most offensive thing about it, and that's saying something.

And I don't really rank Snyder as neoconservative; 300, the comic, was written years before 9/11 and before Frank Miller himself became, uh, REALLY SCARED of the Muslims. It's an ugly fascist piece of work, and the film improves on it slightly, but I've never felt the kind of thing in it the John Noltes and Andrew Klavans in the world feel, because it's pretty explicitly telling that story, as opposed to using that story to illuminate where we are now, in my opinion.

stuck working

@mark patterson, I also enjoyed LIMITLESS. I didn't expect it to have the courage of its silliness, but it really went there. It didn't settle for being selectively implausible, but was just completely implausible in every element, which was more fun. De Niro had a few nice scenes and I thought the ending was clever.


You know, last week, the Times Magazine did a profile on Snyder in which they seriously compared him to Sam Fuller:

“In a weird way, Snyder reminds me of Sam Fuller,” Knowles says, citing the World War II vet turned director of warped noir films. “Fuller used to say he wanted to start with an explosion and build from there. And to a degree, that’s Zack Snyder.” American critics never knew what to make of Fuller. But the French adored him; similarly, Snyder notes that the Europeans — from the Warner Brothers overseas marketing team — got “Sucker Punch” immediately.

And when he’s questioned about how he expects people to receive “Sucker Punch,” with its Nazi zombies and lobotomies, his response is Fulleresque: “A lot of movies, you walk out and you’re like, ‘O.K., let’s go get a coffee.’ And when somebody asks you, ‘Did you see that movie?’ you’re like” — he pauses, pretending to be trying to remember — “ ‘Oh, yeah — I did.’ My hope is that if you’ve seen this movie, you know you saw it.”


So to be clear, if you're a director who starts with an explosion and builds from there, gets praise from European members of your own studio's marketing team, and hopes that the audience remembers seeing your movie, you too can be compared by our nation's paper of record to Sam Fuller!


He got praise from the movie's marketing team. That's... that's...


I think what you're looking for, Jaime, is "totally analogous to getting rave reviews from Godard, Truffaut, and the rest of the 50s-60s Cahiers staff." I should also note that the same article called "Sucker Punch" Snyder's "purest geek fever dream to date" and "his beautiful, dark, twisted fantasy: hallucinatorily hyperstylized and crazily violent." Today Scott panned it, of course.

That Fuzzy Bastard

@ Chris O.: Wright's been doing a lot of theater in NYC, including Susan Lori Parks' "Top Dog/Underdog" and, I think, some Shakespeare.


No matter what the intentions of the writer and director 300 is not neoconservative. It is about a small political entity (Sparta) with what outsiders deem a barbaric culture resisting a much more powerful foreign empire that claims being invaded and occupied will be good for Sparta. At least that's what the average politically apathetic viewer will take away from it.


I was invited to a free Wednesday night screening of Sucker Punch, and though surrounded by rabid fanboys and girls (in the hopes that they would at least create a festive atmosphere), the film left me numb. The lack of plot and tiresome CGI sequences left me playing the "Spot the Canadian Character Actor" game I employ when I'm bored by American films shot in Canada. And I despised the ridiculous cover of "Search and Destroy" (one of my favourite songs), though there was much to despise in this film (I felt sorry for Jenna Malone and Carla Gugino, two actresses whose work I like very much, but were given little to work with here).

I don't dislike Snyder's body of work--Dawn of the Dead was enjoyable (mostly because of Sarah Polley, my favourite under-35 actress) and Watchmen was somewhat engaging (I miss Billy Crudup in small-budget movies)--but I now have serious reservations about his plans for the new Superman film because although I'm weary of superhero films, I do like the Man of Steel.


That's what I was shooting for, Asher, but as I'm still in the process of stumbling out of Wednesday's screening, I'm at a loss for words. :)


That good? Were you blown away by the hallucinatory hyperstylization?


The Onion AV Club's review of "Sucker Punch" was subtitled "Comic-Con: The Movie."

The reviewer (Nathan Rabin) speculated that the filmmakers must have gone to Comic-Con and surveyed the fanboys about they wanted to see: young women in skimpy outfits kicking butt (check); a wise older mentor (check); Nazi zombies (check). And so on. It does sound like quite a guilty pleasure.

Jeff McMahon

Comparing Snyder with Sam Fuller kind of makes me want to puke a little.

Re: Jules's earlier post, I have to disagree. I think the message that an average viewer took away from 300 was that it was a film about the last bastion of civilization facing off against a teeming horde of decadence and chaos. Considering it was released right around the height of America's frustration about Iraq, I think it makes a lot more sense to say that the Spartans were seen as proxies for US forces, not as proxies for Iraqis (and that would explain why it was such a massive hit as well - I have a hard time imagining American audiences spending $200 million on a movie telling them that they're the bad guys).

No matter what the intentions of the writer and director 300 is not neoconservative. It is about a small political entity (Sparta) with what outsiders deem a barbaric culture resisting a much more powerful foreign empire that claims being invaded and occupied will be good for Sparta. At least that's what the average politically apathetic viewer will take away from it.

Jeff McMahon

(Jules's earlier post makes up the bottom paragraph in my post above.)

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