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August 14, 2012

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David Ehrenstein

Like all Cronenberg films this is exceptionally well-made. But this time out too clever by half. While the source is Don Dilillo ths spirit is J.G. Ballard. And while Cronenberg was superlative on that score in "Crash" he falls short here I feel. The aim is the eroticization of violence -- a Donald Cammell specialty. So much so that Cammell killed himself precisely the way Mick Jagger died in "Performance." Cronenberg "chokes" at the film's climax. Sure there's a "justifiable reason" for this, but for me it doesn't work.

Also Vampire-boy can't act his way out of a paper bag.

lipranzer

On the list of "Things I Never Thought Would Happen In My Lifetime", David Cronenberg ringing the NYSE bell, I have to say, ranks pretty high up.

Petey

"On the list of "Things I Never Thought Would Happen In My Lifetime", David Cronenberg ringing the NYSE bell, I have to say, ranks pretty high up."

Oh, c'mon. That's got to just be Glenn messing around with Photoshop.

Otherwise, the whole Mayan calendar End Of The World thing must be real...

Brian

Petey...it's real.

http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-robert-pattinson-nyse-groupon-20120814,0,3665455.htmlstory

Oliver_C

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Sal C

The film's biggest fault lies squarely on DeLillo's shoulders. Just as in the novel (and most of his novels), almost every character seems to be sharing one voice and one mind. They all sound exactly the same, like a person arguing with himself. I'm not frustrated by the lack of realism but the lack of variety.

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Jason M.

Saw Cosmopolis earlier this summer in Bangkok of all places (one character's exclamation about how beautiful a currency the Thai Baht is seemed to go over well; the rest of the film most of the viewers didn't seem to know quite what to do with). Took a few minutes to get into the groove of the strange, somewhat stilted rhythm, but once I did, it plays really well. Like most of Cronenberg's films, it's really sharply and beautifully edited. Can't wait to see it again soon.

And thanks to the NYSE for supplying my WTF moment for today.

BLH

I saw the film during its Canadian preview run a couple months back. I sorta figured out right away that I was watching an approximation of one of Mark Zuckerberg's macho schizoid wet-dream fantasies, and by about the 30-minute mark I still wasn't entirely sure I liked what I was seeing. To say that I warmed up to it would be a vast understatement. Hoo-boy. When I think back to the sequence of events that brings the film home in its second half - the club, the pie, the basketball court, the barber shop, the gnarly hallway - it just gets better and better. The last "act," as it were, will likely go unchallenged as the scene of the year for me.

It's the sequel to eXistenZ I would have never guessed I wanted.

Petey

"Petey...it's real ... Be afraid. Be very afraid."

Duly noted. Now, I'm trying to figure out the best place to survive the end of the space-time continuum. I think I've got it narrowed down to the three best spots:

1) New Zealand
2) North Korea
3) Have myself shrunk down, put into a tiny submarine, and injected into the bloodstream of Gaspar Noé

My understanding of General Relativity is somewhat weak, so if anyone can help me pick which one of the three is my best bet, feel free to chime in.

Oliver_C

As Donald Pleasence might've put it, let us know when you reach Gaspar Noé's soul.

(It may take some time.)

Petey

"let us know when you reach Gaspar Noé's soul. (It may take some time.)"

Gaspar is fundamentally misunderstood. Greatly underrated. Big soul.

-----

I'm taking some time between now and Friday's Cosmopolis opening for the hoi polloi to catch up on some previous Cronenberg flicks.

- I watched A Dangerous Method for the first time since seeing it in the cinema. Upon my initial cinema viewing, I enjoyed it, but found it a bit too gimmicky in certain plot/script areas. (Though I certainly did find it emphatically cinematic.) But I found the second viewing MUCH more rewarding. There's a lot of interesting depth there I glossed over during the shock and awe of the first viewing.

- Next up is Spider, which I've never seen, but happen to have a nice HD version sitting on my hard drive taken off my TiVo. (Lucky me, considering no one else can get it in HD.) I'm amped.

That Fuzzy Bastard

Oh man, I loved SPIDER, I think it's a masterpiece, but I'm not sure I ever, ever want to see it again. Brrrrrrr!

bill

I've seen SPIDER twice, and it was better the second time.

Petey

"Brrrrrrr!"

It's funny. It's been sitting cached on my hard drive unwatched for a couple of years because I'm scared of it. That should be an advertisement for a Cronenberg pic, no? But what if it carries the Videodrome signal?

(However, I do think I'll take bill's encouragement and give it a try. Guy did win the internet for a day. And BTW, bill, I've been in communications with the folks at CERN, and they've finished the laborious process of validating the selection. You should be receiving your commemorative bronze plaque in the next few months.)

Jason M.

Spider's a total masterpiece, and on some days, it's my favorite of Cronenberg's films. Beautiful and very sad. Give it a shot, Petey, you won't regret it. I think. I saw it on film, so I'm pretty sure it didn't carry the Videodrome signal then. Your mileage may vary.

bill

I realize now that my off-hand comment earlier didn't exactly express my enthusiasm for SPIDER. When I first saw it, it was not long after I'd read Patrick McGrath's novel, which I liked very much, and while it seemed to me to be a pretty good film anyway, I was disappointed that many of the very clearly Cronenbergian elements had for some reason been left out by Cronenberg himself. As I remember, McGrath himself was pretty surprised about that. Anyway, I'm not sure watching a film adaptation so close to reading the book has ever really paid off for me, and watching SPIDER again years later revealed to me that it's pretty clearly a masterpiece. Along with THE FLY, I'd say it's easily Cronenberg's most heartbreaking film.

Excluding COSMOPOLIS from consideration, as I haven't seen yet, I think SPIDER and A DANGEROUS METHOD are Cronenberg's true latter-day masterpieces. A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE and EASTERN PROMISES are both excellent, but I don't think either quite touch the strange power of those other, nearly forgotten films.

Jason M.

Bill, I read McGrath's novel after I'd seen the film, and was also surprised at how many Cronenbergian elements were present in the novel, so it was also a bit of a (retroactive) surprise that Cronenberg had left them out of the movie, though I'm glad he did so; I'm not sure the movie would have benefitted any from their inclusion. Or it would have been a somewhat different movie and not the one I love. Or it would be a different movie that I love. Or somesuch.

As far as Cronenbergian heartbreak goes, nothing for me quite touches the near final-scene of Dead Ringers, with Beverly shuffling around, plaintively crying out his brother's name. Though both The Fly and Spider come very close.

Petey

"Anyway, I'm not sure watching a film adaptation so close to reading the book has ever really paid off for me"

To some degree, that's axiomatic. It destroys the movie as itself.

OTOH, there sometimes is an analytical/educational pleasure in seeing just how the filmmakers decide to handle the various unwieldy tasks.

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