Zach Into 2020

Category: Movies

Atlas Shrugged: Part III (Movie)

Oof, this is the roughest one of all. But at least this time I actually got some screenshots of it (though admittedly not the greatest quality). I’ve gotta take some time and think through this one. And the other too. Maybe write a bit about all three.

Couple immediate things:

  • Wow, I never realized how important casting is until seeing this series.
    • Different actors in each movie made it very difficult to keep track of who was who
    • The different actors each had totally different demeanors and it literally changes the plot movie to movie. The relationship between Dagny and her brother Jim changed in every single movie, mostly because of the actors and how they acted toward each other
    • Actors being of different age threw things off the most for me
    • John Galt doesn’t look like John Galt. Dagny doesn’t look like Dagny. Other characters too. Really makes it difficult to suspend disbelief.
  • Also, on top of casting, film style + settings in the movie. Wow, incredibly important and something I’ve never really stopped to think and consider.
  • What happened to the relationship between Dagny and Hank Rearden? Also wow, the relationship between Dagny and John Galt was incredibly cringe-inducing.

All of the continuity problems make me really appreciate Lord of the Rings. There are a million things they must have done just to keep continuity in the trilogy. I can’t even imagine. How did the director and production team manage such a complex production for Lord of the Rings? What if, during the 2nd movie, one of the actors decided they want to screw the team and demanded 2x their salary: how did they prevent stuff like that? 

Look at how Dagny changes movie to movie:

Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 11 02 11 AM
Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 11 04 49 AM
Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 11 05 56 AM

I could also really feel the lowering of the budget movie to movie. The visuals got weaker, the world building got weaker, by the end of it John Galt had just created Stardew Valley in Colorado for his friends.

The world also got much simpler movie to movie. Ironically, by the 3rd, the narrator was telling you what was going on, instead of letting you figure it out for yourself. Free thinking much?

Wikipedia has a nice table of the changing cast:

 Part I
Part II
Part III
Dagny TaggartTaylor SchillingSamantha MathisLaura Regan
Henry “Hank” ReardenGrant BowlerJason BegheRob Morrow
James TaggartMatthew MarsdenPatrick FabianGreg Germann
John GaltPaul JohanssonD.B. SweeneyKristoffer Polaha
Ellis WyattGraham BeckelGraham Beckel (image only)Lew Temple
Francisco Domingo Carlos Andres Sebastián d’AnconiaJsu GarciaEsai MoralesJoaquim de Almeida
Wesley MouchMichael LernerPaul McCraneLouis Herthum
Edwin “Eddie” WillersEdi GathegiRichard T. JonesDominic Daniel
Cherryl Taggart (née Brooks)Mercedes ConnorLarisa OleynikJen Nikolaisen
Lillian ReardenRebecca WisockyKim Rhodes 
Philip ReardenNeill Barry  
Owen KelloggEthan Cohn  
Eugene LawsonRob BrownsteinPhil Valentine 
Midas MulliganGeoff Pierson Mark Moses
Dr. Robert StadlerNavid NegahbanRobert PicardoNeil Dickson
Orren BoyleJon Polito 

Other screenshots from Part III:

Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 9 42 20 AM
Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 10 02 37 AM
Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 10 03 17 AM
Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 10 05 42 AM
Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 10 06 00 AM
Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 10 12 04 AM
Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 10 14 07 AM
Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 10 17 18 AM
Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 10 25 23 AM
Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 10 25 54 AM
Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 10 26 25 AM
Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 10 26 47 AM
Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 10 28 05 AM
Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 10 29 05 AM
Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 10 29 24 AM
Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 10 31 35 AM
Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 10 32 55 AM
Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 10 35 15 AM
Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 10 35 22 AM
Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 10 35 32 AM
Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 10 36 22 AM

Atlas Shrugged: Part I (Movie)

3/5 stars.

Who is John Galt?

Can’t believe I’m watching the movie of this before reading the book. Watching on Amazon Prime Video, one of the only times I’ve used it.

The picture quality is actually quite nice on the platform.

Movie is super cheesy. Many beautiful shots though, particularly in the sections where there’s nature. Takes place in 2016, which is in the past now.

Guess it’s kind of timely to be both watching The Wire and this, though this is a very simplistic world.

Suspending real judgement until I’ve seen all the movies. And of course, still need to read the book.


Uncut Gems

It was… OK, maybe trending on good. To be clear: this is a film, not a movie. And it’s definitely inspired. Maybe something that’ll grow on me if I watch it again and have a friend to discuss it with.

The real highlight of watching Uncut Gems was listening to the A24 podcast the Safdie brothers did with Paul Thomas Anderson, and that was quite memorable. Fantastic podcast. In some ways, Uncut Gems reminded me of Hard Eight.

Listening to the podcast makes the movie so much more alive and you feel the pain and effort that was put into it. Even if I thought the movie was just OK, the film is definitely an inspired piece of art. And I admire and respect that.

One interesting thing the podcast mentioned was that they used anamorphic lenses to bring out the actors’ faces. The cinematography was done by Darius Khondji, who recently worked with Paul Thomas Anderson on his recent short Anima, which I still need to watch. They talk about him like a god on the podcast.

Oh, and Adam Sandler was fantastic. What a great character and what great acting.

Safdie brothers are going to do great work in the future.

Image result for uncut gems"

Monty Python’s The Life of Brian

Fun watch. Quality of production is great. Are there comedians putting in anything close to this production effort today?

Caesar who can’t pronounce his Rs. Followers finding meaning in a lost shoe. And, of course, the ending song.

Outside of Spartacus by Kubrick, I don’t think I’ve seen any other depictions of Romans in film.

A Scanner Darkly

Based on the Philip K. Dick novel. Substance D is wrecking havoc in Orange County, follows Keanu Reeves as he goes in as an undercover cop to try and bust a dealer, but he gets hooked to the drug himself and gets further from reality as the movie goes on. At end of movie, it’s revealed that the drug operation was vertically-integrated, with one company growing it, selling it, and then offering clinics to help people get off it – only to later get them hooked again. Similar to the Golden Fang in Inherent Vice.

Animation style was very interesting. As I was watching it, it reminded me of Waking Life (which I only saw the beginning of). Turns out A Scanner Darkly and Waking Life were both directed by Richard Linklater. He also did Boyhood and is more broadly interested in suburban culture, which I guess explains the fit for A Scanner Darkly.

At times was difficult to understand what was going on, but I actually think that added to the movie – making it a puzzle of sorts, again kind of like Inherent Vice.

Gangs of New York

Meh. Not particularly compelling or memorable. Leonardo DiCaprio’s father is a local gang leader in mid-1800s New York and gets murdered by a rival gang leader, then Leonardo spends the movie seeking his revenge.

Most interesting, and why this is 3 stars instead of 2 for me, is the portrayal of old New York, particularly Tammany Hall. Obviously I have a lot more to learn about New York’s history, but it was interesting to first read about Tammany Hall in The Power Broker and then to see its portrayal in this movie, even though the movie takes place about 50 years earlier than The Power Broker.

Location of the Five Points in modern Manhattan.

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