Crackin' telly

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Postby Snardbafulator » Sat Apr 19, 2014 22:11

Made Of Worms wrote:
Snardbafulator wrote:Carlin's real unduplicated mark in the comic world is his careful deconstruction of language.

Second only to Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. :)

I've heard about So-crates, which is pretty funny, but I've never seen that. Then again, I've never seen Back to the Future or Ferris Bueller's Day Off, either. Even though recently I've become a Mark Kermode fanatic and at this point have heard and seen just about all of his vodcasts and Radio 5 movie reviews of the last 10 years, I'm not much of a movie guy. I love Kermode because he's a paragon of well-reasoned yet impassioned and opinionated criticism.

I'm a Coen bros freak, though. I've seen everything they've done and am looking forward to renting Inside Llewyn Davis, about an unlovable but talented Greenwich Village folk singer at the moment just before the Age of Dylan.

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Re: Crackin' telly

Postby Greyhound » Sun Apr 20, 2014 02:17

Snardbafulator wrote:I'm a Coen bros freak, though.


Me too. Have you heard about the recent Coen Brothers-approved Fargo TV series? It started in the US last week, it starts in the UK on Channel 4 tonight.
I just watched episode 1 (cheeky download), and I have to say I'm impressed. Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton are the main stars, and Bob "Saul Goodman" Odenkirk plays a cop. Freeman's attempt at a Minnesota accent is a little off-putting at times but he plays the bumbling milquetoast part well.

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Re: Crackin' telly

Postby Snardbafulator » Sun Apr 20, 2014 03:22

Greyhound wrote:
Snardbafulator wrote:I'm a Coen bros freak, though.

Me too. Have you heard about the recent Coen Brothers-approved Fargo TV series? It started in the US last week, it starts in the UK on Channel 4 tonight.

No shit ... woah. I may have to break my rule about not watching a current TV series.
I just watched episode 1 (cheeky download), and I have to say I'm impressed. Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton are the main stars, and Bob "Saul Goodman" Odenkirk plays a cop. Freeman's attempt at a Minnesota accent is a little off-putting at times but he plays the bumbling milquetoast part well.

My first thought is ... no Frances MacDormond? No William H. "You lied to me, Mr. Lundegaard" Macy? No Steve Buscemi? (Don't get me wrong, though; I loved Billy Bob Thornton in The Man Who Wasn't There.) Another first thought is that this is inevitably going to be compared to Twin Peaks, but the Coens aren't David Lynch (not that I have anything against David Lynch). Fargo wasn't pure black humor, though, or a journey to the dark corridors of the soul. It was a unique mix of truly skeeved criminals, lighthearted facetiae about the upper Midwest and the humanizing force of MacDormond's gravid cop and devoted wife, an Oscar-winning role.

The new series has gotten very good notices so far, and obviously the situations are going to be different, so I hope they can keep it from sinking into something less close to Twin Peaks than to Northern Exposure, an early-90s quirky-location, quirky-characters serial dramadey that, unlike Lynch's series which still has a big cult following, slipped fairly quickly into oblivion.

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Re: Crackin' telly

Postby Bubby » Mon Apr 21, 2014 16:34

I enjoyed it. It felt pretty faithful to the Coen's brand, especially considering they weren't directing it. Freeman is indeed an odd choice for the main role, but by the end i was won over by his performance. The bit with him repeatedly battering his wife while repeating "oh jeez!"..."oh gosh darn!" was a brutal scene that was very well played out. BBT's role is kind of a typical character you'd find in many Coen movies, but he was terrific in this.

Haven't seen Inside Llewyn Davis yet, but I've liked most of their other films and as good as Lebowski is it's probably between Barton Fink and Millers Crossing for me. What does everyone think of the Hudsucker Proxy? I tend to consider that their most underrated film, although reading some of the reviews it seems it was unfairly panned mostly due to being marketed as a more 'family oriented' comedy instead of a quirky homage to those 1940's screwball movies which is what it was.

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Re: Crackin' telly

Postby Mr Technique » Mon Apr 21, 2014 16:44

Bubby wrote:BBT's role is kind of a typical character you'd find in many Coen movies, but he was terrific in this.


He's almost like a more human Anton Chigurh. Kind of an agent of chaos but with a sense of humor, and he obviously delights in human misery.

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Re: Crackin' telly

Postby Snardbafulator » Mon Apr 21, 2014 20:15

Bubby wrote:I enjoyed it. It felt pretty faithful to the Coen's brand, especially considering they weren't directing it.

Well they are the executive producers, so you might think they'd have some influence.
Freeman is indeed an odd choice for the main role, but by the end i was won over by his performance. The bit with him repeatedly battering his wife while repeating "oh jeez!"..."oh gosh darn!" was a brutal scene that was very well played out.

That's the Jerry Lundegaard character in the film, all right -- a polite, bland milquetoast who also happens to be a compulsively lying sociopath. He may not have beaten his wife in the movie (or that we've seen), but he certainly arranged for her kidnapping by some pretty gruesome characters (all the while trying to con her father into a scammy real estate deal).

William H. Macy played that role absolutely to a T. I'm not familiar with Martin Freeman.
Mr Technique wrote:
Bubby wrote:BBT's role is kind of a typical character you'd find in many Coen movies, but he was terrific in this.

He's almost like a more human Anton Chigurh. Kind of an agent of chaos but with a sense of humor, and he obviously delights in human misery.

Woah, if he's even a tenth as evil as Javier Bardem's character in No Country For Old Men, that's some seriously dark shit. It's hard to imagine ol' Billy Bob with a sadistic streak, but I'm sure he can pull it off. He pulled off internally tortured brilliantly in The Man Who Wasn't There. The more you talk about this show, guys, the more I'm convinced I need to see it.
Haven't seen Inside Llewyn Davis yet, but I've liked most of their other films and as good as Lebowski is it's probably between Barton Fink and Millers Crossing for me.

I'm beginning to think the upper ceiling on Lebowski-love is a Brit thing. Kermode feels similarly; he went to see it again after his blog posters pestered him about it, liking it more but still thinking it's a dog's dinner. For me, the characters really ring true, they're more than farcical types, especially John Goodman's. I worked with an extremely self-important Vietnam vet in the 90s. And of course, Walter Sobchak has all the best lines. Don't get me started, or I'll begin rattling off Lebowski quotes like a maniac fan of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

That said, I'd agree with you that I'd rank Barton Fink higher; in fact I still think that's their masterpiece. I tend to like their dark farces the best, although I thoroughly enjoyed both Miller's Crossing and Blood Simple. I love the scene in MC where Albert Finney's posh crime lord slides off the bed into his slippers (neatly placed on the floor) and grabs his tommygun to take care o' bizniz like the Good Ol' Days while Danny Boy is blasting away on the gramophone.

My least favorite from the bros is their hugely acclaimed remake of True Grit. I was hoping for a revisionist Western, instead we got a hyperrealist straightforward retelling, where, in the name of historical verisimilitude, ol' Rooster gets to be much more gratuitously horrible to the Native Americans than John Wayne ever had a prayer of getting away with. And so that leaves us with yet another "classic" revenge tale steeped in eye-for-an-eye biblical morality. Great performances (especially the two females of Mattie Ross), stunning cinematography. Meh.
What does everyone think of the Hudsucker Proxy? I tend to consider that their most underrated film, although reading some of the reviews it seems it was unfairly panned mostly due to being marketed as a more 'family oriented' comedy instead of a quirky homage to those 1940's screwball movies which is what it was.

I adore Hudsucker, but then again, I'm the kind of Coen maniac who loves The Ladykillers (which, considering the provenance of the original, might be sacrilegious for a Brit) and (especially) Burn After Reading even more. I know you'll say how much of the mail room set design owes to Brazil and I'd agree, and I also agree that their intent, as major cineastes, was to homage Howard Hawks, Rosalind Russell, Frank Capra and all those screwball comedies.

The "problem" began with their breakout film Raising Arizona (the first bros movie I saw which almost had me pissing myself laughing in the cinema or, as we Yanks say, movie theater). It was a big hit but took stick from some critics who said the Coens were more interested in educated in-jokes (like the quote from Dr Strangelove in men's room graffiti) and being kooky than in creating believable characters. That became the "rap" on the Coens -- great visual stylists, wildly sardonic sense of humor, trouble with genuinely human interaction. Well, that never put me off very much, because it's basically the same gripe I've heard for decades against my favorite novelist, Thomas Pynchon. So when Hudsucker came out, these critics, who knew damn well the film was a homage to prewar screwball, also know that screwball is the precursor to rom com, and the conventional wisdom has it that rom com only works if you can "believe in" the characters. Tim Robbins and Jennifer Jason Leigh were judged as too silly.

Well ... that's sort of the point, innit. The love story isn't going to work as such because it's based on templates we all know and the denouement is transparent from the first moment they meet. The joy in it is all very "postmodern" and ironical -- catching the references, giggling at the archly ridiculous dialogue. And, of course, reveling in the pure craftsmanship of the design and cinematography. After seeing it three or four times, I've sort of grown fond of those characters, something I haven't managed yet to do for George Clooney and Catherine Beta Blocker (as Kermode calls Catherine Zeta-Jones) in Intolerable Cruelty, their second attempt at a screwball homage and perhaps my second-least favorite bros film, although there are some murderously funny moments in it. But the characters start out very hostile and duplicitous to each other and you never quite believe it when they let their guard down.

Goodness, I need to balance this by raving about The Ladykillers and Burn After Reading, with sidebar essays on The Man Who Wasn't There and A Serious Man. And doubtless I shall ...

Bob
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Postby Made Of Worms » Tue Apr 22, 2014 04:25

Enjoyed it! Yes, Freeman does the Macy character very well and BBT is super, and the new Frances McDormand looks like she'll be very likeable. It seemed for a moment as if they were going to fit the whole thing into episode one, so we'll see how it goes from here.


(I have it on good authority that Freeman and Cumberbatch can't stand each other, gossip fans.)

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Re: Crackin' telly

Postby Bubby » Mon May 05, 2014 16:37

I think Fargo is picking up quite nicely now with the third episode. It's becoming noticably more comic and farcical compared to the black comedy of the movie and the hitmen are nowhere near the level of Buscemi and (gonna have to look this up) Stormare, but once you get your head round the fact it's a different story with occasional overlapping references from Coen works of the past it seems to work better in it's own right.

Anyway, Louie is back! Tonight at 10 on FX! (for those of us in the UK it's starts on thursday at 11)

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Postby Made Of Worms » Tue May 13, 2014 00:46

I watched this thinking yeah yeah the Beeb blowing smoke up its own severely compromised ass.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0 ... _Treasure/

But actually there be gems in there.

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Re: Crackin' telly

Postby psparky27 » Tue May 13, 2014 19:14

Yep Fargo is really good. I originally thought that it was going to be a lot darker with all the grimness but like blubby says it now has a comically side to it and not as black as I thought. I do get the feeling though it will chop and change as you can just have that really dark stuff as it just becomes too depressing.

I think it will be a bit like BSG generally upbeat but with a real blast of darkness now and then.

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Re: Crackin' telly

Postby Bubby » Sat Jun 28, 2014 15:32

Working my way through Arrested Development S4 again.It's a hell of a lot better on the re-watch.

What did you lot make of it? It's notably not the same show and somethings missing (maybe J Walter Weatherman. RIP ::( ), but i think those last 5 or so episodes are as good as it's ever been and by GOB's first episode the individual stories start to tie together and all the jokes from the first few slower ones suddenly make sense. It's certainly the most densely plotted and elaborate sitcom i've ever seen.

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Re: Crackin' telly

Postby Mr Technique » Sat Jun 28, 2014 16:38

I really iked season 4 but I have not yet given it a rewatch since I binged on its release. It was different from the old days, and I appreciated that they didn't just try to remake the first 3 seasons. Now some of those differences were a mater of circumstance, all of the actors have other gigs now and there were a lot of schedules to film around, many scenes feature stand-ins because they couldn't get actors together at the same time. I miss the ensemble action but I thought they did a very original season of television. I was disappointed in the ending with the multiple cliffhangers, it really seemed as if there was some grand plan to tie everything together but that wasn't the case. There were other flaws, bad Green screen in some instances and the music, usually used to great effect was overdone and way too loud at times, I had to rewind some scene and throw on the closed captioning because the dialogue was drowned out.

Arrested Development is probably my favorite comedy program and season 4, though flawed, did not hurt the legacy. I look forward to whatever comes next, whenever it comes. A movie would probably be the one sure way to get everyone together at once, but I can't imagine a movie approaching the density and meta awareness of a full season

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Re: Crackin' telly

Postby Bubby » Sat Jun 28, 2014 17:55

Y'know, i'd agree with all of that (or should i just say "same" :wink: ).

You need to watch them all again though, and possibly once more after that to get the full effect. The show has always been packed with details, double-crosses, back/forward references etc and never was that more true than S4. Watching it without the full context will give you a migraine.

I deliberately ignored the reviews until i'd watched it all, well that was the plan anyway, as about 4 shows in i got worried and checked out what other people were saying and was somewhat relieved to see that it was something you really had to stick with before the quality improved which it does once you hit the first Tobias and GOB episodes. Buster's episode is completely demented and probably my favourite. Shame he was barely in the rest of the season.

I think the biggest downer for me initially was the lack of an ensemble cast, but once you adapt to the individual '5 years in the life of' character stories, it becomes obvious that it's actually a great device to use all of the cast at a time where most of them were busy being mega-stars and doing crappy movies.

It's certainly my favourite American sitcom, but it's hard to think of any others with the same depth, and broadness of humour. Apart from the the Golden Girls obviously.

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Re: Crackin' telly

Postby psparky27 » Sun Jun 29, 2014 02:37

Greyhound wrote:Freeman's attempt at a Minnesota accent is a little off-putting at times but he plays the bumbling milquetoast part well.




Unfortunatly thats all Freeman can do! one trick pony :| I suppose he is kind of right for Bilbo and this part although later in the series he does get a slightly darker side. This is fargo dont you know 8)
Last edited by psparky27 on Sun Jun 29, 2014 03:19, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Crackin' telly

Postby Snardbafulator » Sun Jun 29, 2014 03:08

psparky27 wrote:
Snardbafulator wrote:Freeman's attempt at a Minnesota accent is a little off-putting at times but he plays the bumbling milquetoast part well.

Unfortunatly thats all Freeman can do! one trick pony :| I suppose he is kind of right for Bilbo and this part although later in the series he does get a slightly darker side. This is fargo dont you know 8)

Uhh, Sparky ... I know it might've looked confusing, but I didn't write that; Greyhound did.

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