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DUNKIRK pre-release

post #1 of 484
Thread Starter 
Nolan doing WW2? In IMAX? I'll take it.
post #2 of 484

I just want a scene where Rylance and Branagh have a Shakespeare-off.  That's not too much to ask, is it?

post #3 of 484

I hope he learned how to shoot action.

post #4 of 484

Yeah, it's going to be interesting seeing what Nolan does with a war film. Shooting action well is going to be imperative.

 

 

(But INCEPTION's snow fortress assault should give us hope: it's not filmed with a lot of style or panache, but it's clear, easy to follow, and shot competently.)

post #5 of 484
Nolan learned how to shoot action on TDK.

Also, do we know that this is a straight forward WWII film? I haven't seen anything to indicate that it is.

Edit: I guess we do know, per Variety.
post #6 of 484
His style of film making seems kind of sterile for a WWII flick, but I'm interested.
post #7 of 484

 I think of the 'classic' WWII movies, and to be frank, most are kind of lacking. Bridge Too Far is pretty static as far as  action goes. Patton I think is the best I've seen at showing large scale battles while retaining some (small) degree of human interest. 

 

I think Nolan could come up with something great, but only if he really choreographs the hell out of the set pieces. 

post #8 of 484

Nolan's action scenes have been stunningly lackluster.  What's happening in the frame isn't the problem... anybody can film a batmobile exploding and make it look cool.  That's throwing money at the screen.

 

Nolan's issue is he isn't an action filmmaker, he doesn't have the DNA.  He's inherently a dramatist, a master of filming people in rooms talking and can definitely deliver dramatic thrills as seen in Memento.  The bombast and visual flair is afforded to him by his big budgets and veteran crew, but the shot composition, staging and structure of his action sequences are borderline incompetent.

 

I was always cold about his bat films and couldn't quite put my finger on why, until I realized it was the way he constructed the action sequences (aside from the scripts kind of being a mess).  

 

This is a great starting point for delving into why his action scenes aren't up to snuff, using TDK as an example, but the same problems can be found in Inception.

 

Also this.

 

And yes, some have retorted that Nolan's action falls more in line with post modern action filmmaking aka chaos cinema, but chaos cinema is just action filmmaking for lazy filmmakers who don't understand how to properly stage an action sequence.  Now, I'm not saying you can't enjoy his action sequences, its plenty enjoyable watching cool stuff happening very fast, but you can't critically defend what he does in action sequences without acknowledging the structural flaws.

 

In modern filmmaking, audiences generally don't care that their senses have been reduced to swiss cheese from the collapse of coherence... people aren't going to stop watching action movies because they're incompetently filmed... and what's happening in the frame is enough to satiate their action appetite.  Film craft doesn't enter into the conversation because most people don't even know what to look for.  Cool stuff is happening very fast to a loud soundtrack and they can sort of follow it, that's all they need to know.

 

This is why I sort of jokingly wondered if he learned how to shoot action.  

post #9 of 484
He will impress us with scale in this movie. Dunkirk wasn't about action it was about a race against time. This movie will be about building tension (he is good at that) and about the scale of of the operation. He'll use Imax and thousands of extras make us drop our jaws. Then interspersed throughout we'll have some action stuff that may or may not work, but I doubt it will be of great importance to this particular story.
post #10 of 484
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post
 

Nolan's action scenes have been stunningly lackluster.  What's happening in the frame isn't the problem... anybody can film a batmobile exploding and make it look cool.  That's throwing money at the screen.

 

Nolan's issue is he isn't an action filmmaker, he doesn't have the DNA.  He's inherently a dramatist, a master of filming people in rooms talking and can definitely deliver dramatic thrills as seen in Memento.  The bombast and visual flair is afforded to him by his big budgets and veteran crew, but the shot composition, staging and structure of his action sequences are borderline incompetent.

 

I was always cold about his bat films and couldn't quite put my finger on why, until I realized it was the way he constructed the action sequences (aside from the scripts kind of being a mess).  

 

This is a great starting point for delving into why his action scenes aren't up to snuff, using TDK as an example, but the same problems can be found in Inception.

 

Also this.

 

And yes, some have retorted that Nolan's action falls more in line with post modern action filmmaking aka chaos cinema, but chaos cinema is just action filmmaking for lazy filmmakers who don't understand how to properly stage an action sequence.  Now, I'm not saying you can't enjoy his action sequences, its plenty enjoyable watching cool stuff happening very fast, but you can't critically defend what he does in action sequences without acknowledging the structural flaws.

 

In modern filmmaking, audiences generally don't care that their senses have been reduced to swiss cheese from the collapse of coherence... people aren't going to stop watching action movies because they're incompetently filmed... and what's happening in the frame is enough to satiate their action appetite.  Film craft doesn't enter into the conversation because most people don't even know what to look for.  Cool stuff is happening very fast to a loud soundtrack and they can sort of follow it, that's all they need to know.

 

This is why I sort of jokingly wondered if he learned how to shoot action.  

 

Gah, I hate that Emerson piece. Just a very narrow, textbook-based analysis that borderlines on trolling. Sir Joseph Kahn explains it much better than I could. Some very good points and observations from the acclaimed author of TORQUE. Such as:

 

Quote:
CLAIM: “If we think of this less as a three dimensional space than a two dimensional graphic space, like three flat comic frames, then the shots do make a kind of sense.”
 
He uses this completely random thought game to justify his argument that the sequence doesn’t make sense. But not only is film not two dimensional, it’s not even three. It’s got the fourth dimension of time, and like any mathematical equation the simpler the dimension the less you can solve. That’s why it doesn’t work in his freeze framed two dimensions, but works in our active moving four and allows to factor in kinetics like shock cuts.

 

Quote:
The reality is that each action sequence can have it’s own internal architecture in which a number of factors can influence how we perceive it. Just as much as standing on the ledge of a building would shift your awareness downward from left to right (making the axis of action up and down), factors like the actual shape of the environment can rearrange how we orient our screen direction. 

 

Quote:
The problem with a clinical 180 degree line technique of filmmaking is that ignores human memory, as if all we did were look at screen direction. If this were so, POV shots would never work. Instead, POV’s work off of association where the audience naturally interprets the shot as from within someone’s head. The human mind is powerful: it can decipher information from many different ways. Symbolic association is one that Nolan is very good at, and the sequence is confidently made.

 

And what Nolan does better than anyone is build momentum. There's a very powerful thrust in all of his films, and it's the reason why they tend to work even when they make zero sense.

post #11 of 484

I know about the Kahn retort.  But let's be honest, he's the last person you want to talk to about coherent action filmmaking.  He's worse than Abrams.  

 

And it was completely predictable he'd reduce the argument by putting it in a context that doesn't even make sense.  Movies are not two dimensional comic book extensions.  But it is to people like Kahn, which is why filmmaking has become incoherent... it is a comic book to them, and they use nonsensical comic book rules to justify their choices... the comic book movie revolution was an inevitable consequence of this line of thinking.  And it's ironic he uses the flat plane comic book reasoning, since Nolan was trying to separate his Batman movies from that medium by grounding them in a more realistic fashion, for lack of a better term.

 

The reason movies like Bullit and The French Connection are still remembered is because they approached the action from a proscenium perspective, the audience as spectator in a 3-dimensional, physical sense.  A flat plane, 2D explanation betrays the very nature of mise en scene, which is like moving chess pieces around a board in order to aid in suspension of disbelief... and you cannot possibly play chess in 2D.  Kahn's reasoning was bullshit.  But somebody had to defend chaos cinema.

post #12 of 484

It's also why modern action sequences aren't very memorable.  Using Kahn's logic, the viewer is essential pointless, since he reasons every sequence has its own rules.  You cannot communicate to a person by using your own methods of communication, you'd be incoherent.  

 

It would be like me saying gobbledygook to a person while waving my arms around excitedly, and when they don't understand me, I get mad at them and say "I'm communicating to you using my own rules, don't get mad at me because you can't understand".  A film's job is to communicate to an audience, and every conversation needs a universal language that can be understood.  I don't understand Spanish, but I can sort of infer what a hispanic person is saying because I know a few key words, but I still don't get the full conversation.  If I knew Spanish, I'd have a much richer, more rewarding experience with that hispanic person because I'd fully understand them.

 

It's a bit like Kahn's reasoning.  If you start making up your own rules about what you're presenting to an audience in an action sequence, they will kind of infer what's going on because they "know a few key words".  But they'd have an even richer more rewarding experience if it were being communicated properly.  The 3 dimensional proscenium is the universal language for film.  It's why you can watch an action movie from 1950 and still get the full experience.  Or watch an action movie from Hong Kong and still understand what's happening.  We speak the same language.

 

That's why his reasoning doesn't fly.  I've talked about this before, but convincing people to accept inferior things means you have to invent entirely new rules to justify it.  And when people call you out for it, you produce those rules to save face.  I already mentioned the Transformers producer in another thread, and how he responded to the critical drumming those movies have taken, and to defend it, he actually invented a whole new type of filmmaking on the spot... Transformers had its own logic, and that's why they were great movies to him.  

 

Speaking of critics, how can you even be critical of something if it's making up its own logic every time out?  There's no primer.  And you'd always be wrong.  You can't win an argument when you don't understand the basics.

post #13 of 484

The problem for me with Nolan can be seen in the title of this movie.  

 

I mean, come on. Saving Private Ryan, The Thin Red Line, The Bridge On The River Kwai, The Deer Hunter, The Great Escape, Apocalypse Now.  The list of evocative titles goes on and on for war movies.

 

What does Nolan call his movie? Dunkirk. Why not call it something with a little more flair? Like maybe Dynamo for instance.

 

He just doesn't have what it takes to be directing these kinds of movies.  He should be sticking to the dramas like Memento and Insomnia. 

post #14 of 484

Kahn's reasoning also falls to pieces when you realize that Nolan doesn't use these "rules" any other time in the film (from what I remember), only during the action sequences.

 

It would be like two Spanish people speaking and one of them suddenly switching to Hindi midway through the conversation.  

 

Now, what is more likely?  That Nolan follows the standard 180 degree rule in the rest of the film, but only changes to this new "rule" during the action sequences, or... that he's simply not very good at shooting action?  It's an entirely logical and reasonable conclusion.  Also, in Kahn's mind, what is a poorly put together action sequence?  And wouldn't this shitty filmmaker just defend his work by citing new rules he's invented for the sequence?  How could one critically analyze anyone's work this way?


Edited by Ambler - 12/29/15 at 9:32am
post #15 of 484

The problem with chaos cinema is it has no rules, and therefore is immune to criticism.  It's a brilliant invention by hacks to maintain a healthy ego.

post #16 of 484
Quote:
Originally Posted by catartik View Post
 

The problem for me with Nolan can be seen in the title of this movie.  

 

I mean, come on. Saving Private Ryan, The Thin Red Line, The Bridge On The River Kwai, The Deer Hunter, The Great Escape, Apocalypse Now.  The list of evocative titles goes on and on for war movies.

 

What does Nolan call his movie? Dunkirk. Why not call it something with a little more flair? Like maybe Dynamo for instance.

 

He just doesn't have what it takes to be directing these kinds of movies.  He should be sticking to the dramas like Memento and Insomnia. 

 

This is such a dumb comment. If he didn't have "what it takes", he wouldn't be as successful as he's been. Inception, in and of itself, shows an incredible amount of cinematic flair. We have no real idea of what he's going to do here beyond going BIG. That's it. There is no indication that this will be a conventional action film and there's no indication that it won't be.

post #17 of 484
Cutting to establish clear geography and progression of movement at all times is one approach to action. Using fast paced, abstract editing to create a propulsive, energetic effect is another.

I'm not a big enough fan of Nolan to go too far out of my way to defend his action, but I'm not into rigid rules about what movies must do, these holy laws they must follow. That always seems to lead to a Give Me Classical Or Give Me Nothing mindset.

TDK and Inception are thrillers more than action movies. They work well enough narratively that I doubt anyone paying attention has trouble following what the action scenes are communicating, even if they're deliberately vague on the details.
post #18 of 484
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post

 

The reason movies like Bullit and The French Connection are still remembered is because they approached the action from a proscenium perspective, the audience as spectator in a 3-dimensional, physical sense.  A flat plane, 2D explanation betrays the very nature of mise en scene, which is like moving chess pieces around a board in order to aid in suspension of disbelief... and you cannot possibly play chess in 2D.  Kahn's reasoning was bullshit.  But somebody had to defend chaos cinema.

 

Well,

 

 

I WIN.

 

 

 

And it's a bit unfair to dismiss Kahn's piece by pointing at his body of work, and not do the same to Jim Emerson (sole writing credit: IT'S PAT, the comedic misadventures of a person of indeterminable gender). And Kahn's not saying every scene makes its own rules, but:

 

Quote:
The reality is that each action sequence can have it’s own internal architecture in which a number of factors can influence how we perceive it. Just as much as standing on the ledge of a building would shift your awareness downward from left to right (making the axis of action up and down), factors like the actual shape of the environment can rearrange how we orient our screen direction. 

 

I think this is legit, what do you disagree with this? And are you really arguing anyone who doesn't follow the master-shot rule (my film school's term for your 3D space thingy) is a hack? Like Nolan? Michael Bay? Paul Greengrass? Olivier Megaton? You saying all these guys are equally good or bad at their job?

 

And Kahn's neither saying movies are two dimensional (as you're suggesting), but four dimensional. And his point about Emerson completely missing the scene's terrific sound design is spot-on. For some reason most academics hardly pay any attention to sound, unless they're sound designers.


Edited by Virtanen - 12/29/15 at 11:20am
post #19 of 484

On DUNKIRK: give me Michael Caine as Adolf Hitler or GTFO. The release date is late July, making it a tentpole film about WW2. So this will be Christopher Nolan's WINDTALKERS?

post #20 of 484
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virtanen View Post
 

 

Well,

 

 

I WIN.

 

And it's a bit unfair to dismiss Kahn's piece by pointing at his body of work, and not do the same to Jim Emerson (sole writing credit: IT'S PAT, the comedic misadventures of a person of indeterminable gender). And Kahn's not saying every scene makes its own rules, but:

 

 

I think this is legit, what do you disagree with this? And are you really arguing anyone who doesn't follow the master-shot rule (my film school's term for your 3D space thingy) is a hack? Like Nolan? Michael Bay? Paul Greengrass? Olivier Megaton? You saying all these guys are equally good or bad at their job?

 

And Kahn's neither saying movies are two dimensional (as you're suggesting), but four dimensional. And his point about Emerson completely missing the scene's terrific sound design is spot-on. For some reason most academics hardly pay any attention to sound, unless they're sound designers.

 

The two dimensional chess image would make more sense if movies were filmed two dimensionally.  When you watch a movie, you don't look at the entire thing from above, so your computer chess example doesn't work in that context.  That's why I said you can't play "real" chess two dimensionally (as in, two guys sitting in a room together, like a movie).

 

I pointed out Kahn's body of work because he's actually a filmmaker who's proven his action is just as incoherent and unfocused as Nolan's.  Critically analyzing someone's work does not require the critic to be a filmmaker though.  If it did, most Chewers (including yourself) would be shit outta luck.  Maybe Emerson would make a shitty action director, but that's an assumption no one can argue.  I can argue Kahn's position because he's actually shown himself to be lacking.

 

And I didn't say Nolan was a hack, I said he doesn't shoot action well (also see the snow sequence in Inception).  Bay, Greengrass, Megaton are all post modern chaos cinema school as well, and I am just as harsh on them.  The many, many, many, many complaints about their action sequences being a confusing mess that give people headaches backs me up... it's almost a punchline at this point.

 

Kahn argues Emerson's points, but notice that he does not explain why it's a great action sequence or why it works... he merely chomps at the bits of Emerson's argument without offering a counter argument, and the van chase is only one sequence in a movie full of messy sequences.   To boot, he even offers something that doesn't make sense:

 

Quote:
Kahn: Stand on the ledge of a tall building and all you’ll look is down. Enter a cave of falling stalactites. Architecture, danger, and kinetics can change and reset where you look, and how you look.

 

99% of chase scenes (and especially the ones in TDK) do not take place in a vertical orientation.  The chase is still on a flat street.  So he's applying vertical rules to horizontal action by reasoning the rules can change because of tall vertical objects.  There is no such thing in the van chase he is defending.    

 

He also never explains why this "new" style of filmmaking works.  We already know the "old rules" work, so there's no need to defend them.  But he has not offered a way into his thought process when he randomly throws things at the screen in his movies.  Just "welcome to the fourth dimension where nothing has to make sense!"

 

The sound design argument is a moot point, since movies still need to work even if the sound is off.  Cinema existed before sound.  Sound is something that actually helps distract from the incoherence onscreen.  It's probably the only reason you can even follow what's happening at all.... the sound is the only consistent thing in the sequence.  Hacks rely on booming soundtracks, it saves their ass.

 

Once again I ask the million dollar question... if these new "rules" are legit, why doesn't Nolan and other filmmakers use them in other sequences?  Why is action all that has been altered among 2+ hours of filmed material?  If they're so confident in these new rules, why not use them all the time?  What is more likely?  That these new techniques are chosen to give the audience a better experience (because the many many classic action films that do follow the 180 rule made lots of money and worked just fine) or that these guys are simply not adept at filming competent action like the greats - Frankenheimer, Cameron, Spielberg, Friedkin, Hill, Peckinpah, etc., so they've had to invent fourth dimensional reasoning to compensate.  Though really they haven't invented anything... Kahn is the only filmmaker I've seen offer criticism of the criticism.  

 

Nolan and his contemporaries are great dramatists.  There is nothing wrong at being more skilled at one thing than another, but instead of copping to it, new rules are invented to justify the dip in quality.  And you could fill a book with complaints about confusing/disorienting action sequences in modern filmmaking... people are not making this up.  I would like to see Kahn explain why audiences are wrong and he's right.  Now if people want to justify why tons of audience members are confused, by saying "it's a new style, deal with it", than so be it.  Emerson was merely trying to analyze why he and many others were disoriented by the van chase (aside from the other action scenes), and made a few erroneous claims, but his intention was correct.  Something was wrong.

 

Stork's breakdown of chaos cinema does a wonderful job explaining why these scenes are disorienting and confusing for the viewer.  He did a better job than Emerson.  Personally, I prefer the old style because I am more emotionally affected by those action scenes.  Most modern actions scenes leave me cold because of the messy nature of their construction, and I'm not the only one.


Edited by Ambler - 12/29/15 at 1:23pm
post #21 of 484
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul C View Post

Cutting to establish clear geography and progression of movement at all times is one approach to action. Using fast paced, abstract editing to create a propulsive, headache inducing, disorienting effect is another.

 

Fixed.

 

No one's saying you can't use both, but let's not get it twisted.... the second was invented not because it was a good, but because A-list filmmakers became less disciplined, or were taking on genres they weren't suited for.  Nobody sat in a room and decided action needed to be more abstract.  These techniques were actually used by hacks way before Nolan or Bay got their hands on a camera... incoherent action has always been around, it just never got validation until A-list filmmakers started getting lazy, or simply were out of their element.

 

I'll put it another way.  Youtube became a wasteland of boring, banal video content made by people who weren't skilled at creating content.  Now that it's a booming industry, new rules have been invented to justify it as a valid form of entertainment.  This is completely backwards.  Shittiness has always existed... only now it has $$$ value attached, so words like "abstract" get thrown around so people can enjoy it without feeling guilty.  


Edited by Ambler - 12/29/15 at 1:47pm
post #22 of 484
Greengrass isn't some dolt who doesn't know what he's doing, his action style is consistent with the style of the rest of his movies. What he's going for is a sense of spontanaity and frantic energy.

Some might hate it, but it's not done thoughtlessly and if it didn't work for a lot of people it wouldn't have become influential. Some people abused the style to shitty effect, but that's on them.
post #23 of 484

Has Nolan (or any successful modern filmmaker) ever claimed to prescribe to "chaos cinema"? If he hasn't, what exactly is the point of arguing over an arbitrary definition, created by someone else, for how he shoots action? So neither he or Paul Greengrass shoots action like McTiernan or Spielberg...and what? Falling back on academia to criticize a filmmaker one doesn't especially like is really, really boring.

post #24 of 484

OK, here's a friendly advice: try proof-reading your lengthy posts before hitting the "submit" button. Some of your points frankly pissed me off, so I'll do this:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post
 

The two dimensional chess image would make more sense if movies were filmed two dimensionally.  When you watch a movie, you don't look at the entire thing from above, so your computer chess example doesn't work in that context.  That's why I said you can't play "real" chess two dimensionally (as in, two guys sitting in a room together, like a movie).

 

Umm, no. That was your example, and I pointed that chess is a game played with two axes. It's not a three dimensional game, since we're not putting the buttons on top of each other. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post
 

I pointed out Kahn's body of work because he's actually a filmmaker who's proven his action is just as incoherent and unfocused as Nolan's.  Critically analyzing someone's work does not require the critic to be a filmmaker though.  If it did, most Chewers (including yourself) would be shit outta luck.  Maybe Emerson would make a shitty action director, but that's an assumption no one can argue.  I can argue Kahn's position because he's actually shown himself to be lacking.

 

I think I mentioned going to film school. And I make films. Plus earn my living writing them. So luckily I'm one of the precious few who are not quote-unquote shit outta luck.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post
 

And I didn't say Nolan was a hack, I said he doesn't shoot action well (also see the snow sequence in Inception).  Bay, Greengrass, Megaton are all post modern chaos cinema school as well, and I am just as harsh on them.  The many, many, many, many complaints about their action sequences being a confusing mess that give people headaches backs me up... it's almost a punchline at this point.

 

Frankly, if you can't see a difference in quality between TAK3N and BOURNE ULTIMATUM, I don't know what the hell are you thinking. Or drinking.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post

 

He also never explains why this "new" style of filmmaking works.  We already know the "old rules" work, so there's no need to defend them.  But he has not offered a way into his thought process when he randomly throws things at the screen in his movies.  Just "welcome to the fourth dimension where nothing has to make sense!"

 

The sound design argument is a moot point, since movies still need to work even if the sound is off.  Cinema existed before sound.  Sound is something that actually helps distract from the incoherence onscreen.  It's probably the only reason you can even follow what's happening at all.... the sound is the only consistent thing in the sequence.  Hacks rely on booming soundtracks, it saves their ass.

 

 

The sound design argument is not a moot point. Cinema existed before sound. So what? Cinema also existed before lighting, close ups, camera movement, index cards, cross-cutting, flashbacks and -forwards. You shouldn't use them either to tell your story?

 

To answer your thousand dollar question, Greengrass' films abandon the 180 degree rule in dialogue scenes too. So he uses the same aesthetic through the entire film. Happy now? See also: the films by brothers Dardenne.

 

And unlike you, Kahn is not arguing against anything. He's pointing out, quite eloquently, what are the reasons the scene works for him. What pains me is that Emerson, and you, come off like fucking Manowar -fans. Death to false metal and all that. These are works of art. Granted, they can be observed through how well they're crafted. 

 

Personally, I prefer the old style because I am more emotionally affected by those action scenes.  Most modern actions scenes leave me cold because of the messy nature of their construction, and I'm not the only one.

 

And here's the point. That is your personal opinion. It differs from mine, since I also enjoy Kahn's and Dardennes' work. So let's kiss and make up to the awesomeness of Michael Bay and return to discuss Michael Caine as Adolf Hitler, shall we?

 

post #25 of 484
Quote:
Originally Posted by JacknifeJohnny View Post
 

Has Nolan (or any successful modern filmmaker) ever claimed to prescribe to "chaos cinema"? If he hasn't, what exactly is the point of arguing over an arbitrary definition, created by someone else, for how he shoots action? So neither he or Paul Greengrass shoots action like McTiernan or Spielberg...and what? Falling back on academia to criticize a filmmaker one doesn't especially like is really, really boring.

 

I think the video Stork created does a good job of boiling down the many modern action films and their reliance on random chaos.  I'm not even sure Nolan is aware of the video, but critical analysis of bodies of work and filmmaking styles has been around forever... this isn't all that different or any less valid.

post #26 of 484
So...Dunkirk. The fishing boat fleet making the last ditch rescue of stranded BEF soldiers retreating from a failed attempt to stem the Nazi hordes is a cornerstone of the British WW2 story, along with the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, Bomber Command, Monty vs Rommel and D-Day, so Nolan better not fuck it up. That is all.
post #27 of 484
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virtanen View Post
 

OK, here's a friendly advice: try proof-reading your lengthy posts before hitting the "submit" button. Some of your points frankly pissed me off, so I'll do this:

 

I wouldn't put too much stock into what I'm saying, it's just one man's opinion.  It's not worth getting "pissed off" over.

 

Umm, no. That was your example, and I pointed that chess is a game played with two axes. It's not a three dimensional game, since we're not putting the buttons on top of each other. 

 

The chess analogy has gotten out of hand.  The pieces exist in a three dimensional space, which was shorthand for three dimensional people in a film, and filmmakers often use them like chess pieces in the planning process.  Wasn't a perfect analogy. 

 

I think I mentioned going to film school. And I make films. Plus earn my living writing them. So luckily I'm one of the precious few who are not quote-unquote shit outta luck.

 

That's wonderful.  I wasn't aware of that.

 

Frankly, if you can't see a difference in quality between TAK3N and BOURNE ULTIMATUM, I don't know what the hell are you thinking. Or drinking.

 

Don't put words in my mouth.  I didn't say Greengrass was a terrible filmmaker like Megaton.  I lumped them together as an example of chaos cinema.

 

The sound design argument is not a moot point. Cinema existed before sound. So what? Cinema also existed before lighting, close ups, camera movement, index cards, cross-cutting, flashbacks and -forwards. You shouldn't use them either to tell your story?

 

You mentioned Emerson missing the point about sound design, which has nothing to do with spatial relations of objects shot to shot in an action sequence and he was not even arguing the sound design didn't work.  The sound was very effective (at hiding the mess).

 

To answer your thousand dollar question, Greengrass' films abandon the 180 degree rule in dialogue scenes too. So he uses the same aesthetic through the entire film. Happy now? See also: the films by brothers Dardenne.

 

Can you provide an example of this?  I've seen his films but can't remember the break of 180 degree in non action scenes.  If he did, it's an exception to the rule, but the exception does not change the rule, so the million dollar question still stands.

 

And unlike you, Kahn is not arguing against anything. He's pointing out, quite eloquently, what are the reasons the scene works for him. What pains me is that Emerson, and you, come off like fucking Manowar -fans. Death to false metal and all that. These are works of art. Granted, they can be observed through how well they're crafted. 

 

Kahn offers vague explanations of abstract filmic elements early in the article, but he does not specifically go over the scene shot by shot and explained why it works.  He corrects Emerson's erroneous claims of what actually occurred on screen.  Even in the comments Kahn says he did not really offer an opinion.

 

I find lengthy back and forth to be tedious, so let's just agree to disagree if you're not satisfied.

post #28 of 484

I don't think Nolan is a particularly good dramatist either...

 

I actually like the car chase in Dark Knight a lot.  It's a lot of the other action sequences that come off flat.  So it's kinda ironic that Emerson chose that one to focus on.  But that's probably why he DID choose it.

post #29 of 484
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virtanen View Post
 

On DUNKIRK: give me Michael Caine as Adolf Hitler or GTFO.

"What's it all about, Adolf?"

post #30 of 484

"Do not go gentile into that good night...  HEIL... HEIL... against the dying of the light..."

post #31 of 484
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul C View Post

Greengrass isn't some dolt who doesn't know what he's doing, his action style is consistent with the style of the rest of his movies. What he's going for is a sense of spontanaity and frantic energy.

 

Oh, I'm not arguing he didn't have a plan.  But having a plan doesn't mean it's a good one.  Saying "I want frantic spontaneity" is still justification.  Many people complained of disorientation and headaches in Bourne 2, so they cut back alot of that chaotic shit for Bourne 3.  They knew it didn't work, so they adjusted.  That's a real world example of chaos cinema being an ineffective storytelling tool, so it's a perfectly valid criticism.  

 

You can still achieve frantic spontaneity without confusing the viewer.  Saving Private Ryan is a perfect example of this.  Spielberg was able to manufacture chaos while still keeping the viewer oriented... that's why the sequence was extremely memorable and effective.  A real world of example of classical cinema working like gangbusters.  I have yet to find a chaos cinema example that can equal the beach scene in Ryan.

 

Again, please don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying you cannot enjoy Greeengrass' action style.  I'm saying in a critical analysis, it often proves counterproductive in cinematic storytelling.  I think chaos cinema would have a better home in avante garde cinema, where you can really get wacky with ideas.  But if you're trying to convince me to care about characters, randomly throwing stuff around the frame isn't going to help.

post #32 of 484
Quote:
Originally Posted by catartik View Post
 

The problem for me with Nolan can be seen in the title of this movie.  

 

I mean, come on. Saving Private Ryan, The Thin Red Line, The Bridge On The River Kwai, The Deer Hunter, The Great Escape, Apocalypse Now.  The list of evocative titles goes on and on for war movies.

 

What does Nolan call his movie? Dunkirk. Why not call it something with a little more flair? Like maybe Dynamo for instance.

 

He just doesn't have what it takes to be directing these kinds of movies.  He should be sticking to the dramas like Memento and Insomnia. 

 

I'm not sure if this is a joke but Dunkirk as a word has that sort of wartime cachet as things like Waterloo, D-Day, Dresden and Stalingrad, even though it's certainly not as momentous as any of those.  You have to clarify if you're just talking about the town or the incident, the meaning is so tied up there.

Besides, Atonement was taken I guess

post #33 of 484
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post

 

I actually like the car chase in Dark Knight a lot.  It's a lot of the other action sequences that come off flat.  So it's kinda ironic that Emerson chose that one to focus on.  But that's probably why he DID choose it.

 

Yeah, the car chase works very, very well. Batman beating the Chinese security guards....not so much. I'd say him clearing the building at the end was aaiiight, but not what it should have been.

post #34 of 484

I'd say Nolan's best action sequence is the hallway fight in Inception, which is comparatively simple (when you get down to it, it's two dudes punching it out).  But it's elevated by the setting and Nolan really executes the hell out of it.

post #35 of 484
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muzman View Post

I'm not sure if this is a joke but Dunkirk as a word has that sort of wartime cachet as things like Waterloo, D-Day, Dresden and Stalingrad, even though it's certainly not as momentous as any of those.  You have to clarify if you're just talking about the town or the incident, the meaning is so tied up there.
Besides, Atonement was taken I guess

Waterloo. Stalingrad. Dresden. D-Day. All memorable war movie titles. That was my point.
post #36 of 484
Then blame history. Jesus.
post #37 of 484

I"m sure to the Brits and maybe the French (certainly Germans of a certain age haha) Dunkirk has a lot of resonance. It's dumb ass Americans who don't remember anything. 

post #38 of 484
What worries me more than Nolan's action chops and the title (OPERATION DYNAMO was right there!) is that Nolan's again writing it by himself. Maybe making a film based on real events can make him overcome his usual tropes, unless this is a complicated puzzle told from Michael Hitler's point of view. "Ach-toong, ich see bloody dead wives everywhere."
post #39 of 484
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dent6084 View Post
 

I'd say Nolan's best action sequence is the hallway fight in Inception, which is comparatively simple (when you get down to it, it's two dudes punching it out).  But it's elevated by the setting and Nolan really executes the hell out of it.

The heart of the execution lies in the hour of setup that built to it all kinda culminating into that high point.  The actual action isn't all that exciting.  But we have all the context we needed to just go with it and be excited by all that build-up.  

post #40 of 484
Quote:
Originally Posted by catartik View Post


Waterloo. Stalingrad. Dresden. D-Day. All memorable war movie titles. That was my point.

Then colour me terribly confused.  I thought the pattern was something like Normandy is a boring name 'Saving Private Ryan' is a good one.  Stalingrad is a boring name.  Enemy At The Gates is a good one.  etc etc

post #41 of 484
Quote:

To answer your thousand dollar question, Greengrass' films abandon the 180 degree rule in dialogue scenes too. So he uses the same aesthetic through the entire film. Happy now? See also: the films by brothers Dardenne.

 

Quote:
Can you provide an example of this?  I've seen his films but can't remember the break of 180 degree in non action scenes.  

 

Missed this, I recall the scene in the beginning of THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM where the Guardian contributor meets his informant. There was an article (which I cant find) on Greengrass' style where he was blamed for his "restless and borderline incoherent" aesthetics. It pointed out how Greengrass employs it even in simple scenes where two characters sit and talk.

 

I'd like to think the said article was in The Guardian and about THE BOURNE SUPREMACY, because of what happens to the Guardian contributor in the sequel. Classy move there, Paul!


Edited by Virtanen - 12/30/15 at 1:52am
post #42 of 484

I don't think Greengrass arbitrarily breaks the 180 line very often at all (he doesn't in that informant scene).  Not since Bloody Sunday or something anyway. Its primarily camera movement and editing that makes people hurl in his stuff.

Bay definitely will.  Greengrass' geography is mostly very solid I find.  Which isn't to say the quick cut and camera shake thing won't get old.

post #43 of 484
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cylon Baby View Post

I"m sure to the Brits and maybe the French (certainly Germans of a certain age haha) Dunkirk has a lot of resonance. It's dumb ass Americans who don't remember anything. 

Hell, I'm Brazilian and not only did I use to dream about making a film about the Dunkirk Evacuation, I also wanted to call it "Dunkirk".

... Did Nolan inception his movie outta my head you guys????
post #44 of 484

We're all in Nolan's dreams. How else can he make Billion+ dollar grossing films when he can't film a Goddamn action scene?

post #45 of 484
The hand to hand or melee fights in Nolan's films are usually pretty forgettable or average (though I'd maintain Batman vs. Bane was kind of great), but I think set pieces are more a strength for Nolan than a weakness. I mean, some of this stuff is phenomally visualized and executed and sticks with you WAY more than the majority of current Hollywood spectacle. TDK chase, hallway scene in Inception, docking and wormhole scenes in Interstellar. That said, you can tell which set pieces excite Nolan's vision and which action is sorta just there cuz he is making a blockbuster.
post #46 of 484
Quote:
Originally Posted by wasp View Post

The hand to hand or melee fights in Nolan's films are usually pretty forgettable or average (though I'd maintain Batman vs. Bane was kind of great), ....

I think Nolan's clunky approach to fight scenes turned out to be a plus for that scene (because for all the crap I give that movie, I actually loved that first 'fight').  The fight is barely a fight at all because it's so foregone that Batman is way out of his league.  So the fight looking so clunky and goofy worked for it.  It wasn't trying to make Batman look badass.  The very opposite.

 

 

So of course... the moment Batman IS supposed to come out on top against Bane at the end of the movie... it's once again pretty goofy and clunky, causing me to laugh so so hard.

 

Because face it man... that movie is so bad.

post #47 of 484
The story of Dunkirk isn't really about action anyway, it'll be more about tension and suspense. We should be arguing about how good Nolan is at that.
post #48 of 484

I don't really remember any BIG movie of Nolan's having a particularly great sequence of tension/suspense.  

 

I imagine he'll bring Zimmer back and count on the thundering music to make us think we're in suspense.   mwuhuhuhuh

post #49 of 484
Who's gonna shoot this? Has Nolan upgraded to Hoyte van Hoytema or will he go back to Pfister?
post #50 of 484
Pfister is busy with Twoscendence.
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