The Post reviews

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Re: The Post reviews

Postby dws1982 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:51 pm

Precious Doll wrote:As for Spacek, don't care if she never makes another film again.

I want her to be in at least five movies every year. But I think she's pretty happy with just doing a small role here and there, mostly on TV, and spending the rest of her time on her farm in Virginia, so good for her.

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Re: The Post reviews

Postby Precious Doll » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:39 pm

Streep would have been fine with a better script and more subtle director. As for Spacek, don't care if she never makes another film again.
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

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Re: The Post reviews

Postby Uri » Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:40 pm

As is the usual case with Spielberg serious historical mode, this one is text-book-y and America-is-great-y, with a touch of schmaltz and flag waving. It is also rather stagy and being quite predictable dramatically, not very engrossing. Other than that, it’s fine.

So, Precious – bitter Streep got the part instead of a certain petit Texan who was born to play Graham? Anyway, to answer my own question, this performance fits nicely with Streep’s current mode – I smiled since the first we see her onscreen, she is rehearsing for a performance she’s about to give the next day, coached by a male advisor. Again, it’s a woman in a position of power struggling to form her public persona. It is part of this ongoing route she took but it is varied enough to be of interest on its own. Not an earth shattering turn, but good enough.

Hanks is Hanks. The rest of the respectable cast is professional, as expected. And again, when an artistic license is being taken – meaning the fictional character played by Bradley Whitford – the result is simplistic and uninspired, so why bother?

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Re: The Post reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:18 pm

Oprah has more immediate things to worry about. Although her property was damaged in the Montecito mudslides, it was stable enough for the rescue helicopters to stage there to rescue her neighbors in danger.

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Re: The Post reviews

Postby Reza » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:05 pm

Precious Doll wrote:And in what must be the worst scene of 2017 - Streep strolling down the steps of the court as all the young women turn their heads in awe of her with barely a man in sight. It was like played out like the second coming of Christ. What the hell was Spielberg thinking. It's the most ridiculous scene he has ever directed..


Not unlike the Golden Globes during Oprah's self important speech with the camera going from female face to face in the audience. Forget her running for a silly post like the President of the United States, surely dear Oprah must now be in consideration for damehood or more likely sainthood.

There's no business like show business after all!!

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Re: The Post reviews

Postby Sabin » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:56 am

Precious Doll wrote
And in what must be the worst scene of 2017 - Streep strolling down the steps of the court as all the young women turn their heads in awe of her with barely a man in sight. It was like played out like the second coming of Christ. What the hell was Spielberg thinking. It's the most ridiculous scene he has ever directed.

Everybody is ranting and raving about 'Darkest Hour' but at least that's just old-fashioned cornball bullshit. 'The Post' reveals something else about how this class thinks about itself. It's gross.
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Re: The Post reviews

Postby Precious Doll » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:32 am

What a bore.

Streep is all mannerisms and ticks. I never felt any sense of the woman she's playing and what little is learnt is through clunky dialogue about the 'past'. Tom Hanks doesn't fair much better with his Jack & Jackie memories. Jansuz Kaminski's cinematography is beyond dreadful - all the bad wigs and make-up highlighted by the dark and dull lighting. Some of the actors were so heavily baked in white powder they looked liked they belonged in something set in France in the 17th century.

And in what must be the worst scene of 2017 - Streep strolling down the steps of the court as all the young women turn their heads in awe of her with barely a man in sight. It was like played out like the second coming of Christ. What the hell was Spielberg thinking. It's the most ridiculous scene he has ever directed.

Anyway, all is not lost. Nixon's rantings, as always, were a hoot.
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

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Re: The Post reviews

Postby Uri » Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:08 am

The Original BJ wrote:I watched The Post again, and while my general opinion remains the same, I am going to admit that I underrated Meryl Streep's work here. I understand now why so many have been genuinely enthused by what she's doing, because it's such a change of pace from so many of her recent roles. Over the past decade, she's played a lot of BIG characters, often in broad comedy roles (Florence Foster Jenkins, Into the Woods), but also in her more dramatic roles, where her characters were genuinely larger than life (August: Osage County, The Iron Lady). But here she plays a very normal woman, and this return to a more grounded characterization gives her a chance to imbue her key scenes (expressing her disappointment with McNamara, opening up emotionally with her daughter in the bedroom scene, giving the go-ahead to publish the papers in her flustered phone call) with quite a bit of detail and human nuance. It's the kind of work that one can easily undervalue simply because it's not too flashy, and I'm afraid I undervalued it my first time through with this film.


Looking back at Streep’s career, it can be divided into three phases, success wise. The first, 1977-1990, the shooting star phase, in which she accumulated 9 Oscar nominations per 14 years. 1991-2005 – the wandering around, “loosing focus” phase, 4 nods/15 years. 2006-2016 – the superstardom, greatest actor since the early Paleozoic era phase – 7 nods/11 years. Interestingly, both the first and the last can be defined by a kind of an über theme which suggests a varied yet unified artistic opus. No, not the accents - in the early stage it was about a complex, challenging take on womanhood, a subversive, post-feminist portrait of wifehood and motherhood. In the last, or rather current one, all these broad, larger than life, BIG characters as you call them, can be collectively looked at as a reflective look by a veteran, successful artist at the essence of her art – a cumulative dissertation on the nature of performing.

Some of the characters she portrayed in the last decade or so were actual performers – Julia Child, Ricki and Frances Foster Jenkins, but even more interesting are those other films in which she played women who are knowingly creating/fabricating a fully realized public persona in order to maintain their authoritative social place – The Devil Wears Prada, Doubt, The Iron Lady, August: Osage County, Into the Woods, even her cameo in Suffragette (and probably The Giver too, I haven’t seen it) – all the women she plays in these films are consummate performers. Miranda Priestley’s (a masterfully slick turn in an ok film) schtick is an obvious Act. Her Margaret Thatcher’s (a very good performance in a very bad film) success as a politician is tied closely with her mastering her posture, the way she is projecting her voice, her wardrobe, her makeup and hairstyle – her acting. Sister Aloysius (a very good performance in a mediocre film) is very self-consciously putting on a show to intimidate her underlings, as is Violet Weston (an interesting failed turn in a disastrous film). The Witch (efficient yet blah turn in a blah film) being monstrous is a spell induced mask – and like in every other film mentioned here, this mask must be taken off at one stage for the character’s true, often fragile, self to be revealed.

I haven’t seen The Post yet, but it will be interesting to see were, or rather if it fits into this pattern – from what I’ve heard and read here, it might be an interestingly fresh turn in Streep’s journey as an actress.

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Re: The Post reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:28 pm

I watched The Post again, and while my general opinion remains the same, I am going to admit that I underrated Meryl Streep's work here. I understand now why so many have been genuinely enthused by what she's doing, because it's such a change of pace from so many of her recent roles. Over the past decade, she's played a lot of BIG characters, often in broad comedy roles (Florence Foster Jenkins, Into the Woods), but also in her more dramatic roles, where her characters were genuinely larger than life (August: Osage County, The Iron Lady). But here she plays a very normal woman, and this return to a more grounded characterization gives her a chance to imbue her key scenes (expressing her disappointment with McNamara, opening up emotionally with her daughter in the bedroom scene, giving the go-ahead to publish the papers in her flustered phone call) with quite a bit of detail and human nuance. It's the kind of work that one can easily undervalue simply because it's not too flashy, and I'm afraid I undervalued it my first time through with this film.

Given the competition, I still definitely don't think this merits a fourth Oscar, but I am now completely fine with her (likely) nomination, and don't think it would be reward by rote at all. Sometimes you just have to admit you missed something on a first viewing.

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Re: The Post reviews

Postby Sabin » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:46 am

My fear at the Academy Awards was that I was going to have to sit there all night only to watch 'Dunkirk' win. Now my fear is that it'll be this thing.

This must be what Spielberg haters felt during the 1980s when he kept going after the brass ring. It struck me as phony from early on and never stopped. I can only imagine that Liz Hannah's original screenplay was more about Kay Graham's personal struggle with handling The Washington Post and then Josh Singer was brought on to ratchet up suspense and widen the scope. Either way, the film never decides what it's about and the content of the Pentagon Papers takes a powerful backseat.

'The Post' tries to be both the personal journey of Kay Graham coming into her own AND a process-oriented docudrama. It never comes close to finding a balance. Steven Spielberg tends to tackle unruly films when it comes to structure. Look at 'Bridge of Spies.' It tries to stay true to real life, and so it ended up following a bunch of mini-narratives. Ultimately, it succeeded as a film on the strength of its ideas, its performances, its scenes, and its wit. 'The Post' has none of these things. There's something strange about a movie that purports to be about the First Amendment and then spends so much of the running time hemming and hawing about in gorgeous houses and fine restaurants. Even in the end, it can't settle on what we're supposed to cheer. Their Supreme Court victory launched them into more than a regional paper. So, it's not simply a victory of principle but also capitalism, and ultimately I felt nothing.

It also feels quite rushed. A nomination for Michael Kahn would be a real shame. This is a poorly paced film. We leap into scenes and out of them choppily. This one needed more time in the editing room, and perhaps some reshoots.

The performance I enjoyed the most was Bob Odenkirk's. He's not going to get nominated, but in a film full of canned lines it was a pleasure to see someone who kept his thoughts to himself. Bruce Greenwood is also good as Robert McNamara. Hanks is fine. His accent comes and goes, but his gruffness is fun. As for Streep, I understand why she decided to play Kay Graham this way but I found her singularly unpleasant on-screen. Every scene with her felt as subtle as a wartime soap opera.
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Re: The Post reviews

Postby OscarGuy » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:01 pm

For me, Streep always conveys confidence, even when she's playing a trepidatious character, there's confidence in her delivery. Here, she seemed thoroughly unconfident. That may be why I liked her so much here. It didn't feel like Streep Acting, but Streep acting.

As to the other scene I'm talking about, it's the security guard segment at the very very end.
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Re: The Post reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:37 pm

I agree with you on the effectiveness of the Supreme Court steps scene -- it's a very good example of Spielberg's long-time ability to convey an idea simply using visuals, and I liked the fact that the shot is so busy that its central idea doesn't come across as thuddingly obvious. (Clearly I'm being vague, for the sake of spoilers.)

I'd probably need more specifics to know what you're referring to by "the final segment" -- do you mean the final Hanks/Streep scene?

A little thing that's stuck with me since I saw the movie is Streep's line reading of "...and now I think I'm going to go to bed," the capstone to probably her best scene in the movie (along with the Alison Brie exchange).

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Re: The Post reviews

Postby OscarGuy » Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:33 am

I watched this film yesterday in the screener none of us thought we were getting.

I must say I have an entirely different take on it than BJ. I thought it was a searing rebuke of Trump and thus a very timely film. To me, a film doesn't have to take place in a modern setting to feel timely. Fantastic Beasts was set in the 1920s, yet was an indictment of Brexit and other aspects of the rise of bigotry in the UK and the US.

It may be considered merely competent filmmaking, but it feels so much more than that. I cannot go into details before the review embargo lifts on Wednesday (I'm hoping to have my review written and posted then), but I am reminded of All the President's Men in a great many ways, as well as a bit of Spotlight (Josh Singer also had a hand in that one, thus the similarities). I'm not the biggest Streep fan, but this is the best work I think she's done since Devil Wears Prada. Hanks may be the every man Jimmy Stewart once was, but that's fitting for this particular character and evocation of it.

I also want to reference two scenes (in the vaguest of terms obviously) that I was blown away by. They each gave me chills for different reasons. Without going into spoilers, one is at the end of the film (matter of fact the final segment) and the other is on the steps of the Supreme Court. BJ may know what I'm referring to and may not have gotten the same impression out of them, but those were two points where I truly felt that Spielberg showed the best of his talent.
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Re: The Post reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:37 pm

I think the "this is so timely" reaction is the one that frustrates me the most. Because when I think "timely," I think a movie that taps into the cultural zeitgeist in a way that feels like it could only be a movie of that moment -- the way Get Out and Three Billboards do, by addressing contemporary issues in a complex manner, through the use of exciting filmmaking.

The Post could have been released forty years ago, and even then it wouldn't have come across as edgy -- in that era, it probably would have felt even more like watered-down All the President's Men. The movie is only timely in the most superficial sense, in the way a film that climaxes with the reading of a Supreme Court decision about the importance of the free press has contemporary relevance in this historical moment, even though "the free press is important" isn't really that deep of a take for a two-hour movie.

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Re: The Post reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:48 pm

I'll be quite interested to see the reaction of real critics to this. The Twitter response has been, as BJ notes, well more enthusiastic than expected, but there's a lot of "this is so timely/the movie we need/such an Oscar movie", rather than "Wow, great movie". It reminds me just a bit of the response to Gary Oldman's performance -- people are so excited it checks off Oscar boxes they don't so much mention their own feelings about it.

This can be especially pernicious when the Oscar-blogger-verse seems to operate with a model of the Oscars that begins and ends with The King's Speech, thinking that any movie existing within those important/inspiring parameters is going to bowl AMPAS over. The voters who chose No Country for Old Men, The Hurt Locker or Birdman -- or even Argo, in a more trivial direction -- don't cross any of their minds when they're forecasting Academy triumphs.


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