I'm Not There: The Poll

I'm Not There: The Poll

****
2
14%
*** 1/2
2
14%
***
3
21%
** 1/2
3
21%
**
3
21%
* 1/2
1
7%
*
0
No votes
1/2 *
0
No votes
0
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 14

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7342
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Postby Sabin » Mon Jun 23, 2008 9:47 pm

Saw this movie a couple weeks ago and my father and mother saw it last night. They really enjoyed it, more than I would have thought. I got a message today that went something like this: "Your mother and I just saw 'I'm Not There'. Just a...wow. Really neat movie. Great music. Cate Blanchett was amazing. What the hell is the Richard Gere stuff about. Call us back."

In discussing the Richard Gere segments with my father, I have to confess that although I'm completely aware of what they mean, in understanding one has to do all of Todd Haynes' heavy-lifting for him. That part of the movie, which should be incredibly moving as Bob Dylan/Billy the Kid returns to the town of his creations, is as much a mess as the town itself is. You don't feel anything when you watch it. It's just there. When the 3+ hour DVD release of 'I'm Not There' is released, we'll see what happened. As is: nothing doing. The Arthur Rimbaud commentary serves as a distraction and a slight crutch, providing inelegant commentary on the proceedings, and more so than Blanchett's Jude represents the more unfortunate aspects of the Dylan persona: the flippant camera-happy jester.

Also, the Vietnam-as-our-relationship motif of the Ledger/Gainsborough scenes are under-explored. It might have something to do with his recent death but I was far more engrossed in the Blood on the Tracks-Dylan that Ledger portrayed than before.

I love this film but I can't help but half-heartedly agree with Armond White that Todd Haynes doesn't make movies about people but test subjects. Every one of his films has been about ciphers that he doesn't care to really emotionally explore but showcase through a pastiche-filter. 'Far From Heaven' is a lovely experiment that almost gets there. His films have a slightly off-putting intellectual superiority to them that only 'Safe' and 'I'm Not There' truly earn. "Far From Heaven' is a lovely film that is just not terribly emotionally gripping (came around on that one late). 'Poison' is a stunt. I need to see 'Velvet Goldmine' again.

What I will say is that in Cate Blanchett's final scenes set to "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" he comes closest to genuine sincerity even as it is entirely abstract and there is no possible way it can exist on planet Earth. Blanchett's Jude talks to Greenwood's stuff Brit from the back of her limo to his television program and there is an ease and release there suggesting that she's been capable of this all along. Even then, it's a tease: "...everybody knows I'm not a folk singer." and looks at the camera with a knowing gaze as if to suggest "Or am I?" It's all tickling smoke and mirrors but this is the first time it feels innate in character. We can't stop lying to ourselves as we try to lie to others.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

User avatar
OscarGuy
Site Admin
Posts: 12533
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:22 am
Location: Springfield, MO
Contact:

Postby OscarGuy » Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:55 am

vote and discuss.
Wesley Lovell
"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

Akash
Professor
Posts: 2037
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 1:34 am

Postby Akash » Mon Jan 07, 2008 9:51 pm

flipp525 wrote:Best Supporting Actress was a particularly strong category that year all-around.

Yes and typical of them, they chose the LOUSIEST nominee -- Catherine Zeta Jones. Quintessential Oscar result.

Streep, Bates and Moore were all good (even if I only liked Streep's film) and Queen Latifah was okay. And Jones was just a hollow performance. The Chicago ladies should have lost their spots to Patricia Clarkson and Maribel Verdu (Y Tu Mama Tambien)

Okri
Tenured
Posts: 2587
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:28 pm
Location: Edmonton, AB

Postby Okri » Mon Jan 07, 2008 9:08 pm

I'm actually surprised at how much fun I'm Not There was. Individual moments were quite powerful and the whole thing just flew by,

User avatar
flipp525
Laureate
Posts: 5816
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2003 7:44 am

Postby flipp525 » Mon Jan 07, 2008 12:14 am

Penelope wrote:I think Julianne Moore was much better in The Hours than she was in Far From Heaven; in The Hours, she gave one of the finest and most accurate depictions of suicidal dispair that I've ever seen in a movie--at times, it was like seeing my own life up there

I couldn't agree with you more, Penelope. Although I thought she did an excellent job in Far From Heaven (which had a uniformly outstanding ensemble and should've yielded nominations for Patricia Clarkson and Dennis Quaid in addition to Moore's richly-deserved nod), out of her two 1950's housewife nominated performances that year, her Laura Brown in The Hours was vastly superior. And I also concur with you that her depiction of a sexually repressed and suicidal woman on the brink of collapse was transcendent as well as hauntingly familiar. The scene when she fights back tears in the bathroom before joining her husband in bed is an unforgettable moment. Best Supporting Actress was a particularly strong category that year all-around.




Edited By flipp525 on 1199683017
"The mantle of spinsterhood was definitely in her shoulders. She was twenty five and looked it."

-Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

User avatar
Penelope
Site Admin
Posts: 5663
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2004 11:47 am
Location: Tampa, FL, USA

Postby Penelope » Mon Jan 07, 2008 12:06 am

I'll agree with you re The Hours and (especially) The Two Towers, but not Chicago and The Pianist, both of which are vastly superior to Far From Heaven (a pale, er, imitation of Sirk). Conversely, I think Julianne Moore was much better in The Hours than she was in Far From Heaven; in The Hours, she gave one of the finest and most accurate depictions of suicidal dispair that I've ever seen in a movie--at times, it was like seeing my own life up there (too bad the rest of the film blew chunks).
"...it is the weak who are cruel, and...gentleness is only to be expected from the strong." - Leo Reston

"Cruelty might be very human, and it might be cultural, but it's not acceptable." - Jodie Foster

Akash
Professor
Posts: 2037
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 1:34 am

Postby Akash » Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:58 pm

Penelope wrote:But, honestly, aren't all of Haynes' films "formal masterpieces"? Poison, Safe, Velvet Goldmine, Far From Heaven...all films that look dazzling and impressive, and perhaps work on a cerebral level...but don't work on an emotional level.

Far From Heaven worked on many levels for me -- including emotional. Especially the relationship between Moore and Haysbert. She should have won the Oscar for this. And certainly this film was more deserving of a Best Picture nomination than awful films like Chicago and The Hours. Heck it was even more deserving than The Pianist and The Two Towers -- both of which I liked.

User avatar
Penelope
Site Admin
Posts: 5663
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2004 11:47 am
Location: Tampa, FL, USA

Postby Penelope » Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:26 pm

While I didn't dig the shit out of this film, I do agree that it's a formal masterpiece...the cinematography, the editing, the art direction, unquestionably among the finest this year.

But, honestly, aren't all of Haynes' films "formal masterpieces"? Poison, Safe, Velvet Goldmine, Far From Heaven...all films that look dazzling and impressive, and perhaps work on a cerebral level...but don't work on an emotional level. I always find myself sitting there thinking, man, this is incredible to look at...but I wish it would end already. That's because I don't develop any feeling for the characters, I never connect with what's happening to them.

Such is the case with I'm Not There. Of course, the fact that I know next to nothing about Dylan might've put a wall up between me and the film, but a really great filmmaker should be able to break that barrier down. Haynes wasn't able to do that for me (a confession: after hearing Dylan's songs for the first time in this film, I wasn't converted--I know, I know, first Sondheim and now Dylan--hey, can I help it if I like melody?) Once again, about midway through, I was ready for it to be over.

That said, I can understand why Cate Blanchett is getting such wild praise--it is an impressive performance, very dynamic--she plays an asshole really well. I also agree that Charlotte Gainsbourg is wonderful, and I also really liked Bruce Greenwood (one of the great, underappreciated actors).

In the end, however, what it all means I don't know.




Edited By Penelope on 1199680011
"...it is the weak who are cruel, and...gentleness is only to be expected from the strong." - Leo Reston



"Cruelty might be very human, and it might be cultural, but it's not acceptable." - Jodie Foster

jack
Assistant
Posts: 863
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 4:39 pm
Location: Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Postby jack » Sat Dec 15, 2007 10:04 pm

Hell, I would give Bruce Greenwood an Oscar for this film... All aspects of I'm Not There were sensational.

If there is any justice in this world Todd Haynes and Edward Lachman (cinematography) will be nominated, let alone Blanchett.

This was a work of art, and bar and large the best film of 2007. And I don't normally like art films.

Anon
Temp
Posts: 295
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2004 11:03 pm
Location: Albany
Contact:

Postby Anon » Sat Dec 15, 2007 9:25 pm

After doing some shopping and bulking up for the winter storm to come, I decided to catch a movie before I'm snow bound and settled on I'm Not There. Wow!

I'm still stunned by the brilliance of it all! I'll be processing all the images for a while, but I will say this definitely makes my top 10 films for the year.

I don't think I will ever look at biopics the same after all this! Cate Blanchett was amazing, but I also concur with flipp that more should be made of Charlotte Gainsbourg. She was phenomenal.

User avatar
flipp525
Laureate
Posts: 5816
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2003 7:44 am

Postby flipp525 » Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:35 am

Sabin wrote:I dug the shit out of this film.

I did, too.

Cate Blanchett is the obvious stand-out in the "Todd Haynes does Pennebaker by way of Fellini" section. She bursts onto the film in a rock blaze, completely disappearing into "Jude", the drugged-out version of Bob Dylan whose fans have started turning against him. It's stunt casting that works unbelievably well. Her last monologue in the back of the car is simply sublime. I also loved the small nuances she brought to the character like when Allen Ginsberg pulls up next to their car and she sort of turns to the person sitting next to her and says something like, "I mean, is this for real or what!?"

Heath Ledger and Charlotte Gainsbourg were also excellent, particularly the latter (why isn't she being cited for awards consideration? She was amazing). Their section had the most conventionally "biopic feel" and, for that reason, it was left grounded in a reality that the other sections didn't have (which is not to say that it was the weakest or strongest. Just, it was what it was). Although, did California area codes begin with "310" back in 1974?

I'm still processing the film myself, but I can say that it's one of the more unique theatrical experiences of the year as well as consistently visually captivating. Todd Haynes continues to prove he's one of the most innovative directors of our time.




Edited By flipp525 on 1199680671
"The mantle of spinsterhood was definitely in her shoulders. She was twenty five and looked it."



-Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

User avatar
Zahveed
Associate
Posts: 1838
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2007 1:47 pm
Location: In Your Head
Contact:

Postby Zahveed » Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:09 am

I look forward to seeing this film.
"It's the least most of us can do, but less of us will do more."

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7342
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Postby Sabin » Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:37 am

Brief Review...

Todd Haynes' latest is a formal masterpiece. I cannot immediately attest to its profundity as what it has to say about Bob Dylan is fairly pedestrian (he resisted every label on surface value and failed to see the incredible meaning behind until perhaps it was too late, and in the end he only has what he started out with), but it is the party of the year. Haynes does Fellini. Haynes does Peckinpah. Haynes does Godard. Haynes does Lester. Haynes finds the EXACT! right notes throughout Bob Dylan's life to create a miasma of stimuli that transcends mere mimicry. And so do most of his actors, though not without missteps, some more glaring than others, but more on that later.

Ed Lachman's cinematography is dizzying, and Ray Rabinowitz's editing pieces together 'I'm Not There' like a feature-length dazzling montage that never lets up. Not for a second. I can't say for certain whether or not non-Dylan aficionados will be as astonished as I was, but I would be amazed if the surface dazzle of 'I'm Not There' would fail to impress anyone.

Cate Blanchett is amazing. I've always responded to her on a more cerebral level, and while she's certainly very good in 'Elizabeth', I've never really seen more than posturing. In 'The Aviator', that's all well and good; it may be surface deep, but it's surface deep to exactly what Scorsese intends, and I wouldn't call her Oscar a crime by a long shot (except that Linney and Madsen were better). But in 'I'm Not There', she nails it. She absolutely nails it. So does Carl Marcus Franklin (I believe), the little black kid who is ridiculously talented. Christian Bale and Ben Widshaw (?) aren't given terribly much to do. Richard Gere makes a late impression that is fine but not too demanding on any level. And Heath Ledger, while a little hit or miss, tackles the wino neither-here-nor-there Dylan with great aplomb.

In all fairness, they're all puppets in Haynes' la ronde of romance, folk singing, surrealism, party, and apocalypse; that Blanchett makes the strongest impression is probably two-fold: her deft mimicry and her stronger scenes.

I dug the shit out of this film. More to come.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

User avatar
OscarGuy
Site Admin
Posts: 12533
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:22 am
Location: Springfield, MO
Contact:

Postby OscarGuy » Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:50 am

This review puts Cate Blanchett further on the map. A few more reviews like this and she should be in for a nomination and maybe, though I doubt it, a second Oscar.

I'm Not There
Posted: Tue., Sep. 4, 2007, 5:16pm PT (U.S.-Germany)
A Weinstein Co. (in U.S.) release of an Endgame Entertainment, Killer Films, John Wells and John Goldwyn (U.S.) production, a VIP Medienfonds 4 (Germany) production, in association with Rising Star, in association with Grey Water Park Prods. (International sales: Celluloid Dreams, Paris.) Produced by James D. Stern, John Sloss, Goldwyn, Christian Vachon. Executive producers, Hengameh Panahi, Philip Elway, Andrea Grosch, Douglas E. Hansen, Wendy Japhet, Steven Soderbergh, Amy J. Kaufman, Wells. Co-producer, Charles Pugliese. Directed by Todd Haynes. Screenplay, Haynes, Oren Moverman; story, Haynes, inspired by the music and many lives of Bob Dylan.

Jack/Pastor John - Christian Bale
Jude - Cate Blanchett
Woody - Marcus Carl Franklin
Billy - Richard Gere
Robbie - Heath Ledger
Arthur - Ben Whishaw
Claire - Charlotte Gainsbourg
Allen Ginsberg - David Cross
Journalist - Bruce Greenwood
Alice Fabian - Julianne Moore
Coco Rivington - Michelle Williams


By TODD MCCARTHY

Cate Blanchett stars in 'I'm Not There.'


A densely idiosyncratic, cubist-like cinematic portrait of a man who often calls to mind Bob Dylan, Todd Haynes' "I'm Not There" resembles a film a precocious grad student in musicology might make about a creative hero. Stylistically audacious in the way it employs six different actors and assorted visual styles to depict various aspects of the troubadour's life and career, the film nevertheless lacks a narrative and a center, much like the "ghost" at its core. Dylan fans and '60s-era pop-culture mavens will constitute pic's most reliable audience, as mainstream interest will remain unstirred.
Haynes' unconventional approach to biography was no doubt the reason this became the first project about Dylan's life anointed by the man himself, who allowed the use of his songs, both in original form and in covers. Dylan's own taste in cinematic ventures has been questionable over the years, but "I'm Not There" is decisively superior to "Masked & Anonymous."

As it jumps around in time and explores assorted Dylan personae backed by one of the 20th century's most impressive greatest-hits collections, "I'm Not There" is never dull and rarely aggravating. Some of Haynes' most daring ideas -- such as having the youthful, Woody Guthrie-idolizing Dylan portrayed by an 11-year-old black boy, and expressing the impact of the Dylan-goes-electric Newport concert by having the singer and his band literally machine-gun the folky audience -- come off surprisingly well, and the general let's-try-this approach is broached in such a genial manner that it encourages the viewer to abandon any preconceptions and follow where Haynes leads.

Such open-mindedness is further spurred by the first "Dylan," who receives significant screentime. Young Marcus Carl Franklin is charmingly forthright as a guitar-toting kid who, in 1959, rides the rails, '30s-style, and identifies himself as Guthrie when he doesn't claim to be Arthur Rimbaud. Little "Woody" is admired for his talent wherever he travels, until he is upbraided one day by a wise lady who admonishes him to "Live in your own time."

And so he does, materializing in Greenwich Village in the guise of "Jack" (Christian Bale) and taking the progressive music scene by storm with "The Times They Are A-Changin' " and other early gems.

At this stage, pic begins to fracture itself, for good and ill. Heath Ledger turns up as "Robbie," a moody actor who stars as a Dylan-like figure in a Hollywood film called "Grain of Sand." A docu format reminiscent of Martin Scorsese's "No Direction Home" takes over to accommodate straight-to-camera interviews with the likes of former intimate Alice Fabian (Julianne Moore), and the verite vein persists in an attempt to explain why Jack cut his ties with the protest movement shortly after JFK's assassination, around the time Robbie meets painter Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg).

Getting it on with Claire to the strains of "I Want You," Robbie, in a charming scene, takes her to the country to pick up a motorcycle, and they eventually marry and have two kids.

The film suddenly jolts to life at the 40-minute mark with the cataclysmic New England Jazz & Folk Festival; not only is the music now plugged in, but the central figure, "Jude," is impersonated by Cate Blanchett. Scrawny, her eyes often concealed by large shades and topped by a curly mop identical to Dylan's at the time of "Don't Look Back," Blanchett is, appropriately enough, truly electrifying at first; she's uncannily got down the skittish movements, wary eyes, curt mumble and occasional flashes of brilliance, and comes far closer than anyone else to approximating the Dylan the public knows.

As the performance goes on -- it's by a fair distance the dominant turn in the picture, both in impact and duration -- and the character becomes increasingly wigged out by drugs and paranoia, the reliance on mannerisms over psychological depth becomes more apparent. Still, Blanchett's casting and performance rep a daring coup, and she can now rightly claim to be the only thesp on Earth ever to have been asked to channel both Bob Dylan and Katharine Hepburn, and to have done so successfully.

Jude's British tour and associated events provide the core and highlight of "I'm Not There," due to a combination of Blanchett; the encounters with notables such as Allen Ginsberg and the Beatles (in a throwaway, "A Hard Day's Night"-style gag); the visual elan Haynes and lenser Edward Lachman achieve in black-and-white by subtly segueing in style from D.A. Pennebaker and Richard Lester to the sleeker, swinging-London look of John Schlesinger's "Darling"; Jude's seemingly futile pursuit of an elusive Edie Sedgwick-type blonde named Coco (Michelle Williams); his defiance in the face of audience fury at his new sound; and the probings of an intelligent journalist (an excellent Bruce Greenwood), intent upon exposing Jude as a fraud.

Unfortunately, after steadily gaining steam and conviction through its midsection, the film grinds to a virtual halt when it again radically shifts focus to gaze upon "Billy" (Richard Gere), a reclusive mountain man intent upon leaving behind a celebrated and/or notorious past. This interlude clearly reflects not only on Dylan but on Sam Peckinpah's "Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid," in which Dylan played a supporting part.

Meant to echo both Peckinpah and "McCabe & Mrs. Miller," this unduly protracted section is poorly conceived on every level, as it dramatizes and contributes nothing. Impossible as it no doubt would have been to eliminate a star like Gere from the picture, the end result unquestionably would have been superior without this meandering Western material, for which Haynes seems to have no feel.

Having hit this crossroads and proceeded down the wrong path, pic more or less stumbles the rest of the way, as do the various Dylan incarnations. Only a final, haunting closeup image of the real Dylan in performance brings things fleetingly back to life.

Dylan freaks and scholars will have the most fun with "I'm Not There," and there will inevitably be innumerable dissertations on the ways Haynes has both reflected and distorted reality, mined and manipulated the biographical record and otherwise had a field day with the essentials, as well as the esoterica, of Dylan's life. All of this will serve to inflate the film's significance by ignoring its lack of more general accessibility. In the end, it's a specialists' event.

Production looks and sounds great. Montreal-area locations superbly stand in for such diverse settings as the northeastern U.S., London and environs, and Paris, a tribute as well to production designer Judy Becker. Costume designs by John Dunn, along with makeup, hair and assorted accoutrements, provide further crucial period verisimilitude, and the use of Dylan's music is intelligent and invigorating.

"I'm Not There" may not be all there, but it doubtless provides lots to talk about.
Wesley Lovell

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin


Return to “2000 - 2007”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests