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David Poland

By David Poland

MCN Critics Round-Up – Halloween '08


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10 Responses to “MCN Critics Round-Up – Halloween '08”

  1. LexG says:

    Maybe it’s just the tinting of the trailers, but has Kevin Smith shot “Zach and Miri” in that drowsy “golden-brown-butterscotch” haze that many non-visual directors eventually seem to find their way to, especially once they’ve been criticized for not having a style? (I’m thinking of Ron Howard, who once upon a time had bold primary colors in his movies, but now that he’s a “serious” director shoots in chocolate tones.)
    Anyway, isn’t this kind of a weird weekend to wide-release a comedy?

  2. jeffmcm says:

    Lex, is it possible that you have superpowered cat eyes that are more attuned to the subtleties of filters and color timing than other humans? Because nobody talks about that stuff the way you do. Perhaps that’s your calling.

  3. leahnz says:

    awww, that’s sweet.
    i’ll say one thing about lex, that colour schemes/timing shit is rubbing off on me; i was watching ‘pathfinder’ the other night (simply because karl is oh so big and purty – and the giant goat dudes are gnarly, it took me ages to figure out the head goat is clancy brown; if you watch ‘pathfinder’ without the sound, it’s far less silly and quite nice to look at). anyhoo, the movie is filmed in shades of dingy grey with colourised bits here and there, and i kept getting distracted from karl thinking, this only has four tints: green, orange, (blood) red, and these strange bursts of light blue, like that little fluffball caught on a twig. (curse you lex for distracting me from karl)

  4. LexG says:

    Well, Jeff, I appreciate the props (I guess?), but I think you’re being a little disingenuous about your own powers of cinematic observation. While you (and most) may not pay much attention to the barely-discernable nuances of trailer tinting and trademark studio hues, surely there are some filmmakers whose “look” is almost instantly recognizable to you. And, yes, that often can extend to their films’ lighting schemes and color tinting.
    Are you meaning to tell me you’ve never noticed the warm autumnal golden glow of post-Hannah and Her Sisters Woody Allen? (I think he’s backed up the yellow a little since about 2000.) Or that the Coens use beige and gray? That Clint’s gone desaturated the last half-decade? You were never struck with the nocturnal blacks-and-blues of Cundey-era Carpenter? Not to return to Howard again so soon, but I’d like to hope any eagle-eyed film expert would say there’s a pretty big visual difference between the crisp, primary-colored “Parenthood” and the drowsily sepia “Cinderella Man.”
    And that’s what I was saying about the “Zach and Miri” trailer; It’s practically brown-sepia-tinted, whereas “Mallrats” looked like “The Breakfast Club” in terms of crisp colors.
    I’ve said it many times before, but with regular filmgoers, yeah, probably no one notices this shit. But film critics, who see hundreds of movies a year and are often veritable scholars of AUTEURISM, don’t seem to notice.
    Maybe it’s because so many older-school film critics seem more like book critics, and their film school training so emphasized the sociopolitical thematic angles, they never quited developed the “eye” for the visuals.

  5. doug r says:

    I find Verhoven to be annoying with his blues and grays, especially Total Recall.
    Also, a lot of CGI-heavy monster pictures shot in Eastern Europe like Underworld and Van Helsing and any Dragon picture with Jeremy Irons are all those flat shades of gray.
    I like the rich greens of the BC shoots, like X-Men and Special Unit 2.

  6. leahnz says:

    doug, ‘heavenly creatures’ is another heavily green-tinted example, every shade of green imaginable. and orange. green and orange. like pathfinder in that respect and no other.

  7. chris says:

    Well, if it’s green you’re going to talk about, you have to mention Alfonso Cuaron. It’s his magic color. Check out “Great Expectations” and “A Little Princess,” in particular. “Princess” is the greenest movie — with the possible exception of “New World” — in history.

  8. leahnz says:

    good grief, chris, you’re right. ‘the prisoner of azkaban’ (one of my all-time fave movies, i’m slightly embarrassed to admit) is one big muted green tinge.

  9. Joe Straat says:

    I noticed the dominance of color in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Fellowship was mostly green, Towers was mostly blue, and King was mostly gold. It’s probably because they each corresponded to the mood of each of the movies, but it was a little distracting in Return when it seemed to me they were putting in plot details that were supposed to be in the previous movies like the scene with Gollum before he got his hands on the ring.

  10. Cadavra says:

    “Anyway, isn’t this kind of a weird weekend to wide-release a comedy?”
    Counter-programming, although it doesn’t seem to have worked in this case.

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