Watched Venom on a plane. Was okay. As always wasn’t weird enough.
I need to rewatch 89, but honestly Returns and Forever are tied for best live action bat movie.
I need to see Mask of the Phantasm as an adult, so I can evaluate wether that or LEGO Batman is the best overall Batman film.
Forever and Robin are just too hypercorn for me, compared to colder noir first two Burton-Keatons. Watched Mask of the Phantasm a couple years back and felt it held up pretty well! The parents/Joker aspects are differently pronounced than how TAS usually felt, it’s got a certain weight.
I saw Climax today. It had a very strong opening, with a flat-out incredible dance scene and a slow feeling of mounting dread as the spiked punch’s effects started to become clear. The film is gorgeous and stylistically it’s really something special. Beautiful cinematography and some playful tweaking of formulas – e.g. the film opens with the closing shot, followed by the end credits, followed by production company logos, followed by the film itself.
Unfortunately, this movie is dumb as all hell. Gaspar Noé seems to me to be the exact same kind of egotistical brat as Lars Von Trier. Both are technically quite skilled, but intellectually vapid. Their main goal with their films seems to be to shock and provoke the audience. It’s an adolescent mentality, this perverse delight simply in prodding the viewer, getting a rise out of people with no further point in mind. Both filmmakers are rendered utterly unnecessary by the presence of Michael Haneke, whose work provokes to an actual end. He has ideas and themes. What a fucking concept, right?
This great-style/bad-concept dynamic is ever present in Climax. Look at this shot:
The main characters are all introduced in this promo VHS, where they talk to the camera about how excited they are for their trip to the US to perform their dance routine. Very cool way to open a film, and pretty attractive framing. Showing you this in-universe media is a neat idea. The contrast between the grainy VHS footage and the hi-res surroundings, that’s great. But what’s this? It seems Noé has surrounded the TV with all of his top influences in creating this film! Check out all the cool old horror movies he likes, and all the interesting books he’s read! This is some fucking freshman film school boneheaded shit right here. I was sitting in the theater thinking “yeah dude, I get the impulse, but you should have gotten over this after your first short.”
The film is interspersed with occasional Godard-style screens full of text with totally banal psuedo-philosophical musings. Literally, a character dies and the screen flashes the phrase “Death is an extraordinary experience.” I’m gonna yartz, dude.
The film has absolutely nothing to say. After its relatively strong start, it just descends not just into miserablism, but boring miserablism. The film is able to effectively capture what it’s like to be at a shitty party where people are getting too fucked up and behaving badly. But that’s all it does. Like, it never reaches any particularly interesting heights. People die and it still just feels like you’re at a shitty party. He hires all these amazing dancers, but the last 3rd of the film you just get to watch them aimlessly and lethargically writhe around on the ground.
It’s frustrating. There’s a lot of talent in this movie but it’s all driven by the mind of a frat boy who never grew up.
Ultimately, the movie was worth the admission, but mainly because of two incredible dance scenes. Save yourself the time and money and watch them on youtube:
now do Quentin Dupieux
I’m sorry, I like you and that’s just too mean to do to somebody I like
One of the only plot threads in Climax that I found interesting was the whole bit about the child who drinks some of the spiked punch.
It’s a really intense moment when you see him in the background of a busy shot just sipping away at it. Your stomach drops. You think, what would I do in a situation like this? If I realized I’d been dosed with acid at a party, and everyone else had been too, including a CHILD? How would I keep it together and keep the child from being scarred for life?
This film doesn’t even think it through to that point. Everyone who was dosed immediately loses all ability to function, and everyone who hadn’t been dosed gets kicked out of the party. Nothing interesting really happens with the child. He immediately gets locked into a room with a big HAZARD: LIVE ELECTRICITY sign on the door. For the next half hour you hear him cry a lot. His mother who locked him in there to try and “keep him safe” realizes she’s lost the key and can’t get him out. Then the electricity shorts out and everyone realizes the kid died, so the mom kills herself.
This shit is the most boring and thoughtless possible approach to a compelling premise. It tries to keep you in suspense, but it immediately restricts the possible outcomes of the situation to two: escape (in an obvious form) or tragedy (in an even more obvious and telegraphed form). When the tragedy happens, no one could possibly be surprised. It’s a punch in the gut you know is coming, and then it just happens. It feels rote, like “I know how I’ll really get them mad, I’ll have a kid die”.
That dance scene was awesome, though
Yeah, it’s one of the most astonishing scenes I’ve seen in a theater lately. I do gotta give the movie credit for that. Don’t sleep on that second dance scene I embedded either; the bit where the camera starts rotating is so cool.
I actually had two real life experiences during the movie that captured the “everyone is freaked out on acid” experience better than the movie itself.
The theater had big leather recliner chairs. The screening was very sparsely attended, so I put my stuff on the chair to my right. During the movie I reclined back a fair bit. At some point the light from the screen reflected strangely, so I looked to my right, and thought there was a strange person sitting on my stuff and staring right at me. My heart jumped out of my chest for a second before I realized I was looking at the side of the other chair, which had moved forward relative to me when I reclined backward.
Halfway through the movie I went to use the restroom and there was an old man standing at a urinal with his pants completely down and his weird wrinkly ass just all the way out. By some terrible timing, I ended up leaving the rest room at the same time as him and I had to hold the door for him. He looked me dead in the eye and gave a polite “thank you”.
I saw cold war and everybody knows this week. They are both alright. Everybody knows has these mesmerising amazing shots of drones hovering over normal human scenarios: a wedding, a schoolyard. They are framed super weird and have this energy I’ve never seen in another shot. Like u can feel the drone sucking up all the information in the environment and storing it. The drone footage is later scoured for evidence of a crime but none is found. The rest of the movie does not have this energy except for one shot of a car driving at night which cuts in just as the car the camera is mounted to goes over a tiny change in elevation so it sort of sways weirdly in like the first half second of the shot. Orange car light everywhere. The mood for the rest of the movie also owns but is completely different. The wedding scene felt like I was actually at a wedding and was drunk and was having an extremely good time which is a pretty hard thing to convey considering weddings suck! The music in that section was so well chosen. Anyway I just felt like typing rly so yeah bye bye
Thank you for putting my wariness of Noé into words. I’ve never even seen one of his films but every snippet I did see, everything I read and heard about them gave me the impression of a juvenile virility to no end. I’d rather watch more interesting directors jacking off.*
*he writes, his avatar a frame from a Refn film
yeah, the dancing and the music is the only part of the film i found enjoyable, for sure. it reminded me of the Suspiria remake, though, which is another movie i found incredibly dumb and boring, but that had some really great dancing.
basically, all those movies have convinced me of is that i need to go out to see modern dance more often than i currently do.
re: the spoiler’d part - part of my and my friend’s frustration with the film is that no one reacts to any of these situations in a human way; they all just do the most-obviously dumb shit possible, purely for the sake of Noé driving towards destruction. and like, who the hell cares? destruction and death only matters in regard to what leads up to it; the movie is the equivalent of loading up someone else’s Sim City and then turning the hazards on all at once.
This is exactly right, and it was my biggest problem. I’ve actually BEEN at a party with a bunch of people doing acid (albeit willingly, not surprise dosed) and there are very interesting social and emotional dynamics that open up. This movie doesn’t even attempt to engage with the interiority of its characters on any level.
Again, I think the comparison with Lars von Trier and Michael Haneke is useful. Haneke is the only one of the three who even acts like he understands that other people are people. His films, while disturbing, are based on a humanist foundation that Noé ignores and von Trier despises.
I was kinda i interested in this one because sofia boutella owns and it was getting good reviews + none of them mentioned the drive toward gross, cheap, cruel shock bullshit I would anticipate from Gaspar “hey what if taxi driver opened with the dude punching his pregnant girlfriend repeatedly in the stomach?” Noe, so I appreciate this thorough whoops! your KID IS FUCKING DEAD!!! breakdown.
You might also like to know then that Climax also has a pregnant woman being punched in the stomach repeatedly and then driven to self-harm by a jeering crowd. Because, of course it does.
it’s just so puerile. additionally, i think Noé just wanted an excuse to hang out with a bunch of cool, hot young people. someone i briefly dated had his # and i got the impression he just sort of surrounds himself with model-y types.
according to an interview someone sent me after, he apparently wrote Climax in a month, and…i could definitely tell that lol
A True Artiste will have indentifiable recurrent motifs that run through their careers like golden threads~
Come on, without Noé how else are we going to know that there is a darker side to human nature…