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Femme Fatale (I know you guys will go crazy over this)
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 07.20.2003 7:43 pm    Post subject: Femme Fatale (I know you guys will go crazy over this) Reply with quote

Saw it on DVD a couple of weeks ago--I just figured this'd be a good one to talk about, since I know a lot of you love it/hate it. Michael and "FilmsRPriceless" seem like they worship it, seeing that I've been reading their comments. I tend to side with Eric on it, though (I saw that it was on his 'Dishonerable Mentions' list on his 2002 Overview). I think its one of DePalma's worst, and is made out to be a lot more intelligent and suspenseful than it really is, taking on a cover that's much more mysterious than the heart of its really trying to accomplish. Devotees: please explain why you think its so complex, and great.
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filmsRpriceless
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PostPosted: 07.20.2003 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What Brian De Palma does to entrace me is make me feel as if I'm living an alternate life. His film embraces genre roots so strongly that it says that depth isn't necessary for you to have a great time watching it, and it dismisses conventional rules and it is complex, but I don't try to dig much into it -- not because there's nothing under the surface, but because it may lose its magic. Take a film like David Lynch's Fire Walk With Me for example. It's purely a visceral and a visual experience, and it doesn't matter if it is solved for me to embrace it. As I said in my review, it reminds me why I love cinema so much; this embodies the romance of going to the movies. I've never seen a De Palma film where I enjoy just about every minute of it, where I am taken to new places altogether. The film isn't at all pretentious and if you criticize it for being over the top, you're only missing the point.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 07.20.2003 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, comparing this to Lynch is crazy. Femme Fatale is unnessecarily twisty, where as in lets say Mulholland Drive there is a purpose for toying with the audience.
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matt header
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PostPosted: 07.20.2003 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although "Femme Fatale" had a pretty terrible screenplay and perhaps worse acting, I must admit against all logic that I enjoyed it, which is the only point De Palma had in mind. Certainly, the gigantic flaws made the film less fun than it could have been - it wasn't an intelligent AND visceral joy ride like, say, Minority Report. But often times when I see a De Palma film I see a rather boyish director toying around with what he can do to impress us, and even if that's not the most sophisticated approach, I can't help but grin. This is also the reason I enjoy Dario Argento so much: I don't know if there is much of a point analyzing the depth or integrity of such films, because surface entertainment is usually, for better or worse, the only point.

Matt
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 07.21.2003 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I would agree with you Matt. But, even if it does has its moments, I still would consider it trash.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 07.21.2003 2:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny, is your description of the film as "trash" rooted in its lack of filmmaking skill, or the lurid content of the picture? And does the content influence your opinion of the skill?

Eric
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filmsRpriceless
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PostPosted: 07.21.2003 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
Well, comparing this to Lynch is crazy. Femme Fatale is unnessecarily twisty, where as in lets say Mulholland Drive there is a purpose for toying with the audience.


I'm not comparing this to Lynch. I'm comparing this experience to one like a Lynch film, where the emotions matter the most rather than you're more interested in dissecting them at first. I've seen Femme Fatale three times, and I'm fairly certain that it toys with us for a reason like a Lynch movie.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 07.21.2003 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
But often times when I see a De Palma film I see a rather boyish director toying around with what he can do to impress us, and even if that's not the most sophisticated approach, I can't help but grin. This is also the reason I enjoy Dario Argento so much: I don't know if there is much of a point analyzing the depth or integrity of such films, because surface entertainment is usually, for better or worse, the only point.


It's interesting that you bring up Argento. He's often refered to as "the Italian Hitchcock," but I think he has a lot more in common with De Palma. Both these filmmakers are in love with cinema. Often when I watch a De Palma movie, there's no need to suspend disbelief, because De Palma is more interested in displaying technique and style. No, the characters aren't believable, the story realistic, or the themes insightful. But who cares? Look what you get in place of all that. "Femme Fatal" was one of the funnest times I've had at the movies in a few years. De Palma was playing a game with the audience, not to show off, but to revel in the love of a movie as purely a movie, an experience -- as a construct of narrative, character and technique. It's purpose for toying with the audience is the fact that sometimes the audience likes being toyed with. I don't think this is a flawed movie at all, with a bad screenplay or terrible acting. I think it's constructed to be a movie for movie lovers by a movie lover. It worked for me.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 07.21.2003 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:
Danny, is your description of the film as "trash" rooted in its lack of filmmaking skill, or the lurid content of the picture? And does the content influence your opinion of the skill?


The content has no influence on my opinion, whatsoever. Look at Lynch films, if were comparing them to this one. In my opinion, many of those are perfect masterpieces, but this one is just another forgettable attempt at a creating a twisty movie. I think that since the movie is unsuccessful most of the time (in my opinion), it make the content look laughable. In his review Berardinelli said: "However, I don't think he [De Palma] intended Femme Fatale to be seen as a pure comedy, even though all of the elements are there ? bad acting; clich?-riddled, cheesy dialogue; and a plot that, like a house of cards, collapses under the weight of having too many coincidences, contrivances, and surprises." The material and content would've worked perfectly if the movie worked, but it doesn't.

filmsRpriceless wrote:
I'm comparing this experience to one like a Lynch film, where the emotions matter the most rather than you're more interested in dissecting them at first. I've seen Femme Fatale three times, and I'm fairly certain that it toys with us for a reason like a Lynch movie.


I can see the comparison on that, but don't you think that Lynch is much more successful in creating a much better atmosphere for doing such than De Palma? Doesn't this mean that the way he tells his story his therefore different? There are a few situations that I could see it was the same, but I think that De Palma is a lot more sloppy in doing so.
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filmsRpriceless
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PostPosted: 07.21.2003 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
I can see the comparison on that, but don't you think that Lynch is much more successful in creating a much better atmosphere for doing such than De Palma? Doesn't this mean that the way he tells his story his therefore different? There are a few situations that I could see it was the same, but I think that De Palma is a lot more sloppy in doing so.


Of course Lynch is much more successful in creating better atmosphere than De Palma, but that doesn't mean that De Palma's clueless. In this film, it proves that he knows seductive atmosphere. And yeah, I also think that he's an overall different storyteller than Lynch, but he's not sloppy in being so distinctive here.
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matt header
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PostPosted: 07.21.2003 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speaking of unnecessary or terrible twists in a movie for the sake of twists, I am reminded of "Frailty," a movie I did not like very much at all. I would agree that it is mildly successful for a while, but its gigantic, preposterous, even mean-spirited twist ending negates any suspense that the rest of the film could have had; without giving away the ending, how can we feel terror for a man who truly is carrying out a divine mission, even if we don't know he is doing so until the end? To me, "Frailty" is a contradictory and silly, if stylish, exercise in "twisty" storytelling; the presposteorus twists in "Femme Fatale" also don't make sense, but man are they fun to watch.

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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 07.22.2003 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
Speaking of unnecessary or terrible twists in a movie for the sake of twists, I am reminded of "Frailty," a movie I did not like very much at all. I would agree that it is mildly successful for a while, but its gigantic, preposterous, even mean-spirited twist ending negates any suspense that the rest of the film could have had; without giving away the ending, how can we feel terror for a man who truly is carrying out a divine mission, even if we don't know he is doing so until the end?


I like the questions raised with the ending of the movie ... --SPOILER--

... specifically, if "good" demands violence and murder, how can it be any different from "evil?" With all the strife and torment caused in the name of "good," and the name of God, "Frailty" struck me as a movie for the time we live in. How can we feel terror for a man who truly is carrying out a divine mission? Maybe because if we follow the logic through to the conclusion, there is reason to be afraid.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 07.22.2003 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
Speaking of unnecessary or terrible twists in a movie for the sake of twists, I am reminded of "Frailty," a movie I did not like very much at all. I would agree that it is mildly successful for a while, but its gigantic, preposterous, even mean-spirited twist ending negates any suspense that the rest of the film could have had; without giving away the ending, how can we feel terror for a man who truly is carrying out a divine mission, even if we don't know he is doing so until the end? To me, "Frailty" is a contradictory and silly, if stylish, exercise in "twisty" storytelling; the presposteorus twists in "Femme Fatale" also don't make sense, but man are they fun to watch.


I thought that Frailty was one of the best films of last year, and was much better and more interesting to watch than Femme Fatale. I thought that that twist was one of the best captured on film in recent years.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 06.26.2004 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
Well, comparing this to Lynch is crazy. Femme Fatale is unnessecarily twisty, where as in lets say Mulholland Drive there is a purpose for toying with the audience.


You know I'm watching Mulholland Drive on TV (uncut with commericals, though), for the first time since its DVD release, and I'm beginning to not really find it to be genius an more. This thread rushed to my mind during the break for advertising. Femme Faltale has been on HBO lately, and if my opinion can change on this movie, I think it might on this. I suppose the noir of sorts is THE genre most succeptable to a changing opinion. Nevertheless, I shouldn't be making these comments before the film's end. Ooop, it's back.
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 06.26.2004 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eh, well, that scene just brought my admiration back into activity. Laughing
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