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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A closeted, Jeckle/Hyde hubby, stolid, social schisms, and fuzzy fifties Americana take root in Todd Haynes overpraised, erstwhile 'Far from Heaven'. Haynes and cinematographer Edward Lachman's Paniflex relies on way too many medium shots at critical emotional junctures (an all-too-common filmatic faux pas). Therefore, deprived of the essential road-map of the actors face, we are reduced to shallow, weathered signposts of 'racial indignity' here, 'social irony' there cinematic conscripts.


Dennis Quaid makes an uneasy transition from Ward Cleaver to a rump roving Ralph Kramden. Dennis Haysbert registers as a sort of deputy Denzel or minor-league Morgan Freeman (and Julianne Moore flits around town so brazenly with him she might as well wear a sandwich sign that says, "Bi-racial snuggle-bunnies underway - Klan cookout at eight.") Also, the 'Autumn in America', 'Terra talisman', and 'life-nuture-among-the-barren-souls-of-caucasian-suburbia' metaphors are way off-the-chart. This kind of material was handled with much more clear-eyed unsentimentality and emotional resonance in 'Driving Miss Daisy'.
 

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Can't wait for his Monsters Ball review.
 

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This kind of material was handled with much more clear-eyed unsentimentality and emotional resonance in 'Driving Miss Daisy'.
Ouch! But I gotta agree - what an overhyped shallow mess.


Unknown - best review yet. Very funny, and you totally nailed why the movie didn't work and in fact sucked so completely.
 

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Originally posted by nowknown
Haynes and cinematographer Edward Lachman's Paniflex relies on way too many medium shots at critical emotional junctures (an all-too-common filmatic faux pas).
Your belief that emotional moments require close-ups pretty much cements your complete misunderstanding of film language, I'm afraid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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Originally posted by Josh Z

Your belief that emotional moments require close-ups pretty much cements your complete misunderstanding of film language, I'm afraid.
From the Resource Centre - The Language of Film and Video
http://english.unitecnology.ac.nz/re...rces/film.html


Mid Shot [M.S.]


A middle distance shot which focuses our attention on a particular subject. With a mid shot the camera is close enough to pick up detail, though still far enough away to be able to follow the subject as he/she/it moves. The mid shot, therefore, is commonly used to show action eg. as in a fight scene.


Close Up [C.U.]


A close shot of an object or person, the aim being to focus our attention on a particular detail. Close ups of objects may serve as the inpoint to a new scene, depicting a new fact or location in the story. Close ups of a person have a number of different functions:


A) in an establishing sequence a close up of someone suggests that he/she is a main character.


B) the first close up of a character (in a sequence of shots), establishes point of view eg. who is watching an event.


C) a close up is most commonly used to show the reaction of a character, ie. a reaction shot.
 

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The use of close-ups for reaction shots in 'emotional' moments is a hackneyed crutch that started with the advent of television, where the small screen required a tight shot to show you the detail in the actor's face.


Far From Heaven is an homage to the Douglas Sirk melodramas of the 1940's and 1950's, and it is consciously constructed to use film language rather than TV language.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Josh Z
The use of close-ups for reaction shots in 'emotional' moments is a hackneyed crutch that started with the advent of television, where the small screen required a tight shot to show you the detail in the actor's face.


Far From Heaven is an homage to the Douglas Sirk melodramas of the 1940's and 1950's, and it is consciously constructed to use film language rather than TV language.


I agree with Josh completely. Many people on here have grabbed on to a fashionable fetish by blasting this film, which along with The Pianist and The Hours were the really special works of art in cinema during the past year.


However, opinions are like ass-holes -- everybody has one and that has never been more evident than having read this thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Josh Z

The use of close-ups for reaction shots in 'emotional' moments is a hackneyed crutch that started with the advent of television, where the small screen required a tight shot to show you the detail in the actor's face.
Yes, I'm sure myself AND film textbooks have this completely wrong. And I'm sure you won't find any of these 'hackneyed crutches' in any Cronenberg, Fassbinder, Fellini, Gilliam, Greenaway, Kubrick, or Lynch movies either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I know it's upsetting when ass-holes blast your really special work of art in cinema during the past year by grabbing on to a fashionable fetish. We here appreciate your salient, reasoned response and restraint in hurling immature invectives.
 

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Howard Hawks- who directed some of the most delectable acting of the century- tended to use medium shots for most everything, and his films worked just fine. He also rehearsed until he knew he had what he wanted. If the emotion is there, the audience will zero in on it whatever the film theory books say about how it is properly framed. And in my experience, most of these books aren't very good anyhow.


My chatty ramblings hardly set the standard in English prose, I'll be the first to admit. But your brittle exercises in big words and convoluted syntax just lose me. It's neither good writing nor particularly profound film criticism. Maybe it's just me. You seem to have a following.
 

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Originally posted by MikeM
However, opinions are like ass-holes -- everybody has one and that has never been more evident than having read this thread.
MikeM...I don't really understand your hatred of nowknown, so for my benefit, can you please explain what it is that causes you to use such a searing tone with him, in every one of his threads?
 

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Originally posted by KennyG
MikeM...I don't really understand your hatred of nowknown, so for my benefit, can you please explain what it is that causes you to use such a searing tone with him, in every one of his threads?
Huh? What is nowknown? Is that a misspell?


Ohhh, you mean the guy that titled this thread with all sorts of immature sexual innuendo. Yeah, that was really classy.


Every one of his threads??? I didn't know he had any other than this one.


My last post was not searing in any way. Simply street jargon to express the truth that everyone has their own opinion. I like tomatoes, you like tomahhtoes; you like potatoes, I like potahhtoes etc. etc.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by nowknown
From the Resource Centre - The Language of Film and Video
http://english.unitecnology.ac.nz/re...rces/film.html


Mid Shot [M.S.]


A middle distance shot which focuses our attention on a particular subject. With a mid shot the camera is close enough to pick up detail, though still far enough away to be able to follow the subject as he/she/it moves. The mid shot, therefore, is commonly used to show action eg. as in a fight scene.


Close Up [C.U.]


A close shot of an object or person, the aim being to focus our attention on a particular detail. Close ups of objects may serve as the inpoint to a new scene, depicting a new fact or location in the story. Close ups of a person have a number of different functions:


A) in an establishing sequence a close up of someone suggests that he/she is a main character.


B) the first close up of a character (in a sequence of shots), establishes point of view eg. who is watching an event.


C) a close up is most commonly used to show the reaction of a character, ie. a reaction shot.


nowknown, I enjoy reading your reviews, including this one. But with all due respect, if every film strictly followed some set of rules, cinema would quickly become boring.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by MikeM
My last post was not searing in any way. Simply street jargon to express the truth that everyone has their own opinion. I like tomatoes, you like tomahhtoes; you like potatoes, I like potahhtoes etc. etc.
No, I like potahhtoes too!:)...I stand corrected, after a reread, your last post was not searing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
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What is nowknown? Is that a ...spell?


Ohhh, you mean the guy ...with all sorts of mature sexual...real... class...

...one...I didn't know he had...


My last post was not...in any way...to express the truth...


everyone has their own o...nion. I ...like tomahhtoes; you like potahhtoes etc. etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Shaded Dogfood

Howard Hawks- who directed some of the most delectable acting of the century- tended to use medium shots for most everything, and his films worked just fine. He also rehearsed until he knew he had what he wanted. If the emotion is there, the audience will zero in on it whatever the film theory books say about how it is properly framed. And in my experience, most of these books aren't very good anyhow.
This is neither good writing nor particularly profound film criticism. Maybe it's just me. You seem to have a following.
 

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Come on, admit it, nowknown. You're trying to be cute or something.
 

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I don't know why were debating the use of wide shots. I think the director was using them as a courtesy to the actors. Thus the movies complete lack of depth or insight couldn't be blamed completely on them. Probably the only way they'd take the part.
 
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