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About neilcronin

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  1. neilcronin

    Episode #89: BLAZING SADDLES

    I was referring to the themes of Django, not the end-result. You are correct that we cannot know if Django is a film for posterity, but I think it's safe to say that Django deals with much more humane and higher-level themes than Blazing Saddles attempts. That's not a dig on Blazing Saddles.
  2. neilcronin

    Episode #89: BLAZING SADDLES

    Blazing Saddles is very very funny. The acting is particularly amazing. I love Blazing Saddles. I love Mel Brooks. But Blazing Saddles has no cinematic innovation or lasting societal or humane value. It's a meta anachronism -- a satire about cinema itself in its time, particularly cinema's extremely troubling racist tendencies. It's outstanding at doing that, but I have a list of thousands of films I will share with my kids before we get to this one. One we've already put a check mark next to is Young Frankenstein. Blazing Saddles? No. Django Unchained is a much better example of an innovative and lasting film that plays genre against its own trappings to make a larger point.
  3. neilcronin

    Episode 85: BOOGIE NIGHTS vs TWBB

    Boogie Nights is a great film, made by a filmmaking prodigy who was much better at watching films that making films. Too much of the cinema of Boogie Nights is assembled with derivative elements. They are assembled masterfully, though. There Will Be Blood is a wholly original work of cinema. (It is an adaptation, yes.) It is one of the most beautifully photographed films of all time, and visually so unlike much of modern cinema. Boogie Nights has great depth to the characters, which is a rare enough feat. There Will Be Blood has that, but also has depth to the circumstances and depth to the world, which is even more rare. Both films have a corny hyperfocus on the downward arc of their main characters, and they demand the audience to project too much of the character backfill, rather than literally expressing the beginnings and motivations of their characters. Magnolia and The Master do a much better job at expressing full characters with arcs that have more complete cadences. The score of There Will Be Blood was touched on. At times in the film, the score seems so out of place from what is happening on screen it almost feels like there was a final cut done after the score was complete, omitting an entire theme of ... Nature? I don't know, but it would be interesting to learn more about the motivation of the score and how it pertains to the film we see. There are a couple other mysteries in the film -- is Paul a different person from Eli? What the hell happened to that town that Plainview walked away from? These mysteries add to the depth of Their Will Be Blood. Voting for There Will Be Blood because of its cinematic originality and the depth of its world.
  4. neilcronin

    The Black Stallion

    I saw this film today, and wrote about it at http://letterboxd.com/neilpcronin/film/the-black-stallion/ "I am not a horse person or animal person in the least, but I have an endless amount of love for The Black Stallion. I cannot remember first seeing it -- I was apparently born having the entire film memorized. It's one of the few movies that I could confidently storyboard from memory. The Black Stallion has an unusual structure and almost no dialog, but it is ground breaking in that it is easily followed and completely understood by any normal filmgoer. I've never heard any casual film fan call it an "art film" or "weird" or anything like that. It might have been the apex of New Hollywood. It's one of the rare movies that I've seen where the audience erupted in loud cheers and applause in the middle of the film. I saw it with three kids and they were all completely enthralled by the movie. The photography is astounding, but given enough time and film stock and some photographic talent, it's not impossible to end up with the raw images we see. It is actually impossible, though, to end up with the film we see without the editing, sound design, and score, which all work so well together to bring such a loud narrative to such a verbally silent film. The end result is sublime. The climax of the story arc is barely two endless minutes of one of the most intense cinematic experiences I have ever seen. There is nothing particularly unique about the photography, but the sound design and score and editing all meld together into one heavy invisible stress ball in my emotional gut. The Black Stallion has many moments that are evocative of an undescribed mysticism, but there is no magic. The film has an uncanny ability to transport you into the mind of a normal 12 year old kid by forcing you to triangulate between few simple facts and straight-forward verbal statements. I feel that the imprint that this film has had on modern media is under-stated. From the score of Journey to visual references throughout Pixar films and Terrence Malick movies, The Black Stallion seems to constantly be just beneath the surface. There is no chance that this film could ever be made again, but that's fine because we only need one of these. We saw a nice 4K print in a great theater, presumably the same print that is the source for Criterion's recent bluray release. The prints that existed prior to Criterion's release are sad and should be avoided."
  5. neilcronin

    The Black Stallion

    The Black Stallion by Carroll Ballard (1979).
  6. A Trip to the Moon is iconic and seminal and groundbreaking, but not much else at this point. Its trial for The Canon would help define what The Canon is. A very nice restoration print is on netflix, so it should be pretty easy to watch. Thanks! -n