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McKay’s ‘Vice’ post-release
#1
Was excited to see that this was releasing Christmas Day and immediately decided it would be perfect for our traditional Christmas Night Movie Extravaganza ™. 

Saw the trailer, thought the casting was spot-on, and, being a lover of The Big Short, figured ‘this’ll be great ‘. 

Talk about walking out disappointed. Like Dick Tracey disappointed (we’ve been doing Christmas Night Movie Extravaganza ™ a loooooong time).

I found the show to be a long, painfully slow, slog to get through. Too be fair, I’m having a hell of a time processing just /what/ it is that I found so grating about the movie.  It may simply be the timing of it. Maybe it’s two things; first that it was so recent that I watched everything covered in the movie unfold in real life and, two, that the torrent of shit that we’ve all had to endure for the last three years has really, really, undermined my ability to enjoy satire. 

Anyway, I should sleep on it and re-evaluate the movie tomorrow.
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#2
I liked it quite a bit, but didn't love it.  It's MUCH more serious than the trailer let on.

It plays like Oliver Stone's Nixon with the occasional Michael Moore-type irreverence.

(12-26-2018, 03:59 AM)madmannixon Wrote: I liked it quite a bit, but didn't love it.  It's MUCH more serious than the trailer let on.  There's no way Bale doesn't get an Oscar nom.  He absolutely crushes it, and makes everyone around him look like they're amateurs working in a completely different movie... especially Steve Carell.

It plays like Oliver Stone's Nixon with the occasional Michael Moore-type irreverence.
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#3
Yeah, it's a solid "like, but didn't love" kind of movie.
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#4
Man, I think this deserves way more discussion than it’s getting regardless of whether it’s in the “like” or “dislike” column.

Saw this today and think it’s about one or two edits away from really singing, but as is it’s still a bit over-indulgent and maybe a bit too uncertain in walking the biopic vs commentary line.

The opening text cards were a great statement of purpose, an I liked the framing device of the donor/narrator. Problem is when you dive into things like 9/11 it’s hard to maintain a consistent tone when you’re going-in tone is irreverent.

The faux-credits and dueling soliloquies were the two spots I felt they let the style swamp the substance, but other than that it was probably the best look at this guy we’re going to get, and did an admirable job of showing what made him and Lynn uniquely positioned at a pivotal point in history.

And without saying it (because it wasn’t needed), did a solid job of showing just how dangerous the idea of the unitary executive is when handed to.... whoever comes next.

The family’s initial response to Mary Cheney was about the warmest I’ve ever felt toward the guy. And made it so much worse when they throw her aside for a single-digit poll bump a decade later. Fucking cold.

It’s also worth a lot that I could watch this film and feel like I understood the guy a tiny bit, and not just hate him. Cheney was the first politician I ever thought I had hate in my heart for. Little did I know I apparently just disliked the guy. Because the difference between what I felt for him and what I feel for the current crop of folks is the difference between the inside of my microwave and the surface of the Sun.
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#5
I really liked this, but I want to see it again. I quite enjoyed the Shakespearean flourishes, especially the Richard III-esque end monologue near the end.

It feels like a lot was cut, and I'd be curious to see McKay do a cut that's like the super-long ANCHORMAN one. I know Bill Pullman was cast as Nelson Rockefeller, and there's at least one shot of Bale in his boxers, probably in the Halliburton sequence. Plus, the sequence with him and Adams doing iambic pentameter was much longer.

But the Bale performance is one for the ages, and will probably stand as the definitive cinematic portrait. It feels like the culmination of a lot of Bale's work - there's a bit of his guy from American Hustle, a bit of Patrick Bateman, even his intelligence and gruffness as Batman.

The supporting cast is excellent, but the big surprise for me was Carrell's Rumsfeld. I thought he did a great job of playing some of the more comedic aspects of the performance - there's a bit of Brick, and the scene with Powell in the Oval Office was straight up Michael Scott - while getting to the

Watching The Big Short in advance of this, there's a line Carrell has where he talks about how we live in a culture of fraud. Between this, Big Short, and some of McKay's comedy, I think you could make the argument that highlighting that "culture of fraud" is a recurring theme in his work - perhaps THE theme. I'd really like him to do that Theranatos/Bad Blood movie with Jennifer Lawrence next; that would complete this trilogy of his (finance, politics, silicon valley).
home taping is killing music
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#6
I fucking hated this, and if it weren’t for the fact I saw Holmes and Watson yesterday, it would probably be the worst film I saw in 2018.

That isn’t to say it isn’t entertaining in a certain way, and the performances - at least from Adams and Bale - are quite good. However, I have never seen a movie so smugly self-satisfied with itself while presenting no actual insight into its subject and being entirely contemptuous of its audience. 

It feels like a Twitter rant made into a movie, and it is just as obnoxious and devoid of actual meaning as such a rant. In a way, I suppose that makes it the perfect movie for 2018.
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#7
What this movie reminded me of more than anything else is Luc Moullet talking about Samuel Fuller: "On fascism, only the point of view of someone has been tempted is of any interest." What Scorsese understands in Goodfellas or Wolf of Wall Street is that, at least for a little while, being these guys would be kinda great. Then when the reality sets in, every thing hits so much harder. That leads to a certain type of following those films have, but McKay gives you absolutely nothing to hang on to here. Cheney's story is a slow, unassuming rise to power, but it's also a very dull one, with little to no change, and it makes me even wonder if it's one that could make an interesting movie at all.

And while we're comparing this to Wolf of Wall Street, compare Scorsese's last shot of the audience hanging on Belfort's every word, willing to overlook all the terrible things they've done in case there's even a sliver of a chance to taste the same power he had to McKay's totally obnoxious, cartoony focus group and "millennials" talking about how The Fast and Furious is lit. Yeah, whatever dude.
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#8
(01-08-2019, 08:57 AM)atomtastic Wrote: What this movie reminded me of more than anything else is Luc Moullet talking about Samuel Fuller: "On fascism, only the point of view of someone has been tempted is of any interest." What Scorsese understands in Goodfellas or Wolf of Wall Street is that, at least for a little while, being these guys would be kinda great. Then when the reality sets in, every thing hits so much harder. That leads to a certain type of following those films have, but McKay gives you absolutely nothing to hang on to here. Cheney's story is a slow, unassuming rise to power, but it's also a very dull one, with little to no change, and it makes me even wonder if it's one that could make an interesting movie at all.

And while we're comparing this to Wolf of Wall Street, compare Scorsese's last shot of the audience hanging on Belfort's every word, willing to overlook all the terrible things they've done in case there's even a sliver of a chance to taste the same power he had to McKay's totally obnoxious, cartoony focus group and "millennials" talking about how The Fast and Furious is lit. Yeah, whatever dude.

This is a very, very good take.
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#9
edit: whoops, double post!
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#10
(01-08-2019, 08:57 AM)atomtastic Wrote: That leads to a certain type of following those films have, but McKay gives you absolutely nothing to hang on to here. Cheney's story is a slow, unassuming rise to power, but it's also a very dull one, with little to no change, and it makes me even wonder if it's one that could make an interesting movie at all.

this seems to be why McKay essentially "has to" resort to telling these 'stories' with his prestige-ish powerpoint/video essay format

because a more traditionally dramatic film or comedy would require taking out a whole bunch of information McKay REALLY wants to make sure to get in there

also, I'd say the equivalent of the final shot of Wolf of Wall Street in VICE would be something more like the combo of the post-credit scene AND the final monologue by Bale
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#11
(01-08-2019, 08:57 AM)atomtastic Wrote: What this movie reminded me of more than anything else is Luc Moullet talking about Samuel Fuller: "On fascism, only the point of view of someone has been tempted is of any interest." What Scorsese understands in Goodfellas or Wolf of Wall Street is that, at least for a little while, being these guys would be kinda great. Then when the reality sets in, every thing hits so much harder. That leads to a certain type of following those films have, but McKay gives you absolutely nothing to hang on to here. Cheney's story is a slow, unassuming rise to power, but it's also a very dull one, with little to no change, and it makes me even wonder if it's one that could make an interesting movie at all.

And while we're comparing this to Wolf of Wall Street, compare Scorsese's last shot of the audience hanging on Belfort's every word, willing to overlook all the terrible things they've done in case there's even a sliver of a chance to taste the same power he had to McKay's totally obnoxious, cartoony focus group and "millennials"  talking about how The Fast and Furious is lit. Yeah, whatever dude.

You hit on something that I myself was thinking about as I left the theater.  I think that’s a fundamental problem the film couldn’t overcome.  Cheney simply isn’t very interesting.  He was a somewhat ambitious bureaucrat that attached himself to the right (terrible) people at the right time, and his career blossomed as a result. 

I was also quite surprised by how consistently unfunny the film was, despite trying repeately to be (too much, I thought), very often at the expense of a consistent tone.
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#12
This movie felt like a big pile of stuff that never quite came together. McKay's approach (dramedy-mentary?) worked okay for The Big Short, but it made this one feel endless. I found it an odd mix of compelling but bad.

I thought Rockwell gave the best performance, something deeper and more interesting than Bale and Carell's surface-level (but still good) impressions. If they make a sequel of W. showing him just giving out candy at various funerals, they should cast Rockwell.

Granted, the movie says at the very start that Cheney was a total cipher. They were right! Most of what McKay tries doesn't work...the Molina cameo, the Plemons stuff (ALL of it), the Shakespeare*, that awful, AWWWWWWFUL mid-credits scene...


* I should say I think my least favorite thing about the Shakespeare scene is it being set up with Plemons narrating something like "what were the Cheneys thinking? We don't know because life isn't some Shakespeare play where people give soliloquies about their inner lives OH WAIT A MINUTE DERRRRRRRP"
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#13
Amy, I love you, but please, never try Shakespeare again.
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