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Midsommar Post Release
#1
This might as well have a spoilerific post release thread. While everyone was watching fireworks or seeing Spider-Man, we saw this! Now, I love Hereditary, and consider it a capital G Great film, so I had high hopes and expectations going in. And while I enjoyed it enormously, I would have to say it never quite makes it to extremes Aster’s previous film did, in any way.

It’s surprisingly low on incident, and I was surprised how many important moments played out off screen. It’s pretty easy to get ahead of it, too. And for as much time as the movie spends on the various ritual practices of the Harga, we never get a clear idea of what their whole deal is, what they actually believe. I mean, even the Wicker Man remake was clearer on this point. 

That said, it’s kind of a must see. If you enjoyed Hereditary’s deliberate camera placements and trick shots, they’re back, this time capturing one of the creepiest Horror movie settings in recent memory. This compound feels as iconic in its design as the Overlook Hotel. And while the film is structurally not far off a teen slasher in the vein of Friday the 13th (or maybe Hostel), the break up metaphor is presented in pretty straightforward cinematic terms. It might not be a multiplex film, but it’s the kind of art house that communicates itself quite clearly.

I have a lot of thoughts on this one, and I’m excited for people to see it. I think where I’m at right now is if Hereditary was Get Out, this one is Us.
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#2
Looking forward to seeing it, even if I felt like an island by myself in not caring for Hereditary much (in spite of a sensational Toni Colllette performance).
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#3
I liked this way more than expected based on the trailer.  I need to stop watching trailers of any kind.

I didn't mind the length so much, and I was pleased by the way the movie invites laughter.  It's still a bit too infatuated with itself to achieve the sheer infectiousness of A CURE FOR WELLNESS (definitely more of a cousin than the more obvious THE WICKER MAN for its Swiss setting, outrageous runtime and aggressively gonzo, stylistically conscious identity), but it's a theatrical outing for sure.  Support weird movies.

I was surprised and impressed to read that the budget for this capped off at $10 million.  I guess in many ways it is a "single location film," but it never looks or feels cheap to me.
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#4
I had a good time with this. Really funny. Loved its look.

Much better and confidently told than Hereditary was, which felt like it often felt obligated to play to the cheap seats with the exposition

I didn’t find either film particularly suspenseful or scary, so I was just much more engaged to the world and character relationships in this one
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#5
In the days since, I haven’t really stopped thinking about this one. It’s growing in my appreciation. Probably my film of the year so far.

Also, as I was chatting about with Nooj on FB, it’s weirdly similar to Toy Story 4 in its thematic concerns and ending. They’re linked in my brain forever now.
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#6
hahahah now that I’ve seen the film, I can see the connection!
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#7
First thing my cohort wanted to know walking out was "So were they all going to die anyway?" That would seem the case for Simon and Connie as Ingemar's two outsider sacrifices.  But Pelle had four guests.  Was he just going to wait and see which two behaved the douchiest, or were Mark and Josh's transgressions (peeing on the tree and photographing the sacred text) totally coincidental to their fates?

Given the way the movie ends, Pelle's earlier attempt to commiserate with Dani over the fact that his parents died in a fire seems like it should be retrospectively meaningful.  But his folks being sacrificed at some earlier festival doesn't square with the whole "every ninety years" rap.

(07-08-2019, 02:23 AM)Nooj Wrote: I didn’t find either film particularly suspenseful or scary, so I was just much more engaged to the world and character relationships in this one

I think Aster conjures up and sustains a nice atmosphere, but at a visceral level the movie's horror peaks with the reveal of Dani's sister and parents, which is upsetting because it's comparatively grounded.  Once we get to the commune and the drugs start getting passed out, the movie takes on a trippy tone and flirts with willful ridiculousness in a way that doesn't let us take things too seriously.  I wouldn't change that about the movie, though.
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#8
yea, I dig the atmosphere for this one very much. it's so pleasant!

whereas Hereditary didn't do much for me

part of me wonders if Pelle has been 'working' Dani for a while and that her sister's escalating situation was somehow connected to getting Dani to the commune

I fully realize this may be me just wanting everything to connect conventionally in an odd movie like this. But the opening scenes of Dani's family felt so specific to be merely incidental to the main setting of the film. And Pelle is really pressing her from the beginning.
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#9
You’re not the only one. There’s a reddit theory that Pelle killed all three of them.
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#10
NO!!

I’m special
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#11
(07-08-2019, 02:23 AM)Nooj Wrote: I had a good time with this.  Really funny. Loved its look.

Much better and confidently told than Hereditary was, which felt like it often felt obligated to play to the cheap seats with the exposition

I didn’t find either film particularly suspenseful or scary, so I was just much more engaged to the world and character relationships in this one

I agree with this review, except:

I thought it tried way too tried on self-indulgence.

I was never scared or unnerved, but I DID laugh (especially the last half-hour... Christian getting put in the bear carcass - that was like something from an Always Sunny episode).

The look is one of the few really good things about it! I loved the color scheme and broad-daylight photography. That gave it its own personality.

But yeah, not my tempo.
"PREDATOR 2 feels like it was penned by convicts as part of a correctional facility's creative writing program, and that's what I love about it." - Moltisanti
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#12
(07-08-2019, 02:23 AM)Nooj Wrote: I had a good time with this.  Really funny. Loved its look.

Much better and confidently told than Hereditary was, which felt like it often felt obligated to play to the cheap seats with the exposition

I didn’t find either film particularly suspenseful or scary, so I was just much more engaged to the world and character relationships in this one

I agree with this review, except:

I thought it tried way too tried on self-indulgence.

I was never scared or unnerved, but I DID laugh (especially the last half-hour... Christian getting put in the bear carcass - that was like something from an Always Sunny episode).

The look is one of the few really good things about it! I loved the color scheme and broad-daylight photography. That gave it its own personality.

But yeah, not my tempo.
"PREDATOR 2 feels like it was penned by convicts as part of a correctional facility's creative writing program, and that's what I love about it." - Moltisanti
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#13
Dani is such a terrible gf. Dude puts up with her shit for FOUR YEARS and she has the nerve to kill him after a cult induced cheating incident.
AIt's just tits and dragons. - Ian McShane on Game of Thones
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#14
(07-09-2019, 04:39 PM)anyawatchin angel Wrote: Dani is such a terrible gf. Dude puts up with her shit for FOUR YEARS and she has the nerve to kill him after a cult induced cheating incident.

Sure but he was being......MANipulative.
“I call upon you to stop this musical now,” she said to the board. “You tear a community apart if you don’t.” -Prachi Ruina                                                            
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#15
Was the idea of “siding” with Dani versus Christian in the end supposed to be some sort of audience litmus test on the movie’s part, or is that just something the online discourse is trying to make a thing?  Because I don’t feel particularly invested in either side of the argument.  The way I see it, the movie cops out by making both leads nonconsensually hopped up on mind-altering drugs, so their agency throughout that final, whackadoo forty minutes is ambiguous to the point where rendering judgment on anybody seems to be meaningless.  DRAG ME TO HELL did a better job of raising a similar kind of point within its delightfully gross-out, funhouse horror pill-pocket.   If Aster was trying to do with bad boyfriends what Raimi did with opportunistic loan officers, it just comes off as clumsy innuendo.

Don’t get me wrong, I dug the whole Bad Breakup Revenge Fantasy angle, but it’s pretty surface level stuff.  And maybe that’s for the best.  The triumphant last shot of Dani works best as a perverse punctuation mark rather than something to be taken too seriously, sorta like - to make a flattering comparison – Alex’s final line in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE.  A straight-faced interpretation doesn’t flatter anybody, because frankly Dani’s final act reads less like “Girl takes control of her own life” and a lot more like “Bitches be crazy.”  Just wait, five years from now some of the same people praising Aster will need some clicks and duly reappraise the film as problematic.

Actually, the movie’s gender themes may make it more kindred to LaBute’s THE WICKER MAN than Hardy’s, and its depiction of emasculation at the hands of a matriarchal tribe could as easily be called fetishistic as feminist in a way that I find interesting – more so than the inquiry about broken relationships the movie is ostensibly about under the hood.

By the way, was Christian deciding to mimic Josh’s thesis topic supposed to be part of establishing his douche bona fides?  Because man, talk about a conflict I couldn’t have cared less about.
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#16
(07-09-2019, 04:39 PM)anyawatchin angel Wrote: Dani is such a terrible gf.  Dude puts up with her shit for FOUR YEARS and she has the nerve to kill him after a cult induced cheating incident.


he didn't PUT UP with her shit for 4 years

he CHICKENED OUT of having the guts to admit that he wasn't up to being a shoulder for her to cry on anymore... for 4 years.  Be the dick in one quick swoop.  Or be a hollow bitter shoulder for 4 years.

it's what makes it a really funny movie!

especially with how transparently petty the whole thesis thing was!  hahahahah

reminded me of the ending of THE WITCH.  JUST LOOK HOW HAPPY SHE IS!

she picked him to burn in a bear suit for the 4 years of being a shitty boyfriend hahaha

that's what he gets for that laminated romeo & juliet card he had in Transformers 4!
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#17
Loved this. I still think I prefer HEREDITARY, but only because that one completely blindsided me with greatness, whereas I was just sort of expecting it here. I love the way Aster shows us really raw, uncomfortable sequences of mourning, and forces us to watch until it becomes almost unbearable*. It's all over HEREDITARY, but its part of MIDSOMMAR's DNA, culminating in the super weird Hagra rituals that seduce Dani with a sense of complete and total empathy, something Christian could never give her.

In that way, its a breakup movie, but it never struck me as a REVENGE movie; the relationship was always doomed, and Christian is definitely punished for his part in it, but it feels more about getting Dani to a place where she is receptive to this intimate emotional experience; the ultimate connection to an entire community of people who can feel exactly what she feels.

Also, I love how Will Poulter keeps bitching about ticks when they arrive, and then for the rest of the movie, his jeans are tucked into his socks.

*he takes a lot of cues from David Lynch, but this is a big one
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#18
(07-15-2019, 03:09 PM)fuzzy dunlop Wrote: Also, I love how Will Poulter keeps bitching about ticks when they arrive, and then for the rest of the movie, his jeans are tucked into his socks.    

Loved that this bit went uncommented-upon. Poulter was definitely a highlight.

This was executed with a lot of flair, but was definitely no more than I expected from the beginning, and maybe even less.  I thought they would probably tie her sister's suicidal break back to the cult activities in some way (and am actually a bit relieved that they did not, since it would be aping HEREDITARY so direclty to have runic letters or whatever placed around her room to suggest an overarching plot).  Beyond that it, was pretty much Folk Horror by the numbers, which as lovely and vivid as the paint applied to those numbers was, I don't think quite warranted a 2.5 hour runtime.  I had Dani and Christian's final resolution pegged from the first reel, and of course the rest of the casts' fate were even more obvious, so I got a bit impatient in the middle waiting for these nitwits to catch up to all the crazy, ominous, homicidal shit surrounding them on all sides.  

Points in favor:

Aster's iron stomach/eye when it comes to depicting gore without reveling in or flinching from it.  

Performances - Pugh and Poulter are damn good, but Jack Traynor deserves credit for just how completely ego-less his performance is.  Hanging dong is one thing, but for an actor in his leading-man mold you assume that if they are portraying a character this unsympathetic, they will at least try to compensate with charisma.  Christian is a deeply unimpressive person, and at least some people will put that down to Traynor being an unimpressive peformer.  But it felt remarkable to me to see a performance so believably, so mundanely spineless without even an attempt to charm the audience a little bit. You can't even really tell why douchey Mark wants to hang out with this guy.

One thing I found interesting was how the movie completely eschewed any part where the "heroes" realize how screwed they are and fight back, even futilely, against the cultists.  Even if they are doomed, there's still usually that point where Nicholas Cage puts on a bear suit and punches some bitches, right?  But there is no part where Dani stabbed herself an especially-rapey Swede, or Josh punched out a couple attackers in a more elaborate setpiece before he failed to escape from the scripture lodge, or Christian even attempted anything remotely effectual.  I can't decide if I like that they never even try to throw a punch, or if it went too far, because I do think that the ending undercuts itself somewhat on the "break up movie" front by both Dani and Christian being made silent props for the baddies for essentially the entire third act.
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#19
Florence Pugh? More like Florence Pout, right?

But serious, this was pretty damn good.
Originally posted by Schwartz on Cool as Ice ("When a girl has a heart of stone, there's only one way to melt it. Just add Ice."):
"It's not just a mixed metaphor, or that the stone is one that is melting...but the ice is actually making it melt. (kisses fingers) Magnifique."
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#20
https://mobile.twitter.com/imatoofbrush/...68770?s=19

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#21
Aster is said to be preparing an even longer cut, which I am only on board for if it includes the AUSTIN POWERS screening.
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#22
So I was left kind of cold by this.

At this point, I feel like Ari Aster might be better-suited making emotionally-challenging dramas instead of full-on genre pieces. It boasts some phenomenal elements -- in performance and filmmaking -- but, as with HEREDITARY, once the viewer figures out exactly what’s going on, the film holds few surprises. It is, however, fully worth the price of my admission just for the extraordinary central performance from Florence Pugh; this is a stark and no-holds-barred portrayal of a woman struggling with devastating grief, and Pugh goes to some quite raw places. I was kind of floored by her.

On the script level, however, is where MIDSOMMAR disappoints; though its portrait of the two lead characters is commendably nuanced and complicated, its actual plotting is far too simplistic and predictable. It’s also, surprisingly, quite light on actual frightening material; sure, there are a few shocking moments (though nothing on the order of HEREDITARY's most jaw-dropping beats), as well as a sense of inevitable dread that creeps into the story in fits and starts, but in totality, this is not a frightening picture (despite its clear attempts to riff on a few legendary entries in horror movie history). It also lacks many of the overt trappings of the genre that HEREDITARY managed to include, rendering it all a bit too matter-of-fact.

Despite containing one of the year’s finest performances courtesy of Pugh, as well as Aster’s command of visual elements behind the camera, I think HEREDITARY is by far the superior effort. And I just can’t shake the feeling that Aster's heart isn’t really in this genre.

(07-10-2019, 04:39 AM)Nooj Wrote: reminded me of the ending of THE WITCH.  JUST LOOK HOW HAPPY SHE IS!

I've seen several pieces talking about how "empowering" the ending of this movie is, just as there were many after THE WITCH came out. And if people want to see that in the ending, fine...

... but I don't think that's really the intention (in either film).

(07-09-2019, 07:42 PM)fatherdude Wrote: The way I see it, the movie cops out by making both leads nonconsensually hopped up on mind-altering drugs, so their agency throughout that final, whackadoo forty minutes is ambiguous to the point where rendering judgment on anybody seems to be meaningless. 

I 100% agree with this. It felt like a bit of a cheat to me.
If we can dream it, then we can do it.
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#23
The Witch and Midsommar both pull of a fairly awesome trick, one that plays especially well at this particular point in the cultural conversation. The endings to both look and feel like a cathartic blast of bloody female liberation, while what's actually happening is the protagonist is getting yanked from one form of oppressive control to another, this new one considerably more fucking nuts. Their roles as victim, of the patriarchy of devout puritans or the gaslighting of shitty boyfriend, have actually made them more vulnerable to the greater madness.

Chalk this up to another reason the Horror genre is so fucking great. You get to have this terrific contrast between what's metaphorically happening (getting out of a bad relationship) and what's literally happening (insane ritual murder), and it creates an amazing dissonance. It's the revulsion/attraction push and pull, which is how vampire stories work too (shitty boyfriends, but so hot!)

This is why I don't want Aster to leave Horror. He gets the way it can be used as a tool to unlock theme. I'm sure he'd be able to make a fine domestic drama, or even a Wes Anderson-ish comedy about eccentrics, but Horror allows, almost requires, going large with ideas, and there's no one making scary movies these days with better ideas than Aster.
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#24
eh!

whichever one is more fun!

joining witches or a pagan cult sure seems to beat the misery/pain of their previous shitty lot

if they're gonna be in some kind of matrix either way, I know which one I'd prefer! I'm not taken in by the 'horrors' of midsommar anyway, so whichever one is more fun wins. So far, the only film of his where the threat of the horror was felt was his short film THE STRANGE THING ABOUT THE JOHNSONS

I assume aster knows full well how the ending of MIDSOMMAR could be read, regardless of his intent
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#25
Yeah, I’d probably go with witches/pagans too. They look like they’re way into sex and drugs.
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#26
I think Aster sees horror as a means to an end. It allows to him to have "big," implausible developments that facilitate the kind of emotional turmoil he wants to explore. Which is fine. But I found the actual plot of MIDSOMMAR so conventional and straightforward that it's disappointing. I think I'm done (for a while) with rural cult movies that end in (attempted or successful) ritualistic human sacrifice. It's the equivalent of found footage horror movies that end with the camera falling to the ground and continuing to roll until we cut to black.

I felt HEREDITARY had a similar issue, where once you peg where it's all going (which I did as early as the grandmother's funeral scene at the beginning, with that shot of the weird guy smiling creepily for no reason), you kind of just end up waiting for the movie to go through the motions. HEREDITARY overcomes this because there are upsetting and uncomfortable and shocking moments (of one degree or another) peppered throughout the picture, and because it is genuinely attempting to have a "horror movie" atmosphere, which Aster apes quite well.
If we can dream it, then we can do it.
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#27
Good (and very even-handed) discussion about the movie in here.  Jay sums up my feelings extremely well:  “I wasn’t emotionally invested, and I wasn’t shocked.”


If we can dream it, then we can do it.
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#28
I thought this was good... up to a point. Very very well made, the visuals are great, I liked the black humour and sly relationship observations, and I wasn't bored at any point despite the length.

But it's also fairly predictable where it's all going, and I guess part of me was hoping it was building to something more than your standard freaky cult. The characters' lack of curiosity about the disappearance of their friends felt a bit convenient, and I don't know that the end 100% comes together. Maybe they should've dialed up the drug freak out aspect even more.
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#29
Didn't Hereditary come out like a week ago?
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#30
Apparently there's a nearly three-hour director's cut of this that's screening at Lincoln Center. It's already sold out.
home taping is killing music
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#31
I can't imagine extra length would address the issues I have with it.
If we can dream it, then we can do it.
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#32
Yeah, I liked the movie but definitely did not come out thinking "I wish I could have more of that."
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#33
Some reviews of the "Director's Cut" are starting to surface, and they're about what I expected: if you liked the movie, you might like it even more. If you didn't... the new scenes probably won't help.

If anything, it sounds like much of the restored material serves to make Christian much more of a "bad guy" and much more "deserving" of his fate. Given that I think Aster already stacked the deck against him a bit too much in the theatrical cut, I can't imagine having him be even more of an asshole would be a great choice.
If we can dream it, then we can do it.
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#34
I'm split on that, as I think the movie would be more disturbing, more effective as 'Horror', if Christian wasn't such a giant asshole. I don't believe he's got a single moment in the film where he's not being an asshole to his girlfriend, an asshole to his supposed buddies, or an asshole to the Harga. On top of that, he's also cowardly and very stupid.

But then, I don't know if the ending achieves the catharsis of the ending if you're emotionally conflicted about Christian. As it stands, you're aware that what's happening is fucking crazypants insane, but you're totally rooting for it. It's got a primal force, and that I wouldn't change.

Either way, I don't think doubling down on Christian's assholery would add much.
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#35
(08-19-2019, 08:24 PM)arjen rudd Wrote: I'm split on that, as I think the movie would be more disturbing, more effective as 'Horror', if Christian wasn't such a giant asshole. I don't believe he's got a single moment in the film where he's not being an asshole to his girlfriend, an asshole to his supposed buddies, or an asshole to the Harga. On top of that, he's also cowardly and very stupid.

But then, I don't know if the ending achieves the catharsis of the ending if you're emotionally conflicted about Christian. As it stands, you're aware that what's happening is fucking crazypants insane, but you're totally rooting for it. It's got a primal force, and that I wouldn't change.

Either way, I don't think doubling down on Christian's assholery would add much.

The ending does not work anywhere near as well for me as it does for you! I found it quite deflating upon first viewing; part of that, I'm sure, is a result of pegging early on what the general resolution was probably going to be (she'd "join" the cult and sacrifice Christian/cause him to be sacrificed).
If we can dream it, then we can do it.
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