The Assassination of Jesse James... (Now w/ Reviews!!)

New movies! Old movies! B-movies! Discuss discuss discuss!!!

On a scale of 1-10, blah blah blah

10
1
7%
9
5
36%
8
5
36%
7
1
7%
6
0
No votes
5
1
7%
4
1
7%
3
0
No votes
2
0
No votes
1
0
No votes
I'll wait for TV/DVD
0
No votes
I hate westerns
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 14

Postby tapehead on Tue Sep 04, 2007 11:55 pm

Very Good News. Harry has given this a glowing review - fantastic. I'm really pleased to hear of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis' soundtrack work too, which I didn't know about before.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:30 am

Those evil bastards AOL won't let me watch the second trailer... does anyone know if there's an alternative? Otherwise the teaser was pretty nice, but not very surprising I must say.
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Postby Ribbons on Wed Sep 05, 2007 10:32 am

Pacino86845 wrote:Those evil bastards AOL won't let me watch the second trailer... does anyone know if there's an alternative? Otherwise the teaser was pretty nice, but not very surprising I must say.


Here's a pretty good version of it on YouTube, although some of the cinematography gets lost in translation
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Postby Pacino86845 on Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:23 am

Thanks Ribbons! Are we still meeting up for drinks later?
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Postby Ribbons on Wed Sep 05, 2007 12:56 pm

Pacino86845 wrote:Thanks Ribbons! Are we still meeting up for drinks later?


Are you kidding? I wouldn't miss it for the wr0ld
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Postby tapehead on Sat Sep 22, 2007 3:52 am

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Postby stereosforgeeks on Mon Oct 08, 2007 2:08 am

I saw this today and damn I loved it.

It's still a tad too long at 2 hours and 40 min. The epilogue could use a bit of trimming.

It definitely had me enthralled throughout it's entire runtime.

The cast is outstanding. Pitt manages to be charismatic but ultimately psychotic. It is a pleasures to watch him shift moods at a whim.

Casey Affleck is haunted and you can see the hero worship in his eyes when he is with Jesse. Something doesn't sit right with you about him too and he always manages to be just this side of creepy.

Sam Rockwell is the older brother you had, but sometimes wish you didn't. He makes you feel like crap but ultimately will be there with you when sh*t goes down.

The story feels very novelistic due to the narration. The storybook feel adds to the sense of heightened reality surrounding the dime store novels which caused Robert Ford to be enamored with Jesse.

This is definitely one of the best movies that has come out this year.
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Postby Ribbons on Mon Oct 08, 2007 2:28 am

I'm surprised nobody else in the Zone's seen this movie yet; thanks for the review stereos.

What was it about the epilogue that was too long? Was it a series of endings, or what?
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Postby stereosforgeeks on Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:42 am

Ribbons wrote:I'm surprised nobody else in the Zone's seen this movie yet; thanks for the review stereos.

What was it about the epilogue that was too long? Was it a series of endings, or what?


I really like the actual ending but after Jesse is dead it takes too long getting to the credits. Some of it could have been trimmed a bit.
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Postby Lord Voldemoo on Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:14 pm

I went ahead and converted this into a review thread. I hope to catch this sometime this week, but I'm a little behind in my movies. I love westerns but I still haven't seen Yuma yet.
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Postby Ribbons on Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:36 pm

Lord Voldemoo wrote:I love westerns but I still haven't seen Yuma yet.


You totally should! It's a pretty solid movie, especially if you like Westerns.
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Postby Lord Voldemoo on Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:56 pm

Ribbons wrote:
Lord Voldemoo wrote:I love westerns but I still haven't seen Yuma yet.


You totally should! It's a pretty solid movie, especially if you like Westerns.


That's what I keep hearing, I'm really looking forward to seeing it.
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Postby Maui on Mon Oct 08, 2007 2:13 pm

stereosforgeeks wrote:I saw this today and damn I loved it.

It's still a tad too long at 2 hours and 40 min. The epilogue could use a bit of trimming.

It definitely had me enthralled throughout it's entire runtime.

The cast is outstanding. Pitt manages to be charismatic but ultimately psychotic. It is a pleasures to watch him shift moods at a whim.

Casey Affleck is haunted and you can see the hero worship in his eyes when he is with Jesse. Something doesn't sit right with you about him too and he always manages to be just this side of creepy.

Sam Rockwell is the older brother you had, but sometimes wish you didn't. He makes you feel like crap but ultimately will be there with you when sh*t goes down.

The story feels very novelistic due to the narration. The storybook feel adds to the sense of heightened reality surrounding the dime store novels which caused Robert Ford to be enamored with Jesse.

This is definitely one of the best movies that has come out this year.



May check this out, good to know you liked it. Affleck and Pitt, from what I've read, seem to team nicely in this picture.
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Postby stereosforgeeks on Mon Oct 08, 2007 3:05 pm

They are like polar opposites in this movie. Affleck being squirrely (no offense minstrel) and creepy and Pitt being charismatic and powerful.

Just be prepared for the 2 hour and 40 min runtime.
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Postby Maui on Mon Oct 08, 2007 3:59 pm

stereosforgeeks wrote:They are like polar opposites in this movie. Affleck being squirrely (no offense minstrel) and creepy and Pitt being charismatic and powerful.

Just be prepared for the 2 hour and 40 min runtime.


Ok, no large sodas then.
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Postby so sorry on Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:01 pm

stereosforgeeks wrote:They are like polar opposites in this movie. Affleck being squirrely (no offense minstrel) and creepy and Pitt being charismatic and powerful.


Art imitating life?
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Postby The Vicar on Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:28 pm

Lazy writers tailoring the script to their actors?
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Postby so sorry on Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:33 pm

I don't know about that (I don't know the historical background of Jesse James or that Coward that shot him).

Its just an interesting correlation to my perception of how those two actors are in the real world.
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Postby stereosforgeeks on Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:31 pm

The Vicar wrote:Lazy writers tailoring the script to their actors?


It wasnt written for Affleck. They thought he was too old. I think Shia(?) was sup[posed to play Ford, originally.
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The Assasination of Jesse James... (Now w/ Reviews!!)

Postby bastard_robo on Mon Oct 08, 2007 7:28 pm

I took my grandmother yesterday to see this at the Arclight in hollywood. She's been wanting to see this for the last few weeks, and its playin in the two shittiest theaters in Orange County. She like traveling and going to nice places, so I packed her up and drove 30 mintues to Hollywood. Problem was that Yahoo had put the wrong times up for that day and we were almost 10 mintues late for the flick. We got in (thank god).

The film is a great piece of art. Beautifully shot, and Affleck and Pitt are just fantastic in their respective roles.

The film is long, but the story, I felt, was one of those that you just get lost in that when its over, you dont realize that its been almost 3 hours.

and my grandmother just loved it too.

Not to mention she was won over by the Arclight too.

I would recommend this flick if its playing near you. A fantastic western.
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Postby Nordling on Mon Oct 15, 2007 11:42 am

Exceptional film. It feels like a 1970s film, and that's a compliment. Great characters, beautiful cinematography, and a terrific story. Brad Pitt plays James like a caged animal, while Casey Affleck is a revelation, playing Robert Ford on such a fine line you honestly don't know whether to pity him or loathe him. By the end of this film, the Old West is truly dead, replaced by modernity, but it's that much less bright, that much less magical, and Ford had something to do with that, for good or ill.

Sadly, it looks like this movie's getting dumped by Warner's, so I wouldn't expect to see it on any awards lists. But it's truly an amazing film.
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Postby stereosforgeeks on Mon Oct 15, 2007 11:56 am

Nordling wrote:Sadly, it looks like this movie's getting dumped by Warner's, so I wouldn't expect to see it on any awards lists. But it's truly an amazing film.


It should be though!
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Postby Pacino86845 on Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:28 am

I thought this was a good film, but not that exceptional in the end... my gripes have to do mainly with an at times plodding story, overbearing narration, and a few too many Pittisms in Brad's otherwise excellent performance.

The film's highlights are:

1) The script, which shines with some wonderful and yet natural dialogue.
2) The cinematography is simply brilliant. This is perhaps the most beautiful 2007 release I've seen so far.
3) Brad's acting was stellar in those moments when he didn't have anything/much to say. He is a master of keeping his mouth shut. The dude should be a silent actor, he'd be unparalleled.
4) And last but not least, Casey Affleck. A terrific, understated performance.

7/10 (Good)

I'm enjoying this lazy point-form style of reviewing, :D.
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Postby Leckomaniac on Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:38 am

How the heck did you see this? I was under the impression it did not come out here until Thursday?
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Postby Pacino86845 on Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:41 am

Leckomaniac wrote:How the heck did you see this? I was under the impression it did not come out here until Thursday?


I was in Lausanne this weekend, and it'd already come out over there (two weeks already I think)... the French and German parts of Switzerland have different release dates for films.
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Postby Leckomaniac on Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:58 am

Pacino86845 wrote:
Leckomaniac wrote:How the heck did you see this? I was under the impression it did not come out here until Thursday?


I was in Lausanne this weekend, and it'd already come out over there (two weeks already I think)... the French and German parts of Switzerland have different release dates for films.


Gotcha. This is my absolute must see film of the remainder of the year. I have been clamoring for this for quite some time. I am debating whether or not to see it over here or to take a chance and wait until I return.

I am having a hard time with the way America films look in Europe. They all end up looking like BBC tv shows. I cant seem to get over that.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Mon Oct 22, 2007 6:01 am

Leckomaniac wrote:I am having a hard time with the way America films look in Europe. They all end up looking like BBC tv shows. I cant seem to get over that.


Are you saying the projections are not up to par with American cinemas? Maybe the screens tend to be smaller, but rowdy crowds and masses of popcorn-munchers are less of a problem here, generally speaking.
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Postby Leckomaniac on Mon Oct 22, 2007 6:05 am

Pacino86845 wrote:
Leckomaniac wrote:I am having a hard time with the way America films look in Europe. They all end up looking like BBC tv shows. I cant seem to get over that.


Are you saying the projections are not up to par with American cinemas? Maybe the screens tend to be smaller, but rowdy crowds and masses of popcorn-munchers are less of a problem here, generally speaking.


Well I have yet to see a film in the theatre, but when I rented films and when I watched films on Europena channels...they had that BBC tv show feel. Its almost impossible to describe because I am not well versed in such things. But the actual films look less...polished. Almost as if they are missing a layer.

I have always been curious why that was. Maybe it is different in the theatre. I have no basis for comparison...just what I have witnessed on TV and the films I have rented. It was the same in Paris as well.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Mon Oct 22, 2007 9:14 pm

normally, stunning cinematography (tho' Vaseline on the lens tactic to represent moments that occurred in the past got a bit stale), uniformly excellent performances (can poor Garrett "Jack McCall" & "Francis Wolcott" Dillahunt be in a Western and not get killed?), a script with something to say (tho' they really pounded home that fanboy (aka SYNDROME) aspect a wee bit too much), gloriously long takes (if a bit snore inducing at times) and some subtext (as Nordling said, there's an undercurrent of Old West dying in the face of modernity...the printing press (nickel novels) and the telegraph (not quite but close to instant celebrity mythmaking)) would have me raving about a film.

but, and I can't really suss out why, the film didn't really do much for me.

Good, 6 or so out of 10, but hardly great or groundbreaking. I know I'm in no rush to see it again.

I would dispute, as Stereo said above, that Jesse was "psychotic", but I can see what Stereo was getting at. Rather, I would say that he's presented completely; does some of his actions contradict themselves? Sure, but the way that Jesse was presented, he contained multitudes. The story arc, as it were, is more focused on Ford, and to see over the course of the film the change in Affleck from stuttering, sycophantic fanboy into a savvy veteran of the high and lows of the nascent celebrity culture is a sight to behold.

But, for me at any rate, the simultaneous mythmaking / mythbursting story doesn't gel in any way shape or form with a Western, be it revisionist, Spaghetti, classical or what have you.

a noble failure, but at the very least an attempt to try something new with the tired Western genre, a film of great ideas and technique that, somehow, doesn't resonate.
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Postby stereosforgeeks on Mon Oct 22, 2007 9:26 pm

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:I would dispute, as Stereo said above, that Jesse was "psychotic", but I can see what Stereo was getting at. Rather, I would say that he's presented completely; does some of his actions contradict themselves? Sure, but the way that Jesse was presented, he contained multitudes.


I merely meant that he charismatic but there is no way in hell youd want to F with him.
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Postby tapehead on Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:35 pm

Leckomaniac wrote:
Pacino86845 wrote:
Leckomaniac wrote:I am having a hard time with the way America films look in Europe. They all end up looking like BBC tv shows. I cant seem to get over that.


Are you saying the projections are not up to par with American cinemas? Maybe the screens tend to be smaller, but rowdy crowds and masses of popcorn-munchers are less of a problem here, generally speaking.


Well I have yet to see a film in the theatre, but when I rented films and when I watched films on Europena channels...they had that BBC tv show feel. Its almost impossible to describe because I am not well versed in such things. But the actual films look less...polished. Almost as if they are missing a layer.

I have always been curious why that was. Maybe it is different in the theatre. I have no basis for comparison...just what I have witnessed on TV and the films I have rented. It was the same in Paris as well.


British television is PAL format, which means it's broadcast at 25 frames per second, with each frame consisting in two interlaced fields - the scan lines which make up the picture. US tv is NTSC, which broadcast at 29.97 frames per second, and is also normally interlaced. They do look quite different, and, depending on whether what you're watching was actually shot on video, or has been transferred from film (which is always 24 frames per second) there are small elements in movement and definition that you can notice (I'm not talking about ED or HD tv here, which is a whole different ball park, but rather your regular analogue or standard definition RGB signals). The two formats have different colour casts as well. PAL is generally considered a slightly higher resolution format, as it has more vertical scan lines. but I always think I can see a little more nuance in movement in NTSC. You've got a good eye Lecko, a lot of people never even notice.

/end threadjack.
Last edited by tapehead on Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Maui on Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:47 pm

Sorry, just an aside here:

Cool AV Tapes:

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Postby tapehead on Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:52 pm

Thanks, I made it myself.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:12 am

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:Vaseline on the lens tactic to represent moments that occurred in the past got a bit stale

They used it a lot more frequently than that, dude. I started to check my eyes after a while, couldn't predict when to expect the fuzzy edges of the frame.

can poor Garrett "Jack McCall" & "Francis Wolcott" Dillahunt be in a Western and not get killed?

Ah, he did look vaguely familiar!! Then in that case he also seems to play r-tards a lot, no? :)
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Postby Leckomaniac on Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:39 am

tapehead wrote:
Leckomaniac wrote:
Pacino86845 wrote:
Leckomaniac wrote:I am having a hard time with the way America films look in Europe. They all end up looking like BBC tv shows. I cant seem to get over that.


Are you saying the projections are not up to par with American cinemas? Maybe the screens tend to be smaller, but rowdy crowds and masses of popcorn-munchers are less of a problem here, generally speaking.


Well I have yet to see a film in the theatre, but when I rented films and when I watched films on Europena channels...they had that BBC tv show feel. Its almost impossible to describe because I am not well versed in such things. But the actual films look less...polished. Almost as if they are missing a layer.

I have always been curious why that was. Maybe it is different in the theatre. I have no basis for comparison...just what I have witnessed on TV and the films I have rented. It was the same in Paris as well.


British television is PAL format, which means it's broadcast at 25 frames per second, with each frame consisting in two interlaced fields - the scan lines which make up the picture. US tv is NTSC, which broadcast at 29.97 frames per second, and is also normally interlaced. They do look quite different, and, depending on whether what you're watching was actually shot on video, or has been transferred from film (which is always 24 frames per second) there are small elements in movement and definition that you can notice (I'm not talking about ED or HD tv here, which is a whole different ball park, but rather your regular analogue or standard definition RGB signals). The two formats have different colour casts as well. PAL is generally considered a slightly higher resolution format, as it has more vertical scan lines. but I always think I can see a little more nuance in movement in NTSC. You've got a good eye Lecko, a lot of people never even notice.

/end threadjack.


/resume threadjack

So this is just with television? There is no difference in the theatres? Because that was my worry. Thanks tape.

/awaits answer to end threadjack
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Postby tapehead on Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:46 am

Film is universal - always projected at 24 frames per second, as far as I know. (I'm talking film here, in case digital theatre nerds want to chime in and correct me)
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Postby Leckomaniac on Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:49 am

tapehead wrote:Film is universal - always projected at 24 frames per second, as far as I know. (I'm talking film here, in case digital theatre nerds want to chime in and correct me)


Perfect. That is exactly what I wanted to hear. Looks like Lecko is going out to the theatre!
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Postby Leckomaniac on Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:56 am

Well an update,

Saw the movie here in Zurich last night. Loved it to death.

This and Atonement are tops this year for me. Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck just pwnd.
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Postby Lady Sheridan on Fri Feb 08, 2008 3:22 am

I watched this under slight duress tonight. My sister has inexplicably been obsessed with this film--bizarrely coming home with "It was good, I guess, but I could never watch it again" and then counting down the days until she could.

So I went from wanting to see it to going "Jesus, do I HAVE to?"

Probably not the best mentality going in to enjoy it, so no surprise...I hated it.

It was visually stunning. It captured a look of the West I haven't seen before, but I've certainly felt. I used to volunteer at an Old West museum and when I went on my intro tour, it was snowing. Ducking into these log cabins, which were icy cold, dead quiet, with the snowy background of Golden...it felt like this film.

If only it had captured something else of substance. Assassination was too long, too cryptic, and above all, too pretentious. This should have been a very simple story, a tightly focused character story. Instead it muddles along, wanting so desperately to be an Epic Biopic and yet too full of itself not indulge in every Meaningful Shot.

I loathed everyone in the movie. Jesse James was a psycho, Robert Ford was a creep, there were a few nondescript idiots and sex maniacs, and at the end, I'm left wondering why I was supposed to give a damn about the assassination or the coward. The title sets you up to be sympathetic to Jesse James, the movie pulls that out from you, but isn't flattering to Ford either. Of course, that's life--there's no pure hero or villain, just complicated and faceted people, and I could have admired Assassination more if it hadn't stretched to 3 hours of "People are like, complicated and stuff...and history is, you know, kind of wrong and yet not..."

Affleck certainly turned in a boyishly unsettling performance. Pitt was meh. I couldn't help but compare him to Depp as the narrator intoned James' eye flaw, which Pitt failed to employ even once. I'm no Depp fangirl, but had he (or Crowe or Ledger) been playing James, you would have seen him so immersed as to have every one of those traits onscreen.

I cruelly gave this film a 4/10. It deserves higher but I'm feeling uncharitable.
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Postby Will Scarlet on Tue Feb 12, 2008 3:28 pm

I regret having to say it, but I really hated this film. I wanted to like it, and it was with great hope I got pulled into the film right from the get go with the narration. Alas, the story proceeded at a snails pace from then on, and became a convoluted mess of characters and minute sub plots that went nowhere.

Costumes, sets, and cinematography were outstanding. It was one of the most beautifully shot films I've ever seen. Acting wise I'm afraid Pitt dropped the ball, and while Casey Afleck did a great job at being creepy, I didn't see a best actor performance there. The film had a great opening, and the ending was intense, if it just hadn't gotten so artistically full of itself, tightened up the story, and given me a character to like, it might have had a prayer. Who exactly was I supposed to like, or sympathize with? And, history wise, I'm far from being a Jesse James expert. I really no very little about the man, and I still don't know anything. Did he deserve the heroic tilt that everyone gave him? Afleck's character apparently worshiped the James, yet I saw very little difference between his character's behavior from loving James to hating him. I wasn't sure he really did come to hate him as much as fear his finding out his part in killing his cousin (?) He never wept at what he had done, but we were led to believe he had regret.

Bummer. I think it had real potential. I'd give it a 4

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Postby Lady Sheridan on Tue Feb 12, 2008 5:58 pm

Get out of my head, WS!! Sheesh.

I'm stuck with a copy forever, Sarah bought it...it'll probably sit with "All the Pretty Horses" and collect cobwebs forever.
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Postby RogueScribner on Tue Feb 12, 2008 7:19 pm

My gf rented it and asked if I wanted to watch it. Then I mentioned LS's review and she said, "Fine, I'll watch it by myself." I come home from work and she's in the last 20 minutes of the movie. I asked her how she liked it so far and she just rolled her eyes. About 5 minutes later she exclaimed, "When is this movie ever going to end?!" I laughed.

No, she did not like the movie.
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Postby tapehead on Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:36 pm

The awry focus and glassy distortions, and the aged brown patina of old photographs, often partly flooded by a low sun give give 'The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford' the sheen and feel of an historical document, while Dominik's penchant for time-lapsed clouds and the light moving through the sky (Well-established in 'Chopper'), lend it an elemental and earthy mood. The mournful score of Cave and Ellis (following their excellent and very different work on The Proposition) adds a sorrowful, regretful air. This is one of the best, and apparently little seen (in the Zone certainly, judging by this thread), films of the last year.

The train robbery at the beginning of the film, the Blue Cut job, is stunningly beautiful, a series of shots of silhouetted men in masks, clouds of steam from the locomotive and spindly forest trees caught in the trains light that nothing that follows quite matches for pure exhilaration. It's also somewhat misleading, as what follows is quiet and intense, taking place in pastures and barns, cottages and drawing rooms, and fittingly, towards the end, the bar rooms and theatres where the legend of James likely took hold.
If Casey Affleck had leaned his brow on one more door jam and rolled his eyes all vague and wistful it might have marred an otherwise fascinating performance. It's a strange and singular character he puts on screen, to the point where I'm struggling to think of a good comparison. Sam Shepard's brief turn as the older, wiser James brother and Rockwell as the more guarded, and later haunted brother of Affleck's Robert Ford, both counterpoint the main event of their brothers' odd friendship. Paul Schneider as Dick Liddil charms and quotes his character into the focus of every scene he appears in. Pitt is exemplary; none of the stylised tics and mugging that occasionally mar his acting are evident. Even the aspects of his character that might put you in mind of Early Grayce or Tyler Durden all seem in service of the character

I find it ironic that a certain audience will be drawn to this film by still potent matinee draw-card of Pitt, only to discover a mournful, wryly amusing but dark, and admittedly at times quite ponderous story about the death of both an American Legend, and an actual man; the fascinating and enigmatic character that the legend sprang from. But it's of little consequence; by now the film had already had a long and laboured history and might never be considered a great success, and sadly it might be a very long time before Andrew Dominik will be given the reigns of a film with a Hollywood budget.

However, with this film released in cinemas in the same year as the 3:10 to Yuma remake, and the polar opposites these two films represent with regard to depictions of the 'Wild West', It's worth reminding people of the superior film. While 'Yuma' is a fun and entertaining re-telling a grand west tale, replete with contemporary additions of CGI explosions, a Civil war hero in Christian Bale (never less than good), and replete with fictional legendary outlaw (with a heart of gold) - Russell Crowe charming the ladies and chewing on nearby scenery as Ben Wade, TAOJJBTCRF sets itself a much more difficult task of examining and giving elegy to the men behind these western myths and for me succeeds remarkably.

In kind with There will be Blood, Domink's film shares a similar theme of scrutinising lawless, ambitious men and seeing that awe might often arise out of fear, that esteem might as easily derive from outrageousness and peculiarity as it might from bravery or great accomplishments. Like PT Anderson's film as well it's one I've had to sit on and think bout at length before I've felt I've had anything useful to say about it, which is more a comment on the contentment I felt after having watched both films, rather than any kind of a criticism.

Unlike 'Blood' though, 'The Assassination' has been overlooked by audiences for the most part (worldwide it's recouped about half of it's reported production budget), but I expect it will be a film that people will return to in time, as it's folklore and history and a treatise on renown and notoriety that will endure.

8.5/10
Last edited by tapehead on Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:01 am

Lady Sheridan wrote:Pitt was meh. I couldn't help but compare him to Depp as the narrator intoned James' eye flaw, which Pitt failed to employ even once. I'm no Depp fangirl, but had he (or Crowe or Ledger) been playing James, you would have seen him so immersed as to have every one of those traits onscreen.


I get what you're getting at (or, rather, where you got to already), but I kinda liked that - that, hey, the narrator said he'd be all twitchy eyed, and, yet...and yet, he's not. What gives? Should I trust this narrator? Who's telling the truth, what I see before me, or what's intoned?

For that matter...what is the truth? What is the sum of a man? How can you sum up a man, a legend, a myth...

which, oh fuck yeah, a puffed up preening poppycock of pretentiousness right there. How can/why should I bother to identify if you're telling me something I'm pretty sure I already know, that we, and to a greater extent, our legends, are, essentially, unknowable.

but I kinda liked that aspect of the film, and appreciated how that was established right from the start.

oh, yeah, a perfunctory excellent review tapehead, sickofsayingthatalready, please flub some more like you did recently in some music thread...
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Postby Lady Sheridan on Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:41 am

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:
Lady Sheridan wrote:Pitt was meh. I couldn't help but compare him to Depp as the narrator intoned James' eye flaw, which Pitt failed to employ even once. I'm no Depp fangirl, but had he (or Crowe or Ledger) been playing James, you would have seen him so immersed as to have every one of those traits onscreen.


I get what you're getting at (or, rather, where you got to already), but I kinda liked that - that, hey, the narrator said he'd be all twitchy eyed, and, yet...and yet, he's not. What gives? Should I trust this narrator? Who's telling the truth, what I see before me, or what's intoned?

For that matter...what is the truth? What is the sum of a man? How can you sum up a man, a legend, a myth...

which, oh fuck yeah, a puffed up preening poppycock of pretentiousness right there. How can/why should I bother to identify if you're telling me something I'm pretty sure I already know, that we, and to a greater extent, our legends, are, essentially, unknowable.

but I kinda liked that aspect of the film, and appreciated how that was established right from the start.


I think I would have appreciated it more if the film had tightened up a bit more. I WANTED to like it. There was so much potential for a truly rich examination of myth--and I think you've nailed the heart of the film. It's just that it got so wrapped up in trying to make itself so achingly important that it ceased to beat for me.

The idea that the narrator was unreliable occurred to me after--and I wish they'd run a bit more with it. Especially at the end. It might have been interesting to bookend the film with a similar effect with Ford's character, or scatter it through with the entire gang. Give them a reason for being there, at least.

I think that's what frustrated me so much about the movie. I could see what they were getting at and I wanted so badly for it to punch me in the gut. And it just didn't, because we'd be treated to another luxurious close-up of Pitt or Affleck dismounting off a horse. It kept losing its momentum--and I love a slow film as much as anyone, but every bit of tension or sadness was just wrung out because it kept trying to drive the point home.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:54 am

Lady Sheridan wrote: It's just that it got so wrapped up in trying to make itself so achingly important that it ceased to beat for me.


yeah, I con like a cur - I was a bit more forgiving than you, and even more forgivinger after catching it a 2nd time at home, where I was able to loll about on the couch with impunity - and stop the damn thing once or twice to re-charge the nicotine batteries.

it was just such a joy to look at throughout, but...

Lady Sheridan wrote:I wanted so badly for it to punch me in the gut. And it just didn't, because we'd be treated to another luxurious close-up of Pitt or Affleck dismounting off a horse...


'yup. Even if I loved how some of them were framed, particularly when Pitt is back-magic-hour-lit a couple times early on, but they just kept coming, to diminishing effect.
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Postby Nordling on Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:09 pm

You're not supposed to trust the narrator. He's harping about the legend of James and he's as much guilty of idolatry as Robert Ford is. The truth is we don't know what compelled Ford or Jesse. Was it fear? Betrayal? It's meant to be something of a parable for the nature of celebrity and the nebulous nature of a man's persona. Obviously Jesse James wasn't what was written about him. "It's all lies, you know." "Of course they are." Another performance that's not getting much attention is Sam Rockwell as Robert's brother Charley. I thought he was terrific as well.

I loved how Pitt played Jesse James as a man who when entering a room all eyes turned on him, whether in fear or admiration, and how he manipulated that attention. The scene at Ford's dinner table, where Jesse not-so-gently puts Robert in his place, was brilliant. It's a languid film, but it's just so full of wonderful acting and imagery. I've seen it three times now. It's not my favorite film of 2007, but it's a damn good one.

And Roger Deakins - give that guy an Oscar already, geez.
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Postby tapehead on Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:29 pm

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:
Lady Sheridan wrote: It's just that it got so wrapped up in trying to make itself so achingly important that it ceased to beat for me.


yeah, I con like a cur - I was a bit more forgiving than you, and even more forgivinger after catching it a 2nd time at home, where I was able to loll about on the couch with impunity - and stop the damn thing once or twice to re-charge the nicotine batteries.


It might be similar to There Will be Blood in another aspect I hadn't at first considered - it's humour and a kind of melancholic mood that seems to prevail over a lot of the film. I can't go with the notion that the movie is too self important, because it's wry, and sardonic and subtly playful at times in a way that allows it to slide from alarming, to hilarious, to dramatically foreboding all in the space of a few script lines. The easiest scene to cite in TWBB is the one where Plainview is Baptised in the Church of the Third revelation - Watching Daniel Day Lewis's face in that scene as he reacts to the hysterical accusation that he's abandoned his son and is ushered into Sunday's fold; it's riveting and affecting, and hilarious in turns. Similarly in the scene where Jesse returns to the gang's hideaway cottage just after Bob has killed his cousin, the scene that plays out at the dinner table, with Sam Rockwell telling stories of Bob's childhood adoration, to Bob 'fessing up to it and listing the similarities he's counted between him and Jesse, to Pitt's James - who seems a master of reading people's faces, and interpreting the nuances of their attitude to the point where our narrator comes close to calling him some kind of seer (indeed he mentions a few things like auguring with animal intestines and the like, although the closest we see to that is James cutting the heads of snakes in preparing to eat them), senses enough in their discomfort and uneasiness to decide not to take Bob along with him. all the while Charlie's stories are stupid and funny (Rockwell is so great in this), Bob's squirming embarrassment and shame is tangible, and Jesse's presence in the room is like some wary predator who you feel can almost see into the people around him.

It's a pretty lame recommendation, but the best one I can offer is to watch their faces, it's all played out on their expressions.

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:perfunctory


lackadaisical?


J Hoberman reviews the movie as a bold, even wacky reinvention of the Western.
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Postby Maui on Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:54 pm

A beautiful film to watch. The lighting, the breathtaking landscapes, the casting shadows and the blurry visuals really paint a very dramatic story. Pitt and Affleck deliver incredible performances, however Affleck really stands out in his role of Robert Ford. An exceptional performance!
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Re: The Assassination of Jesse James... (Now w/ Reviews!!)

Postby Bloo on Wed Dec 17, 2008 4:26 am

I just started watching THE ASSANIATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD right now on HBO

I missed this when it hit theatres and DVD, full thoughts as soon as th emovie is over, but so far I'm digging it
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