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« Tribeca: A Tale of Two Alex's in "About Alex" and "Alex in Venice" | Main | "They call this war a cloud over the land..." »
Sunday
Apr202014

Easter Podcast: Noah, Under the Skin, Budapest Hotel

SEASON PREMIERE
Ready for another year of the podcast? The gang is back: Nathaniel R, (The Film Experience), Joe Reid (The Wire), Katey Rich (Vanity Fair) and Nick Davis (Nick's Flick Picks) reunite to discuss this unusually robust auteur spring at the movies. 

This week's topics: Darren Aronofsky's peculiar muddy vision for Noah starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly & Emma Watson; Jonathan Glazer (Birth) and Scarlett Johansson's Under the Skin; and Wes Anderson's biggest hit The Grand Budapest Hotel. Did we want to check in and stay?

Under Noah's Skin at the Budapest Hotel
00:00 Noah (story diversion, auteur vision, character work)
18:45 Under the Skin (visual storytelling, interpretation, Scarlett)
29:00 Noah and Under the Skin (in communication)
36:30 The Grand Budapest Hotel (inside & outside friction, accepting Wes, art direction)
44:30 Ralph Fiennes and the movies Oscar buzz
49:00 Other movie recommendations: Le Week-end and Blue Ruin.

You can listen to the podcast at the bottom of the post or download the conversation on iTunes. Continue the conversation in the comments.me, I Heart Huckabees, Taxi Driver, King of Comedy, Goodfellas, Cape Fear, Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambíen, 

Under Noah's Skin at the Budapest Hotel

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Reader Comments (12)

Great return. Will this be a weekly podcast again because I really want to hear your guys thoughts on the Cannes Announcements especially since next week we will also know the jury. These three films discussed are so great and make the start of this year look much better then most years.

April 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEoin Daly

Frown and squeeze my eyes tight enough and maybe it'll look like I'm feeling something - Emma Watson when she hears "Action!"

April 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

About the Noah incest....

When Emma Watson tells Noah that God left it in his hands to decide the fate of Man, and Noah saw that they were worthy, there's a rainbow explosion, with a similar effect, I thought, as when Methuselah got her magically fertile. While this is, of course, a reference to the verse about God's promise being in a rainbow, I also took that as God providing more men and women for the rest of the world, that Ham would be OK.

But that is MY personal fan theory, so do with that what you will.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterWalter L. Hollmann

Really appreciate the fact that I can totally disagree with you guys on movies and still love your commentary. I hated Noah so much I walked out of it, which I haven't done in years, and I thought the direction of Under the Skin was a mess but Scarlett Johansson was a revelation in it, giving probably the best performance of her career. It was worth the ticket price just to see her completely knock my socks off, even after she was great last year (and has been at times in the past).

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

Great to have you all back!

I've only seen Budapest and I liked it but however good Fiennes was, I thought the movie tried to force an emotional reaction (or a set of them) that didn't just flow. Maybe I would have prefered a more cynical tone that might have created an interesting contrast to the playfullness or just better executed emotional stuff.

Really looking forward to Under The Skin and not planning on seeing Noah.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

Lindsay Duncan in Le Week-End. What an actress! It's kind of tragic we haven't seen more of her. Hopefully, she'll get more chances in the future in a Judi Dench way.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I get feeling distance from The Grand Budapest Hotel - but isn't that kind of the point, even more than usual with Anderson? I mean the framing - a current day girl reading a story about an old man narrating a story another old man told to him when he was a young man about a long ago period in that 2nd old man's life - I think both the content and the framing device mean for you to hold it at a considerable distance. That said, I get the feeling. But I still liked it, even more on a second viewing (it seemed sprightlier on that 2nd viewing, and it felt tighter), and I'd be very happy if Fiennes was in the Oscar conversation at the end of the year.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

Haha, you guys are funny - all that Noah incest talk cracked me up.

Although as the entire film is practically built around Noah, I'm surprised you found room to talk about Connoly & Watson, but left out Crowe. Did you think he was great, good, bad? Can't really tell from this podcast.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

I have waited so long for his next movie and Jonathan Glazer did not disappoint me at all. Under the skin is a hardcore art house film. Some people will hate it, others will be mesmerized and the rest will simply skip the movie and rather watch a more traditional movie with a clear plot ala Transformers

Scarlett Johansson will never be Oscar nominated for her amazing turn in Under the skin because the movie is way too dark and obscure for the Academy to actually see it. A very natural performance and her British accent is pitch perfect. Glazer continues his Bergmanesque filming when it comes to upandclose of the actress face and eyes. And ScarJo handles the task in a very good way

The music and score are important in this feature since there are long scenes with no dialogue at all. Some times the score reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock, other times Kubrick with the dark framing from Lynch. Though Glazer clearly steals from these famous geniuses, the elements are not copy and paste work. Director Jonathan Glazer simply innovates and bring the movie to the next level. Bravo Glazer!

Some has pointed out that Under the skin may be the future of science fiction cinema. I have never seen something like this before and Glazer has rightfully shown us a different approach about aliens. The movie will be interpreted in all different ways and it is a very subjective movie experience. The viewer must have an open mind and sometimes I felt that the movie was analyzing me and my pattern of thinking. Did I pass the test or not? I simply don't know. There are comedic elements which are more intended for the British audience so don't feel bad if you can't get the jokes

There are some heart breaking scenes in this movie that I will never forget. There are some scenes that are simply breath taking. The cinematography is the best of 2014 so far until Gone Girl by David Fincher arrives later this year and may surpass it

I highly recommend Under the Skin for the viewer who wants to be challenged and should see this great cinematic wonder with an open mind

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

I think this may be the first time I've listened to one of these podcasts and had seen all the films that were major discussion points... YAY ME!

Noah was far better than I expected, but honestly I don't remember much about now beyond Emma Watson's wonderful crying, Ray Winstone's gross scenery chewing, and the... INTERESTING... creation sequence. It's faded far faster than any other Aronofsky film for me, and I think that says something.

I loved listening to you guys talk about Under the Skin. It's so unlike anything I've ever seen before that I'm still processing how I feel about it. The sound design, including the score, was absolutely incredible, and Johannsson offered such great subtlety. In a role that could have been a blank slate, she was something a little bit more; every so often she would put in something interesting that would complicate the character in ways a true blank slate would never do. My man and I had the EXACT same discussion about the motorcycle guys. We actually talked about the film as a whole for a long time, despite the fact that he absolutely hated it. It's interesting. I feel like the plot isn't that difficult to decipher, but I still feel like I'm not sure what the film is actually about, if you know what I mean.

I think the distancing of Grand Budapest Hotel is very much intentional, given that there are, what, three framing devices? I do think the film lacks a certain emotional core that Moonrise Kingdom certainly had in spades, but it was so perfectly entertaining on every level that I didn't care too much. I certainly don't get all the "BEST of Wes Anderson's career!" notices, although it may be the MOST Wes Anderson film of his career.

Anyway, thanks as always for doing this guys! It was such a joy to listen to.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Denny, I completely agree with you on your observation: "I certainly don't get all the "BEST of Wes Anderson's career!" notices, although it may be the MOST Wes Anderson film of his career." I was expecting this film to blow me away and I just sort-of giggled from time to time.

Nick, I'm right there with you with on Ralph Fiennes 1995 crushing. I had his "You Know You Want It" poster from the box office smash "Strange Days" in my college dorm room.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjtagliere

Awesome to heave you guys back! *shakes*

Even if someone had filmed a completely wild and revisionist retelling of Noah, my interest still would've been minimal. With this one, the combo of the dreary-looking trailer + my post 2003 Russell Crowe allergy kept me away. Agreed on the comments made about Jennifer Connelly, I root for her so hard but she never meets me halfway. Can't even remember the last project she was in that really made me take notice. Little Children? She was sidelined there. The Dilemma would've been amazing if it was just her and Noni. I'll give her credit for He's Just Not That Into You. Lol that was her legit best performance since Requiem For A Dream.

Wasn't a fan of Grand Budapest. A+ production design but that mean streak that Joe spoke of rubbed me raw. I was over it before the forced emotional ending notes the movie was asking me to accept. Also getting annoyed that his grown female characters continue to disappoint -- why are his male-centric daddy issues never spoken as a negative? They're getting old as raisins as this point.

Under The Skin was aces. Direction, cinematography, sound design, music repetition, ScarJo, editing, use of nature, clever visual effects, metaphors, those seduction scenes, ambitiousness, ambiguity - I was eating it all up with a spoon... that my body then promptly rejected. I loved it.

Bummed Stranger By The Lake never came around here but Only Lovers Left Alive should be opening soon and my core cinephile group and I are beyond excited. Saw Nympho Vol 1 + 2 and kinda loved it except the ending to Vol 2. That whole last chapter was kinda terrible but I understand there was some heavy editing forced upon so will reserve till I see the complete uncut (lol) version. Hope you guys have time to go over it soon, I'm dying to hear how much you all loved or LOVED Uma's segment. :D

April 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark The First

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