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Wednesday, 04 March 2015


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Winter's Bone is a very good film. I'm confident that Jennifer Lawrence is a good choice to play Lynsey, but I'm not so confident when it comes to Spielberg for this movie.


I'm guessing that by 'pop fodder' you mean the Hunger Games films. I think they are a little better than that, largely due to the cast (not just one person). Obviously they are essentially YA films, but they're in a different league to Twilight. I came out of the second one feeling really cross about despicable politicians, almost in a 'march on parliament' sort of way, which is a significant achievement given I'm over 50 and not given to marching.

I'm not saying they are anything like as good as Winter's Bone or American Hustle, and probably not even as good as Silver Linings Playbook (although Jennifer Lawrence's performance in that was really astonishing: far better than the film). But they are more than junk.

Congratulations to Ms Addario for breaking through the noise. There are some fine movies the subject of which was at least peripherally war photography. That one with Nick Nolte comes to mind, Under Fire.

Hi Mike,

Have not seen "Winter's Bones" (or read this book) but based on what I have seen, do think Lawrence has the chops to pull it off. I just hope Spielberg doesn't set the dial to 11 in his direction, as it's not material for "Sniper II, the Final Cover Shot."

This film may have been green-lighted in part because of the relative success of "Wild," with its A-list star and true story of a young woman who throws herself at an unlikely adventure in a male-dominated arena.

I dread the forthcoming camera forum arguments over whatever gear Ms. Lawrence ends up toting on-screen ("That lens wasn't released until three years later!") and her shooting technique.

The best strategy with Spielberg films is to leave the theater when you think the movie is over. In addition to the terrible Schindler coda, there's the mawkish crying-over-the-gravestone episode at the (second? third?) end of Saving Private Ryan. Spielberg tells you what he's going to tell you, he tells you, then he tells you what he told you. That said, Jennifer Lawrence is excellent and Winter's Bone is one of the best films I've seen in the last few years...it's a socialist realist version of The Hunger Games.

Wandering off-topic, here, but take another look at that line which describes Steven Spielberg as the Norman Rockwell of movies, possessed of a core which thrills and vibrates to the maudlin and the mawkish.

Rockwell was known primarily as an illustrator, cranking out hundreds of covers for The Saturday Evening Post. Their content was key to the Post's news stand sales, a competitive marketplace in which images had to reach out and grab the attention of passersby who would then reach into their pockets and pull out the change needed to buy the magazine. Would you say they succeeded? Form followed function, all the way to the bank.

In most of his career, Rockwell was creating a series of images crafted to symbolize an editorial viewpoint. The publisher's viewpoint. Look at in context. Was his painting for Look Magazine showing a young Ruby Bridges, flanked by federal marshals, being escorted to integrate an all-white school maudlin or mawkish? Or might the same image, as a photograph, be acclaimed as significant photojournalism?


We can argue all night about where the border between craft and art is found. I think it lies somewhere beyond paintings of Elvis on black velvet and the work of Thomas Kinkade. But there's something about wielding the name of Norman Rockwell as a synonym for schlock that rankles.

" To my reading it's possible that the book was significantly ghostwritten (it's at least very well edited—you just don't write that well without practice)"

Tut tut Mike! Wouldn't have expected that from you. I'm halfway through the book, enjoying it and cannot see why a female war photographer could not write well.

In an (somewhat weak) defense of Steven Spielberg against the charge of being incorrigibly maudlin, I would submit the movies 'Munich' and 'Minority Report', neither of which is in the least bit sappy.

And erm, 'Jaws'. Over the top, perhaps, but far from sentimental. Not to mention his early TV movie, the thriller 'Duel'.

So he is quite capable of reining it in, when he so chooses.

On the other hand, I'm glad you pointed out the insufferably twee use of color in 'Schindler's List', at least in the candle lighting scene and the ending.

I must second the recommendation for "The Hunger Games" - the first one especially. Saw it well after its release with a let's see what the fuss is about attitude and was in wonder at how bitingly subversive it was even in the confines of young adult entertainment. It's take on inequality, class and vacuous popular culture had the DNA of "A Clockeork Orange" Even the lack of gratuitous sex and violence was a welcome detour. Don't sell it short, it should be taken more seriously than the hype suggests.

Winter's Bone was flat out brilliant, and to my way of thinking should be seen in tandem with the equally stark and compelling Frozen River (2008).

It's mighty rare these days to see a movie for grown-ups that addresses working class poverty and hopelessness, rather than vapid celebrity culture and CGI explosions.

Her answers to questions are not scripted, it's just that interviewers ask the same bloody questions, no matter what city you're in during the course of a book tour. When she was in Seattle a few weeks ago and the Q&A with the audience wandered a bit off the usual track, her answers were thoughtful and informed. I don't see a problem with her making money off her biopic -- it's not like you can make a decent living these days off magazine/newspaper assignment work.

Great story, superb actress, over-the-hill director. Spielberg can't seem to stay away from cotton wool and that approach would mute the Addario tale and trap Lawrence in a potential snoozer.

Sitting around the cracker barrel, speculating on what someone might do or how they might think, succeeds at passing the time and entertaining each other, but frequently falls short of being prescient. I'll be most interested in seeing the film. I neither expect nor hope it will be a documentary. a lot of talented and accomplished people will be involved in this enterprise. I'll let the results speak to the choices made in assembling the participants.

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