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#1 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 05:32 PM

Hi,
I have always wondered if a film could be made were the relationships between subplots was tangential, this film proved it can be done to great affect.
I havent been touched by a film that I saw in a mainstream cinema like this for a long long time.
The cinematography was very naturalistic, almost doc. style, variances in grain from one shot to another was very noticable but on the whole I liked the fim immensly (especially the look of the Tokyo storyline, that was shot the best I think).
What does everyone else think.

Edited by Tomas Koolhaas, 03 November 2006 - 05:33 PM.

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#2 Francesco Bonomo

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 09:55 AM

I saw it yesterday and I liked it very much. The three storylines are really well balanced and all the performances are really good.
I loved the cinematography, and even though you could tell the difference between different stocks and formats, I have to say it was a very appropriate choice for that kind of storytelling. Minimal and natural lighting, but I found all the interiors to be extremely well lit. Using Super 16 for the Moroccan plot was the best choice, and I was amazed by how 7218 and 7205 looked on the big screen.
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#3 steve hyde

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 10:23 PM

....I saw it a couple nights ago and was sort of underwhelmed by it. This could have something to do with the mood I was in when I saw it, but I left the cinema thinking it was one of Brad Pitt's least convincing performance that I have seen. I was sitting there watching the guy act. It really surprised me. Clearly it is a problem in the directing. My second gripe was with the editing. I was watching the cuts too!! The cinematography was fine, although I'm not a big fan of using shaky cameras to signify disorientation. And if the Morocco shots were shot on S16, I did not notice a degradation in the image. I agree that the Japan vignette was the most compelling and Rinko Kikuchi's performance was the most notable.

In the end I really got the feeling that this production was rushed. It just felt unfinished to me. The scene with Brad Pitt loosing his temper should have been cut. It was one of the moments in the film that dropped me out of the story. These kinds of web-of-life screenplays have really become trendy recently. I like them, but I think Babel is not exemplary of the best ones. Twenty one Grams was a more convincing story and better film.

In brief, that is my reaction to it.

Steve
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#4 Bill Totolo

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 03:37 AM

Gotta be film of the year so far. Loved it. Loved all the cinematography.
Tokyo was beautiful but Morrocco was much more daring, as was blandly lit border jail.
Very naturalistic without being showy.

Rodrigo Prieto has really matured nicely as an artist.
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#5 Francesco Bonomo

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 01:44 PM

And if the Morocco shots were shot on S16


Four differen stocks were used in Morocco: Kodak EXR 100D 7248, EXR 50D 7245, Vision2 250D 7205 and Vision2 500T 7218.
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#6 steve hyde

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 01:56 PM

Four differen stocks were used in Morocco: Kodak EXR 100D 7248, EXR 50D 7245, Vision2 250D 7205 and Vision2 500T 7218.



Thanks Francesco.

Where did you learn about that? I wonder which lens complement was used...anyone know?
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#7 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 02:05 PM

Thanks Francesco.

Where did you learn about that? I wonder which lens complement was used...anyone know?


'Babel' is featured in this month's AC magazine.
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#8 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 02:09 PM

Where did you learn about that? I wonder which lens complement was used...anyone know?


It's in the current AC magazine.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS


1.85:1
16mm and 35mm

Arri 16SR-3; Arricam Lite;
Panaflex Millenium XL2, Platinum

Zeiss High-speeds, Elites and Ultra Primes;
Arri/Zeiss Master Primes; Panavision C-Series
and Ultra Speed MKIIs; Angenieux 7-81mm, 11.5?138mm zooms

Kodak EXR 50D 7245, 100D 7248; Vision 500T 5279, 800T 5289;
Vision2 250D 7205, 500T 7218/5218, Expression 500T 5229

Digital Intermediate

Printed on Kodak Vision Premier 2393
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Most of the Japanese thread is filmed anamorphic.

http://www.ascmag.co...Babel/page1.php

NPR had a pleasently bad review of it.

http://www.npr.org/t...storyId=6467651

Edited by Leo Anthony Vale, 11 November 2006 - 02:13 PM.

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#9 steve hyde

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 02:10 PM

'Babel' is featured in this month's AC magazine.



Thanks Stuart,

I will pick up a copy.

Steve

EDIT: and thanks Leo!

Steve

Edited by steve hyde, 11 November 2006 - 02:11 PM.

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#10 Rupe Whiteman

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 09:45 AM

...I've seen the Babel trailer and am looking forward to it's release here... I think Prieto is a real talent and love his operating style. You should see 21 Grams if you already haven't...

Rupe Whiteman

Edited by rupe w, 13 November 2006 - 09:46 AM.

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#11 James McBee

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 03:05 PM

I really enjoyed the film, and thought it was vastly superior to "21 Grams," which struck me as a little too operatic, and without much payoff. I do agree with Steve, that Brad Pitt left something to be desired, but I don't think it was the fault of the direction, or even necessarily of Pitt himself. I just think it was hard to seperate him from his preexisting persona, and thus it was difficult to believe in him as this everyman character. To be sure he wasn't the only star in the film, but he is the only one who is an icon. That kind of status can definitely be useful, but it can also be a detriment. In this case I would say it was the latter.

But everything else about the film was incredibly strong in my opinion, from the writing on down.
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#12 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 04:20 PM

These kinds of web-of-life screenplays have really become trendy recently. I like them, but I think Babel is not exemplary of the best ones. Twenty one Grams was a more convincing story and better film.

Steve


I agree with you to a certain degree here Steve. I've yet to see "Babel" honestly, but when I saw the trailer for this film, with Inarritu and Prieto involved and then the screenplay of Arriaga I immediately thought "Here we go again...". It has become very stylized (wouldn't say "trendy), but when it does come to this form of storytelling, all the aforementioned guys are the ones who really seem to get it right. I just hope Inarritu gets brave enough to break away from this storytelling structure, eventually.
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#13 steve hyde

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 06:19 PM

....There seems to be a trend. "Crash" is built with the same logic, with oversimplified characters. I think "Amores Perros" and "21 Grams" are both very interesting, and warranted, stories that stretch the imagination and challenge audiences to conceptualize human relationships in a more global and connected way. All of the films are a fascinating trilogy. I have enormous respect for the work of all the filmmakers involved.

I think James makes a really important point about the casting choices. In this case, I think iconography was working against the story. I was subconsciously bringing other performances from the actors into the story. Perhaps these kinds of scripts are better suited for "undiscovered actors"...Maybe this is why Amores Perros strikes me as the most memorable film of the three..

Steve
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#14 Max Jacoby

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 07:15 PM

In my mind this is the most overrated film of the year.

This is just a bunch of dramatic events put together whithout exploring any of them in depth. Just because you throw lots of stuff in the audience's face doesn't give you a good film. None of these characters are more than stereotypes.

Also I think the direction (or rather the non-direction) was really bad. The whole film looked like the poor camera operator was thrown into the midst of this without any warning and asked to cover as much as he could. Then it gets all cut together in an overly fast style to create a false sense of rhythm and to help hide the fact that none of the shots are thought out in the first place. The number of shots that can stand by themselves can be counted on the fingers of one hand as the vast majority is generic shakycam. I thought that the only time when the direction manged to capture the internal life of a character was in the Japanese club with the strobes, otherwise the constantly aggressive camera and editing suffocated any differences and subtleties in mood that might have existed. This feels like everything is drowned in the the same gerneric style, which after a while ceases to affect you, because there is not a single variation at play.

As for the DI, I thought these bad, unnatural skintones were a thing of the past. The colors looked very videoish for most of the time.
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#15 Chayse Irvin

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 07:26 PM

In my mind this is the most overrated film of the year.

This is just a bunch of dramatic events put together whithout exploring any of them in depth. Just because you throw lots of stuff in the audience's face doesn't give you a good film. None of these characters are more than stereotypes.

Also I think the direction (or rather the non-direction) was really bad. The whole film looked like the poor camera operator was thrown into the midst of this without any warning and asked to cover as much as he could. Then it gets all cut together in an overly fast style to create a false sense of rhythm and to help hide the fact that none of the shots are thought out in the first place. The number of shots that can stand by themselves can be counted on the fingers of one hand as the vast majority is generic shakycam. I thought that the only time when the direction manged to capture the internal life of a character was in the Japanese club with the strobes, otherwise the constantly aggressive camera and editing suffocated any differences and subtleties in mood that might have existed. This feels like everything is drowned in the the same gerneric style, which after a while ceases to affect you, because there is not a single variation at play.

As for the DI, I thought these bad, unnatural skintones were a thing of the past. The colors looked very videoish for most of the time.


I liked it. :D
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#16 Daniel Smith

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 09:32 PM

But hold on... isn't this style just a rip off from Quentin Tarantino?

Or did Tarantino rip off Alejandro González Iñárritu? (yeh, I had to copy and paste that name..)

Personally I thought it was ok... No higher than 7/10. The only reason I watched it was because of the ratings.


I know this is slightly off topic but if there's one thing I'm sick of, it's certain actors always playing the tough guy who never gets beaten.

Brad Pitt, Robert Deniro, Al Pacino, Michael Douglas, to name a few. (From the films I've seen anyway)

I personally hold more respect for the actors who have the balls to play the parts that no one likes. Like Sean Bean in 'Ronin' and Bob Peck in 'Jurassic Park'. Now those are good actors. They just don't seem to hold as much respect with the majority of the audiences.


Sorry if this makes me sound immature but I would have liked to have seen Brad Pitt getting knocked out in that scene from 'Babel'.

Edited by Daniel Ashley-Smith, 30 December 2006 - 09:36 PM.

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#17 NathanCoombs

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Posted 31 December 2006 - 09:15 AM

I loved Amorres Perros but feel like Innaritu has been increasingly polotted a trajectory towards a cinema of the absurd.

I'll see Babel of course, but Im not looking forward to it as much as I should be.
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#18 Sean Azze

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 12:31 AM

Stereotypes - can't say I've ever heard of the "deaf mute girl whose sexually frustrated and unloved" stereotype or the "10 year old who can hit a rock 3 kilometers out with a rifle" stereotype. I think Inarritu keeps making the same movie over and over with the interweaving storylines technique, but he did a nice job with this one. Captivating story, interesting characters, happy endings, sad endings, and unresolved endings. I liked it a lot better than Crash, another multicharacter story that I'm still ticked off won the Oscar.

Oh, and Pitt wasn't that much of a tough guy. Cried like a baby on the payphone. Woosie :D
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#19 Max Jacoby

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 05:53 AM

Stereotypes - can't say I've ever heard of the "deaf mute girl whose sexually frustrated and unloved" stereotype or the "10 year old who can hit a rock 3 kilometers out with a rifle" stereotype.

That's exactly why in my book they are stereotypes: he gives them only one characteristic, i.e. "deaf mute girl whose sexually frustrated and unloved" and then never explores them in any depth, probably presuming that because the starting point of each character is so 'interesting' he doesn't have to. The directing style doesn't help either, because it is so relentlessly moving all the time that it doesn't take time to look at any of the characters.

It occured to me that this film is rather like watching the news: you feel bad about the stuff that's happening to these people, but not because you care about them as individuals (in fact you hardly know them), but rather because the stuff in itself is so bad and you'd feel bad about it happening to anyone.
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#20 NathanCoombs

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 05:59 AM

That's exactly why in my book they are stereotypes: he gives them only one characteristic, i.e. "deaf mute girl whose sexually frustrated and unloved" and then never explores them in any depth, probably presuming that because the starting point of each character is so 'interesting' he doesn't have to.


This is an importnat point. Personally I don't find wacky characters intriguing simply for a bizarre atributes they may have, or deviant and crazy fetishes or lifestyles. Mostly these characters are used by writers and directors who have trouble finding anything menaingful to say about the everyday life or the inner lives of characters.
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