Discussion in 'Random Thoughts' started by purr1n, Jan 8, 2020.
Prime Video is pretty awful on the UI front. Worlds beneath netflix, who have it down to a science.
You’re in for a treat with Bosch. I’m likewise a big fan of the books and have grown to like the tv show a great deal. If anything, it has improved over time. There was one season that suffered from being a bit humorless, but the production quality, acting, and story lines have been consistently strong.
In part the show's success seems to have a good deal to do with Michael Connelly being closely involved in the production - or so it would seem from interviews he’s given. He seems to have been highly protective of his brand and fastidious in such things as finding the right leading actor.
One of the show’s assets really is its ensemble cast, and not just Jamie Hector, Lance Reddick, and Amy Aquino. There’s quality acting in depth. They've found a good many, excellent great character actors. For the most part, these actors have stuck around, too, which is a good sign, and the continuity they provide allows for a decent amount of character development, especially with a few of the longer narrative arcs that unfold over the seasons. I think you’ve got a lot to look forward to.
We've just started Counterpart on Prime, and really enjoying it. Just 6 episodes in to a 10-episode first season. It's well done, and the writing is good.
My biggest peeve with Hollywood writing is that the stories always seem to require idiot characters to make the plots work.
Totally agree with all points. Michael Connelly's involvement is essential.
The L.A. detective genre is rich and deep in books, film & TV. I've seen L.A. repeatedly through the eyes of Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe, and Lew Archer.
Connelly/Bosch bring a key difference to this genre: Bosch is a cop, not a P.I., so these tales are as much about police procedure & culture as crime solving.* Bosch has to both identify the killer and finesse the consequences of non-comformity with police procedures (non-comformity being key to his mentality & success).
* There is considerable crossover from cop to P.I. in Connelly's books. Most of the books feature Bosch as a cop; but at times (during retirement; going overseas to save his daughter) Bosch is strictly private.
7 episodes into BOSCH, I'm fully invested--yet still pondering the difference between Bosch-on-the-page in Connelly's books & Bosch as rendered by Titus Welliver. I went through the exact same process with various film versions of the P.I.s named above.
Yes, I’ve yet to figure this out even after watching all six seasons. Welliver is entirely plausible and satisfying as Bosch. But he’s far from what I had in my mind’s eye when reading the books. Weirdly, though, I don’t get any interference from the tv show when reading the latest books. I hesitate to explain this in terms of reading being superior to moving pictures in creating fictional worlds for us.
That’s a great point; I’d be hard pressed to come up with other police procedurals for L.A. besides Joseph Wambaugh’s The Choirboys and some of James Ellroy's L.A. Quartet.
Someone really needs to turn the Chandler novels into a season or two’s worth of “prestige” tv. Or Ellroy's L.A. Quartet. It’s a shame that the excellent L.A. Confidential didn’t spawn any sequels.
Long Strange Trip on Prime is really well done. I think even non-Dead Heads would enjoy it but if you were on tour at all it will give you chills.
+1 to the 10th power!
L.A. CONFIDENTIAL actually is one of the few touch points of true comparison to BOSCH (L.A.-based police procedural). It was set in an era roughly equivalent to that of the classic L.A. gumshoes. It sure didn't hurt that L.A.C was superbly written, acted & directed.
Are you hip to THE LONG GOODBYE, Robert Altman's collaboration w/Elliot Gould? That great 1973 film IMO was a template for how to creatively extend classic L.A. private eye ethos into newer times...
Prime Video sure knows what they're doing. I was just gripped with an urge to see TLG again so checked--it's on Amazon, and like every other classic color noir, you have to pay extra to see it (above and beyond std. monthly $$). I hate that about Prime...
Bosch is the best series on Prime. The Boys is too early to judge yet. Jack Ryan went off the rails second season. I’ve tried other shows here and there. They also have Made in Abyss which is killer if you like anime.
I'm a newcomer to Prime Video, but because streaming content often hops from channel to channel, I can recommend 2 things currently on Amazon:
ENDEAVOR: This PBS Masterpiece Theater police procedural is a prequel to the INSPECTOR MORSE series, which I loved. The prequel is worthy in its own right, based on excellent acting by the leads, the lived-in period recreation of '60s/'70s U.K, and methodical/intelligent mystery plotting. I enjoy comparing this to the WALLANDER prequel now running on Netflix (also excellent)
BULLET TO THE HEAD: If you're a fan of violent thrillers--and Sly Stallone in his late glory period--this New Orleans-based "buddy" film (cop & criminal) is perfect. This is not great cinema, but I've seen it at least 5 times and would drop everything to do so again. Sly is terrific, as is Jason Mamoa as a very convincing bad guy (he was born to play bad).
Bullet To The Head is great. I recommend Brawl In Cell Block 99 and Dragged Across Concrete if you're a fan of gritty, exploitation type stuff (both are better than Bullet To The Head).
I had high hopes for the first black lead in a Star Wars movie. Finn's unique backstory was ripe for all kinds of dramatic storytelling opportunities. Instead, Lucasfilm chose to retread familiar ground with Rey, who felt like a Luke Skywalker repeat... a story that had already been done much better in the previous trilogy. I was disappointed and in my latest video I examine what went wrong.
New video every Wednesday at 12 noon Central.
Boyega is an interesting fellow. First became aware of him via Attack The Block, which I found highly entertaining.
Agree his character in these films was dreadfully underwritten. Imagine what they could have done with him and Oscar Isaac! Travesty.
Yeah, agreed. It's frustrating watching Disney shit the bed on something that has been a big part of my life and growing up. Thanks for checking it out.
I can't speak to DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE (it's on my must-watch list). But I did see BRAWL IN CELLBLOCK 99. For all its strengths (Vince Vaughn's perf & the purity of focus on violence as means-to-an-end), it is quite humorless. Kind of like THE RAID, but with way fewer participants.
By contrast, BULLET TO THE HEAD often has a droll, borderline witty vibe: Stallone does some "What the FUCK?" type double-takes and mutters lines that are amusing, with the humor arising from the manifest unsuitability of this troglodyte for familial relationships (daughter; and daughter's love interest, a cop). Then again, BTTH is pretty violent, though not in the league of either film you mention.
Brawl was often shockingly violent to the point of parody. But it strangely never seemed gratuitous.
Thinking back on it I would have to agree with you on that. It was just such an obvious part of the character, this capacity for violence, that you just accept it as a natural extension. It was pretty brutal at times.
Certain movies like BRAWL.. and THE RAID feature violence in ways far above its typical use as eye porn & narrative filler in Hollywood. In these films, violence is a main character in the way weather is a main character in TWISTER; violence is unstoppable, beyond reason, robbing characters of humanity & spotlighting our primal origins.
Other films approach violence tangentially or schematically. Examples include YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE, Cronenberg's A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, and Jonathan Demme's 2004 remake of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, in which past violence fuels latter day events & surviving characters process the aftermath of violence in their lives.
I handle cinema violence better when it has some narrative function beyond gratuitious titillation. If I perceive a higher consciousness at work (director, writer, both), I'll roll with the rough stuff longer than I might otherwise.
This is a great post, and I'm right there with you. That's why I love Tarantino's films. The violence becomes like another character, interacting with the audience's thought process in a way the sterile cartoon shit in Marvel movies doesn't. I like when violence is given the same dramatic weight as a breakup or child birth (although Tarantino would ride the edge of gratuitous in later films). But I also like violence that is utilized in an operatic fashion to create a kind of surreal mood. Like the Mad Max movies or anything by Paul Verhoeven.
Not to take away from your thoughts re violence and its perception in film but your comparison using Twister is an interesting one - a somewhat thematic element, no pun intended, as a main character in and of itself. BTW Twister, for me, is one of those movies I will always watch whenever I see it on TV, sucks me in, pun intended.
Im finding myself more sensitive to gratuitousness in both sex/nudity and violence in TV/movies/anime as I get older. The shock value wears off and for the most part it just seems unnecessary. However, even though over the top I still think Brawl handled it in such a way that it actually may have been the main character for the movie, which makes it more tolerable to me.
Thinking of Brawl, Im not sure if Vince Vaughn is an underrated actor. Seems to be capable of a broad range of things.
In the "operatic category" I would add several Dario Argento films...violence so atmospheric, you actually wonder whether there's blood on the inside of all the windows.
Funny you'd mention Tarantino. I thought about including a 3rd category in the post above--films that use violence in clever, ironic ways--and Tarantino would be at the top of the list, alongside a couple Clint Eastern spaghetti westerns (the irony is bone dry, but it's there); AMERICAN PSYCHO: OLD BOY & a couple other Korean films (no absolutes here, culture being strongly determinative of irony).
I'm always right on the fence with these films (is it good? or it is just cheesy?), exactly because, as you put it so well, Tarantino would ride the edge of gratuitous in later films...also because irony (all humor) is so binary, either good or bad depending on setting & one's nature/readiness for it.
2 personal high points for me in Tarantino violence: in PULP FICTION where the junkie kid empties a gun at Sam Jackson & John Travolta, but misses completely; and the whole scene leading up to Chris Tucker getting plugged in the trunk by Odell.
There are other lists, too:
Films that use extreme violence in biblical/quasi-biblical ways (NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN; FRAILTY; THE VIRGIN SPRING)
Film violence as elegy (WILD BUNCH)
Film violence as redemptive (THE BOOK OF ELI; THE EXORCIST)
(I could go on)
Separate names with a comma.