A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

Discuss films of the 21st century including current cinema, current filmmakers, and film festivals.
Message
Author
User avatar
knives
Posts: 14012
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#26 Post by knives » Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:10 am

Only two of her films fits that description.

User avatar
Big Ben
Posts: 1074
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:54 pm
Location: Great Falls, Montana

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#27 Post by Big Ben » Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:26 am

The impressions I saw on Twitter said the film looks great but is rather vapid in other areas. The general consensus was that it not a bad film but it's not a smash either. I realize this is just reiterating a point made on the last page but I feel it needs to be said this is coming from a diverse group of people. If this continues it doesn't sound like DuVernay is going to coast on this one.

User avatar
whaleallright
Posts: 887
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:56 am

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#28 Post by whaleallright » Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:13 pm

knives wrote:Only two of her films fits that description.
The two films that have made her reputation....

User avatar
Bumstead
Posts: 54
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:25 pm
Location: Dubai

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#29 Post by Bumstead » Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:03 am

I'm not a fan. But for what it's worth, as someone who "started out in marketing" (her words, not mine); Ava has come far.

User avatar
Magic Hate Ball
Posts: 643
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 6:15 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#30 Post by Magic Hate Ball » Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:49 pm

This is not a very good film. There are some interesting concepts floating around in there, but they're smothered by the usual generic Disney elements. My biggest takeaway is that it seems like a movie that's terrified of trusting the audience, so everything is aggressively spelled out and every scene is hurried along as quickly as possible. Some of the editing is so abrupt and frenetic that, when combined with the oddly claustrophobic cinematography (visual wonder is frequently relegated to the blurry edges of close-ups), I started to feel like I had vertigo - characters get jumbled around, blurt ADR off-screen, and frequently seem to suddenly appear on the wrong side of the frame. There's also the problem of the acting, which feels like a series of first takes, the actors stumbling over the blunt filler dialogue. It's totally perplexing.

What's interesting is a lot of the film's problems could be engagingly odd and moody, but the way everything is assembled it's difficult to tell what's a mistake and what's done on purpose. In one scene, Charles Wallace hears two teachers theorizing about his father's disappearance, and the way the actors say the lines is halting and stilted, which in the right presentation would come across as eerie and robotic, like the scenes with the "taken" characters in Get Out. But it's edited together so clumsily and abruptly that instead it feels like the film is trying to escape itself. It's possible that this was an ambitiously daring attempt at a sort of YA Tarkovsky that got crumpled in the editing room. On the other hand, I don't know if Reese Witherspoon turning into a huge flying lettuce leaf would make sense in any version of this film.

User avatar
Fiery Angel
Posts: 535
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 1:59 pm

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#31 Post by Fiery Angel » Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:40 pm

Magic Hate Ball wrote:Reese Witherspoon turning into a huge flying lettuce leaf
Spoiler tags, please!

User avatar
furbicide
Posts: 239
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:52 am

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#32 Post by furbicide » Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:58 pm

Magic Hate Ball wrote:This is not a very good film. There are some interesting concepts floating around in there, but they're smothered by the usual generic Disney elements. My biggest takeaway is that it seems like a movie that's terrified of trusting the audience, so everything is aggressively spelled out
This is so disappointing to hear. Not sure there’s a more damning comment that can be made about a film than the bolded line.

User avatar
MoonlitKnight
Posts: 507
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:44 pm

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#33 Post by MoonlitKnight » Fri Mar 16, 2018 4:11 am

I've frankly given up on expecting any sort of greatness from anything put out under the Disney tentpole, barring the occasional Pixar effort. They really only ever seem to shoot for the middle anymore. In hindsight, perhaps they always did, and the studio's lack of evolution in terms of their approach to filmmaking/storytelling over the last half century or so (again, Pixar was maybe the exception to this until they started becoming so sequel-happy).
swo17 wrote:
mfunk9786 wrote:There is an awkward hush among "Film Twitter" as one gets the sense that this movie isn't very good, but no one wants to take up the mantle of saying so.
This didn't stop anyone with the new Clint Eastwood film.
To be fair, that film didn't have a 'forced diversity' cast, so it was OK. If you don't like this flick, you're clearly racist. :-"

User avatar
Ribs
Posts: 2886
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:14 pm

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#34 Post by Ribs » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:04 pm

Are you living in a vacuum? This film has gone down terribly, because critics aren’t lemmings who will fawn over literally anything that expresses a sentiment they like. I don’t understand why the idea reviewers lie about their actual opinions for corporate or political benefit has become so widespread!

User avatar
tenia
Posts: 3519
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#35 Post by tenia » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:27 pm

Ribs wrote:Are you living in a vacuum? This film has gone down terribly, because critics aren’t lemmings who will fawn over literally anything that expresses a sentiment they like. I don’t understand why the idea reviewers lie about their actual opinions for corporate or political benefit has become so widespread!
I'm friend with an editor-in-chief and I can't count anymore how many times he told us about someone whose opinion has vastly changed between what he was saying to my friend at the end of the projection and what he ended up writing.
However, I do remember it only rarely concerned small arthouse movies, but mostly big tentpoles or high-profile movies.

This being written, I never took that as a sign that it was a massive widespread thing that should make me totally distrust critics, but I however do remember these stories which can explain some contradictions sometimes perceived in some websites or magazines. One recent interesting example : Les Inrockuptibles published a quite negative review of Logan, only a few months later to have it included in the editing team Top 10. If the editing team had such an overall positive view about the movie, why thus choosing to publish the lone negative review as a release coverage ?

User avatar
Ribs
Posts: 2886
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:14 pm

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#36 Post by Ribs » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:43 pm

That editor happened to be assigned that movie? People have opinions - it's impossible to know going in which way you'll feel about something, though it's possible to hazard a guess. There are some critics who just hate anything that costs more than $100 million, it's just not for them, but there are also plenty (mostly for more niche, "geek" outlets) who only like that stuff and hate the low-to-mid-budget prestige and arthouse fair. People have biases, but that's the point of opinion writing.

But also, opinions change! What you feel walking out of the theater might have changed by the time you get home. I *think* a lot of the Three Billboards criticism underwent this type of change, over a slightly longer period. One of my strangest movie theater experiences was seeing American Honey, where, as soon as the movie ended (like, literally, cut to black, before the words "A film by Andrea Arnold" even appears) the guy sitting behind me immediately said to his friends "I have mixed feelings." I was just like, Jesus, man, can't you stew on it for just a second before stating how you feel? I know the whole "what'd you think?" basic "thought-it-was-good" discussion happens inevitably when leaving a movie, but that doesn't really represent how you necessarily feel in the long run.

I think that this has been a generally adverse effect of criticism on social media and in particular due to the popularity and mechanics of Letterboxd among the film twitter cohort; because we or they all walk out of movies now and pull up an app or a forum or whatever and issue our ultimatums, we're suddenly locked in to maintain that opinion. Several critics I really do respect have gone back and scaled back their star rating and reduced their raves for Three Billboards on Letterboxd quietly, erasing that they ever were willing to embrace it from the record. I don't think they're lying to themselves, just that they're trying to be honest to how they feel with more time and consideration.

User avatar
tenia
Posts: 3519
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#37 Post by tenia » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:58 pm

Of course though, opinions can vary overtime, and hot reactions can be very different from the overall feeling a few days later (though I have to admit it only extremely rarely happens to me, but that’s just me).
But most of the stories my friend told us were clearly insinuating that the journalists thought something but ended up writing something else not because they thought differently a few hours later but for other reasons (editorial, crowd-effect, ...).
You explained very well how this most certainly isn’t a general point, but it’s however something that does happen, and that's what I wanted to remind.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Posts: 28723
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#38 Post by domino harvey » Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:06 pm

I thought MoonlightKnight was joking

User avatar
Brian C
Posts: 3084
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:58 am
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#39 Post by Brian C » Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:14 pm

I think it's pretty fair to assume that a critic outright lying about their opinion is fairly rare. But still, most people are extremely suggestible, and groupthink is a real phenomenon.

User avatar
Magic Hate Ball
Posts: 643
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 6:15 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#40 Post by Magic Hate Ball » Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:33 pm

I don't think anyone is outright lying, and I'm sure many people who see this will legitimately enjoy it (and I hope they do, because it has a decent message buried under all the nonsensical futzing). On the other hand, I do understand the fear of the studios saying "well, the blacks had their chance but it's just not marketable", given how superstitious Hollywood seems to be about algorithms and trends. Something that really smushed this film for me was how clearly it felt like a business deal first and a movie second, like all the important stuff had to do with moving money around and then someone was like "oh yeah we should probably make a movie too". It's a familiar, queasy vibe - that suspicion that what we go to the cinemas to see is just the byproduct of what amounts to a year's worth of gambling transactions. In this light, it's kind of a no duh that Disney buries the lede on the book's depiction of the horrors of conformity, which are essentially reduced to a "by the way", because that would contradict the whole point of the corporation's existence.

User avatar
Lost Highway
Posts: 562
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:41 am
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#41 Post by Lost Highway » Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:38 pm

It depends on what you consider to be a film critic. I would consider that to be someone who actually makes a living from it, writing for a reputable print or web publications rather than just anybody with a blog or a YouTube channel. There is a weird knee jerk reaction against critics by many social media and forum users who see them as their enemy because they weren’t complimentary towards the latest DC epic. “I can make up my own mind” is a chorus I keep reading by people, who don’t read actual film criticism and have no idea what its purpose is.

On the whole A Wrinkle in Time was seen as a disappointment, though I can see why some critics would thread carefully as its intentions are honorable. Diversity of representation is not the the issue, the problem is that DuVernay wasn’t the right director for this. Sometimes the jump from indie movie to blockbuster works, sometimes it doesn’t and she isn’t the first filmmaker who failed at making the leap. Why she would now make another blockbuster seems like an odd choice. She’d be better off going back to doing something, smaller more personal again.
Last edited by Lost Highway on Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:47 pm, edited 4 times in total.

User avatar
knives
Posts: 14012
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#42 Post by knives » Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:43 pm

I think we can file this debate under
Image

User avatar
Ribs
Posts: 2886
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:14 pm

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#43 Post by Ribs » Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:58 pm

Lost Highway wrote:On the whole A Wrinkle in Time was seen as a disappointment, though I can see why some critics would thread carefully as its intentions are honorable. Diversity of representation is not the the issue, the problem is that DuVernay wasn’t the right director for this. Sometimes the jump from indie movie to blockbuster works, sometimes it doesn’t and she isn’t the first filmmaker who failed at making the leap. Why she would now make another blockbuster seems like an odd choice. She’d be better off going back to doing something, smaller more personal again.
I don't really agree - plenty of men spend a lot of money and produce a commercial and critical failure and aren't immediately forced to scale back their ambitions for their next project. Ishtar, for example, isn't really that terrible a commercial flop compared to other notable 80s failures but is one of very few that actually ruined its directors career (no points for guessing the differentiating factor of this case). Sometimes things don't work out - she shouldn't get put in movie jail and forced back to the small-to-mid budget scene just for one movie that, in the end, will end up a commercial success.

User avatar
Big Ben
Posts: 1074
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:54 pm
Location: Great Falls, Montana

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#44 Post by Big Ben » Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:11 pm

I haven't really seen reviews outside the regular trolls being overly harsh (They one star reviews I viewed on Imdb were drive by reviews.). In fact the reaction from critics is really middle of the road. It's certainly no masterpiece but it's not Ishtar either. And seeing how DuVernay is now going to work on New Gods for DC it appears Warner Brothers doesn't think she's poison.

User avatar
Oedipax
Posts: 1636
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 8:48 am
Location: Atlanta

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#45 Post by Oedipax » Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:27 pm

Ribs wrote:I don't really agree - plenty of men spend a lot of money and produce a commercial and critical failure and aren't immediately forced to scale back their ambitions for their next project.
I get what you're saying but I disagree with the implication that working on a smaller budget necessarily means scaling back one's ambitions. To my way of thinking, it's almost the opposite - I don't want someone who just made a great film for $2 million to go off and make their next for $100m. That, to me, is more often than not the true source of scaled back ambition, or at least artistic vision. To name but one example, David Gordon Green. It's like what Jean-Marie Straub says in the film Pedro Costa made about the editing of Sicilia!, that one of the horrors of Hollywood is that if your film is a success, it's taken for granted that the next one has to cost more.

User avatar
knives
Posts: 14012
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#46 Post by knives » Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:31 pm

Big Ben wrote:I haven't really seen reviews outside the regular trolls being overly harsh (They one star reviews I viewed on Imdb were drive by reviews.). In fact the reaction from critics is really middle of the road. It's certainly no masterpiece but it's not Ishtar either. And seeing how DuVernay is now going to work on New Gods for DC it appears Warner Brothers doesn't think she's poison.
Ishtar is a really good movie that most films wish they could have the quality of.

User avatar
Lost Highway
Posts: 562
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:41 am
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#47 Post by Lost Highway » Fri Mar 16, 2018 6:52 pm

Ribs wrote:
Lost Highway wrote:On the whole A Wrinkle in Time was seen as a disappointment, though I can see why some critics would thread carefully as its intentions are honorable. Diversity of representation is not the the issue, the problem is that DuVernay wasn’t the right director for this. Sometimes the jump from indie movie to blockbuster works, sometimes it doesn’t and she isn’t the first filmmaker who failed at making the leap. Why she would now make another blockbuster seems like an odd choice. She’d be better off going back to doing something, smaller more personal again.
I don't really agree - plenty of men spend a lot of money and produce a commercial and critical failure and aren't immediately forced to scale back their ambitions for their next project. Ishtar, for example, isn't really that terrible a commercial flop compared to other notable 80s failures but is one of very few that actually ruined its directors career (no points for guessing the differentiating factor of this case). Sometimes things don't work out - she shouldn't get put in movie jail and forced back to the small-to-mid budget scene just for one movie that, in the end, will end up a commercial success.
Josh Trank crashed and burned with The Fantastic Four. Colin Trevorrow and Gareth Edwards made financially successful but critically so-so franchise entries which nobody particularly liked, even as the movies made gazillions. Trevorrow went back to do a smaller movie, which ended up a laughing stock. Edwards is presumably still liking his wounds from his Star Wars gig and another Star Wars coming attraction chewed up a duo of white male directors who previously made mid-budget comedies.

Elaine May was a brilliant film-maker but with that brilliance came a perfectionism on a Kubrick-scale. She’d never had Kubrick’s success, so her head butting with studios eventually made them wary of her. In an ideal world she should have had an amazing directing career but from a business perspective it didn’t quite add up. She also worked in times when female filmmakers even more of an anomaly than they are now, so I’m amazed she even got those few movies off the ground. From all I’ve seen DuVernay doesn’t come anywhere near Elaine May in terms of talent. Her work is mostly about good intentions, but displays little in terms of style or vision.
Last edited by Lost Highway on Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Ribs
Posts: 2886
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:14 pm

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#48 Post by Ribs » Fri Mar 16, 2018 6:59 pm

Josh Trank literally shored up the starry cast of his next big-budget picture, a Capone biopic, today

User avatar
Lost Highway
Posts: 562
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:41 am
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#49 Post by Lost Highway » Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:06 pm

Ribs wrote:Josh Trank literally shored up the starry cast of his next big-budget picture, a Capone biopic, today
Tom Hardy isn’t a box office draw and I bet you it’s no more than a mid-budget movie. I haven’t seen any reports of this being a big budget gig.

I don’t think DuVernay should go back to smaller, more personal films as a punishment. I just don’t see her suited to blockbuster work, which isn’t neccesarely an insult. You need someone with a sense for production design and special effects and A Wrinkle in Time falls down disastrously on both. It’s Glitter Barbie green screen hell.

User avatar
MoonlitKnight
Posts: 507
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:44 pm

Re: A Wrinkle in Time (Ava DuVernay, 2018)

#50 Post by MoonlitKnight » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:21 pm

domino harvey wrote:I thought MoonlightKnight was joking
I was... hence the emoticon. 8-[ That said, my general skepticism toward film criticism has never been greater.

Post Reply