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Licorice Pizza - new PTA film


Loik V credern
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Filled with so many shots and a sense of scope despite seeming like a small story, I think Paul Thomas Anderson is probably incapable of doing anything that isn't cinematic. Given all I'd heard was that it was a 70s comedy with Bradley Cooper (who I don't find engaging as an actor really with little range) I wasn't that excited, and now replacing Cooper with Philip Seymour Hoffman's son with a clear likeness...

 

It reminds me of Everybody Wants Some, just because that is a layabout film, though 80s not 70s, it didn't have a strong central teenage romance at the centre or likeable characters really...

 

I don't know, I'm not sure we're ever going to get a sci fi film from Paul Thomas Anderson, because that's what everyone is desperate to see right it's not just me is it. or a war film, middle ages epic, horror...even Tarantino who has sequences of strong tension in his films -and probably loves Japanese horror- hasn't gone there yet. (there's that bit in Hollywood where people mentioned it again) 

 

I think PTA has said Altman is a big influence on him. It's not like he was ever going to genre hop like Kubrick (Nolan is probably the closest but then not really) but with so few writer directors who truly breathe cinema like he does..is PTA pushing himself, trying to, does he need to, should we expect him to?

 

When I read people giving him shit at the time for being influenced by Scorsese with Boogie Nights that never makes sense. He's not trying so hard now to impress, it all coming more naturally. I think it'll be interesting actually him working with actors who aren't among the world's best, I think Joaquin Phoenix improves Inherent Vice to a huge substantial degree. All his other films the scripts and directing is great anyway but with that film he was getting so much help. 

 

...actually sort of feels similar to Pixar. Everyone is in line with that, the response to Luca that I've felt since Finding Dory (Finding Nemo is my favourite Pixar film), well crafted but not that ambitious. Phantom Thread was a different world and well shot, interesting character. I loved The Master. Ultimately because this shares the same period as Inherent Vice, however different in tone and themes, it's inevitably not that exciting. Or is it rllmuk?? Is it???!!!!

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  • 1 month later...

Peter Bradshaw loved it!

 

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2021/nov/15/licorice-pizza-review-paul-thomas-anderson

 

Also probably filled with the entire plot laid out so i can't read it. I doubt film critics have time (although Kermode often says he watches films multiple times so maybe they do), but they should write two reviews, one for those to read before seeing the film, another for those after, instead of this compromised thing where they spend half of the review telling you the plot past the setup and ruining all the turns, and then if you're Bradshaw all the surprises at the end, but still unable to delve into the themes and possible intentions of the director. Like a more in depth one published a month after for films deserving of it. The Guardian always seem to have reviewers review the same films which is good to see different views, but maybe spread the film watching load among them.

 

It's not just that Bradshaw's inexplicable love of new Bond is hard to fathom, for me at least, but his hatred for Stillwater was way off, so it doesn't make much difference if it was 2 stars.

 

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  • 2 months later...

I saw it! Went to a deserted afternoon showing last week. I absolutely loved it. I think it's easily one of his best films. The two leads were incredible. Also, Bradley Cooper, who I initially thought may be going too big for the understated tone of the movie, was used sparingly and and was very funny as a result.

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On 17/01/2022 at 12:52, Stoppy2000 said:

Anyone actually seen this yet?

I've just seen it. I absolutely adored it. Came out of the cinema just blown away by it. 

 

It's beautifully shot, as you would expect. The two main actors are great and there's an obvious nod towards Harold of Maude throughout. The central relationship is integral to your appreciation of the film and in lesser hands it could have seemed unbelievable. The supporting cast are fantastic too. As they've been mentioned previously in the thread, Tom Waits is great, Bradley Cooper has a great cameo as did Sean Penn. It reminded me of Boogie Nights, in that there's a central storyline which you're fully enraptured by, whilst there are various side stories going on that compliment the main tale. 

 

Still trying to process it all. It's not a tasking film but I spent 2 hours wallowing in this sumptuous cinematic experience and am finding it pretty hard to explain quite why it resonated with me. I think the most impressive part of the film are the stolen glances, the slight and subtle facial movements and expressive mannerisms that the main characters consistently demonstrate. It just sucks you into this burgeoning and dysfunctional partnership. Means that you totally buy into their relationship. It all seemed so real and I guess we've all been in relationships that seem like they're all that matters in the world and despite the warning signs we persist with pursuing it. 

 

Up there with his best work. 

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PTA's films have never resonated with me. They’ve always felt too oblique or overwrought or emotionally insincere somehow. I see them lauded as films of the century and I just don’t get it. But I'm pleased to say that having watched Licorice Pizza I am now full onboard the PTA hype train. It’s an absolutely joyous, funny, heartwarming, beautifully constructed, amazingly cast, fever dream of a movie. You really don’t need to know anything else. If you like cinema, even slightly, go and see this movie. I dare you not to fall in love with it. I dare you.

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Just seen it.
 

Heard is was great, anticipated it would be great, first scene made me think it was going to be great and......: it was great.

 

Great performances, loved the setting, never clear where the story was going to take us and I would have happily have watched another hour.

 

If it isn’t in my top 5 (3) at the end of the year I’ll be very very surprised.

 

Edit: I wondered if the lead was Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s son or just an uncanny younger version of him. And it is - and he was excellent.

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I loved this. Someone described it as a warm hug of a movie, and I think that's a perfect summary. I could have happily spent another few hours watching Alana Haim bicker lovingly with Cooper Hoffman. Speaking of which, both of these guys are surely on their way to being superstars? So much charisma and talent.

 

The opening five minutes is one of the best I've seen in a long time. Jumps straight into it, sets up the central themes immediately, beautiful performances, direction and dialogue and it just carries on right from that point. PTA really is in a league of his own for me. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

There's just a cinematic richness to his films isn't there, that's evident immediately. It was evident in the first moments of Hard Eight. I watched it ages ago and overall found it underwhelming but as Pta lives and breathes cinema I know if I go back to it there'll be numerous shots I'll love more now as there's less expectation of the film to really take you somewhere. 

 

 

I can't say I loved Licorice Pizza or I was really taken with it, a bit like with La La Land where people gushed about it and I just liked lots about of moments in it (I love the opening song, the audition, the camera movement in the house) It was their lack of chemistry and connection I thought was missing which was odd because Stone and Gosling have great chemistry in Crazy Stupid Love and Gosling is so likeable he seems to have good chemistry with anyone he's paired with. But just something cold and standoff ish about him in that, except when he's talking about jazz. 

 

All the media articles about their age gap in this film really goes to show how separate the media is, how the film is framed wasn't remotely what I expected at all. Like Phantom Thread I didn't buy their relationship, like in most films I watch about relationships where they're meant to be kindred spirits I'd just like some shared interests to crop up in a conversation or two.

 

I watched Brokeback Mountain for the first time recently and all I saw was lust really, the film forces an apparent deep love, you see their tenderness together, them drawn to eachother but just usually to make out or have sex, there's no sharing of childhood or recent trauma or a joke that catches the other off guard in its quirky angle. 

 

Honestly I see more connection being established in First Dates where two complete strangers are sat in public restaurants being filmed, one will tell a story about their health problems and I remember a guy going 'thank you for sharing that with me', and I thought, fuck that is a good way to respond, I'd never have thought of that at all. Thank you for sharing because the other person is trusting you and being open. There are loads of moments in that show where you can see a person's eyes light up as a connection is made.

 

Maybe it's too cheesy to do it in a film but most relationships I see on film I don't buy. Eventually I'll get through the Before... series. I hope they're witty and have interesting things to say, just a random fact about pigeons I didn't know about might perk me up if I'm sliding into don't care about these people at all mode. 

 

anyway licorice pizza..

 

Spoiler

Alana is I think a bit too downbeat and showing contempt in their first date, but then it's funny and memorable, 'don't be creepy'. There's no progress at the end of the meal though like you'd expect, she seems thoroughly depressed when they're walking home like she's in a spot in life where she's going on dates with 15 year olds. Not really endeared by much of what he says except his ambition in relation to herself.

 

Tldr I didn't buy she would agree to go with him as a chaperone so the cut to being on the plane was jarring I thought. So I didn't buy their jealousy when the other flirts. 

 

Similar sort of depression when the truck stops, Bradley Cooper is throwing trash cans through shop windows and randomly chatting up girls about tennis and Alana is just sat there looking at these immature lads in silhouette do immature teenage boy things. Pta is great, that scene is great, the 15 minutes before that is great, I guess it's over time people pop back into a film like this to spend more time with them.

 

Everybody Wants Some was very different to this. There's a scope to Pta's filmmaking. In his first few films he was criticised for his showyness which I still think is so bizarre but he's still doing long takes and tracking shots isn't he, you just don't notice.

 

The effective contrast of zoomed in intimate closeness of Gary and Alana's initial conversation where nothing is allowed to distract from it like people walking by that then switches to capturing the whole of the gym, following Alana forward then back as it finishes with the photographer slapping her bum. 

 

99% of directors wouldn't direct those two scenes like that would they, I don't think so. Because I know I'm in great hands I couldn't help wondering how others would do it and however they would it wouldn't be as memorable or as grateful. Pta is called a master but those two opening scenes are very simple, I think he just has a better grip of what he wants to express.

 

If Spielberg and Scorsese had it in the past I don't think they've got it now, there's loads of messy cuts in their latest films I think. I don't think Pta will lose it because he always writes his films and is more deeply involved in understanding who he is and what the story is. But this a lot of words for someone to think 'bullshit' about. 

 

You never (or at least i don't) notice the cuts in Pta's films except when they're deliberate contrasts. He was the cinematographer on Phantom Thread wasn't he and was co cinematographer on this, Bradley Cooper said there was no way he was missing being in this film, some issue with the real beard he grew clashing with Nightmare Alley filming. Cooper was like 'he's incredible, he was teaching me so much about different lens'. It's a shame Kubrick couldn't stick around longer to enjoy more of Pta's career really, there's a similar care. 

 

I think a lesser director who doesn't really care about their directing being impactful would shoot Gary and Alana's conversation from the front showing how busy the school is. Them trying to just talk amongst the noise, whereas Pta seemed to want the world to stop when they're talking to eachother, nothing else exists outside of their conversation.

 

And the gym scene would just be butchered, no flow into there, no sense of space. Anyone who has a problem with long takes should just shoot themselves in the head really, anything that avoids a cut is preferable to me, like it should be the goal of any scene creation.

 

Once I notice the camera switching being talkers in a conversation in any average film it starts to bother me. Pta avoids this altogether or reigns it in so I never notice. I'd have to literally go through his films I thinks to check. 

 

The tracking shot into the building where Gary is promoting the bed is another shot that I think isn't showy, it's just so much more involving and real to bring you into it. 

 

The film was far odder than I expected, the diversions it takes. I could have watched it for hours more, not because I really liked the characters but because it's shifts were always so good. How long is this post now let me scroll up okay a few more things. I love contrast and tonal weirdness. Who doesn't.

 

That job interview scene where Gary tells Alana to say yes to every question where it switches to the interviewer and it suddenly feels like a Lynch film, so spookily shot. I just love stuff like that. All directors, please just inject your films with weird stuff like that, her head just fills the screen, the lighting is bizarre, she's utterly compelling and all she's doing is smoking and asking basic questions and then reacting.

 

This is why I want Pta to tackle a different genre entirely like sci fi or horror. It's not just me is it, that tonal shift is so bizarre. Pta is one of a handful of directors whose new films I look forward to seeing but most of the anticipation is seeing what world he'll explore next. 

 

Sean Penn's face where he drives off, Alana's face. 'Is that a line?' Pta is on a different level to nearly everyone else, he is. 

 

I didn't like the running. We've seen that in other films and it's a bit of a trope, and I never bought it because like I say I didn't buy their connection. Alana might be a bit lost but Gary isn't remotely. Hard to find a more successful easy going teenager, I couldn't act on stage, do auditions, sell beds to strangers when I was 15. I wouldn't be able to now. He's charming to every girl, he can talk to anyone and can get a girlfriend easily, he doesn't need Alana so when he legs it to her after she falls off the bike I didn't buy his passionate concern.

 

Like Alana's concern when Gary is being driven off in the police car, in the trailer you think it's a dramatic scene because she's pressing her hands on the window but it comes so early and out of nowhere. I think she'd argue with the cops but less so and then run after the car to the station, that's all a bit end of a journey drama.

 

But of course I like the shots, the quietness of being uncuffed, her pleading him to leave, their hug in the reflection. It's a short scene that again the efficiency of the directing makes it memorable and gives an insight of policing in America in the 70s. Just 'yeah you're going away for a long time, hope you enjoy the slammer'. Drag in a witness, 'no that ain't him'. Uncuff him in a corridor without saying a word.

 

The whole films captures that ease of access, like Alana can just see a poster of one of the Safdie brothers then phone someone up and then work on political campaigning. That sense you can just end anywhere suddenly. People at work in their 50s used to say to me 'you'd just quit a job then cross the road, say 'any openings?' then you'd have another job. 

 

Cooper Hoffman is a natural, you don’t ever see him acting even if it's not a role that will stretch him. Or maybe it is, maybe he's cripplingly shy and being a confident showman is a stretch. Like Robert De Niro playing cocky characters when he himself seems the opposite of that. 

 

There's something extremely subtle about Cooper's presence and acting, like he really blends into scenes. Like if in two films time he plays an angry neo nazi my head might explode with the shock. Plenty of young breakthrough actors played that role so it's not that unlikely but there's nothing in the film that suggests he's anything but harmless. 

 

What is it, there's a naturalness that's hard to describe like he sinks into the environment. Doesn't stick out but still you're drawn to him in some way. The smoking scene he's understated and then.the way he says 'children' is so Philip Seymour Hoffman.

 

I think he (Philip) was obviously great and I miss his performances but there was always a kind of obnoxious neurotic energy to his acting (which was great to watch) like he's trying trying to steal scenes whereas there's far less of that in Cooper. Don't yet know what range he can achieve. Hard to believe what Robert Pattinson could do 10 years ago. 

 

okay fucking hell end it there. oh yeah Bradley Cooper was finally watchable to me, hail to Pta. 

 

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seems to be more to say about this than the last 10 films I've watched combined. 

 

Spoiler

The Bradley Cooper window smash part that was so memorable in the trailer, I couldn't help want to see the context of that scene in the film because it's so bizarre and due to finishing the film at 1:30am I thought as it ended and went through the cast showing that clip for Bradley Cooper that I somehow missed it.

 

From reading, Pta said that it took you away from Alana and Gary to stick with Cooper but perhaps they could have sat in the truck longer? Open mouthed at his histrionics? When they leave his house with the water pooling out after his 5 minute speech about murdering Gary's family if he wrecks his house, you're engaged by what he'll do when he finds out. You still see him go mental but it's just left hanging.

 

I love the shots of the kids behind listening in at Bradley Cooper's threats. Those zooms, I don’t think other directors are doing that. The whole sequence seemed to be show Alana's great driving skills and composure under pressure and her disillusionment and desire for more purpose, two things which throughout the film I'd not thought about. 

 

The way the film moves to somewhere else repeatedly made me think why more directors don’t do it. Is there just a need for thematic consistency, if you switch characters it feels too gimmicky. Like with Titane though, I love not knowing where a film might go. And in the end there is some overall cohesion. 

 

With the film nearing it's end, who in the world can see a pivot after the truck scene to exploring the intimate complexity of a councilman at a restaurant trying to explain to his boyfriend how he needs his an employee of his to walk out with him because he's spotted a reporter hanging around. 

 

But I'm not aware of the real life people the film is loosely based on. It's just suddenly brilliant as they argue and Alana is sat awkwardly in the reflection. 

 

Another thing with Alana, her beaming with pride as Gary is on stage, 'I'm his chaperone', twice. Just me? You have the date, plane scene then that. You don't see her gradually being won over.

 

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1 hour ago, Loik V credern said:

seems to be more to say about this than the last 10 films I've watched combined. 

 

  Hide contents

The Bradley Cooper window smash part that was so memorable in the trailer, I couldn't help want to see the context of that scene in the film because it's so bizarre and due to finishing the film at 1:30am I thought as it ended and went through the cast showing that clip for Bradley Cooper that I somehow missed it.

 

From reading, Pta said that it took you away from Alana and Gary to stick with Cooper but perhaps they could have sat in the truck longer? Open mouthed at his histrionics? When they leave his house with the water pooling out after his 5 minute speech about murdering Gary's family if he wrecks his house, you're engaged by what he'll do when he finds out. You still see him go mental but it's just left hanging.

 

I love the shots of the kids behind listening in at Bradley Cooper's threats. Those zooms, I don’t think other directors are doing that. The whole sequence seemed to be show Alana's great driving skills and composure under pressure and her disillusionment and desire for more purpose, two things which throughout the film I'd not thought about. 

 

The way the film moves to somewhere else repeatedly made me think why more directors don’t do it. Is there just a need for thematic consistency, if you switch characters it feels too gimmicky. Like with Titane though, I love not knowing where a film might go. And in the end there is some overall cohesion. 

 

With the film nearing it's end, who in the world can see a pivot after the truck scene to exploring the intimate complexity of a councilman at a restaurant trying to explain to his boyfriend how he needs his an employee of his to walk out with him because he's spotted a reporter hanging around. 

 

But I'm not aware of the real life people the film is loosely based on. It's just suddenly brilliant as they argue and Alana is sat awkwardly in the reflection. 

 

Another thing with Alana, her beaming with pride as Gary is on stage, 'I'm his chaperone', twice. Just me? You have the date, plane scene then that. You don't see her gradually being won over.

 

Ref 'I'm his chaperone', I think she's just caught up in the excitement of it all. Her life seems very vanilla so it's probably all very exciting for her. Think it's more about her making it known that she's involved with it all rather than being smitten.

 

I loved the film. It feels very free wheeling on first watch, but two days later and I still can't get it out of my head.

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On 22/02/2022 at 16:07, Bazjam said:

Ref 'I'm his chaperone', I think she's just caught up in the excitement of it all. Her life seems very vanilla so it's probably all very exciting for her. Think it's more about her making it known that she's involved with it all rather than being smitten.

 

Yeah, I think I just didn't realise how boring her life was, her being a photographer's assistant isn't any indication to me and with the restaurant scene being just 10 minutes and one scene before it jarrs to me. Just me or is everyone else seeing the setup of him trying to woo her, her contempt and then expecting the film being him becoming endearing to her. It's not as obvious and predictable as that obviously. 

 

You're trying to piece together her character aren't you? How she relates to her family, what she thinks their perception of her is. But there's really only one scene that details that. 'You're always thinking, thinker!' Funny dialogue, my favourite delivery of hers. Pta said there was some dialogue that she refused to say. I was surprised by that given it's her first acting role and...it's Paul Thomas Anderson. But then he thought 'no, this is what I want, for the actors to take control of the characters and bring them to life so there's other scenes where they surprise you'. Not exact words, there's a guardian interview..So much of filmmaking interests me. What's it like to write a script and see some of the greatest actors in the last 40 years speaking your words? What's it like being on the crew watching actors deliver powerful performances up close? Even just, what's it like to know someone from being a kid and they grow up and do such emotionally raw performances as an actor? I imagine how it'd be if my brothers were actors, that's gotta be weird right? Seeing sides to them you never usually see. Say seeing them break down in scenes or having to be violent.

 

The only time anyone thinks of it is with parents seeing naked scenes which are rare and brief anyway. I suppose there's some quite full on sex scenes in films. Seeing someone you've known for so long be hurt in a film or brutally murdered so graphically, that's got to be weird. I almost regret somehow not knowing an actor for decades to see what it's like, maybe it's nothing.

 

People hate on actors but their willingness to expose themselves emotionally and be vulnerable is impressive. how have I ended up here. licorice pizza then. Maybe I missed some big indications but given all the talk about this film (and how the the trailer is presented) was about this relationship I don't think it's much of that at all really. 

 

I like their later argument like they're a long married couple, if that was the intention. An argument out of nothing really. 

 

How fucking weird must it be for an actor later in life randomly catching a film of theirs when they were kid on tv? Like Christian Bale in Empire Of The Sun. Maybe if I saw videos of me at 6 I'd just see it as another person. I look at photos of that time and think..what fucking pose is that. How weird must it be to see your face 50 foot high on a billboard? Large on a cinema screen? I always think does an actor ever get scared doing a role thinking..this is a big production and I'm at the front, what if I mess it up. 

 

Or Christian Bale's kids watching him at their age in a film. That's the weirdest. 

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