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THE BOX 
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Post THE BOX
If what Diaz said about the ending is true, I'm liable to throw something at the screen.


Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:34 pm
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I have to say I'm kinda worried about this one. I loved Donnie Darko, but I wasn't a fan of Domino (which Kelly wrote), and while I don't hate Southland Tales (there were some entertaining parts, and I had also checked out the comic, literally the first half of the story, which filled in the blanks), I'll admit that it was the biggest cinematic mess I've seen.

The Box seems intriguing, however, James seemed to confirm some of the fears I had...


Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:43 pm
Post Re: THE BOX
For some reason the idea reminds me of "Quitters Inc.," a Stephen King story which was made into a huge mess starring James Woods as the first third of "Cat's Eye."


Sat Nov 07, 2009 1:37 am
Post Re: THE BOX
I liked this film a lot more than James did - one of my favorites so far this year in fact.

The 1970's setting of the film worked perfectly. Arthur (Marsden) works for NASA when they are in the process of sending out the Viking probes to Mars. There is a sense of hope and wonder surrounding their mission--they really might find some evidence of life elsewhere in the universe. This attitude illustrates why one can't really set this sort of classic sci-fi story in the future anymore. Our attitudes today, given the decline of the space program, don't extrapolate into the same sort of wonder that they once did. In a way, the 1970's are a much more futuristic time period in which to set a sci-fi film than say the 2020's would be.

Even the more preposterous parts make sense in a 1970's frame of mind.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Lightning bolts striking someone after we put a lander on Mars seems kind of hokey now, but would make perfect sense in a campy 1970's film. The scaffolding that Arlington Steward was standing on when he was struck, along with much of the NASA research equipment reminded me of 2010 (which is 80's mind you so that doesn't quite fit).


The plot was fairly convoluted at times, but never to the point where it I stopped giving it the benefit of the doubt--a point that comes early on these days when watching an M. Night Shyamalan film. The fact that much was left open to interpretation also worked well, in contrast to the spell-it-all-out ending to Knowing.

My full review (**** out of ****)


Sat Nov 07, 2009 2:12 am
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Post THE BOX
Click here for the review of The Box

SPOILERS must be tagged with the "SPOILER" tag!


Sat Nov 07, 2009 10:34 am
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Post Re: THE BOX
It's always a bit disappointing to see yet another 2.5-star review on the main page. The trick is to see the 2.5-star review as a push to visit Slant Magazine for their take; they rarely choose the middle ground as a way of dismissing a movie and can forgive the lousiness in a movie if the good is spectacular enough. They gave The Box 3 stars and put the "everything and the kitchen sink" script in perspective; relative to other Hollywood releases, and relative to Southland Tales, the movie genuinely succeeds.

Between Slant and Trevor's review, I'm off to see this tonight. It sounds like a mess; maybe a bit inefficient but still provocative enough to deserve that ticket.


Sat Nov 07, 2009 8:44 pm
Post Re: THE BOX
I thoroughly enjoyed this. Sure, it expands on Richard Matheson's 1970 short story "Button, Button" to a rather elaborate, labyrinthine degree but the actors all did a masterful job (Frank Langella especially), the storyline was intriguing, the cinematography was excellent, and The Arcade Fire's score was haunting and settling one moment, somber and tragic the next.


Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:05 am
Post Re: THE BOX
jason.cinema wrote:
I thoroughly enjoyed this. Sure, it expands on Richard Matheson's 1970 short story "Button, Button" to a rather elaborate, labyrinthine degree but the actors all did a masterful job (Frank Langella especially), the storyline was intriguing, the cinematography was excellent, and The Arcade Fire's score was haunting and settling one moment, somber and tragic the next.

Wow, I had no idea that it was by Arcade Fire, but I did greatly enjoy the score.


Mon Nov 09, 2009 2:41 am
Post Re: THE BOX
Richard Kelly has grown one step closer to David Lynchood. He's still trying too hard, but THE BOX is his most focused and mature film yet. Of course, being only his third, it certainly should be.

THE BOX has its flaws, but Kelly has gotten so good at what he does, that I suspect he's a few films shy of a true masterpiece. And when he finally delivers one, THE BOX will seem that much more genuinely unique and awesome in retrospect.

Of course, I think that it's unique and awesome now, but I expect to remain in the minority with that opinion.

Oh, and not for nothing, but Cameron Diaz has never been better. Her performance gets more impressive the more I think about it. It's sort of neat watching her age into a new Michele Pfeiffer. Pity she never put on the cat suit.


Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:22 am
Post Re: THE BOX
Trevor wrote:
jason.cinema wrote:
I thoroughly enjoyed this. Sure, it expands on Richard Matheson's 1970 short story "Button, Button" to a rather elaborate, labyrinthine degree but the actors all did a masterful job (Frank Langella especially), the storyline was intriguing, the cinematography was excellent, and The Arcade Fire's score was haunting and settling one moment, somber and tragic the next.

Wow, I had no idea that it was by Arcade Fire, but I did greatly enjoy the score.


Zoinks! Thanks for the score related news, jason.cinema. You've raised my already high interest level in this film.


Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:23 am
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Post Re: THE BOX
Tom Kessler wrote:
Richard Kelly has grown one step closer to David Lynchood. He's still trying too hard, but THE BOX is his most focused and mature film yet. Of course, being only his third, it certainly should be.

THE BOX has its flaws, but Kelly has gotten so good at what he does, that I suspect he's a few films shy of a true masterpiece. And when he finally delivers one, THE BOX will seem that much more genuinely unique and awesome in retrospect.

Of course, I think that it's unique and awesome now, but I expect to remain in the minority with that opinion.


Agreed on all counts. Kelly is definitely not for all tastes. He's like a mash-up of David Lynch, Terry Gilliam, and Ken Russell. :lol: His main problem seems to be his desire to jam more ideas into a film than it can probably contain. Nonetheless, I'll always take 'flawed but ambitious' over 'perfectly crafted but totally run-of-the-mill.' I also thought the film was an effective metaphor for how the human race keeps repeating the same f**k-ups over and over and seemingly never learning from the past. :roll:


Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:44 am
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Post Re: THE BOX
Just saw this today. Weird, weird, weird was all I could think. It was also too long. I checked the remaining time several times during it thinking, "there's really an hour, half hour, etc. left of this?" It's an interesting idea, but I agree with James that the moral dilemma nearly gets lost in all the added supernatural/extraterrestrial stuff. It's stretched too thin, but at least I wasn't bored. That's one thing about Kelly films that you can count on: they'll always be interesting. I loved Donnie Darko, and though he hasn't reached that level of greatness again yet, at least he's still ambitious.

I enjoyed the acting, except for the kids. This is one of Diaz's best performances (definitely the best I've seen since Vanilla Sky)though her accent slips here and there. Marsden is solid, and Langella projects gravitas, which helps keep him a credible threat. The score was incredible, easily the highlight of the whole thing (and in my mind was award worthy), and when I saw it was written by three members of The Arcade Fire (which oddly enough I hadn't heard at all before seeing it) that explained why I loved it. The Arcade Fire is easily my favorite band to have debuted this millennium, and arguably the best Canadian band of all time not named Rush.

Where the movie lost me was in all the library stuff, which probably could have been excised. Creepy, visually interesting scenes, but didn't answer any questions for me, and even muddled some of it. What was so intriguing about the archive film strip Norma saw? Why did Arthur go through that decision test? It all ended the predetermined way, so what was the point? Unlike Donnie Darko, whose unanswered questions allowed for really interesting speculation about the meaning of it all, for me The Box didn't answer enough.

Like H.I. though, I liked the metaphor for humanity's inability to learn from its mistakes, though the "aliens threatening humanity with extinction unless they pass some bizarre test" trope has been done many times in the Star Trek universe, so I could have done without that. Overall, interesting failure is the correct assessment.


Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:34 pm
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Post Re: THE BOX
Wow, I'd completely forgotten this movie existed


Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:15 pm
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Post Re: THE BOX
It's better then the total shitfest Southland Tales, but that ain't really saying much. This film is throughly mediocre in every way, the protagonists are not sympathetic which makes the entire premise collapse.


Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:28 pm
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Post Re: THE BOX
Awkward Beard Man wrote:
Wow, I'd completely forgotten this movie existed


You're welcome.


Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:44 pm
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Post Re: THE BOX
Southland Tales was a mess but I thought it was an entertaining mess.

I absolutely loved The Box and think it's Kelly's best movie.


Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:12 am
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Post Re: THE BOX
ilovemovies wrote:
Southland Tales was a mess but I thought it was an entertaining mess.

I absolutely loved The Box and think it's Kelly's best movie.

Tales had some interesting ideas, but Kelly had no clue what to do with any of them, he just threw tons of random crap at the screen and hoped some of it will stick, one of the worst moments in the film being
[Reveal] Spoiler:
that faux car commercial where one car literally FUCKS the other, what the hell was that and why on earth was it even in the film when it had nothing to do with anything? :shock: :? that's seriously the kind of gag I would've expected to see in a Seltzerberg film
Aside from that, the film is incredibly confusing(even with the added intro that wasn't in the original Cannes release, JB saw it there and agreed that it was terrible), you know a film is bad when a director tells you that you have to read THREE prequel novels in order to understand the storyline.


Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:24 pm
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Post Re: THE BOX
Vexer wrote:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
that faux car commercial where one car literally FUCKS the other, what the hell was that and why on earth was it even in the film when it had nothing to do with anything? :shock: :? that's seriously the kind of gag I would've expected to see in a Seltzerberg film


After reading that spoiler my curiosity was piqued. What the hell, man? Can someone put that into context for me? haha

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Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:29 pm
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Post Re: THE BOX
Gedmud wrote:
Vexer wrote:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
that faux car commercial where one car literally FUCKS the other, what the hell was that and why on earth was it even in the film when it had nothing to do with anything? :shock: :? that's seriously the kind of gag I would've expected to see in a Seltzerberg film


After reading that spoiler my curiosity was piqued. What the hell, man? Can someone put that into context for me? haha

This page of the Agony Booth recap of the film should tell you all you need to know:http://www.agonybooth.com/recaps/Southland_Tales_2006.aspx?Page=5


Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:58 pm
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Post Re: THE BOX
Vexer wrote:
Tales had some interesting ideas, but Kelly had no clue what to do with any of them, he just threw tons of random crap at the screen and hoped some of it will stick,

All respect I had for Kelly was lost when he created the abomination that is Donnie Darko: Directors Cut. It proves beyond all doubt, that the original theatrical cut of Donnie Darko was a great film DESPITE Kelly, not because of him. Southland Tales is merely another nail in the coffin.


Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:12 am
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