Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

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Nasir007
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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#51 Post by Nasir007 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 12:26 pm

Big Ben wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:25 am
I liked this. Perhaps it's the cynic in me but I didn't feel the money angle needed to be explored more because it's about as common a motive as can be in these situations. That does not however mean I feel criticism should be forwarded for making it so basic. Perhaps the mundane nature of the motivations was the point but at the end the film feels significantly less threatening than the film's trailers make it out to be.

If Johnson wishes to do more with Craig's character in a possible sequel (Which is reliant on box office returns.) I imagine there is potential for improvement moving forward.
Like I said in my first post above, the film is not what it is advertised to be at all. This is not at all a whodunit. As some review said echoing what I said, it is more of a how will it play out rather than a who dun it.

I think that might one of the reasons why no motives are developed at all. It is actually really thin and sketchy. In place of a murder mystery, you instead have the extremely improbable plot after the reveal.

I can think of several changes that would at least add a little more intrigue and suspense -
SpoilerShow
1. Chief among them would be holding Marta's main 'reveal' flashback - which shows how Harlan died UNTIL AFTER the will is read. So basically the scene with Chris Evans when she confesses, should have been the place of the reveal. I think that would have lent more intrigue to the entire section when she destroys some of the evidence. And also raise the stakes of the reveal when you know she is going to inherit all that money. And would have also helped to muddy the waters somewhat - maybe she did it on purpose?
2. The Chris Pine conversation with Harlan - which is held for the final explanation - should have been featured much earlier - possibly in the scene between Evans and Marta as well.

There are 2 things which give away way too early that Evans is the bad guy - one is the dogs barking. Like literally the first time you see him and the dogs bark, that's straight out of Hound of Baskervilles (or the reverse of that) and finally, every single person's conversation with Harlan is shown EXCEPT Evans'. Which makes you think it is incriminating.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#52 Post by nitin » Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:54 am

This was...ok I guess.

I found it pretty uninteresting overall as it is a movie largely concerned with plot machinations and not any interesting character interaction or depth. The characterisation throughout is at the very basic level needed to serve the plot machinations. Which would be fine but there is a also an air of smug satisfaction in the script when it really isn’t as smart or clever as it thinks it is. Convoluted in parts yes, subverting genre tropes in others yes, intricately plotted (to an extent) yes, but It never did anything that really surprised me or thrilled me or made me really feel anything.

Ana De Armas is definitely the MVP though so hopefully more good things happen for her out of this being a success.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#53 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:13 am

The more I reflect on it the more I think that De Armas provides the honest warmth that holds the picture together. There’s a lot to find pleasure in but I wonder how much a different actor would have affected my enjoyment and I predict quite a bit more than most films of this nature that rely so heavily on plotting. Perhaps that’s an obvious statement considering hers is the only character we really get fleshed out, but this only heightens that need for the right actress to blind the other deficits.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#54 Post by Nasir007 » Tue Dec 24, 2019 9:26 pm

I sampled Johnson's commentary.

(Sidebar: Is this one of the first instances of a commentary being released so soon after the content has been released (even while the movie is in theaters in this case (and is this a good strategy? because this is one way to get people to pay for Blu Rays and digital purchases (yes I know I am now into the 4th level of parentheses))) - the only other contemporary content that I know of is the Outlander TV series which released their commentaries as podcasts literally after the episode aired.)

Only 2 things of interest emerged -

1. Directly addressing my criticism of the reveal being so early in the film - Johnson seemed to say it was yet another subversion by him. He referenced a show called Columbo which I had never heard of. I read up about it and apparently they show you the crime and who does it first and then you follow the plot to see if and how they will be caught. Johnson then said that is what he had made in effect - that the film is actually a howcatchthem instead of whodunit. Interesting approaching and I give him props for wanting to subvert the genre but did not work for me. Only drained the intrigue out of the picture.

2. Chris Evans' character's names Ransom was taken from the hero of C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy books that Johnson loved as as child.

There might be more there but like I said, I just sampled it.

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domino harvey
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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#55 Post by domino harvey » Tue Dec 24, 2019 11:54 pm

Kevin Smith released a commentary when one of his movies was still in the theatre, though I don't remember which one

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#56 Post by domino harvey » Wed Dec 25, 2019 12:14 pm

Columbo discussion moved here

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#57 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Dec 30, 2019 7:40 pm

I concur with ntin. De Armas's performance was the only aspect that interested me much. I wasn't all that impressed with most of the other performances -- or with the overall story. Not annoyed to have seen it -- but mystified by the raves this has gotten.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#58 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:07 am

This will be getting the sequel treatment, though more loosely in the vein of Poirot with Craig tackling a new case

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#59 Post by Roger Ryan » Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:50 am

I think the oft-quoted Roger Ebert maxim that "no movie with M. Emmet Walsh or Harry Dean Stanton can be entirely bad" applies here in that Mr. Walsh's one scene had me delighted. For the most part, the performances are so exuberant that they largely overcome the plot contrivances. Still, I felt that all those silly twists would be easier to swallow if the film retained its comic tone throughout. When Knives Out reaches for straight dramatic moments (primarily concerning the plight of Marta and her family), the framework of the story starts to feel too insubstantial.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#60 Post by ianthemovie » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:10 am

My favorite bizarre detail from this film: Daniel Craig singing "Losing My Mind" from Stephen Sondheim's Follies while waiting in the car for Ana de Armas. (With "Send In the Clowns" featured in Joker and two songs from Company featured in Marriage Story, Sondheim was really "in" last year!)

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#61 Post by swo17 » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:22 am


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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#62 Post by hanshotfirst1138 » Tue Jan 21, 2020 9:33 pm

I throughly enjoyed this. It’s a big, giant gloss on an Agatha Christie-style whodunit that’s always a step ahead of you. The humor is spot-on, the cast is tremendous, and it’s quite simply a lot of fun.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#63 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:59 pm

OOF, this artwork:

Image

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domino harvey
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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#64 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:02 pm

What’s wrong with it?

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Never Cursed
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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#65 Post by Never Cursed » Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:12 pm

It's difficult to say exactly why without spoiling the film:
SpoilerShow
The emphasis given to a certain character over the rest kind of gives the game away.
That said, I don't have an issue with the cover aesthetics-wise, but that's not the problem here.

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domino harvey
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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#66 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:14 pm

Okay, I'm looking forward to seeing this when it hits Blu and won't unspoiler, so I'll give mfunk the benefit of the doubt that this isn't one of his classic Not Actually Bad Covers... for now

Image

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#67 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:22 pm

It also looks like shit - way too busy. But yes, my reasoning for thinking it's particularly terrible is detailed in the spoiler box above

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senseabove
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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#68 Post by senseabove » Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:44 pm

Never Cursed wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:12 pm
It's difficult to say exactly why without spoiling the film:
SpoilerShow
The emphasis given to a certain character over the rest kind of gives the game away.
That said, I don't have an issue with the cover aesthetics-wise, but that's not the problem here.
SpoilerShow
Seems like they just put the faces of the two biggest names and the lead actress most prominently, no? I mean, they're Capt. American and James Bond...

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#69 Post by jindianajonz » Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:08 pm

senseabove wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:44 pm
Never Cursed wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:12 pm
It's difficult to say exactly why without spoiling the film:
SpoilerShow
The emphasis given to a certain character over the rest kind of gives the game away.
That said, I don't have an issue with the cover aesthetics-wise, but that's not the problem here.
SpoilerShow
Seems like they just put the faces of the two biggest names and the lead actress most prominently, no? I mean, they're Capt. American and James Bond...
SpoilerShow
Exactly. Once Evans shows up, the narrative establishes itself as him and de Armas against most of the folks on the bottom half of the poster, so it makes sense to put them together, Craig is too big a name to get second billing, and actually sides with de Armas at the end. If anyone is out of place on that poster, it's Stanfield.
I do agree the colors on the box that are way too bright and saturated compared to the films palette.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#70 Post by Brian C » Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:09 pm

I’m gonna have to side with mfunk here that it’s a pretty ugly cover. That said, I do sympathize with the designers in a sense, as I imagine they were under some pretty impossible constraints. That doesn’t make this cover look better, of course, but I’m a little skeptical that any cover could’ve looked all that great given the sheer number of folks they were no doubt obligated to include. It’s not like the theatrical one-sheet was a triumph, either.

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domino harvey
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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#71 Post by domino harvey » Wed Feb 26, 2020 2:34 am

Ironically, despite its contentious position within the fan boy community, it looks like Johnson's Star Wars movie remains the only one of his films I care for! This wasn't terrible, but good lord I found the noxious political barbs to be very South Park "Both sides are terrible!" even though I gather the point is that rich people are rich people first before anything else (though watching this after basking in yet another seasons' worth of legit class consciousness in Veronica Mars just shows how shallow something like this is in its attacks). The mystery is very much in literary Sherlock Holmes tradition, but I don't mean that as a compliment-- I find the mysteries in the Doyle stories I've read ludicrously unsolvable and pieced together by Holmes via a series of conjectures and conclusions that no one could have come up with from the evidence but the author. CC that here indeed, as there is no way Craig's PI could piece the donut hole's hole together. I get it, we love schlocky dicks swinging their dick around and being wacky, it's a proud tradition, but Craig already cashed the weirdo southerner chit far more successfully in Logan Lucky and boy I wish I'd just watched that again! As has been said over and over in this thread, the (for me sole) saving grace here is De Armas, who is acting in a different movie, which is fine because narratively it works to remove her from the bickering brethren going after her. I'm shocked she couldn't translate this film's relative popularity into an Oscar nom-- what is the point of awards if we don't reward actors who by sheer will via charm, presence, and talent try their best to save movies like this? Regardless, someone needs to cast De Armas and Felicity Jones as sisters, stat. Preferably not Rian Johnson, though.

Also, to clear up old board business: the cover is not a spoiler FFS, and Nasir's objections are ridiculous and joyless-- I didn't like this movie either, but the solution isn't to make a standard-issue modern detective story; the solution is to take the great premise of the will and build a compelling comedy or drama around a full study of the ramifications of such a move rather than burying the lede in a bunch of sub-Poirot hijinks...

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#72 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Feb 26, 2020 9:44 am

I'm with Domino on this. ;-)

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#73 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:48 am

I thought it was severely overrated, but as passive entertainment it was good enough and I enjoyed myself, though a lot of the material was a bit on-the-nose which didn't necessarily bother me since I wasn't expecting a work of genius. Definitely Rian's worst feature for me outside of his shrug of a sophomore effort.

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domino harvey
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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#74 Post by domino harvey » Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:07 am

Hard to talk around this since the internet is reporting it all over the place even though it constitutes a spoiler for this film, but I'll do my best: Rian Johnson has revealed that Apple has conditions for iPhone appearances in films (spoiler for Knives Out)

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reaky
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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#75 Post by reaky » Thu Feb 27, 2020 4:31 am

John Wick and Ray Donovan are fairly regular iPhone users.

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