WAR HORSE – News/reviews

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  • Scottferguson
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    #44494

    Couldn’t find an extant thread for this.

    Disney just announced they will start screening this non-stop Thursday through Sunday in NY, LA, SF for major press, Academy and guilds, so its about to become a known element.

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    MissyGal
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    #44496

    I still think this looks like the most sappy, saccharine, emotionally manipulating film since E.T. 

    And I’m sure the critics will eat it up. 

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    eastwest
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    #44497

    It’s funny how this is poised to be a big Oscar contender after the play won the Tony.

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    moon_river96
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    #44498

    I’m excited for this movie and can’t wait till it comes out!

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    Carbon Based Lifeform
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    #44499

    I still think this looks like the most sappy, saccharine, emotionally manipulating film since E.T. 

    And I’m sure the critics will eat it up. 

    I must have missed all those war scenes in E.T.!!!

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    babypook
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    #44500

    I still think this looks like the most sappy, saccharine, emotionally manipulating film since E.T. 

    And I’m sure the critics will eat it up. 

    Missygal, after you see this can you tell me if anything happens to the horse?

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    Tye-Grr
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    #44501

    [quote=”MissyGal”]I still think this looks like the most sappy, saccharine, emotionally manipulating film since E.T. 

    And I’m sure the critics will eat it up. 

    Missygal, after you see this can you tell me if anything happens to the horse?
    [/quote]

    I’m definitely seeing this and I’ll be sure to let you know, Pook.

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    Carbon Based Lifeform
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    #44502

    ^I’ll be breaking my vow of solitude (no, not silence, solitude!) to see WAR HORSE.  Bloggers–you know, people like us–who have been so fortunate as to have seen the film prior to its general release are calling it “magnificent” and “a classic.”

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    allabout oscars
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    #44503

    I might be a sucker for a good trailer, but this Spielberg film looks like a frontrunner for every award this year.

    I can see WAR HORSE  getting nominated for

    best picture
    best director
    best adapted screenplay
    best sup. actor
    best sup. actress
    best orig score
    best cinematography
    best editing
    best art direction
    best sound mixing
    best sound editing
    best costumes

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    Scottferguson
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    #44504

    Pete Hammond gives his response to a Thanksgiving morning viewing:

    Hammond: ‘War Horse’ Screens And Campaign Begins; Can Spielberg Win
    Another Oscar?

    By PETE HAMMOND | Thursday
    November 24, 2011 @ 3:43pm PSTTags: DreamWorks,
    E.T. The Extra
    Terrestrial
    , Kathleen Kennedy, Munich, Raiders of the Lost
    Ark
    , Saving Private Ryan,
    Schindler’s List, Steven Spielberg, The Adventures of
    Tintin
    , Tony Awards, War
    Horse

    The horse is out of the bag.

    Steven Spielberg’s much-awaited epic War Horse began its industry
    screenings in earnest this afternoon, Thanksgiving Day, in both New York and Los
    Angeles by inviting members (via trade ads and website Monday) of most guilds , critics groups, and,
    of course, the Academy to special holiday weekend screenings that will continue
    through Sunday in both cities as well as San Francisco (Fri-Sun). In addition ,
    as previously announced , there will be public sneaks in NYC and nine other
    cities on Sunday afteroon (10:30AM in L.A. at AMC Century City) followed by a
    Q&A with Spielberg in NY that will be satellited to the other cities as
    well as streamed live on MSN.com. It is an innovative “one-stop shopping” tactic
    on the part of Dreamworks (and Disney who distributes) since Spielberg is on
    the east coast currently shooting Lincoln and not available for the
    usual round of campaign activities. Its “World Premiere” will take place
    December 4th at Avery Fisher Hall in NYC.

    The big launch is on now even though the film was completed for all intents
    and purposes in September. At the Labor Day weekend Telluride Film Festival
    producer Kathleen Kennedy told me they only had the D.I. to complete at that
    time, but even though it was ready the film, which opens on December 25, has
    skipped the festival circuit in favor of its own circuitous route to release.
    That included the unusual strategy of employing surprise “pop up” screenings Nov
    1-10 in small towns like Bellvue Wa, Leawood and Olathe Ks, Cleveland Heights
    Oh, Beaverton Or, Bethesda MD and Plymouth Meeting, PA indicating a “heartland”
    strategy in order to get word of mouth moving . That same week Dreamworks
    started quietly showing the film to select media (including Deadline) on the
    big screen at the Disney lot’s main theatre. A strict embargo existed until
    today right after the first Thanksgiving screening when most media and industry
    types would have had at least the opportunity to begin seeing it. So expect a
    lot of industry and media twittering, facebooking and reviews to start almost
    immediately with still a solid month to go before its Christmas day wide
    opening.

    What Spielberg has wrought is a stunning looking and highly emotional epic
    that is Hollywood moviemaking at its best, and seems likely to be the
    filmmaker’s most Academy- friendly work since his Oscar winners, Schindler’s
    List
    and Saving Private Ryan. Is it old-fashioned? You bet , but
    in this fast-moving techno culture that may be a welcome thing. Spielberg is
    known to be a great admirer of David Lean and with its sweeping vistas,
    deliberate pacing and epic story of one horse’s remarkable journey through the
    front lines of World War I, the film could almost be a tribute to the great
    director of such classics as Lawrence of Arabia and The Bridge on
    the River Kwai.
    Just for the craft alone Oscar nominations would seem to be
    assured for Best Picture and Director, John Williams’ score, Rick Carter’s production design,Michael Kahn’s
    editing, the sound work and Janusz Kaminski’s striking cinematography.
    Although there hasn’t been much buzz about the cast which includes Jeremy
    Irvine, David Thewlis, Emily Watson, Benedict Cumberbatch and Peter Mullan,
    they don’t strike any false notes delivering fine performances, and Tom
    Hiddleston’s Captain Nichols could even merit some Best Supporting Actor talk
    though that category is almost impossibly tough this year. As for the horses
    there should be some kind of separate Academy Award. They are suprisingly
    expressive (one of them came from Seabiscuit). The film , in look and
    execution is easily the best of its genre since Carroll Ballard’s The Black
    Stallion in 1979, a movie that earned a handful of Oscar nods but
    shamefully didn’t even get a Cinematography nomination for Caleb Deschanel’s
    landmark cinematography.

    War Horse is probably too emotional and traditional to earn much
    love on the hardcore, unsentimental critics awards circuit, but I imagine it
    will fare very well at the CCMA’s , Golden Globes and Oscars, even though some of the Academy’s more recent
    Best Picture choices, notably No Country For Old Men, Slumdog Millionaire
    and The Hurt Locker among others indicate a different sensibility
    than the kind of once-traditional “bigger”, more craft-laden film the
    Academy once favored, and a category into which War Horse definitely
    falls. Although The King’s Speech triumph last year over the more
    trendy critics choice of The Social Network might indicate there is
    still room for less edgy, more “traditional” films in the heart of the Academy
    voter. We’ll have to wait to see, but the sheer scope of War Horse
    certainly gives it its own niche against smaller favored Best Pic hopefuls
    (seen so far) like The Descendants, The Artist, Midnight In Paris and
    Moneyball.

    On the other hand voters might think Spielberg has had enough accolades (3
    Oscars, a Thalberg award, AFI Life Achievement and Kennedy Center Honors), plus
    he’s got another film, the animated The Adventures of Tintin opening just four days
    earlier than War Horse. Will that one-two punch at the boxoffice
    inspire admiration – or Spielburn-out? Just three days before Tintin’s
    release this very prolific film and television producer and director also
    hits the milestone age of 65, but there is no sign of retirement any time
    soon.

    He has six Best Director nominations for Close Encounters of the Third
    Kind (1977), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) ,
    Schindler’s List (1993)
    and Saving Private Ryan (1998) , winning
    for the latter two. His most recent directing nod came for 2005′s Munich.
    Schindler’s List
    is the only Spielberg film to win Best Picture. He has
    twelve nominations overall between Picture and directing nods. Interestingly
    both his directing wins came for movies set during World War II. Can a World War
    I flick bring him the directorial triple crown few, even David Lean, have
    managed in Oscar history?

    Certainly War Horse comes with the pedigree. It was a best selling
    book first issued in 1982, then became an international theatrical hit winning
    five Tonys including Best Play earlier this year for its smash Broadway run
    which is still continuing at Lincoln Center. When I saw the play in May I
    wondered how any filmmaker could replicate the magic of the production and its
    extraordinary use of full sized horse puppetry of the amazing Handspring Puppet
    Company. But as Kennedy told me in Telluride, “War Horse could be the
    subject of a great Masters Thesis in showing how to take a book, a play and a
    movie and give them each their own uniqueness, even as they came from the same
    source material”. It is also unique in having three different writers. Michael
    Morpurgo wrote the book, Nick Stafford penned the play and Lee Hall and Richard
    Curtis did the screenplay. Spielberg’s challenge was to how to make the story
    cinematically compelling without tarnishing the memory of the book or
    play. If the Academy feels he succeeded , War Horse could become the
    first project to win both a Best Play Tony and Best Picture Oscar in the same
    year of their opening.

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    babypook
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    #44505

    “highly emotional epic “
    Great. The review alone has choked me up.

    But there’s this:
    Spielberg
    David Lean-isms
    “Janusz Kaminski’s striking cinematography”
    The Black Stallion
    Lee Hall and Richard Curtis (Billy Eliot, Love Actually, Mr.Bean)
     
    and this: ” As for the horses there should be some kind of separate Academy Award. They are suprisingly expressive (one of them came from Seabiscuit).

    Although, what’s so surprising about that Pete?

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    babypook
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    #44506

    [quote=”babypook”][quote=”MissyGal”]I still think this looks like the most sappy, saccharine, emotionally manipulating film since E.T. 

    And I’m sure the critics will eat it up. 

    Missygal, after you see this can you tell me if anything happens to the horse?
    [/quote] I’m definitely seeing this and I’ll be sure to let you know, Pook. [/quote]

    Thanks Tye. Still, I’ll bet missygal sees it before you or I do.

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    Adam Waldowski
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    #44507

    Dear Lord. This must be the most underwhelming war epic of all time. The whole middle section is so frightfully dull and meaningless and it just goes on and on and on… But it’ll get nominations, of course.

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    nightwingnova
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    #44508

    Drat.  The trailer made it look so good.  Thought it would be the middle brow best film of the year.

    Dear Lord. This must be the most underwhelming war epic of all time. The whole middle section is so frightfully dull and meaningless and it just goes on and on and on… But it’ll get nominations, of course.

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    Adam Waldowski
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    #44509

    There are spoilers in the review below. You stand warned.

     In its first act, it seems War Horse is trying to look and feel like a ’40s countryside drama in the vein of Lassie Come Home. There are obligatory elements like an animal that can’t be kept and a farm that’s at risk of being lost. But where a ’40s film like The Yearling would’ve matched glossiness with emotional impact, War Horse is more tonally akin to a ’70s Disney feature. It slides in utterly surreal comic relief like a goose that nips at people’s heels while it should be fleshing out characters.

    The fundamental failing of the film — aside from the plot being so incidental and uninteresting — is that it never allows us to forge relationships with the characters. The horse is the only constant in the film. People come and go from his life. Tom Hiddleston has the most thankless role of all as an English officer who dies before we get even the faintest hint of his backstory. Spielberg’s inability to contextualize the death of a significant supporting character at the start of a war is disturbing, and he does it at least a couple more times throughout the course of the film.

    The only series of scenes not centered around the horse is where Jeremy Irvine, who trained has an unhealthy attachment to him, is his brief stint in the war where he sees a little bit of combat before being blinded by gas. Neither he nor any other human in the film gains insight into the hardship of war. The very final shot has the horse staring off into the sunset after returning home. It’s a totally bizarre closing shot, as the lessons of war’s cruelty have all been learned by the horse and not the humans. That might be impactful if this was an animated film where the horse can talk and pontificate, but there are enormous battle sequences and lives lost. It’s a bit too serious to not articulate any big themes.

    The inevitable conclusion where the boy and his horse are reunited is unabashedly contrived and manipulative. Oscar voters are sure to weep at the silly moment, but I was too exhausted from the preceding and present ridiculousness to care.

    The cast is, not surprisingly, totally wasted. No one comes close to making an impression except Emily Watson. She’s acting in a more serious, involving movie than everybody else.

    The crafts are almost shockingly unremarkable. The cinematography is lacking as the film is supposed to have scope, but there’s no memorable imagery to be found. John Williams’ score is perhaps his most pounding and dreadful. He emphasizes every little aciton and movement, determined to turn this dull film into something exciting through sheer will. It will likely dominate the craft awards at the Oscars, but I’ve seen Spielberg do these exact same battles on a grander, more effective scale.

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