Film Junk Podcast Episode #696: Alita: Battle Angel

podcast696

0:00 – Intro: Reed Farrington Mystery Box Unboxing
25:15 – Review: Alita: Battle Angel
1:06:00 – Other Stuff We Watched: Pieta, Bohemian Rhapsody, Free Solo, Devil, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, The Seventh Sign, The Big Sleep, Runaway, Rebecca
2:05:50 – Junk Mail: Reed Farrington Sighting
2:09:50 – This Week on DVD and Blu-ray
2:14:44 – Outro
2:22:55 – Spoiler Discussion: Alita: Battle Angel

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  • Essie

    Thank you for the show. I am always so happy to hear Reed back.

  • Bill

    Great, reviewing the most “Dax” movie this year and Ramblin’ Reed is brought on.

  • Sean

    It’s a pretty “Reed” movie though too! Would have loved to have Dax as well but unfortunately he was unavailable. Hopefully we can get him on to talk Captain Marvel / How to Train Your Dragon in the near future.

  • devolutionary

    Ahh a Reed unboxing. A great way for Jay to pawn off more junk he doesn’t want. A new category for Content Junk emerges.

  • Reed Farrington

    I think I brought this common notion up previously on a podcast, but having been listening to the Little Miss Sunshine commentary right before this podcast, I was intrigued about the reference to Proust and his Remembrance of Things Past, which I hope someday to get a copy of. Unfortunately it didn’t bring up much discussion although I was amused that Jay brought up Anne Geddes as an example of someone creating art from a place of happiness.

  • bobsponge42

    Jeff Tweedy, lead singer of Wilco, makes a similar argument against the “tortured artist” narrative. He too thinks it’s dangerous.

  • Reed Farrington

    My opening gambit was thrown off by my self-conscious saliva sucking noise emittance that I was trying to avoid, but I suppose that’s no excuse for my unimproved attempt to speak coherently.

    I’ll let Dax replace me on the John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum podcast. (By the way, the use of the word “parabellum” in the title is genius because it’s defined as a semi-automatic pistol or machine gun, but in Latin, it means “prepare for war.” I thought it was a part of the brain.)

    You’ll be glad to know I skipped Recommended Reeding. (I was going to discuss Anne Foerst’s “Ghost in the Machine” and Gaby Wood’s “Living Doll”.)

  • Reed Farrington

    Hey, I love Jay’s Junk!

  • Reed Farrington

    Interesting. I think whole books have been devoted to this subject, but don’t ask me to name them.

    I suppose some love songs could be brought up as examples of great art, but then again, some people think that love is torture or that listening to love songs is torture.

  • Andrew Lincoln

    Loved the unboxing. I watched the trailer for Nightwish and immediately ordered the VHS on eBay. ??????? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/63375fdd6a35437aed5649c7fb6ace9d38d4179a1e2e5531072fb2b4f8c2c17e.jpg

  • Th-Th-Timmey

    Nice unboxing intro, love hearing Reed so soon again (he was great on the Jackie Chan premium). Weirdly I didn’t like Alita at all. Maybe I’d like it more in 3D, but I was so bored in the cinema. Dialogue felt very cliche, as well as many story beats and character motivation. There were couple of hilarious moments in it (unintentional), like how didn’t Alita hear the other lady answering a phone call right around the corner? Visuals were nice, that was all I enjoyed in the film.

  • tyler mikol

    I’m basically on the same page with you guys about Alita. It’s not perfect but at the end of the day it delivered something interesting and beautiful in my eyes. It had Style and Substance. The Action was super good, normally in a CGI world like this the action gets confusing and dull but in this movie it was done super good and kept me engaged kind of like what Sean was saying. I loved it all except the Hugo stuff. It’s a 4/5 for me.

    Also, you guys tore up Bohemian Rhapsody pretty fiercely. I think you were still too nice to this piece of trash. I haven’t hated a movie this bad in a very long time. Last year people were going crazy about hating Three Billboards… (I loved that movie) but they are letting Bohemian Rhapsody get by. It’s not getting the intense abuse it deserves. And Rami… Rami wasn’t that great, definitely undeserving of the praise he’s getting. The whole thing is just generic, uncreative garbage. I do like QUEEN, I’m just trying not to let this stewwwpd film taint them for me..

  • MartyMcFlyJr

    You aren’t crazy. I legitimately thought that was Cameron too, Sean.

  • Same here.

  • Lior

    Did you guys review The Favourite? Did I miss it? I find it hard to beleive it wasn’t reviewed but I can’t find it on the site…

  • Oso Jugo

    Reed, if you want to watch good Noir, you have to see Out of the Past with Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer. Best there is. The Big Sleep was partly a publicity stunt performed to capitalize on the true life relationship between Bogart and Becall. It was the Pitt/Jolie Mr. and Mrs Smith of its time. You should also see Chinatown. It’s not from the same period, but it’s amazing, as everyone knows.

  • Sean

    Thank you!

  • Sean

    We did not review it. I’m not sure why. I think we all just saw it at different times too far apart. Maybe we’ll keep it in mind for our 2018 revisited episode. :)

  • Lior

    Ok, thanks, Sean. Superb movie!

  • Sean

    I really liked it. There was some mention of it on our year end episode but yeah, nothing in depth.

  • Ed Spillane

    I actually think Reed hit it out of the park this time. Alita was incredible in terms of its use of technology but the story and especially the dialogue was a complete dud. I’m surprised the regulars somehow fell under the spell of Cameron’s 3D magic.

  • Ed Spillane

    Great points as always Reed. It’s is troubling that no one could come up with art that had been born from happiness (other than Jay’s reference to the baby in a shell photos).

  • Ed Spillane

    I didn’t see aquaman but I have to believe the story and dialogue in that film was ten times that of Alita. Alita is a great step forward in terms of technology but other than that I am surprised the regulars fell under its spell (other than Reed) especially Jay given his comments on aquaman and cinema is dead.

  • Sean

    I don’t know if you mean that it’s troubling for us or just troubling for society in general. I definitely think great art can come from happy and well-adjusted people. It’s just that no one tends to draw attention to that fact and they only glorify the tortured artist narratives (as Essie mentioned already)… which is why we couldn’t think of anything specific. It’s could very well be that the vast majority of art falls under this category and we don’t even know it.

  • Reed Farrington

    I watched Chinatown for the first time within the past two years. I don’t understand its appeal. Visually I thought it was ordinary and the plot unraveling seemed uninteresting to me.

  • Reed Farrington

    I do think Alita achieved what Cameron was aiming for in that it’s a movie made for mass consumption. Cameron doesn’t seem like someone into snobby art films, but he seems to know what the general public wants.

  • Reed Farrington

    I think the majority of people are unhappy to some extent, so it just appears that great art comes from tortured artists.

  • Oso Jugo

    Don’t say things like that Reed. You’re scaring me. You gotta let that 14 year old inside you have free reign.

  • Ed Spillane

    I’m sure though Cameron would have liked better dialogue and story. I agree he didn’t want an art film but I think this is a movie that will age super poorly or might not even get a sequel. I think you were right that there weren’t too many standard Robert Rodriguez aspects to it–I’m sure he was happy for the pay but I think he was just doing what Cameron wanted and didn’t seem to have a lot of personal, emotional feeling for the film.

  • Ed Spillane

    I think it’s a bit troubling in general or perhaps perplexing that we can’t think of much art that is borne out of happiness versus pain. I guess Reed may be right that we are unhappy to some extent and are all going to die. Also, most art..especially movies seems to be centered on some form of sadness or pain. I just saw the movie Beast and it was wonderfully created, acted but made me wonder why in the end this story is presented versus a happy story. A movie you guys discussed but seemed to discount which seemed to come out of happiness was the movie called the Way Way Back with Sam Rockwell, Steve Carrell. I thought that movie was a great piece of art, was realistic, yet I did read that it essentially came out of the joy of growing up in that area of the New England. No tortured artist or art there.

  • Ed Spillane

    I’m guessing that most comedies also appear to come out of grief and pain. Maybe Jerry Seinfeld or Larry David’s work would be an exception?

  • Ed Spillane

    I’ve listened to almost every podcast and have suffered through a number of Reed’s appearances but his comments on the most recent Alita podcast were almost all priceless, true, and home runs. Almost everything he said was contrary to the others and yet words of wisdom. Maybe his age is showing.

  • Erni Menmi

    Film onlayn .– http://bit.ly/2BO1GX2

  • Lior

    Up until Reed mentioned Pieta I completley forgot I had seen it. I.e, I did not recognize it from the show notes. I then went back to my Letterboxd diary to see what my thoughts were (I vagely remembered I wasn’t crazy about the movie and that I left a review).

    This is why I love Letterboxd. Your thoughts recorded in real time:

    https://letterboxd.com/lior/film/pieta/

    If I was asked now to say what I thought about the film I would not have remembered much.

    Reed, I guess you liked it more than I did. I certainly don’t think it’s a bad movie, though.

  • Lior

    Reed, I’m just curious, is there any movie that everybody admires, or consider a classic, that you love as well? Have you ever watched a true classic and then said “Yes! Everybody’s right! Count me in! I am joining the herd!” :-) :-)

    Oh, and let’s stick to non-Asian, non-Martial arts films because i know you love those.

  • windh

    I’m a hhhhuge Queen fan, my all time favs. What I’ve seen from the movie has only given me bad vibes, thanks for confirming it. Roger T. looks like a caricature.

  • windh

    You have to Embrace the Pace, Reed.

  • devolutionary

    I saw it years ago as well; back before I was even aware of Kim Ki-Duk as a prominent director. Even though I had seen Spring, Summer, Fall, etc., and 3-Iron which is probably more of a crowd-pleaser. He’s definitely an original, if slightly odd visionary.
    Reed, there’s an even more disturbing mother/son parable in Moebius.

  • devolutionary

    Maybe not immediately for most, but in hindsight, Planet of the Apes.

  • Reed Farrington

    Read your Letterboxd review, Lior. Your comment about there not being any levity or hope is a criticism that reflects your bias. (I’m not dismissing your criticism as I openly admit my biases.) I love the digital flat cinematography; the final shot of the film actually benefits from it. Interesting that you loved “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring.”

  • Reed Farrington

    I don’t think I’ve seen Moebius. I used to get Kim Ki-Duk’s films as bootlegs, but since I’ve stopped purchasing bootlegs and rental places are gone, it’s unlikely I’ll ever find Kim Ki-Duk films anymore unless my friends dump their collections.

  • Reed Farrington

    I do admire Citizen Kane, so I’m not a complete contradictarian. I also love Casablanca, and the original King Kong. I love Stanley Kubrick’s films, especially A Clockwork Orange. I love Shane. I love Pan’s Labyrinth. I love a lot of Hitchcock, especially Psycho. I love many Sergio Leone films. I love Amelie as well as many other of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s films. I think there are many non-Asian classics in my Top 58.

  • Reed Farrington

    I’m thinking that next generation fanboys will come to revere Alita in the way the older generation loves the original Blade Runner now.

  • Reed Farrington

    You don’t think Larry David’s comedy comes out of grief?? His comedy comes out of the frustration with everyday situations.

  • Reed Farrington

    I’m thinking I’ve seen The Way Way Back. Reading its synopsis, it’s about growing “pains” during coming-of-age. One might look back wistfully about it, but it came from a “tortured” place.

  • Lior

    Hey Reed, honestly I don’t remember approaching the film with any biases or expectations, it was a rather spontaneous watch on Netflix. The only thing leading me in was that I liked the director’s previous film that I saw. But it was over two years ago, so who knows. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood. It was an interesting film either way.

  • Lior

    Well, that’s an impressive list.

  • Lior

    Of course, how could I forget that one…

  • Reed Farrington

    I thought I might have been unclear or maybe I’m interpreting your reply in the wrong way. But I meant as an objective film criticism, the lack of levity or hope shouldn’t be held against a film.

  • Lior

    Fair enough. Obviously it wasn’t an objective review. I usually don’t equate “depressing film” with “bad film”. Not at all. Maybe in this particualr case I felt it lacked cataharsis which I feel is important in a drama. I wish I remembered the film better to have a more eloquent response. :-(