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Awake In The Dark
What you're watching these days on the Big Screen and the Small Screen.


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Old July 14th, 2006, 08:14 AM   #1
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A Scanner Darkly?

Anyone see it yet? I'm planning to go this weekend.... I loved the book and PKD's works.

Any opinions on how well the 'rotoscoping' effect works for you? Effective? distracting? I've seen parts of 'Waking Life' the other Linklater did with that technique.
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Old July 14th, 2006, 08:41 AM   #2
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I caught the Austin, Tx premiere a few weeks ago. Linklater was there to answer questions. I enjoyed the film. The rotoscoping was a bit different than Waking Life, not as fluid or abstract, more realistic. At a certain point I almost forgot it was animated and just went with the story, so it wasn't distracting for me at all.

Linklater had some interesting insight into the project and it was great to hear him talk about it. I'll leave it at that until after you see it :P

Robert Downey Jr's performance was great, as usual. Even Keanu isn't bad. Rory Cochrane really steals the show with his performance though. Very funny.

Overall, I thought it was a good film. Very true to PKD's story.
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Old July 18th, 2006, 07:16 AM   #3
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If anyone's into a discussion on this film....

Finally, saw it, in fact I saw it twice. Saw by myself on Saturday, and found it was definitely a film to discuss with others. So I saw it with some friends on Sunday.

Visually the animation helped with things like the scramble suit. Parts of the film were like watching a film with M.C. Escher as DP. The screen would look very flat, then the camera would move, and parts of the frame like a couch sort of stuck out. I also noticed sometime in the background they'd have an 'un-animated' section, or less animated.

I haven't read the book in a couple of years, but I thought the film certainly captured it. Beyond the stoner humor, it's really very sad. Managed to show the human toll of addiction without being sanctimonious.
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Old July 18th, 2006, 09:05 AM   #4
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the first 24 minutes of the film are online at ign
http://media.filmforce.ign.com/media...07/vids_1.html

I started watching, but i got bored, it might just be because it's on a computer screen and it's small
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Old July 18th, 2006, 10:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Goldman
I started watching, but i got bored, it might just be because it's on a computer screen and it's small
Yeah, except for the m.c. escher-ish bits, the effect is sort of 2-dimensional and the colors are sort of muted and bland, IMO. Worked well for some parts. But watching it on the very small screen would make it even blander, I'd think.
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Old July 18th, 2006, 10:22 AM   #6
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Linklater told us at the premiere that it was very important to him to capture the story as PKD had written and lived it. He met with PKDs children and friends and got first-hand accounts of a horrible time in their life. This story was true, and it happened to PKD (him going crazy and leaving his family, living with addicts, rehab, etc). That's why I liked it.

I think if it was a fictional story from a writer who knew nothing of drug abuse and wasn't so entrenched in the culture that it ultimately killed him and his friends, it would be a very different story/movie.

But that's what made PKD so great.

The most amazing part for me was at the end when he lists all of his friends that died from drugs...
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Old July 18th, 2006, 11:21 AM   #7
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I remember the book having a description of basically feeling your own brain shutting down. It's incredibly scary and moving at the same time.

I'll have to dig my copy out, the last scene had Donna walking off down the freeway, but the way it's written is the most bone chillingly lonely feeling.
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Old July 18th, 2006, 12:37 PM   #8
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I saw it and thought the effect was neat, but the overall movie didn't capture me.

It was filled with stylistic drug-addled ramblings that were amusing to a point, but that basically became the whole movie. The arc was one long, painfully slow descent. I never got to know any of the characters enough to even care that they were slipping, and I never got to learn anything about them that would make me like them at all. What there was of a plot was obtuse and it made me work follow along Ė mostly because I was zoning out in between the scattered plot points. (I havenít read the book).

I do think that it captured the mood of a bleak decline in to addiction and despair, I just donít personally enjoy spending an hour and a half immersed in that mood.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 07:25 AM   #9
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I've read nothing but harsh reviews against this movie and I'm dumbfounded. I thought it was freaking great. I must be out of sync with the rest of the world or something, because I just don't get how anybody can not love this movie.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 07:58 AM   #10
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I did actually think it was brilliantly done. They fully accomplished everything they set out to do... it just wasn't what I enjoy.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 10:01 AM   #11
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In my case, I'm a big fan of the book, which the movie captured very well. So that colors my view of the film.

I think Linklater made some bold choices, and when you do that, some people are not going to come along on the journey. Those who do will think you're a genius.

The book is a product of its time - still in the permissive, experimental mode that had started in the 60s, though PKD is pointing out some of the cost of those experiments.

That leads to a whole other discussion, which is how the time a film is released influences the critical and popular reaction to it.
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Old August 1st, 2006, 01:29 PM   #12
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I haven't seen the movie, but I don't think I will due to the visual effect used. That is the same, or very similar to, effect used in some commercials that have been airing recently. I think they are for some sort of financial or insurance company. I asked a couple of my friends if they had the same reaction to this effect and they agreed. It is disturbing and/or irritating to watch. Facial features become disjointed as the person moves. This is not at all pleasant to watch. It is as if the person's face is constantly being scrambled as they talk. I can't watch 30 seconds of those commercials, so I don't think I could ever sit through a whole movie like this. It also looks amateurish and cheap, in my opinion.

I hope the movie is a lousy one so a good script isn't ruined by a cheesy video effect.
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Old August 1st, 2006, 01:35 PM   #13
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Wow Marcus, you have really strong feelings about this. :)
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Old August 4th, 2006, 03:44 PM   #14
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Two thumbs up, as they say...

Linklater was ballsy enough to let the material stand...so no grafted-on plots...the images drift along like the story.

Loved it.
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Old August 10th, 2006, 01:02 PM   #15
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Marco, I didn't mean to come across as aggressive. I simply don't like video effect dujour. It doesn't help that I first saw it on a TV commercial. Putting aside my filmmaker-wannabe-nerd high-and-mighty opinions, I still had an unpleasant visceral reaction to that video effect. The facial features bobbing around and the posterized colors make me think its a bad combination of Warhol and Picasso. Maybe as still images it would be okay, but that disjointed movement gives me the creeps.

I do have to give the artists on the movie some credit. They did the tracking of facial features better than the TV commercials.

I knew I would regret trying to be open-minded. I looked at a few versions of the trailer and the low-res didn't bother me as much as the higher resolution versions. Unfortunately, now the movie seems like something that would interest me but I don't know if I could take my mind off the distraction. I find myself staring at the actor's lips trying to make sense of the movement of their mouth that doesn't seem to match the audio. It is like watching a video that I am editing which somehow came unbound to the audio a few frames. Now that I want to see the movie, I am even more annoyed that effect was used...

Maybe I can try to deal with it on the small screen. Did anybody like the movie that didn't initially like the visuals but became accustomed to it after a few minutes?
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