A Few Words About A few words about...™ Fences -- in Blu-ray

Robert Harris

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August Wilson's Fences arrived as a superb play in 1987, with James Earl Jones originally in the role played by Denzel Washington in the 2010 revival.

The film, which was nominated for Best Picture, Actor, Actress (Viola Davis won) and Writing (adapted) is an extraordinary story of people that would normally not be told.

Shot on film, the Blu-ray is a perfect representation of the 2k files.

It's a frustrating film to watch, as it deals with a Negro League baseball star relegated to working as a garbage man to support his family in 1950s Pittsburgh.

It works magnificent on a plain and simple human level, and has some of the finest acting you're likely to find.

A magnificent piece of cinema.

Should Mr. Washington have taken Best Actor?

That's a rough one.

Image - 5

Audio - 5 (DTS-HD MA 7.1)

4k Up-rez - 5

Pass / Fail - Pass

Highly Recommended

RAH



 
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Colin Jacobson

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No, the Academy got it right - Affleck offered a better performance than Washington.

Gotta admit the movie didn't work for me. It felt like what it is: a stage play adapted for the screen. It never "feels like a movie", and it comes with a lot of trappings that work on stage but not on screen...
 
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Tino

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I thought Denzel was better than Affleck. Thought the film was terrific and Viola should have been submitted in and won in the Best Actress category.
 

TravisR

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No, the Academy got it right - Affleck offered a better performance than Washington.

Gotta admit the movie didn't work for me. It felt like what it is: a stage play adapted for the screen. It never "feels like a movie", and it comes with a lot of trappings that work on stage but not on screen...
I thought the same thing about the movie feeling like a play but I actually liked that since it's true to the source material and it's just a change of pace for how movies are made. Also, I'd have gone with Affleck too but Washington was an extraordinarily close second in my mind.
 

Robert Crawford

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I thought Denzel was better than Affleck. Thought the film was terrific and Viola should have been submitted in and won in the Best Actress category.
Same here, I thought Denzel was better than Affleck, but, whatever with these awards. I saw the play so my bias for Denzel's performance is based on being true to the source material.
 

Colin Jacobson

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Same here, I thought Denzel was better than Affleck, but, whatever with these awards. I saw the play so my bias for Denzel's performance is based on being true to the source material.
That's my big problem with the production: it seems to be too true to the source. Movies and plays are inherently different, and something that shines on stage can seem problematic on screen.

At times I felt like they should've just filmed the play on stage and leave it at that. While obviously the movie opens up more than possible on stage, it still feels like a pretty literal adaptation, and I just don't think it works for the movie screen...
 

Robert Crawford

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That's my big problem with the production: it seems to be too true to the source. Movies and plays are inherently different, and something that shines on stage can seem problematic on screen.

At times I felt like they should've just filmed the play on stage and leave it at that. While obviously the movie opens up more than possible on stage, it still feels like a pretty literal adaptation, and I just don't think it works for the movie screen...
Well, I do, so are you're saying it's not a good movie and the performances aren't that good? If you're not saying that then how is it not working for the movie screen perhaps it's the subject matter? Should your comments be that the film and performances could have been more effective for the movie screen? Enlighten me, please, as if you're saying it's not a good movie at all then we just have to disagree here which is just power for the course between us regarding film in general anyway.
 
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Bob Cashill

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There's not much "movie" in any of Wilson's plays--he just didn't write, or think, that way. (I've seen most of them onstage.) FENCES takes place entirely on a single unit set, the backyard, which stands in for different environments. Given that, I was gratified to see how fluildy Washington took the show into different rooms, and into the Hill District streets and workplaces of the period. It worked as well as it could, and having seen the 2010 revival I thought he added to it nicely.
 

Robert Crawford

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There's not much "movie" in any of Wilson's plays--he just didn't write, or think, that way. (I've seen most of them onstage.) FENCES takes place entirely on a single unit set, the backyard, which stands in for different environments. Given that, I was gratified to see how fluildy Washington took the show into different rooms, and into the Hill District streets and workplaces of the period. It worked as well as it could, and having seen the 2010 revival I thought he added to it nicely.
Same here!
 

Colin Jacobson

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Well, I do, so are you're saying it's not a good movie and the performances aren't that good? If you're not saying that then how is it not working for the movie screen perhaps it's the subject matter? Should your comments be that the film and performances could have been more effective for the movie screen? Enlighten me, please, as if you're saying it's not a good movie at all then we just have to disagree here which is just power for the course between us regarding film in general anyway.
No, I'm not saying it's not a good movie - it's generally interesting, and it's well-acted.

It just doesn't really adapt the material for the screen. There are too many artifacts of the stage production and the film often fails to reflect that what works on stage doesn't work on screen.

If you really want to know what I think, feel free to read my review - I'd just be regurgitating those thoughts here anyway:

http://www.dvdmg.com/fences.shtml
 

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I would have been fine with Denzel's winning Best Actor. Of course, I was also fine with Affleck's having won. What sold me on Affleck's being the better choice was the shot of Denzel after the announcement...he looked sullen and pissed off.
 

Robert Crawford

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I would have been fine with Denzel's winning Best Actor. Of course, I was also fine with Affleck's having won. What sold me on Affleck's being the better choice was the shot of Denzel after the announcement...he looked sullen and pissed off.
He had tears in his eyes which tells me he was very disappointed so if that's what sold you then so be it.
 

Robert Crawford

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No, I'm not saying it's not a good movie - it's generally interesting, and it's well-acted.

It just doesn't really adapt the material for the screen. There are too many artifacts of the stage production and the film often fails to reflect that what works on stage doesn't work on screen.

If you really want to know what I think, feel free to read my review - I'd just be regurgitating those thoughts here anyway:

http://www.dvdmg.com/fences.shtml
Then I'm clear about your opinion.
 

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August Wilson is credited with writing the screenplay. He passed away in 2005. Did he write a screenplay adaption of his play a long time ago or was the film version so close to the stage play that he got credit for the screenplay.
 

Colin Jacobson

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August Wilson is credited with writing the screenplay. He passed away in 2005. Did he write a screenplay adaption of his play a long time ago or was the film version so close to the stage play that he got credit for the screenplay.
From what I understand, Wilson did write the screenplay. According to Wiki, "previous attempts to adapt August Wilson's Fences for the screen had been fruitless, partly due to Wilson's insistence on utilizing an African-American director."

They couldn't find an African-American director for 12+ years?
 

PMF

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Not knowing a personal thing about Denzel Washington, I would imagine his loss for the Oscar this year was not a happy occasion.
Consider the years he spent, from the Broadway revival to seeing it brought to the screen.
Not only was it a major revival; but it was also a major re-make as a film.
And Viola won both the Tony and the Oscar.
And Denzel, well he took home the Tony, too.
So being that he was overlooked for a Best Director nomination;
and being that he won for his stage work, as had Ms. Davis,
wouldn't you, too, be seated in your Pavilion chair, feeling that you would also get some recognition for your efforts, as well?
Thankfully, though, a film and its work survives - no matter who wins or who loses.
 

Stephen_J_H

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From what I understand, Wilson did write the screenplay. According to Wiki, "previous attempts to adapt August Wilson's Fences for the screen had been fruitless, partly due to Wilson's insistence on utilizing an African-American director."

They couldn't find an African-American director for 12+ years?
It was more about being able to find the funding once they got an African American director, which is always the name of the game in Hollywood. Keep in mind that Denzel didn't get involved until the 2010 stage revival. It's easy to get the funding for an action blockbuster that will play well overseas, because overseas companies are willing to invest. A comparatively small drama adapted from a stage play with an African American actor/director and cast? Not so much, because the bean counters did not see the dollar signs 12 years ago. It took the relatively recent success of African American centred dramas and comedies at the box office for studios to realise there is a market, so I suppose begrudging thanks is owed to Tyler Perry.

As for Wilson's adaptation of his work for the screen, I understand that Tony Kushner did some work on the adaptation, but refused to take credit for it.
 

Colin Jacobson

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It was more about being able to find the funding once they got an African American director, which is always the name of the game in Hollywood. Keep in mind that Denzel didn't get involved until the 2010 stage revival. It's easy to get the funding for an action blockbuster that will play well overseas, because overseas companies are willing to invest. A comparatively small drama adapted from a stage play with an African American actor/director and cast? Not so much, because the bean counters did not see the dollar signs 12 years ago. It took the relatively recent success of African American centred dramas and comedies at the box office for studios to realise there is a market, so I suppose begrudging thanks is owed to Tyler Perry.
I find it tough to believe the production couldn't get financing because a movie version of "Fences" could cost about $37. If IMDB is right, this film cost $24 million, and that shocked me.

Maybe it all went to the actors, because I can't figure out why else the movie would be that expensive. Yeah, $24 million is cheap these days, but for a movie like this, it seems excessive!

Someone easily could've made this movie for well under $10. "Split" only cost $9 million!
 

Josh Steinberg

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They'd been trying to make the movie for decades, so I wouldn't be surprised if they're attaching years of failed development costs to the movie's final budget.
 

Colin Jacobson

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They'd been trying to make the movie for decades, so I wouldn't be surprised if they're attaching years of failed development costs to the movie's final budget.
Good point!

Not always sure how accurate those IMDB budget claims are anyway - their #s for "Split" are kooky wrong. They claim it had a $100 million budget! :blink:
 

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