*** Official MONSTER'S BALL Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Robert Crawford, Dec 28, 2001.

  1. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I've been greatly anticipating the opening of "Monster's Ball" for awhile. This past weekend, I watched Ebert and yes, even Roeper give glowing reviews of this film. Now, reading USA Today, I see that critic Mike Clark who I respect very much as a critic gave it a four star rating which is very rare rating from him. This is the link to his review. Of course, since I live in the boondocks of central Michigan, I'll probably won't have an opportunity to see this film until sometime in the middle of next month. By the way, this film stars Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry, Peter Boyle, and Heath Ledger.
    Crawdaddy
     
  2. Nick Sievers

    Nick Sievers Producer

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    I too am looking forward to this. I quite like Billy Bob when he isn't trying to be "cool" with Angelina, and he can act. I've also seen some good reviews, Roger Ebert named it #1 of 2001 [​IMG] and its currently 79% fresh on rottentomatoes. But Rob you say you'll have to wait until mid-Jan to see it, I bet we will get this mid year and will be a very limited release. [​IMG]
     
  3. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    This looks like a great movie. The clips on "Ebert & Roeper" and "The Tonight Show" were excellent, made me really want to see this movie.

    /Mike
     
  4. Tom-G

    Tom-G Screenwriter

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    I'm looking forward to this one as well. I think it was Ebert who said that Halle Berry gives an Oscar-worthy performance and that she should be nominated. I was very surprised by this. I'm happy for her that she chose a role that has people giving her accolades.
    Just in case you need a reason or two to see this film, Halle Berry does get nekkid once again. [​IMG]
     
  5. Craig S

    Craig S Producer

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  6. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    I am also looking forward to this one as well. The Royal Tenenbaums and In The Bedroom are playing in theaters two hours away from me. If I wasn't committed I would have been there already. I guess, as always, I will just have to wait until it comes around here.
    ~Edwin
     
  7. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    I don't know whether it's the best film of 2001, but it's certainly one of the most powerful and disturbing I've seen. Both Thornton and Berry are incredible; their performances grow in stature as I find myself thinking more and more about the film. Yes, they both take off their clothes, but unless you have a heart of stone, the context of the scene is so desperately sad that it's painful to watch.

    Berry has never been afraid to look unattractive on camera (Jungle Fever, Losing Isaiah), and she doesn't pull back here either. Her Leticia has been damaged in so many way that there's almost nothing left in her face but despair, and Berry shows us in terrible detail how hopeless this woman feels -- and then how suddenly she will leap at what looks like a moment's respite (salvation is beyond her imagining). Thornton uses some of the same reserve he displayed in The Man Who Wasn't There, but here it's a cover for powerful forces held barely in check under the appearance of a calm surface. (The fact that his character doesn't fit in should be obvious from the name: an apparent good ol' boy with the very un-Southern name of Hank Grotowski.)

    The supporting work by Heath Ledger and Peter Boyle is also very strong -- and chilling. The plot doesn't follow a predictable course, which is why I'm not trying to summarize it. Do not, under any circumstances, let anyone tell you the story before you see the film. All you need to know is that Thornton plays a prison guard who lives with his father and son, and who supervises the execution of a convicted killer (played competently by Sean Combs) to whom Halle Berry's Leticia is married. Let the rest unfold in all its messy unpredictability.

    M.
     
  8. StephenT

    StephenT Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm really looking forward to this one, and I can only find a NY/LA release date. Has the wide date not yet been announced, or are they leaving it at those two cities? After the oscar nominations it sounds like it could get you'd think they'd give it at least a limited release.
     
  9. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    [edited to remove redundancy now that the threads have been combined]
     
  10. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Neither IMDb nor the official site has any information about a wide release. Lion's Gate may be waiting to see whether the film picks up any more nominations, awards or critical endorsements.
    The official site is at http://www.monstersballthefilm.com/, but whatever you do, do not go onto the message board. Some of the topic headers contain major spoilers.
    M.
     
  11. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    According to Upcoming Movies, this film will go wider on Feb. 8. I've also seen unconfirmed reports of additional theaters on Jan. 25.
    M.
     
  12. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now designated the Official Discussion Thread for "Monster's Ball". Please, post all comments, links to outside reviews, film and box office discussion items to this thread.
    All HTF member film reviews of "Monster's Ball" should be posted here.
    Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
    Crawdaddy
     
  13. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    At long last, this film is scheduled for a "wide" release this weekend. I don't know how many theaters are planned, but I do hope more people finally have a chance to see this exceptional film from one of the last of the truly "independent" studios.

    M.
     
  14. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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    Wow, this is an incredible film.
    I'd really like to see this get noticed for direction and screenwriting when the Oscar nominations are announced, but I'm afraid In the Bedroom, another fine movie, will hoard most of the noms for films like this. (Having Miramax behind it is a definite advantage.) Monster's Ball is so astonishing because of what it doesn't do or show. The ending is a perfect example of that, but I'm treading too close to spoiler territory to go much further.
    Berry should and will get nominated, and I think she has a reasonable chance of winning. Thornton is so good in this kind of character. He's so natural and unforced, like those characters are a second skin. These are tough performances as the film has many silent stretches.
    I don't want to say much more for fear of revealing too much. My review is available here for those interested. It may give away too much. I'm not sure. I expect that by this point most people realize that Thornton and Berry's characters become involved
    but don't want to ruin it for those who don't know. So read at your own caution.
     
  15. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    One other thing that bothered me about Halle Berry's performance was how some of her more dramatic scenes were handled. Maybe it was an editing faux pas but some scenes didn't come out smooth as they should have been.

    For example, in one scene, out of nowhere, there was a quick cut to her face with tears rolling down her face. And in another, they showed her getting mad, again in another quick cut type of editing.

    There just wasn't the slow and smooth build up needed to make the scenes more dramatic. Instead, these scenes looked more like they were churned out of a greatest takes compilation from numerous multi-take scenes.

    ~Edwin
     
  16. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    I'd be interested in revisiting this point, Edwin, when the DVD comes out, because I don't remember anything like what you've described. But it's been nearly two months since I saw it, so it's hard for me to remember details.

    M.
     
  17. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Damn, this film is still not opening this coming weekend in central Michigan. Now I have to wait a little longer to debate Edwin about Halle's acting performance.[​IMG]
    Crawdaddy
     
  18. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    OK, I was hoping somebody would have asked this, but what the heck was the meaning of the quick cuts of the hand reaching into the birdcage? They showed this several times and I was expecting some payoff at the end, but it never came. BTW, it's a damn fine film.
     
  19. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Perhaps, clumsily to indicate how one's soul is set free after a chance encounter with a samaritan/stranger.
     
  20. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Or perhaps elegantly to show that you can't always tell whether a gesture is a threat or a helping hand, which is why the creature being reached for reacts with fearful fluttering and confusion (an apt description of both Hank and Leticia, IMO).

    M.
     

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