The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (2018)

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Re: The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (2018)

Postby Belerofonte » Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:18 am

Forty seconds of the trailer, recorded directly from the cinema. The quality is terrible, but you can peek at Natalie in it

https://www.twitter.com/vincentbornert/status/919994659560198144/video/1
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Re: The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (2018)

Postby Belerofonte » Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:19 pm

Interesting video interview with Xavier Dolan for BBC, about his career and this movie:

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20171117-xavier-dolan-i-love-what-i-do-with-all-my-heart?ocid=ww.social.link.twitter
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Re: The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (2018)

Postby thevoid99 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:56 am

"I wanna be bored"-Maggie Gyllenhaal from "Secretary"
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Re: The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (2018)

Postby Belerofonte » Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:38 am

A rough cut of four hours! :shock:

Well... I just hope everything filmed by Natalie remains intact...
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Re: The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (2018)

Postby LightsCameraReaction » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:02 am

My gut feeling is this film isn't going to be very good.
Everything about it seems messy.
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Re: The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (2018)

Postby thevoid99 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:58 pm

LightsCameraReaction wrote:My gut feeling is this film isn't going to be very good.
Everything about it seems messy.


Agreed. I do like Xavier Dolan but now I'm worried.
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Re: The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (2018)

Postby LightsCameraReaction » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:54 pm

Some letterboxd reactions:

I adored almost every frame, and I felt even more. It's such a shame that you're all gonna hate this.


Yall acting like u forgot goddess of the moon natalie portman is here as well as queen of england susan sarandon and goddess of the sun kathy bates


uhm... i just want to sit down with dolan cut some magazines, have some wine, and try to fix this


An odd duck of a film. I’m scratching my head a bit at the sometimes-stilted melodrama of it — but my heart and throat feel as if they had a cathartic, moving experience all the same.

Grade-A performances from Sarandon, Bates, and many of the supporting performers — with Kit Harrington’s signature vulnerability carrying much of the weight of the film. [I couldn’t help but think of Heath Ledger more than once.]

I think this one will stick with me for a bit.


Hey gays. Remember in post season 2 of Glee where Ryan Murphy would have after school type episodes where he threw out plot and characterization just as long as you LEARNED something, like home of phobia is bad? Well, that's what this is but just with more close ups.


Reactions from the awardswatch board..

- It's tonally all over the place, so obviously I really liked it.
- not sure if it's an Oscar film. It's not that it's omgARTHOUSE! but it's very, very talky, long, and non-Hollywood.
- same goes for the actors, not sure if any of them would make any kind of awards dent.
- It's got the usual X***** Do*** flourishes, and I think it's his most ambitious project yet, narrative wise. His most "Almodovar" yet imho. Although not quite as successful as say, "All About My Mother".
- I thought Jon Snow was kinda perfect here. His American accent was a tiny bit wonky, but who cares? I can't imagine anyone else in that role.
- Loved me some actressing from Susan Sarandon and Jacob Tremblay (that kid is gonna be a staw)
- not enough Kathy Bates but she was really solid. I miss her so much in movies.
- Portman was OK.
- Not sure where the critics will stand with this
- Definitely go see it in theaters.


I thought it was really good upon exiting, although the last 15 minutes are brilliant and the best thing Dolan has ever done, imo. The more I think about it though, the more I thought it was great. It is a VERY slow burner. It's unclear until the final 15 minutes I guess what the movie is trying to say. That could be a fault to some unnecessary scenes (but easily fixable), or a weak script (but it's not at all - it's close to perfect minus two or three scenes with great dialogue). I didn't think it was tonally all over the place actually, it's very dramatic with witty dialogue but never veered into satire or comedy. The only thing I could see that coming from is that the ending kinda has a supernatural element to it, but it's done so beautifully it worked so well and wasn't jarring at all.

Will critics pan this, is it terrible like some letterboxd reviewers are saying? No. That reaction is far too extreme. At worst, this is mid-brow. It could get lukewarm reception (think 60s MC), or it could get 70s, but I do not see it getting critical acclaim. It is a slow burn and it's only grown in my mind in the hours since, but not sure critics will feel that way having to write a review almost immediately after it plays a festival.

Oscar chances? The only actor in the movie who gets an Oscar scene is Tremblay, when he gets into a fight with Portman and totally outacts her (Portman is really just OK in this, wasn't sure if it was just the writing but she certainly wasn't what I would call at the top of her game here like in Annihilation). Every other actor is good, but it's just that the script doesn't give them these Oscar baity scenes (maybe the only other one is Kit getting into a fight and he just kills it). I can see why some people are raving Sarandon, but again, she doesn't have what we'd call an Oscar performance. Her character is way too small in the movie to make an awards dent with the little material she has (she has a great closeup shot though). Apparently it's a weak year for Original Screenplay, I could see this being in a #5 spot if it gets a critics push.

I definitely want to see this again in a theater though. There are so many amazing shots and the cinematography is sublime, definitely Dolan's best as a Director. It felt like his least pretentious film which was a good thing. I absolute hate Mommy with a burning passion, so I'm no fanboy. Luckily, there is no dumb aspect ratio trickery or any gimmicks in this that are off putting. It does have the quintessential Dolan closeups and pop music setpieces, but they're done effectively (and most certainly will end up being some of my favorite uses of pop music in film).


And someone from facebook...

Xavier Dolan's first English-language film is, surprisingly, also his most contained. A lot of the self-indulgent excesses from the screenplay (which I adored) were cut out: the prologue, the voice-over narration, the faux celebrity interviews (with the likes of Zoe Saldana and Gus Van Sant), and also Jessica Chastain's Cruella DeVil role has been excised completely, as previously reported. But don't get me wrong: this is still a typical Dolan joint. The dude can make a coherent show biz satire/melodrama while referencing (when not downright plagiarizing) specific scenes from such different films as Magnolia, Mean Girls, Harry Potter, My Own Private Idaho, and Cruel Intentions (!). Good performances from the ensemble cast, as expected, in a film that is for a very specific audience. It might be better received than It's Only the End of the World, plus the stellar cast and the fact that it's in English make it his most accessible film to date. Will it be an awards contender? I don't think so. But it will not disappoint his fans.

Sarandon has only three scenes, but they're great. She's the ultimate overbearing, alcoholic mommy, as you'd expect from a Dolan film. Sadly, a lot of Bates' scene were cut (assuming they were actually shot); she's given very little to do, and has one good scene. More like an extended cameo. Portman, as Tremblay's mom, is very good, and has the most screentime out of the three. Thandie Newton plays the interviewer and only has scenes with Ben Schnetzer as the older Tremblay. I've never seen Game of Thrones but did enjoy Harington a lot in this. I'm not counting on anyone getting a nod for this, but Portman and, to a lesser extent, Sarandon, are the only ones with a chance of any awards recognition
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Re: The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (2018)

Postby Belerofonte » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:30 pm

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Re: The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (2018)

Postby Belerofonte » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:28 pm

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Re: The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (2018)

Postby Belerofonte » Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:41 pm

Xavier Dolan with the rest of the cast:

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Re: The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (2018)

Postby Belerofonte » Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:05 pm

Image Image Image


Variety portrait:

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Re: The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (2018)

Postby Away With The Pixies » Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:07 pm

Thanks, I hope this gets good reviews!
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Re: The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (2018)

Postby Belerofonte » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:36 pm

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Re: The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (2018)

Postby thevoid99 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:53 pm

I think it's too early to tell for now. If it is really that bad then.... oh boy.
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Re: The Death and Life of John F. Donovan (2018)

Postby Belerofonte » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:48 pm

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