Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
Jacques Tati’s gloriously choreographed, nearly wordless comedies about confusion in the age of technology reached their creative apex with Playtime, a lasting testament to a modern age tiptoeing on the edge of oblivion.
What a mess. What a beautiful fucking mess. Chaos and adventure reign. Nothing like a film that completely seduces you after a string of previous films failings that do naught to jolly your rodgers. I did not expect this magnetism. I did not lace my boots or put my tray table up in time. This is my first Jacques Tati film, poppin' cherries all over the place. With this ambitious paragon of hypnotism he goes straight to the top of the director to-do list. It is very sad to read of the debt and trials that he had to go through to get this made, and had to continue through for a decade after. I for one welcome our new…
I have mixed feelings towards Jacques Tati's Playtime. The first half is filled with plenty of hilarious and clever gags, being just a delightful adventure. Monsieur Hulot goes through a lot of confusing as well as unfortunate situations and he is one of those incredibly sympathetic characters you just can't help rooting for. Playtime is Tati's love letter to Paris and I liked how it deals with people's struggle with modern technology and the hectic life in the city. The second half of the film focuses on a busy night in a restaurant, which is surrounded by chaos and unforeseen events. It wasn't as interesting as the first portion for me and while it certainly contained a couple of excellent…
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Now this is beyond what I expected after Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot - A cinematic marvel to be adored and respected and quite simply, a work of astounding genius. I think I really needed this extra level of Tati to really appreciate his art, and with it's colour presentation aiding me to escape my desire to compare him with the masters of the silent era. Filmed over 3 years, this ambitious vision of a world where modernity and technology obscures mans interaction with each other and everything is transparently artificial, Monsieur Hulot tries to navigate a Paris of steel lines and glass panes to share his heart with someone, anyone. From one ingeniously staged episode to…
For whatever reason, Playtime was in the same company for me as Sansho the Bailiff, The Earrings of Madame De..., and Persona as highly acclaimed films that carry with them a presence and intimidation. In hindsight, why a Tati film would come off as daunting sounds pretty ridiculous.
I had heard over the years it's use of architecture and setpieces as a main focal point, and that surely was the case. The entire screen was used to full effect, and was absolutely gorgeous on blu-ray. It's set in modern Paris, constructed from scratch, with plenty of steel, glass, and other symbols of alienation. The film wasn't so much about Tati's Monsieur Hulot as the camera is constantly viewing the landscapes…
Playtime is like a Richard Scarry or Where's Wally? book in very elegant, moving form.
There is so much to take in, there are so many tiny events in every scene, that I don't for a minute doubt the other reviewers here who say how spectacular this film is on this big screen.
But no matter whether you see it on a TV or in the cinema, there is no equivalent of being able to stare at a huge illustration for ten minutes until you've taken it all in - at least not without substantially spoiling the experience of this as a film by endless freeze-framing.
Its feeling of so much happening, of almost too much going on in front…
I was shaving my legs while watching this film but it was such a fucking good movie that I couldn't take my eyes off the screen and now my legs still aren't shaved. I'm going to have a tough time making friends at the beach.
Huh... Sorry. I tried.
I don't like anything about this movie. I didn't laugh once and it only made me smile one time.
I'm sure I must be missing something, and I'm sure I'll make somebody mad with that rating, but I'm not going to lie about it and pretend I didn't hate this movie.
My first Tati. Perhaps he is not for me.
I found this film so extremely bland for my tastes. I don't know what it was. I kept thinking "Ok, this is cool, it's like Charlie Chaplin takes a time machine to the future (or just modernist France)." But then it just kept going and going and going and nothing was anywhere near as good as anything Chaplin did. It's basically just a series of silent slapstick skits that don't relate to anything. I get it. The future is weird. Adapt or die. But I mean the main character is so damn aloof, it just comes across as an insult to the audience's intelligence. Perhaps at the time this film came out, it would have been easier to watch and laugh at. But seeing it today, it was just unbearable.
Delightful, yet scary, dystopian portrait of a society obsessed with theoretical order and 'things'.
Tati's poignant observation on modern life. The "Golden Silence door" gag probably sums up perfectly what Tati thinks of modern life: yeah, it can offer some thing good or even perfect, but it also lacks other social function, for example, slamming a door to indicate that you are furious.
And I am wondering that if Tati is playing with other film. A scene like Hulout tries to orient a tourist, he point to the wall where they put their map on, to show certain places where it is not shown on the map. This gesture toward "picture outside the frame", seems to me it can be drawn right out of Antonioni's L'Eclisse. And toward the end of the film a bus full of American tourists see two lifters lifting a blue and a red car, this reminds my of Godard's Pierrot le Fou.
Going to hold off from a rating till I see it again--still processing. First viewing played out like a cinematic "Where's Waldo?" (by no means a knock) with a screen filled with hilarious gags that there's almost too much to take in at once. It's a film that really--to my knowledge--has no peer: a truly singular effort. Playtime, well, plays out as the title would suggest, like a giant game in the streets of Paris, within the glass walls and windows, between the lines and schema of modern life. What it amounts to? I'm not exactly sure yet--but I know it's great, and I want/need to see it again.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
By the end of this absolutely insane masterpiece I almost felt out of breath. One of THE greatest movies I've ever seen. "Visually stunning" barely does a hint of justice to how cram packed every shot and frame of this film is. With gags, with movement, with detail and most importantly: information. Tati puts more information in the frame than is possible to digest with just one viewing (put this on the top of my "must see in a theater" list). And not only information, but information that is expertly woven into the composition that makes every shot of the film feel like the best shot any other filmmaker could come up with. The first half of the film was…
Architecture gesticulates through humanity until design flaws allow humanity to reclaim their freedom.
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