Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

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TMDaines
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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#176 Post by TMDaines » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:10 am

mfunk9786 wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:01 am
mfunk9786 wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:38 am
An aggravating update: so the Director's Cut is included with an iTunes purchase, but it's only in HD, not in 4K like the theatrical. Also, the commentary track is exclusive to an Amazon purchase. So you can only have one or the other, ultimately. I'm just going to wait this out or see if it goes on sale.
Even more excitement! So the iTunes edition of Midsommar is currently $9.99, and this coincides with the launch of the Apple TV+ app for Roku and other streaming devices. So I took the plunge and bought it. Aaaaaaaaaand... bonus features are not in any way accessible in the current version of those apps. Currently only on a PC/Mac, iPhone/iPad, and 4th gen Apple TV device is able to access them. The software just straight up doesn't show any bonus features for films you own, which is where this Midsommar director's cut is buried.

I spoke to customer service, which were frankly not the correct people to be speaking to about such a niche issue, and they ultimately confirmed my suspicion that this feature is missing, didn't know if it'll ever be added, and refunded the film for me + gave me three free rentals, which was kind of them.

But... as it stands right now, unless you have a way to do AirPlay to your TV and/or you have an Apple TV device, there is no way to watch the Midsommar director's cut on a television in the United States.
This is a great example of why I've very thankful for the backchannels - what a mess. I'm not sure where the Blu-ray is from, but the director's cut is already everywhere online sourced from that. Perhaps the Australian Blu-ray?

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mfunk9786
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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#177 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:43 am

I think it's Italy? But yes, it's a mess - just a bit of an unprecedented mess due to the exclusivity involved. The director's cut of The House That Jack Built, for example, seems to be exclusive to Vudu, but at least it's got its own listing.

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The Curious Sofa
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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#178 Post by The Curious Sofa » Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:11 pm

I just received the British Blu-ray which has both cuts.

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tenia
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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#179 Post by tenia » Thu Nov 21, 2019 5:51 am

I skipped the movie in theaters so watched directly the DC yesterday. I wasn't convinced at all by Hereditary, which felt like a decent family psychological drama spending its second half doing a predictable mediocre horror movie (which is why I wasn't at first too interested in Midsommar).

Midsommar, on the other hand, felt much more convincing and "moving" (or at least resonating in me). It's still leaves plenty of things left to be desired. As some wrote earlier, the overall concept clearly can't be examined too closely without finding plot holes (for instance, around how the cult can be going on for so long). I also think Dani and Christian are depicted here in too much of caricatures of what they're supposedly conveying : Christian is way too much of an arse, and Dani way too apologetic. It doesn't mean there aren't people like that in real life, but in the movie, it makes them too extremely set in these behaviors, there are just too much things piling on. David Elhrich describes Christian in its detailing of the DC as "stupid, oafish Christian, who was born to be the victim of a horror movie" (he also seems like a very lazy guy) and this oh so true here, and it kind of wear me over the course of the movie. The same goes for Poulter, which seems like some kind of an out of place horny pothead for too long, until he does arbitrarily something plain stupid you wonder why he'd either do it at all or why he then didn't do it much earlier in the movie (again : real life plot hole). It feels a bit more artificially written than it should be.

But this surprisely didn't prevented me to be taken by the movie and its underlying themes and psychological descriptions. Dani (but also Pelle, in a lesser and very different manner) felt like a very interesting case to examine, with her trying to cope in a very strange way with her initial trauma, but the description of her shift from Christian (and their relationship) to the Harga cult (and their traditions) felt real and resounding, the same way that the description of the Harga traditions felt extremely detailed yet "religiously" coherent. I wonder how much time the people who worked on this spent to obtain this result, but there really is a consistency, something palpable that felt much richer than what most movies working around cult and foreign strange cultures offer. The DC as it is offer both things (Dani's ambivalence in the end and Harga's traditions) in very thorough ways, and these are probably the most interesting parts of the movie.
It's also an absolutely gorgeous movie, both in framing, camera-movements and editing. And a clever one at that, as detailed by others before me. I wasn't too much bothered by the most obvious hallucination visual effects, but absolutely loved the smaller ones during the last act.

The horror elements though, or rather the ones directed to the "good guys", indeed don't work so well. Part is probably because they feel rushed and mechanical (but on the other hand, rushing them probably is the best to do with them since they don't integrate so well to the movie), but also because they emphasise how crowded the movie technically is and how pointless to the viewers most of these secondary characters are (both within the Americans and the Hargas).
I also suppose, looking at what is only included in the DC, that many elements could be trimmed down to obtain a still-thorough but tighter in-beween cut (especially the shorter inclusions).

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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#180 Post by Nasir007 » Sat Nov 30, 2019 12:27 pm

So I just purchased the Amazon version because it was advertised as being with commentary. And then in the first few seconds, it tells me the commentary is by Noah Aster, Ari Aster's brother? WTF?
I checked the IMDB listing and it doesn't specify how Noah Aster was involved in the production, it just lists him as Special Thanks.

Why would they make a commentary with someone who did not make any serious artistic contribution to a film?

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tenia
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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#181 Post by tenia » Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:37 pm

The utmost majority of audio commentaries done for catalogue movies are by people who didn't participate in the movies, and it doesn't prevent most of those being educated and interesting about the movies they're commenting.

I don't see why it couldn't be the same for new movies.

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Big Ben
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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#182 Post by Big Ben » Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:39 pm

Nasir007 wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 12:27 pm
So I just purchased the Amazon version because it was advertised as being with commentary. And then in the first few seconds, it tells me the commentary is by Noah Aster, Ari Aster's brother? WTF?
I checked the IMDB listing and it doesn't specify how Noah Aster was involved in the production, it just lists him as Special Thanks.

Why would they make a commentary with someone who did not make any serious artistic contribution to a film?
Film critics/scholars give commentaries all the time and more than a few of them have made no real contributions to films specifically either. While it certainly sounds unorthodox in this case this isn't an earth shattering event by any means. I suppose the question I have is whether or not Noah gives a good commentary or not.

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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#183 Post by Glowingwabbit » Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:45 pm

Nasir007 wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 12:27 pm
I checked the IMDB listing and it doesn't specify how Noah Aster was involved in the production, it just lists him as Special Thanks.
Others already responded with what I was going to reply with. But have you listened to he commentary yet? Maybe Noah Aster answers your questions in the actual commentary.

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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#184 Post by Nasir007 » Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:49 pm

tenia wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:37 pm
The utmost majority of audio commentaries done for catalogue movies are by people who didn't participate in the movies, and it doesn't prevent most of those being educated and interesting about the movies they're commenting.

I don't see why it couldn't be the same for new movies.
I understand that for catalog movies absolutely. A lot of the film-makers are not even around. And if an informed film historian with a lot of scholarship and research is going to do a commentary, bring it on. I guess I was just surprised by this choice as I haven't seen contemporary films using this approach. I will give it a try but I think Amazon should have indicated to me who the commentary is from. I had no reason to anticipate that it was going to be from a 3rd party.

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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#185 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Nov 30, 2019 2:02 pm

But Amazon also had no reason to anticipate that the commentary would be the dealbreaker. They have an accessible outlet for further questions called customer service. You can call or chat with a rep next time and ask them that question, as is the expectation for adults to speak up if they want further information. I fail to understand how this is Amazon’s fault if the problem you have is specific to you and a service exists to support the customer with these concerns. The customer just has to initiate the process because they aren’t bugging your mind.

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tenia
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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#186 Post by tenia » Sat Nov 30, 2019 3:22 pm

Glowingwabbit wrote:
Nasir007 wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 12:27 pm
I checked the IMDB listing and it doesn't specify how Noah Aster was involved in the production, it just lists him as Special Thanks.
Others already responded with what I was going to reply with. But have you listened to he commentary yet? Maybe Noah Aster answers your questions in the actual commentary.
And maybe he offers a very enlightening commentary about the movie.

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mfunk9786
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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#187 Post by mfunk9786 » Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:21 am

So I just purchased the X-Men 1.5 version because it was advertised as being with commentary. And then in the first few seconds, it tells me the commentary is by Brian Peck, convicted child molester and Bryan Singer's friend? WTF?
I checked the IMDB listing and it doesn't specify how Brian Peck was involved in the production, it just lists him as Hot Dog Stand Patron.

Why would they make a commentary with someone who did not make any serious artistic contribution to a film?

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Altair
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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#188 Post by Altair » Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:23 am

I thought you were joking and then I googled it and discovered that... the world is even more bizarre than we imagine it to be.

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knives
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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#189 Post by knives » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:45 pm

First and foremost: Chidi!
Now that I have that out of my system in a way this is one of the more interesting type of metaexercises. Like Pedro Costa's House of Lava this takes a classic film and futzes with some details to better inform the director's themes and also to comment on the original work. Aster is very delicate with the structure here presenting, for example, the deleted prelude to the village making explicit certain character traits. This shows how such a thing would have not worked in Wicker Man which takes its characters on a more symbolic plain, but is necessary for this film's examination of a much more personalized view of sex.

That personalized trait is what best grabbed me in the sea of good qualities presented. I thought Hereditary as a mediocre outing after an exciting set of short films, especially his tableau Basically, but this sets his preoccupations and aesthetic on fire in a film best described as sad. Tears permeate every scene, even those of great comedy. Even something that could have romantic tones, in the old sense, like the toast of the old couple as seen through Pugh's eyes is a sad moment because that consent becomes a little death. It's hard for me to find the right words, but essentially the film seems to shift from a fear of sex in the abstract or through religion if you really want to step back to one about fear of self sacrifice. If Christopher Lee is doing his human sacrifice for selfish and self preserving reasons the cult here seems to be doing the exact opposite making them weirdly attractive given how natural it is to fear self sacrifice. This is a really messed up metaphor to deal with that on and of course that is only one part of the metaphor which is obviously about relationships in the larger sense, but it fits with Aster's sense of humour shown thus far to make a good option so unpleasant.

As a small aside to whomever was curious about how the cult could do this year in and out, the movie and especially marketing seems to indicate this is not an annual thing. The marketing explicitly says its once ever 90 years, but the film inidicates it is some number divisible by 9. A much more replaceable ratio.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#190 Post by Mr Sausage » Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:04 pm

knives wrote:As a small aside to whomever was curious about how the cult could do this year in and out, the movie and especially marketing seems to indicate this is not an annual thing. The marketing explicitly says its once ever 90 years, but the film inidicates it is some number divisible by 9. A much more replaceable ratio.
It seems at least to’ve happened in Pele’s lifetime, given what he says about his parents.

Terrific post by the way. You make a lot of insights no one else in this thread has made yet. Gives one a lot to think about.

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knives
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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#191 Post by knives » Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:14 pm

Thanks. I wasn't actually expecting to like this given my dissatisfaction with Hereditary and the recent A24 house style, but there were a number of small moments that sold me on this. In particular the first death shock me deeply for how it was framed and especially for how Pugh acted it out. It really is one of the best reactive, not passive as some of the conversation in thread suggests, performances I've seen recently wherein my understanding of a scene would regularly be changed based on how she looked. The performance projects her thinking onto the scenes which function as a subtle guide and grease the idea of this as a metaphor more cleanly.

The death is creepy enough on its own, but you can tell how Pugh sees herself in those characters so that it is almost therapeutic to build her conception of her relationship with Christian. It goes from creepy cult madness to a painful reminder of what a relationship could be. A beautiful tapestry depicting something full of blood and guts.

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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#192 Post by DeprongMori » Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:28 pm

From memory, the film posits multiple cycles: a nine-year cycle ritual, a much more elaborate ninety-year cycle ritual, and a personal life-cycle ritual —which, along with the progression of an individual into their next life phases, would also include the self-sacrifice of its residents whenever they reach the age of seventy (which might be an annual midsommar ritual.)

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knives
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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#193 Post by knives » Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:44 pm

72, but yeah, I think that's how it went presumably after watching Goldmember.

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The Curious Sofa
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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#194 Post by The Curious Sofa » Wed Jan 01, 2020 2:05 pm

I watched the director‘s cut last night and didn’t think any of the additions were essential and the film was basically the same. Jack Reynor‘s Christian gets to be even more of a dick, there is another ritual which doesn’t amount to much and the rest are scene extensions and alternative takes. I wouldn’t go out of my way to get this, I think the next time I’ll watch the theatrical cut again.

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Persona
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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#195 Post by Persona » Sun Jan 12, 2020 8:46 pm

I... liked this? Really, really enjoyed it aesthetically. Felt more like a weird, dark comedy than anything, it is so brazen in what it does that everything feels like set-ups to macabre punchlines, and even the framing had a sort of comic eye to it. The script is not great and if any of the characters besides Dani could have been developed into something less one-dimensional it might have been great, but I think this worked a bit better as a whole than Hereditary did.

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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#196 Post by cpetrizzi » Sun Feb 23, 2020 5:53 pm

Persona wrote:
Sun Jan 12, 2020 8:46 pm
I... liked this? Really, really enjoyed it aesthetically. Felt more like a weird, dark comedy than anything, it is so brazen in what it does that everything feels like set-ups to macabre punchlines, and even the framing had a sort of comic eye to it. The script is not great and if any of the characters besides Dani could have been developed into something less one-dimensional it might have been great, but I think this worked a bit better as a whole than Hereditary did.
I know I'm a bit late to the party, but finally got around to checking this off my list last night. As with many movies, I sometimes feel the exact same way after the initial viewing. It usually takes me a few days to process what I've seen and come to the conclusion whether I actually liked it or not. I'm glad to hear about the director's cut and interested enough that I think I'll check it out someday. I've read through this entire thread a few times and will try my best to stick to the proper references. I know I might be in the minority, but I have not seen Hereditary yet so I will not be comparing its style to that. Even so, here are my thoughts about Midsommar, or what I like to call,
SpoilerShow
Swedish Hostel (oops, that's a joke).
SpoilerShow
I believe Dani's sister's death was a murder/suicide. Any one loss in this fashion would be an excruciating loss for Dani. Anyone who has gone through this with a family member or friend can attest. But three losses is almost unimaginable and something that can't be disregarded. When Dani tries to get ahold of her sister, there was a quick scene right after with the parents in bed who I suspected were dead because their mouths were open and facial coloring seemed too greyish. Afterwards, we see the garage and hoses going upstairs into the house and realize the horror of what actually happened. Some here have disregarded this scene an not integral to the storyline, but I think otherwise.

Even though the sister was diagnosed as bi-polar, could she also have had other mental illnesses like schizophrenia or something else to explain the parricide? I know diagnosing mental illness is extremely difficult even for professionals, so I'm not going to claim to be an expert on the subject. All I'm saying is that while watching, I had difficulty processing the reason behind the murder/suicide unless the sister's bi-polar was spiraling completely out of control (could someone comment on the likelihood of bi-polar leading to murder/suicide?), had another form of mental illness, or the parents were extremely physically or emotionally abusive to her (or all three I guess) or to Dani. [On a side note, a close friend of mine, who is diagnosed as bi-polar, took so many sick days over the past few years that she unfortunately was forced to quit her job. She relies heavily on the emotional support of others, especially her 89 year-old mother. So in some ways, I view her as codependent.]

The issue of codependency has been brought up by others here and led to a semi-heated discussion (a simmer if you will). My belief is that the label is actually on the wrong person. Dani's sister may have been the codependent one in need of Dani's continual emotional support because of her mental state. If Dani tirelessly played the role of caregiver for her sister and acted as mediator between her and their parents who weren't able provide the emotional support needed, could this have caused Dani's anxiety? Through this arduous task, Dani may have, in turn, yearned for a loving, healthy relationship with someone who wouldn't be codependent upon her. But who does she end up dating for 4 years? Mr. Gaslight McBeary Head. [Another point to make, I don't believe Christian actually gaslights Dani in the real sense. He is more the "indifferent" boyfriend.]

Even the director describes Dani's relationship with Christian as "codependent," but I think he himself is using it incorrectly or simplifying it for the audience. I viewed the movie as an allegory on feminism in its purest form. There's nothing radical here except for that fact that Dani's in a relationship in which she's getting almost zero emotional support. She craves love and affection as everyone does, but furthermore wants to be seen as an equal. A healthy relationship is a reciprocal "agreement" between two people and it absolutely does take two to tango, neither Dani nor Christian are without fault. Dani, as she says in the beginning, doesn't want "to lean on Christian too much," but that occurs in every relationship when one side sometimes needs more support than the other. And Dani does need support. However, this is no excuse for Christian to continue to use his male privilege to dominate the relationship and continue its toxicity. The relationship is not abusive (as mentioned before) but it's far from a healthy, loving, interdependent one. Dare I say, Christian's indifference is even worse than some other ways he could treat Dani? It's as if he doesn't give two shits about her, but doesn't break up with her and just leads her on. He is not a good boyfriend or even friend for that matter. This has been previously mentioned and throughout the movie, Christian is manipulative. At the beginning, he tells his friends he invited Dani to come to Sweden but points out she is in fact won't be coming, but the plan falls through when Dani asks if it's ok with everyone and gets to go anyway. He also tries to steal Josh's thesis idea behind his back even though Josh clearly expressed he is not ok with it. Christian simply has no integrity or honor; in the end he gets what he deserves.

I was fascinated with Hårga and its personification of feminism. The women in Hårga get to choose their mates from the outside, express emotions in a healthy collective way, and crown a May Queen every 90 years (which brings me to, where the hell is the May King? Oh darn, he gets BURNED ALIVE). Dani, as the May Queen, chooses whether her boyfriend gets to live or die (he was not randomly chosen, just the Hårgarian was), and she chose a fitting end for him, metaphorically speaking. The more I think about it, the clearer this point is to me: Christian's specific behavior in his relationship with Dani did not warrant the punishment, per se, but it was a fitting way to cleanse the cult (and the world dare I say?) of its toxic masculinity, which Christian was a part of. With Christian (as the demon) getting what he deserves, Dani gets the catharsis she deserves. The last shot of Dani's face first reveals the horror of the journey she's just been on, but unfolds as a smile of realization that she's free from her unhealthy relationship and can move onto the next stage of her life.

After some quick research into the significance of the numbers (9, 72, 90) in this movie, I came across some interesting information and found that 3 and 9 come up often in Norse mythology. I know Aster did some research for Midsommar and it probably intersects with what I found.

"Every ninth year, people from all over Sweden assembled at the Temple at Uppsala. There was feasting for nine days and sacrifices of both men and male animals according to Adam of Bremen."

"Adam details sacrificial practices held at the temple; Adam describes that nine males of "every living creature" are offered up for sacrifice, and tradition dictates that their blood placates the gods. The corpses of the nine males are hung within the grove beside the temple.....Adam reveals that "one Christian" informed him that he had seen seventy-two cadavers of differing species hanging within the grove. Adam expresses disgust at the songs they sing during these sacrificial rites, quipping that the songs are "so many and disgusting that it is best to pass over them in silence."

I added the bold for the most significant info. It was interesting that Aster didn't go with all male sacrifices at the end, but most of them were male, so this supports the cleansing view I mentioned earlier. I was surprised to see "seventy-two" mentioned and "one Christian." A coincidence, I think not! The festival occurs every 90 years, not every 9, and people live until 72. So various multiples of 9 seem to hold some type of importance in Swedish mythology.


I tend to look for reasons behind actions in movies, because people usually don't act randomly. My analysis sometimes borders on overanalysis, but it doesn't affect anyone except for myself, and I guess anyone here who chooses to read my thoughts. Overall I think it's fun to delve deep into a movie worth discussing, such as Midsommar.

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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#197 Post by Mr Sausage » Sun Feb 23, 2020 9:56 pm

You're using "codependent", but I think what you mean is "dependent". Codependent means both people are dependent on each other. It describes two or more people rather than one.

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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#198 Post by cpetrizzi » Sun Feb 23, 2020 10:02 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 9:56 pm
You're using "codependent", but I think what you mean is "dependent". Codependent means both people are dependent on each other. It describes two or more people rather than one.
Ah, my bad! Thanks for the clarification.


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Re: Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

#200 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:16 pm

The first Collector's Edition from A24, Ari Aster's 171-minute director's cut will look as crisp on your bookshelf as it does in 4K Ultra HD.

Blu-ray disc comes enclosed in a clothbound, Hårga-yellow slipcase, accompanied by an illustrated 62-page booklet featuring original artworks from the film by Ragnar Persson and a foreword by Martin Scorsese.

Orders will ship by July 20th.
It's not cheap, but it's really nice, and since I so rarely buy physical media anymore, I'm glad to purchase something like this here and there.

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