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  1. #2741
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bobtree's Avatar
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    Since Robin Williams passed, I watched The Fisher King on Netflix. The script is lousy, Jeff Bridges is unconvincing, and Terry Gilliam reuses all his favorite directorial tricks to little effect. There are some good performances (the singing homeless guy was great), and it has a few decent moments, but overall I was extremely disappointed. The positive ratings for this film are just ridiculous.

  2. #2742
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus SirKicksalot's Avatar
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    Caught a screening of Snowpiercer. A bunch of ungrateful idiots lead by Captain America try to take down the generous society of the last people on Earth. One of those movies where the main dude is going to kill everyone for the sake of some fucking kid.

    It's well made and entertaining though. Cutting some of the fat would improve it. Harvey Weinstein had the right idea but the internet ruined his initiative because muh Korean director etc etc.

  3. #2743
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirKicksalot View Post
    One of those movies where the main dude is going to kill everyone for the sake of some fucking kid.
    Maybe you should watch it again.

  4. #2744
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    Despite characteristically wonderful performances by Bridges and Streep, The Giver was overly manipulative and sentimental. Not that it wasn't successfully manipulative-- I mean, c'mon, who can withstand baby tiger footage?

    I increasingly find myself agreeing with the bad guys in this kind of dystopian film. More evidence of something wrong with me. Science fiction is now a genre as obsessed with celebrating the status quo as it is with asking "What if?" The Giver could have been a fascinating movie if it actually examined its conflict rigorously, philosophically; or if it looked at acceptable elements of its dystopians (consider meat-eating, for example). Instead, we are reassured that our own factual world is "truly the best of all possible worlds."

    Hell, if anybody wants to turn The Giver into a good film, all they have to do is add a dose of realism: the baby dies of dehydration during Jonah's exodus. That would at least give the audience some reminder of the reason behind Streep's vision.

    At first, I defended the movie to myself: maybe it's made for less sophisticated audiences. Maybe it's made for kids. Then I remembered The Hunger Games. Those books, and the movies based on them, demonstrated that entertainment aimed at adolescents doesn't have to settle for easy answers and cloying sentimentality. Collins's writing continually addresses the hardships of adolescents (and everybody else: those hardships never evaporate fully) and faces them honestly, with the highest regard for its audience.

  5. #2745
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    I'm not familiar with The Giver, but it arouses my interest and it's interesting to contrast your thoughts with those from The Verge (admittedly not a publication one generally associates with insightful film reviews).

  6. #2746
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus SirKicksalot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lethe View Post
    Maybe you should watch it again.
    He pushes the asian girl away when she asks for matches for the bomb. Then he sees the kid under the floor and points her to the matches. Did I miss anything?

  7. #2747
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirKicksalot View Post
    He pushes the asian girl away when she asks for matches for the bomb. Then he sees the kid under the floor and points her to the matches. Did I miss anything?
    I thought you were referring to the motive for the rebellion, but in any case that's a pretty flippant interpretation of what happened. A psychologically exhausted Chris Evans was temporarily swayed by Ed Harris' arguments, and then given a visceral reminder of the human cost of the system he was being asked to uphold. I think the film is to be commended for its moral ambiguity, and moreover for its recognition that there are stronger human drives than strictly utilitarian ones. Chris Evans could've assumed Ed Harris' position, but he would've foregone his humanity to do so, much as Ed Harris himself had, closeted away from the rest of humanity.

    I've no doubt that the kind of edits Harvey Weinstein wanted to make were to excise any of the moral ambiguity from the film, and particularly its hero, and probably to tone down the class antagonism also. In other words, to produce a safer, less interesting film better adapted to the tastes of mainstream American audiences. Thank goodness he didn't get his way.
    Last edited by Lethe; 18-08-2014 at 05:11 AM.

  8. #2748
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lethe View Post
    I'm not familiar with The Giver, but it arouses my interest and it's interesting to contrast your thoughts with those from The Verge (admittedly not a publication one generally associates with insightful film reviews).
    Thanks for the link. That wasn't a bad review, and it is interesting to contrast. I think The Giver was, to Robertson of the Verge, first a novel, and then a movie, but I never knew the novel. Likewise, The Hunger Games sounds like it was first a movie to Robertson, but to me, first a novel.

    There's something that needs a bit of nuance. Robertson writes,
    And despite being frequently heavy-handed, it’s actually captured a dystopia that’s genuinely morally ambiguous.
    Which is two different sentences depending on which clause is emphasized. The dystopia may be morally ambiguous, but the treatment is far from ambiguous. The potential reasons for the dystopian choices made are told, whereas the reasons against are shown, and powerfully, manipulatively at that (v.s. tiger cubs). That's part of my problem with it. I don't mind that there is no moral upside to Airstrip One or to Skynet, because that's not the point for those. But with The Giver, I feel as if the dystopians deserved a day in court that they were never given.

  9. #2749
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    Quote Originally Posted by nate View Post
    Which is two different sentences depending on which clause is emphasized. The dystopia may be morally ambiguous, but the treatment is far from ambiguous. The potential reasons for the dystopian choices made are told, whereas the reasons against are shown, and powerfully, manipulatively at that (v.s. tiger cubs).
    Thanks for clarifying -- that was the main point of difference I was thinking of in linking the other review. I suspect you're probably right about where it comes from too, i.e. seeing the film alone, vs. the film in light of the novel.

    Different standards could play a part too. Given how morally simplistic most films are, I'm usually pretty thrilled at any gesture towards moral ambiguity or complexity (relevant for Snowpiercer above also). Is it even possible to give fair and equal treatment to alternative perspectives in a way that doesn't compromise the primary narrative? From my limited experience, Ursula Le Guin's The Dispossessed always impressed me in this respect. It presents and generally endorses a functioning anarcho-socialist society, but there are doubts scribbled all round the margins: the anarcho-socialist society is under stress and at risk of falling apart. It's suggested that there are particular circumstances that allowed such a society to be formed and sustained, and the larger society with which the anarchists are contrasted is depicted as both monstrous and, perhaps, the best that could hope to be achieved under the circumstances.

    In any case I'm still interested in seeing The Giver; need to get around to that 'Hunter Games' phenomenon too at some point!
    Last edited by Lethe; 18-08-2014 at 05:17 AM.

  10. #2750
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lethe View Post
    Is it even possible to give fair and equal treatment to alternative perspectives in a way that doesn't compromise the primary narrative?
    It is a less philosophical film, but part of what makes Pirates of the Caribbean such a delight is exactly that. The motive of each of the players is understandable, and they each play the hand they've been dealt to the utmost. Depp's character is the good guy because of the amount of screen time he receives, and not for any other reason. But it works-- unquestionably, in my opinion, and the receipts support me.

    There are other films like that, films that don't paint the bad guy in a way that makes me feel like I'm watching a re-run of the leadup to the Iraq War (I love peace but if you're going to rape babies then), but it's not common with works concerned with morality. Part of that is because it requires a certain unpopular relativism to really pull it off.

    I'd be interested to hear your thoughts whenever you do get around to watching it. And I would recommend The Hunger Games trilogy, but preferably in book form-- they're the kind of books you can read in one day each, it's not really much investment, and they really made me think about a lot-- especially about how frequently adolescents are more intellectually interesting than the adults that they become.

  11. #2751
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    Quote Originally Posted by somini View Post
    First, Chinatown is an amazing deconstruction of Noir films in general, and the ending just blows everything out of the water. The performances are just mind-blowing, even for bit-parts. It's as good as it gets. The best a film gets the less I can write about it, I have literally nothing but praise for it.
    Chinatown was great. I* also really liked the sequel.
    (*but most people thought the sequel wasn't a patch on the original. I was much younger when I watched them both so I may have been an idiot).

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthile View Post
    Oh gods, The Andromeda Strain was so bad. One of the most boring films I have ever watched. The best way to get that out of the system is to watch Westworld, also from Michael Crichton. It is infinitely more entertaining.

    Man, that tag line describes like half of his novels.
    All of his novels, right?
    I never found Westworld to be anything other than disappointing. Maybe because the idea seemed so cool... how can robot cowboy yul brynner be bad??! but I found the delivery rather lacking overall... although with a few cool points.
    I think Westworld would be a good candidate for a modern remake.

    Quote Originally Posted by somini View Post
    I also watched North by Northwest and it's not at all what I was expecting. It's a goofy, raunchy, action film, that was filmed almost entirely through backward projection, to put the actors in exotic places. People talk bad about 300 and purely green screen stuff as some novelty, but here's a film from '59 that's just like that. The plot is simple: George Clooney is mistaken for someone else, and the Bad Guy Humbert Humbert (of Lolita fame) is out to catch him, with his Dragon, Bela Lugosi. His life is saved by a woman, Covarrubias and they do some hijinks by throwing money at people, he returns the favour by saving her life and throwing Dracula off a cliff, the Bad Guy gets arrested and they bang on the train. There's also the crop duster scene, that is completely superfluous and didn't age well due to the backward projection stuff.
    Sure, the dialog is very well written and acted. I'm sorry, what I meant is that Cary Grant's retorts are this. When Pretty Lady talks, it's mostly trying to get him to bed. The bad guys are just Comic Book Villains. There's something about a war or something, but I guess they spent all the edginess in coming up with innuendo.
    What I meant is that I wasn't expecting North by Northwest to be a TV Movie.
    EDIT: Well, that came out a bit harsh. I liked it, I was just expecting a bit more from Hitchcock.
    North By Northwest is an awesome movie... although rather dated. One reason it's so dated is that it's almost a prototypical hollywood action movie. Combine NbNW with Where eagles dare and you basically have the genesis of most of the genre (except the kung fu stuff that came in later).

    the problem with all these newfangled HD tvs and bluerays is that the old SFX like backscreens become sooooo much more obvious. I must have watched Way of the Dragon a dozen times on VHS on a small-by-modern-standards-tube tv, and I never noticed that the climactic fight between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris was against a painted backdrop. Then I watched it on DVD and it was really obvious.

  12. #2752
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus SirKicksalot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillButNotBen View Post
    North By Northwest is an awesome movie... although rather dated. One reason it's so dated is that it's almost a prototypical hollywood action movie. Combine NbNW with Where eagles dare and you basically have the genesis of most of the genre (except the kung fu stuff that came in later).
    Where Eagles Dare is awesome and better than most modern action movies.

  13. #2753
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus The JG Man's Avatar
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    Of course the advantage with NbNW is that one of the more memorable backdrops is whilst he's drunk, which helps aid what humour there is in that sequence (I don't believe it's supposed to be played entirely straight). I never really considered looking at it as one of the foundations for modern action films, but thinking about it I see what you mean. I've always liked it. What works about the crop duster sequence aren't the effects but the atmosphere. You have this lonely person in the middle of nowhere and whilst you can see it coming, it's intentionally not made explicit until it's beginning its approach and even then it could just be something else. It's the build-up of that scene that makes it.
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  14. #2754
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus somini's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillButNotBen View Post
    the problem with all these newfangled HD tvs and bluerays is that the old SFX like backscreens become sooooo much more obvious. I must have watched Way of the Dragon a dozen times on VHS on a small-by-modern-standards-tube tv, and I never noticed that the climactic fight between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris was against a painted backdrop. Then I watched it on DVD and it was really obvious.
    That's true, I should have watched it in a grainy silver screen as it was intended.

    As for the dated-ness, I sort of agree. Another case of Seinfeld in Unfunny.
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  15. #2755
    Lesser Hivemind Node Drayk's Avatar
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    I watched Guardians of the Galaxy yesterday with a friend. I didn't expect much of it and we had a blast. The story is meh... but the locations, the team and the humour were pretty cool. 8/10 would recommend.

    Quote Originally Posted by db1331 View Post
    I give unto you the maddest of props. You're a god damned super hero.
    *Mostly* harmless

  16. #2756
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus somini's Avatar
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    I watched Chariots of Fire and I have to say it's quite silly. It goes beyond the po-face, and warps again to serious business. I know 1920 is a long time ago, but the having the main characters fighting against oppression doesn't jell with them being swimming in a deluge of valets, waiters, people carrying bags, people pulling the chairs for them to sit, miners in coal face crying for a lord winning a race, and the like. The other problem of watching this now is that talking of Eton and Oxford nowadays makes you remember of David Cameron and Boris Johnson. All that nonsense about "cream of the crop" and all loses its appeal. Still, Ian Holm is cool, and the music is Vangelis. Worth it, if only for laughs.
    Steam(shots), Imgur, Flickr, Bak'laag, why do you forsake me?

  17. #2757
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Wenz's Avatar
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    Planning to watch The Square
    post in progress

  18. #2758
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jesus_Phish's Avatar
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    I'm not ashamed to say I watched and enjoyed Expendables 3. It was a goofy action movie with cheesy one liners.
    "Halo is designed to make the player think "I look like that, I am macho sitting in my undies with my xbox""

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  19. #2759
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fanbuoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesus_Phish View Post
    I'm not ashamed to say I watched and enjoyed Expendables 3. It was a goofy action movie with cheesy one liners.
    As it should be. A movie doesn't have to be "good" to be enjoyable. I watched Sharknado last night and had a great time of it. It was awful in pretty much every way possible, but I'll be damned if it wasn't entertaining. Sure, I laughed at it, not with it, but that's clearly what they're going for. I'm a bit skeptical towards watching the TV series, though. Same goes for every Steven Seagal movie ever. Horrible movies, great entertainment.

  20. #2760
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    Gary Daniels B movies are always crap but always entertaining. It was good to see him in Expendables 1.
    Same with Lundgren and his B movies, tho he is more well known and had a starring role in Ex series.

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