This site is supported by Nobility Studios.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Movies i've seen...

319 posts in this topic

Posted

In the past week or so, i've been lucky enough to catch some fine movies - some by design and some by luck. I thought i'd point out a few, since you could probably do worse than to check them out if you have a spare couple of hours.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ... and Spring is Ki-duk Kim's Buddhist tale from Korea, set at a beautiful lake scene with only six characters. Watching it is almost a meditative experience and it would function as a nice introduction to Zen, or more if you're already familiar with it.

Night Shyamalan's The Village apparently got a critical panning but i was unable to match the objections with the film at all. Although the several twists in the tale were interesting, it seemed obvious that it was a love story (including a mesmerising scene on a porch between a breathless Joaquin Phoenix and a luminous Bryce Dallas Howard). The deeper examination of utopian communities and ideals was very nicely done, while Shyamalan seems well on his way to becoming the modern Hitchcock.

Intacto, a Spanish piece from Fresnadillo, was an exploration of the concept of luck and its transfer between the survivors of accidents; in brief, they bet their luck against each other's, with the winner accumulating it through successful games. The result is an almost metaphysical study.

I was slightly disappointed by Yimou's Hero, which, although nicely stylised, seemed to lack the depth of Crouching Tiger (particularly the story and character development). Kim Sung-Su's The Warrior was hampered by an almost non-existent plot but nevertheless featured some amazing spearwork and interesting moral dilemmas.

Lastly, Linklater's Before Sunset reprised his earlier Before Sunrise, taking in the sights of Paris and some philosophical dialogue (written by Hawke and Delpy, for the most part). The ending was nicely done, as was the implicit discussion throughout of the proposition nothing is more expensive than regret.

What have you seen?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I also liked "The Village", not only the beautiful lovestory but also for the interesting points on how subcultures can survive, staying out of touch with civilisation and the psychology involved in that.

I had mixed feelings about Yimou's "Hero" and I have seen it three times already. I loved the scenery and camerawork and as an old martial artist, I also loved the stilistic fighting scenes. But one thing that disturbed me a bit with this movie, was that I sensed a weird "idealistic defense" for the totalitarian Chinese political system. I have discussed this with my friends too; some agree with me, but some don

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Another movie i caught last week is Stage Beauty, covering the period when women were not allowed to act and hence female roles were played by men. Truth be told, i watched this because it stars Billy Crudup, an actor i've been following since his staggering performance in Waking the Dead, but it was interesting (and funny) nonetheless.

I also saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, of which i'll have more to say soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I saw Clint Eastwoods "Million Dollar Baby" yesterday. It was really good, especially the second part (If someone hasn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I got through watching an older movie, Seventh Seal, late last Sunday night at a philosophy party. I heard that it is considered one of the greatest movies ever made, especially by the same people who think the Brothers Karamazov is the greatest book. It takes place in midieval times and is about a man who plays a game of chess with death. I've seen Hero as well, but can't really compare it with Crouching Tiger since it's been so long since i've seen the latter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I have seen quite a few movies.

Shattered Glass--A more appropriate title of this would be 'Diary of a despicable man.' It is the story of Stephen Glass who made an astonishing number of fictional articles that were nevertheless printed in various magazines. The problem with the film, I think, is that Glass is potrayed too sympathetically. This is probably due to the very good performance of Hayden Christensen( the young Darth Vader--here's to hoping this Star Wars as some depth) who makes him a pathetic, snivelling, human.

Hostage-- the new Bruce Willis Movie which fails because slow motion just does not work to convey the realism the film began with. This is a prime example of a movie that gets away from its director.

The Paper---a very good movie concerning Journalism. One of the most pivotal moments centers around the decision to print a story known after deadlines have passed to be false. In this instance, the story that made it to the deadline was shown to be false an hour or two later. Do you "stop the presses" or do you, say as the editor says "Its true for today. We'll print a correction the next day?"

Wag the Dog--the subject of which will hopefeully be a paper of mine. It concerns the invention of a war in order to distract the public from a controversy surrounding the president, and functions, to get him reelected. Really, the movie is about media manipulation and it is surprising how close this sort of this thing is to actual reality.

My problem with Hero was its message. I thought it had depth but because its message was alien to me, it felt, well, distant. I think the depth lies mostly in the relatinships between the three assasins--I'll have to see it again in order to remember what I thought was well done about this. I also remember thinking their was impressive use of symbols( colors, etc.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Seen a couple of new and old movies during the Easterholidays, and I thought I would share some of my thoughs.

First I saw Pedro Almodovars "Bad Education" (La Mala Educacion), which I read is supposed to be partly autobiographical. Nice and powerful movie, about the tragic history of a kid who gets molested by their catholic litteratureteacher in his youth, while the friend (who is probably supposed to be Almodovar) gets expelled, due to the priests jealousy. The story gets more complicated, as we follow him as he grows up as a transsexual. While later on also the brother gets invloved in a blackmailingattempt towards the (former) priest, in order to sponsor a drugabuse. I like Almodovars abit strange movies, and this one is no exception.

After that I saw "The Motorcycle Diaries", another fantastic movie about the inspiring journey of self-discovery of the young Ernesto "Che" Guevara and his friend, as they travel trough Latin America on their motorcycle. Alot of beautiful scenery, and as I traveled abit myself here, it was nice to recognize some spots and I got new ideas for future travels too. :D

It was also interesting to see how brutally honest (and stubborn) he could be and without valuing his other actions in his later life, the movie made you understand the background of his passion for the poor and weak in society. Can

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I've just finished watching Sin City.

Its a dark and very violent film, but at the same time, beautifully cinematographed (to my untutored eye, anyway). The movie is shot almost entirely in black and white, and the occasional use of colour is very well done. The plot is also good... its exactly how I would expect "updated" noir to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I've just finished watching Sin City.

Its a dark and very violent film, but at the same time, beautifully cinematographed (to my untutored eye, anyway). The movie is shot almost entirely in black and white, and the occasional use of colour is very well done. The plot is also good... its exactly how I would expect "updated" noir to be.

I couldn't say more here for a short review. I'll say more when I see the movie agin Wednesday--this is incredible work by Rodriguez. What section of the film or story you thought was the best(or are they all equal?)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Unfortunately there does not seem to be any spoiler tags here, so I'm somewhat reluctant to discuss the film in great detail.

I really loved both the ending (of the Hartigan story) and the beginning (of the movie). How about you? Perhaps a new spoiler-laden discussion may be in order? :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Caught Sin City last night with pops. He liked the dialogue, but found the graphic violence overcooked. :lol:

Sometimes i felt the pacing in the early going was rushed, off, but by the time the 2nd story rolled around it was more relaxed, slowed down, almost sophisticated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Red---The last film of Kieslowski's Three Colors Trilogy. I have been shamed into seeing this series by someone, who in fact, only appears by name in this film. Quite good. Some ingenious directing by Kieslowski, great cinematagrophy, and a sophisticated plot. Acting was also quite good.This will be discussed in more substantial fashion soon.

Blade Trinity--Garbage. This was the worst of the Blades though it had the most promising plot of them all. Blade has to contend with human authorities as well as vampires, and the resurrection of Dracula. If only the film, was not totaly disjointed, delving into, at times, raunchy and unneccesary humor. Ryan Reynolds was funny but come on, this isnt what Blade is about.

Run Lola Run--Yet another film, I was shamed int0oseeing on pain of being called a novice. Very good directing, a good soundtrack, and, in fact, a good plot with many philosophical implications.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

The HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy--Bland is the best way to describe this movie. Its disjointed, oddly understated and I would not attribute that to "British" humour( if so, well...). One reviewer says you just sit and "stare at it" which I think conveys just how bland the movie is. It is rich with potential nd I'm eager to read the source now because of it but it was not excecuted with enough of the 'smarts' it seemed it wanted to convey.

White--The second film of Kieswolski's Colors Trilogy. For me, this seemed more complex than the other two films but I was dosy so I might be wrong. To me, the death/resurrection theme in the movie overshadowed the 'love story' so to speak as I was more interested in the further relationship between the characters that basically saved themselves. Intriguing movie as I'm discovering all of Kieslowski's to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

House of Flying Daggers-- A spectacular movie. Beautiful ights scenes, scenery and a very well done love story. If ever a movie benefitted from close analysis(down to the very detail of the character's expressions) this is one. Hwanhee Lee's essay on the movie located here at the Senses of Cinema site is the best I've seen on the movie and *nails* it perfectly. The essay also contains a biting criticism of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon( a movie I love).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Funny, I just rented "House of Flying Daggers" today, I

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

That essay on House of Flying Daggers was excellent. I remember being impressed with the way the director showed the scene of the Imperial soldiers closing in on the resistance hideout toward the end and never came back to it; in effect telling us that the war isn't really what the film is about.

I recently watched Color of Paradise, an incredibly beautiful Iranian film. It is about a blind boy who nevertheless sees life in the sense described in this thread. His widowed father, however, neglects him time and again in pursuit of his own worries and desires. The ending is one of the most tragic i've ever seen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Crash--Very good film about racism. It addresses many of the subtler aspects of racism and makes for a good discussion film.

Unleashed--The new Jet li film. Melodramatic and a little corny but phenomonal fight scenes and good acting, by Morgan Freeman make it a cool movie to watch.

Tigerland--excellent movie about going to war. Colin Farrel first role. The film contains many snippets of philosophy worht discussing. There are references to absurd man, etc,. and freedom is a topic implicit in the overal story. I will be starting a thread about military films which will hopefully involve discussion of this film.

The Crime of Pedro Amaro-- A Mexican film. This film was caused much controversy in Mexico because it was perceived as anti-catholic. The film chronicals the politics of the chruch so to speak, focusing on Amaro, a young man training to become a priest. The story involves is love and consumation with a woman and the subsequent tragedy from all this. Lots to think about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Star Wars, Episode III, Revenge of the Jedi, er Sith.

Spoilers abound, yes, I need to get the spoilers tag in!

"I shouldn't have done that." Anakin after chopping off Count Duku's head.

"Oh, what have I done." Anakin after chopping off Mace Windu's hand (no, no exclamation point, like Willy Wonka, I was expecting Oompa Loompas to jump out any time)

"Don't do it Anakin, I have the higher ground." Obi-Wan to Anakin after a totally stupid battle when Obi-Wan jumps off of the convenient floating object that had its own power source protecting it from the lava flow, I think Anakins was some sort of convenient robot. So, because Obi-Wan is above Anakin by a few feet, this give him ultimate authority in the combat and there is nothing Anakin can do but lose. After everything else they had been combating on or around, THIS was the conclusion? The lamest thing I had ever seen.

I have no idea what was going on in those lava flows, but again, there are no redundant systems, and everything is controlled from one button on one panel to make it all fall apart. Lucas in a nutshell.

I think in an effort to make things look more "real" they add in such effects as wind resistance in space, and the immediate dropping of things out of space "down" to make it more dramatic, when actually it wouldn't have moved at all (or just a little). It looks so unrealistic to me that I just come right out of the movie and don't enjoy it.

I mean, they had some tight special effects, the 3D effect was pretty amazing in many of the scenes, it just didn't look real to me (i.e. things didn't move the way I thought they should, except I wouldn't have noticed if it wasn't so out of place)

I thought the light-saber battles were really poor, all of the main good or bad guys were put down really easily (of course some escaped to rise again, golly).

I would have to say that Mace Windu was the best Jedi of them all, including better than Yoda (this is especially evident when you watch the very very good cartoon Star Wars Clone Wars, in fact I recommend watching that and just forgetting Ep III.)

So, then to get past all of the stupidity of having C-3PO in the first 3 movies and then not knowing anything in the last three, he has the simple line at the end "Erase the protocol droids memory". Thanks for killing C-3PO Lucas. What an idiot.

I also especially find it stupid that R2-D2 is so prominent but Obi-Wan in Ep IV, doesn't remember him.

The "corruption" of Anakin was about the most stupid thing I have seen. I mean, I realize it is probably difficult to convey something like that on-screen, but I didn't see anything at all. Everything was conveyed in horrible dialog.

I actually think this is the worst of the 3 new movies, now that I think about it more. Sure, it looks more slick, but when has that ever made a movie?

Also, again, the wonderful music by John Williams is masked by the special effects almost entirely (as in the last two movies too). I almost felt like he just gave up and wrote background music for everthing and didn't try to make themes or music that jumped out at you.

One other nit, for sound effects, I am totally tired of that drum-beat engine sound that they used over and over and over and over. It was fine in the first new movie for Anakin's pod racer, but, that should have been it. Come up with something new.

Oh, and why is "hanging off the edge of something" and you are a Jedi and can moves objects weighing tons, a dramatic effect? Okay, just use the Force and stop yourself from falling!

At least the editing in this movie was better then the last, you didn't jump around not knowing where you were, wondering "How did they get there, or who is that?" (well, once).

Now, performances I did like, were from Samual Jackson (although I felt him strained a bit by lines, okay, everybody was), Ian McDiarmid, and then Ewan McGregor did about as good as he could with the material.

That was about it, I was expecting a lot more from Natalie Portman, but holy crap she was horrible. In the very beginning I thought that maybe, just maybe Hayden Cristensen would pull out some good acting, he almost had me there, just for a few lines, but it went totally away with the lines above.

So, the storm troopers, who are totally lame and can't hit a thing in 4, 5 and 6, are able to kill Jedi with impunity. How stupid again. I thought Anakin tracked them down and killed them. Didn't see much of that expect when he is killing children (oh sorry, "younglings" which made me gag).

Why is it that "balance in the Force"="No bad guys"? Not much balance there.

Plus, the "Build-a-Vader" machine had it right the first time. Nothing changed about him for 18 years, BUT, ALL of the ships used by the Republic and then the Empire change in that time.

Yeah, ancient religion, yeah, only takes 18 years to forget the Jedi, uh huh.

Oh, the dialog for Vader once he is "transformed" is pretty stupid too.

Glad I didn't pay to see this load, I still like my version better, one I came up with after the first movie. My version is so much better, but probably wouldn't be accepted, but much cooler.

Seems I keep reading glowing reports on how good this movie was, but I just don't see it, it really was to me worse then the others. Hard to believe I guess.

-Scott

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Revenge of the Sith---I thought this movie was fairly done contrary to Scotty :wink: I thought Lucas approached some interesting questions concerning good and evil in Anakin's 'turn' namely the motivation for "evil" which is not a simplistic issue. In fact, I think he contradicts himself( or the Jedis do) in the message but I have to see the move again to remember just why I thought this--it was the issue of "good and evil" being a "point of view" i.e Obi Wan stating that Good and evil is not a matter of "absolutes" but then the questions about what is good and how we determine it comes up and why are the Jedi so? (It seems the answer is in their control of passions and their deeds). Some reviews mentioned that the movie made some non too hidden criticisms of Bush but I wasn't really concerned about that as I watched it. Anakin does say "Those who arent with me are against me" in a sense meant to convey his total naivety and ignorance. As far balance in the force, my friend, a Stars Wars fanatic always talked to me about it being suggested that in the story that the Jedis were stupid to think something like this since the force was not balanced considering the Jedi's outnumbered siths by a large amount--in essence, he thought, the prophecy could not have been what the Jedis thought because of this. To me, this is fairly good and intresting intepretation as I dont know much of the philosophy behind Star Wars. Now, my friend, says the 'force' is actually in balance since the Jedis have been wiped out and the ratio of siths and jedis are almost equal ( Anakin-Palpatine/ Obi-won-Yoda).

Zero Effect--This is a SPECTACULAR movie and perhaps, the best I've seen all year though it was released near a decade ago. It is also a comedy. Stupendous. I was suprised at the philosophical overtones in the movie, sometimes explicit--for example, the lyrics of a song in a critical part of the movie are " I dont believe in an interventionist God..." and very much implicit throughout. Thought provoking and something I will purchase and watch many more times. By the way, dont be deceived by the lyrics--the song is actually a love song( even if God was intervening, he shouldnt intervene with this girl--he doesnt believe in angels but she might be one), however, the philosophical overtones of not believing in an interventionist god are explored and played out in the story. That is, how do we achieve justice absent an intervening God? What do we do? The story itself, ostensibly, about the world's greatest detective (and a social recluse because it it, it seems--more interesting questions) and a particular case of hiseventually turns on that very question: how humans enact justice absent belief of any sort of everlasting justice in another world. Most reviews talk about it has an excellent character study(which it is) but this ignores other substantial material in the movie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Your friend had the same idea I did, which I didn't mention above. The Force is not good or evil, it is just there, but in some ways there must be something that makes good or evil, like life and death I suppose.

So, in my version Anakin figures this out, he realizes that he must bring the Force into balance by getting rid of the Jedi, who don't really understand that their idea of "good" does not mean "balance" of the Force.

He goes about this task himself, he is not involved with the Sith at all, he isn't subverted, he just knows we he has to do to make things right, and to stop the tear that has made the Force weaker and weaker, and may just make it disappear forever.

Of course the Sith use this to their advantage, but Anakin systematically kills off Jedi, until he gets down to Obi-wan. At this junction, it is either he or Obi-wan that must die to put the Force in balance. Anakin decides that he can't kill anymore, and loses the battle.

This is where the Sith come in. They find Anakin and build him as Darth Vader, subverting his mind and sending him out to finish off all of the rest of the Jedi that are still around, plus to squish any remaining rebellion. This throws the Force out of balance again, and Luke comes in to set that right.

I just think people read way more into the movie then actually exists, Lucas couldn't write his way out of a paper bag. :)

I kept watching Episodes 1 and 2, looking and looking and wanting it to be better, to try to find something that I missed, some kernel of story. But, couldn't find it. ;)

I think Lucas needs to be under strain and constraints to actually convey his story, otherwise he has too much control and ruins it. I think he probably needed to let somebody else have more control over the editing of the movie, that would have helped a lot.

-Scott

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

The Machinist--Creepy and visually stunning movie. Christian Bale (American Psycho and the new Batman) gives an awesome perfomance as many have already noted, complete with his losing 60 pounds for the part--a ghastly appearance. Very interesting movie, ultimately concerning redemption and conscience but the payoff is sort of blah.

Cinderella Man--Saw this in the theater with the lady. I mention that little bit because its directed by Ron Howard, and thus full of emotionally sweeping music to get those tears or cheers going--I had to hold her cheering back a little. Thats how good or manipulative( as some will say) it was. Very good and inspirational film and well-choreographed boxing matches at that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Mr and Mrs Smith--some reviews claim this is darker or blacker than The War of the Roses and I dont know why. This is loud and full of action but darker than War of the Roses it isnt. Too glamorous, too humorous, too many explosions to be as dark as the slightly 'realistic' War of the Roses. Very different tones. This feels like a summer movie, to watch for a good time not an almost drama'comedy as War of the Roses. In any case, very funny film, I thought. Doug Liman is a good director. The score is fantastic and Jolie...well, she's Jolie. Elegant. Not much to think about but entertaining nonetheless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Batman Begins---A fascinating take on the Batman by the director of Memento, Christopher Nolan. The story of Batman his what is intersting here since Nolon unfortunately, near the end of the film becomes somewhat generic in terms of action and a series of flat one-liners( crowd pleasers that are supposed to work but dont). The action scenes in the film could aslo benefit from simply pulling the camera back--I dont remember who started this technique( it is most prevalent in the first Bourne Identity) but its simply not good for action. Nevertheless, intriguing story about the motivations behind behind Batman namely the overcoming of fear. Nolan is clever enough also to ntoe that the arrival of Batman as a symbol to the crime ridden city of Gothm may, in fact, escalate crime rather than eliminate it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I think that extreme close-up style was made popular by MTV and Ridley Scott's cinematography in Gladiator, but i could be wrong.

Agreed that that style doesn't work for action scenes. Rather, i think it hides the actors' lack of realism, and contributes to a cheesy taste to the film. :roll:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I liked the action scenes and how they were shot. Bruce Wayne learned how to fight by training with the League of Shadows and their fighting style is quick and agressive, meant to disable their opponents as fast as possible. I thought it was shot to give the feel of what it would be like to have Batman take you out quickly and then disappear. I think it works for this film.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0