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Movies i've seen...

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Posted (edited)

Just saw Towel-Head. An ugly though effective film. Quite cringe-worthy. The film does a good job exploring the development of this sexually molested and horribly treated girl. I was frustrated by the adults in the film though.While an adequate explanation of Jasira's context, both parents were so childish as to be ridiculous not just flawed people but cartoonish.

In any case, there is a splendid discussion ( with some excessive repetition) on the disc with Alan Ball, the author, the two main film stars and representatives of a Muslim and Sheik group concerned about the film title. I must say I absolutely agree with Ball in the discussion ( while offensive, the film title is appropriate) though he overstates the film's anti-racism and how effective it is in its argument against racism. The slur "towelhead" or being recognized as towelhead is simply the easiest and most identifiable way Jasira is marginalized by others ( not her family). It is not solely for that reason that she is abused and molested but the most readily identifiable. It is the best example of how she has been objectified as an "other." Her story is far more about a 13 year girl growing up than about racism though the racism is an effective example of how she is generally treated.

Edited by mosaic
dangling words

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I suppose I owe an explanation of "cartoonish." In the beginning of the film, after the unsettling shaving of her private parts by her step-father the mother sends Jasira away blaming her for what the step-father did ( she dresses too provocatively). She basically says she has to understand how her behavior makes him do that. But this plays too much like a deduction and not the emotional reaction it should be - she passively but matter of factly says this to her daughter rather than being upset or emotionally about it. Certainly, this conveys the deplorable detachment of parent from child but it does not come of real. The mother we understand is jealous but she blithely state these things and the whole thing is sort of dreamy - this is the perspective we're supposed to have ( and Jasira) but the moment should have been more "raw." This is only exacerbated later when the mother loses it because she did not get a Christmas present and nudges her daughter to hate her father because she's lonely and wants her back (naturally because she was dumped). Again, the absurdity of this all is seen from Jasira's perspective but the way these scenes play out leave a lot to be desired - there is an element of "truth" missing.

Similarly, the father is simply clueless where his tragedy should be trying to do his best but failing in every conceivable way. It does not seem like he cares about his daughter and his constant and arrogant dismissals of everyone is grating - why is this man like this? It is hard to recognize a human here. He elopes with his girlfriend at every opportunity, is violent to Jasira and generally has nothing at all productive to do with her life though the tragedy of him should be that he tries but is ill equipped for children. The film accurately demonstrates the latter but fails on the former - there is no effective portrayal of him trying. Thus, he becomes this one-dimensional and cartoonish figure entirely aloof from what is going on.

Ironically, I think the neighbor is written rather well- the selfish and pathetic man that both manipulates himself and the girl. He manipulates himself allowing Jasira's own ignorance and curiosity to spur him. He gives her the pornographic magazine, lies to her about being deployed and generally lets her break down her defenses and come to him. This is why he is pathetic - he pretends to himself that he's being seduced to hide the fact that what he's doing is wrong. Jasira, on the other hand, as Allblue points out comes to realize the game and to know that she did not have to play. Certainly, a strange morale from such a sordid, disgusting happening but such it is. Another aspect of the film is Jasira's own immaturity that allows her to not be destroyed ( for the time being) by the experience - returning the dead cat as a last act of kindness is clear evidence that she really does not understand how serious a crime the man has committed.

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Great point about the cartoonish parents, mosaic. This is not a movie that would win awards for much. But films portraying a girl's coming-of-age are so few. Although this one is flawed, I found it well worth seeing. Jasira is the film's most complex character and she really has changed by the end. Maybe they blew their wad (so to speak ;)) on her.

Anyway, great analysis. I enjoyed it!!

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Thanks, Allblue. Have you picked up the DVD? I'm curious what you think about the commentary.

Anyway, I saw Watchmen over the weekend. I'm quite disappointed in the film but I was expecting this. The comic was so thickly layered I did have reservations about how it would translate even if the trailers for the film is what got me interested in the comic in the first place! The main problem with the film is that it is disjointed. Zach Synder's slavish recreation of iconic scenes is a wonder to behold on screen ( that is he talented in this area is undeniable) but how they come together in the narrative is jarring - where the comic has a lot of back story, exploring the motives of the characters, the film too often merely has the panel come to life. There is an astonishing lack of context for a lot of what is onscreen. I wondered throughout the film what people that did not read the comic would think.

The main plot ( which is fairly simple) was convoluted and the audience did not get a proper portrayal of the villain or his motives: the mystery that is at the heart of the narrative and the shocking discovery in the final two chapters of the book ( with all the attendant - "could he really be?") is simple not there in the film. It just happens. It is strangely of little consequence ( along with a nulcear blast that is just visually tremendous rather than harrowing). I thought the film should have told the story differently. The opening credits are great but were not enough to establish the world in which these characters live. Some more time should have been spent with that world instead of a montage - for example, invent a few scenes where people talk about vigilantes running around, joke about it, etc. Also, invent a few scenes where we see them really come to be feared not merely mirror the one from the comic which in the film lacks context. Things like that. One review said that in mirroring the comic the film lacks its own identity. And I agree with that.

Another problem is the fight scenes which were great but too well-dressed considering the thematic material These are normal folks ( except Dr. Manhattan) and the violence should be more brutal and less stylized. Snyder gets the brutality right (the film is quite violent and gory) but the scenes are celebratory, reveling in the violence where it should show the arduous and brutal nature of what these people have taken it upon themselves to do. In a sense, the scenes make the film seem like a standard super-hero film rather than one about people dressing up in costumes and fighting crime. Its difficult to balance this realist tone with much of the fantastical scenarios in the comic but the comic manages to do that being a psychological study of these people in a simple mystery.

Still another issue is the soundtrack which drove me crazy. Too many musical cues. This was the worst part of the film for me - it seemed very amateurish as if one simply wanted to add an emotional component that was missing ( other than the intentionally ludicrous music in a terrible sex scene). So, a lot of negatives. But the film does capture the tone of the comic quite well in several scenes and worth viewing for those alone. The Comedian and Rorschach are well performed and their iconic scenes are (for the most part) recreated tonally perfect. All in all, the film is average and I was hoping for more.

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For the month of March, these were the movies I have seen :)

The Office Space - an old comedy movie about officemates/friends who wanted to take revenge on their boss.

The Royal Tenenbaums - starring Gwyneth Paltrow, you might find this movie a little odd, but I actually think it has something.

Raising Helen - starring Kate Hudson, about a socialite girl whose life went upside down after the death of her sister, leaving 3 children under her care.

Slumdog Millionaire - I don't know if I still have to write something about it. :roll:

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Forgetting Sarah Marshall - a much better bromance than the rest of the field, tho Sarah Marshall herself gets the short shrift. 6.5 out of 10.

Breaking and Entering - a decent, yet average drama with Jude Law and Juliete Binoche who play an architect and a immigrant Muslim, respectively, and they have an affair. The complication is that the Muslim's son is a burglar who breaks in the architect's offices to fence the high-tech equipment, and the mother finds out and tries to blackmail the architect with incriminating photos of their affair. It all works out in the end, oddly. :whatever: Solid performances all around, gorgeous setting in London, and excellent contrast between the upper class and the immigrant population. 7 out of 10

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I saw Watchmen over the weekend as well, and yes, the soundtrack was an abominable distraction; it was more than a distraction, it almost drove me off the cliff to insanity: Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah playing to the very random and poorly done sex scene; Simon and Garfunkel's Hello Darkness My Old Friend playing to the Comedian's funeral scene was just painful. I thought the scenes of Dr. Manhattan on Mars were visually stimulating and exceedingly well articulated: one could almost feel the dry coldness, and I came to empathize with Manhattan's loneliness. For me, Rorschach served almost single handedly as the film's redeeming feature. I was reading on Watchmen on Wikipedia and came across this interesting statement on Rorschach: "Comics historian Bradford W. Wright described the character's world view "a set of black-and-white values that take many shapes but never mix into shades of gray, similar to the ink blot tests of his namesake". Rorschach sees existence as random and, according to Wright, this viewpoint leaves the character "free to 'scrawl [his] own design' on a 'morally blank world" This aspect of Rorschach's personality was very well brought to light in the film.

On a philosophic level, the film left lots to be desired: Dr. Manhattan, a being endowed with God-like powers, begins to come to the conclusion that "life is an overrated phenomenon," and proceeds to explain and defend his increasingly nihilistic conclusions in a almost unsophisticated, even childish, manner; I remember thinking as I watched the film: Perhaps Manhattan would have benefited by reading a little Camus or Baudrillard.

I was reminded of Clamers Johnson's book Nemesis, when the Comedian, jumping from the Watchmen's ship, brutally beats down an angry crowd, and is asked, amidst the chaos and violence, "what ever happened to the American dream?" responds "This is the American dream."

I do feel the movie is worth watching and would recommend it.

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I take it you haven't read the comic, DeadCandance? Moore's writing and the musings of his characters are tremendous. The film does not do Dr. Manhattan's monologues justice but I'm actually intrigued that it spurred such thinking. Throughout the film, I wondered just what the uninitiated would take from it.

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My brother, a big fan of the comic, almost physically assaulted me on discovering that I had watched the film without reading the comic first. He even refused to carry on a conversation with me post my seeing the movie on the comic: I hung my head in shame.... Tell me, mosiac, do you feel that the film did a good job in translating Rorschach? He was the most compelling and intriguing character in the film, in my humble opinion and if there are greater depths of understanding brought to light in the comic, then that alone would get me off my a$$ to read it...........

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Dead, I can't speak for the movie (haven't seen it yet) but Watchmen the graphic novel/comic book limited series is one of the very greatest pieces of literature - up there with Akira and Neon Genesis Evangelion (manga) and Dark Knight Returns and Kingdom Come. So it should be mandatory reading for high schoolers inasmuch Mark Twain and Shakespeare are these days.

My upcoming project takes a few cues from this masterpiece, but I flatter myself. :mrgreen:

(Posted via mobile device)

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My brother, a big fan of the comic, almost physically assaulted me on discovering that I had watched the film without reading the comic first. He even refused to carry on a conversation with me post my seeing the movie on the comic: I hung my head in shame.... Tell me, mosiac, do you feel that the film did a good job in translating Rorschach? He was the most compelling and intriguing character in the film, in my humble opinion and if there are greater depths of understanding brought to light in the comic, then that alone would get me off my a$$ to read it...........

Yes, Rorschach translated quite well to the screen (the actor was fantastic) though many elements ( as is natural) were missing. For example, the relationship between the psychologist and Rorschach goes much deeper in the comic - they are several sessions and the back and forth is an event in itself but all this is regulated to one scene in the film. The comic is tremendous, Dead. It needs to be read.

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Read it, I shall.........

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Camp, Mosaic, you guys seem to have a good level of aesthetic appreciation so I spent my 20$ and bought Watchmen today; I am some 20+ pages in and am already enthralled. I'll get back with you when I finish, Fukuyama can wait a while..........

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On the 27th our beloved Bijou Theater is showing a screening, a double feature, of David Lynch's classics Eraserhead and Blue Velvet ; I am thoroughly excited to see them on the big screen, particularly Eraserhead, one of the most invigorating, strange, surreal, films I have ever laid eyes on..........

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Saw Let The Right One In last Sunday, and thought it one of the finest films of 2008. It clearly debunks the romantic/comic book version of vampire mythology and subverts the horror film genre.

Not that vampire flicks should not be glamorous or heroic - buffy the vampire slayer is evidence of a successful effort - but that Let the Right One In works because of the current vampire craze that rides shotgun on the glamor style. (Twilight) It provides a well-defined contrast, with realism and sheer kubrickian overtones. Ill be thinking about this film for a while.

I'm still creeped out 24 hours afterwards; therefore it's very memorable. Let the Right One In isn't really a horror movie - but actually a love story. It may not be easily recognized or categorized as one but that is because it has been desexualized, given that the star crossed lovers are tweens, not hormonal teenagers.

They both are lonely people, and in their loneliness, they bond with each other. Oskar's impossible love for the vampire is what gives the movie its emotional ballast.

It shouldn't be considered a horror flick because it does not cater to the torture porn fetish that currently dictates the aesthetic for the horror genre. The reason I called it kubrickian is because its creepiness is closer to the Shining than the shock-types we are used to.

Bad news: a remake is in the works and I predict it will be dumb and cheesy, headlined by shia lebouf and dakota fanning. Feh!

(Posted via mobile device)

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Camp, Mosaic, you guys seem to have a good level of aesthetic appreciation so I spent my 20$ and bought Watchmen today; I am some 20+ pages in and am already enthralled. I'll get back with you when I finish, Fukuyama can wait a while..........

:rock: I'd like to hear your thoughts when you're done. And I did not hear anything about that film at all, Cam. Thanks. I'll be checking that out.

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We are callused souls, we philosophers, we connoisseurs of life in all its darkness of being, and it is very rare that a film has the ability to induce me to quell forming tears in my eyes (my wife was with me, and though she cried, she would have made fun of me) but I watched David Lynch's best film (in my opinion) The Elephant Man last night and I just couldn't help myself......... I'm so sentimental...... but it is refreshing every once in a while to be reminded that man does have the ability, however rarely, to overcome his baser and perverse desires....

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Oh, the pain won't stop. I saw Star Trek today, thinking without reading reviews it might actually be good. I "sorta" like JJ Abrams but didn't like the plot in Alias very much, ah well.

I have to admit I got motion sick, _every_ scene had the shaky camera or hand-held camera, and that eventually gets me sick, so to be honest I didn't catch visually the last half of the movie, but it really didn't have much going for it before that. Horrible action/fight scenes because of again editing. I don't know why they continue to do such crappy stuff, probably don't want the actors to learn anything, too time consuming.

Scotty, OF COURSE, was the best part of the movie, and I missed seeing him because of looking away from the screen, darn.

The acting wasn't horrible or anything, but yet again, my least favorite plot device, time travel, and not even written well on top of that. They changed the course of history, and didn't try to put it back, so of course they will start another series. The original cast wouldn't have let it go that way ;) Put things back!

It was really quite silly, and poorly thought out, and monsters that didn't have any bearing on the movie at all were put in, didn't even make sense, it was really poorly written.

Just can't seem to get good sci-fi these days that include your character name on a bulletin board anymore.

-Scott

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Just got back from Star Trek, and I give it two thumbs up and two big toes up for extra measure.

Agree with scotty on the shaky handcam thing, but that didn't detract much from the movie, because the shaky cam has a purpose: frenzied action. That gave the film the extra oomph the original tv series/movies lacked. Bottom line, Trek was as good as Khan. Yes, sacrilege, but I went with 3 other Trekkies who said the same thing (the hard core trekkies that know every title of all 276 episodes said its the best yet).

Chris Pine as James T. Kirk carried the role well, and didn't dip in the hammy well of Shatner, at least not till the end. The cast was well put together, and the sfx was brilliant.

The story was solid and my girlfriend, completely ignorant of the trek mythos, despite being lost for the first 10 minutes, gave it 2 thumbs up too.

If Nemesis left a bad taste in your mouth, go see Star Trek. :mrgreen:

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Oh, well, hmm okay, guess I have to disagree :)

When Kirk is thrown onto the "ice planet" in the escape pod, which I thought was pretty stupid and outside of regular protocol since he was put as second in command. Then, he has almost no survival equipment, no phaser obviously, and no communication since again obviously Scotty didn't know he was there. Then, chased by a creature that conveniently gets attacked by another creature, that doesn't stop and eat the thing it just killed but would rather chase after some other thing it doesn't even know what it is. Then, this HUGE creature is scared off by one person with a tiny torch. Yeah, that was brilliant writing...sorry, didn't impress me much :)

They could have saved that entire "ice planet" thing by putting him in the brig and having Scotty there and they both escape instead of putting in the silly trans-warp beaming. Which of course, they abandoned in the original universe (at least the trans-warp drive) because too many ships were lost...

Oh well, the writers and directors have to make it their own I guess. Oh, and the bad guy, I found him to be really really really angry, I mean, he was angry, really. Ohhh scary.

:D

Just a gentle ribbing, and NO MORE SHAKY CAMERA, frenetic or not, I don't like it, therefore I am right :)

-Scott(y)!!!!

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Posted (edited)

Not a fan of Cloverfield, I take it? :p

[spoiler Alert]

You're right that the banishment of Kirk to the ice world was a bit excessive, and the fortituous meeting with Scotty and another fella was sort of contrived. :whatever:

Also, I didn't understand why the villain Nero didn't realize he had traveled in time, and the fact that he hung around for 25 years in the past without finding out that Romulus (his homeworld) stiil existed didn't make much sense, either, unless he had been jumping forward in time. :?

But by averting your eyes due to some aesthetic principle you missed out a lot of the movie: if you tried harder and watched carefully you would see the camera twisting around to see new ships in front of stars, lens flare popping every other second to demonstrate the true brilliance of nearby stars. This frenzied pace is more realistic. In the older and slower and more boring films you had the ships drift cumbersome-like towards one another, and launch long beams. Here, you have satacco bursts that resemble gunplay and up the action quotient.

Edited by Campanella

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I only averted my eyes so I wouldn't throw up. :)

Sorry, should have mentioned spoilers!

I realize the film making may be in a way more interesting, but to me I can't see what is going on (and in fact I just watched it again) and you really can't see much more (at least I can't, even with pausing it). I don't want lumbering ships, I just want to see what is going on. James Cameron was great at that, he did it in slow motion when he wanted you to see everything that was going on, I liked that, then it sped up to give you the full action without cutting every moment away for a reaction shot. Ugh.

The Red Matter (whatever it was, never explained) was horribly stupid, when they "ignited" it _all_ at the end, and they were only a short distance away from Earth when they would have created a black hole so big it would have exceeded the size in the center of the galaxy, it would have been worse than the super nova they said would hurt the entire galaxy.

I can just keep going on and on and on with how this movie was horrible. Why did they stay around to shoot at the Romulan ship when it was going to be destroyed anyway? For a spectacular getaway? It was dumb, they risked everybody for no reason then revenge on something they already succeeded in getting revenge on.

Plus, why did they have to bother to dig into the center of the planet when it was obvious the Red Matter would just make a black hole all by itself? They could have just warped in and dropped a little bit and it would have destroyed an entire planet even if it were close.

Then, why would Spock's ship allow the Romulans to use it? It has an AI computer in it, it should have stopped them or destroyed itself rather than let it get used. This is the future!

And, so they came in out of warp into Saturn's atmosphere (or Io or whatever don't care :) ), and then just magically they have the ability without much modification to run Scotty's trans-warp transportation? I mean, I guess it only took them 5 minutes on the "Ice Planet" to do it, I guess they could have, but normal transport is (or was) relegated to about 10k miles. So, they didn't mention that that I noticed, so great additional plot device that allowed the entire thing to happen. Poof, magic happens.

If you now have trans-warp transportation, you just got rid of the need for exploration as you could just beem yourself to the planet to explore, series over.

Why didn't they just beem a bomb into the ship and blow up the drive system? Why bother with all the theatrics when they could just beem the Red Matter out of the ship? Not possible? I would have asked... ;)

Oh man, I have to stop, the movie was awful. I went back to watch it again just so I could make sure I didn't miss something, and, well, I don't think I did even if I couldn't look for barfing.

So, wait, there is more! I can't stop! make it stop! Why did the super nova explode and take out Romulous and THEN Spock was able to make it a black hole? What? It already exploded and took out Romulus? Was it Romulus's sun? If so, they would have known it was getting close to super nova, it was right by them! If not, then it must have blown up other star systems, and if so, then it was already too late to make it a black hole...if it was exploding and it got as far out as a planetary width from the star and Spock was able to make a black hole out of it, that is a HUGE RADIUS, and a HUGE BLACK HOLE!

Why was Spock's ship able to survive inside a nova? He said it was a galaxy wide hazard to have this Nova explode. WHY NOT GO BACK IN TIME AND FIX IT! They have been back in time a dozen or more times to fix things like this, why not for billions of people? Just stupid.

Oh, now new crew, we are an alternate universe now, oh well, time to move on who cares about Vulcan, even though we can go back and fix it, no, not worth it.

Are all of Romulus and Vulcan's population on one planet? There entire race is gone and they haven't colonized other planets. BUT, that is the the entire dispute between many of the races on who gets what planet!

AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MAKE IT STOP!

MY BRAIN WON'T STOP!

I just want to have an enjoyable movie...

Oh well, I don't know why I say anything about them anymore, I should just say what movies I like, of which one is "Forbidden Planet", I just watched again last night, that is a fantastic movie (even if a tad sexist ;) )

If you look up the Kobayashi Maru test on Wiki, you find that Scotty was one of the ones that made a valiant effort to defeat everything, cool guy that. ;)

-Scott

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Too much thinking, Scotty. I enjoyed the film. The distinct impression I got was that this was a jumping of point for a new vision and so necessary to explain why they diverge. I'm intrigued where they will go. They certainly can make a better story. The villain and all the time travel stuff makes very little sense but the central relationship between Kirk and Spock was nicely done. The film was humorous, had good banter between the cast, and the special effects were great though not overpowering. I wasn't very bothered by the action at all - could have used more in fact. The editing was not that jarring to me.

I enjoyed the characters and central relationship in the film and was not really concerned about the logic of all that was happening - it sold me on the world and it didn't take me out of the film that certain things don't make any sense.

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Too much thinking, too much thinking... oh well.

-Scott

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Not a Star Trek fan, should I go see it? :confused:

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