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Movies i've seen...

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Posted

I watched "The Day the Earth Stood Still" 2008 remake.... awful, full of inconsistencies and underdeveloped characters, with emotionless klaatu and global warming messages all over the place:mrgreen:

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Has anyone here seen any good movies about business, corporatism, wall street etc.?

I just watched Glengarry Glen Ross... it was one of the beautiful things I've ever seen. I need more.

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In the opening scene of

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I watched Takashi Miike's Dead or Alive, the uncut version, last night: my God, this film got away with things that would simply never fly here in America...the movie it sprinkled with shocking (well, I don't know if anything is "shocking" anymore) acts of perversity and depravity.

It was a very strange film, full of interesting contrasts, the loud rock music blaring while ridiculous acts of violence barrage the audience's eyes for the first ten minutes, contrasted with solemn, quiet scenes of the broken father attempting to figure out a solution to the family's financial fix over his daughter's illness; a scene border line showing bestiality, to a scene of a woman in a pool of fecal matter, to scenes of the police chief on the roof in humble meditation, playing, quite beautifully, a Japanese bamboo flute.

I have taken into account the purely absurd, but thoroughly enjoyable, ending; the ending does add a richness and depth to the film that would have been lost in its absence....

All in all, I enjoyed the film, if anything for its uniqueness, and would recommend it....

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Posted

I watched Takashi Miike's Dead or Alive, the uncut version, last night: my God, this film got away with things that would simply never fly here in America...the movie it sprinkled with shocking (well, I don't know if anything is "shocking" anymore) acts of perversity and depravity.

It was a very strange film, full of interesting contrasts, the loud rock music blaring while ridiculous acts of violence barrage the audience's eyes for the first ten minutes, contrasted with solemn, quiet scenes of the broken father attempting to figure out a solution to the family's financial fix over his daughter's illness; a scene border line showing bestiality, to a scene of a woman in a pool of fecal matter, to scenes of the police chief on the roof in humble meditation, playing, quite beautifully, a Japanese bamboo flute.

I have taken into account the purely absurd, but thoroughly enjoyable, ending; the ending does add a richness and depth to the film that would have been lost in its absence....

All in all, I enjoyed the film, if anything for its uniqueness, and would recommend it....

Haha. I would not recommend entertaining the thought of a meal or snack during this film - as a friend and I did. Pizza and drinks were hot of the stove. Just any other film, we were going to eat and laugh about. Not so. We sat in the chair ready for a farce the likes of Evil Dead, only to put down the food within minutes of the opening scene and watch in awe and horror the rest of the way. Amusing, absurd, disgusting.

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I watched Tod Browning's Dracula for the first time last night; any review can be summed up in one word: masterpiece. I am overjoyed that I did not watch the film earlier in my youth; I wouldn't have been able to appreciate all the little nuances that made the film so great- the lack of soundtrack, those long periods of silence, those close up shots of Bela Lugosi- a truly gothic, in the Horace Walpole sense of the word, film........

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I've spent the last two weekends playing catchup with the backlog of films I have to hand.

First up was The Dark Knight. I enjoyed this immensely. Fairly long, but once things got going, it was hard to tear my eyes from the screen. Ledger's playing of the Joker as a non-campy agent of chaos was disturbing yet fantastic. Without him, I think the movie may have been a flop.

Second, following the comic book theme was Iron Man. Entertaining, mindless shlock. The effects were good, the action was fine, the rest... meh.

This weekend's first offering: Tropic Thunder. I tried to watch this a couple of months ago, but barely made it through the first five minutes. Had I not second guessed myself and tried again, I would have two hours of my life back. The only redeeming feature of this movie was Robert Downey Jr.'s performance. He played the role wonderfully, but then again, he may only have shined in comparison to the crap surrounding him. If you haven't seen it, don't.

Second was Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Raucous and juvenile, sure. Entertaining and funny too, just like you would expect from a Kevin Smith film. Despite the title and obvious subject matter, it reduces to a comedic love story with the sort of language you wouldn't use around your mother. More mindless pap it may be, but at least I didn't feel ripped off like I did after Tropic Thunder

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Posted (edited)

I watched Knowing last evening, the sci-fi film with Nicolas Cage starring; I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed the film and would consider it of recommendable status. It contained some classic determinism vs indeterminism material, albeit of a generally freshman level. The film was imbued with thoroughly religious metaphor and mythology, very well interwoven and crafted, not too overbearingly...and my god was Beethoven's Symphony 7 utilized to good effect (Irreversible used the same tidbit ** tears begin to roll down this reviewers face, Irreversible was too painful, the horror); I just can't get that damn tune out of my head; it is just so beautiful, particularly in the context of the film.......

Edited by DeadCanDance

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Posted

I saw The Watchmen movie.

I was not disappointed nor amazed.

The major points that annoyed me were the music (it appeared too random, for example Wagner's Ride of the valkyries - perhaps an allusion to Apocalypse Now - almost gave me a chuckle or the one in the sex scene or the funeral scene, etc.)

The extreme indulgence in violence and slow motion.

The overly long and ridiculous sex scene :rofl:

The simplification of the characters depth and cut of thought-provoking dialogue.

And other minor points like the use of the term "Watchmen" as something like "The League of Justice". The Watchmen word is supposed to be part of a philosophical phrase coming from the latin:

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Who watches the watchmen?

:|

Is a question of authority and rights, etc. Not a literal name for a group.

The one thing I did like was Rorscharch and the comedian, and some fan service they did through the movie.:mrgreen:

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Posted (edited)

A few films I have seen of late:

Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine: This was a fascinating little documentary about the great Russian chess player's loss to the IBM computer Deep Blue back in '97. Kasparov had easily trounced other chess playing computers prior to the '97 match, including demolishing an earlier version of Deep Blue in '96, so he went into the match feeling confident. Game 1: Kasparov won with ease, didn't even break a sweat. After the game, he smilingly and unconcernedly stated, "What did you expect, it's a machine." Game 2: Kasparov conceded the game, though he clearly could have pulled off a draw. The loss in game 2 would prove to be his downfall. Kasparov was convinced the IBM team somehow cheated with direct human intervention as the computer demonstrated "thinking" that was far superior to anything Kasparov had seen before : the damn thing thought like a human! Game 3: draw. Game 4: draw. Game 5: draw. Game 6: Kasparov loses, later on calling it one of the darkest days of his life.

Almost immediately, Kasparov demanded a rematch, IBM whose stocks went up literally overnight, refused, and permanently retired Deep Blue. I really found the film interesting. I mean, Deep Blue was processing some 200 million chess moves, or positions, a second, far surpassing the human brain's capability for such processing; though, sheer brute processing power was not enough to beat Kasparov. Deep Blue seemed to "learn" from its mistakes, it sacrificed power pieces for position, even when the position did not, immediately at least, seem profitable, it appeared to goad Kasparov, tease him, attempted to trick him, at times, it almost played irrationally. In short, it was blessed with superior computational power, but not cursed with a lack of human chicanery.

Hanged on a Twisted Cross: A lovely documentary about the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Grendel, Grendel, Grendel: Based off of John Gardner's highly recommendable novel, one of the best animated films I have ever seen. Utterly basic color scheme, simplistic figures, but the film is replete with philosophic depth and sophisticated dialogue. Infinitely superior to the sub par '07 motion capture Beowulf.

Edited by DeadCanDance

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So what do our philosophers here think about I Heart Huckabee? I didn't think the film was conceptually tight (I've heard it tries to dramatize Being and Nothingness but I'm lenient to this interpretation which finds "premodern help for postmodern times") and the ending provided too pat an answer that finds a neat balance from conflicting viewpoints that is too common a resolution in movies.

However I thought it was extremely funny (with Mark Wahlberg delivering some righteous anger), and I preferred it strangely enough to the funeral-like seriousness from say Ingmar Bergman or the cheap portentousness of the Wachowski brothers.

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The Virgin Spring is the latest movie I have seen (just finished watching it).

This movie, at least for its time, was infamous for some crude (too real) scenes. Perhaps a contemporary viewer will find nothing astonishing or gasping, yet, if you ask my reaction to them, it was still slightly shocking.

The film, like many other Bergman films, has the questioning of God existence, silence and behavior as topic. Vengeance too and its justice, if any, is also a theme (this aspect gave me reminiscences of the capital punishment discussion).

The character Karin, oh how charming, sweet and innocent! I fell in love of her. The other characters also notable, especially the father.

Overall, is Bergman damn it! whatever movie you watch of him, it will guarantee thought, emotional moments and always that dialogue, sometimes so poetic and so beautiful.

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I saw James Cameron's Avatar in 3D this evening with my wife. I guess I let all the hype get to me because at the end of this three hour visual extravaganza I found myself disappointed. Roger Ebert said that watching the film was similar to his experience of watching Star Wars for the first time. Well, I was not alive at the time of the release of Star Wars so I cannot fully relate, though I think I have an inkling as to the experience he is speaking of.

At twelve years of age I saw the film Independence Day in theater. I declared then, perhaps in a similar way to Kojeve's and Fukuyama's announcement of the end of history, the consummation of history, the end to visual effects. That is, in my mind, nothing would or could ever top Independence Day in the way of visuals and general grandioseness. My contention did not prove to be accurate for very long. They were still using models back in '96 for heaven's sake. But at the time the impact of the film was extremely potent and I sat before it in awe at what filmmakers were able to accomplish on screen.

There was an element of this, though not as strong as I remember my experience in '96, in watching Avatar. The visuals are simply the best I have ever seen. Cameron really draws you to the world of Pandora; you experience this world with a sense of awe and astonishment at its beauty. For creating such a world, and the creatures who live therein, I give Cameron his due credit.

Unfortunately, the film is utterly unoriginal by way of telling a story; it's been told a million times before. One reviewer referred accurately to the film as "Dances With Wolves in space."

Ah yes, the evils of ethnocentrism and imperialism, the "insanity" of Western Man, and the sins of ecocide, etc; Hollywood has been beating this drum for what seems an eternity.

While I am a little wiser than I was back in '96, it is just damn hard to imagine a film to be more visually appealing than Avatar and I would recommend the film on this aspect of it alone. But, by way of storytelling, I wouldn't expect Taxi Driver or The Godfather out of it.

Edited by DeadCanDance

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Last night I saw The Blind Side. I had recently heard that it had something to do with a guy (Sean Tuohy) who was a year junior to me at my high school, and, as the opening credits rolled, I noticed that the movie was based on the book written by someone else (Michael Lewis) who was in that same class. The movie was more about Tuohy's wife (played by Sandra Bullock) and, of course, about Michael Oher, a young -- and very large -- black teenager, whom the Tuohys brought into their family after they found out that he was frankly homeless and family-less.

I have not read the book; so, I don't know how closely the movie follows the book. It traces the series of coincidental good intentions which got Oher out of the Memphis slums and into a good private school populated mostly by wealthy whites; it touches upon Oher's acculturation into mainstream academics and his introduction to football, at which he excels, gets an athletic scholarship to Ole Miss, and then gets drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the NFL draft last spring.

A very enjoyable movie.

Michael

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I watched Takashi Miike's Dead or Alive, the uncut version, last night: my God, this film got away with things that would simply never fly here in America...the movie it sprinkled with shocking (well, I don't know if anything is "shocking" anymore) acts of perversity and depravity.

It was a very strange film, full of interesting contrasts, the loud rock music blaring while ridiculous acts of violence barrage the audience's eyes for the first ten minutes, contrasted with solemn, quiet scenes of the broken father attempting to figure out a solution to the family's financial fix over his daughter's illness; a scene border line showing bestiality, to a scene of a woman in a pool of fecal matter, to scenes of the police chief on the roof in humble meditation, playing, quite beautifully, a Japanese bamboo flute.

I have taken into account the purely absurd, but thoroughly enjoyable, ending; the ending does add a richness and depth to the film that would have been lost in its absence....

All in all, I enjoyed the film, if anything for its uniqueness, and would recommend it....

For a less insane but still gripping film, try the sequel.

If you have seen (and enjoyed) Tetsuo, the final film in the trilogy will probably suit you best.

I hated Tetsuo, and have never been a fan of open endings and non-sequitors (or sequitors I have to bother looking for), so DoA III was my least favourite.

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Avatar. I guess I'll add to the sentiment: fantastic visuals ( really nothing the pinnacle of these things at the current moment) but a rather bland story. I disagree with the notion that the story has been told too many times as if we've learned the lesson and it can't be repeated though.

What is wrong with the film is that the overall narrative is weak and the motivations of the characters are not very well developed. As an allegory for ethnocentrism and imperialism, it is too implicit: it relies on the viewers to supply the context and understanding rather than developing it on it's own. The marine's story really needed development because as it stands, his total change of character in three months is nonsensical. For example, why would one man turn against his entire species ( not just race now) in a matter of three months? This is an issue just screaming for development but the film is sufficient to draw parallels to the human situation than really explore the kind of internal turmoil this would warrant.

Alas, this is going too far in criticism because the film really is just another blockbuster film, light on content big on special effects which, again, really are the best the industry has to offer. The Na'vi home world along with the Na'vi themselves are excellently rendered and I bought Pandora as a real place the moment it came on the screen. The action scenes are equally well done but it's James Cameron so that much is expected. It's worth seeing for the visual spectacle.

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mosaic wrote:

I disagree with the notion that the story has been told too many times as if we've learned the lesson and it can't be repeated though.

I guess my problem with the repetition of this particular moral message is that there is too often an implicit assumption that everyone is in agreement that imperialism and colonialism are wrong or morally condemnative; I would like to see a film that explores the whys of this wrongness instead of just assuming it axiomatically and then telling the story from there.

I wanted to add that the point you brought to light is exactly the same point I brought to my wife's attention on discussing the film after viewing it; it does seem a bit ridiculous that after a mere three months, the marine and story's protagonist would, be willing to speak:

"This is our land!"

And not only that, but willing to kill members of his own species, having so thoroughly redefined himself and sympathetic with the Na'vi.

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On HBO last night I saw Temple Grandin. This is a great movie with outstanding performances by Claire Danes, Julia Ormond, Catherine O'Hara, and David Strathairn. The person of Claire Danes is invisible, and all that we see is the autistic and brilliant -- in her own inimitable way -- Temple Grandin. But, as good as Danes is in her role, Julia Ormond is even more magnificent as Temple's mother. More than being about autism, this movie is about seeing the world differently, and it is even more about the impact of small kindnesses and efforts on the behalf of others. This piece is a good introduction to the movie.

Michael

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I saw The Road last night. I thought Hillcoat did a decent job, although I didn't enjoy the score or the vastly expanded role of the wife; the latter made some of the plot holes more significant, detracting from the story. I thought the filming of Saramago's Blindness was more successful and the transition from book to movie with The Road exposed the plot when it might have retained and placed more emphasis on the language and religious aspects. As an example, the meeting with Ely was poorly handled, I thought: this was where an important scene from the novel could've given the movie the depth it lacked, particularly with Duvall playing the character. However, it still remained faithful to the text insofar as the story was one of a father's love for his son, with the unstated apocalypse and its horrors as the canvas against which the resurrection of hope and meaning plays out ("the breath of God was his breath yet though it pass from man to man through all time"). Seeing - or reading - The Road as some form of moral critique of the world or an environmental parable is baffling to me, not least because the "carrying of the fire" trope is quite obviously continued from No Country For Old Men and Sheriff Bell.

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I too went to see The Road this weekend, and as I am understanding Hugo, was also disappointed. The look of the film and Mortensen are good, but I felt the son was rubbish. The lad is cheesy, corny, too old for the role and lacks any depth or emotional insight the book gave him. The Road by McCarthy is a lyrical epic but the film by Hilcoat is just another moralising, implicit bible-bashing good Vs bad guys affair. The good are clean living and god fearing, the bad will rape your women and children and eat you. When the lad finally meets his salvation in the form of the "good-and-'olesome-meet-the-Praire-Hillbillies-family" and then scanned over to that carefully groomed mutt-dog of theirs with its mournful, tearful, hangdog eyes, I wasn't too sure what to do next. Was I to laugh or cry? Thankfully the film ended before any measure was taken.

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Academy Award contender

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I just watched Avatar, a bolting together of elements from many other movies as well as a ridiculous amounts of clichés, not limited to aboriginal peoples, environmental issues and every lame scene I can remember from lame films in the past. If the only positive thing you can say about a movie is that it had good special effects then it's probably better to add nothing further. :thumbsdown:

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I recently saw Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, and I have written some thoughts about that movie here.

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Posted (edited)

I recently saw Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, and I have written some thoughts about that movie here.

Good review, Michael. Terrence Malick comes out with a new movie once every 6 or 7 years. His list includes “Badlands”, “Days of Heaven”, The Thin Red Line, The New World, and, now, Tree of Life.

None of Malick’s movies are flawless masterpieces. Instead they are messy but stunning gems. “Days of Heaven” (for example) set up many of the shots to look like famous American paintings. It’s one of the most beautiful movies ever shot.

Tree of Life explores evolution and the connection of all things in the universe. It does so by looking at a family, three boys growing up in Texas in the 50s. The parents – Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain – are a disciplinarian father and an ethereal and loving mother. Their life is seen through the eyes of Jack, the oldest son (the story is told in a flashback – the eldest son Jack is Sean Penn as a modern adult), and the tension with the father and the angelic qualities of the mother are viewed through an Oedipal prism.

In two, long, abstract sections, the universe evolves from the big bang. The whole of creation, it seems to me, is compared to one family. By understanding the parts, we learn about the whole, and vice versa.

The movie is too long -- I thought the family section could have been cut by 15-30 minutes -- but it is visually stunning. Great stuff. I can hardly wait for Malick’s next film (although it may be a while).

Edited by BDS

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Some might find it interesting that Malick studied philosophy at Harvard and, in 1969, had published a translation he did of a Heidegger work. I believe that Malick's translation, published under the title, The Essence of Reasons is currently available here at the bargain price of $294.95!

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