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B-Side wrote:

Ferrara's the shit. Watch The Driller Killer, The Addiction and Body Snatchers.

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Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:03 pm
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Post Guardians Of The Galaxy (Gunn, '14)

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I'm going to die surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy.

A sleek, futuristic spaceship zips towards the surface of a stormy, desolate, abandoned planet, consisting of seemingly nothing but barren rocks and turbulent geysers, and, as the ship lands, a humanoid figure, its face obscured by the ominous red eyes of its metal facemask, departs, and begins trudging through the hellish scene. The figure, with the aid of some nifty space technology, eventually finds its way to what appears to be a massive, ancient alien temple, and as the foreboding strings swell on the film's score, the whole thing is beginning to feel as serious and creepy as something like Alien, until, the figure deactivates his facemask, revealing himself to be an ordinary human man, and reaches down for a pair of... old-school Walkman headphones, playing Redbone's infectious 1974 classic "Come And Get Your Love", as he carelessly, joyously dances his way through the temple, all to the beat of the music.

This is James Gunn's Guardians Of The Galaxy, and this early scene is what sets the tone for the rest of the film, and perfectly captures the unique approach and appeal of it; the contrasting of serious, straight-faced space/Marvel movie cliches with a joyfully irreverant attitude and a sweet 70's soundtrack is what helped set Guardians apart from an ever-growing glut of entries in the "MCU", and made it such an unexpected success upon its release three years ago. And, when considering the impending release of Vol. 2 upon the world, I can't say I'm 100% positive it will live up to the original (I was never one to set myself up for disappointment with upcoming releases by overhyping myself for them), if the sequel manages to recapture just one percent of the original film's spirit, then it will be worth seeing regardless.

Guardians, of course, has a story (of sorts), some generic, MacGuffin-driven nonsense about some humorless fanatic working for Thanos named Ronan who's trying to capture another random Infinity Stone so he can create yet another planet-threatening danger for the big climax and blahblahblabbityblah who cares anymore? Mr. Gunn sure knows we don't, which is why the generic elements of GotG mostly just serve as window dressing in favor of the film's real appeal, which are the Guardians, the central ragtag misifts themselves. Chris Pratt puts in a, er, star-making role as "Star Lord", a lovable, self-promoting goofball who's perfect for mocking the relative seriousness of the superhero genre in general, while Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, and a voice-only Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel round out the rest of the Guardians as the deadly alien assassin Gamora, the war-hungry Drax, the cybernetic talking racoon (yes, you read that right) Rocket, and the giant tree monster "Groot", who's entire vocabulary consists solely of "'I' and 'am' and 'Groot', exclusively in that order".

The fractured, uneasy bonds that form between the (literally) colorful cast over the course of the film, and grows into a true, genuine friendship by its end is what gives the film its greatest strength, as we come to care about every character equally, even if two of their actors are buried underneath alien makeup, while another two are entirely computer-generated. The movie pulls off the miraculous trick of being more light-hearted and irreverent than any other MCU film to date, while simultaneously also having more heart and substance at the same time as well, as Gunn genuinely cares about exploring every character's feelings, and doesn't just use them as a clothesline to hang a bunch of CGI action and pop culture references upon; to paraphrase the tagline of the granddaddy of all modern superhero movies, you will believe a man can... care about the fate of a talking tree.

It is this sense of soul that enables Guardians to walk the tightrope between being serious enough to make us care about what's going on in it, while still using its overall light-heartedness to keep it from becoming some generic drag of a Marvel film. The plot and action are almost always moving as fast as the speed of light, and are almost an afterthought next to the strong character dynamics and the film's overall sense of humor and incredible creativity. Like I said before, if Vol. 2 is just anywhere near as enjoyable as this one was, then at least one branch of the ever-expanding Marvel Universe has a very, VERY bright future ahead of it.
Best Moment: Dance Off, Bro!
Final Score: 8.25

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Fri May 05, 2017 2:40 am
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I accidentally​ submitted a rough draft of that review earlier, so I may edit it slightly when I get back from work, but for the most part, there we go!

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Fri May 05, 2017 3:28 am
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Post Re: Guardians Of The Galaxy (Gunn, '14)

Stu wrote:
if the sequel manages to recapture just one percent of the original film's spirit, then it will be worth seeing regardless.

Final Score: 8.25[/size]

That's quite optimistic!
Because, you've seen it before (meaning the stuff that made one so cool and delightful), and it grabbed you because it was new. This one cannot possibly be new. Even if it were technically as good as, or 1% better than the original, it wouldn't seem like it to you or other viewers ('cluding me).

You cannot be pleasantly surprised when you are demanding to be pleasantly surprised.

That doesn't mean that 2 won't be as much fun as the first, it just simply cannot seem like it is, and that's based in the subcutaneous principles of human psychology. To wit: we were comparing the first installment to other MCU films, which cannot hold a candle to its inventiveness. But those are no longer the measuring stick. Part One has become the measuring stick...but it's in one sad sense, old hat now.

I'll eventually see part two and I'll probably laugh my head off at its inventive crankiness. But it won't seem to me as good as the first one. The same thing happened with the Star Trek Reboots (sigh).
And I'll admit that what's behind my spoiler tags may be exactly what you meant by the part of your review that I quoted behind the spoilers above.

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Fri May 05, 2017 6:29 am
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tt3783958

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Tue May 09, 2017 1:03 pm
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Gort wrote:
tt3783958
I liked it. Excellent mournful nostalgia at the end. :)

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Tue May 09, 2017 1:33 pm
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Cuz of Marry Poppins?


Tue May 09, 2017 4:18 pm
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Why is everyone mentioning Mary frickin Poppins all of a sudden lately?!

:(

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Wed May 10, 2017 1:24 am
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A certain movie of galactic proportions quotes it, so.


Wed May 10, 2017 4:13 am
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Oh, thanks! I was confused. (Or, actually, Ace was.) I was talking about Gort's movie, not GotG.

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Wed May 10, 2017 4:51 am
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That's what happens when y'all talk about a movie using IMDb ID numbers.


Wed May 10, 2017 4:56 am
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I wasn't sure anyone would recognize it, but I should never have feared that the techie sorts who post here would immediately follow up.

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Wed May 10, 2017 5:27 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
I liked it. Excellent mournful nostalgia at the end. :)

Yeah, that's true. And well-done. Possibly the best part of the film for me. Of course it would have made no sense if you hadn't seen the previous bulk of the film. And it was clever that you could argue that it was his fantasy moment, or hers, and no one could prove you totally wrong! Maybe it's actually the writer/director's fantasy moment. ;) From the beginning it felt a lot like Les parapluies de Cherbourg, so when that part played I wasn't very surprised. Tell me, does the film
telegraph that the two won't get together early on
or was that just me? I imagine you got that feeling as well. You usually spot most anything I do in any film, if not more.

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Wed May 10, 2017 5:32 am
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Gort wrote:
Tell me, does the film
telegraph that the two won't get together early on
or was that just me? I imagine you got that feeling as well. You usually spot most anything I do in any film, if not more.

I think it does! Not that I caught it the first time around. (Not as observant as you seem to think.) The idea that their romance was not exactly realistic is in the title (!) and, conceptually at least, in their dance numbers. Plus that first (amazing) song on the freeway is about choosing career over love.

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Wed May 10, 2017 10:18 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
I think it does! Not that I caught it the first time around. (Not as observant as you seem to think.) The idea that their romance was not exactly realistic is in the title (!) and, conceptually at least, in their dance numbers. Plus that first (amazing) song on the freeway is about choosing career over love.

Well, that proves my point right there. I did not notice that at all! I was just marveling that someone had enough clout to get a section of the interstate around LA shut down for a flippin' movie shoot! :-/

Oh, also, the title is a giveaway. But that didn't occur to me, either. Possibly because those who hope to make a career of teh filmz are sort of in la la land, from the get go. That's what I thought the title was about--but nope, I think you got it right once again, young lady. :up:

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Thu May 11, 2017 10:18 am
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My friend said that he felt a nice wave of nostalgia and that it took him back to classic movies feel. I havent seen it yet so I cant attest to his description.


Thu May 11, 2017 10:54 am
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Ace wrote:
My friend said that he felt a nice wave of nostalgia and that it took him back to classic movies feel. I havent seen it yet so I cant attest to his description.

I noticed the influence of musicals and other films from days gone by. It is certainly there.

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Thu May 11, 2017 1:24 pm
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And coincidently I also told him that was also the reason that some people hated the film. That they felt it cribbed stuff from better musicals. Or so that's what I read on the internets.


Thu May 11, 2017 1:44 pm
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Someone else here entered Italian for Beginners (2000) in Trends. I wonder who that was.

Lone Scherfig cast and crew did a very good job. It's the first movie I've seen with an actual Dogme 95 certificate at the beginning!

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Sat May 13, 2017 12:23 pm
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Ace wrote:
And coincidently I also told him that was also the reason that some people hated the film. That they felt it cribbed stuff from better musicals. Or so that's what I read on the internets.


There's a video out there making the rounds that, even as it proves this assertion, kind of nullifies it. The citations are so exact they're clearly not meant to deceive us. It's not like the film is trying to pull a fast one past us. It's very obviously filled with references, some of them quite fastidious in their exactness. And given that we're watching the dreams of two up-and-comers with somewhat archaic musical and cinematic tastes, it makes sense that their fantasies are made up of classic cinema.


Sun May 14, 2017 3:01 am
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Gort wrote:
Well, that proves my point right there. I did not notice that at all! I was just marveling that someone had enough clout to get a section of the interstate around LA shut down for a flippin' movie shoot! :-/

Oh, also, the title is a giveaway. But that didn't occur to me, either. Possibly because those who hope to make a career of teh filmz are sort of in la la land, from the get go. That's what I thought the title was about--but nope, I think you got it right once again, young lady. :up:
The real spoiler for me was that this movie was written and directed by Damien Chazelle, whose previous Whiplash had the exact same plot development. It's far more emotional in La La Land, though.


Sun May 14, 2017 3:02 am
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if LEAVES sees this: watch Dick (1999) if you haven't. Also, some Harold Lloyd. Thinking...For Heaven's Sake, and Why Worry?.

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Thu May 18, 2017 4:26 pm
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Post Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (Gunn, '17)

Image

Sometimes, the thing you've been looking for your whole life is right there beside you all along.

Let's cut to the chase here; Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 is... a good movie. It's definitely a good sequel to the original, an impressive feat, considering that film's almost one-of-a-kind tone, and the unexpected, lightning-in-a-bottle success it had upon its release. There are a couple of moments here that feel too much like just repeating notes from the original, for the most part, Vol. 2 does a good job of continuing in its same joyfully irreverant space adventure vein, without making the common sophomore mistake of merely doing exactly what the first film did, only "bigger". Returning director James Gunn manages to find ways to make this "volume" refreshingly different from the original, while still retaining the substantive, emotional characterizations from the first movie, while also managing to make numero dos here yes, undeniably bigger than the original at the same time.

...a little too big at times, if you ask me. Don't get me wrong, as the story of Guardians 2 is hardly as unfocused or unwieldy as something like (gulp) last year's Batman "V" Superman, but in general, it still bit off a bit more than it could chew, and I couldn't help but yearn for the relatively humble simplicity of the original at times. The storytelling is somewhat less focused here, as a "golden" race of constantly pestering antagonists feels like more of an excuse to keep the action running during potentially slow moments (and another element to figure into the film's somewhat bloated, overlong climax) rather than a necessary part of the film, and they should've just been forgotten about after their initial introduction. And, visually, I went back and forth between being awed by the colorful splendor some of the special effects held in presenting the film's often audacious imagery & concepts (supposedly, one planet in particular consisted of one trillion polygons), and being overwhelmed by how much the film relied on such artificial, computer-generated spectacle at times, as it occasionally lost a bit of touch with the character-centered heart & soul that has truly distinguished this series to date. Sometimes, watching Vol. 2 is sort of like experiencing a certain disorienting hyperspace jump sequence for yourself (believe me, you'll know what I mean when you see it).

That being said, at least those characters weren't bored while they were in hyperspace, and neither was I, and a film that's a sometimes-overwhelming embarrassment of riches is still far more preferable to being forgettable, right? Right, and what Guardians still gets right is its characters, as Gunn continues the strong arcs he created in the original and expands upon them here, and it seems as though almost every main and supporting character (new and returning alike!) getting at least one memorable scene where we delve deeper into their particular thoughts and feelings, letting us grow closer to the motley crew of losers that call the galaxy of Guardians home. I particularly enjoyed the development Karen Gillan's intimidating cyborg assassin Nebula received here, as the film gives us vital additional background on her tortured relationship with her adoptive sister Gamora, rendering a fairly flat character in the original far more 3-dimensional here, but it's hard to choose just one favorite arc from this one, as there's plenty of good character development going on constantly.

Finally, a particular way Vol. 2 keeps itself fresh is in the intriguing way it uses its main villian of Ego, "The Living Planet", who is vividly portrayed by a gracefully aging Kurt Russell here. Ego is a basically a Godlike celestial being who turns out to be Starlord's father, which satisfyingly pays off a tantilizing mystery that was set up in the original film, and is a refreshing contrast to main antagonist of the first film, Ronan, whose motivations and characterization couldn't have been any more generic (although this was arguably by James Gunn's design). But initially, for Ego, it doesn't seem like there's even a remote chance he could be the film's main baddie, as he first comes across as an imperfect but still affectionate father who had no choice but to abandon Peter and his mother on Earth all those years ago, as he seeks to be a true father to his son now, and reveal to Quill all the metaphysical, "universe-expanding" possibilities his parentage avails to him.

And, while the moment of his turn to heel in the story may happen a bit suddenly, his motivation to absorb the entirety of the known universe still makes sense in retrospect, as Russell's performance does give off an undercurrent of arrogant, above-it-all-ness thoughout, even if we didn't realize it at the time, and most importantly, is a refreshing change for the sometimes villian-challenged MCU. Factor in a certain Empire Strikes Back-style plot twist that genuinely shocked me in the theater, and you have a really strong, compelling antagonist, and also just a great character in general. All of this and more adds up to a sophomore effort that, while not quite as fresh or humbly enjoyable as the original Guardians, was still a welcome watch for me, and another worthwhile entry in Marvel's ever-expanding cinematic galaxy, as it were.

Best Moment: Chain, keep us together...
Final Score: 8

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Sat May 20, 2017 2:32 pm
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Stu wrote:
Factor in a certain Empire Strikes Back-style plot twist that genuinely shocked me in the theater, and you have a really strong, compelling antagonist, and also just a great character in general.

Final Score: 8

So, uhm...Ego shoots first? ;). No, wait, wrong movie for analogy.
A good analysis, Stu. I'm glad it didn't let you down!

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Sun May 21, 2017 3:19 am
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Trip wrote:
if LEAVES sees this: watch Dick (1999) if you haven't. Also, some Harold Lloyd. Thinking...For Heaven's Sake, and Why Worry?.
You insult me by insinuating that I haven't seen the Palme d'Or winning Dick! What kind of cretin do you think I am?

I found some of For Heaven's Sake on youtube and was going to post about how terrible it was because of how little I like slapstick but then I actually ended up liking it and now I'm going to have to watch the whole thing.

Also,Is great... but it has 7 million views on youtube right now, and there is a video of people watching the video that has 1.2 million views. And I watched this video of people watching the video. And I don't understand, I don't understand. I just don't understand.

Finally, I would just like to say: Why did you say that Listen Up, Philip was worth watching? It's probably the worst film I've seen in my life. Also, I can't wait for his next thing, it sounds amazing.

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Sun May 21, 2017 2:28 pm
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huzzah!

the start of For Heaven's Sake is the best. the way he casually and obliviously burns through all those cars in one morning is ace satire imo and I thought, right up your alley.
even the slapstick in his films is ingenious at times. Never Weaken is one of my favourite shorts ever.

haha "that bitch don't know bout Pangaea"

oof, sorry bout Philip. look, I don't remember a thing I liked about it now. there were some pretty girls for you at least?

what else...have you seen Pudovkin's Chess Fever? should be on YT.
I wonder what you'd make of Masaaki Yuasa's Mind Game.
did you see Love & Friendship?
also, seen any Ogigami?

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Sun May 21, 2017 3:28 pm
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Did you not notice the incongruity between "the worst film I've ever seen in my life" and "I can't wait for his next thing, it sounds amazing"? Philip is amazing, it's got so much of everything. It's almost like he's an American filmmaker with ideas. I didn't think they let those people make films.

No on Chess Fever.
Turned off Mind Game early on. My brain was allergic at the time.
Love & Friendship was to me the least distinctive of the Stillmans. I saw Beloved Sisters in a similar time frame and found it to be far more interesting in every way.
I haven't seen any Ogigami, but one of her films is named after renting cats, and I saw that in a Kafka-inspired film, so maybe that's a good sign? What's the deal with her films?

All I know right now is The Blue Note is some kind of drug, and the best kind.

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Sun May 21, 2017 4:54 pm
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cheeky biiitch
I should rewatch Philip!

I totally get that re Mind Game (and to be honest, all anime for me). His short film Cat Soup did me in, and not in a good way.
Loved L&F myself and not seen Beloved Sisters.
Rentaneko is actually the Ogigami I would rec to you first. They vary in weird surreal humour. I hear Toilet is the strangest. I loved Kamome's Diner for its Kaurismaki-esque deadpan humanism, but it's the least weird.

All these years and I still haven't seen The Blue Note...
On it.

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Sun May 21, 2017 8:10 pm
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I hated Covenant so much.

It's ugly and uninspired. It has some interesting things to say about creation - artistic, biological, spiritual, robotic - most of them irredeemably lost in the chaos. It does have a shot of Michael Fassbender kissing Michael Fassbender, which is hard to adjectivize. There are also many answers to mysteries no one wanted resolved, like how the xenomorphs came to be, answers that add confusion where there was none. There's no beauty or poetry in the aesthetic, in the designs, in the pace, in the mood, in anything. A videogame came out a few years ago, Alien: Isolation, that does nearly everything better, although I'll grant Covenant at least tries to sketch out new themes for the franchise, which the videogame doesn't quite do. But maybe it's the better for it. The videogame understands how fictional technology works, in that it's fictional. It doesn't matter that Alien's distant future of ubiquitous CRT monitors is now hopelessly dated. We can accept it all as part of this world. Because it's fiction. The game gets it and goes out of its way to replicate, in fastidious detail, the designs of the original 1979 film. This new movie, instead, adds lots of touchscreens and holographic displays, so that even though the story of Covenant happens before the events of Alien, the technology is somehow far more advanced (more so, even, than in Resurrection, set 300 years later). Perhaps there's some in-universe explanation for all this, but I'm sure it's terrible. Just like all the plotting here, all terrible. A tangle of mythology and backstory and disposable characters. Again, there are some promising ideas in the script, but it's all rhetorical. It's in the dialogues and some of the situations, not in the audiovisual texture of the film. The original Alien didn't have characters ruminating about sheer otherness and primeval darkness and despair. It just showed us these things, made us feel them. This one should've made us giddy and wildly afraid about the creative and destructive properties of creation, but there's certainly none of that.


Mon May 22, 2017 12:23 pm
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All that said, I'm reading some interesting takes on the film, not much different from what I said above, but stressing how unusual are some of its thematic directions and how refreshing are some of its departures from the franchise formula, which are valid points. But even its fans are basically focusing on a third of the film and admitting that, actually, this is more of a Blade Runner movie, except when it isn't, which is most of the time.


Mon May 22, 2017 1:04 pm
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...but do you watch good movies, still, Beau?

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Mon May 22, 2017 1:59 pm
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LEAVES wrote:
...but do you watch good movies, still, Beau?


L'important c'est d'aimer a couple of weeks ago. Does that count?


Mon May 22, 2017 10:45 pm
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Beau wrote:
I hated Covenant so much.
I haven't seen it yet (and may never), but I'm not surprised to read all that. I just don't think the Alien franchise has ever had that much potential for a lot of good sequelization, to be honest; a lot of the appeal of the original was how simple and straightforward the Xenomorph was in its pure hostility, and how tantilizingly creepy and mysterious its origins with the Space Jockey & the derelict ship were. Cameron kept things temporarily fresh by making the series out-and-out action, but every entry since then has either just repeated what we've seen before, or continued to muddy the waters of the Xenomorph mythology with more silly, confusing B.S. Even if we were still seeing better Alien sequels that do a better job on expanding on the origins of the creatures themselves, that would still take away some of the mystery they held previously, so you're kind of screwed either way, ya know?

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Tue May 23, 2017 11:30 am
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Beau wrote:

L'important c'est d'aimer a couple of weeks ago. Does that count?
It's not my favorite, but it's a step in the right direction! Maybe someday you'll get back into the obscure stuff like Trip and see Dick.

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Tue May 23, 2017 12:38 pm
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Saw Dredd, no joke. Came for the Thrilbs, stayed for the multi-climactic anti-climacticality. But really for the Thrilbs. But the anti-climaxes were hilarious, as if the filmmakers were saying, "This is an action film, not a melodrama. Survival against impossible odds requires ruthless efficiency. Female vs female combat? Nope, shot her dead in 2 seconds. Amazing! Boss battle? Nope shoot two henchmen, quickly dispatch villain. What's the climax? The aesthetics in and of themselves? Paralleling the wonderment of the druggies when they take the drug, marveling in the most mundane flickers of light? That's it; highbrow action via reduction vs. reconstitution. I don't see a need for a sequel; it would have been out of character for such an efficient film.The point of the film is: Art for the sake of art is what you're watching action films for, you idiots, now don't forget to appreciate the beauty in the little things. Basically, watch Satantango? No? Well, at the very least Enter the Void. Greatest Double Feature Of All Time? You're welcome.

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Tue May 23, 2017 3:05 pm
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god I love dredd

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Tue May 23, 2017 4:00 pm
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It was great in 3D


Tue May 23, 2017 4:22 pm
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I was kind of mixed on Dredd; on one hand, much of its vision of the future was overly familiar and uninspiring, both visually and conceptually, and, except for part where an entire floor of the building got mowed down, most of the action scenes were disappointingly straightforward and stiff (it's obvious that Karl Urban or his stuntmen could barely see or move around in that visor/outfit). On the other hand, there were some interesting details in it occasionally (like Anderson's psychic abilities), and I liked how it wasn't afraid to have a realistic amount of civilian casulties in it, while still having an "anti-hero" like Dredd still care a lot about those casulties, and get pissed at them as a result, which is refreshing in this day and age, compared the toothlessness of something like The Avengers when it comes to that subject, or the utter abandon something like Man Of Steel treated it. So yeah, still kind of a mixed bag, but it had some good aspects to it.

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Tue May 23, 2017 11:25 pm
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Dredd is not just an anti-hero, he's also an anti-action-hero, which is to say that instead of sprinting and sliding along the floor of a room shooting bad guys in the legs he throws a stun grenade and then swiftly dispatches them. I think the action scenes' stiffness is an essential part of the film: If he wasn't so efficient, he would have been dead long ago. No wasted movement, no death. Similarly it's not really a dystopia, it's an action film; the dystopian details are glossed over, because instead of making a bad dystopian film they just made a film set in a giant cage, where the outside world was inaccessible and therefore irrelevant. And, really, Dredd isn't really an anti-hero in the film; he's just an "ethical" product of an unethical system. He does absolutely nothing outside the confines of the law, contrary to an anti-hero.

Where you call Dredd toothless, I call it a film without a mouth. The Avengers and Man of Steel have baby teeth, but that's not actually a good thing. I wouldn't fault Dredd for not having what other similar films have; it's certainly stronger for just plain not doing what other films do poorly. Is it The Greatest Film of All Time? Not to me - but it doesn't even have that potential, given its composition. It does make a lot out of what it is composed of, especially as a contrast (and surely an intentional one) to the overblown melodrama of the "action-hero".

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Wed May 24, 2017 10:14 am
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I rather liked, but did not love, Dredd. It benefited also from being far superior than the awful 90s adaptation.

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Fri May 26, 2017 4:05 pm
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Ace wrote:
It was great in 3D

I've seen it in 2D. Should I take this as another of your recommendations, Ace?

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Sat May 27, 2017 1:22 pm
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She's the effects of the slow mo drug are enhanced in 3D. And the picture has a nice depth to it even i 2D.


Sat May 27, 2017 6:14 pm
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