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UnMod.org • View topic - Recommend Me a Movie

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Recommend Me a Movie

For general chat. Videogames, music, whatever. Moderated.

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Re: Recommend Me a Movie

Postby Martin Penwald on Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:02 pm

Vertigo? Really? That movie was 110 minutes of boredom and 15 minutes of absolutely intense suspense. While the latter was great, I don't know whether the movie is worth sitting through the former.

Then again, it has been 10 years or so since I watched it.
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Re: Recommend Me a Movie

Postby leokef on Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:45 pm

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Re: Recommend Me a Movie

Postby leokef on Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:10 pm

We watched The Sorcerer's Apprentice. It was better than I anticipated but not by much. It had flair, great visual effects and a nice sense of style, but Cage's half-assed performance drained much of the magic out of the film. Although he wasn't the only one: the idiot writers thought it a good idea to explain away magic. Oh it's just science! Sufficiently advanced science indistinguishable from magic and wielded by old white guys in robes, sporting huge snowy beards. I ask, can't it just be magic?

I wouldn't even raise the issue if it had been just the one throwaway line that Cage delivers, which is like the more literate pondering in Kelly's The Box. However, it becomes an incredibly boring theme throughout the film. The good guys primarily use magical plasma bolts as their weapons--basically magic bullets like latter Harry Potter, only packing a bit more punch. So these magic bullets are a higher magical caliber, I suppose. Then Dave's science experiment becomes an important plot device, especially during the climax. He delivers the following gem of a one-liner prior to defeating Morgana: "I brought a friend with me... SCIENCE." Oh, and his girlfriend, in an amazing bit of overlooked heroism and uncanny abilities, manages to scale a skyscraper rather quickly and realign the satellite dish on its roof. I'm not exactly sure she isn't a sorceress herself. Nevertheless, how stupid that Morgana's plan to raise the dead requires an array of parabolic antennae.

Allow me to spoil the climax for you in detail: Dave defeats Morgana in the most inane way possible. Using improvised tesla coils he prevents her from phasing out or whatever and then he just pelts her with magical plasma balls. A fully automatic, rapid-fire plasma ball spell, I suppose. He blows her to pieces too, demolishing every part of her mysticaterial anatomy. Somewhat cruel and unnecessary if you ask me. Then the magic-as-science theme is continued when he infuses his hands with magical electrical energy and uses them as defibrillators. What is the deal with that. All the powers of Merlin and more and he just does shit that any ambulance could have done?

Couldn't Morgana have shot some cloud of dark energy at Balthazar instead, and then the kid would have had to draw it out in an elaborate scene? Couldn't she have turned Balthazar into stone and then Dave would have had to transform the stone back into flesh? Couldn't she have banished Balthazar to the Phantom Zone and then Dave would have had to summon him back? Anything besides simple cardiac arrest. He's supposed to be a damn sorcerer! Not a scientist or a paramedic!

That said, not every instance of magic was lame. There was a neat trick with mirrors that perfectly captured what magic is really about. And try to explain that as some form of advanced science! It doesn't make a lick of sense. Mirrors aren't portals or doorways. They're just reflections of light! How the hell do you science your ass into a backwards reality by hurling oneself against a reflective surface. It ain't possible, man! Not unless you mean to argue that Merlinians and Morganians create some manner of wormhole at the point of contact--but why do they need a decent reflective surface then? I mean, everything reflects light to some extent.

It's simple. Magic is trickery and illusion. That's what makes it fun. It's like the Force. You don't introduce Midi-chlorians as some sort of token appeal to materialists. I imagine strict materialists would only find that more insulting, and meanwhile you're sucking the fun out of magic by making it quantifiable, limiting it, and really just putting the real magic so much more distant by whatever layer of explanation you want to introduce.

Anyway, this all seems a bit tangential, but there's honestly no point to watching this film beyond seeing special effects wizardry bring magic to life. The main character's annoying and unlikable. Cage is comatose for most of it. The token love story is bland. Even there, science butts its head in, unrealistically helping Dave get his crush in the sack. Surely I'm not the only one that found his musical tesla coil demonstration, interesting as it was (if factually impossible according to IMDB), rather grating on the eyes and ears.

That said, there are some neat tricks here and there in the film. I found myself mostly entertained by Alfred Molina's smarmy portrayal of Horvath. The magical mop sequence from which the film is derived works fairly well too. Too bad they couldn't just expand on the themes encapsulated in the original story instead of turning it all into another epic battleground for good and evil. Or make that science and evil. Or rather good science vs. bad science. Whatever. Point is, the film is more material than magic, more chore than fun.
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Re: Recommend Me a Movie

Postby Ace! on Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:18 pm

You forgot about the Prime Merlinian!


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Re: Recommend Me a Movie

Postby Ace! on Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:24 pm

I haven't watched it yet, but I remember hearing good things about Sita Sings the Blues. Its creator, Nina Paley, is I'm excited to give it a watch!


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Re: Recommend Me a Movie

Postby Ace! on Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:55 pm

Okay, Easy A. You have no business being this funny.


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Re: Recommend Me a Movie

Postby dkhighwind on Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:40 pm

leokef, you missed the part about how Sorcerer's Apprentice was wonderful.
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Re: Recommend Me a Movie

Postby Leon on Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:14 am

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Re: Recommend Me a Movie

Postby Alceste on Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:15 am

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Re: Recommend Me a Movie

Postby Ace! on Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:24 pm

In what should be one of the signs of the apocalypse, The Social Network was fantastic. The story was told unapologetically, the performances were all exceptional (with the exception of Rashida Jones, completely out of place), featuring actors who all disappeared into their characters, topped off with an incredibly snappy script and very sharp direction.

The movie blew by, and when it was over, it took me by surprise. It didn't feel like two hours had passed, and I wanted more time with it. I wanted it to keep going.

It's definitely going to be nominated for Best Picture and might actually win, and that makes me feel really weird. It wouldn't be undeserved, certainly, but still. It's the fucking Facebook movie, and its story is far more interesting than Facebook itself.


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Re: Recommend Me a Movie

Postby leokef on Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:16 am

Got the A-Team in the mail, care of Netflix. I'm having a hard time deciding whether I like it or not. This much I'll say: it is a well crafted piece of work. The actors worked well together, save maybe for Quinton Jackson whose inexperience marred a few scenes here and there. One feels inclined to forgive the cartoonish reality of the film, given how many tons of action the filmmakers packed into it. The story took a few appreciable twists and turns. The villains were not quite the simple klutzes they usually are in PG-13 films, instead being rather skilled and motivated individuals. Overall, a feeling of enthusiasm permeated the movie, and the emphasis seemed to be on having fun.

Yet despite all this, I felt strangely dissatisfied by the movie. In fact, I don't even quite think of it as a movie. I think of it as an expensive fireworks display: pretty but pointless. Consider, the characters spend the entire film trying to clear their names. Ask yourself, why? What do these characters have going for themselves? What is the value of a name. Maybe a military record with it, however long and colorful. These four men--none of them seemed to have family, goals, interests, even values beyond martial ones. B. A. Baracus develops the beginning of a moral code midway through the film and what happens to it? The other characters knock it down. What's the point of these people being free men anyway. Face, for instance, seems as comfortable in prison as out. Murdock fit into the loony ward just fine.

There comes a point where you cannot even pretend you are watching human beings. You're not even watching cartoons, but rather lifeless, purposeless shells moving about in a narrative that has no purpose. The faster they run and the happier they act, in such a context, only make their motions even more depressing. What is at stake anyway? Some money plates. That's it. Not even money, just the plates that they use to print money without a press to use them. They're a MacGuffin, about as meaningless as the rest of the film. By the end, the A-Team seemingly clears their name before some feds show up and arrest them. According to the epilogue, they're on the run yet again. So, all in all, nothing really happened. The world's just a bit messier and a few humans lighter.

Certain creative decisions helped rid the film of significance: The inclusion of long planning scenes, for instance, and the editing that spliced the plans and the execution together. Watching the characters plan what they'll do eliminates any sense of spontaneity. Show, don't tell and all that. The constant interruptions also ruin the flow of the action scenes. Eventually, I got the feeling that I might have been watching the minutes of whatever writing sessions took place. No doubt sensing this, the filmmakers toss a monkey wrench into the climactic plan. But given how cartoonish the film has been up to that point, one cannot possibly feel any tension. Is it any surprise that Baracus somehow survives a flood of shipping containers falling from an exploding ship on top of him. With nary a scratch on him. The characters will make it. You know that. There will be room for a sequel. It all seems predictable. It all seems like one big setup for a franchise. And it just feels terribly forced.

Maybe my problem with the film, summed up succinctly, is this: it does not evoke an emotional reaction. There's no reason to care about the so-called characters, what happens to them or their world. Even if the CIA got its hands on the MacGuffin--what would happen? Some people would get rich and the dollar would lose value by a possibly imperceptible amount. It all just seemed rather unimportant, sound and fury signifying nothing.
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Re: Recommend Me a Movie

Postby Ace! on Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:51 am

You know what's funny? I agree with all of your points, yet I was extremely satisfied on both viewings.


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Re: Recommend Me a Movie

Postby leokef on Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:07 pm

Probably comes down to whether you like huge fireworks displays or not.

I hope to watch Aliens tonight. I downloaded a blu-ray rip--1080p, surround sound and everything. It looks amazing compared to my old special edition DVD.
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Re: Recommend Me a Movie

Postby leokef on Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:29 am

So apparently The Dark Knight Rises will feature . Huh.

Catwoman seemed like a logical female lead so no surprise there. Hathaway's a curious pick since she's not quite the sort of sex kitten one might imagine in the role. She's no Michelle Pfeiffer to be certain. Then again, no reason to expect Nolan will seriously try to capture any of the sexual energy that exists between her and Batman. Rachel Dawes turned out to be an exercise in frigidity.

Bane, however, is a genuine surprise. All the rumors of Hardy as Hugo Strange were for naught. Maybe that is for the best since Nolan's series has already had a crazy doctor villain, Scarecrow. I quite like Hardy and I'll bet he can pull the role off. What I've seen of him in Bronson suggests he should have no problem becoming a fearsome physical presence. The question then becomes whether Hardy can pull off a Spanish accent or whether Bane's history will be retconned for the film.

What's surprising about Bane is the contrast he represents compared to the more intellectual/hands-free rogues Nolan has adapted so far. Batman Begins had a few fights here and there, but Ra's al Ghul meticulously plotted the fall of Gotham. He wasn't a physical villain. The Dark Knight almost abandoned fisticuffs entirely in favor of moral dilemmas and Joker's terrorism. Considering how successful Nolan's style has been thus far, it doesn't exactly make sense for Nolan to pick a villain primarily renowned for his awesome strength and grotesque musculature. Will Nolan adapt Bane as another mastermind or will he use him as brute force. Time will tell.

I'm excited, personally. The inclusion of Catwoman doesn't thrill me--not with Rachel Dawes so built up and dead at this point. However, I very much look forward to Nolan and Hardy's take on Bane. That is sure to kick ass.
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Re: Recommend Me a Movie

Postby Ace! on Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:33 am

It would be cool if the opening of the film is Bane breaking Batman. Or the closing. That's something I could get behind.


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