Jump to content
Fab

The last movie you just recently watched

Recommended Posts

So, what is the last movie you just recently watched, and how was it?

 

For me, it was The Hobbit, which I watched last week. I have to admit, it was better than the previous 3 LOTR series. It doesn't seem to get to boring in the conversations like the previous 3. Or maybe it just me. But as usual, the movie is way long, almost hitting the 3hr mark. Not being a reader of the books, there are quite a number of parts which I found myself lost or wondering who the hell this people are.

  • Disagree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can definitely see where people who didn't read the books get lost in certain parts of the movies.

Tends to happen in very long books, or ones with sequels (Harry Potter).

 

I recently watched Total Recall, the new one.

I thought it was a good movie but I didn't like the mind-bending "is it is a dream or not" purely because neither it being a dream or actually occurring made no sense. Not a very well put togetherambiguous ending imo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

007 Skyfall. Pretty good! I loved MI6's depiction in London, the chase scenes within the Underground Tube! One scene in particular really made me laugh, when Bond slides down the escalator in the middle lanes. Those that have taken the escalators there know how LONG the slope is. I admit during my visit the thought of doing the same thing crossed my mind. ^_^

 

<blockquote class="ipsBlockquote" data-author="Fab" data-cid="1806" data-time="1358652738]

...the movie is way long, almost hitting the 3hr mark.

</blockquote>

The longest film I've ever seen was Saving Private Ryan. 3 hours though... gosh. :mellow:

 

<blockquote class="ipsBlockquote" data-author="Taalen" data-cid="1807" data-time="1358672072]

I recently watched Total Recall, the new one.

</blockquote>

I haven't seen this one yet, waiting for a Bluray release. I must ask though, did you watch the old one? ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Total recall was a nice movie, I caught it too, and yea, the mind-boggling "is he in a dream or not" was kinda irritating throughout the whole movie.

 

I didn't get a chance to watch Skyfall. Was stuck in the army while it was going on. And was too busy on the weekend for movies back then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I most recently watched The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies in theaters, but if you mean in general, I guess I watched either A Christmas Story or A Christmas Carol most recent, x.x

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I watched Captain America for the first time yesterday, it was all fine and well until that ending... :? Also watched my favorite movie, Its a Wonderful Life, on Christmas Eve as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Recently watched an older film called Snakes on a Plane, ft. Samuel L. Jackson. Such a creative way to try and take down a plane. I will never look at flying on a plane the same way again. :?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Interview it was funny as hell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Watched Forest Gump for the second full time, I like Tom Hanks and his movies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Jupiter
I most recently watched The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies in theaters, but if you mean in general, I guess I watched either A Christmas Story or A Christmas Carol most recent, x.x

 

Great movie. I loved all 3 of the previous Hobbit movies, Including BOTFA. Big fan of the Lord of the Rings movie. I really like Aragorn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Living Daylights

When Daniel Craig became widely accepted after Casino Royale came out, people questioned why Timothy Dalton wasn't. Not having seen License to Kill, I couldn't answer that fully, but I'd say that Dalton in this movie, while a functional performance, just didn't stand out from the previous Bonds as much, Roger Moore included.

 

The camp is still here. Though not as exaggerated as Moore's movies, it was a shame not to see Bond use his intelligence to outwit the bad guys during the chase scene in the Aston Martin. The reliance on gadgets of that scene was annoying, as usual, especially the use of rockets and lasers.

 

Nevertheless, Dalton has his other moments that foreshadowed the hard-edge that was to come in License to Kill. His cold attitude was believable, if only because of the contrast displayed during the lighter moments, when Bond showed himself to a charming romantic capable of falling in love. As long as he wasn't forced to quip those one-liners that came off as more unnatural when said by him (as opposed to being said by someone like Brosnan or Moore), he made for a decent Bond in this movie.

 

7/10

 

License to Kill

7/10

 

The infamous License to Kill was hailed as the most violent Bond movie ever, sometimes still regarded as so even after Casino Royale came out. Looking at it now in 2015, the film naturally seems pale in comparison, but even back in '89, there were much more violent films out there that made it seem like all the hoopla was for naught.

 

The majority of the movie consists of Bond flaunting his usual charm around women, and in this case, he has to work his charisma on his adversary as well. Only one-third of the movie has extremely violent scenes, as most of the action scenes featured here are no more violent than Connery's Bond movies. Dalton's so-called 'edgier' side merely come up every so often. He's still the suave and cool-headed romantic comparable to Connery and less comparable to Craig. Compared to Daniel, he's more a monk than a hitman.

 

The Bond girls here are the most entertaining part of the movie, though that's not saying much. Pam Bouvier plays a believable young woman who, although could handle a fight on her own, is not any more a femme fatale than Vesper. Without sacrificing the more feminine traits, Carey Lowell managed to be a great character on her own. And as for the lovely Lupe Lamora (played by Talisa Soto), she made for one of the more interesting characters in the film as an ambiguous character who kept me guessing which team she was playing on. Though not as great a character as Carey, I can't say I hate watching the sexy exchanges between her and Bond.

 

Franz Sanchez (played by Robert Davi) as a more realistic villain... was the last thing I would have thought to describe as "boring". And yet he is. I can't believe I would rather watch Blofeld over this guy. Unlike Silva in Skyfall, who managed to strike a good balance between camp and realism, Sanchez made for a generic drug-dealer whose principal of loyalty was as interesting as the plot itself.

 

And ah yes, the plot. The notorious "Bond seeks revenge" plot I also thought would be immensely unique among the Bond movies. The story started out fine as I had fun seeing Bond pushed to the edge. But then the movie dragged on, and on, and on, until all the tension that it had in the initial 20 minutes was lost in its poor pacing. By the time Bond finally got to kill Sanchez, I had no longer cared. 70% of the movie merely felt like Bond going on another of his adventures, going after yet another villain. It didn't seem like "Bond seeking revenge" to me. I just didn't buy it. I can't believe I'm saying this, but take notes from Quantum of Solace to see how to make a revenge seem believable. Though the execution of that one was piss-poor, at least I bought that Bond was actually thirst for revenge.

 

Worst of all, this is probably the most annoying M yet. Not only does Robert Brown's character not serve other purpose more than a plot-device (much like in The Living Daylights), his few minutes of presence berating Bond was absolutely irritating. Thank god for Judi Dench in the next film.

 

Despite all that, I can't say I hate this film any more than I hate Skyfall. Dalton and Bouvier's performances really carried this movie well, and even Robert Davi was not too bad. Dalton, while still failing to impress me, the subtle nuance he brought in his expressions that displayed Bond's more human side continued to appeal me. I can see why people have claimed that Daniel Craig seem much more stiff than Dalton, for the latter was able to remain emotional while being angry or professional. Good actors and characters can keep a dull movie from being too dull, and this is a fine example here.

 

Now for the big question: is Dalton or Craig the more grittier of the two? I would say neither, for both are considered equally gritty during the times they were in, so it's unfair to say Dalton should have been more realistic or whatever. However, I think it's Daniel's ability to always remain emotionally detached when facing his enemies that makes me like him a little more. Sorry Dalton.

 

The infamous License to Kill was hailed as the most violent Bond movie ever, sometimes still regarded as so even after Casino Royale came out. Looking at it now in 2015, the film naturally seems pale in comparison, but even back in '89, there were much more violent films out there that made it seem like all the hoopla was for naught.

 

The majority of the movie consists of Bond flaunting his usual charm around women, and in this case, he has to work his charisma on his adversary as well. Only one-third of the movie has extremely violent scenes, as most of the action scenes featured here are no more violent than Connery's Bond movies. Dalton's so-called 'edgier' side merely come up every so often. He's still the suave and cool-headed romantic comparable to Connery and less comparable to Craig. Compared to Daniel, he's more a monk than a hitman.

 

The Bond girls here are the most entertaining part of the movie, though that's not saying much. Pam Bouvier plays a believable young woman who, although could handle a fight on her own, is not any more a femme fatale than Vesper. Without sacrificing the more feminine traits, Carey Lowell managed to be a great character on her own. And as for the lovely Lupe Lamora (played by Talisa Soto), she made for one of the more interesting characters in the film as an ambiguous character who kept me guessing which team she was playing on. Though not as great a character as Carey, I can't say I hate watching the sexy exchanges between her and Bond.

 

Franz Sanchez (played by Robert Davi) as a more realistic villain... was the last thing I would have thought to describe as "boring". And yet he is. I can't believe I would rather watch Blofeld over this guy. Unlike Silva in Skyfall, who managed to strike a good balance between camp and realism, Sanchez made for a generic drug-dealer whose principal of loyalty was as interesting as the plot itself.

 

And ah yes, the plot. The notorious "Bond seeks revenge" plot I also thought would be immensely unique among the Bond movies. The story started out fine as I had fun seeing Bond pushed to the edge. But then the movie dragged on, and on, and on, until all the tension that it had in the initial 20 minutes was lost in its poor pacing. By the time Bond finally got to kill Sanchez, I had no longer cared. 70% of the movie merely felt like Bond going on another of his adventures, going after yet another villain. It didn't seem like "Bond seeking revenge" to me. I just didn't buy it. I can't believe I'm saying this, but take notes from Quantum of Solace to see how to make a revenge seem believable. Though the execution of that one was piss-poor, at least I bought that Bond was actually thirst for revenge.

 

Worst of all, this is probably the most annoying M yet. Not only does Robert Brown's character not serve other purpose more than a plot-device (much like in The Living Daylights), his few minutes of presence berating Bond was absolutely irritating. Thank god for Judi Dench in the next film.

 

Despite all that, I can't say I hate this film any more than I hate Skyfall. Dalton and Bouvier's performances really carried this movie well, and even Robert Davi was not too bad. Dalton, while still failing to impress me, the subtle nuance he brought in his expressions that displayed Bond's more human side continued to appeal me. I can see why people have claimed that Daniel Craig seem much more stiff than Dalton, for the latter was able to remain emotional while being angry or professional. Good actors and characters can keep a dull movie from being too dull, and this is a fine example here.

 

Now for the big question: is Dalton or Craig the more grittier of the two? I would say neither, for both are considered equally gritty during the times they were in, so it's unfair to say Dalton should have been more realistic or whatever. However, I think it's Daniel's ability to always remain emotionally detached when facing his enemies that makes me like him a little more. Sorry Dalton.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was really bored at my grandma's house so I decided to go home. My siblings and I watched Pitch Perfect 2. Fat amy gave me the best laugh. Especially on the very first part of the movie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oldboy (2003)

 

Oldboy is one of the lighter versions of art house movies. A pseudo-art house movie, if you will, that real art house lovers will laugh at you for calling it an art house movie because your mainstream mentality isn't advanced enough to comprehend what they considered a simplistic plot. Needless to say, repeated viewings are needed for myself.

 

Nevertheless, I do understand the general concept director Park Chan-wook was going for, especially with the aid of other reviews. The revenge flick wasn't a fresh idea, even back in 2003. What made Oldboy different was its deeper exploration of truth and freedom. Does the truth set you free? Constantly throughout the film, the protagonist, Oh Dae-su, was taunted by the antagonist, Lee Woo-jin, about how he had merely moved from a smaller prison to a bigger one. Woo-jin's ultimatum was that, without learning the truth of why he was imprisoned for 15 years, Dae-su will never gain true freedom. Moreover, at the start of the film, while Dae-su was imprisoned, he was even brainwashed into smiling instead of frowning, a foreshadowing of how ignorant bliss might be a better choice than staying angry and vengeful. By less than two-thirds of this film, Dae-su would have gained the opportunity to kill Woo-jin, so the story is not exactly just about petty revenge.

 

However, one might be fooled if he's watching this for the first time, as Dae-su is presented more as a generic badass who punches and tortures people throughout the film and not so much as a victim haunted by PTSD. The dragged out gratuitous violence and the inclusion of Park Cheol-woong as a significant character weakened the film somewhat, though not enough to diminish its brilliance. The best part of the movie, the consequences of learning the truth, came in the second half of the movie, when Dae-su remembers accidentally witnessing the incestuous encounter between Woo-jin and his sister back in high school. The way truth is painted as a binding curse is very well done, although I felt it didn't fit well with the theme of revenge. I get that the extreme violence was needed to push the point that Dae-su was desperate to learn the truth through any means necessary, but I felt that the fight scene with Park's men just seemed like a tacked-on extra, a scene that should have been in the "Deleted Scenes" section of the blu-ray.

 

Another point to note was how awkward Dae-su and Mi-do's relationship felt even before the truth about Mi-do was revealed. Their romance never felt natural. And no, it's not due to the hypnotism, because Woo-jin said it himself that the "falling in love" portion of his plan could not be controlled; it had to be done through free will, not through the hypnotism. The way Mi-do quickly accepted Dae-su after being molested by him, a stranger she had just picked up, just left me rolling my eyes.

 

Aside from the few flaws it has, Oldboy is a disturbing thriller that questions the validity of "ignorance being bliss". It provokes the audience to asking controversial questions, and that's certainly not the first time a South Korean film has done so for me (watch I See The Devil for another example).

 

8/10

 

Birdman

 

Several hours after watching this film, I'm still wrecking my head trying to figure out what it all means, if there's a deeper meaning to it all. Birdman has a simple enough story that this shouldn't be the case on face value, yet when I consider the subtle symbolism, the ironies, and the reflections of real life the movie presented, I couldn't dismiss it as merely a pretentious film with nothing to say. Or perhaps the praises by critics everywhere have tricked me into fooling myself.

 

That's one virtue of such ignorance though, isn't it? One thirsts for knowledge when he's ignorant. Had Riggan accepted the truth that he's indeed a washed out actor, he would not have the motivation to make his struggle back to glory. Had Mike acknowledged that he's just a pretentious douchebag rather than deceive himself, he would not return to the stage he love. Why return to the theater at all if Tabitha Dickinson was so sure that the play would be terrible?

 

My belief has always been that art is subjective, no matter what critics or naysayers like myself say about the latest Transformers movie. As can be seen from Birdman reviews, there are many perspectives one would gain from watching this film. There was one review I came across that even called it a mocking of art and art lovers, that it's a a lecture on the sentimental values given to 'artsy' products and the derision given to blockbusters, when in the end, we are all just pretentious pricks like Dickinson who thinks we know better. Naturally, that became one of the more unpopular reviews out there.

 

That's the fascinating thing with art - nobody can ever be objectively accurate. I'm sure there are some standards set by 'experts' and 'professionals' who are no less flawed and human than the average viewer, but one could enjoy Transformers or even Marvel movies his entire life without watching a single movie from the Criterion Collection and he wouldn't lose the chance for an equally happy life watching movies he love.

 

While Robert Downey Jr. is making millions with his superhero franchise, Riggan Thomson is trying to stay relevant with the more 'sophisticated' theater community by reviving a story 60 years old that only "a thousand rich old white people worrying about cake and coffee" would care about. Worst of all, his idea of success was one accomplished through a potential suicide that some snob critic pretentiously sugar-coated as "super-realism" and "a new form of method acting". Despite Riggan's wooden performance on stage (as opposed to his more emotional expressions off-stage), Dickinson awarded him such compliments. Virtues of ignorance indeed.

 

The real suicide, some speculated, took place when Riggan fired that gun, not after he jumped out that window. The contrast between the more realistic point-of-view camera shots before the gunshot and the more superficial cinematic cuts that took place after hinted that everything that occurred after he fired the gun was just Riggan's idealism of what success looks like. If that is truly the case, then that's a pretty pathetic end for the character, and such desperation to stay 'deep' and relevant can only be summed up with the overused word, "pretentious", once again, for no fancier word is needed to describe those who pretend to be more than who they are - ignorant daydreamers who imagine things bigger than they really are.

 

And yet, that's merely one interpretation of Alejandro's true message. I might be wrong for all I know. There's a certain comfort in ignorance that drives us in a world that might not have any deeper meaning, probably because we fear that the truth might not be as satisfying. Riggan certainly preferred to think he could soar above mankind, while Sam preferred to think that his father didn't become a red blot on the street.

 

9/10

 

Jurassic World

I'll admit - the start of Jurassic World was promising. Back when this movie was first announced, there was a very interesting talk from the producers or director about the script. They mentioned "technophobia" and the over-reliance on technology. You could see some of the cleverness of that idea in the first 10 minutes of the film, where Claire Dearing (played by Bryce Dallas Howard) talked about how people are getting tired of the old dinosaurs, that they lacked the 'wow factor'. So they needed to splice a newer, a much flashier version of what used to mesmerize us back then... See where I'm going with this? I thought it was pretty clever, the self-awareness of the movie knowing that it's a reboot of something great.

 

Unfortunately, that didn't go anywhere... for the most parts. The comparison of 'old vs. new' and 'artificial vs. nature' only existed at the beginning of the film and the ending of it. It's largely just shoved to the ending, to be specific. Most of what goes on in-between is just filler to get you to the destination.

 

Much like Terminator: Salvation and Die Another Day, there are a lot of homages paid to the original movies beyond the obvious 'park gate opening'. A dinosaur attacking the kids behind a glass barrier, the tall-grass raptor attack from The Lost World, the swiping of the dusty advertisement for the park as done by Vince Vaughn near the end of The Lost World, the quote "Welcome to Jurassic Park/World" (Hammond's version is better by an entire continent, naturally), the T-Rex neck-snap of Jurassic Park III (done in a more epic way this time round), the raptor-pushing out of its eggshell, and of course, the two kids who are homages to Tim and Lex. There are probably others that I've missed. I'm surprised, however, that there's no homage to the impact tremor... What the hell.

 

Anyway. Needless to say, a lot of the characters here are forgettable cannon-fodder that we won't care about because we just want to see people getting killed by dinosaurs in a desensitized manner, kinda like The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Not the first one though, because almost everyone who got killed in the first one was either memorable or had a meaningful death, even "Hold on to your butts" John Arnold, even the blood-sucking lawyer. None of their deaths were boring cannon-fodder that one would yawn at. It also helped that not a lot of people died in the first one. To be fair, however, the military featured here is a little less dumb in terms of their military prowess and tactical thinking, at least compared to other generic blockbusters. The way one soldier got killed when a blood dripped on his hand? The one you saw in the trailer? He didn't die the way you would think from seeing the trailer. It was pretty clever.

 

Speaking of trailer-trolling, the raptor-taming isn't as cartoonish as the sound of the idea. It's actually made quite believable here, and the raptors are not one-dimensional allies who comply to the humans' every command, so that's a plus. However, I do think the raptors were getting a little stale by the time Lost World came around. Jurassic Park III tried to make them more intelligent, but ruined the whole thing by making them vicious murderers who would snap people's neck for no reason. By the time Jurassic World came along, I'm just not frightened by raptors anymore, nor find them interesting for that matter. They are like miniature versions of the Indominus Rex.

 

Yes, that's the name of the newly bred dinosaur because they wanted a 'cool' name... not because it's a scientifically-accurate species name... Sigh. Whatever. Back to the characters.

 

I actually thought Chris Pratt is pretty good here. I still dislike his witty persona from watching Guardians, but at least he has moments of drama and emotions here. Claire is as forgettable as the family drama she's involved in, so let's skip her. Vic Hoskins (played by Vincent D'Onofrio... waitwut? VINCENT?! KINGPIN? WHAT?! No wonder I found him so familiar!) is a military a**hole like every other kind you've seen in other movies... what a waste of his talent. And as for the two kids, Gray and Zach Mitchell, all you need to know is that Gray is a science nerd, and Zach is an edgy, angst-ridden brat who bullies his little brother. I found them annoying, naturally, and I don't really know why I favor Tim and Lex over these two (Tim and Lex had their 'annoying children' moments too, but I guess not as much as Gray and Zach).

 

Speaking of Gray and Zach, they are involved in this dull family drama that resembles the one in Jurassic Park III. Now I'm not saying human or family drama can't be interesting, but the kind of drama portrayed here is so trite. It's the kind of drama you would find in a monster B-movie, not in a multi-million blockbuster. It makes me want to watch the Hallmark Channel to look for a much better written drama about children dealing with parental divorce. This sub-plot takes up about 25-30% of the movie.

 

There's also a scene where the pterosaurs attack the guests in the park. They tried to build suspense in this scene, but the pterodactyl scene in Jurassic Park III was much better; the pterosaurs here aren't as frightening or interesting. The thing that truly bothered me, however, was that pterosaurs don't eat bipedal creatures, just like Spinosaurus isn't proven to eat anything other than fish. I know this is just a movie, and I shouldn't base scientific facts on this, but it has always bothered me how they portrayed these pterosaurs to be these killers who would attack humans (in Jurassic Park III too), because I have never seen a pterosaur in any of the many documentaries I've watched attacked a bipedal, human-sized dinosaur like a young Iguanodon. As a dinosaur-fan, I found this scene kinda hilarious, really.

 

The rest of the film is basically one long hunt for the Indominus Rex. There's some exposition about the raptors at the beginning of the film, but the film is quick to jump into the New-Rex conflict and start the action. No suspense, no build-up. Like loose cannons. The revelation of this new hybrid dinosaur is a mess, as the I-Rex appeared to be just another random bipedal dinosaur when we finally got to see its face. There's none of that 'wow' factor that was spoken of, unlike the revelation of the T-Rex in the first movie... and that might just be the point director Collin Trevorrow was trying to make in a meta-sense.

 

Trevorrow has stated before that it was meant to "embody humanity's worst tendencies", and that the message is that "we're surrounded by wonder and yet we want more, and we want it bigger, faster, louder, better." Like I said at the beginning, the cleverness of this idea was present at the beginning and the ending of this film, and I love it for that. It's just too bad that most of this film is just focused on getting from Point A to Point B, with almost its entire focus on hunting the I-Rex and nothing else. There's very little exploration of the theme that Treverrow mentioned. There's one scene where Gray and Zach lit up a torch like cavemen exploring cave-paintings and I was quite excited about that, and then we saw those old jeeps from the first Jurassic Park and I became even more excited. But that's all to it, just a little homage and reference to the first movie. And by the end of the movie, the message we finally get is pretty superficial. Here's how the movie explores the theme at the end:

 

The T-Rex kills the I-Rex with the help of the raptors.

Yeah. It's a simple and forced "old is better, new is evil" message.

 

To give Treverrow credit, this final act was a lot of fun, simply because A) the T-Rex has finally taken back its throne by killing off a knock-off, unlike in JPIII, and B) the raptors teamed up with T-Rex, bringing the franchise to a full circle from when they were against each other in the first movie. So yes, I have to admit, I had fun watching this scene. But it's not enough to rectify the entire hour and a half prior to this scene (in fact, as fun as it is, this felt as superficial as the San Diego scene in The Lost World). It actually felt like a really short movie because of how little that happened throughout this rushed movie.

 

I wish there were more arguments and discussions on Treverrow's theme, on how "bigger is not necessary better", just quiet window-character moments where people just sit down and talk about flea circus and rape of the natural world, or about the illusion of control and life, uh, finding a way. There wasn't even a "I told you so" or "Now you're John Hammond" scene. Chris Pratt and Bryce's characters had a few glimpses of these at the beginning before the inevitable rush to the end, so I guess I can't complain too much (even though none of the dialogues were more memorable than even those of The Lost World and perhaps even Jurassic Park III).

 

Overall, I give Jurassic World a 5/10, which is an average rating for an average movie, not a terrible one.

 

Oh, and another thing - Dr. Wu is back. He's an evil scientist here who helped created the I-Rex. Way to utilize good use of an old character.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Django Unchained

 

Often, when I talked about Marvel movies, I would mock that, "I'm a little past John Wayne riding into the sunset with the girl by now." Surprisingly enough, Tarantino would prove me wrong by painting a black John Wayne with such style. And fun. For once, I had fun watching a movie without thinking too much. Tarantino fights the racism here without ever becoming preachy, and that's the way movies should be for this ain't no politics.

 

While the first 20 minutes were rather mediocre by Tarantino standards, when the ride finally kicked start with the appearance of "Monsieur" Calvin, it became one hell of a ride. Leonardo DiCaprio gave his best "Where's my Oscar?!" performance I've seen in the past ten years, one that far surpassed his later role in The Wolf of Wall Street (I still liked him better in The Departed). Unfortunately, he ultimately faded in comparison to the absolutely wonderful Samuel L. Jackson (oh god, I love him in this movie), whose charisma made it difficult to hate him.

 

But of course, the most fun part of the ride is watching Jamie Foxx lay down some good ol' vigilante justice on them white folks. It's refreshing to see a black hero among western tales of derring-do, even though the difference in race shouldn't be anything special. But it is that freshness that made this little adventure exciting, making me want to see more of Django in future escapades. Alas, the movie ended on a note too short. I wouldn't mind seeing the Freeman kicking more white ass.

 

8.5/10

 

The House of the Devil

 

There's a scene in this movie where the protagonist, Samantha Hughes (played by Jocelin Donahue), dancing without a care just moments before, goes downstairs for no reason and sees a suspicious RV parked outside the mansion. This is one of the few moments in the movie where plot was sacrificed for forced suspense.

 

From the first 10 minutes of the movie, you could tell what kind of movie Ti West was trying to make - a slow-crawl thriller that hearkens back to the days of John Carpenter's Halloween. Everything here is so retro that you would forget that this is a film released in 2009, from the film grain to the cassette player to the rotary phone to the old-fashioned clothing. Even the opening credits itself (which included freeze-frames and giant font) is a throwback to classic horror title sequences.

 

And for 30 minutes, the slow build-up worked. The dialogues and characters, though nothing impressive, remained quirky enough not to be generic. I wouldn't go so far to say I cared for the main character, but I at least found her relatable. There's none of the hackneyed family drama many horror movies tried to force in the first act, and instead, the spotlight is always focused on the main girl and no one else. And of course, the camera work is great and is the best part of the movie. There's a number of references to classic horror movies here in terms of camera angles - again, imitating Carpenter's style.

 

However, once I've actually got to the main plot of the movie - the house itself - things started to fall apart. The main problem with this movie is that Ti West mistook what is humdrum and mundane for suspense. Samantha's exploration of the mansion was honestly one of the dullest moments of horror movies I've ever seen, such that I had a difficult time staying awake. The only interesting part of this scene was the children's bedroom where toy soldiers and cowboy paintings were about, giving us a deeper insight to the family. I applaud Ti West for that, but most of this build-up just didn't have any kind of payoff in the end.

 

That's the disappointing part of the movie. For every realistic teenager like Samantha and Megan, there's at least one cartoonish element like Mr. Ulman (played over-the-top by Tom Noonan) that takes away from the experience. I almost thought I was watching Goosebumps when I saw Tom Noonan's performance. The rest of the Ulman were more believable as far as cultists go, but still merely functional characters. There's also one terrible scene where the true nature of the mansion's inhabitants is revealed way, way too soon, when a bunch of shriveled corpses are shown as clear as day in a wide-shot. It just immediately ruined any tension I might have had up till that point. I wish Ti West had kept it more ambiguous to keep me on my toes, because this is amateur filmmaking quality at best.

 

Then there's the ending. The consensus from Rotten Tomatoes claimed that the movie's underlying themes are familiar, and it was right. Satanism just isn't scary anymore - not the way it's presented here in this movie. On the other hand, I could rewatch the possession scenes from The Exorcist and still be thrilled by that. Right before the final scene, there's also a frustrating strobe-light effect that will hurt your eyes, though it passes relatively quick. When the satanic ritual is revealed, it was uninspired and typical, with your usual blood pentagrams and blood-drinking - nothing I haven't seen before from past movies about the Devil. There's no fancy camera work here that makes you feel disturbed about the ritual or the cult, no disturbing imagery other than a cheap monster mask, and by the time Mr. Ulman prophesied about Sam giving birth to the Antichrist, I pretty much just stopped caring at that point.

 

In the end, The House of the Devil was a nice attempt at rejuvenating the suspense-building of classic cinema, but its execution was unfortunately amateur and taken in the wrong direction, much like Ti West's other works, V/H/S and The ABCs of Death.

 

6/10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last movie I saw in theaters was Mad Max: Fury Road. It's my definitive movie of the year so far. It's not big on story, but that's the charm to it, because it's relied on post-apocalyptic vehicle carnage. And then the two movies I watched yesterday were Falling Down and Tucker and Dale vs Evil. Falling Down is a very dark drama, and Tucker and Dale vs Evil is horror comedy, which I enjoyed both.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

American History X

tumblr_lh8vwamJpD1qb7ikeo1_500.gif.320bf4a16a6c843c3fed07accef7972f.gif

And I kept asking myself all the time, how did I buy into this shit? It was because I was pissed off, and nothing I ever did ever took that feeling away. I killed two guys, Danny, I killed them. And it didn't make me feel any different. It just got me more lost and I'm tired of being pissed off, Danny. I'm just tired of it.

 

There was a time when what Danny said to his stepfather, Murray, about 'liberal nonsense' that would resonate with my own feelings. That time wasn't too long ago. The line between oppression and hatred can often be confused in the defense of our insecurities. To me, American History X wasn't just about racism or even neo-Nazism; its topic is a much deeper problem that will never be solved - our capacity for hatred.

 

It's an understatement to claim that the film drives its point with force. The picture is crystal clear and often verbose, but the message is all the same compelling. While I don't appreciate the 'telling' over 'showing', something writer David McKenna could learn the balance of from Fincher's wordy Fight Club, many of what was said reflected the feelings of many people I've met in real life.

 

That said, it's hard to judge the film on its own merit without biasness, for this film felt like a counselling session to me more than it felt like a film. What's compelling to myself is still heavy-handed and lacks any subtlety. Instead of leaving the audiences to ponder on the terrible things that have occurred in the film, the ending is a punchline with the impact of an anvil. For a film featuring neo-Nazis, it's terribly ironic that such cinematic manipulation of the fascist kind was used.

 

Naturally, Edward Norton's acting here is spectacular... until the final act. The thing about crying scenes, it can be difficult to make it believable. His 'emotions' here felt as artificial as those of Mike Shiner's on-stage, his other character in Birdman. Coincidentally, Norton would go on to star in another message-movie that was handled with much more subtlety and brilliance. But this isn't a David Fincher movie, so what do you expect?

 

6/10

Spring Breakers

tumblr_n0yduqj4AH1rn50mco1_500.gif.f8bd358a0c6662b5099d0815b16e669d.gif

 

Spring Breakers is a movie you'd be wondering what someone like me would be watching. While I do go for fun movies, drugs, sex, and debauchery are kinda beneath me. Naturally, I watched this one with very little attention paid. I might as well have been high watching this.

 

And yes, it does turn out to be more than just another tween movie about sex and drugs. Its commentary on the scandalous life of teenagers is still dumb though. I mean, teenagers can be dumb, but these kids in the movie make real teens look like Einsteins.

 

James Franco gave a fantastic performance though, and Selena Gomez was actually pretty good too, much to my surprise.

 

I don't know. Let's call it 6.5/10, guys. Meh.

 

Her or (The Overrated Nature of Real Emotions)

Shes-Not-Just-A-Computer-Joaquin-Phoenix-Her.gif.9c74adc2b4f06a950244b6619fc1c370.gif

But it does make me very sad that you can't handle real emotions, Theodore

 

There was a documentary on the population-decline crisis in Japan I saw some months ago. In it, two adult grown men were shown having a relationship with virtual girlfriends. They interacted with her bearing no shame nor irony, and one of them was even hesitant about choosing between the wife he was married to and the artificial girlfriend.

 

On a more personal note, I related a lot more with fictional characters than with real people. Some of the best moments in my life were not spent with real people, offline or otherwise. Those moments instead belonged to movie characters. And yet, I laughed and cried all the same, artificial or not. Instead of my uneducated parents, it was movies (and TV shows) that helped shape the man I am today. And I certainly didn't turn out like The Cable Guy.

 

And it is with that mentality that I related with the characters in Her. By the logic of Schrödinger's cat, are human emotions not real when you are unaware the methods through which your emotions are triggered? Theodore enjoyed the company of another individual - that enjoyment was real. Samantha's imitations of human behavior were also as real as our imitations of our parents' behavior. I learned more about human compassion from Toy Story 2 than from my own mother - was that fake? Could human emotions truly be imitated, patented, packaged, and ultimately be slapped into an operating system? If so, would it necessarily be such a bad thing?

 

As pretentious as this might sound, the best thing about great art like this is that there isn't a definite answer provided. If the volatile nature of people is never definite, why should the imitation of people be anything but? And unlike American History X, Spike Jonze's Her doesn't preach nor lecture. It asks the whys but never answers. It connects with the audience through characters that we could care about (likable ones or otherwise), and it rarely bored us with any social agenda-shoving. And because we care and love the movie experience we have been put through, only then will any underlying message stick with us for lifetimes to come.

 

Like most movies, naturally, this one has flaws. One romance sequence between Theodore and Samantha felt like it overstayed its welcome. I'm not sure as to which specific scene it was, but I believe it's the one right before Theodore proceeded to sign the divorce papers. Hence 'rarely bored', not 'never'.

 

Joaquin Phoenix played an adorable, boyish character whose innocence bears the same believability and realism as the other performances (including Amy Adams looking like a normal woman, unlike in Man of Steel). Scarlett Johansson would be better off playing emotional characters like Samantha from now on, because I never bought her as a ruthless assassin named Natasha (aside from her one exception in The Winter Soldier).

 

Oh, and Spike Jonze has landed as one of the filmmakers I'll be paying close attention to, alongside Fincher and Nolan.

 

8.8/10

Taxi Driver

tumblr_m1m7uwo9EY1r1dtbeo1_500.gif.22cad4529e0f88967e1481fb46114c37.gif

"The days go on and on... they don't end."

 

Taxi Driver is one of those movies that you've heard many people hailed as a masterpiece, like Citizen Kane and Casablanca. Unlike my experience from the latter two, I shared these people's sentiment for the first time. Taxi Driver is a masterpiece. Unfortunately, some of the younger viewers seeing this for the first time in 2015 might dismiss Travis Bickle as a mere sociopath vigilante as they quote the one line, "Are you talkin' to me?" without remembering the more important second part, "Well, I'm the only one here."

 

Truth be told, Travis crept me out at first, especially when he took a girl whom he had stalked to a porn movie. But halfway along the film, when Travis began working out, feeling like he had to do something to 'clean up this city', I remembered a short period of spiritual self-reexamination I had almost a year ago after watching Fight Club. Thinking back on the way he imitates how real people behave, the things he felt to be normal in the eyes of society, I found myself pleasantly surprised at relating to the character. The confusion one faces in his desperate grasp for relevancy isn't alien to many, especially those facing mid-life crisis. Trying to get in touch with a world he no longer has a place in, the 'Nam vet tries to reconnect with society in awfully awkward ways an ordinary person might determine (as I had) as "creepy", a label amongst many that people threw around a lot without stepping into the shoes of the creep and perceive the wretched world he sees.

 

For a moment there, through the eyes of Travis, I had thought this was going to be another movie that touch on the topic of racism, but thankfully, Scorsese believed this would give the film an overly racist subtext and decided to change some of the negative black roles to white ones, preventing us from being distracted from the story that's Travis himself. Scorsese also almost shot this film in black and white much like Raging Bull, which I believe would have made the film a little less relatable, even as it forces the point that Travis' perspective is skewed. It is through such fine-tuning that Martin was able to connect us fully with Travis' inner thoughts; the mild racist undertones and the bright colored lights of the city painted both a believable and lonely perspective one that we've all shared at one point.

 

An interesting scene to note, a scene that I still couldn't put my finger on the meaning of it, is the assassination of Palantine, which could be interpreted in numerous ways, one of which involved screenwriter Paul Schrader describing the scene as relating to "sexuality", or rather, a sexual rivalry. I believe it's a culmination of many elements, and not just the threat of Palantine's sexuality. Trevor didn't just want to stay relevant; he was a nobody who wanted to be somebody. He wanted to be famous. And in what was presumed by many to be a delusion (myself included), Trevor did become a famous hero despite killing people and getting scot-free. But I think it speaks much more in length if it's not just a delusion (Trevor's neck-scar is proof enough anyway), as it bears parallels to modern day cinema when something becomes famous for the wrong reasons, much like many Hollywood movies today. Much like the pop(pular) culture today, actually, where we hold up a lonely man as a badass vigilante.

 

10/10

 

In Closing

I know I don't talk a lot about the actors or the camera works in my reviews. Admittedly, I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to these things. Both Robert De Niro and Jodie Foster are splendid artists - that point you wouldn't need any convincing, much less from me. The one I really want to talk about is Jodie Foster, whom I've always admired as an actress. Some would claim that having a young actress pose as a prostitute was crude and even "disgusting", but I think it was crucial to the picture Martin was trying to paint. A dispassionate attitude towards such casting is utmost necessary, and I think Jodie truly deserved the role. Unlike some other viewers, I don't see it as drawing allure to a twelve year old. It's but a cruel aspect of a cruel world, and one shouldn't have to be dishonest about it.

 

And of course, the cinematography is undoubtedly brilliant. The way the city (and the city-folks) feels so detached from Trevor's character works effectively in furthering the isolation we felt. It's a metaphor given vibrant life, and it couldn't be more bittersweet. Even at the end of it, Trevor sent little Betsy home without advancing onto her, without any of the smooth-talking we have seen before. Even after gaining fame and romance, there's a sense of loneliness that still lingers so in this city of bright lights.

 

Mission: Impossible

rs_480x196-150220134702-mi1.gif.a8d3a27b52aaf233f831f21a8f9f92a0.gif

My face throughout many moments of this film.

 

Whenever I talked about this film, I tend to throw around the word, "memorable" too often. While a film doesn't necessarily need to be memorable to be good, for myself - more often than not - a fun film is a memorable one. I would just as soon try and forget the film if it's terrible. So yes, for what is probably the first time in a long time, this review is based on my own personal enjoyment, and not so much an 'objective' one. Time to travel down the sweet ol' memory lane of nostalgia.

 

There were quite a number of times that Ethan Hunt has been hailed as "The American James Bond". While I could certainly see how they arrived at that conclusion, I feel that he doesn't have the suave and style of James Bond to be James Bond. Instead, he's a nice mix between Jason Bourne's hyper-intelligence and James Bond's masculinity.

 

A number of scenes in this movie either showed Ethan's intellectual prowess or attempt to convince the audience of his competence as an agent through exposition done by other characters, like Kittridge telling us that Ethan's not shortsighted. "This guy initiates. He's proactive." Half of these attempts are unrealistic and even over-the-top at times, especially when I'm watching this at 25. But you know, I didn't really care.

 

Many things in this movie are hyperbole - and it is so much fun. Brian De Palma directed this to be a style over substance movie, and it works spectacularly. I've talked a lot about the first movie's thriller element, and it's thanks to this style in the movie that made it such a cool spy film for me back then. Today, I still enjoy this style a lot, especially when it's applied to the most memorable scene of this movie - the cable drop scene. It's so iconic it even got its own TV Tropes page.

 

The funny thing about the cable-drop scene was that, unlike other death-defying stunts people would usually find more memorable, this was a seemingly much easier scene to film. Yet, I think it's the way the scene was presented that made it as iconic as it is. A crucial part of this scene was the five minutes of silence, the lack of background score. The suspense was very well done here thanks to that, and if there was any music like many movies today, I think we wouldn't have been as on edge as Ethan was.

 

For myself, the explanation of the plan itself before it happened had already built up my curiosity to the brim. When I was a kid, I thought this plan of theirs was so clever, complex, and just cool. The security was tightened with lasers, sound-detectors, thumbprint-scanner, retinal-scanner, pressure-detector, and a temperature-detector. Explain that to a little kid like me back then and my mind was blown. And I think the best part of this compared to something like the diving scene in the opening of Goldeneye was how much fun this scene was for children to reenact (I remember playing out the entire scene, from the hanging to Krieger accidentally loosening the rope to the sweat-catching). The part where Ethan catches the sweat dripping from his glasses is one of the ridiculous hyperbole that I've mentioned, but I think the exaggeration merely made this scene all the more better.

 

Speaking of hyperbole, there were two other scenes in this movie that stuck in my mind. First off, the aquarium scene about the mole hunt. It's not just the explosion of the fish tank. Everything cool about this entire movie and all its scenes is about presentation, and the way the scene was presented right before Ethan threw the gum-explosive at the tank was, in lack of a better word, epic. Danny Elfman's heart-pounding track, "Mole Hunt", accompanied this scene very well, till the breaking point where the orgasmic climax come to an explosion:

 

Eugene Kittridge: "I understand you're very upset."

Ethan Hunt: "Kittridge, you've never seen me very upset."

Eugene Kittridge: "All right, Hunt. Enough is enough. You have bribed, cajoled, and killed, and you have done it using loyalties on the inside. You want to shake hands with the devil, that's fine with me. I just want to make sure that you do it in hell!"

(*Ethan swipes a glass at Kittridge's face as he tosses the gum, running out the restaurant with badass style*)

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOi9hHjmYq4

 

Oh, I came. Such a great speech from Kittridge. Like they say, "It's not about what you say, it's how cool you look saying it." And Henry Czerny really delivered.

 

The second scene is the helicopter scene, though it didn't stick with me as well as the above one. Still a very fun scene to reenact in my bedroom though. Krieger's blade is closing in on Ethan as Danny Elfman once again orchestrated the scene with style (this time an action-packed track titled

). Krieger misses by a hair's length because deus ex machina saved Ethan just in time. The helicopter comes in again, the hero jumps onto it, the movie theme begins to play once again to get the audience excited and Ethan goes, "RED LIGHT! GREEN LIGHT!" BOOM! Explosion, with the blade spinning, spinning, nearly slicing his throat at the end.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cho039BrHpg

 

Oh yes! YES! Phew. Ahem. Sorry'bout that.

 

Needless to say, this film has a lot of style. The part where Ethan pieces together in his head how their first mission at the beginning went wrong was another of my favorite scene. As Ethan recollects how the scene really went down, Danny Elfman haunts us with the beautiful track, "Betrayal". All the pain and anger Ethan felt as he thinks about the man he trusted the most backstabbing his team, the score reflected it well. Next to Batman, this is Elfman's most amazing score yet.

 

"Why, Jim? Why?"

"When you think about it, Ethan, it was inevitable. No more Cold War. No more secrets you keep from everyone but yourself. Operations, you answer to no one but yourself. And then one day, you wake up, the President of the United States is running the country without your permission. The son of a bitch, how dare he? Then you realize, it's over. You are an obsolete piece of hardware not worth upgrading. You've got a lousy marriage, and 62 grand a year.”

 

As another review praising the film said, "The story fits the post-Cold War era of the '90s. The Cold War was over and terrorism wasn't Hollywood's new boogeyman, yet."

 

Now we can get to the final part of the review covering another good thing about the movie - the acting. Thanks for having the patience for reading so far if you haven't skimmed it. ;D

 

Tom Cruise. Oh, Tom Cruise. You know, several years ago, before I discovered A Few Good Men, I wouldn't have thought of him as a good actor. Back then, I merely knew him from action movies, and he was about as good an actor as Chris Pratt - you know how I feel about Chris. Then came along this young fellow in the aforementioned movie and I began to pay a lot more attention to his past roles. If anything, when he was first cast in Mission, the opposite expectation was true at the time; people didn't think he's not a good actor, people thought he's not a good action star. He wasn't your typically muscular guy with a gruff exterior; if anything, he was a pretty boy. But boy, did he come round to change their mind, kinda like when Daniel Craig got off Layer Cake. Gone were the days of Arnold, and in with the days of Keanu Reeves and Tom Cruise.

 

Jon Voight as Jim Phelps is naturally one of my favorite characters of this film, just a little bit more than Henry Czerny as Eugene Kittridge. Jon brought a kind of weight and charisma that I almost questioned why Phelps betrayed the team as Ethan did during the "piecing together" scene. Henry's portrayal of Kittridge has been overstated by myself plenty of times, but with what little screentime he had, it was fun to watch him squeeze Ethan. Laurence Fishburne, who would come to play a similar role in M:I:III, didn't leave such impression.

 

There's also Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell (whom I've already expressed displeasure at his returning appearances in the M:I thread) and Jean Reno as Franz Krieger. Krieger, while not as intriguing as Kittridge, still bears the kind of charm only Jean Reno could bring into a movie.

 

Unfortunately, Kristin Scott Thomas as Sarah Davies was, IMO, the worst main character of the movie. Her damsel in distress persona didn't bring anything memorable or interesting to the cast, and even Stickell was a lot more fun to watch than Kristin's one-note acting here.

 

And that concludes the lengthy review. I had a lot of fun writing this, and I hope you had as much fun reading it... despite the few cringe-worthy moments (ahem).

 

9/10 Yep.

 

V For Vendetta

v-for-vendetta-final-scene.jpg.98faef61873eedae44b49e05d90f53b3.jpg

He was you... and me. He was all of us.

 

Released on: March 17, 2006

Directed By: James McTeigue

Written By: Andy and Lana Wachowski

 

Starring:

Natalie Portman as Evey Hammond

Hugo Weaving as V

Stephen Rea as Eric Finch

John Hurt as High Chancellor Adam Sutler

 

There were two comic book adaptations of which their source material I wasn't familiar with, and yet I still enjoyed the heck out of these two films. One of them was Watchmen, the other was V. Coincidentally, both of them were written by Alan Moore. But as V would say, there are no coincidences, only the illusion there of. I would later come to enjoy the Watchmen graphic novel very much, but unfortunately, V For Vendetta's literary counterpart was too verbose for me to even enjoy the first page (likewise with Moore's other work, From Hell).

 

And V is indeed a verbose film, but unlike others, it's done intentionally with style. That's perhaps the best compliment I could offer this movie, that it has a lot of style, credits probably due to the Wachowskis. The reason I brought up Alan Moore is because half of the two films' success is due to the well-written source material, especially Watchmen. Just look at Zack Snyder's attempt at Man of Steel, which wasn't based on a single work but several. Now, the other half is, naturally, just as important, for a comic book adaptation, like From Hell, could easily fall flat as well without the right direction. The problem is, several years afters my first (few) viewing of V For Vendetta, the nostalgia has worn off and all its flaws begun to surface. There's a reason why V For Vendetta was considered a lesser movie than Watchmen by many, in spite of their disdain towards the latter.

 

I think the biggest problem with the movie was its style. Much like many Hollywood blockbusters, the flash and bang lessened the material. Getting the writers of The Matrix creators probably wasn't the best idea either, as I considered that franchise more style over substance. James McTeigue would later be responsible for the much more mediocre Ninja Assassin and his true skill as a director would finally appear without the aid of the Wachowskis or Alan Moore's fine work.

 

An important quote from the Wikipedia article, "Furthermore, in the original story, Moore attempted to maintain moral ambiguity, and not to portray the fascists as caricatures, but as realistic, rounded characters." Such lack of realistic characters were one of the things that really bothered me, for a number of them in the film are borderline cartoonish, the obvious one being John Hurt's Adam Sutler. Hurt said he "had fun playing the role"; which makes me wonder if that quote would turn into "had researched deeply into the role" had the script been more faithful. In hindsight now, the St. Mary's virus introduced in the film is also laughably silly and dated, a notion that few would even attempt to consider in the political landscape of today.

 

And remember, this is coming from someone who has never read the book. Though I admit, with my admiration of Alan Moore's writing (I even watched his documentary, The Mindscape of Alan Moore that mentioned his cynical perspective of the dying storytelling in Hollywood), perhaps some biasness towards Moore's storytelling style is involved.

 

I did used to enjoy the movie's themes a lot. I was an anarchist once myself, having disdain for the authority and indifference towards politics. I'm still indifferent towards most political matters, but I've somewhat outgrown my rather immature authority-hatred. Somewhat. Nevertheless, the film connected to me when I was young. I would used to recite the lines in the movie as not just a one-liner, but as a belief and religion. "People shouldn't be afraid of the government; the government should be afraid of the people." I took it as literal as the film portrayed it (after all, there were very little indications in the film that the government isn't always bad), and I began to grow a detest for the government and all things that tried to control my so-called 'freedom'.

 

Today, while I could still appreciate the themes the film attempted to portray, such as the oppression of homosexuality and the Big Brothers watching over us, it's difficult for me to find this film 'inspiring'. "Dated" is the keyword, and today, the whole concept of such one-dimensional oppression is as dated as the Internet portrayed in Mission: Impossible. The same was true back in 2006 as well, but I was just too young to realize it.

 

Criticisms (and the weaker second-half of the film) aside, there were moments in the film that I did truly enjoy. Whenever V gives a verbose speech, it's rather fun to imitate him while holding delusions of grandeur. His dialogues were cleverly written, and some of what he said still rings true today, such as the masks we wear in society. The themes can sometimes be good in the film, and it's both beautiful and terrifying that the apathy of the characters is also shared by individual citizens today.

 

The best part of the movie, however, does not involve the hokey romance of V and E-V ::), but instead, it comes from the tragedy of Valerie Page (played by Natasha Wightman). Her gentle voice describing innocence (or in this case, innocent love) being suppressed by prejudice still reflects the tragedies of modern society. I remembered crying as Evey did back then, and even today, it did at least made me swallow a whimper. The speech about integrity being taken by force is yet again another dated concept one needs to feel, not think about, in order to enjoy properly, which speaks true for the rest of the film.

 

6/10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Figured we might as well have a thread like this of our own so as not to spam up the main forum. I'll try and update this thread as much as possible, since I watch quite a lot of movies myself.

 

AaWiI2x.jpg.67d3cfb0ff11dfaef751f4752c97f492.jpg

(2003)

Rewatch

 

Peter: I want always to be a boy, and have fun.

Wendy: You say so, but I think it is your biggest pretend.

 

Arguably the most faithful adaptation of J.M. Barrie's play, it comes with all the colorful set-pieces and special effects that fitted the story's fantastical world. While seemingly kid-friendly, this 2003 rendition of the boy who won't grow up actually has some underlying complex and mature themes, largely due to its faithfulness to the source material (as opposed to Disney's banality). Sexuality, for example, was a significant theme in the original play, and it further improves this movie over Disney's when it felt like a children's adventure in an adult world with all the violence and sexual innuendos that come with it. This, in my opinion, is the most important part of Peter Pan, because you can't really appreciate the importance of childhood without looking at the pros and cons of adulthood, an important message the new remake would probably miss.

 

John and Michael were surprisingly charming little children, with John's imitation of adult Englishmen mannerism being particularly adorable. The Disneyfied pirates weren't too annoying and even provided a few laughs. The parallel of the pirates (along with Hook himself) being adult versions of Peter but still all the same immature is a nice touch, albeit underused. Hook, in particular, gives off a disturbing sexual predator vibe in this movie. This implication makes Wendy's adventure through Neverland seem more realistic as it feels like a symbolism for the perils a girl would face in her journey to becoming grown-up. It's no coincidence that Hook is both charming and deceiving.

 

The best part of the movie is of course Pan himself. His fate of never growing up seems almost tragic in the end when he's said to be "looking at the one joy from which he must be forever barred". This could either be referring to Wendy, or the joy of having a loving family, or just simply the joy of being loved at all. The fact that people forget things in Neverland, and the fact that Peter was living in denial about having any feelings about anything at all, they leave the poignant reminder that Peter was escaping from reality, a dark undertone of the story that, even in this movie, many seem to miss.

 

7/10 (Decent)

Enjoyability: Fair

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

JluRzpJ.png.ba10e54cb36f6aac2c713ec85e0fe40f.png

(2014)

 

One of the highly rated horror films last year, "It Follows" unfortunately didn't engage me the same way "The Babadook" or "Nightcrawler" did - not even after I've researched the analysis of others. In fact, the more I dug into other people's explanation of the movie, the more pretentious it seems. The homages to other horror movies were dressed up as clever symbolism and metaphors. Would I feel more disinclined towards such accusations had this been a Francis Coppola or John Carpenter film? Perhaps. But there are a few quotes the director said when asked about the themes that bothered me, such as:

“But you also have to understand that they’re not rules on a stone’s tablet; they’re a character’s best guess about what’s happening to them. So, you know, they seem mostly right. But for me, that’s kind of fun, in that there might be some gaps in information, some things that he doesn’t understand and neither do we.”

 

What is Mitchell getting at with all this? Well, what he’s essentially saying is that the rules laid out in It Follows aren’t necessarily the official rules of the monster, which definitely explains why everything didn’t quite add up to the way it was initially presented. Food for thought, at the very least.

 

Usually, there's only one circumstance I'd leave something as "food for thought" - when I'm not entirely clear about the point I'm making. And from Mitchell's various descriptions of the movie in his interviews, it doesn't seem like he's getting it either.

 

In the end, what initially felt like a clever metaphor about the dangers of sex ended up becoming so disengaging that it's a disappointing experience. "It Follows" won't be following my memory any time soon.

 

7/10 6/10 5/10 (Well-shot and atmospheric, but otherwise a pretentious movie grasping vaguely at its message)

Enjoyability: Low Minimum

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

vegCxnz.jpg.f6cb8587cbdf645fefae112c08ab1d0c.jpg

(2003)

 

"Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

- Benjamin Franklin

 

"What happened to the American dream? It came true! You're looking at it!"

- The Comedian, Watchmen

 

In the end, we're all dogs reacting to our nature - that includes even the most graceful among us. This is Lars von Trier's cynical picture of humanity at its bleakest.

 

During my times of frustration towards people, I'd seek out such misanthropic films to resonate a little bit of that pessimism in me. Boy, never did I expect for it to be taken to such extremity. This is a man that stands against everything traditional in cinema - goodwill among men, optimistic schmaltz, 'safe' and commercialized messages brought to you by your local Hollywood executives. Lars von Trier is fast becoming one of my favorite filmmakers of all time because of his daring approach as an auteur.

 

Of course, it's easy to dismiss him as being just as bad as Spielberg, being on the other end of the spectrum, but Dogville has more underlying complexity than a simple F-U to the American Dream. Despite its cynicism about the evil citizens of the titular town, one shouldn't forget that Grace has also taken the forceful measure to execute everybody by the end of the film. Rather than just about the evils of human nature itself, it's a rather poignant message about the inevitability of law and order people would impose to restrain said nature.

 

What fascinates me the most is how Lars' budgeted filmmaking leads to quite the symbolic look on people's indifference towards violence. Whether he had intended to evoke such a meaning or not, the transparency of the houses makes it seem like the goodwill of mankind can be so easily perceived on surface level. But of course, we tuck the truth away in our own comfortable corners, and even when the truth is exposed as clear as day, the racism and slavery went unchecked as people felt too uncomfortable in their insecurities to be bothered with other people's business. The indifference towards a raped woman on the open street is not something that unusual even in this day and age.

 

Another key theme in this movie is hypocrisy, or rather, the dressing of false emotions under good intentions. The way the citizens of Dogville make excuses to justify their actions is a disturbingly realistic behavior we could still see today's society. Atrocious acts of mankind has often been committed "for the greater good", and it might even help explain the root of our discrimination towards each other. On the flip side, Grace's Messiah complex gives a new, intriguing insight into Christ's sacrifice back in the Roman ages. The conversation between Grace and her father, The Big Man (incidentally played by James Caan, who also starred in The Godfather) poses a provocative question: is the all-saving Grace of Christianity, a significant religion in America, hypocritical, or at least, arrogant, in nature? Are repeated rapists (as depicted in the film), in fact, worth saving if people are truly ugly enough for them to repeat such a heinous crime? That question, of course, only has validity if you cynically see people as Lars do, as a bunch of dogs who can't control their basic instincts, but then, why do law and order exist if not for control?

 

The extremity of Dogville to the point of disgustingly comparing people to dogs, I agree, does merit some criticism. But I think it's equally effective in making us reexamine ourselves and asking uncomfortable questions, something that could be said for this film more than many Hollywood movies out there. Lars is truly an artist, if not an auteur because of that. He impacts people and makes them ask hard questions, be it a positive or negative impact. I look forward to continuing Lars' sincere and honest examination of the human condition.

 

10/10 (Pointedly Provocative)

Enjoyability: Only if you're a sickf***. :P It poses fascinating insights, but I wouldn't necessarily call it "enjoyable".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ET00022451.jpg.b80ebf9922f24e1b22d623db7a40be71.jpg

(2014)

Rewatch

 

This is what happens when you glorify the truth.

 

Not just a mere criticism of the overly discussed subject of sensationalism on the new, "Nightcrawler" can also be used as an antithesis to every glorified accounts of real events - Schindler's List and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, to name a few. The manipulation of people's emotions for personal agendas has been frequent throughout history. Between a boring review monotonously praising a masterpiece and a controversial review questioning its prestige, for example, which do you think would draw people's attention?

 

In a satirical way, this film knows that sensationalism sells. Dan Gilroy knew not necessarily what people wanted, but what people would pay attention to - blood, violence, and chase sequences - and he brought us this adrenaline-filled adventure dressed in something superficial but addressing something real, quite the reflection of the message behind the movie. He could have brought us an artsy character-study similar to The Conversation, but instead, we've got a thrill-ride of murder and mayhem.

 

In fact, the parallels don't end there. The protagonist himself shares a lot of traits with real life sociopaths, but we know that not all sociopaths have the exciting life of Lou Bloom, and certainly not always a criminal one either. As a reflection of how sensationalism sells, Jake Gyllenhaal's amazing portrayal of his character allures the audience into the thriller. We sense that there's something artificial about Louis' imitation of real people, but we are manipulated anyway into his veneer of likability. Only after the sensationalism passes do we realize that reality isn't anything like that and go, "You don't f***ing understand people."

 

What's interesting to me is that other characters are just as morally-bankrupt, but Lou is the one who gets away with it. More than that, he's the hero, a superhero in fact (a comparison Gyllenhaal himself has been quoted in using), who gets to one-up all the villains in the story and turn the tables around. Lou sells a schmaltzy message about working hard to achieve success, when ironically, the film gives a vicious twist on the ideal of working hard: you only succeed through manipulative and morally-corrupt ways. There couldn't have been a greater antithesis on the manipulation of emotions on-screen.

 

Last but not least, the film's ending has been compared with Bryan Singer's The Usual Suspect (due to the use of similar camera angles and a similar scenario involving a criminal going scot-free after an intense police interrogation), and we get a more in-depth, and also a more disturbing insight into the film's message. Keyser Söze was under guise and only removed said guise when he left the police station; Lou Bloom was the same man before he left the station, requiring no use of guises. His morally-corrupted ways are perfectly normal in a world as insane as ours.

 

"Nightcrawler" has been hailed as "a modern masterpiece", and it's this reviewer's opinion that it deserves the praise. It's a cynical message about our desensitization towards not only violence, but also the thin line between reality and fiction. Its wonderful casting, acting, and character-study aspects aside, Dan Gilroy's directorial debut is an amazing achievement in paralleling society's perception of what is real... and what is exciting.

 

10/10 (Amazeballs)

Enjoyability: Extremely Exhilarating

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anime Fanbase Movie Triathlon: Part 2

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

tumblr_inline_nisq00pQrd1sqiww9.jpg.add8226f5ec3be51192457a49e7dbf3c.jpg

(2010)

Rewatch

 

The fanbase of certain anime series can be rather odd to those who don't share their love and sentiments. Take for example, a lot of people enjoy moe, but I found it to be a total turn-off sometimes. On the other hand, I enjoyed the comedy of "Watamote", but others found it cringe-worthy. "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" found a balanced spot in my heart between "turn-off" and "enjoyment"; I found Haruhi's character annoying, but I could see the charm of the story and understand why some people love this series, much like how I understand why some people enjoy "K-On".

 

"The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya" is a nice story with themes relating to appreciating the zaniness of your youth, when things get crazy and exhausting. Haruhi's character, in particular, is the epitome of all those tiring situations you run into during your teenage years. They make life fun and interesting, and even though they can get you into a lot of trouble sometimes, life just isn't the same when they disappear. Its story can be said to be one of those trite reminders of not to take things for granted... but that wouldn't be accurate at all. The Haruhi series is all about its characters and the character development in the end, not the plot.

 

To understand why anything matters in this movie, you really have to watch the TV series or read the novel. If you didn't, this movie would seem boring to you, as it did to many others I've seen. Kyon took a level in badass and is no longer just a mere deadpan snarker, and Nagato the Dandere gains emotions (and possibly romantic feelings for Kyon) for the first time. More than that, Kyon shares the frustration some of us (*cough*me*cough*) has towards the zaniness of the TV series and poses the question: did you not at least find it fun and interesting, perhaps at least an unique experience? And of course, it's as Kyon put it: it's an anime about an alien, an esper, and a time-traveler; only an idiot wouldn't find that fun.

 

The problem with the movie is that... it doesn't really have that much impact on me. The romantic interest of Nagato never really went anywhere, and a large amount of the motivation behind her decision to alter reality is left unclear, leaving it to the audience's discretion. The way the ending left me hanging felt empty for characters that I already didn't invest much emotions in, so that's double-negative. Some of the conversations were also dragged out to give a sense of realism in a slice-of-life way; that's something I never had an appreciation for.

 

Hope Gintama's movie gets better.

 

6/10 (Weak)

Enjoyability: Eh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

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

Create an account

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

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Anime Forums is where fans from around the world can gather to discuss anime and Japanese culture!  All anime fans are welcome. Take a moment to join us now!
×