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Jennywocky

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Also Jenny, don't you think that a film has serious problems if it needs a book for people to fully grasp its characters?
errr.....I actually grasped all the characters just fine, and talked to many who grasped them just fine. I don't get the folks who couldn't figure this stuff out.

I found out the book stuff later, so I mentioned it because it has more credibility than me just saying, "Well, here's what I thought." You can argue with me; you can't really argue with the official intent.

In the end, it's fucking Star Wars. Whatever. I didn't say it was in my top ten list for the year, but I happened to enjoy it and think it made enough sense to be enjoyed, and I look forward to seeing how Rian Johnson can (and likely will) improve upon Abrams. I see a lot of the bitching to just be compensation trying to shoot it down because it did TOO well at the box office. Hell, it's fighting with Avatar and Titanic for the most money made worldwide; I can't really call any of them the best movies that have ever been made.

... Tried to get the despecialized versions but couldn't get my downloads to work. I'd like to watch the prequel stuff that someone tossed on YouTube in November, where they reedited/sequenced the movie(s), removing/fixing the stuff they thought was weak.
 
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That ain't why I'm bitchin' bitch :evil:

Reason I'm whining bout the antagonists is cause well.. there ain't no excuse for their lacklustreness. All of the other stuff which was bad I can understand given the circumstances and easily forgive given how well Abrams set things up for Johnson. Agree that the next one's likely gonna be quite a step up.
 

Pizzabeak

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A lot of films ended up having novelizations done in conjunction, so I don't think it's a matter of that. Sometimes they differ in detail or help make things more clear, either way you probably have to watch a movie multiple times anyway in order to understand it better. Sometimes the novelizations or subsidiary works aren't even canon, and more like their own thing.
And even then it just depends on the direction they decided to take it. Apparently they wanted to pay homage to the original trilogy's style and even have returning characters, and that would make sense because continuity wise it's the third entry. Only problem is it receives backlash for not innovating that much and trying to make the experience too similar to the original source, for newer generations. As always the film entries aren't really that expansive and focus on a few characters with only a few albeit exotic locations, and attempts to be grand in this regard. They could have had the classic characters do cameos or done a story where the Empire stuff plays a more minor role.
The villain was alright, not extreme in any direction. The relation stuff could have been forced or they'll probably try to make more of an impact with it in the sequels. He probably just thought the dark side was more promising than the light. But regardless, he was bound to lose and the damage he did do isn't considered significant enough; he's probably still young and might be stronger later on, since he didn't really die. I'd argue that Count Dooku played a similar part.
What I thought was extreme was how the protagonists were able to hold up a fight with the enemy forces, particularly Ren. Rey being able to beat him even though he was injured might be unbelievable, and she even sought extra training from Luke after. A stormtrooper renegading is a bit radical but I suppose they could roll with it. Finn was interesting and I thought he would be different and his character was a bit embarrassing at times. People were made happy when Rey was finally able to use the lightsaber.
If they used the retro style I at least thought it would have been wilder. Wasn't mindblowing, and will ultimately have to wait to see how they treat the sequel to opine whether the new trilogy could be considered a failure or not. They'll probably have to shell out more merchandise or side series if they want to cover all the material they need to.
 

Reluctantly

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@Reluctantly: A lot of your gripes about the Jedi and Sith are accurate and are part of discussions I've participated in elsewhere. In this case, I think the issue is more with Kylo, not necessarily a description of Sith in general; he personally has issues and was thinking he could resolve them a certain way, but it doesn't work that way for him.

I think Jedi and Sith make more sense views as Order vs Chaos, or Principles vs Personal [Individuality]. This actually gets handled far better in the franchise work (like the games) than Lucas handled it over the years. in SWTOR, for example, as an initiate Jedi, you're supposed to turn in two classmates who have fallen in love because they have given themselves over to passion -- those Jedi practice detachment as a virtue and don't want to be ruled by emotion. The Sith embrace it. I like how the Jedi are not necessarily the 'good guys' -- their detachment is actually presented as a negative in situations like this one, in the game.

The reality is that people integrate principles + passion to become whole, much like utilizing Jung's concept of Shadow to merge one's positive and negative impulses together into a working psyche.

(actually, I'm being a little sloppy, since the Sith is a race/culture, and not necessarily all Force users....)

Anyway, the Jedi code:
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.


And the Sith code:
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force will free me.


Anyway, I think Yoda is wrong, as do you. I can see value in both sides. It always made me laugh when Obiwan told Anakin that only the Sith deal in extremes -- what the hell have the Jedi been doing all these years? But yeah, it's kind of unclear in the movie -- Light = Jedi, Dark = Sith, but... does it have to be that way?

My character on SWTOR right now is a Sith Sage (lightning force user), but I've played her as a Light Side instead of Dark Side. It doesn't mean she's necessarily being "kind and gentle" but she does live by a code of honor and doesn't destroy when a lesser reprimand will do.
Oh goody. Glad to hear I'm not the only one that's find the Sith portrayal kind of strange. Might have to play that game at some point.

The Jedi code is kind of weird because it states axioms to reach conclusions.
there is peace.
there is knowledge.
there is serenity.
there is harmony.
there is the Force.
Sounds kind of like subliminally telling myself to follow these statements. Looking for them, instead of the opposite. I think you're right about the Jedi/Sith being unable to accept the negative or opposing viewpoint to their beliefs. Ironically, this could actually push characters like Anakin to go to the Dark Side. That would make an interesting story, Jedi coming to terms with their own ignorance, but if they believe in ignorance, I guess they wouldn't be Jedi since it violates the code...eh.

Sith code sounds more like a philosophy or a possible way of being. I guess when taken as some kind of inherent truth or only way of being, someone could get crazy on power and stop thinking about others. But I'm not sure; I don't feel like it's ever really explained why characters like Vader or Kylo become sociopathic. It's so bizarre. Power alone doesn't do that to people. Fear and pain can, but Anakin was just a little emotionally distraught, not traumatized. And I don't know what the backstory is on Kylo, but he doesn't seem traumatized either.

A story about Light Sith and/or Dark Jedi would be pretty interesting though. Maybe that will happen at some point; I heard Disney is planning spin-offs on the Star Wars universe.

The point should be obvious :storks: Its to allow him to sever ties with his past, as well as overcome his regrets by having no way to go back. He needs to kill his father precisely because he isn't a 100% evil psychopath. You also don't turn evil psycho by having emotions, you do so by lacking emotional control and being force sensitive. I don't see what's weird about power requiring discipline when wielded in order for it not to corrupt the wielder.

Han Solo has lots of grey to him, the Jedi's of the prequels are actually often portayed as rather grey as well. Sure it's still good vs evil, but that IS star wars lol. Can't expect too much grey from this big a budget film from such a franchise. Look to KOTOR or books if you want that.
I guess, but not having any kind of emotional discipline isn't all that interesting. He's pretty much an adult baby then. Kind of lame, especially for a villain. Kylo's presence at the beginning of the movie was nice though; it gave me the impression of someone powerful and collected.

Han Solo is great, but Abrams said he's gone for good, so meh. I liked Qui-Gon in episode One for his laid back personality and how he had no problem going against the council if he thought they were wrong or misguided. Would have been a lot more interesting to see him mentor Anakin. But I guess he's considered a grey Jedi anyway. And go figure, he's been killed off too.

LOL @ people expecting great ethical depth to Star Wars. Star Wars was conceived as an aesop-like coming of age story with pulpy elements IN SPACE; aimed at young people. Thus it's simple black and white morality.
ehhh, yeah, that's fine for episode 4, 5, and 6 because that's what they were going for and they were kind of introducing Star Wars. But with 1, 2, 3 and 7, they had a chance to add some more depth and the stories did focus a lot more on character development. It wouldn't have been that hard to make Vader a little more believable. It's not really a good excuse.
 

Jennywocky

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General Hux. Another Ex Machina actor (Poe Dameron was also played by one). Liked the rivalry as well.
Yeah, I was waiting for Alicia Vikander to show up next....

Hux and Ren are interesting, Hux has no issue with exerting leverage against Ren and/or making himself look better to Snoke. Now we just have to get Phasma in there playing for some control, and the three-way struggle for Snoke's favor becomes promising.
 
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Wait thats Alicia Vikander in Ex Machina? I never realized, and I liked Ex Machina and I've seen Swedish films with her in them. Lol good for her!
 

Jennywocky

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Wait thats Alicia Vikander in Ex Machina? I never realized, and I liked Ex Machina and I've seen Swedish films with her in them. Lol good for her!
Yeah, ex machina was the first thing I saw her in over here. Since then she seems to be popping up in US film more and more.
 

Jennywocky

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Atonement (2007): Really well done, artistically, and some great performances. You can recognize Saoirse Ronan immediately even at age 13 (it's her eyes), I didn't realize how young she was IRL; she got an Oscar nom for her work here.

Interestingly, though, the first 45 minutes were hard to persist through for me; it was the latter half of the movie that held my attention more easily. There were lots of great back-and-forths (in terms of time jumps), and revisions of past scenes where you saw them from a different angle later and learned context for them, so you couldn't necessarily trust what you were seeing. There's also this really great tracking shot on the beach in Dunkirk (?), it was nicely choreographed.

Anyway, it's the last ten minutes or so that is really the payoff for the rest of the movie, where things finally do lock into place and a lot of emotion can be generated.


We Need to Talk about Kevin (2011): This was a hard movie to watch for me, which is ironic considering there's not really any overt violence (all those things happen off-camera) and I can stomach a lot. It was the continual inexplicable malice that Kevin shows his mother throughout his life but even worse was the way Tilda Swinton's character is abused and accused by others + how her husband ignores her voice throughout the movie, because he's not privy to her experiences with her son. I find I have the hardest time where someone is trapped and not being listened to and/or blamed for things that might not be their fault.

And the movie really doesn't answer the most obvious questions. Why does Kevin do what he did? Why does he seem to hate his mother so much, compared to his father (who he has an amicable but superficial relationship with)? How much of his behavior stemmed from mistakes she might have made as a mother or her initial disinterest in having a child? You can see that her relationship with her daughter is much more "normal," so it seems like she has the capability to parent adequately if given a chance; but Kevin always had animosity towards her even as a baby, nothing she did would satisfy him.

it's well acted, well-shot, again with a lot of non-linear editing; but terribly bleak and the humor few and far between (like when the proselytizers come to her door). Swinton's long been a favorite actor of mine and her performance here showcases why.
 

Alias

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Saw Mad Max: Fury Road on Friday. I liked it, thought it was badass.
 

Jennywocky

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Experimenter (2014) -- kind of a biopic of Al Milgram, the sociologist who ran the infamous "shock" experiment in the 60's. Along with a bunch of familiar talented character actors (like John Leguizamo, Anthony Edwards, etc -- heck, even Wynona Rider), this movie gives a fairly visible role to Jim Gaffigan, yes, the comedian, who does just perfectly fine as cast (as he manages to be whimsical and yet can be taken seriously as well).

While the movie doesn't evoke a ton of pathos (it's not that kind of biopic), it does try to wrestle directly with Milgrom's ideas (not just there, but in his various experiments -- did we realize he actually studied/came up with the six degrees of separation back in the 70's, 2-3 decades before we came up with the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon?) and there is the strength of the movie:

- What exactly did Milgrom's experiment SAY about human nature?
- Are people contextual chameleons? How do they determine what to listen to?
- Were his experiments ethical? How else could these things be tested without the secret of the test being maintained?
- Were people upset more because of the trick or because of their own guilt? Was the experiment a fair reflection of their own ethical fiber?
- What did his experiment say about evolving human culture? Where man is compartmentalize even by occupation and merely plays his role but is expected to follow the orders of structural authority?

It was an interesting movie and raised these kinds of questions, to make one think more, even if there was not a lot of empathy developed with the main characters.
 

nanook

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A Perfect Day - "A group of aid workers work to resolve a crisis in an armed conflict zone" - nothing super special, but totaly worthwhile. 7

The Benefactor "A philanthropist meddles in the lives of newly-married couples in an attempt to relive his past." - This Movie wasn't half as lame as the previous Richard Gere movie i saw, wherein he played a temporary bum. His character is a good match for him. 7

Solace "A psychic works with the FBI in order to hunt down a serial killer." At least as good as a better x-files episode. Probably better. But not super special. Still a 7

to me 7 means real good entertainment value but easily forgettable movie. i wouldn't mention a movie that is less than 7.


i have looked into Macbeth. absolutely stunning visuals and atmosphere. but the english is killing me, even with subtitles. i wasn't able to watch the whole thing through yet ....

will watch star was in an actual cinema tomorrow. in german language, yikes. rarely watch a german movie, these days.
 

Cheeseumpuffs

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the spectacular now - yeah, this was a really good film through and through
I haven't watched it all the way through, but I was present for a decent chunk while my roommate was watching it and holy shit I could not stand that movie. The protagonist was an asshole the entire time (also I just hate that guy's face) and, from what I saw and heard from my roommate, by the end of the movie he doesn't change and is just an asshole forever.


The last movie I watched was Green Chair. I'd give it a positive rating, on the whole. I did question, at one point, where the line was drawn between "watching a movie" and "watching softcore Korean porn" but that was a trivial worry, I think.
 

Jennywocky

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Enemy (2013), starring Jake Gyllenhaal and directed by Denis Villeneuve.

I've seen three of Villeneuve's movies so far (Prisoners, Sicario, and now Enemy), and I can't recommend him highly enough. He casts his movies well and draws some pretty profound performances out of his actors, consistently; and there's psychological depth and edge to his pictures. I now want to go find everything he has done.

Enemy is another "double" movie -- a guy who sees another guy who is his doppleganger and what unfolds after that point, but there's various levels of interpretation of what is going on... and unlike American pics, Villeneuve brazen refuses to explain what you're seeing. Is it one thing, is it the other, is it something unsettlingly in-between? And there are also layers of subtext involving some of the unsettling imagery, of which the less I say, the better for your first viewing.

When the movie ended, I was rather shocked. Then I was briefly mad. Then my mind started cycling. I went back and started watching the movie again from the beginning for a few minutes, to refresh my recollection of what I'd seen. Now I've been thinking about the damn thing for hours and hours, I can't get it out of my head. This is one of those movies that is worth a repeat viewing, and maybe more.

Gyllenhaal is especially great, he manages to play two different characters who actually do look alike aside from clothing choices, and yet you can quickly figure out which is which by their "energy" -- how the character carries himself, how he engages the world, the line of his shoulders, the tension in the face. Sarah Gadon also deserves a call-out for the nuance she brings to her role.
 

Pizzabeak

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Grand Budapest Hotel, it was good.
 

Jennywocky

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Foreign Horror Flick Saturday...

Goodnight Mommy (2014). German pic, English subtitles. Two brothers, mom comes home in bandages after her operation. They believe she's not actually their mother, and of course we can't tell with her bandages on.

What happens next? This is a movie based on the "slow build" technique, and the way it's handled, stuff that shouldn't be that awful is channeled in such a way as to become excruciating in context. I won't compare it to the most obvious movies I can recall (and there are a few), because it might give away the plot. The boys are great, and so is mom especially in the end sequences.

When Animals Dream (2014). Norwegian flick, I think; and again, English subtitles. It's not giving anything away to reveal this is a werewolf pic of sorts (it's pretty much billed that way), in a coming-of-age kind of setting. The plot itself isn't too complex, and the monster sequences aren't actually that compelling except for wondering how far Maria might actually go and/or what she has become. The movie really shines, though, when Maria is interacting with her father (Lars Mikkelsen, great here) or going about her daily business through most of the movie; it all feels organic and real, and Sonia Suhl has that kind of lanky fabled Norwegian beauty, in her face, that also looks a bit spacious and alien simultaneously; she was well-cast in looks and demeanor.
 

The Grey Man

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13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016)

It was a US special forces film based on a true story, like Lone Survivor and American Sniper. Here, six military vet CIA security contractors fend off Islamic insurgents in Benghazi who target the US Ambassador to Libya. Michael Bay directs.

Shooting Osama Bin Laden in the face in 2011 earned the US Navy SEALs a prominent seat in pop culture, as Hollywood is now putting out major SEAL-related "based on a true story" flicks, every year it seems, including here, where key characters are ex-SEALs. Notably, Michael Bay directed The Rock, an entirely fictional movie in which SEALs infiltrate Alcatraz, back in 1996.

Bay's presence here was evident in the quality of the special effects, I guess (I'm not familiar with his work). This is no literary exploration of the human psyche though. It is a fast-paced, kinetic action adventure grounded in what happened in September 2012 as a matter of fact.

I liked it. A gritty last stand sort of movie. The gunfighters are the focus. Lots of portraits of human fortitude. Not a great war movie, but a decent example of this new SEAL sub-genre.
 

Jennywocky

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Tangerine: Two tranny prostitutes run around LA, intersecting paths with various other personalities, resulting in just the oddest closing to Christmas Eve that anyone has probably witnessed. The thing is, the two leads actually are trans, and despite having little acting experience, they're hilarious as hell. I can't recall how many times I laughed at the shade being thrown in a movie. Way too much needless drama, it's like watching the love child of Jerry Springer + RuPaul's shows hitting the road; but they know it and that makes all the difference. It honestly never feels fake, and there are unexpected quiet moments that reverberate unexpectedly. I've seen movies by far more established actors that feel far less real or meaningful, and all without being preachy.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: Smaller in scope but superior to the other overblown cancer flick "The Fault in Our Stars." (Of course, guess which did better in the box office?) It's reminiscent of many other films in this genre without ever feeling like a knockoff; Probably the closest comparison I can think of is, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," although MEDG is more efficiently written. I really had no idea where this was going, and that's a good thing. While the kids are the stars, Britton and Shannon and Offerman are great... and there's even a brief unexpected voice cameo that ends up being funny in itself.

infinitely polar bear: More a series of vignettes from the life of a family where the dad has bipolar, back before bipolar was widely known, so it's missing an overall decent dramatic arc; but Ruffalo is great, and you get a high-level understanding of the joys and frustrations one might experience having a bipolar dad, although the movie shies away from getting too weird or too dark.
 

PaulMaster

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Wreck It Ralph. A great idea for a cartoon. Its my oldest son's current favorite.

Takes place in an arcade. The 'bad guy' in a game called Fix it Felix JR, Wreck it Ralph is tired of being the bad guy. In an effort to show the other characters from his game that he can be a good guy, he "goes Turbo" and tries to win a medal (beating the game) in a different game. Chaos ensues, but in the end Ralph saves the day.
 

Pyropyro

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The Revenant I won't spoil the movie but it was a nice drama about survival and revenge. Quite a manly movie in my opinion, less "bro" and more "fire in the belly" manly.

Winter looks harsh BTW.

UPDATE: Even if the movie was awesome. The real deal, trapper Hugh Glass, was even manlier!
 
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Deadpool:
High entertainment value. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I got exactly what I expected and wanted, which was gratuitous violence and plenty of dark/crude humour. That's what I paid $10 for and it's exactly what I got. If I was expecting a deep story or complex themes, I would have been disappointed, but I wasn't, so I wasn't.
3/4
 

Jennywocky

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Dope (2015).

Neat, funny movie. Well-edited (and taking some chances on non-traditional frames/presentation in spots), and great acting from a new/young cast. Has a few serious moments that still totally fit in with the rest of the whimsical plot. Lead reminded me a bit of Mr. Robot, just black -- the kind of really smart but socially awkward outlier, who has to find his own way to work the system. even involves bitcoins. Whee. I've seen the same kind of concepts in a movie before, but this did not feel rehashed or stale.

Also, when the first black actress shows up, I was like, "Yeesh, she reminds me so much of Lisa Bonet." As she should have; I checked later and it turns out to be her daughter, Zoe Kravitz. I could see it then; she looks like her mom AND her dad.


The Revenant I won't spoil the movie but it was a nice drama about survival and revenge. Quite a manly movie in my opinion, less "bro" and more "fire in the belly" manly. Winter looks harsh BTW.
The wilderness was almost like another character in the movie.

... still freaks me out the bear was all digital. Jeeez.

UPDATE: Even if the movie was awesome. The real deal, trapper Hugh Glass, was even manlier!
Yeah, he lived another ten years past that point? fascinating stuff. Makes you wonder how soft we are as "modern folk" nowadays.
 
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Crimson Peak.

I thought it could have done away with all the ghost scenes and it would have been spectacular. Just vile enough and discrete enough to merit a bit of fiction. Otherwise ruined per usual by the CGI brigade's need to explain everything to the viewer.

Aside from that though the production quality was great.
 

rainman312

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Spectre.

A waste of time. It doesn't surprise me Craig is walking away from the series. It can't keep up with MI.
Saw a few weeks ago, and I have more or less the same opinion. Probably a 2/4 if we're being generous. It also got a bit weird when he promised to protect the guy's daughter who was about 30 years younger than him and ended up sleeping with her. Overall a pretty lame movie with an unconvincing plot line.
 

Jennywocky

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Spectre was a huge disappointment, tbh.
... and dragged out way too long.

Pretty lousy way to cap Craig's run on the series. Oh well.
 

nanook

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i feel that bond is as stupid as it's always been. it would be cool if it always were more like mission impossible, messing around with more realistic versions of terrorism, but bond has always been about defending blue blood against a ridiculous super villain and spectre was a perfect example of why this sucks. "no bond, you can't have that special spy pen, you'd write yourself another episode with it. "

yous guy's heated arguments about movies (as if there could be an objective take on them) still crack me up. (thinking of the 'attractive people' thread, actually)


- found a german version of macbeth comprehensible to me and ended up liking it, but the plot was still forgettable, because it wasn't very emotional.

- star wars - good enough. my state of mind wasn't perfectly focused though ... i'm so sorry that mark hamill has totally fucked himself up with bad nutrition. what a miserable jedi. at the end of the movie rey comes up to luke and is like: "oh! i see why you are hiding now."

other movies i liked:

shelter (2014) - i love jennifer connelly
the hateful eight

movies that require a bit patience and love to be likable:
room (mother and son kidnapped and trapped in a room - good acting i guess)
when animals dream (cool theme, but very slow movie)
youth (even slower movie, couldn't even get myself to see it in one take, but these days i enjoy just watching a short episode of a movie every day ... hateful eight was perfect for that, it comes in chapters)


i feel like i rarely watch movies these days, but i still end up with these long lists somehow ...
 

Pizzabeak

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Rewatched Skyfall. It might actually be the best out of the four Craig films. I hear he's doing another though. I saw it in theaters once but forgot most of it, ended up enjoying it a lot more than I figured. More so than Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. CR was good enough but QoS was just weird. But still, given the choices, Craig ended up being one of the best Bonds although I still wonder what criteria people use when determining the best Bond. He isn't particularly my favorite so to speak.
QoS and Skyfall do a good job of making him look English, which is supposedly one of his redeeming qualities, so Craig ended up being a good choice apparently. Correct me if I'm wrong but QoS (one of the last times I was stoned, actually, and was abnormally more stoned than usual and my 3rd or 4th time seeing it) seemed to be a weird throwback to the Timothy or Pierce films, or just action flicks of the 2000's in general. It was a fine exposé of Bond himself, I suppose, although it was mostly just him resolving a personal vendetta but the villain was lame and not that threatening which made the flick kind of boring. At least Casino had a semi interesting villain and not only that but the fact it was a reboot made people essentially like it more than QoS. But still, as a follow up it probably could have been way better... They were anchored by the notion of having to continue that plot point which could have detracted from some freedoms they otherwise could have utilized. I always thought it was decent but not just because it was more action oriented than Casino Royale's more thriller-drama vibe. It did a good job of portraying a 007 in Spain/Italy/S. America (i.e. a Caucasian man sort of out of place in those exotic locales). I don't think the other Bonds would have emphasized that as well.. Because Craig is blond, for one.
Skyfall was a lot better but something still seems to be missing from these Bond flicks. They don't seem substantial enough and that's probably due to Craig himself. There's a lot of tension throughout as Mallory seems to anticipate his promotion to M and Judi Dench retiring. And once again, Craig as Bond resembles a squeaky English guy, representing the U.K, in foreign territory. Case in point, the guy he battles in the first half of the movie, Patrice, is an agent elsewhere, and just as skilled as Bond himself judging by the trouble he goes through trying to take care of him. There just as easily could have been a movie focusing on Patrice and his missions up to his encounters with Bond but it just so happens to be that Bond is an agent for Britain and we're watching a movie about that, and thus Patrice dies during his second encounter with him. He felt like he won when Moneypenny accidentally shot Bond on top of the train.
Kind of just noticed, was Jarvier Bardem's character supposed to be gay? There were a few unbelievable moments such as when after Silva killed the girl then Bond killed all four or five of then surrounding henchmen right be fore the helicopters showed up. Only downside is Skyfall was too long but that's a good thing in this case. One exciting element they keep bringing up is the notion that 007 is outdated and has no place in the modern world, yet they keep fighting to keep the program instated. Will be interesting to see what they do with that in future Bond flicks lest they go back to the 50's & 60's for Christ's sake.
Spectre did kind of suck in most respects, simply because it was underwhelming. Sure, it was shot nicely but there wasn't much to it. Blofeld's reveal and subsequent actions were not threatening at all. Most of his power came from the notion that he was responsible for all Bond's suffering since Casino Royale but that still wasn't enough. Him letting the girl get close to Bond during the torture sequence was an all too obvious mistake, no villain should have been that sympathetic. And just like that the whole place blew up.
Never really liked Mission Impossible that much but I remember the third one being decent. The newest one wasn't that good and the villain was gay. I suspect people like them because the slight comedic elements they add. They're fine but I didn't realize they had such a rabid fanbase. There's also much more teamwork involved and I think people subconsciously like that. On a whole though I'm not sure which people like generally better. It's kind of natural for people to hate Bond though.
Craig is sort of closest to what Bond is supposed to be but still not quite the cigar. In Casino Royale it is stated whenever he notices a bodily sensation he takes care of it then and there so as to avoid any regrets later on, and that practice has worked for him well. This suggests strong use of Si although Ian Fleming's own personality must be taken into account. Bond's interactions with Q in the new flicks might also suggest as much conflict. So far it seems like Bond on the MBTI scale would register as ISTJ.
 

Jennywocky

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Rewatched Skyfall. It might actually be the best out of the four Craig films. I hear he's doing another though. I saw it in theaters once but forgot most of it, ended up enjoying it a lot more than I figured. More so than Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. CR was good enough but QoS was just weird. But still, given the choices, Craig ended up being one of the best Bonds although I still wonder what criteria people use when determining the best Bond. He isn't particularly my favorite so to speak.
I liked Craig the most, but I also read the original novels. The Bond cultivated by decades of movies isn't necessarily the literary Bond, and Craig's version felt truer to the source material to me. Connery seems to be the high favorite among most movie-goers.

QoS and Skyfall do a good job of making him look English, which is supposedly one of his redeeming qualities, so Craig ended up being a good choice apparently. Correct me if I'm wrong but QoS (one of the last times I was stoned, actually, and was abnormally more stoned than usual and my 3rd or 4th time seeing it) seemed to be a weird throwback to the Timothy or Pierce films, or just action flicks of the 2000's in general. It was a fine exposé of Bond himself, I suppose, although it was mostly just him resolving a personal vendetta but the villain was lame and not that threatening which made the flick kind of boring.
Well, it was like the second half of a two-parter in which the first part was more compelling and could have stood alone.

Kind of just noticed, was Jarvier Bardem's character supposed to be gay? There were a few unbelievable moments such as when after Silva killed the girl then Bond killed all four or five of then surrounding henchmen right be fore the helicopters showed up.
Not sure, but I felt like the gist was that he wasn't bound by normal rules. I expect Silva was at least bisexual and/or behaving however he damned well desired; they were kind of suggesting (in my view) that he was depraved because no rules on normal society had a hold on him. Bond plays into it coyly, I'm not sure why some people took the joke literally and tried to speculate that Bond is gay. he just showed he has no real hangups about gay people.

Never really liked Mission Impossible that much but I remember the third one being decent. The newest one wasn't that good and the villain was gay. I suspect people like them because the slight comedic elements they add. They're fine but I didn't realize they had such a rabid fanbase.
Personally, my favorites were MI 3 (which you liked) and MI 5 (which you said you didn't, really). Then again, I hated MI 4 which got a lot of good reviews; it just felt contrived, especially with Benjy (who worked well in MI5 but who felt stilted in the field in MI4 to me).

I like MI3 because, hell, I'm an Abrams buff -- he taps into my Gen X loneliness that drives us to assemble our friends into makeshift families of sort. I very much felt that way in MI3, they were not just a team but a family of sorts, and they've been playing off that close relationship between Ethan and Luther ever since. Luther's threats in MI5 only have weight because of what we saw built in prior movies. And of course, the MI3 opening sequence (which shows up later with different edits) is pretty cool, and Because Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who i didn't realize could scare the shit out of me simply by projecting an air of apathy towards human life.

In MI5, the plot was interesting, some of the set pieces (like the Opera house) were things I hadn't seen before in these movies, and then Rebecca Ferguson, who came out of nowhere and could do everything Cruise was doing and just as well.
 
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The last film I watched was: 'Wild Tales'.

IMDB describes it as 'Six short stories that explore the extremities of human behavior involving people in distress.'

It has an average rating of 8.1/10, as opposed to 7.8/10 for Skyfall. (Forgive me, I just noticed the previous few comments were on this film)

It's a little bit 'wild', but worth a watch.
 

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I liked Craig the most, but I also read the original novels. The Bond cultivated by decades of movies isn't necessarily the literary Bond, and Craig's version felt truer to the source material to me. Connery seems to be the high favorite among most movie-goers.
Yeah, that's what gets me the most. They're way different. My definition of best Bond is the one who is truest to the literary version. So far, I think Craig and Lazenby were as such, and Connery to a very lesser extent. Lazenby was a bit too poppy in some scenes but it's a terrible shame he only did one flick. If he had more time to warm up to the role I think he could have nailed it. I think he had a contract for seven films, including Live and Let Die (!!!) but was talked out of it, unfortunately. I guess we can dream. I am fairly certain he would have been the best, better than Roger Moore at least.

I think people mostly agree Connery is the best for nostalgic reasons. He was good but in my opinion too dark and exotic for Bond, and the Scottish accent didn't help. Also kind of a shame Fleming went ahead and gave the character Scottish ancestry to make him fit in more with Connery's film version. So they'll always look at Connery as the original Bond. He was kind of better when he didn't care. You Only Live Twice was terrible but his attitude was spot on, during a few scenes at least.

Well, it was like the second half of a two-parter in which the first part was more compelling and could have stood alone.
Yes. It unnecessarily dragged on perhaps.

Not sure, but I felt like the gist was that he wasn't bound by normal rules. I expect Silva was at least bisexual and/or behaving however he damned well desired; they were kind of suggesting (in my view) that he was depraved because no rules on normal society had a hold on him. Bond plays into it coyly, I'm not sure why some people took the joke literally and tried to speculate that Bond is gay. he just showed he has no real hangups about gay people.
Essentially. He felt he had complete control and there were no authority over him. And on the other hand he did what he wanted in an attempt to manipulate those into taking action, their action being a part of his plan.
This only reinforces my view that it is essential to watch these films in general more than once, and over and over. You have to study them. Some people only watch them for entertainment or only watch a movie once. But if you like it you have to sit through repeated viewings, or at least watch it annually. There are many things you might forget about or not see; etc. But then again it's just art.

Personally, my favorites were MI 3 (which you liked) and MI 5 (which you said you didn't, really). Then again, I hated MI 4 which got a lot of good reviews; it just felt contrived, especially with Benjy (who worked well in MI5 but who felt stilted in the field in MI4 to me).
I've never seen 4 although I meant to. It came on Netflix and sat there for a few days then I mailed it back without even watching it. MI 2 was really cheesy and I actually had vague memories of, may have caught it on TV years ago. Ethan Hunt isn't an iconic character - it's just Tom Cruise. Especially in that terrible MI 2.

I like MI3 because, hell, I'm an Abrams buff -- he taps into my Gen X loneliness that drives us to assemble our friends into makeshift families of sort. I very much felt that way in MI3, they were not just a team but a family of sorts, and they've been playing off that close relationship between Ethan and Luther ever since. Luther's threats in MI5 only have weight because of what we saw built in prior movies. And of course, the MI3 opening sequence (which shows up later with different edits) is pretty cool, and Because Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who i didn't realize could scare the shit out of me simply by projecting an air of apathy towards human life.
Have only seen it once but I can recall there being tension throughout. The villain was interesting too.
In MI5, the plot was interesting, some of the set pieces (like the Opera house) were things I hadn't seen before in these movies, and then Rebecca Ferguson, who came out of nowhere and could do everything Cruise was doing and just as well.
The Opera House was alright but I've seen it before in other films. There was one in Quantum of Solace actually but it wasn't used as extensively. I didn't like the girl, she was tough I suppose but I didn't feel like being forced to think her character was cool. It was good enough but I wouldn't necessarily watch it again.
 
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Well for me, Skyfall was great. Spectre sucked. So I don't think it was fatigue of Bond.

The movie as a whole lacked. At best it was an ass pull effort.

MI series has been rather good on a consistent basis because they actually spend time developing story and screenplay. The Spectre story was shit and the screenplay was worse.

I think when you view it with Craig walking away from the series it all adds up. Does anyone honestly think nobody voiced concerns over how bad the script was during filming?
 

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The Revenant I won't spoil the movie but it was a nice drama about survival and revenge. Quite a manly movie in my opinion, less "bro" and more "fire in the belly" manly.

Winter looks harsh BTW.

UPDATE: Even if the movie was awesome. The real deal, trapper Hugh Glass, was even manlier!
Definitely a good depiction of survival and winter. I don't know much about it but it looks real, harsh, genuine, dangerous. And beautiful.
But the movie itself was kind of tedious to me, not enough plot, just one scene leading to the next, for too long.
 

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The Green Inferno.

I had way too much fun with the opening line to a review I wrote:

The equivalent of cinematic junk food with a fake nutritional label slapped on the box. If you're here for any other reason than to contemplate a clutch of confounded coeds meeting misery in a grab-bag of gratuitous gore, you're feasting in a fallacious food court...
It's an Eli Roth movie.
I'm not sure what else to say about it.
 

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I watched "Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes") and the US remake "Vanilla Sky" last night back to back, just because I could.

I'm glad I watched the original first, as the movie has a number of twists and I found it the more provocative and consistent version of the two despite its smaller budget and me having to read subtitles. In the last ten years or so, I've gotten over my fear of subtitled movies and I'm glad I did. (In fact, I found this so engaging that I was repeatedly using the remote to dial up the volume, then remembering I couldn't understand what they were saying anyway.)

ALO is a categorical mindfuck movie, directed by Alejandro Amenábar ("The Others). There's some jumping around in time, plus unreliable narration so by the end you can't really be sure what is real. Because of the focus on the supporting cast, there also is no easy way to determine what's true even when you think you have the answer, and it really drags out to the very end of the movie with such high stakes in play.

The spoiler section doesn't reveal real spoilers, it is mostly just a comparison of the two movies, discussion of the actors, etc. The TL;DR is that if you're interested in something darker psychologically, where the mysteries actually matter, you should watch the original Spanish version [first]. I only recommend Vanilla Sky (and second) if you happen to be a serious Crowe fan...

The basic gist: Cesar is a rich cocksure young man (from an inheritance) who is conventionally handsome and able to have any girl he wants, so he tends to be less sensitive to the people around him... not necessarily a bad person at core but frustrating to deal with, because he's always gotten what he wanted. On the verge of snagging away his best friend's potential romantic interest, his jealous ex-lover drives Cesar and her off a cliff, resulting in her death and his horrible disfigurement.

This is where the specifics of the plot must stop, as it's where things really kick in.

The original version is scored, shot, and acted as a dark psychological drama with some mindfuckery involved. The American version follows the original's plot very closely for about 95% of the movie and is directed by... Cameron Crowe?? Crowe's made some decent movies (including Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous) but not psychological thrillers... and it shows because he remakes the movie as a quirky and mostly superficial "feel good" movie. It's like watching a remake of "Mulholland Drive" or "The Silence of the Lambs" by Frank Capra.

Scoring changes the entire tone of the movie. ALO uses more conventional orchestral music to underline tension; Crowe uses a ton of great popular music (I think his soundtrack won an award) that totally detracts from the film becoming darkly riveting; every time I wanted to dig into some of the underlying tension, there was another song emotionally pulling me out of the experience. I don't think I've ever heard that many songs used during an actual movie.

ALO's secondary characters actually resonate. His best friend actually comes off as kind and looking up to his rich friend / maybe on some level envious of him, but also a bit despondent and always overshadowed by the insensitive Cesar. ALO's psychologist feels very substantial by the end of the movie (he's given a number of important interactions in the last twenty minutes) which contributes greatly to the running ambiguity; VS's psychologist is sketched far more thinly by the script and acting.

Sophi is the most interesting character as she is portrayed by Penelope Cruz in BOTH movies... and yet comes off as two entirely different people due to the directing and scripting. In ALO, she comes off as complex, with emotions unspoken brooding below the surface; in VS, she comes off as superficial and quirky without much complexity... and Cruz received a Razzie award for the performance. yeah.

Cameron Diaz plays the scorned lover in VS and actually received a Critics award for her performance; she's probably the best part of the remake, honestly. She's not always on mark, but she actually has a few great sequences where she seems real and emotionally turbulent. I wish the rest of the movie had been able to keep step with her.

Another issue is that ALO's protagonist seems flawed but redeemable and still likable on some level. Yes, he's conceited and self-absorbed, but the actual makeup used to disfigure him really makes him look hideous, and I could empathize with his anguish over what he'd lost and how moving through society was so hard for him. He evokes sympathy, and even wearing his mask, the actor conveys emotions through body language.

Tom Cruise's "David" (the American protagonist) just comes off as an oblivious asshat, and the quirky tone of the picture keeps him from becoming deeper as a person. All the wisecracking (Jason Lee playing, well, Jason Lee as the best friend), the superficial music, and the fact that despite any makeup he still looks like Tom Cruise (just not as pretty a one) after his accident makes him sound like a pampered little brat versus someone dealing with a difficult life transition. There's very little depth to the performance, despite all the histrionics at times. While Crowe tries to stick the landing and finds a little traction in the last ten minutes (albeit in a different way than the original), it feels unearned and I felt little sympathy for the character. he's just a dick.

I did enjoy playing "Celebrity Bingo" in the American version, though. Every secondary character seems to be someone who, 15 years later, is now fairly well known to the average moviegoer. Along with Cruz and Diaz, we also get Michael Shannon, Tilda Swinton, Noah Taylor, Timothy Spall, and Johnny Galecki.
 

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Deadpool (2016).

Come on. You know you want to like it.

My interest in superhero comics ran from about 1980 - 2000 or so, so I remember when Deadpool first came out (under Liefield?). I probably have some of the original Deadpool comics in one of my storage boxes somewhere.

Anyway, totally deserved an R rating and was solidly R, and the movie just had to be an R anyway -- as anything less, it would have flopped and vanished in a week.

So I'm glad they "accidentally" released the test footage last year, to get support for making the movie versus CW of "all superhero movies have to be PG for larger audiences". I'm not quite sure the studio is learning its lesson though (which should have been, "Thoughtfully choose the rating that makes sense for your topical matter"), as now they seem to be going, "OHMYGARWSH LET'S MAKE EVERYTHING R!" :confused:

Still, a move in a good direction.

I was with a friend for once, and we laughed out loud the whole way through the movie, probably more than anyone else in the theater; even the credits were funny (and I'll never be able to look at NF unicorn avatars the same way again). It was like one zinger / crazy scenario after the next, with a moment or two of seriousness to give the flick some foundation. For Deadpool, this made total sense. And this was the hero Reynolds was always supposed to play; it just really meshes well with him.

Gina Carano plays the right-hand thug in this movie, and she is still pretty bad-ass. It's unfortunate she didn't really have acting chops at least when I saw her in Haywire (where she was lead); she was okay but was outshined by every other actor in the movie, although her fight scenes were pretty awesome. It looks like she's been in some other movies since then which I haven't seen, I assume playing more "muscle" rather than lead? [Hmm. Looks like she was lead in "In the Blood" but the reception was mixed.] Anyway, she's pretty convincing as a physical actor, just not necessarily a dramatic one.
 
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Funny Games (1997): Very tense, riveting Austrian thriller with quite a few moments of legitimate brilliance (that one shot that goes on for like ten minutes!). Haneke did a great job. I'm not sure how I feel about it as a comment on violence in cinema, but as a movie it's really fucking good.
 

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The Secret in Their Eyes (2009). Won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language film (?) that year. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, it actually had some very funny moments/lines in an otherwise serious plot, as well as some emotionally fulfilling ones (in the positive sense). But the whole movie kind of links together, based on the theme in their title, and it's so well-acted that it's all observable. I'm going to dare the 2015 American remake but my expectations aren't as high; the reviews weren't too great, and I suspect some of the more complex nuances got lost in the translation. A lot of things seem to be habitually simplified/dumbed down for American audiences, which is rather embarrassing in terms of what the expectation must be.

Also, The Witch (2016). Booya. Just utterly relentless in its slow build. with a very effective use of noise in the soundtrack; from a critical POV, it's very effective at what it does and horribly unsettling, but again it's a very slow excruciating build and the lack of much interest in the general public (which was probably expecting a more conventional horror picture) is understandable. I thought it was great. And Lady Arryn plays "crazy" pretty well regardless of the setting.

The interesting thing is that I heard the Satanic Church has endorsed this movie; it could also be endorsed by Calvinists a few centuries back. Maybe the modern-day moviegoer has been insulted from the movie's context and the religious values espoused, which might seem extreme to some nowadays but make sense in that framework.

Funny Games (1997): Very tense, riveting Austrian thriller with quite a few moments of legitimate brilliance (that one shot that goes on for like ten minutes!). Haneke did a great job. I'm not sure how I feel about it as a comment on violence in cinema, but as a movie it's really fucking good.
Yeah, it really is. He remade it for American audiences but my understanding is that his original is better. That movie lingers with me. I think it's the casual mundane style of the home invaders is what really gets me; they look like anyone off the street, they seem unintimidating... but there's something off about them in the way they violate the unspoken rules of common etiquette... and it progresses from there. (We also have some amount of visual commentary about the distancing effect of violence in media entertainment.)
 

Redfire

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The Secret in Their Eyes (2009). Won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language film (?) that year. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, it actually had some very funny moments/lines in an otherwise serious plot, as well as some emotionally fulfilling ones (in the positive sense). But the whole movie kind of links together, based on the theme in their title, and it's so well-acted that it's all observable. I'm going to dare the 2015 American remake but my expectations aren't as high; the reviews weren't too great, and I suspect some of the more complex nuances got lost in the translation. A lot of things seem to be habitually simplified/dumbed down for American audiences, which is rather embarrassing in terms of what the expectation must be.
Definitely good, but I wouldn't say that's our best film, even though it's the one that got the most publicity. Nueve Reinas is really good, also stars Darín. There's an American version of that one too.
 

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Definitely good, but I wouldn't say that's our best film, even though it's the one that got the most publicity. Nueve Reinas is really good, also stars Darín. There's an American version of that one too.
Oh cool, thanks for the recommendation. :) If you have any others, feel free to post them on my Wall and I will give them a shot. EDIT: looks like I'll add Relatos Salvajes to my list too.
 

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Okay, watched "Secret in their Eyes" (2015) and of course was disappointed. It's not just because they managed to take a charming, nuanced, thoughtful movie and coarsened it into a flat and emotionally inert shadow of the original; as a standalone movie, it was also rather flat and inert.

Again, there's the issue with these American remakes; it's like we aren't expected to "get" or tolerate ambiguous or existential endings. Either we have to add a happy ending where the protagonist somehow overcomes their darkness, or we have to explain everything so that it comes down to some kind of bumper-sticker choice that leaves us feeling hopeful or positively motivated. At least in regards to remakes, we don't seem to much like wrestling with pain or despair or hopelessness. (And here I'm thinking The Vanishing, or Open Your Eyes, but there are others as well.) Even with other movies we tend to tag on something more palatable; the American ending of "The Descent" is still pretty creepy on its own, and it actually works, but the original British ending is even darker and abandons hope for cogent realization. Here, the original Argentinian ending regarding the crime is matter of fact and accepts the reality of human psychology and ingrained behavior; the American version has to somehow impose a moralistic resolution that doesn't gel with what came before and how people actually work.

Anyway, the emotional arcs just aren't there in this movie, the primary drives of the characters are either simplified so much as to be uninteresting or impossible to fathom, and there is just little nuance. Scenes that were intricately woven in the original (so that they seem believable -- such as the interrogation scene) don't make sense in how they play here. Trying to make the subplot about terrorism to make it relevant doesn't really add anything to the movie. The picture comes off more like a highly budgeted TV movie versus a cinematic endeavor, stocked with talented actors who are simply cursed with an inadequate script and inconsistent directing. Roberts in particular has the juiciest role and does her best to make it work, but her efforts are wasted.
 
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There are American and British versions of The Descent? I might have seen them both without noticing, one of them at least stuck in my mind with the ending.. must have been the British one. Were they both based in Scotland? Anyway.. that movie gave me the creeps.
 

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There are American and British versions of The Descent? I might have seen them both without noticing, one of them at least stuck in my mind with the ending.. must have been the British one. Were they both based in Scotland? Anyway.. that movie gave me the creeps.
It's one movie, but the American release cuts out after the scene in the car by the side of the road right after the truck passes. IF the version you saw continues past that, then congrats. ...you saw the original cut. Both endings are unsettling, but the brit ending is existentially aching.

The movie is actually set in the usa, although the actors are brit, scotch, etc. I think the director's first movie Dog Soldiers might have been set in Scotland?
 

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I've never seen 4 although I meant to. It came on Netflix and sat there for a few days then I mailed it back without even watching it. MI 2 was really cheesy and I actually had vague memories of, may have caught it on TV years ago. Ethan Hunt isn't an iconic character - it's just Tom Cruise. Especially in that terrible MI 2.
I agree with you that it does come across as "Ethan Hunt is... TOM CRUISE, in Mission Impossible [number]"!

MI2 was so bad, it's hard to discuss it in accordance with the others. Although I do remember hearing an interview with Hans Zimmer and how he stretched on the music to do something different than the studio expectation on the soundtrack. I suppose the soundtrack was probably the most interesting part of the movie, then.


The Opera House was alright but I've seen it before in other films. There was one in Quantum of Solace actually but it wasn't used as extensively. I didn't like the girl, she was tough I suppose but I didn't feel like being forced to think her character was cool. It was good enough but I wouldn't necessarily watch it again.
I forgot the Opera House in Quantum because location seemed so irrelevant in that shot; it didn't really do much with the piece, he just listened in to their conversations.

The Opera House in MI5 was full of intricate moving parts (like a weird real-life espionage Mario Brothers) and an unclear sense of who was even involved and why... Three-dimensional play and three potential assassins, all of which had to be countered and/or stopped, all while the opera continued moving along underneath it all.

it was also one of the moments where I got a clear sense that Hunt is getting old. He's still got game, but he's starting to get overpowered by the young.
 
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