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Last movie you watched

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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?
Potentially, that rings a bell.. Dog Soldiers is another good one, might watch it again later.. Wish I paid more attention to details...

I watched 'Unfriended' earlier.. The one about a bunch of school kids on Skype .. throw in a poltergiest and we have ourselves a low budget horror.

First movie of the social media kind which I have tuned into.. I thought it was fairly decent except for a half arsed abrupt ending.. Only because I have a cousin who sits at his computer desk doing the same thing - all day and all night.

I wonder if I could tap into his feed and shit him the fuck up some how ...?

Ill rope his friends into helping me, muhahahaha.
 

Jennywocky

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Potentially, that rings a bell.. Dog Soldiers is another good one, might watch it again later.. Wish I paid more attention to details...
I haven't seen "Dog Soldiers" for awhile, but I found them interesting as both movies are "survival pics" of sorts (with a horrific enemy), and the men and women in both films are all very tough/strong people... but the dynamics differ in the male group from the female group. It's interesting to analyze.

I watched 'Unfriended' earlier.. The one about a bunch of school kids on Skype .. throw in a poltergiest and we have ourselves a low budget horror.
For what it was, and that they managed to keep it all on a computer screen... that part was impressive.

There really wasn't any way I could think of for them to end it, but the getting there was rather fun to watch.

Only because I have a cousin who sits at his computer desk doing the same thing - all day and all night. I wonder if I could tap into his feed and shit him the fuck up some how ...?

Ill rope his friends into helping me, muhahahaha.
Film it and you could sell the rights. :D
 
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Haha... and yea your right, would be interesting (for me) to observe the difference in the male/female group dynamics.

Like in Dog Soldiers, they threw just one chick into the mix... always a group of men and one chick, like the movie makers cant help themselves.

I thoroughly enjoyed having a female cast for The Descent... The Descent part 2 was fairly decent too if I remember correctly.. its all coming back to me now.

Can you recommend any other movies for a 'strong' female cast, survival or otherwise?
 
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Well I didn't end up watching Dog Soldiers but me and my mate did watch Gone Girl.. My bestie suggested I'd like it, and he said I sorta reminded him of the chick out the movie.

I had no idea what this movie was about, I went in blind... I found his comparison rather ammusing... up until about shit got fuuuckkked up lool.

What a crazy ass bitch. Fookin awesome movie.
 

Jennywocky

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Well I didn't end up watching Dog Soldiers but me and my mate did watch Gone Girl.. My bestie suggested I'd like it, and he said I sorta reminded him of the chick out the movie.

I had no idea what this movie was about, I went in blind... I found his comparison rather ammusing... up until about shit got fuuuckkked up lool.

What a crazy ass bitch. Fookin awesome movie.
Best succinct description of that movie I read (but did someone here say it too? Maybe Absurdity?):

Two totally fucked-up people who totally deserve each other.
Ironically Ben Affleck actually did a good job in this role, as opposed to many movies he has been in. Some of it might have been too true to life.

I thought the actor who plays his sister Margo was really cool ("the voice of reason") in this movie, so I was thrilled to see her in Seasons 1 & 2 of "The Leftovers."
 

Pizzabeak

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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.
I hadn't realized that one was out already but I would have imagined it to suffer from the same thing those usually do. The original Spanish film was supposed to be culturally relevant. And, the stadium scene (with no cuts) was considered an accomplishment by their film industry for being a difficult shot to pull off, considering they had to use some CGI.
Probably a similar case to Abre los Ojos/Vanilla Sky. In an interview Tom Cruise said he saw it and wanted to take it and make it his, so I think the film suffered for that. In the original, there were lots of minute, intimate moments between the characters worked in through the editing (such as Cesar playing tennis with his friend in the beginning) but in Vanilla Sky they were all removed, probably due to time constraints or they hoped audiences would get the point. This is considering then USA was probably more well known for blockbusters. But, that's mostly why I think Vanilla Sky seemed flat and boring compared to Abre los Ojos. Not sure if this would be the case if you saw VS first.
 

Jennywocky

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That stadium scene with its one long cut was definitely a standout. I think I also read in the stadium, they had something like 200 extras and then CGI for the rest?

The American version of that cut both felt more frenetic, yet also lazier. The characters overall also felt more exchangeable; I actually became fond of the characters in the original. Anyway, the American remake came out in November but was overshadowed by some other big movies coming out around the same time (like the Hunger Games finale) so it snuck through.

I think I mentioned that I'm actually a fan of Tom Cruise, I like almost all of his movies, and he's good at what he does, and typically selects his projects well. For some reason, though, this one just never really made the connection.

I have definitely decided based on track record that if I am going to watch an original + an American remake and twists are involved, I am going to watch the original first. In these two cases, it worked out well.
 

Jennywocky

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The Last Five Years (2015), adapted from Brown's musical and starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan. The show is minimalist and covers in song the relationship between two people, Jamie (a young author who found impossibly fast success) and Cathy (a stage performer who struggles to find any work). While the movie uses actual settings and extras, the focus is always on Jaime and Cathy.

The entire story is told through a number of songs emphazing key points in their relationship. The novelty of it is that it's a dual-plot alternating structure. The show starts with Cathy sitting alone, devastated, in the house where Jamie has just walked out on her with nothing but a letter. The next song, sung by Jamie, is at the BEGINNING of their relationship, the first time they were together. And the story progresses this way, alternating songs between Jamie and Cathy, but Jaime is moving forward in time from the beginning to the end of their relationship while Cathy is moving backwards from the sad ending to a happier beginning.

Only twice in the show (I think) do they actually share songs. One is in the very center, where their timelines cross ("The Next Ten Minutes") -- where Jamie proposes and they wed. The other is at the very end, which is bittersweet due to the juxtaposition of Cathy full of promise about what could happen next in this ultimately doomed relationship, while simultaneously Jaime has just written her the goodbye letter but seems to hold in his mind this beautiful memory of a happy Cathy at the beginning. It's like the walls of time are being breached and you're able to see everything at once. Hope and ache mix together.

Why does their relationship fail? Both people have hang-ups, although Jaime seems to be more petulant and self-absorbed at least in the movie. He is focused primarily on his work and objectifies Cathy, and when she doesn't want to play the game anymore, he begins to veer away in search of others to satisfy him. Cathy also has some issues (Jamie is her lifeline and she's too dependent on him, and probably asking more than he is willing to give, in the end) but seems more self-aware and willing to sacrifice for their relationship along the way.

Kendrick and Jordan are spectacular in this (Damn, they can sing!), although Kendrick seems to understand she's on film and not stage and offers a performance with a more subtlety and range while Jordan could afford some restraint. A cinematic release offers a lot more possibilities in story-telling, where you can frame things off-camera, control distance and direction with the camera movement, and even capture very tiny and precise physical expressions and musical nuances; and they really take advantage of this here.

The lyrics of course contain the story as well as many secrets, if one listens to the soundtrack multiple times. Lines in one song reflect back on similar lines in other songs, putting new spins and highlighting different aspects of meaning. Musical motifs, repeated in various parts of the movie in different styles, do the same. There's also kind of a "storybook" feel in the beginning and ending motif, rather like in "Moulin Rouge," and that same sense of things drawing to a close as the last curtain falls.

The biggest flaw of the movie is simply that it's more a collection of songs with gaps of time between then, which makes it hard to get a smooth narrative arc, and it changes what could be a great movie simply into an enjoyable one (if you happen to like the music). It's more like looking through a photo album (but in music), from beginning to end, with pictures representing months of time, and then back to the beginning again. And afterwards, wondering what happened and how sad it is that what could have lasted the next ten lifetimes is now contained in a small binder of pages, fading yellow with age.
 

Alias

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I want to see Hardcore Henry. It looks interesting.
 

cheese

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Hail, Caesar (Coen brothers). Excellent ensemble cast comedy about the Hollywood film industry in the 50s. More visual gags and directorial humour than the endless self-referential and neurotic nattering that's more popular these days. Bit of a return to older style - slower-paced, jokes took time to flower, which I enjoyed. Multi-layered, paid homage to several different genres, wonderful character sketches. I dunno, just found it very engaging. Appealed to my attention style. I think high Ne people would like this as there's a little bit of everything and it's highly referential.

(Wow, I just read some actual reviews and mine is terrible. I can't describe shit. Please just go watch the film. You'll probably enjoy it.)
 

PaulMaster

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Penguins of Madagascar the Movie.

Hilarious. Its a silly cartoon. A grown up review would be ridiculous.
 
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Zootopia

Surprisingly good. I expected duty and suffering but i got a genuinely worthwhile experience. It's a relaxed multi-faceted comment on a lot that's going on in the world. Heartstrings also successfully pulled, humor achieved etc.
 

Rualani

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Citizenfour

Documentary with Edward Snowden interview and conversations on NSA network.
It's kind of surreal. I had heard about most of the information, but seeing how it was transferred made me realize the impact of it.
 

onesteptwostep

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Ned Rifle

Aubrey Plaza was in it. I wouldn't recommended it but it's some weirdass mystery thriller film. Weird ending. I think the redeeming quality was the soundtrack. It has that qusai-philosophical-literary analysis coming from the characters.

It's like toned down Gone Girl if you want some sort of comparison.
 

Jennywocky

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Taps (1981). Finally watched this for the first time, 35 years after its release.

The movie itself has some interesting spots to it, although there are periods of flatness. It does best when wrestling with bigger questions, like whether honor as an abstracted concept has any value, and exploring the relationship between the child and adult world (as the boys' demands actually are reasonable from their perspective, but the adults continue to patronize them as being driven by childish desires).

More interesting was recognizing a number of current-day stars in the earliest part of their careers, most in the 19-23 year old range. Hutton of course (and George C. Scott who was much older); but I laughed as these guys just walked by the camera -- Tom Cruise, Sean Penn, and (I totally called it!) Giancarlo Esposito, AKA Gus Freng from Breaking Bad + numerous other things. It's weird seeing them still as essentially boys whose bodies hadn't yet finished maturing, yet still being able to recognize them within a second or two, especially with all three of them still prominent in the acting business 35 years later (while Hutton really stopped being a name by the time the 80's drew to a close).
 

cheese

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Just got back from 10 Cloverfield Lane.

FAAAAAAARK. Stressful, intense thriller. I won't spoil anything, but I highly recommend seeing it. Has excellent reviews as well. John Goodman's fantastic and so was the lead Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

I always admire films that successfully organise their tension.

*edit
I actually have anxiety now and can't go to sleep!
 

Jennywocky

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Spotlight (2015).

Some movies this length seem long; this one didn't. Of course, it has such a large cast and enough ground to cover that to tell the story properly takes this long.

As far as tone and dramatic depth, it seemed equitable to Argo (a few years back) -- dealing with story in a tangible and meaningful way, going in deep enough at appropriate times but not too deep dramatically. There was a lot of plot points that had to be focused on.

The institutional pressure was also very palpable... not just from the catholic church but from the community. Some people find it easy to discount the stonewalling and indirect threats/pressuring, but here you can kind of see how it creates this "soft wall" surrounding everything; you can try to plunge in, but the further you go, the more resilient and resisting the wall gets, until it throws you back out. It takes tenacity to push through to the other side, not knowing what lies beyond.
 

Solitaire U.

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I really enjoyed Argo.

"Trash", saw it on Netflix. Martin Sheen is in it. I liked it, story kind of linear and status quo (rich eat the poor blah blah), but the setting and characters were interesting. I like the kid from the sewer, "Rato".

Another one, also on Netflix, El Infierno". I love Mexican cinema, and this one is SO Mexico. If you've lived in Mexico for any length of time (or a long length like me) the opening shots of this film will take you back there instantly. It was definitely filmed in the Great Northeastern Cartel Wasteland I've driven through so many times on my trips back and forth. Also, it stars Damian Alcazar, my favorite Mexican actor. I think it was more gratuitously violent and sexual than it needed to be, but perhaps it's more authentic than I ever want to know. Good movie if you want to see some real Mexico beyond bullshit Tijuana and immaculate Cortez inspired villas prettied up for movies.
 

Pyropyro

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I was finally able to watch Star Wars: the Force Awakens en route to Thailand. It was a good movie and gave me a heavy dose of nostalgia to boot. The characters were interesting and I liked how Finn grew during the movie.
 

Jennywocky

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I was finally able to watch Star Wars: the Force Awakens en route to Thailand. It was a good movie and gave me a heavy dose of nostalgia to boot. The characters were interesting and I liked how Finn grew during the movie.
I felt he came off as a little more unique than some of the other characters; he seemed more outward directed and less introspective, and responding more out of his gut feelings. It was a nice change of pace.
 

Jennywocky

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The Big Short (2015).

Movie had an interesting tone -- a steady flow of banter that was often fun to listen too, while still preserving a serious undertone to match the severity of the event in question (the financial collapse).

There were also some nice asides explaining various concepts important to the industry so that the viewer could follow what was going on. Since the movie wasn't rigidly "realistic" and had some quirk to it in tone, these were usually handled by breaking the fourth wall in some way and occasionally using unexpected (and unqualified) "guest stars" to deliver the information. [This movie has the only appearance of Selena Gomez that hasn't annoyed the crap out of me, for example.]

Acting was solid with a huge cast; editing was really great.
 

Pyropyro

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Just chilling at the hotel and watching Syfy Asia channel. This is probably the first time I've watched this channel so it intrigues me. The spooky shows are kinda okay as long as you try to lower your suspension of belief. In a sense the channel has its own charm/narm.

Anyways, I watched Ghost Bride (seems to be a homage to Asian supernatural horror films) and Chupacabra (uh, weird cryptid horror I guess). I don't know, the acting of both films are decent but the special effects and writing falls short of selling their intended message or generating the needed horror vibe.

To be fair I liked the costumes featured in Ghost Bride.
 
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Kidulthood, followed by Adulthood. A depiction of life of growing up in and around Englands (Londons) harshest estates.

'Gotta go from kidulthood to adulthood, now I must act like an adult would, be act like an adult should'

They are funny as fuck but with some serious undertone's.. well worth a watch.
 

Jennywocky

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Saw Batman V Superman.

Felt the same way I felt about Man of Steel overall. There are some parts that seem kind of flat, some moments/sections I really liked, things that can seem overwrought / overdramatized, and some decent action sequences.

I would say that some dialogue lines that seem really dumb in the trailer out of context actually had been edited together, and in context weren't nearly as cheesy (most of the time).

-- This is more a Batman movie than a Superman movie, which is a bit of a shame. But again, it's DC trying to gear up for Justice League since they're behind Marvel in the movie wars.

- Jesse E actually isn't bad... IF you accept that his version of Lex Luthor breaks canon. At a few moments, I saw a little too much of Dark Knight's Joker in him -- he got quirky/eccentric and a little rattle-brained. TBH, he scans more like an ENTP versus the typical TJ version of Lex we've all known. But if you accept the character as the movie portrays it versus comparing to canon....

- One part I liked: Seeing the big Supes vs Zodfight from the perspective of the normal person on the street. That was horrifying.

- One part I hated -- how many times do I have see Thomas and Martha Wayne die?? Geez. But it actually tied together with something later in the film, something relevant so... okay.

- Wonder Woman was boss. I don't know if Gadot can handle being the core of her own movie (as an actor), something that demands more emotional nuance; but she was pretty great here.

- I didn't think Affleck was bad. He's not a great actor, he should stick with directing; but he put in a solid performance here, as an older Batman. I'm not sure why people are bitching.

Anyway, i was hoping to come away more... uplifted or something. I enjoyed it for what it was, but it didn't feel like much of a Superman movie. I think that's part of what people are reacting to when they say they don't like it. And you'd think it could have been something different. I dunno.

Well, the fight scenes were fun.

7/10
 

ProxyAmenRa

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I saw Batman vs. Superman. I give it a 6.5/10. It is worth watching for some fun. Batman was a total badass.

I don't understand why critics gave the movie such bad reviews. Granted, these are the same critics that gave Boyhood a 10/10 while Boyhood is objectively the worst movie ever made.
 

Jennywocky

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I liked Boyhood; I tend to like most Linklater flix. They feel very organic.

But damn it was long, and I don't think I could watch it again.

---------------------

Oh, forgot to mention this: I watched Irreversible.

Good god. So that's a Gaspar Noe pic, huh? It was an assault on the senses (visually and audibly) at times, and has two of the most brutal scenes I think I've ever seen in a movie, burned into my brain.

The plot actually runs backwards (kind of like Memento), although it's more to show the causal links between events and how sometimes what is intended for good ends up being as brutal as that which spawned it. It makes you question your judgment of what should be done. Is there morality to acts? Or are actions just actions?

Film motto: "Time destroys everything." Yup, everything proceeds from order to chaos. Let something continue long enough and look where it ends up.
 

Pyropyro

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We just watched Kung Fu Panda 3. Cute movie for the kids but is still entertaining for grown-ups.
 

cheese

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FINALLY WATCHED DEADPOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL

Pretty awesome. It was so great having all the critical/disbelieving thoughts that'd usually be in my head during a movie voiced by the main character. Lots of fun references, which is my sort of thing. Ryan Reynolds is perfect and Morena Baccarin is a jewel.

(I'm really glad I don't write movie reviews for a living.)

I've been trying to watch this movie for months now. I'm glad I caught it at the theatre.
 
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I liked Boyhood; I tend to like most Linklater flix. They feel very organic.
He's just walking in his own footsteps at this point. Granted, such a destiny in itself offers a profound sense of tragedy to those so inclined - but one whose appeal cannot reasonably be conflated with an assessment of his enduring artistic greatness as a filmmaker.

"Before Sunrise", "Slacker" and "Dazed & Confused" had magic. None of that anymore. Contrived cannonfodder is all that remains.
 

Jennywocky

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"The Hateful Eight."

Probably the least-best Tarantino flick, it feels more like a hobby script he decided to shoot for kicks versus one of his more motivated works. (Hey, let's let Samuel L. Jackson talk a lot in a movie, he's always fun to listen to.... There's the movie!)

The first two hours feel rather aimless, even if amusing in spots. But the magic is sporadic. At the two hour mark, there's a shift in the narrative and suddenly the film moves forward again, pace-wise.

The real highlights of the film are the music (which is persistently ominous in sound and arrangement) and the visuals -- even though I saw it at home on blu-ray, the textures and coloring and lighting and shadows are almost magical in how they blend together.

All in all, it feels like the least imaginative / least energy of Tarantino's work, even just kind of ... 'ending' ... flatly. Still, with the craftsmanship involved and the quality of some of the actors (Scoggins, Dern, and Leigh were the most interesting, in my view), it's still a decent movie compared to much of what else comes out. It just feels over-long and not much bang for the buck. (Lots of blood and bodily fluids for the buck, though... lol.)
 
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I also just watched Hateful 8.

Beautiful movie but it felt drawn out to me as well. The conversations were very wordy and like you said at times aimless.

It could have all been done in under an hour yet nearly a three hour movie. I think that says a bit.
 

Jennywocky

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The Loft.

Sucked. Shot back in 2011, took a few years for a company to buy and release it. Didn't even make back its $14 million budget in theater release.

Was a remake of a Belgian movie (?) directed by the same guy, but in American setting and with American cast, and comes off more as a higher-budget soap opera / murder mystery with men as the stars. Either stuff is telegraphed so blatantly that you think it must be a script error, or it's not something you could guess at all so you have be told the answer by the script later on. Either way, it makes for a really un-engrossing viewing experience, unless you like the occasional nude shots.

Oh, and the cops in this movie are the segment of cops who never come when they need to elsewhere in the movie to prevent drama but somehow always show up about 30 seconds after something dramatic happens. What timing!

The music also was incessantly histrionic; I wish the composer had been doped up.

I also just watched Hateful 8.

Beautiful movie but it felt drawn out to me as well. The conversations were very wordy and like you said at times aimless.

It could have all been done in under an hour yet nearly a three hour movie. I think that says a bit.
yes, very much about the "hour" thing. So much dead space filled with aimless dialogue. Tarantino can pull that off, but... not here.

He's been too successful, I guess; and so this film was self-indulgent on some level for him. I think fear forces people to hone things more.
 

Jennywocky

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I just watched Martyrs (2008) and.... I don't even know what to say about it.

It felt like two separate movies, the first half felt different from the other. And then the second half felt more personal and abusive, yet there was also something else going on there. Strong mixed feelings. And I could see what it was trying to get it; everything had a point, and yet.... I don't know. If you've seen it, maybe you understand. My mind is still rather looping around on it, around and around. I don't think I'll be able to scrub it out of my brain for awhile.

Also, Steve Jobs (2015). Pretty decent, although I know some of the details didn't actually happen. But the script was interesting, as well as setting the movie's three parts right before major product releases. Fassbender and Winslet were great, the dialogue was interesting. Even Seth Rogan had some depth. And.... as soon as I saw Jobs' teenage daughter, I recognized the actor... something about her face and eyes and hair. Last time I saw her was in Kill Bill 2 when she was a little girl... It's BB.
 

Jennywocky

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Regression (2015), a real disappointment from Amenabar who has put out some decent movies over the years. It's pretty clearly based on the Paul Ingram case from the 80's, a Pentecostal family where his teenage kids accused him of molesting/sexually abusing them and also forcing them to participate in a Satanic cult.

Historical spoiler about the case:
It was part of the wave of "satanic cult" cases sweeping the nation, in conjunction with therapists supposedly discovered "repressed memories" by hypnotizing their patients but that eventually came to be seen more as implanted memories since there was typically no actual physical evidence of such events occurring, even after an FBI investigation.

here, the weird thing was that Ingram actually was "confessing" to crimes that there was no evidence of him actually committing.

(As a side note, X-Files did a play off this kind of thing in its episode "die hand die verletzt" -- it's one of my favorite episodes because it's so silly and over the top, and Mrs. Paddock is great.)

Anyway, psychologist Richard Ofshe did a lot of investigation on these types of cases as well as the process of "restoring lost memories," and like Elizabeth Loftus could note that memory is very susceptible to manipulation, in some people more than others. Ofshe here did not find the accounts of the family members reliable, based on his experience with this kind of testimony. And he even once tested Ingram by telling him that his children had accused him of a particular perversion that they had not reported to him; Ingram at first claimed he had no recollection, but when Ofshe returned later, Ingram produced a detailed confession of his "crime" and now claimed he had remembered doing it.

In this case, Ingram seemed to be driven by his particular religious beliefs and the power of the Devil, his foundational assumption that his children had never lied so why would they be lying now, and just having an overactive and obsessive imagination. Later, Ingram denied his confessions and tried to retract them, but he was stuck serving out his full sentencing and finally got out of jail in 2003. Meanwhile, it provided another strong indicator of how maybe memory is not reliable, and that regression hypnosis can actually implant false memories depending on the subject's background, susceptibility, and the leading of the therapist.
That kind of story is toyed with by "Regression" but never really takes off. The characters remain distant and unsympathetic, the cultist stuff has eerie visuals but never really seems to click, and even the victim seems unknowable. It's really a shame, since actors Hawke, Watson, and Thewlis are typically sympathetic presences but have trouble connecting with the audience. I wish the movie had focused more on the ambiguity of interpretation, a more active role of religious belief in the movie (all the characters seem isolated, there's no experience of religious fervor as a communal environment that establishes a particular worldview and high stakes), and a more intense depiction of regression therapy. I think maybe here is where Amenabar went wrong, as he does tend to focus on isolated individual perceptions of reality versus more complicit ones.

On the other hand, The Invitation (2015-2016) was rather great despite an occasional small rough spot. Only a few of the actors are recognizable from mainstream productions but everyone plays their part solidly and has a rapport. The opening scene provides ominous foreshadowing. Will's flashbacks are handled really well, obviously a man who is trying to set things aside but is constantly assaulted by memories of something he has lost. And despite the pleasant social party atmosphere, there is enough said and done (and in particular tones) that suggest something more disturbing is unfolding -- yet is this part of Will's projection of his own bitterness on the people around him, or is it more substantial? The audience is cued into Will's paranoia enough to wrestle with the same confusing signals, until the movie slips into its final act. Even then it's not necessarily over, there's more to be dealt with, more to be discussed, and at least another revelation on the horizon.

It does look like a return to form for Kusama at least, who won high acclaim on her first movie "Girlfight" but then ended up doing the flop "Aeon Flux" and then the ambivalent "Jennifer's Body." (I actually liked the latter movie due to its tongue-in-cheek script by Diablo Cody, and the closing credits were satisfying... but it should have been better, and the tone never really settled on whether it was supposed to be comedy or horror.) Here, Kusama gets tone right -- the movie feels like one thing but is just enough off to leave us wondering whether it's something else entirely, and the transition is steady and incremental rather than abrupt.
 
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Regression (2015), a real disappointment from Amenabar who has put out some decent movies over the years. It's pretty clearly based on the Paul Ingram case from the 80's, a Pentecostal family where his teenage kids accused him of molesting/sexually abusing them and also forcing them to participate in a Satanic cult.

Historical spoiler about the case:
It was part of the wave of "satanic cult" cases sweeping the nation, in conjunction with therapists supposedly discovered "repressed memories" by hypnotizing their patients but that eventually came to be seen more as implanted memories since there was typically no actual physical evidence of such events occurring, even after an FBI investigation.

here, the weird thing was that Ingram actually was "confessing" to crimes that there was no evidence of him actually committing.

(As a side note, X-Files did a play off this kind of thing in its episode "die hand die verletzt" -- it's one of my favorite episodes because it's so silly and over the top, and Mrs. Paddock is great.)

Anyway, psychologist Richard Ofshe did a lot of investigation on these types of cases as well as the process of "restoring lost memories," and like Elizabeth Loftus could note that memory is very susceptible to manipulation, in some people more than others. Ofshe here did not find the accounts of the family members reliable, based on his experience with this kind of testimony. And he even once tested Ingram by telling him that his children had accused him of a particular perversion that they had not reported to him; Ingram at first claimed he had no recollection, but when Ofshe returned later, Ingram produced a detailed confession of his "crime" and now claimed he had remembered doing it.

In this case, Ingram seemed to be driven by his particular religious beliefs and the power of the Devil, his foundational assumption that his children had never lied so why would they be lying now, and just having an overactive and obsessive imagination. Later, Ingram denied his confessions and tried to retract them, but he was stuck serving out his full sentencing and finally got out of jail in 2003. Meanwhile, it provided another strong indicator of how maybe memory is not reliable, and that regression hypnosis can actually implant false memories depending on the subject's background, susceptibility, and the leading of the therapist.
That kind of story is toyed with by "Regression" but never really takes off. The characters remain distant and unsympathetic, the cultist stuff has eerie visuals but never really seems to click, and even the victim seems unknowable. It's really a shame, since actors Hawke, Watson, and Thewlis are typically sympathetic presences but have trouble connecting with the audience. I wish the movie had focused more on the ambiguity of interpretation, a more active role of religious belief in the movie (all the characters seem isolated, there's no experience of religious fervor as a communal environment that establishes a particular worldview and high stakes), and a more intense depiction of regression therapy. I think maybe here is where Amenabar went wrong, as he does tend to focus on isolated individual perceptions of reality versus more complicit ones.

On the other hand, The Invitation (2015-2016) was rather great despite an occasional small rough spot. Only a few of the actors are recognizable from mainstream productions but everyone plays their part solidly and has a rapport. The opening scene provides ominous foreshadowing. Will's flashbacks are handled really well, obviously a man who is trying to set things aside but is constantly assaulted by memories of something he has lost. And despite the pleasant social party atmosphere, there is enough said and done (and in particular tones) that suggest something more disturbing is unfolding -- yet is this part of Will's projection of his own bitterness on the people around him, or is it more substantial? The audience is cued into Will's paranoia enough to wrestle with the same confusing signals, until the movie slips into its final act. Even then it's not necessarily over, there's more to be dealt with, more to be discussed, and at least another revelation on the horizon.

It does look like a return to form for Kusama at least, who won high acclaim on her first movie "Girlfight" but then ended up doing the flop "Aeon Flux" and then the ambivalent "Jennifer's Body." (I actually liked the latter movie due to its tongue-in-cheek script by Diablo Cody, and the closing credits were satisfying... but it should have been better, and the tone never really settled on whether it was supposed to be comedy or horror.) Here, Kusama gets tone right -- the movie feels like one thing but is just enough off to leave us wondering whether it's something else entirely, and the transition is steady and incremental rather than abrupt.
Informative review. Shame the film sounds crap.

You peaked my interest in the case, especially the 'false memory syndrome' bit. Reeks of a typical pedophile ring white-wash.

http://lbloom.net/okingram.html
http://lbloom.net/okbr.html
http://lbloom.net/wsp.html

https://vimeo.com/48557671

Last movie I watched was Magic Mike XXL.

I think that there was too much talking in the movie.
 

Jennywocky

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False memory syndrome and Satanic cults murdering thousands of babies across the US was all the rage here from around 1975-1990 or so (?)... in the late 90's, there were lots of lawsuits going on against therapists who patients now believed conditioned them and/or helped implant memories of events that did not occur.

I remember it growing up, since I lived in a religious community and was bombarded by proselytizing about all the Satanists out there. I think LaVey's previously starting up the Church of Satan (which is more philosophical nature than actual, plus he was a showboater) + the wave of "devil" movies (The Exorcist, Rosemary's Baby, etc.) coming out it the late 60's and early 70's popularized this kind of thing; society was changing, people were unnerved, and while the communists had been the popularized cultural enemy for awhile, now people riding on the edge of sex and drug liberation and the influx of eastern religion were looking for more esoteric threats to the culture driving these negative changes in their mind. It was the era of rock-and-roll musicians (the genre was really kicking in), with some having more hedonistic life styles, and religion was accusing them of serving the Devil (KISS = Kings in Satan's Service, for example) and placing demonic messages backwards on their LPs. Yes, I grew up with that -- I had books about it, went to youth retreats where it was preached, etc. But I also felt like the evidence was spurious.

Anyway, it's not really surprising we got these kind of ideas even in therapy about somehow digging back under hypnosis and either uncovering vile crimes that could explain the trauma of the present, national conspiracies by proponents of spiritual darkness, or uncovering past lives that lent significance to people who otherwise felt very normal and very small.
 
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False memory syndrome and Satanic cults murdering thousands of babies across the US was all the rage here from around 1975-1990 or so (?) ... in the late 90's, there were lots of lawsuits going on against therapists who patients now believed conditioned them and/or helped implant memories of events that did not occur.

I remember it growing up, since I lived in a religious community and was bombarded by proselytizing about all the Satanists out there.
Yup, it was definitely a thing. I cant say that I know all the ins and outs, but I am getting very familiar with the whole international pedophile entrapment schemes.

I think LaVey's previously starting up the Church of Satan (which is more philosophical nature than actual, plus he was a showboater) + the wave of "devil" movies (The Exorcist, Rosemary's Baby, etc.) coming out it the late 60's and early 70's popularized this kind of thing; society was changing, people were unnerved, and while the communists had been the popularized cultural enemy for awhile, now people riding on the edge of sex and drug liberation and the influx of eastern religion were looking for more esoteric threats to the culture driving these negative changes in their mind. It was the era of rock-and-roll musicians (the genre was really kicking in), with some having more hedonistic life styles, and religion was accusing them of serving the Devil (KISS = Kings in Satan's Service, for example) and placing demonic messages backwards on their LPs. Yes, I grew up with that -- I had books about it, went to youth retreats where it was preached, etc. But I also felt like the evidence was spurious.
I've read some brilliant articles covering the period and culture to which your refer, I'll slot em in here if I can locate them later. It's not lost on me that it was the like's of Polanski popularizing such, whilst he was simultaneously up to his neck in such.

It's also not lost on me that it was during the 70's & 80's when British Special Branch were involved in perpetrating a number of 'Satanic Scares' as part of their 'black propaganda' campaigns... Odd that they would use such tactics.. Until we take a look at the organised, and in some cases satanic, abuse of children which was (and is) being perpetrated by those in our highest offices of government.

I wonder if the same template can be applied across the sea?

Right now, there are a number of false cases of child abuse and SRA being promoted in alternative media outlets; a current British case called the Hamstead Child Abuse Case, also raises questions around 'false memories'. The purpose of such false cases are meant simply to muddy the waters and detract credibility from true witnesses coming forward to expose the true cases of abuse.
 
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"The Hateful Eight."

Probably the least-best Tarantino flick, it feels more like a hobby script he decided to shoot for kicks versus one of his more motivated works. (Hey, let's let Samuel L. Jackson talk a lot in a movie, he's always fun to listen to.... There's the movie!)

The first two hours feel rather aimless, even if amusing in spots. But the magic is sporadic. At the two hour mark, there's a shift in the narrative and suddenly the film moves forward again, pace-wise.

The real highlights of the film are the music (which is persistently ominous in sound and arrangement) and the visuals -- even though I saw it at home on blu-ray, the textures and coloring and lighting and shadows are almost magical in how they blend together.

All in all, it feels like the least imaginative / least energy of Tarantino's work, even just kind of ... 'ending' ... flatly. Still, with the craftsmanship involved and the quality of some of the actors (Scoggins, Dern, and Leigh were the most interesting, in my view), it's still a decent movie compared to much of what else comes out. It just feels over-long and not much bang for the buck. (Lots of blood and bodily fluids for the buck, though... lol.)
I have to disagree. I loved the Hateful Eight. I acknowledge all the points you make, and there's merit in them all. However, I judge creative pursuits by how they measure up to what they aspire to be, and Hateful Eight was a perfect realisation of what Tarantino intended it to be. When this happens, it's like somewhat of a window into the mind of the director.

Tarantino wanted the film to be nothing more than seeing what would happen when you put these characters in a room together. That's exactly what happened, and what we got was the results. I think the pacing was perfect for the story being told.

I watched the 70mm roadshow version, and that was just one more layer of director's intent being realised. I acknowledge that if you didn't see the roadshow version and thus didn't get the 15 minute intermission, the film would have felt way too long. I recall having some great speculative conversations with other moviegoers during that intermission, and that was great! The overture before the film (roadshow only) also lowered expectations of a fast paced film from the outset, which I think was supportive to the pacing overall.
 

Jennywocky

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Well, I've seen bad movies that were also what the director intended and a window into their soul as well. I personally don't think that criteria is part of adding quality to the a movie itself; it's simply informative in some way. But if that made the experience good for you, then I'm glad; it's a bad feeling to be trapped in a 2:45 hour movie that one is not enjoying on some level.

I looked for Hateful Eight in the theater, but it didn't come around here in that format unfortunately. What you say about the intermission has merit and I think adds an interesting element to the viewing experience -- it sounds like it was very engaging, and also would have improved the pacing, much as it does for stage productions and musicals. One thing I enjoy in my theater viewing is audience synergy, even if there are no discussions via an intermission; even just sitting there and hearing people gasp, choke back tears, cheer, or whatever else in unison adds an element to the experience that I don't get by solitary viewing at home.
 

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I finally got around to watching the new Star Wars movie. I really enjoyed it (also Rey is now my imaginary girlfriend)
 
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Well, I've seen bad movies that were also what the director intended and a window into their soul as well. I personally don't think that criteria is part of adding quality to the a movie itself; it's simply informative in some way. But if that made the experience good for you, then I'm glad; it's a bad feeling to be trapped in a 2:45 hour movie that one is not enjoying on some level.

I looked for Hateful Eight in the theater, but it didn't come around here in that format unfortunately. What you say about the intermission has merit and I think adds an interesting element to the viewing experience -- it sounds like it was very engaging, and also would have improved the pacing, much as it does for stage productions and musicals. One thing I enjoy in my theater viewing is audience synergy, even if there are no discussions via an intermission; even just sitting there and hearing people gasp, choke back tears, cheer, or whatever else in unison adds an element to the experience that I don't get by solitary viewing at home.
Definitely need audience synergy. One of the reasons I like to go to the cinema alone :)
 

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Definitely need audience synergy. One of the reasons I like to go to the cinema alone :)
Yeah, it's fun. I usually don't have someone to go with me, unless my son is visiting; I did managed to get to DC and see "Deadpool" with a friend. A lot of people don't understand why others are willing to go to the theater alone; I like the experience of the big screen for some movies (at least animation or action pics, or something where the "larger than life" matters), but I also like that synergy experience even if I don't know anyone else.

Plus, they rebuilt a Regal about 25 minutes from here, and i can get reserved seating in a large leather recliner, in a less crowded theater. That is the life! :D


.... so what, did you become bored with Negan, now that the finale aired, or did the laugh quotient double for the poor kid who busted his pal's cap? ha!
 
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Yeah, it's fun. I usually don't have someone to go with me, unless my son is visiting; I did managed to get to DC and see "Deadpool" with a friend. A lot of people don't understand why others are willing to go to the theater alone; I like the experience of the big screen for some movies (at least animation or action pics, or something where the "larger than life" matters), but I also like that synergy experience even if I don't know anyone else.

Plus, they rebuilt a Regal about 25 minutes from here, and i can get reserved seating in a large leather recliner, in a less crowded theater. That is the life! :D


.... so what, did you become bored with Negan, now that the finale aired, or did the laugh quotient double for the poor kid who busted his pal's cap? ha!
Oh I love the cinema experience. There's a little cinema I used to go to in Melbourne called the Astor, an old art deco cinema with only one theatre. It's amazing. They only have a couple of showings a day and just this seemingly endless list of great films from all periods. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find an equivalent in Sydney. Sadface.

What's a Regal?

Haha! Negan was excellent, but the cliffhanger was lame.
No, I needed a change, and this picture came up in a group chat and I found the idea of my alias of Happy vs. that picture to be somewhat hilarious. I had others in the shortlist, but this one was the most amusing, mostly because it's a stock image. A basically unusable stock image. I have others. Maybe I'll just start cycling them.
 

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Oh I love the cinema experience. There's a little cinema I used to go to in Melbourne called the Astor, an old art deco cinema with only one theatre. It's amazing. They only have a couple of showings a day and just this seemingly endless list of great films from all periods. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find an equivalent in Sydney. Sadface.
That's a bummer. I would have expected Sydney to have something like that, with a population of 4+ million.

I've noticed a small upsurge here in the US, in the city areas, of the small artsy theater experience. There's usually one or two you can find. The one in Harrisburg was pretty arthouse, it would have a variety of films that weren't in current release, some foreign language films, small films people might not have heard of from over the years. And in the past month or two, I've heard of at least two more small theaters in nearby cities, showing movies that are 15-30 years old.

What's a Regal?
Oh, it's one of our national theater commercial chains. there's usually one of them or an AMC theater (another chain) nearby, regardless of where one goes. But I've noticed Regal at least in some venues deciding to go more for quality than quantity; if they can't compete in some bigger venues, they seem to be refurbishing their theaters more for the "quantity/convenience" movie-goer -- reserved seating, the fancy chairs, less people per theater so you're not packed in like a cattle car, etc. Make the experience itself better. And honestly, the huge reclining leather chairs really are great. But they're still just a chain, so i just see new release stuff there.

Haha! Negan was excellent, but the cliffhanger was lame.
yeah, about the only thing I liked there was Jeffrey Dean Morgan. His entire appearance and speech was just top-notch. And then I pretty much hated the rest of the episode (it was either bad tangent character arc stuff or "the saviors are magic") + the cliffhanger approach. It's not about not finding out who got killed for six months, it's about this dramatic story that was building, building, building, especially in that last fifteen minutes... and then they just shut it down and lost all that dramatic buildup. It would have been far more evocative to show it, show the group getting their asses tossed back out in the woods after (maybe even with the body), and having the Saviors go away and leave them there in the dark. That ache would have lasted for quite awhile. Why not just Tell The Story for once instead of relying on cheap gimmicks? Because that's all a cliffhanger really is, it often substitutes for real drama.

No, I needed a change, and this picture came up in a group chat and I found the idea of my alias of Happy vs. that picture to be somewhat hilarious. I had others in the shortlist, but this one was the most amusing, mostly because it's a stock image. A basically unusable stock image. I have others. Maybe I'll just start cycling them.
I remember thinking that when I saw it last night -- "Okay, what professional publication is gonna pay to use this picture in their materials?" What a crackup.

Anyway, yeah, it would be great to eventually see some more of these. :)
 

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Eyes Wide Shut (1999).

Not sure how I feel about this movie. Definitely it was one of the most "sexual" topically but unseductive movies I've seen. Like, I never found myself titillated. Not that that was the point, it just seemed ironic. (actually there was one scene where a hooker's roommate gets up in Bill's grill but they never actually kiss... that was kind of engrossing. But none of the sexualized stuff was actually, well, sexual. Even the sex. It was so clinical. That's so Kubrick, i think.)

The movie felt rather dreamy especially as it went on. A little surreal. I liked the ambiguity of how it wasn't exactly clear what had happened, and it fed into Bill's growing paranoia and fear.

The masks were very cool. I loved those.

I kept asking myself why Kubrick picked Christmas for his movie's setting. (Is this a "christmas movie"? ha). The lights were dominant throughout the film, at least outside the mansion sequence which is generally white / normal illuminating and the only color is in the robes. But if you notice, all the colors show up in the palette in the other shots -- red, blue, green. and LOTS of lights. Lights on trees, colors in stores, lights in the shop windows, the decorations of the hooker's apartment, all the colors in the billiards room of Ziegler. Occasionally sometimes at night Kubrick would pick a blue, red, or green shade to color the sequence in. I think the coloring is what contributed to the "dreamy" feel, and the more normal scenes / daily life were done in whites and regular illumination.

As I said, I'm still not sure how I feel about the movie. Some of the scenes in themselves seemed to be great / interesting, but as a cohesive whole? Not sure.

Knight of Cups. It was...interesting. Might be back with more on this when I have a chance.
Sounds cool, I'd like to hear about since it was potentially on my "see" list.
 
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Eyes Wide Shut (1999).

Not sure how I feel about this movie. Definitely it was one of the most "sexual" topically but unseductive movies I've seen. Like, I never found myself titillated. Not that that was the point, it just seemed ironic. (actually there was one scene where a hooker's roommate gets up in Bill's grill but they never actually kiss... that was kind of engrossing. But none of the sexualized stuff was actually, well, sexual. Even the sex. It was so clinical. That's so Kubrick, i think.)

The movie felt rather dreamy especially as it went on. A little surreal. I liked the ambiguity of how it wasn't exactly clear what had happened, and it fed into Bill's growing paranoia and fear.

The masks were very cool. I loved those.

I kept asking myself why Kubrick picked Christmas for his movie's setting. (Is this a "christmas movie"? ha). The lights were dominant throughout the film, at least outside the mansion sequence which is generally white / normal illuminating and the only color is in the robes. But if you notice, all the colors show up in the palette in the other shots -- red, blue, green. and LOTS of lights. Lights on trees, colors in stores, lights in the shop windows, the decorations of the hooker's apartment, all the colors in the billiards room of Ziegler. Occasionally sometimes at night Kubrick would pick a blue, red, or green shade to color the sequence in. I think the coloring is what contributed to the "dreamy" feel, and the more normal scenes / daily life were done in whites and regular illumination.

As I said, I'm still not sure how I feel about the movie. Some of the scenes in themselves seemed to be great / interesting, but as a cohesive whole? Not sure.



Sounds cool, I'd like to hear about since it was potentially on my "see" list.

Some scenes were cut after his untimely death.
Messed with the continuity of film.

Eyes Wide Shut (1999) – Esoteric Analysis
https://jaysanalysis.com/2011/01/25/eyes-wide-shut-1999-esoteric-analysis/

There are also numerous masks inside the hookers apartment, showing you that society wears a mask, has a fake facade of Christianity – since there are Christmas trees everywhere – yet is anything but traditionally religious.
Santa ... Satan.

......

The password, Nick tells Bill, is “Fidelio,” bringing to mind the theme of marital faithfulness that has been constantly in question in the film so far. Bill finds the costume shop, named The Rainbow, which is what the two women who propositioned him at the party had already mentioned – that he can find what he is after “at the end of the rainbow.” This is a Wizard of Oz reference, and the mirrors and “Alice” have already suggested Alice in Wonderland. Bill is still oblivious, however, to the synchronicity which, in my opinion, has been planned. The events are Bill’s initiation, and he is being tested to see if he will be faithful either to his wife, his ambiguous sense of moral, or, ultimately, to the cult – hence, “fidelio.” It should be noted as well that the cult is clearly Satanic, and Lucifer, the fallen angel of Scripture, who sought to dethrone God, is the light-bearer. And of course light is a prism or rainbow.
Comment by Eric:

Good article. There is so much to this movie but, having watched and read about Kubrick going in I knew what to watch for. Your analysis is very good and brought up some things I missed on first viewing. I was wondering what you made of the overwhelming use of colors in the backgrounds. Especially red and blue. It seemed blue was used early on as sort of a symbol of innocence (their child’s room had a blue “glow”) and red was used when there were elements of “the sex” world. It seems Alice is mostly in blue lighting when she starts to relay “the dream” and towards the end of it she is framed by the bathroom door which has more of a red shade. Also, there is a point (maybe when Dr. Harford is helping his friend with the overdosed model) when he is framed by the blue/green curtain in the background no matter where he moves. With the grey material at the top of the window and the blue/green curtain it almost looks like it is raining on him.
An Interpretation of Stanley Kubrick's Final Film: Part One (of Three)
By Omar P.L. Moore

Throughout the film there is a balance of the colors blue and red. In every single scene -- and virtually every single shot of Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut" there is either something red or blue, or of both colors, in a shot. Blue represents cold hard truth, while red represents several things: comfort, warmth, recognition, familiarity and danger. (Note: In the American flag the color blue also represents truth.) Much discussion about color in dreams has been had by legendary psychologists like Carl Jung, who deliberated heavily on the role of color in dreams, among those colors, blue and red. "Eyes Wide Shut" -- the title itself refers to the mind's eye, or one who walks around in a fog, ignorant to life's infinite possibilities or the sleeping dreamer whose eyes are closed but can see all manner of visions -- is based on Arthur Schnitzler's book Traumnovelle (Dream Story).
http://www.popcornreel.com/htm/eyesinterp.htm

Red and Blue
Here we go...

The color theory in Eyes Wide Shut is meticulously executed and multi-layered. The use of rich red and blue is obvious upon first viewing to even the most casual observer. However, the meaning of these colors requires deeper analysis....
http://kgar-eyeswideshut.blogspot.co.uk/


Critical disappointment with Eyes Wide Shut was almost unanimous, and the complaint was always the same: not sexy
http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/amk/doc/0096.html

Used this post as a data dump, I love Kubrick symbolism
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Wt62Mb86Idg/UGWDROdD7BI/AAAAAAAAC6Y/-IFWaMs6kfw/s640/ews+jacobs.jpg

Vilan Z

The Nightingale reference is obvious. Who’s the bird who is up all night witnessing the display under the moonlight? Nightingale. The little bird who slips the password to the protagonist so that he can enter the temple.

Your analyzes is superb, esoterically speaking. I think you’ve nailed it on everything, with a few exceptions:

I think you overplay the conspiracy element. Ther eis an element of “the right path” here too. The initiation theme is apperant for anytone who knows anything about initiation, ritualisticly or otherwise. However, there are 2 different paths here – one is the theatrical and “false” initiation he experience in the Temple of the elite. The other is the real which he experience in his life in relationship to hiw wife.

Remember, he is being testet again and again, but where you see organized human control, I see the “invisible hand” of the Almighty – or carma if you will – arranging synchronicites and trials. One example: He was on the verge of sleeping with the temptress Domino – but then his wife called him (synchronicty) and it was sufficient for his conscience to tear him away from the hypnotic desire. He was rewarded. For as we learn later, she received a message the very next day that the HIV test was positive. in other words, had he fallen for the temptationj he would have been marked for life and perhaps also infecting his wife.

Albeit we live in a class divided society where the 1% forms their own powerful and closed circles, they are neither almighty nor so clever that they can control every little aspect of our lives – they may dictate certain options (the left hand path), but we always have the final say in what we choose. Incidentally, at the beginning when Alice enters the pronaos between the pillars, we see that she enters it from the right (the middle point being where the lamp stands – a symbol of the ever burning lamp – or ever burning fire, that all initiatory temples have. Instead of demonizing her as being some kind of whore for the powers that be, or worse, some kind of mindless bimbo – she is quite the opposite (and this is where I believe your interpetation is lacking) – she is the symbol of the sacred feminine – which is more or less lost / supressed today, due to the patriarchal structures of the power elite.

The protagonist is torn between the allure and the dark attractions of the night, represented by the cabal and their materialist ritual, and the love and fidelity to his wife, who is his saviour several times and also who helps enlighten him in several scenes (whether she knows it or not). In fact, she never even acted upon her desires, she just tried to make hims ee that yes females ARE sexual creatures just like men, and theat he does not know the female archtype (yet – when he breaks down and cries at the end, it is a symbol of his release and reintegration with the anima, represented by his wife).

This is a contrast to the objectification, that the females have in the ritual. There they are also sexual creatures, but not on their own standing, rather they are objects and decorations in the male patriarchal dark fantasy – indeed they are actual whores (and not “mother” and “wife”).

The whole movie is a joseph cambell journey of the protagonists story on growing from being asleep to becoming enlightened (from ego-centrism to soul-centrism). The anima-animus symbolism is key here. Remember that, as we know from Jung, the animus is NEVER singular and ALWAYS masked (like shadows, plural, all sorts of archtypes), fitting with the dream of his wife where she first slept with a soldier (uniformed, no individuality) and then a hundred men, also fitting with the display in the ritual it self, where all men are masked and most of them have clothes (as in the original novel, only the females where displayed naked – similar to the ritual setting of the “Story of O”).

Whereas the anima is singular and often leads to fixation and obsession (projected upon the “black widow”, the femme fatale) that our hero tries to put on the girls he cross during his night, but eventually ends up re-finding in his wife (“forever” was his suggestion, not hers). The chymical wedding is crowned when she suggests they must make haste to “fuck”, which is the physical reintegration of the emotional one that they just did, after he came cleen and admitted to her what he had experianced. Her experiance was more elevated, for it took place in the world of the soul (the dream), whereas his journey was through space-time of our world, a material reflection (like the mirrors) – or she just mirrored his jorney in her dream, since she stayed connected to him throughout the entire journey – never interferring, only setting him upon the journey by revealing that she too has sexual urges, which igited his obsessions, and then she stepped back and awaited him patiently, never making drama or demands or jealousy, only being there for him until he returned like the proverbial son to the fathers house (finally he learned the “password” of the house).

I could go on, but im afraid the rambling effect would increase. My point is just to commend your decoding of the saga, and filling in a little hole that I believe you’ve overlooked in your otherwise brilliant account. Its much more spiritual than just about conspiracy and total control, its about reality, as you point out, lest we never forget that in this dark world of suffering, injustice and corruption we have also true and genuine qualities, like love, fidelity, and light – notwithstanding symbolised through the sacred feminine.

“The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning.” —Stanley Kubrick
 
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As Above, So Below (2014):

A move with more than its fair share of criticism. I decided to sit down and watch it late last night.

As someone who knew very little about the underground system of Paris it was kind of interesting from a documentary perspective for me. I loved the claustrophobic feel of the movie and they played on that. One particular scene had me clenching my fists due to the psychological nature of panic and tight spaces. That was a decent scene and the actor did a very good job with it.

The film does descend into absurd territory as was the intent of it. This did not bother me as much as it clearly bothered others. The heaven and hell play has been done in a lot of movies. For me the event horizon of this film ( where it crosses from plausible to absurd ) happened very late in the film. So that was appreciated.

I would suggest this movie to anyone who doesn't take a heaven and hell literal play like piss in their corn flakes. It was 93 minutes long but felt less watching it.
 

The Grey Man

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Sounds cool, I'd like to hear about since it was potentially on my "see" list.
Ok. Here are my actual thoughts on the movie: Terrence Malick's Knight of Cups is unlike anything I've ever seen. It is a gorgeous, multi-part journey through Los Angeles and Las Vegas whose fuguish presentation reflects the apathetic inertia of its undertaker and his "blind grasping" for sense and self. It is a reflection on the transience of human relationships and the unsatisfactory vacuity of a materialistic lifestyle, a vibrant vision of the sublime mundanity of life as a modern lost soul, a Homeric lotus-eater on an extended layover from a voyage trying to "remember" the original purpose that it might again give him direction. I highly recommend it.
 

Solitaire U.

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"My Girl" (1991). I can't recall any movie pissing me off as much as this one did. Despite unusually shitty performances from Aykroid and J. Lee Curtis, and despite the fucking castrated role given to Culkin, who was talented enough in his time to make this film fly if he'd been put on equal footing with the girl (who was admittedly good!), I actually enjoyed the first hour or so (thanks mostly to said girl), until they threw down some shit that I Was Not Expecting. Ok...I give props to the film for catching me unaware (I honestly didn't see that shit coming), but from there this fucker just nosedived into the most awful melodramatic fucking boo hoo fest I've ever had the displeasure of being dragged through. I endured as long as I could, but finally had to jet 7 minutes before ending credits.

Funny...I remember when this film came out way back in 1991. It never caught my eye, till Netflix decided to billboard it this morning.
 
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