itt: movie/film discussion (spoilers lol)

UncleSam

Leading this village
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I don't know what the difference is in your head

It was stupid in some ways (hurr hurr Picasso will never amount to anything) but very brilliant in many others. Quite a difference between the score I gave it and what I would now, as it would now slide in somewhere in the 30-20 range.
Well there’s a difference between reevaluating a review on its’ content vs saying the tone or arguments behind the review weren’t something you agree with or support any longer. I honestly wasn’t clear what you meant in your initial statement or if it meant you thought it was better or worse strictly on its’ merits.

I have been thinking of sitting through Titanic for a while now so maybe I’ll give it a shot
 

TheValkyries

proudly reppin' 2 superbowl wins since DEFLATEGATE
Sam it kinda feels like you're misunderstanding something about film criticism. It's merits are if it conveyed emotions well. You can't change your feelings and also feel like your original arguments weren't flawed or lacking. Well I guess you could you'd just be wrong.
 
I saw the lion king well personal I preferred this version to the original, I prefer this realistic rendering to the cartoon aspect. This is what differentiates this version of the original and makes it interesting. And so not totally useless.

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Hulavuta

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Did anyone else see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood? I liked it well enough, though it was a big change of pace from his other movies. As a big Western fan who had hoped Tarantino would just keep making Spaghetti Western tributes for the rest of his career, I appreciated how much of that influence he was able to work into it here, despite the story being so different.


I just found the Bruce Lee scene so confusing though. I get that there's quite a bit of a controversy over how good of a fighter he actually was, considering he didn't do tournaments and there is little reliable documentation of his actual feats. And Brad Pitt's character does voice that point with the whole "you're a dancer, not a fighter" line. Hey, I'm a big Bruce Lee fan and I grew up watching his movies, but I'm fine with admitting that he was just a great martial arts philosopher and not necessarily the best fighter.

It just seemed weird to me that Tarantino would want to invite that kind of controversy, smearing the reputation of a dead man, to his movie. Especially in a scene that overall wasn't that important to the narrative, with a one-off character (that starred a great impression that probably shouldn't have gone to waste, I admit). I did some reading online and it looks like I wasn't the only one who thought this either. Apparently the scene was changed so that there wasn't a clear winner, when originally Brad Pitt's character did win. I wonder if that was even worse, because now the scene still exists, just without conviction. If it's basically a tie, is it trying to say that Bruce Lee was just a poser, or not? I don't know. Seemed like such a weird thing to throw in, a Bruce Lee cameo could've been a million different things, and Brad Pitt getting into an altercation and fired could've been a million different things too.
 
I prefer when tarantino's plots consist of a little more than homages to old shit he likes, fairy tale ideal about the 60s and what was ruined by the manson cult aside, but I still liked it a lot. probably his straight up funniest film too; it was hilarious throughout, especially the beginning and the end, the latter of which was also cathartically violent. classic QT. also phenomenally tense when it needed to be. good mix of everything tarantino, well worth watching
 

Elise

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my family and friends keep making fun of me for having seen so little films. they just mention some film and then they go "aaaaaaahhhh what!!!!" when i tell them i haven't seen it. that is annoying and besides that, i realized film is actually a really cool art medium that i kind of underappreciated. so now i'm broadening my horizons by watching a bunch of acclaimed films. i'm writing out my little blurbs here for everybody and nobody to see because it helps me analyzing art and improves my English and whatnot but w/e that's besides the point

Get Out - 10/10
Directly after finishing the film I felt like there was a missing link, but Get Out lingered in my head for days after completing it and over time I kept bumping up my score because I eventually recognized its brilliance. Not a single scene -- not even a single line of dialogue -- was without purpose. Every conversation is so deeply layered with its constant, visceral criticism on society whilst progressing the plot forward. It is a phenomenal satire, blatantly attacking the virtue signalling white allies who ironically never allow our protagonist to forget his race. There is a lot of wit in every intricacy of the script, and it shows Get Out is a work of Jordan Peele's life experience. Every scene is so tight, poignant, and layered. Particularly its ending, which is far from a happy one.

We see a police car arriving after the slaughter that just happened and we fear for Chris. However, the film would be meaningless and utterly demotivating if Chris were to be killed or locked up. Such an ending would mean that resistance is futile, but its theatrical ending is a moment of catharsis, giving the black community a break from the unfairness of the system, a glimmer of hope. I think that was spectacularly done.


Perhaps it's because I'm inexperienced in the medium, but Get Out truly is one of the most enthralling films I sat through yet.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - 7/10
The scene that sticks with me from this film most is Clementine opening up and recalling her youth trauma about yelling at her baby doll that she can't be ugly, that she has to be pretty. Joel's heartbreaking pleas to not take away this particular memory is very emotional and vulnerable, and the moment I was a hundred percent sold on Jim Carrey's performance. There are so many moments of insecurity and fragility showcased whilst deconstructing the relationship of two polar opposites. Again, a film with a phenomenal ending that lingered in my head for a while.

Eternal Sunshine is a little bloated, however. I could do without the entire Elijah Wood character even if he's fairly important to the story. Kirsten Dunst's plot twist in the film was rather unexpected and, although clever, meanders at a point in the plot where we really want to see something different, kind of weakening the potency of the final act.

The Wolf of Wall Street - 3/10
The first half hour of this film is genuinely really good; the early dialogue flows spectacularly well (despite ramming as many fucks in there as possible) and Matthew McConnaughey dominates the one scene he is in. The quaaludes scene towards the end is well-done and truly depicts rock bottom for our 'protagonists', and the prison shot is some poignant criticism about capitalism.

And while I wholeheartedly agree with that criticism; every part of the film I did not mention in that paragraph inherently contradicts the exact same thing Wolf gets praised for satirizing. There is an undeniably smug aura to the excessive spending sprees and debauchery that Leonardo DiCaprio acts out very convincingly, but as Wolf is based on a novel I can't help but feel a little disgusted by the smarmy and self-indulgent person Jordan Belfort is. The hedonism is almost certainly exaggerated and the insatiable greed is never really condemned. Belfort's only regrets ultimately seem to be getting caught, and it takes away punch from the ending but also makes him so unlikable.

And to be emotionally invested in an unlikable main character for three hours is a tall ask. Especially so when the entire repertoire of jokes consist out of "I am rich, I am a drug addict, and I have a lot of sex". While funny at first, it becomes redundant by its second hour and downright obnoxious by the third. The rest of the side character cast is really flat and underdeveloped, Jonah Hill being the only one getting meaningful screen time. I guess he does okay for what he's given, it's just a poor character overall. Wolf is just a facade, all flash and no substance, completely vapid, and utterly disappointing.

Reservoir Dogs - 8/10
The actual story the film is titled after, when Tim Roth carrying marijuana walks into a reservoir filled with cops, gets me every time. I love the escalation in setting while Roth is practicing the story; first choppily reading it out loud from the script in his own room, to reciting it in front of his mentor, to casually telling it at the cafe, into its final form where Roth's telling is so convincing that it immerses the listener into the actual situation. The sheer tension of that little story is amazing.

It's interesting to me to pick that little segment as title for your film, but really the core of Reservoir Dogs is centered around these organic moments; dialogues so realistic and well-performed that sell these characters as real human beings. We get insights into nameless personas simply by the way the conversations so naturally move forward. The lengthy opening sequence with Tarantino analyzing Madonna's "Like a Virgin", or the scene towards the end of the film where Penn tries to tell a story about a black woman named Elois, or the discontent at code names for the operation. Rapid trains of thoughts clash repeatedly and it plays sensationally well off each other. The minutiae, facial expressions, and general sense of style is what elevates the movie into classic status.

Never do those aspects feel overbearing, and neither does the breakneck pace Reservoir Dogs progresses with. It already clocks in at only 99 minutes, but watching it feels like it takes only half an hour. And yes, the movie is ultimately pointless but the genre of pulpy fiction is one that Tarantino mastered as early as 1992.

Reservoir Dogs is not without its glaring faults. Mr. White's flashback scene is utterly pointless, the torture scene slightly too long and edging into glorification category, and the slightly too comfortable usage of several slurs make me raise an eyebrow. It is not quite as good as Tarantino's subsequent release, but serves as an extremely tight and enjoyable prelude nevertheless.

Cidade de Deus (City of God) - 6/10
The film is good. Competent. An emotional tale about a good kid in a mad favela and the showcase of the utter pointlessness and pettiness but also cyclical nature of violence. What got to me particularly was a time skip where the viewer is told nobody really understands what incited the war in the first place, and the final scene where the little boys talk about killing some more people kind of for the sake of it.

Ultimately the jumpy and poor editing left me desensitized with all the violence and killings. Perhaps that is the point of it all, to truly be sobered up and immersed in the situation we've followed thus far, but I feel like it meshes poorly with its climactic ending.

I'm also slightly skeptical about the legacy of the film; kind of turning these favelas into cultural hotspots and masses glorifying it into something 'cool' and 'raw', which ultimately further stigmatizes and patronizes the inhabitants of those favelas.
 

trc

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The Wolf of Wall Street - 3/10
The first half hour of this film is genuinely really good; the early dialogue flows spectacularly well (despite ramming as many fucks in there as possible) and Matthew McConnaughey dominates the one scene he is in. The quaaludes scene towards the end is well-done and truly depicts rock bottom for our 'protagonists', and the prison shot is some poignant criticism about capitalism.

And while I wholeheartedly agree with that criticism; every part of the film I did not mention in that paragraph inherently contradicts the exact same thing Wolf gets praised for satirizing. There is an undeniably smug aura to the excessive spending sprees and debauchery that Leonardo DiCaprio acts out very convincingly, but as Wolf is based on a novel I can't help but feel a little disgusted by the smarmy and self-indulgent person Jordan Belfort is. The hedonism is almost certainly exaggerated and the insatiable greed is never really condemned. Belfort's only regrets ultimately seem to be getting caught, and it takes away punch from the ending but also makes him so unlikable.

And to be emotionally invested in an unlikable main character for three hours is a tall ask. Especially so when the entire repertoire of jokes consist out of "I am rich, I am a drug addict, and I have a lot of sex". While funny at first, it becomes redundant by its second hour and downright obnoxious by the third. The rest of the side character cast is really flat and underdeveloped, Jonah Hill being the only one getting meaningful screen time. I guess he does okay for what he's given, it's just a poor character overall. Wolf is just a facade, all flash and no substance, completely vapid, and utterly disappointing.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on these films, I acknowledge and respect how you feel about what this movie presents. I just wanted to comment a bit on this. The fact that you feel disgusted about everything that is being portrayed is, I think, enough to show that the movie has made its point about this lifestyle. It doesn't need to necessarily condemn it all in the end, or have the character come to some realisation, because you are getting the message simply by watching it. There is a quote by the editor that I can't find but essentially it says that if you managed to watch the whole thing and didn't end up feeling disgusted, there wasn't much more that could've been done. I just wanted to reply because I see that criticism a lot and my opinion is that the movie doesn't need to moralise throughout on the issue of right or wrong; the audience can come to those conclusions itself.
 

Elise

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts on these films, I acknowledge and respect how you feel about what this movie presents. I just wanted to comment a bit on this. The fact that you feel disgusted about everything that is being portrayed is, I think, enough to show that the movie has made its point about this lifestyle. It doesn't need to necessarily condemn it all in the end, or have the character come to some realisation, because you are getting the message simply by watching it. There is a quote by the editor that I can't find but essentially it says that if you managed to watch the whole thing and didn't end up feeling disgusted, there wasn't much more that could've been done. I just wanted to reply because I see that criticism a lot and my opinion is that the movie doesn't need to moralise throughout on the issue of right or wrong; the audience can come to those conclusions itself.
that's a good counterpoint and Matt Seitz' review on rogerebert.com gave me further insight in the artistic intention of the film, but I find the argument shaky as the book it adapted was written by the self-aggrandizing, narcissistic con man that is Jordan Belfort, a man trying to move copies. the cover of the book itself claims he lived like a king, the debauchery and insight into a multi-millionaire's life is the original The Wolf of Wall Street's selling point, hence i'm bringing into question the legitimacy of the events presented. Belfort even dubbed himself The Wolf, a perfect showcase of his prideful arrogance.

I feel like that irony is a little lost on Belfort himself but also I feel Scorsese squanders the criticism he's trying to make by literally having a Belfort cameo and paying him seven figures to make a film about him. it inherently contradicts the satire in that 'rich people get away w/ everything' because Scorsese plays into it entirely himself!

furthermore it's just a repetitive slog of the same jokes over and over again and it's time that could just as easily be allocated to analyzing the damage he'd inflicted upon his victims, or something like a point of comparison from the Belfort at the beginning of the film and at the end. or anything else that would actually satirize and break the monotony.

so while I now do believe Wolf is a legitimate criticism of excess and America, I contribute that more to viewers interpretation rather than the way Scorsese intended it to be, because just as easily could it be seen as a celebratory depiction of a reckless no-holds-barred lifestyle that you get from fucking people over
 

Elise

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I watched 5 martial arts films this week.

The Raid - 8/10
The Raid moves at unrelenting pace, from one gory fight routine to the next. Marvelous and brutal choreography turn this film into a grimy, ballistic musical. These routines are not simply good because of the dazzling editing and widely varied repertoire, but also because they are lengthy and often tense. Fights are entirely rhythmic, weighty in its punches, and go on forever. It is an endless all-you-can-eat martial arts buffet at its fullest potential, only stopping the flurry of punches, stabs, and bullets to catch breath and move the plot forward.

It is a simple predicament: an Indonesian police force raids an apartment complex run by a big drug baron. The squad critically fails and has to fight their way out of the situation. The plot is run-of-the-mill and merely serves as a purpose for the performance art, but suffices nonetheless. The strongest aspect of the setting is the depressive, filthy tenement that adds another layer of dust to The Raid and the lack of frills to distract from its constant highlights.

The Raid 2 - 6/10
The Raid was, to my understanding, a smash hit for Indonesian cinema. Understandably so, for it was martial arts elevated to its highest level this entire decade. And so, The Raid receives a sequel in Berandal, which takes every aspect of its original up a bit.

This means even better, more stunning choreography. Creative techniques, an abundance of crafty and long routines, and more challenging opponents for our main character to shine against. Special effects are top notch and the set pieces are far more varied, notably with different backdrops for our fighters to utilize, but also in a large one-for-all scene at the beginning, or the exhilarating car chase that kept up pace for an absurd amount of time.

Berandal's plot is also significantly more ambitious, although to a fault. Redemption's simplicity was a strength, as it was tense yet never in the way of its martial arts. In attempting a more complex narrative, Berandal knocks speed out of the film. Uninteresting scenes of poorly developed characters meander for too long, for too little of a payoff at the end. The plot is something about the Indonesian mafia clashing with the Japanese mafia, with a third party adding fuel to the fire while our protagonist infiltrates as undercover cop. It is rather weak and a little confusing, but its biggest issue is sanitizing the predicament. Redemption gave us a bloody massacre in a filthy apartment complex, while Berandal gives us shiny clubs and restaurants instead. Part two tries to make up for it by upping the amount of gore and wince-inducing limb breaks, but the situation of it all feels less authentic and, despite its more difficult opponents, at lower stakes than its prequel.

Nevertheless still a marvelous martial arts film that rightfully treats the sports as forms of art, but loses itself a little bit in its ambition and attempts at incorporating more complex elements to a film that reveled in its simplicity.

Drunken Master - 7/10
After disgracing his family, rascal Jackie Chan gets sent to train with a sadistic martial arts master to learn about the power and beauty of alcoholism.

The screenplay is rather juvenile and Jackie Chan overacts a lot, which works really well during the comedic scenes but grates during its downtime. However, Drunken Master captures the essence and ideal pacing of a martial arts film with its simplistic story that merely serves as set up for its phenomenal fighting scenes. Arguably there is one brawl too many, but it is difficult to complain about that as the choreography is so masterful and constantly engaging.

The routines seriously are really good, very rhythmic and easy to follow whilst combining it with slapstick humor. They use swords, sticks, jars, heads, and chairs to vary between duels yet Drunken Master hits its peak in its finale which combines all of what Chan learned throughout the film to defeat a masterful performance by Hwang Jang Lee in a lengthy and surely one of martial arts' finest battles.

(Also I love its sound design, it's so exaggerated in the best possible way)

Drunken Master II - 4/10
Tale about an alcoholic tearing his family apart by getting wound up in a British cultural appropriation conspiracy and a steel mill communist uprising.

Using 1978's Drunken Master as comparison point is logical, yet feels unfair as II is not so much a sequel, rather a similarly drunken-boxing themed film with an eponymous, rascal main character portrayed by Jackie Chan.

Drunken Master II's plot is more ambitious, but is to the detriment of the pacing I praised its predecessor for. Dull story exposition serves as boring downtime whose greatest comedic moments come from hilariously poor English dubbing. At other times II attempts at being a familial drama, but tension is deflated as its meshed with comedy. Anita Mui does a lot to salvage these moments with her phenomenal performance, but Jackie Chan himself does not have the acting chops here to accomplish a subdued sense of humor, unlike his campy acting that sold the prior installment.

The lack of comedy incorporated in action scenes is a serious detriment, but what is worse is the lack of development Jackie Chan goes through. He meanders through the plot yet does not meaningfully change relative to the pictures first scene. Ken Lo's introduction is similarly lackluster, with him beating up our already wasted protagonist, until he disappears until the very final fight. Compare this to Hwang Jang Lee who appears in the first act, beats up Chan in the middle, and after the protagonist progresses beats up the villain in return. The victory is meaningful and cathartic because it confirms advancement.

Of course, complaining about a lack of character growth or weak narrative arcs is mere nitpicking when talking martial arts cinema, but the brawls are, yet again, less adequate than before. They trade in Jackie Chan's exceptional sense of rhythm and creativity for a greater scope, but fending off large groups of drab-colored enemies reduces the effectiveness of clashes and obscures the actual craftsmanship that went into the routines.

On the contrary, the final showdown showcases sensational legwork by Ken Lo in a lengthy set piece and serves as a powerful climax with the famous hot coal scene, but is not nearly enough to elevate Drunken Master II to the level of the original, which surpasses it in practically every facet.

Police Story - 7/10
Man rampages after being disillusioned with his manager and destroys a shopping mall to prove his innocence.
The behind-the-scenes are immense, not just because we marvel at Jackie Chan's incredibly high pain threshold, but also because his perfectionism is showcased quickly. There were three outtakes for that little pen trick he does; it is so marginal, unnecessary even, but those small intangibles culminate in a sense of fulfillment. Police Story is Jackie Chan's most ambitious and outrageous action to date.

That entire shopping mall scene choreography has been etched into my mind and deserves the praise it gets. Every punch is rapid and with force, each blow leading towards the next glass construction to break, the next goon thrown off an escalator, the next fancy trick to awe viewers. But that careful craftsmanship, that keen eye for perfection, is present throughout all the film. The chasing scene where Jackie hooks onto a speeding bus, or the entire brawl utilizing the cars, or even the fancy effortlessness he jumps over fences with. An abundance of overhead angles, repetition, and other nifty editing tricks elevate Police Story, but knowing Jackie Chan goes the extra mile for every stunt he does makes this his most splendid action yet.

Whenever Police Story does not awe viewers with kicks and punches, it is about a police force protecting a witness for the prosecution, but fails to do so as typical Jackie Chan comedy shenanigans ensue. Police Story contains a shoddy plot which obstructs the highlights too often with middling acting performances, but its humor is successful. Never laugh-out-loud funny, but executed in a confident manner.

Police Story is ultimately worth watching if you are intrigued by the memorable set pieces and martial arts mastery, and are able to compromise with a mediocre-to-bad narrative.
 
Alright, so recently, I have watched Mad Max: Fury Road and have really liked it. Its great action scenes, awesome scenery and interesting world building were all features that hooked me to this movie. Now, I was thinking about investing into the original Mad Max trilogy with Mel Gibson, as I thought I could have a similarly positive experience with them as with Fury Road. From what I understand, these movies have become some kind of cult classic within the action films genre without really being able to trenscend this status as Terminator 2 was able to.
Thus, there is my question: should I buy a physical edition of the original Mad Max trilogy, just watch/rent the movies or ignore them?
 
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