Seen any good films lately? [3]

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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by Forest Shepherd on Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:51 am

Rolling Eyes

Yeah, because that argument holds water. I might go see it tomorrow, in which case I can let you know what the deal is!

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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by Forest Shepherd on Thu Mar 08, 2018 3:08 am

I saw it.

I have no idea what the deal is Halfy. It was not very good. It felt like it checked all the boxes that Hollywood is into these days, so maybe that's why it did so well. But for me, I disliked it as sci-fi, I did not think it was very good fantasy, it was a poor romance, the action in it was okay, the plot was imperfect, the acting was solid, the story was strange, the characters too predictable, and there was an overall lack of "magic".

Edit: rather, I couldn't buy into the magic of the story. I had completely the opposite experience watching Pan's Labyrinth.

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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by chris63 on Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:52 am

Forest Shepherd wrote:(slightly spoiler-y review, but not too bad.)


I watched Annihilation last night in theatres. It's the most recent film from that writer/director of Ex Machina It was far more abstract than I was expecting! I'd say the movie suffers some from CGI overload, unfortunately, but there is still enough nitty-gritty effects thrown in to satisfy the purists out there.

Basically, it tells the story of a biologist whose husband goes missing while on a special ops mission. Through indirect circumstances, she eventually retraces her husband's last steps into a phenomenon called "The Shimmer", so called by the government agencies who are monitoring and policing the borders of an expanding region of "contamination" on the coast of the northwest United States. Surrounded by walls of soap-bubble like light refraction, the area is a dead zone for all radio and satellite communications, and anyone who ventures inside of it never comes out again. The main character joins a group of women scientists tasked with finding the source of the Shimmer: they hope to accomplish what the various military teams sent in before could not: find out why this is happening and then return to tell of it. Not really a spoiler: one of the earliest shots in the movie is of some kind of asteroid hurtling towards earth and striking a lighthouse. So the idea that this is all caused by some kind of alien-something is explicit for the audience early on.

Annihilation is a dark horror movie at times. Violent, gory, with subtle hints of Alien's body horror and set design strewn in here and there. It definitely earns its "R" rating. The characters are none of them happy people. The protagonist claims that she has something to go back to, but her marriage has some troubling undertones to it. I really can't stop comparing it to Alien, especially the most recent Prometheus sequel, if only because both films attempt to explore, in a philosophical or religious manner, this idea of some kind of life-form replacing or building onto one's own form. There is a strong existential threat in both movies, and themes of transformation.

The plot is not the strongest part of the movie, but rather the questions it attempts to raise about the nature of biological life, for humans in particular. There is one scene wherein a psychologist talks about how everyone self-destructs, to some extent in some part of their life, and that idea ties into the movie's exploration of human consciousness and the ways in which that consciousness can carry on past one's own annihilation: whether one dies through violent death, willing nirvana, or other, more bizarre ends like reincarnation by fire.

Thankfully, this movie mostly shrugs off the unnecessary baggage of the horror genre--only one scene wandered into run-of-the-mill horror cliche, and even that scene was not bad--and instead focuses on building to a kind of supernatural climax by sending the characters through an increasingly disturbing, but surreally beautiful, landscape. This landscape is mirrored in their own states of mind as the horrible and the surreal begins to break their sanity. I guess the main point of the movie is how the main characters, this group of female scientists, respond to what they find in the Shimmer. It's like a Litmus test for their worldviews, and a test of their endurance and strength.

I could go on, there's quite a lot of interesting ideas wrapped up in this movie, which I like to think is thanks to the author upon whose book the film is based. It's not a perfect movie by any stretch. I found myself wondering at some of the behaviour of the characters, in particular their methods. The complete lack of bio-hazard protection, for example, before entering the Shimmer seems like a particularly bad idea. And unlike in Arrival, we do not get a good sense of what exactly the government is trying to do as they attempt to contain and explore this threatening presence. But apart from a rocky start, I really enjoyed the development of the philosophical themes of this movie, and the conclusion actually lived up to my expectations. You know, if whatever is "at the lighthouse" (the center of the Shimmer) were a let-down, the movie would have suffered.

Probably... 8/10, mainly for the originality of some of the movie's ideas, memorable visuals, and the characters not sucking. The acting is the good kind where you don't really notice it most of the time. Portman carries the movie, although the other actors and actresses are good too. It was nice to see Jennifer Jason Leigh in a different kind of role after her horrible cussing outlaw in The Hateful Eight, but she was oddly subdued in most of her scenes. I mean, she didn't seem bored, but kind of depressed and accepting. I suppose it makes sense for her character eventually, but at first she comes across as kind of mean or disinterested.

Would like to see this. Thanks for the thumbs up. Thumbs Up

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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by Forest Shepherd on Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:42 am

You're welcome! Smile

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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by Forest Shepherd on Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:14 am

Whoa! I watched Beasts of No Nation (2015) last night. It's a powerful and graphic film about a young African boy, Agu ("ah-goo"), who becomes a child soldier in the civil war that is destroying his country. The film was shot in Ghana, (and the scenery is beautiful), but the book of the same name was about the Sierra Leone Civil War (1991-2002), and it's that war that the writer/director was thinking of when he made the film.

Idris Elba plays the part of a military "commandant" on the rebel side who mentors the main character, and he's very strong in the role. I see now why there were complaints that he wasn't nominated for best supporting actor at the Academy Awards that year!

Anyway, the film only cost 6 million to make, and while Netflix bought it for 12 million, the tragedy of it is that, because Netflix wished to show it on their service quite soon after it came out in theatres, the film was boycotted by the three main theatre chains in the U.S., so it only had a limited release here. It's a good movie to see in theatres because of the power of the cinematography and just the overall experience.

Anyway, if you haven't seen it yet, I strongly recommend it. As long, of course, as you are okay with the violence in the movie, much of which is performed by children.

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Your castle your fort,
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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by halfwise on Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:43 am

I had forgotten about that, and need to see it. I spent two years in Sierra Leone, shortly before the troubles. We never would have thought these kind, decent, cheerful people would have been capable of what happened. Sure, it was set off by the Liberian incursion, but still the Sierra Leonians got wrapped up in it.

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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by azriel on Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:30 pm

I watched "The Snowman" with Michael Fassbender. Ive always liked dark, Scandi films as they are so real, so gritty, they don't hide anything or hold anything back. This is a story about a killer who's calling card is a snowman, built in the traditional way, with sticks for arms & beans for eyes/smile. Fassbender plays the detective solving the crimes. The scenes of the countryside are beautiful ! One in particular stuck in my mind was of a park filled with statues of men, women & children, babies really, all naked & very dramatic. Don't think statues like that would pop up where I live ! Smile


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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by Forest Shepherd on Fri Mar 16, 2018 4:30 am

I'm interested in that one too. I'll have to queue it up on Netflix.

What were you up to for two years in Sierra Leone, Halfy?

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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by halfwise on Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:23 pm

Peace Corps. Teaching science and math. They tell you you are going over there to help other countries but that's bullshit: coming straight out of college (like most volunteers do) you don't really have enough deep knowledge to pass along. The major benefit of Peace Corps is to the Americans through the people who go, and end up with a totally transformed view of their own culture. You end up being both more liberal and more conservative: you realize just how unique and thus not set in stone your own culture is, and also how fragile and in need of preservation a culture is. You only get that from the shock of living in a culture totally different from your own, not derivative like European cultures.

Most volunteers come from the city, and after living for two years in a country where you can trace your food from ground to plate, you come back to meat in grocery stores wrapped in foam and plastic and realize in horror how complicated and prone to collapse our own economic system is. It took me about a year and a half after returning before I stopped worrying that the whole gossamer structure would collapse of own weight any moment. Makes you think, and value the institutions that we have. So when Trump and the far Right complain about the Deep State I have to laugh: the so called Deep State is the only reason the government can operate at all!

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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by Forest Shepherd on Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:57 pm

Interesting, thanks for the explanation!

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Or so you thought.
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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by halfwise on Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:33 am

But going back to the Sierra Leone civil war, normally I would say Africans are more civilized than Americans: they take time to talk with strangers, are sensitive to and accepting of differences. So the fall into brutality and child soldiers was shocking, if anything more shocking than the thought that the very 'proper' culture of Germany could fall to Nazism. Need I mention lynchings in America?

So human culture and civility is something to be cherished, you never can tell when it will all be stripped away. Dividing into 'Us' and 'Other' is dangerous, though in Sierra Leone that wasn't done in the abstract sense of Nazis or slavery, it was done more on the level of individual roving bands. I wish I could say it could all be blamed on the Liberians, but I really don't know that I can.

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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by bungobaggins on Sun Mar 18, 2018 4:11 pm

Saw Annihilation last night. 9/10 Would recommend. Glad I saw this one on the big screen. Forest sums it up well, but I would like to add a comment on something spoilery.

Spoiler:
I loved the sequence in the lighthouse, particularly what happens in the impact zone where the meteorite landed. The design was very evocative of H.R. Giger's work in the Alien series. And the psychologist being "annihilated" and turning into that nebulous god-like cloud was a beautiful and terrifying moment that really sticks with me. Although I think it seemed too simple for Natalie Portman to fool her doppleganger. But I guess once it acquired her likeness it stopped mimicking her every move so she could just shove the grenade in its hand and run away? That's how I'm trying to make sense of it. Though the movie raises a lot more questions than that.

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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by bungobaggins on Sun Mar 18, 2018 4:13 pm

halfwise wrote:So what's up with The Shape of Water (which I haven't seen)?

Don't you mean Grinding Nemo?

:brows:

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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by halfwise on Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:25 pm

:facepalm:

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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by Forest Shepherd on Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:31 am

The big screen is a good choice for that movie. Smile

I wish I had seen Beasts of No Nation on the big screen as well. There are some wide shots of overgrown, wind-blown hilltops that would have been beautiful in a theater.

The scene you're talking about in Annihilation is, I think, the best part in the movie. I was nervous as that bit began that the atmosphere and tension that had been built up to this point was going to be degraded by an underwhelming reveal, but I felt like that scene worked really well. It continued the themes of cells splitting and transformation in such an evocative and bizarre way that I was really caught up in it. The only thing that bothered me about it was when
Spoiler:
it became obvious that Portman's character was going to get away by using that trick with the phosphorous grenade. It felt a little questionable, a little cheap perhaps, that she'd got off scott-free like that.

Oh, and also that we could see the partially transformed creatures fiddly bits thanks to some rather obvious camera angles. That was a little, erm, less than tasteful for me. I guess it helped make the scene more disturbing, anyway.

Have you seen the recent It, Bungo? That part when Portman was looking into the swirling life-energy shape of the alien reminded me of when one of the kids in It looked down the clown's throat and saw the Deadlights.


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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by chris63 on Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:39 am

Annihilation. I enjoyed that. Slow, but kept me interested the whole time.


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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by Norc on Wed Apr 04, 2018 8:54 pm

bungobaggins wrote:
halfwise wrote:So what's up with The Shape of Water (which I haven't seen)?

Don't you mean Grinding Nemo?

:brows:

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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by chris63 on Fri Apr 06, 2018 7:42 am

Really like the music in this film.


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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by azriel on Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:13 pm

That's quite deep actually

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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by chris63 on Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:55 am

Turn the treble up Thumbs Up

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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by Forest Shepherd on Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:29 am

So yeah, anyone going to see Infinity War? Get in on that Marvel trip?

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Your castle your fort,
Or so you thought.
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Under ale, under bread, under cheese.

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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by chris63 on Tue May 01, 2018 2:34 am

Watched Peter Rabbit. Good fun for the young at heart.


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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by chris63 on Tue May 01, 2018 2:42 am

Watched Prometheus and Alien Covenant again. Much better 2nd time around.




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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by malickfan on Tue May 01, 2018 12:35 pm

chris63 wrote:Watched Prometheus and Alien Covenant again. Much better 2nd time around.




Still haven't seen Alien Covenant, but I think I disliked Prometheus more on a second viewing...

Love the soundtrack though, and it's shot very well.

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Re: Seen any good films lately? [3]

Post by malickfan on Tue May 01, 2018 12:41 pm

Forest Shepherd wrote:So yeah, anyone going to see Infinity War? Get in on that Marvel trip?

Already seen it, and thoroughly enjoyed it, it will not please anyone who isn't an existing marvel fan (I am a casual fan-enjoyed most of the marvel filsm I've seen, which is less than half of them, but I haven't read any of the comics so I was a tad confused by some of the plot points/cameos/references) the plot is simple and some of the characters get short changed by screentime as the huge cast list struggles to give everyone something interesting to do, but overall a solid, very enjoyable and well paced entry in the Marvel canon, easily the best of the 3 avengers films so far, with a few surprising scenes and moments that I didn't expect, and an surprisingly huge and downbeat shock cliffhanger ending. Thanos is a great villain as well, being relatively well developed and imposing as hulking bald blue spacemen go.

8/10 i.m.o, will happily rewatch it again in future.

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