Film/Movie Recommendations

Discussion in 'Art & Culture' started by Omega133, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    I watched Girl with a Dragon Tattoo it was the original Swedish film dubbed in English. Have to say I found it implausible. Its like the author took every dark human quality -incest, rape, nazis, torture, mutilation, murder, patricide, loss, corruption - threw in some religion, politics, journalism, history and travel and made a movie out of it. It was like Smörgåstårta bizarre.

    Next up I am planning to watch one Lollywood [Pakistani] venture called Khuda ke Liye [In the Name of God] on the misuse of religion and a comedy called Tere Bin Laden [which is a play on the words Tere Bin + Bin Laden, Tere Bin meaning Without You and Bin Laden the ubiquitous most wanted Saudi everyone knows of]. Tere Bin Laden is a Bollywood comic satire on the American war on terrorism and its repercussions on the common man.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2010
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    How about a concert? Recently I've seen Apocalyptica, Snow Patrol, a two-piano transcription of "Pictures at an Exhibition," Alice in Chains, the Lilith Fair, Zappa Plays Zappa and a Russian orchestra performing "Scheherezade." Oh yeah, and the Mark Morris Dance Company.
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    It has been scheduled to be "released two years from now" for at least the last five years. I think they're doing demographic research to make sure that the maximum number of people who were children watching the TV show will bring their own children to see the movie.
     
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  5. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

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    Recent recommendations:

    City of Ember (2009)
    With Bill Murray as the mayor of a quaintly old-fashioned town built deep underground by scientists in anticipation of some undefined apocalypse. They were supposed to emerge after 200 years, but they lost the key. No one knows the way out until a girls discovers a box with a hidden secret... One of my new all-time favorites.

    Dogtooth (2009)
    Very strange Greek movie about a steel tycoon who, together with his wife, have raised their kids to believe that they cannot cross the boundries of their large estate, that airplanes high in the sky are about one foot long, that cats are poisonous, and that they cannot leave until their "dogteeth" (canines) fall out. They don't watch TV or videos, or have any contact with the community with one exception. The husband hires one of his employees to sleep with the adolescent son, but she turns out to be a lesbian and exchanges items from the outside world with the daughter in exchange for certain physical favors, which the daughter innocently provides. The wife has a game where she gives common words new meanings.

    Centurion (2010)
    Well done action movie with the style of Lord of the Rings, about a Roman army fighting the barbarian hordes. Very brutal fighting scenes. Awesome.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2010
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Movies I've seen recently:
    • The Ghost Writer. Two stars. It didn't make a bit of sense, but then none of Polanski's movies ever do. The characters behaved stupidly and illogically.
    • Ondine. *** SPOILER ALERT! *** Three stars. A nice treatment of the selchie ("mer-seal," as it were) myth, shot lovingly amid the lush scenery of the Irish coast. I was enraptured it until the very end, when they betrayed our suspension of disbelief. Dishonest art at its lowest.
    • Agora. Four stars. Fabulous. Stunning recreation of ancient Alexandria, nice portrayal of the Roman Empire in its decline, engaging characters, believable drama. But this movie, a Spanish production shot in Malta with a British cast, will not be appreciated by Christians for its unflattering treatment of their early history; it was not even heavily promoted in the USA.
    • Letters to Juliet. Four stars. A top-end chick flick with Vanessa Redgrave, who is still hot in her 80s. The storyline is delightful and I suppose true: women write letters to Juliet (of "Romeo and Juliet") and place them on a wall in Verona, Italy (where the play was set). The city fathers know a good tourist gimmick when they see it, and an office full of women write answers to anyone who bothered to leave a return address. Naturally a fifty-year-old letter falls out of a crack and the dedicated girl who finds it makes it her mission to find the writer (Redgrave, natch), and then to help her find the man she lost fifty years ago by making an entertaining journey across an entire gorgeous region of Italy.
    • The Blind Side Five stars. My wife hated it but I thought Sandra Bullock really deserved her Oscar. Maybe because I've spent the last 8 years on the Maryland/Virginia border I found the characters very realistic. It is, after all, a true story and the kid now plays for the Baltimore Ravens, a team with a lot of fans around here.
    • Eat, Pray, Love Three stars. Yeah, I have a friend who drags me to a lot of chick flicks--something I can't do at home because my wife doesn't like 'em. This one was charming. Julia Roberts is certainly talented, the long stops in three different countries--Italy, India (certainly not shot there because there were no crowds) and Bali--were eye candy, and the glimpses into the three cultures were interesting. But it was waaaaay too long and everybody in the theater was squirming after 2 1/2 hours. I can watch James Bond blow things up for 2 1/2 hours because the adrenaline keeps me from noticing my sore butt, but 2 1/2 hours of self-actualization and romance doesn't have the same effect.
    • Shudder Island One star. This piece of drenn was just plain horrible. It was set not long after WWII, on an island that had an insane asylum that was no longer in operation but was haunted by the people who had been there and the things that had occurred. They managed to work in references to the Holocaust and every other hot-button depressing issue. I know several people who have seen it and none of them have any idea what was going on, although most were not quite as put off by the depressing milieu and the deliberately dismal cinematography as I was.
    • Gran Torino Five stars. But when have I ever given Clint Eastwood fewer than five? This one has been out for a while but it's one of the best I've seen lately. If you like Clint you'll like it, otherwise you won't, there's not much else to say. He plays an unlikeable character who spouts racial slurs every time he opens his mouth, but the story is about his epiphany, coming to the aid of a Hmong immigrant family who needs his kind of help (guns blazing), and he can't help realizing that they deserve it. A rather nice ending, and a complete surprise to me because I never would have expected it from an Eastwood character.
    • Where the Wild Things Are. Four stars. I was expecting so much more, given the source material and the production (costumes by the Muppet folks). It was a really spare vision of the story, without the visual glitz I wanted. Nonetheless it worked. Still I'm not sure I would take children to it. I didn't think the message was appropriate. The protagonist was a snotty little boy who was strung out on the misfortunes in his life, and the ending was ambiguous enough that I'm not sure the adventure taught him to get over himself and join civilization. But hey, some stories need to be complicated, they can't all be chick flicks.

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    • Up! Five stars. Great story, this one was not just about the animation. The premise was rather melancholy * * * SPOILER ALERT * * *, a couple keep putting off all the adventures they've been planning... until they get old and one of them dies. Maybe this was harder on me than it would be on you younger people, but I got the message that you should have your adventures when you're young enough and healthy enough to enjoy them, rather than being "responsible" and putting them off forever. Anyway, the old man goes off and has their adventure by himself. A lot of wacky stuff happens, but it's inventive, the art is imaginative, and the dialog is adult-friendly.
    • Wall-E Five stars. This is an old one but certainly one of the best I've seen. The story is engaging even though it's one you see in the newspaper every day: One day Earth will be a gigantic trash heap and we'll have to find somewhere else to live. The way they slowly let us realize just how long ago humanity had to leave earth, and how much trash there is still left to clean up, is rather amusing. Sure, this is kid-friendly, but then so is rock and roll and that doesn't stop us from enjoying it.
    I've seen many more movies but these are the ones that pop up in my memory so presumably they're the most memorable.
     
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    A fishing expedition

    Hmm ... well, it's not that I don't like those things, but rather that they're kind of standards. I mean, I used to be a horror junkie, but none of the movies could compare to the written genre. To wit, I think the best Lovecraft film I ever saw was Haller's The Dunwich Horror or O'Bannon's The Resurrected (The Case of Charles Dexter Ward). I've beaten my brain in trying to figure out how one would bring The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath to the screen.

    Meanwhile, someone tell me what Barker's Weaveworld would look like. There were hints that The Thief of Always was coming to the screen, but that never happened. And there were rumors that Disney would bring us the Abarat quartet, but that, too, seems stalled.

    Those sorts of stories, which I prefer, just aren't making it to the screen. To the one, the 1980s Golden Age of Horror gave way to a pathetic suspense-thriller genre including (cinematically), Traces of Red, The Crush, and Raising Cain, among other wretchedly bad films. To the other, they are complex stories with difficult demands; don't expect an effects director like Michael Bay, or a simpleton like Shyamalan to undertake them.

    Of action and adventure, what can I say? I just can't get into the last decade of war films, though I did finally sit through Black Hawk Down a couple days ago; could have been much worse. I can't remember the last war film that held me riveted in place throughout.

    But I also have a certain amount of respect for what I call the "two-star genre"; especially those that defy the boundaries. Like Iron Man, which I would give three stars.

    I suppose, in the end, I've come to like stories instead of effects. Don't get me wrong: I have nothing against effects. But if I get a Live Free or Die Hard instead of an Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull or Transformers, I'll call it a good day.

    As a result, I've been filtering through anime for several years, and find myself rather awestruck by the silliness of what works for me. I'm excited because I get to see the sequential run of InuYasha on Cartoon Network; I've only seen it in fragments before, and have some affection for what I've been able to figure of the story construction. The .hack venture had some potential, but I lost track of it. I still adore the old Star Blazers (Space Battleship Yamato) cartoons. And so far Hayao Miyazaki hasn't let me down, though I've a lot of his library left to view. But I've also found that much of the genre is adored for its astounding sexual complexes; it's enough to say that Kagome wears the shortest schoolgirl skirt you've never seen up—the Freudian conflict of anime only gets scarier from there.

    But, yes, sometimes I adore art because of what it tells me about the artist, and, reflectively, myself.

    To the other, I am planning on seeing the new ... um ... oh, shit, what's it called? See, that's the thing. Extreme bloody violence throughout. Sexual content. Nudity. Um ... oh, shit. Machete. Right. Rodriguez. But, yeah, I mean, mostly because the ad campaign just slays me, and it's a Rodriguez film featuring De Niro, so why not? I'm not expecting a great film, but somebody in my circle is going to come up with some dig'ems for that, so it'll be a pleasant couple hours high out of my skull while watching severed limbs fly, blood spatter, and Jessica Alba pose in her underwear. You know, whatever works.

    I mean, sure, Pulp Fiction was good, but mostly because it was funny and, as the state of American cinema went in 1994, somewhat original. Still, though, it doens't keep me captivated the way Reservoir Dogs did.

    Looking through the listings in Seattle, there's nothing current that strikes me as absolutely must-see. I mean, sure, I might spend to see Avatar in IMAX 3D, but I doubt it. I can't even bring myself to see Corbijn's The American, despite Andrew Wright's review for The Stranger:

    If Joel Schumacher can be credited with one good deed, it’s for permanently slapping some sense into George Clooney. Following the garish, rubber-nippled fiasco of Batman & Robin, Clooney has embarked on one of the most fascinating careers in Hollywood, using the momentum from the occasional blockbuster to fuel a series of ambitious 1970s throwbacks. Not every experiment works, but full credit to him for consistently coloring outside of the lines ....

    Anyone who wants to open by bashing Joel Schumacher (whose other good deed, in my judgment, was The Lost Boys) has my attention, and I've learned that Clooney's name doesn't automatically mean a film is going to be a waste of time. But I haven't seen a good hit-man film since Besson's The Professional (Léon).

    What can I say? I'm demanding. Actually, not so much. I can also add to my list of good films Morehouse's Proof, Sayles' The Secret of Roan Inish, Maggenti's The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls In Love, and Christopher Ashley's adaptation of Paul Rudnick's Jeffrey. None of those, however, feature bullets, monsters, aliens, or otherwise.

    Neither does Russell's Gothic, although it's plenty twisted. Kollek's Whore 2 is outstanding, but, again, not exactly bloody.

    Oh, okay. Inglourious Basterds, but you've probably seen that one. But, really, I'm having a hard time coming up with something here. Moon 44? Entertaining, sure, but not great. Starship Troopers? Yeah, but that's too easy. Christopher Lambert in Stuart Gordon's Fortress? Sure, but I have a thing for Gordon and Full Moon Pictures (see 1991's The Pit and the Pendulum). Almereyda's Nadja was good, but I can think of a few reasons why it's not your kind of film.

    I could go on, to be certain, but I've wracked my brain enough on this fishing expedition, and it's just a bit disappointing that I can't come up with anything that (A) suits your tastes, and (B) isn't well-known. But if you ever want to see twisted religion, and Mimi Rogers working with David Duchovny before their X-Files days, try The Rapture. Now that is a "smarty" film that's also a hell of a ride.
    ____________________

    Works Cited:

    Wright, Andrew. "The American: Mood Killer". The Stranger. September 1, 2010. TheStranger.com. September 2, 2010. http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=4794814
     
  9. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, Machete!
     
  10. wsionynw Master Queef Valued Senior Member

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    Saw Scott Pilgrim vs The World last night, loved it! Great film, check it if you can find a theatre still showing it.
     
  11. wsionynw Master Queef Valued Senior Member

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    I agree, also seemed odd to me that nobody thought the numbers in the diary could be Bible references. Great acting though, not sure how the US remake can improve on it but we'll see.
    I'll read the book and see if that makes more sense.
     
  12. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Absolutely.
    There is to be a US remake?

    Had the same idea and got the book [its by Stieg Larsson and he has made a name for himself in the fiction genre]. I get the feeling the girl and her tattoos play more of a role in binding the story together - she seemed more incidental than central to the story in the movie. That may be explained by the fact that the original book title in Swedish is Men Who Hate Women which is actually more appropriate since it was an orgy in misogyny.

    The book is part one of a trilogy so I guess we can look forward to more of the Vanger family!
     
  13. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

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  14. wsionynw Master Queef Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, very good advice.
     
  15. wsionynw Master Queef Valued Senior Member

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    Yes the US remake is in pre-production.

    The second moive in the series is just about to be released here in the UK, not sure when it's hitting the USA.
     
  16. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

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    Best futuristic distopia since Brazil or Blade Runner. I'm amazed this came out in 2006 and I didn't hear about it until now.
     
  17. wsionynw Master Queef Valued Senior Member

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    It was largely missed during its theatrical release, not sure why, perhaps it came out the same week as Date Movie?

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    A real shame more people haven't seen it.
     
  18. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    Pan's Labyrinth
    There Will Be Blood
    Spirited Away
    Whale Rider
     
  19. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    Haven't read the books myself, but I'm told on good authority that Lisbeth is more the central protagonist in the latter two books, and that the orgy of misogyny doesn't really pick up steam until the second book (the first one is just about a couple of sick individuals - well, plus the abusive social worker and skinhead gang and molestation flashbacks - whereas the later books are about institutional mysogyny: sex slave trade, etc.). Also I don't think the subsequent books have much of anything to do with the Vanger Group.
     
  20. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Hmm now I'm disinclined to read the book. :bugeye:

    I was disappointed in the movie. There was so much potential to have a story with depth - falling back on the black/white human nature was such a let down. None of the characters were explored with any insight. Even their problems were so unimaginative.
     
  21. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    OMFG that movie is so terrible. It might as well be the definition of "Oscar fodder." Just a huge mess of stereotyped characters strung into contrived "tug the heartstrings" scenarios. I was honestly insulted by it.

    Are you kidding me? That movie was a fucking travesty. Not sure where you are coming from with the whole "spare version of the story?" The original story was "Max gets on boat. Max plays wild. Max misses home. Max goes home." The "story" they shat on top of that about all the lame emo angst of the wild things just completely sucked all of the fun out of the process. It's 2 hours of really good animation of goofy monsters sitting around stewing in hackneyed adolescent self-pity. I went in to that movie as the last defender of Dave Eggers amongst my friends, and came out wanting to bitch-slap him for being such an egregious tool.

    No disagreement here...
     
  22. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    People who've read the book have complained to me that the movie was too superficial and left out a lot of other developments. Frankly I was pretty happy with it as-is - there's really no way to do that sort of justice to a book of any density as a feature-length film. Which is why books are still worth reading, after the advent of cinema.

    But I think this movie should be approached as an exploitation film (maybe not just an exploitation film, but still). The exaggeration and depiction of extremes is part of the appeal there, and meanwhile I found it to be about as tautly paced as a historical mystery can be. The acting was great as well. But at the end of the day, the appeal of the books and movies rests on an exploitation/horror element, and how receptive one is to that is crucial in enjoying it.
     
  23. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    SPOILERS:
    I disagree. While Lisbeths character started off as interesting she quickly devolved into a victim and the tattoos into expressions of self abuse - from where she used them on the parole officer. Her character steadily lost depth through the movie and she became just another insecure woman who felt "safe" with the uber-conventional idealist. The reporter seemed lack lustre and the Vanger family like the Adams family - more walking dead than deeply evil though. I would have liked to see Lisbeth as the investigator playing off against Hannah as the potential killer with her abuse and Hannahs abuse the link that created a window of understanding between them. Her tattoos could be expressions of self revelation [maybe she has a tattoo to mark milestones in her life] while Hannahs flower pictures could be her link to her victims. Something like that - an exercise in symbolism, ritual and human nature.
     

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