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Thread: What have you watched lately?

  1. #2476
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Gone Girl. I wouldn't call this formula fiction per se, well it's a genre piece, but there's something about the thriller genre where the most important thing is starting with the perfect concept, offbeat but obvious-in-retrospect, and play it out as it has to be, as it can only be. And when you get a concept like this, everybody nods their head like they instantly get it and should have thought about it themselves, and the story did exactly what it was supposed to do with the concept to squeeze out of it as much as could be.

    I'm trying to figure out if recognizing that should make me like it more or hate it more. I'd like to write my own stuff with such a concept but without looking like I'm too obviously milking it. The thing is I distrust postmodern stories that throw out any kind of narrative flow too. I'd like to keep a really compelling narrative flow, but I don't want people nodding their heads like the concept did all the work and I, the author, was just along for the ride, instead of the other way around.

    Well, anyway, the movie was respectable. Good even. It was a thriller, and thrilled just like it was supposed to. I think for the reasons I just said, something like Girl with the Dragon Tattoo did it better, since it wasn't so forced by the concept, perfect though it may be.

  2. #2477
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Went to see American Sniper today. 10/10. Very much enjoyed it. Really good cast/acting, good gun battles, edge of your seat moments etc. Really good. Highly recommend it.

    At home watched Captain Philips. 9/10. Excellent stuff. The guy who plays the Somali pirate leader and Tom Hanks are the two stand outs of it. Makes you ask yourself what you would be willing to do if you were living in a country with nearly 100% unemployment and no government assistance.
    Last edited by icemann; 8th Feb 2015 at 03:06.

  3. #2478
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Frank - movie about a keyboard player who joins an indie band where the leadsinger always wears a big fake head. Good movie. Plenty of character development and some pretty sweet tunes. 4/5

    The Wolf Of Wall Street - pretty great. There's a playfullness to it that I wouldn't normally associate with Scorsese. Great perfomances, especially from DiCaprio and Jonah Hill. And during some of those huge crowd shots in the office I was a bit amazed by how every single actor seemed to be giving it 100% percent. Nuts. At 3 hours it's long as hell tho. Can't say it ever got boring, but I had to split it up over 2 days of watching. 4/5

  4. #2479
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    I like Wolf of Wall Street, but the performance from DiCaprio seemed just a tad unconvincing - he doesn't seem able to comfortably wear the skin of a complete dipwad at times. Entertaining movie, though, full of terrible people doing shitty things.

    Speaking of which, Gone Girl: 6/10, great cinematography as is the norm with Fincher movies. The plot boils down to a complicated cheap shot at the nature of marriage. It's not quite a black comedy, and not quite a thriller, much to its detriment - if it had gone either way with more determination, it would have been a complete movie. As is, it feels much the same as The Social Network - competently made, but with the proceedings bereft of creative tension or any real personality.

  5. #2480
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Dark Valley. German-Austrian western movie, very much in the vein of old Clint Eastwood movies. Dark, brutal, and drop dead gorgeous.


  6. #2481
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Watched Gone Girl a few days ago. 8/10. Quite thoroughly enjoyed this. Using Ben Affleck's wooden acting (at times) to good effect was brilliant (especially towards the end).

    Turns out I'd guessed correctly of the plot of the 1st half of the movie as soon as I'd watched the trailer a year ago (of Ben being accused of his wife's murder when in actual fact she was alive and well and was framing him). The second half, and in particular the ending I didn't see coming. Hence my high score given for the movie.

    Movies that end the way this one did is my favorite kind. Right up there with Total Recall and Basic Instinct, with endings where you wonder what in the hell happened after that.

    Ben should have stuck with that girl he was banging on the side. Would have had a far better life expectancy.

  7. #2482
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by iceman

    Turns out I'd guessed correctly of the plot of the 1st half of the movie as soon as I'd watched the trailer a year ago (of Ben being accused of his wife's murder when in actual fact she was alive and well and was framing him). The second half, and in particular the ending I didn't see coming. Hence my high score given for the movie.
    Yea thats what i really liked about it. Once i got to the middle and realize what was going on i was thinking alright the big mystery solved now a boring hour of ben predictably trying to clear his name and reframe his wife but to my pleasent surprise it went into a much different direction and kept me hooked.

  8. #2483
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Yup. Exactly the same experience for me. By the end I was like AHHHHHH NOOOOO!!!! YOU CAN'T END IT LIKE THAT. AHHHHHH.

    And yet I love movies that end like that.

  9. #2484
    Quote Originally Posted by henke View Post

    The Wolf Of Wall Street - pretty great. There's a playfullness to it that I wouldn't normally associate with Scorsese. Great perfomances, especially from DiCaprio and Jonah Hill. And during some of those huge crowd shots in the office I was a bit amazed by how every single actor seemed to be giving it 100% percent. Nuts. At 3 hours it's long as hell tho. Can't say it ever got boring, but I had to split it up over 2 days of watching. 4/5
    Just keep in mind that the film and book are largely bullshit. If Jordan is great at one thing, it's personal branding. For starters he wasn't actually on Wall Street but across the street in New Jersey. For second, "The Wolf of Wall Street" is a title that he created for himself and spread around rather than a nickname given to him.

    What he did is also a pretty common "pump and dump" scheme involving penny stocks(stocks that trade under $5/share. The term "penny stock" comes from the fact that shares that cheap can be quoted in 1/10 of a cent whereas other stocks can only be quoted in 1/10 of a dollar) from a bucket shop brokerage. Literally hundreds of other people have done the same thing with varying degrees of success(mostly failure). Belfort's effort was unique only in how good of a salesman he was and at how good he was at training his sales team.

  10. #2485
    Also:

    It's a documentary, but for anyone who is interested in understanding how global economic cycles work (and how corrupt it is) I highly recommend watching the Forecaster. Currently it is screening in Europe only (They blocked the release of the film in America) but if you can see it you won't regret it. I would argue that it's the most important documentary released in the '10 decade.

    http://forecaster-movie.com/en/the-forecaster/

  11. #2486
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    I think the real life Lonny said something on the lines of "the book is a distant relative to to the truth and the film is a distant relative to the book".

  12. #2487
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Third grave from left.
    Saw "Kingsman: The Secret Service" - gets tangled in pointless distractions to fully work for me. Some iconic fight scenes and other silliness ... it is pretty much a remake-in-disguise of "The Avengers" (the one with the darn bears) - just more "up-to-date". A few good scenes not a film make :/ Not sure which is better or worse - both (yeah) actually have their moments.

    I think i need to re-watch The Avengers to get some clarity - perhaps i have just forgotten how bad that was (not counting the wear of time).

    edit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uO9asQS3rUQ
    Oh, yeah, ummm ... i think the new version is better.

  13. #2488
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Watched Journey to the West last night. The latest movie by Stephen Chow(Shaolin Soccer, Kung Fu Hustle). Good fantasy flick. Some cool actionscenes and special effects. Some nice character moments. I laughed at one point. The leading lady was haaawt! Yeah, recommended.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony_Tarantula View Post
    Just keep in mind that the film and book are largely bullshit.
    I wasn't even aware it was based on real people/events. I guess there might've been a "based on true events" disclaimer at some point, but by now the film industry's abuse of that phrase had rendered it so meaningless I'm likely to just gloss over it.

  14. #2489
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2008
    A few months back I saw Out of the Blue, a movie "based on true events" of the Aramoana massacre in New Zealand, and it was pretty damn close to accounts. The high level of authenticity they aimed for with the firearms (no Hollywood pop guns) and acting (normal people) made the horror of the event easy to empathise with.

  15. #2490
    You also might like a Korean film called "the flag of tae Guk", or "Tae Guk Gi". It's a scripted plot but the battle scenes are far more authentic than anything Hollywood has put out. For starters the battles are all portrayed as being extremely chaotic to the point where it's difficult to follow what's going on. The whole thing makes Private Ryan look like a boy scout movie.
    Last edited by Tony_Tarantula; 22nd Feb 2015 at 12:48.

  16. #2491
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Robocop. The new one. It's a solid action/sci-fi movie. Cool actionscenes, pretty good performances, a few interesting scenes here and there. But of course it doesn't hold a candle to the original. It's so serious and stiff, none of the playfullness of it's predecessor. Not that I blame them for going that route, the grim reboot worked wonders for Batman and James Bond after all.

  17. #2492
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    I was half half on the new James Bond movies. I absolutely loved the first one, but the 2nd was average. 3rd was decent however. With the new batman's I wasn't a big fan of the first but 2 & 3 were both excellent. The 2nd in particular was fantastic. I'm unsure of which movie was better between The Dark Knight and the first of the old movie series. Each has their great bits.

    On my end. Finished off Doctor Who's 3rd doctors run of the series. Whilst it lacks the horror vibe of the 2nd doctor (other than a couple of episodes which definitely did have the vibe) there if far more of a soul to it, with solid character development, returning characters (the master in particular was great) and for the first time in the series the first time that they did a multi-doctor story (as in having several of the doctors incarnations all in it at the same time). Really damn great viewing on the overall whole. Absolutely loved it. Even if some of the monsters looked fake as hell now that the series was in color.

    Now onto my favorite doctor of all times run. Tom Baker . Been looking forward to this.

    Oh and I also finished off Flavor of Love Charm School. I don't like reality tv that much, but this was really good stuff.

  18. #2493
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    Quote Originally Posted by henke View Post
    Robocop. The new one. It's a solid action/sci-fi movie. Cool actionscenes, pretty good performances, a few interesting scenes here and there. But of course it doesn't hold a candle to the original. It's so serious and stiff, none of the playfullness of it's predecessor. Not that I blame them for going that route, the grim reboot worked wonders for Batman and James Bond after all.
    I really liked the new one. It is almost as good as the original so long as you don't compare them, if that makes sense.

  19. #2494
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2014
    Location: Bangalore, India
    I watched Fargo recently - last year's TV show, not the movie it's based on. Excellent show - I'd give it 8/10, maybe stretch it to 9.

    The characters really shine. They all seem to sink into dark places as the show goes on. Martin Freeman does an amazing job of playing selfish, cowardly asshole Lester Nygaard. His high points are the hammer scene (his wife's murder and what follows), and the one in the last few episodes where he leads Linda to her death. Between these points, you get a sense of how he's begun to stand up for himself, to fight back ... and then you realise he's not the underdog, he's just a cockroach that slips away from punishment. Billy Bob Thornton's Malvo is another standout. He dominates almost every scene he appears in, and sucks you in with his utter lack of morals. Highlights include the elevator scene (you'll know which one I mean), the motel scene in the first or second episode, and the one where he goes to pick up a package. At first, he seems like one of those sociopathic villains we all known and love - the Joker, Vaas, you know the type. But then you slowly get a sense of just what type of a person he is, and it's ugly. The positive characters, on the other hand, are not as complex, but no less fun to watch: you alternate between being sympathetic with and frustrated at the clueless police chief, and you root for the reluctant hero Gus Grimly. Oh, and Key and Peele's FBI agents, while late to the show, are hit or miss. Some will find it hard to take them seriously, but I personally thought they were OK, and added to the atmosphere of bleak, almost-unfunny comedy. Finally, Lou Solverson, while only a minor character in the show, is one of the more interesting ones; I can't wait to see what they do with him in season 2, where he'll be the protagonist.

    The writing and dialogue of the show? It's not all that great, to be honest. It can be unpredictable and darkly funny, but often, the show seems to enjoy showing off how deep and complicated it is, while failing to keep you completely interested. A little more focus would have helped it a good deal. There's also a bad habit of forgetting about characters - the supermarket king subplot doesn't is never properly wrapped up, and Lester's brother is forgotten immediately after the time skip following his arrest.

    While I wait for House of Cards Season 3 to come out, I'm watching Awkward as well. It's not going to appeal to everyone, but, like The Big Bang Theory, it's a nice dose of dumb laughs, and it works. Plus, the culture gap is interesting - high school here is very different.

  20. #2495
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    I watched some of Season 4 of The Walking Dead while it was airing in the US during a hiatus from Tokyo, when they were doing a marathon leading up to Season 5's premier. But I decided to start it from Season 1. So I watched the first few epidoes.

    And then today I got started watching the Let's Play of Last of Us, because ... not sure. I've read so many people raving about it, and I don't have easy access to a Playstation around here, so I thought I ought to watch it some way or another, and I can't stop watching it now.

    I'm sure the comparison has been made before, but it's interesting to see how The Walking Dead and Last of Us play with the zombie trope and make it emotional in a way you wouldn't have expected a decade ago, but seems all the rage these days. They're playing with a lot of the same emotional setups and beats, and of course the conveniently ever-present drama when you need it of making it across the next block, or a cleared out area when you don't. I don't even like how much the trope is getting overplayed, but I'm still compelled to follow these two stories anyway.

    My simple answer is just because the zombie trope makes the normal dull suburban life around us everyday suddenly dramatic with threats around every corner, and there's not many ways you can otherwise "credibly" set up that situation. (Alien invasion is the other way. And I've been watching a few shows about alien invasion too actually ... V, Dark Skies, X-Files; but they don't really work compared to the zombie trope. And BTW I mean "credibly" in the sense that the internal logic to it works. It's not really credible to think China or North Korea are really going to invade homeland USA, even if it's more "realistic".)

  21. #2496
    LittleFlower
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Netherlands
    Coincidentally, I watched the first 2 episodes of Season 5 of the Walking Dead last night.

    I don't care much about zombies. Not about zombie movies. And I can't really remember playing a zombie game (until recently). Last spring (2014) I watched the first episode of The Walking Dead. It was better than what I expected. So I watched another episode. And another. In a matter of 2-3 weeks, I watched all 4 seasons. Great fun, although there are ups and downs. Then I had to wait a few months for season 5.

    I watched episode S05E01. I didn't like it at all. A lot of violence. It couldn't interest me for a minute. I disliked all the characters. I never bothered to watch S05E02. Don't ask me why. But it seemed the show had lost its magic for me.

    I've been playing Dying Light for the last 3 weeks. Great game, great fun. This week I decided to give The Walking Dead another try. I watched S05E01 and S05E2 last night. And suddenly I enjoyed it again. I wasn't bothered too much by asshole Rick Grimes and his asshole kid. For the first time since watching, I was interested in the violence. To be precise: the way they killed the walkers. Just like in Dying Light, they used a large number of different ways to kill them. While watching, I constantly made split-second decisions about how I would have killed each zombie, if I had been there. (After all, I have killed 6600 zombies myself in the past 3 weeks). The game has programmed my mind !

    Weird.

  22. #2497
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I've really enjoyed the first two episodes of Wolf Hall. Great acting, subtle writing and not a trace of the 'history tourism' bullshit that most historical fiction on film and TV suffer from. It shows that it's from the same writer who also adapted Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, though; it demands your attention, and if you're watching it while surfing the internet or playing 80 Days on your mobile, you're not going to get much out of it.

  23. #2498
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2003
    Location: Cambridgeshire UK
    I agree with that. Wolf Hall gets even better in the later episodes. It is interesting to see how much can be conveyed with few words.

  24. #2499
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    Gone Girl. I wouldn't call this formula fiction per se, well it's a genre piece, but there's something about the thriller genre where the most important thing is starting with the perfect concept, offbeat but obvious-in-retrospect, and play it out as it has to be, as it can only be. And when you get a concept like this, everybody nods their head like they instantly get it and should have thought about it themselves, and the story did exactly what it was supposed to do with the concept to squeeze out of it as much as could be.

    I'm trying to figure out if recognizing that should make me like it more or hate it more. I'd like to write my own stuff with such a concept but without looking like I'm too obviously milking it. The thing is I distrust postmodern stories that throw out any kind of narrative flow too. I'd like to keep a really compelling narrative flow, but I don't want people nodding their heads like the concept did all the work and I, the author, was just along for the ride, instead of the other way around.

    Well, anyway, the movie was respectable. Good even. It was a thriller, and thrilled just like it was supposed to. I think for the reasons I just said, something like Girl with the Dragon Tattoo did it better, since it wasn't so forced by the concept, perfect though it may be.
    I really enjoyed Gone Girl. I know what you mean about the predetermination of the plot arcs, but as with all things, I think execution is always far more important than how edgy or unexpected something is. A well crafted hamburger beats a slapdash coconut and liquorice flan.

  25. #2500
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    I saw John Wick which was pretty bad. I liked the whole formality/corporate-ism in the criminal world, but besides that, it was just a typical hollywood action flick.

    I also watched Big Hero 6 and while it was excellently done, it also felt kind of predictable and formulaic? You knew what the main message and protagonist challenges/transformations would be basically from the first 15 minutes, and even the reveal of the main villain wasn't all that surprising. But then, it is a Disney movie, and is definitely great for a younger audience.

    Also started on season 4 of Californication when Shit Gets Real™. The gratuitous sex is still way overdone but by now it's so ridiculous it doesn't even bother me anymore, and the show has a surprising lot of good ideas about human nature (well, through the scope of endless sexing it up at least).

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