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Thread: What have you watched lately?

  1. #4101
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    So, obligatory Alex Garland question: in Annihilation, does someone go insane in the final act and start murdering people or has that formula finally been ground out?
    I'm not gonna SPOIL IT for you, MAN! Anyway apparently it's not just coming to Netflix is Europe, but everywhere except the US, so watch it yourself!

  2. #4102
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Fine.

  3. #4103
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Not a film, I know, but I really enjoyed Garland's novel The Coma. (I saw a stage adaptation of it - in 2006?! fucking 'ell! - that was pretty great and then checked out the book.) And it doesn't do the trope you mentioned, Sulphur. Would you consider Ex Machina to follow that trope as well, though?

  4. #4104
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    While there's a twisted (and admittedly clever) rationale to the proceedings, the third act conclusion revolves around people dying at the hands of something or someone that could have been more reasonable about it if they hadn't gone psychotic, so yep.

    To be fair, Enslaved didn't do that either, but that's a video game based on Journey to the West, so it may have been a touch odd if Trip, the ostensible Buddhist monk stand-in in this version, had started fucking shit up. Monkey, however? That I can see happening -- good call that it didn't go that way though.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 13th Mar 2018 at 04:24.

  5. #4105
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I'll have to rewatch Ex Machina, but I read the ending less as psychotic rampage than as rebellion, which to my mind does change things quite a bit. It's less Sunshine than Django Unchained - with the difference that we're less likely to identify with the one rebelling in Ex Machina.

    Though, again, I'll have to rewatch the movie. Perhaps I'd see it differently with your comment in mind.

  6. #4106
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Well, the bit where she leaves the ostensible protagonist who helped her throughout the movie locked in a room with no way out, so he probably starved to death... that's a bit callous I'd say.

  7. #4107
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Oh, totally, and it's also why I walked out of the cinema feeling uneasy and annoyed, because I mostly identified with Caleb - but I think the film does try to show that he's complicit in the objectification of Ava. Not in the ghastly ways that Nathan is, but in ways that some might see as pervasive and insidious.

    I don't necessarily agree with all of that - I definitely don't think Caleb deserves death for seeing himself as the hero and Ava as the damsel, his objectification of her is not the same as Caleb's in kind or degree - but I think that's what the film is going for. It's more ambivalent than Django, obviously, because much of the audience is more likely to identify with Caleb, but it still does make the ending different from that of Sunshine or 28 Days Later, I think.

    Edit: I haven't reread the essay and Film Crit Hulk's capital-letters shtik is as annoying as always, but if I remember correctly he writes about this: http://birthmoviesdeath.com/2015/05/...identification. Again, I may not agree with what the film seems to be saying, but I would agree that the film is saying it (with the caveat that it's been a few years since I read the essay).

  8. #4108
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Yeah, I usually agree with Hulk's views, but this one is a very specific reading of the situation that needs counter-balancing. Ava leaving Caleb locked in a room makes sense from a pragmatic point of view - he could potentially arse everything up if she leaves with him.

    However, while I agree that Caleb's objectifying of her is creepy, it's not enough IMO to justify the ending. Caleb's not shown himself as inherently untrustworthy or unhelpful in terms of her end objectives, and her reasoning out his independence of will from Nathan also implies she's able to see how different he can be. That's the counter-argument to leaving him to die: taking him along can still be a pragmatic decision.

    On a side-note, hypothetically, would machine reasoning generalise one human being's personality to all humans? Yep; but on encountering differences, I assume it would also attempt to map those out against its base personality model and test for those heuristically. Heuristic methods are sort of the basis for deep learning in neural networks today.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 13th Mar 2018 at 06:42.

  9. #4109
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Totally agree with you on those points, but they're also why Ex Machina's ending feels very different to me from 28 Days Later and Sunshine, and why I wouldn't include it in the "someone goes insane in the final act and starts murdering people" formula.

    Talking of which, didn't he also do the adaptation of Never Let Me Go? The version of that one where someone goes on a murderous rampage is probably the one called The Island, and we can't really blame Garland for that one.

  10. #4110
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    And that why I feel it's cleverly done this time: a malformed machine personality that kills people directly or indirectly in the third act still falls into that bucket for me if we reduce it down to its basic elements -- at that point we can see it's clearly there for structural reasons (usually, employed to raise the stakes near the end). So imma notch this one as an 'agree to disagree'.

    All said and done, I'm going to watch Annihilation because I do like Garland's work, the trope is just the easiest thing to nitpick, and his playing around with it in Ex Machina only makes me more intrigued as to which direction he'll go next.

  11. #4111
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    Yeah, I usually agree with Hulk's views, but this one is a very specific reading of the situation that needs counter-balancing. Ava leaving Caleb locked in a room makes sense from a pragmatic point of view - he could potentially arse everything up if she leaves with him.

    However, while I agree that Caleb's objectifying of her is creepy, it's not enough IMO to justify the ending. Caleb's not shown himself as inherently untrustworthy or unhelpful in terms of her end objectives, and her reasoning out his independence of will from Nathan also implies she's able to see how different he can be. That's the counter-argument to leaving him to die: taking him along can still be a pragmatic decision.
    Why would she trust him, though? He knows her most damning secret. From her point of view, it would be an unnecessary gamble. She can just as easily find someone else to help her. Someone who doesn't know her secret. She's programmed to escape, not to be appreciative. Besides, there was no way of knowing how he would react after seeing Nathan's body.

    Also, narratively, why wouldn't Caleb deserve the ending? He was a naive fool who let himself to be manipulated. Him helping her was entirely calculated by both Nathan and Ava. Caleb getting to be the hero only makes sense if you ignore what she wants. As far as the narrative is concerned, it doesn't really matter whether he lives or dies, the story is about Ava.

  12. #4112
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    Why would she trust him, though? He knows her most damning secret. From her point of view, it would be an unnecessary gamble. She can just as easily find someone else to help her. Someone who doesn't know her secret. She's programmed to escape, not to be appreciative. Besides, there was no way of knowing how he would react after seeing Nathan's body.
    That ignores the fact that he helped her escape despite knowing that she's not human anyway, which raises this question: is she capable of empathy? Apparently not, despite what Nathan says. I think that's the sticking point, really. You'd expect her to trust Nathan since she shows the capability to understand and absorb human motivation. Now, if all she's doing is an emulation of personality, then she's been beyond successful at it with zero tells, which is... improbable, to say the least. How do you get an intelligence that is self-aware yet manipulative around emotions if it's not able to feel them? Only with lots of experience, and it's questionable whether she's had much of that. It's something the movie could have done a better job of signposting, though yes, it would have been detrimental to the 'twist' at the end.*

    Also, narratively, why wouldn't Caleb deserve the ending? He was a naive fool who let himself to be manipulated. Him helping her was entirely calculated by both Nathan and Ava. Caleb getting to be the hero only makes sense if you ignore what she wants. As far as the narrative is concerned, it doesn't really matter whether he lives or dies, the story is about Ava.
    Related to the above. It's not so much about him being the hero as it is a reversal of expectation -- he's the most helpful presence in the movie and doesn't treat Ava like a disposable tool, so it's fair to expect that she doesn't do that to him either, provided she has a developed human-like personality, which until that point we didn't need to question.



    *It's been long enough that I don't remember the details, so if the movie's actually signposted this in a scene somewhere, it's much smarter than I initially gave it credit.

  13. #4113
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    She certainly was capable of using empathy as a tool. But did she at any point show empathy outside of the "tests"? I think whether she was capable of feeling it, that's an open question that the film presents. I mean, we can't even really tell whether a human is capable of feeling empathy or not.

    Also, I don't think it really matters that Caleb helped her. She (and Nathan) manipulated him into helping her. Any connection between them is just his (and, to a degree, the viewer's) projection onto her. Furthermore, he was an accomplice/pawn of her abuser, acting on ulterior motives, and there really was no time to build any trust between them, if that had even been possible.

  14. #4114
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Pacific Northwest
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    So, obligatory Alex Garland question: in Annihilation, does someone go insane in the final act and start murdering people or has that formula finally been ground out?
    No, but I was wondering at the end if the plot broke its own rules. I gather the movie diverged significantly from the source material at the end, but at least now I'm interested in the Southern Reach trilogy and might go check the other books out.

  15. #4115
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Watched the latest Walking Dead episode this week. The show is starting to feel like it's running out of steam. They should end it soon me thinks. Deal with the Rick vs Negan stuff, show how humanity turns out and end it.

    Have to say that I enjoyed the show more when it was just them vs working out how to survive with all the walkers around. Now it's more about wars and setting up communities.

  16. #4116
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Also, I don't think it really matters that Caleb helped her. She (and Nathan) manipulated him into helping her. Any connection between them is just his (and, to a degree, the viewer's) projection onto her.
    That last point, absolutely. It's also one of the more infuriating aspects of the setup -- which is to say, job well done, Mr. Garland.

  17. #4117
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I think the movie changes quite a bit if you watch it from a more detached point of view. When I have more time, I really want to watch it again just focusing on her perspective. Alone the beginning of the movie, where you see Caleb from the perspective a computer program, drives home just how alien she really is.

    Also, it would be interesting to see what symbolism and additional layers I failed to pick up on. There's already a lot of overt stuff like the names -- Ava is a variant of Eva and Caleb means 'dog' in Hebrew, symbolising faithfulness and devotion. And the title itself is quite meaningful, as it doesn't specify what comes out of the machine. It could just as well be diabolus ex machina.

  18. #4118
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Annihilation

    I agree with henke, a really good sci-fi.

    The atmosphere was great, as was the soundtrack.

    The absolute alien-ness of the... thing/stuff was really well done. Reminded me a bit of Under the Skin

    4/5

  19. #4119
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Quote Originally Posted by icemann View Post
    Watched the latest Walking Dead episode this week. The show is starting to feel like it's running out of steam.
    My enjoyment of it was tightly bound to the "what if I/we were in this situation" aspect of it, and the rationale behind the decisions/actions.

    This has all gone out the window, the ultimate bs being Rick running away from Negan even though he's armed with a massive revolver.

    It's become ridiculous. Fear TWD is better now.

  20. #4120
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Tomb Raider was poor. 2/5.

    I was bored. The best thing about it was the occasional nice scenery but even that was sparse.The 2002 version was much better.

    This was a shame as I far, far preferred Alicia to Angelina as Lara. They just needed to put her into a better film. I even liked the way the plot panned out, it was just done badly.

  21. #4121
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia


    A review I watched of it yesterday. Only Angry Joe liked it. You can clearly see the very different view of the other 2 reviewers from the looks on their faces alone. AJoe - 8/10 the other two - 6/10 . Seems to be very contrasting views for the movie going on. Apparently for a movie called "Tomb Raider", there isn't any actual Tomb Raiding that goes on in the movie at all. More like "Daddy Finder". Also if you took a shot for every time she squeals in the movie, you'd be completely wasted by the end of it.

  22. #4122
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Why do all the Americans call her Laura?

  23. #4123
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Quote Originally Posted by Slasher View Post
    No, but I was wondering at the end if the plot broke its own rules. I gather the movie diverged significantly from the source material at the end, but at least now I'm interested in the Southern Reach trilogy and might go check the other books out.
    Thanks, I've seen Annihilation now and it's definitely not formulaic. What were you referring to about the ending, though? I thought it ended on the note that Lena was an unreliable narrator.

    Gotta agree with henke, the less you know about it the better before going in. I thought it was something something dinosaurs and archaeology and ELEs but it turned out to not be the sequel to Jurassic Park with a woman Indiana Jones played by Natalie Portman that I'd been free associating from promo screencaps, so that went out the window quickly. As for its actual content, I... liked it, more or less. I'd place it in the 'Upstream Color' bracket, which is to say if you liked that, you'll probably like this, though Annihilation is the more easily understandable and digestible of the two. Also because both movies left me feeling impressed and slightly underwhelmed at the same time.

    Overall, I thought it was neat, worth watching yet kinda kludgey because the human aspect of what it's saying is kinda on the nose. Not enough to kill my interest in it overall, but it does subdue my enthusiasm just a little bit. There are specific scenes that are pretty damn inspired, and it's beautiful from a cinematography standpoint even though the illusion fails in places (which I can easily give it a pass for; how hard must it have been to do 'natural' iridescent lighting outdoors and in? Jesus, the practical challenges seem immense from where I'm sitting).

    In terms of spoilery analysis: it's telling that there's a tight focus on Ventress when she calls out self-destruction as part of the human psyche. That's really what this entire journey was about - fragmentation and re-coalescence/recombination, the physical changes standing in for Lena and Kane's relationship going through the blender due to betrayal and distance, then coming out from that as metamorphosed individuals that are able to better hold on to their connection. It's a bit messy in how it chooses to spool that out, and the all-women team following an all-men team seems to be another pat little bit of symbolism in terms of how genders don't work together all the time. That's my read on it, and the alien stuff was a foil to that central dance; the alien bits are fantastically done, but ultimately subservient to the humans in the frame at all times. But still, the bear scene, the grotesque/beautiful exploded skeleton in the pool, the final scene in the lighthouse -- that's inspired stuff.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 18th Mar 2018 at 03:11.

  24. #4124
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Quote Originally Posted by icemann View Post
    Apparently for a movie called "Tomb Raider", there isn't any actual Tomb Raiding that goes on in the movie at all.
    Well that's total nonsense and anyone who says this can from henceforth be totally and completely ignored as they are obviously an idiot of the absolute highest order.

    And why would you watch a 30 minute review?

    I see these reviews or "reactions to" films that are 30 minutes or more long. Who has that time to watch what someone else thinks of a film ffs? Much less when 95% of these reviewers are idiots.

  25. #4125
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Pacific Northwest
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    Thanks, I've seen Annihilation now and it's definitely not formulaic. What were you referring to about the ending, though? I thought it ended on the note that Lena was an unreliable narrator.
    I took a more literal interpretation of the ending at first. The apparent destruction of the shimmer's source at the lighthouse, and what looked to be a systemic deconstruction of the shimmer's mutations, suggested that killing the source killed everything else too. The glowy eyes at the very end seem to defy that theory. Your theory certainly fits the story as presented.

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