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Thread: What have you watched lately?

  1. #4576
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Movies I really love are ones where the ending is a bit ambiguous. Like say Total Recall (Arnie original), Basic Instinct, The Thing (the 1980s one) etc. Also love movies that have you thinking things are happening due to whatever, and then at the end it's all made clear and then your like "WHOA" like Donnie Darko, where I was really disliking that movie and then at the end it suddenly all made sense and then I loved it.

    And then there's the movies I just love that aren't complex at all, and are just simply excellent movies. Like nearly any of Arnie's 80s-90s movies (eg Conan the Barbarian, Terminator, Predator etc), or Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon, The Matrix, original Star Wars trilogy etc etc.

  2. #4577
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    The American version of Conan had deleted scenes so that religious nuts wouldn't be offended and also because they felt Americans were not smart enough to glean the meaning. Coming out as it did after the Jim Jones massacre, it had a very pointed and poignant message, don't worship, keep your own faculties, never surrender yourself. I like that version better. The end sequence where Conan refuses to be worshiped says so much with so little.

  3. #4578
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    I was not aware of that. The only version I've seen had Conan holding up the severed head and then throwing it at them.

    Conan had such an impact on me as a kid. After that I became obsessed with medieval fantasy literature, Warhammer Fantasy Battle (the tabletop game), HeroQuest, video games etc. Just love the movie.

    I'll bet a whole heap of people got into D&D and other related medieval fantasy stuff due to that movie.

  4. #4579
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    My latest thinking about Inception is that it was consciously designed to work at multiple levels, with the heist being the surface layer, the "movie about making movies" being a deeper layer, and I suspect the deepest levels are personal angels and demons Nolan is wrestling with through the story, and I should double check this, but I think these multiple levels are also referenced in the levels of the plot as well. I really think the deepest level of the decaying city refers to Nolan's own early memories of coming up with this project and playing with it as a youngin, and always waiting for the right chance to do it as it decayed in the deepest parts of his memory, always nagging him. The signal for that was this story he kept telling that he's been waiting all his life to make this movie. I also suspect his own relationship and daddy issues are part of it. Or rather, it's a deep dive into his own self, as a director, as a husband, as a son, as a little kid coming up with this idea...

  5. #4580
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Hmm, I hope you're right about that. I always felt Inception was the film where Nolan started to get a bit messy, and I haven't loved anything he's done since the same way I enjoyed his earlier films (they become very cool sensory experiences with unsatisfying scripts) Inception struck me as a less appealing live action version of Satoshi Kon's Paprika, mainly because the dreams themselves were far too action movie oriented and I find Nolan's attempts at emotional stories to be less than emotional. But if it is actually operating on the levels you're proposing instead of just being a bit sloppy, I'm going to have to re-evaluate it.

  6. #4581
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Eagerly awaiting Avengers - Endgame, and the wife wants to drag me along to see "Little" which looks amusing from the trailer.

  7. #4582
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    And speaking of which, just got back from the drive in where I watched "Little" (and which happened to also be playing "Us" on one of the other screens).

    Think of the movie "Big" in reverse and that's pretty much the movie. First half was meh and quite boring, second half was much improved and by the end I was hoping it'd go for another hour as there was so much more they could have done with it, with a woman's mind in a child's body. Come on. A few bits were hilarious in the second half.

    6.5/10

    In the end an entertaining movie worth a watch. Would make for a good TV show honestly.

  8. #4583
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    I watched Manchester by the Sea, Swiss Army Man, Triple Frontier, Lady Bird, and Castle Freak.

    All good.

  9. #4584
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    We recently got started on the third and final season of The Leftovers. Now, I imagine it's a series that some people find grating for a number of reasons, but for me it's one of the best things I've ever seen. I love the actors, the characters and their flaws, anxieties and coping mechanisms, I love the series' themes and how it deals with them, I love how it can go from sardonic and even surreal comedy to harrowing drama, I love how it has an utterly WTF premise but uses this to tell stories about people that I find utterly relatable. And Carrie Coon as Nora may just be among my favourite characters ever in any medium. The series ticks some of the same boxes for me as Six Feet Under did, but while SFU will always have a very special place in my heart, I think that in some ways that I cannot yet fully express The Leftovers will end up affecting me as much if not more.

  10. #4585
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    You know, watching S1 felt like I was tapping into the same morbid curiosity you feel when watching a train crash in slow motion. Couldn't like what I saw, couldn't look away. It's a phenomenally depressing season of drama leavened only by Lindelof's mystery box format, something I usually can't engage with because it seems like a cheap way to avoid dealing with the functional underpinnings of plot development.

    Having said that, I kept watching, because there was a core of human fallibility and empathy beneath its concentrated sadness overload. (A thing exacerbated yet heightened by the score, courtesy of Max Richter and his talent for swelling chords). And miracle of miracles, season 2 focused on storytelling and character while deploying the sadcore element with admirable restraint, and even managed to find a consistent sense of (gallows) humour. It's an incredible turnaround.

    Season 3 takes that and wraps it up with a fucking bow. It's the best conclusion to a series I've seen since, coincidentally, Six Feet Under. (And well, Breaking Bad.) It's the exhale to the first season's inhale. I'm kind of taken aback at how much I loved a Lindelof show, but there you have it: in collaborating with the right person and multiplying your strengths instead of your weaknesses, you just might end up making something beautiful.

  11. #4586
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    So you're saying I should watch The Leftovers then?

  12. #4587
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Damn it, Sulphur, sometimes I read one of your posts and swear that you're me. Except a more expressive me. With a cooler accent.

  13. #4588
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Well, if it's any consolation, you've got access to more Toblerone at will than I could possibly ever get my hands on, which tilts the equation way in your favour in my book.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 16th Apr 2019 at 02:39.

  14. #4589
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Heh. The university building where I studied and worked used to be the factory where they originally produced Toblerone. After a while you forgot, but on long Saturday afternoons in the library poring over books you'd occasionally catch a whiff of the ghost of a chocolate bar.

    @SubJeff: Even though it's one of my favourite TV series, I find it difficult to recommend it to people whose tastes I don't know all that well. (I remember you hating some things that I liked a lot, though I couldn't tell you what they were.) There's also the thing Sulphur mentioned: the first season errs on the side of being deeply depressing and featuring a cast of characters few of which are particularly likeable. They're flawed and sometimes damaged, they're neurotic and resentful. In that respect I think Six Feet Under wouldn't be a bad comparison: if you were okay with spending time with the Fishers & Co, you should be okay. I love The Leftovers, but I can easily see people being turned off or even hating it. Then there's also the theme itself, which touches on issues such as faith. It's by no means a religious series (in the sense that it would espouse a belief in God), but its premise is a Rapture-like event, and various characters struggle with trying to make metaphysical as much as emotional sense of it all.

  15. #4590
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    I have been hooked on Youtube's Dust sci fi shorts lately. There are some seriously imaginative stories done with excellent acting here. Rarely a dog. I get lost in hours of watching these ten or fifteen minute vignettes. They are seriously engrossing. It's like watching a cross between Twilight Zone and a Science Fiction Hall of Fame collection. The production values are excellent though the casts are usually minimal. Anyone else watch these?

    Most make you think, some are disturbing, but some are amusing like this one-

  16. #4591
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    That was great.

  17. #4592
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: Netherlands
    Thanks for the recommendation, those seem like fun things to watch when I have like 15 minutes to kill.

  18. #4593
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    There's also been a couple of Alien 40th anniversary shorts put out recently. This one's quite clever while homaging the movie's tone and themes.


  19. #4594
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Just watched the final episode of season 2 of Star Trek Discovery. Excellent stuff, that wrapped everything up nicely + some great actions. Best of all they answered all the things I had against this particular series like the spore drive, Spock's appearance, why Spock never mentioned Burnham and some other stuff. All makes perfect sense now. Great season finale.

  20. #4595
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    It was always going to have to account for its anomalous technologies and plot points at some point, and I suppose there's at least a few more hoary ways to wrap things up than chucking the whole shebang into ye ol' singularity in space-time.

    But overall: ugh. What a waste. A season born out of chaos, carried by good intentions, wrecked by mediocre execution. It's the loosest show in the franchise's existence, and we already had S1 of TNG and all of Enterprise. I enjoyed Mount's rendition of Captain Pike, and Michelle Yeoh's character was always fun to watch because even if her motivations never made sense, she clearly had fun embodying the playful chaos of it.

    But outside of those things that I liked, here are just some of the things the writers fucked up on: gay partner dealing with PTSD? Resolved through a magical last-minute crisis bandage. Sudden crew member death? Spend half an episode making up a backstory when for an entire one and 3/4ths of a season she was relegated to the background and second-long shots acknowledging her existence. Sudden appearance of weird time-altering technology? Throw in an unexpected character appearance, drop technobabble for thaumaturgy (time crystals! ahahahaha! TIME CRYSTALS! ), have the entire plot hinge on it, then go silent on the fact that an established race of war-loving aliens has access to knowing the future and does bugger-all with it in the pre-established chronology of the show's universe. Need a galaxy-ending crisis? Go with an AI trying to achieve sentience (thus posing an interesting catch-22: would it not have needed to be sentient to want to achieve sentience?), which is of course inherently evil, despite the fact that y'know, this show's set 200+ years into the future and any problems we were going to have with AIs would certainly have come to pass between now and then.

    Then: throw in a couple of curses here and there to shake things up, do next to no character development for the people who need it (Stamets never moves beyond being a blond-haired rubber face-mask that's a walking plot point, Tilly shows no signs of maturity but is progressively more shrill as a character, Spock's entire arc can be summarised by, 'How I lost my beard', Tyler pinballs between Discovery, Section 31, and the Klingons and even makes an appearance on the Chancellor's warship for some chest-thumping despite the fact that all Klingons think he's dead and would kill him on sight if they knew he was alive), then throw in the kitchen sink while leaving no clear trajectory for Burnham except lampshading her penchant for self-sacrifice as a character flaw over and over through speeches from other characters, then getting the entire crew to go along with her for no reason except to prove that they're all suicidal idiots and the writers would have needed S3 to not be a non-starter.

    Oh, and an entire penultimate episode wasted most of its runtime on redundant goodbye speeches. Did we really need nearly an hour of mincing melodrama?

    At least there's one thing we know so far: they've got a pretty decent VFX team that can do large space battles with a degree of finesse. I giggled a bit at the laser beams flying back and forth like oversized neon toothpicks that were bigger than the ships firing them, but I can understand they probably did that so the weapons fire stood out when the camera pulled back to observe the battle at a distance.

    Also, ending it on that note took balls. I'll give them that. We have no idea where the show's headed after this, and that's the single most exciting thing it's done in two seasons of messy, whole-cloth reframing of the franchise it spent so much time fucking around with to no real end. For all its ambitions, it's been two seasons of the creators' reach exceeding their grasp, more often than not resulting in something that was aggressively mediocre. Here's hoping the third season retains the aggressiveness, but loses the mediocrity.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 19th Apr 2019 at 18:06.

  21. #4596
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Hong Kong
    Quote Originally Posted by Tocky View Post
    I have been hooked on Youtube's Dust sci fi shorts lately.
    That was great.

    On a similar note, I've also been enjoying the new Scyfi shorts on Netflix, Love, Death & Robots. They also range somewhere between 5 and 15 minutes and many of them have a lasting impact.

  22. #4597
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    A friend got me hooked on Tier Zoo, a show that describes real-world animals in gaming terms, and it is fabulous. Biomes are "servers", each animal gets stat lines and special abilities, evolution is described as players evolving their builds in the metagame, and they get carefully assigned to "power level tiers".

    Recent titles:

    "Are Snakes Viable? Optimizing the snake build."
    "Earth's Next Balance Patch"
    "Should Dinosaurs Be Unbanned?"
    "How Humans Broke the Game"

  23. #4598
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    They need to do another season of "Electric Dreams". That series was excellent. I love what's been coming out in sci-fi lately.

  24. #4599
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Just got back from watching "Avengers Endgame" at the cinema.

    Overall pretty good. Not as entertaining as Infinity War was since there is FAR less on the action end besides the last quarter of it, but I still enjoyed it. Not wanting to spoil the movie on anyone so I'll not say much beyond that. I'll just say that it's a fitting end to Avengers and for both Iron Man and Captain America.

    8/10

    PS - No need to stay around for the credits. Nothing to see this time around.

  25. #4600
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Yeah, it was a fitting ending but I found a lot of the first 2/3 to be pretty tedious and too mired in sentimental nostalgia. Slow and weighty isnt a great look for those films.

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