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Thread: What have you watched lately?

  1. #5526
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Sadly I found Dune rather underwhelming, but it is gorgeous to look at. Even just visually it’s worth seeing on a big screen.

  2. #5527
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    So the first two episodes of Foundation were ... meh, alright.
    It's mixing different genres. Rome meets Battlestar Galactica: the prime time drama.
    It likes music swells and "dramatic moments" to a fault.
    I'll watch more of it before giving more of an opinion.
    When it sticks with the storytelling, it has my attention.

    Edit2: In the interest of balance, I should say it has its pros, although you could probably guess them. The production design is top notch. CG graphics are pretty great -- I took a few mental notes for my own project -- but not what I'd call iconic. I wasn't taking screenshots like I would if it were, for example. Lee Pace & Jarred Harris are two of my very favorite actors of our era, and here they don't disappoint, and the other leads I can honestly say I like. And the dialog & plotting aren't bad per se. Alright. This ends the pros section of this post.
    I've watched them up to date and I agree that story has to snag me and it doesn't right off. I guess they are going for the slow development thing. The first episode was best so far though. The weird thing is I've read Foundation twice and still can't recall the plot very well. Not enough to do anything but pick out the main points. I mean, it has been twenty years but I still recall Dune well from much farther back. Anyway it's interesting enough to follow.

    Something I just watched was Brand New Cherry Flavor which started fairly normal with the first episode but began to spin into the outer reaches of freak out crazy town soon enough. It's creepy as hell once Boro the witchy woman begins her slow tweaking of spider web strands. Something about it reminded me of In the Mouth of Madness. It has that drawing you in where you know you don't want to go flavor. I followed the trail of entrails and puke kitties all the way to the end. Check and see if you are intrigued enough to.

  3. #5528
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    I read (a good chunk of) Foundation last month and still can't remember it all that well.

    It's one of those classics that has a kind of charisma that makes you root for it even if you're not sure what you're rooting for.

    Our protagonist is a different gender, and that's not a small thing the way the show is playing it. I remember that much!

    (It got overtaken by my reading of A Memory Called Empire, though, which is another space opera -- actually with a ton of parallels with Foundation -- and that one really has me hooked. I ended up spending half of today reading it because I didn't want to stop. But it's not given me motivation to finish Foundation off, and the show only made that worse.)

  4. #5529
    No Time To Die

    So there it is, the final Craig Bond film.

    I started fairly ambivalent about this movie. I still don't know quite what to think of it, usually to me that means the movie's bad, typically, but it's not the case here. There are some genuinely good things in this Bond, bold narrative choices, bold characterization too. This is going to remain spoiler-free so I won't go into details, but here goes...

    Like the previous Casio Royale/Quantum of Solace diptych, NTTD serves as a direct sequel to Spectre, which in my mind is the worst of the Craig outings, and one of the worst Bond movies overall. There were production issues and delays, Danny Boyle was initially slated to direct but later dropped out and it doesn't help that there was much hype about Fleabag's Phoebe Waller-Bridge being brought in for script duties after the director swap, and I really didn't click with Fleabag... So let's just say that I came in with low expectations.

    Turns out that, in many respects, NTTD is a very respectable Bond movie, and an ambitious one at that. Comparisons abound with On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and with reason, as it explicitly hangs over the movie with all kinds of subtle and not-so-subtle references. Bold choices, I said above, and high stakes, believable stakes that lead to realistic and shocking consequences all the way to the final scenes... This is a movie where Bond hurts, where you actually do fear for his and his companions' lives, where the villain is pragmatic and cold and won't hesitate to shoot you, plot armor be damned.

    As a Bond movie, as the final Craig Bond movie, it works. It's not just a sequel to Spectre, it closes an arc that was started all the way back with Casino Royale. In The World is Not Enough, Q famously told Bond, "Never let them see you bleed." Daniel Craig's tenure as Bond has him bleeding, literally and metaphorically, a broken man haunted by personal demons, fighting to make a broken world better.

    However, the movie is not without flaws. It is long, and it makes you feel it, and there are several instances where some trimming could have made it tighter. If characterization as a whole improves overall, especially with everyone returning from Spectre getting much richer dialogue and scenes, the only exception to this would be with M's badass decay from Spectre and Skyfall, as his plot-related oversights prior to the movie caused the whole mess... The movie also introduces Lashana Lynch as the new 007 (not the new James Bond) and while I have no problem with her performance, I did feel her characterization was a bit on the nose to contrast with Craig's more "old school" approach.

    Discussing specifics would lead me to spoiler territory, so I'll just stop here. Overall, this is a spectacular Bond outing and a fitting send-off for Daniel Craig. The pacing is messy but the punches land and the movie sticks the landing in a way that both serves the story and is satisfying to me as a viewer. Like OHMSS before it, NTTD breaks the mold and goes where no Bond movie has gone before, ever. And for that, I think it deserves quite a bit of respect.

    4/5
    Last edited by raph; 17th Oct 2021 at 09:54. Reason: typo

  5. #5530
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    Quote Originally Posted by raph View Post
    Dune

    So worth the wait. Going again next week.
    I went and saw it yesterday with Digi - it was awesome. Want to see it again soon.

  6. #5531
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    We saw The Last Duel yesterday, a film that I did enjoy a fair bit, though I think it's somewhat conflicted in terms of its structure and themes. I'll have to think about these things some more, but what I can definitely say is that Scott is still a consummate craftsman, and the people he's working with are equally great at their craft. I can't remember any recent films set in some distant past that look as much like they just sent a camera back in time and filmed what they found. There wasn't a single moment where I thought, "Shame that the CGI doesn't look as good as the physical sets and scenery" - I'm certain that pretty much every single shot had some CGI magic in it, but it all just looks like a coherent, believable 14th century, at least to me. The acting is also very good, once you get over the crimes against hairstyle committed by the Matt Damon and Ben Affleck characters.

  7. #5532
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    By far the best horror I've watched this season was one called "Spell". Unlike "Get Out" which I found amusing in it's cartoonish over the top characters this black horror was creepy and gripping and I didn't laugh once. No trenchant social critiques to mess up a good story here. It was tense. I'm not even going to give you a hint of plot. It's free on Hulu if you want to see it. Most of the stars I've never seen in anything except Loretta Devine and John Beasley but everyone played their parts well. I guess critics prefer being shown shit they should have figured out a long time ago and give those things more credit than they should but this is classic horror. This is going back to the roots of what scares. I want to give hints but nah, you have to find out. No big plot twists but it didn't need any. The unfolding was well done.

    By contrast I recently saw "Beyond the Black Rainbow" which has nothing to do with black people BTW. It was a chopped up mess. Sure you can piece the puzzle together but it's a chore. It really is like a bunch of scenes somebody thought would be cool were taped together like a Frankenstein's monster and expected to dance to Swan Lake. It was okay. I watched it because the person recommending it on NPR also praised "The Lodge" which really is an excellent film. The Lodge had reminded me of "Goodnight Mommy" which is a soul crushing horror and if they thought that was good then surely the rainbow one must be good. Nah. Just odd. The role Michael Rogers played was odd and it was interesting to see him try to make it as odd as possible but it's not scary.

  8. #5533
    Saw Dune tonight, I thought it was great. I plan on seeing it again soon. Not a common thing for me with any movie (repeat viewing so soon after the 1st time), but as most people have said, seeing it on the big screen is an absolute must.

    I've seen it getting "good" to "very good" reviews, but not many in the "excellent" category. I'd be curious to know what the criticisms are (for the record, haven't read the book or seen the version from 1984). Maybe it's because it only covers half of the book? I can't really understand why they didn't just make both parts at the same time, I think it was a pretty safe bet the movie would do well.

  9. #5534
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2000
    Not at all a safe bet. Blade runner 2049 was brilliant IMO but I think lost the studio 80 million (according to Wikipedia). Then you have Lynch’s version (a movie which I love parts of, but frankly it is a bit of a mess overall) which lost money. John Carter etc. Anyone remember Krull?
    It’s kinda amazing that any of these big production sci-fi movies even get made IMO when you look purely at cost vs risk.
    Last edited by zacharias; 3rd Nov 2021 at 03:08.

  10. #5535
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by zacharias View Post
    Anyone remember Krull?
    I remember its media and merchandizing push at the time. It was supposed to be huge. And then... It wasn't. I finally saw it many years later, and wow, I'd heard it was bad but it was bad.

  11. #5536
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    I have a lot of affection for Krull, although I recognize that objectively it's not a movie that's going to have a good ROI.

    I think with Dune specifically the risk is that it has a kind of cult following, or it's perceived to, so an adaptation which the fans think doesn't sufficiently align with the source could backfire (like I have a feeling the live action Cowboy Bebop is going to backfire). And the money is being invested early on before they've seen it.

    But anyway, they cut it in the middle. So a second movie is kind of inevitable. Why not wait for returns from the first movie to fund the second? I think people raise money for two movies when they may not be 100% sure the 2nd one will get made if they didn't.
    Last edited by demagogue; 3rd Nov 2021 at 07:30.

  12. #5537
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Dune keeps its viewers at arms' length. Its characters are not particularly personable. Its craftsmanship is impeccable, but I can absolutely imagine audiences coming away from this not feeling much of a connection to the characters and world. (That's how I felt to some extent, a reaction that was definitely made stronger by the film feeling more incomplete to me than, say, Fellowship of the Ring or Infinity War, even if seen as Part I.) Honestly, while I hope that Dune does well, I doubt it would be a mega-hit at the box office.
    Last edited by Thirith; 3rd Nov 2021 at 06:48.

  13. #5538
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    How connected can you plausibly feel to a bunch of planet level nobles, a mystical political cult, a would-be messiah, inhuman warmongers and isolationist desert dwellers?

    I think in terms of box office, it is already Villeneuve's biggest success, and the studio have green-lit part 2.

    I am probably not being objective though as Dune has been my favourite sci fi novel for around 30 years, so any good handling of the source material is going to be golden in my book (that said, I even loved Lynch's stab at it, weird as it was).

  14. #5539
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Quote Originally Posted by faetal View Post
    How connected can you plausibly feel to a bunch of planet level nobles, a mystical political cult, a would-be messiah, inhuman warmongers and isolationist desert dwellers?
    By and large, I'd say that relatability has much more to do with how a story presents its characters and what it does with them than with whether they're planet-level nobles, would-be messiahs, or government-sponsored assassins, or anthropomorphic trees, for instance.

    Which is not to say that one way of doing it is better than the other, or that Villeneuve's approach doesn't fit the source material. But Villeneuve, similarly to Nolan, has a tendency to put his audience at a remove the grander his material is. I felt very close to his main character in Arrival; Blade Runner 2049 felt more remote (which, arguably, fits the fact that we're following around a Replicant - but I'd also say that BR49 felt more remote to me than the original Blade Runner). Dune is yet more removed IMO. Again, that's not something I would criticise, but it is something that can keep a film from being a big blockbuster.

  15. #5540
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    I feel that Gosling didn't remotely do justice to his character's agonizing arc in BR49.

  16. #5541
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Dune: I guess every major movie is a comic book movie now?
    It didn't stick with scenes that long, but most every one of them basically looked great anyway.

  17. #5542
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Hmm, I found 2049 to be much more personable than the original, and I didn't feel a connection with anyone in Arrival.

    On the other hand, I felt Dune nailed the tone of the book and was as good of an adaptation of the source material as we're ever going to get.

    I was previously nowhere near as much of a fan of Villenueve's sci-fi work as his more grounded films (Incendies, Prisoners, Sicario). I think he's proven himself in the sci-fi sphere with Dune.

  18. #5543
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2008
    This annoys me so much. It's a trailer for an exclusive screening from 3 years ago, and they must have become so sick of everyone asking them to release it in the comments that they just shut the comment section down. I've seen other versions before, but am always up for a restoration.



    Fan music video edit. I don't think it's from the above version.


  19. #5544
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: The Plateaux Of Mirror
    I'm slogging my way through Get Back. On one hand, watching geniuses at work never gets old. On the other, the entire presentation and editing of the thing is awful. The first 11 minutes of the film are basically Disney going "our Chinese audience doesn't know who the Beatles are". And then through the rest of the film the video and audio are constantly being edited so that they aren't always really related to each other. And they'll have audio going over video that's in super slo-mo. It's bizarre.

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