Discussion in 'General Chit-chat' started by infernovia, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    So I decided to get back to watching movies and was looking through stuff I missed. I went for things that were supposed to be difficult to understand with complex plots that I would need to watch it multiple times. For example, Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind, Prestige, Inception, Memento, Being John Malkovich, etc. (lol, I know, not really "complex" but I am just going through highly rated movies with the focus on complexity) A lot of people rave about how hard to parse these movies are.

    Big disappointment, they seem pretty simple. They aren't bad, but I will have to check if some of these reviewers would pass a child's test if they thought the movie was complex. Now, I didn't watch this with the eyes of a cinema critic so maybe there is some intense cinematography here but they definitely did not live up to expectations.

    And then there are movies like Oldboy which is kind of disturbing but banal at the same time. This is in contrast with The Godfather which I thought was amazing. Where violence did not seem stupid, and the result less moralizing.

    Anyway, any good movies you guys would recommend?
    Ok, after a couple of years of movies, it looks like the movies people find "complex" are really just obtuse or abstract or has too many "foreign rules." The complexity in the movie should come from the character interaction and the interesting situations they encounter, therefore it rarely gets better than Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which has a great balance between both the interesting non-normal premise (erasing memories) and the focus on what it means for the character.

    Ratings so far (italicize can move up a spot):

    Schindler's List
    Apocalypse Now
    The Godfather
    The Next Three Days
    Fight Club
    Shutter Island
    The Fugitive
    Die Hard
    Die Hard 2: Die Harder
    Point Break
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    Dead Poets Society
    Solitary Man
    Catch Me If You Can
    Meet the Parents
    Groundhog Day
    Grosse Pointe Blank
    High Fidelity
    Lost In Translation
    Spiderman 2

    The Man From Nowhere
    The Dark Knight (will watch on high def to re-evaluate)
    Iron Man
    Midnight in Paris
    The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
    Ip Man
    Being John Malkovich
    The Conversation
    The Graduate
    The Hurt Locker

    The Avengers
    Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

    Tokyo Godfathers
    Source Code
    This is Spinal Tap (seriously don't know why it's in ebert's great movies list)
    Sherlock Holmes
    Iron Man 2
    I Love You, Man
    Conan the Barbarian (1982)
    Conan the Destroyer (1984)
    Rise of the Planet of the Apes
    Kick Ass
    In Bruges
    Horrible Bosses
    The Man Who Knew Too Little
    The Hangover
    She's Out of My League
    Cowboys and Aliens

    Inglorious Basterds
    Shoot 'em up
    Boondock Saints
    Spiderman 3

    Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
    X-men: First Class (only reason it isn't bottom is cuz of Magneto)
    Oldboy (gfx is 4/5 though)
    Captain America: The First Avenger
    Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
    Hot Tub Time Machine
    Contraband (shaky cam)
    Brick (shouldn't have been kids)

    Butterfly Effect
    Little Miss Sunshine
    Dirty Dancing (didn't know what this was supposed to be till too late)
    Eat Pray Love
    Boondock Saints II (watched 5 mins)
    Hangover II (watched the trailer)
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2014
  2. 2000 IQ Killjoy Gamer link6616

    2000 IQ Killjoy Gamer link6616 Well-Known Member

    Good films...

    Phonebooth - When I look up what people have to say, it doesn't seem impressive, but it's a quite intense film if nothing else. It's also quite slick camera/cut wise
    Only Yesterday- My favourite Ghibri anime, suffering for being too long as with all their films, but it's a nice story about a woman who goes to pick saffron reminiscing about her childhood. Also a good lesson in Japanese culture, amazingly believable characters.
    AI: An amazing 'new fairy tail', doesn't hide it's message under layers of complexity, powerful and beautiful. Unforgettable
    The Incredibles- this is simply my favourite pixar film, but you've probably already seen it.
    Kamikaze Girls: A very strange japanese film about a lolita girl and her friendship with a member of a biker gang... Styled very much like a shojo anime, but don't be put off by that... It's also the only film i know which has the line "This cabbage will now be your friend", which gives it an instant +1 to awesome
    Oliver Twist (the musical), an excellent rendition of the musical.
    Chicago: Again, just an exellent take on a musical, nice use of the stage and 'real' sets too
    Men in tights and The Producers (both normal and musical) are amazing mel brooks films
    Charlie and the Chocolate factory: Another kids film perhaps, but is really sweet even by todays standards, some of the sets look very cheap though.
    Andromeda Strain: An interesting Sci fi film made by the people who would go on to be the makers of jurassic park. About a team of scientists trying to deal with an alien disease.
    The Birds: Amazing thriller/suspence
    Kurosawa's Throne of Blood: A japanese retelling of Mcbeth that's quite cool
    Gattaca: An amazing film about genetic discrimination
    National Treasure: An adventure film that is simply an adventure for the hell of it, nice shooting, not deep, but definitely fun to watch
    Dead Poet's society: A coming of age movie with robin williams in it.
    Donnie Darko: Trippy sci fi/paranormal film but well done, with some really believable, if trippy characters.

    That should do for now. I'm missing a lot of titles I normally would recommend because I can't think of them right now sorry...

    EDIT: If you need a good 'teen film' to add, go for Easy A, i was impressed by it
  3. icewolf34

    icewolf34 Well-Known Member

    Not necessarily a must-see movie, but more of 'if you want complex, try this for complex': Primer.

    I personally didn't even try to work out the entire storyline, because it seemed to me like that wasn't quite the point. But if you enjoy that sort of thing, you might like it! And it's a decent movie regardless, apparently filmed in a week on a $7000 budget.


    EDIT: I'm not doing the best job of selling this movie because it's late and I'm pretty tired. It's definitely worth watching, I'll just leave it at that. Seems like a pretty realistic depiction of how young founders might deal with technology and ethics.
  4. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    To get a clearer picture of what I mean by "complex," I would use the example Crime and Punishment. That is a really good book, something I would read a second time through. Ideally, the characters and the world should be rich enough for me to want to see it again. Comparatively, I do not feel the desire to watch Memento again, which is more of a gimmick/interesting plot mechanic.

    Argh, Donny Darko, and Chicago. I will see you one of these days. Btw, can you give a link to the AI movie you are talking about Link? Doesn't seem to be my style, but you never know.
  5. 2000 IQ Killjoy Gamer link6616

    2000 IQ Killjoy Gamer link6616 Well-Known Member

  6. Kicks

    Kicks Active Member

    I don't know what you mean by Complexity. If it's complex just to be that way, then I dunno what you really want.
    I think that entire list is pretty awesome, but you call them big disappointments. I say you have a lot of 'splainin' to do because it seems like you like the Godfather arbitrarily more than the others.

    I'm not trying to be harsh, I just wanna help you out.

    EDIT: also I haven't read crime and punishment, so...

    Anyways... Solaris, the new one, is incredibly awesome. The Fountain is pretty good too, but you'd probably hate it if you were disappointed by the others.
    Closer is good, but I could only watch it once.

    My favorite movies are Spirited Away and the new Speed Racer.
  7. John Morison

    John Morison Banned

    Both "Run Lola Run" and "Sliding Doors" deal with alternate realities that occur based on small changes in timelines.
  8. rozencrantz

    rozencrantz Active Member

    If that's the kind of complexity you want, you should probably stick to books. I think Casablanca and Citizen Kane are the only movies I know that approach literary status. for me, movies are more about style and form than human drama. I'll try to avoid just listing my favorite moves, stick to ones with expert craftsmanship, and be transparent in my reasoning.

    Memento and Inception are complex like Anaheim peppers are hot: only if you don't have anything to compare with. Next to something like Revolver, they're quite straightforward. Revolver is a philosophical brain-teaser with a lot of memorable lines, and something to actually discuss when you're done. Inception has "did the top fall over?" and that's only good for maybe a minute or two.

    Sukiyaki Western Django and Crows Zero, both by Takashi Miike, don't have particularly interesting plot or characters, they are pure style. He has been making something like five films a year for twenty years, most of them snore-fests, but it has finally payed off. Lots of scenes worth re-watching just for how they look, sound, and feel. It's hard to describe stylization in films, unfortunately.

    The last one I can think of is somewhat hard to get ahold of. Mind Game is an animated film by the studio 4 Degrees Centigrade. I think they're most famous for some spots in The Animatrix (the ep. "Beyond" is pretty representative of the studio's work). They've made a few video games, too.

    A lot of people call Mind Game "experimental" because it blends a lot of different styles -- the individual animators had a lot of control over the look and feel of the scenes they were responsible for -- and has an unconventional narrative. It isn't experimental; I've seen the hours of experiments 4dC did in order to make it what it is: an intricate, incredibly detailed piece of art. Lots of different ideas all crowding together. One friend said in summary, "they stuck another ten hours of movie in the last seven minutes."

    Unfortunately, the first ten minutes are extremely violent (rape), maybe unnecessarily so. I've been very uncomfortable showing it to some people, but the scene isn't too long, and is the only part that is really difficult to watch.
  9. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    I am really hoping this isn't the answer. I think that The Godfather was well made. It had a very compelling story with interesting/powerful characters and had a great style. It was definitely a movie I could watch again. The opening is still great/badass.

    I must have watched Spirited Away like ten times. :) Great childhood movie (the other being The Pianist) but I would like to see better characterization if possible. Those movies are "classics" for me, a classic movie defined as something kicked out of my favorite list.

    Well to explain myself Kicks, its mostly because I read that you need to watch the movie multiple times to understand it. So if I understood it the first time, that is the disappointment. They are still good movies, but the reviewer made me feel like I should be expecting more.

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, despite its relatively simple premise had great characterization. Kate Winslet filled the role really well, providing quirks and filling the character out with gestures that felt interesting or alive. Elijah Wood and Kirsten Dunst suck. But w/e. The memories were pretty great. The story wasn't sappy/moronic if you interpret it without fate or w/e. The story probably cannot stand on its own. Its a good movie, but again, the premise is pretty simple. But definitely one of the better movies released.

    Butterfly Effect comparatively sucks, although not unwatchable. I also had the misfortune of seeing the alternative ending, which was made up of even more fail. The directors are pretty much morons.

    Prestige and Memento weren't bad. But hardly something I would watch again after understanding the premise. I don't understand why people say you need to watch the movie many times to get them. Seems really straightforward. I actually DID watch Memento again to see if it was straightforward -- and it was. Although I do give Nolan credit for adding some gestures or motives to the character that you couldn't catch the first time through which made it more worthwhile.

    Being John Malkovich is both hilarious and embarrassing (I confess, I actually skipped some of the more embarrassing scenes). I am not sure how I feel about this movie, but it was a very interesting and enjoyable movie anyway. But the story was filled more with "wonderment" than anything difficult to parse.

    Inception is hilariously pop-fodder "This is not a pipe". W/e. the movie was pretty straightforward, and the teaser at the end was "meh". I really liked some of the set pieces though. Particularly at the end. Hotel fight scene was pretty cool. It was pretty cool the whole way through though, but pretty mindless.

    Oldboy is... again, disturbing and banal. The characters seem to over-exaggerate their condition and fail to understand the meaning of "hero". Like the end scene was really weak, but the guy who played the main character seemed to be a good actor? Btw, I went into the movie expecting vengeance, but this is more of a shameful vengeance rather than a "worthwhile" one. If you want to argue this one a bit more go ahead, I have a bit more to say about it, it involves a lot of spoilers though.

    I will have to check out Revolver/Mind Game. I will trust icewolf34 that Primer is pretty cool, but it would help if he did a good write up like rozencrantz.

    Btw, it helps that I haven't heard of most of these movies. Makes me feel like I am catching up. :)
  10. Fry

    Fry Well-Known Member

    If you don't like Memento, I can't help you
  11. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    I liked Memento, I just didn't think it was worth watching more than one time. Edit: Btw, I do wanna watch the other movies too, I am not opposed to thrillers/action movies (I enjoy 300 too).

    Edit: Minority Report was actually pretty amazing. I am unsure how much to attribute this to Philip K Dick or to Spielberg or to the actors.
  12. Wobberjacky

    Wobberjacky Well-Known Member

    There Will Be Blood. Watch it.

    I can recommend all sorts of classic film but without knowing which ones you've already seen the list would be crazy-long.

    If you liked Spirited Away and want better characters then definitely watch Princess Mononoke if you haven't already.

    Most (all?) film critics suck.
  13. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    Is that the milkshake movie? Pretty good, but my memory fails me. I will probably watch it again. Princess Mononoke was pretty good, but again, I would like to even better characterization and plots now.

    About the classics, go ahead. :) The thread doesn't have to be about me after all.
  14. Wobberjacky

    Wobberjacky Well-Known Member

    It is indeed the milkshake movie.

    Honestly, for literary levels of characterization and plot, there isn't much to choose from because like you said that isn't what film is truly about. In general you're just not going to find the same level of writing depth in 3 hours of video as you are in 300 pages of text. There are very few exceptions like The Godfather.

    I need to watch Casablanca again, but I find mention of Citizen Kane as an example of literature-level writing to be strange. I think the film is more important than it is good, and is so for cinematic reasons rather than the writing.

    Some classics that happen to be on my mind:

    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
    Vertigo (probably my favorite Hitchcock)
    Seven Samurai
    Dr. Strangelove
    Planet of the Apes

    Also, a smattering of newer movies:

    Lost in Translation: one of my favorites, period
    Zombieland: funniest movie I've seen in a while
    Jurassic Park: will be considered a classic, if not already
    Ocean's Eleven: still some of the most simple fun I've had watching a film
    Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: incredibly well-done short
    Memories of Tomorrow: not well known, but really impressive Ken Watanabe pet project
  15. rozencrantz

    rozencrantz Active Member

    If you're looking for difficult to parse, you seem very perceptive, so highly visible parsing-puzzles like Memento definitely aren't going to satisfy you. Most puzzle-movies give the solution at the end, so that you don't have to re-watch them. I think Primer is the only true puzzle-movie I've ever seen, and its solution is incomplete. Luckily, if you pretend the character named Granger just doesn't exist (he's relatively minor) the rest of the solution is fascinating.

    Oldboy is one of my favorites, though I don't think you've got it particularly wrong. Shameful vengeance is indeed what it is about, that's the whole theme of the Vengeance Trilogy. Lady Vengeance is the most justified, but still shameful; Oldboy is probably the least justified; Sympathy the most tragic. That's my reading, anyway.

    I don't really see what the last scene had to do with being a hero at all, though. Oh Dae-Su was never a hero: he was a wronged man who thought he wanted justice, but all along what he really wanted was just peace. The last scene is him finally getting what he couldn't get by fighting.

    Spirited Away and Mononoke are two of Miyazaki's best movies (Along with Ponyo I'd say they're his top three, but I don't know what order.) Miyazaki is the best at what he does, so if you want more, then this is not the art you're looking for.

    Movies are multidisciplinary, for better and worse. Good writing is good, but arts that are primarily about writing will always have such a large advantage that you're pretty much forced to counter-pick. Just as I would never watch Crows Zero for the characterization, I'd never watch Arcadia (a play) for the mise-en-scene.
  16. 2000 IQ Killjoy Gamer link6616

    2000 IQ Killjoy Gamer link6616 Well-Known Member

    Why have we not covered Fight club yet? it's got a lot of stuff that you probably won't notice till your second watching...
  17. Gabb

    Gabb New Member

    I'd like to put a recommendation for a movie called "Moon" that came out on DVD at the start of this year. It's a great semi low budget sci fi film that doesn't look low budget in the slightest. Even though it may resemble space oddessey 2001 it actually is in no way similar besides the fact theres a talking AI whos voice is wonderfully done by Kevin Spacey! Definintely a hidden gem
  18. Logo

    Logo Well-Known Member

    I've seen "Moon", it's pretty interesting and well done.
  19. Claytus

    Claytus Well-Known Member

    Honestly, I think you're entire premise is wrong. A movie cannot both be good and hard to parse at the same time. Being difficult to parse just makes it a bad film...

    Although, good movies do have multiple levels of interpretation as well. I'm shocked you can say you've gotten everything out of some of these films after having only seen them once. I definitely had to do some reading on a few of them. Like Inception being about whether the practice of making movies holds inherent value or not was completely lost on me at first.

    I'll definitely second Seven Samurai and Donnie Darko (Donnie Darko in particular contains the level of complexity you seem to want if you look for it... but you kind of need extra information, there was an ARG style website when the movie first came out that added a lot to it...).
  20. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    By "complicated," I mean just having complicated characters that require thought to understand, usually meaning that you watch the movie multiple times. You usually do this by having a stellar plot with good actors/actresses and great scenes. The other method is the one Nolan uses that I don't like, its more gimmicky. They are still good for the first time through, but there isn't much left afterwards.

    I don't think I was clear enough in my last post. I think Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind had a pretty good character in Clementine. As I said, Kate Winslet really makes the character feel alive with physical gestures, tone, pacing, belief that would be hard to pull off in a book. Even if the premise is basic, this is still an impressive feat and would make me want to watch the movie (with the caveat that I actually haven't watched too many movies while focusing on the acting). Btw, cinemaphiles, you should recommend even BETTER characters/actors. Hopefully shouldn't be hard. :)

    Do not read this post if you want to watch Oldboy.

    The reason that I disliked Oldboy is that it is based off Oedipus the King, but it really kills what drew me into the story. The draw of King Oedipus is that he is a tragic hero, and it should be noted that he is still heroic. Although everyone would have liked to ignore what happened, he still goes ahead and pursues the truth to the end. Upon finding out the truth, Jocasta kills herself because she cannot handle bearing with this crime. Oedipus on the other hand chooses to live with the burden and (depending on the story) exiles himself from society, accepting his fate. In his acceptance, his amor fati, Oedipus sets himself apart from others.

    Oldboy on the other hand is extremely vindictive/shameful and pulls it out to extreme. On one hand, you do not forget who has transgressed you (the main antagonist) making him a shallow fool, on the other hand, you forget the most painful and thus the most vital memory you own (Oh Dae-su, actually he wasn't even strong enough to forget it by himself). This is just too wrong for me, although the actor of Oh Dae Su is pretty good. The cost of peace is too great, and makes his transgression even worse in my opinion. This is characterized by his madness at the end. Just look at his face, that is not the face of serenity.

    That end scene went a long way on increasing my respect for the actor.
  21. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    Ok, here is the thing about Nolan I noticed right away when he is creating his own plotlines, especially Memento, Prestige, and Inception. He tries to get at the academic thought process of movies. Like there is this moment in Memento where it goes:

    Leonard Shelby: How can you read that again?
    Leonard's Wife: It's good.
    Leonard Shelby: Yeah, but you read it like a thousand times.
    Leonard's Wife: I enjoy it.
    Leonard Shelby: I always thought the pleasure of a book was wanting to know what comes next.
    Leonard's Wife: Hey, don't be a prick. I'm not reading it to annoy you, I enjoy it. Just let me read... please.

    Anyway, understanding this mindset, it became pretty easy for me to understand how most of his movies work. And there really is not too much depth behind them. The reason that metaphors are powerful is the way the juxtapose a relatively normal scene with something extreme (malovelence or humor), but Nolan's is relatively light and becomes so normal that it could be said just about everything.

    Case in point, I read that movie article, and then replaced the cinema team with pretty much any other team and could get the same result. :/

    Anyway, Inception. I did watch it twice, mostly because I did not mind seeing the action again. After watching the movie the first time through, I went into a decent conversation with my friend about the movie. And I realized immediately (which is after posing the question "did the top fall") that the top falling or not would not matter. The only question was, how should I interpret Dumm with my understanding of the movie. Which btw, most "analysis" seems to forget. This is just retrospective analysis and is not really too interesting. Requires watching it once more, if then.

    And to create the best form Dumm, there really is just one way to understand it. Every other analysis choses to ignore evaluating Dumm's actions/psychology to taking the whole movie as a metaphor. I think this is not a good way to watch the movie, mostly because the "metaphorical analysis" is easily surmised on a Calvin and Hobbes comic or a sentence by Pauline Kael.
  22. Claytus

    Claytus Well-Known Member

    Well said. (btw... what is "Dumm"?). Anyway, Nolan happens to be my favorite director, but I don't think I'd disagree with anything you said. I never found his movies hard to understand, I just think they're well made.

    Honestly, when I want to see good acting and characters like you're asking for, I go to the theater... a good play just does that stuff better. I watch movies for all the stuff you can't see elsewhere (cinematography, special effects, etc...)

    Have you seen Insomnia? I'd currently expect it to be your favorite of Nolan's films. Some outstanding acting, and it's actually about the characters directly instead of wrapping the stuff in a plot puzzle the way Inception or Memento does.
  23. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    I think the actual spelling is Dom (main character's name is Dom Cobb), my mistake. :) I really should take up going to the theater.

    I will give Insomnia a watch through too. Although I must say I am just not very impressed by Nolan's characterization, as clean as the movie might be. I would love to be proven wrong though.

    Btw, I am keeping note of all the other movies too.

    Fight Club... I have to be honest, I haven't really liked Brad Pitt. But the book was great. I had a hard time watching the film though, I am going to need to watch it again to figure out my reaction to it.
  24. SillySod

    SillySod Active Member

    No one has mentioned Sin City yet. Why?
  25. 2000 IQ Killjoy Gamer link6616

    2000 IQ Killjoy Gamer link6616 Well-Known Member

    I can explain that one...

    It rests with Alexander and return of the king as one of the 3 films I slept through half way through. I didn't get into it
  26. Claytus

    Claytus Well-Known Member

    Yeah... Sin City is a great comic book, I'd recommend anyone read it. But the movie just didn't grab me. (300 and Watchmen had the same effect for me... though I'd say 300 is probably the best of the three films?)

    Haha... really? Guess our taste doesn't overlap at all, he's one of my favorite actors too. Mostly because of how versatile he is... check out the accent he pulls off in Snatch, for example... and then it compare it to his performance in Inglorious Basterds.

    On that note, anyone here seen The assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford? I really enjoyed it, much more than I expected, it probably falls into the category of films described here.
  27. Wobberjacky

    Wobberjacky Well-Known Member

    Several of my film-loving friends have had Donnie Darko ruined for them by high expectations. Don't let it happen to you. It's fun to watch and has some great atmosphere, just don't go in expecting some sort of deeply convoluted plot. It's fairly straightforward. It's one of those things that's actually rather good, but overrated at the same time.

    This advisory not brought to you by Jake Gyllenhaal's publicist.
  28. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    lol, I haven't tried hard. Although I didn't mind him in Inglorious Basterds (but that whole movie was like an in-joke). Its just the way he talks in some of the movies, it irritates me.

    I think I just remember all of his bad moments. I just found out he was in Babel and I liked him in that.

    Edit: Btw, Its hard to hype me up for stuff. Except when Platinum Games releases a new game. :)

    Edit 2: I liked Snatch the first time through, but last time I fell asleep. :( To be fair, that probably wasn't a good time to watch a movie.
  29. TheMadKing

    TheMadKing Member

    Pulp Fiction
    Reservoir Dogs
    Inglourious Basterds
    Sin City
    Pink Floyd's The Wall
    V For Vendetta
    The Godfather I and II
    Dr. Strangelove
    Before the Devil Knows You're Dead <- Very surprised no one's mentioned, excellent film
    Schindler's List
    Citizen Kane
    Cool Hand Luke
    No Country for Old Men
    Monty Python and the Holy Grail
    Battle Royale

    I could go on for a bit but that's my short list of really good movies. Obviously not all of them are meant to be serious, heh.

    Also I rather liked Inception, not so much the "I bet there's some deeper meaning" as "this movie was just good."
  30. Wobberjacky

    Wobberjacky Well-Known Member

    Haha, so the same as the rest of Tarantino's films? Resevoir Dogs is still my favorite by the way.
  31. Logo

    Logo Well-Known Member

    The assassination of Jessie James and so on...

    Was sooo long and soooo not slow paced, but it certainly took it's time. That said Jessie James and Robert Ford were played amazingly and it's worth seeing the film once (and only once).
  32. TheMadKing

    TheMadKing Member

    My brethren! :D
  33. Kicks

    Kicks Active Member

    Second MadKing for Before the Devil Knows You're Dead.

    It's really really good. I was fortunate enough to see it at a film festival our local theater holds every year. I also saw Lust Caution during that festival. I think Ang Lee's movies are the only I've seen that have drama during a sex scene rather than the scene just having a simple meaning for the plot or characters.

    I'll also second There Will be Blood for movies with characters that take a lot to understand, if that's really what you're looking for.

    I also think that I'll have to agree with some others here that I feel like you're not looking at certain movies the right way as awful and elitist as that sounds.

    In the psychology thread, I made a post about the HBO show In Treatment. It has the most realistic characters I've ever seen in film. Being episodic, I think the characters actually have the time and means to become that developed and complex. There's really not enough time in movies to do that.

    Sorry about those who don't like Sin City that much. One of the biggest draws for me and Fight Club is how well they exemplify how strange and intense being male can be.

    I'm gonna re-recommend Solaris to everyone reading because it's not very well known but an amazing movie.
  34. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    Btw, I wanna ask if you can list all the movies I managed to get "wrong," it would help me out a lot. :) Also keep in mind that I don't think Nolan's movies like Memento are bad, it is competent, well made. 3/5, 4/5 or whatever. They just aren't complex.

    The only movies I have actively disliked in this thread is Butterfly Effect (which is moronic) and Oldboy (which is halfway decent).
  35. rozencrantz

    rozencrantz Active Member

    Maybe someone can explain the whole Tarantino thing to me. I've never understood why he's so popular. His movies seem pretty vacuous to me, mostly re-treads of Takashi Miike's ideas about transgressive cinema, with a lot of unnecessary chatter (like the whole long bit about the Psalm in Pulp Fiction.)

    I think the thing that really bugs me about him is the feeling like he's just trying to show off how cool and edgy he is, without really doing anything to back it up. Compared to the stuff that inspired his movies, he comes off really bland.
  36. Wobberjacky

    Wobberjacky Well-Known Member

    I think the explanation is you're taking his movies too seriously. He's basically a Film Student in a Famous Director's body.

    Most Tarantino films are full of cinema in-jokes. In that respect, Tarantino and Miike's work are opposites. In my opinion, Miike is all about defying convention, whereas Tarantino is celebrating/parodying it.
  37. sage

    sage Well-Known Member

    (but, don't read that website imo)
  38. Waterd103

    Waterd103 Well-Known Member

    Based on what you want to find, I 100% recommend PI

    Have in mind , Complex is not a good thing, if you cant understand the film, more than achievement is a failure of the director. In fact if you want to get films where you wont get a shit, there are sveral Z-movies , specially SCI FI or TERROR where the plot makes no fucking sense, and no matter how you build it, its impossible to make a storyline from what you get, examples like the 70 film ¨The horror¨

    BTW did you watch 2010: A space Odyssey?

    Another kind of recommendation on this line, which is a fun film and is kind of messy but not more than the level of say inception. Which I think its ok, Its Vanilla Sky. I think Tom cruise is synonymous of bad movie, but this one is probably his best one imo.

    EDIT: Oh I forgot to mention a very important Film of this kind ¨The Machinist¨ This and equilibrium were the two films that made me fan of Christian bale before he was casted for Batman. Actually This is the one that I would recommend the most from the other 3 films I mentioned.

    EDIT2: Have in mind I think all this films are around the quality level of Memento, So if Memento wasnt good enough for you , i fear you wont find a film of this style that you will like.
  39. Claytus

    Claytus Well-Known Member

    These things are very true. But I think both of you guys are selling him a bit short. His movies are admittedly somewhere between a parody and a celebration of whatever nearly dead genre he's gotten into recently. (edit: Haha, I wasn't copying wobberjacky, we actually came up with the same thing)

    But they also manage to end up being some of the best film's ever made in that genre. I mean, his stuff, because it's actually cool... not because he's being pretentious. It's really hard to hate the guy because if you listen to any interviews it's really obvious how ridiculously thorough his knowledge of cinema is, and how much he loves what he's doing. And his movies are really just expressing that love of movies in a super fun way so that everyone else can see how awesome Kung-fu movies, or Gangster movies, or whatever actually are.

    Agreed on Equilibrium. But I've never seen The Machinist... what is it about?

    Also, randomly, I never liked Pi... nothing against the film, the quality is there, but the entire thing was constructed around a view of the world that I hold to be so false as to be laughable. It's a struggle for me to sit through it without openly scorning it, much less analyze it...
  40. Waterd103

    Waterd103 Well-Known Member

    Mmm, I dont know how that would stop you of enjoying the film. I mean, the idea of ¨the force¨ is completely false to me , still I find star wars movie enjoyable.

    The machinist is a psychological thriller. And I think its the kind of movie you will enjoy more if you know absolutely nothing on whats about.
  41. Claytus

    Claytus Well-Known Member

    It's a lot more than just that. It's the entire concept that there's such a thing as forbidden knowledge, and that someone could ever be justified in destroying progress (mathematical progress, in this case).

    It kinda gets back to that thread from a long-time ago where people here were talking about how there was a certain allure to playing games from before they learned about game design, and they wish they could have that old feeling back. As I said back then, I still find it impossible to even respect that viewpoint, much less understand it...

    Haha... okay, guess I'll check it out.
  42. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    Ok, catching up.

    I didn't like Pi for much the same reason as Claytus. Liberal Art majors should not deal with mathematics (or anything involving thinking really). :)

    I liked Pulp Fiction. The dialog is good, the scenarios are fantastic, and the world really draws you in. That was my experience when I watched it a while ago. Again, memory is pretty hazy but I enjoyed it. I can't think of another director that he could have copied that from. I would say similar things about Reservoir Dogs but that one I really don't remember at all (I remember a few scenes, like the tipping).

    Inglourious Basterds I need to watch again. Either it is one of the best movies released or one of the worst. It just has that mixture of serious/awesomeness (Christoph Waltz) and comedy (Brad Pitt, Hitler, the silly premise of the theater, the title) that I am completely unsure what to feel about it. Also, almost all of the reviewers who hated this movie are morons.

    I watched Fight Club again (instead of reading for my midterm). Better than I remembered, and also was better the second time through. I also liked Brad Pitt more, but I still can't care for his gestures/mannerisms (the guy just twitches all the time and turns around way too much). He is definitely not a bad actor though. The director is pretty good and the scenes were fantastic. Edward Norton impressed me, although I can't say I liked him the whole way through. Very unsure about Helena Carater though, but she was very pleasing to watch the first time through. Of course the whole premise is freaking awesome anyway, and I actually like the director's vision and his changes.
  43. Logo

    Logo Well-Known Member

    What about 12 Monekys? I really enjoyed the movie, but could see how other people might not like it. It fits my interpretation of time travel as well, but maybe it doesn't for people who take some parts of the movie differently than I do.
  44. Claytus

    Claytus Well-Known Member

    Definitely one of the best... Christoph Waltz's performance alone puts it way up there.

    Also one of my favorite actors...

    Ooh... I always forget about that one, I love that film.
  45. Waterd103

    Waterd103 Well-Known Member

    have to agree on 12 monkeys, it fits the kind of movie infernovia is looking for and is one of the best films in that regard. I like it more than memento, so thumbs up!
    Technik4 likes this.
  46. Kicks

    Kicks Active Member

    I had a discussion with my sister this afternoon about this. We talk about movies often and nearly as often we come to the conclusion that, like everything else, it comes down to taste.

    In my own experiences, I really don't enjoy American Beauty. Everyone around me likes it or loves it. I recognize it as a good or even great film, but for me, everything was obvious or un-enlightening.

    The discussion with my sister arose when I asked her if people not liking certain things pissed her off. Because when you said

    It nearly enraged me. Now my real hope is for you to actually enjoy movies more. I would give better examples for you if I could deduce what it is you actually appreciate. So I can only provide my own.

    If you look at the Wachowski bros, you could say that V, Matrix and Speed Racer are all the same movie. One their big stylistic choices is repetition, cycles or pattern. I LOVE THIS! There was a time about 8 years ago when I couldn't say this, but I feel my appreciation and understanding of movies has grown so now I can.

    The journey during a movie is a lot more important than the plot for me nowadays. And how I can relate to and improve myself because of it.

    Watching Inception, I immediately related to a lot of the characters in lots of ways. The whole movie was about creating. It made me happy knowing that people who consider themselves less creative than myself could relate to the real power of creativity and that it's in everyone. It made me feel connected and important. It also helped me realize why and how others realize themselves and their own creative power. I feel this is a message so deep and complex that it can only be told through certain media and the fact that it was pulled off with a film meant it was a wonderful success. When you say it was "straightforward" i thought "well, what the hell were you looking at the whole time?" While broad, that was just one aspect of that movie. I feel there were lots of lessons to be learned by focusing on different things.

    What do you appreciate? What is obvious and boring to you?

    I think that can help you, but I think you need to broaden what it is you actually appreciate or look harder and you'll be able to find it in unexpected places.

    Your definition of complex still seems unobvious or illogical to me.
  47. rozencrantz

    rozencrantz Active Member

    My understanding is he's pretty open with how much he draws from Miike. Kill Bill 1 was pretty much IZO with a motive tacked on. I don't think Miike minds much, Tarantino was in Sukiyaki Western Django. Did a pretty decent job of it.

    Maybe I'm jaded, but the dialog just seems like chatter to me. All that stuff about the Psalm and the act of god seemed like high-school introspection, stuff I've moved past.

    A lot of really popular "deep" movies fit this mold; The Matrix, Inception, Evangelion, even Waking Life, according to my dad: If you have never thought about the ideas in the movie before, they're big questions and they're profound movies. And that's a good thing. But they are ideas that you have to move on from and grow out of, and once you have they can start to look silly.

    Though I might be wrong: Kicks, I hope you can elaborate more on Inception. I didn't get at all that it was about creation, I saw it as sort of a Matrix redux, with better acting and a more sensible premise. The only connection I can think of is the hospital scene (with the pinwheel), which was admittedly one of the best parts of the movie.
  48. Final Atomic Buster

    Final Atomic Buster Active Member

    Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but would it be similar if I said I generally don't feel anything for the main characters in revenge movies? As in, I believe revenge to be a primitive emotion that once you're properly grown up, you don't feel as much. Or realise it's fruitless and such.

    Not saying that I hate any movie that has revenge as it's theme, some are still enjoyable to watch. Just that I don't sympathise with any of its antagonists.

    Also, I'm not saying that anyone who connects strongly with revenge is wrong. I could be wrong here for all I know...
  49. Claytus

    Claytus Well-Known Member

    Hmm... I really can't agree with any of that.

    I mean, The Matrix is just Joseph Campbell's hero cycle... like, the most classic of all classic story types. Combined with some fairly modern ideas like the dangers of technologies... which is totally relevant right now, moreso than ever before in human history.

    Inception... we talked about it. Again, it's a story about whether stories are important. Might seem obvious... until you realize that the question is not settled, and the games industry is currently fighting court battles over their first amendment rights because people don't understand the answer...

    Evangelion is... uh... really hard to sum up. But deals with depression and the concept of religion as a way to understand the world (as in pre-history). Again... really hard to say those topics can just be "grown out of", when some people's entire lives can center around dealing with those issues.

    And then Waking Life... I don't really care about defending that one, so you can have it.
  50. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    Claytus, don't catch the ellipses. :(

    Anyway, I can agree with rosencrantz here. I don't think Inception was bad, it was enjoyable. Entertaining. But it is still pop fodder. The amount of people trying to explain the movie was humorous, and the wild goose chase that these people went through even more so. It was pretty much in every pop-culture site, but its evaluation has absolutely no effect on people who have been immersed in this industry. That is why it is pop-fodder.

    This is the same with Matrix despite the fact that they wanted to base it off of Baudrillard, and even more easily with Inception where it is showcasing its dreamology. In short, if you want to see the relevant ideas behind the movies, you would want to read the work of sociologist, philosophers, economists etc. who actually understand what is happening. The effect of the movie is far lower than the ideas that they were inspired by, especially with their tendency to get it wrong. It is kinda like watching PI while understanding science/mathematics/the thought process of the director.

    I agree, the creative power is powerful. But this I can see with any of the great works (Homer, Goethe, Emerson, Shakespeare). However, it does not work in reverse, a work that tells me that the creative power of humans is great is not itself good. To me, it is simply stating a fact, it is stating the most obvious thing in the world. That is why I do not need a movie to tell me this, because it is the reason why I like to watch movies, look at paintings, read stories, watch plays in the first place. In short, I completely agree with you, but it is simply my starting point of evaluating movies.

    Also, I don't think you are giving Inception enough credit. I think this is a side effect of you being impressed by the movie. What you were impressed by, in short, was the stage design, the characters, the plot, the acting, the action, the dialog. But here, again, I will point to another idea. What if the stage design was improved, the characters made even more intricate, the plot more interesting, the acting more "alive", the action made more visceral and the dialog sharper, better, cleverer? Wouldn't this affirm the ability of cinema even more?

    That is what I am looking for. I am looking for improvement, I am looking for masters of their craft who keeps making their work finer (lighting, directing, editing, acting, recording, sound, scriptwriting). Didn't the masters of theater come to the movies back in the day to showcase their talent? I think the quality of the movie should be even better than the theater (noting that theater actors have more demanding work), since it is so much easier to make a movie.

    With Inception, I thought the stage design and the action were top notch. And Dom Cobb wasn't a bad character. But everyone else was definitely more formulaic and his basic idea pretty simple. Plus, it doesn't help that I understood the flow of the story immediately, and I felt I completely understood his mindset.

    Let me say it again though Inception was fairly enjoyable. There were many mistakes in Nolan's production based on mathematics but I completely ignored them because I was enjoying the ride. That is pretty impressive.
    specs likes this.

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