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

  1. Fry

    Fry Well-Known Member

    I watched "Primer" recently. It seemed straightforward enough for most of the movie, but by the end I had really no clue what was going on (but in a good way, I guess?).

    Before that, I watched "Timecrimes". It's in Spanish, but I watched with English dub because I am that guy. Anyway, it's not hard at all to follow, but I still found it kinda entertaining. Plus there's a reasonably hot naked chick, so it's got that going for it.
  2. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    Watched Fugitive. Holy shit, great movie. Easy 5/5. Was on the edge of my seat the whole time.

    Edit: I really liked the intro to Blade Runner so much when the camera shows you the city. A city so completely filled with the grime and power of industry, looked incredibly fantastic. I love all the sci-fi stuff in this movie. And then the narration came in... and for the most part, you could tell he didn't want to do it. But I didn't feel like the whole story coming together at the end (I understood it, it just felt like it was going in a new direction), it didn't feel cathartic, more that it felt done. So again, this is ambiguous. Might be better when re-watching it.

    This is getting to be pretty true. Re-reading this thread, this was one of my bigger errors. The other is needing two runs to understand a movie, sometimes you can understand everything the first time but it might be so EPIC or so awesome (basically means it completely agrees with your viewpoint) that you need to watch it again. The Fugitive is one of those, same with Die Hard, or even Fight Club. Movies like Shutter Island and Blade Runner are relatively rare.

    The final mistake was not giving a numerical rating...
  3. sage

    sage Well-Known Member

    Did you not watch the director's cut? The voiceover was removed! (or at least, I'm pretty sure - I could rewatch it tonight and confirm)
  4. Margalis

    Margalis Banned

    There are like 7 different versions of Blade Runner. It's ridiculous. Director's cut does not have narration. (Neither does the director's cut of Dark City.)

    Edit: Also the premise of this thread is extremely flawed. Studies have shown that people tend to overrate themselves, and the worse people are at things they more they tend to overrate. If you watch a movie that is supposed to be "complex" but you "understood it all" the first time that might say something about the movie but it might also say something about you. I would contend that someone who watches movies then focuses on whether or not they were able to completely figure out the movie in one watch is missing something in both their analysis of that particular movie and in movie-watching itself. It's not about solving a singular puzzle or extracting a single easily summarized meaning.

    A famous quote from Flannery O'Connor:

  5. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    Yeah there are a lot of Blade Runner releases. I mean, I can watch it without it, thats not the big deal... its just that it would be really silent without it. There is no "definite" version that the producers or the fans are happy with that I know of, although I am always listening for recommendations.

    I will admit the premise of the thread was flawed, but that is not the reason and I think you are kind of misreading my intentions. The reason the premise is flawed is because I was sort of confused, and I should have made a more stringent effort at explaining what I meant by complexity. That is, something like the book Crime and Punishment, not stuff that tries to appear very close to nonsense or is known for their twist like Memento. "Figuring out" the movie means: did I understand why the story flowed the way it did, did I understand the character's motivation, what would I have done in their situation, what were my visceral reactions to these events, did I figure out the intention behind these events, etc. This I find way more enjoyable and more complex than twist plots or w/e.

    When I read Crime and Punishment I am keeping all of these things in mind and it is incredible. The character variety, the situations, their reasoning, their actions, all are incredibly interesting, they all feel real (more real than reality?) in a way that I had never experienced before. Now, I would probably rate Memento as a 3/5 just because I did not dislike the experience, but the focus in there is completely different from what I wanted. I am looking for something like Breathless. Although I would count the amazing story control and tight tension in the Fugitive as something epic as well.

    And I admit, I lost that thread in the beginning. Which is why the premise is flawed.

    That statement by Flannery O'Connor is also wrong, unless it actually means "you can't tell a story without it being a story" in which case it is correct.

    But if I misinterpreted what you said, feel free to bash me. :)

    Anyway, I have a few movies lined up by Kurosawa for the next few weeks, what movie should I start with? Already watched Ran, maybe Kagemusha?
  6. Margalis

    Margalis Banned

    I'm going to take Flannery O'Connor over you.

    The point of that quote is that in a written story, while there may be some themes or lessons you can distill, the full meaning of a story is the actual story and not a word less. You can't read a 300 page novel and say "well clearly the novel means this!" Or "what the author was trying to say was this!" It's 300 pages, reducing it to that level is to lose all nuance and complexity. If you could summarize The Metamorphosis as "weird shit happens" Kafka may as well have just written that instead of a whole novella.

    Honestly I have no idea what you are talking about with Crime and Punishment, Momento and The Fugitive. The Fugitive is a pretty well-done thriller. Sure. Maybe it's better than Momento in that Momento relies more on a twist and the storytelling structure than the fundamentals of a good story. So you are looking for movies with strong characterization and plotting?
  7. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    I know what Flannery O'Connor is saying, its just that he is using language wrongly and so are you. But w/e, I will accept your argument as an extension of Claytus's point that I quoted a few posts before, as that is clearly the fundamental reason that you are bringing this up.

    Yes, I am looking for better characters, better plots, better setting, better direction, better acting, etc.
  8. sage

    sage Well-Known Member

    imo Director's cut or the recent rerelease, called Final Cut for some reason, which is basically the same thing.
  9. Margalis

    Margalis Banned

    You really have very little idea of what you are talking about and obviously have no idea who Flannery O'Connor is.

    I know on the internet it's cool to have complete certitude about everything but this is just absurd.
  10. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    You are right, I have no clue who she is, as I clearly had to wiki her to even figure out her gender. But that quote was definitely wrong regardless. Because what I am concerned is with the evaluation of movies, I am not saying "a movie means this one fucking sentence, thus the movie is worthless." When you are EVALUATING MOVIES you oftentimes summarize the movie's worthwhileness to you, thus that quote is quite simply unnecessary or incorrect, as there is nothing wrong with doing this at all.

    The problem was that all of the movies that people keep saying are complex are only because of one tricky idea or twist (like Memento, Inception, Matrix) which I found banal or simple or stupid. This is why I kept deriding these movies, because they are not that hard to understand! The point where she is correct is that, THAT BY ITSELF, shouldn't make it a 1/5 or a 2/5. Because they are just novelists or storytellers after all, not psychologists or sociologists or philosophers. And I didn't. When I made the thread though, I wanted the highest points movies had gotten.

    There are some stories and movies that require a lot more life experience or thinking to watch, to understand them, that is the kind of movie I am looking for. In novels, Crime and Punishment or The Idiot can't be understood by a fucking 10 year old.
  11. Margalis

    Margalis Banned

    So why not just find a list of great movies? Like the AFI top 100? Or a million other lists? Or develop some sort of personal taste?

    Who are "people?"

    Inception is complex for an action-blockbuster. That's all. A lot of the movies you list are O. Henry stories. Some people like that sort of thing. Furthermore you list at least three different Nolan movies. It seems like you are sampling an extremely narrow range of "complex" movies and I have no idea who is telling you that they are "complex." Really it seems like someone recommended a bunch of Nolan movies to you and you didn't like them and tried to turn that into some sort of broad point about movie complexity. I don't particularly like Nolan movies either - so I don't watch them. The Matrix is a pop movie - that's some sort of revelation? Again I don't think any cinephiles would say that the Matrix is a super complex cinematic tour de force - it's a fun action movie with more brains and philosophy than the Cranks of the world.

    If you want to find movies you like start with some movies you already like and follow those writers and directors.
  12. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    Margalis, seriously, wtf do you think I am doing? I have a list of directors I want to go through for this purpose. And I don't have time to watch 1000 movies to "develop my taste," nor do I want to, as I am trying to get to the meat. I would rather spend more of it playing video games. What is wrong if I want to ask other people on what I should watch?

    I used Nolan movies because they are the easiest to make my point and easily over-emphasized exactly for the wrong reasons, I could have used other movies as well.

    And I asked because I was going through Ebert's recent recommended list and found out that there was a difference in taste there so I couldn't really guarantee that the movie was worth my time, so I made a thread here.

    It is not a fucking revelation, it is an example of a movie I consider uncomplex to dissuade people from posting those kind of movies.

    Clearly, but it helps when other people point you to where you can look at. Ok, I guess I could have posted in a more movie-centric forum, but usually I find that the people here have similar tastes so I figured what the hell.
  13. Margalis

    Margalis Banned

    Are you actually looking for movies that are " difficult to understand?" Part of the appeal of a movie like Primer, for example, is that you probably have to watch it twice to put the timeline together mentally. But I don't think that "difficult to understand" is the same as either complex or good.

    The Fugitive is definitely not difficult to understand. Neither is the Godfather. At least not in the sense of being able to follow the basic narrative.

    You asked for movies that were complex or difficult to understand and name-checked a bunch of O. Henry stories but I think what you are asking for is just high-quality movies with narrative and character depth. You later clarified but most of the suggestions you got throughout the whole thread were puzzle movies.

    If you just want good movies I would look at the AFI list and the top IMDB movies.
  14. rozencrantz

    rozencrantz Active Member

    How 'bout obtuse? You've liked new-wave; Last Year at Marienbad isn't literary, but it isn't Nolan-esque either. I didn't entirely understand it, but it's cinematically important.

    I can't remember if you've weighed in on cinematic abstractions like Marienbad, Mindgame, Cremaster, Big Bang Love, etc: Complex in the ways that are unique to film, rather than in general story-telling ways. Pro/against?
  15. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    Bad phrasing. You are absolutely correct, although I would have gotten puzzle movies regardless. The Fugitive was at least incredibly entertaining for it's length and I was really impressed with his tension and story control. Not exactly what I am looking for, but it fell short in the good way. Its the same with Catch Me if You Can, which was at least entertaining enough to make me forgive it.

    Problem with IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes is that I would rather have a rating from a person I understand rather than a whole, although it is a mediocre place to start. But again, whatever.

    Also: 17 THE GRADUATE [>] Really? Well, whatever, it is not that bad of a movie. Anyway, I really doubt this list is what I am looking for, but yeah I guess I will start there.

    Anyway, rozencrantz, have you watched a movie like Breathless? Ideally that is the kind of movie I would be searching for, but I don't really mind puzzle movies. I think all great directors further the power of the cinema though, so I don't really know what to say about that. They are usually entertaining for the time I watch them, so usually a 3/5. Next movie I am going to watch will be Throne of Blood by link's suggestion, then the movie you just recommended. How about another Kurosawa recommendation or from a director as awesome as him?
  16. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    Can someone explain why this movie is highly rated? I almost walked out of it because I was getting that irritated, and this is supposed to be the next best thing after Iron Man?

    The biggest problem here is that after the first half of the movie, CA and his gangs can't be called a superheros as much as gods. There was literally 0 moment where I felt tension. Some of the things here are well done (lasers look great, even if they make 0 sense) but nothing can save it from that huge fault.

    Edit: I mean look at this review: And he gave CA something equivalent to a 4/5. You could pretty much use that whole review word for word at CA, except it would be even worse.
  17. 2000 IQ Killjoy Gamer link6616

    2000 IQ Killjoy Gamer link6616 Well-Known Member

    1940s sci fi car chases...

    Actually I thought it was REALLY well shot, especially anything using the shield pretty much. Also one if the few movies I NEVER looked at my watch during.

    But yeah, I can't say it's a movie for the ages, but it was really really pleasant.
  18. Nielas

    Nielas Member

    It really depends on which kind of story telling you like. I thought that it was a very well done origin story presented in a nostalgic style with many homages to the original Captain America comic books. If you do not like that style then you won't enjoy the movie.
  19. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    What do you mean by style? Because the movie is ok in terms of camera placement or action or how well it sets up the Avengers (unlike Iron Man 2 which did it horribly). The problem comes specifically with the portrayal of the villain which was BORING. Was the Red Skull that shitty of a villain that his legion only managed to kill ONE person despite having the best weaponry imaginable and was thwarted by CA at every turn? So much so that every single attempt can be compiled into a 15 min montage where no size or scope of the battle is understood?

    Was that really what the original comic was like? I refuse to believe it. Worst part is that these reviewers seem so inconsistent with their judgement.
  20. 2000 IQ Killjoy Gamer link6616

    2000 IQ Killjoy Gamer link6616 Well-Known Member

    I as actually really annoyed with the red skull too... I'd just assumed from MvC3 somehow that Taskmaster was the villain. And felt so cheated with the red skull.
  21. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    Moneyball might be one of the worst movies I have seen. Critically praised to be great despite the horrible characters, plot development, boring acting, horrible pacing, stupidly going for emotion manipulation (what is wrong with everyone!!!). Please do yourself a favor and do not watch it. People have been describing this as the baseball version of The Social Network which makes me even less prone to see that movie.
  22. Claytus

    Claytus Well-Known Member

    Kinda jumping back a bit, but I think you guys are misrepresenting CA a bit. The movie is crazy true to the original comic book... like probably moreso than any other comic book movie ever made.

    Yeah, the Red Skull isn't that great a villain, but that's just how it worked back then. Comics were squarely aimed at kids back in that era, and Red Skull in his initial appearances was almost more a bumbling/comedic caricature of nazis than an actual threat. It's also worth noting that Bucky's death was basically the first death of a character in a superhero comic book ever. There's major nostalgia in all those moments for anyone previously familiar with the material. But yeah, if you're not aware of that stuff, it just comes off as weirdly tame by modern standards.

    A lot of why the movie was so highly praised is that were able to integrate that stuff together. The original source material is pretty propaganda-heavy. That they were able to retain the spirit of it without being insulting to modern Germany or any of the other millions of pitfalls they could have fallen into with those characters is impressive.
  23. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    Thank you Claytus for describing it so clearly and concisely. Still, I think my criticisms stand. Especially in a culture where we are not ruined by propaganda and have moved on more realistic portrayal, it's just out of place.
  24. ChessPlayer

    ChessPlayer Banned

    How about a radical new concept; don't watch shitty super hero movies culled from idiotic, horribly written 50's comics? Or better yet, avoid all the films aimed squarely at the 8 year old target demographic in general?

    If you desire a purely entertaining film, see one that has quality action and/or humor. If you want a serious work of art, watch something aimed for an audience that has experienced puberty.

    It's depressing reading people here discussing the latest shittastic super hero film in a serious manner.
  25. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    All of your criticisms are true ChessPlayer, however, I wanted to know why Captain America was (almost) universally praised because none of the reasons I have read made sense. When I come into situations like this, I try to do my best to understand where the other person is coming from to make sure I am not missing anything. So it does not make sense to attack Claytus for attempting to explain it, especially when he did it so well. It is the best thing written in favor of CA that I have read in the internet.

    Since you are here though, what is your opinion on The Gladiator? It was apparently one of the best movies out but I disagree with that. A lot of it probably had a lot to do with the technological problems I was having but it did strike me as merely a good movie rather than a great one.
  26. ChessPlayer

    ChessPlayer Banned

    Part of it is dishonest reviewers who are shills for studio. Among many other reasons, it's also people who have been beaten down for so long with shitty, childish films that they've forgotten what a good film is supposed to look like.

    That's not just limited to superhero films; in early July, I watched Midnight in Paris. It was decent. Nothing more, nothing less. Funny and entertaining times, but also as predictable and cliche as it gets. A legendary old director mailing it in a bit, but still showing his ability occasionally.

    However, many people were raving about how great it was, and compared to all the other trash out at the time, it probably was. But even 3-5 years ago, I think the reaction to the film would have been far more tepid.

    At the end of the day, I've learned not to expend too much energy on why people have certain beliefs on films or books.

    I wasn't attacking Claytus or even writing that post specifically towards him, although I did quote his reply. It was more a general response to everyone who wrote about "Captain America" as if it were an actual, serious movie, instead of the piece of fluff for 8 year olds it was.

    I'm going to assume you mean the film directed by Ridley Scott with Russell Crowe and not the 1986 Abel Ferrera flick.

    I've actually never heard or read that anywhere.

    Yes, I would completely agree. I rated it as a good film, but certainly not a great one. Very formulaic, (annoyingly) historically inaccurate, with a dumb, almost laughable ending that didn't fit the picture.

    There were a lot of good things about it too, including the acting, music, visual style, several of the battles, and even concept, but it wasn't anything that blew my mind.

    Still, considering how many "highly rated" films I think are complete trash or mediocre (2001: A Space Odyssey, Casablanca, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, A Beautiful Mind, etc, etc.), I don't have any problem with "Gladiator", which is a good picture.
  27. Lofobal

    Lofobal Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure you'll fit in here.
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  28. ChessPlayer

    ChessPlayer Banned

    Don't feel so butthurt, little baby. ;)
  29. rozencrantz

    rozencrantz Active Member

    Wait, what's wrong with Casablanca? I'm really curious about that one. Like, I love 2001, but I totally get why you would not like it. That movie is austere even by Kubrick standards. Casablanca's so tightly produced though, sometimes it feels almost eerie. Stuff like the La Marseillaise scene, under ordinary circumstances that kind of thing isn't even possible. You can't fake that.

    That movie does something I don't see that often, "they say what we wish they would have said, not what they really would have said." I think it's a useful device, and pretty flawlessly executed.
  30. ChessPlayer

    ChessPlayer Banned

    Well, I could link you to my review, which describes all the idiotic plot holes, and generic, predictable elements of the movie (including one of the dumbest endings in film history). Basically, it's a weepy, standard, 40's romance set in an exotic locale, with just as much kitsch.

    However, I could do one better, and instead link you to one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, the extremely smart, well-educated Umberto Eco. Not only does he state why the film is mediocre, but ALSO why it's so popular.

    In fact, he mentions the La Marseillaise scene in particular;

    It's a really terrific read, and my favorite film review; I encourage everyone to check it out.
  31. Claytus

    Claytus Well-Known Member

    Did you actually read the review you linked? It doesn't say it's mediocre at all. He says that individual elements that make up the film are mediocre, and then gives a rather compelling argument as to why the film manages to be greater than the sum of it's parts.

    You seem to guilty of the two major errors in film criticism. 1) Mistaking innovative films as somehow "better" than derivative films, regardless of the skill used in their execution. 2) Viewing complexity as a virtue.

    What I mean is, yes, you're right that Captain America was probably aimed at "8-year olds" as you stated. But that's not a flaw. It's valuable in and of itself to have well-made films that can be enjoyed by children and families (i.e. parents that see the nostalgia will be having a good time). The fact that it was made with those goals in mind doesn't innately cause it to not be an "actual, serious movie", that phrase seems only applicable to a film that fails to reach whatever goals it happened to embody.
  32. ChessPlayer

    ChessPlayer Banned

    I did, but apparently, you didn't.

    From the link above,

    "The question is a legitimate one, for aesthetically speaking (or by any strict critical standards) Casablanca is a very mediocre film. It is a comic strip, a hotch-potch, low on psychological credibility, and with little continuity in its dramatic effects."

    It's one of the very first sentences, too!

    That's not what he was writing at all. Again, I seriously doubt you read the link; you probably just spent a few seconds glossing over it. Eco very clearly notes that the film is mediocre, but then gives a sterling explanation for what precise mechanism makes it so damn appealing, nonetheless.

    Namely, instead of having just one or two cliches, it has a hundred cliches, which interact with one another in a very unusual way for a film.

    That's completely different than your generic "film greater than the sum of its parts".

    I've barely even written my views about Casablanca except some notes about horrible plot holes and being a weepy 1940's romance, so I'm curious how you inferred any of this.

    Besides which, you're laughably wrong. At least 80% of the films I like are not innovative in any way.

    Most films that I enjoy are the "pure entertainment" type; straightforward comedies, kung fu, action, or exploitation that manages to entertain, but nothing more. A lot of times the core concept is very standard, but the execution is what makes it so good.

    Regardless, instead of shifting the conversation, how about mentioning what exactly you liked about Casablanca or any other film I mentioned? In fact, have you even seen the pictures in question?

    Wrong again. Where are you getting any of this nonsense?

    No, it isn't. You're right.

    However, it does make me wonder when I see 25 year-olds get into serious debates about something aimed at 8 year olds. That's the point I was making.

    Like, don't you think it would be stupid and childish to get into a serious debate about Barney the Purple Dinosaur? This is no different.

    Where did I ever infer that it wasn't? You seem to be making a lot of wild, absurd, and off-base assumptions about my tastes, for whatever reason.

    But even within the genre of "kids films adults can enjoy", something like Captain America is pretty fucking horrible.

    Examples of "good films for kids that can be enjoyed by adults" are things like

    Original Star Wars Trilogy

    Actually, it does.

    See, there are two types of movies out there. "Pure entertainment" films, which is the vast majority of pictures I watch, and thus, enjoy. Something like "The Hangover", to use a recent, popular example.

    Then, there are the serious "art" films, which have something to say about the human condition. For instance, films by directors like Lumet (RIP), Fellini, Godard, Bunuel, Bergman, etc.

    Movies for 8 year-olds definitely fall into the "pure entertainment aspect", whether they be bad (Captain America) or good (original Star Wars trilogy). So yes, whenever they take themselves too seriously, that's a huge flaw.
  33. Kristoph, the Angel

    Kristoph, the Angel Well-Known Member

    what about Toy Story 3
  34. ChessPlayer

    ChessPlayer Banned

    Haven't seen it.
  35. rozencrantz

    rozencrantz Active Member

    How is that anything but "greater than the sum of its parts"?

    I've seen it several times, mainly because of the narrative device that I mentioned before, and the mythological aspect that Eco documented so thoroughly. It never occurred to me that it might be "weepy," it has always felt like a story of triumph to me, a heroic narrative. "Have you tried 22?" and all that.

    Maybe I'm reading this bit wrong, but:
    Is that implying that the scene is unbelievable? It really seems like he's saying that it's hard to believe that scene. But like I said, that scene is one thing you can't fake.
  36. ChessPlayer

    ChessPlayer Banned

    Well, if you want to be inaccurate and confusing through the use of cliches, sure.

    I just have no clue why you're re-interpreting it into a less meaningful statement, when Umberto Eco stated it all so plainly and clearly in the link above!

    Again with the silly re-interpretation! In this case though, it's more than confusing; it's just plain wrong. Nowhere is the word mythology used in Eco's article.

    Rather, the word he uses, and it has a a very precise meaning, is kitsch. It's about as far as you can get from mythology anything.

    Eco is not "implying" that the scene is unbelievable...he's explicitly stating it!

    Yes, a common whore sleeping with the Nazis and suddenly feeling intense patriotic fervor to the point of tears upon hearing a bunch of drunks singing the French national anthem is silly and unrealistic. Believe it or not.
  37. Xom

    Xom Patreon Supporter

    I read this as saying Casablanca falls short of standards X, Y, and Z; that is, I read it as detracting but not damning.
    I read Eco describing a dichotomy, two possible categories of results from using the tried and true, before spending the remainder of the essay detailing how Casablanca falls into the latter; that is, not the former, not kitsch.

    As a side note, 'myths' and 'archetypes' refer to almost the same things.
  38. Claytus

    Claytus Well-Known Member

    Now it just sounds like you're the one who decided not to read your own link... how about moving beyond the first paragraph, and figuring out what he's actually trying to say... such as these gems from the final paragraph:

    "Made haphazardly, it probably made itself, if not actually against the will of its authors and actors, then at least beyond their control. And this is the reason it works, in spite of aesthetic theories and theories of film making."

    " Something has spoken in place of the director. If nothing else, it is a phenomenon worthy of awe."

    They may be slightly backhanded compliments to the production team, but they're compliments if I've ever heard them. I find the whole article somewhat dishonest since he's focusing on authorial intent, which is mostly irrelevant to appreciation of a work of art. Much more interesting to simply discuss what viewers see in the work or not, and he's clearly agreeing that viewers enjoy the film. But as I far as I know his statements about the production are accurate, so whatever...

    Of course I have, I own a copy of Casablanca, actually. It's not my favorite film, but it's a good one... I certainly wouldn't deny that it probably earned it's top spot on all the movie lists. I don't really feel the need to add anything here. Clearly you didn't like the writing taking as a whole, but it can't really be denied that the production team was more than competent at cinematography and all the other aspects of filmmaking. Sad that so few modern films stand up to it.

    Who ever started a serious debate? Infernovia wondered why it was received well by critics, I answered him, using a list of reasons that critics are more or less required to judge films by given their diverse audience. You decided to jump in and attack us for not moving to some arbitrary higher intellectual plane... what's your problem?

    I disagree. It's a good mix of a war film and a coming of age story with some tacked on superhero fluff to fill the action scenes. The fact that you can name better movies does not make this one bad, I can enjoy more than 4 movies at the same time, somehow. Though I agree it probably won't survive the test of time well.

    I completely disagree with this. Films are films. Entertainment films worth their salt are actually incredibly good at telling us something about the human condition. How about "King Kong" as perhaps one of the more timeless examples. Popular culture in and of itself is an integral part of modern society, and studying in is becoming just as valuable and interesting as anything arbitrarily labelled as "serious" (aka unpopular, but someone wants to make me believe it's somehow got virtues that the rest of the world is unfairly ignoring... give me a break).
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  39. ChessPlayer

    ChessPlayer Banned

    In all honesty, are you just trolling here? Serious question. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you just forgot the nonsense that you started this conversation with;

    And then, from the very first lines of the review,

    "The question is a legitimate one, for aesthetically speaking (or by any strict critical standards) Casablanca is a very mediocre film. It is a comic strip, a hotch-potch, low on psychological credibility, and with little continuity in its dramatic effects."

    You seem incredibly obstinate, even when the evidence is right there in front of you.

    Yes...what's your point? He is describing why it still has appeal despite being an objectively mediocre film.

    That is, it's mediocre, but manages to do something exceptional. I agree with this statement, and don't believe there to be any intrinsic contradiction.

    You have a hard time wrapping your brain around this concept, fine. But saying that this means Eco doesn't believe the film to be mediocre is downright stupid, especially when that statement is RIGHT THERE in the opening paragraph. He literally spends a paragraph mentioning the conditions under which the movie was made. That's it. It's a framing device, not his primary argument.

    You didn't add anything, period. You never once wrote anything you found good about Casablanca.

    All you did is offer some lazy and inaccurate objections based on having skimmed, instead of actually read through the link above.

    If the only modern films you watch are shitty superhero fluff, then yes, probably.

    If you watch slightly better, more serious work, then no.

    See, this is the epitome of an empty statement.

    Rather than explaining why you liked the film or what specifically made it good, you resort to completely fact-less statements like "good mix of a war film and a coming of age story".

    It seems like you don't have any real opinions on the movies you watch, frankly.

    This is just really stupid.

    Tell me, what did "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" teach you about the human condition? Or "Ghostbusters"?

    NOTHING. They were just really funny films.

    A meaningless statement.

    This is a really curious argument.

    Like, you're admitting to ignorance, but then reveling in the ignorance, and claiming that it's superior to intelligence.

    While I normally hate the populist argument, I also think it's funny that I mention directors widely considered among the greatest of all time by millions of people worldwide (Lumet, Bergman, Godard, Bunuel, etc.) and you respond that they're "unpopular" and thus not worth your time.

    As a matter of fact...they are popular!

    The best analogy would be someone who had never heard of Isaac Newton and said "give me a break, who cares? I'm way more impressed with Kim Kardashian!"

    Just because your profound ignorance means you haven't heard of the people being discussed, doesn't mean that other people don't know them, or that they aren't important. And it's also nothing to be proud of.
  40. Eji1700

    Eji1700 Well-Known Member

    The list(in no particular order, and it'd be longer if some hadn't already been mentioned)-
    The Departed
    Midnight Cowboy
    Angel Heart
    The Shining
    After Hours
    2001 A Space Oddesy
    The Brothers Bloom
    Plan 9 From Outer Space

    And i'll stop there for now.

    The semantics-
    Before i describe them some definitions since it's kinda important in things like this-
    Depth-(what i believe infernovia calls complexity) how deep are the characters? Do you feel for them? Do you understand them? Are they complicated? Lots of depth means a believable, or complicated character with no easy answers. Little depth could be just about any slasher flick.

    Complexity- How complicated is the movie? Things like the Nolan movies would fall here. They've got multiple arching plots with complicated plot devices that aren't easy for your average action movie aficionado to follow.

    Enjoyment- Just how enjoyable is the movie? You mentioned liking shutter island as a thinking movie, but still felt meh. I agree completely, and it's because it just falls short somewhere. Maybe it's characters or delivery or something but all in all the movie isn't as enjoyable as a lot of others. Stars wars may not be too deep or complex, but it's still pretty damn enjoyable.

    So then the more detailed summary-

    The Departed- I'd say this is all of the above, but a lot of people never found the movie very deep. I only watched it twice because i saw it again with my dad, and told him he'd love it. The amount of crap i caught the second time, that gives a lot more depth to the entire cast, was pretty staggering. I think it's a really great film and one that should wind up a classic.

    Midnight Cowboy- It's a unique experience, and something that's hard to quantify. Certainly a very deep movie, and quite frankly the less said the better it'll be.

    Angel Heart- Not a great movie, but i think it's a less known, slightly more visceral, and better version of a kinda common thriller plot.

    Chinatown- I love this movie for a lot of reasons. It's got some of the most interesting simple characters I've seen. The guy who did the casting for this deserves a medal.

    The Shining- As far as horror movies go this is one of the few i'd say does more than try to be scary. The way it's handled is very well done, and I find the ending to be much better than the book(but that's because i don't believe stephen king is actually capable of a good ending for a book. Which is odd because he does great short stories.)

    After Hours- A very unique comedy that's pretty underrated. Just enjoyable.

    Sleuth- Older movie that's one of my top 10. Again the less said the better.

    2001- Well, it'll get you thinking. The plot isn't as convoluted as some claim, but at the same time it's got an environment to it that's pretty damn unique.

    The Brothers Bloom- I don't know why but I feel like this movie somehow manages to be a combination of the above three movie traits in a wonderful way. Even though when i think about it later it should for all intents and purposes feel schizophrenic.

    Plan 9 from outer space- This is considered one of the worst movies of all time. Watching it made me feel emotions that i've never felt before or since. I think that's noteworthy.

    Saw- The first movie of the series I think is one of the few great horror films we've had in possibly the last 10 years. The sequels are cheap gore cash ins that aren't worth the time, but the first one is actually a VERY well done movie.

    And on the casablanca thing-
    "Two cliches make us laugh. A hundred cliches move us."

    Totally forgot. Since people keep throwing around Nolan I found this to actually be a really good read-
  41. Claytus

    Claytus Well-Known Member

    Not to beat a dead horse... but I'm either not understanding what you're saying here, or your standards are set really, really high. If you want a movie that's actually based around a single twist, try watching "Signs", or anything else by M. Knight Shyamalan. (actually don't... they're universably terrible). But that's an example of a movie that actually hinges on one twist, and it literally becomes laughable on a second watch because if you know the twist beforehand most of the build-up no longer even makes sense.

    Nolan's films are actually a pretty good example of someone using features like a twist ending as a minor detail that make for an enjoyable climax for theater viewers, and yet the movies are going to hold up in the long term because the films as a whole actually embody some creative ideas as well. But again... maybe you understand all that, and we're just holding the bar at a different height.

    @Chess Player: I'm not even gonna read your response, we've derailed enough threads with dumb arguments, and this was one of threads on this forum I liked most before you showed up and started calling people names. It's not like you have any chance of changing my opinion, and I never even wanted to change yours, I just think you're being too disrespectful to people who disagree. The only reason I started responding to you in the first place is because you showed up here, speaking on a fundamentally subjective topic and started making objective statements about the value of other people's opinions. And then simultaneously showed up in the game design forum and started claiming that some fairly sound and simple mathematical comparisons needed to be read as subjectively. How about trying to add something to the conversation instead of trundling around trying to impose your will upon others.
    Avatar Z likes this.
  42. ChessPlayer

    ChessPlayer Banned

    Claytus- "I made a bunch of really dumb arguments, didn't read or understand the link being discussed, and now don't want to back them up."

    My favorite argument of yours was this one, by the way;

    Totally, dude! "The Jersey Shore", "Keeping up with the Kardashians", "Twilight", and Lady Gaga are every bit as fucking valuable and interesting (hell, I would argue much MORE so!) than "Mad Men", "There Will Be Blood", and JS Bach.

    Honestly, I hope you're just trolling. ;)

    If that's the only thing you took away from my first post, your reading comprehension is really low.

    Either that, or you're one of those people who thinks that someone disliking a book/movie/video game you enjoyed is making some type of personal attack against you.

    Which is even more sad.

    Huh? I don't even know what you're talking about here?
  43. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    For this yes, my standards are just set that high. I am not bashing Nolan for trying out new and interesting method of storytelling or his twists, and he certainly does it with more finesse than Shyamalan and a lot of other guys. That is to say, his movies are actually entertaining and exciting to watch. It's clear that he knows how to direct a straight up solid movie when he did The Dark Knight, and knows how to implement a one-time enjoyable twist like the one in Memento.

    But compared to movies like Fight Club or Groundhog Day, Memento is lacking. In those movies, the twist or the supernatural event does their job of exaggerating and strengthening the purpose of the characters and their conflicts, it ends up making the film more poignant and deeper than before. It makes you want to watch the movie multiple times just because there is just a lot to take in, and also because of it's sheer awesomeness. The problem is that this is the exact praise Nolan gets for movies like Memento, but for banal reasons. This isn't a bad thing, on the contrary, we need directors like Nolan and movies like The Matrix or Inception or whatever, but I was not attempting to find movies like that when I created this topic.

    Again, I want to make it clear that I did enjoy those movies. But it was not what I was looking for. I could summarize what I can say is that I am looking for great, not just competent or good. Which would allow people to recommend stuff like Die Hard, but I wanted more things like Breathless as well.
  44. icewolf34

    icewolf34 Well-Known Member

    Claytus, I think that infernovia quote is just saying that the Matrix, Inception, even Primer, and so on are not actually complex in a satisfying way. They're good movies, but not complex.

    Reading back through the thread, I found this:
    This is really interesting to me. What did you enjoy more in Die Hard on the second watchthrough? Why don't other action movies have that effect?
  45. ChessPlayer

    ChessPlayer Banned

    I completely agree with this.

    I am continually baffled by anyone who calls Inception "complicated". I feel like I'm in Bizarro World or something.

    I absolutely loved Inception; I consider it an all-time great picture, but one of its chief qualities is how banally simple and straightforward it is. That's fine. Nolan made possibly the greatest summer blockbuster popcorn film ever. A masterpiece of pure entertainment.

    Here's the thing about Nolan. He makes really fucking exciting movies. Perfectly paced, visually enchanting, gripping films. They're blockbusters meant for mass consumption and enjoyment, nothing more. I respect that.

    There are dozens of plot holes in each one (Inception included), and his dialogue has improved from awful (at the beginning of his career) to merely mediocre, but lately, it hasn't mattered.

    I consider both "Memento" and especially "Batman Begins" to be utter shit.

    However, his last three films, "The Prestige", "The Dark Knight", and "Inception" were all legitimately great, amazing stuff. I see improvement in each new picture of his.
  46. Kristoph, the Angel

    Kristoph, the Angel Well-Known Member

    I don't know why you would list a bunch of clearly bad "pure entertainment"/pop culture things (and Lady Gaga) and then compare them to a bunch of good "serious art" things and expect anyone to conclude that pop culture entertainment is somehow inherently less valid than "non-pop culture entertainment" or whatever. doing so does a disservice to your "pure entertainment versus serious art" distinction (which apparently doesn't suggest that pure entertainment is inherently bad? that's what it seemed you were saying for a while).

    unfortunately, it (and other weirdly aggressive statements you've made) does such a disservice that i'm not even entirely clear on what your ultimate point is. my guess is that you're just saying that one type of film (the "serious" kind) merits serious discussion/criticism, while the other (of the "pure entertainment" variety) doesn't (that seems to be what spawned this discussion in the first place, at least?). and that's like

    why would you frame it that way

    if a film "seriously" analyzes the human condition, then I'll go ahead and "seriously" criticize it based on those aspects of the film

    if a film just fucks around and has fun, then I'll go ahead and seriously criticize it based on those aspects of the film. of course, I won't "seriously" analyze it--that is, to analyze it based on the aspects of the human condition that it doesn't confront in the first place--but of course I won't. doing so would be nonsensical in the first place, which is why I don't think anyone was ever trying to do so? they were just talking about how captain america was like, good, or not so good, or something.

    so yeah, I'm confused
  47. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    Seems like ChessPlayer got banned? Not unexpected, but still surprised. I hope there is some kind of warning system so that the user is given appropriate chance to change his behavior. Seemed like an intelligent guy and would have liked to have him for discussions if he had stopped attacking unnecessarily.

    To be fair, I just mentioned it was so awesome that I watched it more than once. I am not sure if I liked it better the second time through, but there was quite a bit I ignored in the first time through.

    Die Hard does a lot right, but it's been a while since I watched it so I won't be able to get that deep into it. One of the things I liked about it is that the location is contained so it feels like you get the scope of the whole building as he starts moving around, that adds physical dimension to the world before all the action really starts to take off. This, and Die Hard 2 also does this thing where it keeps reminding you what he is fighting for as well as adds motivation to victims as well as their helplessness. That is, you know they are kinda screwed, but that doesn't stop them from attempting to bargain/gain fame/protect important people in that setting. The movie is just well paced.

    That and the obvious stuff, action sequences are awesome and the camera does it's job well. But this will require me to actually watch the movie and start comparing it to things like Bourne series lol. And frankly, I don't know if I have the technical know-how to even talk about it.
  48. ChessPlayer2

    ChessPlayer2 Banned

    Well, thanks for the compliment! Honestly, I was surprised, too; I contacted Sirlin, and apparently it was some user named "Thelo" that banned my account? Strange, I never spoke to the guy. I sent him a PM about it. Anyways, back to the topic at hand.

    I'm not listing it on the basis of bad or good, I'm doing so on the basis of popularity.

    If you disagree, feel free to list some worthwhile pop culture stuff. It's easier said than done!

    As for "pure entertainment", you totally misunderstood my use of that word. There's nothing wrong with pure entertainment works, and as I mentioned already, they form the vast majority of films that I have watched and enjoyed.

    I wasn't making any arguments, let alone that one. Rather, I was disproving Claytus's asinine, possibly trollish statement that

    Hence the counterexample.

    No, it's a bit more specific than that...dumb super hero films for 8 year-olds don't really deserve serious criticism.

    My first post was a general statement on that account, not directed at anyone in particular. It's telling that a few users (particularly Claytus) took it so personally, though.

    While it is moderately overrated, (it's excellent, but was spawned from 80's Hong Kong action films that were just as good) comparing the "Die Hard" series to the Bourne series would be like comparing the Super Mario Bros. platformers to some buggy, barely working Flash game.

    Forget the awful, nonsensical plot in the Bourne movies (an insult to the books it was adapted from); the SHAKY CAM alone makes the thing damn near unwatchable.
  49. Thelo

    Thelo Administrator Staff Member

  50. infernovia

    infernovia Well-Known Member

    Well, I guess that clears the mystery.

    As an aside, I have started noticing that with a lot of movies, particularly action but also thrillers in general, I start thinking about it in reference to videogames. This was especially noticeable because I was playing The Last Express and then started watching Source Code. The Last Express is clearly superior to the movie in a lot of ways, but because of how similar the setting and the threat is, your mind is forced to make a connection between the two.

    In conclusion, play The Last Express, a phenomenal game. A very good step forward for videogames overtaking movies all together.

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