New: Black Friday Deals Week has started! Check out the Blu-ray Deals page » ×

Best Blu-ray Movie Deals

Black Friday Deals Week is Live »
Now: Warcraft $6.99 (12% claimed)
Now: Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods … $12.74 (32 mins left)
Soon: What We Do in the Shadows ()

Top deals | Price drops  
 All countries United States United Kingdom Canada Germany France Spain Italy Japan
Wonder Woman (Blu-ray)
$6.99
War for the Planet of the Apes (Blu-ray)
$7.99
Life (Blu-ray)
$5.99
Cult of Chucky (Blu-ray)
$5.96
The Hateful Eight (Blu-ray)
$3.99
Watchmen 4K (Blu-ray)
$14.99
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Blu-ray)
$3.99
Alien: Covenant (Blu-ray)
$8.99
A Dog's Purpose (Blu-ray)
$5.96
Spider-Man: Homecoming 3D (Blu-ray)
$14.99
The Dark Tower (Blu-ray)
$9.99
The Peanuts Movie (Blu-ray)
$4.00
What's your next favorite movie?
Join our movie community to find out


Image from: Life of Pi (2012)

Go Back   Blu-ray Forum > Movies > Movies


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-24-2017, 10:22 PM   #35821
DjMethod DjMethod is offline
Blu-ray Ninja
 
DjMethod's Avatar
 
Feb 2008
Fury Road
677
1
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al_The_Strange View Post
mother!

[Show spoiler] Mother! What even is this film?

This is probably the weirdest and most insane home-invasion thriller ever constructed. After a few confusing images (a woman on fire, a man sets a glass heart on a stand and a burnt-down house magically repairs itself), the film depicts the quiet, tranquil existence of a couple in their big, rustic country home. The nameless man (Javier Bardem) is a poet struggling to find inspiration. The nameless woman (Jennifer Lawrence) works tirelessly to renovate and upkeep the home (which has a literal beating heart that only she can sense). One day, a stranger (Ed Harris) comes to the house--the woman doesn't like the intrusion, but her husband welcomes him in regardless and they hit it off phenomenally. But then the stranger's wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) comes around and acts like a total lush. Then their sons barge in with a big fight over a last will or something. As time goes on, one person after another pours into the house and causes such a ruckus, it drives the poet's wife mad. But that's only the first half of the story--just as the main couple decide to finally consummate their love and have a child, the poet writes something so spectacular the whole world comes to the house to try and take a piece of everything they have. The house becomes a literal warzone. Some scenes towards the end are just too brutal to stomach--you have been warned.

It all has to be seen to be believed--the film is so hyperbolic, it really doesn't make much sense on the surface level. The biggest problem is that the lead (the woman) doesn't demonstrate agency in this relationship--taking the film at surface level, I keep asking time and again why she would put up with all this crap going on in her own house. Why couldn't she work it out with her husband, who was just letting it all happen? It's kind of frustrating to watch all this chaos explode just because the leads didn't (or couldn't, or wouldn't) stand up to anything, or communicate with each other on a deeper level. Surely, no real wife would just let this go without pulling her husband aside and ask what the heck is he thinking? But that kind of talk just doesn't happen in this film--all the dialogue is brief and rather enigmatic. If that's not frustrating enough, the film is loaded with odd symbolic imagery that defies rationality. A house with a heart? Flesh-eating cultists in the basement? Blood drops that disintegrates wood floorboards? Frogs? A hidden door? Golden medicine? What does it all mean?!

It's a mess, slow to start, gut-wrenching to finish, and with no solid answers to guide audiences to what's supposed to be made of all this surreal nonsense.


But there is a method to the madness--much like Only God Forgives, this is a movie that only makes sense as an allegory.
[Show spoiler]It's not so much about a couple vs the world--it's a story about all mankind. The woman is mother nature--after all, this is mother!, she is a literal mother (eventually), and she's so down-to-earth she walks around barefoot and everything. Her hubby is God--the credits refer to him as Him, and he is solely motivated by finding "life" in his house (which must represent the Earth), and he does so through people, which he brings in with his words (and words were what gave life to the universe, per the Bible). That first group of home invaders mirrors the Old Testament stories of Adam, Eve, and everything that came afterward. The rest is all about the ages that happened afterward--times of war, strife, plunder, and natural exploitation. Inevitably, when mother nature is pushed too far, the apocalypse happens and the house (the world) is burned. And in a manner like 2009's Triangle, the film wraps these events in a constant loop.

Thinking about how the film aligns with these ideas, it does become an interesting piece of art that stimulates thought. I do appreciate the film's warning concerning respect for nature, as it underscores the insanity of mankind. There are flashes of other themes, such as the agony of being an artist, and deconstructing the dynamics of a domestic family. But there are things that don't marry well, and the main allegory falls apart if you think about it too hard.


Biggest problem is that the film juggles two sides: the literal and the allegorical. The motivations and reasons behind the two leads wanting a child together makes sense on the surface, but doesn't make sense on the flipside because what happens and what's characterized on one side of the coin becomes illogical on the other.
[Show spoiler]

I still wouldn't fault this film too far, because it is competently-made with impressive attention to detail. Strong visuals, intense performances, and an incredible sound design gives the film a fair amount of class (even if the experience overall is aggravating). Writing could have used some fine-tuning--I would have appreciated more dialogue that would have painted these characters in a more realistic and sympathetic light.


Unfortunately, it feels like the characters act out of the whims of the script and the symbols they represent, and less as organic people.
[Show spoiler]I really can't recommend this film for casual viewing--it's a crazy yarn that will frustrate more than enlighten. The allegories are interesting, but they fudge up the story in weird ways and needed more fine-tuning. For anybody who value Darren Aronofsky's films, this is still worth seeing for what it is, but right now this is my least favorite of his filmography.


3/5
I think you nailed a big criticism I myself had with this film after my first (and only, so far) viewing. The story should make sense on its own if it is going for symbolism/allegory, or else it no longer offers "double" meaning. I love that you challenge this.

And while that may have elevated this film to an even higher level, the question is would you accept the film's family construct as simply the tools Aronofsky chooses to tell
[Show spoiler]the story of the Bible?
In other words, what if Aronofsky's primary goal is not to indirectly tell us
[Show spoiler]the story of Genesis/New Testament,
which is what you and I both assume here- but to directly tell the story, using an artist, his wife, and their house? I say this not simply to challenge you, but because Aronofsky has gone on record saying their intention was for the audience to realize immediately what the film is about and who J Law and Javier Bardem are supposed to be.

IMO this in a way does excuse the criticisms of heavy-handedness/overtness/spoon-feeding, because there is no point in being subtle if it is no longer symbolism.

Last edited by DjMethod; 09-24-2017 at 10:27 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Thanks given by:
Al_The_Strange (09-24-2017)
Old 09-24-2017, 10:59 PM   #35822
Al_The_Strange Al_The_Strange is offline
Blu-ray Duke
 
Al_The_Strange's Avatar
 
Apr 2009
Out there...past them trees...
125
2836
691
317
132
18
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by DjMethod View Post
I think you nailed a big criticism I myself had with this film after my first (and only, so far) viewing. The story should make sense on its own if it is going for symbolism/allegory, or else it no longer offers "double" meaning. I love that you challenge this.
Thank you sir. I think watching all those Youtube videos deconstructing things (mostly the Wisecrack channel) helps me think more critically.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DjMethod View Post
And while that may have elevated this film to an even higher level, the question is would you accept the film's family construct as simply the tools Aronofsky chooses to tell the story of the Bible? In other words, what if Aronofsky's primary goal is not to indirectly tell us the story of Genesis, which is what you and I both assume here- but to directly tell the story, using an artist, his wife, and their house? I say this not simply to challenge you, but because Aronofsky has gone on record saying their intention was for the audience to realize immediately what the film is about and who J Law and Javier Bardem are supposed to be.

IMO this in a way does excuse the criticisms of "heavy-handedness/overtness/spoon-feeding, because there is no point in being subtle if it is no longer symbolism.
I personally don't mind heavy-handedness in my movies, especially if it's not dialogue-related. Subtlety would only work here if the literal plot was made more logical and the allegory diminished in scope, but that's clearly deviating from Aronofsky's vision. And I do admire how the ending goes all-out. In its own way, it reminds me of all those crazy children's stories and fairy tales--like that one about the guy who drank an entire ocean. Even stories like Old Man and the Sea and Moby Dick are hyperbolic allegories--why should mother! be held in less regard?

I do agree that both sides need to work--those other stories could be taken at both face value and as allegories, it becomes frustrating when one side works and another doesn't. Only God Forgives frustrated me at first because its plot didn't make much sense either (and I couldn't suspend enough disbelief). I ultimately warmed up to it because its allegory was so darn good, and I got a better sense of the characters.

I think the Genesis story fits in to mother! just fine as-is for the first half of the story (as I see it, the Genesis arc ends with the
[Show spoiler]funeral reception, during which the breaking sink may represent the flooding that prompts nature to literally kick humans out of her house
). It's the New Testament events (the last hour or so) I struggle to pin down for the following reasons:
[Show spoiler]
  • If the baby is meant to be Christ (because it is given to the people, is "martyred," then eaten like communion, and God (Bardem) wants to forgive them), then why is nature (Lawrence) involved? Aronofsky decided to combine nature and the Virgin Mary together for some reason. What would have made better sense (and probably would have made better drama) is if Bardem picked a random stranger to bear the child with, instead of Lawrence. Then that character could be the Virgin Mary of the movie. But as it is, it's too convoluted to work, imo, because the relationship between nature and mankind should remain indifferent, but giving away nature's baby to the people creates a relationship that doesn't really match up with anything.
  • On top of that, there's no resurrection shown or implied (except maybe by Bardem saying they must be forgiven). The manner in which the baby thing happens is a stretch anyway--God gave his own son as a way for mankind to find forgiveness of sins, but in the movie Bardem gives his son away senselessly and without any indication that there's a greater plan. He comes off as clueless and perhaps selfish in the film, and if Aronofsky thinks God is clueless, then the message of the film is rather troubling and perhaps a little too anti-Christian (although I don't mind it being cynical).
  • The entire allegory is missing one key character: Satan. You could argue that he's present in the masses that invade the house. But the Bible specifies him as his own character who challenges mankind constantly, sometimes winning and ultimately loosing. Wouldn't it make more sense if: the story begins with a house full of servants, one of them rebels and takes a bunch of the servants with him, then they influence the invaders as they come in? Couldn't it work better if Bardem had a beef with such a character and tried to attack him from a distance? And vice-versa? Then the battle over the baby would have a different kind of dramatic weight, and perhaps there could come a point in which the home-invaders decide to dismiss the Devil to show a form of salvation (although I suppose the final end-game would have the Devil worm his way into the house, convince a bunch of people to follow him, then apocalyptic fire wipes him out in addition to everyone else).


Something about the relationship between God, nature, and the people needed to be nailed down better. It's easy to see how men and nature didn't get along, but the God-nature relationship seemed way too distant (hence my complaints about their lack of communication, although I think that's a bigger problem for the literal side of the story). The two probably aren't meant to understand each other, but God should be in control of nature. Unfortunately, having it that way would probably make the movie seem sexist.

I'm also still at a loss over what all the hearing problems in the beginning of the film were supposed to mean (if anything).

Last edited by Al_The_Strange; 09-24-2017 at 11:24 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-25-2017, 12:03 AM   #35823
DjMethod DjMethod is offline
Blu-ray Ninja
 
DjMethod's Avatar
 
Feb 2008
Fury Road
677
1
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al_The_Strange View Post
[Show spoiler]I personally don't mind heavy-handedness in my movies, especially if it's not dialogue-related. Subtlety would only work here if the literal plot was made more logical and the allegory diminished in scope, but that's clearly deviating from Aronofsky's vision. And I do admire how the ending goes all-out. In its own way, it reminds me of all those crazy children's stories and fairy tales--like that one about the guy who drank an entire ocean. Even stories like Old Man and the Sea and Moby Dick are hyperbolic allegories--why should mother! be held in less regard?


I do agree that both sides need to work--those other stories could be taken at both face value and as allegories, it becomes frustrating when one side works and another doesn't. Only God Forgives frustrated me at first because its plot didn't make much sense either (and I couldn't suspend enough disbelief). I ultimately warmed up to it because its allegory was so darn good, and I got a better sense of the characters.

I think the Genesis story fits in to mother! just fine as-is for the first half of the story (as I see it, the Genesis arc ends with the
[Show spoiler]funeral reception, during which the breaking sink may represent the flooding that prompts nature to literally kick humans out of her house
). It's the New Testament events (the last hour or so) I struggle to pin down for the following reasons:
[Show spoiler]


•*If the baby is meant to be Christ (because it is given to the people, is "martyred," then eaten like communion, and God (Bardem) wants to forgive them), then why is nature (Lawrence) involved? Aronofsky decided to combine nature and the Virgin Mary together for some reason. What would have made better sense (and probably would have made better drama) is if Bardem picked a random stranger to bear the child with, instead of Lawrence. Then that character could be the Virgin Mary of the movie. But as it is, it's too convoluted to work, imo, because the relationship between nature and mankind should remain indifferent, but giving away nature's baby to the people creates a relationship that doesn't really match up with anything.
•*On top of that, there's no resurrection shown or implied (except maybe by Bardem saying they must be forgiven). The manner in which the baby thing happens is a stretch anyway--God gave his own son as a way for mankind to find forgiveness of sins, but in the movie Bardem gives his son away senselessly and without any indication that there's a greater plan. He comes off as clueless and perhaps selfish in the film, and if Aronofsky thinks God is clueless, then the message of the film is rather troubling and perhaps a little too anti-Christian (although I don't mind it being cynical).
Is it convoluted though? Or is it less convoluted to combine the two?

Let me explain why I think he paired them. There is the message of
[Show spoiler]our lack of respect for Earth, which is most directly evident to me when her own house is being altered and painted over by strangers at the first party. From the beginning of the film, Man's presence feels intrusive. I think this is where Aronofsky is most brilliant. His decision to craft a story about respecting Mother Earth by essentially retelling the backbone of the Bible, and to personally connect the message to audiences through the family construct, is genius--because Man really is intrusive and disrespectful to God and His creations throughout the Bible. I found the pairing of those ideas synergistic to the power of the story.

The decision to make J Law both Mother Earth and the Virgin Mary may feel convoluted, but it is effective at amplifying our feeling of intrusion and betrayal to keep the story told through her eyes. During labor, nobody would give her privacy (Mary & Joseph seeking shelter). They received the gifts. He remained hovering over her as she kept her baby from Him, reflecting God patiently waiting for Jesus' (the baby's) time on Earth (J Law), until He takes Jesus back from Earth to sacrifice for Man's sins. The baby being carried and then killed by the crowd of people to the horror of Mary (also J Law) echoes the Stations of the Cross. Aronofsky's displaying His murder so mercilessly is his way of shoving in our faces how repulsive and barbaric Man really is. When she is upset that He invited all the people into their home, he responds along the lines of, "No, I want them here," reflecting God's mercy despite our sins. The juxtaposition of the baby's corpse being eaten immediately after His death is to reflect the hypocrisy of Man that we would worship someone who we ourselves destroyed- worship Him to the point of eating His body and blood (communion). The smearing of the ashes further displays our rituals. J Law then going apeshit I think was supposed to represent the storm that happens at the moment of Jesus's death (Storm = Earth wrecking havoc).


Aronofsky's films work because they are simple and personal. He isn't trying to answer every question, he just sticks to the backbone and uses it to push the theme.
[Show spoiler]Man is intrusive and disrespectful--okay, how? Reckless to Mother Earth. Reckless with our messiah. Self-destructive to one another. Into an Aronofsky-trademarked Downward Spiral Climax.

Is it senseless and clueless though? God also gets angry with man in the Bible after they kill Jesus, yet it was all in His plan. We are never once in the film clued into Bardem's reasoning for things. They just sort of happen. That is also how life is, at least within a Christian faith. Things just sort of happen, and Man assumes God has the answers and plan for them. So your same argument can apply to the Bible, and is thus more of a spiritual one than a logical one. We are left unequivocally frustrated at Bardem's enigmatic nature, just as Man is with God.


Quote:
• The entire allegory is missing one key
[Show spoiler]character: Satan. You could argue that he's present in the masses that invade the house. But the Bible specifies him as his own character who challenges mankind constantly, sometimes winning and ultimately losing. Wouldn't it make more sense if: the story begins with a house full of servants, one of them rebels and takes a bunch of the servants with him, then they influence the invaders as they come in? Couldn't it work better if Bardem had a beef with such a character and tried to attack him from a distance? And vice-versa? Then the battle over the baby would have a different kind of dramatic weight, and perhaps there could come a point in which the home-invaders decide to dismiss the Devil to show what the Bible ultimately shows (although I suppose the final end-game would have the Devil worm his way into the house, convince a bunch of people to follow him, then apocalyptic fire wipes him out in addition to everyone else).
You bring up a good point about the film missing
[Show spoiler]the resurrection, Satan, etc. But did it feel incomplete to you? I think the message was clear. What would Satan have added? He chose the story of the Bible to elucidate our lack of respect for all that God has created for us. If he intended to include Satan, I think it would have appeared in the form of temptation way back before Eve shattered the crystal. The frog was, I believe, made to represent evil- as it is seen hopping out of the basement (hell). And the bleeding hole in the floor... while I am still uncertain as to what it represents, I interpreted it as the stain made by Man on Mother Earth since the Fall of Man (its origin is from the blood from Abel's death, and resides right near where the crystal [or apple] was displayed). In this vein, it can also represent sin, or shame, as J Law repeatedly tries to hide it from God. It could have also been a pit or portal to hell or the underworld. It glows firey red at one point and then drips into the basement, and it is in the room where the "apple" was kept- which was offered to Eve from the devil himself.



Quote:
I'm also still at a loss over what all the hearing
[Show spoiler]problems in the beginning of the film were supposed to mean (if anything).
If you are referring to the intermittent episodes
[Show spoiler]of pain that she has, I am also unsure and still waiting for my second viewing in hopes of better understanding that. Are they her earthquakes and storms? They seem to be brought about by stressful events.

The yellow potion as well. I haven't quite figured this out yet myself. A common interpretation is its association with The Yellow Wallpaper, a classic short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman about a woman in post-partum depression in a house with her oppressive husband.

Another possibility is a sort of McGuffin or red herring, meant only to occupy the audience or mislead us into thinking she is mentally unhealthy.

My preferred theory is that it is a symbol of purity. And that consuming it somehow brings her back to baseline. In the Bible, the color yellow is associated with fire, which in turn, has always been associated with the purification process. It has similarly been thought to represent trials of faith, and in the film, the potion may end-cap each time she is put through a trial in her own house. The act of consuming it may be an act of resistance, which can be interpreted as Mother Nature being at odds with her Creator and represents her taking efforts to restore balance to Earth (e.g. the great flood, the ice age, the asteroid that is thought to have led to the extinction of dinosaurs).

I think I would have to watch the film a second time to observe the timing of when she drinks it, when gives up the drink, etc. Is it just as she gets pregnant that she gives up the potion?


Quote:
[Show spoiler]Something about the relationship between God, nature, and the people needed to be nailed down better.
I see what you did there

Quote:
It's easy to see how
[Show spoiler]men and nature didn't get along, but the God-nature relationship seemed way too distant (hence my complaints about their lack of communication, although I think that's a bigger problem for the literal side of the story). The two probably aren't meant to understand each other, but God should be in control of nature.
Unfortunately, having it that way would probably make the movie seem sexist.
Re: the communication-
[Show spoiler]the allegorical theme IMO explains their age difference and distant dynamic, which was uncomfortable at first, but then quickly becomes apparent it is deliberate and not due to lack of acting chemistry. Overall I really think they both get lost in their roles. Javier Bardem was such a perfect choice for the role of Him
, and J Law really delivers a gut-wrenching performance too.

I think sexism exists on a spectrum of perception shaped by the individual. By J Law's standards, the film involving a traditional wife confined by her husband was already a role she said she never grew comfortable with even by the end of production, but was more than okay with after learning the director's vision.

If you want to see a strong and deeply thematic film about Man and Nature, I highly recommend The Red Turtle.

Last edited by DjMethod; 09-25-2017 at 12:42 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Thanks given by:
Al_The_Strange (09-25-2017)
Old 09-25-2017, 01:29 AM   #35824
Al_The_Strange Al_The_Strange is offline
Blu-ray Duke
 
Al_The_Strange's Avatar
 
Apr 2009
Out there...past them trees...
125
2836
691
317
132
18
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by DjMethod View Post
Is it convoluted though? Or is it less convoluted to combine the two?
Holy cow, you brought up a lot of excellent points that might make me change my mind.

I dug the theme of respecting nature/Earth, but I didn't consider that it would be the basis for reinterpreting Biblical events. Maybe I was getting too hung up on the symbolic roles.

Some of the interactions
[Show spoiler]between Him, mother, and the baby threw me off--I could understand mother not wanting to give up the baby out of love and maternal instinct, and I could follow Him wanting to hold the baby because it's his, but I initially didn't see it syncing with the Virgin Mary. But the parallels you brought up are good details I forgot about at first. I suppose instead of being one distinct symbol, J-Law's role is blurred across multiple interpretations of the term mother, and that's how art should be.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DjMethod View Post
You bring up a good point about the film missing
[Show spoiler]the resurrection, Satan, etc. But did it feel incomplete to you? I think the message was clear. What would Satan have added? He chose the story of the Bible to elucidate our lack of respect for all that God has created for us. If he intended to include Satan, I think it would have appeared in the form of temptation way back before Eve shattered the crystal. The frog was, I believe, made to represent evil- as it is seen hopping out of the basement (hell). And the bleeding hole in the floor... while I am still uncertain as to what it represents, I interpreted it as the stain made by Man on Mother Earth since the Fall of Man (its origin is from the blood from Abel's death, and resides right near where the crystal [or apple] was displayed). In this vein, it can also represent sin, or shame, as J Law repeatedly tries to hide it from God. It could have also been a pit or portal to hell or the underworld. It glows firey red at one point and then drips into the basement, and it is in the room where the "apple" was kept- which was offered to Eve from the devil himself.
I suppose the movie didn't need those other aspects in it to work. I do kinda wonder if they could have reinforced the symbolism though.

I wasn't sure if the basement really meant hell or not, but the more I think about it the more sense it makes. I did find it interesting that
[Show spoiler]oil becomes the means in which total destruction happens. You have a lot of great points in this paragraph, I can dig them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DjMethod View Post
If you are referring to the intermittent episodes
[Show spoiler]of pain that she has, I am also unsure and still waiting for my second viewing in hopes of better understanding that. Are they her earthquakes and storms? They seem to be brought about by stressful events.
It hit me:
[Show spoiler]mother nature was still getting in tune and was out of balance, until she found union with God.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DjMethod View Post
[Show spoiler]Another possibility is a sort of McGuffin or red herring, meant only to occupy the audience or mislead us into thinking she is mentally unhealthy.
Yep, I can see that. As these episodes happened, I kept thinking back on Black Swan and was expecting more fooling around with the audience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DjMethod View Post
[Show spoiler]My preferred theory is that it is a symbol of purity. And that consuming it somehow brings her back to baseline. In the Bible, the color yellow is associated with fire, which in turn, has always been associated with the purification process. It has similarly been thought to represent trials of faith, and in the film, the potion may end-cap each time she is put through a trial in her own house. The act of consuming it may be an act of resistance, which can be interpreted as Mother Nature being at odds with her Creator and represents her taking efforts to restore balance to Earth (e.g. the great flood, the ice age, the asteroid that is thought to have led to the extinction of dinosaurs).

I think I would have to watch the film a second time to observe the timing of when she drinks it, when gives up the drink, etc. Is it just as she gets pregnant that she gives up the potion?
That could be. I can't remember if
[Show spoiler]she dumps the stuff after making love or after waking up and announcing she's pregnant. Either way, it's right when she knows it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DjMethod View Post
I see what you did there
...it was unintentional.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DjMethod View Post
Re: the communication-
[Show spoiler]the allegorical theme IMO explains their age difference and distant dynamic, which was uncomfortable at first, but then quickly becomes apparent it is deliberate and not due to lack of acting chemistry. Overall I really think they both get lost in their roles. Javier Bardem was such a perfect choice for the role of Him
, and J Law really delivers a gut-wrenching performance too.
I agree, and I can appreciate how the casting choice accentuates the overall picture. I didn't even question the age gap, it just worked for me.

What I was thinking was that maybe Him should have directly controlled mother, giving her orders and such. But now that I think about it, it's probably Aronofsky's view that God creates nature than leaves her alone, which is what happens in the movie and explains why the two seem to act on their own accord.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DjMethod View Post
I think sexism exists on a spectrum of perception shaped by the individual. By J Law's standards, the film involving a traditional wife confined by her husband was already a role she said she never grew comfortable with even by the end of production, but was more than okay with after learning the director's vision.
Didn't think of that. I think I just figured the two had mutual respect, and mother worked out of her own love and motivations without being directed or controlled by Him. But maybe the submission is implicit, especially if it's an unspoken rule of the film (and this is one of those films that has its own rules).

Quote:
Originally Posted by DjMethod View Post
If you want to see a strong and deeply thematic film about Man and Nature, I highly recommend The Red Turtle.
Well, I did see that one and it was interesting. Wasn't a fan of the pacing though.
  Reply With Quote
Thanks given by:
DjMethod (09-25-2017)
Old 09-25-2017, 02:23 AM   #35825
Al_The_Strange Al_The_Strange is offline
Blu-ray Duke
 
Al_The_Strange's Avatar
 
Apr 2009
Out there...past them trees...
125
2836
691
317
132
18
Default

Here's something a little more laid-back.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

In 2014, Kingsman: The Secret Service dropped an unassuming street rat into the hyperbolic world of British spies, and it spat him out as a proper gentleman. He killed lots of people, cursed like a rapper, defied authority, killed the chief, and fornicated a princess...like a gentleman. Such was the insane roller-coaster ride of a truly unique and colorful film that deconstructed the spy genre and flipped all the familiar tropes and cliches on its head. It's as if Joan Jett sung a Bond theme.

In this adventure, Eggsy is still at the top of his spy game, and he's juggling his career and his relationship with princess Tilde. After an encounter with a former henchman who managed to escape the carnage of the first film, all heck breaks loose and the Kingsman hierarchy is bombed. Eggsy teams up with Merlin, who follow a lead and wind up teaming up with the Statesman: the American cousins to the Kingsman, who are all about that whisky, rodeos, and cowboy stuff. They all track down a crazy supervillain who holds the world hostage in exchange for legalizing all drugs.

I welcomed a sequel, and there are times when The Golden Circle feels like a spirited romp. Action scenes are fast and extreme. The fights are still fresh and inventive, going so far as choreographing lassos, whips, umbrellas, baseballs, donuts, robots, bowling pins and balls, and even Elton John in eye-popping movement and detail. A cool car chase in the beginning and an elaborate setpiece with a falling gondola are also pretty cool.

Unfortunately, there is an awful lot of padding in between these scenes, and very little of it pops as much as it did in the first film. The reason is, the story just isn't as interesting. The big evil plot is as outlandish as it can be, and the villain is probably the most interesting aspect. But even she follows in the same hipster shoes that Samuel L. Jackson previously filled--they just swap nerdy stuff for nostalgia. The main story arc with Eggsy doesn't really have much room for growth--his most significant changes already happened in the first movie, so all his drama is around sustaining his position. That means a lot of interactions with Tilda, her parents, and other characters. It's a lot of talk, but little depth and direction. The only other arc worth mentioning involves a character we all know and love--it adds interesting levels of drama, to the point where it might overshadow the other angles the film tackles.

Few other aspects hold the film back. The cast has some impressive names--the main leads deliver phenomenally, including Julianne Moore and the supporting players. However, Channing Tatum is totally wasted and ultimately upstaged by Pedro Pascal. Halle Berry has zero personality in her role. A few characters are killed off in disappointing ways. On top of all that, the plot is just all over the place geographically, and the film doesn't even try to explain the logistics of anything.

What makes the film redeemable in my eyes are the ways it continues the trend of deconstructing the spy genre. Even though the gentleman theme is carried over, everybody still curses up a storm, and the violence is still pretty brutal. The film does not shy away from showing how far the villain will go to instill loyalty in her subordinates--I'm starting to think Vaughn has a thing against hamburgers. The film challenges the sanity of politicians (which only makes sense in this day and age) and drug policy. As far as the good guys go, their competence is consistently challenged though a number of twists and betrayals. For a change though, Eggsy doesn't sleep around the same way Bond does--he asks for permission. Above all, subtlety and deception that spies love so much goes out the window--Eggsy straight up grabs a certain thing from the bad guys and makes a run for it as if shoplifting, and it's all the funnier.

The film is very punchy, thanks to its lively camera movements and composition. Everything looks slick and colorful. Few special effects don't hold up that well, but for a movie as cartoony as this, I hardly cared. Music can be rather distracting.

A fair bit of fun, but not quite as endearing. There's a certain punch and originality missing in this follow-up, as it carbon-copies so much of the first film and just smoothens over the bumps with some rather lackluster character beats. It doesn't amount to much more in the end, save for expanding this crazy universe a bit. The first film is like a shot of potent whisky--this is watered down by comparison.

3/5
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2017, 07:19 AM   #35826
DjMethod DjMethod is offline
Blu-ray Ninja
 
DjMethod's Avatar
 
Feb 2008
Fury Road
677
1
Default

I've had the evening off and spent it with music as opposed to movies or television, so I'm going to leave an... atypical short film review. Here are my thoughts on a music video series by Kygo themed around death and grieving. Hope you enjoy

All three comments have spoilers, so watch the videos first if interested!


It Ain't Me - Kygo & Selena Gomez
[Show spoiler]Written and Directed by Phillip R. Lopez
Executive Produced by Maximilian Guen
Cinematography by Todd Martin
Video commissioned by Toby Andrews

This video is a bit eccentric and dark, and touches on persistence and not giving up. After a motorcycle crash, we see a woman get up relatively unscathed while her boyfriend is severely injured. She supports him through his recovery, stays by his side, and gives him the strength to pull through to the "light."
[Show spoiler]At the end, the man wakes up and sees that she was never there. He realizes that she died in the crash and it was the spirit of her that kept him going the whole time. She is the butterfly at the end (notice her winged and lepidopterous dress in his dream). I initially found it a little odd she would dance around his bed, before I learned it was the energy she left him with, or her ghost/spirit there with him keeping him alive and awake. This one is much more valuable the second time through after knowing the twist.


___________________________________________


First Time - Kygo & Ellie Goulding

[Show spoiler]Production Company: Mirada
Directed by: Mathew Cullen
Written by: Cornelia Funke and Mathew Cullen
Executive Producer: Javier Jimenez
Producer: David Hebenstreit
Cinematographer: Stefan von Borbely
Production Designer: Michael Whetstone

This is a tough one to interpret, but I believe it is about
[Show spoiler]how the toxicity of depression and PTSD can overcome someone's life. As a child, a boy finds out that the girl he grew up with is dying, then discovers that anytime he feels sad or angry, he catches on fire and begins turning to stone. After her death he begins having nightmares that he is being burned alive (PTSD). It is only as an adult (played by Kygo) when he begins to finally express himself (playing piano) that he begins to be freed of the petrification of his depression. In the end it turns out the woman in black (Ellie Goulding) was the spirit of the girl...
Overall probably the most open to interpretation of the three videos, and certainly thought-provoking.

___________________________________________


Stargazing - Kygo (feat. Justin Jesso)
[Show spoiler]Written and Directed by Phillip R. Lopez
Cinematography by Todd Martin
Executive Produced by Maximilian Guen
Produced by Ryan Hawkins
Co-Produced: Samuel Caron and Pierre-Philippe Côté Video commissioned by Toby Andrews
Color: Mikey Rossiter at The Mill.
VFX: Oblique, Montreal.

This third installment is made by the same team as the first video, which might be why I find I like them both better and for similar reasons- because they are more straightforward yet still open to interpretation and rewarding.

"You can always find me in the stars.”

Love, Dad


We see a boy who is really into space, as he’s seen playing with his toy space shuttle at the very beginning.
[Show spoiler]When his father dies suddenly from a heart attack, the boy becomes determined to find him again "in the stars," so he follows his dreams of going into space. With the help of a teacher, librarian, and old neighbor, he begins to build his rocket. Before supplying him with a piece for his ship, the old man makes a motion with a wrench near his head, telling the boy he needs to grieve and "repair" his mind. But every time his mom tries to talk to him, she finds his barriers up and he won’t let her inside his head (“Keep Out”). It is here when we see the man reassure the mother that the part he gave to the boy was only for pretend (he tells her not to worry as he points to a toy).

As the boy completes his project, the mother discovers it, and becomes overwhelmed with emotion. She is finally let into his mind, so she does the best thing she can to show him she is there for him… She creates flyers for the whole town to come see and support her son as he “launches” the rocket—and to everyone’s surprise, it actually flies! The rocket blasts off, and the video takes an unexpected turn into fantasy and inspiration, as the boy is met with elation and wonder. It symbolizes that the boy has reached closure and has finally found peace in his grieving process. He finds his father in the stars and finally feels his dad’s presence and strength with him again.

The video ends with the mother alone at the altar, where the boy was previously with her. Was the rocket a metaphor for his suicide? Did he truly join his dad among the stars? It don't believe we're left with a clear answer. But there is what appears to be the boy standing at the very edge of the altar at the end of the video. Or is it?
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2017, 07:36 AM   #35827
DjMethod DjMethod is offline
Blu-ray Ninja
 
DjMethod's Avatar
 
Feb 2008
Fury Road
677
1
Default

Bonus post if anyone was a fan of the above (brief off-topic post/addendum): one thing I appreciate about Kygo is he is an artist first, and a DJ/Producer second. He's a talented pianist and writes his own music before then transposing them into electronic melodies and dance tracks. For further evidence of this, here is Lindsey Stirling's beautiful rendition of Kygo's first video, "It Ain't Me":

  Reply With Quote
Old 09-29-2017, 08:49 PM   #35828
DjMethod DjMethod is offline
Blu-ray Ninja
 
DjMethod's Avatar
 
Feb 2008
Fury Road
677
1
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by DjMethod View Post
[Show spoiler]I've had the evening off and spent it with music as opposed to movies or television, so I'm going to leave an... atypical short film review. Here are my thoughts on a music video series by Kygo themed around death and grieving. Hope you enjoy

All three comments have spoilers, so watch the videos first if interested!

Kygo, Selena Gomez - It Ain't Me - YouTube

It Ain't Me - Kygo & Selena Gomez
[Show spoiler]Written and Directed by Phillip R. Lopez
Executive Produced by Maximilian Guen
Cinematography by Todd Martin
Video commissioned by Toby Andrews

This video is a bit eccentric and dark, and touches on persistence and not giving up. After a motorcycle crash, we see a woman get up relatively unscathed while her boyfriend is severely injured. She supports him through his recovery, stays by his side, and gives him the strength to pull through to the "light."
[Show spoiler]At the end, the man wakes up and sees that she was never there. He realizes that she died in the crash and it was the spirit of her that kept him going the whole time. She is the butterfly at the end (notice her winged and lepidopterous dress in his dream). I initially found it a little odd she would dance around his bed, before I learned it was the energy she left him with, or her ghost/spirit there with him keeping him alive and awake. This one is much more valuable the second time through after knowing the twist.


___________________________________________

Kygo & Ellie Goulding - First Time - YouTube

First Time - Kygo & Ellie Goulding

[Show spoiler]Production Company: Mirada
Directed by: Mathew Cullen
Written by: Cornelia Funke and Mathew Cullen
Executive Producer: Javier Jimenez
Producer: David Hebenstreit
Cinematographer: Stefan von Borbely
Production Designer: Michael Whetstone

This is a tough one to interpret, but I believe it is about
[Show spoiler]how the toxicity of depression and PTSD can overcome someone's life. As a child, a boy finds out that the girl he grew up with is dying, then discovers that anytime he feels sad or angry, he catches on fire and begins turning to stone. After her death he begins having nightmares that he is being burned alive (PTSD). It is only as an adult (played by Kygo) when he begins to finally express himself (playing piano) that he begins to be freed of the petrification of his depression. In the end it turns out the woman in black (Ellie Goulding) was the spirit of the girl...
Overall probably the most open to interpretation of the three videos, and certainly thought-provoking.

___________________________________________

Kygo - Stargazing ft. Justin Jesso - YouTube
Stargazing - Kygo (feat. Justin Jesso)
[Show spoiler]Written and Directed by Phillip R. Lopez
Cinematography by Todd Martin
Executive Produced by Maximilian Guen
Produced by Ryan Hawkins
Co-Produced: Samuel Caron and Pierre-Philippe Côté Video commissioned by Toby Andrews
Color: Mikey Rossiter at The Mill.
VFX: Oblique, Montreal.

[Show spoiler]This third installment is made by the same team as the first video, which might be why I find I like them both better and for similar reasons- because they are more straightforward yet still open to interpretation and rewarding.

"You can always find me in the stars.”

Love, Dad


We see a boy who is really into space, as he’s seen playing with his toy space shuttle at the very beginning. When his father dies suddenly from a heart attack, the boy becomes determined to find him again "in the stars," so he follows his dreams of going into space. With the help of a teacher, librarian, and old neighbor, he begins to build his rocket. Before supplying him with a piece for his ship, the old man makes a motion with a wrench near his head, telling the boy he needs to grieve and "repair" his mind. But every time his mom tries to talk to him, she finds his barriers up and he won’t let her inside his head (“Keep Out”). It is here when we see the man reassure the mother that the part he gave to the boy was only for pretend (he tells her not to worry as he points to a toy).

As the boy completes his project, the mother discovers it, and becomes overwhelmed with emotion. She is finally let into his mind, so she does the best thing she can to show him she is there for him… She creates flyers for the whole town to come see and support her son as he “launches” the rocket—and to everyone’s surprise, it actually flies! The rocket blasts off, and the video takes an unexpected turn into fantasy and inspiration, as the boy is met with elation and wonder. It symbolizes that the boy has reached closure and has finally found peace in his grieving process. He finds his father in the stars and finally feels his dad’s presence and strength with him again.

The video ends with the mother alone at the altar, where the boy was previously with her. Was the rocket a metaphor for his suicide? Did he truly join his dad among the stars? It don't believe we're left with a clear answer. But there is what appears to be the boy standing at the very edge of the altar at the end of the video. Or is it?
Theory #2: Notice the boy is wearing
[Show spoiler]the same smiley face shirt as the woman who turns out to be dead the whole time in the first video (It Ain't Me). This may represent that the boy does in fact die. (They also appear at the same time in the videos)


Either way, I do believe the workshop represents his grieving process; or if he dies, his depression (severe grief). When the mother discovers his space shuttle in the workshop, smoke can be seen coming out of the vehicle. This may be when she discovers his body, the post card, and the rocket all at once, and can explain why she sits down to cry.

At the 3-minute mark, she is seen counting down from 3, then gets startled with the thought of him and his father. This may be her remembering them. The flyers may be for his memorial, and the crowd of lights for his vigil. Perhaps the rocket making it to the stars does represent his death, and his reuniting with his father. The boy being at the corner of the altar at the end may be him watching over his mom, as this differs from when he is seen at his mom's side earlier in the video. Or it may be a clip from the past, back when he was at his father's funeral with his mom, when he was still alive.

I think the above is less likely, but it does fit. My preferred interpretation is still that the closed-off workshop represents his barriers and grief, and the rocket represents his thoughts--as the old neighbor tells him to "work on it" with the wrenching motion.


Theory #3: Same as #2, only
[Show spoiler]the old man represents God guiding the boy back to his father, and the end is him going to heaven. A lot of ways to interpret this video.
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 05:37 AM   #35829
Pondosinatra Pondosinatra is offline
Blu-ray Ninja
 
Pondosinatra's Avatar
 
Jun 2008
Calgary, Alberta
41
2
Default

Blade Runner 2049

'

Rating: 4 out of 5

30 years after the events of the original movie we find Officer K, himself a Replicant, who's job is to hunt older model Replicants - Androids with an open ended life span. During one assignment in which he 'retires' the suspect he stumbles across a long buried secret which leads him to end up questioning his own origins and searching out someone from the past for answers. The original Blade Runner is my favourite film of all time. Period. When I heard they were making a sequel I died a little inside, but due to Ridley Scott's involvement I held out hope that at least it wouldn't be an abomination. Now that it's finally here some reviewers have suggested it bests the first one in some ways. I wouldn't necessarily go that far, but it is definitely a visual masterpiece that more than lives up to it's predecessor. I'm not one to usually go see a movie in the theatre, but this absolutely needs to be seen on the big screen, preferably in the Imax format. Sadly the box office numbers haven't been great so it's likely it won't be playing for long. This is a long film - make sure you go to the bathroom first - which is likely a big reason for the poor numbers. But I found myself utterly mesmerized by the images on the screen. Performances are great. This is easily the first movie in so so long that Harrison Ford is truly acting and not just being himself. And I really enjoyed Ryan Gosling. For me the only real criticism was the story which while logical and nothing inherently wrong with it, left me a bit underwhelmed. The decades it took for this sequel to be realized is likely unprecedented in cinema history - at least it was worth the wait.
Modern
Panasonic TC-P65ZT60 TV
Pioneer BDP-85FD Blu-Ray
Pioneer SC-67 Receiver
Old School
Pioneer Kuro PDP-5020FD TV
Pioneer HLD-X9 Laserdisc Player
  Reply With Quote
Thanks given by:
Al_The_Strange (11-05-2017)
Old 11-05-2017, 11:50 PM   #35830
Al_The_Strange Al_The_Strange is offline
Blu-ray Duke
 
Al_The_Strange's Avatar
 
Apr 2009
Out there...past them trees...
125
2836
691
317
132
18
Default

Thor: Ragnarok

Thor has been on two stand-alone adventures and two Avengers films, saving two different worlds twice. Although he was previously shown as an Asgardian with his heart set in Earth, Ragnarok--the apocalypse--comes to his homeworld. To save it, he looks for answers across the stars, fights incredible enemies, forms unlikely alliances, and ultimately emerges as the guardian to save his people.

Previous Thor films had their sparks of action, style, and character beats, but were always hampered by their bland style, stilted drama, and underdeveloped villains. Ragnarok...still has an underdeveloped villain. Which is sad, because Cate Blanchett's performance is a joy to watch as she gleefully throws spears at everyone and uncovers the lies of Odin. I found Hela's appearance and actions imposing in its own right, and her connection to the story has implicit motivations I can jive with. A better villain than Malekith, Ronan, Kaecilius, a hair worse than Ego, Ultron, and Loki (Tom Hiddleston returns in Ragnarok, mischievous and slippery as ever, delivering the right balance of deadpan humor and tragedy). The story also feels like it's shaped from the same cookie-cutter that spat out Iron Man 3: these are both stories in which the hero loses his home and primary powers, is banished to some place with no allies, and is forced to return and reclaim everything with fantastic heroics.

Even if this is just another Marvel cookie, it is one glazed in pure color with sparkles. The plot stalls a little when Thor hangs around Sakaar, but it's very quick to introduce new characters and problems that inevitably have to be solved to bring Thor back to Asgard. What makes this work is the sheer amount of levity. There's about as many laughs here (maybe more) than an Avengers film. Heck, if Drax showed up and started laughing more, it might come off as another Guardians of the Galaxy film. But Thor maintains its identity by maintaining its focus on Thor's heritage (not even extended cameos by Dr. Strange and Bruce Banner can distract from Thor, Odin, Loki, and Hela), and through the eye-popping action sequences. The combination of Norse myth and space fantasy is more sublime than ever--fantastic sequences, such as a line of Valkyries on winged horses bearing down on Hela, or the high-powered fight between Thor and Surfur, brings the fantasy to vivid life.

Juggling princely charm and lunk-headed goofiness, Chris Hemsworth is a joy to watch in this film. Lesser characters aren't too shabby either though--Jeff Goldblum really chews the scenery, as if Mr. Malcolm from Jurassic Park suddenly became power-mad. I enjoyed Tessa Thompson's character and performance. Karl Urban is a nice surprise--his character pulled out a few surprising punches in the beginning and end. Idris Elba returns as Heimdall, and his character plays into the story much more significantly than before (and it's a nice touch). All these characters are united by an okay script that stands out more for the humor. The film is nicely-ordained with awesome-looking sets, props, costumes, and special effects. Mark Mothersbaugh's film score tries to capture a certain 80s fantasy vibe, and it marries well with what's on-screen.

I could see how somebody could walk away from Ragnarok feeling like it's more of the same. The plot goes through some of the same beats we've seen in other superhero flicks (especially third-parters). The villain is still a tad undercooked. But at the very least, it's far from bland. Every time Thor pummeled his enemies (set to the beat of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song"), I was awestruck as the camera followed his hammer slamming into so many fire minions, or as he came slamming down in an explosion of lightning. In between the gorgeous action and fantasy scenes, the humor brings light to flavor to a franchise that could have easily become droll. In the end, it's just the right flavor of movie I crave.

4/5
------------------------------------------------------------
Notes:
  • This is the 4,000th movie I've rated on Letterboxd. Woohoo!
  • I've previously reviewed the other Thor movies and rated them pretty highly. Nowadays, I'd probably drop their scores to 3/5 each.
  • Is it me, or is Marvel Phase 3 the funnest phase of the lot? I've found GOTGv2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming to be equally enjoyable.

Last edited by Al_The_Strange; 11-06-2017 at 01:01 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Thanks given by:
Diesel (11-06-2017)
Reply
Go Back   Blu-ray Forum > Movies > Movies

Similar Threads
thread Forum Thread Starter Replies Last Post
The Most Boring Movie You Ever Watched Movies Blu Man 3410 10-25-2017 03:45 PM
What movie have you watched the most ??? Movies BLUE MYSTIC RAIN 707 07-24-2017 03:22 PM
What Blu-ray Are You Watching Or Just Watched? Give a Mini Review Blu-ray Movies - North America slick1ru2 30 01-24-2010 08:09 PM
Official Rate The Last Movie You've Seen Thread Movies _Bolt_ 10 11-29-2008 04:28 AM
User Review Rate Down Trolls Feedback Forum Grant Matrix 1 10-30-2008 05:34 PM


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 06:42 PM.