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Old 07-07-2017, 11:33 PM   #35801
Astro Zombie Astro Zombie is offline
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So this is easily the best Spidey film since Spider-Man 2. That might initially seem like faint praise considering the previous three films we've gotten, but honestly Marvel has done a wonderful job with the newest incarnation of this character. Homecoming brought back my old love of Spider-Man in a way the Amazing series never quite could.

One thing I really loved was the sorta 80s high-school comedy approach they took. It really works with this teenage version of Peter Parker, and fortunately the comedy beats hit more often than not. Zendaya was a big surprise, as for me she scored some of the bigger laughs in the film. But this is really Tom Holland's show, and he might actually end up being the best Peter Parker we've had. He just nailed everything about the role. And big props to Michael Keaton for creating one of the most compelling villains in the MCU. That's always been one of the big complaints when it comes to the MCU, but Keaton helps bring to life a villain that's both memorable and scary, while giving him some clear motives for what he's doing.

While I certainly had some little issues with it, like most of the action scenes being serviceable but surprisingly unmemorable, I'd say this ranks as one of the best entries in the MCU. It gets by with a lot of heart and charm, and it's clear Marvel put a lot of care into it to make sure that Spider-Man was treated well. Plus that final scene is just terrific.

4.5/5
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Old 07-09-2017, 09:18 PM   #35802
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I really enjoyed seeing Spider-Man: Homecoming. It was a nice fresh take on the character and good seeing him portrayed properly as a high school kid.

I would give it an 08/10.

My spoiler free review:
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Old 07-16-2017, 02:05 AM   #35803
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Took the time to rewatch and analyze my favorite film in depth--Koyaanisqatsi.

My old review still applies:

[Show spoiler]Koyaanisqatsi

From the Hopi language, Koyaanisqatsi is a word that roughly translates as “crazy life,” or “a life out of balance,” or perhaps more appropriately, “a way of life that calls for another way of living.” Incidentally, that’s exactly what this film shows: no plot or story, just a document of the modern age of man, far out of balance from nature, which calls for human beings to adapt to their own constructs.

This film doesn’t offer any conventional story with any characters; it’s purely an experience built from images and sound, to illicit thought and feeling in the viewers. Both the images and music are beautiful in their own ways: with Phillip Glass’ epic, well-structured music score, the film takes on a palpable rhythm and mood that perfectly accentuates the gorgeous scenery. The film plays around a lot with time-lapse footage and slow-motion, which serve to show common cityscapes in an invoking new way. Altogether, the film is as hypnotic and mesmerizing as it is thought-provoking.

This film was cobbled together from all kinds of footage filmed across the United States from 1975 to 1983, with a tight budget. Regardless, the filmmakers show superb prowess with their photography and editing skills. At least on a technical level, they’ve maximized their potential and tools to craft an audio/visual masterpiece, weaving the images and music to the themes implied with the term Koyaanisqatsi.

As far as the content goes, like any piece of art, it’s left to the viewer’s interpretation. The most opaque of themes will revolve around civilization’s progress, the depletion of nature, and the effects of technology and industrialization on the human race. There are times in the film where humanity seems triumphant, and other times where it feels like it’s spinning out of control in a downward spiral of chaos and destruction (especially in one of the film’s final shots, depicting an Atlas-Centaur rocket exploding; it’s a sequence that’s always hit me the hardest, given the combination of imagery, music, and the overall theme that human civilization rises so high, but will eventually crash and burn).

Watching this film is not only a treat for the eyes and ears, but also a sobering, moving experience unlike any other. I believe it truly represents the best and worst of the human race in the modern age, and everybody should see it at least once in a lifetime.

5/5 (Entertainment: Perfect | Content: Perfect | Film: Perfect)

Recommendation: A must-see.


Deeper thoughts I had this session:

[Show spoiler]Of all films, Koyaanisqatsi is the one that has emerged as a unique, one-of-a-kind game-changer. The way it juxtaposes images and music in contrasting ways shed important light on our society and all the haphazard madness of mankind's constructions. Chances are you might have seen the film's influences and not realized it--parts of Philip Glass' music score was used in the trailer for 2009's Watchmen, the Simpsons parodied the film in one episode, and the same techniques in time-lapse photography have been aped in countless commercials and music videos (ever see Madonna's "Ray of Light" video? It's almost like a mini-Koyannisqatsi with dancing).


For me, it's a film that has consistently moved my soul and stirred my thoughts, becoming one of my biggest cinematic inspirations. It is a film where less is more--it offers nothing but images and music, but it's up to the viewer to determine the artistic merit. Some viewers might not see much beneath the surface, but I do. It's a dense brick of a film, and these are my thoughts about what it all means.

Behind the Scenes

In the 70s, Godfrey Reggio set out to make a difference. He worked in Albuquerque on a media campaign funded by the UCLA--this led to some visually striking commercials that drew attention to the invasion of privacy in the technological age (something really ahead of its time), and government mind control. As a result, Reggio netted enough funds to help the youth of New Mexico by eliminating Ritalin as a behavior-modifying solution from various school districts. He still had $40,000 to spend, so he decided to make a film.

Without a script, Reggio shot some scenes with cinematographer Ron Fricke on 16mm film (it was all they could afford). They shot in St. Louis, Chicago, Washington, and New York--at the latter place, they toyed around with portrait shots, and some pedestrians posed in front of the camera thinking it was for still-images. The initial shots weren't particularly thrilling. But as funding trickled in, the filmmakers captured additional footage over the years. With proper 35mm film, they shot at many more locations. Additional work and exposure introduced the notion of time-lapse photography, which enabled them to add another dimension to the project. With the help of Francis Ford Coppola, the filmmakers released the final product in 1983--a film with such a different style and structure, it was highly-praised in the arthouse circles and has made its mark on society.

What Does It Mean?

Koyaanisqatsi's definition comes from the Hopi language. In the simplest terms, it means "life out of balance."


The ways in which the film shows a life out of balance is through specific images and themes, which are reinforced by these prophecies sung throughout the film's soundtrack.


The film specifically shows man's efforts to dig into the Earth, using explosives and machines to reshape and transform the landscape into something artificial. Then, skyscrapers appear (often reflecting the blue skies and clouds so clearly they appear like giant grids in the sky). There are airplanes and jets. After some lengthy sequences that dive into the industry and lifestyles of man, the film ends with the fist Alpha-Centaur rocket exploding in mid-flight. Thus, all three prophecies are shown visually, and all together they suggest something apocalyptic.

It's easy to walk away from the film feeling pessimistic, in spite of these messages and the ending. The film is more than that though--it revels in the triumphs of man just as equally as it suggests doom. It makes the entire experience bittersweet.

It helps to keep these definitions in mind while watching the film, because it will help put perspective on what all the images (even the most unassuming of them) are saying. Here's the scene-by-scene analysis.

The Film

The film is book-ended with shots of the Great Gallery--giant pictographs in Horseshoe Canyon, Utah. They stand about eight foot tall in height, and appear as weird, tall, thin black figures around a central figure that has odd patterns all over it. This is known as the Holy Ghost panel. It was made somewhere between 400 and 1100 AD by the Desert Archaic culture (predating the Fremonts and Puebloans). The canyon was abandoned by 1300 AD. Nobody really knows what happened to the ancient people who used to reside in the canyons, and nobody knows what the rock art actually means. There is no denying that they look like ghosts--which is appropriate, because the people who made this art are long gone, and the art itself is a mere trace of their culture (and in itself a ghost).



After a long, sustained pull-back of the rock art, the film transitions into showing fire that fills up the whole screen. When it fades, we see that it's actually the thrusters of a shuttle very slowly taking off. There's nothing but metal, falling debris, and flames. It's nothing like the previous shot, which was a tranquil and natural scene--this is a violent, artificial thing. The contrast is stark, and it prevails throughout the entire movie--nature scenes, followed by the artificial. Put together, it shows how humans have exploited the landscape in the name of technology and progress.

A good 18 minutes is spent on nature scenes--we see miles and miles of the American southwest, with its distinct red-tinged stone, unusual rock formations, mesas, deserts, sand, rivers, lakes, and mountains. With time-lapse photography, we see clouds form and evaporate in minutes--they flow and drift over hills and mountains. These are calm, serene scenes. Very little actual life is seen, but it's there in the form of the moving air. The biggest thing to understand out of all this is that the Earth has been here for millions of years. Nothing moves, everything is balanced. Left alone, it would all remain still and tranquil for millions of years more.


Then, BOOM! Mankind finally makes its appearance on the screen, in the form of machines that till the ground and blast mountains and hills to pieces. One digging machine spews black smoke swirls around it and engulfs the worker nearby. All this violence against the land leads to power lines popping up all over the deserts and hills. In addition to roads.

To me, some power lines look like giant people looming over the landscape, holding up cables. Could it be that these shots of power lines were meant to mirror the big-shouldered figures seen on the Great Gallery?


What do you think? Do these look a little anthropomorphic?


One thing is certain--you can't have cities until you lay down a foundation. The film shows some overhead views of power plants and a dam, which are necessary to feed energy into human civilization. Gone are the flat, clean, pristine views of nature.

A woman is seen sunbathing on a beach. The camera pans up, and we see a big, gray, ugly power plant towering over the beach. There's a lot that can be inferred from this--I can't help but to wonder what kind of runoff or pollution is spewing onto the beach and waters, unbeknownst to the sunbathers.

In the next scene, a group of people are mingling about, looking up at something. Some of them are taking pictures. In the next shot, we see the side of a giant building, reflecting the blue sky. It's nothing but a wall of blue with black lines--a grid in the sky. Kinda like a net, or a web, wouldn't you say? With the way people are gawking at this building and the majestic music score, it leads us to believe that this building is a marvel and an achievement. All buildings like this are, and the film showcases many as it goes on. They are so huge they seem to touch the sky (hence the term "skyscraper"). But with this initial shot, I can't help but to think about 2001: A Space Odyssey, when monkeys gather around the black monolith. I don't think it's an intentional parallel, but both scenes have a sense of awe to them, and in both the monolith has a captivating effect.


For a really long shot, we see an airplane taxiing on a runway. The screen wavers constantly (because of the heat), distorting the plane until it comes so close it fills up the whole frame. This is probably my least-favorite shot of the movie (because it's so bloody long), but the theme of human progress is there. Planes criss-cross the sky all the time (forming "cobwebs" it would seem, although the film never shows this in a literal sense). Later on, we see a couple of shots of city traffic, and a plane cuts across the middle of the frame. It looks funny because the plane looks mixed in with normal cars and buildings. It's there to show the constant bustle across many transportation modes.

As the film shows roads jam-packed with traffic, it shifts to a scene where rows and rows of cars fill up an entire field. I'm not sure if these are cars waiting to be sold, or if this is a car graveyeard. Either way, they are in disuse. Then the film cuts to rows and rows of tanks. We get into some intense montages of war scenes, with planes dropping bombs and rockets shooting off in the air (mirroring the first and final scenes). An aircraft carrier sports the E=MC2 equation on its deck--the formula for mass-energy equivalence. It means that any form of mass will have an equal amount of energy. And energy is expended throughout this sequence in the form of rocket propulsion and explosions that tear the Earth apart (echoing scenes from before). Ominously, there is a shot of an actual Fat Man in the mix. The film shows an atomic explosion in an earlier segment. The potential is limitless--people will expend great amounts of energy to destroy.


After a big Michael Bay style splurge of explosions, the film settles down to show cities. Buildings take up the entire frame, stretching across the landscape. This is what's popped up following all that Earthly destruction. But it's not all that pretty--this is Pruitt-Igoe, a housing development that became infamous for its poverty, crime, and racial segregation. In the film, the buildings are largely abandoned and in a state of decay. There's debris and garbage all over the streets. Light posts are broken. Building windows broken. People bust open a fire hydrant and play in it. It's not a particularly attractive place to live--inevitably, the buildings are demolished on-screen and collapse before our eyes.

There's a brief sequence that shows cities beneath moving clouds, and fresh new skyscrapers. It's as if following the destruction of Pruitt-Igoe, people have made way for a new set of living spaces.


41 minutes into the movie, now there are people everywhere. We've gone from a macro view of the world to the micro. We see people jam-packed in lines waiting for...something? We see them packed in the streets. And we see dramatic slow-motion shots of people as they pass by, occasionally gawking at the camera. In most portrait and candid shots, people can't help but to glance at the camera, and I took it as a sign that they were either curious or suspicious of the filming. Either way, we rarely see anybody smile. Their expressions are always of concern, worry, apprehension. In one ironic scene, people walk by with a giant billboard behind them that says "Have a barrel of fun." But is anybody really having fun here?

There are a few portrait shots--women standing in front of a fast-moving gray background (a subway I guess?), a jet pilot in front of a plane, and Vegas showgirls. The latter is especially eye-catching because the girls stand there for a very long time smiling, but they shift and look around uncomfortably. I always got the feeling their smiles were purely superficial (as they would be anyway since they're posing for a picture), and it makes me wonder if it represents their roles overall. They're there to give people a good time, but are they happy themselves?


Is anybody having a barrel of fun here?


Next, the film transitions into nighttime shots of the city. And it's time-lapsed, so we see lights streaking across the streets beneath the buildings and their lighted windows. One of the film's most famous shots shows the moon (particularly big--it must have either been superimposed or taken with a very good telephoto lens) creeping into the sky and disappearing behind a building. More importantly, the speeding traffic looks like rivers of light. Just as shots at the beginning of the film showed natural rivers snaking through the canyons, now we have man-made canyons and man-made rivers. All without stone or water. All very flat, angular, and sharp.

Grand central station, New York. Thousands of people flow through the wide-open platforms and corridors as if they're fish in a river. From here on (probably the most enthralling scenes of the movie), we see a huge montage of man-made things. We see lots of machines--factories producing the very same cars we've seen filling up the roads. TVs--they're produced in factories, then people watch and play games on them, and for one prolonged scene we see a time-lapse of endless programming, spewing images at us in light-speed (although if you look closely there are a few scenes of topless ladies spliced in there). Towards the end of the sequence, a big wall of TVs suddenly explodes. A product created, used, then destroyed.

But that's not all--we see a hot-dog production line (and it's kinda funny how the rhythmic music has vocals that almost sounds like "hot dog hot dog" over and over again). After a bunch of men gather around this machine, it spews meat out endlessly, with hands occasionally touching it to unclog jams. Produced food is shown a few more times--twinkies and some jam-filled pastry. In the midst of the montage, we also see people eating. They sit at restaurants and food courts, chowing down and sipping drinks while they chat. And as a time-lapse, it happens in a blur as people move behind and around them. Nothing but a whirlwind of activity.

The film just goes faster and faster as it shows people working then getting off of work, only to distract themselves with food and entertainment. Movie theaters. Bowling. The arcade. Disco dancing. Occasionally, there are a few slow-motion shots of people (who still look unhappy). As the film speeds up, it places the camera in the weirdest of places. One minute, it's on a factory assembly line, showing the point of view of a twinkie or machine part. The next, it's in a shopping cart, whizzing through a grocery store. In one inventive scene (something that might have been an influence on the first The Fast and the Furious film), the camera is in the back seat of a car, and we see the city lights streaking past all the windows. The lights continue to flash and glide past, becoming an electric, Tron-like display of pure speed.


Right at the climax of all this madness, the film jump-cuts to an overhead view of the city in daylight. It fades into circuit boards. The connection is clear, given the roads, the lights, the buildings we've already seen. Circuit boards exist to guide electrons across paths to make something work. Cities work the same way, only we are the electrons. This is the man-made world.

For the last segment of the film, the music becomes somber, and we're shown a montage of people. They are all unhappy. They shove themselves into packed elevators and cage themselves on buses and trains. There's a man with a hat that advertises sight-seeing tours--he seems to be looking around with a frown. One old man stares right into the camera and shaves his neck for some reason. A woman is smoking, but shakes her lighter when it doesn't work. A naked man stares out a window. An old man (with cuts on his head) walks up to the camera holding out change. People move among a pile of debris--a firefighter walks through smoke, presumably to help put out a fire. Medics lift a man off the street and put him on a stretcher. I think the most evocative image is of a single hand rising out of a hospital gurney, and a nurse comes along to hold it. Only a few of these people seem to be smiling or happy, but even then it's hard to tell what's real happiness among all this misery and chaos.


Man and technology--an unhappy union.


Inevitably, the film shows the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. It superimposes the images on top of each other, so the people become transparent as they move. Everybody comes and goes, but they don't stay the same way the places do. They are ghosts.

For a whole minute or so, we see stock footage of the first Alpha Centaur rocket blasting off. Its metal chassis heaves off the ground as fire rushes out of its huge engine. It rises...rises...rises... It explodes. Fire fills up the entire screen, before the remnants become a trail of smoke. The camera tracks the debris as it falls, before the film ends with another panel of the Great Gallery.


The rocket--it must be the height of human civilization. It takes so much of our knowledge to build. It uses so much energy, which has to be harnessed from the Earth somehow. It allows us to reach space, going far beyond the sky to look down and support our cities with satellites. And yet, when the rocket explodes, it's as if we've reached a critical threshold. Something was unbalanced in that rocket and it couldn't sustain itself all the way into space. Thus, it burst and descended. The same thing could happen to human civilization itself. After all, other cultures (ancient Greece, ancient Rome, Easter Island) rose to great heights and fell when they couldn't sustain themselves. How much longer can modern civilization last under our current infrastructure, before it wears thin and bursts?


How much longer before all our accomplishments are turned to ruin and we all become ghosts?
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Old 07-16-2017, 07:36 AM   #35804
Foggy Foggy is offline
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Mate I watched that film last year, it was top notch.
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Al_The_Strange (07-16-2017)
Old 07-16-2017, 02:58 PM   #35805
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al_The_Strange View Post
Took the time to rewatch and analyze my favorite film in depth--Koyaanisqatsi.

My old review still applies:

[Show spoiler]Koyaanisqatsi

From the Hopi language, Koyaanisqatsi is a word that roughly translates as “crazy life,” or “a life out of balance,” or perhaps more appropriately, “a way of life that calls for another way of living.” Incidentally, that’s exactly what this film shows: no plot or story, just a document of the modern age of man, far out of balance from nature, which calls for human beings to adapt to their own constructs.

This film doesn’t offer any conventional story with any characters; it’s purely an experience built from images and sound, to illicit thought and feeling in the viewers. Both the images and music are beautiful in their own ways: with Phillip Glass’ epic, well-structured music score, the film takes on a palpable rhythm and mood that perfectly accentuates the gorgeous scenery. The film plays around a lot with time-lapse footage and slow-motion, which serve to show common cityscapes in an invoking new way. Altogether, the film is as hypnotic and mesmerizing as it is thought-provoking.

This film was cobbled together from all kinds of footage filmed across the United States from 1975 to 1983, with a tight budget. Regardless, the filmmakers show superb prowess with their photography and editing skills. At least on a technical level, they’ve maximized their potential and tools to craft an audio/visual masterpiece, weaving the images and music to the themes implied with the term Koyaanisqatsi.

As far as the content goes, like any piece of art, it’s left to the viewer’s interpretation. The most opaque of themes will revolve around civilization’s progress, the depletion of nature, and the effects of technology and industrialization on the human race. There are times in the film where humanity seems triumphant, and other times where it feels like it’s spinning out of control in a downward spiral of chaos and destruction (especially in one of the film’s final shots, depicting an Atlas-Centaur rocket exploding; it’s a sequence that’s always hit me the hardest, given the combination of imagery, music, and the overall theme that human civilization rises so high, but will eventually crash and burn).

Watching this film is not only a treat for the eyes and ears, but also a sobering, moving experience unlike any other. I believe it truly represents the best and worst of the human race in the modern age, and everybody should see it at least once in a lifetime.

5/5 (Entertainment: Perfect | Content: Perfect | Film: Perfect)

Recommendation: A must-see.


Deeper thoughts I had this session:

[Show spoiler]Of all films, Koyaanisqatsi is the one that has emerged as a unique, one-of-a-kind game-changer. The way it juxtaposes images and music in contrasting ways shed important light on our society and all the haphazard madness of mankind's constructions. Chances are you might have seen the film's influences and not realized it--parts of Philip Glass' music score was used in the trailer for 2009's Watchmen, the Simpsons parodied the film in one episode, and the same techniques in time-lapse photography have been aped in countless commercials and music videos (ever see Madonna's "Ray of Light" video? It's almost like a mini-Koyannisqatsi with dancing).


For me, it's a film that has consistently moved my soul and stirred my thoughts, becoming one of my biggest cinematic inspirations. It is a film where less is more--it offers nothing but images and music, but it's up to the viewer to determine the artistic merit. Some viewers might not see much beneath the surface, but I do. It's a dense brick of a film, and these are my thoughts about what it all means.

Behind the Scenes

In the 70s, Godfrey Reggio set out to make a difference. He worked in Albuquerque on a media campaign funded by the UCLA--this led to some visually striking commercials that drew attention to the invasion of privacy in the technological age (something really ahead of its time), and government mind control. As a result, Reggio netted enough funds to help the youth of New Mexico by eliminating Ritalin as a behavior-modifying solution from various school districts. He still had $40,000 to spend, so he decided to make a film.

Without a script, Reggio shot some scenes with cinematographer Ron Fricke on 16mm film (it was all they could afford). They shot in St. Louis, Chicago, Washington, and New York--at the latter place, they toyed around with portrait shots, and some pedestrians posed in front of the camera thinking it was for still-images. The initial shots weren't particularly thrilling. But as funding trickled in, the filmmakers captured additional footage over the years. With proper 35mm film, they shot at many more locations. Additional work and exposure introduced the notion of time-lapse photography, which enabled them to add another dimension to the project. With the help of Francis Ford Coppola, the filmmakers released the final product in 1983--a film with such a different style and structure, it was highly-praised in the arthouse circles and has made its mark on society.

What Does It Mean?

Koyaanisqatsi's definition comes from the Hopi language. In the simplest terms, it means "life out of balance."


The ways in which the film shows a life out of balance is through specific images and themes, which are reinforced by these prophecies sung throughout the film's soundtrack.


The film specifically shows man's efforts to dig into the Earth, using explosives and machines to reshape and transform the landscape into something artificial. Then, skyscrapers appear (often reflecting the blue skies and clouds so clearly they appear like giant grids in the sky). There are airplanes and jets. After some lengthy sequences that dive into the industry and lifestyles of man, the film ends with the fist Alpha-Centaur rocket exploding in mid-flight. Thus, all three prophecies are shown visually, and all together they suggest something apocalyptic.

It's easy to walk away from the film feeling pessimistic, in spite of these messages and the ending. The film is more than that though--it revels in the triumphs of man just as equally as it suggests doom. It makes the entire experience bittersweet.

It helps to keep these definitions in mind while watching the film, because it will help put perspective on what all the images (even the most unassuming of them) are saying. Here's the scene-by-scene analysis.

The Film

The film is book-ended with shots of the Great Gallery--giant pictographs in Horseshoe Canyon, Utah. They stand about eight foot tall in height, and appear as weird, tall, thin black figures around a central figure that has odd patterns all over it. This is known as the Holy Ghost panel. It was made somewhere between 400 and 1100 AD by the Desert Archaic culture (predating the Fremonts and Puebloans). The canyon was abandoned by 1300 AD. Nobody really knows what happened to the ancient people who used to reside in the canyons, and nobody knows what the rock art actually means. There is no denying that they look like ghosts--which is appropriate, because the people who made this art are long gone, and the art itself is a mere trace of their culture (and in itself a ghost).



After a long, sustained pull-back of the rock art, the film transitions into showing fire that fills up the whole screen. When it fades, we see that it's actually the thrusters of a shuttle very slowly taking off. There's nothing but metal, falling debris, and flames. It's nothing like the previous shot, which was a tranquil and natural scene--this is a violent, artificial thing. The contrast is stark, and it prevails throughout the entire movie--nature scenes, followed by the artificial. Put together, it shows how humans have exploited the landscape in the name of technology and progress.

A good 18 minutes is spent on nature scenes--we see miles and miles of the American southwest, with its distinct red-tinged stone, unusual rock formations, mesas, deserts, sand, rivers, lakes, and mountains. With time-lapse photography, we see clouds form and evaporate in minutes--they flow and drift over hills and mountains. These are calm, serene scenes. Very little actual life is seen, but it's there in the form of the moving air. The biggest thing to understand out of all this is that the Earth has been here for millions of years. Nothing moves, everything is balanced. Left alone, it would all remain still and tranquil for millions of years more.


Then, BOOM! Mankind finally makes its appearance on the screen, in the form of machines that till the ground and blast mountains and hills to pieces. One digging machine spews black smoke swirls around it and engulfs the worker nearby. All this violence against the land leads to power lines popping up all over the deserts and hills. In addition to roads.

To me, some power lines look like giant people looming over the landscape, holding up cables. Could it be that these shots of power lines were meant to mirror the big-shouldered figures seen on the Great Gallery?


What do you think? Do these look a little anthropomorphic?


One thing is certain--you can't have cities until you lay down a foundation. The film shows some overhead views of power plants and a dam, which are necessary to feed energy into human civilization. Gone are the flat, clean, pristine views of nature.

A woman is seen sunbathing on a beach. The camera pans up, and we see a big, gray, ugly power plant towering over the beach. There's a lot that can be inferred from this--I can't help but to wonder what kind of runoff or pollution is spewing onto the beach and waters, unbeknownst to the sunbathers.

In the next scene, a group of people are mingling about, looking up at something. Some of them are taking pictures. In the next shot, we see the side of a giant building, reflecting the blue sky. It's nothing but a wall of blue with black lines--a grid in the sky. Kinda like a net, or a web, wouldn't you say? With the way people are gawking at this building and the majestic music score, it leads us to believe that this building is a marvel and an achievement. All buildings like this are, and the film showcases many as it goes on. They are so huge they seem to touch the sky (hence the term "skyscraper"). But with this initial shot, I can't help but to think about 2001: A Space Odyssey, when monkeys gather around the black monolith. I don't think it's an intentional parallel, but both scenes have a sense of awe to them, and in both the monolith has a captivating effect.


For a really long shot, we see an airplane taxiing on a runway. The screen wavers constantly (because of the heat), distorting the plane until it comes so close it fills up the whole frame. This is probably my least-favorite shot of the movie (because it's so bloody long), but the theme of human progress is there. Planes criss-cross the sky all the time (forming "cobwebs" it would seem, although the film never shows this in a literal sense). Later on, we see a couple of shots of city traffic, and a plane cuts across the middle of the frame. It looks funny because the plane looks mixed in with normal cars and buildings. It's there to show the constant bustle across many transportation modes.

As the film shows roads jam-packed with traffic, it shifts to a scene where rows and rows of cars fill up an entire field. I'm not sure if these are cars waiting to be sold, or if this is a car graveyeard. Either way, they are in disuse. Then the film cuts to rows and rows of tanks. We get into some intense montages of war scenes, with planes dropping bombs and rockets shooting off in the air (mirroring the first and final scenes). An aircraft carrier sports the E=MC2 equation on its deck--the formula for mass-energy equivalence. It means that any form of mass will have an equal amount of energy. And energy is expended throughout this sequence in the form of rocket propulsion and explosions that tear the Earth apart (echoing scenes from before). Ominously, there is a shot of an actual Fat Man in the mix. The film shows an atomic explosion in an earlier segment. The potential is limitless--people will expend great amounts of energy to destroy.


After a big Michael Bay style splurge of explosions, the film settles down to show cities. Buildings take up the entire frame, stretching across the landscape. This is what's popped up following all that Earthly destruction. But it's not all that pretty--this is Pruitt-Igoe, a housing development that became infamous for its poverty, crime, and racial segregation. In the film, the buildings are largely abandoned and in a state of decay. There's debris and garbage all over the streets. Light posts are broken. Building windows broken. People bust open a fire hydrant and play in it. It's not a particularly attractive place to live--inevitably, the buildings are demolished on-screen and collapse before our eyes.

There's a brief sequence that shows cities beneath moving clouds, and fresh new skyscrapers. It's as if following the destruction of Pruitt-Igoe, people have made way for a new set of living spaces.


41 minutes into the movie, now there are people everywhere. We've gone from a macro view of the world to the micro. We see people jam-packed in lines waiting for...something? We see them packed in the streets. And we see dramatic slow-motion shots of people as they pass by, occasionally gawking at the camera. In most portrait and candid shots, people can't help but to glance at the camera, and I took it as a sign that they were either curious or suspicious of the filming. Either way, we rarely see anybody smile. Their expressions are always of concern, worry, apprehension. In one ironic scene, people walk by with a giant billboard behind them that says "Have a barrel of fun." But is anybody really having fun here?

There are a few portrait shots--women standing in front of a fast-moving gray background (a subway I guess?), a jet pilot in front of a plane, and Vegas showgirls. The latter is especially eye-catching because the girls stand there for a very long time smiling, but they shift and look around uncomfortably. I always got the feeling their smiles were purely superficial (as they would be anyway since they're posing for a picture), and it makes me wonder if it represents their roles overall. They're there to give people a good time, but are they happy themselves?


Is anybody having a barrel of fun here?


Next, the film transitions into nighttime shots of the city. And it's time-lapsed, so we see lights streaking across the streets beneath the buildings and their lighted windows. One of the film's most famous shots shows the moon (particularly big--it must have either been superimposed or taken with a very good telephoto lens) creeping into the sky and disappearing behind a building. More importantly, the speeding traffic looks like rivers of light. Just as shots at the beginning of the film showed natural rivers snaking through the canyons, now we have man-made canyons and man-made rivers. All without stone or water. All very flat, angular, and sharp.

Grand central station, New York. Thousands of people flow through the wide-open platforms and corridors as if they're fish in a river. From here on (probably the most enthralling scenes of the movie), we see a huge montage of man-made things. We see lots of machines--factories producing the very same cars we've seen filling up the roads. TVs--they're produced in factories, then people watch and play games on them, and for one prolonged scene we see a time-lapse of endless programming, spewing images at us in light-speed (although if you look closely there are a few scenes of topless ladies spliced in there). Towards the end of the sequence, a big wall of TVs suddenly explodes. A product created, used, then destroyed.

But that's not all--we see a hot-dog production line (and it's kinda funny how the rhythmic music has vocals that almost sounds like "hot dog hot dog" over and over again). After a bunch of men gather around this machine, it spews meat out endlessly, with hands occasionally touching it to unclog jams. Produced food is shown a few more times--twinkies and some jam-filled pastry. In the midst of the montage, we also see people eating. They sit at restaurants and food courts, chowing down and sipping drinks while they chat. And as a time-lapse, it happens in a blur as people move behind and around them. Nothing but a whirlwind of activity.

The film just goes faster and faster as it shows people working then getting off of work, only to distract themselves with food and entertainment. Movie theaters. Bowling. The arcade. Disco dancing. Occasionally, there are a few slow-motion shots of people (who still look unhappy). As the film speeds up, it places the camera in the weirdest of places. One minute, it's on a factory assembly line, showing the point of view of a twinkie or machine part. The next, it's in a shopping cart, whizzing through a grocery store. In one inventive scene (something that might have been an influence on the first The Fast and the Furious film), the camera is in the back seat of a car, and we see the city lights streaking past all the windows. The lights continue to flash and glide past, becoming an electric, Tron-like display of pure speed.


Right at the climax of all this madness, the film jump-cuts to an overhead view of the city in daylight. It fades into circuit boards. The connection is clear, given the roads, the lights, the buildings we've already seen. Circuit boards exist to guide electrons across paths to make something work. Cities work the same way, only we are the electrons. This is the man-made world.

For the last segment of the film, the music becomes somber, and we're shown a montage of people. They are all unhappy. They shove themselves into packed elevators and cage themselves on buses and trains. There's a man with a hat that advertises sight-seeing tours--he seems to be looking around with a frown. One old man stares right into the camera and shaves his neck for some reason. A woman is smoking, but shakes her lighter when it doesn't work. A naked man stares out a window. An old man (with cuts on his head) walks up to the camera holding out change. People move among a pile of debris--a firefighter walks through smoke, presumably to help put out a fire. Medics lift a man off the street and put him on a stretcher. I think the most evocative image is of a single hand rising out of a hospital gurney, and a nurse comes along to hold it. Only a few of these people seem to be smiling or happy, but even then it's hard to tell what's real happiness among all this misery and chaos.


Man and technology--an unhappy union.


Inevitably, the film shows the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. It superimposes the images on top of each other, so the people become transparent as they move. Everybody comes and goes, but they don't stay the same way the places do. They are ghosts.

For a whole minute or so, we see stock footage of the first Alpha Centaur rocket blasting off. Its metal chassis heaves off the ground as fire rushes out of its huge engine. It rises...rises...rises... It explodes. Fire fills up the entire screen, before the remnants become a trail of smoke. The camera tracks the debris as it falls, before the film ends with another panel of the Great Gallery.


The rocket--it must be the height of human civilization. It takes so much of our knowledge to build. It uses so much energy, which has to be harnessed from the Earth somehow. It allows us to reach space, going far beyond the sky to look down and support our cities with satellites. And yet, when the rocket explodes, it's as if we've reached a critical threshold. Something was unbalanced in that rocket and it couldn't sustain itself all the way into space. Thus, it burst and descended. The same thing could happen to human civilization itself. After all, other cultures (ancient Greece, ancient Rome, Easter Island) rose to great heights and fell when they couldn't sustain themselves. How much longer can modern civilization last under our current infrastructure, before it wears thin and bursts?


How much longer before all our accomplishments are turned to ruin and we all become ghosts?
This is apparently one of Chris Nolan's favorite movies so you are in good company
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Old 07-16-2017, 03:02 PM   #35806
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Mate I watched that film last year, it was top notch.
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This is apparently one of Chris Nolan's favorite movies so you are in good company
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Old 07-24-2017, 12:17 AM   #35807
Al_The_Strange Al_The_Strange is offline
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Dunkirk

Imagine waiting in line, in which you don't know what's going to happen. Maybe you'll be shipped home, to safety and comfort. Maybe you'll die.

In 1940, 400,000 Allied soldiers faced awaited their fate on the beaches of Dunkirk. For nine days, these poor souls endured heavy gunfire and bombardments, while a fleet of civilian ships raced to their rescue. There was no naval fleet or air force to swoop in and save the day. The soldiers had no choice but to wait--to live, or to die.

The 2017 film Dunkirk is an intense cinematic experience that places the audience in line with the soldiers, the sailors, and the airmen. Offering little in terms of character hooks or color, the film immediately dunks the viewers in the madness of war, starting off with men running for their lives in the streets, before following them on land, sea, and air. Three specific perspectives are used to show the battle. One is the shoes of a soldier who does everything he can to find a ship home. Another takes place on the deck of a humble yacht, helmed by an old man and a pair of boys who want to do their part in the evacuation effort. The third happens through the eyes of Spitfire pilots racing to stop enemy bombers and fighters from killing more troops.

Despite each narrative having different lapses of time, they are all interwoven together. It can be a challenge to understand the order of events, since the film will show something happening (such as a plane going down), then follow-up with it again from a different angle. This method creates some fascinating disparities between perspectives, as some characters perceive events in one light, but then audiences see that their views were skewed or wrong. The finale in particular is a complex multi-sided affair, which ambiguously suggests both defeat and victory. The triptych plot also gives the film rhythm, so that it becomes a series of waves that washes over the viewers.

And it will feel like waves and waves of terror. The story by nature is terrifying, and the film is careful to remain understated and let the events speak for themselves. There's little dialogue to this (which will spark some complaints that the characters lack depth or presence). But the actors do succeed in making their struggles convincingly, painstakingly convincing. It's all amplified by the film's style. Over each scene, Hans Zimmer's score washes over the soundscape with an eerie, creepy sort of industrial ambience. The camera moves organically across the geography--it gets a little rough when it follows the characters on foot and in the tight corridors of ships, but it's very smooth and elegant with the aerial footage. Most of the film is drenched in steely blue and gray--at times, it makes the environments look beautiful, but it becomes hellish when sand and water washes over the characters and threaten to smother them.

That's ultimately the point of all this: the experience of war-time fear. The style and script focus on the hopelessness of the situation, before exploring all the horrifying situations in which soldiers could die: obliterated by bombs, shot by guns, drowned in the hold of a ship, drowned in the cockpit of a sinking plane, struck or crushed by falling structures, and more. With the film showing so much danger and threat, it struck me that there is a (perhaps unintentional) parallel between the English channel and the River Styx. After all, these were men trapped in a state of limbo, being picked off by unseen, faceless enemies, while waiting for a safe crossing. Even if the soldiers get out alive, they still face an ambiguous future where war continues and more will face death.

Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk is an industrial-grade thrill ride. It's looks and sounds steely, cold, and oppressive, but it hits hard--the cinematic equivalent of a Rammstein song. The narrative is rather odd, but it does succeed in dipping audiences into all the dangers of war. With the film's dedication to showing realistic replications of ships and planes used in the evacuation, it's also a faithful and insightful view of historic events I was otherwise unaware of. In spite of this, the film is a valuable experience in its own right.

4/5
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Old 07-25-2017, 03:19 AM   #35808
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This is the second film I've watched in 70mm, The Hateful Eight being the first. Hell of an experience. Can't tell you how much I enjoy the whole film experience. Especially nowadays when it's become increasingly rare, it feels special to watch it this way.

Dunkirk is an intense film. Nolan uses sound to his advantage here, where silence turns to chaos in an instant. This film is LOUD. Gunshots sound terrifying, explosions are thunderous, and enemy aircraft has never been scarier. That horrifying shriek when they descend from the sky will give you chills. Also, dialogue is sparse. It's there, but there were stretches were I was surprised at how little people talked. I do have a slight nitpick, in that the dialogue was at times difficult to understand. It sounded like it was mixed fairly low. I've read similar complaints from other people, so I don't think it was just my theater.

Speaking of complaints, I noticed some people had issues with the characters. I can understand that. I'd agree that I didn't necessarily feel a strong emotional connection to most of the characters. But maybe that was the point? It feels more like we're just along for the ride, experiencing all of these things with the soldiers, rather than getting attached to them. It was a slight issue for me as well, and it's something I'll keep in mind when I eventually rewatch it.

Dunkirk demands to be seen on the big screen. Even if you can't find a way to watch it in 70mm or IMAX or whatever, it is more than worth the trip to the theater.

4.5/5
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Old 07-26-2017, 12:15 AM   #35809
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Stalker (Сталкер) (1979)

Next time you take a roadside picnic and throw something away in the grass, take a moment to consider what happens next. Ants will come out to pick up and carry the crumbs away. Birds will peck at seeds and fruits. Maybe some badger will grab a wrapper and get his head stuck in it. Suppose you chuck an alkaline battery away, or a canister of oil? Mere leftovers for us become mysterious and deadly artifacts for lesser creatures.

This was the basic premise behind Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's book, Roadside Picnic. What if aliens landed on Earth and left some junk behind? People and governments would surely covet it. It could become a whole new kind of black market. But what effects would such artifacts have on lesser beings like us?

1979's Stalker adopts this premise into a one-of-a-kind vision. From its opening credits onward, the film is seeped in hard, gritty textures and drab colors. In this bleak setting, the nameless Stalker (Alexander Kaidanovsky, notably bald, scrawny, and kinda alien-looking) takes a job to escort two clients into the Zone--the place where a meteorite crashed and became quarantined by the military. One man is a writer (Anatoly Solonitsyn) looking for inspiration. The other, a professor (Nikolai Grinko) looking for scientific discovery. Despite the heavy guard and the threat of never coming back, the three break through and progress through the Zone. We never see any psychical threats, but the trio always react with fear and anxiety over invisible traps and unseen entities. Passing through dark corridors and ruins, truths are unearthed about each character, which puts their whole endeavor into question and endangers them all.

This is a long and mopey film. Gone are the pulp fiction roots of the original story--Tarkovsky sought to craft a meditative experience out of this, sculpting viewers' time as he always did to draw out each moment and force you to think about what's on screen and what's being said. It might be agony for some viewers, because each shot lingers for long, long, long stretches of time. It kills the pacing, especially when the characters stop moving and decide to discuss philosophy for minutes on end.

Fortunately, this film will reward patient viewers. The combination of dreary visuals and sharp writing directs the audience to contemplate greater implications of the journey. It's not so much about three guys walking through the woods--it's an allegory to religious pilgrimage, and synonymous to living life itself. The entire trip challenges each characters' faith, as they question the existence and validity of an all-powerful Room that promises them happiness and fulfilled wishes. Each performer puts on melancholy and understated performances, accentuating the stillness of the cinematography and the quietness of the soundtrack. The sheer mood suggests cynicism towards society, the arts, science, religion--the entirety of mankind. Viewers can infer any number of conclusions, as the Stalker himself distresses over how people lost their way.

This is one of the ultimates in arthouse cinema. Stalker has cinematography like no other, showcasing places and people so dark, but with a delicate touch that implies greater beauty in nature and power of forces above and beyond mankind. Best of all, the film offers content worth contemplating and reflecting on. Tarkovsky and the crew suffered toxic environments to realize this vision. Then, the film was destroyed--the Soviet laboratories were unfamiliar with the film stock and it was improperly developed. Tensions with the cinematographer (who was subsequently fired) only accentuated the frustration and cynicism Tarkovsky felt, before having to reshoot the entire film again. What's left might be a reflection of his own anguish. And we are given a chance to stare into his abyss, to see what stares back at us.

If you have the interest, the patience, the willpower, the film is a must-see.

4/5
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Old 08-02-2017, 05:56 PM   #35810
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More of a spy thriller than straight-up action flick, but damn is the action good. The stairwell scene is ridiculous in the best way. Between this and Mad Max: Fury Road, I think Charlize Theron has cemented herself as one of the best action stars of recent times. She's a badass here, but one aspect I liked was that she isn't unstoppable. She gets beat up, and we see the toll that takes on her body. The aforementioned stairwell fight actually feels like a fight. The choreography in the film is fantastic, no surprise coming from one of the directors of John Wick.

The 80s neon aesthetic works wonders for the film, as well as the terrific 80s pop soundtrack. Seriously, this is up there with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Baby Driver as one of the best soundtracks this year. Bonus points for using "Cat People" by David Bowie, though at this point I associate that song so heavily with Inglourious Basterds it almost felt weird hearing it here.

Atomic Blonde is an incredibly stylish film, and that style helps carry it through brief lulls in its somewhat muddied narrative. The plot isn't impossible to understand, but it's arguably the weakest part of the whole thing. Still, twists and turns come with the spy territory, plus it's not so bad when you get to watch Charlize Theron smash people in the face with a portable stove.

4/5
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Old 08-02-2017, 06:31 PM   #35811
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Question Terminator 1, 2 and 3 on Blu Ray - but which ones best??!?

Hi Guys

I'm in the UK
I'm wanting some advice on which blu ray DVD release to buy that have the very best audio and video quality for Terminator 1, Terminator 2 and Terminator 3

I have a 55 inch 4K Panasonic Television
Denon 5.1 Surround Sound amp and Q Acoustics speakers
Pioneer Blu Ray Player

Any advice would be great as I'm so confused on how many releases there are for these films lol! I want the bestest versions 😆😆
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Old 08-02-2017, 06:40 PM   #35812
Al_The_Strange Al_The_Strange is offline
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Originally Posted by WaynesterUK View Post
Hi Guys

I'm in the UK
I'm wanting some advice on which blu ray DVD release to buy that have the very best audio and video quality for Terminator 1, Terminator 2 and Terminator 3

I have a 55 inch 4K Panasonic Television
Denon 5.1 Surround Sound amp and Q Acoustics speakers
Pioneer Blu Ray Player

Any advice would be great as I'm so confused on how many releases there are for these films lol! I want the bestest versions ����
I happen to have the UK remastered edition of T1. I know some folks have griped about the coloring (with most dark scenes appearing teal) and the lack of the original mono track. But the picture looks sharp as a tack and natural. It definitely bests the older 2006 release, and I don't think there's any better version available now. Frankly, I'm happy with this copy.

You might want to wait a bit for the T2 UHD coming out soon. It's supposed to be newly-remastered and everything. If you aren't into 4K yet, I think a regular remastered Blu-Ray will be available on its own. Should be due in this fall. I have many copies of T2--the 2015 US rerelease is the best so far, but has room for improvement (and is region-locked), so the new copy should be the best yet.

Not sure about T3. My copy is German, but I think it has lossy audio or something. The US version was 1080i in the past, but I think rereleases have been improved. Not sure about the English version--I figure there's only one edition of it and it should be the same for the UK. User scores for it look good.

Short answer--get these:


Last edited by Al_The_Strange; 08-02-2017 at 06:45 PM.
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Old 08-02-2017, 06:45 PM   #35813
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It's funny because I absolutely HATED her in Mad Max. Thought she was woefully miscast and had zero chemistry with Tom Hardy.

That said I absolutely LOVED her in Atomic Blonde.
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Old 08-07-2017, 02:56 AM   #35814
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Default Decided to do a write up of A Cure For Wellness tonight

“No one ever leaves.”

For the longest time, director Gore Verbinski found himself being a one man Johnny Depp franchise making machine with the Pirates of The Caribbean films. The first one was a financial and critical darling and while its subsequent follow-ups were not looked upon as well as the first did, they never the less earned top dollar at the box office in the respective years they were released in. They then followed up that saga with the animated smash Rango, one of the few non-Disney/Pixar animated flicks to win the gold statue at the Academy Awards. However, the train had to end somewhere and it did with a new franchise that he and Disney tried to started with but failed miserably with the big budget Western Epic The Lone Ranger. It fell with a massive thud on both fronts and while Depp has been on a slow descending spiral since, Verbinski must have seen this opportunity to pursue grander projects. Bringing along Ranger writer Justin Haythe, the two set their course to create one of the strangest Hollywood productions of the year: A Cure For Wellness, an unrestrained and truly deranged epic horror film/psychological thriller that’s as nasty as it is beautiful.

Lockheart (Dane DeHaan) is a young, ambitious executive with only a few things on his mind: Money, business and himself. When the trading firm he works for finds out he’s been doing some meddling behind their backs, they decide to offer him a chance of redemption: Bring back the head of their firm to make sure a merger goes through smoothly and everything he’s done will be water under the bridge. His boss Pembroke (Harry Groener) sent the board an insane and rambling letter from a remote wellness center in the Swiss Alps and when Lockheart goes there to retrieve him, things go south pretty quickly when he winds up in a car accident that busts his leg and leaves him under the care of the facility’s head doctor (Jason Isaacs). During his time there, he also encounters a young girl named Hannah (Mia Goth), who acts younger than she looks. But Lockehart suspects quickly there’s something is not quite right with this place and soon finds himself in a much bigger and grander plot than he would have ever anticpated.

One thing that must be mentioned right off the bat is how gorgeous A Cure For Wellness looks. Reuniting with the DP Verbinski worked with on The Ring, Bojan Bazelli’s camera work is nothing short of exquisite to look at. The framing, coloring, color grading and laser guided precision of how it all looks is at times mind bendingly beautiful. You could take whatever shot from the film, from the most lovely landscapes to the dingiest dungeon, put it in a picture frame and mount it on your wall. The film as a whole is a technical masterwork, using its 40 mill budget and making it look like it cost doubly with its excellent costume design, amazing sets, tight editing and seamless CG used in places that you wouldn’t even expect. But if you think the film is nothing more than style over substance, do not fear; There is a story here in all of these beautiful trappings.

Prior to and during the time of release, Wellness was compared to Shutter Island in many ways from its premise to even its lead, who bears a mild resemblance to DiCaprio in his younger days. Yet I’d be willing to argue that’s selling the movie short: While they both appear to be similar works on the surface, the former is far more crazier than any of the inmates from the latter could ever imagine. Verbinski isn’t so much out to scare as he is out to disturb and make you feel sick during the two and half hour cinematic nightmare he’s designed. Poisonous water than makes you lose your mind, man eating eels that appear very frequently, dental work from hell, heaps upon heaps of body horror that even made a horror nut like me squirm, incestuous histories of mad barons, gaslighting galore and many other oddities that are worth finding out for yourself than me spilling the whole kit and kaboodle. The atmosphere is thicker than frozen butter and the pacing, for a film that’s as long as this, keeps up a really solid beat. Some have complained that the film should have been shorter but I felt like the film could have kept going for three hours and I still would have been hooked. In some ways, the film ends up coming off as a “What Could Have Been” imagining of what that failed live action Bioshock film was suppose to be all those years ago.

Performances across the board are also quite solid as well. Dane DeHaan not only redeems himself for his awful performance in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 but also proves he can carry a film with the right material. He near death looks and impish voice work well with his character, a work obsessed and snide businessman but much to my surprise, he winds up being more sympathetic than you’d think. When the film started, I want to see him got what was coming to him but by the end, I was rooting for him to get the hell out of this madhouse. The support cast is no slouch either, with Jason Isaacs doing his Jason Isaacs thing of being the most elegant bad guy you could picture while Mia Goth provides a childlike innocence with her performance and lack of eyebrows.

Of course, every film has its flaws and Wellness is not without them. In a film that’s as long as pretty as this is, it can be pretty easy to lose track of who’s who and what’s important to the plot and what isn’t. In my first two viewings, even I found myself wishing I had a small notepad to keep track of plot reveals to prevent myself from getting confused. On top of that, it can be pretty easy to guess what’s going on here, especially in the absolutely bonkers third act. There’s also some stuff about man’s greed and selfishness being a bad thing going on here but it’s all surface level in that regard, with Gore Verbinski and Justin Haythe’s priorities laying elsewhere in squick-o-riffic beauty than railing against the inhumanity of big business.

In spite of these problems, A Cure For Wellness always kept me hooked even when I was wondering what the hell was going as much as its protagonist was. With beautiful production design, an interesting if fairly predictable story, coupled with a haunting score by Benjamin Wallfisch, it’s a gothically designed thrill ride that kept me entertained from first frame to its utterly baffling last. At one point in the film, a character turns towards Lockheart and says to him “Magnificent, isn’t it?”. While that isn’t quite the word I would use to describe the film, it’s certainly one of a kind and easily one of my favorite films of this year.
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Old 08-13-2017, 03:40 AM   #35815
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I need to ask a question that has me confused, I buy many movies Bluray but I confuse something, sometimes I see in channels a movie such as Fox, HBO, and many more movies that are in Spanish and in HD but when I look for it to buy it in Bluray.com tells me that they are in English then that confuses me
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Old 08-13-2017, 03:45 AM   #35816
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Sorry if this is not the right place to ask this question
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Old 08-24-2017, 09:30 AM   #35817
L-Rouge L-Rouge is offline
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TERMINATOR 2

Picture 4/5
Some Digital Noise Reduction is quite noticeable, some suburban day time scenery looks jammed with blotchy information, and skin detail at times looks artificially smooth creating a slightly washed aesthetic. Not as villainous as The Phantom Menace, however which is an achievement, given the relative vintage. Still it is the best I have ever seen it and it looks great through proper 4k projection

3d 4/5
Natural, excellent post conversion, though not in your face, quite subdued, avoids the "hallow skull" aesthetic met with early post converted movies, The opening close up of the T-800 model simply rocks, while most scenes are entirely acceptable without being outstanding. Once in a while you are reminded you are watching 3d. Arnies Jacket with light glistening through the bullet holes is a prime example of good subtlety, the scene is beautiful if ethereal with the ghostly lighting. Think the 3d itself though highlights the DNR.

Sound 3/5
showing it's age not as dynamic as a modern day movie, Our cinema didn't pick up low end detail but for 1991 excellent surround detail. and Brad Fiedel's music sure shines.

(the trailer at The Embassy also showed its age, so may not be a just this cinema)

Overall experience 5/5
Totally worth seeing this on the big screen, I consider it the best action film of all time, I was so awed when I first saw this film I had to see it again instantly, I had never seen anything on this level of technical mastery when viewed on my birthday back in 1992 (at home and on VHS no less). Terminator 2 is avante garde, and very rarely toppled by modern day efforts. There is some 90's father figure cheese in here for good measure, but amazingly my heart still sings at the awesomenes of the visuals, the menace of the villian and the coolness of Arnie.

I look forward to owning this on Blu-ray.
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Old 09-10-2017, 01:34 AM   #35818
DjMethod DjMethod is offline
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It (2017)

It is the
[Show spoiler]first of a two-film
adaptation of Stephen King’s 1986 horror novel. It takes place in 1988 and ’89, with a wonderful 80's coming-of-age Stand By Me feel mixed with intermittent dream-like sequences reminiscent of the Nightmare on Elm Street films (one of the sequels is playing in theaters in the film). The cast is all-around excellent, and are really what make the movie memorable. Bill Skarsgård (son of Stellan Skarsgård) draws heavy inspiration from Heath Ledger's Joker with his effective portrayal of the evil clown Pennywise. Mike from Stranger Things (Finn Wolfhard) is probably the standout performance of the crowd for me, although each of the kids does such a fine job. There were maybe a few instances of weak acting from some of the kids, but their overall group dynamic was just awesome to watch! They'll get you cracking up throughout the film's lighter moments.

The film's intentional cheesiness borders on full-on campiness from time to time, and it will occasionally feel like they push the 80s movie stereotype a bit too hard… but then one of the kids would cuss, or there would be some gruesome violence, both of which would obviously be completely unexpected in Sandlot, Goonies, or ET. So it is almost like those movies but made for adults who were kids in the 80s, rather than for kids in the 80s, like said films. This in my opinion actually makes It stand out from other homage productions like Stranger Things or Super 8, which are both films/shows that play by the rules and parameters of the 80s films they pay homage to.

I could certainly feel It's 135-minute runtime, and I think it could have used some tighter editing. The story is done fairly well, although they do introduce more ideas than they can handle—the rules of the universe are not clear at times, and you may be left with many questions—
[Show spoiler]but it's reassuring that the end title displays a "Chapter One."
The CGI is noticeably average at times, but redeeming at other times. We unintentionally went to an IMAX showing, but I'd say it is worth seeing in IMAX if you can spend the extra cash, mostly because a lot of the atmosphere in the film is designed around the sound/score (not in a cheap scares way, as there are no "sound-only scares", or "scary-only-because-of-the-sound scares"), and IMAX has incredible sound. This reason alone will also likely make it a worthy future purchase on blu.

I was bummed when I discovered that Cary Fukunaga was originally set to write, produce, and direct the film before exiting three weeks before the start of production due to creative differences (he wanted deeper and darker while WB wanted "archetypes and scares"), but he is still credited as one of the producers, and it looks like it would have been a wildly different film had he stayed on (if you're interested you can read his reasons here:
[Show spoiler]

"I was trying to make an unconventional horror film. It didn’t fit into the algorithm of what they knew they could spend and make money back on based on not offending their standard genre audience. Our budget was perfectly fine. We were always hovering at the $32 million mark, which was their budget. It was the creative that we were really battling. It was two movies. They didn’t care about that. In the first movie, what I was trying to do was an elevated horror film with actual characters. They didn’t want any characters. They wanted archetypes and scares. I wrote the script. They wanted me to make a much more inoffensive, conventional script. But I don’t think you can do proper Stephen King and make it inoffensive.

The main difference was making Pennywise more than just the clown. After 30 years of villains that could read the emotional minds of characters and scare them, trying to find really sadistic and intelligent ways he scares children, and also the children had real lives prior to being scared. And all that character work takes time. It’s a slow build, but it’s worth it, especially by the second film. But definitely even in the first film, it pays off.

It was being rejected. Every little thing was being rejected and asked for changes. Our conversations weren’t dramatic. It was just quietly acrimonious. We didn’t want to make the same movie. We’d already spent millions on pre-production. I certainly did not want to make a movie where I was being micro-managed all the way through production, so I couldn’t be free to actually make something good for them. I never desire to screw something up. I desire to make something as good as possible.

We invested years and so much anecdotal storytelling in it. Chase and I both put our childhood in that story. So our biggest fear was they were going to take our script and bastardize it. So I’m actually thankful that they are going to rewrite the script. I wouldn’t want them to stealing our childhood memories and using that. I mean, I’m not sure if the fans would have liked what I would have done. I was honoring King’s spirit of it, but I needed to update it. King saw an earlier draft and liked it."


Link
) The director who took his place is Andy Muschietti, the same director who made the Guillermo Del Toro-produced Mama, which I found to be a potential classic in atmosphere, setting, and character design, had it not been cheapened by so many jump scares and its poor writing (see my review here). As Muschietti's second film, It is a more polished Mama. The scares are actually effective (there are some genuinely frightening moments!) and the chemistry among the leads gives the film a lot of its weight. The film as a whole is a large improvement for the director, a fine horror flick to revisit in the future, and well-worth seeing in theaters.

4/5

Last edited by DjMethod; 09-10-2017 at 01:41 AM.
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Old 09-22-2017, 01:00 AM   #35819
Pondosinatra Pondosinatra is offline
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Alien: Covenant



Rating: 3 out of 5

Taking place eleven years after Prometheus we find another spaceship headed to some distant planet on a colonization mission. Along the way disaster strikes and the crew awakens from hyper sleep in time to intercept a signal from a nearby planet that they decide to investigate. Sigh. Yes, that sounds almost identical to the plot of Alien - an iconic film for the ages and tied with Blade Runner for my favorite movie. Usually I abhor sequels, but this (and Prometheus before it) is helmed by Sir Ridley Scott who started the whole thing. So I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that in his hands the result won't suck. Unfortunately it looks like once again and with a much bigger impact than before he was fighting with the studio as to the direction he wanted to take things. Without giving it away, the middle of the film is a gut punch to the audience similar to what happened in Alien 3. I was like 'What? Are you serious?'. Afterwards I found out that up to 30 minutes of footage was filmed that was never used and obviously after shooting had started the story took a dramatically different direction. To be fair, Scott really can't win. One the one hand you have fans who appreciated Prometheus which attempted to evolve beyond horror in space into something new and unique. On the other you have fans who were pissed off and just wanted more blood and gore. Throw in a meddling studio always worried about their bottom line and you have the perfect recipe for something that while trying to please everyone, ends up alienating (ha) everyone. I did find I enjoyed it much more after watching it a second time and I highly recommend watching Prometheus again. It made one of the character's motivations make much more sense. Visually the film is beautiful and has some truly amazing sets and haunting imagery. The beginning is also an unrelenting assault upon the senses culminating in a horrific scene to equal the one in Alien. On the downside, beyond the issues with the story, I found the cast to be a letdown. Other than the android David you really don't find out enough about the crew to really give a crap about them, never mind even remembering their names. Only recommended for fans, but sadly even they will likely find the experience frustrating.
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Old 09-24-2017, 08:41 PM   #35820
Al_The_Strange Al_The_Strange is offline
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First draft, first viewing--chances are my opinion of this movie could change and I might have to rewrite all of this one day.

mother!

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. 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.

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.

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
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