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I feel like (relatively speaking), Terminator is smaller scale and more intimate, while T2 feels more "epic" and blockbuster. I really like the first movie, but the second one never really gripped me in the same way.


Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:59 pm
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Rock wrote:
What if it's something he can never do?

Molten steel bath.


Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:00 pm
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Anyway, I enjoy both House of Bamboo and T2. The only weird look I got from a video store clerk was when I bought Pieces on Blu-ray, although that look could have been equal parts respect and disgust.

I don't know if T2 is better than House of Bamboo, but it definitely is better than Pieces.

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Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:01 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Molten steel bath.

Chill out, dickwad.

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Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:01 pm
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Rock wrote:
I don't know if T2 is better than House of Bamboo, but it definitely is better than Pieces.


Don't even get me started.


Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:02 pm
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Rock wrote:
Chill out, dickwad.

Did you just call moi a dickwad?


Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:07 pm
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Rock wrote:
Anyway, I enjoy both House of Bamboo and T2. The only weird look I got from a video store clerk was when I bought Pieces on Blu-ray, although that look could have been equal parts respect and disgust.

I don't know if T2 is better than House of Bamboo, but it definitely is better than Pieces.


Nope. Pieces is definitely better than T2.


Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:09 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Did you just call moi a dickwad?

Of course, I'm a Terminator.

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Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:12 pm
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Rock wrote:
Of course, I'm a Terminator.

Sorry to break from the quotefest but did you also see T2 in 3D?


Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:15 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sorry to break from the quotefest but did you also see T2 in 3D?

lol I was running out of lines anyway

I did not. My TV has only 2 dimensions and I missed the re-release in theatres. Was it any good?

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Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:17 pm
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Rock wrote:
Chill out, dickwad.




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Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:22 pm
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I need your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle.

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Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:26 pm
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Rock wrote:
lol I was running out of lines anyway

I did not. My TV has only 2 dimensions and I missed the re-release in theatres. Was it any good?

While it wasn't as eye opening as Predator in 3D, I thought it served Cameron's style very well as he always seems to put an emphasis on deep focus to capture scale and create spatial awareness. It felt like the film was conceived for the format. I have a UK Blu coming in the mail as we speak because I usually prefer 3D at home.

Then again, I'm a fan of the format. Just me and James Cameron. Still digging it.


Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:34 pm
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Re: Terminator

I enjoy the whole blockbuster spectacle of T2; it's thrilling and well done. But I'm one of those that prefers the original. Even seeing the sequel in theaters as a teenager, I've always found the Terminator whole emotional "good guy" schtick to be problematic (and judging from some of the replies here, it seems I'm not the only one).

I guess that's why I hung up so well with Terminator 3. I love how, in general, it gets the series back to that bleakness, you know, Sarah Connor is dead, John is an alcoholic, the Terminator is just "a machine", and Judgment Day can't be prevented. I just wish the tone was more consistent throughout the film, instead of trying to inject so much comedic lines.

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Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:15 pm
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Thief wrote:
Judgment Day can't be prevented.

This does not "get back" to the the bleakness of the original, because the original explicitly contradicts it. "The future is not set, there's no fate but what we make of ourselves." That's not some Bill Paxton throwaway line, it's the central theme of the film. Undermining it becomes an insult to the original film, and in fact undermines the entire series. Why, indeed, would Conner or Skynet even bother sending these agents back in time if not to change the course of future events? The entire premise of the film is that there is nothing in the future that can not be prevented. That's the entire point of the time-travelling intervention.

All of the other criticisms of T3 are perfectly, painfully valid. But this particular point is where it went full retard.


Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:54 pm
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Jinnistan wrote:
This does not "get back" to the the bleakness of the original, because the original explicitly contradicts it. "The future is not set, there's no fate but what we make of ourselves." That's not some Bill Paxton throwaway line, it's the central theme of the film. Undermining it becomes an insult to the original film, and in fact undermines the entire series. Why, indeed, would Conner or Skynet even bother sending these agents back in time if not to change the course of future events? The entire premise of the film is that there is nothing in the future that can not be prevented. That's the entire point of the time-travelling intervention.

All of the other criticisms of T3 are perfectly, painfully valid. But this particular point is where it went full retard.


I see your point and I understand your take on it, but I don't think I necessarily agree.

From the get-go, the franchise has relied on numerous paradoxes (i.e. contradictions) to sustain its story. The Terminator sent from the future is what ultimately sparks the creation of Skynet and Terminators themselves, the protector sent from the future by the Resistance leader is the one that ends up conceiving that same leader, etc. Every single step that both Skynet and the Resistance has taken to prevent or alter future events has led them directly to where they are when the series begins. Even by the end of the first film, after the Terminator has been destroyed and Sarah is fleeing somewhere else, you see the kid takes her picture, which is the same picture that John gave Kyle in the future, and you understand that they haven't changed or altered anything. She is still headed towards "the storm" which she can't escape from, and yet she's more prepared or equipped to face it. Judgement Day being inevitable isn't that far from what the series has established since the first film. No matter what steps they take to protect themselves or alter future events, the fate is set. What they can make for themselves is be more ready for it, which is what Sarah, and then John, have been doing since the first film. Plus, I think it also says a lot about humanity the fact that it can't be prevented, despite whatever measures we take. In the words of the Terminator "it's in your nature to destroy yourselves".

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Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:36 pm
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Thief wrote:
the fate is set.

Image

There are a number of plot holes (not paradoxes) which jumble the time frame - which is all asinine anyway considering how time travel remains a physical impossibility. But you have to look at the themes that James Cameron was expressing, and to that extent it's clear - "The future is not set." The possibility of Skynet's takeover is still present at the end of Terminator, but so is the possibility of it not happening. The point is that we have agency to determine the future for ourselves.

Thief wrote:
Plus, I think it also says a lot about humanity the fact that it can't be prevented, despite whatever measures we take. In the words of the Terminator "it's in your nature to destroy yourselves".

I think it says more about current human apathy in our culture. Plus you gave Dumbo a B.


Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:39 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
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There are a number of plot holes (not paradoxes) which jumble the time frame - which is all asinine anyway considering how time travel remains a physical impossibility. But you have to look at the themes that James Cameron was expressing, and to that extent it's clear - "The future is not set." The possibility of Skynet's takeover is still present at the end of Terminator, but so is the possibility of it not happening. The point is that we have agency to determine the future for ourselves.


But I'm not talking about plot holes. The examples I mentioned are pretty much the core plot points that cement the premise of the franchise: everything they are doing is still leading them to the same place.

The franchise does a nice job of playing with both concepts of fate vs. free will, but regardless of what the characters say, or carve in wooden tables, I don't think it settles on an answer. I think it goes back and forth between both philosophies allowing the viewer to decide what to get from it, and at least what I get from it is that there are *some* things that can't be avoided, whether it's because of decisions as individuals or general human nature, but there is enough free will to decide how to face them.

Both main characters have the same struggle. After the first film, Sarah had reasons to feel safe. But she understood that there was still a possibility like you said of something happening, and she decided to prepare herself AND her son for what might come. Deep down she accepted her fate of Judgment Day happening and her being the mother of the leader of the Resistance. After the second film, John had all the reasons to feel safe. They had stopped Skynet. And still he didn't feel safe. He went off the grid, and became an alcoholic because he knew deep inside what would happen and couldn't handle the burden of who he was supposed to be.

Jinnistan wrote:
I think it says more about current human apathy in our culture. Plus you gave Dumbo a B.


Could you expand on this? Why not, even the Dumbo comment.

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Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:37 am
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All criticism of T2 is rendered null and void because Arnold crawls up on top of the semi and empties an M16 into the T-1000 at point blank range in one shot.


Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:22 am
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Thief wrote:
But I'm not talking about plot holes. The examples I mentioned are pretty much the core plot points that cement the premise of the franchise: everything they are doing is still leading them to the same place.

They're plot holes because they don't have internal logic, but I set that aside because the theory of time travel itself doesn't conform to internal logic (because it's a physical impossibility). Even something like Back To The Future has this issue, and people love to remark on them, but most people over look it because it's fun entertainment anyway.

Thief wrote:
The franchise does a nice job of playing with both concepts of fate vs. free will, but regardless of what the characters say, or carve in wooden tables, I don't think it settles on an answer. I think it goes back and forth between both philosophies allowing the viewer to decide what to get from it, and at least what I get from it is that there are *some* things that can't be avoided, whether it's because of decisions as individuals or general human nature, but there is enough free will to decide how to face them.

I don't care about the franchise. I'm limiting it to mostly the first film, and, at least in spirit, the second one. In those films the assertion of human responsibility to change a seeming inevitability is the primary message. In both films, the determination of Skynet is averted. The humans do not, in fact refuse to, destroy themselves. "The future is not set". Unambiguous. Our actions in "the now" matter, and we share a power to avert our own destruction. Apocalypse is always possible, sometimes perilous, but never certain. T3 throws its hands up in resignation.

That's what's so bullshit about this "human nature to self-destruction" argument. Human nature surely has a self-destructive impulse (the "death drive"), but not an insurmountable one. It ignores the alternating impulse of this force, which is our instinct to create and to nurture. The same species that has wrought so much death and destruction in this world has also been equally adept at the more life-affirming work - charity, medicine, arts, "rights". The fact is that human nature has an enormous capacity for a number of things, and the crucial ingredient is in whether we have the will to struggle for a better world or whether we choose to abdicate it into darkness. There's nothing inevitable about this fundamental choice.

We've technically been on the brink of a decimated civilization since 1949, and it looked more dire in 1984 than it does today. There were lots of people in 1984 who believed that nuclear catastrophe was inevitable. A common theme in American 80s culture was the struggle to prevent this inevitability. I don't think that it's a coincidence that in our current era, after over a decade of inundated messages of the inevitability of doomsday (T3 was 2003, the same year of the Iraq invasion, and the begining of the American embrace of inevitable decline and apocalypse) has lead us to a point where, for the first time in decades, the threat of nuclear exchage between world powers is once again a plausibility. It didn't have to be. A lot of Americans have simply given up, evidenced by the ultimate death drive: voting for Trump. Anyway, this is not what Cameron had in mind when he made Terminator, and it isn't fair to retrofit his film to make it more accomodating to franchise exploitation.

Thief wrote:
Could you expand on this? Why not, even the Dumbo comment.

Because Dumbo is a beautiful film about the affirmation of life's more gracious virtues against the backdrop of its accompanying cruelty and irrational hardship. Anthropomorphically, this is human nature, and in the end the spirit ascends above the squalor. Today, they'd probably have Dumbo shoot up the circus or something, sailing away in slow motion as the big tent explodes in the background. Some crusty voiceover pondering on the inevitability of this cycle of cruelty. And there would be sequels.


Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:38 am
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Thief wrote:
Re: Terminator

I enjoy the whole blockbuster spectacle of T2; it's thrilling and well done. But I'm one of those that prefers the original. Even seeing the sequel in theaters as a teenager, I've always found the Terminator whole emotional "good guy" schtick to be problematic (and judging from some of the replies here, it seems I'm not the only one).

We are of one mind on these points.


Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:36 am
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The Big Chill - 10/10
When the movie ended one of my guests said "perfect movie" and another just said "great call".
The dialogue in this movie is so sharp, the feelings are adult and complex, and the outstanding cast makes the characters and their relationships feel real.
If there is anything to knock points off, it's Kline's awful Southern accent.
Otherwise the film is beyond reproach.


Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:38 am
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I wish I could have seen She's Gotta Have it when it came out or at the start of my Spike Lee watching but after having seen him already hit such soaring heights, fall and start to rise again, it was a rough adjustment to see him work with such a miniscule budget and talent that lacked... Well, talent. It's a well shot, experimental indie film but most of it's quality either comes from the subtext as a part of his greater social commentary or seeing his origins rather than it being a particularly compelling watch on it own.


Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:04 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
They're plot holes because they don't have internal logic, but I set that aside because the theory of time travel itself doesn't conform to internal logic (because it's a physical impossibility). Even something like Back To The Future has this issue, and people love to remark on them, but most people over look it because it's fun entertainment anyway.


If they are consistent with the logic established within the film itself, then they are not plot holes. The fact that they are real life impossibilities is irrelevant within the fiction of the film. The fact that they are paradoxes is the big twist, and ultimately is what makes the core of the film's plot.

Jinnistan wrote:
I don't care about the franchise. I'm limiting it to mostly the first film, and, at least in spirit, the second one. In those films the assertion of human responsibility to change a seeming inevitability is the primary message. In both films, the determination of Skynet is averted. The humans do not, in fact refuse to, destroy themselves. "The future is not set". Unambiguous. Our actions in "the now" matter, and we share a power to avert our own destruction. Apocalypse is always possible, sometimes perilous, but never certain. T3 throws its hands up in resignation.


But even after the first film, the fate of humanity hasn't changed. The goal of the first film was just survival. Sarah avoided being killed, but as far as we know, that won't stop Skynet from being created. At the end, she is even questioning herself what to tell her son and what not, for fear of stopping him from sending Kyle back in the future. As far as this point, humanity is still doomed. It isn't until T2 that they take an active role in trying to stop Skynet and Judgment Day from happening, and even then, she acknowledges the uncertainty of what might happen as a result ("we were in uncharted territory now"). The fact that it didn't necessarily work is not throwing their hands in resignation. It's just accepting the 50/50 probability there was of it still happening.

Jinnistan wrote:
That's what's so bullshit about this "human nature to self-destruction" argument. Human nature surely has a self-destructive impulse (the "death drive"), but not an insurmountable one. It ignores the alternating impulse of this force, which is our instinct to create and to nurture. The same species that has wrought so much death and destruction in this world has also been equally adept at the more life-affirming work - charity, medicine, arts, "rights". The fact is that human nature has an enormous capacity for a number of things, and the crucial ingredient is in whether we have the will to struggle for a better world or whether we choose to abdicate it into darkness. There's nothing inevitable about this fundamental choice.

We've technically been on the brink of a decimated civilization since 1949, and it looked more dire in 1984 than it does today. There were lots of people in 1984 who believed that nuclear catastrophe was inevitable. A common theme in American 80s culture was the struggle to prevent this inevitability. I don't think that it's a coincidence that in our current era, after over a decade of inundated messages of the inevitability of doomsday (T3 was 2003, the same year of the Iraq invasion, and the begining of the American embrace of inevitable decline and apocalypse) has lead us to a point where, for the first time in decades, the threat of nuclear exchage between world powers is once again a plausibility. It didn't have to be. A lot of Americans have simply given up, evidenced by the ultimate death drive: voting for Trump. Anyway, this is not what Cameron had in mind when he made Terminator, and it isn't fair to retrofit his film to make it more accomodating to franchise exploitation.


I agree about all the things you bring up about humanity. The fact that I like this bleak future being presented on screen doesn't mean that I fully believe in the inevitability of a "death drive". I do believe we have the power to create (which Sarah brings in T2) and the power to do great things, but what the film is presenting is that sometimes that same drive could lead to unfortunate consequences. To quote the great Ian Malcolm, "scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should." There's a great scene in T2 where Sarah lashes at Dyson saying how they "didn't know what it's really to create something". But the thing is that, as a scientist, he thought he was ("Took us in new directions. Things we'd never...").

The film puts up the question of when is enough? Miles Dyson wasn't a bad man, and for the sake of argument, neither was the military guy from T3. They thought they were doing something good. For every great thing that humanity does, there are other things we do that disregard nature, the environment, or our own well-being as humans, and I think that part of what the film wants to put up, consciously or not, is precisely that. At the end of the second film, they think they've succeeded in destroying Skynet, but the "unknown path" is still, well, unknown. Like you said, apocalypse is still possible, but not certain. Each film embracing the American realities of when they were released (1984 = dire, 1992 = hopeful, 2003 = decline), if anything, makes them all the more meaningful. I don't see how going back to the bleak possibilities presented in the original is "retrofitting".

Jinnistan wrote:
Because Dumbo is a beautiful film about the affirmation of life's more gracious virtues against the backdrop of its accompanying cruelty and irrational hardship. Anthropomorphically, this is human nature, and in the end the spirit ascends above the squalor. Today, they'd probably have Dumbo shoot up the circus or something, sailing away in slow motion as the big tent explodes in the background. Some crusty voiceover pondering on the inevitability of this cycle of cruelty. And there would be sequels.


I agree about the film. As for how it would do now, we'll see what Burton does with it ;)

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Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:06 am
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Terminator 2 is my sentimental favorite (sentimental being a key word), but the scrappy pleasures of the original Terminator have gained my love over the years, especially Michael Biehn's sub-manic performance as Kyle Reese. In general, I respect how Cameron builds his action films so that the final 30 or 40 minutes can be almost pure, geographically clear action and still play as meaningful dramatic payoff.

Re: the fate/free will, the original film does seem like it leans a bit closer toward determinism, as the events of the future loop back to the past in a mobius strip of inevitability (right down to Sarah eventually getting the picture that will become the one that Kyle receives. Or, to put it more kindly, maybe a sort of low-level compatibilism, since Sarah isn't privy to the way that time has circled on itself and fights on.

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Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:16 am
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Hunger (2008) - 10/10

I just thought this movie was alright on my first viewing. There were a few aspects I really liked about it such as the middle scene and the depiction of the hunger strike. However, I originally disliked how attention was taken away from most of the characters introduced in the first act. Overall, it feels like an odd choice to introduce multiple characters only to have them leave the film half an hour later, doesn't it? However, after I revisited this movie a couple more times, I loved it to such great of an extent that it's now one of my favorite films of all time.

Northern Ireland, 1981. After the government withdraws the political status of all paramilitary prisoners, the inmates of the Maze Prison retaliate by forming a blanket and a no wash protest, ultimately leading to a hunger strike led by one of the inmates, Bobby Sands.

This movie is clearly an unconventional film due to the lack of dialogue and the plot structure. One thing I've learned from watching unconventional movies is that while they may have glaring flaws on the surface, the director might have a good reason for making the film that way. For instance, Bela Tarr and Michael Snow had good reasons for drawing out Satantango and Wavelength as much as they did and Stan Brakhage had good reasons for including no sound in most of his films. Sometimes, if I think more about aspects which seem like glaring flaws in unconventional films, it starts to make sense that a director would make their film that way. That was how I warmed up to this film.

What I love about this movie is its unique story structure. I initially thought it was a traditional three-act structure. However, I make the argument that the first and the third acts are bookends to the dialogue sequence in the middle. The first act showed the failed protests and the consequences they had on both the guards and the prisoners, the second act showed a prisoner revealing his plans of a more organized protest, and the third act showed that protest in action. By featuring only one prisoner in the third act, I think the statement McQueen is making here is that the hunger strike protest worked better as, since there were less people involved, it was more organized. I initially criticized the movie for taking attention away from several of the characters introduced in the first act, but I now think that this decision helped the film.

Another point which McQueen appears to be making here is that both sides are tired of the protest but are unwilling to back down. This is conveyed in numerous places such as how Raymond Lohan can be seen cleaning his bloodied knuckles a couple times in the film. There's also a powerful moment where a prison guard can be seen crying while the rest of the guards beat numerous prisoners with batons. This implication also extends to different prisoners such as Gerry as his emotions convey fright and determination as he smears his faeces on the wall for the protest. These scenes add a layer of humanity to this film.

It's also hard not to talk about the number of memorable moments found in the film such as the captivating and well-acted dialogue sequence in the middle which feels like the film's centerpiece. Besides that scene, however, dialogue feels unimportant to absorbing the rest of the film and its characters, so the mostly dialogue free film seems to thrive on this restriction. There's also other chilling moments outside of the dialogue such as when Lohan is killed by an IRA assassin in front of his catatonic mother who seems unaware of her surroundings. Another great scene is the long, stationary, and expressive shot of a prison attendant cleaning up multiple puddles of urine. Finally, it's hard not to mention the painfully realistic depiction of Sands' hunger strike. To film that sequence, Fassbender went on a diet of less than 900 calories for 10 weeks to give the illusion of starvation. This sequence was filled with clever moments such as a montage of Sands' food servings slowly getting smaller as he inched closer to death, images and sounds of flying birds as he convulsed in pain, and what I think was his hallucination near the end of his strike.

In conclusion, I think this film is a masterpiece, and it's, currently, my favorite film of the 2000's. It's also one of the best debut films I've seen before. While this film can be hard to watch due to the brutal and disturbing content found throughout, it remains so compelling for a variety of reasons that you can't turn away from the picture. Not for the faint of heart, but a must-see for older viewers.

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Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:17 am
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DaMU wrote:
Re: the fate/free will, the original film does seem like it leans a bit closer toward determinism, as the events of the future loop back to the past in a mobius strip of inevitability (right down to Sarah eventually getting the picture that will become the one that Kyle receives. Or, to put it more kindly, maybe a sort of low-level compatibilism, since Sarah isn't privy to the way that time has circled on itself and fights on.


The determinism gives a sense/feel of fatalism which makes the love story tragic. Our star-cross'd lovers are consigned to love briefly in a self-completing causal loop. It is a valuable feature of the narrative which adds heft to the emotional side of the plot. It would be a lesser film without it. And it is much better than T2's nasal teenager aping Lawrence of Arabia in proclaiming "There's no fate but what we make!"

NOTE: All forms of compatibilism should "fit" with this story, to the extent that the story is merely deterministic. Compatibilism isn't about "bucking" determinism, but rather how freedom emerges from deterministic processes.


Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:59 am
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It is worth noting that Kyle's original message from John in the original is a bit different than what they quote in T2. The original read...

"Thank you, Sarah, for your courage through the dark years. I can't help you with what you must soon face, except to say that the future is not set. You must be stronger than you imagine you can be. You must survive, or I will never exist."

This is a message of both warning and survival. The future not being set means that despite his presence in the future, she can still die, and that's why she has to be stronger to survive.

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Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:21 am
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Thief wrote:
It is worth noting that Kyle's original message from John in the original is a bit different than what they quote in T2. The original read...

"Thank you, Sarah, for your courage through the dark years. I can't help you with what you must soon face, except to say that the future is not set. You must be stronger than you imagine you can be. You must survive, or I will never exist."

This is a message of both warning and survival. The future not being set means that despite his presence in the future, she can still die, and that's why she has to be stronger to survive.


A good, arguably necessary, feature to insert before the big finish. Why worry if we already know that she will win?

Of course, Reese himself is not an expert on temporal dynamics. He didn't build the time travel machine and neither did John. John might sincerely, but incorrectly, believe that the future is open and that his mother needs encouragement. Then again, John's encouragement is an attempt at determination (Go team human! Stay strong mom!), so when you factor in John as part of the causal loop, his encouragement is part of what made the loop in the first place. If Sarah had believed she'd had a golden ticket via prophecy (telling a character directly that they have a +1000 character shield) this might have demotivated her and caused her to be less engaged than she needed to be. Thus, a sincerely believed falsehood could be part of what caused the loop to close.

Consequently, both Sarah and the audience needed to believe that she could die before the third act show down. Sarah needed to believe it to find her mettle. The audience needed to believe it to be invested. In both cases, she is fated. John's message is just another cause. And in the real world the ink was dry on the script before the audience entered the theater (Note: Having watched the original several times I can vouchsafe that it always turns out the same, but the magic of story telling gets part of your brain to believe in the contingency of the situation all over again).


Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:43 am
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BL wrote:
You Were Never Really Here - 8/10

This is a pretty brutal movie, not necessarily because of the violence it depicts (director Lynne Ramsay often eschews showing us the carnage in favor of revealing its aftermath) but because of the toll it takes on the main character. We're introduced to Joaquin Phoenix's Joe in the middle of one of his several attempts at suicide, and things only get bleaker for him from there. Imagine Drive if that movie were more interested in investigating why the main character's well of violence runs so deep.

Ramsay doles out snippets of Joe's backstory in her typical kaleidoscopic fashion. We see in fits and starts how a formative trauma and ugly experiences waging war in the Middle East have shaped Joe into a deeply emotionally troubled avenger for downtrodden and abused women, a sort of private eye/hit man/vigilante for hire. The plot involves Joe's assigned rescue of a politician's underage daughter from a ring of wealthy pedophiles, but the real intrigue is in seeing how the escalating pressures of the story begin affecting Joe's already fragile mental state. Ramsay as always is terrifically effective using montage and sound design to establish a particular mood or mental state, and Joe's is one of the most uncomfortable that she has evoked. Even the routine stuff, like the normally pedestrian sweeping establishing shots of a city, are accomplished in a more thoughtful, creative way that puts you in the street-level state of mind of its main character.

My only quibble is with an overly convenient bit of circumstance at the climax, one that works out far too easily in Joe's immediate favor. But because the movie has been so punishing to him prior to that, and also because the movie makes clear that Joe's more troubling mental problems will not be resolved so simply, perhaps that's forgivable, especially for the cumulative impression it leaves of Joe's frantic condition. Stepping out of the theater onto the same streets that Ramsay filmed, I was literally hearing and seeing things in a different, not at all pleasant, way. Kudos should also go to Jonny Greenwood who, right on the heels of Phantom Thread, is on some kind of tear in the film score department. The score alternative between pounding percussiveness and an electronic lilt that itself complements the contrast between the explosive violence and quiet menace of the story along with Joe's manic and depressive states. And it goes without saying that a huge amount of what works here is carried on Phoenix's shoulders, given the intimacy of the movie's portrayal of a very sick man. Phoenix is physically much bulkier than he was for the frail Freddie Quell of The Master, but they're both performances that convey tremendous pain in the characters' past and how they're trying to funnel that torment into what they see as a noble cause, though maybe we in the audience know better.

All around, it's pretty harrowing viewing, but also damn effective filmmaking. And at a fleet 90 minutes, there isn't a shred of fat on this movie, even though you get to know the main character far more intimately than many movies accomplish at nearly twice that length.
After a rewatch this weekend, I'm bumping this up to a 9/10. I'm now more convinced that what I initially read as some overly convenient plotting only seems that way because...
more of the movie takes place in the character's mind than it might initially seem, especially in the back half.
Anyway, since this is an Amazon production, I would urge anyone holding off on watching it until it shows up on Prime to instead see it sooner in the theater. It's not just the bigger screen but particularly the immersive sound that's important. And, if I haven't already made it obvious with the repost, it rewards multiple viewing. I can see this possibly even going up to 10/10 with another go. Knowing where the story goes ahead of time makes some of the material even more emotionally devastating in the moment. Just listening to this is enough to get my eyes welling up a bit:


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Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:31 am
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You Were Never Really There also leaked on torrent so if you don't have Netflix or Amazon or whatever you can see it too. Yay.


Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:58 am
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Isle of Dogs is great fun. It's exciting, funny, poignant and oddly beautiful, not to mention an effective and timely commentary on the allure and power of hearsay and misinformation. I'd also go as far to say it's one of the most elegantly crafted movies in terms of music and visuals I've seen since Mad Max: Fury Road and, well, Anderson's last movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Even so, it's a little too slick - there could have been more and longer contemplative moments to let the emotions resonate better. In relation to the rest of Anderson's filmography, it's sort of like Soderbergh's Ocean's Eleven: it doesn't really add or subtract to it, but you don't care that much because it's so entertaining.

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Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:16 am
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Rampage (2018) directed by Brad Peyton

Genetic editing experiments are being done on a space station, but an accident causes the genetic pathogen to fall to earth where they affect a gorilla, wolf and crocodile. The corporation responsible summons their creations to their headquarters in Chicago where they proceed to trash the city.

If you look at Rampage as a standalone film, it's a decent monster flick. The Rock does a fair job as the lead but, as per usual, he just plays The Rock. Malin Akerman actually steals the show as the ruthless CEO of the genetic engineering corporation and Jeffrey Dean Morgan is entertaining as a government agent (who is, for some reason, a six-shooter-carrying Texan with a bad accent). The special effects are very good. The screenplay is, as expected, mediocre at best but the director and actors do the best they can with the dialogue. The story pretty much makes sense, less a couple of plot holes here and there. There is a satisfying body count. The film doesn't seem to be able to decide if it's trying to be serious or funny.


But from the point of view of a fan of the arcade game who has dropped hundreds of quarters in it, I was disappointed. First, the monsters are supposed to be a bit larger. (especially the wolf and the gorilla) At least the crocodile seemed to be about the right size. Also, the video game characters were all bipedal but only the gorilla moved around as such. I was hoping for a few more references to the original game, like one of the monsters getting shocked by eating a neon sign or throwing up from eating a toilet. Really, aside from the basic plot, there are few references to the arcade game. (A Rampage game can be seen in the background of the genetic corp's CEO office) Also, a genetically altered rat appears briefly in the beginning of the film - a reference to a fourth character added to the Atarti Lynx version of the game. Ultimately, there's too much buildup for what amounts to about 10 minutes or less of Chicago getting trashed. When it happens - it's the money shot. The wolf and gorilla working together is awesome, but all too brief. I suppose making the catalyst of their changes a genetic editing pathogen makes more sense to the film, but it would have been more fun to see some random dude turn into a 50 foot tall wolfman because he ate some bad sausages.

6/10

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Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:49 am
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Death Proof wrote:
Rampage (2018) directed by Brad Peyton

Genetic editing experiments are being done on a space station, but an accident causes the genetic pathogen to fall to earth where they affect a gorilla, wolf and crocodile. The corporation responsible summons their creations to their headquarters in Chicago where they proceed to trash the city.

If you look at Rampage as a standalone film, it's a decent monster flick. The Rock does a fair job as the lead but, as per usual, he just plays The Rock. Malin Akerman actually steals the show as the ruthless CEO of the genetic engineering corporation and Jeffrey Dean Morgan is entertaining as a government agent (who is, for some reason, a six-shooter-carrying Texan with a bad accent). The special effects are very good. The screenplay is, as expected, mediocre at best but the director and actors do the best they can with the dialogue. The story pretty much makes sense, less a couple of plot holes here and there. There is a satisfying body count. The film doesn't seem to be able to decide if it's trying to be serious or funny.


But from the point of view of a fan of the arcade game who has dropped hundreds of quarters in it, I was disappointed. First, the monsters are supposed to be a bit larger. (especially the wolf and the gorilla) At least the crocodile seemed to be about the right size. Also, the video game characters were all bipedal but only the gorilla moved around as such. I was hoping for a few more references to the original game, like one of the monsters getting shocked by eating a neon sign or throwing up from eating a toilet. Really, aside from the basic plot, there are few references to the arcade game. (A Rampage game can be seen in the background of the genetic corp's CEO office) Also, a genetically altered rat appears briefly in the beginning of the film - a reference to a fourth character added to the Atarti Lynx version of the game. Ultimately, there's too much buildup for what amounts to about 10 minutes or less of Chicago getting trashed. When it happens - it's the money shot. The wolf and gorilla working together is awesome, but all too brief. I suppose making the catalyst of their changes a genetic editing pathogen makes more sense to the film, but it would have been more fun to see some random dude turn into a 50 foot tall wolfman because he ate some bad sausages.

6/10

I am also in to see this movie.
I plunked many a quarter into Rampage as a youth (almost always as the Wolf, sometimes as the lizard, never as the ape), and this just happened to tickle the right nostalgia bone in me for 80s nostalgia, arcade nostalgia, and giant monster nostalgia. I also find Johnson amusing (I didn't think anyone could have done much better in Moana and I liked his character much more than the exhausting Genie in Aladdin).
Your review encourages.
So they will collect my matinee ducats, likely this week.


Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:00 am
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Wooley wrote:
I am also in to see this movie.
I plunked many a quarter into Rampage as a youth (almost always as the Wolf, sometimes as the lizard, never as the ape), and this just happened to tickle the right nostalgia bone in me for 80s nostalgia, arcade nostalgia, and giant monster nostalgia. I also find Johnson amusing (I didn't think anyone could have done much better in Moana and I liked his character much more than the exhausting Genie in Aladdin).
Your review encourages.
So they will collect my matinee ducats, likely this week.



I used to play the wolf, too.

It's probably worth a matinee. When they finally get to Chicago and start tearing up the city the movie hits its zenith. It's just too bad there was so much buildup and not enough time spent on tearing buildings down.

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Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:39 am
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Thief wrote:
But even after the first film, the fate of humanity hasn't changed. The goal of the first film was just survival. Sarah avoided being killed, but as far as we know, that won't stop Skynet from being created.

Right. The "as far as we know" part is crucial. At the end of Terminator, we don't know a lot, as far as Skynet is concerned. But there was nothing to stop Cameron from ending the film with Skynet launching the nukes, if that was the plan. The "storm" is not Skynet or nuclear disaster, it's the struggle. On that we agree. I don't think this struggle makes Skynet, as if it were some unstoppable force of nature, inevitable. I think there are clear limits as to what Sarah Connor could do about it, which might be the most fair take. But the human nature = self-destruction, as Arnold says in the sequel, is also later upended when he goes against his nature as a machine to self-sacrifice. Turns out nature =/= fate. I think that this is why Cameron left the fate of the first film open-ended.

Thief wrote:
The fact that it didn't necessarily work is not throwing their hands in resignation. It's just accepting the 50/50 probability there was of it still happening.

But it doesn't do that. "It's not in our destiny" to avoid Judgment Day. That's 100% certainty.

Thief wrote:
Each film embracing the American realities of when they were released (1984 = dire, 1992 = hopeful, 2003 = decline), if anything, makes them all the more meaningful. I don't see how going back to the bleak possibilities presented in the original is "retrofitting".

I don't think T3 was consciously embracing the mood of American decline. I think it wanted to blow a hole open for more sequels. Which, given the myth's creation of alternate timelines, was itself unnecessary. You could have had a T4 set in the future without requiring the events leading there to be inevitable fate.


Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:15 am
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DaMU wrote:
Terminator 2 is my sentimental favorite (sentimental being a key word), but the scrappy pleasures of the original Terminator have gained my love over the years, especially Michael Biehn's sub-manic performance as Kyle Reese. In general, I respect how Cameron builds his action films so that the final 30 or 40 minutes can be almost pure, geographically clear action and still play as meaningful dramatic payoff.
I feel similarly, as I used to prefer T2 to the original because of its sheer, slick, modern CGI-fueled spectacle, which still holds up very well today, but a rewatch of both films a couple of years ago left me preferring the darker, grittier tone of The Terminator (plus, Edward Furlong's snotty, voice-cracking brat of a John Conner is just SO much more annoying to me now than when I first watched him as a teenager myself). Both are still at least some of the better sci-fi/action movies in the history of cinema, though, and the only entries in the series that come anywhere close to being essential viewings...

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Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:08 pm
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And here I was thinking the storm in the distance was the Civil War. Dang movies not keeping their identical symbolism with identical meanings!


Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:20 am
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I do still prefer T2 because I saw it in the theater when it first came out (actually I saw the first one in the theater as well) and I just was literally blown away by the then new special effects and the story. Edward Furlong never bothered me as well.


Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:07 am
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A Quiet Place - Shhhhhh/10

Well... I liked it. And I thought Krasinski did a really fine job for a directorial debut, hell most people don't make movies that well. I would give him money to make his next film for sure. Emily Blunt stole the movie from the acting perspective, although I thought everyone was quite good at making me believe them.
I think they sold what they were trying to sell here pretty well.
That said, I felt like there were some questions, some of those "we hope they don't go to the fridge" moments, but I didn't have to go to the fridge for them.
For example,
ultimately what killed the monster was not the noise but the shotgun blast to the face. Given this, considering Blunt has the shotgun trained on its face for like 3 minutes, the movie would have ended a lot sooner if she'd just pulled the trigger, but if she did then we wouldn't have had the Signs moment, which is what the movie was going for. It is apparent at the end that the way to survive these things could be with loud, high-frequency sound or it could be to let them walk right up to you when they're searching for you and shoot them in the fucking face. The fact that Krasinksi's character has the shotgun hidden away the whole time until he pulls it out seems downright foolish. I mean, they have a shotgun, they go to town and go on fishing trips and shit, and they don't bring it with them? That's just asking a lot of the audience. I mean, if they'd had the shotgun with them at the beginning, might their son not have died with a good shot?

And this being the case,
the fact that they can be killed with a bullet to the face like virtually anything else, are we to believe that civilization was brought down by a creature that can absolutely be killed by conventional weapons? Considering the painfully obvious, mail it to the audience reveal of "IT'S SOUND!" that's on the front page of the New York Post in the beginning of the movie, why then did the military not simply use sound to lure the creatures into an area and blow them the fuck up? Why not surround a loudspeaker with a buncha simple WWII landmines and clean out the whole area, no muss no fuss? "Hey, everybody stay inside for, like, the next 15 minutes, we're gonna get rid of all the creatures within the sound-radius of a buncha loudspeakers we borrowed from The Grateful Dead." Cause if we can kill them with a single shot from a shotgun, then, yeah, we can probably kill them with the entire military might of all the world powers (the movie does make clear that the US is not the only country infested).

And since we're on the subject of
the shotgun, Krasinski's character really goes out to save his kids and leaves the gun behind when he believes his wife is totally safe in the hidden bunker? How does that make any sense? He saw the creature before it sensed him, he could have totally survived this movie. I know his sacrifice was very cinematic, but I'm not sure it holds up under scrutiny. I mean, even in the moment of his sacrifice, he makes no effort to do anything but die, he's standing next to a shed full of Chekov's guns that the camera-man has been kind enough to show us, but in the (rather long) time he takes to sign to his daughter that he loves her, he couldn't have run under the shed 10 fucking feet away and grabbed the pitchfork before he screamed, at least giving himself a chance? And considering the movie shows the characters running full-speed on the paths without being heard or tracked by the monsters, couldn't he have screamed real-quick like and then run? Into the shed? With the fucking pitchfork? Or maybe even with the shotgun he shoulda fuckin' brought with him?

And finally, and I assume I just missed this because it's too big a question mark for them to not have addressed,
why did the hidden bunker flood? I didn't go to the bathroom or even check my phone, but I missed the moment when some huge pipe with enough water to fill a room that was at least 25x15 WAIST-DEEP with water in a few minutes time was accidentally burst by some event which could have been caused by a monster or an explosion or something I guess, but we didn't see that. So what the hell was that?

Seriously, that one has to have an explanation so somebody just tell me what I missed.

Anyway, that's all, otherwise I rather enjoyed the movie.


Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:12 am
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Oh, I was just gonna say that, since I saw it in 1985, I have always thought The Terminator was the superior film and is actually a classic of sci-fi/horror.
I liked T2 a good bit, but it The Terminator vs. T2 is like Alien vs. Aliens. Comparing different fruits of different classes. Which is to say, Alien and The Terminator are among the best ever of their genre and Aliens and T2 are best of the rest.


Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:21 am
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Post Lawrence Of Arabia (Lean, '62)

Image

Nothing is written.

The Arabian desert; an absolutely brutal, pitiless, and unforgiving landscape, the ruthless, scorching daytime sun beats down on it relentlessly, as a veritable ocean's worth of sand stretches out to the horizon, seeming to go on for an eternity and beyond, creating one of the harshest, most inhospitable places on the planet. Even more endless than this desert, however, are the sheer complexities of the human soul, both in its capacity for good as well as evil, and in almost no other person were these inner depths and contradictions explored deeper and further than in Thomas Edward Lawrence, whose wartime exploits in Arabia were immortalized in David Lean's 1962 classic Lawrence Of Arabia, one of the last (and one of the best) "hurrah!"s of the old-school Hollywood historical epic, and also just one of the best films of all time, period.

The film tells the story of "T.E. Lawrence", a British military officer who, during World War I, was dispatched to Arabia to serve as liason between his government and the Arab rebels who, at the time, were not only struggling for their independence against the brutal dominion and oppression of the Ottoman Empire, but also against the ancient, bitter tribal divides that still threatened to tear them apart, even in the face of far greater, more urgent crises. And, if you're familiar with the history of the real "Lawrence Of Arabia", you already know that he was fairly successful in his quest to guide the Arab Revolt; he made alliances with various Arab tribes, leaders, and even royalty, helped lead them in numerous successful raids against the Turkish Army, and even oversaw the captures of the strategically vital outposts of Aqaba and Damascus, the capital of Syria. However, the main question that David Lean poses to us in Lawrence Of Arabia isn't whether or not Lawrence succeeded in his physical journey (although the overall fate of the Arab world post-war poses that question naturally), but rather, at what price did that success cost his soul?

Over the course of Arabia's near 4-hour(!) running time, Lean compellingly tells the story of Lawrence's journey, both in a purely aural/visual sense, as well as in the inner, personal struggles of the man himself; Maurice Jarre's majestic, sweeping score still stirs the soul just as much even half a century later, while Frederick Young's breathtakingly epic cinematography fully captures the harsh, impossibly expansive beauty and majesty of Arabia, with its ugly, jagged rock formations, and disorientingly vast, incredibly parched stretches of sand that often threaten to swallow the characters whole, both visually and literally. As for Lawrence himself, Lean methodically captures every defining moment in his quest, painstakingly displaying the journey he takes from being a borderline insubordinate, restless intelligence officer stewing away in a "nasty, dark little room" and lusting to experience some sort of excitment in the desert, to a cynical, world-weary adventurer, disillusioned both by the bloody reality of front-lines warfare, and the self-serving, behind-the-scenes ambitions of the nations waging such wars.

Peter O'Toole's star-making performance as Lawrence is still one of the all-time greats, perfectly capturing the man's initial, seemingly insatiable hunger for adventure, followed by his gradual but confident winning of the admiration of various, vitally important Arab tribesmen after they're initially suspicious of the foreign "Englishman", before his initial vision of an independent Arabia is dashed by the colonial ambitions of European powers, including those of his own country, and his extended exposure to the true, ugly horrors of tribalism, colonialism, and of course, war, transforms his innate self-masochism slowly but inevitably into a merciless outward bloodlust. O'Toole's portrayal here is as vivid as you could expect from any actor, past or present, with his piercing blue eyes and intensely emotional, quivering facial expressions combining to create one of the finest, most unforgettable embodiments of a historical figure on film, and one of the greatest tragic heroes in the history of cinema as well.

And finally, despite having one of the longest runtimes in the history of non-experimental film, Lawrence Of Arabia still manages to feel its length in the good sense of the phrase, alternating between lengthy but (almost) never tedious physical travails across unforgiving, awe-inspiringly HUGE expanses of the Arabian desert, mixed in with scenes of strikingly personal, intimate character development and politics, not merely for Lawrence himself, but for just about every character around him as well, whether it Sherif Ali's tug-of-war between his hopes for Arab independence fighting against his innner xenophobia against Arabs of other tribes, Mr. Dryden's naked, unashamed desire for future colonial exploitation of the Arabian peninsula, or Jackson Bentley's journalistic eagerness to find an idolistic figure to "sell" the war to his readers being dashed by his discovery of what kind of man Lawrence really is (or at least, the kind of man the war has turned him into), which is a multitude of rich characterizations that just wouldn't be possible with a running time cut to be "friendlier" to general audiences. In all of this and more, Lawrence Of Arabia truly is an epic to end all epics, and if it had to be one of the notes that the Hollywood of old had to go out on, what a magnificent note it was indeed...
Favorite Moment: Crossing the Nefud
Final Score: 10

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Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:47 am
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Isle of Dogs - 9/10

It was a nice palate cleanser, or more accurately a smelling salt to sterilize the sinuses, to watch the trailers before the film, chosen by fools who had assumed that Isle of Dogs was some kind of children's film because it's animated, which paraded the latest and laziest of corporate studio condescension in the form of The Grinch, Hotel Transylvania, Duck Duck Goose, etc. Being numbed by these lowest-common-denominator entertainments which had clearly been scripted by marketing departments only managed to make the effect of Isle of Dogs' wholly original and refreshingly unpatronizing spectacle seem that much more bold in its total disinterest in commercial or popular contrivance. Instead it places all of its faith in its charm, its handmade austerity and visual uniqueness, and its emotional sincerity. While not necessarily a "kids movie", it is best suited for the 10-12 range, and trusts this audience to handle the subjects of mortality and politics and responsibility with somber frankness. With gentle humor, it never cedes to fart jokes or pop consumerism. And it has the finest depth of field compositions in a non-3D animated film since Miyazaki retired.

Although I personally lean more a cat person myself, I do very much admire how the film
subtly but consistently suggests that the cats are really behind the entire plot the whole time.


Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:41 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
Isle of Dogs - 9/10


Janson = Pile of Poop.


Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:45 am
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I think Raw Deal (the Anthony Mann one) is now one of my favorite noir films. It's got some of the best cinematography, affecting violence and a plot that unfolded in a manner that felt both straight forward but creatively. I loved that it was told from the "other girl's" perspective and is the only classic noir I've seen to have a woman narrator. Very good stuff.


Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:37 pm
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Raw Deal is good. See as much Anthony Mann as you can.


Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:42 pm
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Ready Player One - 8/10

I had fun with it, even though I don't know video games.

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Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:11 pm
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ThatDarnMKS wrote:
I think Raw Deal (the Anthony Mann one) is now one of my favorite noir films. It's got some of the best cinematography, affecting violence and a plot that unfolded in a manner that felt both straight forward but creatively. I loved that it was told from the "other girl's" perspective and is the only classic noir I've seen to have a woman narrator. Very good stuff.
I should check this out.
How does it compare with John Irvin's Raw Deal?

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Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:12 pm
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Torgo wrote:
I should check this out.
How does it compare with John Irvin's Raw Deal?

It's better at most things a movie does but is worse about having Arnold killing gangsters in a tailored suit. I'm a bigger fan of RD than most as I think it's a strange match, putting larger than life Arnold in a smaller scale poliziotteschi style crime flick. I love that he had to blow up an entire factory to fake his death. The excess is fascinating.


Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:14 am
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ski petrol wrote:
Raw Deal is good. See as much Anthony Mann as you can.

I'm a fan of Mann. A Mann fan.

I've seen-

T-Men
Raw Deal
Winchester 73
Bend of the River
Man from Laramie
Tin Star

I think all have at least had great moments if they are not entirely great films themselves


Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:21 am
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