The Film Review Corner

Extraneous communication, genuflection, adulation, dissection and admiration should make its way in here.

Re: Film Review Corner

Postby schaferwhat‽ » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:53 pm

Ghurlag wrote:
Also, the rules describing dreaming didn't seem to fit with what we actually observe from dreams - how often are your dreams internally consistent, with proper narratives that don't just merge and flow? I understand why this happened - you'd get bored of 2 hours of drifting nonsense - but I think it slightly undermined the premise.



Wasn't the premise that an outside force "designed" the dreams hence why they had narratives and consistency, someone else was in charge. Which again is why Limbo was feared because at that point it actually could act like a proper dream which would be unsettling to be trapped in.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Ghurlag » Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:45 pm

schaferwhat‽ wrote:Wasn't the premise that an outside force "designed" the dreams hence why they had narratives and consistency, someone else was in charge. Which again is why Limbo was feared because at that point it actually could act like a proper dream which would be unsettling to be trapped in.


Well yes, but that doesn't solve the problem that a sleeping Architect - the one who designed the dream - is able to maintain such a consistent 'dream world' whilst themselves asleep, especially when you consider that at some points they entered other people's dreams inside their dreams.

As the misty veil of Albion is cast aside, we turn our gaze to the war-torn island of Albany, where the Red King vies with his former master for the control of a realm in dire threat.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Bane Of Kings » Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:14 pm

Xisor wrote:
Bane Of Kings wrote:The only thing that I didn't like about this was the stupid way that

Spoiler: Richard the Lionheart is killed at the beginning by an arrow. He should've died herorically, I reckon.



Spoiler if you don't know/like history:

Spoiler: Historically, that is how it happened. I.e. died by a mistreated arrow wound.

Also humanity lived on for another 812 years at least.



Spoiler: Ah, I do enjoy history, but it's just that I don't know a lot about that period. But he still should've died herorically, though ;)



greywulf wrote:
Bane Of Kings wrote:Favourite Line: Nothing that I can particulary remember, unlike Inception


Really?

I liked -

Why do they call you Little John?

I'm not little! I'm in proportion!


Well that was one of the things that I remember, I was very tired when I watched it though.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Ghurlag » Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:40 pm

Watched 'The Eagle' recently. It wasn't bad. Well, it was a reasonable if not particularly spectactular film, until the end, where it became a terrible film. Outline below.

Spoiler: The basic premise of the film is that the main dude (who has an incredibly Roman and thus unrememberable name) is after redeeming/reclaiming the honour his father lost by getting himself and his legion killed in Scotland. Specifically, he ends up searching for the aquila of the legion. Oh, and he brings a Celtic slave along with him. To skip briefly over most of the film, he finds the thing and nicks it off the tribe that's got it. They chase him. I was pretty happy with the film up until this point. Not amazing, but entertaining and enjoyable.

Then the slave runs off and returns with a load of legionairres who ran away from the dude's father's legion. Don't know where he got them from, they appeared to have been summoned by the Plot Fairy. Of course, they all had their old gear. There were about twelve of them. After a brief tear-glistening moment, the tribesmen who had been chasing them catch up, all forty or so of them. Battle-time. The Romans line up into a very thin and short wall. The tribesmen kill one of their own children so that we'd know they're evil (because aside from that little insertion, all they've done is been good hosts and then chase someone who killed their family members and robbed them) and battle ensues.

Let me draw this scene for you again. These ~14 Romans, most of them known cowards, in their tatty gear, strung out against these notoriously-deadly tribesmen, who are seriously irked (and with good reason), can basically walk around their flanks, and have a large numerical advantage. Of course, the Romans win. With less than half their men falling, despite the enemy leader alone killing five of them on camera. Eugh.

Then the main character says something pathetic and meaningless(sorry, Hollywood's version of 'deep and meaningful') over the body of one of the dead Romans, and everyone sits around thinking about how honourable they are. That is, everyone who is still alive, which is a bunch of deserters and two thieves, one of which is a traitor to his own people.

And then the ending. They march into some council-chamber and plonk down the aquila, the Roman and his 'not-slave'. Following some cheesey and pointless politician-bashing, a gut-wrenchingly awful scene where the two men are being 'funny' with each other. "What are we going to do next?". I cringed.

It's possible that the movie was terrible all the way through and I merely engaged my brain at the end. Someone should confirm that. At the moment, I would advise watching the film only up to the scene where the slave is freed. Then turn it off. Make up your own ending.


As the misty veil of Albion is cast aside, we turn our gaze to the war-torn island of Albany, where the Red King vies with his former master for the control of a realm in dire threat.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby LordLucan » Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:43 am

Ghurlag: That sounds utterly painful.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Insomniac » Sun Apr 03, 2011 3:31 pm

Your Highness was a good one. It's like if Cheech & Chong was mixed with any fantasy series really.

I figured out why the LOTR films bore me. There's no Natalie Portman in a bikini.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby greywulf » Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:28 am

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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby The Hillock » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:18 pm

Green Zone: I like Matt Damon. I like him enough to overlook the various problems with this film, mostly in terms of the 'baddie' characters (the American ones that is) who were acted horribly. Not a massive fan of politics in my entertainment, prefer it big and dumb to small and clever, but this was acceptable (and with funny use of the infamous 'Mission Accomplished' speech. Overall, hmm, lets say a 7/10.

Also, Max Payne: Again, I am an unashamed Mark Wahlberg fan, but this was a bit rubbish even compared to some of the tosh he's done in the past. Think the director spent a bit too long trying to make it like the game and not enough working on his screenplay. Plus points - Olga Kurylenko (omfg) and Mila Kunis (double omfg) on the same screen at the same time. Also, cool floaty snow effects. 4/10.

(I seem to have adopted the 'bad film watcher' role on here. I'm OK with it.)
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby shadowhawk2008 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:42 pm

The Wrath wrote:Green Zone: I like Matt Damon. I like him enough to overlook the various problems with this film, mostly in terms of the 'baddie' characters (the American ones that is) who were acted horribly. Not a massive fan of politics in my entertainment, prefer it big and dumb to small and clever, but this was acceptable (and with funny use of the infamous 'Mission Accomplished' speech. Overall, hmm, lets say a 7/10.


It was actually decent indeed given the premise and the star actor :lol: Did seem to be quite 'realistic' and 'true-y'. I'd give it an 8 mostly because the last 5-10 minutes were the greatest moments in the entire film.

The Wrath wrote:Also, Max Payne: Again, I am an unashamed Mark Wahlberg fan, but this was a bit rubbish even compared to some of the tosh he's done in the past. Think the director spent a bit too long trying to make it like the game and not enough working on his screenplay. Plus points - Olga Kurylenko (omfg) and Mila Kunis (double omfg) on the same screen at the same time. Also, cool floaty snow effects. 4/10.


Wouldn't say it is rubbish but it definitely isn't one of Wahlberg's better films. Seemed to tacked on at times and too dark in comparison to the game. Not to mention a lot of the actors didn't resemble their counterparts in the game itself. Which is always a big no-no for me. Would still give it a 4 too. It had the potential to be really great, but sadly it was too cartoony creepy action movie if that makes sense.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Falkenhayn » Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:21 pm

I just watched The Troll Hunter.

Blair Witch Project combined with great understated Scandinavian acting. And 300 foot trolls.

I endorse this movie.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Ghurlag » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:37 pm

Another break, another couple of films to review.

First up, Source Code.

Now, as a Computer Science student, the first thing I thought on seeing the trailer was 'Jargon Alert'. A program called 'Source Code'? Nuh-huh. No-one with sense would name a program that. Also, what's this about time-travel? But then a friend mentioned that it was meant to be based on a reference to 'God's Source Code'. Alright, so we might need to recompile the universe every time we make changes, but I can get on board with that, maybe.

Then I watched the film. For those of you who don't wish to see the spoilery version of my opinion below, I came out of the cinema fuming. Jargon was indeed the name of the game - the main premise of the film was massively flawed, unless I missed something key, and with that removed the film is nothing more than a typical mindless blockbuster, with a not-too-likeable main character and a soppily perfect leading female to be rescued despite the constraints of logic or internal consistency. Would not recommend.

Spoiler: Okay, so as I said, Jargon was the name of the game. "Quantum Mechanics and Parabolic Equations" says one key authority. But that's absolutely nothing to do with what's actually going on. They're just scary-sounding terms which the writers have thrown in so that people can nod and say "Yep, that's clever stuff".

What's actually going on is this: the main character is a soldier who was critically wounded in Afghanistan. His brain remains (at least partially) undamaged, and the scientists are hooking up his visual cortex and other bits and bobs (including long-term memory) to the short-term memory imprint of a man who died in a terrorist attack. The soldier's mission is to discover who the bomber was, so they can apprehend him and prevent him carrying out a second attack.

Before we get stuck into the meat of this, I have a minor objection to even such a description. Why is it necessary to hook up a half-dead soldier instead of a willing volunteer? If all you need is working brain parts, then pinching corpses doesn't seem the best way forward. Why aren't we just hooking the memory directly to a machine? Still, maybe it's a ridiculously dangerous procedure, and the research does look to be in early stages, so maybe they haven't perfected the extraction and need human-brain computation to handle memories.

But the worst part is to come. Our Hero is plunged into this memory (he does not initially realise this, of course) and then has to interface with a broody-looking woman about what he discovered. And then he goes back in. And does something different.

For those of you who are familiar with the concept of a memory, you might be able to spot the problem here. If this world The Hero is exploring is constructed from the short-term memory of a dead man, how can he possibly do anything different during the memory? The information about the dead man's movements simply doesn't exist.

Let's give them some latitude. Let's say that it's a simulation constructed from that dead man's memory. That would (sort of) allow him to act differently, in a world constructed from a short term memory. My question about why they need a human at all if that is the case becomes more pressing here, of course, but lets examine the consequences of that. Every peice of information that wasn't in the original memory would therefore be made up. Made up through inference on the memory and other facts, no doubt, but made up nonetheless. Every action that The Hero takes that wasn't part of the original memory, and any information he thinks he thus gleans, therefore has little to no bearing on the reality of events back on the train.

An illustrative example: the Hero goes and looks in the bathroom, and finds the bomb. This would have to be made up. The original memory doesn't contain any information about the bomb, so somewhere along the line either a computer or a human has guessed that the bomb was in the bathroom and fed that information into The Hero's experience. He goes back and reports his discovery. This discovery, I cannot stress enough, is false. There is no more certitude that the bomb was in the bathroom after him seeing it there than there was before he saw it there. He's contributed nothing. The same goes for everything else he discovers and experiences during the simulations.

But of course, that's not how the movie portrays it. The Hero is presenting the team with buckets of information they wouldn't have had! Marvellous! Oh, you found and ID'd the bomber? Well, we'll apprehend him! Never mind that there's no logical way he could come up with that information - his 'experience' is nothing more than computer-aided speculation. Of course that's the actual bomber!

As the length of my post thus far might suggest, this made me rather angry. But it gets worse. Job completed, The Hero wants to be sent back into the simulation again, so he can pretend to save the people on the train, and then he wants to be turned off - allowed to die. There's some uhming and ahing about this, but in the end he gets what he asked for. Personally, I don't see why not. It's just tapping 'Enter' once more and then letting him go. But no. When he dies, he gets magically transported to another reality where the simulation continues (the hero getting the girl, of course), and another-world broody woman gets a message off him saying that 'if she gets this, the program is more than they thought'.

This is the extreme upper end of hollywood shmoozey nonsense ending. Leaving aside the inherent laughability of the idea that the people who made the system wouldn't know what it did, the program's hardware consists of some brain-monitoring/interfacing apparatus and some high-end processing units. Oh, and a life-support machine. Nothing in that setup can create alternate realities. That's like saying that http://www.thinkartificial.org/technology/use-your-head-new-brain-controller/ can rip a hole in space-time. It's a cool piece of tech, but it just doesn't do that. No amount of clever programming, randomly-induced errors or plucky attitude will alter that fact.

Urgh!




Into the Wild

My overall review of the film is that whilst watchable and vaguely interesting, it's not particularly grabbing or inspiring.

I'd not heard the story before, so I'm unable to judge how it compared to other representations. What I got from the film was the sense that I was watching someone who was very much a bleeding-heart. He ran away to experience 'life on the edge' because he felt that by denying some aspects of human existence he could gain some vaguely-defined deeper understanding.

Very much influenced by his favourite writers, he struck me as someone who was impressionable but passionate. I felt that at times I sympathised - with his urge to seek out the wild, quiet places, far from humanity - but equally he aroused my distaste - with his manifest conviction that his way was 'true', and his long and pathetic harbouring of resentment towards his parents.

I'm not certain as to really what the film-makers wanted to convey. I had no great yearning to imitate the central figure after the film, but nor was I swayed to thinking that it was inherently a foolhardy prospect. I suppose it could be seen as an unbiased representation of such a life. Neither was I moved by the main character's death, or any of the other major events. It strikes me much as a documentary, which I suppose could be considered praise for the tale of a 'true story'.

As the misty veil of Albion is cast aside, we turn our gaze to the war-torn island of Albany, where the Red King vies with his former master for the control of a realm in dire threat.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Big Barney Ross » Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:09 pm



Responded on your blog, but will also post my reply here.

I will just discuss a few points of your review I found debatable.

“The story feels incomplete, something which is quite plain about fifteen/twenty minutes in. The moment at which fantasy replaces reality is rushed and presented badly.”


Incomplete, presented badly? How come? The story is very simple: Babydoll and her sister are abused (quite possibly sexually) by their stepfather. After the accident where her sister lost her life, Babydoll is put in the Asylum. There, she and the girls also face abuse (again, possibly sexual). So there’s the answer to your question why “a sane 20-year-old girl in 1955 would use such a sexual setting as a mental escape mechanism”? Because the girls see the Asylum as nothing more than a Brothel. The fantasy setting is in fact a filter for the reality, and as such mirrors events in the real world. In the fantasy world, the threat of her virginity being taken away is in fact a metaphor for the lobotomy – High Roller being the Doctor. Babydoll’s body may not be “pure” anymore (Blondie comments how Babydoll is “no virgin”) because her stepfather abused her, but her mind is still pure (albeit I’d dare say not completely sane anymore). Furthermore, Blondie and Amber did not really die when shot by Blue in the Brothel fantasy; they most probably underwent a lobotomy as punishment for their misdeeds. This is further proved by Dr. Vera Gorski not mentioning two homicides in the Asylum, and the fact that the two girls “die” after High Roller (aka the lobotomy doctor) arrives.

Basically, what happens in the real world (Asylum) is mirrored in the fantasy world (Brothel) in a different (filtered) context, and from the fantasy world Babydoll dreams up the action sequences which are obviously metaphors for the actual, physical acquiring of the items she seeks. (though, the action sequences could’ve easily been made into another form, but then we wouldn’t have such amazing display of ass-kickery and mayhem!)

“The acting from the five girls is adequate, though none really have that much to do. Only Abbie Cornish really shows any range, playing “Sweetpea”.”


Keep in mind that you as a viewer are not given an objective perspective on the events happening in the film. First and foremost, the main level where the bulk of the film takes place is the fantasy setting. And then, from the fantasy setting, you have to figure out the real world, and the second layer of the fantasy (action sequences). As such, the fantasy setting is all in Babydoll’s mind. Meaning, you’re looking the film through the eyes of a mentally unstable girl, not an omni-potent all-knowing observer, and you can never know for sure what is real and what is simply the fabrication of an overwrought mind.

And the girls’ flat acting was supposed to be like that, on purpose. Think about it, Babydoll was not in the Asylum long enough to get to know them in depth. She only got to know them superficially, and during her fantasies she constructed their personalities based on the few superficial impressions she got during their brief acquaintance. That’s why the girls don’t have “much to do”, and their performances appear as “flat”.It’s not a shortcoming, it’s Snyder paying attention to details. Those who are well-fleshed out – Blue and Dr. Gorski are the characters Babydoll had interacted with extensively, the former being her abuser in the Asylum, and the latter being her therapist (and also, guide; remember – the first two action sequences / missions went well because they were initiated – in the real world – and supervised by Dr. Gorski; the third with the cook, where the girls acted on their own, went awry because there was no ‘guide’)

In short, this film is completely in metaphors; you just have to be willing to look into it them.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby greywulf » Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:10 pm

That is a very well put across view, BBR. It was great to get a well structured piece of commentary on my blog.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Big Barney Ross » Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:38 pm

The film has left a great impression on me, and I'm always up for a discussion about great art (in any form). Anyway, if you find the time and if it interests you, I would suggest looking up this couple of more detailed analyses of the film, since the authors put their thoughts to words better than I did.

Why Sucker Punch is smarter than you think

and

A (Feminist) Defense of Sucker Punch

Both are greatly insightful reads, and don't let the (Feminist) part of the latter fool you - it's not some typical anti-male / patriarchal society BS rant.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby J D Dunsany » Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:55 pm

Very interesting stuff, gents. Haven't seen the movie - have only heard/read fairly negative reviews of it - but your discussion has piqued my interest, for which you have my thanks.

Just a quick note of (gentle) warning, though:

BBR's second link (the feminist defense one) leads to the website of Ava Adore a "part-time stripper", according to her, as well as, it would seem, a fairly thoughtful critic. One or two of the images might be construed as NSFW and/or mildly offensive to the more sensitive among us.

Gentle warning over. As you were. :)

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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Big Barney Ross » Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:52 am

J D Dunsany wrote:Very interesting stuff, gents. Haven't seen the movie - have only heard/read fairly negative reviews of it - but your discussion has piqued my interest, for which you have my thanks.


That is why I generally mistrust critics - professional ones, at least. I find the opinions of fellow bloggers better, since they seem more willing to enjoy a film 'for what it is' - i.e. they don't go looking for a deeper meaning in a film that's not supposed to have one, and then bashing the feature because they found none. However, there are always exceptions and I know some bloggers that are just as stuck up and snobbish as the pro-critics. Still, I read reviews, but never let one influence my decision of seeing or not seeing a film. After all, who knows my taste and can tell me what I like or don't like better than myself?

In the case of 'Sucker Punch', I firmly stay behind the statement that most of those who disliked it simply didn't get it. That, and the fact that Snyder has acquired a sort of Michael Bay-like infamy - in other words, haters gonna hate. Sucker Punch is a film deeper and more thought provoking than 'Inception'; it just didn't have the mainstream media support and the propaganda machine behind telling us (or rather, brainwashing us) into believing it's great, like 'Inception' had. It was the opposite instead.

I highly suggest seeing 'Sucker Punch', preferably while its still playing in cinemas; if not, then when it's out on DVD. But do see it.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby greywulf » Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:34 am

The only review I've done that was negative was the one I did for Cabin Fever 2. I couldn't find a thing to say that was positive about that.


I generally have a few sources for reviews that I pay attention to. Total Film, Empire, Kermode, The Devil's Advocates Movie Review Blog, and people I work with/customers.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Raziel4707 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:08 pm

Yo dawg, I heard you like reviews of your reviews! So I reviewed the review of your review so you can read while you read while you read!
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Pipitán » Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:30 pm

Source Code

Ghurlag, it's so gratifying to read a review of this that actually corresponds with my opinion of the film. I'm quite frankly astounded at the positive reception it's been getting, being lauded as 'enthralling and clever', etc., when it left me wanting to punch someone. What made me so annoyed was how it could have been so much better; the premise of Groundhog Day meets Murder on the Orient Express (as one reviewer put it) does have a lot of potential, and so the way the film then proceeds to completely undermine itself really, really aggravated me.

The utter lack of internal logic was particularly grating. I left Inception with my head whirring, but after mulling through the events of the film I concluded that it all made sense; Source Code, on the other hand, left me confused, and then proceeded to simply fall apart as I thought about it more.

Spoiler: If the last time he goes into the source code it actually does rewrite time, etc., how come it didn't do that all those other times? How come Rutledge never did get a pager telling him he had a phone call? How come the first time Stevens saved the girl it didn't change anything? Aaargh! It just doesn't make any sense!



Inception too uses a fantastical piece of technology for its premise, however it then proceeds to never mess with this technology - it never tries to explain it or change it, it just asks the audience to accept that one piece of impossibility (the dream-sharing machine), and then builds a logical, realistic framework around that on impossibility. Source Code does not do this.

Aside from these things, I also have major issues with the pacing of the film. The most exciting sequences were at the beginning, and after that the tension never really increased. There also wasn't really any climax. In hindsight I suppose Stevens'

Spoiler: confrontation of the bomber in his van

was meant to be the climax, but I think that if a climax doesn't feel like a climax whilst you watch it, and only afterwards do you realise it was meant to be, then something is seriously wrong. Perhaps the writer and director would argue that

Spoiler: the last time Stevens goes back in is the climax. But as the audience just thinks this is just for Stevens' self-gratification and doesn't actually mean anything, there's no sense of danger or triumph, or anything really - again, it's only afterwards that we're told it was pretty important and exciting.



In total, this film really pissed me off, and I hope it fails miserably at the box office and receives few to no awards. It's films like this that give hard scifi and smart movies in general a bad name.
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Re: Film Review Corner

Postby Bigger Trent Mauser » Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:25 pm

Raziel4707 wrote:Yo dawg, I heard you like reviews of your reviews! So I reviewed the review of your review so you can read while you read while you read!


Haha, you're a real Gordo Granudo, man.
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