ysbreker

Movie/TV recommendations

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Give it a few years, when a super high res version of the Oculus Rift allows you to experience it in a theater again!

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Have any of you seen Thomas in Love? I started watching it on Netflix-streaming a few years back and I was confused by the fact that I sat through the entire thing. Now as I'm flailing through the cyberpunk options (I tried to watch Avalon and Nirvana), I'm actually considering watching it again. Of the narratives I've seen, it seems to be the closest narrative to what I want to do with cyberpunk. Demonstrate banal, small-hope realities of the hyper-alienated individuals in a world where Mega-corps have so much control that they rarely need to resort to raw acts of violence.

But I remember thinking "Why am I still watxhing this, this is so bad." the entire time.

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I recently watched Blue is the Warmest Colour, a three hour french film (palm d'or winner), about a girl coming out and having her first gay relationship, it was fantastic, emotionally charged and really captures a universal sense of insecurity and searching for identity that transcends sexual preference. The sex scenes are extremely graphic, but are not a perversion but feel passionate and genuine. Very naturalistic style of shooting and incredible performances.

 

I also watched the Crash Reel, a documentary that follows a group of extreme sports personalities that suffer brain injuries after falls. Delves into their struggles, how it has changed them forever, and in several cases follows the fallout after a death. Some of the footage is hard to watch, but the movie serves as a major deterrent for those who push their limits too far and calls for increased safety measures that take into account the safety of participants rather than the thrill of the crowd. 

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We're the Millers is friggen hilarious.

 

2013 may be the single best years for comedies ever. Iron Man 3 was, essentially, a comedy. Same with Pain and Gain, which was hilarious. So was The Lone Ranger, and the only reason it bombed was because it wasn't marketed as such. This is the End and The world's End were both damned funny. And we still have Anchorman 2, which is at 91% on RT, and American Hustle at 95%, and The Wolf of Wallstreet, which is supposed to be incredible, to go.

 

Comedy is, far from the "lowest form of art", probably the hardest to get right. Shakespeare's tragedies all live on with incredible staying power, naming a single one of his comedies isn't possible for the average person. It even seems to be the least represented in IMDB's top 250. Probably because, unlike any other genre, you can really only tell the same joke once, which makes it way harder to steal jokes. Meanwhile you can steal all the drama and romance and action scenes you want ad infinitum. So 8 quite solid or above comedies in a single year is absolutely amazing.

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I've never seen any episodes of The X-Files before. Well, I'm watching episode one, right NOW.

 

It's kind of awful but also kind of endearing. Is it worth watching ALL NINE GODDAMN SEASONS JESUS CHRIST THAT'S A LOT OF TV. I've done it before, of course, with other TV series. But should I do it again? I know it's pretty well loved.

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Since the mythology stuff never really pans out, my advice is just to watch all the monster of the week episodes from S3-S6. If you're the kind of person who can't just watch part of a show (a TV completionist?) I'd honestly suggest not watching it, despite it being one of my favorite shows. Too much chafe. Only reason I could stomach the first two seasons in full is because I already had such affinity for the characters and world from cherry-picking the MotW episodes from seasons 3-6. There's a ton of amazing television there. Not many shows can claim to have an episode as good as Jose Chung's From Outer Space.

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Too much chafe.

 

Only if you're watching it for the sexual tension.

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Yeah there's no way I could bring myself to skip two seasons. U: I ended up really enjoying the first episode, despite my best efforts and expectations, so I think I'll just continue.

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Elysium

I expected it to be bad. It's possible that my low expectations increased my potential of enjoyment. I liked it.

The metaphors lacked subtility. For the first 30 minutes, that distracted me from suspension of disbelief; but once I adopted the perspective of "Oh, this is a cyberpunk movie", It was kinda good. I was saying things like

"oh damn, he put some black-ICE on that data" and "Damon must be serious because this is turning into a stimhack".

The complaints I've heard about Elysium are that Jodie Foster didn't act well and that the allegory was tacky, but I'm not sure that those two things can be assumed to affect the film poorly. I think that Jodie Foster was fine, but that she was supposed to have an accent that would be foreign to us and sound like it evolved in after generations of authoratative and affluent exclusion. Putting the rich nations in space and turning barges of illegals into space-shuttles of economic refugees isn't graceful, but it has it's advantages. Cyberpunk benefits from extreme sci-fi versions of the haves and the have-nots. And what seemed like a reduction to heroes-and-villians eventually panned out beyond honor-among-thieves and treasure-in-the-monster-lair once divisions in ideologies were shown within both socio-economic levels. I like thinking of the allegory as the artistic perspective of an ex-patriot of a region with low purchasing power rather than a simplistic allegory. Still, it suffers from

the need to end it with a victory by turning the protagonist into a martyr with a world-cure. I would have much prefered a hint of how the system can begin to change through the acts of an individual and the support of a a wider community; or anything that might be an actual solution to systemic cyberpunk wealth-gaps.

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The Hobbit: Peter Jackson could make an eight hour movie of a two page book Part 2 was a lot better than part 1.

 

The pacing is immensely faster for the most of it, with a lot of fun super over the top action sequences. The additional characters and etc. make a lot more sense than part 1's "oh let's just throw Sarumon in there for not god damned reason." and Azog the Snarling didn't look nearly as CG. And all this allowed me to enjoy that these are visually the best designed movies since the original Star Wars trilogy. Getting a zip through tour of Middle Earth is something to marvel at in 3d and 48fps on a huge screen. It's oddly shocking though when they move out of a CG backdrop to something filmed on location. There's something... dirtier, and less designed than the carefully wrought and super clean looking CG stuff that looks weird when it suddenly switches sometimes, though not weird when you're actually watching the CG portions by themselves. But despite that occasional weird shock of disparity it's a fun and visually gorgeous ride.

 

Ron Burgundy: The Anchorman Ok, I know, that's not the title. But the sequel is often hilarious, and awesome. Even when it's not funny it's just so earnestly weird that it's kind of entertaining anyway. But it is often funny at that, and Brick once again is the funniest god damned character and any scene where he gets the spotlight is amazing, Carrell is even better than in the first one.

 

American Hustle: This is a just plain fun scam artist movie with a lot of nice comedy to go along with it. Fucking David O. Russel man, he might not have range but he knows how to work this type of amusing and fun drama that's smooth as shit. It's awesome to see Christian Bale do something besides action heroes, which he can't do for shit, because he can do other things incredibly well. And Jennifer Lawrence as a crazy manipulative bitch is wonderful, even if Amy Adams is way hotter because she is so stop obsessing over Lawrence stupid internet. Anyway, really fun as well.

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I enjoyed The Lone Ranger. I saw it the day after watching Elysium and find myself comparing the two. The Lone Ranger reminded me of how much I enjoy implication of magical-realism through a selective narrative; all of the magical elements in the movie can be explained in a rational world, but the audience can see why characters may perceive the cause of events differently because of the order and perspective from which the story is told. Elysium borrows a faith that everything works out; The Lone Ranger demonstrates how circumstances solve themselves into an inevitable ideal through the use of the partially understood, emotion-filled motives of multiple actors. Or maybe the only difference was which one suspended my belief more skillfully.

I'm particularly interested in how these two movies differ in their attempts to come up with a solution for systemic injustice. Both films treat injustice as a curse that inherently must resolve itself, but they promote different methods for the heroes. I'm still putting my thoughts together on it.

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So apparantly there's a TV series "Métal Hurlant Chronicles" based on the "comic" series Métal Hurlant (which influenced the American Heavy Metal), being a big fan of the "genre" I had to check it out. But so far it's quite disappointing. I think the short lived series "Masters of Scifi" was better than the first 3 episodes I've watched.

I'm not sure what is missing, it's can't be the length. Although it is rather short if you compare it to the segments from the Heavy Metal movie, it's about 25 minutes compared to the <15 minute segment "Harry Canyon" which was simply great.

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I finally saw The World's End and was mildly disappointed. Good laughs all around, but nowhere near the smart genre deconstruction and knowing writing as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. A good comedy as it is, but not worthy of the Cornetto trilogy.

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I agree. To be honest... I have no idea what genre the movie is supposed to "spoof".

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Having just read the Hulk article on World's End, I appreciate the underlying themes more, but am still not convinced this makes it a better movie. There was always going to be a thrumming engine underneath of ideas and themes, but that doesn't mean the film manages to capture it for the audience as well as the earlier two did. But repeat viewings might prove me wrong.

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I agree. To be honest... I have no idea what genre the movie is supposed to "spoof".

 

It's not supposed to spoof anything, why would it have to? Why would you ruin your enjoyment of a completely different type of tale by expecting them to do the same exact thing?

 

I thought it was brilliant. The right to be a git, the whole metaphor for alcoholism. The ending was just plain badass. It's not a spoof of a genre, it's an actual weird story that stands on its own. There's basically no referential material to be found, and that's fine with me.

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It's not supposed to spoof anything, why would it have to? Why would you ruin your enjoyment of a completely different type of tale by expecting them to do the same exact thing?

 

Because the cornetto trilogy was always specifically intended to be a series of genre parodies.

 

 

I kind of thought of it as a combination road trip comedy/disaster porn thing. I think it's notable that nobody actually eats a cornetto in the movie, kind of signalling what a huge departure it is from the other two.

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Well, it doesn't directly reference them but it is pretty much a parody/homage of Invasion of the Body Snatchers or The Stepford Wives. Edgar Wright mentions them frequently as inspiration. For me it's a sci-fi homage, rather than a disaster movie homage.

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Because the cornetto trilogy was always specifically intended to be a series of genre parodies.

 

 

I kind of thought of it as a combination road trip comedy/disaster porn thing. I think it's notable that nobody actually eats a cornetto in the movie, kind of signalling what a huge departure it is from the other two.

Well, it doesn't directly reference them but it is pretty much a parody/homage of Invasion of the Body Snatchers or The Stepford Wives. Edgar Wright mentions them frequently as inspiration. For me it's a sci-fi homage, rather than a disaster movie homage.

I actually think the timing and presentation of the cornetto in this film is actually a good clue to what they are aiming for. As a audience we don't get to have our cake/cornetto and eat it. Sure we get the whole "triumph of human spirit" vs "superior (alien) intellect" ending, but unlike normally in a alien invasion sci-fi things don't work out perfectly after.

The Worlds End's finale is basically saying that just focusing on that one aspect of humanity as our defining characteristic is pretty stupid.

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I think The World's End isn't THAT much looser with it's genre parody than Hot Fuzz. Remember, Hot Fuzz is as much a secret society horror film as a cop parody.

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I agree with Patrick and JKO, if you expect/try to read The World's End and Hot Fuzz both as a complete parody and/or single genre construction, you wont get very far. The trilogy is more concerned with taking elements from genres or even specific movies and mashing them together with more emotional and heartfelt elements, and moving them from a typical setting to the English countryside.

 

For me, the FilmCritHulk essay was spot on, and I was captivated by the tragic character of King that Wright & Pegg have managed to create. 

 

Then again, it's easy for me to sit here and tell you that, but if didn't deliver on expectations for you, then there's not much more to say about it.

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To be fair, the first two films were sold very intentionally in that way by Wright/Pegg/Frost - SotD was described as a "RomZomCom" and "Spaced with zombies", and HF as a "British Bad Boys 2". My expectations were so skewed that it took a second viewing to appreciate the films for what they were - a zombie film with comedy elements and an intricately constructed murder mystery comedy.

 

I'm hoping I'll enjoy TWE a lot more on my second viewing as well - although I'm not sure if confounded expectations had as much to do with my disappointment for this one.

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Halfway through the first season of The X-Files...

 

It's amazing how Scully is conveniently absent for every single incident that would prove SOMETHING WACKY is happenin', and even when she is present for something weird, she continues to insist there's a reasonable explanation. I actually really enjoy the Mulder/Scully dynamic, or I'd probably be ready to quit soon. Will it get old to me, though? Does she ever "believe"? She has to! There's nine seasons! AND TWO MOVIES! Dang how did they go for that long.

 

I wonder how The X-Files would feel if it were made today. A lot of this is stuff I'd absolutely have bought into when I was younger. Was it ever a big hit among adults at the time? Or was it just a product of its time, and a new X-Files with more modern myths and legends would feel to adults today as X-Files of yesteryear felt then? As it is, most of this stuff is just weird and cheesey and not really even remotely believable. Which is fine. I'm okay with that.

 

I enjoy thinking about all of these things for the first time even though I'm sure it's been discussed and dissected to death among older fans.

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