What movies made in the last five years are worth watching?

Discussion in 'Discussions' started by OmniaNigrum, May 27, 2012.

  1. Bohandas

    Bohandas Member

    Yeah, about an hour after I posted that I realized that Osama Bin Laden secretly being a fake shill for George W. Bush and/or the US government and/or the Republican Party is actually a popular conspiracy theory and that that's probably what both movies were referencing.

    Are we talking about the same gimmick? I don't remember Bananas having a terrorist cell whose supposed "leader" was actually a phony planted by a US official and hiding in plain sight in the United States (but it's been a while since I've seen Bananas and the Wikipedia plot synopsis is kind of sparse)
    Last edited: May 12, 2014
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  2. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    In "Bananas" Woody Allen masqueraded as a South American Dictator. He actually was arrested and put on trial. Very funny movie.
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  3. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I saw "X-Men: Days of Future Past" last night (in 3-D). I'm NOT going to recommend it, nor will I tell you to stay away from it. I'm just going to tell you about my experience.

    First of all, what I will say is that if you do decide to see it, don't bother with the 3D as it's absolutely a waste of money. I know I'm going to sound like a record here, but very few movies are actually improved by 3D, mostly because our brains have adapted over the centuries to interpret 2D images in 3D anyway, plus theaters for a variety of reasons, do not know how to properly project a 3D film so that it doesn't appear too dark. There are a few rare exceptions where the 3D actually does work to give a more vibrant image (best example in my mind was "Hugo", though "Avatar" is a notable second). And I would guess that 3D might be best for some animated features that are naturally brightly lit.

    As far as the film is concerned, the main reason why I'm not going to recommend it is that I dozed off a few times during the film. This may say more about me than of the film though. Yes, I was well-rested (or thought I was) but when the lights go out, unless I'm totally absorbed in the film I have a tendency to doze off. So while I was not completely bored by the film, I was not enthralled by it either. The movie had some interesting plot points, but I was not emotionally engaged.

    If you do decide that you want to see it, like with most Marvel films, it has a post-credit scene that you may want to stay to watch. As someone who hasn't read X-Men comics since the early '80s, I really didn't 'get' who the character was that was being depicted, but my guess is that it's supposed to foreshadow or give a hint of what to expect in the next X-Men film (in other words, it's totally irrelevant to the story of this film).

    One cool thing about it is that it includes a lot of the original X-Men from the early films, plus a few new characters. In some cases, these characters only have cameos, and may only have meaning to people familiar with the previous films or with the comics.
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  4. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I recently saw "Edge of Tomorrow" starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. It's a well-done Science Fantasy film concerning time travel and an alien invasion. It's not a perfect film and it can stretch your suspension of disbelief at times, but the action and writing and acting are all good, so I definitely recommend it.

    The premise is that aliens known only as 'Mimics' (for no apparent reason) have invaded Europe and are rapidly expanding through Asia, and towards England. Allied UN forces are planning major invasion from bases in the UK in order to stop the aliens -- a recent victory at Verdun has shown the U.N. Allied forces that victory is possible, so they are going all-in.

    Enter U.S. Lt. Colonel Bill Cage (played by Tom Cruise) as a press officer assigned to the invasion. He eventually finds himself on the front lines of the invasion, where he spots the war hero of Verdun, Rita (played by Emily Blunt). During the fight he dies while being splattered in alien blood... and wakes up on the tarmac of the U.N. base from two days earlier, seemingly having traveled back in time and getting a do-over.

    Yes, there are echoes of Bill Murray's "Groundhog Day", but the story is a lot more complex than that, and has several twists and turns. For the most part, the plot is (at least) internally consistent (though I do question the ending a little bit). When time travel is involved, logic is bound to be stretched, and no doubt it is here. Anyway, it's still a fun movie with a bit of cerebral meat to it. So long as you don't ask TOO many deep questions, you can have a good time at the theater.

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  5. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    Or you could avoid Tom Cruise by learning Japanese and reading the novel it's based on (unless it got translated)
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  6. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    He's a perfectly fine actor with a really respectable number of good to great performances. He was absolutely phenomenal in "Magnolia" -- if you haven't seen it, you should. He was hilarious in "Tropic Thunder", and also excellent in "Collateral". And don't get me started on "The Color of Money". And he's good in this role. He's certainly had a few lemons, but so has every other actor with a long successful career.
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  7. Xyvik

    Xyvik Member

    I thoroughly enjoy Tom Cruise as an actor. I think most people just love to hate on him because of his personal life. Me, I rarely bother with the off-screen (or off-music...what would you call that? Off-Mic?) lives of people in movies or music. I couldn't really care less, and if I did care, well I have enough problems in my life without suddenly adding in the stress of celebrity lives. :D
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014
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  8. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I try to ignore that also. I try not to pay too much attention to that kind of stuff usually, but some things you can't help but hear. I certainly don't go out of my way to listen to or read gossip. Unfortunately, we live in an age where gossip sometimes passes for hard news 8-(.
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  9. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    Gossip: "Blah and Blahette may have gone on a date - o mi gosh!"
    Not-Gossip: "Blah recently stated in an interview that people who are X should be Y'd to death"

    Not saying TC said anything like that, but I don't think wilful ignorance is anything to be proud of. The reason Hollywood has a lot of problematic big names in its ranks is because people turn a blind eye to this stuff.

    Also I did really just want to point out that the film was based on a Japanese light novel, which a lot of people either don't know (despite it being on the poster) or always forget to mention.
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  10. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I only mention that if I'm familiar with the novel, since it could be a source of bias. Since I'm not, it's not relevant to my review.

    If a movie doesn't stand on its own merits, it doesn't matter how good the book was. If it does, it doesn't matter how bad the book was.
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  11. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    It's relevant to any synopsis of the film.
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  12. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    What's relevant is if the movie is good or not. That's it. I was reviewing the film not retelling the story.
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  13. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    You did kinda do that, though. And it's something a lot of people overlook so I wanted to point it out, like I often point out Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four really isn't much except a more cynical reworking of an earlier Russian novel.
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  14. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I just saw the worst movie I've seen in a theater in a while: "The Signal". I'm NOT going to say if its based on a novel or not (not that I know), because doing so would be prejudicial against that books' author. For all I know the book might be perfectly fine. (you see, that's what I mean).

    Anyway. it's a science fiction film, and it stars Brenton Thwaites, Olivia Cooke, Beau Knapp, and Laurence Fishburne. The premise is that three friends, are driving cross-country to California, helping one of their girlfriends move. The two guys are MIT students, one of whom is a computer hacker, and it soon becomes apparent that they are being spied on/stalked during their trip by another hacker who calls himself Nomad. They have some history with Nomad, because he trashed some campus servers and their personal server as well. Very early in the movie, they manage to trace the hacker to Nevada, and since it's not too far out of their way, they decide to pay him a visit

    And that's when the whole movie changes. Something weird happens to them when they reach the location where they think the hacker is located, and the lead character Nic is knocked unconscious, and wakes up in a wheelchair in a strange facility. He's unable to move at first, and what's even stranger is that everyone around him is wearing space suits, and treating him like he's a biohazard.

    I will say that the first half of the film is done well in that it builds up the mystery and the suspense, and it really held my attention. Unfortunately, it kind of falls apart soon after, and finally hitting rock-bottom with a really dumb 'surprise' ending. I put the 'surprise' in quotes because it's actually anticlimactic instead of shocking. I found myself muttering as I left the theater saying to myself "Really? That's how they end the movie? That's the big twist? I was actually mad at the screenwriters.

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  15. Kazeto

    Kazeto Member

    And I will just reply to this particular bit, because while I do agree that one needn't have read the original story in order to enjoy it, once you start getting in-depth into it and asking questions the novel does become relevant. But with the name change of the adaptation (the original novel was called “All You Need Is Kill”) and the fact that the information about it being an adaptation is pretty much “in fine print”, it's not surprising that most people don't know that.

    The film is good, I am not saying it isn't. And as an adaptation it is ... good too, I guess, which is better than the average these days. But the point is that a few of the things that don't really make sense were changed for the adaptation and actually made sense in the original ... starting with the fact that what's an exo-suit in the movie was pretty much a power armour in the original novel, and the protagonist was (ignoring the race lift because he was Japanese there) a fresh recruit rather than some army bureaucrat thing of sorts. And there was an explanation for the whole mental time travel thing that, outside of being pretty much a scientific mumbo jumbo, made sense given the world of the story and was easy to understand.

    On the other hand, the fact that they changed the protagonist's name is, in my opinion, a plus because the original name was pretty much the same as how a Japanese person would spell the nickname he got at the end (Kiriya Keiji -> “Killer Cage”) whereas here at least the surname is different. And there's a lot more Rita in the movie than in the novel, which is also a plus because she's a nice character; in the novel the protagonist only actually got to interact with her near the end of it, not accounting for their first interaction where she was watching him die.
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  16. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    OK, but if you've read the source material (which you have), you don't need me to tell you that. And if you haven't, and the film falls flat on those changes, well, that's a problem for the film, and me telling you that does not fix the problem. It's hardly a consolation for a film goer to tell him "well it would have made sense if you'd read the book". I know I don't want to hear that. I want a movie that is good right out of the film cannister, so to speak. If understanding the movie requires you to have read the book, then maybe a warning label ought to be put into the film trailers and posters "Warning: you MUST read the book before seeing this movie or you will not understand it". Or maybe the theater ushers ought to be handing out cheat sheets before the movie, explaining everything that requires explanation.

    I'll admit that there was one time when knowing there was a book made a difference to me for a movie where I hadn't actually read the book. I went with my parents to see "2001: A Space Odyssey" when it first came into theaters. And I had my own interpretation of the movie. But just because I understood the movie, didn't mean that my interpretation matched that of the screenwriter. It was a case of a story having enough depth to it that there was more than one way to see it. The film made perfect sense to me, and it was so good, that I was interested in other perspectives.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
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  17. Kazeto

    Kazeto Member

    That is true, nobody would want to hear that. And honestly, labels of this sort are fairly silly; I did happen to watch one movie which required the viewers to have read the source material first in order to understand everything that was happening, but those who actually had read it beforehand said the movie failed as an adaptation and was stupid. And no, I won't say what movie it was.

    In this particular case, though, I think the issue isn't with the fact that it is an adaptation but rather with how those who made the movie and advertised it tried to make it as close to impossible to notice as possible, with most people who watched it not knowing and with some people who do know being annoyed at that. Happens, but it's not your fault, nor the other viewers' (though the attitude of some viewers doesn't help, but that's normal in a way), though I don't blame those who actually do mention that it is an adaptation. Because maybe one day the novel will get translated, and then it really might be worth it to go and read it.
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  18. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    Isn't 2001 basically not the same, though? They were basically co-developed, with the novel based off earlier versions of the screenplay (from which the film deviated) and both shared the same writers. Now Cloud Atlas is how you do an adaptation - the amount of the book it squeezed into those 3hrs is amazing, and though it made some obvious changes, it's pretty faithful in a variety of ways (though I believe it helps to have read the book before watching the film).

    But I think it's important to note whether a film is inspired by or adapted from an earlier work because it puts it into context in a variety of ways.
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  19. Kazeto

    Kazeto Member

    Important, yes. But I agree with Haldurson that movies—regardless of being adaptations—should be able to stand on their own. Which means it becomes possible to judge it as adaptations, but also as simply movies that they are. And some people prefer to do one over the other.
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  20. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    Something that keeps popping into my head while reading the comments here is that some films are a genuine bad idea. For example, the remade Total Recall was a mockery of the original. The original was great. It was a good story, and unfolded well. It was fiction, and not exactly believable, but it was not the abomination that the remake was.

    The remake was basically the same starting idea, except instead of Mars, it was Earth. In the original, the lead was vulnerable to bullets, and in the remake, it may as well have been one of those stupid james bond movies. (Intentionally uncapitalized.) And the end was so fucked in the remake that you could not even compare the two.

    That said, if it was not a remake of the original film, I would not hold such distaste for the remake. But I expected more. Had they named it anything else, I would not even be mentioning it here. But every time I read a comment about how a book was made into a movie and how good or bad it was, I am reminded of this.

    What do you guys think? Am I just a really harsh critic? Or did the remake leave a sour taste in your mouths too?
    *Edit* Oops. I already mentioned this...
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2014
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