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

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

  1. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I actually didn't think that the remake was much worse than the original (but that's partly because I didn't care for the original).

    As I was considering your suggestion that some films are a bad idea, I do agree with you. But then thought that maybe, with the right director and writers and cast, and maybe a serious rewrite, they could be made to work. Or maybe some really are lost causes. I'm not sure. Or maybe some just should be miniseries.

    When considering that premise, I thought of Dune. I didn't like Lynch's version, and while I thought that the Sci Fi channel's miniseries was somewhat of an improvement, I thought that the makers of that one managed to make all new mistakes. What I recently discovered was that there was yet another version envisioned, and a documentary was actually made about it: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1935156/?ref_=nv_sr_1

    And then there's this: I also know that some people really LOVED Lynch's Dune (including a good friend of mine, who after seeing the movie INSISTED that the ending is exactly the same as in the book -- the ending of the movie actually REPLACED the ending of the book in his own mind. The movie does have some interesting special effects and performances (and some really bad performances as well). Most people either love it or hate it, it seems.

    But watching the miniseries told me that maybe it IS possible to make a good movie of it, if only you could combine some of the best aspects of Lynch's "Dune" with that of the Syfy Channel, and maybe you would really have something.

    Now don't get me wrong -- the Syfy channel's version was not horrible. It needed better editing, better acting, and a much bigger budget. But it was still interesting to watch. I also really like David Lynch (or at least some of his work), but maybe he just was the wrong director for Dune.
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  2. Xyvik

    Xyvik Member

    As an author (and a screenwriter, but that's never made me any money so it barely counts), I'm able to understand on a more fundamental level that books and movies and television are all completely different mediums. I'm sure the intelligent types here can understand that as well, but actually having gone through the creative process of trying to create all three...it's amazing just how different they are. There are more differences than there are similarities. There are some books that can make truly awesome movies, and vice-versa, but the needs of each group are completely different.

    As an example, I personally know some hard-core Tolkien fans who hate the Lord of the Rings (and Hobbit) movies. They hate the changes that were made, they hate the omissions, the additions, etc. etc. I've read LOTR, hobbit and Silmarillion, and I have to say that I actually vastly prefer the movies. People have rose-colored glasses when they think of older movies, or books they grew up with, and anything that tries to do something different is immediately lambasted. For me, I can't read the LOTR books anymore, because after watching the movies ...well, let's just say that Tolkien may not have invented the Deus Ex Machina, but he sure as %&$# abused the notion.

    Then there's Jurassic Park and Lost World. I never read Jurassic Park but I did read the Lost World in twenty-four hours. There's very little similarity between the movies and the books, and certain events have been changed and swapped back and forth. I still prefer the movies, even though I'm primarily a book-reader.

    That's why I think you may be being a bit too harsh, OmniaNigrum, but I'm not judging you :). I personally try to react to each movie, book or TV show on its own merits and not whether its a reboot, a remake, or if it's "been done before." There are some exceptions to that, of course: as a principle, I can't stand Avatar because it's FernGully Dances With Wolves in Space, and it's just plain insulting to the intelligence. But I'll probably watch it again one of these days.

    I may have lost my point in all of this. I'm not entirely certain. I might have been saying something about books. :confused:
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  3. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I got to see "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" this afternoon, and I give it my thumbs up. Granted, if you are at all familiar with the first franchise, you know how the story will ultimately end. But it's a fun ride, and there are some small twists and turns along the way. This is definitely not the final chapter in the story so look for a sequel in another couple of years.

    The story takes place 10 years after the end of "Rise of the Planet of the Apes". The intelligent apes, led by Caesar, have built a community in Muir Woods, where they hunt fish and game for food. Meanwhile, an experimental flu virus somehow has escaped a lab in the human world, and has devastated the human population. A walled, quarantined section of San Francisco is all that is known to have survived, since they have lost contact with the rest of the world. The humans are running low on fuel for their generators, and they see their only hope to maintain their tiny city is to restart a hydroelectric facility north of Muir Woods. And of course, Caesar and his apes stand in the humans way.

    The movie stars Andy Serkis as Caesar, as well as Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, and Keri Russel. Andy Serkis, is, as usual, teriffic, the special effects are believable, and the story is well-paced and written.

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  4. Xyvik

    Xyvik Member

    I went to a Thursday night opening of Guardians of the Galaxy. I never make any secret of the fact that I’m a huge fan of the Disney/Marvel films; I know what their flaws are but I tend to ignore them because the movies are fun. I never make any secret of that fact either: I watch movies for entertainment value, not searching for a deeper meaning.

    And yes, those last two sentences are important to this discussion: Guardians is not without its flaws, but man alive I haven’t had that much fun at a movie in a loooong time.

    Take Star Wars (the good ones, and even a little of the bad ones), mix it up nice and easy with some Fifth Element, and throw in Rocket Raccoon and you’ve got Guardians. It’s chock-full of self-deprecating humor and pays tribute to (almost parodying) the great space operas of decades past. So if you enjoy action- and humor-filled space operas in the least, put in some Marvel magic to make it even better, and do yourself a favor and watch Guardians of the Galaxy.

    Full disclosure: I only “knew” two of the songs played throughout the movie and that didn’t detract from the fun in the least.

    Second disclosure: I raised my arm and shouted “THANOS!!!!!!!!!” at the appropriate time in the movie. Several people looked at me weird. I don’t care. I was actually delivered into this world by a Doctor Thanos, which is probably half of my problems right there ;)

  5. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I'm probably going to go see it on Monday :cool:.

    I totally agree with you about the Disney/Marvel films. They are just fun popcorn movies, for the most part. But they never actually aspire to be much more than that. Honestly, I only had a short exposure to the comic books. There were assorted comic books all over this student-run coffee house we had in college (they also had a TV with an intellivision, and a broken pinball machine that you could get free games on if you just lifted up the machine about an inch and dropped it lol). Also, if you bought a milk shake there, there was a standing offer that if they turned the milk shake upside down for 30 seconds and anything came out, you'd get another one for free (Because that's how thick they were).

    So I'd use comics to decompress while taking a break from studying. After school, there were a few titles (mostly Marvel, with a couple of independents plus Sandman from DC) that I continued to read for a bit, until Sandman ended (and Cerebus, which started out as a hugely funny satirical comic of sword and sorcery/Conan type stories, grew into a satire of pop culture and other comic books, but eventually started getting far too serious).
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
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  6. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

  7. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    Well, I did go to see "Guardians of the Galaxy" this evening, and it was a lot of fun. The audience was great also, a good mix of kids and adults (yes, this is a good family film -- bring your kids to see it if you have any). I actually recognized EVERY song in the film (although I can't say I could name every one of them at first). It helps growing up in the 1960's and '70's). It had the requisite cameo by Stan Lee, and after-credit bit (I'm not going to give it away, but people were saying that 'now we know who the main villain will be for the next one'). The movie not only hit my nostalgia buttons because of the music, but also there were obvious references to Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Footloose, and other bits of pop culture. It was just plain fun.

    I'll probably post some of my favorite tunes in the music thread after this. They all brought back memories. Granted, some of them were not tunes I actually wanted to remember but that's ok. They still brought me back to my teen years.
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  8. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I wanted to talk about a great old movie from the 1970's, "Dog Day Afternoon", which was directed by Sidney Lumet, and starred Al Pacino and John Cazale (who you may remember as playing Fredo in the first two Godfather movies). The reason why I was thinking about the film was that I saw a review and trailer for a new documentary called "The Dog", which is about the real bank robber who was played by Pacino, John Wojtowicz. A friend of our family (a childhood friend of my dad) actually witnessed the robbery from across the street from the bank, and although the movie "Dog Day Afternoon" took a lot of dramatic license, it's one of these stories that is so strange that it could only be true.

    "Dog Day Afternoon" is a truly great film that everyone needs to see.

    And here's the documentary, "The Dog"
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  9. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    These are certainly not movies, and could probably fit another thread just as well as this one, but here is where I am putting them.

    I recently watched a bunch of Let's Play video playlists of entire games. These are exclusively games I have already played beginning to end, but due to my low motive for playing them again due to the nature of the games, I chose to watch them played instead of doing it myself.

    These three are all in 1080P with full details and played on hard with no commentary. The player is exceptionally good at resource preservation, and takes his sweet time to do everything.
    Bioshock. (The original, 18 hours long.)
    Bioshock 2. (21 hours long.)
    Bioshock 2 Minerva's Den. (7 hours long.)

    Here is another I recently watched. It is all 18 different endings of The Stanley Parable. (Minus the one that involves doing something horribly stupid for four hours. But Youtube will show you that if you look for it.)

    And since I got stuck in the game and could not figure out what was even being done to get past one little area, I just saved my effort and watched Portal 2 in three hours.

    These days being horrible at video games does not mean you cannot enjoy them. Be lazy like myself and enjoy the cake that is not a lie and have it too.
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  10. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    A few more. These two (Fable TLC) (Fable 2) from the same author with no commentary (Seven and eight hours each.), and this monster of a SEVENTY-TWO HOUR Fable 3 playthrough that I am just starting. (It has commentary, but for someone to spend that much time, I have to presume they are going to basically do everything possible in the game.)

    I got really irritated with the lack of proper mouse controls on Fable Anniversary edition, so I am spending time watching the old games to see what I liked and disliked about it.
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  11. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I'm recommending the movie "A Walk Among the Tombstones", starring Liam Neeson. He plays an ex-cop who's an alcoholic and was somewhat corrupt, but after retirement has turned his life around. He's now an unlicensed private detective. A drug dealer tries to hire him after his wife was kidnapped, but killed after the ransom was paid, instead of being released. He's reluctant at first, but eventually he comes around.

    It's a modern film noir, definitely dark and gritty. Once you recognize the genre, you pretty much know how things will likely play out in the end. But it's still an enjoyable film. This is one of Liam Neeson's better roles, so something that could have been a total cliche was actually pretty good.
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  12. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    Another Let's Play series I am watching, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor.
    It is currently 23 hours long, consisting of 87 parts. It was only 9 hours long when I started, and the author keeps adding more to it.
    *Edit* Less than a day and it is now 26 hours long. Still going if I am not mistaken. But I am only halfway through it so far.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2014
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  13. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    It also has an absolutely magnificent score, and was beautifully filmed, with a couple of superb performances. It's one of my favorites as well. The very first thing I did after seeing the movie, was to hunt down the soundtrack recording, and there have been only 2 or 3 other films that I've bought soundtracks for.

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  14. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    Based on both critical reviews and the recommendation of a friend, I went to see "Gone Girl" yesterday. I have to say that it was good, but it doesn't quite live up to the hype (what does, after all?).

    The premise is that Nick and Amy Dunne (played by Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike) are a married couple, and on their 5th anniversary, Amy mysteriously disappears under suspicious circumstances. The story delves into Nick and Amy's history together, how their undoubtedly happy marriage starts turning sour because of family illness and economic downturns. On the surface, they seem like the perfect couple, until cracks start to appear on that surface. We see things first from Nick's point of view, and then from the pov of the detectives investigating the disappearance (played by Kim Dickens and Patrick Fugit), and eventually, from the pov of Amy. Things begin to look very bad for the husband.

    About midway through the story, there is a revelation, which COULD have easily been the climax of the film, but it isn't. You begin to realize that the movie isn't really meant to be a whodunnit at all. Instead, it's something else entirely (which I can't describe without giving away spoilers). It was an interesting, even if predictable turn, greatly foreshadowed (if you were paying attention, that is). My problem is that it also isn't quite that satisfying.

    Anyway, I still recommend the movie, just not with as much enthusiasm as others have for it. I think Affleck has done better work ("Argo", in particular).
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  15. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    I just finished a really long Let's Play of Baldurs Gate Enhanced Edition.

    It was 138 parts long, all in that playlist, and the player is clearly not familiar with all the little details of the game and rules, but I have certainly seen far worse. And yes, it really is a terribly massive amount of time. I spent roughly a solid week watching it.
  16. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    This time I'm recommending a movie I just watched on Netflix: the 2003 Japanese film "The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi" (not to be confused with the 1989 film "Zatoichi", or any of the other following films in the series, which I've mentioned previously).

    This is kind of a re-imagining of the character from the 1989 film, updated with an older blonde Zatoichi, plus tap dancing, cross-dressing, and a bit of humor. It seems like it shouldn't work, but it does. It's actually pretty entertaining.

    Zatoichi in both the original series, and in this film, is a blind masseuse who travels from town to town using his sword, disguised as a cane, and his well-honed senses to get around, visiting gambling parlors, righting wrongs, and generally going up against gangsters and ronin and ninja assassins. In the original series, it's known that he's actually not a total good guy -- he often works for the gangsters himself, but he has a code of conduct -- things that he will not abide, such as cruelty to women and children. This version of Zatoichi is a bit different. There's no actual suggestion of a shady background, though it's clear he had to learn how to use a sword somehow.

    Anyway, it's a fun movie, that I recommend, whether or not you are a fan of the older Zatoichi films. There is a bit of blood in it, but it's almost cartoonish in its character. But if that bothers you, this film will not be for you.

    Just for fun: It does have a (VERY) minor spoiler, but it's really not much of a spoiler at all.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014
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  17. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I finally got the chance to see "Birdman". It stars Michael Keaton as an actor best known for playing the Superhero Birdman in a trilogy of movies. Now he's trying to earn some actual respect as an actor, by writing, performing in, and directing a Broadway play. Also in the movie are Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, and Edward Norton.

    The movie is very hard to describe because it plays games with time and mixes realty and fantasy in interesting ways. It's kind of a dark comedy with some definite laughs, but it's also quite intense, which makes the humor all the more welcome.

    Michael Keaton plays Riggan Thomson, as someone who's definitely going through a crisis in his life. He's fighting against his stereotype of a typical talentless action movie star by trying to make a serious drama. Sometimes it's not at all clear if he will manage to keep things together. He hears the voice of Birdman in his head telling him he's a joke. His girlfriend, and co-star in the play may be pregnant with his child. His real-life daughter (played by Emma Stone) is just back from rehab because of her drug addiction, and is working for him, running errands and so on. His male co-star, who's a horrible actor and may kill the show just by his lack of talent, almost dies because of an incident during rehearsal -- and it's not quite clear if Riggan is responsible for the 'accident'. They have to get a replacement for him at the last minute, and luckily they find Mike Shiner (Edward Norton), who while immensely talented, is also a huge A-hole, and may ruin the show because of his bad behavior. All in all, disaster seems imminent.

    One really interesting thing about the film which adds to the intensity is how it is filmed -- it seems like the whole movie is shot with a single camera without any cuts. It feels like scenes bleed into other scenes. It's actually pretty genius the way it's done.

    All in all, this is the kind of movie that at times, is difficult to watch because of its intensity, but you'll be glad you did. And it's also kind of like a puzzle, with clues that you have to pay close attention to, that indicate where the fantasy and reality of what you are watching begin and end. It's a very smart film, and I highly recommend it.

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  18. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I had to share this:
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  19. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    This afternoon, I went to see "Interstellar" -- I can save you a few bucks right now but telling you that I do not recommend it.

    The story is kind of a mess. It starts out interesting but gradually loses steam. Part of the problem, at least for me, is that it becomes obvious that Christopher Nolan, the director and co-writer (with his brother Jonathan) tries much too hard to emulate "2001: A Space Odyssey". As much as I respect the Nolans for past projects, you NEVER want to find yourself being compared with one of the greatest films ever made, unless you have all your ducks in a row. The narrative itself lacks clarity and cohesion, as well as believability.

    And here's a pair of articles by my favorite astronomer, Phil Plait, with his review of the movie, and his criticism of the science in the film (note that the second article is kind of an apology for mistakes he made in the first article, but you should read both).



    And, of course, here's a trailer:

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  20. Xyvik

    Xyvik Member

    I did not enjoy Interstellar either, but mostly because I thought it was too much like 2001. I'm in the very tiny minority who actually very much dislikes 2001. I get what it was going for, and I can understand why other people like it, but for me it was a boring, plodding, rambling anticlimax. HAL is still great, though.
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