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A few reviews

mnkykungfu

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Boys State (2020)
Several of the kids comment on the strong Republican lean of the selected Texas kids but most of the real US electorate lean Democratic (since 2004), so the doc might have been even more instructive if they'd filmed in a state/program that was reflective of that national trend. I'm also curious to see how one of the companion "Girls State" programs would play out.
Texas does have a disproportionately powerful sway on US politics, and more importantly, US education (due to how the textbook industry works). Your Girls State idea would be an amazing watch! (I still haven't seen this because as something of a political junkie, I think I can already predict how everything would play out. I'm not up for the disappointment I would likely experience while watching.)
 

TM2YC

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Texas does have a disproportionately powerful sway on US politics

Very good point. So perhaps the choice of the Texas Boys State was the perfect microcosm.



Mogul Mowgli (2020)
A collaboration between Director Bassam Tariq and co-writer/producer/star Riz Ahmed (aka Riz MC). I don't think it's autobiographical but it blurs the line between Ahmed and 'Zed' the character he is playing, who is also a British-Pakistani politically minded rapper who performs Riz MC tracks. What are clearly real home movies of Ahmed as a kid are used to represent his character. Zed is already feeling alienated from constant touring, when he's simultaneously hit with a failed relationship, a life threatening illness, pressure from a competing younger rapper and he's wracked by questions about his religion, his dual cultural identity and a strained relationship with his father. Tariq frames him in claustrophobic 4:3 and uses overlapping dialogue, hallucinatory images and flashbacks to suggest cognitive overload. This is then punctuated by sequences of Ahmed expressing the character's thoughts in poetic rhymes. The central metaphor of the illness Zed is suffering from was very clever. I didn't know a scene about a father helping his son use the toilet while they shout "Toba Tek Singh" at each other could be one of the most uplifting and beautiful film moments all year.



The Invisible Man (2020)
There are two sides to this film. One is a really dumb b-movie sci-fi/horror where characters repeatedly do illogical things (just to make the plot work) and put themselves back in danger when they had escaped (twice) and other characters appear to have the psychic ability to appear wherever the script needs them. I can't stop myself from always thinking "how would I get out of this problem?", so I get frustrated when a character doesn't do the same when their life is supposed to be on the line. The other side of the movie, is an edge-of-the-seat, soul destroying, heart pounding, inventively directed thriller about an abusive and controlling relationship. Featuring one of the very best performances of the year from Elisabeth Moss, she makes it feel so raw and truthful to the experiences of abused women (without the sci-fi invisible-suit stuff of course). So your enjoyment might depend on how much attention you pay to the former, or the latter. Personally I thought the positives, far outweighed the negatives but god the film is visually dark and lacking in contrast, it's so hard to see at times (see screenshot below).


I don't understand why modern films have to look like this. Do they expect the viewers to watch through night-vision goggles?:

21019_15_large[1].jpg
 

mnkykungfu

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Friedkin Uncut (2018)

Rampage (1987
These were fascinating write-ups, and I love your line "There is a fine line between being ambiguous and being indecisive." I argue that all the time about auteur movies!
 

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Flushed Away (2006)
The one Aardman Animation film I'd never seen and their first attempt at a CG feature, rather than the usual clay-mation. Some of it does look very dated but because they choose to replicate the Aardman modelling style and characteristic movement of stop-motion, I mostly forgot about it. I'm not sure why they go with CG over stop-motion sometimes because it's typically $100 million more expensive, leaving much less room for box-office success. If this had been stop-motion it would have been a mega hit, instead it was a massive bomb that caused DreamWorks to severe their ties with the studio. The likes of Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet and Ian McKellen do wonderful work on the voices (particularly McKellen's campy villain) but the overall tone and pacing was a bit chaotic and overstuffed for it's own good. As usual the word puns and sight-gags are non-stop, I had to rewind and pause on a shelf full of DVDs with spoof titles. Possibly the least best Aardman film but still a solid adventure for all the family.




Cabin Fever (2002)
As with some other Eli Roth films, this Horror-Comedy is derivative, frequently misjudged and a tonal mess but at 94-minutes it's got enough shenanigans and outlandish gore to keep one entertained. I could never quite decide if Roth's group of spring breakers were supposed to be so crass, awful and annoying that we're meant to root for their deaths, or if he actually thinks they are likeable protagonists. The frequent use of words like "ret*rd" and "gay" are so dated and the characters say "f*ck" so often it must be half the script. At one point I thought he might be doing a clever twist on the 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' type setup, except the inbred red-necks are the reasonable people and the loutish city folks are the ones who need defeated... but no. The usual satisfying survival-Horror "make a plan, then execute the plan but plan goes wrong due to human nature" elements get a bit lost in the frenetic stupidity. I did enjoy the weird collection of comedy side characters though, especially the "party" obsessed Sheriff Deputy. It almost gives the film a 'Twin Peaks' feel.


 

mnkykungfu

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Clockers (1995)
'Clockers'
is one of most satisfying Spike Lee films I've watched so far.

Inside Man (2006)
Spike Lee's usual stylistic quirks and preoccupations are dropped, in favour of him expertly maximising the thrills of an intricately plotted, endlessly tense, action packed and brilliantly acted bank-heist movie.
I have issues with Lee's films, but I LOVE Inside Man, so I guess now I have to watch Clockers. lol
 

mnkykungfu

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The Decline of Western Civilization (1981)
The most interesting parts are the interviews with the passionate fans
Interesting to hear you say that. Perhaps as an American who grew up with cousins and townies that are exactly like this kind of disaffected, braindead youth, nothing they had to say was interesting to me at all. It was pure rebellion, but no eloquence really. The most interesting part was seeing a pre-Nirvana Pat Smear just as an interviewee, spouting total douchery!

You're right about this being early days in the US...it's a really interesting time for Black Flag especially, whose interviews for me were probably the high point of the film. They're American punk royalty, but this was a totally weird time for them, when Keith had already left the band, but Ron was filling in and Henry Rollins was just a fan in the crowd who knew all the songs. Interesting to see Chuck Dukowski waxing philosophical after I've heard Rollins talk so much about the impression he made (through Rollins' spoken word gigs.)

If this film interested you, I highly recommend the documentary American Hardcore, which I was fortunate enough to catch when it premiered at the Seoul International Film Festival. Has even better access than this, and is looking back with the benefit of hindsight, but no less passion.

The Decline of Western Civilization - Part II: The Metal Years (1988)
Lemmy
, Alice Cooper and Ozzy Osbourne, who come across as delightful blokes in their own ways
They really did, right?! Especially Lemmy. Did not expect him to be so gentle and thoughtful.
 

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^ I didn't realise that was a young Pat Smear.



Avatar (2009)
I must have seen this three or four times at the cinema in 3D and on the biggest screens I could find. Then watched it a few more times on blu-ray, to the point where I maybe wore it out because I don't think I've re-watched 'Avatar' in the last 10-years. Since then it seems to have had a few critical maulings and had the "Dances with Smurfs" p*ss takes, so I wasn't sure what to expect on seeing it again. I opted to revisit the nearly 3-hour "Collector's Extended Cut" because if I'm going back to Pandora, I want to see it all!

Well, I loved it all over again. The motion-capture performances still hold up, mostly to the point where your brain just excepts them as flesh and blood 10-ft blue aliens. The wondrous phosphorescent Pandora landscapes and creatures are still magical. All the human battle tech is so cool, including the robot suits, those awesome double-rotor gunships and that colossal helicopter-war-cruiser thing looks truly formidable. The shots of the Na'vi swooping around on the Ikran dragon/butterfly creatures are exhilarating. The imagined world is so vast and rich. One shot really stood out for it's scale, where the Na'vi Ikran riders are looking down from floating mountains, on to the humans in their aircraft miles below, as they in turn look down on the jungle floor miles below them. The mechanics of how the Avatar system works is fascinating, it's advantages, it's drawbacks. I love the scene where the giant Neytiri is cradling the tiny dying human body of Jake, it's a powerful image. When he comes back round they look into each others real eyes for the first time and instead of Neytiri being distracted by seeing his true form, she instantly recognises the same person she loves inside.

Some of the dialogue can be a bit clunky at times, of the "I got this" variety. James Horner's score has some nice moments, the sad brass theme, the dramatic music during the ending battle but it lacks a really memorable main theme to tie everything together. I was imagining how much stronger some of the scenes revealing the wonder of Pandora would work with something on the level of John Williams' 'Jurassic Park', or Horner's own 'Titanic' playing instead. Stephen Lang's merciless Colonel Quaritch has been criticised for being one-dimensional but I think it's because we are setup to expect him and Grace to be the devil and angel on Jake's shoulders. He's initially friendly with Jake, while Jake has an antagonistic relationship with Grace, which is reversed early on. As soon as Jake has his first experience among the Na'vi, there is never any question where his sympathies lie. Almost all the characters except Quaritch change and grow, from a point of distrust and open dislike (the evolving relationship between Jake and Grace is particularly well handled) but he is an unmoveable rock. He's almost a fearless anti-hero, like in the scene where Trudy steals a helicopter and he instantly acts, sucks in a big lung full of air and strides out into the poisonous Pandora atmosphere and tries to shoot her down, before anybody else's brains have even switched on. Or when he's calmly suiting up in the robot armour, while his arm is on fire and the ship he is on is going down, then jumps out and nonchalantly walks out of the fireball. He's one-dimensional but God is he a compelling antagonist.

Now I'm super excited to see James Cameron's forthcoming sequels (pencilled in for December 2022), I want to see more of this amazing world he created.


I'm not sure if this has been upscaled to 4K, or if 'Avatar' has a 4K release somewhere but this scene look stunning. The lighting on Neytiri's face looks so real:


Capturing Avatar (2010)
This feature-length documentary from the 'Avatar' blu-ray is a nice companion piece. It's clear from their enthusiastic faces how passionate Director James Cameron and Producer Jon Landau were about the project. Most of the focus is on the years of preparation and experimentation which was done to take performance capture to the level Cameron needed to translate the full range of his actor's emotions but I'd have liked more about other aspects of the production. For example, it shows very cool behind the scenes footage of them "landing" the full size helicopter props via cranes, with huge wind machines simulating the downwash, in a way that feels very real, even when you can see it's on a green-screen stage but there is nothing on how the team at Weta crafted all these props.

 

Racerx1969

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Now I'm going to have to pull up my copy of Avatar and re-watch it. I might even charge up the TV's 3D glasses and see if they still work.
 

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The Mauritanian (2021)
This looked good, but I was skeptical....seems like it's got to go on the watchlist now!

The Hunt for Red October (1990)
it's kinda distracting how much the young Baldwin looks like the Captain Black puppet from 'Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons' made flesh.
I have no idea what that is, but yeah, the resemblance is stunning! lol
The score by Basil Poledouris is wonderful, like a Soviet military parade.
Poledouris is god.
'The Hunt for Red October' features the Connery line everyone does when they wanna do a quick impression: "Now they will trrrremble again, at the shound of our shylensh".
Really, who does that?! lol My go-to is usually "So...we meet again, Trebek!"
 

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Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
If you've watched Martin Scorsese's documentary 'No Direction Home' you'll be familiar with the very specific Greenwich Village Folk music scene which the Coen brothers beautifully recreate here. It's a week in the troubled life of fictional folk singer Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), just before Bob Dylan arrives on the scene (Davis is partly inspired by real life singer Dave Van Ronk). Llewyn is portrayed as a bitter, self-destructive, arrogant and short-sighted character but you learn why part way through the film (although I noticed it's given away in the trailer). It's a fine line between him behaving badly because everything is going wrong in his life, or everything going wrong because of his behaviour. It might also be a fine line between feeling sorry for him, or irritated by him but I was the former. The whole film has this desaturated blurry look which I didn't care for and found distracting at times, I think it's supposed to look wintery? I really enjoyed the 60s details and spending time with Llewyn's humorous collection of friends and seeing how they interact with him. 'Star Trek: Voyager's lovely Ethan Phillips (Neelix) needs to be in more films.





The Long Riders (1980)
Director Walter Hill's follow up to 'The Warriors' was 'The Long Riders', a Western about the James/Younger gang. He brings his visual flair and penchant for action and violence but the project was actually instigated, written, produced and starring James Keach and Stacy Keach (playing Jesse and Frank James respectively). In a unique move, they determined to cast real-life brothers as all the other gang members too. The Carradines play the three Youngers, the Quaids play the two Millers and the Guests brothers play the infamous Fords. David Carradine's portrayal of Cole Younger is the standout. He cuts such an effortlessly cool cowboy figure with his long hair, grey duster and battered hat. I reckon when he later played Bill for Tarantino, he was going for the same attitude. Hill shoots a lot of the exaggerated bullet hits in super slow-motion and includes many shots of the actors firing almost right at the camera, so you kinda want to duck. Some of the stunts are astonishing and you see it's sometimes the actual actors doing them. I doubt the unbelievable shot where they ride horses through a large glass window would be allowed today (with good reason) but it's something to see. I liked how that the credits go straight into Ry Cooder doing a version of traditional song 'The Ballad of Jesse James'.

 

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Creation Stories (2021)
This biopic of Creation Records co-founder Alan McGee successfully goes for an anarchic '24 Hour Party People'/'Trainspotting' style (the film is actually co-written by Irvine Welsh). Ewen Bremner manages to convincingly play McGee from a young man to mid-life and portrays him as an energetic, creative, chaotic Punk entrepreneur. It's an exciting story, watching him arguably shape the sound of the 90s by signing bands like Oasis, Teenage Fanclub, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream and My Bloody Valentine (but doesn't get round to him later launching the careers of bands like The Hives). I was less keen on the decision to partly have the story told through a sunny, glamorous Los Angeles interview with a vacuous millennial journalist who knows nothing about politics, history and art. I was never sure if it was a comment on modern, shallow, co-opted youth culture, compared to the genuinely rebellious, intelligent, anti-establishment Punk youths seen in the flashbacks, or if the character was there just so McGee could explain everything to her and the audience like we were idiots. The rest of the film is so exciting and fun that this flaw doesn't manage to drag the rest down. Jason Isaacs is hilarious as a drug-addled posh English madman that McGee hangs out with in LA (he's very Withnail).


Time to revisit some Creation Records classics! :cool:....











Yesterday (2019)
The idea for 'Yesterday' has so much potential, "musician wakes up and discovers he is the only one to remember The Beatles" but the uneven execution of this film and the schmaltzy Richard Curtis script don't do it justice. Star Himesh Patel is a wonderfully likeable presence and plays a very believable type of unsuccessful dreamer, which carries the movie through some rough patches on sheer good will. Ed Sheeran is mildly irritating, James Corden is mostly irritating and Kate McKinnon is spectacularly irritating! It's like she been cut in from a different S&L movie and been told "yeah, just do whatever the f*ck you want, it's only a silly comedy", or she was on a bet to see how badly she could act and still not get fired from the film. I also hated the amount of overdubs there are, anytime somebody lips aren't on screen, they seem to be ad libbing an "hilarious" line. Some scenes really work well, like the one showing 'Yesterday' being performed for the "first time" and thinking how would you react to somebody dropping undeniable genius on you like that, out of nowhere? The scene with John Lennon was genuinely beautiful. The wonky tone might be down to Richard Curtis reworking Jack Barth's original script which was a "meditation on professional disappointment" into an upbeat romantic-comedy. There has been some controversy as Curtis claimed he wrote the script from scratch but Barth has pointed out some lines and scenes (including the Lennon one) were in his version. Despite all the flaws, the fun of the concept and the endearing central character make it difficult to not enjoy. Oh and it goes without saying that if you don't know The Beatles' music the film will be meaningless (but that seems unlikely given their ubiquity).


Loved the angry rockin' version of 'Help!':

 
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mnkykungfu

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48 Hrs. (1982)
'48 Hrs.'
is the prototype 80s R-Rated buddy cop action-movie, which everyone imitated but the original is still the best.
I mean, I haven't re-watched this in many moons, but I'm gonna say Lethal Weapon is the best? No? (It certainly feels less locked in its time...)
 

TM2YC

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^ I haven't re-watched LW in a long time but it most come very close at least.



Patriot Games (1992)
This 2nd Jack Ryan Thriller was prime VHS-rental fodder in the 90s but it's not held up as well as it's predecessor 'The Hunt for Red October'. James Earl Jones reprises his role as this franchises 'M' but apart from that everything else is changed, the Director, the writer, the composer, the Cinematographer, Ryan's wife and of course Alec Baldwin was replaced by Harrison Ford. The first film's director John McTiernan said "there was a great deal of scheming that went on to push Alec out of that part". Baldwin had a distinctive youthful, nerdy energy that gave his character some compelling definition but Ford is just doing the same interchangeable "reluctant action-hero" thing he does in 'The Fugitive' and 'Air Force One'. The pacing is off, it opens dramatically with Ryan rescuing members of the British Royal family from IRA terrorists and ends with action but in the middle it goes round in circles for 90-minutes. The bad guys are placed in one desert location and Ryan sits in a CIA building going through files about them, the cat and the mouse are on opposite sides of the planet and not on each others heels. The obfuscation of who the double-agent was well played, I was guessing 'til the end. I didn't realise that Sean Bean's scar above his left eye was caused by Ford accidentally hitting him for real. I noticed James Horner re-used a bit of his score from 1988's 'Red Heat' but mostly because I know it from already being re-used in 1989's 'The Killer'.


I'm pretty sure the bit of music shared by at least 'Red Heat', 'The Killer' and 'Patriot Games' is the middle of this track, 'Russian Streets':




Clear and Present Danger (1994)
I thought this was much better and more consistent than 'Patriot Games'. Harrison Ford is playing more of the endearing nerdy CIA analyst version of Jack Ryan (like in 'The Hunt for Red October'), digging through secret files, using his brains and visibly flinching from bullets and violence. The action-man aspect we saw in the last film is dialled way back but he still has the guts to put himself in danger when the truth is on the line. The espionage thriller plot is convoluted and engrossing, portraying what happens when the saintly "boy scout" Ryan is temporarily promoted (due to his boss undergoing cancer treatment) into the upper echelons of Washington, seemingly populated mostly by smug, lying, cynics and drug cartel informants. It gets really interesting about 45-minutes in when you realise that Willem Dafoe and his black-ops CIA death-squad are the only people who Ryan finds have any honour, or principles. James Horner's score is strong, there is a scene intercutting Ryan reading files on a PC, with another guy hurriedly deleting them, which he turns into edge-of-your seat action. James Earl Jones doesn't have many scenes but he plays them beautifully.

 

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Cabin Fever (2002)
^One of the Top 5 Worst Films I've Ever Seen, no exaggeration. This thing was a godawful mess that wasn't even fun to laugh at.

I could never quite decide if Roth's group of spring breakers were supposed to be so crass, awful and annoying that we're meant to root for their deaths, or if he actually thinks they are likeable protagonists.
^THIS. I mean, I was the perfect young, horny age to go see this with friends in the theater, just lusting after the gorgeous actresses and gratuitous nudity hinted at in the trailer. But even that couldn't win me over. And I was really rooting for Boy Meets World to get laid, but even he becomes dislikable halfway through. It's just a chore to watch these "people".

The frequent use of words like "ret*rd" and "gay" are so dated and the characters say "f*ck" so often it must be half the script.
^Pretty sure that's just how Eli Roth talks.

If I ever see Roth on the street, I'm going to ask for my money back for seeing this film. Pretty sure it was in the dollar theater too, but it's the principle.
 

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Spoilers ...

Palm Springs (2020)
'Groundhog Day'
is a perfect time-loop movie, so if you set out to do the same but different it's inevitably going to lead to imperfection. 'Palm Springs' does a number of things differently; the guy is already deep into and resigned to the loop when the story begins; the girl he falls for gets stuck in the loop too (plus one other person); the narrative is partly non-linear; the place they're stuck in is not a cosy small town but an awful wedding weekend; the people at the event are all self-obsessed, lying pr*cks (including the protagonists), instead of the effusive townspeople of Punxsutawney, who Phil only finds irritating because he is a bitter person; and finally, it's mentioned in a throw-away joke that the loopers are capable of travelling thousands of miles away from the location they claim to be stuck in. The last one is a cavernous plot-hole that speaks to the comparative sloppiness of the writing. If you can travel within half the USA, a practically limitless range of never repeating experiences await the looper and millions of people to hang out with along the way, with the added benefit of your actions being consequence free, with money effectively no object. The only constraint is that you wake up in the same place every day but that's how life works anyway most of the time? In 'Groundhog Day', the miserable Phil's experience teaches him to cherish other people and see the joy in making others happy. In 'Palm Springs', two separately selfish people come to realise that it's more fun to be selfish together. The last scene is them chillin' in the pool of a property they broke into, as the owners arrive home because "f*ck other people" is the underlying message they want to leave you with. The surrounding cast of annoying characters often shout, screech and hurl swear words at each. However, despite all these problems, I can't deny that it's very funny, very entertaining, is crammed with activity and time-travel based brain candy and hurtles along for 90-minutes.




Sound of Metal (2020)
I've read people remarking that 'Sound of Metal' is Riz Ahmed's second 2020 movie (alongside 'Mogul Mowgli') where he plays a stressed musician who has to cancel his tour due to a sudden life-changing medical condition which forces him to reevaluate everything. So it's difficult not to compare the two, even though they are stylistically very different beasts but I much preferred 'Mogul Mowgli'. In 'Sound of Metal' Ahmed plays Ruben, a drummer who loses almost all of his hearing. Initially he panics and wants whatever operation can make his hearing come back but a spell at a deaf drug-treatment shelter/school shows him other paths are available. A lot of the film and it's soundmix seemed to be concerned with actually demonstrating to the viewer that deafness is not being able to hear sounds, showing that sign-language is a thing and that hearing aids can be difficult to use in noisy environments. These are all things I grasped intellectually long ago, without actually having to sit through minutes of silence, scenes with no subtitles, white noise and compressed audio like we were back in the dial-up-internet days. For this Brit, the whole story felt backwards because the UK plot would be "man loses hearing... man gets treatment on the NHS and sign-language classes free at the point of need... man decides which is best for him". Instead of him going through this massive extra trauma because he can't afford health care, not making that the focus of the film was like "burying the lead" for me. The cast is terrific (when is Ahmed not brilliant?), it looks gorgeous and the ending is beautiful (even if it was a tad predictable).

 

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Avatar (2009)
I opted to revisit the nearly 3-hour "Collector's Extended Cut" because if I'm going back to Pandora, I want to see it all!
I just watched this the one time in the theater... any feelings about how the extra bits improve the film (or don't)?

your brain just excepts them as flesh and blood 10-ft blue aliens.
That's odd to hear.... Avatar has always seemed to me like a poster child for film buffs who complain about CGI ruining live action. CGI Spider-Man, for example, looks real and impressive on the theater screen, but once you watch at home, I can see the criticisms that it looks like a really good video game. For me, Avatar is the same...looked fantastic, but you had to see it in IMAX. I watch those clips you posted and totally get the video game look complaints (even though I personally enjoy it and don't care.)

Stephen Lang's merciless Colonel Quaritch has been criticised for being one-dimensional
The "villain complaint" bandwagon that everyone is on these days is exasperating. I envy these people who have never actually met real-life people who are genuinely pretty one-dimensional and unreasonable and intractable. I grew up in Florida. They exist. I've met tons of guys like the Colonel.
 

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I just watched this the one time in the theater... any feelings about how the extra bits improve the film (or don't)?

There is an extended cut and an extended-extended cut, I watched that latter. There are lots of little additions that just add a bit of extra texture and depth that are highly recommended. The one exception is an extra prologue sequence set on Earth showing Jake's depressed life before he goes into hyper sleep. I don't think that is necessary, if I did an edit that would go, keep the rest.

Avatar has always seemed to me like a poster child for film buffs who complain about CGI ruining live action. CGI Spider-Man, for example...

^ That's the definition of the problem for me. CG Spider-Man (or any superhero, or whatever) is being used when a real actor cannot perform that action due to physics (or just good old laziness on the part of the film-maker), that is why it will always look weird on some level by definition, no matter how much technology you put into it. On Avatar Cameron went to extraordinary lengths to motion capture real human movement for everything he could, to absurd lengths. So he was motion capturing huge crowds, not simply using computer generated crowds, bringing horses into the mo-cap stage, building controlled gimbles for the actors to ride so they'd have to react to change their balance for the dragon flying shots etc. I think he used a phrase like "digital makeup" for the process he wanted, just a layer over a real performance, not "computer generated imagery".

Everyone's perception on this stuff is going to be slightly different but for me bad CGI is usually about physics, believability and movement, rather than texture detail and lighting etc. There is also about 40-minutes of extra deleted scenes on the Avatar blu-ray where it's barely rendered temp shots but they still look compelling and feel real-ish to me because the badly rendered temp models are still moving and acting just like humans.

There is no amount of fiddling with details that is going to sell a shot like this one from Terminator:Genysis:

dcad60ccd27e07952afa0d5414c0676e46147316123d284457d27b2c921e5c86[1].jpg


Compare that to Nolan flipping a truck for real, then using CG to paint out the air rams and stuff.

 
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^Hmmm...sounds like it's almost a mental barrier as much as from eyesight. Like "I know this was not really done, therefore I cannot accept what I'm seeing." CGI actually doesn't bother me much at all, generally speaking, perhaps from years of immersing myself in video games growing up. I have no problem buying into CG characters or a world, same as any other animation. If the physics are well done, so much the better (Spider-Man has used better and better "rag doll" physics ever since the first film, for example) but I don't come to a fantasy movie to see physics perfectly modeled. It just needs to be close enough to suspend my disbelief. I suppose that threshold is different for everyone. Story is what breaks it for me, more than visuals. (So an exaggerated school bus flip is the least of Genisys' problems as far as I was concerned!)
 

TM2YC

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^Hmmm...sounds like it's almost a mental barrier as much as from eyesight. Like "I know this was not really done, therefore I cannot accept what I'm seeing."

No it's not that. I was just illustrating that flipping a truck sized vehicle can be done convincingly in a movie but the physics need to feel right. Other movies have done it and done it in CG I'm sure. I can really spot CG body doubles (and CGI general), it's one of the things I like the least in FX, so my mind is always going "that's real. that's not real. that's real etc" down to the frame when it switches from a double to a real person. So maybe with Avatar where a lot of it is full CG characters, interacting in full CG environments, my eyes aren't being forced to compare reality and unreality.



The Social Dilemma (2020)
Like some other documentaries about the problems with social media, data farming, algorithms etc, 'The Social Dilemma' just describes the situation we are in, so is only going to be eye opening, if your eyes were firmly closed. It lines up a fairly impressive array of interviewees from the top tech firms but they only get around to talking about solutions once the end credits are rolling and even then it's pretty basic stuff. Director Jeff Orlowski opts to intercut the interviews with dramatic reconstructions which sometimes worked but mostly came across as silly and melodramatic.


Calm with Horses (2020)
'Calm with Horses'
has a bit of the gangster-Noir and the Western genres about it but the rural-Ireland setting feels very different from the streets of LA, or the plains of Texas. "Arm" is the ex-boxer enforcer for the local crime family, he looks like a big brute and deals in violence but has a childlike mind and sadness about him. You know it's probably not going to end well, like with many Noir protagonists but Cosmo Jarvis' understated, yet powerful performance really makes you hope he'll find redemption.

 
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