Page 180 of 190 FirstFirst ... 80130170178179180181182 ... LastLast
Results 2,686 to 2,700 of 2840

Thread: Films you've seen recently and would unreservedly recommend:

  1. #2686
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    2,221

  2. #2687
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    7,984

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rubberdingyrapids View Post
    what are the themes? im not the biggest nolan fan so havent really thought about it.
    Sorry, only saw this question now. Nolan seems to be obsessed with questions of identity, and particularly with the threat of losing a sense of who one is in various ways. His films mostly come across to me like dramatisations of philosophical thought experiments. Given his attachment to identity issues, little wonder he ended up making the Batman movies. And just a pity Ridley Scott didn't invite him to become involved with the new Blade Runner (so far as I know)

    It took me a while to realise that I'm a big fan - I'd say probably he and Andrea Arnold are the only leading directors whose films I'd go and see without so much as bothering to read a review (having said that, still haven't seen American Honey, but more for pragmatic reasons of being in a place outside culture...)
    Last edited by baboon2004; 25-11-2016 at 10:24 AM.

  3. #2688
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    7,984

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Corpsey View Post
    There was a good piece in Sight and Sound a year or two ago defending Nolan...

    Ah, here we go http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/s...-escape-artist

    I feel extremely ambivalent about his films. 'Interstellar' is probably my favourite, and I actively loathe a good third of it. Despite this I've seen it four or five times, including recently at the IMAX.

    He seems to me a self-conflicted director/writer:

    Rigid plotting, too much exposition vs. weird gaps in plot logic

    Sentimentality vs. inability to depict credible human beings (especially women)

    Lack of imagination vs. ambitiously imaginative visuals

    Whether this contradiction is expressive of something fascinating or juvenile is up for debate I suppose. On the whole I appreciate his ambition, and his distinctiveness as a director. Compare his Batman trilogy with the pretty anonymous Marvel Universe films.

    I thought the Prestige was alright but I can't watch it again cos I find Christian Bale's mockney accent so cringeworthy.
    Thanks for the article, skimmed it now but will read in full a bit later. Yeah, in a way I don't disagree with the criticisms, but I think the ambition of his films overrides those reservations. For example, I definitely agree that some of the mechanisms used in Inception to suggest the subconscious were woefully underthought - but how rarely do film directors even gesture at the subconscious?

    Moreover, the criticisms are ones that it's possible to level at most of the venerated male directors making large-scale films, especially the inability to write female characters and an adolescent view of the world. To put it mildly, I don't find Nolan to be notably worse in these areas than many others, so it's curious to me that he's come in for such criticism. I mean, we live in a world where people take post-1996 Lars von Trier films seriously, to take only the most egregious example.
    Last edited by baboon2004; 25-11-2016 at 10:49 AM.

  4. #2689
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    2,221

    Default

    criticising a male directors ineptitude with female characters is just on trend right now. critics who dont even know WTF good female characters would look like use that criticism in case they look out of step and they want to appear liberal and non sexist. not saying there isnt merit to it, but nolan isnt really the worst offender IMO. hollywood should just groom/hire more women directors. LVT is the great troll of european cinema.

    re: subconscious, i think in his films, there often isnt much of one (though there is subtext, i remember walking out of the dark knight unsure if it was some sort of bush allegory, if he was supporting the war on terror, or what). its all there plain as day right in front of you. which is one of the things that makes his films a bit unsubtle.

    i didnt mind fish tank but i dont totally understand the praise for andrea arnold. she seems another brit director who prefers to portray w/c lives as wholly miserable and little else.

  5. #2690
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    4,773

    Default

    I think the weird thing about Nolan's movies (particularly the blockbusters) is that they are simultaneously more intelligent than and as dumb as the competition. E.G. Interstellar is about these big philosophical concepts such as the inability of human beings to sacrifice themselves/their family for the sake of the human race, but it's also got all that dumb stuff in it like Anne Hathaway saying that love transcends dimensions (and being proven right forwhateverreason), the pointlessness of Casey Afflecks character, etc etc.

    This was actually most obvious in Nolan's Batman movies, which were this really weird mixture of comic book characters and logic with a 'realistic', Michael Mann esque crime-thriller aesthetic. Also there's that incoherence that RDR touches on above, where these fundamentally silly stories are being loaded with all this post 9/11/security state stuff, but it's difficult to ascertain what he's actually trying to say about these things, if anything.

    In spite of all this I think Nolan is the boldest of the blockbuster directors around, and I will always be interested in seeing the latest Nolan movie. Seeing Interstellar in full IMAX recently made it clear to me that his movies NEED to be seen in the cinema. Say what you like about him but his movies clearly resonate with huge numbers of people.
    Last edited by Corpsey; 25-11-2016 at 12:08 PM.

  6. #2691
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    4,773

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by baboon2004 View Post
    For example, I definitely agree that some of the mechanisms used in Inception to suggest the subconscious were woefully underthought - but how rarely do film directors even gesture at the subconscious?
    Reminds me of when I was moaning to a friend about how Inception presents this woefully unimaginative view of what dreams are - levels in a video game, essentially, and they pointed out that if it was a 'realistic' representation of dreams you'd struggle to create a thrilling action film of the sort Nolan managed to make. I guess the 'dream' concept is really just a framework for Nolan to hang his visual setpieces off.

    My beef with Inception was mainly the reams of gobbledegook the characters were coming out with throughout it all.

    I liked it on the whole, though. It was (Again) this strange balancing act between thoughtfulness and thrills. Whether or not it really does justice to either side... that's like the crux of Nolan's work/talent for me.

  7. #2692
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    7,984

    Default

    Again, definitely can't reject those criticisms, they're totally valid.

    But, thinking about it, I see a parallel with the age-old debate on music lyrics - do they need to be any good in the conventional sense of poetry or literature, or are they performing a different purpose altogether in tandem with the music (the Dylan vs Bowie argument, for example - Bowie's lyrics look rubbish written down, but often make a new kind of sense in the context of the music)? Likewise, I'm not sure that it matters (to me) if the ideas expressed in a film fall short of coherence, as I can read a book if sharply-expressed ideas are what I'm after; rather, I'm interested in whether the whole of script plus imagery plus spectacle coheres and makes artistic sense. With Nolan, that magical process happens.

    I'm not 100% sure I believe that; just a thought as to why I can agree with all those criticisms and still love Nolan's films.

    "... simultaneously more intelligent than and as dumb as the competition" that's a very good way of putting it

  8. #2693
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    7,984

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rubberdingyrapids View Post
    criticising a male directors ineptitude with female characters is just on trend right now. critics who dont even know WTF good female characters would look like use that criticism in case they look out of step and they want to appear liberal and non sexist. not saying there isnt merit to it, but nolan isnt really the worst offender IMO. hollywood should just groom/hire more women directors. LVT is the great troll of european cinema.

    i didnt mind fish tank but i dont totally understand the praise for andrea arnold. she seems another brit director who prefers to portray w/c lives as wholly miserable and little else.
    Absolutely - it's tiring that certain male directors get a completely free pass to write terribly hackneyed female characters, or never to write women as lead characters at all.

    Again, a valid criticism of Andrea Arnold - although which directors do portray working class lives in a more balanced way (genuine question)? I really like the way she makes her characters come alive, and I think she's another great stylist. Her work is also highly thematic - the emphasis upon betrayal, and a particular kind of betrayal, is repeatedly evident - which seems to be something I really respond to.

  9. #2694
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    2,221

    Default

    only seen red road and fish tank so i cant really be sure about her recurring themes. but i find her emphasis on style is a bit suffocating at times. shes too into maintaining that style at the expense of letting her characters be a bit realer. not saying you cant do films about miserable w/c people obviously, but im just suspicious of directors with a fetish for that kind of thing. i find it a little one note.

    which directors do portray working class lives in a more balanced way (genuine question)?
    ken loach?
    alan clarke (not alive anymore so maybe he doesnt count).

    i seem to remember liking selfish giant so maybe clio bernard - shes prob another british director into misery (i dont know if shes done anything else) but i think she stopped short of making her characters miserable. miserable characters vs miserable lives, etc.

    i quite liked penny woodcock's one day, a social-realism-y brummie rap musical. i recommend it.
    Last edited by rubberdingyrapids; 28-11-2016 at 08:58 AM.

  10. #2695
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    14,814

    Default

    Not very Dissensian and a big break from the kind of films discussed in the last couple of pages, but I saw Arrival the other day and was pretty impressed by it. Anyone else here seen it? It's an alien contact film, centred around a linguist (F) and scientist (M) in their attempts to communicate with the aliens and find out why they've come here, before mass rioting and End Times cults completely tear society apart (and before mutual suspicion among the various human nations ends with them flinging nukes at the aliens and each other). There's a backstory about the linguist's daughter which I'd thought was kind of mawkish and gratuitous but actually turns out to be pivotal to the plot and ended up working really well.

    OK, so it's [SPOLIERS] time! As moving as it is to have the linguist decide to have a child in the full knowledge the girl will die of cancer in mid-adolescence, the idea of an alien form of writing that rewires the human brain so as to allow one to see into the future is a smidge far-fetched - but perhaps no more so than artificial gravity or spaceships that travel the cosmos by materializing and dematerializing. And if you can accept that, you can accept the other time-loop plot element involving the Chinese general. I thought it a possible shout-out to Vonnegut's Tralfamadorians from Slaughterhouse-5, who don't so much 'see the future' as simply see time as another static dimension, fully analogous to space. Dunno if this is a deliberate reference, but it's a nice touch anyway.

    Other plot gripes: after going out of their way to make the aliens so very alien, and have them communicate with the humans visually via a transparent barrier, it's a touch convenient that when the linguist is carried aboard into the main portion of the ship, the atmosphere inside is not only close enough to Earth's atmosphere in composition, pressure and temperature that a human can survive in it for several minutes, but it apparently isn't even uncomfortable for her. Also, if they're smart enough to master the manipulation of gravity and interstellar travel via hyperspace (or whatever), it seems a bit odd that it's up to us lowly humans to master their language, and not the other way around - to say nothing of how the woman finally communicates with the aliens by addressing them in English and interpreting their symbols in return in a vaguely Han-and-Greedo sort of way, which rather raises the question of why they didn't just communicate like this to start with. Oh, and when she and Dr Science get together at the end, it's after a total absence of any kind of chemistry between them throughout the whole of the rest of the film! Even when they finally embrace, it's not a snog but more of a weary hug between two people who've been through a lot together. Although I guess there are kinds of attraction that aren't based mainly on eroticism, so whatever.

    Good bits: the aforementioned alien-ness of the aliens, which are pleasingly Cthulhoid. Great SFX in a way that doesn't detract from the story. Solid acting. The twist was pretty good and actually very moving, I thought.

    Bad bits: did they have to make the Chinese a bunch of paranoid, nuke-happy dicks? And the American soldiers a gang of boneheads who think any situation they don't like can be fixed with a bomb?

    OK, enough [/SPOLIERS]. Overall, a slightly flawed but thoughtful and engaging sci-fi flick.
    Last edited by Mr. Tea; 30-11-2016 at 11:04 AM.
    Doin' the Lambeth Warp New: DISSENSUS - THE NOVEL - PM me your email address and I'll add you

  11. #2696
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Kingston
    Posts
    1,168

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Tea View Post
    Not very Dissensian and a big break from the kind of films discussed in the last couple of pages, but I saw Arrival
    I read the Ted Chiang short "Story of your life" it's based on but that was my least favourite story from the collection it was in. "Understand" was my favourite, similar plot to the movie Limitless. I will watch Arrival but had been putting it off for this reason.

    Exhalation is another nice short story of his
    Last edited by HMGovt; 28-11-2016 at 01:10 PM.

  12. #2697
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    4,773

    Default

    Spotlight - pretty good, not mindblowing, mark ruffalo does an interesting thing with his mouth, there's some very hollywood bits ('THIS IS BULLSHIT!' slam door), didn't make it seem THAT hard for them to defy the catholic bastard club... Rachel McAdams marry me and let me comfort you after a hard day of talking to abuse victims.

  13. #2698
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    4,773

    Default

    Arrival SPOILERS

    - the big trend in sci-fi in recent years has been the vastness of the cosmos as a sort of gateway to understanding the importance of our family relationships, and of the need for humans to work together. Gravity, Interstellar, even The Martian, and now this.
    - this is all well and good, but it's a bit disappointing for this mysterious visitation by aliens (or the opening up of a wormhole etc.) boil down to 'they're here to help us get along together!' It's a very anthropocentric view of the universe.
    - The less mysterious the aliens purpose became, perhaps inevitably, the less magical it was.
    - presumably the story 'arrival' is based on predates 'interstellar', but the plot turned out to be very similar (beings from the future facilitate their future wellbeing by going back to help stupid humans make an evolutionary leap... 2001 inspired?)
    - also there's this sort of sentimental view of family life coming through again and again, with the evocation of family in little snapshots (robbed from The Tree of Life, which I suppose has been hugely influential in producing this type of sci fi? The linking of cosmic events and infinity with the intensely, microcosmic and suburban personal).
    - how tired is this 'aliens come to earth, some people want to talk to them, some want to blow them up?' plot? As Tea pointed out, it HAD to be the russians and chinese that wanted to nuke them.
    - didn't quite get how amy adams's family relationship tied in with the greater story of the aliens making contact?
    - some proper cheesy lines 'you made short work of those insurgents' e.g.

    So, it sounds negative but I actually liked it quite a bit. Very skilfully directed, albeit I can't help but think Villeneuve is a sort of Fincher/Nolan rip off merchant. Beautiful special effects. Thought provoking. Intelligent. Didn't see the twist coming, and the implications of the twist were quite profound. Looking forward to his Blade Runner...

    Still think Ex Machina is the best sci fi film of the last few years. It's colder and less sentimental than these space vs. family films.

  14. #2699
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    4,773

    Default

    BTW I wouldn't mind Villeneuve taking a crack at The Mountains of Madness or something like that, as a sort of anti-arrival. He showed in Enemy/Prisoners/Sicario that he's excellent at creating dread.

  15. #2700
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    14,814

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Corpsey View Post
    - how tired is this 'aliens come to earth, some people want to talk to them, some want to blow them up?' plot?
    Tired it may be, sadly it might just be realistic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Corpsey View Post
    As Tea pointed out, it HAD to be the russians and chinese that wanted to nuke them.
    Although when I said that, I didn't know it was based on a story by a Chinese-American author! Regarding the Russians, I'd have loved it if they hadn't wanted to blow the aliens up, so much as get them onside to help screw over the Democrats and assist them in annexing the rest of Ukraine and crushing what remains of the Syrian resistance...

    I think del Toro's much-rumoured ATMoM adaptation is still *just about* on the cards, although when it'll ever actually get made is still anyone's guess. http://www.joblo.com/movie-news/excl...-update-445-02
    Doin' the Lambeth Warp New: DISSENSUS - THE NOVEL - PM me your email address and I'll add you

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •