Discussion of movies and ReelThoughts topics

It is currently Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:10 pm




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 46 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things" 
Author Message
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:55 pm
Posts: 3137
Location: Mount Laurel, NJ, USA
Post November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
Click here to read topic.


Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:09 pm
Profile WWW
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
James - It's interesting that you discuss downgrading 'Avatar'. Certainly the movie has had its share of naysayers, but you and Ebert have been two of its more vocal defenders (at least going by your printed reviews). What about 'Avatar' would cause you to want to change your review (or add an appendage) now?

PS - I think it holds up fine in 2D.


Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:03 pm
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
I'm someone who enjoys "Avatar" a lot despite what others have said. I personally gave it 3.5 out of 4 when I first saw it and I still feel this way to this day. I'd probably put it in the top five of what I feel are Cameron's best films. I first saw the film in 3D and my experience watching it at home on 2D really doesn't feel different to me. I think, like with "Titanic", people are too hard on this film. Do "Avatar" and "Titanic" really deserve so much hatred? I don't think so. I know some of the hatred towards them is simply because of their juggernaut successes. Are they perfect films? Of course not. But if you buy into the experiences they're a real good time at the movies.

I also think people should get over James disliking "Heat". I enjoy the film myself, but I can at least respect James' opinion even if I disagree with it. It's not the first time he has given a less-than-stellar review to a popular film. I mean he has given good-but-less-than-ecstatic-compared-to-the-public reviews to popular films like "The Exorcist", "The Shining" and "E.T.". I think I remember him saying he dislikes "Ghostbusters" which again is another popular film. James has given high praise to "The Phantom Menace" and look how the general public negatively views that film. Speaking for myself, my own personal ratings for films really have not changed over the years. A rating I gave to a film 10 or more years ago is generally how I still feel to this day.


Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:12 pm
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:55 pm
Posts: 3137
Location: Mount Laurel, NJ, USA
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
nickinks wrote:
James - It's interesting that you discuss downgrading 'Avatar'. Certainly the movie has had its share of naysayers, but you and Ebert have been two of its more vocal defenders (at least going by your printed reviews). What about 'Avatar' would cause you to want to change your review (or add an appendage) now?

PS - I think it holds up fine in 2D.


I only saw the film once theatrically, and that was in 3-D. When I later watched it at home in 2-D, I felt a little let down at the end. I enjoyed it but, without the "wow!" delivered by the 3-D, it seemed reduced. Three stars is probably too harsh - I think it offers better entertainment than that. But four stars seems too generous in retrospect. It's not that I'm down on the film, though. Maybe I should see it again in 3-D and see how I react to it.


Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:17 pm
Profile WWW
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
Right but 'Avatar' was ONLY popular because of the hype that had been engineered by Cameron himself... I've heard people be hard on it for all the wrong reasons (the biggest one being it's similarity to Fern Gully and the other, an apparent discrepancy in Jake's description of his status as a Marine). Personally i feel it's too long, far too obvious in certain places (and/or preachy) and didn't even remotely need 3D or use it well.

I've noticed lately that I'm going through a similar phase to what JB describes here; wondering why I'm no longer interested in the things I was even as recently as 2 years ago. However I think this might be more down to a symptom of depression than ageing!

I actually remember feeling a bit wtf about the 'Heat' review as well but having seen it again recently, it's not as good as I remember. Maybe 3 stars! Also I just went to read the review again and noticed JB referencing 'The Professional'... which took me a look up on IMDB to realise that it's another name for 'Léon' (I'd never known they were the same thing). Anyone know why the movie has two names?


Sun Nov 20, 2011 9:19 pm
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
I'm surprised James didn't list "The Dark Knight Rises" as a film he's looking forward to seeing. I mean considering he gave high marks to "Batman Begins" and especially "The Dark Knight".


Sun Nov 20, 2011 9:22 pm
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
ck100 wrote:
I'm surprised James didn't list "The Dark Knight Rises" as a film he's looking forward to seeing. I mean considering he gave high marks to "Batman Begins" and especially "The Dark Knight".


Like, and agree! That, 'The Avengers', 'The Hobbit' and the next 'Star Trek' movies are what have me salivating right now (despite Joss Whedon helming Avengers that is!)

Also something to add to the 'Avatar' bashing - the science. Now I don't have a problem with bad Science getting in the way of a narrative that doesn't concern it (like the world ending in 'Melancholia') but apparently JB does. Yet he didn't mention the obvious overviews in 'Avatar' (floating mountains? A planet right next to a gas giant?). Perhaps I'm being a dick here... which I am. Just observing ;)


Sun Nov 20, 2011 9:26 pm
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
Avatar is a 2.5 at best for me, and I can't imagine how seeing it in 3-D would've made me like it more, that wouldn't have fixed the lackluster story and overlong running time, I don't hate the film, I just think it was massively overrated by critics, IMO if Avatar wasn't in 3-D when it went to theaters, I highly doubt most critics would be nearly as impressed with it.

I mostly agree with JB on Heat though, it just wasn't that great, there's NO reason why it had to be 3 hours long, it would've been a far stronger film if it was a tleast an hour shorter and Val Kilmer's characters was completely cut from the film as he added NOTHING whatsoever, that whole serial killer subplot felt like it belonged in a totally different film and did nothing but pad out the film even further. The action scenes were pretty well-done i'll admit and the main performances were pretty good, but the film just didn't click for me.

I understand how JB feels though, it seems like i'm one of the few people in existence who dosen't like Lord Of The Rings, i'm just not the big on fantasy in general, and I couldn't have cared less about any of the characters in those films if I tried. And more then half of the films that end on critics "worst" lists I end up enjoying, there's not that much that i've changed my opinion on over the past few years moviewise.


Sun Nov 20, 2011 9:34 pm
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
Dragonbeard wrote:
Right but 'Avatar' was ONLY popular because of the hype that had been engineered by Cameron himself... I've heard people be hard on it for all the wrong reasons (the biggest one being it's similarity to Fern Gully and the other, an apparent discrepancy in Jake's description of his status as a Marine). Personally i feel it's too long, far too obvious in certain places (and/or preachy) and didn't even remotely need 3D or use it well.

I've noticed lately that I'm going through a similar phase to what JB describes here; wondering why I'm no longer interested in the things I was even as recently as 2 years ago. However I think this might be more down to a symptom of depression than ageing!


Hell, we might be in the same boat. But no matter what the reason, none of it invalidates a changed opinion. I think just about all of JB's recent 4-star reviews: The Dark Knight, Basterds, Avatar, even Departed, have been way overrated. But you can't compare Avatar to Titanic. Titanic, whatever, its faults, was a great night out at the movies. This 6-year old had a blast. But had I been 6 when Avatar came out, I doubt I would have liked it all that much. I think Dragonbeard's first statement is spot on. Technology =/= imagination, and I think most kids would pick up on that to some extent. I think Avatar, Dark Knight, and Inception are all approximately 2 star movies, Basterds 2.5, Departed maybe 3. Funny People: 0!!!!!


Sun Nov 20, 2011 11:22 pm
Second Unit Director
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 4:22 am
Posts: 423
Location: Chennai, India
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
This is a great ReelThoughts and it is something I've been wondering about a long time as well. I've realized that as I see more and more films, my tastes in cinema inevitably undergo a transformation. This has more to do with the quality of films than the genres I prefer. The best example would be Batman films. When I was 10 and had little exposure to Hollywood films, I thought Batman and Robin was a great action film. I enjoyed the cooler version of Batman in that film. After I grew much older and learned a lot more about the Caper Crusader by reading many of the comics and from the Internet, I realized just how bad a film Batman and Robin was. Of course, Nolan's version also had a lot to do with it. Right now, I can definitively state that I cannot sit through a viewing of B&R. For me, Nolan's interpretation is going to be definitive because of the impact it has had on me, though I must state that I've not seen all of the Burton versions, so my perspective is limited to B&R.

There are many other regional Indian movies that have had a similar effect on me as well. Indian films that I once saw on Television and considered to be some of my all-time favorites (when I was 10-15) will find it very difficult or may never make it onto the list right now. In fact, the only constant in my all-time favorites list would be Naayagan, a South-Indian interpretation of Godfather which many of you might have heard of. I always go on record to state that no matter how many films I see in my lifetime, it will remain at the top (like Patton for James). In Hollywood, Schindler's List is my favorite film of all time but I am pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to watch it through even the first 15 minutes when I was that age.

Like James, a lot of the actions films I enjoyed when growing up, I still do now. I love science-fiction and fantasy, and any film from this genre, I lap up. The only surprising change has been the increasing softness that has developed for rom-coms. A couple of years ago, this is a genre I despised for some reason. I could never watch them because they were formulaic. I don't know when the transformation happened and I am slightly ashamed for it, but I suddenly have begun enjoying rom-coms. I still think they're formulaic and unoriginal for the most part but, maybe due to reading reviews or something, I've gotten used to the warm feeling they provide at the end. I may never see a ton of them continuously but they offer a nice diversion to the films I usually watch.

Harry Potter is another one of those things for me. When I was around 14, it was all the rage in school. Many girls were reading the book in classroom and guys with nothing better to do than impress said girls began reading it even though they never actually enjoyed doing so. Because of its popularity, I despised it for a long period of time. Even when I rented it, I couldn't get through the first 50 pages of the first book. That remained a part of me till 2007. When the pre-orders for the final book started, I decided to give it a go again. And within a month, I had completed all 6 of them and pre-ordered the final book. I stood in queue to purchase the 7th one, something which I always thought was impossible. This is one of those cases where personal prejudice has stopped me from enjoying something at the time but, as I grew older and it waned, I was able to appreciate it. I am currently having the same feeling for the Twilight series, but reliable sources (as in my sister who has read the book) tell me that I should never, ever try to read that one.

But I agree with James in that general tastes may never change. I still enjoy a lot of the goofy action movies. My definition of "cinema" has most certainly changed, but my definition of what constitutes a fun time hasn't.

_________________
Balajithots - Last Updated 21-Jan - Frozen (2013)
This list... is an absolute good. The list is life. All around its margins lies the gulf.


Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:58 am
Profile WWW
Second Unit Director

Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:52 pm
Posts: 273
Location: North Carolina
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
I'm glad to see JB reconsider Avatar. In terms of breakthrough technology, it's a 4-star movie, but in terms of story, maybe 2 stars. I did have a similar experience to JB: the first time I saw it in 3D in the theater, I was blown away, but when I took my kids for a second viewing, the plot holes became so obvious that I lost a lot of enthusiasm for it.

I remember liking Heat a bit more than JB, but I understood (and even partially agreed with) some of his reservations about that movie, so I have no problem with that review. The only wtf review I remember was The Sixth Sense. I never met anyone who didn't love that movie, and I just couldn't understand JB's problems with it. Still don't. But, on the other hand, considering the craptacular movies that M. Night Shyamalan has made since, it seems that JB could be psychic. Perhaps in Sixth Sense JB was seeing dead directors. :lol:


Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:37 am
Profile
Director
User avatar

Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:07 pm
Posts: 1558
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
As far as films go that I've changed my opinion on over time, there's been a few.

I grew up watching action movies. I loved the Die Hards and Lethal Weapons. Today I still enjoy the first 3 Lethal Weapons (the fourth one is more problematic but still has its moments) and the original and third Die Hard (the second and fourth are lesser). I also loved the Back To The Future and the Indiana Jones movies and I still do.

One movie that my opinion of has changed somewhat since my teens is Mel Brooks Spaceballs. Back then, I would have ranked it as one of his best alongside Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles. Today I still enjoy it. But I also see it as less consistent and less funny than those two.

Another one that's kind of fallen from grace somewhat in my view is Ghost. I loved that one when I saw it at 12. Today I'm less enamored with it. On the JB scale I'd give it ***. Part of the reason I think I liked it as much as I did is that it (along with a few others) was one of the first movies I was able to appreciate on a somewhat adult level.

In those days (aside from the aforementioned Ghost) romantic movies to me were like Kryptonite to Superman. Usually when I would end up seeing one of those it was because my mom dragged me along. Today I'm not a fan of 95% of rom-coms seeing as most of them are the cinematic equivalent of adult contemporary music. But there are cinematic love stories I like a great deal (Moonstruck, Before Sunrise/Sunset, Love Jones).

As far as mom dragging me to those, in retrospect you could say it was fair for me dragging her to action movies and stuff like Menace II Society. That last one is one that I still like just as much as I did back when I saw it at 14 in 1993. Recently I bought it on DVD and upon watching it for the first time in a couple years, I realized it stands as the most harrowing and most effective of the early 90s urban dramas. I still love Boyz N The Hood and Fresh. But Menace is easily the best.

Which brings us to another one my opinion of changed over time: Dead Presidents. When I first saw that back in 1996, I thought it was okay but a major disappointment after Menace. Today, I consider it to be one of the most underrated films ever made and only a few slight notches below Menace. A similar situation occured with The Big Lebowski. When I first watched it at 19, my initial impression was "Ehhh. Okay. But a disappointment after Fargo". Today I rank it as one of my top 10 favorite comedies.

One comedy that most people my age loved but has probably fallen far down the totem pole for most of them is Home Alone. At 12-13, you love slapstick humor. Today, for me anyway, a little slapstick goes a long way. Recently I re-watched the original Home Alone and found it to be still somewhat enjoyable. Not quite as funny as it once was and it's not going on any list of best comedies with Dr. Strangelove and The Big Lebowski. But it's still worth one's time. On the other hand, when I first saw Monty Python And The Holy Grail back in 1997, I immediately warmed to it as one of the funniest movies of all-time. Today my opinion has not changed.

I agree with JB that Avatar was overrated. When I first saw it in theaters I enjoyed it. Didn't find it to be the best movie of 2009 or even on the top 10 list. But it was enough to draw me in. When I tried watching it at home minus the 3d, the flaws (cornball dialogue, so-so acting and a story that was not as original as it initially seemed to be to much of the public (a friend dismissed it as "Ferngully in outer space")) became much more apparent. I'd give it ***. But to me Avatar is missing what the two Terminator movies and Aliens had, the one thing that elevated them to the level of art (or close to it anyway) instead of mindless artifice: a sense of humanity.

I stringly disagree with JB on Heat. But agree with him on The Sixth Sense. Once the plot twist is taken out of the equation, there isn't much left.

_________________
This ain't a city council meeting you know-Joe Cabot

Cinema is a matter of what's in the frame and what's out-Martin Scorsese.

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1347771599


Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:57 am
Profile
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
Wow, I thought I was one of a few for liking Die Hard 3! :)

The only 'romantic comedy' that I'd ever consider a favourite is 'High Fidelity'. It's something that I can watch repeatedly and not get bored of. The 'Bridget Jones' films are not too bad occasionally, the highlights being the exchanges between Hugh Grant and Colin Firth!

Also 'Jerry Maguire' (no I'm not spell checking that). Although I've not seen that since it was new!

'Titanic' was a fun movie to watch, I just feel that it was rather over manipulative in terms of musical cues etc... yes, the boat is sinking, yes a lot of these people will die, yes it's a massive tragedy - I knew all of these things before the movie ever existed, I didn't need to be reminded when to feel sad etc.

If I hadn't seen and appreciated Cameron's past work, I'd have called him a money grabbing charlatan. Not that his past glory is much of a leg to stand on! His insistence that 'Avatar' will change how we appreciate 3D was a self fulfilling prophecy. Of course people are going to flock to see if he's right! Then re-releasing an extended version in theatres about a day after the original movie is released on home formats? Give me a break. The movie was already too long and by no means deserving of a cinematic re-release.

I know this sounds like I dislike the movie but I don't. I don't like Cameron as much as I used to (talk about changing tastes, lets talk about directors; Cameron, Boyle, Fincher, Richie... people I idolised as a media student who I know probably wont bother with again in a hurry). I like 'Avatar' for what it really is: A refreshing break from the horse shit that normally fills cinemas of a week.

@Vexer - do you not feel that the movies are well made regardless of your dislike of fantasy? Or is this like my thing about disregarding whatever merit Lady Gaga has as a musician, based on my dislike of her and her 'music'? (on that note, I appreciate that she is apparently 'playing' the music industry by writing disposable pop songs to earn a buck or two but surely this is just further evidence of her charlatanism?)


Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:26 pm
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
Dragonbeard wrote:
Wow, I thought I was one of a few for liking Die Hard 3! :)

The only 'romantic comedy' that I'd ever consider a favourite is 'High Fidelity'. It's something that I can watch repeatedly and not get bored of. The 'Bridget Jones' films are not too bad occasionally, the highlights being the exchanges between Hugh Grant and Colin Firth!

Also 'Jerry Maguire' (no I'm not spell checking that). Although I've not seen that since it was new!

'Titanic' was a fun movie to watch, I just feel that it was rather over manipulative in terms of musical cues etc... yes, the boat is sinking, yes a lot of these people will die, yes it's a massive tragedy - I knew all of these things before the movie ever existed, I didn't need to be reminded when to feel sad etc.

If I hadn't seen and appreciated Cameron's past work, I'd have called him a money grabbing charlatan. Not that his past glory is much of a leg to stand on! His insistence that 'Avatar' will change how we appreciate 3D was a self fulfilling prophecy. Of course people are going to flock to see if he's right! Then re-releasing an extended version in theatres about a day after the original movie is released on home formats? Give me a break. The movie was already too long and by no means deserving of a cinematic re-release.

I know this sounds like I dislike the movie but I don't. I don't like Cameron as much as I used to (talk about changing tastes, lets talk about directors; Cameron, Boyle, Fincher, Richie... people I idolised as a media student who I know probably wont bother with again in a hurry). I like 'Avatar' for what it really is: A refreshing break from the horse shit that normally fills cinemas of a week.

@Vexer - do you not feel that the movies are well made regardless of your dislike of fantasy? Or is this like my thing about disregarding whatever merit Lady Gaga has as a musician, based on my dislike of her and her 'music'? (on that note, I appreciate that she is apparently 'playing' the music industry by writing disposable pop songs to earn a buck or two but surely this is just further evidence of her charlatanism?)

I'll admit the LOTR films are well-made, but "well-made" dosen't really help much when you don't give a damn about the story or any of the characters.

Whatever appeal High Fidelity has is completely lost on me, I didn't find very engaging or funny, I guess that's partly because i'm not much of a John Cusack fan.


Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:29 pm
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
Vexer wrote:
I'll admit the LOTR films are well-made, but "well-made" dosen't really help much when you don't give a damn about the story or any of the characters.

Whatever appeal High Fidelity has is completely lost on me, I didn't find very engaging or funny, I guess that's partly because i'm not much of a John Cusack fan.


In both cases, that's totally understandable. The latter is pretty much a vehicle for Cusack (probably the only reason they changed the setting to the states rather than Camden) so I guess I'd have to add that to 'reasons why I dig that movie'.

Which now raises yet another issue; how many movies do we dislike later in life or dislike altogether because of the people who star in them? Discuss.


Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:48 pm
Second Unit Director

Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 4:52 pm
Posts: 273
Location: North Carolina
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
Dragonbeard wrote:
Which now raises yet another issue; how many movies do we dislike later in life or dislike altogether because of the people who star in them? Discuss.


Well, there's no doubt that my opinion of Mel Gibson has dramatically changed in the past couple of years. I'm not going to say that I would boycott his movies at this point, but it would need to be special to get me into one of his films now.


Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:02 pm
Profile
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
Dragonbeard wrote:
Vexer wrote:
I'll admit the LOTR films are well-made, but "well-made" dosen't really help much when you don't give a damn about the story or any of the characters.

Whatever appeal High Fidelity has is completely lost on me, I didn't find very engaging or funny, I guess that's partly because i'm not much of a John Cusack fan.


In both cases, that's totally understandable. The latter is pretty much a vehicle for Cusack (probably the only reason they changed the setting to the states rather than Camden) so I guess I'd have to add that to 'reasons why I dig that movie'.

Which now raises yet another issue; how many movies do we dislike later in life or dislike altogether because of the people who star in them? Discuss.

Well for me, that rules out most films with Hugh Grant, I see his appeal to women, but I don't understand what men see in him, though I will admit he was pretty decent in Extreme Measures, makes me wish he would do more films like that instead of middling rom-coms like Two Weeks Notice.


Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:29 pm
Second Unit Director

Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:49 pm
Posts: 229
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
I don't doubt that my tastes have changed over the years, but I don't think that they have done so in any systematic manner.


Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:04 pm
Profile
Producer

Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 11:04 am
Posts: 2178
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
Hey James, they just announced that Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are all working on a third Before Sunrise movie. Would that make your most anticipated if you had known about that before you started writing this piece. I know you loved the first two!


Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:08 am
Profile
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
James Berardinelli wrote:

Sooo, JB, any chance that you will take another look at the Star Wars prequel films, perhaps when Lucas makes the money grab next year in theaters with the 3D gimmick? I'd be interested in seeing if your opinion of those films would be different now. :)


Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:08 pm
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 46 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by Vjacheslav Trushkin for Free Forum/DivisionCore.
Translated by Xaphos © 2007, 2008, 2009 phpBB.fr