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Last Movie You Watched 
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Saw Gravity over the weekend. This movie earned its 3d surcharge. There is so much that has already been said about it, in terms of "thrill ride, experience, immersive, etc." The only thing I can think to add is that this movie creates an environment of Earth orbit like none other I've seen. What an inhospitable place. In 2013 manned space missions have seemingly become so comonplace that the launch/return barely makes it to the late newscast. Spacewalk? Unless it's a record, it's not big deal. Heck, even if it was a record it would still just be documented quietly somewhere.
While I enjoyed Gravity immensely I did develop a bit of peril-fatigue and found myself expecting
[Reveal] Spoiler:
a group of savages to emerge from the woods to take Stone hostage
That not withstanding, I'd still recommend seeing this one on the biggest 3d screen you can find.

As far as those who slam its faults... Haters gonna hate.

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Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:18 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Stop Making Sense

Rented and re-watched Jonathan Demme's 1984 Talking Heads concert film for the first time in a few years. It still holds up, tied with Scorsese's The Last Waltz as greatest concert film of all-time.

Like Scorsese did in the aforementioned Waltz, Demme brought his knowledge of making feature films to the music documentary and the results speak for themselves. Letting the band gradually assemble keeps the audience enthralled so when they're fully out on stage and kicking ass, it feels earned. His decision to limit shots of the audience was also a wise one as it keeps the you are there feel in play.

The music, needless to say, is fantastic and well-performed (I was a Talking Heads fan even before I first saw this movie in the mid 90s). Even the Tom Tom Club number doesn't feel out of place.

**** hands down.

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Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:35 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Awf Hand wrote:
In 2013 manned space missions have seemingly become so comonplace that the launch/return barely makes it to the late newscast. Spacewalk? Unless it's a record, it's not big deal. Heck, even if it was a record it would still just be documented quietly somewhere.

This theme was touched on in Apollo 13, when a return trip to the moon (fer cryin' out loud) was rendered as "ho-hum" news after the previous missions and was largely uncovered. At least until: "Houston, we have a problem", and then everyone around the world started paying attention.


Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:37 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Jeff Wilder wrote:
Stop Making Sense

Rented and re-watched Jonathan Demme's 1984 Talking Heads concert film for the first time in a few years. It still holds up, tied with Scorsese's The Last Waltz as greatest concert film of all-time.

Like Scorsese did in the aforementioned Waltz, Demme brought his knowledge of making feature films to the music documentary and the results speak for themselves. Letting the band gradually assemble keeps the audience enthralled so when they're fully out on stage and kicking ass, it feels earned. His decision to limit shots of the audience was also a wise one as it keeps the you are there feel in play.

The music, needless to say, is fantastic and well-performed (I was a Talking Heads fan even before I first saw this movie in the mid 90s). Even the Tom Tom Club number doesn't feel out of place.

**** hands down.


This recently played here during the "Milwaukee Film Festival" and one of my buddies reported that there was literally "dancing in the aisles" during the screening.


Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:39 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Room 237

This film discusses some of the fan theories surrounding Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, from the idea that it is actually about the Holocaust, to the belief that it is Kubrick's explanation for his involvement in the faking of the Apollo moon landing footage, to the theory that it is actually about the genocide campaign waged against Native Americans.

Some of the ideas in this film are a little half-baked; I'm not a postmodernist film scholar, so I tend to try to look for things that are actually there in the film, and not stuff that I want to be there. Some of the theories expressed in Room 237, I think, are good examples of what these individual viewers wanted to be in the film, and maybe not what Kubrick actually intended. I do, however, think that the Native American angle holds some water; there's too much Indian imagery in The Shining for it to be accidental.

Overall, this is an all right doc. It's a bit maddening at times, but film theory can be that way.

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Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:53 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Johnny Larue wrote:
Jeff Wilder wrote:
Stop Making Sense

Rented and re-watched Jonathan Demme's 1984 Talking Heads concert film for the first time in a few years. It still holds up, tied with Scorsese's The Last Waltz as greatest concert film of all-time.

Like Scorsese did in the aforementioned Waltz, Demme brought his knowledge of making feature films to the music documentary and the results speak for themselves. Letting the band gradually assemble keeps the audience enthralled so when they're fully out on stage and kicking ass, it feels earned. His decision to limit shots of the audience was also a wise one as it keeps the you are there feel in play.

The music, needless to say, is fantastic and well-performed (I was a Talking Heads fan even before I first saw this movie in the mid 90s). Even the Tom Tom Club number doesn't feel out of place.

**** hands down.


This recently played here during the "Milwaukee Film Festival" and one of my buddies reported that there was literally "dancing in the aisles" during the screening.


I had the joy and privilege of seeing this in theaters a few years ago.

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Mon Oct 28, 2013 5:27 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Room 237

This film discusses some of the fan theories surrounding Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, from the idea that it is actually about the Holocaust, to the belief that it is Kubrick's explanation for his involvement in the faking of the Apollo moon landing footage, to the theory that it is actually about the genocide campaign waged against Native Americans.

Some of the ideas in this film are a little half-baked; I'm not a postmodernist film scholar, so I tend to try to look for things that are actually there in the film, and not stuff that I want to be there. Some of the theories expressed in Room 237, I think, are good examples of what these individual viewers wanted to be in the film, and maybe not what Kubrick actually intended. I do, however, think that the Native American angle holds some water; there's too much Indian imagery in The Shining for it to be accidental.

Overall, this is an all right doc. It's a bit maddening at times, but film theory can be that way.

Your last sentence highlights a big problem I had with this one: it rarely ventures into legit film theory (tons of ground to cover in that regard) and prefers to focus on what are essentially conspiracy theories in a film. They're not the same thing, though Room 237 deliberately perturbs the definition in order to give pseudo-legitimacy to a group of people who, while probably very nice, are also a bit whacko.

While I agree that the Native American imagery in the film is surely intentional, I don't see that as any reason to buy into the interpretation offered here. The only evidence in the movie that actively supports this idea is one line in one scene--the interview with Ullman. Hardly a reliable piece of information, and it immediately gets lampshaded by Jack in his line about ghost stories and horror movies. Hauntings caused by ancient Indian burial grounds are straight up the middle, standard-order American B-horror movie stuff. Somewhere, the meticulously preserved head of Stanley Kubrick is snickering quietly.

The Native American rug patterns, tapestries, jars, and other bits of design are strong evidence for one theory: that Kubrick's research team turned up a lot of Native American imagery in their quest to create the quintessential Rocky Mountain resort hotel.

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Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:06 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Room 237 (2012) **

AKA Confirmation Bias, The Movie

AKA Why Post-Modern Philosophy Is Really Really Annoying

Sometimes this forum works just like it's supposed to. I was intrigued by y'all's conversation about the movie, found it on instant, and watched it before the World Series started. It ended up making me just really...angry. First of all, I wasn't impressed much by its structure as a documentary. Or rather, I was troubled by what I perceived to be a lack of structure: "Here are some theories about The Shining -- let's talk about them." As Ken alluded to, there's a lot of great film theory that could have been discussed, but instead they focus on crackpottery with almost nothing to back it up. The longer the movie went out, the more irritated I became. So perhaps the forum didn't work like it was supposed to, in that I ended up rather vexed.

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Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:27 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
It's been a while since I dabbled in this thread. Here we go....

Disconnect-- ***1/2

I recently re-watched this on blu-ray (saw it in theaters earlier in the year) and it still remains one of my favorites of 2013. Really, I'm partial to movies with strong thematic content, something this one has in spades. It's definitely a story for and about our Digital Age, hell I can argue that the cyber-bullying story in this movie has more to say about Facebook than the entirety of David Fincher's The Social Network. Also, being a former journalism major and a current banker, I definitely related to the other two plotlines as well. The entire ensemble cast is fantastic; no one really has an "Oscar moment" per se, but hey, if Crash can somehow win Best Picture, why doesn't a more tightly focused ensemble piece like this one get anywhere close to as much love?

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Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:55 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Taleswapper wrote:
The Iron Giant (1999)

I had forgotten just how many rich themes this traditionally animated film contains. It says a lot about the American culture of fear, and how we react to "the other." Brilliant stuff. Three and a half stars


My Daughter is obsessed with this film now, which pleases me greatly!

Every Saturday evening about 6pm I say "would you like a movie on?", and 8 times out of 10 it's "yeah, Iron Giant" (the remaning 2 are Fantastic Mr Fox which also pleases me greatly).

There's so much subtle charm to the Iron Giant, I love how they go out to catch an idealistic feel of the 50s, and Bird's ambitious adaptation could so easily have blown up in his face, but it works because despite the numerous changes, it never lets go of the core message of childhood innocence.

We are what we choose to be - and who is man enough to admit damn near shedding a tear as the Giant utters "Superman" before colliding with the missile.

Top stuff!

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Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:22 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
NotHughGrant wrote:
Taleswapper wrote:
The Iron Giant (1999)

I had forgotten just how many rich themes this traditionally animated film contains. It says a lot about the American culture of fear, and how we react to "the other." Brilliant stuff. Three and a half stars


My Daughter is obsessed with this film now, which pleases me greatly!

Every Saturday evening about 6pm I say "would you like a movie on?", and 8 times out of 10 it's "yeah, Iron Giant" (the remaning 2 are Fantastic Mr Fox which also pleases me greatly).

There's so much subtle charm to the Iron Giant, I love how they go out to catch an idealistic feel of the 50s, and Bird's ambitious adaptation could so easily have blown up in his face, but it works because despite the numerous changes, it never lets go of the core message of childhood innocence.

We are what we choose to be - and who is man enough to admit damn near shedding a tear as the Giant utters "Superman" before colliding with the missile.

Top stuff!


Not to be a negative Nelly, but did anyone else find it a bit derivative of E.T.?

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Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:25 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
The two films do draw upon the same tropes, but--and pardon me if this comes across as blasphemous--The Iron Giant is the better film.

Of course, it has nothing on E.T.'s musical score, which is a masterpiece.

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Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:34 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Agreed, the Iron Giant is compelling throughout, whist ET lapses into melodrama.

This is the kind of opinion that can see one tarred and feathered, but I stand by it


(especially as Ken said it first)

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Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:39 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
Room 237 (2012) **

AKA Confirmation Bias, The Movie

AKA Why Post-Modern Philosophy Is Really Really Annoying

Sometimes this forum works just like it's supposed to. I was intrigued by y'all's conversation about the movie, found it on instant, and watched it before the World Series started. It ended up making me just really...angry. First of all, I wasn't impressed much by its structure as a documentary. Or rather, I was troubled by what I perceived to be a lack of structure: "Here are some theories about The Shining -- let's talk about them." As Ken alluded to, there's a lot of great film theory that could have been discussed, but instead they focus on crackpottery with almost nothing to back it up. The longer the movie went out, the more irritated I became. So perhaps the forum didn't work like it was supposed to, in that I ended up rather vexed.


I agree quite a bit here, even though I wasn't as irritated with the film. I never got the idea that the filmmakers endorsed a lot of the ideas in the film, some of which are complete crackpottery. Come to think of it, a lot of postmodernist film theory is crackpottery.

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Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:55 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Ken wrote:
The two films do draw upon the same tropes, but--and pardon me if this comes across as blasphemous--The Iron Giant is the better film.

Of course, it has nothing on E.T.'s musical score, which is a masterpiece.


I don't see how you can compare an animated film with a live action film that way. There's no visual and therefore no formalistic similarity. Besides which, I feel that the similarity in terms of content is deceptive. Iron Giant is about the boy's relationship with the giant. E.T. is NOT really about the boy's relationship with the alien. That is, in the opinion of someone who watches the movie extremely often, a complete misconception. E.T. is about a lot of other things. I think less than a 20% of the scenes in E.T. feature Elliot and ET alone together. People need to watch the movie more carefully.


Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:05 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
No visual/formalistic similarity? Because one is animated and the other is live action?

Let me be the one to say that Brad Bird and Steven Spielberg would have plenty to talk about if they ran into each other at a cocktail party. They are very much birds of a feather*.

*Sorry.

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Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:11 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Quote:
No visual/formalistic similarity? Because one is animated and the other is live action?


Their visual conceits are quite different in every way. They would have some things to talk about, but Brad Bird has always been grounded in animation. Ghost Protocol looks and feels like it's from the mind of an animator. Spielberg, just on the surface, is more about the density of production value in any given shot. I don't see much similarity here. Iron Giant has no scene where a bunch of kids outrun cops on bicycles. That's the real heart of E.T. for me, and Giant has nothing like it. E.T. reminds me more of other male kid-bonding movies like Goonies, Super 8, Sandlot. Even Stand by Me is more similar.


Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:19 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
thered47 wrote:
Rosemary's Baby

Put me in the, "I don't get why this movie is so well regarded" category. There are some clever twists and creepy moments to be sure, but having your female protagonist running around like an idiot the whole last act. I mean, I can see why Rosemary takes awhile to figure out anything really bad is going on, after all who would suspect anything on the level of what is taking place right away? It's too over the top to be taken seriously by any sane person without a boatload of evidence.

However, one she does figure it out:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
She takes way too long to suspect that her gynecologist might be one of those involved. Given that he was the one subscribing the drink/pills that she suspected were part of the witch's plan, plus friends with the older couple who she also knew was in on it, he should have been suspect number 1 long before the nurse talked about him smelling of tannis root. Furthermore, it would have made a whole lot more sense for her to not have told the other doctor she goes to what she actually thought was going on. Wouldn't a simple, "help my husband is acting weird and threatening and making me fear for my life so I need to deliver this baby where he can't find me" have sufficed? There is also a couple of other smaller moments, like when she thinks the little chain on the door will be enough to keep them out, and rather than running immediately for a fire escape, she makes a phone call. She does the same thing earlier when she makes a call on what looks to be the same block as the gynecologist.


Maybe my sensibilities are too modern, but I really could have done without the whole "helpless damsel in distress who can't fend for herself on any level" seemed really old fashioned to me. Also, the fact that Guy claimed to have raped her (so she wouldn't figure out what really happened) is glossed over. And maybe that's what disturbs me so much, that "who the daddy really is" is treated as the shocking event, when no matter how you slice it, Rosemary was violated against her will. Rape is rape, no matter who the rapist is.
-Jeremy


'Rosemary's Baby' addresses anxieties and worries relating to pregnancy. Before I didn't really know any pregnant women, I didn't connect with the film either, but now I recognise a lot of real-life issues (insecurities, changes in temperament and personality, stress and mistrust) in the movie. Of course, they are exagerrated for the purpose of a genre movie, but I like it when horror films tap into real fears and worries. Perhaps you didn't appreciate the movie that much if you couldn't relate to these fears.

MGamesCook wrote:
Quote:
No visual/formalistic similarity? Because one is animated and the other is live action?


Their visual conceits are quite different in every way. ...


No they’re not.
Whether it’s an animated or live action movie, both consist of two-dimensional pictures in a certain aspect ratio being projected at a minimum of 18 fps, usually 24 fps, to give the illusion of movement.

Sorry about that smart-aleck response, but you’re making very general statements such as “no visual and therefore no formalistic similarity” or “visual conceits are quite different in every way” without backing them up with any reasoning. Taking your statements at face value, they are demonstrably wrong.

I would be very interested in why you think that live-action and animated movies are so different from one another visually and how (apart from the obvious fact that one is animated and the other isn’t, naturally). Do you consider rotoscoping as an animation technique or are movies such as ‘A Scanner Darkly’ live action in your opinion?


Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:51 am
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)
Jack (Nicholas Hoult of ‘Warm Bodies’) is sent to the market to sell his uncle’s horse. A monk gives him some magic beans in pledge for gold and makes away with the horse. As a consolation, Jack gets to save princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) from some local ruffians. When he returns, his uncle is none to pleased about the beans and throws them away. Unfortunately, just when the princess is visiting Jack, one of the beans gets wet and a gigantic beanstalk grows up to the clouds, taking Jack’s uncle’s cabin and the princess with it. As legend has it, the beanstalk is a gateway to the land of giants, so the king (Ian McShane) assembles a small rescue team consisting, inter alia, of his nefarious advisor Roderick, also the princess’s fiancé (Stanley Tucci), the king's valiant guardsman Elmont (Ewan McGregor) and Jack.
This is another entry into the odd subgenre of fairy tales turned epic fantasy action movies. I still think that more faithful adaptations of classic fairy tales, perhaps with a slight bent towards horror, would be preferable, but I find the treatment of Jack and the Beanstalk less objectionable then what happened in ‘Mirror, Mirror’ or ‘Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters’, for instance. Perhaps this is just the result of me not being overly familiar with Jack and The Beanstalk compared to German or Scandinavian fairy tales, but ‘Jack the Giant Slayer’ generally gets the tone right and is much more lighthearted and even vaguely reminiscent of the sprit of ‘The Princess Bride’. The CGI giants (one voiced by Bill Nighy) are quite good as well. That being said, the movie still suffers from the usual problem of this subgenre: Fairy tales are morality tales and don’t provide a sufficent basis for staging Lord of the Rings-style epic battles between the forces of good and evil. Consequently, the plot of ‘Jack and the Giants’ is a bit thin and also very predictable. Another problem is Nicholas Hoult, who is too weedy, for a lack of a better word, to carry the movie. Nevertheless, the movie is okay for what it is. 5/10

After Earth (2013)
After Earth had become uninhabitable, mankind left to colonise alien planets where they encountered hostile creatures who can “smell fear”. These monsters are fought by the Rangers corps led by general Cypher Raige (Will Smith) who has mastered the ability not to be afraid. When Raige’s son Kitai (Jaden Smith) fails his entry exam to the Ranger corps, Raige takes his estranged son on a trip in a spaceship, which ends with the spaceship crashing on Earth. Because the general’s legs are broken, Kitai must make a 100 km trip to the torn off tail end of the spaceship in order to find a rescue beacon, which is complicated by another survivor of the crash, a fear-smelling monster.
Normally, I’d refrain from wasting too many words on utter rubbish like ‘After Earth’, but I find it remarkable how bad this science-fiction movie turned out to be despite of (or perhaps because of) the talent involved.
I really like sci-fi actioners and movies about travelling through a hostile natural environment, but ‘After Earth’ botches this premise up badly. We are informed that mankind left Earth when our blue planet became unfit for human life, yet in the timeframe of the movie (some unspecified time later), the planetary surface is covered by lush jungles and there is a rich fauna, which somewhat contradicts the earlier information. Of course, nature might have adapted and Kitai does indeed need oxygen supplements according to the requirements of the plot, but, inexplicably, his father doesn’t. Further, we are informed that “Everything on this planet has evolved to kill humans.”, which is extraordinary because there weren’t any humans left on Earth. The statement isn’t quite correct anyway, because Earth isn’t just inhabitated by killer baboons, tree-climbing lions and venomous slugs, but there’s also a giant eagle who saves Kitai’s life at the expense of its own for no discernable reason. The inconsistencies don’t stop with the basic premise: For instance, when Kitai climbs an active volcano and jumps over crevices swimming with molten lava, he is very, very lucky when, halfway up the mountain, he falls into the only crevice containing water, which doesn’t even seem to be particularly hot.
Even if you’re willing to overlook these logical errors, there is no way around the astonishing level of incompetence regarding the technical aspects of filmmaking. This isn't a low budget film, after all, but a major blockbuster. For instance, there is a conversation which is shot from two alternating camera angles and the persons seem to be placed on different sides of each other in the primary and the reverse angle shots. Another example is Kitai’s suit, which has sensors and transmits a signal to General Cypher so he can see what Kitai sees (sort of), but all broadcast from Kirai’s suit show Kitai himself, which is impossible unless there is another camera placed a few metres away from him. And then, there’s the acting: Will Smith is a very likeable screen presence with a lot of charisma, which works best when he is in a (semi-)comedic role. He has also shown some range in movies such as “Ali” or “I am Legend”, but I think it’s fair to say that playing a dour, emotionally closed character isn’t exactly one of his strengths - and he’s absolutely awful in ‘After Earth’. When his character is close to passing out from pain and blood loss, he gives the impression of being so bored that he’s falling asleep. His son Jaden is even worse; he is never believable, obviously “acting” in certain moments and shows no screen presence in this movie.
So what happened? Well, you could blame director M. Night Shyamalan and see ‘Ater Earth’ as the continuation of his remarkable fall from grace. (Although ‘After Earth’ is still better than ‘The Last Airbender’, which really isn't saying much.) While he shares some of the responsibility for the failure of this film, in my opinion the main culprit is Will Smith himself, though. He is a producer, has a writing credit and, according to the imdb trivia section, co-directed the movie insofar as he was directing his son’s performance - the wors aspect of the film. If you were benevolently inclined, you might call ‘After Earth’ a case of “bring your kid to work day” gone wrong. You might also call this a shameless and spectacularly backfiring attempt to make a movie career for the talentless son of a famous actor. I just call it very bad. 2/10


Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:27 pm
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Post Re: Last Movie You Watched
JamesKunz wrote:
Room 237 (2012) **

AKA Confirmation Bias, The Movie

AKA Why Post-Modern Philosophy Is Really Really Annoying

Sometimes this forum works just like it's supposed to. I was intrigued by y'all's conversation about the movie, found it on instant, and watched it before the World Series started. It ended up making me just really...angry. First of all, I wasn't impressed much by its structure as a documentary. Or rather, I was troubled by what I perceived to be a lack of structure: "Here are some theories about The Shining -- let's talk about them." As Ken alluded to, there's a lot of great film theory that could have been discussed, but instead they focus on crackpottery with almost nothing to back it up. The longer the movie went out, the more irritated I became. So perhaps the forum didn't work like it was supposed to, in that I ended up rather vexed.


I liked this one more than you (3 out of 4 stars for me). The craft and structure are very very clunky, but the films message about art is pretty substantial. Does it take the right measure to get there? Perhaps not, but it still conveys, relatively well I might add, the readings that one can have about a certain film or piece of art regardless of its logic. Yes it treads the grounds of relativism (damn philosophy, trying to give everyone their due and not hurt feelings!)-- not everyone's opinion is "correct" or even sound for that matter, but these individuals find confirmation in their "Shinning theories" through rather obscure aspects, showing that the artist is no longer in control of meaning or intention once said art is put out for public consumption. With that said, I think this is a film about the odd, sometimes illogical theories that rattle around in peoples heads once they finish digesting a film that is strong is underlying themes. We've all had that experience to some extent before--trying to figure out what the heck happened in Mulholland Drive or arguing about the relationship conveyed in Certified Copy. A lot of films spawn mad theories, and I really kind of enjoyed its take. The structure form isn't the best or most appealing; definitely not conventional doc style or anything close for that matter, but I still think this film has quite a bit to say about individual meaning and art.

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