« CCR works hard, so you don't have to | Main | Portrait of things to come »

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Comments

But, John, Memento sucked.

I only really trust Joss Whedon, now, to translate sci-fi onto the screen, whilst maintaining credible characters (who follow their own motivations with some measure of fidelity) and a decent story.

Thanks for the heads up.

Anyone and everyone who wants to "do" any kind of sci-fi for the screen needs to bone up on Serenity, and the woefully-mistreated-by-Fox, Firefly - before taking a needed look at District 9, Gattaca and Children of Men (which is not really sci-fi, so much as an overt Christian allegory).

These films remain faithful to their plot, their characters and their shared narrative universe.

And respect the viewer for it.

And Mysterious Skin and Brick remain two of my favorite modern movies.

Great taste, John.

Ethan: But, John, Memento sucked.

No way dude, it RAWKED!!!1!

Jack: Funny that you mention Children of Men, since after this movie I also found myself wondering if I should just give up on ever seeing a good action sequence again, as modern moviemaking continues its devolution of action into noise, explosions, and pointless busy-ness presented in quick-cut bafflevision -- not really action, just activity (and truly stultifying activity because you don't, indeed often can't, care about what the hell is going on). And then I remembered Children of Men and thought, oh, right, there are still people out there who know how to do action.

Loved Memento, too. And Gattaca, and Serenity. I've never seen Firefly, but it's in the queue.

I really loved Gattaca; at the time, I remember thinking that it was probably the best science-fiction film I'd seen since 2001. Certainly on such a different plane than the Star Wars-inspired space opera that most science-fiction has become. I mean, I like space opera fine; I just wish we had a bit less of that and a bit more of what science-fiction is really about.

But, then, in recent years we have had a number of quite decent efforts: The Matrix, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Children of Men.... So maybe I'm just being curmudgeonly.

I thought Children of Men was good, and harrowing at points, but I thought the book was much better. The film and the book told the story in completely different ways, though — so different that they were almost different stories, so perhaps the comparison isn't valid.

For sci-fi, I've heard good things about Zowie Bowie...um, I mean, Duncan Jones's Moon, though I haven't had a chance to see it yet. Otherwise, I second the movies people have already mentioned (although actually I still haven't seen Gattaca or District 9.

I stand my by Memento-sucks statement. Simple-minded tripe, hammily directed, acted by two-by-fours. Also, if you can explain to me how 100% backwards chronology is a sensible way of representing the character's mental state, I will hand-deliver you a check for one million dollars (note: the check may or may not clear). But, you know, if you enjoy that kind of thing, that's fine I guess...

I thought there was enough good in Inception to make it worth it, though I was extremely frustrated by the lack of imagination in the plotting--you can come up with a concept that great, but the best storyline you can come up with is guns and explosives? It was especially disappointing because I loved The Prestige so much and, figuring Nolan had moved on from his Memento sucky phase, had been looking forward to another non-franchise project from him. Ah well.

Oh, and what you said about the soundtrack drowning out the dialogue? Yeah, that. I kept wanting to tell (especially) Ken Watanabe and Tom Hardy to speak the fuck up.

John, spot on about action. The scene where Clive Owen's character emerges from the apartment complex, in the camp, is perhaps one of the finest moments of cinema, in the last twenty years. The dramatic build up, the use of actual action and movement, the respect for the space itself, the way the camera takes his emergence as a sort of birth out of the violence all around him, literally consuming the building and the people - genius.

*

Can't really sign on to the Matrix, because the brothers didn't leave it there. The two subsequent films ruined the first, IMHO.

The Pretige was brilliant, as well - cannot believe I neglected it.

Ethan,

I went into Moon thinking I would hate it because I'd read a review by one of my favorite sci-fi writers (Nancy Kress) wherein she panned it.

Glad to say, she was wrong. It had some flaws, but it also entertained and provoked thought.

I didn't think I'd like District 9, because I don't really cotton to obvious allegory, but the allegory didn't matter at all. It was in fact incidental.

*

Thanks to you and John, though, I can wait for Inception to hit the redbox.

Ethan, if my meticulous argument about it rawking can't convince you, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

(In truth I don't remember much about Memento at this point except that after it ended I was happy with it, and turning it over in my mind in much the same way I did with Donnie Darko, Eternal Sunshine, Dark City...).

And Jack, yeah, despite my review, it's probably worth that. It's not awful, just a missed opportunity with a lot of glaring flaws. Though for someone who really wanted to see another Nolan film they may have missed I'd recommend Following.

I loved Whedon's tv show "Angel"...In fact it might be my all time favorite show....I've seen in re-run I don't know how many times but I never get tired of it. Just a great show that mixed so many different genres-vampire/horror, sci-fi, mystery noir, martial arts, action adventure, comedy etc, all blended together to create something truly unique and original...

I was never a Buffy fan, but I didn't really watch it to give an honest opinion of it....I did see "Serenity" and it was a very good film...

Any sci-fi fans should check out "Dark City"...and on the horror front I highly recommend the french film "Martyrs" which wont be everyones cup of tea because parts are truly brutal too watch...when you get to the end you realize the director has a made a very timely and important political statement.

I watched it first before showing it to my wife because I heard it was so violent but actual it is not compared to some other films which pale in comparison to Martyrs....My wife did like it and thought the film was quite good even though she had to look away from the TV a few times...The most brutal parts of the film have nothing to do with gore and special effects-although that is in the film but not overly so- and are a rather accurate and honest portrayal of an all too common occurrence in our world...That's all I will say and just recommend that you see it and try not to read anything about the film before you watch.-Tony

I was just having this same discussion about action w/ my housemate. We both (pre)agreed with your judgments about today's action and the exception that is Children of Men. Hero sticks out in my mind as well, but that's not Hollywood.

I agree, Dark City is a wonderful film. I actually also liked Cube quite a lot; it was like a big, gory Twilight Zone episode.

I still can't believe that the same guy made Memento as made Dark Knight 2: Joker's Boogaloo. Bleah.

Crow:

...I only really trust Joss Whedon, now, to translate sci-fi onto the screen, whilst maintaining credible characters (who follow their own motivations with some measure of fidelity) and a decent story...

That makes one of us. My reaction to Whedon is generally nothing more than a resounding, "Meh." I was mildly amused at how many of his hardcore fans were shocked as all get-out by the big plot twist in Serenity. As an old fan of Forbidden Planet, I saw it coming from about fifty miles off.

Hey, give Nolan a break. The Dark Knight's a fucking tough act to follow.

ms_xeno, there's a big plot twist in Serenity? I love that movie (and am not the type of Whedon fan who takes it personally that you don't care for him), but have no idea what you're talking about. You mean the origin of the Reavers? I liked it as a play on a sci-fi trope and as one of Whedon's trademarked comments on the nature of power, but I don't really see it as a plot twist...unless, are you talking about something else? Wash, maybe?

And actually I'm not seeing the connection to Forbidden Planet, which is one of the many movies I've been known to describe as my very favorite ever.

Am I just dense?

How can you pre-agree? I am pre-confused.

Speaking of the redbox, I recently rented The Day After Tomorrow from it, and enjoyed it quite a bit - it stars Dennis Quaid.

I was browsing at the redbox today, and noticed they are now charging $1.25 a night for some movies.

Yeah, ethan. I'm talking about the Reavers. It's not that there's anything wrong with the whole concept of, "It was our attempt to suppress our darker sides that unleashed the worst darkness of all" as an element in SciFi. I just didn't find it as gosh-wow super-duper original as so many hardcore fans seemed to.

I remember wanting to see Insomnia because of Memento and coming away very disappointed.

Now ... where was I?

@ethan

>> I stand my by Memento-sucks statement. Simple-minded tripe, hammily directed, acted by two-by-fours. Also, if you can explain to me how 100% backwards chronology is a sensible way of representing the character's mental state, I will hand-deliver you a check for one million dollars (note: the check may or may not clear). But, you know, if you enjoy that kind of thing, that's fine I guess...

First of cousin, thank you ever so much for your permission to like Memento. I'll explain it to you, if you like. The protagonist has short-term memory loss. Thus the protagonist does not have a continuous internal narrative. Every few moments it is like being born anew with the thread of your life erased. The film could thus be shown in any order and Nolan decides for stylistic and dramatic reasons to show it all fucked up. From imdb.com: "The color scenes are told in reverse chronological order while the black and white scenes are done in chronological order. Both the color and black and white scenes are alternately interspersed throughout the movie in a set pattern. This is done by director Christopher Nolan and his crew in order to confuse and bewilder the audience." Was that a good enough explanation? It's not that wayward chronology is a sensible way of representing the character's mental state, it's that the charater's mental state gives the director licence to play around with the chronology as it presented to the audience. Do you get it? Do you? And, uh,Guy Pearce does a bang up job I thought. Where's my one million dollars?

Insonmia was a bit of a dud. Inception too. Lots to love about them both, but they ain't Memento. And I couldn't get too excited about a Batman film, no matter how good it is - because the super-structure of the Caped Crusaders world limits the narrative possibilities. (Batman can't die, baddies can die, good people can't die, etc.)

Just saw "Inception." It was everything you say, and less.

Yes, let us remember Sammy Jankis and forget this new film that seems to be begging us to make easy jokes about "a snore fest."

The comments to this entry are closed.