Open Thread: Movies

(by chris the cynic)

What movies have you watched most recently?  What movies to you recommend?  Stuff like that.

[As a reminder, open thread prompts are meant to inspire conversation, not stifle it. Have no fear of going off topic for there is no off topic here.]


13 thoughts on “Open Thread: Movies

  1. froborr March 10, 2015 at 10:48 am

    The most recent movie I watched was Batman Returns, which I hadn’t watched since I was a kid. It was pretty good, but MAN is it clearly playing up the BDSM side of superheroics. And it’s got that weird 90s thing where it feels the need to endlessly lampshade that one of the characters is le gasp! a woman. Mostly though it’s just Tim Burton doing what he does best, which is producing incredibly stylish movies that rely heavily on the aesthetic of carnival and the grotesque, but ultimately with very little substance.

    I think the only movie I’ve seen in theaters so far this year is Mockingjay Part 1, which like all the Hunger Games movies was notably better than the (already pretty okay) books. The books, in my opinion, are strong conceptually but shaky on execution. But Collins is much more experienced as a screenwriter than a prose stylist, and then add a stellar cast and excellent cinematography on top of that, and you get some really good stuff. Plus the films are dripping with class anger that is implied but rarely felt in the books. (Some friends did a panel comparing Hunger Games and Battle Royale; one of the big differences they noted is that while both have kids killing each other for the amusement of adults, in the former this is part of what is ultimately a class conflict, while the latter remains focused on the generational conflict. Ultimately, however, the anger of both is the anger of young people getting hit by a recession just as they’re becoming adults.)

  2. DawnM March 13, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    I saw the movie Chef recently. The basic structure feels really familiar – Artist is not truly practicing his Art, so his life is all falling apart; then Artist truly devotes himself to his Art and everything about his life falls into place. I’m trying to think of why this pattern feels familiar, and where have I seen it before, but it’s not coming to me.

    In general I had a good time watching the movie. I liked the performances. The food porn photography was pretty amazing. It hammered the “sons need fathers” nail a bit too hard.

  3. genesistrine March 14, 2015 at 6:37 am

    @DawnM: have you ever seen Eat Drink Man Woman?

    Most recent film I’ve seen was Jupiter Ascending. I would have liked it a lot more if it had been anime; I seem to have different standards of plot logic and come-on-that’s-stupid for anime and live-action. I did enjoy it when Jupiter starts making hard decisions, and grumpy winged lizard minions in coats, and it lit up whenever her family was squabbling on screen, but overall, meh.

    The Tale of the Princess Kaguya’s coming out here this week, so I’m sorting out seeing it with friends on Friday.

    And I was delighted to find Accion Mutante on DVD last week – I’ve wanted to see it again for years, though I’ve no idea what I’ll think of it now; it’s a pulp-SF movie about disabled terrorists in a cliche-everyone’s-perfect-futureworld.

  4. depizan March 14, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    I liked parts of Jupiter Ascending (some parts quite a lot), but I thought the tragic beginning was an odd choice. I don’t know whether it’s just me – I know I default to serious very easily – of it it started the movie on a weird foot for lots of people. To me, the movie would’ve been better without that grounding it too hard in reality. It took me a long time to recognize that there were humorous moments and that the movie was supposed to be fun. (Even though people have been raving about it on Tumblr.) And it’s sort of…setting whiplash or tone whiplash or something to go from tragic realism to pseudo-Shakespearean evil human-alien people. Or it was for me.

  5. genesistrine March 15, 2015 at 3:37 am

    I kept expecting it to be revealed that dad was actually exiled/protesting alien royalty, but apparently no. It would have been a much better choice than a galactic culture that presumably has an existential crisis any time anyone has identical twins. They’re reincarnations of EACH OTHER! HOW CAN SUCH THINGS BE?

    Or keep the DNA verification thing and have a Resistance that’s been playing the odds by looking for genetic duplicates of royalty on high-population planets. Which makes sense of Sean Bean’s character too; bees react to your fake royal and you know you’ve struck gold. But what do I know; the Wachowskis have millions and I don’t….

  6. depizan March 15, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Dad being exiled/protesting alien royalty would help with the tragic realism beginning problem, too. (Retrospective implication that it wasn’t a random attack, making his death more in-genre.) And that is a very good point about identical twins. (Though a google search suggests that there may be minuscule differences in DNA between identical twins that we may some day develop the technology to identify, so maybe it’s not entirely a problem. Or, hell, just establish that the society treats identical twins as a single person (legally), as something special, or as something to prevent by killing one in the womb. Or whatever.)

  7. genesistrine March 16, 2015 at 7:51 am

    If they’d only tried to do something like that; as it was the identical-DNA thing just came over as a “SCIENCE reason this random girl is SPECIAL” mcguffin with far too many unexplored loose ends.

    The two milieus desperately needed better integration – as far as I was concerned the most vivid and involving one was her family focusing on getting by and supporting each other (and bitching and backstabbing); the pseudo-Jacobean space-royal-incest-and-intrigue never managed to be anywhere near as convincing in contrast, and when we’re finally teased with them merging her family are kept unconscious the whole time and we get that weird finale of “waking up at 4 in the morning to scrub toilets isn’t so bad after all!” which… uh.

  8. depizan March 16, 2015 at 9:30 am

    I think I’d have liked her family parts better if I’d gotten the supporting each other part. I suffered from a words mean multiple things error and thought that the phrasing of her mother pushing her out meant not just of her body (giving birth to her) but in wanting her out of her life, too. Especially since she kept talking about learning about her father from her aunt and her mom had ditched the rest of the family by moving to a whole other continent. That combined with all her interactions with the male relatives being business transactions left me not liking her family much. Until the whole “you don’t treat your cousin like a chicken” thing. Then I was like, oh, wait, they do care about her. *reinterpret past scenes*

    The only sense I can make of the finale is that in modern secret princess stories, the secret princes often chooses not to go be royalty (for some reason). And she is at least leading some kind of double life, since she’s dating the guy. … You know, it got said often enough you’d think I’d remember what his name is, but I am totally blanking on it. *googles* Caine.

    But that doesn’t really help because dead evil brother’s heirs should still want her dead because, despite what she said to him, shouldn’t the Earth revert to his estate if she dies? Unless she left a will leaving Earth to somebody else? And I’m really hazy on why the other evil siblings wouldn’t still be interested in her.

    The evil siblings were sort of meh, but I liked the world, even if it didn’t entirely make sense. I wanted more space bureaucracy and a better understanding of the aegis vs the evil company/royalty/whatever. There’s like just enough there to suggest promise of interesting things.

  9. genesistrine March 16, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    I think there may have been a hamhanded attempt at “earth family seems nasty and then you realise they’re nice and space royal family vice versa”, but since none of the space royals ever seemed anything other than sly and shady this never came across much. But I just took “learning from her aunt” as “her mother not wanting to talk about it”.

    The finale could be taken as funny; you’re the ruler of Earth according to the galactic government, but that ain’t worth shit when you’re actually there; you wanna make a living you gotta scrub toilets. But it didn’t seem to be meant that way, or in any way other than “pulled hot space guy, whee!”

    Re the Earth, I got the impression that she’d willed it to the space police or put into their guardianship or some sneaky space law thing like that, but this is based on one line so it may just be me thrashing around trying to make sense of the plot.

    I loved the idea of the evil siblings, but the execution just didn’t have the… pizazz it needed. It’s a real pity; the world needs Flash-Gordon-with-a-female-protagonist IYAM, but it looks like we’ll have to wait a while longer for that.

  10. lonespark42 March 16, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    There’s never enough Space Bureaucracy! I need to see this sometime.

  11. depizan March 16, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    It is definitely one of those movies that has probably spawned (or will spawn) amazing fanfiction. There’s some interesting ideas, some questions that really need to be addressed, and a big universe to play in.

    But, yes, I’d love to see more space adventure stuff on the big screen, especially with female protagonists. (But then, I want space adventure stuff everywhere, since it’s my thing.)

  12. alexseanchai March 16, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    I just today saw Cinderella, the Disney live-action. IS FAB. (Also fab: “Frozen Fever”, screened immediately preceding.) It’s like they listened to all the feminist critiques of Disney’s animated Cinderella!

  13. lonespark42 March 17, 2015 at 4:48 am

    Really? Whoa.

    But I think my favorite version of Cinderella will continue to be the swashbuckling initially-inexperienced-but-enthusiastic-and-willing-to-learn badass hero from the Hero’s Guide books. (Even if they are sinking all my ships.)

    Also, I think I should read Ash.

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