What I've Been Watching: The Catch-All Film Thread

lackblogger

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Empire's recent review of Ready Player One:

Spielberg has seemingly done the impossible: balancing sugar-rush nostalgia with an involving story to create a pure, uncynical, cinematic ride that recaptures the magic of his early films.


Gives it a 4/5 & contradicts what you just said. Both might be 'just opinions', but you do seem to be stating something controversial and 'hot-takey' as fact with little actual substantial reasoning. Oscars? Who watches Spielberg movies for Oscars? LOL.

Amistad was a box-office bomb, lmao. Schindler's List was his answer to people criticising him for not making Oscar bait movies & Private Ryan was mostly about the technical brilliance of the beach scene, the rest of the film is largely unmemorable to most people.
 
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bjon045

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Both might be 'just opinions', but you do seem to be stating something controversial and 'hot-takey' as fact with little actual substantial reasoning. Oscars? Who watches Spielberg movies for Oscars? LOL.

Saying Saving Private Ryan, Schidlers List and Jurassic Park are better than Ready Player One is controversial? Really? All 3 dominate it completely in terms of reviews, oscars or any other metric you could think of.

Since you love Empire so much here they are:
https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/jurassic-park-review/
https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/saving-private-ryan-review/
https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/schindler-list-review/

All are 5/5 with a much more favourable review.

Happy to do a straw poll on here? Anybody think Ready Player One is better than all of the classic Speilberg movies?
 
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lackblogger

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Saying Saving Private Ryan, Schidlers List and Jurassic Park are better than Ready Player One is controversial? Really? All 3 dominate it completely in terms of reviews, oscars or any other metric you could think of.

Since you love Empire so much here they are:
https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/jurassic-park-review/
https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/saving-private-ryan-review/
https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/schindler-list-review/

All are 5/5 with a much more favourable review.

Happy to do a straw poll on here? Anybody think Ready Player One is better than all of the classic Speilberg movies?

I didn't mention Jurassic Park. Jurassic Park was the sawn song of classic Spielberg, the kind of film that the review was saying Ready Player One was harking back to. Late 90s was Spielberg being cornered into the Oscar bait movies. That's not classic Spielberg.

He's a blockbuster maker. When people think of classic Spielberg they think of all his late 70s to early 90s stuff. Stuff like RP1. Is RP1 'better' than XYZ Spielberg movie? Probably in the top middle somewhere.

You reckon Schindler's List and Private Ryan were really great kid friendly summer blockbusters do you? About showing kids the magic of cinema and the magic of youthful imagination?

What is 'best' depends on what angle your point is coming from. We're discussing cinema and variety and quality, right? And you chose to highlight 3 Spielberg Oscar bait movies - completely ignoring the fact that Spielberg was great because he didn't make Oscar bait movies, he made summer blockbusters that were actually original and good.

RP1 is original and good, and is a traditional Spielberg summer blockbuster. Why would anyone even begin comparing it to Schindler's List or Private Ryan? If you only associate serious Oscar bait movies as quality then, yes, the modern cinema still makes Oscar bait movies, Spielberg himself made one in 2017 called The Post, very popular at the cinema and with the critics it was, but it wasn't a traditional summer blockbuster.

Was The Post as good as or better than Lost World: Jurrasic Park? you can flip-flop your angle and come out with exactly the opposite result, the year is completely irrelevant. The late 90s was full of lame ass pointless sequels, but nowadays we have far more original and well written serious films - hey look, it works because I just cherry picked some films to make my point.
 
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bjon045

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You clearly have an agenda and I'm not sure what it is. They are 3 great movies period. You are the one calling them "Oscar bait" whatever that is. I'm not seeing that as a widely held opinion and your definition of what makes Spielberg great seems very narrow.

From Empire:
When I interviewed Spielberg for Ready Player One, he revealed he deeply resented working on the VFX of Jurassic Park during the evenings of Schindler’s shoot in Poland because it was tearing him way from thinking about the matter in hand (“I’ve never said that before,” he admitted). A reflection of his own grappling with his Jewish heritage, Spielberg understood every frame intellectually, felt every beat emotionally and his depth of passion courses through the film. Some things go way beyond velociraptors.

That doesn't sound like someone working on something just to get an oscar does it?

You seem to think 2020 and 2021 are some form of cinema reassaince. You've listed a couple of good/great movies, none of which I have taken an issue with. Please keep going.
 
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bjon045

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Okay then, just pick either 2020 or 2021 and make a list of all the movies you think are great (for any reason). I will then pick a single year in the 90's and put up a comparative year.
 
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Carnifex

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I remember trying to read the novel of Ready Player One maybe ten years ago, and barely able to complete the thing. That alone stopped me in my tracks from ever wanting to see it in picture form.
 
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bjon045

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I remember trying to read the novel of Ready Player One maybe ten years ago, and barely able to complete the thing. That alone stopped me in my tracks from ever wanting to see it in picture form.

That is a good point. I actually read the book as well and I found it tough going but I did finish it. I enjoyed parts of it and I can see why it might of appealed to certain people. The interesting thing is it didn't resonate with me even though I probably sit squarely in the target market i.e. gamer who grew up in the 70's/80's. When I heard about it being made into a movie I was suprised given there are so many other books more worthy.

If you compare that with the source for Jurassic park you can see how helpful it is to have such a solid foundation. While the star of JP was always the CGI dinos, the book itself is a great book. I remember reading it before I saw JP in the cinema and being really hyped about it. Lost World was an even better book which suprisingly didn't translate into a better movie :)
 
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lackblogger

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Okay then, just pick either 2020 or 2021 and make a list of all the movies you think are great (for any reason). I will then pick a single year in the 90's and put up a comparative year.

Wouldn't that depend a lot on personal taste?

And you seem to be missing the point that the reason why there's less of a certain type of film has already been discussed and agreed with - the debate was not why the quantities are different, but why the quality was different. A list will imply a 'longer' list is better? As oppose to a percentage of films that came out in the cinema?
 
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bjon045

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Wouldn't that depend a lot on personal taste?

And you seem to be missing the point that the reason why there's less of a certain type of film has already been discussed and agreed with - the debate was not why the quantities are different, but why the quality was different. A list will imply a 'longer' list is better? As oppose to a percentage of films that came out in the cinema?

Just for fun. I agree quantity has nothing to do with it. Just choose ten movies if it makes it easier. And they don't have to be movies you personally think are great. As you correctly state great can be applied in many ways i.e. the impact the film has on society, it's critical reception, box office etc etc.

I'll go first if you want.

1991:
Silence of the Lambs - One of my favourite movies of all time and based off a great book.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day - Don't really need to say anything about this one. Would be in my top 20 of all time.
JFK - I not a big fan of Oliver Stone but this would be my second favourite of his. Kevin Costner at his best. Gary Oldman was exceptional and it was the movie that kickstarted his career.
Hot Shots! - One of the best parody/spoof movies of all time short of Blazing Saddles, Naked Gun and Airplane.
Star Trek VI - The second best trek movie after Wrath of Khan (In my opinion).
Cape Fear - A very good remake by Martin Scorsese. I like it better than the original but that is just because of De Niro. He certainly used to make movies good.
Point Break - Helped herald in X-sports. Little depth but great popcorn movie. Established Keanu Reeves as an Action star.
Last Boy Scout - Not my favourite Tony Scott movies but it did change the direction of Buddy Cop movies in the 90's.
Thelma & Lousie - One of my least favourite Ridley Scott films but great Hans Zimmer soundtrack. Important movie for feminism and it is still shown in schools/colleges to this day (at least where I live!)
Boyz n the Hood - Great movie, great soundtrack. Still talked about today.
 
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bjon045

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And getting back to the main topic. I watched "The Last Duel" tonight, certainly not because of the proding I received from LackBlogger. but I had been meaning to watch it for quite a while. I thought it had good performances all around. A return to form for Adam Driver and a good showing for Matt Damon. Good action scenes and general cinematography. I would give it a solid 8/10 and it is a step up from the movies I have seen in the last 2-3 months. Recommended.
 
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lackblogger

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I'm going to play an interjection card here.

My first response to you was regarding the movie scene around the turn of the millennium. You replied with some questionable choices about 'good' movies from around the turn of the millennium, which I responded to.

You have gradually over a few posts taken us all the way back to 1991. Did you look at the years from around the turn of the Millennium and find yourself keep going backwards?

And even then you've made some weird choices for 1991, but that would be another derail.

So can we stick to something approaching the era we were discussing? And I'll happily play along?
 
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bjon045

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I was discussing the 90's but it could equally be applied to the 80's. I'm pretty happy to go with anything you want though because the 90's were just so good :). This time I am just going to go with movies I liked though to make it quicker and no extra commentary.

1999:
The Matrix
The Green Mile
Fight Club
The Sixth Sense
American Beauty
Office Space
Being John Malkovich
The Mummy
That is probably it for 1999 but to get to 10 I would add:
Bone Collector (pretty forgetable but both actors do a good job)
Eyes Wide Shut (The worst Kubrick movie I have seen but just including it here because I love almost all of his earlier movies).
 
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lackblogger

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The Matrix - No, no other year has ever had a Matrix either. A randomly unique film. However, if you like some Keanu goodness then in 2020 a very belated Bill and Ted sequel appeared, which was apparently better than a lot of people thought it would be. Certainly not a junk sequel like most Matrix sequels.

The Green Mile - Tom Hanks movies are still being pumped out by the dozen, he did 2 in 2020, Greyhound and News of the World, probably not as good as Green Mile, marginally, but he's getting on a bit now. The director has only ever directed three films, so it's not really the year's fault in that regard.

Fight Club - The director, David Fincher made a film called Mank in 2020, obviously not received with as much unique hype as Fight Club, but he's still making quirky well made high quality films.

The Sixth Sense - Well, we all know that Shyamalon can be hit or miss, and mostly miss, but a good popular 'twist ending' film from 2020 was Knives Out.

American Beauty - Little Women came out to huge success in 2020, that's a film about love and attitudes to women in society and the like. Can't really fault 2020 for not having more Spacey though.

Office Space - Not really a quirky comedy as such, but Uncut Gems released in 2020 to much praise and financial reward, surprisingly starring Adam Sandler.

Being John Malkovich - Again, kind of a unique film, but 2020's unique film was Tenet, of course. Obviously different ball parks, but they're both quirky stuff for people who like quirky with top-notch production values.

The Mummy - Lol, yeah, this wasn't hailed as any kind of classic at the time, at the time it was another pound-shop Spielberg, a sort of cheapo-Indiana Jones. But one of the better Spielberg-likes around at the time. easier to find comparables though, in 2020 something like Jumanji: The Next Level is in the same ballpark.

That is probably it for 1999 but to get to 10 I would add:

Bone Collector - in your own words: pretty forgetable

Eyes Wide Shut - in your own words: The worst Kubrick movie - it's no surprise why there are no longer any Kubrick movies. But we could go for Parasite for 2020, by the acclaimed director Bong Joon-ho.

Some other films that were showing in cinemas in 2020 might be things like 1917, The Gentleman, Bad Boy For Life, Jojo Rabbit, Ford v Ferrari, and we still haven't mentioned any super heroes, that might be easy replacements for anything I've listed, like the old-Hanks movies or Bill & Ted or whatever. I also haven't seen or even heard about tons of movies released in 2020 that might be awesome. @joxer; could probably fill you in on some international gems.

Not too shabby for a year when most cinemas were closed for half a year and barely any films actually got released.

Nb: if any I've mentioned officially released in 2019 then they were still playing to full cinemas in 2020. I was browsing 2020 cinema ticket sales in the US to get my list of options.
 
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bjon045

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Okay, let's say I give you all those great movies from 2019 :) 1917 was a great movie, I loved it and quite possibly the best movie of 2019. Knives out I felt it was a bit overhyped and for me it was more like a 6.5/10 but I do recognise some people did really enjoy it. Bad boys for life is probably a questionable inclusion and i'm not sure it would even stack up against the mummy (and it is unquestionably the worst of the "Bad boys" movies). The mummy does have a bit of a following still to this day as it was definately superior to the tom cruise remake. Sometimes a silly adventure movie has it's place - afterall the 90's did lack any Indiana Jones movies or similar. The Gentleman I would personally say it is more good than great but I'd give you it - I feel like Guy Rictchies best days are behind him but hopefully he turns it around. I'd also say the same about Jojo (Even though I love Taika - we grew up in the same city). If we are including internationals I would probably switch a few out but I will give you parasite (1999 was a good one for Japanese movies i.e. Monoke Hime dub and Takashi Mike's Audtion).

Now putting that all aside. Can you honestly say that you think 2020 (read: 2019) was a better year than 1999? I gave you seven geniunely great movies (excluded The Mummy even though I love it). I'm seeing five great 2019 movies in your list and I wouldn't put most of them at the level of the likes of Matrix, Green Mile or Fight Club.
 
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Can either of you explain to me what you are actually arguing about ? I am a bit lost, but I feel like it could be quite interesting.

Is @bjon045; saying that the 90s and early 00s had better movies than the late 2010s and early 20s ? And is @lackblogger; saying that it's just a matter of nostalgia and recent movies have just as much quality ?

Is that the crux of the matter ?

If so, then very interesting discussion. My two cents would be you'd need to agree on what constitutes quality because when I was 10 years old I loved the 13th Warrior with Antonio Banderas, but I saw it again a few years ago and I can't believe how bad the movie is with my personal standard today.
 
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lackblogger

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If so, then very interesting discussion. My two cents would be you'd need to agree on what constitutes quality because when I was 10 years old I loved the 13th Warrior with Antonio Banderas, but I saw it again a few years ago and I can't believe how bad the movie is with my personal standard today.

Well indeed, which is why world-worn 40 year olds isn't really the primary market for something like Ready Player One, something that I suspect that most 8-14 year olds probably really enjoyed, even if the 40 year olds found it a bit uncomfortable. My nephew thoroughly enjoyed it & he'd read the book beforehand. *shrug smilie* . I saw it the other day and thought it was very watchable and not nearly as offensive as many like to portray it.
 
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lackblogger

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Now putting that all aside. Can you honestly say that you think 2020 (read: 2019) was a better year than 1999? I gave you seven geniunely great movies (excluded The Mummy even though I love it). I'm seeing five great 2019 movies in your list and I wouldn't put most of them at the level of the likes of Matrix, Green Mile or Fight Club.

I wasn't arguing for better or worse. Your proposition involved better and worse, but my reply has always been "they are not really that different", which is the bit you're probably struggling with. Me saying "nah, mate, it was shite back then too" doesn't mean I'm saying "today is much better".

When I said "if XYZ superhero movie was released in 2000 it would be hailed as a masterpiece" is precisely because there were virtually zero decent super hero movies back then (Superman & the first Batman were long memories past), as we know them today. In fact, the film X-Men, which came out in 2000, was pretty much the first ever 'decent' Marvel super hero movie, and the 'quality' of a modern Marvel movie would seriously outshine the first X-Man movie. X-Men stood out for being alone. The point being about confusing repetition with objective quality.

2000 doesn't have a matrix or a Fight Club either. Neither does 2001, nor did 1998. The Green Mile was a good movie, but I think you escalate it beyond it's true comparative value, you could say harsh things about Green Mile quite easily, but Hanks was at his Hanksiest in 1999, he could make anything watchable back then, and kinda still does, just to a lesser extent.

Fight Club is one where I've been arguing the toss with people for years. It's a meme movie that's objectively bad, but just happened to catch'a'fire with audiences, which has escalated with the meme-plenty offerings it supplies the modern generation. And it's objectively bad because almost the entire film is narration. The protagonist never stops narrating. And as soon as you notice that, there's no avoiding it, it'll grate on you from every scene to the next.

What's wrong with narration? It's like one of the first rules of bad film-making:

For the most part, the problem many see with voice over narration in films is it defeats the purpose of storytelling through imagery, and even the characters’ own dialogue. Some will even say narration is only used to move along an otherwise stagnant story, or one that’s poorly directed.

But it worked for Fight Club, because all people were taking from that movie was the "oh how cool bro" catchphrase of "The first rule of fight club is" and repeating it ad nauseum as if it were a new joke every time, when really it got boring after the first three times.

The film is overly long, 2 hours and 20 minutes, with a middle section that everyone collectively completely forgets in favour of the joy of watching the odd punch-up and saying "the first rule of fight club is". That middle section is like a film version of a coma - and yet he's still narrating. 2 hours and 20 minutes and they still can't show not tell? Is the film just a subtle attempt at an audio book with something moving to look at in the hope you don't nod off?

And the twist at the ending? Yes, very cool, very cool. Lots of movies have twists at the ending though, and do so without all the narration and keeping you imprisoned for 2 hours 20 minutes.

And as for any suggestion of it being a 'too deep for you' film full of subtext about this, that, and the other, no, no it's not, it's a standard 'movie with a twist' that is just more 'pretentious' than other movies with a twist that uses the smoke and mirrors or narration and run-time to fool you into thinking there's more to the film than a basic 'movie with a twist + memey catchphrase of the first rule about fight club is'.

It's essentially a student film writ large. What's the first rule of film making - don't fucking narrate all through your overly long movie.
 
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