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Offline junker

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Re: Just Watched
« Reply #2060 on: December 26, 2020, 04:17:46 AM »
Rogue One is better than 7/8/9 and it isn't particularly close.

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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: Just Watched
« Reply #2061 on: December 26, 2020, 11:55:00 AM »
I know how it feels to be part of a vocal dissent to general acclaim, but I just can't bring myself to sympathize with these fans. They're actively pushing back against attempts at more thoughtful storytelling, and are instead loudly clamoring for shallow, nostalgia-fueled pandering to them, and them specifically. It's such an unhealthy attitude to have, and I think Disney is making a big mistake in catering to them so heavily.
It's the age old debate of "Please don't change our franchise beyond recognition, and go make your own if you'd like to watch something else". People like consistency, and Star Wars is still largely associated with the old trilogy. It's naive, shallow, predictable, and that's fine. Many people enjoy that. Let them keep enjoying it instead of insisting that it needs to suddenly become dEePeR.

I'm sure JJ Abrams is perfectly capable of creating a space drama with deep, thoughtful storytelling and thought-provoking stunning-and-brave characters without hijacking Star Wars. Hell, I'm sure most of the die-hard SW fans would enjoy it, too. Luckily, that discussion happened, and Disney quietly acknowledged their error and went back to making Star Wars. I hope your niche gets filled too at some point.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2020, 11:59:05 AM by Pete Svarrior »
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Offline honk

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Re: Just Watched
« Reply #2062 on: December 26, 2020, 10:27:04 PM »
It's the age old debate of "Please don't change our franchise beyond recognition, and go make your own if you'd like to watch something else". People like consistency, and Star Wars is still largely associated with the old trilogy. It's naive, shallow, predictable, and that's fine. Many people enjoy that. Let them keep enjoying it instead of insisting that it needs to suddenly become dEePeR.

I'm sure JJ Abrams is perfectly capable of creating a space drama with deep, thoughtful storytelling and thought-provoking stunning-and-brave characters without hijacking Star Wars. Hell, I'm sure most of the die-hard SW fans would enjoy it, too. Luckily, that discussion happened, and Disney quietly acknowledged their error and went back to making Star Wars. I hope your niche gets filled too at some point.

Of course it's still associated with the old trilogy, because that's all there is to mainstream audiences - that and the prequels, which everyone but Lucas agrees were terrible. The franchise will never grow and attract new fans if the main purpose of the new movies is to just reaffirm how great the OT is and how great you are for being a fan of it. Imagine if Nolan's Batman movies were just nostalgic remakes/remixes of the Burton movies, or if the Daniel Craig Bond movies were just nostalgic remakes/remixes of the Connery movies. I also take issue with your labeling of SW as our franchise, because that sort of gatekeeping and claimed ownership of certain types of media is just a toxic mindset. SW was originally meant for kids/families, so shouldn't new SW movies be aimed at new generations of kids/families, rather than the adult fanboys who remember watching the first SW movies as kids?

In any case, The Mandalorian has been acclaimed, and so have scenes of dudes with lightsabers mowing through waves of enemies, despite a conspicuous lack of them in the OT, so I think this less a case of true SW fans simply rejecting that which is unfaithful to the OT and more of the loudest voices in geek media - Gen. X/millennial men who love violent action movies and video games - being treated as if they're representative of SW fandom.
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Re: Just Watched
« Reply #2063 on: December 26, 2020, 11:12:37 PM »
A substantial portion of people love the prequels. I’ve found it depends on what you grew up with.
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Offline junker

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Re: Just Watched
« Reply #2064 on: December 27, 2020, 06:25:44 AM »
I'm sure JJ Abrams is perfectly capable of creating a space drama with deep, thoughtful storytelling and thought-provoking stunning-and-brave characters without hijacking Star Wars.

Don't you dare blame JJ for this. JJ is wonderful and brought us amazing shows like Fringe and Lost, and semi-passable spaceshit with episodes 7 and 9. Rian Johnson did meme movies like Looper and then ruined spaceshit with TLJ; followed that up with Knives Out which was junk beginning to end.

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Offline Pete Svarrior

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Re: Just Watched
« Reply #2065 on: December 27, 2020, 01:17:36 PM »
I also take issue with your labeling of SW as our franchise, because that sort of gatekeeping and claimed ownership of certain types of media is just a toxic mindset.
As an entryist who cheered when they tried to fuck up SW - yeah, you would take issue with that. Luckily, these attempts are very rarely successful, as we keep finding out time and time again.

I won't take your accusations of toxicity too seriously. Previously, you accused me of being toxic for claiming that Holdo's character was obvious SJW pandering, and we both know how that went. But, just in case, I'll try to rephrase:

Don't turn old franchises into le meme culture war. Make your own franchises, and let people decide how much they care for them. If this means that old franchises "will never grow" - great, that leaves more space for the franchises you'd like to see to grow in their place! No toxicity, no gatekeepers, just a wonderful breath of fresh air. Of course, there is a reason some creators fear this sort of level playing field and keep trying to hijack existing stuff. I wonder what it might be.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2020, 01:21:12 PM by Pete Svarrior »
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Re: Just Watched
« Reply #2066 on: December 27, 2020, 02:17:27 PM »
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Offline honk

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Re: Just Watched
« Reply #2067 on: December 28, 2020, 03:34:58 AM »
I also take issue with your labeling of SW as our franchise, because that sort of gatekeeping and claimed ownership of certain types of media is just a toxic mindset.
As an entryist who cheered when they tried to fuck up SW - yeah, you would take issue with that. Luckily, these attempts are very rarely successful, as we keep finding out time and time again.

I won't take your accusations of toxicity too seriously. Previously, you accused me of being toxic for claiming that Holdo's character was obvious SJW pandering, and we both know how that went. But, just in case, I'll try to rephrase:

Don't turn old franchises into le meme culture war. Make your own franchises, and let people decide how much they care for them. If this means that old franchises "will never grow" - great, that leaves more space for the franchises you'd like to see to grow in their place! No toxicity, no gatekeepers, just a wonderful breath of fresh air. Of course, there is a reason some creators fear this sort of level playing field and keep trying to hijack existing stuff. I wonder what it might be.

I'm not in favor of turning SW into a vehicle for divisive political messaging. Surely the fact that, as you noted, I didn't even believe at first that the dumb Holdo plot was a political allegory was a pretty good indicator of my not being keen on putting weird political messages into the movies? The backlash to TLJ involved a lot more than objecting to perceived political content, and you can almost see a laundry list of them being checked off in TRoS. Vocal fanboys disliked Rose, so she was demoted to a bit part with only a minute of screen time. Vocal fanboys disliked seeing Luke as a broken-down cynic, so he appeared as a ghost to explicitly spell out that he was totally wrong about everything in TLJ and that his infamous establishing character moment of throwing away his old lightsaber was definitely a mistake on his part. Vocal fanboys didn't like the heroine being revealed to be of truly humble origins, so they retconned her backstory to include a dumb "I am your father" twist and (perhaps unintentionally) reinforce the idea that the Force is something reserved for a select few chosen ones and special bloodlines. And vocal fanboys didn't like that the Palpatine-like Snoke had been killed and Kylo positioned as the main villain, so (in what I still maintain is TRoS's single worst concession to fanboys) Palpatine himself was resurrected to be the main villain of the trilogy. The common denominator in these complaints isn't a rejection of unwelcome political messages, it's wanting a nostalgic retread of the original trilogy for the benefit of adult fans of those movies. That is, in my view, a very poor and short-sighted creative decision. It's not unreasonable to hope for something newer and more thoughtful than that. They could come up with new characters, new stories, new themes, etc. It would still be SW, just a fresh take on it.

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Offline Rama Set

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Re: Just Watched
« Reply #2068 on: December 28, 2020, 03:41:25 AM »
Implying Mary Sue needed help. Cis-male scum.
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Offline junker

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Re: Just Watched
« Reply #2069 on: December 28, 2020, 09:06:05 PM »
Soul (2020)

Good movie. Off the chains visuals and music. You will probably cry unless you are a sociopath. Still nowhere near Pixar's best works like Coco.

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Re: Just Watched
« Reply #2070 on: December 29, 2020, 06:06:04 AM »
WW84

That movie can eat a dick. It was awful.
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Offline Clyde Frog

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Re: Just Watched
« Reply #2071 on: December 29, 2020, 11:57:40 PM »
Soul (2020)

Good movie. Off the chains visuals and music. You will probably cry unless you are a sociopath. Still nowhere near Pixar's best works like Coco.
They really nailed the whole "In the zone" thing. They made it look the way it feels in a way I don't think I've seen in a movie before. And Jon Batiste's playing was perfect for what they were doing.

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Re: Just Watched
« Reply #2072 on: January 16, 2021, 05:27:57 PM »
Watched Dredd. Pretty fun bit of violent dumbassery.

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Re: Just Watched
« Reply #2073 on: January 21, 2021, 08:54:51 PM »
Watched Netflix's Night Stalker documentary. Interesting subject but a pretty cheesy presentation with 3D-ified crime scene photos and the usual tacky docu-muzak playing incessantly.

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Re: Just Watched
« Reply #2074 on: January 25, 2021, 04:08:58 AM »
Just finished the podcast 'who shat on the floor at my wedding?'

If you want something completely brainless that'll give you some easy giggles, it was a pretty good time. Simultaneously the dumbest thing I've ever listened to and a really funny job taking the piss out of the million unsolved murder mystery podcasts out there

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Re: Just Watched
« Reply #2075 on: February 03, 2021, 03:32:09 PM »
All Is True (dir. Kenneth Branagh)

Lauded playwright William Shakespeare's famous Globe Theatre burns down after a stage prop cannon used in the première of his Henry VIII ignites a consuming blaze. Will returns home to Stratford-upon-Avon where at last, freed from the yoke of creative life, he comes to terms with the death of his son Hamnet, whose passing he never truly mourned, and devotes himself to the cultivation of a memorial garden, while also dealing with the nuisance of a public who cannot understand why he has now ceased to write. Meanwhile his daughter Susanna struggles in a loveless marriage to a puritan reformist, his other daughter Judith grows old (for a woman of that time) and has yet to marry, and Anne Hathaway can only view her husband, who has spent so much of their married life away from her in his London, as a guest in his own house.

Ben Elton, a writer about whom much could be said, for he can be as brilliant as he oft is shit, wrote the script, and it is somewhat infuriating that he can write an absolute showstopper of a scene one moment then stagger his pen about the page like a weepy drunk. We are treated to a marvellous firelit tête-à-tête in which Kenneth Branagh's Will Shakespeare and Ian McKellen's Earl of Southampton reckon with each other's view of the world and all that's in it, the former's tireless work-oriented life pitted against the libertinous excesses of the latter, capped off with two opposed recitations (which of course must be credited to Shakespeare and to the actors themselves, not Elton) of the same sonnet that sets them so brilliantly apart. Yet the scene in which Judith decides that she will after all marry, the dialogue between the not exactly star-cross'd lovers is as uninspired as it is barely perfunctory. Ultimately, Elton's script is too much in love with Shakespeare, both the dramatist and the man himself, to give all that much to the others, and on that point it is worth noting that the Earl of Southampton appears in only one scene.

The film is passably directed by Branagh, who, though he has no masterpieces under his belt as a filmmaker, does know a good shot when he sees it. Unfortunately, many images that should have great impact are near enough ruined by the most aggressively sentimental, and worse still generic score I have heard in a very long time. What's more, a cardinal sin in my view, the soundtrack to a film set in the early 1600s features a fucking piano. Anachronism's all good and well in a film that partakes, but this one does not, and a composer should have the courage and decency to do the same. Failing that, recordings of Byrd, Dowland, Gibbons would suit far better the English countryside than this lamentable hackwork, or perhaps even Morley, who set Shakespeare's verse contemporaneously. I repeat that the film is infuriating on some level, because it does so well in some parts and so poorly in others, its presentation sometimes soaring, sometimes weighed down under a soggy script and even soggier partiture, but Branagh's central performance is compelling enough to just about get it to work. A terribly uneven film, but one that I can't deny finding overall enjoyable.

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Re: Just Watched
« Reply #2076 on: February 05, 2021, 02:10:28 PM »
Manhunt: Unabomber

There was a man, there was hunting, there was a una, there was bombing. That's more or less the story of us all, isn't it? But for those of us who value a more detail oriented approach to the human condition, FBI Special Agent James R. Fitzgerald and Professor Theodore J. Kaczynski are on hand, ready, willing, and able to venture forth into unknown frontiers in search of the answer to that most fundamental of questions, one that has haunted man since the time of Plato: should unas be bombed? But of course I'm joking, ha ha ha. Count the laughs, measure the mirth. Manhunt: Unabomber is the story, in a manner of speaking, of how an experimental linguistic approach to criminal investigation saw perhaps the most infamous domestic terrorist in modern US history caught, serving multiple life sentences in solitary confinement in an administrative maximum security prison.

While most people have heard of Ted Kaczynski, the titular Unabomber, and most people know more or less what his deal is, I might as well indulge in a little padding so I can feel better about my meagre efforts in writing this. Kaczynski's life is more or less characterised by his inability to feel at home in modern society, whether at Harvard, which he attended at the age of sixteen as a child prodigy in mathematics, or in his assistant professorship at UC Berkeley, which he suddenly resigned after just two years in 1969. In the early 1970s he began living self-sufficiently in the woods of Montana, where gradually he became convinced of the effectiveness of letter writing campaigns. Over the course of almost two decades, he sent sixteen bombs to various academic and industrial figures, all with the eventual aim of having his long-form essay “Industrial Society and its Future” (popularly known as the “Unabomber Manifesto”), in which he espouses an anarchistic, anti-technology, ecologically sound way of living, published by a major newspaper, in exchange for which he promised that he would cease his terrorist activities. Ultimately this led to his arrest, after his brother David recognised Kaczynski's ideas and writing style and sent a tip to the FBI.

The show dramatises more or less the whole of Kaczynski's life in bits and pieces, and he is by far the best thing in it. While its attempts to make him compelling and even sympathetic often fall flat, because the show is simply too ensnared in a run of the mill programme of police procedural antics, Paul Bettany's portrayal of Kaczynski is in itself terrific to watch, frequently elevating the cutesy script, occasionally finding anchorage in the deep waters of pathos. Bettany wrenches what complexity he can out of the scenes he has, and it's unfortunate that out of the entire eight episode run he has so little to actually do. Since so much of the show is told from the perspective of his nemesis, FBI profiler James Fitzgerald, and set predominantly within the bureaucracy of the UNABOM task force, it makes sense that we don't spend that much time in the direct company of the Unabomber himself, and yet Fitz, as he is most commonly referred to by his colleagues, is a mediocre character whose psychological links with Kaczynski, the slim dramatic meat of which the show hopes to make a substantial meal, are as fragile as the paper their concomitant dialogue was printed on. It is no coincidence, then, that the best episode of the series centres entirely on Kaczynski qua Kaczynski, framed in a letter of reminiscence that Ted writes to his brother.

The script attempts to present Fitz, who is not the real James R. Fitzgerald but a heavily edited and augmented construction bearing his name, as a highly intelligent but insecure outsider who has some difficulties with authority and feels that he is underappreciated by his superiors, a man similar to Ted Kaczynski himself. When Fitz, who for his insistence that linguistic clues to the Unabomber's identity are the best, indeed only way forward, begins to be perceived as being disruptive of official Bureau business, is taken off the taskforce, he begins working regular hours and is able to spend more time with his family, but he finds himself distracted and increasingly alienated from them. In one scene, Fitz lies awake in bed, unable to sleep due to his awareness of a buzzing electric street light outside his house, he goes outside and trains his service weapon on the light before ultimately resisting the urge to shoot it out. This scene is the first in which the show attempts to sell us on the idea that Kaczynski is inside Fitz's head, and that Fitz is sympathetic to Kaczynski's ideas about the harm that industrialisation has done to humanity. The amount of tension the show tries to build out of Fitz's apparent inner turmoil over this development is not at all commensurate with the actual information we are given, which is essentially that Fitz is annoyed by lights, not just street lights but, quelle horreur, traffic lights and the way they control us by making it safe to cross the road and so forth. By introducing Fitz to us in 1998, two years after Kaczynski's arrest, as a man who has himself retired to a small cabin to live simply and self-sufficiently, the show avoids the comedy that would have resulted from a chronologically linear plot, wherein the much put-upon profiler is driven so mad by electric lights that he simply can't stands no more, and, after munching down a tin of spinach, puts his mightily and meatily embiggened forearms to work building a refuge out in the wilderness.

While it would be easy to take a passing glance at Hollywood tough guy Sam Worthington and sneeringly find executive fault, his efforts are not at all the problem with Fitz. Worthington in fact does a commendable job with the character, building an understated presence through a small, well observed suite of verbal and physical tics. A physically imposing actor, he plays small within the sprawling city of computer desks that makes up the home base for the FBI's most intensely watched taskforce, and convinces as the underdog trying to convince his superiors to take a chance on his unique perspective with appreciable nuance. But the script is too surface level to support Worthington's efforts. While it can occasionally thrill with plot surprises, as in the scenes leading up to Kaczynski's trial, there is so little in the script that convinces on its own, meaning that the characters—so far as they can impress themselves upon the audience as characters—are more or less what the actors bring to the role. With the exception of Fitz and Kaczynski, what we have left to us is a cast of characters bought wholesale from the annals of 2000s police procedurals, all-business tough talkers whose tongues are never not in thrall to the dictates of an unwritten but osmotic style guide, spitting one-liners so slick that they hit the camera and leave a cold and viscous grease trail as they slide down the screen.

The cheapness of much of the supporting cast's and indeed main cast's script, the verbal environment in which Fitz and by extension we operate, is at odds with the show's high production value, surprisingly high when you consider that it was commissioned by, of all things, the Discovery Channel. The series features several well done reconstructions of the Unabomber's attacks. The first of these attacks occurred in 1978, but Kaczynski has maintained in his own correspondence that his decision to begin making bombs and mailing them out came in 1983, when he found a new road had been built by his favourite camping site, which he regarded as an aggressive invasion of his own way of life by the technological society he had rejected. The impact of these bombs varied from minor flesh wounds to loss of limbs, blindness, deafness, and ultimately death. Towards the end of his campaign, Kaczynski had near enough perfected the design for a lethal bomb, and most of the last few of his targets were killed outright. The reconstructions do not shy away from the bloody aftermath of the explosion, and credit must go to the effects crew, who did a magnificently convincing job of detailing the carnage wreaked by these bombs. I can only imagine they, like practical effects workers of the good old days of silicone, chicken guts, and jelly, had a great deal of fun making up the grim spectacle of a shuddering body pierced with long shards of shrapnel. Such shots as these, though tastefully brief, do more to convey the horror and inhumanity of Kaczynski's actions than the script itself can even begin to muster.

I have debated with myself (and I'm sure your mind can supply a suitable prefix to form a relevant homophone there) whether to delve into the many allegations of historical inaccuracy levelled against the show, such as those of former FBI agent Greg Stejskal, who worked the UNABOM case, and even Kaczynski himself, who, though he admits having not seen the show, has received plenty of correspondence about it, and says that what he has read about it amounts to “bull manure”. I could point out also that the real James Fitzgerald, who did consult for the production, disputes Stejskal's account with great vehemence, but ultimately I think that, regardless of its fidelity to the truth of the events upon which it is more or less based, any drama ultimately stands or falls on simple artistic merit, which in fact is not simple at all, but for the sake of brevity let's pretend that it is. I see Manhunt: Unabomber as a frustrating viewing experience, because I can see the potential for a really gripping story about two opposed but similar characters lurking in the periphery of what's there, but that potential is bound so heavily by the workaday writing and overly generic trappings of the often sumptuous production that the two most compelling elements, the performances of Worthington and especially Bettany, can't hope to break out and illuminate the screen with the fullness of brilliance to which they might otherwise have attained. And with that, yeronner, the prosecution rests.

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Offline Rama Set

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Re: Just Watched
« Reply #2077 on: February 05, 2021, 05:38:58 PM »
I suck at writing essays, but five episodes in and Wandavision is pretty awesome so far.  The story with Wanda is good enough that I don't really care that I can see the MCU story team weaving stuff in for the future Phase 4 releases.
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Offline honk

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Re: Just Watched
« Reply #2078 on: February 05, 2021, 06:54:31 PM »
The show took a dramatic nosedive in quality in the fourth episode once they felt the need to start overexplaining everything. They were doing a great job of slowly teasing that something was very wrong and Wanda was somehow at the bottom of it all, but nope, they just had to have a bunch of unfunny quippy quipping mcquipper government agents show up and explicitly spell out in excruciating detail everything that was going on.
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Re: Just Watched
« Reply #2079 on: February 05, 2021, 07:11:17 PM »
Oh cool have you seen the unreleased episodes?

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