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Veltigar

Watch, Watched, Watching: The Shield lands on top

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I watched Mamoru Hosoda's Wolf Children. He's very good. It's probably his best work, as the last of his movies (bar Digimon) that I'd not seen, at least on an emotional level. Plotwise it won't be for everyone seeing as it's more of a series of character-building vignettes and short episodes about a family growing up rather than a fully-formed arc, though there is a running thread of course.

I'm also continually amazed by Hosoda's use of place and space to aid character in animation. Obviously  that is a storyteller's tool in any case but from the way the geography of a tiny mud hut plays a key part in the character-storytelling in Boy and the Beast to using two completely different kinds of setting to signify two completely different approaches to emotional freedom here- he's a genius at that.

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I watched High Life as it was the best rated sci-fi I could find between Netflix and Amazon Prime that I had not seen yet. I was a little disappointed in how much mediocre sci-fi content I encountered during my search. Anyways, High Life was okay, not terrible but not great. Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche were good in their roles. The premise is a bunch of prisoners get their "freedom" by agreeing to man a spacecraft on it's way to study a black hole while also "volunteering" for human experimentation, all in the name of science. The movie is more psychological thriller than anything, but there are some pretty good visuals and scenes involving the black hole that I quite liked. The best part was the ending which I felt had a very organic conclusion that did not rely on plot tricks or miracles to conclude the movie.

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Frances McDormand is great in Nomadland. The movie itself isn't that good, shouldn't have won Best Picture and I don't think I'll ever see it again.

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I couldn't even finish the trailer for Nomadland it looks excruciatingly boring.

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On 4/29/2021 at 9:21 PM, Iskaral Pust said:

We’ve started Informer, another British show on Amazon.  This is grittier but quite good so far.

I downloaded this when I came across it right after listening to the Soundtracking episode with Paddy Considine.

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6 hours ago, DireWolfSpirit said:

I couldn't even finish the trailer for Nomadland it looks excruciatingly boring.

The only reason I finished it was because I was watching it with someone and I picked it. It's very boring and extremely depressing. 

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Posted (edited)

I have just finished the final episode of Breaking Bad. I'm glad I stuck with it, because that last season really was incredible. I'm surprised that so few people rated 5 highly, because for me it really was the high-water mark of this entire adventure. Right now, I'd probably rank the seasons as follows:

  1. Season 5
  2. Season 4
  3. Season 1
  4. Season 3
  5. Season 2

Season 4 has some incredibly strong episodes, but 5 is far more consistent throughout. Ozymandias is a hall of fame hour of television. It's totally worth struggling through that plodding second season of the show just to hear 

Spoiler

Walt tell Jessie that he saw Jane die and didn't do anything to safe her. That was such a stone cold move and really the best example of just how terrible Walt is as a person, because it was just so unnecessary for him to do that (and that at a time he should have been overpowered by grief for Hank)

I guess season 5 was a cut above the rest due to the fact that it was the most focused on developing the story of the characters, instead of focusing on the crimes Walt commits. In general, I feel like this show is weakest when we delve into the day-to-day running of their criminal enterprise, as it's incredibly nonsensical to see them make rookie mistake after mistake.

When they foreground the characters however, this show is pure magic. That's why I believe that season 5 is the best, as that is almost wall-to-wall character study. It's no coincidence that one of the weakest episodes of season 5 is the 

Spoiler

final episode. Walt taking out a full squad of Aryan Brotherhood bangers with an automated machine gun in his car is just really stupid. He had no idea how their compound looked like, he couldn't have known they wouldn't check his car (especially since he has form making bombs) or that all those guys would be gathered in their club house and none of them would be lacing his shoes the moment he unleashed the gun. Hell, I think it would have been much better if they'd gone with a massive car bomb (which would also be far likelier to attract the police, who showed up out of nowhere all of a sudden). 

I also understand now why people are not a fan of his death. I'm not as furious about it as some corners of the internet, but I do think it wasn't the best set-up. I think I would have preferred it if Walt had died somewhere where the cops couldn't have found him. Perhaps if he had submerged himself in a vat of acid and thus dissolved his corpse so that Heisenberg would have forever remained an urban legend. I think that would have been a more fitting end for the character.

That or the alternate ending they filmed of Bryan Cranston's Malcolm in the Middle character waking up after having dreamed the entirety of Breaking Bad. That would have been the best thing ever if it was the official ending.

Second weakest element of season 5 was Walt burying all his money in the same spot, which just so happens to be the site of his first cook. Felt out of character to make such a rookie mistake and then to be so easily tricked into revealing the location.

I did like that Mike's categorization of heists (something along the line of, there is two types of heist. Those were the perpetrators get away and those were they leave witnesses) turned out to be true for the brotherhood when they left Walter White go. Poor Meth Damon (brilliant nick name btw), he should not have been so soft on Walt.

Anyways, I think I could go on writing about that final season forever. Breaking Bad overall is not as good as it often touted to be, but still, due to the strength of those final seasons it certainly deserves a a place in the hallowed hall of great series. 

I'll be definitely checking out Better Call Saul (although it does worry me that the show isn't done yet, is the sixth season supposed to be the last?) and that El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie I have heard about. Curious to see how they'll hold up.

On 4/30/2021 at 3:32 PM, Cas Stark said:

The last stretch of 4-5 episodes of BB are something to behold.  

Yes agreed :D 

On 4/30/2021 at 2:40 PM, 3CityApache said:

It's a good call I think. Justified is a very fast and satysfying watch (and you can't get enough Olyphant and Goggins). Better Call Saul is just the opposite, very slow burn, though no less satysfying, even before the final season.

I'm really tempted to just power through now. I feel like Breaking Bad is a show that benefits massively from being able to binge  watch it however, so the fact that Better Call Saul isn't finished yet is the only thing that give me pauze.

On 4/30/2021 at 6:09 PM, Aemon Stark said:

 

BCS also leans heavily into Mike. Slow burn as ever, but it's really great. 

As for villains, I think you've figured out who the villain in this story is. 

 

The ennui of American suburbia? :P

Spoiler

I think season 5 finally just openly foregrounding Walt as the villain is why its the best season of this show. It felt like the logical conclusion of everything this show set out to do. It never really needed another antagonist. In the episode "Say my name" where Walt met with knock-off Wolverine and forces them to say out loud who he is, I got such chills. Great writing and acting. 

  

On 4/30/2021 at 7:11 PM, RumHam said:

That was a really odd case. I don't think anyone involved in season one worked on season two. Last I read AMC wanted to do a third season but they hadn't settled on an idea. 

I'm guessing they don't have the rights to Simmons' other horror stories, which is a shame. 

Oh well, enough great tv out there as is I suppose ;)

20 hours ago, Rippounet said:

Finished season 2 of Solar Opposites last night.

Needless to say it still feels like discount Rick & Morty, but somehow this second season felt good... Save the finale imho - that I didn't like.
Like in season 1, the episode centered on the wall was pretty good.

I wouldn't say Solar Opposites is great, but it's still a decent, entertaining show, that every now and then lands a great moment.

Ha, didn't even know the new season was out already. It's not great, but definitely watchable.

On 5/1/2021 at 11:51 AM, Ran said:

Watched Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo, loosely inspired by details from the life of the Peruvian rubber baron Carlos Fermin Fitzcarrald. This one stars Klaus Kinski as the eponymous Fitzcarraldo, a dreamer with a mad dream of building an opera house in the small city of Isquito in Peru so that Enrico Caruso and other great opera stars can perform there. I was raring to go into a lot more detail, because Herzog's and Kinski's collaborations (Aguirre, Nosferatu, Woyzeck, Cobra Verde) are legendary for their violent feuding (largely due to Kinski, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia and antisocial personality disorder at various points), but when I decided to see if anyone else had mentioned it on the forum I see @Veltigar watched in December and gave a very thorough rundown of it, including some great trivia. (Also agree with his assessment that Claudia Cardinale was very appealing in this, and her scenes with Kinski -- all too few -- really helped lend him a kind of lighthearted, charming energy that was rarely revealed in his other work.)

Anyways, recommended film. Not perfect, the pacing is a little overindulgent, but well-worth seeing. Especially for the scenes of their pulling a 320 ton steamship up a 40 degree slope -- 100% real, just a completely absurd thing to do and yet the fact that they did it is mindboggling. The real Fitzcarrald had a 30 ton steamboat transported... but in pieces, ported over, not dragged up a bloody hillside!

(There is a documentary from Les Blank that was made alongside the production, Burden of Dreams, which won the 1982 BAFTA for documentary. Besides showing just how crazy the project was, it also shows the start of production when Jason Robards and Mick Jagger were part of the cast, including a couple of scenes they filmed. Robards ended up getting dysentry with 40% of the production finished and had to drop out, ultimately leading to Kinski taking over, the film having to basically be reshot, and thus losing Jagger who had to go on tour with the Rolling Stones.)

Glad you liked my review, I should really watch the other collaborations between Kinski and Herzog that I haven't seen yet (Nosferatu, Woyzeck, Cobra Verde) but their really is a right mood one needs to be in to watch a Kinski film.

15 hours ago, WarGalley said:

I watched High Life as it was the best rated sci-fi I could find between Netflix and Amazon Prime that I had not seen yet. I was a little disappointed in how much mediocre sci-fi content I encountered during my search. Anyways, High Life was okay, not terrible but not great. Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche were good in their roles. The premise is a bunch of prisoners get their "freedom" by agreeing to man a spacecraft on it's way to study a black hole while also "volunteering" for human experimentation, all in the name of science. The movie is more psychological thriller than anything, but there are some pretty good visuals and scenes involving the black hole that I quite liked. The best part was the ending which I felt had a very organic conclusion that did not rely on plot tricks or miracles to conclude the movie.

That movie is crazy XD totally agreed on the bolded though. It was kind of boring apart from some great what the fuck moments.

11 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

Frances McDormand is great in Nomadland. The movie itself isn't that good, shouldn't have won Best Picture and I don't think I'll ever see it again.

Yeah, I agree. Still think Minari or Promising Young Woman would have been worthier recipients. Nomadland's gimmick was just too strong though.

Edited by Veltigar

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34 minutes ago, Cas Stark said:

Started watching Tenet this morning...so far....it appears to be aggressively bad. 

I think it’s a good movie that has such an aggressive disrespect for the viewer that it becomes a bad movie.  It’s disinterest in storytelling, coherence and the basic good manners of having audible dialogue still makes me angry 

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21 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

I think it’s a good movie that has such an aggressive disrespect for the viewer that it becomes a bad movie.  It’s disinterest in storytelling, coherence and the basic good manners of having audible dialogue still makes me angry 

What's good about it then?  As it is, it is a few hairs away from being a high level parody of dumb spy movies.  

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Just now, Cas Stark said:

What's good about it then?  As it is, it is a few hairs away from being a high level parody of dumb spy movies.  

Some of the suits they wear are nice.. there is a good ish car chase. Basically it has all the component parts of a good movie, but does things which are almost purposefully designed to irritate the viewer 

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I tried a couple episodes of Shadow and Bone, but I couldn't get past the YA dialogue. Easy to see its appeal to many fans, though. I don't think I'll keep on with it. Knowing nothing about the source material, it definitely feels disjointed, and hearing they're combining two wholly different series makes sense. Similar to The Witcher, though in that property I at least had a cursory understanding of the main characters.

I thought each actor seemed to do fine with the script aimed at teens, and there are really, really good looking people all over. I liked the general visual vibe of the show, especially  If I take a second look at the series down the road, I'll probably do some wiki reading even if I notice a spoiler or two. Lots of conversations and scenes in the first two episodes that I'm sure resonated more with readers.

I really like Ben Barnes, mostly because we are the same age, and look alike with his scruff, if you up the slider on each characteristic a couple spots of course and recolor the greys.

Tonight I'm going to start The Nevers, which I think I'll enjoy more.

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2 hours ago, Veltigar said:

Yeah, I agree. Still think Minari or Promising Young Woman would have been worthier recipients. Nomadland's gimmick was just too strong though.

I've yet to see Minari, but it also sounds like a nice little film that's getting more praise than it should. And I liked PYW, but again I'm not sure it's really a BP film. 2020 felt like a year with a lot of above average content overall without having a ton of great works. I still have a number of films to view, but I feel like five years from now Judas and the Black Messiah or The Trial of the Chicago Seven will be seen as the more deserving film.

1 hour ago, polishgenius said:

Tenet is a decent (though not great) spectacle and an embarrassing mess of a story.

I've heard it makes Interstellar look simple. I like Nolan and will generally see anything he makes, but he needs to get over himself and stop trying to make films that prove he's the smartest person in the room.

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1 hour ago, Heartofice said:

the basic good manners of having audible dialogue still makes me angry 

 

Nolan deliberately took off the filters on the audio mixing  software designed to stop creators making things unlistenable, and thought it was revolutionary sound design.

 

10 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

I've heard it makes Interstellar look simple. I like Nolan and will generally see anything he makes, but he needs to get over himself and stop trying to make films that prove he's the smartest person in the room.


That's why appreciated Dunkirk. Sure, it still had a gimmick, but it cut back the trimmings and told a lean story well. Then he went right back to it with Tenet.

Compared to Interstellar there's less going on in so far as it's all based around one idea whereas Interstellar jumps from concept to concept, but it's muuuuch more messy implementation wise. Thing is the concept itself isn't that complicated - it's not really any more twisty than some Doctor Who episodes- but he refuses to let it breathe and the editing is awful.

 

I've said it before but one of the directors he wants to be is Satoshi Kon but Kon could do that kind of stuff coz he was an editing genius. Nolan is not.

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1 hour ago, Tywin et al. said:

I've yet to see Minari, but it also sounds like a nice little film that's getting more praise than it should. And I liked PYW, but again I'm not sure it's really a BP film. 2020 felt like a year with a lot of above average content overall without having a ton of great works. I still have a number of films to view, but I feel like five years from now Judas and the Black Messiah or The Trial of the Chicago Seven will be seen as the more deserving film.

I have to disagree there. I can't speak on The Trial of the Chicago Seven, as I haven't seen it yet, but I don't believe Judas and the Black Messiah will have a long shelf-life. What struck me most about it, is that it was the rare movie based on real-life events that actually managed to be more boring than the events it was based on.

Looking up the real history about the murder, I was blown away by just how monumental the government-sanctioned murder on Fred Hampton was. The movie just doesn't do Fred Hampton's story justice. I still don't see why they chose to tell the story from the POV of Judas as it seems that the Black Messiah deserved a lot more focus. 

From what I hear from The Trial of the Chicago Seven, that film also has a lot of problems with how the characters are represented. Admittedly, that is not the first time that a movie that misrepresents the life and challenges of historical figures does well (The Imitation Game comes to mind), but as this failed to win any major awards I believe it will have a high chance of being forgotten. The time has passed for people to indulge Aaron Sorkin's bullshit.

Promising Young Woman though, now that is a movie that has its own voice. Just like the two films you mentioned, its a movie that fits the zeitgeist but at least it tells its zeitgeist appropriate story with a very distinct style. It swings for the fences and why it not always lands it punches, I do believe that will keep it front and center far more than forgettable biopic 1 and 2.

Can't say I have read a lot of the praise around Minari, so can't judge on that front. A nice little movie is exactly what it is though and also zeitgeist worthy due to the fact that it features a Korean-American family in a setting that we do not often imagine when we think of that group (there are no rooftop scenes whatsoever for instance).

In that sense, it is exactly its normalcy that makes it exceptional. There are no grand events on display in the film, it's just a well-told story of a family of immigrants trying to keep everything together in a new business venture. Tell that story with a white family and you probably wouldn't blink, but telling the story of Korean immigrants gives its something extra. It's exactly the kind of diversity we need on screen as it doesn't make a big deal about itself, just as diversity in real-life should be normal and expected. 

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1 hour ago, polishgenius said:

That's why appreciated Dunkirk. Sure, it still had a gimmick, but it cut back the trimmings and told a lean story well. Then he went right back to it with Tenet.

Compared to Interstellar there's less going on in so far as it's all based around one idea whereas Interstellar jumps from concept to concept

Still haven't seen Tenet, and Dunkirk is a much better movie, but I've never got this complaint about Interstellar.  It's one of his most straightforward (non-Batman) films.

52 minutes ago, Veltigar said:

From what I hear from The Trial of the Chicago Seven, that film also has a lot of problems with how the characters are represented. Admittedly, that is not the first time that a movie that misrepresents the life and challenges of historical figures does well (The Imitation Game comes to mind), but as this failed to win any major awards I believe it will have a high chance of being forgotten. The time has passed for people to indulge Aaron Sorkin's bullshit.

I was actually pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as Sorkin-y as I expected.  The end is - plus both incredibly cheesy and stupid.  And the complaints about Joseph Gordon Levitt's character are valid and typical stupid Sorkin.  But that's about it.  The complaints about Bobby Seale don't really seem valid to me - because if you want to be historically accurate he should have his own movie.

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5 hours ago, Veltigar said:

I'll be definitely checking out Better Call Saul (although it does worry me that the show isn't done yet, is the sixth season supposed to be the last?) 

Yup. They started filming about a month ago. Thirteen episodes instead of the usual ten. 

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I can say with full and absolute confidence that I will never watch Tenet again.  For any reason.  If it was the last film left on Earth I would pick up a book instead. 

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13 minutes ago, DMC said:

Still haven't seen Tenet, and Dunkirk is a much better movie, but I've never got this complaint about Interstellar.  It's one of his most straightforward (non-Batman) films.

 

Narratively it's not particularly complicated, but in terms of sf ideas that the plot focuses on it leaps from

death of the Earth to time dilation issues to random (brilliant, but plot-irrelevant) action interlude at the ice planet to the tessaract and superdad punches the universe with an extra helping of 'they were future us... maybe' back to time dilation with old Murph and finishes on the hope spot of heading for Dr Brand on the last planet

and emotionally it leaps between those issues too. I guess it's the opposite of Tenet, in that respect- one being one idea told complicatedly where the other is a straightforward narrative but going through a lot.

 

 

 

Anyway, in other news I watched Queen and Slim. Much slower, stiller movie than I was expecting considering what it's about, but it's good. Don't get me wrong there is anger there but the dominant feeling I got from it was melancholia rather than intensity.

 

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