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Watched, Watch, Watching : Save the Wiseguys fundraiser


TheLastWolf
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Man, I go away for one small vacation trip and this thread has exploded :)

I saw the latest episode of Harley Quinn, which was great as usual. A dearth of Bane jokes, but Batman undergoing 

Spoiler

relationship therapy and just in general being weird was funny as hell.

I also saw three musicals. First Hamilton, which was a lovely experience but this performance was sadly handicapped by an annoying Lafayette/Jefferson. I always suspected that Daveed Diggs would be hard to replace as the odious Jeff, but I did not expect the difference to be this vast.

Then I saw Wicked and I don't get its popularity at all. None of the songs really landed with me, I didn't think the story worked all that well (everything was rather predictable and sometimes nonsensical) and while the effects were pretty cool I wasn't blown away by them.

I finished with Les Misérables and while I don't want to bring out my "basic white girl" too often, here I have to say that everyone is right. Absolutely a marvelous experience. Beautiful sets, a great story and wonderful performances all around that just blew me away. I did not really expect to love it, but I'd happily see this again and pay for more expensive seats. What a treat.

On 8/11/2022 at 10:07 PM, KalVsWade said:

Yep. If it was just the insane action sequences (which Stephen Soderbergh is still amazed by) it would be a great film worth rewatching, but similar to some of the best kung fu movies like Drunken Master. 

While I completely agree with the general point, can we just say Drunken Master II here as example? I thought the first one was rather poor, while the sequel is probably Chan's master piece :) 

 

On 8/14/2022 at 8:45 AM, polishgenius said:

From last year The Harder They Fall is super, 

Oh really? :) it looked interesting but because I didn't see any buzz for it (and partly because it was Netflix) I skipped it. Love me a good western, so I'll rectify that.

On 8/14/2022 at 6:48 PM, Ser Drewy said:

So I watched Secrets of Dumbledore. 

Honestly, while it's a lot more coherent than the previous film, the script still has some major faults. Rowling has really diminished as a writer: there's some strange narrative choices here, often ones that feel like they miss obvious set-ups or actively go against them. Dumbledore's nonsensical plan is just weird and hard to make any sense of. You can argue that's the point, as the film offers,  but it's not satisfying, and their reasons for doing so feel limp. The politics of the wizard world are weirdly simplistic. "Do what is right, not what's easy" sounds fine for a bunch of 15 year olds to be told. But when it's being said to adults it reads as painfully fortune cookie-tier advice. 

Jude Law is really, really good as Dumbledore though. And I really liked some of the set-pieces, especially the middle one with the big bug monster. Seems the director, cast and crew are doing their best to prop up Rowling's really shoddy scripts. 

I think Rowling's main weakness is structure. That's why Harry Potter was so good for her, because cribbing from classic public school literature gave her a built in structure with a climax near the end of the year. The lack of it in Fantastic Beast, plus the fact that she's now so powerful that no executive or director acts like anything more than a journeyman to her creative baby is why these movies suck. She lacks anything to hem her in in the Fantastic Beast franchise, thus providing her with a near endless supply of rope to hang herself from.

9 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

Switching from the RIP thread to here, I think Troy often gets a lot of unfair criticism. Yes some of the writing is questionable, the actresses were underused and/or not given great stuff to work with at times and Bloom was just not very good in it, but I'm here for just about everything else. As @Ran said in the other thread the storming the beach scene is great and overall Pitt did a really solid job portraying Achilles. Bana's Hector was excellent and they played off each other really well with the limited screen time they shared. And for the most part the rest of the cast did the best with what they had. It's far from a perfect film, but overall I think it's one of the more enjoyable sword-and-sandal films of the last 20 years.

if it wasn't for Gladiator, I'd even say that it was the best S&S film of the past 22 years. Not that there is much competition of course.

On 8/10/2022 at 6:02 PM, Corvinus85 said:

Yeah, but it shamelessly stole lines from Predator. "If it bleeds, we can kill it." :D

@Veltigar I agree about the orange flower thing. But I don't think the character is a Mary Sue. Hell, in the beginning she is an awful hunter by Comanche standards. She gets made fun off for putting her hatchet on a string. The French fur trappers were there for the buffalo originally, and if the main character can realize there's a new creature in the forest, why can't they?

Honestly, I think I interpret a lot of these scenes differently than those who enjoy the movie more. She had a legitimate reason to put her axe on a string (I thought it looked dumb too, but in the movie if memory serves, the rope did work), so the other characters were idiots for making fun of it.

I also don't see her as an awful hunter at all. She's said to be a great tracker, which buys her a ticket on the trip. It is her plan that enables them to kill the mountain lion (although the movie does a piss poor job at making that clear until her brother confesses to it) and even the hawk scene is a sign of her brilliance. She waited to shoot so that the hawk would fall closer to her and thus be more easy to retrieve while her idiot brother shot it from afar, meaning they now had to expend needless calories to get it. 

On 8/10/2022 at 6:38 PM, SpaceChampion said:

The orange flower appears to be real, or based on a real flower:  https://screenrant.com/prey-movie-orange-flower-real/

I'm not surprised that it is based on something real, but the properties it has in the film were so exaggerated that for me it didn't work. Suspension of disbelief is a rather tricky thing and while I would have accepted far more egregious tools from a film that had me locked in, here it was just one of the many things that didn't work well together.

On 8/10/2022 at 4:45 PM, mormont said:

I'd counter that the tendency to take any attempt to point out bias (conscious or unconscious) as an ad hominem attack is much more damaging to sensible civil discussion than the highlighting of such bias could ever be.

As to whether you'd have cheered on this character if she had been a man: did you like the first Predator movie?

Unless you can persuade me that Naru is presented as significantly more competent and without flaws than Dutch, I think we have to accept that the term cannot be applied to her and not him (though it could be applied to him and not her).

Motivations don't enter into the Mary Sue issue, really, for me: and while Naru is competent, she's actually not really more competent than her brother Taabe. She's a little smarter, maybe, but without him she'd have died. Twice. That's not Mary Sue territory, to me.

(ps: she doesn't discover the plant, it's known to the tribe.)

We shall not agree here, but I do think it is worth working on the tone of your pitch. Pointing out (perceived) bias is a worthy endeavor, but  it is hard not to see it as an ad hominem if you start from an assumption of bad faith in the one you are trying to correct. I know that it is difficult to do this in writing and there are different tolerances for this, but you'd be markedly more successful in starting an earnest conversation that way.  

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Troy is appalling on almost every single level, and easily one of the worst movies ever made. Just a dreadful fucking sausage fest, featuring a bunch of the most prominent white guys in Hollywood, each wearing a terrible wig.

Honestly, what a load of utter, utter shite.

I turned it off, three hours in, after the big boss fight, and there was still 45 minutes left to go!

*shudders*

Edited by Spockydog
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1 hour ago, Veltigar said:

Then I saw Wicked and I don't get its popularity at all. None of the songs really landed with me, I didn't think the story worked all that well (everything was rather predictable and sometimes nonsensical) and while the effects were pretty cool I wasn't blown away by them.

I finished with Les Misérables and while I don't want to bring out my "basic white girl" too often, here I have to say that everyone is right. Absolutely a marvelous experience. Beautiful sets, a great story and wonderful performances all around that just blew me away. I did not really expect to love it, but I'd happily see this again and pay for more expensive seats. What a treat.

  

Yeah, Wicked is boring as shit. No idea how it's constantly sold out what I believe is London biggest theatre for so many years. 

Les Mis is easily the greatest musical ever. 

Edited by BigFatCoward
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I think Oliver Stone's Alexander movie is one that gets forgotten quite often, not because it is under rated, but because people need to remember Greeks were depicted as Irish. I'm not sure I've ever managed to make it past Angelina Jolie in that movie, I just can't do it. Shame because the subject matter I find very interesting.

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1 hour ago, Veltigar said:

if it wasn't for Gladiator, I'd even say that it was the best S&S film of the past 22 years. Not that there is much competition of course.

 

While probably true, that's only because 'swords and sandals' is traditionally about Western movies so things like the slew of Samurai movies in that time, or a bunch of Korean or Chinese productions (even aside from Wuxia movies) don't count. 

Edited by polishgenius
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Val Kilmer's amazing in Alexander, and the recreation of the battles were pretty remarkable. Jolie does chew up the scenery, though, and the film's mostly a mess (I'm not sure to what degree one of the director's cuts improves on it, much as Scott's Kingdom of Heaven director's cut is way superior to the theatrical.)

I do feel like "sword-and-sandal" is very specific not just to Western films, but to films set in the ancient world or in mythological worlds. I see Wikipedia argues that swashbuckler films are a sub-set of the sword-and-sandal genre, but that's novel to me and I've never remotely considered them similar because the tropes they have aren't all that similar even as their broad plot outlines are likely pretty much the same.

 

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@Veltigar how many of the Broadway musicals are really worth it?  My wife and I have seen several over the years (she’s the bigger fan by far) but we seem to have exhausted the appealing options.

Phantom is hands-down her favorite.  Book Of Mormon was the biggest upside surprise.  Hamilton was excellent in the first act, and then drags on as the arc dwindles and the score falters.  Les Miserable is very good but drags on quite a bit.  Beauty And The Beast was good for a Disney production, followed by Lion King, whose score and over-familiar story barely make it worthwhile. South Pacific is very dated but at least has a better score than Miss Saigon, which is a good production but entirely forgettable score.  What else am I forgetting then?  None of Wicked, or The Producers, or Cats, or Chicago have seemed worthwhile.

Edited by Iskaral Pust
Edit: My Fair Lady was ok too. Lightweight but humorous. Pretty good score.
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1 hour ago, Ran said:

Val Kilmer's amazing in Alexander, and the recreation of the battles were pretty remarkable. Jolie does chew up the scenery, though, and the film's mostly a mess (I'm not sure to what degree one of the director's cuts improves on it, much as Scott's Kingdom of Heaven director's cut is way superior to the theatrical.)

I do feel like "sword-and-sandal" is very specific not just to Western films, but to films set in the ancient world or in mythological worlds. I see Wikipedia argues that swashbuckler films are a sub-set of the sword-and-sandal genre, but that's novel to me and I've never remotely considered them similar because the tropes they have aren't all that similar even as their broad plot outlines are likely pretty much the same.

 

1 hour ago, polishgenius said:

 

While probably true, that's only because 'swords and sandals' is traditionally about Western movies so things like the slew of Samurai movies in that time, or a bunch of Korean or Chinese productions (even aside from Wuxia movies) don't count. 

I always thought Sword-and-Sandals referred to films set in Ancient Greece (or the wider Hellenistic world) and Rome, which is a rather narrow definition. I always saw swashbucklers as the overarching type, with S&S films being swashbucklers set in these times.

44 minutes ago, Iskaral Pust said:

@Veltigar how many of the Broadway musicals are really worth it?  My wife and I have seen several over the years (she’s the bigger fan by far) but we seem to have exhausted the appealing options.

Phantom is hands-down her favorite.  Book Of Mormon was the biggest upside surprise.  Hamilton was excellent in the first act, and then drags on as the arc dwindles and the score falters.  Les Miserable is very good but drags on quite a bit.  Beauty And The Beast was good for a Disney production, followed by Lion King, whose score and over-familiar story barely make it worthwhile. South Pacific is very dated but at least has a better score than Miss Saigon, which is a good production but entirely forgettable score.  What else am I forgetting then?  None of Wicked, or The Producers, or Cats, or Chicago have seemed worthwhile.

I'm afraid that I'm a dilettante when it comes to live musicals of the Broadway/West End variety, so I don't think I'm qualified to attempt to answer the question. Apart from the three I mentioned in my previous post, I have only seen Book of Mormon. I thought that one was pretty enjoyable to see, but also not very memorable in the long-term.

I have no interest in the Disney productions, but I'd like to see Phantom and most of the others you have mentioned. As far as I'm concerned I have had two excellent experiences (first Hamilton and Les Misérables), two average ones (Book of Mormon and second Hamilton) and one relatively bad one (Wicked). That seems like a decent batting average to me :) 

2 hours ago, BigFatCoward said:

Yeah, Wicked is boring as shit. No idea how it's constantly sold out what I believe is London biggest theatre for so many years. 

Les Mis is easily the greatest musical ever. 

The hype factor perhaps? And there was a trend a few years back about giving unnecessary back stories to villains so that might have played in its favor.

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2 minutes ago, polishgenius said:


Nah, swashbuckling refers to a very specific kind of film and character. Derring-do, if you will. 

I just want to cover my ass. If S&S are not exclusively set in Roman or Greek times, there are plenty of films made in the last 22 years that are better than Troy (and I do love the film a lot).

EDIT: If it's the narrow definition I still feel confident about my statement. After all, what is the competition. Pompey? Alexander? Or that weird moment in time that gave us two different shitty Hercules movies in the space of a year?

Edited by Veltigar
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1 hour ago, Iskaral Pust said:

@Veltigar how many of the Broadway musicals are really worth it?  My wife and I have seen several over the years (she’s the bigger fan by far) but we seem to have exhausted the appealing options.

Phantom is hands-down her favorite.  Book Of Mormon was the biggest upside surprise.  Hamilton was excellent in the first act, and then drags on as the arc dwindles and the score falters.  Les Miserable is very good but drags on quite a bit.  Beauty And The Beast was good for a Disney production, followed by Lion King, whose score and over-familiar story barely make it worthwhile. South Pacific is very dated but at least has a better score than Miss Saigon, which is a good production but entirely forgettable score.  What else am I forgetting then?  None of Wicked, or The Producers, or Cats, or Chicago have seemed worthwhile.

Matilda is amazing.

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55 minutes ago, Veltigar said:

I just want to cover my ass. If S&S are not exclusively set in Roman or Greek times, there are plenty of films made in the last 22 years that are better than Troy (and I do love the film a lot).

EDIT: If it's the narrow definition I still feel confident about my statement. After all, what is the competition. Pompey? Alexander? Or that weird moment in time that gave us two different shitty Hercules movies in the space of a year?

Clash of the titans? Does that count? That’s awful Egypt movie with Jamie Lannister?

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1 hour ago, Veltigar said:

After all, what is the competition. Pompey? Alexander? Or that weird moment in time that gave us two different shitty Hercules movies in the space of a year?

Neil Marshall's Centurian is IMO a better movie than any mentioned so far.

The Eagle is decent, too.

 

Edited by Spockydog
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6 hours ago, BigFatCoward said:

Yeah, Wicked is boring as shit. No idea how it's constantly sold out what I believe is London biggest theatre for so many years. 

Les Mis is easily the greatest musical ever. 

Wicked is a wonderfully put together story with a solid structure and some good music that is almost designed to be used as audition pieces for high schoolers trying to get into the theatre program of their dreams heading into college...this is true for Phantom, Les Mis, and a couple other shows...

Les Mis as the greatest ever?  Hmmmm...not prepared to go there...

Hamilton, while I agree has a some bumps in the second act, it's still one of the strongest musicals in just about forever.  "Wait For It" might be the best single number ever...

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1 hour ago, Jaxom 1974 said:

Wicked is a wonderfully put together story with a solid structure and some good music that is almost designed to be used as audition pieces for high schoolers trying to get into the theatre program of their dreams heading into college...this is true for Phantom, Les Mis, and a couple other shows...

Les Mis as the greatest ever?  Hmmmm...not prepared to go there...

Hamilton, while I agree has a some bumps in the second act, it's still one of the strongest musicals in just about forever.  "Wait For It" might be the best single number ever...

I honestly can remember 2 songs from wicked (defying gravity and popular). 

I could probably name 10-15 from les mis. 

Worst musical ever was the stage version of Elf, 7 of us went, only me and the wife came back after the interval (and that was because of how much the tickets were) everyone else fucked off to the pub. 

 

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Well, by that limited contemporary definition of sword & sandals and action set in ancient and / or mythological periods, Indian films are covering it currently with elan and panache! Plus high production values.  See the trailer for forthcoming in September release, Ponniyin Selvan put up by @The Last Wolf.  Gods! Does that look delicious. 

Moreover those films have pushed me toward learning some real history and geography (films being films, do not depend on them for the 'real' so to speak -- see Gladiator, for a single instance. I've kinda been gorging on recent period films out of the many histories out of India this summer  --  which I usually do with Westerns.

I did do a Western this weekend, the Kevin Costner 1994 box office bomb, Wyatt Earp, that is 3 hours and 9 minutes long. What was he thinking??????  That length is ok for private home viewing -- I watched it over three nights.  But in a theater?  Whatever one might wish to say positive about its production values, as a narrative to engage the viewer, the thing is pretty flat.  But it is summer, so I did utilize WE to observe the summer viewing ritual. I'll follow up with 1993 Geronimo -- which like WE the next year,  included Gene Hackman in the cast.  Ah, the fallout from Dances With Wolves!  Among others, see: Tombstone (1993) -- no Gene Hackman but Sam Elliott.

I did speculate, after watching Wyatt Earp 1994, which Costner got Kasadan to make when he left Tombstone in a huff because it didn't center Earp, whether there might have been some impetus out of its extremely rounded delivery of long, complete, sentences, in somewhat archaic English, for Deadwood a generation later.  Certainly, we have whores, o so many whores! :rofl: Certainly that spate of the Western from the first part of the 1990's leave a great deal to be desired in the portrayal of female characters.

 

Edited by Zorral
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