Seen Any Good Movies Lately?

Discussion in 'Dancers Anonymous' started by pygmalion, Oct 19, 2003.

  1. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    broken spine will do that!!
  2. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I remember a circa 1980 spy movie, Telephon (?), where the display of characters on a computer monitor was accompanied by the sound of arcing electricity. All I could think was, "Turn that monitor off! Something's shorting out!"

    There's reality and there's cinematography. Despite all we hear in sci-fi space epics, there's no sound in space. Even in the titles of Star Trek:TOS (either "The Original Series" or "The Old Show") we hear the whoosh of the starship going past us. Well, in the first pilot, The Cage, they kept it scientifically accurate and had no such sound in the titles. The effect was flat and empty. From that point on, they added the whoosh because of the cinematographic effect. Interestingly, while keeping sounds in space, JJ Abrams' Star Trek had a scene in the beginning where a hull breach opened up in a passageway with all the usual explosions and the screams of the crewman as she held on desperately to keep from getting sucked out, but as soon as she was outside it was dead silent.
  3. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    Speaking of Big Bang Theory, on NetFlix I recently watched an Icelandic movie, Astrópía, that seemed to be partially inspired by BBT. The arrest of her rich boyfriend deprives a spoiled "rich girl" of her life-style and she ends up finding work in a shop, Astrópía, that deals in comics and role-playing games, of which she knows nothing. The scene where she, a beautiful blonde in a top that leaves her shoulders bare, first walks in and the whole place suddenly freezes, including the two guys in StarFleet uniforms. And when the owner offers her the job, the only other female there, a geek grrl, says to her friend in English, "I feel a great disturbance in the Force."

    It even had me looking up "Leeroy Jenkins!". And watch for when she tries to do cleaning at her friend's apartment where she's staying. She puts on the yellow rubber gloves, compares them to her shoes, and takes them off because they clash, after which she's wearing pink gloves.
    bordertangoman likes this.
  4. mindputtee

    mindputtee Well-Known Member

    Firefly got it right. ;)
  5. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    Firefly is rather problematic in many ways. For example, are their drives superluminal or only subluminal? From what I can gather, all those worlds and moons are all in the same star system, but no amount of terraforming could make habitable a world far outside that system's "Goldilocks Zone".

    Though Firefly did honor the Silence of Space and in doing so reinforced the idea and feeling of "the Black". And I watched the show from the beginning to the bitter all-too-soon end. And I bought the DVDs (fortunate, since there were a few episodes that never aired on FOX) and loaned them to a friend who now loves Firefly. And we both now watch Castle and catch all the references to Firefly.

    Browncoats unite! The rest are just Alliance purple-bellies!
  6. mindputtee

    mindputtee Well-Known Member

  7. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    The Battlestar Galactica reimagining also had a convoluted multi-star systems to account for each of the Twelve Colonies to each have their own separate planet. FWIW, I have not yet seen that particular Wikipedia page. BTW, there was also a Firefly Wiki that not only had articles on the Chinese cursing used in the show, but also the entire scripts, along with the Chinese and the translation thereof. That has since been consigned to the Faraway and Long ago Internet Time Machine (the actual name of which I currently cannot remember).

    Did you see the Nerdist show that he appeared on about a year ago? It's normally a blog, but it's done as a TV show occasionally, on BBC America, I believe. He is an enormous nerd. And his mother once told him that his blessing is to be such a complete nerd and yet not look like one.

    As for what he looks like in the different shows, that is because he's two different people. In Castle he gets to be the nerd, but in Firefly he's the hard-bitten veteran of a failed war who's trying to eek out an existence by whatever means possible. FOX did not let them air the pilot until the very last. Remember that scene in the captain's quarters when he's taking a leak? He just looks to the camera with this almost vacant look of hopelessness. Mal is a very different character from Richard Castle. Castle practically has it made socially and financially, just not completely in his relationship with Becket. Malcolm Reynolds has hit the bottom and is fighting to survive. Fillion is playing two different characters there, though I suspect that Richard Castle is a closer fit to his own personality.
    GGinrhinestones likes this.
  8. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    Oh great! It's 34 Tauri, which later was determined to have been the planet Uranus.

    But then when did a great story-teller ever let the facts get in the way of a very good story?
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    Long conversation with DS about this movie, yesterday. He loved it and insists that my two word summation is unfair.

    His take? The movie is exciting and suspenseful and provides effectively provides the backstory for a lot of things that happen in the LOTR trilogy. It's also visually stunning. It does a good job of making you identify with the main characters. And there are awesome battle scenes. And he likes the continuity between this movie and the LOTR movies; many of the actors are the same and some scenes overlap.

    I know he's fifteen and I shouldn't be surprised by him, but I just can't get over some of the things he comes out with. His graphic design and photojournalism classes have much to answer for. lol.


    I have to admit that DS has some good points. My take is that most of the stuff that happens in a movie should move the plot forward. IMHO, there were too many chunks of the movie that didn't do that. Yes. I know that Middle Earth dwellers like to party, but does the party have to go on for half an hour (out of a three hour movie) with very little dialogue and virtually no plot development?
    bordertangoman likes this.
  10. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Oh yeah and I left out video editing class. The boy is now officially too smart for me. You should have seen the condescending look he gave me yesterday when I asked him something about how to use a Windows phone. Oh come on, DS! Just show me how to dial the dang thing! But I digress.


    Has anybody seen Django Unchained? based on the previews and plot synopsis, I think I'm going to pass (until DVD/Blueray) unless somebody here thinks seeing it in the theater is a must.
    bordertangoman likes this.
  11. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    I have to wait for the DVD to come out. One friend isn't into that genre (negative comments about LOTR) and the other who would have been a shoe-in went with her adult sons.

    I read both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings a few times through in high school. LOTR was written later as a full-blown epic whereas The Hobbit originated as a bed-time story. Both works read very differently accordingly. It does seem to me that The Hobbit could not have been done properly and faithfully in only one installment, but it also seems that there's not enough to draw out into three movies. OK, so maybe those long parties help to serve the purpose, but I also recall how Tolkien loved to insert long songs and poems into the story.

    My younger son was taking a cinematography class in high school. As we would watch a show or movie, from my literature schooling in my German degree, I would discuss plot devices being used such as fore-shadowing, while he would discuss the camera work, such as the use of Dutch angles (overused in the 60's Batman show). What he hated the most at school was when "No Child Left Behind" kicked in and suddenly the schools could no longer taught anything, but rather had to devote all the classroom time to preparing the students for the tests.
  12. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    There is a very beautiful, moving scene in The Hobbit movie where the dwarves sing. Really beautiful, baritone and bass, manly-man, singing. You are right. It's just like something out of the books. But books and movies are different. There's not enough material in the Hobbit for three movies, IMHO.
  13. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    As I've already stated, I feel that there's not enough in The Hobbit for three movies, but too much for just one. And I guess that LOTR created an enduring trend of trilogies, such that everything had to come in threes, including sneezes. More famously, I remember Douglas Adams publishing the fourth and fifth books of his Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy. Everything has to be a trilogy!

    And, yes, books and movies are different. Remember Zardoz? The book (a novelization of the movie that I read beforehand) was good, but the movie was stuck with presenting what was happening in a visual manner and failed because of it. In a book, you can show what's in a character's mind and you can show the history of everything, but in a movie you are stuck with presenting all that either visually or through the dialogue. That doesn't always work. Now, in drama we have, as in Shakespeare, characters presenting monologues in which they can express to the audience what they're thinking and feeling, but while lovers of the Bard rejoice in that device, it now has more limited use in cinema. Similarly, in opera you have the ariae which serve the same purpose as monologues, as do the songs in musicals, but too much of the modern audience has lost touch with those art forms. No, I will also have to wait for Les Miserables to arrive to DVD, though I have seen it on stage.

    That Peter Jackson was able to do justice to that scene you describe is good, wonderful even. I'm sure that I had skipped past it when reading the book. Perhaps there are times when the film is better than the book.
  14. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    and that, right there, guarantees that I will never see it! Lol.

    I thought LOTR was one if the most boring, most ridiculous, never-effing-endingist movies I have ever seen. (All three if them.).
    j_alexandra likes this.
  15. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    De gustibus non disputantum est. (Of taste, there is no dispute.)

    When the movie opened, my son and his fiancée went to see "Les Miserables" (please pardon the lack of appropriate diacritics, I was a German major). He posted this graphic on Facebook:
    [​IMG]

    Since its publication, entire generations had read J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. None of those generations could comprehend the reaction of one who had not read those works. Kind of like encountering someone who had never heard the songs of Madonna nor of Michael Jackson (like me).
  16. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    That is hilarious!!

    I really enjoyed the LOTR movies, with the exception of the Two Towers which I enjoyed a lot less. The Two Towers I think could really have been summed up with an on-screen graphic that said "Gratuitous orc bloodshed later..." thereby saving three valuable hours. That movie was one bloody battle scene after another. Got pretty old fast, if you ask me.

    (And don't even get me started on the suspension of disbelief required by the scenes where three members of the Fellowship are surrounded by countless Uruk-hai (the super orcs) and come out, not only unharmed, but victorious. Really?!? lol)

    I think D has a point, though. Having read the books made a big difference in my enjoyment. There were elements of the book that I wanted to see on screen -- Ents, the walking trees, for example. Orcs, too, for that matter, although the first orc sighting satisfied the curiosity.
  17. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    That graphic is funny.

    I found one review of Les Mis really funny, as well. In it, the panel of reviewers (the lady from the LA Times, the guy from Rotten Tomatoes, etc) were unanimous. "There were points in the movie when I wished they would just stop singing and have a moment of actual dialogue." What a hoot!

    I find the idea of "regular" actors singing a bit jarring, to be honest, although I have seen Hugh Jackman doing a Broadway style, singing and dancing, old soft shoe before (on the Tonys? Oscars? I can't remember.) He's a multi-talented man; he can actually sing. But, once you've donned that pointy haircut and foot-long claws, you'll always be Wolverine to me.

    Long story short, there was nothing about the reviews that made me want to see the movie. I probably will see it while it's still on the big screen, though. I can't imagine that it would translate well to television.
  18. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    Ever read Der Steppenwolf? When I was in Calw (the birthplace of Hermann Hesse), I picked up a Suhrkamp book on the writing of Der Steppenwolf. When he wrote that work, Hesse was thinking in terms of musical works. In classical music (18th Century -- after 1805 was pretty much past the classical period, regardless of how radio stations are classified), most works are in at least three movements: fast or walking pace (allegro or andante), introducing the themes; slow, developing the themes; faster, bringing on the resolution of the themes. Hesse wrote Der Steppenwolf along those lines; I once encountered the middle movement, Traktat der Steppenwolf (Treatise on the Steppenwolf), as a separate work.

    Now, for middle movements, think of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back. What was resolved in that movie? Nothing. But the themes of the first movie were developed further. That's the thing about three-movement creations. The first movement introduces the themes. The second movement develops them a bit, but not to their final resolution. The third movement brings the final resolution.

    The Fellowship of the Ring introduced the themes. The Two Towers developed them, but without any final resolution. The Return of the King brought the final resolution of the themes. Most listeners find the second movement boring and uninteresting, but then the second movement requires much more of the listeners, doesn't it?

    BTW, Der Steppenwolf, in the original German, is my book of choice for the waiting room. Harry Haller is a 50 year old man, divorced by a mad woman, who swore to have a shaving accident before his 51st birthday (this was in an age of straight razors), but as the decisive moment approached started to have cold feet. He came under the influence of a woman who introduced him to Jazz dancing, which proved to be the path to his salvation. What more can we say? It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing.
    j_alexandra likes this.
  19. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I remember Leonard Nimoy's book, "I am not Spock." Actors are actors, they don different skins all the time. Fans are much more slow-witted: we still see them as a previous character, not as the current character. I personally feel that Bruce Willis suffers most from being type-cast as an action hero type. I've seen his comedy work and know that he has so much more potential, but he's trapped in an action-hero stereotype.

    As I said, I have seen a stage production of "Les Miserable" and it does not contain any straight dialogue. If a film version is produced that is meant to follow the stage production, then why should we expect any straight dialogue from it either?


    Perhaps curiously so, your concern about it translating well to the TV screen reminds me of a very apt scene in Hermann Hesse's Der Steppenwolf. Harry Haller, the self-proclaimed "wolf of the Steppes", the "Steppenwolf", abhors all modernity, including the much diminished music coming over the radio. So in the Magic Theater, he is confronted with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart himself trying to tune in the radio to hear his own music from Die Zauberflöte, The Magic Flute. The Steppenwolf thinks that the sounds on the radio are tantamount to being sacrilegious, whereas Mozart assures him that the music is immortal and will transcend whatever medium it is transmitted over. So what is it? Schein oder Sein, "mere appearance or actual substance"? Any art that depends completely on how it's transmitted is unworthy. Only art that transcends its medium is worthy.
    j_alexandra likes this.
  20. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    No. I've never read Steppenwolf, although it's been on my reading list since I was little, when my brother had a copy floating around the house. I can visualize the cover of that old book. Funny, the things that stick with you from childhood and the things that don't.

    The three movement metaphor makes a lot of sense and, of course, you are right. Lots of things happened in The Two Towers that set up the reader/viewer for the resolution that ultimately came in The Return of the King. (I can't remember which things, exactly, since the books and the movies divide things up differently, IIRC.)

    But (You saw that coming, didn't you? ) I can't help but wonder if there would have been so many battle scenes if the books had been written at a different point in history. IIRC, The Hobbit, the LOTR trilogy, and all the supporting works were written during and/or between WWI and WWII by an Englishman. Of course epic battles between good and evil figure largely in the plot. Tolkien didn't write his works in a vacuum. That's why I forgave him for all the singing and poetry, btw. Wasn't he a linguist (or something like that?) IMO, it was natural for Tolkien to play around with the language of his characters (not unlike Star Trek, btw. Klingon anyone? *grin*) What better way to play with language than through poetry?

    Like you, though, I have to admit that I skipped some of the songs and poems while I was reading the books ... then I would get paranoid that I'd missed something important to the plot, then I would go back and force myself to read the poems .. then I'd be mad that I had not, in fact, missed anything critical. Pretty funny. But I did, eventually, read every bloody page.

    It was worth it, even if only for the cultural references one would miss if they had never been exposed. It's funny. When DS and I were leaving the movie, he mentioned ... something. Star Wars, maybe? and its parallels to LOTR. It never occurred to me, until then, that it could be argued Sauron and Saruman were not unlike The Emperor and Darth Vader. Straight up rip-off. Or imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Whatever you prefer.

    There's no getting around the fact that these books (and now films) are a part of our culture, even if the development section moves a bit slowly for my taste. *grin*

Share This Page