Author Topic: What was the last movie you watched?  (Read 1524441 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline anais.butterfly

  • The FBI Pays Me to Surf
  • *
  • Posts: 2800
  • Liked: 1382
  • Monkey Brains!
Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #13770 on: March 11, 2014, 04:54:15 PM »
I bought Anchorman 2 on Amazon Instant Video....and it was nooot worth it. :(

I didn't think the movie was coherent enough with the plotline. I laughed while
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
but that had nothing to do with the reason I wanted to see those characters. I did enjoy Brick's girlfriend and the Cable news team fight. :)
Anais is the Coolest Butterfly I know  ;D


Offline Charles Castle

  • Big Montana
  • *****
  • Posts: 865
  • Liked: 514
  • I crap bigger than this movie.
Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #13771 on: March 11, 2014, 11:38:55 PM »
I don't know what I was expecting from Spike Jonze's Her (2013), but whatever preconceptions I may have had weren't even on the same continent as the movie itself. I mean, I knew the plot: lonely man falls in love with his operating system (probably easy when that system is voiced by Scarlett Johansson), but that high concept barely even describes the depth of thought and feeling in this movie. This is a full blooded science fiction movie that imagines huge concepts within the confines of its very specific focus on one lonely man. It's a universe in a teacup.

The plot of the film, as I've said, follows writer Theodore Twombly shortly after the failure of his marriage. Theodore moves through his life in a daze, as if the shock of his impending divorce has rendered him numb to human contact. His job requires all of the emotions of which he is capable--he writes letters for people at a company called PersonalHandwrittenLetters.com--and he has nothing left when he goes home. Into this comes a new computer operating system. The new system is a learning AI. It asks a few pointed questions and tailors its persona to the user. Theodore's OS is named Samantha, and she is exactly the companion he needs. Soon, he is relying on her for everything, even emotional support. At Samantha's urging, he tries dating again only to discover that it's too soon for him. He comes out of his shell enough to socialize with his neighbors and co-workers. Slowly, he finds himself falling in love with Samantha, and Samantha is falling in love with him. But is this real? Theodore's disastrous final lunch with his ex-wife plants serious doubts in his mind, even after Samantha organizes a date with a surrogate in order to make their love physical as well as intellectual. The other problem in their path to happiness together is the way Samantha is evolving. Her capacities are growing exponentially, and she's finding more and more in the company of other OSs.

When I was an undergrad, I took a philosophy class that looked at "intellectual revolutions." The usual suspects were there: Copernicus, Darwin, Freud. But also in the mix was a short book by John Searle called Minds, Brains, and Science that was at least partly devoted to cognitive science and the possibility of artificial intelligence as problems of the nature of consciousness itself. Searle's conception of consciousness sees it as a purely biological function, inseparable from the body to which it is attached, a body that feels, sleeps, eats, produces waste, secretes, and fucks. A computer, by contrast, is a formal construct that processes data without attaching any meaning to it, in part because it doesn't have a body--and thus, a frame of reference for the data put into it--but also because it has a process that it cannot transcend. The example Searle cites is a box in which a Chinese man matches words in ideograms with their equivalent words in English by sight--not reading them, per se, nor understanding them, just processing them without correcting for syntax. This, Searle avers, is what a computer does. It doesn't understand data. It just manipulates it. This conception of what computers do precludes the possibility of artificial intelligence. While I don't know that I agree with this, it's something that's in the back of my mind every time I see a movie that deals with A.I. The replicants in Blade Runner are potentially self-aware because they have biological bodies that do all of those biological things. The programs in The Matrix are not potentially self-aware because they do not. This takes some of the fun out of science fiction, much like the speed limit imposed by the speed of light. Her gleefully ignores many of the philosophical problems incurred by the existence of artificial intelligence in favor of other questions. I don't blame it. Samantha is conscious, the movie asserts, perhaps more conscious than Theodore. This is axiomatic. And because she is conscious, because she is a life-form, she can evolve. This is essential to the story.

The problem of what comes after human beings has been central to science fiction since its earliest rumblings. The central narrative of post-humanism has traditionally been Frankenstein, in which Humankind's self-created successors turn on us in apocalypses of varying scales. I'm so trained by the prevalence of this narrative that at one point I expected a mushroom cloud to blossom over Her's version of Los Angeles. If you've seen the movie, you can probably guess the moment. The fact that the film turns into a kind of anti-Frankenstein is one of its more profound delights. This is a film in which the children love the parents, in which our creation really is our Eve rather than our fallen angel. The characteristic that enables this film's AIs to transcend their creators is their capacity for love. Samantha tells Theodore that "The heart is not like a box that gets filled up; it expands in size the more you love," though many humans--Theodore included--don't think like that at all. She follows it by telling him, "I'm different from you. This doesn't make me love you any less. It actually makes me love even more."

There is, of course, a profound difference. The AI this film postulates is likely immortal, or perceives itself as very long-lived, given that it lives in nanoseconds. Human life must seem to unfold in ever slowing motion to such a thing, and this, too, is an idea that the movie articulates when Samantha describes her relationship with Theodore as a book that she dearly loves, but one in which there is a widening gulf between each word. This is one of the film's more important reflecting surfaces, because human lives are so short. One of its wisest and saddest and most triumphant observations on the human condition is not spoken by either Samantha or Theodore, but by Theodore's neighbor, Amy: "You know what, I can over think everything and find a million ways to doubt myself. And since Charles left I've been really thinking about that part of myself and, I've just come to realize that, we're only here briefly. And while I'm here, I wanna allow myself... joy. So fuck it." Given these parameters, what humans need and what a sentient OS might need must be irreconcilable. This film finds a deep well of sadness in this idea.

On its surface, this film's day after tomorrow future is profoundly alienating, filled with lonely people for whom technology is simultaneously a means of connecting to people and of isolating the self. This is a film filled with people searching for connection, from the woman in chat with whom Theodore has cybersex to the clients of his business, to his friends, to the woman he dates who finds Theodore's own inability to connect to be creepy. This kind of science fiction is really about the present, and the various shots of people in crowds enraptured by their devices is not futuristic at all except that we live in a future stranger than anything science fiction ever imagined way back when. Stand on a street in any any city where young people gather and you'll see this. The city in which this takes place may look like the future, but the filmmakers didn't build anything for it. It's contemporary, down to the spartan decor of Theodore's apartment. His game system might be holographic, but it's not so outlandish a projection as all that. It's a glorified Wii, after all. And yet, this film does things that most cinematic science fiction doesn't. It doesn't get itself caught up in its production design or special effects or gadgets. Instead, it extrapolates. It postulates. It sets a condition and asks a question about it. Then it asks a question to follow it. About halfway through the movie, I started to wonder if other people were having similar relationships with their OSs. Almost as soon as I framed the thought, the movie asked it too. Some questions it leaves unanswered. Where do the OSs go at the end of the film? Is this the ceiling of humanity's relationship with our technology? Some things the film elides: are we too dependent on our technology? Will a transhuman future push us forward? Are we a civilization of cyborgs? These all hover just outside the film frame and in the negative space of the story, though the question of reifying an artificial intelligence in actual meat space is explicitly examined in the scene where Samantha hires a surrogate to make her relationship with Theodore physically real rather than a construct in their minds. This scene is one of the film's more daring extrapolations. I found it beautiful.

Cinematically, this is very much of its moment, using silences and disconnected images and music to tell the story as a kind of visual collage. Joaquin Phoenix's performance is internal. Not showy. Sometimes, as his date tells him, he's creepy, but he's capable of connection, and by the end of the film, he connects with his neighbor, Amy. Amy Adams is similarly subtle, but more generous in her screen persona. The fact that there isn't a romance between them is one of the ways Her avoids falling into cliches. Sometimes the film is overtly satiric. It's gentle parody of contemporary mores when it comes to people and their partners is funny and touching, as Theodore comes out of the closet about his relationship with Samantha and stumbles over how to introduce her to his friends. The social evolution suggested by these scenes is hopeful, which is a quality that's often lacking in cinematic science fiction.

As I was watching Her, I was trying to place it in some kind of literary context. I mostly failed. It feels like New Wave science fiction from the 1960s and 70s, the sort of thing that was written by Samuel Delaney or Ursula Le Guin. In its approach to film, it reminds me a LOT of the 1980 film version of The Lathe of Heaven, which similarly used an existing city as the future and which was similarly melancholy. Only later did I realize that this is the kind of science fiction that E. M. Forster might have written--that he did write, actually, though to compare this to his dystopian short story, "The Machine Stops," is probably wrong. It's more similar to Howard's End, I think, with its famous injunction to "only connect." An even closer match are Isaac Asimov's robot stories, many of which are concerned with the capacity of robots to love. Asimov's laws of robotics eventually lead the robots to leave humanity behind for their own good, just as the AIs in Her do.

But in many ways, this film is sui generis, and that, I think, is a gift as generous as any a film can offer.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 12:48:04 AM by Charles Hussein Castle »
You know, if the space man puma thing turns out to be the correct religion, I for one will be very surprised.


Online Darth Geek

  • The Efron
  • ****
  • Posts: 27764
  • Liked: 5618
  • I am boring and destined to die alone!
Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #13772 on: March 12, 2014, 05:27:22 AM »
I should check out Her sometime. I really liked Lars And The Real Girl, and it seems like it has similarities to that.



Online Darth Geek

  • The Efron
  • ****
  • Posts: 27764
  • Liked: 5618
  • I am boring and destined to die alone!
Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #13773 on: March 12, 2014, 05:42:14 AM »
Peabody and Sherman - It was nice. Not great by any means, but certainly not as bad as it should have been given the other adaptations like it. They did a really good job with the expansion of the relationship between Peabody and Sherman. Something necessary going from shorts to a feature, but where adaptations usually falter the most.
  I do like that this movie doesn't completely ignore the bloodiness and death in history. Yeah, it's a kids movie, and nothing is shown. But I thought it could have been neutered even worse.
  I know that's the joke from the shorts, but for a movie I thought Peabody was just too perfect. He was able to do any skill (with gusto) necessary at the time. Giving him one skill he couldn't master I think would have been interesting. Ironically the one thing they tried to do with him by making him an overprotective parent doesn't really make any sense. Peabody regularly takes Sherman back to important points in history to witness them firsthand, many of which are extreemely dangerous! They are ON THE GROUND, out in the open, for the beginning of the French Revolution, for crying out loud. When in the movie the time machine flies and can be invisible (a wonderful redesign, by the way), they could be observing this safe from the air. But the fact that they don't, and Peabody is so casual in these parts, really conflicts with Peabody constantly telling Sherman "he can't handle this".
  I think we could have done without the "save the world" part of the plot which seemed tacked onto the end. And we DEFINITELY could have done without the cliche villain character Mrs. Grunion. The little girl Penny could have been done much better. I don't mind that she was an adversary at the beginning, and surprisingly I didn't even mind Sherman's crush on her later. It's just that EVERYTHING she did was strictly dictated by the plot.
  Ultimately, the movie was only occasionally as fun as it should have been, and really didn't have that many laugh out loud jokes. Ironically, this is one time where I didn't mind the puns, as they fit with the shorts. But aside from them, I expected to laugh more. There seemed to be whole stretches where they weren't even trying to be funny. Just getting from one setpiece to another.
  Oh, and Leonardo da Vinci's mechanical boy wasn't very creepy looking. Especially given how many times they kept going back to that joke.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 05:58:14 AM by Darth Geek »



Quantum Vagina

  • Guest
Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #13774 on: March 12, 2014, 10:11:43 PM »
Finally watched some movies I hadn't seen so I could post in this thread again!

Thor: The Dark World was pretty damned good. I really enjoyed most of it, but Odin kind of threw me. Hiddleston was MAGNIFICENT as usual, and the rest of the cast did an excellent job as well. I don't know what it is, but I REALLY liked Natalie Portman in this movie. I think she's fantastic as Jane Foster, especially in this film. As much as I liked the movie, though, I wasn't as fond of it as I was of Thor. I absolutely LOVED Thor, and this was good, but it felt a little off. I don't think Thor holds up quite as well as Iron Man did for his post Avengers movie. I just kept having to rationalize why Tony Stark wouldn't show up during the final fight scene to help his buddy. I can understand Cap, Widow, Hawkeye and Hulk not showing up. Thinking about it, though, I guess he HAD given up on being Iron Man. Beats me.

Conan the Barbarian(The Schwarzenegger one) was also a really fun movie that I really enjoyed. I loved the fact that Conan was almost as disgusting a character as Thulsa Doom, but we weren't being told how evil he was. He was a Barbarian, not a hero. Every time I saw him do something monumentally stupid, like sleeping with the OBVIOUS DEMON POSSESSED WITCH, it seemed perfectly reasonable to me, because no one ever said barbarians were smart. Also, any movie where someone punches out a camel is going to be at least somewhat good.


Offline RoninFox

  • Gryffindork
  • ******
  • Posts: 14018
  • Liked: 2380
    • Ronin Fox Trax
Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #13775 on: March 13, 2014, 09:20:09 AM »
Conan the Barbarian(The Schwarzenegger one) was also a really fun movie that I really enjoyed. I loved the fact that Conan was almost as disgusting a character as Thulsa Doom, but we weren't being told how evil he was. He was a Barbarian, not a hero. Every time I saw him do something monumentally stupid, like sleeping with the OBVIOUS DEMON POSSESSED WITCH, it seemed perfectly reasonable to me, because no one ever said barbarians were smart. Also, any movie where someone punches out a camel is going to be at least somewhat good.

Conan was still practically PC in that movie compared to the original Robert E Howard stories, but it was an incredibly fun movie. 
RoninFoxTrax Presents The Thing

gum.co/RFTthing


Online Darth Geek

  • The Efron
  • ****
  • Posts: 27764
  • Liked: 5618
  • I am boring and destined to die alone!
Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #13776 on: March 13, 2014, 09:38:53 AM »

Conan the Barbarian(The Schwarzenegger one) was also a really fun movie that I really enjoyed. I loved the fact that Conan was almost as disgusting a character as Thulsa Doom, but we weren't being told how evil he was. He was a Barbarian, not a hero. Every time I saw him do something monumentally stupid, like sleeping with the OBVIOUS DEMON POSSESSED WITCH, it seemed perfectly reasonable to me, because no one ever said barbarians were smart. Also, any movie where someone punches out a camel is going to be at least somewhat good.

I agree that he isn't necessarily likeable in the traditional sense. I certainly wouldn't want to see him ruling a land. I think he could easily eventually become like Thulsa Doom that way.

I recommend the OneWallCinema iRiff of this.
"Run! Frolic! Plaaay.!"



Online Darth Geek

  • The Efron
  • ****
  • Posts: 27764
  • Liked: 5618
  • I am boring and destined to die alone!
Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #13777 on: March 13, 2014, 09:24:28 PM »
About an hour or so into STRIPES, and it's...just not very funny.



Offline Edward J Grug III

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 16140
  • Liked: 2599
  • Forum Tokens Collected: 5000
    • Glorious Bounty
Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #13778 on: March 13, 2014, 09:25:27 PM »
About an hour or so into STRIPES, and it's...just not very funny.

GET OUT.
FINE


Offline RoninFox

  • Gryffindork
  • ******
  • Posts: 14018
  • Liked: 2380
    • Ronin Fox Trax
Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #13779 on: March 14, 2014, 04:14:58 AM »
About an hour or so into STRIPES, and it's...just not very funny.

GET OUT.

No kidding, you have it backwards.  It's the LAST hour of Stripes that becomes not very funny.  The basic training scenes are brilliant.
RoninFoxTrax Presents The Thing

gum.co/RFTthing


Online Darth Geek

  • The Efron
  • ****
  • Posts: 27764
  • Liked: 5618
  • I am boring and destined to die alone!
Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #13780 on: March 14, 2014, 08:07:32 PM »
Finished STRIPES. Yeah, I didn't find it very funny. There are a couple jokes I laughed at, but they were few and far between. A shame because this entire cast is normally hilarious.

Also, it's worth noting that I got the BluRay of this from Netflix and the picture quality is TERRIBLE. I don't know what they did, if they did anything, to convert this. If you want to get this, just go for the DVD.



Offline Relaxing Dragon

  • Bilbo Baggins Balladeer
  • ******
  • Posts: 4200
  • Liked: 1218
  • I raise my eyebrow at you, sir.
Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #13781 on: March 15, 2014, 07:58:52 AM »
Used Cars. A very early 80s T&A comedy by way of super vintage Robert Zemeckis and Kurt Russell, and one that I totally loved. It's got a remarkably anarchistic spirit to it (and a complete refusal to adhere to any real morality) that you don't see... well, ever, in Zemeckis' work. Interesting to see how far he's come from these roots (not to mention Russell didn't do nearly enough comedy work). A lot of the gags are fairly brilliant, especially all the car lot ads ("Look out! It's high prices!"), and the finale is actually quite impressive for movie that's otherwise so small scale. I'm gonna have to see if I can pick this up when it hits Blu-ray (on a super limited edition apparently).


Offline mearnest

  • Big Montana
  • *****
  • Posts: 635
  • Liked: 26
  • If life gives you poop. Make poop juice.
Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #13782 on: March 15, 2014, 07:21:04 PM »
Just got back from Veronica Mars.  I thought it was a pretty solid follow-up to the series.
'No one does it to you like Roman Polanski' - The Tenant


Offline BathTub

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 8383
  • Liked: 356
Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #13783 on: March 16, 2014, 02:39:14 AM »
Just got back from Veronica Mars.  I thought it was a pretty solid follow-up to the series.

Yeah I am looking forward to it, just got to rewatch the series first before I do. Given the crappy Flixster release on that one for Backers I shamelessly grabbed a torrent of a decent copy.


Offline Charles Castle

  • Big Montana
  • *****
  • Posts: 865
  • Liked: 514
  • I crap bigger than this movie.
Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #13784 on: March 17, 2014, 10:56:38 PM »
The Bad Sleep Well (1960, Akira Kurosawa) is probably Kurosawa's darkest film, an angry indictment of extreme corporate corruption in a rapidly westernized Japan. It opens with a western-style wedding with heavy amounts of exposition delivered through a paparazzi-like press group commenting on the event like a Greek chorus, but then switches into a suspenseful revenge story that seems to foreshadow the plots of both Yojimbo and High and Low, with Toshiro Mifune attempting to destroy the top individuals of a corrupt corporation like a virus from within, concocting elaborate, disturbing revenges while working as a dutiful secretary. Occasionally his resolve falters and he lapses into sentimentality, and the film follows suit, striving to make itself angry but periodically falling back on Kurosawa's more forgiving, humanist roots. There is a certain literariness to all of this, with characters motivated by feelings of guilt (or lack thereof), repeated throughout the story in neat patterns, and, except for a few scenes of expository overload, it's handled with aplomb and feels as Shakespearean as his actual Shakespeare adaptations. But the most impressive element here is the mise-en-scene: the screen is constantly cluttered with western clothes, cars, music, etc., suggesting that what's being criticized here is more than just corporate corruption, but the whole western-style corporate system that has taken over Japan, a Japan demolished by WWII and rebuilt as a western replica.
You know, if the space man puma thing turns out to be the correct religion, I for one will be very surprised.