Author Topic: Respond to the last movie you watched (Jan 2011 - Nov 2013)  (Read 1318156 times)

Lobby

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Re: Write about the last movie you watched
« Reply #6970 on: September 05, 2011, 01:58:44 PM »
I've never understood being "conformist". I like what I like. If it so happens that hundreds of other people like it as well... good for them.

Awww. You've clearly never been a punk rocker. ;)
Some things never change I suppose.
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Lobby

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Re: Write about the last movie you watched
« Reply #6971 on: September 05, 2011, 02:01:43 PM »
Lobby I sure hope you don't feel hestitant to give your true opinion! 

No way! I chose this hedgehog as my avatar for a reason. While I'm kind of soft and squisy deep down, I've got a nice skin to protect me. So no worries! :) I'll soon post my take on The New World.  8)
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Totoro

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Re: Write about the last movie you watched
« Reply #6972 on: September 05, 2011, 03:00:17 PM »
Bah, this is getting derailed. One thing I don't get is the attack that Inception isn't "dreamy" enough, that somehow there's a rubric to write and direct dreams. I don't know about you, but not all of my dreams seem to be directed by Lynch or Gilliam! I'd say Nolan has captured the "Am I dreaming?" quality of dreams better than anyone else.

From my outlook, it always seems as if film critics are harder on Nolan's films or come up with bizarre complaints (like the one I just mentioned). Not enough credit is given by cinephiles it sometimes seems.

But then again, Hitchcock wasn't really appreciated back in his day either. ;)

'Noke

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Re: Write about the last movie you watched
« Reply #6973 on: September 05, 2011, 03:21:38 PM »
Which of those are top 100 picks verbALs?
I actually consider a lot of movies to be life-changing! I take them to my heart and they melt into my personality.

Lobby

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Re: Write about the last movie you watched
« Reply #6974 on: September 05, 2011, 03:50:44 PM »
The New World (Terrence Malick, US, 2005)

Deep down I knew I was doing it wrong as I watched Terrence Malick's The New World from 2005.

My TV screen would have been huge with the measures of the early 80s, but 2011, it looks comparatively tiny and underwhelming, fine for watching news or a simple TV show, but not the standard you need for an optimal Malick experience. I knew that the score and the cinematography probably was a shadow of what it must have been when it was shown in a proper cinema.

Watching it at home also inevitably meant that I was exposed to distractions. I had breaks to refill my coffee mug, answer the phone and to tend to my physical needs whenever they came up. All those things I wouldn't dream of doing in a theatre.

Reoccurring disruptions is something you don't wish for any movie, but they're particularly harmful to this one. It has a fluid, dreamy and hazy narrative, which asks for your full attention and immersion. You really shouldn't watch it in any other way than one long, beautiful sweep. But I did. I cut it into several pieces.

I’m telling you all this about the circumstances, to put my take on Malick into a context. Maybe this write-up will be a little bit unfair. Maybe I would have reacted differently had I seen it the proper way. It is what it is. At least you can't say I'm not honest with you.

Pocahontas x 3
The first time I watched the Pocahontas story on screen was in the form of a Disney movie, which I guess I didn't like very much. I never returned to it once I was sure that my girls were capable to watch it on their own. And I don't remember a thing from it apart from noticing that the songs were boring.

In my second Pocahontas movie, the princess had suddenly gone blue, tall and moved to outer space. The sailing boats were accordingly replaced with space shuttles. After a start which I found OK (as a vivid online computer game player, I thought the avatar idea as such was pretty nice), the movie went downhill quickly. The final thirty minutes were miserable, containing a tedious, pointless and misplaced chasing sequence, which looked like the leftovers from a Vietnam movie.

Fast forward to this third take on Pocahontas. And to start on the positive side, it was by far the best one of the lot.

A fairy tale
The story of The New World simple and resembles and is more of a fairy tale than an attempt to reconstruct history. In its core, it's a tale about love with complications. Boy meets girl, love springs up at first sight and grows quickly, they overcome difficulties, but circumstances keep the couple apart. A new love pops up and eventually the girl will face a tricky choice situation. Easy enough.
There’s also a second theme, the story of a paradise lost because of the evil, greedy conquerors from the western civilization who bring violence, death, illness and disaster to the poor, innocent, indigenous people.

Or as John Smith puts it in one of the many voiceovers:

“They are gentle, loving, faithful, lacking in all guile and trickery. The words denoting lying, deceit, greed, envy, slander, and forgiveness have never been heard. They have no jealousy, no sense of possession. Real, what I thought a dream.”

It's not complicated. While The Tree of Life puzzled and challenged me intellectually, The New World takes the straight road from point A to point B.

Sometimes the story proceeds slowly. Accompanied by classical music we follow the camera on its exploring tours, investigating trees, fields and waters. It reminds a bit of the sceneries in Tree of Life, but without the dinosaurs and galaxies.

Sometimes the story takes sudden leaps, letting months or years pass within seconds.

Not once did I find myself at a loss about what was going on. In one way I suppose this is a good thing, but in another way it was as if a bit of the magic was gone. Something was lacking. A feeling. A tremble. A touch.

I also expect movie characters to show more than one dimension. I want them to feel like real people, being a blend of good and bad, of light and darkness. Mixed and a little bit messed up. I imagine that I learn something about myself as I watch how they struggle with their lives and their conflicting thoughts and emotions.

But Pocahontas isn’t mixed or messed up at all. Just as the Mother in The Tree of Life, she's playful, so close to the nature that she's sort of divine. She's not a real person anymore than those fairy tale Indians and I can't relate to her and her people. They  feel a bit stereotypical, as if they'd been modelled after an article in a very old encyclopedia.

A pretty movie
Another thought I couldn't get out of my mind was how pretty everything was. Pocahontas was pretty, the Indians were pretty, the landscape was pretty, every single soul apart from the ugly Englishmen were pretty, but if you looked closely enough, I'd say they were pretty too, at least when they were back in England.

All those pretty images. What do they represent? And what am I supposed to do with them? Don't tell me "shampoo advertising", because that thought is just rude and I forced it out of my head as soon as it popped up.

While I’m in the section for mixed whining, I have to mention Colin Farrell, playing the part of John Smith, the first guy to fall in love with Pocahontas.

I don’t know what's wrong with him, but he looks the same way throughout the entire film, carrying that typical look-at-the-sad-and-tragic-abandoned puppy-face. I don’t normally have anything against Farrell as an actor, but I don’t think this role was a good fit for him.

Q’orianka Kilcher on the other hand was perfect as Pocahontas.

The verdict
So where do I land in my final verdict over The New World? Obviously I do have some complaints, of which some might have to do with that I watched it "the wrong way". On the other hand I'm not immune against all the beauty and his efforts to make movie poetry. It's a good movie for someone like me who like nature photography and bittersweet love stories.
 
I don't personally consider Malick a genius, but I can understand and respect that others may feel that way.

And maybe I'll get fonder of him as I watch more of his works and see the pattern, how they all relate to each other. I'm definitely not done with him yet.

My rating: a weak 4/5
« Last Edit: September 05, 2011, 03:57:02 PM by Lobby »
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Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Write about the last movie you watched
« Reply #6975 on: September 05, 2011, 04:25:51 PM »
Interesting that you found it a damnation of western civilization. What I think the movie does well is not play the blame game. It's an inevitable conflict and no one side is to be blamed.

I think Smith's notions of the natives is very idealized, something Malick plays with in the images, showing that Smith twists what he sees into some dreamlike world.

It's one of those rare films where I find that there's just a bit more too it than the last time I saw it.

sdedalus

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Re: Write about the last movie you watched
« Reply #6976 on: September 05, 2011, 04:29:35 PM »
There’s also a second theme, the story of a paradise lost because of the evil, greedy conquerors from the western civilization who bring violence, death, illness and disaster to the poor, innocent, indigenous people.

Or as John Smith puts it in one of the many voiceovers:

“They are gentle, loving, faithful, lacking in all guile and trickery. The words denoting lying, deceit, greed, envy, slander, and forgiveness have never been heard. They have no jealousy, no sense of possession. Real, what I thought a dream.”

It's not complicated. While The Tree of Life puzzled and challenged me intellectually, The New World takes the straight road from point A to point B.

I think that is the way Smith sees the natives, but that is not necessarily the way we are supposed to see them.  The film paints a far more complicated portrait of both the Indians and the English.

I'm curious if you watched the theatrical cut or the extended edition (the extended has title cards for different chapters, the original does not).  I like them both, but I think the theatrical cut is better.
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Lobby

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Re: Write about the last movie you watched
« Reply #6977 on: September 05, 2011, 04:34:05 PM »
@Sdeadalus & Sam: Yes, I felt it was pretty one-sided in heaven and hell so to say and didn't "get" that it was supposed to show the somewhat flawed perception of Smith. Not that I'm saying I'm right and you're wrong. I've only watched it once and you've apparently seen it several times. :)

The thing with native populations is that they weren't always as nice and heavenlike that we'd like them to be. I'm not a historian, but as far as I understand, inkas for instance had a very tough hierarchial society where it probably was nice to be an aristocrat, but pretty awful to be a peasant. It doesn't justify being cruel and greedy, taking whatever land you want at any cost. I just believe that things might have been more complicated and not this postcard-like.

On the other hand, I guess historical correctness isn't what Malick is aiming for, so it's probably irrelevant.

@Sdedalus: I recorded it from the television. It must have been the shorter version.
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'Noke

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Re: Write about the last movie you watched
« Reply #6978 on: September 05, 2011, 04:34:19 PM »
Interesting that you found it a damnation of western civilization. What I think the movie does well is not play the blame game. It's an inevitable conflict and no one side is to be blamed.

I found it too, it's part of why I loved it so much. However, Malick doesn't damn the western civilisation as much as my emotions do, I feel deeply connected to everything before they move to England and while those parts are gorgeous as well, there's still some disconnect for me there. Which I think is brilliant.
I actually consider a lot of movies to be life-changing! I take them to my heart and they melt into my personality.

Lobby

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Re: Write about the last movie you watched
« Reply #6979 on: September 05, 2011, 04:38:28 PM »
I found it too, it's part of why I loved it so much.

I came to think of something: have you watched Koyaanisqatsi? If not I have the feeling you might like it. I actually do. Or did. It's been quite a while since I watched it, but it made quite an unforgettable impression on me as I watched it in my youth. Made me very pro-native population and anti-civilization so to say. Nowadays I'm a bit more jaded, seeing things in shadows rather than in black and white. But I still think it's a very interesting movie.
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