What was the last movie you watched?

Discussion in 'Film & Television' started by Shadow Fox, May 27, 2016.

  1. 5oul Crusher

    5oul Crusher sinew and steel

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    The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Reading the Silmarillion definitely improved my experience of the Hobbit films, although I haven't seen The Battle of the Five Armies yet. That will have to wait for another evening.
     
  2. Leaf

    Leaf Newbie

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    American Assisian on Netflix was the last movie I watched.
     
  3. JennyorAlice

    JennyorAlice Senior Member

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    The last movie I got to see was Doctor Dolittle with Robert Downey Jr. in it. My hubby and I went to see it on one of my days off. It was a good movie. I can tell my hubby liked it because he laughed a lot during the movie.
     
  4. 5oul Crusher

    5oul Crusher sinew and steel

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    The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. So much better than The Desolation of Smaug. I can understand people's reservations about all the dramatic reversals, however the mythic symbolism was strong in this one as the characters were in the throws of fate, severely upsetting the balance of power before Sauron's machinations came to fruition, and essentially setting Middle-Earth from being an Epic History that's played out into the setting where the Lord of the Rings can take place.

    The White Orc was so baller in this. Thorin, played Dwarf King well in his own well-cut but deeply flawed way. I'm pretty sure that the arkenstone is one of the Silmarils (you know the ones that the Silmarillion is named after). Hence I believe that is the reason why Bilbo was able to resist the call of the Ring until old age because he had been in procession an object of greater power and significance than the One Ring. Even in old age Bilbo was willingly able to part with the Ring, a feat that is never repeated.

    The part where Galadriel shows up to save Gandalf hilariously felt like a max level raid boss fight. Also Galadriel at this point is on a slightly higher power tier than Sauron, from having a glowing mention early on in the Silmarillion, where as Sauron through still from early in the world does not ascend to power until much later on (being one of the key traits of all who follow Malkor). Galadriel does not offer immortality as the cost of finally defeating Malkor in single combat, which reflects the hubris of the Elves.

    In some ways it feels like The Battle of Five Armies was setting up for the final act, while in other ways was setting machinations into play. It also hints at a work for the final act of Middle Earth was an endeavour Tolkien never intended to write while placing the brushstrokes for a truely mythic final act (something that all the Classic are somewhat systematically missing).
     
  5. Osiris

    Osiris New Member

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    [​IMG]
    ★★★★

    "Boycotting the buses in Montgomery. Segregation in Birmingham. Now? Voting in Selma. One struggle ends just to go right to the next and the next. If you think of it in that way, it's a hard road, but I don't think of it that way. I think of these efforts as one effort and that effort is for our life."
    - Martin Luther King Jr, Selma (2014)


    Over the past week and a half, we've seen horrific images on both our television screen and on the web, images that would resemble a third-world country ran under a dictatorship. In troubled times like these, it's easy to let ourselves fall into cynicism and feel that nothing has changed in our 50 year war for racial rights. In fact, the day before I watched this film, I was prepared to bear such a sentiment myself by the end of it.

    Selma recounts the final years of Martin Luther King Jr. (the Oscar snubbed David Oyelowo) from 1964 up to 1968, but it's largely centered on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by King. Despite criticisms for certain historical inaccuracies, including the vilification of president at the time, Lyndon B. Johnson (Tom Wilkinson), the events recounted in the film only further strengthened my conviction that little has changed since the '60s, from the excessive force exhibited by the law enforcement officers during peaceful protests to "covert racism" dressed under subtlety and hypocrisy to corrupted politicians waging a domestic war on American citizens, caring more about how it makes them look than what it does to the people. Yes, 2020 doesn't leave much room for optimism.

    But then I started to pull back my rage and reflect a little upon our current privileges, our privilege to vote and protest regardless of race, gender or even sexuality - or sit wherever we want in a damn bus for that matter. There's light in the tunnel Martin has opened for us, and there's light to be found in this tale of the great man as well (one of the few movies out there actually about MLK and his civil right movements that's not a documentary, whereas JFK had at least five movies about him and his assassination). But more importantly, the light I speak of comes in the form of retrospect, that today, in 2020, we've come further than ever to a universal agreement that to persecute anyone by the color of their skin is not only intolerable, but an utterly barbaric and antiquated concept that would only revert society back to uncivilized times. Police brutality hasn't changed much, but at least now bystanders are doing more than just standing by idly. Furthermore, racism is now being documented on an iPhone. It's not much, certainly not the ideal future people have fought for their children in the '60s when a black man could be murdered in the daylight on the street, but the hard road has indeed come far since the days of cotton fields.

    And I think such an optimistic perspective towards the film and the progress we've made is indeed befitting for the simple man who had a dream of equal men (and women). Hell, even the writer (Paul Webb) wasn't afraid to inject some humor into an otherwise grim look of human atrocities. There's a very uplifting approach to its theme of racial equality, particularly in its portrayal of white Americans who also share the heartache of witnessing people beaten down for demanding human rights.

    In retrospective contrast, it certainly has a more sanguine approach than the likes of Malcolm X, a figure whose biographical film I shall visit the following week (though in retrospect, I felt like I should've watched it before "Selma").
     
    #825 Osiris, Jun 7, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2020
  6. Osiris

    Osiris New Member

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    [​IMG]
    Malcolm X
    ★★★★½

    "We've never seen no democracy - all we've seen is hypocrisy. We don't see any American dream. We've experienced only the American nightmare."

    That was how the 1992 Spike Lee biographical film "Malcolm X" had opened with, a series of disturbing imagery featuring police brutality against black Americans and the American flag being burned away to form the letter X. Looking back now that I've finished the film, it's almost hilariously obvious why such an ostentatious opening was needed, not merely to highlight the kind of police violence that still exists today, but more likely, to highlight the kind of polluted image we have of the activist known as X.

    In my research (while watching the film) regarding Malcolm's Muslim background, I came across a couple of interesting articles; some of them criticized the "extremist" (and filmmaker Spike Lee in regards to feminism) while others defended his tarnished image many of us still bear today. Many would remember Malcolm as the militant counterpart to Martin Luther King Jr, the Magneto to Professor X, the Batman to Superman.

    One such article by Omar Suleiman on "Al Jazeera" (a news website in the Middle East), made an interesting observation. In his article, he noted that he gave his students two sets of quotes. The first one, "Ignorance of each other is what has made unity impossible in the past. Therefore, we need enlightenment. We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity. Once we have more knowledge (light) about each other, we will stop condemning each other and a United front will be brought about," sounds like something our beloved Dr. King would say. Meanwhile, the latter, "The majority of white Americans consider themselves sincerely committed to justice for the N****. They believe that American society is essentially hospitable to fair play and to steady growth toward a middle-class Utopia embodying racial harmony. But unfortunately this is a fantasy of self-deception and comfortable vanity," is a more extremist view befitting Malcolm. Right? Unfortunately, the reverse is the truth. Much like the author's students (and I'm sure a number of you), I mistook the true source of each quote. History and historians tend to favor simplifying the truth for convenience, but as we know, reality is hardly simple or convenient.

    I was further surprised to learn that Malcolm had intentionally allowed himself to be demonised to further the narrative that MLK was on the side of justice, whereas he... was the villain everyone could loathe. A silence martyr. I was surprised, but not confused by this decision. Watching the film, it made a lot of sense that Malcolm would be a man of such integrity. In hindsight, Malcolm's existence, his actions and, ultimately, his martyrdom were integral to Martin's Civil Rights Movement. A comment on YouTube (of all places) said it well, that "MLK was the voice of "Give us our rights," whereas Malcolm X was the voice of "Or else." Both men made great sacrifices to bring us to where we are today in 2020, but truth be told, I prefer Spike Lee's "Malcolm X" to "Selma", the latter of which feels like a higher quality Hallmark special.

    Spike Lee's Malcolm X (Denzel Washington), on the other hand, is a more thorough examination of Malcolm's life contemplating just what kind of man Malcolm is and what kind of man he seeks to be, chronicling his years as a troubled kid growing up in Boston, his time in prison after a series of robberies, his meeting with "Nation of Islam" leader, Elijah Muhammad (Al Freeman, Jr), his rise as an activist, and ultimately, his assassination. The last of which is a significant portrayal that separates this film from the more hopeful "Selma" (in fact, it's a lot more brutal and graphic than I expected).

    I've said in my Selma review that the film's optimistic tone was an approach that befits MLK, and I still don't regret my words. It was fitting for the man, and I was glad that the film remembered him for the glory of how he lived, not how he died (although there was a brief footnote describing his murder). But Malcolm X was a different case. Malcolm was unjustifiably vilified by history, and many had voiced out that Lee might misportray him in the time leading up to the film's release. Thankfully, that wasn't the case. In the last few scenes leading up to the finale, Malcolm seemed almost prophetic of his death, like he knew he was going to be killed the moment he stepped up to that podium, uncoincidentally in the same manner Jesus knew of his betrayal. Spike portrayed him in such a way that it's left to the audience to interpret what Malcolm's final thoughts must be as he contemplated the kind of man he must become for his people, even if it would cost his life. This was made all the more tragic when I learned of his (possible) willingness to be demonized for the success of MLK.

    So yes, I do think that the film needed such a violent footnote to create the appropriate gut-punch and whiplash. After following his journey and his struggle from a small-time crook to an angry extremist to his discovery of equality and brotherhood among men of all colors, I feel that it was important that his violent end was witnessed on-screen as a reminder of the injustice done not only to black people, but also his name and legacy. It was fitting then the true ending of the film was a montage of footages where African children were cheering his name while holding up a Malcolm X poster, and right as Nelson Mandela speaks of his legend in school, the kids consecutively shouts in individual shots, "I am Malcolm X!"

    But if I could be frank... the Bill Cosby shot was unfortunately dated. Big oof.
     
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  7. Oh Snape

    Oh Snape House Bantsratheon
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    Denzel And Spike got boned at the academy awards for that one. Recently watched Who Killed Malcolm X docu on Netflix. That era is so dodgy its not even funny.

    Anyway, speaking of Spike, just seen Da 5 Bloods. The trailer does a nice job of making it look like a run of mill war flick complete with extended flashbacks but pulls the switcheroo by making you sit through a conventional Spike flick with all the social commentary with backdrop of the ghosts of Vietnam war.

    Its a bit long and they could've given more of the characters additional depth (Delroy Lindo's character drives most of the plot). Also Tropic Thunder really kills some of the impactful scenes in this movie lol. But movie was original, kept you guessing and the dialogue was on point. Also Clay Davis. Shieeeeeet.

    3.5/5
     
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  8. Osiris

    Osiris New Member

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    ★★★★½
    I wrote an angry tirade in reaction to not the movie specifically, but to the bleak reality we live in currently which mirrors a lot of the film's aspects. But I scrapped it and just decided to give it a rating. I don't want to stir up any hornet nests, especially in sensitive times like this.

    But damn, it's a real hard-hitting movie with frank truths about America both in the '60s and today, albeit using speculative facts.

    Can't believe he only got a f***ing fine of $5,000.
     
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  9. Osiris

    Osiris New Member

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    ★★★

    It took me around two to three days to finish this film because I was too distracted from the director's cut three hour runtime and poor pacing. In what I had hoped to be a film that explores the scars that Kennedy's murder had left America, I instead experienced scene after scene after scene of who did this and who said that. Granted, such detailed examinations and investigations of the intricate details surrounding the witnesses and suspects involved in the cover-up are significant parts of history. But as a film, as a form of media entertainment, it's unfortunately draggy and overstuffed, resulting in the dilution of otherwise heartbreaking scenes that reminiscent on the great loss the American people suffered, the loss not being just a literal loss of a great man and a great (but flawed) president, but also the kind of loss Americans had to suffer as a result of the Vietnam War's withdrawal efforts (as pushed by John Kennedy and his also assassinated brother, Robert Kennedy) being invalidated upon John's assassination, ultimately leading to Vietnamese women and children being slaughtered by American soldiers in the 1968 My Lai Massacre. All in the name of money.

    I'm not one for conspiracy theories. I don't care much about them. I care about facts and truths that are backed by hard evidence rather than the circumstantial kind. That being said, if a large portion of what is proclaimed in the film was true, specifically the eyewitness accounts, then the JFK conspiracy could hardly be labeled a mere baseless conspiracy. That's too much smoke to claim a lack of fire. Then there's The Zapruder Film. It was disturbing enough imagining that the president could be assassinated in broad daylight, but it's an understatement to say that witnessing the footage Oliver Stone's film and Kennedy's head being blown open again (and again and again) was upsetting. But there it is, quite clear even with its dated quality, that the killing shot was indeed from the front, not the back, where the book depository was located. The magic bullet did not exist. Many men have probably combed over such a blatant and sloppy cover-up attempt over the years prior to '91, but Stone conveyed to his audience (albeit just as sloppily) the kind of power the government could potentially have over its people through lies and deceit... even if it's mostly made-up.

    Putting aside the kind of attention on our government the film brought to the audience, I still have to return to my initial point - it is an overstuffed film full of meandering. There were a number of things that should have rightly been cut, if it hadn't already in the theatrical release, such as Bill Broussard (Michael Rooker)'s whole subplot that didn't go anywhere significant, and many of the "key witnesses" to Garrison's case could have had their screentime shortened to a montage, especially when their testifying led to a pointless trial against Clay Shaw anyway, as history would remember. And the bad pacing is the least of the problem in this overdramatized retelling of the Garrison trial.

    Speaking of the glaringly dated portrayal of the gay man, this was probably the biggest misstep in Stone's film, including his portrayal of Garrison as a typical heroic white man in search of the truth. The real life Garrison investigation was a sloppy mess, as the media would describe it today in 2020. But whether if Garrison was truly what Stone and Costner have us believe, a hero so unbelievably cliched in his staunchness for truth, justice and the American way or just a hypocrite with something against homosexuals is irrelevant; what's more important is Stone's handling of Shaw's portrayal, particularly tying his homosexuality to the more tasteless elements like Hitler. I just feel that, looking back today in 2020, with the LGBTQ community recently receiving a big win in Congress, that such a portrayal seems incredibly dated in hindsight. But you know what they say about hindsight.

    So when it comes down to it, JFK is unfortunately a product of its time, a sensationalized piece that might have been produced with good intentions, but filled with cliches and exaggerations that cheapen its value as a reflection of such a historical event.
     

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