Author Topic: Resurrecting the Movies thread...  (Read 732718 times)

Offline MaineWriter

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Re: Resurrecting the Movies thread...
« Reply #990 on: July 15, 2008, 03:26:01 pm »

4) Re Kindle -- Leslie, I've been interested in the Kindle, but I'm concerned about one aspect of it. If you lose or wreck it, does that mean you lose all of the books you purchased on it? I'd be afraid to have hundreds of dollars worth of books at stake in that one little package. Or are your purchases kept on record, so you can just buy new hardware and re-download your same texts?


Hey Katherine, good to see you!

If you buy books at amazon.com, they are stored in "Your Media Library" at amazon. So they are always available to you there for download. Say you finish a book and you delete it from your Kindle, then decide later you want to read it again, you can download it again.

If you buy books from different sites (fictionwise, mobipocket), many of those sites also store your purchased books, so you can download them again should the need arise.

Free book sites--well, they're free, so just go and get them for free again!

You can also transfer books from your Kindle to your PC via the USB cable. You can't read them on your PC but you can back them up so you have them available locally in case something happens to your Kindle.

I started a thread called the E-Book files over in the Creative Writer's Corner. If you want to ask me a million questions about the Kindle--which I am happy to answer--maybe we should take this discussion over there and keep this thread focused on movies.

Leslie

PS. The Film Club is very good. Katherine, as a mom with teenage boys, I think you might find it very interesting. I know as a mother of teens, it speaks to me. L
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Offline tamarack

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Re: Resurrecting the Movies thread...
« Reply #991 on: July 16, 2008, 09:07:00 pm »
I just got home from my son's house where we watched a movie called The Prestige. I apologize if it has been mentioned here before. Has anybody else seen it? It's from 2006, I believe. I can safely say that this is maybe the best movie I've seen since Brokeback, at least in terms of having to do some thinking about what I just saw, even after discussing it for 15 minutes or so with my son, who has seen it 4 or 5 times. I'm going to have to watch it some more in order to catch everything.

It's a movie about rival magicians and the name comes from the three stages of a magic trick. First, there is the setup, or the "pledge," where the magician shows the audience something that appears ordinary but is probably not, making use of misdirection. Next is the performance, or the "turn," where the magician makes the ordinary act extraordinary. Lastly, there is the "prestige," where the effect of the illusion is produced.

There are trailers online that you can watch to see if you are interested. I knew after about 5 seconds that this would be a good movie, but I had no idea it would be so involved and hold so many secrets.

This movie reminds me of Memento in many ways. For those of you who haven't seen Memento, the movie starts at the end and proceeds toward the beginning in sections, and you discover the story along the way. Even after you've seen it once there are still many reasons to watch it again with your new-found knowledge. I feel the same way about The Prestige.

BTW, there is a good explanation of it on Wikipedia, but don't read it until you see the movie. Use it to answer the questions that you have after you watch it for the first or second time. 

Oh yeah...Hugh Jackman is in it.   :)

Offline MaineWriter

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Re: Resurrecting the Movies thread...
« Reply #992 on: July 16, 2008, 10:35:02 pm »
Tamarack,

I loved The Prestige. I loved everything about it, even though it took a few watchings to get it all.

It is particularly fitting that you saw it this week with the Batman movie on our heels...also featuring Christian Bale.

L
« Last Edit: July 17, 2008, 07:56:50 am by MaineWriter »
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Offline tamarack

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Re: Resurrecting the Movies thread...
« Reply #993 on: July 17, 2008, 07:06:43 am »
Hi, Leslie! Yes, this is an amazing movie. I'm glad to hear you liked it, too; I wondered if I was overreacting!

And Christian Bale, of course!  I've got Batman Begins from Netflix which I intended to watch again before TDK; I guess I'd better get going on that, eh?

Offline BelAir

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Re: Resurrecting the Movies thread...
« Reply #994 on: July 17, 2008, 09:54:19 am »
I watched a HORRIBLE movie last night, called Hostage with Bruce Willis.  Really, the part of the movie regarding the kidnapped children I could have tolerated (despite the loop holes) but there was this second coexistent 'crazy murderous teenager' plot that was just absolutely horrendous (and horrific)... 

Horrible horrible horrible.

That said, it was so compelling I couldn't turn off the TV.  I was like "I should not be watching this.  I cannot believe I am sitting here watching this horrible horrible stuff... but there I sat..."

 :-\

No one should watch this movie ever.
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: Resurrecting the Movies thread...
« Reply #995 on: July 18, 2008, 08:12:19 pm »
ps - nice to see you again crayons!

Thanks, BelAir! And I agree with you about Hancock. I saw it yesterday and liked it a lot. I've always liked Will Smith (how could you not?), but I thought this was his best work yet. He was excellent. And I liked Jason Bateman, too.

The plot has some hokiness to it -- I won't go into details but those who've seen it probably know what I mean -- but much of it is really lovely. I love that they explore new and interesting aspects of the super hero cliches.

Hey Katherine, good to see you!

Thanks, Leslie! And thanks for the info about Kindle. I think I would really be interested in getting one of those, now that I know you don't risk losing all your purchases. I'll check out your other thread.

Quote
PS. The Film Club is very good. Katherine, as a mom with teenage boys, I think you might find it very interesting. I know as a mother of teens, it speaks to me. L

I stood there in the bookstore today glancing longingly through it. If it had been in paperback -- or if I'd had a Kindle! -- I would have bought it. Come to think of it, there was another hardcover book I would have bought if I'd had a Kindle (called The Unthinkable, it's about how people respond psychologically during emergencies and disasters -- looked really interesting, from what I saw).

I just got home from my son's house where we watched a movie called The Prestige. I apologize if it has been mentioned here before. Has anybody else seen it? It's from 2006, I believe. I can safely say that this is maybe the best movie I've seen since Brokeback,

I loved The Prestige! It's definitely one of the best movies I've seen since Brokeback (another is 3:10 to Yuma, another Christian Bale film).



Offline ednbarby

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Re: Resurrecting the Movies thread...
« Reply #996 on: July 19, 2008, 10:28:26 pm »
I loved 3:10 To Yuma.  It was highly underrated then, and still is.  A shame.  It was the first movie in which Christian Bale ever did anything that truly moved me.  He's one of those actors like Mark Wahlberg in whose eyes it must be hard to catch the light because they don't reflect much.  Someone managed to do this in 3:10.  Or maybe he just came to life for the first time.

I think he's perfect to play Batman, who always vied neck-and-neck with my other favorite superhero, Spider-Man.  Batman is the personification of the duality of man.  He is Joe Friday by day, Ozzie Osbourne by night.  I always loved that about him - that he couldn't quite figure out what he was.  Loved that about Spider-Man, too.  In both cases, greatness was thrust upon them, in a way.  They are the reluctant Messiahs.  All the other actors playing Batman never made sense to me (yes, there *is* sense to be had in comic books and superhero worship).  Michael Keaton came close, but he couldn't dial down that electric spark in his eyes while playing Bruce Wayne.  The rest were just laughable.  As were all the villains.  But I digress, and segue into another thread...

I liked The Prestige, but I enjoyed The Illusionist more.  And I don't even like Edward Norton all that much.

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Offline Ellemeno

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Re: Resurrecting the Movies thread...
« Reply #997 on: July 19, 2008, 11:05:46 pm »
The Prestige AND Memento were directed by Christopher Nolan, who directed The Dark Knight.


About the "homo" remarks in Hitchcock.  I'm not sure I'll do a good job verbalizing why I thought it was actually quite funny when he said them, but I'll try, which feels risky, because if I don't do a good job, I risk alienating beloved men here.

Okay, so, in the beginning, Hitchcock is basically a scruffy, dirty, drunk or hungover mess.  His appearance and behavior are rude and crude.  The Jason Bateman character takes it on himself to spiff up Hitchcock's public image, sort of Professor Higgins/Eliza Doolittle style.  He teaches him how to say "Thank you" and "please," that sort of thing.

And he designs a superhero costume, to go with the "remodelling" he's doing on Hitchcock.  As he shows him the first design, a spiffy, sharp outfit, crappy, crusty old Hitchcock says "Homo."  Which as seriouscrayons and BelAir point out, shows his own limitations and prejudices, and definitely has a startle effect.  And then as he is shown variations on costumes, he comes up with variations on his continuing view of them. 

But I think why I actually liked these comments of his is because superheros, like cowboys, were so very recently thought to be ever so hetero.  And the worldview is opening up.  Superheros, like cowboys, just might be gay.

Sumpn like that.  Hope it comes across how I mean it.


Offline tamarack

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Re: Resurrecting the Movies thread...
« Reply #998 on: July 20, 2008, 07:54:48 am »
I liked The Prestige, but I enjoyed The Illusionist more.  And I don't even like Edward Norton all that much.

This is the third time that The Illusionist has come up when I've talked with someone about The Prestige. I'll definitely add that to my Netflix queue. 3:10 to Yuma is already on there but I'll have to find it and move it closer to the top. I seem to be on a roll here, with Christian Bale.

Offline ednbarby

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Re: Resurrecting the Movies thread...
« Reply #999 on: July 20, 2008, 08:40:20 am »
Tam, I think the comparison of the two movies is inevitable because they came out almost at the same time.  You know how almost every year, a particular genre gets done a few times over in rapid succession?  Like Deep Impact and Armageddon.  (I liked the first one more, and by the way, why are Presidents always either black or women in the movies - is it because that's the only way we'll ever see that in this country?)  Or like Mission to Mars and The Red Planet.  That sort of thing.

The Prestige really is an excellent movie.  For some reason, The Illusionist just moved me more - I guess because it's about an immortal love.  Go figure.

I came across an extremely well-written review by Wade Major about The Dark Knight that talks about Jung and the Duality of Man, and about how Nolan explored that in The Prestige and TDK.  Check it out:

http://boxoffice.com/reviews/2008/07/the-dark-knight.php

In 1939, the same year that Hitler’s invasion of Poland officially launched World War II, Bob Kane created Batman. It was also the year that famed psychiatrist Sigmund Freud died, facilitating the ascendance of his onetime friend, Carl Jung, along with Jung’s more mystical and uncertain understanding of man as a creature beset by an internal tug-of-war. While there’s no clear evidence that Kane was influenced by Jung in creating his famously Jungian hero, it seems less than coincidental that Kane would choose that particular moment in time—when the global line between good and evil was drawn more starkly than at any other time in history—to deliver not only the world’s first conflicted superhero, but a villain in the Joker driven not so much by greed or perverted morals as by an almost righteous amorality. It was a tandem which—in contrast to those of other comics heroes of the day like Superman and Captain America—suggested something that the World War II generation would probably have rejected had they fully understood it; that every human being has the capacity to be a Batman or a Joker, that morals can be fragile and frequently conditional, if not contradictory, that choices are based as much on expediency and whim as conscience, and that good and evil—for better or worse—need each other.

Subsequent generations have come to not only acknowledge Batman’s bewitching psychological undercurrent, but even embrace it, reaffirming Kane’s creation as the most compelling and complex comics character in history, and quite likely the most fiercely debated. That media depictions of Batman—the camp ’60s television series and the kinetically executed, thematically bankrupt Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher films of the late ’80s and ’90s—have shied from fully engaging such vagaries speaks to how intimidating it can be to grasp such a character in the flesh.

Pretentious though it may seem, such preamble is necessary to fully convey the magnitude of what director Christopher Nolan—arguably the most Jungian of filmmakers—has brought to Kane’s 69-year-old creation. Practically without exception, Nolan’s pre-Batman films—Following, Memento, the remake of the Swedish Insomnia—as well as his interlude effort, The Prestige, all suggest a fascination, even an obsession with Jungian dualism, the nature of good and evil and the limits of human morality. If those concerns appeared to receive their most refined examination in Batman Begins, The Dark Knight voices them with a bone-chilling primal scream.

In this gripping continuation of the story—which should all but erase any lingering memory of the Burton/Schumacher films—Nolan methodically lays the groundwork for what is clearly meant to be a grand, ongoing, epic saga. While Wayne Manor undergoes reconstruction (along with, one presumes, the eventual Batcave), Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) struggles to reconcile the seeming irreconcilable—so long as he carries out his moral obligation to extrajudicial vigilante justice in a crime-besotted, seemingly ungovernable Gotham City, he and his childhood sweetheart, the love of his life, public prosecutor Rachel Dawes (a wonderful Maggie Gyllenhaal, mercifully replacing Katie Holmes), cannot be together. Adding to the irony of a hero who yearns for his own obsolescence is the thorny matter of Wayne’s one great hope for a Batman-less Gotham, a tough new crusading D.A. named Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). who also happens to be Rachel’s boss and primary rival for Wayne’s affections. It’s a love triangle that would seem to have a great deal riding on its outcome—for Wayne, Dawes and Dent as well as the entire city of Gotham. Unfortunately, it’s an outcome that will be determined by a wild card—the wild card, as it were: the Joker.

Introduced by the simple but unmistakable emblem of a playing card at the close of Batman Begins, the Joker’s role in the film has been unduly magnified in recent weeks by the untimely death of Heath Ledger, whose characterization is already being touted for posthumous Oscar consideration. Had Ledger lived, however, it’s unlikely the reaction would have been any less enthusiastic. In a brave return to the Joker’s origins, Ledger’s incarnation is a brilliant, terrifying and unpredictable psychopath—the furthest possible cry from the charming chicanery of Cesar Romero and Jack Nicholson—for whom murder is but a casual hobby and mayhem a religious obligation. Oscar has typically loved villains of this sort—Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter in 1991 and Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigurh in 2007 being the most notable—and it’s entirely possible that Ledger will also be so bestowed. But Ledger’s Joker is, in many ways, an even more troubling figure, for he sees the creation of mayhem as purposeful, and his role in the world as catalytic, a life’s work for a prophet of doom who, from beneath his own gruesome makeup and mysterious scars, means to strip society of its illusion of benevolence and prove just how base and loathsome a creature humankind really is.

As the Joker, with the reluctant cooperation of organized crime, proceeds to make quick work of the progress laid by Wayne/Batman and Dent via a series of brilliantly orchestrated crimes, Gotham is plunged back into uncertainty and fear. But as Alfred (Michael Caine) prophetically observes early on, the Joker is quite likely not a criminal fixated on material gain. Says the wizened butler to the young Wayne, “Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

If Wayne and the Joker represent the most emblematic outward manifestation of a classic Jungian struggle—the archetypal extrovert literally willing to stop at nothing to remove the introvert’s mask—it’s Eckhart’s virtuoso and equally Oscar-worthy portrayal of Dent that hammers home the tragic culmination of that struggle. Fans of the comics—and even the previous series of films—will recognize Dent (Billy Dee Williams in the 1989 Batman and Tommy Lee Jones in 1995’s Batman Forever) as an essential component in Gotham’s murky moral landscape. His eventual transformation into the villain Two-Face is one of the great tragedies in comics history, a transformation that figures just as tragically in The Dark Knight in that it brings into devastating focus a thicket of heady issues with which comics—much less comics-based movies—rarely concern themselves. Each man, in his own way—Wayne, Joker and Dent—represents a different philosophical facet to the impenetrable diamond that is human nature, each a seeming pillar of conviction potentially crippled by hairline cracks of indecision and simple human weakness. That those around them—Alfred, Rachel, the future Police Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) and Wayne’s stalwart aide-de-camp Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman)—are both less pessimistic in their view of human nature and less effective in putting their idealism into practice is, perhaps, the most crucial dilemma of the film, and one which it intentionally never resolves, instead dropping it squarely into the lap of the audience.

None of this is to suggest that intellectual engagement as such is anything new for the movies, though it has certainly become increasingly infrequent in studio films. The great film noirs of Kane’s own era—particularly those from Warner Bros.—often wrestled with similar issues, which Kane himself acknowledged as at least a partial inspiration for certain aspects (and characters) of the Gotham world. What is surprising in this instance is that it comes from a notoriously risk-averse studio, which has in recent years gone to great lengths to become the kind of company its founders absolutely loathed. This certainly says more about Nolan and producer Charles Roven than any prospective change in Warners philosophy, though even as a momentary blip on the radar, it’s a welcome one.

Marred only by a handful of distracting cameos (Anthony Michael Hall, Tiny Lister and U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy) and a peculiar and unnecessary technological contrivance best characterized as “phonar,” The Dark Knight is an impressively dense and exceptionally well-written film (by Nolan and his brother, Jonathan, with co-story credit to Nolan’s Batman Begins collaborator David S. Goyer) as well as a technically dazzling one, with at least two key sequences and a variety of aerial shots captured in IMAX (though only audiences seeing the film in IMAX theaters will get the benefit of the impact). Nolan’s much-publicized aversion to CGI pays off once again in a number of gritty, hard-hitting set pieces that further reinforce the film’s real-world relevance. Far from offering traditional summer escapism, Nolan has instead delivered the kind of picture that would normally make studio executives cringe—a brainy, action-packed morality play meant to throttle the audience, body and mind, for a solid 152 minutes and haunt them for days and weeks later.

Coming weeks will provide intriguing insight into the film’s visceral and intellectual reach, as a wide range of reactions draws an even wider range of analogies and extra-cultural connections. In hindsight, one wonders whether Stanley Kubrick and novelist Gustav Hasford, whose novel The Short-Timers provided the foundation for Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, meant to consciously connect Matthew Modine’s Private Joker with his villainous namesake when he explains his reasoning for wearing both a peace symbol and the slogan “Born To Kill” on his helmet: “The Duality of man—the Jungian thing.”

Such considerations, of course, are largely beside the point for average filmgoers simply seeking a momentary afternoon thrill—few will likely make any connections of the sort, or even want to. At least not consciously, which may well be the most Jungian touch of all.
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