What have you seen?

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What have you seen?

Post#1 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:47 am

Back in the day, we used to have a regular segment at the start of the show that served as both an ice-breaker and a short cut to fill the time slot each week. It was simply calledWhat have you seen?

This week, I saw the movie Upstream Color. Yes, I have to spell it that way because it is an American movie. It was written and directed by, and stars, Shane Carruth. Those family with Primer will know Mr Carruth, that bring his preceding work.

Upstream Color is difficult to define without spoilers, and even with spoilers it is not possible to get the full experience across. Effectively, it is about a cycle that has 3 stages that are linked but otherwise existing independently. The main characters are drawn into the cycle. It is presented in a deliberately ambiguous way, which adds to a sense of mystery but therefore may also lead to a sense of bewilderment and disappointment. I certainly enjoyed it, but not as much as Primer. Overall, I would give it 3.5 / 5 and recommend it to anyone who doesn't need their plots force-fed to them.

So...what have you seen?
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Re: What have you seen?

Post#2 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:51 pm

The other day, I watched Pandorum on the SyFy Channel here in the US. It stars Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster as flight officers who come out of hypersleep to find their ship on auxiliary power only and they are trapped in the compartment where the flight crew's sleep pods are located. Ben Foster as the younger guy heads through a shaft to try to get out and find out what's going on. And then it starts getting weird.

Spoiler:
The ship is a colony ship sent to the planet Tanis with sixty thousand colonists since the Earth of the future sucks. Along the way, the flight officers who are awake at the time (they rotate between crews who are awake and who are asleep) receive a message saying that Earth has been destroyed. The emotional stress of this causes the Dennis Quaid character to come down with Pandorum, a mental illness exhibited by deep space travelers. He goes nuts, kills his fellow officers who are awake at the time, and then basically sabotages the mission before going back into hypersleep and then being awakened by Ben Foster centuries later. Long story short, Ben and the action girl of the movie save the ship and what's left of the colonists to settle on Tanis.


By the end I was left rather unsatisfied by the by-the-numbers ending. One review I read afterward pretty much summed up my thoughts in that the first twenty minutes of the movie offered a great premise, but then the movie descended to the usual
Resident Evil
sci-fi actioner.

I would give the movie a 2 out of 5 and that's pretty much only for cool ideas. If they had been taken in a different direction and handled by a skilled director, the movie could have been something special along the lines of Solaris.
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Re: What have you seen?

Post#3 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:23 pm

I'm working my way through the The Walking Dead compendiums. I love the format. Since it's one comic book after another, the compendiums really move right along. Never a dull moment for Rick and Friends. The storylines are written well enough. And the characters have matured nicely. Also, one nice thing about the comic version, discontinuity, time jumps, that kind of thing, are so easily glossed over, unlike the television version.
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Re: What have you seen?

Post#4 » Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:40 pm

Marnie, starring Sean Connery and Tippi Hedren, directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Mark Rutland, a wealthy businessman, catches an employee, Marnie, embezzling from his company. Intrigued, he uses this to get her to marry him and then he takes her on a cruise to the south sea.

Spoiler:
Marnie refuses to let her new husband touch her, but eventually Mark tries to force things. Marnie freaks out and flees to her mental safe place and then afterward she goes to the cruise ship pool and attempts to drown herself. Mark awakens and goes in search of her and finds her in time. At the side of the pool as they are both catching their breath, he says she should have thrown herself overboard and she replies she wanted to kill herself, not be fish food.


They return home to Mark's family's country estate where Marnie interacts with her new in-laws and Lil, a family friend who is Mark's old flame. Stuff happens and Lil does a little investigating and reveals what she's learned about Marnie to Mark. Along the way, one of Mark's business clients recognizes Marnie as a former employee who embezzled from him. But Mark is able to handle things. This leads to complications.

Spoiler:
Marnie tells Nark that she is a chronic liar and thief who embezzles and steals before leaving her place of employment and changing her name. She is afraid that while Mark's client won't prosecute her, he will talk and the police might coming looking for her due to her other crimes.

In the meantime, Mark has been doing some reading about Marnie and this fits in with what he's been reading. He makes a few well-educated guesses and decides to take Marnie home to see her mother, whom Marnie has kept hidden from Mark. Once at her mother's home, Mark forces her to remember a childhood trauma: Marnie's mother was a prostitute who entertained johns in the next room while Marnie slept. One night, a sailor, while passing by Marnie's bed, bent over her and the mother attacked the sailor. Seeing her mother get hit, little girl Marnie picked up a fireplace poker and hit the sailor while he was down a few times in the head, killing him. The mother told the cops she had killed the sailor and eventually Marnie repressed the memory of that night.

Mark tells Marnie that this trauma is why she is a thief and that he will go to the police and get her troubles cleared up. She decides she wants to go home with him, so they do.


The end.

Marnie is controversial. For a long time among Hitchcock fans it was regarded as a disappointment, but as time went on, it was reevaluated. To this day, it remains the great divide among fans and film critics. Some think Hitchcock overreached. Others think it is a masterpiece and that those who don't understand Marnie do not understand Hitchcock.

I think I fall into the latter camp...
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Re: What have you seen?

Post#5 » Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:33 am

Cloud Atlas from 2012. I was interested in it when it first came out, but it was panned by critics so I reneged. However, I just rented it and very much enjoyed it. From the
themes explored including slavery, love, and how the mistakes of history repeat themselves to the various plots. Despite the fact that some plots are comedies, tragedies, mysteries, and action pieces, they are interweaved in such a way that it flows perfectly. I had no idea it was 3 hours long. Felt like I'd been sitting there for 20 minutes. I must also say, I had misconstrued the nature of the chronologically last story from the trailer. I thought it was a cave man era sequence from the trailer. Later I found out it was a post apocalyptic story and actually depicted our future. This bummed me out, because I had thought the point was we were overcoming our problems, but this meant it culminated in the destruction of civilization, the bulk of our species, and all our achievements and drives towards an interstellar presence had failed.... Then I actually watched it and found at the end that the story was being told after Halle Berry's character's people had been evacuated from Earth by an extrasolar colony. It turns out after all those trials and tribulations, our species had made it. It was a satisfying conclusion which I hope comes to pass in reality, preferably without such an early fall of Earth.


Looking forward to season 4 of Game of Thrones as well and am saddened by yet another cancellation of Futurama.

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Re: What have you seen?

Post#6 » Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:47 pm

There were a lot of movies in 2012 I'm wanted to see. Hopefully they'll pop up on cable eventually.
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Re: What have you seen?

Post#7 » Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:21 am

As I've mentioned, I'm about to head to Europe. Best thing about travelling from Australia is 24 hours worth of recent release movies. Even if it is on a tiny screen.

I'll report back with my viewed swag when I return :)
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Re: What have you seen?

Post#8 » Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:35 am

I desperately want to see "Jodorowsky's Dune". For me personally, the Dune that Jodorowsky had in mind would definitely have been far from definitive. But from everything I know about it, it probably would have been mind-blow-awesome. And as the review says, "Jodorowsky's Dune" is as close as we'll get.
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Re: What have you seen?

Post#9 » Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:39 am

So I'm back, and along with the entire season 3 of The Walking Dead the movies I watched on the plane were:

Star Trek: Into Darkness: For fans or lovers of sci fi only. Reasonably entertaining.
Now You See Me: Entertaining, especially those who like heist type movies
The Great Gatsby: Very colorful, entertaining movies with great visuals and good performances. Not familiar with source text so cannot comment on how faithful it is
Real: Japanese movie, similar themes/effects to The Cube and Inception. Worth a look
Man of Steel: Far too convenient. Disappointing.
Montage: Korean movie about a detective trying to solve the perfect crime. Very good, recommended
Siberian Education: Somewhat full on movie but good performances and not off-putting. Peter Stormare in minor role - big fan of his work
I'll Give It My All...Tomorrow: Live action adaption of a manga I'm not familiar with. Moments of humour but ultimately doesn't deliver
Al Gothity: Highly-hyped (or at least in the in-flight magazine) Arabic film. Very schizophrenic - continues on overall serious tone like A Christmas Carol but breaks into homage scenes for no apparent reason and does not particularly come across as a likeable film
The Iceman: Based on true story movie with a very strong performance by Michael Shannon, worthwhile for this alone.
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Re: What have you seen?

Post#10 » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:34 pm

Do we still have any Australians visiting the board who are familiar with the New Wave of the seventies and eighties? Anyone else familiar with that?
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