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Hobbes
Avatar

Just got back from this. If you're planning on seeing it, do so in 3-D because the experience is phenomenal. The film itself has got some flaws - dialogue not great, fairly stock characters - but in terms of immersing you in a world, Cameron has outdone everyone else. By a mile. It's absolutely believable, the visuals are outrageously good and I was completely rapt for most of the film. It's got some very clever ideas in it (and some dumb ones too) but I've never had a cinematic experience better than that in my life, and for that I must give it the highest of recommendations. Get down the picturehouse for it and you shan't regret your decision.
logger
Do the blue people look real, because that's the main thing that's been putting me off. I think I'll go see it tomorrow now.
Jimmay
QUOTE (Hobbes @ Dec 17 2009, 12:13 AM) *
Avatar

Just got back from this. If you're planning on seeing it, do so in 3-D because the experience is phenomenal. The film itself has got some flaws - dialogue not great, fairly stock characters - but in terms of immersing you in a world, Cameron has outdone everyone else. By a mile. It's absolutely believable, the visuals are outrageously good and I was completely rapt for most of the film. It's got some very clever ideas in it (and some dumb ones too) but I've never had a cinematic experience better than that in my life, and for that I must give it the highest of recommendations. Get down the picturehouse for it and you shan't regret your decision.


I'm going to go to the iMax in Birmingham to see it on Tuesday. It'll only be the second time I've been to an iMax though and I'm hoping the 3D will work better than the last time.
Sostie
QUOTE (Hobbes @ Dec 17 2009, 12:13 AM) *
Avatar

Just got back from this. If you're planning on seeing it, do so in 3-D because the experience is phenomenal. The film itself has got some flaws - dialogue not great, fairly stock characters - but in terms of immersing you in a world, Cameron has outdone everyone else. By a mile. It's absolutely believable, the visuals are outrageously good and I was completely rapt for most of the film. It's got some very clever ideas in it (and some dumb ones too) but I've never had a cinematic experience better than that in my life, and for that I must give it the highest of recommendations. Get down the picturehouse for it and you shan't regret your decision.


There is a little part of me that wants to see this, but only a little. I've never seen or been interesting in seeing a 3D film at the cinema. The only selling point for me with Avatar is the "new 3D" because the film itself looks totally uninteresting. So, I may wait until a decent looking film using the process comes out.

Luke, strip away the 3D, as a film itself, how would you rate it.
dandan
QUOTE (Sostie @ Dec 17 2009, 10:18 AM) *
The only selling point for me with Avatar is the "new 3D" because the film itself looks totally uninteresting.


i agree with sostie, although i would have been less polite with what my expectations for the film are...



would i enjoy the film just as much if i sat with a walkman on, listening to music, so i couldn't hear the dialogue and i could make up my own story instead?
maian
Boiling Point

I've decided that I'm going to work through the Takeshi Kitano boxset over my mini-holiday and, after Violent Cop yesterday, I popped in Kitano's second film as director, Boiling Point. The story of a young gas station attendant (Ono Masahiko) who finds himself on the wrong side of the local Yakuza and finds himself hanging out with a psychotic ex-gangster (Kitano) in order to get hold of weapons to fight back.

It's interesting to note how very different the film is to Violent Cop when they were only made a year apart; Violent Cop is a tightly plotted and driven film, whilst Boiling Point has the sort of languid, digressive plot that would mark (what I have seen of) his later work. No doubt this is because he only rewrote Violent Cop from an existing script whilst Boiling Point was wholly his, allowing for such scenes as the characters playing baseball on a beach for a prolonged period of time. Not that this is a bad thing, of course, since I like digressive Kitano, but it is still interesting to see how quickly he was able to establish his directorial style once he has demonstrated that he could make films.

Edit: Also, it's nice knowing where beatoswald's avatar comes from.
logger
For a long time he claimed it was his favourite of his films, I don't know if he still thinks that, or even if he ever really said it. It was also his least successful, although that might have changed too.
maian
QUOTE (logger @ Dec 17 2009, 01:25 PM) *
For a long time he claimed it was his favourite of his films, I don't know if he still thinks that, or even if he ever really said it. It was also his least successful, although that might have changed too.


I could very easily understand that. It's probably a truer debut than Violent Cop since it is wholly his in a way that Violent Cop wasn't.
monkeyman
I loved the little sumo game they played on the beach as well.
Hobbes
QUOTE (Sostie @ Dec 17 2009, 10:18 AM) *
Luke, strip away the 3D, as a film itself, how would you rate it.


If I were to stand critically and look at it, I'd say the movie itself is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand we have a plot we have most certainly seen before - an outsider joins a group/tribe/whatever and learns their ways, realizes their nobility/'humanity' and chooses to join them. The characters are fairly stock (although played with gusto) - the gung-ho general, the soldier going against orders, the clever scientist - and we are not very surprised by them for the most part.

However (and it's a big'un) I think to thus consider the film is detracting from its point. I can't think of a single person who is going to see Avatar for a dialogue driven, exposition-heavy treatise on the human condition. The film is all about experience, whether from the viewpoint of Sam Worthington's Jake Sully or from the audience's, and on these terms it absolutely delivers. The created world that Cameron has delivered is phenomenally intricate and has got a number of clever conceits (the bio-electric relationship between the Na'vi and Pandora for example), and I wouldn't suggest that it feels like an unreal world. Pandora feels very concrete, and not just because of the 3-D, but due to the depth of innovation in the creation of the planet itself. All creatures and landscapes have been meticulously thought-out and the craftsmanship and time that has gone into it all is very very apparent. Just as Jake begins to feel like his Avatar world is the real one and his human life the dream, so too the audience sees the Na'vi's environment as 'more real' than the sterile human one.

I don't think Cameron has set out to make a movie in the traditional sense, honestly, and if his desire was to immerse you in this world (as I believe it is) then he has fundamentally succeeded. As a film Sostie, it's got flaws, no doubt about it, and it's not a 5-starrer based on its dialogue nor its plot. BUT I don't think that the film is necessarily supposed to rely on those things. I watched it (mostly) rapt, in a fantastic fictional world in which I could escape to a far-off planet where miraculous events were occurring, all the while buying into it as a real place and as a masterfully visualised environment. That's what cinema is all about for me really, so I really liked it.

All that said, I have a gut feeling that it will not be everyone's cup of tea, so I'm not expecting this positive a response from everyone. I don't think it'll really be up most people on here's streets I must say, but I would still encourage everyone to see it in its full glory. I think to wait for the DVD or to see it in 2-D would be robbing it (and yourself). In sum, whilst I've (kind of) answered your question Sost, I would say that it's impossible to give a fair judgment of the film in 2-D because Cameron's intent is to watch it in 3 dimensions. To not do so would be like watching a modern film in grainy black and white. Cameron's pushed the technology on a fuckload, so to not take full advantage of that is to ignore one of the film's biggest achievements.

Does that all make sense?
Jimmay
QUOTE (Hobbes @ Dec 17 2009, 03:36 PM) *
Does that all make sense?


It makes me wish it was Tuesday already (and not only because it means I'll be on my Christmas Hols then.)
Sostie
Thanks Luke. Yes it makes sense. To me it seems like it may be more theme park ride than movie, and could imagine looking harder for any cinematic faults that might exist if I saw it, looking to see if Cameron has pulled the wool over our eyes by presenting a bit of a turd in the middle of a wonderous diorama.
I'm just an old cynic. I think all films should be black & white and shown in 4:3
maian
Just booked tickets for it on Monday. I'm cautiously excited by it. Emphasis on the cautiously.
Hobbes
QUOTE (Sostie @ Dec 17 2009, 04:54 PM) *
To me it seems like it may be more theme park ride than movie, and could imagine looking harder for any cinematic faults that might exist if I saw it, looking to see if Cameron has pulled the wool over our eyes by presenting a bit of a turd in the middle of a wonderous diorama.


It worked with Titanic (though it should be noted a) I fucking hate Titanic and b) Avatar is a lot lot lot better than it). Although the song played over the end credits does sound disturbingly like My Heart Will Go On...

Ed, cautious optimism should be rewarded, it's what I held going in.
sweetbutinsane
I had a bit of a movie marathon last night and this afternoon to make a dent in my pile of unwatched DVDs:

A Series Of Unfortunate Events

I still love this and am still gutted that they never made any more of the books into films.

Captain Corelli's Mandolin

I found the first half of it a little dull in places, but the middle and ending were very good.

About Last Night

The word "comedy" was used on the back of the box, but I only laughed once (when Joan was explaining to the children what virgin meant, if you must know). The rest of the film was spent bored out of my skull and thinking that Demi Moore sounded like a smoker.

Chocolat

I have seen this before, but not on DVD so I put it on to make myself feel better after the above film. It worked very well.
Sean of the Dead
QUOTE (sweetbutinsane @ Dec 17 2009, 06:07 PM) *
A Series Of Unfortunate Events

I still love this and am still gutted that they never made any more of the books into films.

But it's so lovely and self contained! The circularity of it is one of the things I liked best.
Ade
QUOTE (Sean of the Dead @ Dec 17 2009, 06:11 PM) *
The circularity of it is one of the things I liked best.

I wonder if anyone has ever made a spherical film?

Maybe Avatar is spherical.



I too am cautiously, nay, openly optimistic about Avatar; and I loved Titanic. 'Cause I'm a soppy old boot.
logger
Avablur

I tried to like it, I honestly did. If you'd have asked me after an hour of the film I would have definitely recommended seeing it, then there was the hour of learning to be a blue cartoon person, and by the time of the big, disappointing final battle I couldn't really care. I'm not sure if I could recommend it just to see the 3d in action, maybe you could sneak in and then leave after a while. Visually it is spectacular and when the 3d works it's something else, but there are still real problems with this technology, half the time it becomes very blurry, especially if there is a lot of movement. And as for motion capture, synthespians just don't have any warmth so you don't really care about them which is a shame because a lot of the film depends on your emotional investment in these characters.

The main problems though lie with the script itself. The first hour is ok, helped partly by being blown away by the visuals, but that second hour just saps the life out of the film, it made me chuckle when the guy next to me yawned when Sigourney Weaver died. This is a film very much made by the guy who made Titanic. It's going to be massive, and kids will probably like it if they don't get bored. And whilst I'm still not sure if you should or shouldn't go and see it, it's almost worth it for the technology alone, this is quite possibly the future, but I can definitely say not to see it in 2d because there's no point.
sweetbutinsane
QUOTE (Sean of the Dead @ Dec 17 2009, 06:11 PM) *
But it's so lovely and self contained! The circularity of it is one of the things I liked best.


I can understand that, but it still makes me feel sad because I read some of the books after seeing the film and ended up thinking that I couldn't wait to see how they turned out... but I never did. sad.gif

Once

Absolutely lovely and the songs were fantastic.

I'm Not There

Quite interesting, though it had me confused a few times.
maian
A Scene at the Sea (1991)

Another day, another Kitano. This time, he stays behind the camera and ditches the Yakuza and cops for a subtle, low-key film about a deaf couple whose relationship changes when the man takes up surfing. There's not much in terms of events but the beautiful visuals, laconic plot and gorgeous music from Joe Hisiashi combine to make a really lovely film.
Atara
Avatar was pretty awesome. The 3D was mostly spectacular, apart from the odd blurry mess it gave such depth to the characters and world and made them look much more real than I imagine the 2D would. The story us nothing original but I thought that for what It was it was done well. Some big unintentiinal laughs but overall, I loved it. I dud go in expecting it to be absolute tosh so I think that helped.
logger
Believe me, I had low expectations.
monkeyman
I liked it and I went in with an open mind.
Sostie
Where The Wild Things Are

Little brat runs away from home, ends up on an island with monsters that represent aspects of his personality/life, goes through some self analysis, comes home and loves his mum.
It looks good, the Wild Things themselves are fantastic, but it is a lot of moping with outbursts of energy. In no way bad, but not half as magical as the trailer lead you to believe.
sweetbutinsane
Deception

I didn't think it was too bad, but the ending got a bit silly.
logger
Dances With Wolves

The soccer mom of western epics. It is undemanding which helps make it watchable, so I suppose that makes up for all the genocide.
curtinparloe
Planet 51
Silly, some reasonable "in-jokes", failry enjoyable, but nothing special really.

EDIT: and the running commentary from the eight-year-old sat behind us (in an otherwise silent cinema) was a little off-putting.
sweetbutinsane
Hart's War

I thought it was really good - had me tearing up a few times. I made the mistake of asking my dad if he wanted to borrow it and now he's hell bent on getting me to read the book. laugh.gif
sleeping_pirate
Where The Wild Things Are

Beautiful, sad and sweet- I absolutely loved it.
Jimmay
Pineapple Express

Not too bad for a stoner comedy with a few laugh out loud moments even though I was watching this by myself. I think the action scenes made it more enjoyable but I'm not really sure what the point was? Smoking weed with friends is the best thing to do with your life? Drug dealers are mostly kind hearted nice people? But ultimately, who cares.
Sostie
QUOTE (Jimmay @ Dec 21 2009, 10:19 AM) *
Pineapple Express

Not too bad for a stoner comedy with a few laugh out loud moments even though I was watching this by myself. I think the action scenes made it more enjoyable but I'm not really sure what the point was? Smoking weed with friends is the best thing to do with your life? Drug dealers are mostly kind hearted nice people? But ultimately, who cares.



Stoner comedies are like real stoners. Not as funny as they think they are, are generally very boring, and usually talk, even when not stoned, about how stoned they got recently. Pineapple Express, however, I really enjoyed. It was like some sort of twisted 80's buddy movie.


GAMER
It was OK. May have benefitted from a longer running time.

YES MAN
Enertaining enough.

LOVE ACTUALLY
I know I shouldn't. I caught a few minutes of this and thought "No, I will not be taken in by your manipulative fantasy about the middle classes...not this time". But then, look. Colin Firth. I like him. Oh,and Emma Thompson. And Bill Nighy. And Hugh Grant. Oh, I must see the bit when the greatest PM we never had stands up to the Americans. And before I know it it's dragged me in again. And I'm loving (most of) it. And then, the bastards, they add "God Only Knows" to the soundtrack. JUst in case you're not feeling warm & fuzzy enough already.

ABOUT A BOY
I admit it. I like Hugh Grant. Not seen for a while and thoroughly enjoyed it.

It seems that Hugh Grant + London + A little bit of festive spirit = good Christmas viewing in my book. Add Bridget Jones to the two above and I'd have a mini-fest I'd thoroughly enjoy, but wouldn't go near any other time of the year
Jimmay
QUOTE (Sostie @ Dec 21 2009, 11:36 AM) *
LOVE ACTUALLY


I actually love this and have seen this countless times (including Saturday night.) I don't know why but it gets me everytime. I felt it suffered from having advert breaks though and it really broke up the big build up towards the end. I wonder how many times they say the word actually in it?
Sostie
QUOTE (Jimmay @ Dec 21 2009, 11:55 AM) *
I actually love this and have seen this countless times (including Saturday night.)


If only I knew. We could have snuggled under a blanky and watched it together.
logger
Sin City

I watched about 15 minutes of High Fidelity and I should have known better, it was just as smelling its own farts smug as I was expecting, which it was always going to be starring the walking embodiment of the guy from the Right Guard ad slapping his stomach in triumph as he wins at table football. So I watched Sin City because it's the only Britney Murphy film I own.

I have to say it's probably the best depiction of comic books that the big screen has ever seen. I have no idea if they're a good example of the Sin City comics, I've never read them and I have no desire to either, but as a pop culture portrayal of post modern noir tropes I think it succeeds. I can't say the stories make me want to read the comics, I don't think they would be that interesting but here they really work which I think say more about Robert Rodriguez and the sense of fun and humour he brings to it rather than Frank Miller's words. Maybe it does work in the comics, but I don't care. This is so stylised that a lot of what could be unpleasant is now enjoyably silly. Plus, all the attractive women help, I don't think there's a single member of the cast that I wouldn't kill at least one random member of this forum just to touch.

Now I'm going to look for little girls to save just in case they grow up to be Jessica Alba.
widowspider
QUOTE (Sostie @ Dec 21 2009, 12:36 PM) *
It seems that Hugh Grant + London + A little bit of festive spirit = good Christmas viewing in my book. Add Bridget Jones to the two above and I'd have a mini-fest I'd thoroughly enjoy, but wouldn't go near any other time of the year.

Agreed/
Outatime
I'm currently watching A Muppet's Christmas Carol, I'm enjoying humming along to the songs.
sweetbutinsane
Spirited Away

Fantastic!
Raven
QUOTE (sweetbutinsane @ Dec 21 2009, 07:24 PM) *
Spirited Away

Fantastic!


Was it the first time you saw it?

I've been meaning to give it a watch again, it really is very good.
logger
Dick Tracy

I wrote a comprehensive review before, a massive 3 paragraphs, but the forum died before I could post it. Here's the short version.

It's rubbish.
maian
Bollocks, I wrote a review of Avatar earlier in here but it seems that the forum went a bit screwy and hasn't posted it.

Well, here's the gist of it. The effects are stunning, WETA and Cameron are really able to create an immersive and compelling environment teeming with all manner of interesting lifeforms. It's a world that an audience can easily get lost in and, on occasion, Cameron gets lost in it as well. There's a solid hour in the middle where the film's pace just goes completely wayward as Cameron spends ages delivering montages of Jake and Nay'tiri running around and admiring the fauna and flora of Pandora, almost sayingm ''Wow, how amazing are these plants I created! They're fucking awesome!'', which is okay when you do it once or twice, but downright masturbatory when you do it for an entire third of your film.

The plot is predictable, very predictable, and rife with cliches. However, I won't hold that against the film too much because I've always felt that cliches are fine when done well and I understand that when introducing audiences to a new technology it helps to couch it in (over) familiar structures. The combination of the erratic pacing of the film with a predictable plot is a blow to the film as a whole, though. You can spot where the film is going from a mile off, but it then takes so long to get to the point that you know it's going to reach that impatience sets in. I wasn't bored, since the film is too pretty for that, but I did feel like screaming ''Get on with it!'' a fair few times.

However, the flaws of the opening 2 hours are redeemed by the last 40 minutes, when the oh-so-slow machinations of the plot finally catch up with the audience and we get the big-ass fight that everyone knew would form the climax of the film. There's nothing hugely original about it, but Cameron does know how to marry new technology to old-fashioned craftmanship and constructs the final battle (or battles) with a deftness that allows for energy and excitement without jeaporadising coherence. Much like Titanic, the film really does only come into its own once everyone starts dying.

As for the 3D, I was really impressed by it and the way in which the film was able to be so vibrant and energetic without making me feel nauseous. However, I did have one problem with it. The events of the two film can roughly be divided up into those that take place inside the human compound and those that take place out on the surface of Pandora. It's during the former that 3D should go unnoticed and the latter where it should be used to full effect, but the opposite is true. Whenever the film is outside, the 3D is barely apparent, and whenever it's indoors it ends up being a distraction. It's very counter-intuitive, and made me wonder if an approach similar to that of Coraline (limited 3D in the real world, 3D in the magic realm) would have benefited the film as a whole.

To sum up; it's a three star film wrapped up in a four-star experience and is worth checking out for the last 40 minutes and if you want to see the (possible) future of blockbuster entertainment.


Oh, I also watched The Spy Who Came In From The Cold and Intolerable Cruelty earlier. I thought the former was terrific. I've always liked Le Carre's work since I admire anyone who takes a subject that is so overly glamourised and strips it down to its basic, grubby and bleak components, as he has so frequently done with the spy story. Intolerable Cruelty wasn't as bad as I remembered it being, but it still wasn't very good. Clooney cruises along on his unstoppable charm but the script is flat and the whole thing is very boring.
Raven
QUOTE (logger @ Dec 22 2009, 05:23 PM) *
Dick Tracy

I wrote a comprehensive review before, a massive 3 paragraphs, but the forum died before I could post it. Here's the short version.

It's rubbish.


I quite like Dick Tracy.

It has been a while since I last saw it, but I remember it being quite a good stab at putting a 50's(?) comic book on the screen.
logger
QUOTE (maian @ Dec 22 2009, 05:45 PM) *
To sum up; it's a three star film wrapped up in a four-star experience and is worth checking out for the last 40 minutes and if you want to see the (possible) future of blockbuster entertainment.

I was disappointed with the final battle although I'm not sure if that was more down to the previous hour of the film than a lacklustre spectacle. I did like Michelle Rodriguez's role in the battle though.

QUOTE (Raven @ Dec 22 2009, 06:51 PM) *
I quite like Dick Tracy.

It has been a while since I last saw it, but I remember it being quite a good stab at putting a 50's(?) comic book on the screen.

In my original post I said that I had similar fond memories of it but hadn't seen it since it first came out at the cinema, but seeing it today was a rude awakening. There's no real plot and there's no real action so it loses a lot of the dynamism it needs. The design of the film is fantastic and there are some great supporting characters in there but there's just not enough going on to keep you interested. Sam Raimi probably would have had a blast with it whereas Warren Beatty seems a bit out of his depth in blockbuster territory.
sweetbutinsane
QUOTE (Raven @ Dec 21 2009, 11:58 PM) *
Was it the first time you saw it?

I've been meaning to give it a watch again, it really is very good.


Yep. I made my sister record it off the telly for me a while back and then accidentally forgot about it! I'll have to buy the proper DVD of it after Christmas.

Little Miss Sunshine

Very enjoyable and I loved the ending.
Shack
12 Rounds

WWE's John Cena wrestles with problem after problem when an arms dealer kidnaps his girlfriend and he has to get her back.

Not bad, but fairly by the numbers and John Cena seemed a bit too physically big for the role. He's the size of a wardrobe, which is something I never really noticed with Arnie.
monkeyman
He's not better than The Rock though is he?
Jubei
Avatar

I'm not going to go into too much detail because of shit keyboard. Ultimately, I liked it. It's too long, plot devices are brought in with very little subtlety like the big orange 'Last Shadow's and all the twists of the plot can be seen coming a mile off. However the 3d is great - better than i expected - and works really well most of the time, especially in the command room, the na'vi were good, especially Na'riti (sp?) and they're just alien enough to get over the uncanny valley. Pandora is a beautifully realised masterpiece, of imagination and technical skill, and the payoff is enough to make it worth sitting through the slower bits.

My one serious gripe I suppose though is that the Na'vi acted, sounded and were portrayed (it seemed to me) as stereotypical african tribespeople. Perhaps it was an intentional nod to colonials abusing african tribes in the old days? I don't know, but it never seemed to really aknowledge this, and if it was unintentional then it seems to be a pretty unfortunate similarity.
monkeyman
Pretty sure it was intentional.
maian
It was more of an allusion to the Native Americans, with the story of the humans landing on Pandora being analogous to the European settlers landing in America, with some of them being fascinated by the new culture and others being more militaristic. It is basically Pocahontas with aliens, in that regard. You've also got Vietnam (Cameron loves his Vietnam allegories, see also: Aliens) and Iraq parables in there, too, but as far as the Na'vi are concerned I say that they were more clearly modeled on Native American tribes than African tribes.
logger
The Departed

I still feel that somewhere between this and Infernal Affairs lies a brilliant film.
Shack
QUOTE (monkeyman @ Dec 22 2009, 10:36 PM) *
He's not better than The Rock though is he?


Most certainly not.

I'm still not sure why The Rock isn't making action movies in the classic style. I think he's been lured to family movies too soon.
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