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Re: What Movies are you Watching?

PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 9:01 pm
by the_wolfs_howl
^It also had absolutely astounding visual effects. I still can't believe they didn't get an Oscar for that, because they more than deserved it :wow!:

Movies I've seen recently:

Gifted - The heart-wrenching and beautiful tale of a man raising his niece, who is gifted especially in mathematics, and the custody battle he ends up in the middle of. Ugh, I cried so much because of Chris Evans and his stupid wonderful acting abilities :sniffle:

All the Way - The story of Lyndon B. Johnson's presidency and the passing of the Civil Rights Act. I didn't particularly like it; it focused more on presidential politicking than I liked, and had too many old white men pontificating, rather than focusing on the issue at hand, I thought. Anthony Mackie made a great MLK, though :thumb:

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - Much like the first one, this was fun and full of dazzling action and beautiful CG and lots of laughs, but nothing terribly deep that will stick with me for very long. I did think Chris Pratt's acting has improved over the years, though.

The Impossible - Oh my goodness, this movie was hard to get through. Not because it's bad, oh no. This movie was so well done, and all the actors did such a great job (especially Ewan McGregor and Tom Holland - this was Tom Holland's on-screen debut, and it's just about the best debut I think I've ever seen). But it's so realistic that it's kind of hard to watch. It's based on the true story of a family who went through the tsunami in Thailand back in 2004. It follows their experiences through the event itself, and how they struggled to survive and find each other again. A beautiful, gritty movie.

Re: What Movies are you Watching?

PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:24 pm
by Kaori
Silence (2016)

Based on Shusaku Endo's novel by that name, which is about the persecution of Japanese Christians and missionary priests in the early 17th century.

I have one minor complaint which is that Rodriguez (Garfield) looked way too clean and well-preserved most of the time: other than getting sunburned once his skin was perfect the rest of the time, his hair was made to look sort of handsomely unkempt but was always clean and soft, never greasy or tangled or dirty, and so on.

Other than that, I think the movie was well-done, and you can take this with a grain of salt because it has been a long time since I read Shusaku Endo's Silence, but to the best of my memory the movie was pretty faithful to the book (there were a few clunker lines that I imagine were put in there by the script writer, not by Endo).

It's hard to say whether I would recommend watching this movie or not watching this movie, because I think that's going to be a personal decision for everyone, whether or not you want to watch this kind of thing, so I will just describe a my impressions of it so hopefully people can get an idea of whether this kind of movie is something they want to see or not.

It was very harrowing to watch, I would say a little bit above Romero and below Schindler's List. I will put this in spoilers just in case, but I think that anyone considering watching it should be aware from the beginning that this is a story about SPOILER: Highlight text to read: a missionary priest who apostatizes and renounces in order to save Japanese Christians, who had themselves already apostatized, from being tortured. The first two thirds of the movie or so came across to me as seeming to have an anti-Christian tone, as the main character, Rodriguez, was rather full of himself, comparing himself to Jesus and so on, and his talk about faith seemed to ring hollow. It's only towards the end of the film that there are some strong messages of faith amidst very dark circumstances: SPOILER: Highlight text to read: God speaking to Rodriguez in the silence, the tiny crucifix that he holds in hand as his body is being taken to be cremeated.

Cultural comments:

I heard about this movie by going to a talk by a Christian artist (Makoto Fujimura) who is (I think) a second-generation Japanese-American and was also a special advisor for the film. He commented that the actor who plays Rodriguez (Andrew Garfield) becomes so unobtrusive in the end of the movie that he vanishes off the screen, and he said that this movie did not do well in the United States because American's can't understand that, but Japanese people understand that to make oneself nothing is true heroism. Having seen the movie, I understand what he meant by that comment and am pretty inclined to agree with him.

To those comments I can also add the reactions of my Japanese friend who watched this movie. My friend's take on the movie was that Rodriguez finally got it during the climax scene (more literally, he became enlightened), and that by making the choice he did, he finally took responsibility--"responsibility" being a concept in Japanese that has much deeper and more far-reaching consequences than we typically tend to associate with it here in the States. So it resonates very deeply with Japanese values and outlook in ways that I think are probably pretty hard to grasp for the typical Westerner (since some of them are the complete opposite of Western thought-patterns and ideals).

So, I really can't say I would recommend that absolutely everyone ought to watch this film. But for anyone who does want to see it, it can be viewed for free if you have Amazon Prime.

Re: What Movies are you Watching?

PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:50 pm
by ClaecElric4God
I started to watch Silence, and for some reason only got halfway into it and just lost interest. I haven't read Silence, but I read and wrote a paper on "Unzen", which is a short story of Endo's based on Silence, so I'm really interested in Endo's work and thought I would love the movie. I really can't put my finger on what I didn't like about it, either. I think maybe I didn't like the way it felt like the story was focused on the foreigners more than the Japanese. Although the Jesuits did some amazing things and I'm sure suffered unspeakable things, to me the stories of Nagasaki and the events following the ban on Christianity is a story that belongs to the Japanese, and when they took that idea and made it about two handsome, white foreigners (who happen to be famous actors?), it felt like the goal of the movie was off a little bit. Granted, Endo himself is the one who made the story about a Jesuit missionary rather than Japanese, so maybe that's just me being a grumpy old badger. But I think that's why I prefer the story of "Unzen" to that of Silence, because it focuses on Kichijiro's story instead.

Re: What Movies are you Watching?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:57 pm
by Kaori
@Claec: Thanks for mentioning "Unzen"; I'll have to put it on my back burner of things to read sometime.

Have you read Endo Shusaku's The Samurai? I myself haven't and have only heard secondhand that it is about a samurai who initially doesn't understand how Jesus, someone whom he sees as being weak and defeated, could be an object of worship or even respect, but his thinking changes later on. From the description I heard, I wonder if that one also is focused more on the Japanese side of things, but not having read it myself, I don't know.

And back to the topic of the movie, of course it is Hollywood, so it's not too surprising that there's a lot of focus on the handsome face of main character. Image I was just grateful that the movie wasn't totally full of handsome and beautiful faces and that mostly the cast was full of a lot of ordinary people who weren't glamorized.

. . .

The Prestige. This was on my watch list because a friend of mine who is a huge movie buff considers it to be a significantly better film than Inception, but to be honest, it really was not my cup of tea.

The plot was about two stage magicians who are continually trying to one-up each other. I can understand why my friend thought this movie was better and more complex than Inception, with all its double-deceptions, but I would disagree with her because I have several problems with the plot: SPOILER: Highlight text to read: why Angier's wife drowned after not being in the tank for extremely long, even though resuscitation of drowning people was a known thing during that era; the way that the fact that Borden turned out to have a twin was used to whitewash the grief he caused his wife by seeming to (or perhaps actually) having an affair with Olivia because "each one of us loved one of them"; how Borden could possibly have been convicted of Angier's murder if he was pounding on the glass and trying to get him out of the glass tank while he drowned (surely there were witnesses); that viewers are meant to be left with warm fuzzy feelings about Borden being reunited with his daughter at the end although in my opinion he was also a Not Very Good Person, not much better than Angiers, and did some fairly nasty things to his rival. Other than that, it had an obviously "meant to be ambiguous and leave both possibilities open" ending just like Inception, not surprising since they are both by the same director. I am okay with movies that portray atrocities or graphic violence if there is a serious purpose behind it, for example showing actual atrocities that really happened or happen in real life (like Silence or Romero), but to me this movie just came across as two people both doing horrible things to try to one-up each other, and the movie didn't seem to me to have a higher purpose to it, it was just a fictional story for the sake of entertainment, so my personal assessment of it is "a horrible story about horrible people doing horrible things," and I really did not enjoy it.

The plot twists and deceptions are, however, arguably more intricate than those in Inception, so people who like movies like that that make you think might enjoy it.

Re: What Movies are you Watching?

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:24 pm
by shooraijin
The Prestige weirded me out in a big way because the "twist" was so outlandish. I'm a fan of Christopher Nolan movies generally, but I think this was one of his lesser efforts. (For the record, I adored Inception.)

Re: What Movies are you Watching?

PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:38 pm
by Kaori
I'm glad I'm not the only one! (I also highly enjoyed Inception and would consider it a better film.)

Re: What Movies are you Watching?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:59 pm
by Davidizer13
Heard you were talking about Silence. Having only read the book, I can't comment on whether things got changed for the movie, but here's what I got:

Kaori is right in saying that Rodriguez is too full of himself - you see it in all the moments where he's concerned that the people he is serving will replace Jesus with him, and all the moreso with the Catholic idea that the priesthood is meant to be God's representative on earth. I shared the book with a pastor friend of mine and he worries about avoiding that in his own congregation. But somewhere along the line, Rodriguez crosses from representative of Jesus, to being Jesus himself to these people. He has to be their messiah. It's a fine boundary, one that's so easy to cross with a little pride in the right direction...
SPOILER: Highlight text to read: But in that pride, in crossing that line, believing the declarations from the government ministers that Christianity in Japan is dead, he takes his own personal failings to be God's failings and the silence he struggles with to be God's actual silence. And then he misses the people like Kichijiro and the other martyrs, to which God is actively working. God is silent to Rodriguez because he stopped listening and took it on himself to be God. Obviously, being human, he fails at that job.

From interviews with Endo, he wanted to play up the aspect of Jesus as someone who came down to earth to suffer with us and understand us. That's what came across to me, because of the struggles that Rodriguez goes through, and for the way he responds to those struggles.

Re: What Movies are you Watching?

PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:24 pm
by Kaori
Davidizer13 wrote:From interviews with Endo, he wanted to play up the aspect of Jesus as someone who came down to earth to suffer with us and understand us.

Yes. That comes across very strongly in the climax scene.

Re: What Movies are you Watching?

PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2021 3:50 pm
by Rose Faerie
I recently saw American Animals. It was a very interesting heist movie, especially since they featured the real people who committed the heist. It was a good movie, though I've seen enough Criminal Minds to realize all the mistakes they were making right from the get go.

Re: What Movies are you Watching?

PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2022 1:17 pm
by Kaori
I actually watched a movie not too long ago.

Man of God (the one about St. Nektarios, directed by Yelena Popovic). It's an Orthodox movie about the life of St. Nektarios, an Orthodox saint particularly venerated in Greece.

-Got to learn about the life of this saint in a shorter amount of time than it would take to read a book. Not that I wouldn't like to read a book about him, but I have a lot of spiritual books in my queue already, and it's hard to take the time to read about all the saints because there are so many of them. Anyways, I appreciated being able to learn a saint about whom I previously knew nothing.
-Most of Nektarios-the-character's dialogue came from the actual writings of St. Nektarios, so pretty much anything he said in the movie was actually something the saint said or wrote.
-Kostas (assistant character) was an interesting and engaging character; it was interesting to watch his transformation throughout the movie.

-There were some criticisms about the movie beating it over viewer's heads how persecuted he was, and I can see that.
-I felt the acting of the actor playing St. Nektarios was pretty wooden and stiff most of the time. I think he was trying to portray him as peaceful and dispassionate, but instead he came across as emotionless and stiff. But I guess the inner peace and joy that you can sense from truly holy people just can't be faked.

Re: What Movies are you Watching?

PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2022 6:14 pm
by Rose Faerie
I recently watched Shutter Island. It was a really good movie, although I was disappointed by the ending. I've watched enough Criminal Minds to be able to take what was actually going on into consideration. I feel like if they had combined the other possible ending with the one they used, it could have made things a lot better. Despite my issues with the ending it was really well done. It was an enjoyable thriller, and not particularly scary, which was nice.