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    1. 1917 (2019) — Spoiler-free discussion thread

      Trailer topic Wikipedia I watched it last week. Fantastic movie. I don't watch many war movies (in fact this is one of my first ones), but I really, really liked it. I didn't even notice the two...

      I watched it last week. Fantastic movie. I don't watch many war movies (in fact this is one of my first ones), but I really, really liked it. I didn't even notice the two hours go by.

      The one-shot effect is really well done, and I enjoyed trying to spot the transitions.

      It's not an exceptional movie or anything like that, but it's one of the rare times I just went into the theater and came out exceedingly satisfied.

      9 votes
    2. Are there any remakes as good as the original movie?

      I was chatting with a friend today and this question came up - I drew a complete blank. Aside from a few foreign movies retranslated into a completely different context, like Seven Samurai and The...

      I was chatting with a friend today and this question came up - I drew a complete blank.

      Aside from a few foreign movies retranslated into a completely different context, like Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven, most remakes don't even approach the quality of the original, for my tastes.

      Please enlighten me if you're aware of any superior, or even equivalent remakes that tell roughly the same story with the same characters.

      17 votes
    3. What are the best movies mainly set in a single location?

      I love single-location films, and use them as inspiration for my own very-constrained filmmaking endeavors. This is a space where great screenwriters and filmmakers shine, coming up with creative...

      I love single-location films, and use them as inspiration for my own very-constrained filmmaking endeavors. This is a space where great screenwriters and filmmakers shine, coming up with creative solutions to keep things fresh and enticing with little to no variation in ambiance. Some examples:

      • 12 Angry Men (1957)
      • Straw Dogs (1971)
      • Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
      • El Angel Exterminador (Exterminating Angel, 1962)
      • Phone Booth (2003)
      • Coherence (2013)
      • The Invitation (2015)

      But I want more! Any ideas?

      I should add that my motivation for this question is research for my next production, and because of practical concerns I'm only looking for single-location films in which the main location is small and simple enough that its sub-divisions cannot be considered a location of their own. For example: according to my criteria, a large house or apartment would be a single location, because its subdivisions (living room, bathrooms, bedrooms, etc) can be considered as logical parts of the main one. A shopping mall, a large condominium or an apartment complex would not be a single-location, because its many buildings and apartments are distinct and independent enough to function as locations of their own. When in doubt, try applying production pragmatics instead of pure logic. If something is logically not really another location, but would be just as hard to manage as another location (a whole new set design), it is a location. Thanks!

      23 votes
    4. Which movies had a major influence in your formative years?

      I can mention many movies that influenced me in major ways. Stand By Me made me realize the importance of friendship High Fidelity helped me understand romance is not entirely about passion. It's...

      I can mention many movies that influenced me in major ways.

      • Stand By Me made me realize the importance of friendship
      • High Fidelity helped me understand romance is not entirely about passion. It's also about respect, love, and care. There's value in something that's simply "good", and "good" is not something to brush off.
      • Goonies and Godfather showed that, when shit hits the fan, family is everything.
      • Manhattan taught me love is nothing without courage
      • A Bronx Tale taught me that our parent figures can be imperfect and even downright criminal, but this doesn't mean they don't love us.

      Ant the list goes on...

      18 votes
    5. In The Tall Grass (2019) is…

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      … essentially Cube 2: Hypercube. It's even written and directed by Vincenzo Natali, the man behind Cube. I didn't dislike it, in fact I liked it. But seriously, am I the only one who noticed that?

      Also, Harrison Gilbertson has big Aaron Paul energy. Especially in the voice.

      3 votes
    6. Top Movies of the 2010s

      The end of the year has me in a movie-watching mood and I want to add the best of the best into my queue for the next few weeks. Similar to games of the decades, what are your movies of the...

      The end of the year has me in a movie-watching mood and I want to add the best of the best into my queue for the next few weeks. Similar to games of the decades, what are your movies of the decades and why?

      22 votes
    7. Mary Poppins Returns: some thoughts

      I have just watched ‘Mary Poppins Returns’, after yesterday watching the original ‘Mary Poppins’ for the first time. I have not, to my knowledge, ever watched ‘Mary Poppins’ in full before now....

      I have just watched ‘Mary Poppins Returns’, after yesterday watching the original ‘Mary Poppins’ for the first time. I have not, to my knowledge, ever watched ‘Mary Poppins’ in full before now. I’ve caught snippets of it on weekend television, but I’ve never seen it from start to finish. Well, with our new Disney+ streaming subscription, I’ve finally seen ‘Mary Poppins’ for the first time yesterday, and followed it up by watching ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ today.

      ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ is a sequel in name only. It’s basically a remake of the original. It’s as if the director had a checklist of everything ‘Mary Poppins’ contained, and just checked them off in this sequel:

      • Mary Poppins herself. Check.

      • A dirty working-class friend with a heart of gold. Check.

      • Children who didn’t know how to have fun. Check.

      • A father who needed to rediscover his children and his own childish joy. Check.

      • A woman who’s working for a progressive cause. Check.

      • Bank seen as a negative institution. Check.

      • Quirky relative of Mary Poppins who gives the children a different point of view. Check.

      • Animated sequence. Check.

      Actually, I’m surprised that there is an animated sequence in the sequel, given how much P.L. Travers reportedly hated the animation in the original. (Strangely, I’ve seen ‘Saving Mr Banks’ a couple of times, and even watched a documentary about Ms Travers somewhere along the way.) But I suppose she’s dead now, so her input is limited to just turning in her grave.

      It even gets more detailed than that. Individual musical numbers have been mapped from one movie to another:

      • Vaudeville-style song & dance number within the animated sequence, with the main characters performing alongside cartoon animals. Check.

      • Big dance number featuring the aforementioned working-class friend and his colleagues. Check. The names even have a metaphorical resonance: “Step in Time” becomes “Trip a Little Light Fantastic”.

      • Uplifting song at the end of the movie. Check. But instead of being about a child’s toy that flies in the sky (kite), let’s make it about a different child’s toy that flies in the sky (balloon).

      It’s a shame that Julie Andrews can’t sing any more. It would have been lov-er-ly (ha!) to see her in the cameo role that Angela Lansbury had. Not that I have anything against Ms Lansbury: far from it! But Dick Van Dyke got a small role, and it would have been nice to see Ms Andrews pop up as well. A little on-screen moment between her and Emily Blunt would have been sweet.

      There was one thing that the director left off his checklist, though: singable songs. While everyone knows “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and can sing it at the drop of a hat, noone is going to be singing “A Cover is not the Book”, as fun as it was. “A Spoonful of Sugar” is fun and memorable, while “Can You Imagine That” is fun and forgettable.

      This is not to derogate the performances. There were no weak links in this chain. Emily Blunt was spot-on as Mary Poppins. Lin-Manuel Miranda was technically great as Jack the lamplighter (and he certainly did a better Cockney accent than Dick Van Dyke – which admittedly isn’t hard). Miranda lacked a little heart, but is a great singer and dancer. The rest of the cast were also good. Not a sour note among them. They were just let down by a weak script and poor songs.

      The new Mary Poppins movie is a watered-down copy of the original – and the original wasn’t the best movie in the world to start with! I love me a good musical. I have a whole shelf full of musicals on disc, along with assorted soundtracks. I can quite happily spend an afternoon with ‘The Wizard of Oz’ or ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ or the family-friendly ‘My Fair Lady’. But ‘Mary Poppins’ was too bland for me. And its sequel/remake was even blander.

      15 votes
    8. Not every movie must be a melodrama

      start rant First, my personal definition of the term: melodrama is a narrative that appeals to our stronger emotions in a lengthy, recurrent, unjustified and exaggerated fashion. Unlike drama,...

      start rant

      First, my personal definition of the term: melodrama is a narrative that appeals to our stronger emotions in a lengthy, recurrent, unjustified and exaggerated fashion. Unlike drama, which plays to your sentiments in a more contained and psychologically realistic manner, melodrama overwhelms us with every trick in the book to elicit a powerful emotional reaction by any means necessary.

      You can tell from my phrasing that I'm not a fan of the genre, but that's beside the point. Melodrama has its place: operas and soap-operas wouldn't exist without it, and, in moderation, it's a practical way to inject emotion in plots that would be otherwise hermetic and dry.

      But even sweetness in excess will make you vomit, and many interesting productions exaggerate it to the point of nausea. Arrival is awesome, but did Amy Adams character (which was basically one the smartest persons on Earth) really need to spend so much time as a freaking wife? We had the coolest movie aliens in the last 20 years, did she really need to marry a boring physicist? And what about the whole parenting conundrum in Interstellar? You're in fucking space, I couldn't care less about your failings as a father! No one could save 1998s Armageddon, but the struggle to explode the giant asteroid heading towards the Earth was way more interesting than Liv Tyler saying goodbye to Bruce Willis over some corny Aerosmith song. The TV show The Killing was particularly annoying... what would prefer, awesome investigation scenes with constant new developments or 30 versions of "look how the same family is grieving in a slightly different way"?

      But credit where credit is due: some moviemakers know a thing or two about concision. So my props to Fernando Meirelles (City of God), José Padilha (Elite Squad), Alfred Hitchcock, David Fincher, Sidney Lumet, Martin Scorsese, Chad Stahelski (from John Wick!!!!) and many others. Thank you for not wasting my time!

      EDIT1: And just make things perfectly clear: my issue is not with the presence of drama or melodrama, but with its amount...
      EDIT2: to be even more clear: this does not mean that I wish for all movies to be sterile, dry or devoid of emotional content...
      EDIT3: a lot of answers seem to ignore the differences between drama and melodrama, the previous edits and the nuance of the post. Ahh... what can I do? :P

      end rant

      9 votes
    9. Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland should make an action movie

      From Community to House of Cosbys to Rick and Morty, Dan Harmon made a name for himself as a comedy genius. IDK much about Justin Rowland, but I assume he's at least partly responsible for some of...

      From Community to House of Cosbys to Rick and Morty, Dan Harmon made a name for himself as a comedy genius. IDK much about Justin Rowland, but I assume he's at least partly responsible for some of the most brilliant moments of Rick and Morty, and I'm not just talking about the jokes. Among other episodes, The Wedding Squanchers, The Rickshank Redemption, Pickle Rick, Rickmancing the Stone and Look Who's Purging Now show great mastering of how action scenes are supposed to work. They ally irreverence, great rhythm and creative use of violence to make delicious gory spectacles. Unlike the increasingly incomprehensible movie brawls of today (I'm looking at you, Marvel...), their battles can be just as fast, but their choreographs are dramatic and easy to follow while retaining a great degree of complexity.

      Dan Harmon and his team have a lot to teach to Hollywood.

      5 votes
    10. What are some non-sensationalist, analytical true-crime documentaries?

      Partly because of the nature of the subject, most true-crime documentaries tend to emphasize dread. Some of them employ formal devices similar to horror movies, such as ominous soundtracks, dark...

      Partly because of the nature of the subject, most true-crime documentaries tend to emphasize dread. Some of them employ formal devices similar to horror movies, such as ominous soundtracks, dark lightning, and moody camera movements. My interest in the problem of evil is philosophical, and the constant attempts to induce fear are distracting.

      I'm interested in documentaries that are more like case studies, with a clinical, speculative or even scientifical approach to the problem of evil embodied in criminal acts.

      Any suggestions?

      10 votes