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I pretty much agree totally, Alex.

I think The Dark Knight is rubbish.

Watchmen is ten times the film TDK tried to be.

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Probably at nothing. The only thing about Watchmen movie is that it is bold, for a large budget production. But then it is also infantile and inconsequential. The point of the story was to introduce the superhero characters to the real (or quasi-real) world and to see what happens. It is nowhere to be found in the film. You have the same characters performing superhero moves in slow motion and it misses the point altogether. it's over-reliance on style puts it at odds with its message. That's exactly what TDK avoids. It doesn't need to be excessive to make its point.

The Dark Knight: What gets it going is the story. In fact, to this movie, story seems to be all there is: It's one spectacular event after another and the pace is high. There's no sense of time or distance. And then there were the gadgets and stunts, of course. Sometimes I had the feeling like I was watching a James Bond movie. Batman even goes abroad to exotic places. Batman, the character, is simply not interesting. The Joker is a little bit more intriguing but that's because he's crazy. Like the film says, he isn't attached to a code, so you don't know what to expect. Plus, due to the nature of the role, Leath Hedger gets to show off a lot. He does a good job but I'm not that impressed. The last 30 minutes of the film were kinda boring to me. It became too much of a morality lesson with the people of Gotham City teaching the crazy joker a thing or two about humanity. As if that wasn't enough, the film throws in Two-Face who preaches his own moral ethics.

Alex

I for one am grateful for a large-scale production with such a dense script. Yes, it is not without flaws (mostly concerning logic), but it is refreshing to see something like that. The other thing I really enjoy is the down-to-earth-and-yet-epic look to the film, with no redundant digital effects to ruin it. Or date it, for that matter. And I disagree on the Batman character. It is now more interesting than ever, because there is more to him now than just plain (and often meaningless) heroism. That's something new in these kinds of films.

Karol - who thinks the movie is well-paced (contrary to what most people say)

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Probably at nothing. The only thing about Watchmen movie is that it is bold, for a large budget production. But then it is also infantile and inconsequential. The point of the story was to introduce the superhero characters to the real (or quasi-real) world and to see what happens. It is nowhere to be found in the film.

We see an alternate world precisely because of the Watchmen and their actions (the flashbacks). But this story is about a mysterious murderer who kills the Watchmen in retirement and a god's alienation with humanity.

You have the same characters performing superhero moves in slow motion and it misses the point altogether. it's over-reliance on style puts it at odds with its message.

I don't understand the problem some people have with slow motion.

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It keeps amazing me how much value people put in story. A week ago, someone was telling me the whole story of a movie that she liked. By the way she told it, it was clear to me that it was the events in the movie that made an impression on her. To be honest, it was difficult for me to hide my boredom. People always talk about the what, almost never about the how. But let me ask you this, what is art? Is it the subject matter? Or is it the way the subject matter is treated? Most people will understand that it's not about the flowers on the painting but about the vision the artist is using to communicate. Apparently, to a large chunk of the public, this is not true for film. It wants that what it can see on the surface and that is easy to grasp (acting is another such thing). While story can certainly make an impression (it did with me the first time I watched TDK), I also believe that story is the first thing that goes away. Watching TDK for the second time only confirmed that. Yes, the movie tells its story with great drive but at the end of the story, what are we left with?

Alex

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We see an alternate world precisely because of the Watchmen and their actions (the flashbacks). But this story is about a mysterious murderer who kills the Watchmen in retirement and a god's alienation with humanity.

I don't understand the problem some people have with slow motion.

It is not about the problem with slow motion. It's the problem with slow motion in Watchmen. You see, there is a point made in the comic book that these are (almost) normal people wearing masks. There are no elaborate fight scenes and the violence is quick and almost insignificant. Because this is how it looks like in the real life. By having them flying in the air and doing these amazing stunts in the film you loose that. Suddenly you are in the Batman & Robin territory.

Most people now associate it with Michael Bay's gaudy use of it.

No, worse. The Passion of the Christ.

While story can certainly make an impression (it did with me the first time I watched TDK), I also believe that story is the first thing that goes away. Watching TDK for the second time only confirmed that. Yes, the movie tells its story with great drive but at the end of the story, what are we left with?

Alex

I'm not sure I understand the question at the end... Anyway, aren't some of the greatest films story-driven? Like Chinatown, for example?

As for caring about the story in movies... I admit, it is the most important thing for me. I enjoy analyzing how it is structured and things like that. I'm not into things like 300. I do enjoy some purely visual films (like Blade Runner or 2001), but it is more of a anomaly than enything else. Or perhaps, because they are more efficient in telling their story, even if it is not their main concern.

Karol - who thinks there is more to TDK than just story (but that's just me)

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I have to side with Alex. Chinatown is not story-driven, although the plot is heavy and memorable. Chinatown is music-driven, ambiance-driven, performance-driven, direction-driven, image-driven. The story is where all these elements meet, the thread that sews them together and gives them meaning. Nothing more.

Double Indemnity (or even better, the not strictly cinematic 12 Angry Men) was remade for television. Story-wise, both versions are the same. Does that mean we are left with the same?

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Suddenly you are in the Batman & Robin territory.

You're kidding, right? Because if you're not, you really ought to use your eyes and ears a little bit more. BTW, a lot of the fights in Watchmen do end very quickly (sometimes Rorchack does the job in 1 or 2 seconds). The slo-mo (the ramp speed effect) gives you a fotographic pause like you would have in a comic book. It's a dramatic effect. I don't think Snyder is interested in realistic storytelling. His language is operatic. He exaggerates, like Ridley Scott or Stanley Kubrick.

Anyway, aren't some of the greatest films story-driven? Like Chinatown, for example?

Only partly, Chinatown is film noir which is always very style-driven. It's slow, mysterious and atmospheric (the film doesn't hurry itself from event to event - quite the opposite). It's also character-driven because almost every scene is about Jack Nicholson and the entire film is seen through his eyes. Not so with TDK which unrolls itself entirely and solely for the audience. Nolan uses the same style of storytelling as Scorsese in The Departed, a film which also relies heavily on plot and fast pace. You have to completely focus on the plot-driven story or you're lost. I can't think of too many other examples like TDK or The Departed.

EDIT: Hey, funny, even though I missed your post, Elmo, we sorta said the same things.

Alex

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Probably at nothing. The only thing about Watchmen movie is that it is bold, for a large budget production. But then it is also infantile and inconsequential. The point of the story was to introduce the superhero characters to the real (or quasi-real) world and to see what happens. It is nowhere to be found in the film. You have the same characters performing superhero moves in slow motion and it misses the point altogether. it's over-reliance on style puts it at odds with its message. That's exactly what TDK avoids. It doesn't need to be excessive to make its point.

Exactly.

While the story is very much important in TDK, I actually see it as more character-driven than anything. I look at it basically as an examination of the consequences of Bruce Wayne's actions as Batman, both within in the film and in the previous installment Batman Begins. Granted there is a very strong supporting cast, but they are all mostly there to further define and explore the character of Bruce/Batman. The Joker and Harvey Dent especially play that role, being two opposing individuals that have sprung up because Bruce "crossed the line first".

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Suddenly you are in the Batman & Robin territory.

You're kidding, right? Because if you're not, you really ought to use your eyes and ears more. BTW, a lot of the fights do end very quickly (sometimes Rorchack does the job in 1 or 2 seconds)

OK, B&R was a bad example. I'll try to put it more simply: Watchmen uses elements of the superhero genre, but it is not a superhero story. These people try to be heroes, but they're not. To give them physic-defying abbilities you kind of miss the point, don't you think? I'm not talking about the choreography or staging of the scene. It just shouldn't have been there.

Anyway, aren't some of the greatest films story-driven? Like Chinatown, for example?

Only partly, Chinatown is film noir which is always very style-driven. It's slow, mysterious and atmospheric (the film doesn't hurry itself from event to event - quite the opposite). It's also character-driven because almost every scene is about Jack Nicholson and the entire film is seen through his eyes. Not so with TDK which unrolls itself entirely and solely for the audience. Nolan uses the same style of storytelling as Scorsese in The Departed, a film which also relies heavily on plot and fast pace. You have to completely focus on the plot-driven story or you're lost. I can't think of too many other examples like TDK or The Departed.

EDIT: Hey, funny, even though I missed your post, Elmo, we sorta said the same things.

Alex

While I think I understand what you both try to say, it is still a bit fuzzy. Aren't characters and story one and the same thing?

Karol

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A few disconnected thoughts:

Story is the wrong term, I think. Everything can be story. Plot is the thing people latch on to. And this whole notion of 'plot-driven' or 'character-driven' is often bullshit, I think. I don't get the difference. Where does plot end and character begin? Sometimes, yes, it seems like an easy thing to pinpoint. But generally, it's a pretty useless distinction.

Alex, I think that certainly people will describe plots when describing films. They don't have the proper vocabulary to say how a film effected them. So they describe the story. I think we all encounter that. Though with, The Dark Knight actually, I don't think I ever heard a word about story or plot from people. It was all scenes, images and Joker.

And I think that saying that 'story is the first thing to go away' is problematic. The idea is too cut and dry for my taste. What one represents is an integral part of the art. As we already disagreed about Watchmen.

BTW, Elmo, you kind of cheated with your wonderful response about Chinatown. You just found an opening and ran with it, didn't you? ;)

I agree with what you said, though if there's a word that comes to mind about Chinatown for me, it's 'language'.

Slow motion can be effective, can be cheesy. Some people only use it for the sense of cool, like Bay, and, for my money, Snyder, who does indeed exaggerate, but is not the least bit operatic to my eyes (his terrible use of music aside). But my model for operatic is Leone, and no one knows anything about operatic compared to him, so my concept of operatic is a bit skewed (I get very little grandeur from Snyder- his images feel very small to me).

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While I think I understand what you both try to say, it is still a bit fuzzy. Aren't characters and story one and the same thing?

It's not the same. Even though story usually involves characters, it is not necessary. However, we were talking about what moves a story forward. In plot-driven stories, the focus is on the events. The plot points by themselves are enough to keep the story interesting. In character-driven stories, the focus is on the personalities and character development. The characters by themselves are enough to keep us interested throughout the story. Many say that good stories are a well balanced combination of both. The ones I'm interested in (and more and more as I get older) are the ones where you can feel the voice of the artist (the storyteller). I resonate more with vision than with plot. I resonate with Van Gogh, not with the flowers.

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All right, here goes. I saw re-mastered "The Red Shoes" last week. It is a sad fact that the best film that one has seen all year, is one that is over 60 years old. Has modern cinema nothing more to offer the discerning fan? I hope not, but logically, if cinema has reached its nadir, then the "the only way is up", isn't it? Don't bet on it. I'm not saying that I have not seen worthy films this year, but when presented with cinematic purety and perfection such as "The Red Shoes", where does one go next? I feel thet I can't physically walk into a movie theatre anymore because I KNOW that whatever I see cannot possibly hope to measure up to the aforementioned film.

I am deliberately not giving a rundown of why I liked the film, because others on this site may have seen it, and hated it. To each their own. I will, however, recommend this film without reservation, and say this: if you want to, go and see the new "funnybutseriousrom-com" with Sandra Diaz, or whoever; or, possibly, the "heartwarmingbutwithapositvemessage" movie about how Santa found his true vocation starring Vince Allen, or whoever; or even the newest eight hundred million dollar C.G. monstrosity, that has absolutely nothing to say and no way to say it, except, how many images from it that it cram onto the side of a 2-litre bottle of Coke (it's one thing the revolution will not go better with!). Your lives will be all the poorer for it, I promise. Instead, give yourselves a REAL Christmas treat, and see one of the most beautiful, romantic, and just plain brilliant films(as are, let's face it, all Powell/Pressburger films) that you are ever likely to see.

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I know what you mean. Powell & Pressburger are in a class of their own. Just saw the film for the first time a few months back and loved it, though not as much as Colonel Blimp.

Saw Claire Denis's 35 Shots of Rum (2009). Beautiful father-daughter story.

Also saw Gangs of New York (2002), yet again. I don't think I could ever compile such a list, but this would probably be one of my top-ten films of the decade. My favorite epic of the decade, that's for sure (certainly the most memorably performed and most fun one).

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Gangs of New York falls apart at the end for me right around that last fight. I haven't watched it all the way through in one sitting for a while though so maybe I need to do that again.

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It does get a bit messy. But that totally works for me in terms of the story. I buy that our main characters all of a sudden become insignificant.

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I haven't watched it in awhile. I need to give the ol' DVD a spin.

Public Enemies

It's still an average film to me, and why oh why did Mann have to shoot digital? So much noise in the dark scenes it's insane. And if he went with film, he wouldn't have to have studio lights behind every tree in the woodland shootout. I'll give the film props on it's sound effects, it has some of the most realistic gunshots I've ever heard. I also don't like John Dillinger, and I feel that the audience is supposed to connect with him and like him. I'm siding with Christian Bale's character. Moreover, I can't buy into the whole Johnny/Billie situation. How they meet and "get together" seemed so unrealistic and impossible. Goldenthal's score is good, albeit a rip of Zimmer's Thin Red Line. Film had to have been temped with it, considering Powell's contribution is kept in the film, and Zimmer is thanked in the credits.

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Also saw Gangs of New York (2002), yet again. I don't think I could ever compile such a list, but this would probably be one of my top-ten films of the decade. My favorite epic of the decade, that's for sure (certainly the most memorably performed and most fun one).

The movie would be nothing without Daniel Day-Lewis.

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DDL is certainly a huge part of that film, but the scale would be there any way. It may have been a bit embarassing with a smaller performer, but it still would have been something worth watching (especially with Brendan Gleeson and Jim Broadbent in their roles).

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What? There's slo-mo is LOTR? When is it coming on Blu-ray?!

Alex

March, I think.

The slo-mo in LOTR works for me, because PJ usually has restraint and saves it for crucial (and generally emotional) moments. Whereas a lot of filmmakers who use it now generally don't have that restraint and just use it to look cool. Especially with orange tints.

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March, I think.

The shortened versions, that is.

An emotional moment in slow motion is over the top.

Once Upon a Time in the West?

While those scenes are not technically slow motion, they're paced so slowly that they could just as well be.

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Alex is just gutted because everyone (not this board, but the WORLD) loves Avatar, thus completely undermining his crappy 'foresight'. To me he is akin to a confused closet homosexual: worryingly convinced that he has everyone else 'convinced'; only to have the reality of the situation suddenly come crashing down upon him, in the end. And in a REALLY camp way. Wha..?! Noooo?! It cannot be!!! Accept everyone who knows him saw it coming a mile off.

He once worried that peeps here questioned his "love" for film. Hehe, I dunno about his alleged love towards movies, but his taste is friggin' shite. Limited is probably the better word.

Lee - who thinks Avatar is a good 4 star movie without the glasses, and 5 with.

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I can't imagine its appeal in 2D. I mean, you get a whole lot of it. But not the immersion. There were times that I felt IN the screen.

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Obviously not...but I can't imagine it. Although, I get the sense that a lot more people are seeing this in 3D than any other 3D films. My own local theaters adapted to 3D only in the last few months, and I've yet to hear from anyone I know, here or elsewhere, who has seen it in 2D. It struck me as being a movie actually designed in and for 3D (problmatic though the technology still is).

Saw Olivier Assayas' Summer Hours (2008). Wonderful, wonderful film. It is beautifully complemented by the newest films by Jacques Rivette and Jan Troell, the three make a great sweet-melancholy triple-viewing. I was wondering why this film reminded me so much of A Christmas Tale from last year, when I was reminded that both were shot by Eric Gautier. Great cinematographer (also did Into The Wild)

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Alex is just gutted because everyone (not this board, but the WORLD) loves Avatar,

I certainly don't love Avatar. It's not even a good movie.

you are quite wrong, it is a very good movie.

Alex not liking it is typical.

No one should be surprised.

What? There's slo-mo is LOTR? When is it coming on Blu-ray?!

Alex

to keep up with any and all release dates on BR go to...

Digital bits

the date you seek is 4-6-10, and no thats not June 4, its April 6th.

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Alex is just gutted because everyone (not this board, but the WORLD) loves Avatar, thus completely undermining his crappy 'foresight'. To me he is akin to a confused closet homosexual: worryingly convinced that he has everyone else 'convinced'; only to have the reality of the situation suddenly come crashing down upon him, in the end. And in a REALLY camp way. Wha..?! Noooo?! It cannot be!!! Accept everyone who knows him saw it coming a mile off.

I never said that nobody is going to love Avatar. I wasn't even aware that the whole world loves Avatar. Why do you make up these things? Are you that empty-headed? You attack me on every page, Quint, and it's getting silly.

Or is it your humor again? If that's the case, your 'humor' is a bit strange, it actually sounds pretty malignant. You also seem to have a problem with homosexuals. You ofter mention the word "homosexual" when you're in a hateful mode (it happened again when you wanted to express your contempt and disgust for Zack Snyder) which wouldn't surprise me since you hide yourself behind a very macho avatar. Your big hero 'Quint' doesn't strike me as a very open-minded character. In order to get rid of that hatred for me, perhaps you should affiliate yourself with another person.

He once worried that peeps here questioned his "love" for film. Hehe, I dunno about his alleged love towards movies, but his taste is friggin' shite. Limited is probably the better word.

I don't think my taste is limited at all. For starters, I don't have a favorite genre. A lot of people only want action in their movies. Some say they don't like drama or science fiction movies or westerns. Not me, I don't really think in genres. Also, I like mainstream film as well as some art house movies. In fact, my favorite movies are sometimes a combination of both. Of course, if having good taste means 2012, Avatar, I, Robot, Transformers, then I guess you're right. Really Quint, I'm sure my DVD collection is much more varied than yours.

Once Upon a Time in the West?

While those scenes are not technically slow motion, they're paced so slowly that they could just as well be.

[Dalek]Slow pace is not slow motion.[/Dalek]

Alex - who won't be seeing Avatar untill the DVD comes out.

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You have concluded that I have a problem with gay people, wrongly. But touché Alex, touché.

My little digs at you are just tit-for-tat, that's all. Call it reprisal for your regular little digs at Avatar and any other movies you don't like which others do (that's a helluva lot of movies), but I'm mainly thinking Avatar. You can dish it out, but...

See I've noticed how you hide your personal attacks toward others behind their taste in movies, compared to your own 'enlightened' critique. You specialise in remarks of the back-handed variety. I on the otherhand prefer to cut to the chase and spit it out, be direct with people... and you don't like that.

Oh and Merry Christmas!

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