Favorite Movies not Written by Ayn Rand


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The first episode of that show was decent. I'll have to save up for the boxed set.

Oh, and as to good movies:

Gattaca. Awesome dystopic science-fiction about how one man bucks the system when he is told that he looses by default (being 'genetically inferior'). The pacing is great, the plot involving (both on a narrative and a philosophical level), and the characters vivid.

Serenity. While it wasn't as good as I'd hoped it would be, this is still a great adventure story and a superb ending for Joss Whedon's short-lived Firefly.

Dark City. Stylish fantasy noir with a great twist at the end. Far superior to The Matrix, which it is commonly compared to.

If you like sci-fi as such, Dark City is a good, but not great movie. I have watched it several times. It is yet another reworking of the primacy of consciousness premise, although at least in this case there is a machine that makes one's thoughts into realities. It is, I concur, much better than the Matrix, except for the Matrix's great wire-guided fight scenes. (They should neve have made the Matrix sequels.) Kiefer Sutherland is a far cry from Jack Bauer in this movie.

But Gattaca is a great movie that happens to be science fiction. The theme, the role of human choice in defying genetic destiny, is excellently illustrated in the suspenseful muder-mystery plot. The characters are well developed and vary from the poignantly tragic to the quintessentially heroic. The movie's visual style, 1940's film noir in rich dark color set 50 years in the future is a unique integrating characteristic that compares favorably to the more washed-out visual style of O Brother, Where Art Thou. The leads, Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, would have a whirlwind affair and marry. This film is universally beloved by Objectivists. It should have won Oscar for best picture. It wasn't nominated. The director would be a great candidate for Atlas Shrugged. This movie is unconditionally recommended.

Gataca_Movie_Poster_B.jpg

I wouldn't call Dark City "sci-fi." There's just no emphasis on science in the movie. It's pure fantasy. As to the film's premises, I think you'll enjoy it less if you analyze it. It strikes me as a style over substance movie. But the style is great.

The only thing I did not like about it is the ending. It turns ridiculous when the guy gets powers and starts floating around and battling it out with the head honcho of the aliens. I felt like it spoiled the rest of the film's haunting and deliberate atmosphere.

I thought the first Matrix film was a decent action movie with an interesting premise, and enjoyed it for what it is worth (not much). The first film internalized the ridiculousness of its own mythology and made for a fun film. The sequels, however, are awful. The Wachowski Bros. apparently thought their silly movie premise was worth expanding upon. I did not care for the overly stylized fight scenes, either. It tends to get ridiculous near the end.

V For Vendetta is in every way a better film than any of The Matrix movies.

Gattaca took me by surprise. It deserves to be more well-known and popular than it is.

I love this quote function, don't you? :)

The Wachowski Bros. didn't think the Matrix story was worth expanding upon. They thought the lucrative franchise was worth expanding upon. The Matrix was my second worst movie-viewing experience ever. (The worst was when I threw up in the theater watching Pay it Forward - how poeticly just!) Toward the end of watching the Matrix on its release day in a packed theater with seats fit for hobbits my boyfriend fell asleep and started snoring loudly. I insisted we leave, and come back the next night to see the finale toward which the movie was apparently building. So, we sat through the same tediously pretentious plot the next night, without benefit of the novelty of the fight scenes, which were all that made the movie enjoyable. Red pill versus blue pill? I'll take the feather instead. So, after two hours we got to the climax during which we had walked out of the movie the night before. Then the movie just ended. The credits rolled. We had seen all but the last 60 seconds the night before. There was no resolution. We had sat through the movie twice, for nothing.

Finally, as for Vendetta, yes, it is a great movie under the same circumstances as Dark City. If you take it as a fantasy, refuse to analyse it (who were those lesbians?), can tolerate the brain-damaged hero's alliterative neuropathology, and are able to entirely blank out its offensive pretentious envy-Leftist anti-Americanism (Hurrah, the Yanks have the plague! Serves them right for saving the Brits' bacon in World Wars One, Two and Three!) then, yes, it is quite good. Shame it was written by a whiny undergraduate gay studies major with no knowledge of history and an anti-daddy chip on his shoulder.

Heh.

No doubt they knew they had a cash cow after the success of the first film, but they clearly had an idea of where they were going with the series and wanted to tell the rest of the story. They put a lot of work into those sequels. Those aren't purely profit-oriented products, like, say, Babe 2, Ice Age 3, and Saw 5 are.

I have to wonder at the health of a culture when a movie series that is about nothing but people being graphically tortured is so successful that they can make four sequels to the original film and still roll in the dough.

Modern "horror" films are awful. They're nothing but depraved gorefests that never evolve beyond the level of trying to gross out the audience. What rubbish. The best horror films scare an audience without resorting to pure visual depravity. Consider the original 1963 film version of The Haunting. It is one of the creepiest films ever made, and yet you never actually see the ghost and you'll find stronger violence in an animated Disney movie.

I wouldn't say V For Vendetta is anti-American. The film didn't celebrate America going down the gutter. It does, however, have an irritating leftist streak to it. Despite being based on British source material, the film is quite clearly a frustrated liberal's commentary on the Bush Administration. The heart of the film, however, is fully celebratory of liberty, and so the film's leftism never really bothers me.

I thought the alliteration was neat. V is a very colorful character. Still a lunatic, but not as villainous as he was in the comic.

Edited by Michelle R
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No doubt they knew they had a cash cow after the success of the first film, but they clearly had an idea of where they were going with the series and wanted to tell the rest of the story. They put a lot of work into those sequels. Those aren't purely profit-oriented products, like, say, Babe 2, Ice Age 3, and Saw 5 are.

I have to wonder at the health of a culture when a movie series that is about nothing but people being graphically tortured is so successful that they can make four sequels to the original film and still roll in the dough.

Modern "horror" films are awful. They're nothing but depraved gorefests that never evolve beyond the level of trying to gross out the audience. What rubbish. The best horror films scare an audience without resorting to pure visual depravity. Consider the original 1963 film version of The Haunting. It is one of the creepiest films ever made, and yet you never actually see the ghost and you'll find stronger violence in an animated Disney movie.

I wouldn't say V For Vendetta is anti-American. The film didn't celebrate America going down the gutter. It does, however, have an irritating leftist streak to it. Despite being based on British source material, the film is quite clearly a frustrated liberal's commentary on the Bush Administration. The heart of the film, however, is fully celebratory of liberty, and so the film's leftism never really bothers me.

I thought the alliteration was neat. V is a very colorful character. Still a lunatic, but not as villainous as he was in the comic.

I did enjoy V enough to watch it three times. It could have been a much, much better movie. The alliteration was overdone. Subtler is bettler. You should read more g. k. chesterton.

As for horror movies, I liked the Alien movies and the stylistic vampire movie The Hunger with Deneuve, Sarandon and Bowie.

But in general I find horror movies disgusting. I agree totally with your opinion of things like the Saw movies. Perhaps they would serve a purpose if in each of the showings one third of a cumulatively lethal dose of some fat-binding poison were administered in the popcorn and soft drinks.

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No doubt they knew they had a cash cow after the success of the first film, but they clearly had an idea of where they were going with the series and wanted to tell the rest of the story. They put a lot of work into those sequels. Those aren't purely profit-oriented products, like, say, Babe 2, Ice Age 3, and Saw 5 are.

I have to wonder at the health of a culture when a movie series that is about nothing but people being graphically tortured is so successful that they can make four sequels to the original film and still roll in the dough.

Modern "horror" films are awful. They're nothing but depraved gorefests that never evolve beyond the level of trying to gross out the audience. What rubbish. The best horror films scare an audience without resorting to pure visual depravity. Consider the original 1963 film version of The Haunting. It is one of the creepiest films ever made, and yet you never actually see the ghost and you'll find stronger violence in an animated Disney movie.

I wouldn't say V For Vendetta is anti-American. The film didn't celebrate America going down the gutter. It does, however, have an irritating leftist streak to it. Despite being based on British source material, the film is quite clearly a frustrated liberal's commentary on the Bush Administration. The heart of the film, however, is fully celebratory of liberty, and so the film's leftism never really bothers me.

I thought the alliteration was neat. V is a very colorful character. Still a lunatic, but not as villainous as he was in the comic.

I did enjoy V enough to watch it three times. It could have been a much, much better movie. The alliteration was overdone. Subtler is bettler. You should read more g. k. chesterton.

As for horror movies, I liked the Alien movies and the stylistic vampire movie The Hunger with Deneuve, Sarandon and Bowie.

But in general I find horror movies disgusting. I agree totally with your opinion of things like the Saw movies. Perhaps they would serve a purpose if in each of the showings one third of a cumulatively lethal dose of some fat-binding poison were administered in the popcorn and soft drinks.

It was supposed to be overdone and theatrical. That kind of thing either amuses you or doesn't. It was a nice spot of humor in an otherwise somber movie, though. I wonder if Alan Moore's work will see a popular resurrection in America now that his projects are being brought to the theater (he would likely resent this notion, however - he threw a pretty big fit about this movie being made, and completely disowned The Watchmen movie)?

The problem with modern horror filmmakers is that they are determined to shock their audiences. Not creep them out. Not scare them. Shock them. Throw as much depravity at the audience as the R-rating will allow (not saying much: the MPAA has no problem with the filthy torture porn in Saw, but wouldn't allow Darren Aronofsky to keep a pivotal and relatively non-graphic sex scene at the end of Requiem for a Dream and still maintain the R-rating. Apparently some sex is worthy of the NC-17 rating, but torture isn't). The result is that over time mainstream audiences become more and more jaded and mainstream horror becomes more and more extreme. A rather nasty cycle.

It's pointless anyway. Mainstream horror will never reach the depths of depravity that exploitation films have wallowed in for decades now. You want to see a manifestation of spiritual emptiness on film? Watch Cannibal Holocaust, August Underground, or Flower of Flesh and Blood (on second thought, don't). These movies are made by people who hate existence, damn life on Earth, and relish death.

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Michele:

"The problem with modern horror filmmakers is that they are determined to shock their audiences. Not creep them out. Not scare them. Shock them."

:thumbsup:

As Ted mentioned Alien, which was an excellent horror film. The scene when the black dude was walking though the hold with the chains, steam and the dripping condensation was incredibly tense, building the tension skillfully and then throwing in the cat as a temporary release was excellent craftsmanship.

Did either of you see that dinosaur Them! with the giant ants circa 1950's?

The desert scene with the weird noise over the dunes with the sandstorm kicking up. Also the little catatonic girl when the formic acid is put under her nose.

Great stuff.

Adam

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You want to see a manifestation of spiritual emptiness on film? Watch Cannibal Holocaust, August Underground, or Flower of Flesh and Blood (on second thought, don't). These movies are made by people who hate existence, damn life on Earth, and relish death.

You sound like a Baptist minister condemning John Holmes and Linda Lovelace. How do you know these names? :)

I believe Them! is available at Hulu.com, Mycroft.

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You want to see a manifestation of spiritual emptiness on film? Watch Cannibal Holocaust, August Underground, or Flower of Flesh and Blood (on second thought, don't). These movies are made by people who hate existence, damn life on Earth, and relish death.

You sound like a Baptist minister condemning John Holmes and Linda Lovelace. How do you know these names? :)

I believe Them! is available at Hulu.com, Mycroft.

Ah calls dem as ah sees dem.

Edited by Michelle R
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Michele:

"The problem with modern horror filmmakers is that they are determined to shock their audiences. Not creep them out. Not scare them. Shock them."

:thumbsup:

As Ted mentioned Alien, which was an excellent horror film. The scene when the black dude was walking though the hold with the chains, steam and the dripping condensation was incredibly tense, building the tension skillfully and then throwing in the cat as a temporary release was excellent craftsmanship.

Did either of you see that dinosaur Them! with the giant ants circa 1950's?

The desert scene with the weird noise over the dunes with the sandstorm kicking up. Also the little catatonic girl when the formic acid is put under her nose.

Great stuff.

Adam

I haven't seen Them! myself, and it is not at Hulu.com, but it is here.

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Michele:

"The problem with modern horror filmmakers is that they are determined to shock their audiences. Not creep them out. Not scare them. Shock them."

:thumbsup:

As Ted mentioned Alien, which was an excellent horror film. The scene when the black dude was walking though the hold with the chains, steam and the dripping condensation was incredibly tense, building the tension skillfully and then throwing in the cat as a temporary release was excellent craftsmanship.

Did either of you see that dinosaur Them! with the giant ants circa 1950's?

The desert scene with the weird noise over the dunes with the sandstorm kicking up. Also the little catatonic girl when the formic acid is put under her nose.

Great stuff.

Adam

Alien is a great movie. Another example of how to scare the audience using skillful techniques in stead of bald violence.

The scene near the end where Ripley believes she has killed the alien and partially undresses in preparation for entering stasis, and then discovers the alien is on-board the shuttle, is easily my favorite in the entire film. The tension is incredible. The set design is great throughout the entire movie, but it is most dramatic and effective in this scene. Ripley's partial nudity underscores the sensitivity of her human form in contrast to the horrific visage of the alien.

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Yes indeed, Michelle.

I thought she did a great job - she is an excellent actress and of course me being a sucker for redheads - I discount her politics - a very sensual woman.

The finale to that movie was superior.

Adam

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Well, here are some of my favorite films (this may be the first of several posts).

Westerns. By and large, I've never liked westerns, as a long-time sf fan. But there are a few I've gotten into over the years.

* Silverado. This tale of a loose group of friends, coming together to stand up against the thugs trying to run their town (including a corrupt sheriff) is great. Its too bad they never did a sequel.

* "Man with No Name trilogy". Classic 'spaghetti westerns' by Sergio Leone, with great music by Morricone and staring Clint Eastwood. Lee Van Cleef gets to be a good guy in one, and a bad guy in another. The final, three-way shootout at the end of the "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" is great.

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Garden of Evil not Vera Cruz

Cooper and Widmark and gold and a red head Susan Hayward!

Priceless when Cooper decides to go back because the "card sharp gunslinger" Widmark cheated him so that he would stay and die giving Cooper and Hayward the chance to make it, literally and figuratively.

Adam

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One thing I realized is that a good gauge, for me, to a movie being great is my reaction after seeing it a second time. There are some movies that don't always make a good impression on me the first time, but the second time I see it, I realize its great. Some movies I think are great, then when I see them again, I realize they aren't.

For instance, when I watched The Mummy (the Brendan Fraser one) the first time, I thought it was pretty good. But when I saw it again, I realized it really was a good movie. Diabolik was the same way.

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Well, here are some of my favorite films (this may be the first of several posts).

Westerns. By and large, I've never liked westerns, as a long-time sf fan. But there are a few I've gotten into over the years.

* Silverado. This tale of a loose group of friends, coming together to stand up against the thugs trying to run their town (including a corrupt sheriff) is great. Its too bad they never did a sequel.

* "Man with No Name trilogy". Classic 'spaghetti westerns' by Sergio Leone, with great music by Morricone and staring Clint Eastwood. Lee Van Cleef gets to be a good guy in one, and a bad guy in another. The final, three-way shootout at the end of the "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" is great.

I'm no real fan of Westerns either. But my brother-in-law recommends the Man with no Name spaghetti Westerns as well.

johnnyguitar1.jpg

I recommend Johnny Guitar (at wikipedia) with Joan Crawford, Mercedes McCambridge, and Sterling Hayden, a highly stylized drama with incredible color. An excellent review at DVD Beaver. Here are two scenes and the theme from YouTube:

Lie to Me

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JPragZeLGU

Peggy Lee Sings the Theme

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38-IQCjIpnk

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Good Night, and Good Luck. Easily Clooney's best film. The color-corrected black-and-white cinematography is gorgeous. David Strathairn is perfect as Murrow. Dramatic without being melodramatic. Paced perfectly. One of the best films I've ever seen.

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Well, I just finished watching Tales of the City on youtube. It was very good. I had not noticed the homages to Vertigo that are in the production. (I just watched Vertigo in May, and then had last watched it in 1986.) Some of the threads of plot do continue over into the sequel, but the series does stand on its own and I repeat my recommendation from above. You can begin watching the whole thing from here on YouTube if you like. Just the opening credits are a kick.

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="

name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="
type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>
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Anyone seen The Train, with Burt Lancaster?

Yes. It was a very well done film. Paul Scofield (now deceased) was on of the greatest actors ever. Lancaster, as usual, was also excellent.

Speaking of Paul Scofield, has anyone seen -A Man for All Seasons-? It was great!

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Anyone seen The Train, with Burt Lancaster?

Yes. It was a very well done film. Paul Scofield (now deceased) was on of the greatest actors ever. Lancaster, as usual, was also excellent.

Speaking of Paul Scofield, has anyone seen -A Man for All Seasons-? It was great!

Ba'al Chatzaf

A Man for All Seasons is definitely one of the hundred best films of the last century. The story is absolutely top-notch and the acting lives up to the story. I first watched A Man for All Seasons in a 400-level class on The Renaissance and the Reformation. The move idealizes Thomas More though. In real life More had people burnt to death at the stake. His own death was simply poetic justice. And there is nothing good to be said about his communist manifesto, Utopia. But a wonderful movie.

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Yep!

Possibly my favorite scene.

Adam

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Ted, art frequently takes a slice of life and glorifies something/someone who might not have lived up to that in real life. I'm okay with that. In the kind of objectivist language that I usually don't use or like, it's seeing life as if could have been. Shindler's List is another example of that. In real life, the man was questionable. The movie was mindblogging. It's why art is so necessary for the soul.

There's a play called "For Our Country's Good." (based on the book by Kinneale, who also wrote Shindler's List) The play is a true story about a ship load of English felons brought to the new penal colony of Australia. They were misfits all. But a British officer, not knowing what else to do with the prisoners, decided to have them put on a play. Each actor's experiences a broadening of his/her horizon and a feeling a benevolence (for the first time in their miserable lives) for their fellow actors. The play becomes the first important thing in their lives. They defy the rest of the officer corp to put the play on. They discover honor and integrity. It's a little known play but one of the greatest statements on art I've ever seen.

The play is far more breathtaking than Kinneale's history depiction of the story.

I was fortunate to act as stage manager for its US premier. An unforgettable experience. On the nights I wasn't working the play, I was in the audience. It was a seven-day a week event for me.

Ginny

Edited by ginny
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