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Movies, TV, Books & Music / Re: Movies you've recently watched
« Last post by Walter on October 11, 2017, 03:04:42 PM »
This is really annoying to read with the spoiler tags, so here it is in a Medium post: https://medium.com/@walterbennet/blade-runner-2049-review-24da9b096e7a

Blade Runner 2049 is a gorgeous film. Let’s start there.

Table the baby story for later, folks. Just take a look at it all. Drink it all in (hey now, don’t drink too much though — this is a 2h43m movie). The narrow glimpses of neon streets between the manicured skyscrapers. The dominating walls shielding the city from the ocean (fuck you nature, we’re California, the techno Babylon!). The smog layered on top of the remnants of art deco design from the era of the first movie.

The primary strength of Blade Runner was its futuristic spectacle, which somehow miraculously hasn’t worn thin across 30 years. That movie had atmosphere so thick it was almost tangible. And this movie somehow lives up to that, or at least, high enough so it’s not an embarrassing sidekick. Though it seems less concerned with chewing up the visual set pieces than turning a paranoid eye towards the MacGuffin-driven plot. That’s unfortunate, but certainly not a wasted effort altogether.
 
I don’t need to explain to this crowd how influential Blade Runner is, and thus, what a terrifying feat it is to pick up on its trail and attempt to make a new story truly matter. These were some big shoes to fill. So I appreciate how well this movie straddled the line of being a sequel while also being its own thing. I went into this whole endeavor pretty much grossed out by the idea, was somewhat softened by the early reviews being out-of-this-world, and about 10 minutes into the movie, I got it. I understood why that world deserved to be revisited.
 
There are so many small touches (and many not so small) to portray the quality of life for humanity spiraling downward, despite the luxury that’s available. Alongside 2049, 2019 looks like a Golden Age. Learning right from the jump that the Tyrell Corporation was bankrupt and replaced by Wallace Corp, something even bigger and more powerful, with an even tighter grip on humanity’s throat, was a nice cyberpunk touch. Though perhaps its my perception, but they kind of hedged their bets there. Tyrell made out to be a businessman/benevolent genius in the end, with Wallace being more of an aggressor, rabidly intent on exploiting an entire race to achieve his ends.
 
Speaking of which, I know he’s been a controversial actor recently (I still primarily associate him with My So-Called Life…) but I really loved Leto’s Wallace, who somehow embodies a melange of hipster-techie-zen master-Satan. Listening to him prattle was like hearing behind-the-scenes of a Google or Apple keynote, 30 years from now (“7 planets … WE SHOULD OWN THE STARS”). And then I read that the initial casting choice was David Bowie (FUCK!!!). Wallace’s on-screen real estate is brief, but his presence is felt in the architecture and the creeping lighting that’s in every Wallace Corp building shot. It was unclear to me how his master plan of reproductive-capable replicants would bring humanity to the stars (is it truly only a matter of worker production?), but fuck it, sounds great and terrifying. Also, I was so, SO bummed out we didn’t get a chance to see his futuristic, off-world torture tech (so demented that not even this rotten version of Earth can sustain it), though I knew it was a promise that couldn’t be delivered on.
 
If Wallace and his dense, layered diatribes are one end of the acting spectrum, then Gosling’s K are at the other. I was not a huge fan of his, but at least he wasn’t a barrier for the rest of the film, which was my fear. So weird that they left in that awkward, found-footage conversation between him and Robin Wright about Ryan Gosling lacking a soul, right?

K’s a vessel for the narrative, and a great punching bag (did Ford write into his contract that if he works with Gosling, he mandates a certain number of punches to the face?), but not much else. And that’s a bummer — but that was inarguably his role: He was supposed to be a second-class citizen who represses his feelings and simply obeys. I suppose they chose the right actor! He was rationed precisely one emotion, he used it well, and that’s all she wrote.

[BTW, Ford did actually punch Gosling in the face on the set.]
https://twitter.com/GolazoDan/status/914094843277783040
 
Instead, what I found interesting wasn’t in the script, but on the periphery: K’s station in the world, and what that said about replicants and blade runners. That placating little bow that K has to do in the presence of humans at the police department was a nice touch, and of course the intense, verbal assault of the [evolved] Voigt-Kampff test, which has a fascinating new function — we know who the replicants are now, so the test is to reinforce their servitude.

K is persecuted as a replicant within the force, and outside he’s persecuted as a blade runner. On that note, I couldn’t quite tell if he were treated that way on the outside because they knew he was a replicant or because he was a blade runner. My understanding is that replicant production had exploded, and thus his persecution would be a reaction to his job, not what he was. Though it’s interesting that the movie doesn’t spend much time on that predicament — really just the title exposition and a brief sales pitch scene from Wallace’s Ana.

I found most of Joi’s scenes to be indulgent and clichè. I’m honestly not sure what would be lost if she were removed completely. K being a sweet guy? They took Gibson’s idea for Idoru and assigned her a disposable role in the story. The only interesting angle for Joi for me was questioning where the line between her individual persona and herself as the product was drawn. It’s hard not to question whether an AI programmed to be a supportive, loving companion could truly have genuine feelings, or whether that was merely her only avenue for expression (K: “You don’t have to say that”). I suppose it’s an interesting question to consider, but I don’t think the film focuses enough on it to draw out an interesting answer for it.

Of course, the primary role that Joi plays is reinforcing K’s notion that he is the REAL BOY. However, the revelation that K wasn’t actually the “chosen one” seemed telegraphed a little too early on. The story seemed so headed in that direction by the halfway mark that it never felt solid to me. The problem was, once the truth was revealed, it’s too late in the film to do anything with the idea other than ruminate on the presumptive next steps in a human-replicant war, leaving a rather messily unresolved scenario. The ending is of course unconcerned with these practical problems, and instead, trades up for an emotional reunion, and one that in a thematic way, parallels Deckard and Rachel being rejoined to flee at the end of the first movie. I’ll take it.
 
Speaking of which, I really felt bad for Rachel’s actor, Sean Young, in the scenes where Wallace is holding up her character’s skull. They brought back Harrison Ford and Edward James Olmos (that was a delightful surprise), but for Sean Young, all they could spare were her remains. Oh but wait, they did bring her ba-*BLAM* Welp… Sorry Sean!

Ford’s Deckard didn’t bring much to the table for me, aside from a few well-written quips ([is the dog real?] “I dunno, why don’t you ask him?”). He didn’t really feel like Deckard to me. He felt like Harrison Ford in his sweats. Of course, 30 years changes a man, particularly given what he’d been through in the interim. And I didn’t check, but I think it’s a pretty safe bet that his number of lines is trumped by the number of times he punches K in the face.

While we’re on the subject of this couple, I’ve seen a lot of confusion still about Deckard’s character and whether or not he’s a replicant. This is, of course, the continuation of a nerd debate that has raged for decades, across multiple cuts of the original film. But from my viewing of 2049, I didn’t have many questions left.

* Gaff says Deckard was “retired”.
* We learn that Deckard went on the run with the remaining old-era replicants, in fear of being retired.
* Fear of other blade runners hunting him is likely why he’s so prepared for combat when he encounters K.
* Wallace regards him as “a wonder” at his role in creating the first replicant child. He ponders whether Tyrell “designed” their coupling to begin with.

None of these new bits put his replicant nature in question. Instead, they’re all evidence for it. All of this stacked on top of the old film’s recut leaving little to question, it doesn’t seem like much of a puzzle to me. Of course, Scott says he’s a replicant, Ford insists that he’s a human, and Villeneuve is mum. So I suppose we’re back to our own individual interpretations, despite all the additional material in this new movie.

---------------------
I saved a bit here to go over some … well, they aren’t plot holes exactly; they’re just rough parts in the story that bothered me. I wanted to share them here in case someone can guide me through anything I missed.

1) Security in that police department is a bit… light, right? Yes I understand that Wallace’s personal assistant likely has ways of cloaking her involvement and deflecting any actual repercussions to murdering someone in a police department, but it just seemed a little unrealistically sloppy, given all the attention to detail elsewhere in the movie. That scene is there because it’s the first tip of the hat to Ana’s lethality. But also, maybe they just wanted to kill that dork in a really cool way? Even odds, I’d wager.

2) Was Wallace, Mr. I Own The Fucking Stars, really going to miss the fact that his nominally protected caravan was effortlessly dispatched and NOT track them down? Isn’t going straight to the one they’re trying to hide, just MAYBE not the brightest idea?

3) Are we seriously to believe that the entire story of Blade Runner was a setup so that Deckard and Rachel would ultimately fuck? That seems like an unreasonably convoluted retcon. If preserving Deckard for that act was so important to Tyrell, why was he given such a dangerous profession and ordered to track down lethal replicants? Seems a bit rash for a carefully laid out experiment.
---------------------

Around the halfway point, I wasn’t much concerned with the story anymore, though the script really wanted me to be. In that respect, it reminded me of something I liked about Blade Runner. It’s so thick with atmosphere and so light on the narrative that it almost would work better as a silent film. I used to joke about recutting that movie so it would work as a silent film, but of course, never bothered. Griff can tell you about his recut of Minority Report though, he actually pulled off something we'd talked about doing — cutting out the fat and making it better.

This is all to say that what I appreciated so much about 2049 wasn’t where the story took us, but just letting us live in that world a little longer, seeing where it went (and where it was going), and them NOT shitting the bed in the process. That was so much more than I expected to get.


If I had to give it a number, I’d say 8/10, though it seems pretty silly, because if you’re still reading this, it means you’re into sci-fi, so you should just go fucking watch it.
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Movies, TV, Books & Music / Re: Movies you've recently watched
« Last post by GiantSword Mufasa on October 11, 2017, 11:53:39 AM »
Anyone watch the short movies they released? I haven't ...

Yes. They are really cool and act as like a "fill in the gaps" sort of thing. ridley scott's son directed two of them and Shinichirō Watanabe (cowboy bebop) made the other,
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Movies, TV, Books & Music / Re: Movies you've recently watched
« Last post by GiantSword Mufasa on October 11, 2017, 11:45:19 AM »
I just saw blade runner in Imax. Holy hell what a film. I absolutely loved it. I am going to see it again, I cant say a  single thing displeased me until I see it again. It was like being in a trance, the cinematography, the score, the set design, It was all mesmerizing.

I will say jared leto is forever a creep.

 I think it was an excellent continuation of the BR universe with out over doing it.   
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Movies, TV, Books & Music / Re: Movies you've recently watched
« Last post by MiyamotoPuck on October 11, 2017, 11:14:58 AM »
Anyone watch the short movies they released? I haven't ...

I did, you can find them on Youtube, they're interesting. The first one is a short anime, I liked it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrZk9sSgRyQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgsS3nhRRzQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZ9Os8cP_gg
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Berserk Merchandise / Re: First4Figures Berserk Line Announced
« Last post by DirectDK on October 11, 2017, 04:25:32 AM »
(official word so far is "much more [than $549]" and close to their Amaterasu bust ($725)).

Hmm I was there at NYCC and saw the statue in person.  It's actually pretty damn amazing and the stern face is quite good in my opinion.  Especially from the 45 degree angle it's near perfect likeness IMO.  As for the price, Chuckles said at NYCC to a customer standing next to me it will probably be around the $1000 range... so who knows.

As for the comparison picture, I feel like the F4F figure should be a bit bigger than it looks in the comparison, but it's hard to match since it's just a photoshop mockup.  It truly did look MASSIVE in person, and it is indeed 1/4 scale.  Actually I've seen both Prime1 and F4f Guts statues in person now (Prime1 at SDCC) and I think they will match each other pretty closely.
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Movies, TV, Books & Music / Re: Movies you've recently watched
« Last post by IncantatioN on October 11, 2017, 03:10:19 AM »
Just got back from Blade Runner 2049 and it's breathtaking, atmospheric and I found that I got to the end of the movie feeling satisfied, more than satisfied as a matter of fact about the justified length of the movie - giving the story the space it needed to be engaging, give you the chance to be emotionally invested in some characters. I almost can't believe it's that good a sequel.

Lets talk about the soundtrack - the visuals were amazing, sure but the soundtrack - blaring loud at times to enhance the spectacularity of the future world or those landscapes - was just awesome. I couldn't help but smile through most sequences. I was a bit surprised to see Hans Zimmer on the credits for it, maybe it was a good thing he's the lower/second credit.

Spoilers below -

I enjoyed Joi a whole lot and the complexities around her character + CGI. Stunning and that sequence with the prostitute reminded me of Her. It was heartbreaking to watch her get crushed with those last words of hers and K passing out, only to wake up to the sight of the prostitute to remind him of the shared experience he had with her and Joi.

That book - Pale Fire - I haven't read so I won't know any references in story relating to it unfortunately. Sigh.

The penultimate sequence between K and Luv was suffocating and hit hard.

It's interesting to see the film open with what I think is K's eye and the visual of the car that almost mirrors the opening sequence of the original movie with Deckard. So does that work in favor of the argument that Deckard is a replicant after all. I know Ridley insists on it but I feel like the movie, actually does this pretty well, where it doesn't over-explain the "Is Deckard a replicant?" question and doesn't give ambiguous answers. It takes you on a parallel with K and leaves the door open.

And that brings me to what I think was one key difference between the original and the sequel. The original leaves you with a lot more questions than this one does and it isn't disappointing or anything, it's just an observation. If anything, the sequel does well to build on those questions and without giving away much, retains most of the essence of the original.

I liked the little nods in the soundtrack or dialog "...more human than human..." and so forth in the sequel.

Coming to Wallace, he's not distracting, not flat or one dimensional which's a good thing and I think I personally could see past Jared Leto's casting or image from that horrible Joker he played last. Phew. His interaction with Deckard was a cool insight into the first one and adds another layer of questioning about the first one which I liked.


I have a lot more to discuss if someone who watched it can talk about it. Walter? I want to watch it again, for sure. Anyone watch the short movies they released? I haven't ...
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Movies, TV, Books & Music / Re: Movies you've recently watched
« Last post by Griffith on October 10, 2017, 09:44:01 PM »
I have nothing against Interstellar, even though it didn't resonate with me all that much, and I do think that it will go down in history as an important movie, after all, not many movies result in scientific papers

Yeah right, you're probably just here to defend Edge of Tomorrow!

but I do think that you were a bit harsh on Edge of Tomorrow.

A-ha!

Sure, it can be labelled as a one trick pony and gimmicky, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially when the one trick and the gimmick are well done and accomplish what they set out to do (except in terms of box office, as Edge of Tomorrow didn't quite perform as expected). I personally found Edge of Tomorrow to be quite entertaining, even on repeat viewings, and I think there are many other positives in the movie in addition to it being entertaining (Bill Paxton, anyone? :carcus:). I wouldn't say that movies of the quality of Edge of Tomorrow are all that typical or that they come out as frequently as every year, but that's just my opinion based on my experience with movies, which I admit is probably limited.

I enjoyed Edge of Tomorrow too, it's good, but I also think it benefited from being surprisingly good (the all time champs of this phenomenon being Rise of the Planet of Apes, the first Pirates of the Caribbean, and one more big one that escapes me atm...), whereas the hype around Interstellar kind of put it in a no-win place (save for the box office) of being transcendent or bust, and I thought it was much closer to the former, at least a credible attempt, than given credit, or even the credit given to less ambitious movies. So, I didn't mean to pick on Edge of Tomorrow so much as point out what I see as a double standard. Like, just come up with a cool Twilight Zone idea and we'll rave but don't get too ambitious or we'll be disappointed!
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Movies, TV, Books & Music / Re: Movies you've recently watched
« Last post by m on October 10, 2017, 08:09:16 PM »
Nothing to be ashamed of, Interstellar IS awesome. I have no idea why the usually slutty pop syfy fandem drew the line with its relative flaws, despite its strengths, yet falls for every other one trick pony that comes through the stable (Edge of Tomorrow OMG I'M CUMMING!!!!).

My point was there aren't many like Interstellar and it should be more appreciated and elevated above the typical alien, cyborg, and time travel gimmick movies that come every year like Christmas and get a pass (they're basically just thrillers with a sci-fi twist). But, uh, Aliens and Star Trek? :guts:

I have nothing against Interstellar, even though it didn't resonate with me all that much, and I do think that it will go down in history as an important movie, after all, not many movies result in scientific papers, but I do think that you were a bit harsh on Edge of Tomorrow. Sure, it can be labelled as a one trick pony and gimmicky, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially when the one trick and the gimmick are well done and accomplish what they set out to do (except in terms of box office, as Edge of Tomorrow didn't quite perform as expected). I personally found Edge of Tomorrow to be quite entertaining, even on repeat viewings, and I think there are many other positives in the movie in addition to it being entertaining (Bill Paxton, anyone? :carcus:). I wouldn't say that movies of the quality of Edge of Tomorrow are all that typical or that they come out as frequently as every year, but that's just my opinion based on my experience with movies, which I admit is probably limited.
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Movies, TV, Books & Music / Re: Movies you've recently watched
« Last post by MiyamotoPuck on October 10, 2017, 05:46:37 PM »
And to be fair, the movie does represent different POVs or aspects of science and humanity with Mann and Hathaway at opposite ends of the spectrum and Michael Caine and Coop somewhere in-between. Coop will earnestly make the hard choices, but he's altruistic, honest and not cruel. Him going after her at the end was a nice conclusion.
I can only agree again! :serpico:

My point was there aren't many like Interstellar and it should be more appreciated and elevated above the typical alien, cyborg, and time travel gimmick movies that come every year like Christmas and get a pass (they're basically just thrillers with a sci-fi twist). But, uh, Aliens and Star Trek? :guts:

Oh, of course, you're 100% right, sorry I misunderstood you. About Star Trek, I don't know why but it never really interested me, I'll give it a try someday! :guts:
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Movies, TV, Books & Music / Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi
« Last post by Griffith on October 10, 2017, 04:51:48 PM »
I like that they put Carrie Fisher in the center of the poster. A nice gesture.

I mean, she is Princess General fucking Leia, and it's not like they gave her the extra large top spot like Luke. =)

It looks better than the previous one in my opinion. We'll see.

Yeah... it's all pretty general in that trailer so I hope there's meat on them bones. It can't live off being a successful revival in itself like the last did with some aplomb. Now it has to stand on its own and I'm not sure this whole raw power/grey Jedi thing is that inherently interesting to me, so we'll have to see what they actually do with it.
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