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Movies in 2015

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It’s award season for the movies. Here, for example, are the Best Picture nominees from the Producers Guild of America, which tend to correlate decently with the eventual Oscar nominees, with links to my reviews:

“The Big Short”

“Bridge of Spies”

“Brooklyn”

“Ex Machina”

Mad Max: Fury Road

“The Martian”

“The Revenant”

“Sicario”

“Spotlight”

“Straight Outta Compton”

I was pleased that, in my desultory way, seeing about two movies per month, I managed to write about nine of the ten PGA nominees. I haven’t seen “The Revenant” yet and, admittedly, I’ve only written about “Spotlight” so far to draw an esoteric analogy in the immigration insurance proposal. But that’s a decent proportion of the movies worth seeing without too many of the other kind.

It was not a great year for great movies, but it was a pretty good year for pretty good movies. None of these nine knocked me out, but I liked all nine.

I was most excited going in about “Mad Max” based on its trailer. Indeed, the movie was just like the incredible trailer, but diminishing returns set in after it became apparent that there wasn’t much besides what was in the trailer.

Other contenders for a Best Picture Oscar nomination that I’ve written about include Pixar’s “Inside Out,” “Creed,” “Steve Jobs,” “Trainwreck” (a long shot), and the new “Star Wars” remake.

Contenders I haven’t seen include the new Tarantino film, “Carol,” “Room,” “Joy,” and “Woman in Gold.” I saw about five minutes of “Trumbo” dropping in at a theater, and while Bryan Cranston in a spiffy 1940s suit was cool, the film didn’t seem exceptionally well written or edited.

My favorite film of 2015 was “Love & Mercy,” the biopic of Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. But, like “Steve Jobs,” it didn’t take off at the box office. In contrast, the NWA biopic “Straight Outta Compton” sold a lot of tickets (in the U.S., not overseas), and it would look racist if in the competition between the two Socal musical biopics if the old white people of the Academy voted for the Beach Boys over NWA just because the Beach Boys are better, both musically and movie-wise. And, anyway, the rap biopic isn’t bad.

So I doubt “Love & Mercy” will get much Oscar attention other than perhaps the superlative Paul Dano as Young Brian (they’re running Dano in the Best Supporting Actor category), but beating Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa in “Creed” is going to be tough.

Furious 7” and “Jurassic World” won’t get non-technical nominations, but they subsidize the smaller pictures that do.

Hollywood (defined very broadly as the Anglosphere movie industry) enjoyed an okay 2015 at the American box office and a highly prosperous 2015 overseas.

UPDATE: Sorry, my next paragraph appears to be incorrect because I was taking on faith the Box Office Mojo list of movies, but my commenters point out that there are Chinese movies that made enough in China alone to make the global top 40. Perhaps the problem is that the Box Office Mojo list only counts movies that have been released in the U.S.?

The English language movie industry is incredibly dominant around the world: the top 40 global box office hits of 2015 were all English language productions, with a Chinese film “Wolf Totem,” finally in 41st place. When you read complaints about how Hollywood movies are so bad because of white male privilege keeping out the diverse, note that there are plenty of fifteen year olds in Guangdong who like Hollywood movies just the way they are.

It’s not exactly clear to me why the English language movie industry remains so dominant, since there is plenty of talent all over the world and plenty of local advertising and television work to get experience in — e.g., television commercials in a country like Turkey are about 98% as spectacular as they are in America. A dozen years ago I would have said that Chinese language films would become a serious rival for English language films by 2015, but that trend died off.

UpUpdate: There are suspicions that the highest grossing Chinese box office film Monster Hunt may have had its reported take juiced by various methods for papering the house. What’s the fun of not putting a thumb on the scale? Forget about it, Jake, it’s China.

 
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95 Comments to "Movies in 2015"

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  1. Slow West
    Tomorrowland

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  2. “When you read complaints about how Hollywood movies are so bad because of white male privilege keeping out the diverse,”

    So adding “diversity” automatically improves the quality of a film or a television show? Does this mean Ride Along starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart is a superior film than The Godfather? Is Basketball Wives superior to The Bob Newhart Show?

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  3. “The Revenant” is on my must see list and I don’t even like Leo D. But I can tell they pulled it off just right. I also like “The Edge” from 1997 or so. Another bear movie.

    “The Martian” –Geared to the (male) 12 year old mind. Hokey and boring but I managed to sit through it. I have seen worse.
    “Sicario” – A+ I liked its hyper realism and cinematography.
    “The Big Short” — now on my must see list due to a review. Saying it was very realistic at capturing the madness of an era that will soon be repeated as in another lockup and major financial crisis/

    The others Steve mentioned I am not in a rush to see.

    Tom Hanks disgusts me. I can’t see a movie w him in it.

    I’m biased about the U-2 because friends of my parents helped Kelly Johnson design the U-2 at the Lockheed Skunk Works

    Michigan farm boy same as Jack Nitzsche (Rolling Stones, Neil Young)

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  4. I, too, expected many more great Chinese films by now, based on what I watched 20 years ago.

    It looks like China will buy its way into Hollywood though.

    http://news.yahoo.com/chinese-conglomerate-buy-stake-hollywood-studio-reports-115359175.html

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  5. My wife insisted we see “The Martian”: I was surprised at how good it was.

    Dave Miller in Sacramento

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  6. “So adding “diversity” automatically improves the quality of a film or a television show? Does this mean Ride Along starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart is a superior film than The Godfather? Is Basketball Wives superior to The Bob Newhart Show?”

    A straw man so obvious, I would prevent someone from smoking while reading your post.

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  7. The list for global box office is wrong. There were eight Chinese movies that made more money than Wolf Totem. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/intl/china/yearly/

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  8. The bad thing about 2016 is we are getting Ben Affleck instead of Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne.

    Also Jared Leto has made The Joker look like a scrawny crackhead World War T Lady Boy with AIDS, instead of the badass Joker portrayed by Heath Ledger.

    The Batman franchise is going down the drain.

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  9. > it would look racist if in the competition between the two Socal musical biopics if the old white people of the Academy voted for the Beach Boys over NWA just because the Beach Boys are better, both musically and movie-wise.

    In addition, everybody knows that Dr. Dre is a more brilliant astrophysicist than Brian Wilson.

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  10. Anonymous
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    I thought the Steve Jobs movie was the worst movie I’ve seen in years. Creed was good but I wonder if my liking it was nostalgia. Same with Black Mass. The Martian was okay but annoyingly hokey. I thought A Walk in the Woods (Redford, Nolte) was pretty good. I would say my favorite of 2015 was The Intern (De Niro, Hathaway).

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  11. Because Hollywood caters to Chinese tastes and edits and censors its films for the PRC government. The clearest example of this was the recent remake of Red Dawn (which incidentally was shot in part literally right in front of my old apartment (one can see the building in the film for a few seconds (Michigan has given out generous tax credits for filmmakers))). The invaders were initially from the PLA but the PRC government unsurprisingly objected to this so the films producers had to spend seven figures digitally reediting the invaders to be North Koreans in order to get the film screened in PRC.

    If Hollywood were like “screw the Chinese” then the Chinese film industry would explode. But Hollywood is ruled by money and they can cater to the Chinese at relatively low cost.

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  12. Hanks bugs me, too. Why is that? His goofy face?

    I liked Bonfire of the Vanities, though.

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  13. A Gay Indian man is complaining that a lot of Gay White guys on dating sites are not open to dating men from his race.

    http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/no-blacks-no-asians-on-grindr-shows-how-racist-gay-men-actually-are/#gs.8BYHQRw

    Wow Indian men really are seen as extremely undesirable in the American dating market. Not only are Heterosexual White women rejecting the sexual advances of Indian men, Gay White men are turning them down as well.

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  14. I do like your notice on Turkey, (even Thailand makes beautiful ads, I sometimes feel that Turkey and Thailand are symmetrical countries in the way Japan and the UK are). A Turkish Soap Opera called Ferihe is all the rage in India at the moment.

    I loved:

    Hunger Games
    Joy (I like J-Law as an actress and Bradley Cooper)
    Mad Max (amazing film; I liked the theory it’s not a reboot but actually the little kid from the original Mad Max)
    Furious 7 (beautiful tribute to Paul Walker)
    War Room (African American film on Prayer)
    Ricki & the Flash (Meryl Streep is like the older J-Law or Vice Versa).

    Foreign Language films I loved:

    Bajirao Mastani (super Indian historic hit)
    Piku (offbeat Independent Indian film)
    La Famille Belier (beautiful French film about a talented singer from a deaf family)

    I liked:

    Martian (good film bit long, Matt Damon tad annoying, Bradley Cooper is a much nicer actor)
    Star Wars (extremely derivative, a Reboot but have to like it)
    Jurassic World (it was good fun but not much of a storyline; I loved Jurassic Park as a kid)
    Trainwreck nice film but Amy Schumer can be a bit of a trainwreck!

    Foreign Language Films I liked:

    dil dhadakne do (Bollywood hit on Cruise holiday, bit saccharine)
    PK (Aamir Khan film on Hindu though not Muslim superstition)

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  15. Hollywood has no competition because the English language has unparalleled worldwide dominance. Further, English language films can naturally cover events in America and Canada, Britain and Ireland, Australia, India, South Africa, the Caribbean, English colonial locales, wars involving England or America, English sea exploration, American space exploration, Anglo-American technical exploits, fiction of Shakespeare, Austen, Dickens, and many more subjects. It’s easy enough to also give characters accents in Englush and make English language films about French, German, Russian, Italian, and Spanish topics.

    Spanish is a distant second in linguistic spread but has no cultural cachet and so little movie topics of interest not better made in English. China has people but a very limited field of interest with its insular and unknown culture. Russia and France have the widespread culture but are linguistically isolated and unknown in the case of the former and the world also-ran/runner-up in the case of the latter. Italy is a poor man’s France.

    And don’t even get me started about the backwardness of the Muslum Arabs preventing them from competing.

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  16. Steve,

    Please see “Bone Tomahawk” as soon as you can.

    Kurt Russell returns in a BIG way, with Patrick Wilson once again showing why he is Hollywood’s greatest secret (he killed it in ‘The A-Team’ as the CIA villain), and Matthew Fox stealing the show as a suave Indian fighter.

    I’d dare say it’s one of the more right-of-center movies made in sometime.

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  17. Well, duh! He’s a doctor!

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  18. Not many of the 2015 movies appealed to me

    The Martian – liked a lot
    Macbeth – was looking forward to but bro said it sucked so didn’t see
    Inside Out – good kid’s film
    Baahubali – saw by accident, Indian lord of the rings ish, good battles

    need to watch
    - The Big Short
    - Sicario

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  19. “It’s not exactly clear to me why the English language movie industry remains so dominant, since there is plenty of talent all over the world”

    Maybe it’s not so much the level of talent as the turnover of talent. Perhaps because of its massive wealth, the US seems to be able to support multiple superstars in any given field. Also, there’s enough opportunity for lateral movement that the people who have peaked in any one thing don’t need to cling on bitterly. E.g. Fading pop stars can go to Vegas, ex-presidents, generals etc. have cushy gigs etc.

    I’d assume this higher turnover at all levels gives a massive cumulative advantage.

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  20. the best film of 2015 was No Escape with Owen Wilson and Pierce Brosnan.
    it was too politically incorrect , film critics attacked it for its negative portrayal of Asians.

    “No Escape” is an extremely tense thriller with a great storyline of an expatriated family that are surprised by a rebellion in the country where they have just moved…. a taut thriller, nicely edited and strongly paced. It makes for an incredibly tense movie.

    this is in essence one long escape movie similar in the way that the new Mad Max movie was in essence one long car chase. Owen Wilson was very good in this role and Pierce Brosnan was excellent.

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  21. Mad Max and the Martian were it for me, though I’m not a movie person. My friends and I still throw Mad Max quotes at each other and I saw that movie multiple times at the cinema, which is something I have never done before. I haven’t seen Star Wars yet, and everybody still rags on me for not seeing Interstellar (I would have, but I was abroad when it was running). I go to the movies for eye candy, so I skip the dramas, comedies and what have you until they’re on HBO on a slow evening. I am a sucker for period pieces, though, and the Chinese have been putting out some great stuff.

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  22. China, like many countries, can produce an occasionally good art movie, but not much else. About 75% of chinese films and tv series are anti japanese propaganda with the rest being period and fantasy stuff, usually paired together like Reign also does.
    Not surprisingly, Chinese theaters are dominated by american movies, and TV by very successful korean dramas. Lately, chinese tv stations are remaking korean dramas (who themselves are sometimes remakes of japanese dramas) and are using even korean actors. The language barrier is not that big because most tv productions, even those with chinese actors, are redubbed with voice actors.
    A top chinese actor makes 15-20 million dollars a year from dramas, variety and ads, so they started turning down the small parts in chinese almost every Hollywood blockbuster now has to have and are demanding more screen time.

    Funny, sad and brainy, Inside Out is my favorite 2015 movie. Ex Machina and The Martian were decent, but not memorable.
    Mad Max: Fury Road was amazing in the beginning but after a while the endless car chase and the ham fisted pseudo-feminism become too much for me. Mediocre. Nevertheless it will sweep the Oscars as indicated by the buzz it generated among the movie crowd. It has the combination of box office, critical acclaim, liberal propaganda and online memes that makes it tower far above everybody else.

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  23. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/01/11/the-mogul-of-the-middle

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  24. I thought Bale and Carell were great in The Big Short.

    After this one and Moneyball were made into quite good films, I wonder if Michael Lewis is actively trying to write a book that truly can’t be made into a movie.

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  25. From your link (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/01/11/the-mogul-of-the-middle):

    “But one of Fogelson’s own rules is “Only make a film you already know how to sell.” Having come up as a marketer at Universal Pictures, which he ran from 2009 to 2013, Fogelson believes that seventy-five per cent of a movie’s success is due to its marketing and its marketability. One of his biggest bombs at Universal—a hundred-and-sixty-million-dollar bloodbath—was “47 Ronin,” which starred Reeves, regrettably, as a samurai warrior. Nonetheless, Fogelson believed he could sell Reeves here by positioning him as the kind of reluctant hero that he had played in “The Matrix.””

    I fear my natural instinct is to love movie flops since I was really moved by 47 Ronin.

    I wonder if alot of iSteve readers (being somewhat alternative media) have the “flop affinity” gene.

    http://www.unz.com/isteve/science-discovers-my-people-we-harbingers-of-failure-with-flop-affinity/

    Also this is an interesting passage:

    The six major studios, besieged by entertainment options that don’t require people to get off the couch, have bet that the future lies in films that are too huge to ignore. Although they make low-budget films for targeted audiences (teen girls, say, or horror fans), they focus most of their energies on movies that cost more than three hundred million dollars to make and market. Such films are predicated not on the chancy appeal of individual actors but on “I.P.”—intellectual property, in the form of characters and stories that the audience already knows from books or comics or video games.

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  26. Steve’s list looks about right. A lot of the movies in it were ruined by insane political correctness (the gun-toting grandmas in Mad Max spring to mind). Some were weird in a bad way (e.g. Ex Machina and The Big Short). And some were good but too depressing without really making a worthwhile point (e.g. Sicario and The Revenant).

    The Martian was probably the best of the bunch. It was aggressively but bearably chipper and politically correct in a palatable way. Plus Ridley Scott never fails to nail the cinematography. His movies are consistently gorgeous, even when they are bad.

    The Revenant has leaked out, by the way. Consists of 150 minutes of DiCaprio getting mauled. Some of the shots are insane, top-drawer stuff. Leonardo and Hardy both do a great job. But the story is bare-bones, nasty, and 100% straightforward. If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ll guess the entire plot 5 minutes into the movie. Probably worth watching, but far from a classic. Gives a bit of a Searchers (with the Duke) vibe; but lacks the heart of that movie.

    That Beach Boys movie does look fun. Looking forward to watching it.

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  27. 2013 was one of the best yrs for movies. Ranks with 1993 and 1966 and others.

    http://www.filmsite.org/1966.html

    2015 doesn’t seem so good even though I haven’t seen most.

    Among ones I’ve seen…

    50 Shades. Fast-forwarded through most. Absolutely terrible.

    Fury Toad. Amazing action scenes but pointless and ugly. Also, a key element was missing. What made the first and second films was the rough-and-tumble energy. The first one had an almost documentary feel, and the second one–the best by far–was a ramshackle thrill ride, a true riot. It was a great junkyard movie, like post-apocalyptic STAGECOACH. In Fury Toad, everything looks slick. It is so streamlined. Very well done, but it’s more like a Ridley Scott movie. Even blood, sweat, and grime look photogenic. I think critics like it cuz it’s supposed to be ‘feminist’. Whatever.
    But visually amazing… but then so is much of Lone Ranger, another pointless exercise in film-making prowess.

    Didn’t see the new installment of Maze Runner, but the first one was stupid. I gave up after 40 min. What’s with all these Oppressed Teen movies? Hunger Games, Divergent, Hanna, etc?
    Teen versions of Bourne Trilogy? Harry Potter grows up and goes nuts?
    Ironically, these don’t have much satirical impact because they are ultimately empowerment fantasies. A truly interesting satire about oppression would show that the problem of power will always be with us, and that there is no way out.
    But in all these Oppression Fantasies, the entire system can be brought down by some girl with bow and arrows. It’s more flattery than satire to rake in the bucks. And even though they are ostensibly ‘anti-fascist’, the notion that there is a hero or heroine with Siegfriedian will and power to take on the system and win is a kind of pop-fascism.

    Jupiter Ascending. This might have been at least hammy hokey fruity fun — guys in space with makeup, LOL — if it weren’t so limp-wristed and wussy. After 20 min, fast-forwarded through most but it still seemed boring and retarded. I know one of the wacky brothers became a sister, but did he, she, xe, ze, or it have to turn the silly mannerism into a movie set? Imagine Bruce ‘Caitlyn’ making a movie out of his ridiculous (non)sensibility.

    Ex Machina. One of those ‘thoughtful’ sci-fi, like Under the Skin. Didn’t care for either though both had something to offer. (Thankfully, not as icky as HER.) Kinda interesting that the evil scientist is a buff Jewish-looking guy while the hero(or sucker) is a very goy looking guy. (A kind of a sci-fi variation of The Overnight where a Jew with meater screws with a goy’s mind.)
    Mostly predictable crap, but the scene when the robot finally triumphs and finishes her transformation into a ‘woman’ is a great moment. It’s one of those scenes that nearly redeems the whole thing.

    Love and Mercy. Disagree about Dano. I thought he was wrong. Worse, not only do Dano and Cusack look NOTHING like Wilson but they look nothing like each other.
    And I think it would have been better if the film was about either young Wilson or old Wilson. Also, unless you know something about the Beach Boys, much of the film will be ‘huh?’ to a lot of people. The film lacks focus. Also, much of Wilson’s life was internal and recessive, and the film-makers simply didn’t have the talent to enter and really peer into Wilson’s soul. I think Diving Bell and the Butterfly did a better job in that respect. And Ray is much better too. Ray too was a challenge cuz it was about a blind artist captured in a medium of cinema meant for sight. But I felt the film led us into Charles’ inner life through music and cast of colorful characters that moved in and out of his life.

    Blackhat. Watchable once.

    Testament of Youth. Stopped after 30 min. The lead actress is annoying as hell. The character struck me as insipid. But maybe I should have seen it to the end. Looks too much like respectable Oscar-bait movie.

    Black Sea. Instant action classic. Sort of like Skolimowski’s MOONLIGHTING: how the oppressed becomes blind to their own oppression of others.
    Nice balance of action genre and social-psychology(food for thought).
    Too bad it sunk at the box office.

    But the two best by far is TOMORROWLAND and SLOW WEST.

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  28. These are all very good points.

    My only criticism is that you left out India, but most of the rest of the world has only so much desire to see big song and dance sequences in the middle of movies.

    Both Chinese history and Chinese literature offers as rich a source of material for Chinese film-makers as anything in the West. However, the only people really familiar with Chinese history and Chinese literature are the Chinese, and its hard to overcome the obvious cultural barrier and get non-Chinese interested. However, China is and will be a large enough market for Chinese movie studios that they don’t really need to export to the rest of the world, they can do fine making movies that are popular only in China. This has been the situation with just about everything throughout Chinese history.

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  29. A full grown man running around in a bat costume.

    How anyone can get excited about this regardless of the cast is beyond me.

    It is so ridiculous.

    Batman is for kids. Like this one.

    Be mature and sensible. Stick with Bubblegum Crisis.

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  30. Did anyone else walk away from Sicario thinking that the director was subtly signalling that the Matt Carvers or whatever Josh Brolin’s character was named are basically correct? That we completely underestimate the value of holding actions and status quo maintence in maintaining civilization. Compared to a movie like Traffic Sicario seemed almost hopeful. Or maybe the difference is that Sicario doesn’t take the fashionable view, that if a fight seems hopeless you just give up, that movies like Traffic and No Country for Old Men. The evolution of the drug war movie from Clear and Present Danger down to today would be an interesting thing to read about.

    • Agree: Harry Baldwin
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  31. Sorry jimbo that wasn’t meant as a response to you.

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  32. Hanks has coasted on his undeniable screen presence to become a terrible ham actor.

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  33. Anonymous
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    You can’t buy your way into Hollywood. See Sony Pictures and Dumb German Money. They’re all run by the same people that run the rest of Hollywood.

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  34. Having decided I didn’t want to give Hollywood too much of my money, I saw only two movies this year: American Sniper and the new Star Wars. Liked Sniper, but I wish I could get my ticket money back on the new Star Wars.

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  35. IMHO one of The best Jokers was Jack Nicholson.

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  36. Of the four new films I recall watching this year:

    Ex Machina – 9/10 (excellent in almost every respect and a metaphor for the superintelligence control problem)

    Martian – 8/10 (reviewed)

    Mad Max: Fury Road – 6/10 (imo overrated but I don’t really care for these types of films)

    Jurassic World – 5/10 (meh)

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  37. 47 Ronin might have been more sellable if Steve Reeves were cast as the star. Unfortunately he passed away in 2000.

    There is only One Hercules and his name is Steve Reeves!

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  38. Anonymous
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    When you read complaints about how Hollywood movies are so bad because of white male privilege keeping out the diverse, note that there are plenty of fifteen year olds in Guangdong who like Hollywood movies just the way they are.

    This could just as well be an argument in favor of “diversity”, since Hollywood movies are already ridiculously diverse and absurd. Hollywood movies are even more popular in the US than they are in Guangdong; does that mean that white Americans like Hollywood movies just the way they are, with their absurd diversity, white male blond villains, heroic and noble blacks, etc.? Of course not. Hollywood has a monopoly on Hollywood movies, and there is no alternative. Hollywood understands perfectly well that people, whether in the US or Guangdong, don’t like Hollywood movies just the way they are, and Hollywood’s marketing efforts for the new Star Wars film in China demonstrate this.

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  39. Blue Ruin.

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  40. I bet the guys from STRAIGHT OUT OF COMPTON are secretly happy that Suge Knight is safely locked up. The case…MURDER!

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  41. I enjoyed Slow West. Also Sicario which I watched last week after readings Steve’s review.

    I did not feel the similarity to No Country like Steve did. I felt more like it was in the Awesome USA Special Forces genre like Blackhawk Down.

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  42. I’ll go further and say Slow West was the best Western movie I’ve seen since Unforgiven.

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  43. Steve was talking worldwide gross and those look like domestic china box office figures. Wolf Totem might be #1 based on non China box office.

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  44. “the best film of 2015 was No Escape with Owen Wilson and Pierce Brosnan.
    it was too politically incorrect , film critics attacked it for its negative portrayal of Asians.”

    The Southeast Asian country they were in shares a border with Vietnam, so Owen Wilson and his family were either in Laos or Cambodia.

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  45. Seems like Indian men have the low muscles/low T of east asians without their slim/beardless youthful looks.

    between robbery potential and STD rates five times higher than whites, meeting black gays online seems very risky.

    talked to a gay a couple months ago and he told me he takes Truvada to prevent HIV infection and no longer uses condoms. what about the other STDs I asked. he did not really answer.

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  46. Steve you should write a blog about the Left Wing becoming livid over the creation of the website Whitepeoplemeet.com.

    I am surprised no one The Unz has brought it up yet.

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  47. I agree.

    There is also the message that the rights for criminals the Supreme Court discovered in the 1960s have gone too far, letting drug kingpens with good lawyers live with impunity.

    The depiction of Mexico was also a pretty good case for not Mexicanizing the USA.

    Sicario was also better than Traffic which was slower placed and used too many annoying film techniques like washed out color. Sicario had a lot of improbable use of English by Mexicans when Traffic used Spanish. But that makes the film better for audiences at only a minor cost to realism.

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  48. I like Grocery Outlet, a growing chain that mostly stocks flops. Lately they have a bunch of Bob Marley branded premium items.

    Lots of cheeses too imported from Europe that is barely more expensive than Kraft garbage.

    They have an interesting francise model where they only want married couples who will both work full time on the store and both have industry experience.

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  49. Not quite sure how Wolf Totem is the highest grossing Chinese film as per the chart.

    From the same website, it’s about the 15th highest grossing film *in China* (at $110,460,000 vs Monster Hunter, the highest ranking Chinese made film at $381,860,000 and I can’t imagine it did much business overseas – http://www.boxofficemojo.com/intl/china/yearly/.

    The international figures break down Wolf Totem as $123,400,000 gross overall, with $211,000 domestic (i.e. American) and $123,200,000 international (which Wikipedia suggests is basically Chinese with a minor French contribution – “The film grossed US$122,745,328 worldwide,[3] with US$110.95 million from China[34] and US$8,811,832 from France”).

    Seems like there’s no way that can be the highest grossing Chinese film in 2015.

    For US films (often US + general Western talent these days, but the financing is US), besides some suspect elements about that chart, China has to grow a lot more before it can be as lucrative a market as the West, and US films still hit a lot of Western markets (Europe+US+Australia+South America), despite a lack of dominance in Asia, So US films are still relatively successful.

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  50. One San Franciscan to another: last night I saw two black guys standing around idly in a neighborhood where I’ve never seen such before, the corner of Ocean Ave./Middlefield. I suppose they could have been Adventists (one was wearing a tie), but I also wonder if it was a test of sorts. The start of home invasions in formerly safe neighborhoods?

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  51. Macbeth was awesome (if you can follow the dialogue), as well as very beautiful, and Fassbender is a really good actor. Plus, he looks positively fierce with warpaint on. Even the guy playing Macduff transcended his ferrety looking face to become really imposing, which made me forgive his atrocious role in Prometheus. One of the better movies with Shakespearian dialogue.

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  52. I saw a movie on TV the other day that doesn’t really fit the purposes of this list, but seemed revealing. It’s a French flick from 2014, called Little Nicholas on Vacation, and it’s a sequel. It’s a very light comedy that is heavy on nostalgia and very French. Ostensibly, it’s aimed at children and made after a series of children’s books, but the movie is odd in its treatment of the subject and some of the undertones. There’s even a very tasteful derriere shot of a nubile German girl (known only as La Jeune Allemande, which seems banal to the French maybe, but sounds terribly Lolitaish to me), but it’s very wholesome, in a naturist way for which the Germans are known. I am not a Francophile so I may have missed this before, but I think the French are entering the same funk Americans are in, where they make period pieces that basically amount to the country being stale and pale again, only without the implied self-loathing. Anyway, the color palette is beautiful and the movie entertaining. I wish my childhood were like that. I hope to catch the first movie to, at some point.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3019796/

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  53. [Grocery Outlet] have an interesting franchise model where they only want married couples who will both work full time on the store and both have industry experience.

    Is owning one, like, a next step for successful Korean shopkeepers? Or the married children of same?

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  54. On Steve’s recommendation I saw Love & Mercy and thought it was excellent. I’m sure my enjoyment was enhanced by my being a huge Beach Boys fan. Love & Mercy is an unusual music-themed movie in that you don’t get to hear the songs in their entirety, just snatches of them while they’re being composed or recorded. It’s good to have an awareness of the finished project so that as you watch Brian work out the chord sequences in “God Only Knows,” considered one of the greatest pieces of pop music ever written, you can hate on Murry Wilson as he complains that it’s boring and wishy-washy.

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  55. My wife asked me to make love.I was surprised how good it was.

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  56. I like parts of UNFORGIVEN. And I suppose it is in the tradition of the sexual western, of which SEARCHERS is most famous. The whole adventure is instigated by some whore laughing at a fatso’s wee wee. The way I would have played it would have been more comical and humorous(though not as comedy). One of the great things about THE SEARCHERS is its sense of humor that lightens the mood but also adds an element of irony. It also implies something darker, that Ethan’s ‘obsession’ is there in everyone in different degrees.

    Scorsese in his PC worst says Ethan envies the soul of the young guy Marty.

    Supposedly, Ethan is Mr. Hate while Marty is Mr. Love.
    But I never got the sense that Ethan ENVIED the young guy’s soul. I think he saw its worth but also its naivete. Besides, is Marty really ‘above race’? Isn’t he confused because, being part-Indian, he feels a slight tribal affinity with them as well?

    Also, Marty’s own Ethan-like emotions emerge when he returns and finds out that his girl is marrying another man. Ford plays it as comedy, but there is a dark undertone to the tussle as it shows that even nice Marty will turn into a savage animal when sexuality is involved. He will even bite the ear of another white man to get the girl.
    And the girl actually likes to see two guys slug it out over her.

    https://youtu.be/uj-XZ0OJrXQ

    Ethan is just more brazen with his feelings. Other have it but hide it better… until Marty goes full-Ethan on the guitar player who knocked him down earlier for putting his hands on his ‘fiancee’.
    The anti-Ethan crap in film culture is one of the most annoying nonsense I’ve heard. They keep calling him a ‘racist’ when his racial feelings were hardly out of line in his world. Ethan is dangerous because he’s a maverick, not because of his racial views.
    Also, he isn’t motivated ONLY by idears about race but because people he dearly loved were raped and murdered in the worst way. It’s personal. If it had happened to another family, he would have been angry but not THAT angry. But all of that is dismissed, and we keep hearing he is ‘racist’ when he is the Great White Man as he should be(though, to be sure, far from perfect). I like him for the same reason I like Wes Studi in GERONIMO. He’s a Great Red Man and takes no crap. Sure, he is a ‘racist’ who fights for his tribe and people, but that’s what a real man is supposed to do(until he can’t no more cuz the war is lost).

    Anyway, I like the interplay of darkness and humor in THE SEARCHERS. And sometimes, there is darkness in the fun and fun in the darkness. Consider the scene where Indian woman ‘Look’ lies down next to Marty and Marty kicks her. I always wince at that sceen because that’s no way to treat a woman. And she meant no harm. And it goes to show that Marty has his own ‘pride’ and that pride could make him mean and nasty, even kick a rotund Indian woman. Ethan laughs as she rolls down the slope, and actually I find that more disturbing than his rage at Scar and obsession about Debbie’s ‘betrayal’. The element of humor makes the scene darker because it shows how crude and insensitive both men could be. But then, it’s remarkable how the scene darkens all of a sudden. Ethan stops laughing and gets serious as he questions ‘Look’ about Scar.

    There is another very disturbing scene, and if anything makes me wonder about Ethan’s moral character, it is this one. And the scene is, again, all the more disturbing cuz it’s a mix of humor and darkness. Marty is about to go to sleep, and Ethan keeps piling on the firewood. He’s acting mighty friendly-like, and Marty’s wondering why Ethan is acting so uncharacteristic. And then, there is an exchange of gunfire, and Ethan kills three men. It goes from humor to ‘murder’. But more disturbing is that Ethan had set it up to use Marty as decoy. Marty could have been shot dead by the men stalking in the woods. Marty realizes this, but Ethan cuts him off with a curt remark. The scene is funny, violent, and disturbing.

    It is this multi-layering that makes THE SEARCHERS so interesting, especially with Old Mose who wants his rocking chair. In some ways, Old Mose is both the most lovable and most disturbed character. He like an old baby. And he says funny things and goofs around a lot. But he is also near-sociopathic in seeing EVERYTHING as a romp. When Ethan shoots out the eyes of a dead Indian, others are sickened but Old Mose finds it funny.

    A whole bunch of nasty violent things happen in THE SEARCHERS but Old Mose acts like a cartoon character. He lightens things but also darkens things because he finds merriment in mayhem. In this gun fight with Indians, Old Mose acts like he’s at a shooting gallery at a carnival. But I think we overlook Old Mose’s craziness cuz, well, it is so crazy.

    I think UNFORGIVEN could have been better movie if it had that light touch as contrast to its obvious darkness. I mean the premise is pretty funny if you think about it. A fatty goes nuts with knife cuz a whore laughed at his wee wee. And then rumor spreads that turns the incident into a tall tale, and then every over-the-hill gunslinger gets in the act for money and to kill the boredom.
    Peckinpah was also great cuz he could mix darkness and laughter.
    But UNFORGIVEN is so solemn, turgid, and constipated, as if Eastwood is trying to shi* logs through his ass. (Of course, had UNFORGIVEN been made by Tarantino, everything would have been a hoot. Film needs balance between darkness and humor. Tarantino just turns darkness INTO humor.)
    Because of this, I think, in some ways, HEARTBREAK RIDGE is the better movie.
    UNFORGIVEN has some really good stuff–especially with Hackman and Harris–, but too much is Western as Ethics 101 or Intro to Philosophy. If there is humor, there is unintentional one like this meditation on violence:

    GIMME A BREAK! The last thing I need is a moral lecture from Eastwood who made his millions by piling up the bodies.

    Anyway, there have been much better westerns since UNFORGIVEN.

    GERONIMO, despite some PC addition and the insufferable Matt Damon, is one heck of a job by Walter Hill, who also gave us WILD BILL, another notable western.

    And there’s ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES, a true masterpiece, but one could argue it’s not really a western but a southern(like RIDE WITH THE DEVIL, a remarkable movie).

    I thought OPEN RANGE was pretty good too, and the scene when Duvall and Costner get cigars and candy before the fight is a real gem in western movie history.

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  57. Outside of musicals, I think it’s the norm to not hear entire songs in music-themed movies, but scenes of artists composing I always find interesting. I wonder why there aren’t more of them. Never Tear Us Apart, an Aussie production about INXS, has a scene where the lead guitarist is about to hop in a cab to the airport when he gets an idea, and he has the driver wait while he runs back into his home to layer guitar tracks on “Need You Tonight”.

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  58. Ex Machina really shook my faith. How can you trust anyone’s not a bot after that? But then at least a bot is under no illusions. Human beings have these illusions about everything, all the time it seems, they go through life living these illusions. Dennett et al. just shatter these illusions–by calling them illusions. That’s how you know God’s a phony, a fraudulent trickster. The illusion that feels real—simple sleight of hand by a magician. That old magician thinks we don’t know its just magic. Dennett kickin his ass and stuff proving its just magic. God can’t even make bots–we do, in movies even.

    Raise your hand if your a materialist idiot.

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  59. The new Arab-language remake of National Lampoon’s Eurotrip is terrible. The original was nothing special, but it had solid jokes, a relatable boy-seeks-girl plot, Vinnie Jones as a soccer hooligan, and Matt Damon in the role of a lifetime (adjusting for screen time). Maybe I’m just a parochial American, but this new version we’ve been seeing clips of lately is just disturbing.

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  60. …note that there are plenty of fifteen year olds in Guangdong who like Hollywood movies just the way they are.

    Because their taste is in their 名.

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  61. Oops… I meant 直肠

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  62. One of the Farook brothers (Pakistani, but close enough) landed an attractive Russian woman.

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  63. Frank-n-Furter agreed.

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  64. Haven’t seen any except for (parts of) the Tarantino one in a pirate copy online. It’s crap, don’t waste time with it, it’s not even a Western. However a iSteve review could be interesting. Or not.

    None of the others appeal a lot to me except perhaps Ex Machina.

    As for the domination, I don’t think it has to do with language as most films are dubbed for the local languages in Europe and in Asia (Latin America prefers subtitles). It’s just that US has more money and more appeal.

    As I like foreign films, I am in favor of other countries establishing quotas to avoid Hollywood worldwide domination and having a more “diverse” cinema, however, this may be impossible in the globalized world. It is true that most people in the world just want to watch the latest US blockbuster anyway, even in Farawaynistan.

    I will keep just watching mostly old films, thank you.

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  65. wow, I haven’t seen any of the movies mentioned here, even any of the older ones. Kung Fu Panda anyone? i think that was 2007 or thereabouts.

    I saw a comment on another blog, echoing something my brilliant sister-in-law said to me: Don’t watch crap. No, really. Just don’t watch crap.

    She has a theory that the decay in marriage is directly related to the rise in TV and movie watching. Seems interesting.

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  66. This is probably going to come off as retarded, but I have been playing Destiny for hours almost every night for over a year and I can no longer stand any movies or TV. I hate the linearity – certain characters (why these particular handful of “stars”, mostly annoying [re- Hanks, above], doing certain things, usually for unclear or preposterous reasons, following popular conventions of plotting, action, dialogue, message, and generally based on previous films and stories while hinting at more of the same in future episodes.

    Everything seems derivative and overdone. I want to at least have the illusion of control over the characters and story, even if I know it’s all programmed and not truely infinite. I want there to be interactive drama, and I don’t want to ever see Keanu or Morgan or Matt or Will Smith, etc. ever again, except maybe to blow them away with my fusion rifle and pulse grenades. Done with ” entertainment “. Movies are boring and TV is an overflowing toilet. I liked breaking bad though; the exception that proves the rule.

    Please don’t be hatin’ on me. I was born too soon. I can’t help it if the modern world simultaneously sucks and blows.

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  67. Other than” Sicario” the list is pretty sad . And although this isn’t a 2015 movie it’s probably better than most .

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  68. It’s a serious question Sailer ,just go ahead and make yourself a gay drink .

    Just fuckin” with you buddy .

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  69. Spotlight is the most grown-up film I’ve seen in a good long while.

    It ultimately serves as an indictment (presented in the most humane manner imaginable) of the gradual atomization of our best and brightest (which is how the journalists are depicted) from the social ties that once kept them connected to the common life of the community.

    It finally dawns on Keaton that everyone knew but him, and the lawyer for the church (his lifelong friend) asks him, “why didn’t you?”

    It was his job, after all.

    The unspoken answer: because he’d fallen away from the church that raised him, as did all the other journalists who were the last to know. Throughout the film, there’s a longing for that lost connection.

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  70. How is The Danish Girl not the Best Picture favorite?

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  71. In 1989, the cast of the ’60s TV series did an interview and expressed amazement that Tim Burton’s new movie was not campy and kid-friendly:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtjxXEhp-bU#t=6m24s

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  72. “Monster Hunt” was the #1 movie in China in 2015 making close to $400 Million at the Chinese box office. Even if that “Wolf Totem” total was for a non-Chinese audience, it didnt make over $100 Million outside of China, so that boxofficemojo chart is wrong. Below is the trailer for “Monster Hunt” :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbhsvxqoCG4

    It is a family friendly fantasy epic with a director – Raman Hui – who previously worked for Dreamworks and directed Shrek 3.

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  73. Hey, it’s that guy, Ben Mendelsohn, from Bloodline. And he seems to be playing the same character, only without the American accent.

    Seriously, Animal Kingdom looks like a pretty good film. It’s got a hell of a cast – besides Mendelsohn, it stars Joel Edgerton and Guy Pearce, who are always great.

    *OT in that it’s TV not film, but I thought Bloodline (Netflix) was a terrific series. It’s a slow-burn mystery/character drama that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout despite being quite slow by modern standards. It also has a strong cast, led by Mendelsohn, Kyle Chandler and Sissy Spacek.

    Netflix did the intelligent thing and put out all 13 episodes at once, so you could binge-watch over a few nights instead of waiting a week (and perhaps losing interesting in a world with so much competition for entertainment time) to find out what happens next. Given how Season 1 ended, I’m not quite sure what they’re going to do in S2, but it’s worth checking out.

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  74. You liked Brian De Palma’s The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990), starring Tom Hanks as a frosty WASP bond trader, Bruce Willis as a boozy British reporter, and Morgan Freeman as a crusty Jewish judge?

    It does have a cool tracking shot at the beginning, I’ll grant you that. But it’s easily one of the worst great-book-to-crappy-movie hackjobs ever churned out by Hollywood.

    They took Tom Wolfe’s story, lobotomized it, castrated it, and dumped a half-baked flick into the theaters right before Christmas. It was one of the biggest flops of the year, if not the decade. Even De Palma’s longtime critical cheerleader, Pauline Kael, roasted it (in one of her last reviews).

    Read The Devil’s Candy, Julie Solomon’s fascinating behind-the-scenes tale of how the flick got made.

    Fun facts from the book:

    * Uma Thurman, a nobody at the time, read for the part of Maria.
    * Melanie Griffith had her boobs done halfway through filming. In some parts, the movie takes on the feel of one of those “before-and-after” cosmetic-surgery commercials.
    * The ten-second shot of the Concorde landing at JFK took months to plan.

    SPOILERS
    SPOILERS
    SPOILERS

    When I think about what the [i]Bonfire[/i] movie could have been, something like [i]The War of the Roses[/i] (1989) comes to mind. [i]Roses[/i] was one of the few Hollywood flicks that had the balls to carry its nastiness right through to the end – the selfish bitch of a wife never stopped being a selfish bitch, even in her dying moments. With his last gasp of life, her chump of a husband (literally) reached out his hand to caress her shoulder, and with her last gasp she swatted it away – her great big “Screw you!” to the man who slaved for years to give her the best of everything. No hugging, no learning. That’s life – most folks are assholes, and most stories don’t end altogether happily. Most movies are afraid to make that point.

    [i]Bonfire[/i] watered down Wolfe’s biting characterizations and petered out at the end by having Freeman give one of his patented Wise Black Man Sums Up Da Troof for Whitey(TM) speeches. That speech, along with the nauseatingly sappy musical score, robbed the film of whatever impact it might have had.

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  75. Steve, you missed one:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4196450/

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  76. Chinese cinema is occasionally discussed by expats here and is viewed as pretty awful, never mind Chinese TV. Most locals who can speak decent English, and even some who can’t, appear to prefer American films, which they stream free through online pirated versions they watch on their iPads and phablets since only 34 foreign films are allowed to screen at cinemas each year (can’t imagine how much money Hollywood is losing in all this).

    Filmmakers like Zhang Yimou, who made films critiquing government fiascoes like the Cultural Revolution in the 1990s, have completely sold out to the CCP.

    Wolf Totem, by the way, had a largely Western creative team including French director Jean Jacques-Annaud.

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  77. There’s no problem in preferring some form interaction, and even the illusion of control. The rise of the walking simulator type of games like The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and Everybody’s gone to the Rapture is basically this. As are the adventure games of Telltale Games, which are basically interactive movies with some choices. But Destiny? Doesn’t it get old? I had my time under the sun playing Counterstrike after school or in the computer lab, but I’ve come to avoid any game that’s repetitive, grindy or match based. Life’s too short. Give me a nice sweet shooter campaign with some thrills for an afternoon or a juicy RPG and I’m set. Mind you, I’m speaking as someone who doesn’t really get to play that much anymore, though I occasionally binge. I won’t neglect RL for it and I also read a lot.

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  78. GIMME A BREAK! The last thing I need is a moral lecture from Eastwood who made his millions by piling up the bodies.

    Both Unforgiven and that heap of bodies is fiction and Eastwood wasn’t even screenwriter for that film.

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  79. Saw The Big Short – pretty good. Hard to do as there are no heroes in it – as it’s effectively about a bunch of guys who see an ongoing mega robbery in progress and take out insurance – so their payday comes out of public money also.

    However the two brightest of the renegades now being invested in water and non GMO seeds respectively is a good tip to what’s coming.

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  80. ruined by insane political correctness (the gun-toting grandmas in Mad Max spring to mind)

    What do you have against old ladies?
    It is not like that the movie gave them an unreasonable plot armor.

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  81. Thanks for that one. I’ll check into it. But in all likelihood I’ll still probably prefer the original movie. Thanks for reminding me about my favorite all-time best Hollywood movie.
    BTW isn’t it about time for a re-make of the original. That message is needed more and more these days, what with cities like Detroit, Cleveland, Baltimore, Camden, St Louis, East St Louis, etc etc .
    A whole generation or two has forgotten the original message about dysfunction, destruction, crime, decaying civilization.

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  82. But the director as ‘auteur’ controls the tone and mood of the film, and Eastwood handled UNFORGIVEN heavy, heavy, heavy.

    It’s like PASSION OF THE GUNSLINGER. The whole movie feels like Eastwood doing penance for all his earlier violent movies. The movie feels like a heavy cross being dragged across the desert.

    But, it being an Eastwood movie, he is nevertheless resurrected and blowing everyone away and riding away as the victor.

    It’s a half-great half-ludicrous movie.

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  83. “Filmmakers like Zhang Yimou, who made films critiquing government fiascoes like the Cultural Revolution in the 1990s, have completely sold out to the CCP.”

    That’s not the main problem. Besides, even his earlier critical movies weren’t all that critical. They seemed racy, sexually and politically, cuz China was more censorious back then. Something like JU DOU, which was sort of scandalous, would be considered mild by mainstream Chinese culture today.

    Yimou’s main problem is he has gone BIG.
    All ambitious directors have this megalomaniac streak.
    Lean, who started with wonderful small movies like BRIEF ENCOUNTER, got addicted to SIZE beginning with BRIDGE ON RIVER KWAI. His films became more impersonal. But it worked with BRIDGE and LAWRENCE, and partially with ZHIVAGO because all three films are about individuals vs vastness of history. So, the epic scope has both an impersonalizing effect and a way of accentuating the individuals lonely defiance against it.
    But it was really foolish with RYAN’S DAUGHTER that would have worked better as a small romance. The epic scale is all wrong for a movie set in a small Irish town.

    Bertolucci is another one who got lost in scale. In his super-productions like 1900 and LAST EMPEROR, scale dominates everything. It worked somewhat in THE CONFORMIST but then it’s scale was limited. (Funny thing about these ‘leftist’ directors’. They hate, hate, and hate fascism, but their sensibility and lust for grandeur, cult of aesthetics, intoxication with power, and etc. betray their own fascistic fetishes. THE CONFORMIST goes on and on about how indulgent and decadent these fascists are but also luxuriates in it, just like DeMille always celebrated idolatrous paganism even while railing against it. I mean when Moses finally comes down and says ‘no more of that’, he seems like a party pooper. And in LAST EMPEROR, the main attraction is the glorious court scenery of the anchiang regime than the drab communist and their world of grey. And Visconti, another addict of scale, made Nazis so fun in THE DAMNED, a kind of Third Reich GODFATHER.)

    Yimou gained the prestige and budget, and he has a great eye sometimes, but scale dwarfs everything human and personal in stuff like ZERO, LOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, and CURSE OF GOLDEN SHOWER. CURSE has some ravishing images that will surely wow those into cinematography, but is the LOOK enough for any film? No.
    But it’s worse. If a film is just about scope and scale, I can still admire the grandeur.
    Instead, we have stately scale mixed with wire-fu chop-socky antics that work best in low-budget HK format. It’s like a combining Disney’s FANTASIA with Daffy Duck.

    I think once one gets addicted to scale, it’s hard to go back to smaller movies.
    We see this with Cameron too. He did his best work with TERMINATOR but keeps trying to top himself with bigger and bigger stuff. He’s Mr. Titanic.

    But sometimes, scale can be glorious: ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, PLAYTIME, 2001, ANDREI RUBLEV, PROFOUND DESIRES OF THE GODS, EL CID, first 1/3 of APOCALYPSE NOW, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, etc.

    PS. Hong Kong movies in the 80s and early 90s were very ingenious and innovative. Very nifty. Even when totally silly, they were made with such finesse and mastery. I just liked to watch them for camera movement, composition, and editing. But I think piracy killed that industry, esp. with rise of internet and DVD’s.

    I think the Hollywood attraction is America is seen as not only rich and powerful but culture-less. Movies are a form of escapism, and people go for a good time. Most national cinemas are culture-specific or crisis-specific.
    American movies are about saying ‘what the fuc*’–like in RISKY BUSINESS–and doing whatever. It’s fantasy without guilt.

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  84. One day, people will recognize TOMORROWLAND as a classic.

    It’s wonderful.

    But the final scene is sort of hokey ridiculous.

    The idea is to bring together all the best minds in the world.

    The candidates? Some Asian kid playing a guitar for loose change, a woman ‘artist’ dabbling with crayons, some Negro game warden in Africa, a Negress planting a tree, a ballerina, a Negress hiker, and etc. I mean with ‘geniuses’ like that–the sort favored by McCarthur Foundation–, I worry about this ideal society of the future.

    https://youtu.be/2pXlMUyH9gs?t=30s

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  85. You can watch foreign or indie movies, if you want plots that aren’t predictable and actors you won’t recognize. Below is a trailer for an American indie film from a few years ago you might like.

    Incidentally, in the novel Ready Player One, there’s a new time of virtual reality game, which is essentially making you the lead character in a previously released movie.
    https://youtu.be/j3KX2IPTbjE

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  86. the best film of 2015 was No Escape with Owen Wilson and Pierce Brosnan. it was too politically incorrect , film critics attacked it for its negative portrayal of Asians.

    It was good plus I liked the scenery. I am a sucker for a movie with a good Asian backdrop. For a good movie in a similar vein see Beyond Rangoon 1995. Lots of war, conflict and drama and Patricia Arquette is lovely in it. Directed by John Boorman

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  87. Agreed. Very deliberate pacing though, fair warning.

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  88. Someone on the “Brooklyn” thread commented it would have been seen as routine romantic drama fodder in 1950s Hollywood and only stands out now for its rarity. That might be fair, but it’s also part of the argument for why it’s good.

    The Intern is a type of movie that is still going relatively strong but probably fading – the classy rom-com. It’s rarer yet in that it’s the kind of rom-com in which the ‘rom’ part is wholly sublimated. As a middle-aged man who’d crawl a mile over broken glass for Anne Hathaway, I thought that a pity. But the actual path of the story was just as enjoyable, and much more real. Rare that I come out of a movie in quite that positive frame of mind.

    Then again, I also enjoyed Sicario and couldn’t quite fathom what Emily Hunt’s character’s problem was with the resolution of events.

    So maybe I’m not quite the perfect target audience for any movie’s marketing ninjas.

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  89. Actually, scratch that broken glass bit. That’s stupid- no one is worth that much physical damage and I’d be in no shape to reap the ostensible rewards after attempting that feat anyway.

    But the impulse behind that graphic metaphor, totally real.

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  90. It’s also for adolescents and nerdy teens, though, a demographic that at least historically REALLY hated camp. I was a teen in the ’80s and even Burton’s ultimately campy Batman was massively preferable to the 1960s version. I’d like all traces of that show to be destroyed ASAP.

    Although you did give me a chuckle by reminding me of Adam West’s appearance on the Simpsons, “…and how come Batman doesn’t dance anymore? Remember the Bat-toosi?” [West begins dancing poorly and the Simpson family backs away with expressions of alarm and confusion].

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  91. Tommorowland ? Really ? Troll

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  92. “Tommorowland ? Really ? Troll”

    You must be a blind dammy.

    Fool.

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  93. Bone Tomahawk – good but *very* gruesome.

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  94. Saw The Revenant today. This is man’s life reduced to the bare essentials. They are living in the stone age except that they have rifles, axes and metal implements. They are out trapping animals for their pelts which was a lucrative trade.
    The Indians are portrayed well. Thomas Hardy does a great job with his very very crude character. Leo Decaprio is good. There are no poets in this movie. Everyone is crude and the living is crude, living in the dirt, rain and snow.
    9 out of 10. Be prepared to sit though a long movie. I am glad I saw this in the theater because I would have fast forwarded it at home.

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  95. Steve, if you do get around to reviewing the Revenant, it might be interesting to contrast the Hugh Glass portrayed here http://www.historynet.com/hugh-glass-the-truth-behind-the-revenant-legend.htm/2#prettyPhoto with the one in the movie.

    The movie is gorgeous but hurt by lazy scriptwriting. SPOILERS Why would you send ten men after a badly wounded trapper but two men (one a badly wounded trapper) after an armed and dangerous fugitive? Because you want a final, elemental confrontation between the hero and the villain, and you’ll sacrifice logic and plausibility to get it.

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