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xGasPricesx



Joined: 23 May 2008
Posts: 1543
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Mark in Minnesota wrote:
See, Oblivion I definitely did like. I thought it was an interesting deconstruction of the alien invasion genre and did a good job of presenting us with truly alien life. I think Tom Cruise did a good job with a pretty challenging role and that both of his love interests did good jobs with their roles. I thought the film was visually stunning, did a very good job of balancing exposition with direct storytelling, and was well paced with very few wasted scenes or wasted moments.

My feelings about Edge of Tomorrow are more conflicted. It had some of the coolest science fiction elements I've seen depicted on screen, it was well-realized, and the key actors did good jobs with their roles. But the world they showed me wasn't believable, the script took a lot of narrative shortcuts that I think ultimately hurt the story they were trying to tell, and the film's conclusion was such hackneyed deus ex machina shit that I was more annoyed than confused by it.


I respectfully disagree here, with the exception that I agree the ending to EoT was nothing special. But I think the "narrative shortcuts" in EoT are some of the strongest parts, at least if I'm understanding you correctly. I didn't want them to take 45 minutes explaining the Mimics, where they came from, how they do the whole time reset thing, etc. I was so happy they did the whole 5 minute news montage at the beginning of establishing that there was an invasion, some alien creatures came down and are trying to take over, and countries have banded together to try to fight it, as well as establishing Cruise's character. And then keeping further explanations of them limited later when Cage meets up with Rita and the scientist dude.

I always hate in these big budget blockbuster movies when they take so much time to explain the backstory of the thing the characters are after. For example, let's say there is a box everyone wants cause it's powerful, all I need to know is that there is a box and everyone wants it. That's it. I don't need some long backstory about the box, what exactly its power is and how it came to be, I'd rather delve into the characters and the action. This is something that made the Avengers such a strong movie, because it didn't have to waste time explaining the Tesseract and why everyone was after it and all the bullshit, it did that with some of it's previous movies, and that part was usually the worst part of those movies but it was split up amongst a couple different ones so it never dragged the rest of the movie down too much. This freedom allowed Whedon and Co. to just get down to the characters, how they interact with one another, their grudges and their bonding moments. That was what I really loved about that film, and a big reason it got to do those things is that it wasn't bogged down by having to explain the backstory.

This is what EoT did very well, I think. It didn't waste our time explaining all this stuff about the Mimics and how they worked and what they wanted and all that bullshit, because in this particular film, it didn't matter. This wasn't really an alien invasion movie, it was more of a time-travel movie, and if it had tried to do more of the former I think it would have been a much clunkier film. The way the film used the "resets", and what it chose to show us, and more importantly, not show us, was extremely well done. It created certain amounts of suspense around certain scenes. There were times where we were led to believe it was the first time the protagonist was experiencing that part but then we learn it could have been the thousandth time he had been there. And the way it was able to milk some really great humor out of some of the moments, which would include the bus scene and the fisticuffs scene, and even just the word "maggot".

I really don't know what you mean by the world not being believable, if anything I think Oblivion would fall under that category more. I found EoT to be pretty believable for a sci-fi film, especially the way the suits worked (or didn't work). The ending wasn't great, but I didn't hate it as much as you seemed to, and it really didn't leave me confused at all. Anyways, overall I found EoT to be far superior to Oblivion, and I actually liked Oblivion well enough, just didn't think it was anything special. Also, the ending or really the last third of Oblivion was pretty damn hackneyed as well, I think even more so than EoT. Once the whole "twist" was revealed, I couldn't help but groan as it had been done so many times before by so many films that were far superior to it.
Post Mon Jun 16, 2014 12:08 am
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Flossin



Joined: 28 Jul 2009
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Watched "The Iceman" yesterday. Liked it very much, a good mob movie. Michael Shannon is awesome and quickly becoming one of my favorite actors in the last 10 years.
Post Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:25 am
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Mark in Minnesota



Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Posts: 2007
Location: Saint Louis Park, MN
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xGasPricesx wrote:
I respectfully disagree here, with the exception that I agree the ending to EoT was nothing special. But I think the "narrative shortcuts" in EoT are some of the strongest parts, at least if I'm understanding you correctly. I didn't want them to take 45 minutes explaining the Mimics, where they came from, how they do the whole time reset thing, etc. I was so happy they did the whole 5 minute news montage at the beginning of establishing that there was an invasion, some alien creatures came down and are trying to take over, and countries have banded together to try to fight it, as well as establishing Cruise's character. And then keeping further explanations of them limited later when Cage meets up with Rita and the scientist dude.

I always hate in these big budget blockbuster movies when they take so much time to explain the backstory of the thing the characters are after. For example, let's say there is a box everyone wants cause it's powerful, all I need to know is that there is a box and everyone wants it. That's it. I don't need some long backstory about the box, what exactly its power is and how it came to be, I'd rather delve into the characters and the action. This is something that made the Avengers such a strong movie, because it didn't have to waste time explaining the Tesseract and why everyone was after it and all the bullshit, it did that with some of it's previous movies, and that part was usually the worst part of those movies but it was split up amongst a couple different ones so it never dragged the rest of the movie down too much. This freedom allowed Whedon and Co. to just get down to the characters, how they interact with one another, their grudges and their bonding moments. That was what I really loved about that film, and a big reason it got to do those things is that it wasn't bogged down by having to explain the backstory.

This is what EoT did very well, I think. It didn't waste our time explaining all this stuff about the Mimics and how they worked and what they wanted and all that bullshit, because in this particular film, it didn't matter. This wasn't really an alien invasion movie, it was more of a time-travel movie, and if it had tried to do more of the former I think it would have been a much clunkier film. The way the film used the "resets", and what it chose to show us, and more importantly, not show us, was extremely well done. It created certain amounts of suspense around certain scenes. There were times where we were led to believe it was the first time the protagonist was experiencing that part but then we learn it could have been the thousandth time he had been there. And the way it was able to milk some really great humor out of some of the moments, which would include the bus scene and the fisticuffs scene, and even just the word "maggot".

I really don't know what you mean by the world not being believable, if anything I think Oblivion would fall under that category more. I found EoT to be pretty believable for a sci-fi film, especially the way the suits worked (or didn't work). The ending wasn't great, but I didn't hate it as much as you seemed to, and it really didn't leave me confused at all. Anyways, overall I found EoT to be far superior to Oblivion, and I actually liked Oblivion well enough, just didn't think it was anything special. Also, the ending or really the last third of Oblivion was pretty damn hackneyed as well, I think even more so than EoT. Once the whole "twist" was revealed, I couldn't help but groan as it had been done so many times before by so many films that were far superior to it.


(My reply here is going to be full of spoilers. Please scroll past if this concerns you.)

I agree with you that the movie would have suffered if it spent a lot of time on exposition around the alien invasion, or on how the relationship between the Alphas and the Omega works. That's just not where my problem with the film was.

Specific narrative shortcuts I was thinking of:
- The arrogance and incompetence of the general who sends Cage to the front in the first place. In some of the timestreams, Cage returns a day later knowing impossibly more about the conflict than he did when he left, and is able to convince the general that what he's saying is true--but is unable in any scenario yet examined to convince the general to trust Cage's foreknowledge.
- Use of "Full Metal Bitch" to characterize Rita, which is used as a shorthand to explain away Rita's inability to use her reputation to Cage's advantage, but doesn't actually make much sense when you think about it.
- Cage's goal for most of the movie's second act is to get Rita to the Omega, and his inability to preserve her is the obstacle he's trying to overcome. Suddenly he decides to get there on his own, and we're supposed to be moved by this because he's learned that the best way he can protect her is keeping her away from him--but I found myself distracted because if -not- getting her to the Omega was ever going to result in a solution, why did he try to hard to get her there in the first place?

Throughout the film Cage's biggest obstacle isn't the enemy, it's figuring out how to win the trust and obedience of the people around him. It's never really explained why some people (especially that general) are the obstacles that they are. It's never really explained why humanity deserves to win its war against the aliens if it put somebody so myopic and dangerously untrustworthy in charge--to the point where several friends I saw the movie with wondered aloud afterward if the Omega had a hand in that general's elevation into the supreme position to begin with. This is left not just unanswered but entirely unexamined, and given that it is the biggest obstacle Cage has to overcome other than earning Rita's trust in the second act, I felt like this was bad, lazy writing.

As far as not finding the world believable: The allusions to the "total war mobilization" of World War II are thick. And yet the one time we see Cage interact with actual civilians, they seem rather blasť about the entire conflict.

To elaborate: I don't think the film needs the world to be believable to work. This is a story about how a protagonist who can "reload from checkpoint" would use the foreknowledge he obtains to influence an actual military conflict, and about what the limits of those influence would be.

My own video gaming experiences with Return to Castle Wolfenstein's multiplayer mode make me understand the dramatic appeal of reliving the D-Day invasion over and over again. But the point of the Normandy invasion wasn't just the containment of an intractable belligerent, it was the liberation of a Europe where an occupied people were still very much alive. What we apparently have in this film is a Europe where no human is left alive. No explanation of why storming that beach with hundreds of thousands of soldiers in power armor is the right strategy. They're on that beach not because the world constructed in the film needs them to be on that beach, but because video games have depicted that beach in so many different iterations over the years.

I feel like the reason we got "total war" in this scenario was not because the world needed there to be a state of total war to exist for the story to be internally consistent--but because somebody decided that this movie should "Groundhog Day joins forces with Starship Troopers to storm the beach at Normandy over and over again," and Starship Troopers is a story about a total war scenario.

As for the ending: Why did he respawn again? Having respawned again, why did he respawn further back in time? Was this his choice, or the Omega's, or the choice of some greater enemy that resets time whenever an Omega dies? Did the Omega's death actually reverberate backward in time, or is it using the foreknowledge of its death when Cage is busted down to private to avoid that outcome by "playing dead" like it did to take Rita out of play?

I know I'm reading too much into that, and that the real point of the ending is that Cage finally overcame all the obstacles in front of him and is being offered an optimistic reward for it. But why is he done thinking about the possibilities? Given what he just went through, he shouldn't be!

On the other hand: The movie got a lot of things right. I think it can even be argued that the things it got right are the ones its creators cared about, and that the complaints I've made here are all immaterial to the question of whether or not that film achieved its goals.

In the end I'm conflicted about whether I saw a poorly executed movie that got the important things right anyway, or a well executed movie that got some of the important things wrong. What I don't think I saw was a well executed movie that got all the important things right.

I suppose I think I more unambiguously liked Oblivion because I expected less from it. The ending felt a little slapped together, but I didn't walk out of that film wanting it to be something other than what it was. I walked out of Edge of Tomorrow not sure whether I wanted to get a sequel or for them to have made a different movie instead--and slightly annoyed because I doubt I'll get either outcome.
Post Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:52 am
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Limbs



Joined: 04 Feb 2011
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I had to make sure I wasn't thinking of a different movie. I don't remember the end at all. I probably checked out pretty quick. I'll give it another chance.
Post Mon Jun 16, 2014 5:07 pm
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
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Location: Third Coast
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Anyone see 22 Jump Street yet? I saw the first, and was pleasantly surprised, and I've been hearing great things about this one. I also watched the Graham Norton show with Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, and Julie Andrews and it was incredible. Turns out Andrews is the nicest, sweetest woman you'll ever know. Dame, indeed.
Post Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:29 am
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xGasPricesx



Joined: 23 May 2008
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(Continued spoilers for Edge of Tomorrow, just skip this post if you don't want to be spoiled)

Mark, I see where you are coming from a lot better now. I think at the heart of this is just a difference in how we watch these types of movies, where I am willing to give more of a suspension of disbelief if the action and pacing is top-notch, which I felt it was here. Maybe I'm not being critical enough, that argument certainly could be made, but I approached this more from the angle of wanting somewhat-mindless entertainment, even though the film does present itself as more cerebral than many others of it's genre. I went in with very little expectations though, even after seeing a lot of initial positive reviews, which probably enhanced my enjoyment of the movie more than I would have if I read a decent amount about it before hand, so I'm curious, what foreknowledge or expectations, if any, did you have going into it?

Like I said, I think a lot of the points you brought up are pretty valid, especially in terms of Cage having so many opportunities to try to find a way to convince the generals and what not of what was happening, and from what we saw at least, that not really being done to the extent it could have. Although, that would make it a different movie and sacrificed a lot of the big fight sequences, which were done so well in my opinion I think I prefer the way they did it. Although, it is definitely a plot hole nonetheless. In terms of Rita's characterization, that's less of a problem for me, because I think the movie did a good enough job of explaining that her reputation had really come from the horrors she experienced over and over, and the effects that had on her. They probably could have gone a bit more in depth with that, although I'm not sure that would nullify your criticism, but I was at least satisfied with what we got.

In terms of the ending, my take on it was that since Cage had killed the Omega and got its "blood" on him, he had been given the power again to reset. Since the battle against the Omega had taken place before the Invasion, and it was now dead, he had to reset to the last point where he had woken up, which was right before going to see the main UDF General. So he had reset back to that point, which is still kind of fucky and I may not be explaining my thought process too well, but again, it's a satisfying enough explanation for me considering that all time-travel movies have these kinds of holes in them, with the possible exception of Primer.

I also never actually found myself rooting for humanity to succeed so much as I rooted for out protagonists to succeed, and that was only after awhile into the movie once Cage kind of earned it by making the transformation from silver-tongued coward to the brave badass he eventually became over however many years or decades he lived that day.

In short, I definitely see where you are coming from and agree with you that many of the things you outlined were shortcuts or outright plot holes, although I think some of them either had more explanation than you gave them credit for or explanations could be inferred from what else we knew. Because of the way I tend to watch these types of movies, or my expectations going in, or more likely some combination of the two, those things didn't add up enough to detract from my enjoyment of this movie that much. I was so wrapped up in the breakneck pacing and beautifully crafted fight scenes that I didn't spend too much time focusing on those things. That and I was happy to have a big blockbuster that was as close to an original idea as we will probably get from the movies of this season, and one that executed that idea in a way that was enjoyable to watch. That's just me, and I certainly don't think that is the right or only way to watch it, but I don't think it's wrong either.

Sorry if this post got a bit convoluted, tried to type it up real quick on my way out the door. Maybe I'll come back later and try to clean it up a bit or respond to someone else if they find major faults with what I said.
Post Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:27 pm
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mancabbage



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enjoyed the edge of tomorrow far more than the new xmen one, was good fun seeing cruise die a lot. I also really liked godzilla depite them advertising it as if cranston was the star, anyone else think 'zilla had a bit of a saggy arse though?
Post Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:31 pm
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sneeeeb
COCKRING WRAITH


Joined: 19 Oct 2006
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I watched "Mirage Men" the other day. I highly recommend it and I would love to talk about it with a nerd sometime, seeing as nobody I know has seen it.

Basically, it's a documentary about this dead-eyed guy who, while working for the intelligence community, was told by our government to tell this private citizen that what he was picking up on his radio was proof of extra-terrestrials being here so the guy wouldn't think it was just super secret tech, which it was.

The fucked up thing, is that they made the guy lose his mind... they even sent him crazy messages from aliens on his computer and the whole nine yards. The guy ended up in a mental institution because of it.

The fascinating/disgusting part is that this guy still hangs around the ufo believers scene basically claiming that the UFO phenomenon is real, and although he was a disinformation agent, the government still showed him OTHER proof that it WAS real on some level.

Now, this is clearly bullshit, but the fucking guy still has the balls to go around and spread this shit after being a (supposed) retired, private citizen. The whole thing is fucked... and looking into this dude's dead eyes is worth the price of admission. The whole thing boggles the mind.
Post Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:08 am
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mancabbage



Joined: 29 Jun 2005
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you've sold me, need to see that
Post Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:36 pm
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Mark in Minnesota



Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Posts: 2007
Location: Saint Louis Park, MN
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xGasPricesx wrote:
I'm curious, what foreknowledge or expectations, if any, did you have going into it?


Very few. The trailers made it apparent the film features a Groundhog Day style time loop, the visuals were very reminiscent of Halo, and that was really most of what I knew or cared to know. I like to go into films like that with few expectations.

...

I think you went into the movie with the right frame of mind, and got out of it what the filmmakers probably hoped you would get out of it.

For my end of it, I enjoyed the film very much while I was watching it, but when it ended the memory of that enjoyment began clashing with a lingering feeling that I wanted it to be something different than what it was.

I loved the Big Ideas of the film, and I loved how they found a way to make a film infused with the visual vernacular of video games without being bogged down in video game thinking. I thought the performances were good, and really helped to carry the movie.

At the end of the day I suppose the reason I felt let down by the last act of the movie is because I wanted to come away knowing more than there really was to know.
Post Fri Jun 20, 2014 1:18 am
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
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Location: Third Coast
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Mr. Nobody was weird as fuck. It was basically about this 120 year old dude recounting his life, but through the lens of multiple realities, or strands of realities based on choice. It was like Eternal Sunshine mixed with The Fountain and Butterfly Effect. Very surreal at times, but also very heartfelt at others. Jared Leto was awesome, as expected. I enjoyed it, but it's definitely a film that needs to be digested afterward.
Post Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:12 am
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sneeeeb
COCKRING WRAITH


Joined: 19 Oct 2006
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mancabbage wrote:
you've sold me, need to see that


Here is the trailer.... look at that guy's lying fucking shit-eyes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6naKTTuBq14
Post Sat Jun 21, 2014 3:13 pm
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Flossin



Joined: 28 Jul 2009
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xGasPricesx wrote:
I can't remember if this has been talked about on here or not yet, but "You're Next" was actually a really solid flick. It's in a similar vein as Cabin in the Woods and Scream, closer to Scream than CitW, but still less meta than both. It does start out as a decent, yet mostly average, home invasion thriller. And then, someone in the house decides to fight back, and that's when things really get good. I won't say anything else about it cause I don't want to spoil anything, but I definitely recommend checking out.


Watched it just now and remembered it being mentioned here. Good movie indeed, I was surprised.
Post Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:58 pm
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Neuro
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Joined: 19 Jul 2002
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Captiv8 wrote:
Mr. Nobody was weird as fuck. It was basically about this 120 year old dude recounting his life, but through the lens of multiple realities, or strands of realities based on choice. It was like Eternal Sunshine mixed with The Fountain and Butterfly Effect. Very surreal at times, but also very heartfelt at others. Jared Leto was awesome, as expected. I enjoyed it, but it's definitely a film that needs to be digested afterward.


i tried this one out not knowing what i was going in to a few weeks ago, and i really liked it, i havent seen this type of movie in quite sometime, i really like the different branches of life it shows all them with every choice in life made or could have been made and the outcomes, very very deep, it was a trip, and a lot to take in. i will def revisit this soon because of how its multi-layered
Post Sun Jun 22, 2014 2:03 pm
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Flossin



Joined: 28 Jul 2009
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I just saw "Pontypool" for the first time (it's a horror from 2008...so I was a bit late) and it was easily one of the most interesting movies I saw in a long, long time. If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and check it out. But don't read up about the plot, or you'll ruin it for yourselves.
Post Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:03 pm
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