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Rate the Last Movie You Saw

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C’mon guys, they got Neil Gaiman to do the English dub’s script and it’s actually very well written.

Gaiman opted to make some changes to things that referenced very specific Asian social contexts or references to mythology and specific groups, such as Jibashiri and Shishigami, that wouldn’t be understood by a Western general audience... Gaiman was writing for a general-market theatrical release, not Japanophile Otaku.

Roger Ebert put it in sixth place on his list of best films that year. 

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https://www.bestbuy.com/site/princess-mononoke-dvd-1997/6111356.p?skuId=6111356&ref=212&loc=1&ds_rl=1266837&ref=212&loc=1&ds_rl=1266837&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIz-X7wsf33gIVk1mGCh3aSA56EAQYAyABEgLeTPD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

 

The rewrite seriously westernized the subject matter.  It made Eboshi the antagonist instead of, as Pax put it, the disembodied idea of Hate, and it minimized conflict between Moro and A[big bad swear word]aka.

I am not aiming this critique at Gaiman who was put in a bad place writing with existing animation and demands from Miramax that the film be accessible to a US audience.  I am just sad that Miramax made the choices it did...  See this commentary from Gaiman at slashdot:

1) Mononoke's Disappointing Box Office - by RobertB-DC 
Mr. Gaiman, after the time, effort, and research you put into the dub of Princess Mononoke, were you disappointed by the film's performance at the US box office? Do you feel that the film was mishandled by Miramax, or were US audiences not quite ready to have their expectations of animation stretched that far?

Neil: 
Not particularly disappointed, but then I've never equated sales, good or bad, with quality, and Princess Mononoke was pretty much the first ever attempt to release something like that into movie theatres in the US. I took much more pleasure in seeing how close we got to 100% at RottenTomatoes.com than I was ever bothered by its box office.

Do I think Miramax could have handled it better? Probably, in a lot of ways -- for example, there was some silliness in the beginning where, once I'd written five drafts of the script, each word having to be approved each time by Ghibli and Miramax, they gave my final draft to someone to make sure that the mouth movements matched the script, and then cut me out of the loop for six months. The person who did the mouth-flap draft didn't like my script, and rewrote it. His version was what was recorded, initially. They screened it. It was a disaster. Then they called me back in and let me work with the director, Jack Fletcher, and he and I went back and put as much of my original dialogue back in as we could, but it all had to be recorded fairly fast at this point. I was proud of the final product, but wished that I'd been included during the period when everything went wrong: it would have made things a lot easier, and we could have been polishing at the end rather than desperately fixing things.

Harvey Weinstein really wanted to trim it. It's a long film. If Ghibli had let him trim, Miramax might have gone much wider with the film, and more movie theatres might have taken a chance on it -- but then, the audience would have been (rightly) complaining about not having been shown the whole film, as it was made, and I'd probably now be answering questions on Slashdot about whether the restoration of the missing minutes on the DVD made up for losing them in the cinemas...

Having said all that, Miramax didn't throw it away: they released it into the "ten major markets", and if the audiences had come out for it, then its theatrical release would have got much wider. Probably best simply to view it as a step on the way to something...

 

I owned the Miramax US release and was happy that it included the original Japanese language version and the literal English translation.  I watched the entire film (exactly) once in the Gaiman adaptation (note, Miramax uses that word and not translation for a reason).  I started cringing as soon as A[big bad swear word]aka was "infected" (because the concept of demon is too different in Western literature) and didn't stop.

Personally, I don't like adapting cultural films to different cultures for a reason.  First, if you want to watch a cultural film, learn something about the culture so you can appreciate it for what it is.  Second, changing cultural references to match a new audience is painful to those who understood the original references.  Imagine adapting Transformers for an Arabian audience and changing dialog between Shia and Bumblebee to asking why Megan Fox is not wearing her burka.  It's neither relevant to or respectful of the original material and that bothers me.

 

As for Ebert and his ranking, he's commenting for a specific market.  The same market that he touted Avatar for.  Avatar was the worst, derivative piece of drivel to ever hit the screen and it was simply forgiven all those evils because it had incredible special effects and an immense marketing budget.  We discussed it at gaming and when we came to the "monstrous plot hole" we discovered that the 8 of us in the discussion were each talking about a different monstrous plot hole, each of which was equally valid.  I get that his ratings are based on his entire experience with the property which, in his case and based on his comments I am sure includes the original Miyazaki work but at the same time that means that they cannot be taken as strictly representative of the English work either.

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Apologies for the bad formatting.  I was amused by the other thread here where BroG is asking about formatting since this is a case of bad tagging code.  I ended the quote before my paragraph about "I owned" and that means that the rest of the "quote" cannot be edited now so I cannot fix the above post to be correct.

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1 hour ago, Duckman said:

Apologies for the bad formatting.  I was amused by the other thread here where BroG is asking about formatting since this is a case of bad tagging code.  I ended the quote before my paragraph about "I owned" and that means that the rest of the "quote" cannot be edited now so I cannot fix the above post to be correct.

You could fix it. Edit the OP. Copy and past the entire quote into a non-quote section. Delete the original quote (the box itself can be selected, then either delete or backspace will remove it). Highlight the section you want quoted. Hit the quote button on the top. Should look right. This method would lose the source of the quote, but since you didn't already have one, it won't lose anything.

Hard to do on a phone or via the PS4's internet, as I'm now typing on, but you can fix it on a PC.

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2 hours ago, Duckman said:

They had Billy Crudup, Billy Bob Thornton and Jillian Anderson revoice it.  Watching the English language dub with the literal translation of the original Japanese subtitles is like a really bad drinking game.

The US script tries to avoid the use of a concept as an antagonist and makes Lady Eboshi the antagonist.  It also eliminates any redeeming quality Eboshi has so that it becomes a simple black-and-white film about hero and antagonist.  (It also ignores completely the idea that A[big bad swear word]aka is possessed by a demon.)

I only watch my anime in subtitles.

I have to be careful I don't fall asleep to their rhythmic voices

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The Velvet Vampire 6.5/10 

1971 Campy Vampire flick

Young attractive couple stays at friends ranch in the southwest. The porcelain skinned caretaker and her "last of his peoples" groundskeeper, Juan, show them a good time until our lead lady begins having prophetic dreams.  

An amazing amount of man butt that was unexpected. Possibly some man mound, too. A fare amount of titties, without pushing the boundaries of distaste or gratuity.  Don't let me disproportion things, there wasn't much man butt, but it was more than I was expecting, as they'd skipped other chances to show Lee's assets. This plays into the girls, as well, that it wasn't the 60s/70s pushing for all the nudity they could get.

Oh yeah, the Yeoman on the episode with people worshiping the computer, Vaal i think it was. The Apple? She's one of our ladies.

 

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The Siege of Jadotville a Netflix Original film from 2016 (which even got a limited theatrical release in Ireland). Best way to describe it would be as a sort of half-way point between Zulu and Black Hawk Down.

In 1961, during one of the most tense periods of the entire Cold War, the 
Congo Crisis broke out. The United Nations is sent into the relatively newly independent Democratic Republic of the Congo to keep the peace in the  the separatist Katanga province... But back-room deals and back-channel political maneuverings between various NATO powers, Warsaw Pact powers, African warlords, and the mining cartels that control Katanga manage to make things even more messy. 

Right smack dab in this middle of all of this is we find the "A" Company, 35th Battalion of the Irish Army. One-hundred and fifty men who had never seen battle (Ireland had been a neutral party during WWII) with very light armament told to secure a dusty crossroads of a "town."  Due to the politicians playing their Cold War cloak-and-dagger games, things go sideways fast and  "A" Company finds itself besieged for six days, under nearly constant attack by a force of over three-thousand experienced mercenaries (many ex-French Foreign Legion) and African irregulars. 

The movie has great performances, excellent action sequences, and is just a damn great flick. But the really amazing thing is this is all based off a true story.  Anybody who likes a good "war movie" should enjoy it, especially if you are fond of the aforementioned Zulu and/or Black Hawk Down. War gamers with an interest in African bush wars or even Team Yankee-esque "Cold War Gone Hot" alternate history will find a lot to like here too. No, its not the Red Army storming its way through the Fulda Gap scenario that we all feared, but it's one of the very few war movies set during the Cold War that aren't set in Vietnam, Korea, or Afghanistan. 

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House of Deadly Secrets: Should have been better, but it's let down by revealing too much too soon, and some weak performances, most notably by Patty McCormack, who can't quite sell the over-the-top emotion that's supposed to be driving her character. Interesting to note that some elements were taken from the same actual event that was adapted for film as Dream House Nightmare.

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Hardcore Henry: Meh. The first person perspective is an interesting gimmick, but there's not much else there. I honestly feel like that concept was used better in Doom. This is basically like watching someone else play some first person shooter. Probably should have just watched Deadpool again instead.

EDIT: There's also a bunch of weird psycho-sexual bs that really put me off. It's just chock full of dudes who feel the need to constantly, aggressively defend their masculinity, their heterosexuality, and their self-worth, because they're not secure in any of them.

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Foxcatcher:

 

I recommend watching the documentary film of the same name. Probably watch that first. The story will be familiar to anyone who follows olympic wrestling. The documentary will probably shed new light on some details if you need them. The film is just a master study in capturing a character and depicting a true event. 

If you don't know the story the film should be a great nail biter. If you do I think you will not help but marvel at the performances. Can't recommend highly enough. 

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Hungerford: The debut project of the director of The Darkest Dawn. Apparently The Darkest Dawn is actually a sequel, and a couple of the characters from this are in it, but I really don't want to watch that one again to try to spot the connections, because it was totally depressing. Hungerford is definitely more watchable and more fun. Both are good movies from a technical standpoint, good pacing, well-constructed story, all that sort of thing, but each suffers from one major flaw. In The Darkest Dawn, it was that all the humans were even worse to each other than the aliens were. In Hungerford, it's that most of the main cast are obnoxious teens of a sort I'm glad I managed to dodge back in high school. They do get better once the midden hits the windmill, tho, and they actually have to stand up and carry their weight.

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Crimes of Transition Movie...I mean Grindelwald! Or something like that. So as a stand alone movie, it sucks balls. If you haven't seen the first one, don't bother with this one. If you have seen the first one, then this movie is okay. But that's still not great. It goes on and on, and you aren't really quite sure what the point of it all is. The first Beasts movie was fantastic. But this one plods along and you keep waiting for that culmination that all this was leading up to....but you don't really get that at all. Honestly, I felt like they were so surprised the first one did so well, that they decided to come with a second movie that ties back into the Potter series even more...just for the sake of tying into the Potter movies. 

Like they added Nefriti or whatever, you know, Vold's snake...but here, she's just a poor cursed woman who appears to be generally good. Sure it was a "oh cool, she used to be a woman!" moment, but then there isn't anything else about her really. And then there's the odd scene where Grindelwald has that really cool super wand from the last Potter movies...you know, the one that Dumbledore stole when he was young...but now are in the hands of Grindelwald...so apparently those two will duel at some point and big D wins (serious problem with prequel movies). I suppose all of that could have been okay if the movie could stand on its own two legs...but it didn't, it was clearly standing on the previous movie. I hate to say it, but there's no reason to see this in the theatre. I'd say wait for the third (and final?) movie to come out, watch this one right beforehand, and you'll be all set.

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Zone of Silence: Found Footage Alien Abduction Horror. A couple of dumbass white boys disappear in the Mexican desert. Rather than any of the various things that might happen to a couple of idiots who didn’t even bring proper hats or sunblock out in the desert, the sister of one of them decides that it must be HkPOzEH.jpg?1
In her trip out to the Zona del Silencio (which, as the film tells us every. single. time it’s mentioned,  is Spanish for Zone of Silence), she reveals herself to be even more of an idiot, going alone in addition to all the mistakes the dudes did, and continuing on instead of getting out of dodge and coming back with reinforcements when it’s clear that something sketchy did happen. Most damningly, tho, her support guy, who she’s in touch with via satellite radio or something, is called Goose, and at none of the points when they lose contact does she say “Talk to me, Goose!”

Gehenna: Where Death Lives: Rather more interesting. Not a great flick, and I guessed the twist as soon as something supernatural happened, but it was still pretty cool watching it play out. Not bad at all, and Cursed WWII Bunker is a setting I think more films should use.

Verónica: The best I've seen so far in the "don't mess with Ouija boards" sub-genre. Nothing special in terms of plot elements, but there's some great acting, wonderfully atmospheric and creepy cinematography, and excellent pacing. Worth dealing with subtitles for, which isn't something I say about very many movies.

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Die Hard 2: Die Harder, like every other red-blooded American man, I’ve seen the first Die Hard more times than I can count, I’ve also seen most of the sequels at least once (except the one where he inexplicably goes to Moscow. WTF?). However the only sequel that ever really felt like a proper follow-up to the Nakatomi Tower Epic was Die Hard 2... and I don’t think I’ve rewatched it since the mid-Nineties! 

It isn’t as good as the original Die Hard, but mostly because we in the audience already know who John McLane is and there isn’t as much tension over how much punishment this one man can endure. So instead of matching wits with Hans Gruber and enduring hours of grueling physical abuse (e.g., the classic bare feet on broken glass bit), we get McClane in a more typical “loose cannon outsmarting obstructive bureaucrat boss” character arch. It’s a lot more cleverly done than the typical Loose Cannon Cop trope, however. 

William Sadler is a really good action-movie antagonist, growling into the microphone when threatening the hero and actually having a credible screen presence as a criminal genius mastermind who is also a physical threat... But the inevitable comparison to Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber has to be made and Sadler does not measure up. But that’s a high bar to clear.

The plot twist that sets up the third act is pretty clever, re-watching it I obviously can’t be a surprised by it as I was the first time, but it’s still great. Especially the suddenness and cold-hearted violence of the act that signals the start of it. 

4 outta 5 stars.

 

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Just finished the Amazon Prime Original adaptation of King Lear. Do I really need to give it a review?

The cast list reads like a BAFTA alumni meeting: Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Jim Carter, Andrew Scott, and many, many more. Not all of them are “household names,” but I assure you they’re all top-notch talent. Anthony Hopkins is an astoundingly good Lear, he delivers all the big speeches with all the fire and bombast they deserve, he gives the sad soliloquies all the pathos you could ask for... His every twitch, shrug, and pause for breath is perfect. One could forgive rest of the cast if they weren’t able to keep up, but they match him note for note.

The script is abridged from the play’s text, but in such a way that nothing is really lost. Film can convey a lot of information visually (or even audibly) that has to be delivered in expository dialogue on stage. They cut the three-ish hour play down to just under two hours, but none of the crucial scenes or key speeches got touched. The setting is moved from the pseudo-medieval/pseudo-renaissance of the original play to a sort of pseudo-present day — it’s basically 2018 England, but with an absolute monarchy and a lot more militarized. (But, hey, the original original story of King Leir dates back to the 8th Century BCE, so...)

As for the writing, it’s £^¢&ing William Shakespeare! The man’s been a hit for four centuries for a reason.

Six out of five stars.

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Batman Mask of Phantasm

4/5 gangsters killed

 

It doesn't hold up as one of the strongest BTAS storylines, but it is enjoyable from start to fin. And it stands the test of time due to the noir mystique that BTAS smothered itself in. The series as a whole has aged well, unlike many from its time. 

 

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