What movie did you watch last night? (2 Viewers)

washingcattle

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The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

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There's a theory out there in scienceland that states that by simply by looking at something you change it's behaviour. It's known as Observer Effect. For example when the moderators on this forum aren't looking, or more accurately aren't caring we (and thank christ they seem to be our neglectful babysitters too busy making out with their boyfriends to notice we're already playing with a box of matches and a can of Lynx) - the hoards of thumped -resort to posting Mary Harney in the Horn Thread, Wanking off to Bratz Dolls and implying very heavily that bar owners are having sex with children, remember that one ? That was a low even for us. Of course the opposite is true too, there was the thread in which we all wrote buzz words in Farsi because we thought we were being watched and it was interesting to see whether or not one of us would end up in camp X ray with a copy of the Koran and a wet towel wrapped around our faces. Of course no one is absolutely sure whether or not any of us did in fact get replaced with an undercover CIA mole watching this space for patterns which could lead to a major crack in the case of the USA versus the downtrodden. I've always said openly that Washingcattle isn't real and so now maybe I can sow a seed of a doubt in your minds, is he in fact a construct of the CIA, an invented dark parody of a character, based on the interests and attitudes of the Generation X ? Maybe he isn't real ? maybe "the man" has infiltrated your little scene here by finally using all that data they collected by watching your habits on Netflix and facebook ? Maybe roumers of his appearance are based on a compilation of all of your instagram pictures ? Maybe they're looking at you right now ? And if they are you will act differently ? Firstly you'll cover up your Lap tops web cam next time you decide to have a rummage amongst you private parts while watching the trailer for Cherry Bomb again.....Ahem or maybe not. Maybe It's all in your mind.

King of Kong is a simple film and as it's a documentary which of course implicitly involves the Observer Theory but I'll get to that later. The plot is basically Rocky or any other sports movie, it's Karate Kid or it's Days of Thunder or whatever piece of crap you want to use as an analogy. The difference is that
A. Its a true story and

B. The "Sport" involved isn't strictly speaking a sport, it's Donkey Kong. Or more accurately, competative Donkey Kong.

It chronicles the attempts of two grown men to beat each others high score on the classic arcade game. Where the observer theory comes into play will be apparent later.

The two men involved in this endeavour are polar opposites of each other in many ways. Firstly our "hero" and rarely does a documentary have a hero but this one certainly does - is Steve Wiebe, his story begins when he is laid of by Boeing where he was an engineer, he loves Donkey Kong and plays in his garage, eventually he finds out that there is a nationally recognised high-score and believing he can beat it he videos himself playing the game. Weibe like, probably every sane person on the planet doesn't particularly believe that playing Donkey Kong is nessicarily a sport or a venture which can change the world. As an ex athlete and frustrated musician he is ware of the folly of what he is trying to do but this of course is an undertaking born out of free time during what is often viewed as a degree of failure. Anyone who has been long term unemployed will tell you the first few weeks aren't too bad but eventually you do feel like a spare prick. His toil is purely for the simple satisfaction of being able to say "I did that". His story is the stuff of Sports movies, down on his luck family man seeks a feeling of accomplishment during an extremely rough patch.

On the other hand there are the members of a computer game score-keeping and refereeing team called Twin Galaxies headed by a man named Walter Day and the champion of Donkey Kong named Billy Mitchell. Without giving away much of the plot, or the events as such, Day and Mitchell represent the establishment, they have spent their lives trying to be taken seriously and have their achievements noticed by the world at large. Wiebe is aware that what he is doing is not world changing, Mitchell and Day on the other hand do. Mitchell is successful business man and as such are more guarded, they portray a facade of success and this disparity of attitude is where much of the films dramatic impetus and humour are derived from. The one major criticism labeled at the film is that it is hardly a paradigm of impartiality ( i grabbed that from somewhere, thank god I don't have to footnote these things) but to be fair both men get roughly equal screen time so once you've seen it click the spoiler below.

The result of these two opponents having cameras pointed at them is a joy to behold. Mitchell, the aging great of games versus the fresh faced challenger, it's rightly described as Rocky for dorks of Course were Weibe would probably laugh off such comparisons, Mitchell would be horribly offended by that accusation. The film plays out at a pitch which almost veers towards mockumentary, there are several "you couldn't have made this up" moments and in it's finale it does reach a height of empathy which is rare among films not directed by Werner Herzog. Funny, poignant, touching and engrossing see King of Kong if you've ever tried something as inane as seeing who could hold there breath the longest and then ended up in A & E. Which dear thumpeders I imagine is most of us.

On a final note
Not really a spoiler but again I wouldn't like to ruin the film for anyone by giving any superfluous information which could colour your enjoyment. I don't even watch trailers anymore if I can avoid them.

Mitchell claimed after the film was finished that he hadn't played "competitive" games in 2 years and was unaware that the he would have to defend his title during the filming of the documentary. Which is fine, if he sees this film as a hatchet job,a character assassination and probably an attempt to vilify him. Director Seth Gordon has stated that Mitchel is even worse than he made him out to be.

His behaviour throughout the film leaves him with little excuse. The interesting thing about Observer Theory in relation to this film and these two men is that one could rightly assume that had the cameras not been rolling Weibe might still have made many friends due to his down to earth nature, though probably not have broken the record as by his own admission it was extremely hard work for little reward. The question is what effect being watched had on Mitchell. Unfortunately for us human folk not used to growing up in front of the omnipresent electronic eye, and yes I am banging on about your fucking iPhone, Instagram and Facebook obsession again you bastards - is that the discomfort caused by being looked at changes you, and the camera as we're all thought does make caricatures of us, what is decent becomes saintly and what is beastly becomes a noose which unfortunately some folks end up tying for them selves with their altered behaviour. In the end I'm pretty sure Billy Mitchell is a bit of a dick, probably not as much of a dick as he seems in this. But a Dick none the less.
 

hermie

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Stoker
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I thought it was good. Wasikowska is great in the lead role. I liked the southern gothic look and feel, the Oedipal undertones and the way bloodlust intermingles with young, burgeoning sexuality. It being Park there are some great shots/set-piece action and a twisted, eerie tone throughout. Not sure I quite liked where it went in the end, without giving too much away. All in all a good Hitchcockian thriller though.
 

hermie

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^Totally agree. Good film. I read that PArk was forced to trim the mivie by 20mins or so..

It did seem short alright. Although we weren't quite sure whether it was actually brevity or just that all other Hollywood movies are so incorrigibly long these days.
 

Psycho Punk

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Crimson Rivers 2: Angels Of The Apocalypse

Good sequel, serial killers but with a purpose. And they are monks! Made before The Da Vinci Code it owes more to Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade.

MV5BODgzODQyNTc3Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODg2MTgyMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR3,0,214,317_.jpg
 

washingcattle

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Zero Dark Thirty

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The there is nothing like a night of relaxing with a glass of white wine and sitting down to watch a film about torture. Yup nothing beats it. I have my feet up, glass in hand, comfortable seat. Bring on the blood spilling and the harrowing pain.
But wait what is this ? Zero Dark Thirty ran into so much controversy at the oscars I was waiting for Saw 5: Stretch Thy Victims Upon The Iraq. (best pun I could come up with). But no.... wait.... there's very little torture in this torture based filth fest. Where's the fucking torture ?

4 years ago Katheryn (I had to spell it awkwardly to fuck with the dyslexics) Bigelow and Mark Boal directed The Hurt Locker, a film which a lot of people have a huge issue with because of it's supposed flag waving American Politics. Me ? I don't see it. What I did see was a film about the underclass of the States putting themselves in the firing line over essentially nothing. There was a misfiring mid section in which a grunt goes off trying to do the right thing but essentially the film, for my money anyway gets a bad rap because the message which it aserts through out is If you're doing a fucking shit job your life is essentially fucking shit, and you may go a bit mad. This seems to be easy to confuse with "Support our troops" which is slightly bothersome as

A. Life is shit on the bottom is essentially the same message as every other war film (and most British films which are just about living in Britain ). I mean no one is watching or reading Johnny Got His Gun and saying "oh yeah well the subtext is that he's essentially campaigning for more money to look after injured veterans"

and B. There are films which really do there best to work outside of a political context. For me The Hurt Locker was the latest in a long line of American war films which try to remove the politics of the war being waged to explore the human carnage which insues within the turmoil. Another example of this is Steve McQueens film Hunger which can hardly be called openly political and yet is viewed by some as a piece of IRA propaganda. "Yes come sign up so that you can live in shite and starve to death" great message, I'm sold. What's annoying is that it seems the setting and subject matter are enough for some folks to simply see something outside the screen creep in. For me there really is nothing in those films which is overidingly politically present. The worst example is Werner Herzogs Rescue Dawn "The way they all celebrated at the end turned my stomach, it's such flag waving nonsense" Oh fuck off what did you want them to do ? Have a cup of tea and a lie down ?

Anyway rant over the most interesting thing about the controversy surrounding Zero Dark Thirty is that there was any contoversy at all. We've known for years that the U.S employed torture to get information from captives and really when you remember what the "man on the street" was saying in the U.S in the aftermath of 9/11 it's amazing that anyone really cares if it ever happened. "I think they should go in and nuke them all, all those filthy *insert racist term here*" that seemed to be the general consensus among the voting public on september 12th so why all the hub bub now ? Oh you've grown up a bit since then have you America ? Well the sight of 50,000 WWE fans partying like it was 1999 when they heard that the man giving beards a bad name for a fucking decade had met his end would beg to fucking differ.

So is Zero Dark Thirty any use. Yes. It is it's excellent. It begins with the waterboarding of prisoner of course. It's hard hitting don't you know. It ends with the much publicised storming of Bin Ladens gaf by about 25 Batmans (or Batmen) in experimental helicopters. Surely that's only a spoiler if you've literally been living in a cave in Afghanistan. It doesn't pull it's punches and all that jazz. Yeah and that's fine but what happens in between those two sections is by far the most interesting thing about the film. I.e the parts that didn't get bad press. This isn't a war film. It's got the CIA in it but it's not a spy film. By conventional genres it's a detective story. It's a smart move by Bigelow and Boal. This is more like David Fincher making a film about one of Americas most famous serial killers and when you finally see Zodiac it's actually about a guy writing a book. In scope and execution ZDT is actually closer to The Wire than it is to any of the reference points that you might have expected. There's few Jason Bourne style covert ops, practically no gun play and really the only things that set it apart from things like The Wire is that McNulty and Bunk never wrapped a towel around Marlowe Stansfields head and poured water over his face or kept him awake for a week by blasting him with strobe lights and speed metal. Jessica Chastain is excellent as the Mya, a CIA wonderkinde recruited out of highschool presumably because she is really good at bullying on facebook ( I assume this is how the CIA works these days) who is part of a team charged with torturing their way to Osamas front door. She's ably supported by several good performances but really this is Bigelows film. She moves everything along at a fine pace and keeps the tone and pitch thankfully low key. Focussing on the details and keeping the ins and outs of investigation and paying enough attention to the political background to allow it to inform the actions of those in positions of middle management, she makes this an intriguing detective story, rather than having anyone grandstand about the "deeper meaning" of their actions or bursting into tears at random to prove they reeeeeaaaaly love their country Bro. Even though you know the ending this is still gripping stuff.

For a film about the dehumanisation of prisoners by the Americans see Standard Operating Procedure by Errol Morris. For a well written and brilliantly directed detective yarn Zero dark thirty is well worth a look.
 

hermie

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Great review. Agree 100% and with you on Standard Operating Procedure. Also In the Valley of Elah, based on a Mark Boal story is a good companion piece.
 

pete

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Saw This Is 40 on saturday. Was alright, but worth watching for this scene:



And shit quality extended version:
 

Mormon Nailer

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Anyway rant over the most interesting thing about the controversy surrounding Zero Dark Thirty is that there was any contoversy at all. We've known for years that the U.S employed torture to get information from captives and really when you remember what the "man on the street" was saying in the U.S in the aftermath of 9/11 it's amazing that anyone really cares if it ever happened. "I think they should go in and nuke them all, all those filthy *insert racist term here*" that seemed to be the general consensus among the voting public on september 12th so why all the hub bub now ? Oh you've grown up a bit since then have you America ? Well the sight of 50,000 WWE fans partying like it was 1999 when they heard that the man giving beards a bad name for a fucking decade had met his end would beg to fucking differ..

But this isn't what the controversy is about. The question isn't whether torture existed it is about whether it worked in finding Bin Laden.

If the film was about the hunt for an un-named senior terrorist, then fine, add all the torture you like, turn it into an episode of 24 if you fancy. But when the Director and Writer blather on about all the inside info they got from the CIA, about accuracy and reporting, then you have to stick to the truth - which they didn't. It's not sufficient to say "well these things happened and we had to put them in the story", you have to say how the torture you are showing led to the capture of THIS guy.

Aside from that the film is just another nasty piece of propaganda from a nasty propagandist.

Torture is not bad because it evil, or even because it's bad intelligence, but it's bad because the torturers have a hard time. Think about that for a while..... The poor frat boy who waterboards you is so tired of torturing you he needs a break..Bro.
 

evil bandit

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As per an interview with Katheryn Bigelow did with Mark Kermode the word is "harsh tactics" and not torture....

For what it's worth I really liked Zero Dark Thirty, a solid 8 on 10 film.

A bonus point was given to it as a result of the final scene

when the helicopter pilot asks Jessica Chastain's character where she was going I was just praying she didn't say "home" and have the score swell and the camera pull out to reveal the sunset and the chopper flying off Michael Bay style and thankfully she didn't, instead broke down crying which was just perfect.
 

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when the helicopter pilot asks Jessica Chastain's character where she was going I was just praying she didn't say "home" and have the score swell and the camera pull out to reveal the sunset and the chopper flying off Michael Bay style and thankfully she didn't, instead broke down crying which was just perfect.

I saw Chastain interviewed on The Daily Show just before the Oscars

The character that Maya is based on is still in the field.
 

hermie

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But this isn't what the controversy is about. The question isn't whether torture existed it is about whether it worked in finding Bin Laden.

If the film was about the hunt for an un-named senior terrorist, then fine, add all the torture you like, turn it into an episode of 24 if you fancy. But when the Director and Writer blather on about all the inside info they got from the CIA, about accuracy and reporting, then you have to stick to the truth - which they didn't. It's not sufficient to say "well these things happened and we had to put them in the story", you have to say how the torture you are showing led to the capture of THIS guy.

Aside from that the film is just another nasty piece of propaganda from a nasty propagandist.

Torture is not bad because it evil, or even because it's bad intelligence, but it's bad because the torturers have a hard time. Think about that for a while..... The poor frat boy who waterboards you is so tired of torturing you he needs a break..Bro.

Yes it's dangerous to assert that torture helped find bin Laden if it didn't and should not be condoned. But dangerous only in a society where the merits are still up for debate? Surely for you and me we can watch it and just be fascinated by the insight it gives. This was always going to be a movie told from the perspective of the CIA. Whether or not the sadism worked in terms of results, the characters believed, or were hard-wired to believe, that what they were doing was right and necessary. Bigelow, I'm sure, felt she had to depict the torture as it was just so prevalent. And she had to tell the main story of the manhunt. She made the lazy decision of making the former relevant to the latter for the sake of the narrative arc but I would imagine she thought she was being gutsy displaying the grotesque practices so starkly and was shocked that the kick-back was from the liberal left and not the other way around.

That the American left were up in arms, I'm not surprised. That Hollywood made a point of shunning it on principle, I'm delighted. That so many people this side of the Atlantic can't see that, one factual inaccuracy aside, it's a really, really well made film (worthy of comparison with the likes of Zodiac and The Wire as above), I'm a bit shocked.
 

washingcattle

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But this isn't what the controversy is about. The question isn't whether torture existed it is about whether it worked in finding Bin Laden.

If the film was about the hunt for an un-named senior terrorist, then fine, add all the torture you like, turn it into an episode of 24 if you fancy. But when the Director and Writer blather on about all the inside info they got from the CIA, about accuracy and reporting, then you have to stick to the truth - which they didn't. It's not sufficient to say "well these things happened and we had to put them in the story", you have to say how the torture you are showing led to the capture of THIS guy.

Aside from that the film is just another nasty piece of propaganda from a nasty propagandist.

Torture is not bad because it evil, or even because it's bad intelligence, but it's bad because the torturers have a hard time. Think about that for a while..... The poor frat boy who waterboards you is so tired of torturing you he needs a break..Bro.

Actually in your haste to hate the film because you obviously hate the actions of the Americans you've missed what I feel is a key point that the film makes. Firstly it doesn't make the case that torture lead to the death of Osama it says that torture was involved in every single interegation between the years 2001 and 2008 so it's enevetable that some of this information attained under torture lead to his death.

Secondly the one prolonged scene of torture ends with a man spouting gibberish which can't be used to stop a terrorsist attack. Which is key because it essentially says that the torture didn't work. They do get information but it's essentially by using the old cop trick "we know more than you do" and the "actionable intel" is garnered over a meal after he's been outsmarted. Not during torture. This is a small difference but an important one. The logic employed by ZDT is that if all detainees were tortured and some gave information that lead to UBLs death then that can't be left out of the film. This is very simple logic to be fair. Like on IQ tests where the question is "if all snorks are dorks and all dorks are quarks is it safe to assume that all snorks are quarks?".

Secondly in the second half of the film when there has been a change in command from Bush to Obama the main characters say quite a few times that any and all information garnered under torture is worthless, because it's out of date and Because it was never particularly useful information anyway. when Mya says near the end that the only way she could get information from a source in time for it to be usable is by torture she also says that even then by torturing him she couldn't be sure that any informations she got would be at all usable anyway.

and finally

Propaganda is according to wikipedia anyway
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed towards influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position by presenting only one side of an argument. Propaganda is usually repeated and dispersed over a wide variety of media in order to create the chosen result in audience attitudes.
So I'm not seeing how a film which

Depicts it's nation as controvening it's own human rights charter and then goes on to question the worth of that contraveing can be considered propaganda ? Like her or not Bigelowes statement if there is one is "this is what happened" now you can hate her all you like for not saying this is what happened and you should feel bad about it. But to her credit she doesn't take a pro or anti stand on what happened, there are no strings playing and long close ups in slow motion shots of Chastain feeling bad about what they're are carrying out so that we the audience can say "ooh they're so morally wrong what a tragedy" there isn't even a clear moral message at all. It just says here's what happened feel how you like about it. If you feel angry about it then fine but your placing your opinions and your politics into a film which really doesn't have any of it's own.


Lastly if the film was propaganda then the torturers would be proud and happy torture for uncle sam no ? The fact that they aren't pretty much shits on your whole point no ?
 

David Kronenbourg

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Detroit Rock City. Bunch of hapless teens go to ridiculous lengths to attend a Kiss concert. Peurile fun.

i Love You Alice B Toklas. Peter Sellers plays a lawyer who abandons his straight life and hooks up with a hippie chick. Tried my patience a bit.
All the female characters were either uptight nags or hyper sexual free spirits. Sellers' character was a dick.
 

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