Author Topic: Rate the latest movie you've seen.  (Read 463963 times)

Offline Baruch

Re: Rate the latest movie you've seen.
« Reply #5850 on: October 17, 2020, 01:29:44 PM »
Cronkite made military estimations that were wrong.

Yep, he was our greatest general.  Cronkite was a sometimes honest man, who spent most of his career lying for the Establishment.  The military estimates in the Vietnam War were all cointelpro put out by McNamara, a failed Ford executive.  The Army colonel at Ia Drang Valley, he knew the real score, after he was nearly annihilated.  But they shut him up real quick.  War is a business, by war profiteers, like LBJ.
Ha’át’íísh baa naniná?
Azee’ ła’ish nanídį́į́h?
Táadoo ánít’iní.
What are you doing?
Are you taking any medications?
Don't do that.

Offline SGOS

Re: Rate the latest movie you've seen.
« Reply #5851 on: October 17, 2020, 02:43:51 PM »
This film is brilliant because there's such a slow and steady descent into horror that it's completely believable.  Everyone's doing normal, everyday things and the change to horror is so gradual and blurry that it's difficult to tell exactly where things took a turn.  The film completely bypasses normal suspension of disbelief because the setting is so mundane and the horror is so gradual.
The thing that intrigued me was that it was made by kids, who sold it to Hollywood for 1 million dollars, which to my mind is the same old story of Corporate America ripping off everyone as far out to the horizon and beyond.  I'm sure the kids were happy with 1 million, and I would have taken it too.  So I'm not complaining, just making an observation.  As a horror film, I would rate it as very good.  Comparing it to the average Hollywood spooker, I'd say it was well above average.  That's even after I deduct points for no special effects, low end filming equipment, having no high paid actors, and probably a budget under $500.  The film even capitalizes on the theme of amateur film makers making a fake documentary about amateur witch hunters making a documentary.

When it comes right down to it, it's kids just doing the best they could, which doesn't really say anything endearing about the multi billion dollar film industry in Hollywood itself.  Consider  the sequel.  You would think Hollywood could actually make a sequel that was better than the original under these circumstances, but the sequel wasn't as good.  I remember the photography in the sequel as being more professional, but that was about it.

Re: Rate the latest movie you've seen.
« Reply #5852 on: October 17, 2020, 03:22:13 PM »

This film is brilliant because there's such a slow and steady descent into horror that it's completely believable.  Everyone's doing normal, everyday things and the change to horror is so gradual and blurry that it's difficult to tell exactly where things took a turn.  The film completely bypasses normal suspension of disbelief because the setting is so mundane and the horror is so gradual.
I always thought of it as a bunch of kids scaring themselves to death for no good reason.
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Offline Hydra009

Re: Rate the latest movie you've seen.
« Reply #5853 on: October 17, 2020, 04:31:29 PM »
The thing that intrigued me was that it was made by kids, who sold it to Hollywood for 1 million dollars, which to my mind is the same old story of Corporate America ripping off everyone as far out to the horizon and beyond.  I'm sure the kids were happy with 1 million, and I would have taken it too.  So I'm not complaining, just making an observation.  As a horror film, I would rate it as very good.  Comparing it to the average Hollywood spooker, I'd say it was well above average.  That's even after I deduct points for no special effects, low end filming equipment, having no high paid actors, and probably a budget under $500.  The film even capitalizes on the theme of amateur film makers making a fake documentary about amateur witch hunters making a documentary.

When it comes right down to it, it's kids just doing the best they could, which doesn't really say anything endearing about the multi billion dollar film industry in Hollywood itself.  Consider  the sequel.  You would think Hollywood could actually make a sequel that was better than the original under these circumstances, but the sequel wasn't as good.  I remember the photography in the sequel as being more professional, but that was about it.
Yeah, they got paid much more than they had been the previous year, certainly a nice payday for them.  They could've gotten more, but they didn't know that at the time.

And the first film showed that you didn't need fancy effects or big name actors to make a good horror film.  All you need is to tap into common fears (a haunted forest, things going bump in the night, a scary witch story, etc) combined with camcorders to put the audience there and to blur the line between mundane and horrific.  A little viral internet buzz and you're golden.

The first film is often derided as people walking in the woods and not much happening, but imo that's an overly simplistic summary.  I'm convinced that the witch aspect of the film is just a fiction within fiction - a local tall tale seized upon and hyped up by Josh and Mike to mess with their future murder victim.  The real evil is and always has been flesh-and-blood people - the witch is just a convenient scapegoat (both historically and in the film)

The second film is criticized for being nothing like the first, but imo a rehash of the same basic thing would be boring.  Instead, it's commentary on the sensation of the first movie and the way people get carried away by fiction - losing themselves in obsession and their own imaginations and no longer able to tell fiction from reality.

Like the first movie, it pointedly raises the question that filming distorts reality by changing how things are perceived.  In particular, this film stresses subjectivity and illusion - "video never lies Kim, film does, though".  No one knows the truth of things because no one knows the truth, period.

All we the audience get in this mystery box are a lot of puzzle pieces, but they don't quite fit together no matter how you approach the puzzle.  Whether or not you believe in witchcraft or ESP or pure naturalism, you can piece together large chunks of the plot, but you'll never be able to satisfactorily explain everything.  That's intentional, imo.  Reality itself is equally irregular.

The whole movie is a literal witch hunt - a group of people in mounting distress scapegoating someone else.  It's no coincidence that the victims were identified as witches.  And that mind screw ending is brilliant and makes for great psychological horror.  It's commentary on media hype and local myths running out of control, about the gulf between perception and reality, and about mass hysteria and scapegoating.  The film is largely unnoticed brilliance and I intend to die on this hill.

And finally, for a movie cautioning against obsession with fiction, it has plenty of easter eggs for keen-eyed observers.  There's the infamous message hidden a word at a time in various scenes.  There's also the "I'm finished now" maintenance worker doing his best Rustin Parr impression and many other small discrepancies and hidden things.



My favorite little detail - one I only recently observed and as far as I know, I'm the only one who ever noticed - is Jeff, who screams his innocence throughout the film, shown early in the movie using a duffel bag as a pillow - the duffel bag of a recently murdered German tourist - identified through its German flag on the side.  Alarming to say the least, since he seemed like the most personable and trustworthy person in the group, especially in early scenes.  Clearly, a misleading impression.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2020, 05:15:36 PM by Hydra009 »

Offline SGOS

Re: Rate the latest movie you've seen.
« Reply #5854 on: October 18, 2020, 07:51:28 AM »
Talk about hidden Easter Eggs.  Those things are too subtle for anyone to spot, even when they know Easter Eggs are going to show up.

Offline Baruch

Re: Rate the latest movie you've seen.
« Reply #5855 on: October 18, 2020, 09:36:52 AM »
Talk about hidden Easter Eggs.  Those things are too subtle for anyone to spot, even when they know Easter Eggs are going to show up.

That is one evil Easter Bunny ;-)
Ha’át’íísh baa naniná?
Azee’ ła’ish nanídį́į́h?
Táadoo ánít’iní.
What are you doing?
Are you taking any medications?
Don't do that.

Offline trdsf

Re: Rate the latest movie you've seen.
« Reply #5856 on: October 18, 2020, 04:45:23 PM »
The thing that intrigued me was that it was made by kids, who sold it to Hollywood for 1 million dollars, which to my mind is the same old story of Corporate America ripping off everyone as far out to the horizon and beyond.  I'm sure the kids were happy with 1 million, and I would have taken it too.  So I'm not complaining, just making an observation.  As a horror film, I would rate it as very good.  Comparing it to the average Hollywood spooker, I'd say it was well above average.  That's even after I deduct points for no special effects, low end filming equipment, having no high paid actors, and probably a budget under $500.  The film even capitalizes on the theme of amateur film makers making a fake documentary about amateur witch hunters making a documentary.

When it comes right down to it, it's kids just doing the best they could, which doesn't really say anything endearing about the multi billion dollar film industry in Hollywood itself.  Consider  the sequel.  You would think Hollywood could actually make a sequel that was better than the original under these circumstances, but the sequel wasn't as good.  I remember the photography in the sequel as being more professional, but that was about it.
The Blair Witch Project worked for the very simple reason that they let your mind do the work for them.  I went and saw it with some co-workers at a Saturday afternoon matinee and thought that it was a suitably creepy movie.

When I went to bed that night I heard one effing sound I couldn't immediately identify and that was it, I sat up all night.  It burrows into your head by not providing you with the scary-but-impossible, but by triggering all the little creepy things inside your own mind.  If it had shown the monster, it would not have worked as well as it did.

By coincidence, my then-long-distance-bf went and saw it the same day I did.  He slept with the lights on for two days.

I would say that it's not the scariest movie I've ever seen, but it's damn skippy the creepiest; I genuinely think it would have left Hitchcock twitching... or grinning.

The problem with it is that once you know the trick, it doesn't stand up well under further viewing.  You have to make a deliberate effort to put yourself in the headspace of not having seen it before.  It's a similar trick to learning to properly appreciate the impact Citizen Kane had—you have to remember that before Kane, no movie had ever looked like that before; Welles completely reinvented cinema in one film.  Blair Witch was not so impactful on the art of cinema (other than reviving the 'found footage' style), but you do rather have to put yourself in the mental space where you were when you first saw it to be able to re-appreciate it.
"My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total, and I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution." -- Barbara Jordan

Offline SGOS

Re: Rate the latest movie you've seen.
« Reply #5857 on: October 18, 2020, 05:21:01 PM »
I know what you mean by putting yourself in the same headspace on the second watching.  I was very aware of my effort to achieve that "place", but I couldn't get it all back the second time.

Offline Baruch

Re: Rate the latest movie you've seen.
« Reply #5858 on: October 18, 2020, 05:26:54 PM »
I know what you mean by putting yourself in the same headspace on the second watching.  I was very aware of my effort to achieve that "place", but I couldn't get it all back the second time.

You can't step into the same horror movie twice - Heraclitus
Ha’át’íísh baa naniná?
Azee’ ła’ish nanídį́į́h?
Táadoo ánít’iní.
What are you doing?
Are you taking any medications?
Don't do that.

Offline Hydra009

Re: Rate the latest movie you've seen.
« Reply #5859 on: October 18, 2020, 06:55:52 PM »
The problem with it is that once you know the trick, it doesn't stand up well under further viewing.  You have to make a deliberate effort to put yourself in the headspace of not having seen it before.
Jokes on you, I do that involuntarily after a few years anyway.


Re: Rate the latest movie you've seen.
« Reply #5860 on: October 18, 2020, 10:22:13 PM »
So I watched the Blair Witch movies for the first time this weekend. I mistakenly started with the simply titled "Blair Witch" first, thinking it was the original. But it turned out it was a direct sequel. Why do they do that? Don't name a sequel after the first movie, FFS. So then I watched Blair Witch 2, which was...very different. It was so cheesy and confusing, and the ending, IMO, felt very anticlimactic and forced. Especially with that news woman talking about this being "another case of violent media inspiring violent crime." Give me a break.

So then, today, I got around to The Blair Witch Project. The actual first movie. It was okay. Personally, I'm not a fan of the unseen monster thing. Feels kinda cheap. Makes the monster seem like less of a threat. I don't know if it was meant to be up to interpretation if the witch was even real, but if it was just an elaborate murder, that doesn't explain why no one came back alive. And what would be the motive? The later movies also make the supernatural stuff a little harder to explain away. Still, it was impressive how much they were able to do with no budget, and the acting was excellent.

Personally, I liked Blair Witch best. The...sequel one. It doesn't look as authentic, but it does go back to the original format. Yet while going back to the old formula, it didn't feel unoriginal or forced. Having the main character searching for his sister, the main character of the original, was a good way to connect the stories. Plus, it gave them motivation beyond just morbid curiosity. It also showed the witch on camera (literally), and she was creepy. Overall, it was like what the first movie would have been, with a Hollywood budget.
"Oh, wearisome condition of humanity,
Born under one law, to another bound;
Vainly begot, and yet forbidden vanity,
Created sick, commanded to be sound."
--Fulke Greville

Offline Hydra009

Re: Rate the latest movie you've seen.
« Reply #5861 on: October 19, 2020, 12:17:03 AM »
I don't know if it was meant to be up to interpretation if the witch was even real, but if it was just an elaborate murder, that doesn't explain why no one came back alive. And what would be the motive? The later movies also make the supernatural stuff a little harder to explain away. Still, it was impressive how much they were able to do with no budget, and the acting was excellent.
What's the motive for Ted Bundy to eat people?  Sometimes, people do horrible things for seemingly no rational reason.

And apologies for this brief Doylist rant, but in horror films, the villains' motives are rarely ever revealed or particularly rational.  Most horror villains - human and monster alike - seem to kill for killing's sake and most audiences are just fine with that.  Voodoo sharks and all that jazz.

The reasons I prefer the murder explanation:
1) It makes sense with the on-screen events - hostility, lying (I gave you back the map!), sabotage (that map was useless!), odd reactions to mortal danger (laughing at the predicament, unphased by "cackling", the most cautious guy running headlong into the murder house, etc.  Throughout, Heather is the only one who actually seems legitimately scared)
2) It's parsimonious (note that nowhere in the film do we get a witch or anything supernatural.  It's simply an assumption the characters make.  Is it wise for us to make the same assumption?  Sometimes, a sword is just a sword and a pile of rocks is just a pile of rocks)
3) It adds to the drama - adding subtext to the characters' interactions
4) It changes the context of the movie from a supernatural horror movie to a psychological horror.  Here's the difference between the two and let me know which one The Blair Witch Project more closely resembles:  "Supernatural horror involves some kind of suspension or breach of physical law, usually embodied in or caused by some kind of supernatural agency such as an uncanny monster or a ghost... psychological horror, on the other hand, does not involve violations of physical law, but features naturalistic (if often implausible) menaces and scenarios."

Better yet, psychological thrillers are described as having a "dissolving sense of reality" and are "often told through the viewpoint of psychologically stressed characters, revealing their distorted mental perceptions and focusing on the complex and often tortured relationships between obsessive and pathological characters."  Sound familiar?

If Josh and Mike did it, since they were never found dead or alive (presumed missing and surely wanted by the authorities for questioning) they probably assumed new identities and took residence elsewhere.  Difficult but not impossible.  Or maybe they liked the experience so much that they went on a killing spree and eventually bought the farm somehow.

Dunno, and doesn't much matter.  The movie is very much Heather's story.  What happens afterwards is narratively unimportant.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2020, 12:24:31 AM by Hydra009 »

Re: Rate the latest movie you've seen.
« Reply #5862 on: October 19, 2020, 02:33:39 AM »
I dunno. The sounds they hear at night, the children shaking their tents and leaving handprints everywhere, the bloody tooth, the way they somehow end up going in a circle when following a river South, it all makes it hard for me to believe that this was just an elaborate murder. It also kinda bothers me that Mike and Heather just drop their cameras and are immediately assumed to be dead. We don't hear a struggle, we don't hear anything hit them, they just appear to die instantly for no apparent reason. I can't remember which movie says it, but the townsfolk claim that looking directly at the witch is enough to kill you. In the 2016 sequel, the witch appears to use the voices of previous victims to lure people to her, and get them to turn to face her. If that's what happened to Mike and Heather at the end of the original movie, it would explain the instant death.

Also, there is apparently some lore that didn't make it into the movie, but was on the official website. Heather, apparently, didn't start the documentary just because she was interested in the subject. She wrote in a journal that she felt drawn there. This implies that the witch was planting ideas in her head to lure her to her death.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2020, 02:47:11 AM by Blackleaf »
"Oh, wearisome condition of humanity,
Born under one law, to another bound;
Vainly begot, and yet forbidden vanity,
Created sick, commanded to be sound."
--Fulke Greville

Offline trdsf

Re: Rate the latest movie you've seen.
« Reply #5863 on: October 19, 2020, 03:50:22 AM »
Also, there is apparently some lore that didn't make it into the movie, but was on the official website. Heather, apparently, didn't start the documentary just because she was interested in the subject. She wrote in a journal that she felt drawn there. This implies that the witch was planting ideas in her head to lure her to her death.
TBWP was one of the first movies to leverage the Internet as a tie-in.  For my part, I avoided all the online stuff until after I'd seen it because I wanted to go into the movie 'clean'.  Afterwards, then I looked it up mainly to see how well it all fit together.
"My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total, and I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution." -- Barbara Jordan

Offline Hydra009

Re: Rate the latest movie you've seen.
« Reply #5864 on: October 19, 2020, 12:29:05 PM »
The sounds they hear at night, the children shaking their tents and leaving handprints everywhere, the bloody tooth, the way they somehow end up going in a circle when following a river South, it all makes it hard for me to believe that this was just an elaborate murder.
At night, Heather normally sleeps like a rock and the two guys do not.  And one of them is a sound engineer with sound equipment.

Someone did indeed shake the tent Heather was in, but why assume it was children?

The bloody tooth is admittedly a pretty elaborate part (as are the tiny handprints in the murder house) though it's not much more hassle than the creating all those stickmen and piling rocks together.  Two guys could set all that up in advance in a couple days if they really wanted to.  Like Josh said to Heather, "someone is fucking with you".  Not us.  YOU.

Going in a circle is actually evidence for it being a murder.  It's deliberate misnavigation.  Remember, Mike and Josh are leading the way in the second half of the movie (the part where they're completely lost and laughing) and Heather was leading the way in the first half (where they got to their first two destinations with no problem and then start to get lost on the return trip).

When Heather realizes they've gone in a circle, it completely shatters any remaining self-confidence and from there on out, she just defers to Mike, who suggests they go East, away from the water and straight to the murder house.  Come to think of it, Mike only takes the reins a couple times, and it always results in him leading the group further astray.

Quote
Also, there is apparently some lore that didn't make it into the movie, but was on the official website. Heather, apparently, didn't start the documentary just because she was interested in the subject. She wrote in a journal that she felt drawn there. This implies that the witch was planting ideas in her head to lure her to her death.
Her feeling drawn there implies only that she felt drawn there; we can't infer the existence of a witch from that any more than we can infer the existence of god from people "feeling his presence".

In fact, if the word witch wasn't in the title of the movie and we didn't hear the locals or the three main characters talk about the witch, and all we got were the scenes of them being lost and afraid, would anyone in the audience think there was a witch?  Mike suggested that it was rednecks before rejecting that idea and instead insisting that whoever lived nearby was responsible.