What's wrong with movies these days?

Chat about stuff other than Transformers.
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Jetfire
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What's wrong with movies these days?

Post by Jetfire » Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:53 pm

Everything is too long. Not the film but segmenst within the films. I read a Charley Brooker peice just now and it helped articulate some of my thoughst and feelings.



Basically it talked about the utterly stupid sequence in Die Hard 4 when Willis takes a F1 Jet (or whatever) out witha truck. Brooker articulates that CGI makes it seem boringa nd it is too long. The former I disagree with the later I don't.



The problem with action films is that CGI sequences are far, far too long and unrealistic and pointless. I thought I feared this back in the early 2000's. The Matrix sequels where dull, not because of the story but the length of each sequence. How long does Neo fight Agent Smiths for? It's so long the fight loses, shape, intensity and character. Compare that with the 1st Matrix film where a sing kick from Trinity or Neo avoiding bullets are far, far more memorable.





One of the CGI success stories, Fellowship of the ring has CGI battles which are intense and not excessively long. In Two Towers long battles are intercut to break them up. Also the battle of helms Deep leads to something. A goal, it affets the characters involved like Legolas slidding down the stairs after Gimli. Aragon then commanding archers to fire after Gimli is held under the water- simple and emotionally involving because the scene has a purpose as the battlethe whole reason the characters are there and there is lots for them to lose. Nolands Batman films being another example of economy of editing these sequences making a more enjoyable action film and nothing at all in the original Star Wars films is particularly lengthy (lightsabres, Asteriods, forrest chase) does either.



What it is is it isn't a pointless lengthy sideshow like in Die Hard 4 (Which was a film with a lot of good stufff otherwise) or Matrix Reloaded. I should ad the LotRs film which seem most flawed (But amazingly is still brilliant) is Return of the King which prehaps the least strictest editing of scenes.



A very recent exam is in Watchmen. I didn't once believe that The Comedian was being picked up and thrown by a human being and being thrown across a room as he was being asulted near the start. Might as well avoid the CGI and it's high cost and brought a similar body sized shop manequin for all the effect it had on protraying the scene realistically In a non-CGI example most comedies, The Seth Rogan associated ones in particular just seem to go on and on, especially in the last 3rd. I miss the art where inside a minute an actor could reduce you to tears or agreement by simply the right words. It seems the old limitations to technology, budget and even physical film increased creative thinking many time sover.







Looking at any big film these days it's a repeated problem Transformer 2 goes on and on and on and on as does. Even in the good action films the fighting seems to be pointlessly over the top as to be unbelievable or over long, death scenes are longer and more OTT. A extended sequence does have it's place in film, just not it's place in every film.



It begs 2 questions; What is the point of using CGI if it doesn't make the special look real? And what happened to all the good hollywood editors?



If this seems a bit off it's because I just felt the need to vent my recent flm frustrations immediently :) Phew!
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Post by Cliffjumper » Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:13 pm

Films have always often be overlong, it's just no-one remembers the crap ones anymore - most people's DVD collections don't have more than a dozen or so older films from any one year. 'Retro' collections tend to follow directors or stars with a proven, consistent pedigree, or award winners - just because those guys were great doesn't make it a golden age with no other pap.

The stuff we watch and remember now is the cream, and still involves some real shite - for example, any Peckinpah film (and I mean 'any') could do with serious tightening from an editor, so could anything by Brian De Palma (Scarface is at least half an hour too long for one notable example). Perspective is the key - aside from Transformers fans, no-one's going to be talking about RotF in 10-15 years time, the same way no-one talks about some of the shite that was out back then - http://boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?yr=1980&p=.htm - go down the list and see how many people really remember. Then subtract the ones people only remember because they were vehicles for stars with a following (e.g. Clint & the Monkey II).

And Charlie Brooker's a twat. Celebrity journalists always are...

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Post by Springer007 » Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:32 pm

I hate the fact that these long films don't have an intermission for people to use the restroom, buy more concession stand goodies, etc. The last film in theatres that I have seen with an intermission put in was Gods and Generals. And now to give a short opinion, it seems the longer the CGI scenes, the more of a headache I get. I don;t know i it is just me, or other people included, but there is so much detail and it being drawn out that it hurts the eyes after a bit. Mostly, with the transformation scenes in transformers whereas the old animation styles just had intriguing ways in which to make the transformation work. I think that is why I favor the 1985 movie compared to the recent films. I also miss old claymation for monsters and whatnot as well.. The most intriguing for anyone to watch is the 1911 Dante's Inferno, nifty and some of the "special effects" for the day were interesting to see as the start of the special effects field.
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Post by Sixswitch » Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:39 pm

Springer007 wrote:I hate the fact that these long films don't have an intermission for people to use the restroom, buy more concession stand goodies, etc.
Sorry, I can't agree with you here. I think we're all old enough to be able to judge our bladder output, and if you can't go three hours without stuffing your face with junk, you're probably eating too much of the stuff and could do with missing out anyway.

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Post by CounterPunch » Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:20 pm

Sixswitch wrote:Sorry, I can't agree with you here. I think we're all old enough to be able to judge our bladder output, and if you can't go three hours without stuffing your face with junk, you're probably eating too much of the stuff and could do with missing out anyway.

-Ss
Agreed, I was spending way too much on a a drink and some popcorn at the cinema (considering id go a couple of times a week, and atleast £6 a time) then one day I just thought to myself "why is it I cant go 3 hours without a drink or something to eat in this place, when I regularly do it at home" since then the only time ive taken anything in to the cinema is if I have a dry throat or a cough, even then its just a bottle of water.

And yeah, I think intermissions are a bad idea, adults, im sure you can sit still for 3 hours, if you cant, youre obv not enjoying the film as much as you should be, kids cant sit still for that long, which is why they shouldnt be there. I went to see Indy IV and at the cinema was a little 5 year old girl, running round, screaming... DURING THE FILM, it pissed so many people off... Plus IMO intermissions absolutely ruin the atmosphere of the film, imagine being completely immersed in a film, only to have you dragged out of it jus cos some greedy bugger wants some more popcorn. If you want some food so desperately, leave the cinema quickly and quietly at your own risk, if you cant judge a good time to leave, well, its your fault.

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Post by Jetfire » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:13 pm

Cliffjumper wrote:Films have always often be overlong, it's just no-one remembers the crap ones anymore - most people's DVD collections don't have more than a dozen or so older films from any one year. 'Retro' collections tend to follow directors or stars with a proven, consistent pedigree, or award winners - just because those guys were great doesn't make it a golden age with no other pap.p/quote]

I have no problems with long films. It's certain seuences are so long in themselves.
The stuff we watch and remember now is the cream, and still involves some real shite - for example, any Peckinpah film (and I mean 'any') could do with serious tightening from an editor, so could anything by Brian De Palma (Scarface is at least half an hour too long for one notable example).
Maybe, but there isn't one long repetative scene in Scarface that just sya sit should be there. The diting would have to be at leats much more cleaver to work.
Perspective is the key - aside from Transformers fans, no-one's going to be talking about RotF in 10-15 years time, the same way no-one talks about some of the shite that was out back then - http://boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?yr=1980&p=.htm - go down the list and see how many people really remember. Then subtract the ones people only remember because they were vehicles for stars with a following (e.g. Clint & the Monkey II).

And Charlie Brooker's a twat. Celebrity journalists always are...
Generally I agree, but Brooker at least makes well founded observations even if he provides no answers in leu of piss taking.
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Post by Springer007 » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:23 pm

holy crap, i know what you mean when it comes to the kids. i remember this kid making grunting noises and trying to spit on me during the first Hulk movie. i wasn't too happy and when my old man told his mother to control him, she just said "it;s none of your business cracker, shut up" and that made my dad pretty steamed. that and parents using a movie, store, etc. as a baby sitting tool is aggrivating as a whole. i agree on the bladder control and picking good times in which to stealthily leave the theatre. some theatres in my area are awesome for having restrooms strategically located in the building, sometimes in a theatre itself towards its entrance to the lobby. and anymore, i wait till it gets to the 2 dollar cinema showings and those are good times indeed.
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Post by inflatable dalek » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:32 pm

Jetfire wrote: Basically it talked about the utterly stupid sequence in Die Hard 4 when Willis takes a F1 Jet (or whatever) out witha truck. Brooker articulates that CGI makes it seem boringa nd it is too long. The former I disagree with the later I don't.
Reading this I had a memory of Bruce Willis saying in a interview around the time the film came out that the truck/helicopter thing was done for "real" (as in an experienced stunt team crashed a truck into a helicopter with some trickery, not that it's something you could easily do in the real world), so I checked:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Die_Hard_4 ... al_effects
Digital Dimension worked on 200 visual effects shots in the film,[19] including the sequence that shows characters John McClane and Matt Farrell crouching between two cars as another car lands on top of the other cars. To achieve this effect, a crane yanked the car and threw it in the air onto the two cars that were also being pulled by cables. The shot was completed when the two characters were integrated into the footage of the car stunt after the lighting was adjusted and CGI glass and debris were added.[18] In the same sequence, John McClane propels a car into a hovering helicopter, which crashes to the ground. This was accomplished by first filming one take where an assassin with a rifle jumps from the helicopter, and in the next take the car is propelled into the stationary helicopter as it is hoisted by wires. The final view of the shot overlays the two takes, with added CGI for the debris and moving rotor blades.[18] The company also assisted in adding cars for traffic collisions and masses of people for evacuations from several government buildings.[19]
So there you go, a jump cut, some some CGI added rotor blades and debris plus wire removal (all of which was done for the helicopter sequence in Tomorrow Never Dies a decade earlier so it's not "new" effects work) but the main money shot was done as seen on screen. If it is boring and/or to long it's not the fault of CGI. Unless digital rotor blades are running films.


Personally I can't recall a time when people haven't been complaining about modern special effects ruining movies. It probably goes back at least as far as Star Wars, probably further. It's like when people complain about there being "To many remakes these days" whilst conveniently forgetting remakes are only slightly less old than the film industry.

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Post by CounterPunch » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:05 pm

inflatable dalek wrote:Reading this I had a memory of Bruce Willis saying in a interview around the time the film came out that the truck/helicopter thing was done for "real" (as in an experienced stunt team crashed a truck into a helicopter with some trickery, not that it's something you could easily do in the real world), so I checked:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Die_Hard_4 ... al_effects



So there you go, a jump cut, some some CGI added rotor blades and debris plus wire removal (all of which was done for the helicopter sequence in Tomorrow Never Dies a decade earlier so it's not "new" effects work) but the main money shot was done as seen on screen. If it is boring and/or to long it's not the fault of CGI. Unless digital rotor blades are running films.


Personally I can't recall a time when people haven't been complaining about modern special effects ruining movies. It probably goes back at least as far as Star Wars, probably further. It's like when people complain about there being "To many remakes these days" whilst conveniently forgetting remakes are only slightly less old than the film industry.

My problem with remakes is that people cry for originality in the movie industry, then go and see the remakes while allowing the original and imaginitive films crash and burn, shooting themselves in the foot. I dont mind remakes as long as theres a point, I heard that Gremlins may be remade... What is the point, the original Gremlins still exists as a perfectly servicable piece of cinema by todays standards, whereas a film from the 50s or something I could understand.

In terms of CGI, I do think there is a reliance on CGI nowadays over real effects, I only ever like the use of CGI when it compliments physical effects (Del Toro is a good example of using CGI to compliment rather than replace due to cost or ease)

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Post by inflatable dalek » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:29 pm

CounterPunch wrote:I heard that Gremlins may be remade... What is the point, the original Gremlins still exists as a perfectly servicable piece of cinema by todays standards, whereas a film from the 50s or something I could understand.
I don't know, just of the top of my head I can think of several different ways you can go from the starting point of "Gremlins are out and out to get you" that would be different and valid (and indeed there were a couple of different unrelated scripts based around the concept doing the works before Dante made his film, one based on the Dahl story and one Dan O'Bannon recycled bits of into Alien). Even a straightforward reoworking of the basic plot could be wrothy because, whilst it's an ejoyable film it's not a top notch brillaint one. If someone comes up with a way of making it better then go for it (I doubt they will of course, most films, remakes or not, are terrible the same way as most of everything is. But if it turns out bad we can still ignore it and enjoy the original the same way no one pays any attention to the Nick Cage Wicker Man).

ANd to be honest, I suspect most of todays teenagers would find Gremilns as dated as anything made in the 50's. That doesn't make it bad or wrong, or mean that they won't enjoy it (even if it might mean a little more laughing at it rather than with it) of course.
In terms of CGI, I do think there is a reliance on CGI nowadays over real effects, I only ever like the use of CGI when it compliments physical effects (Del Toro is a good example of using CGI to compliment rather than replace due to cost or ease)
Del Toro did a great job on Hellboy, very hard to tell the difference between the rubber and CGI versions of the long tongued pig creature thing. Of course, that's great CGI and great prosthetics. People tend to forget that before CGI there was lots of crappy modelwork and make up in films. Watch just about any Roger Corman pic from the 80's.

The first time I distinctly remember loud moaning about modern visual effects ruining films would probably be Terminator 2... or if not definately Jurassic Park. "To much concentration on the visual stuff, the plot makes no sense, not as real as the old ways of doing things". Now, even ignoring the fact no one went to see either of those films for the plots (which are functional at best) are we really saying there's been a huge drought of decent effects films for the last 17 years?

One thing that does annoy me as a film fan who enjoys all the behind the scenes stuff is the perception that CGI is easy and not as much an art as other effects methods, as if it's a fat guy pressing a few buttons on a keyboard. To get really top quality CGI spacehips takes as much time and effort as good model spaceships.

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Post by CounterPunch » Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:19 am

inflatable dalek wrote:
Del Toro did a great job on Hellboy
Pans Labyrinth and Devils Backbone are two very good examples of where CGI can compliment real world effects and improve, just look at the Pale Man (in Pans) for instance, it is undeniable that the make up and incredibly creepy acting by Doug Jones is fantastic, but the use of CGI perfectly complemented that work with the digital removal of Jones' limbs, and the way they embellished Pan and his surroundings had a similar effect.

The effects on the ghost in devils backbone are much the same, they really add a whole different layer to the chilling nature etc.

very hard to tell the difference between the rubber and CGI versions of the long tongued pig creature thing. Of course, that's great CGI and great prosthetics. People tend to forget that before CGI there was lots of crappy modelwork and make up in films. Watch just about any Roger Corman pic from the 80's.

The first time I distinctly remember loud moaning about modern visual effects ruining films would probably be Terminator 2... or if not definately Jurassic Park. "To much concentration on the visual stuff, the plot makes no sense, not as real as the old ways of doing things". Now, even ignoring the fact no one went to see either of those films for the plots (which are functional at best) are we really saying there's been a huge drought of decent effects films for the last 17 years?
inflatable dalek wrote:One thing that does annoy me as a film fan who enjoys all the behind the scenes stuff is the perception that CGI is easy and not as much an art as other effects methods, as if it's a fat guy pressing a few buttons on a keyboard. To get really top quality CGI spacehips takes as much time and effort as good model spaceships.
Just feel I should clarify, I do actually completely agree with this statement, the creation of something via CGI is just as length a process as the creation via makeup etc, as usually they have to go through physical realms of design as well as digital before creating the effect, which itself would of course take many people many hours.

I cant really clarify what exactly I mean when I say ease, I think possibly more it opens more possibilities of what can be achieved compared to physical effects, sometimes leading the producers to rarely even contemplate the use of physical effects.

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Post by Springer007 » Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:46 am

Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, etc. those sort of films definitely are enjoyable and a great mix of computer graphic and prosthetic effects. I like Jim Henson Studio films because they can always come up with something imaginative: Labryinth, Dark Crystal, Mirror Mask (Sandman artist, Neil Gailman) and the original Star Wars trilogy. and i have to agree that spacheships do need cgi effects because of so many complexities in a design, Event Horizon. They are possibly redoing: Tron and Clash of the Titans, to name a few remakes, but those are understandable because with newer techniques in film making they can possibly outdo the originals. I wouldn't mind seeing a remake of Flight of the Navigator though, I miss that movie, even if it was a bit cheesy. Most movies nowadays are like Wedding Crashers and horrible National Lampoon-like movies, and cheerleader flicks. Thus why I rarely go to the cinema.
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Post by Halfshell » Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:58 am

I've not read this thread, but I did try to read the Charlie Brooker piece in question a few days ago. I got about two paragraphs in, decided he was being a bit of a twat, remembered that taste in films is entirely subjective and went to do something more constructive with my time.

[EDIT] Define "too long". The car chase in The Blues Brothers goes on for ages.

CGI wasn't the reason I thought the apartment fight scene in Watchmen was crap. The fact it was a shoddily choreopgraphed, had no place in the movie, was done just to start with a big action scene and undermines the whodunnit aspect of the plot were far bigger issues than shite CG.

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Post by Jetfire » Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:19 am

Halfshell wrote:I've not read this thread, but I did try to read the Charlie Brooker piece in question a few days ago. I got about two paragraphs in, decided he was being a bit of a twat, remembered that taste in films is entirely subjective and went to do something more constructive with my time.

[EDIT] Define "too long". The car chase in The Blues Brothers goes on for ages.
A scene which you essentially gte bored of. Films aren't actually worse now than ever but many of them, especially CGI ones have this consistent flaw.
CGI wasn't the reason I thought the apartment fight scene in Watchmen was crap. The fact it was a shoddily choreopgraphed, had no place in the movie, was done just to start with a big action scene and undermines the whodunnit aspect of the plot were far bigger issues than shite CG.
Indeed but I feel the CGI culture encourages poorly choreographed work. My rant wasn't about CGI = the problem But how it seems to promote the shoddy attitude of "hey look what we can do!" for no absolute reason. The truck vs plane fight in Die Hard being an example. It's unrealistic, boring and has no tension what so ever. It adds absolutely nothing to the film and actually is a negative. I seriously think that would never be done pre-CGI era regardless of the budget of the film.

The flaws in Watchmen being another example. The original book was susposed to be what if Superheros were in the real world. Having a comic book like hyper reality spoils that effect somewhat.
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Post by inflatable dalek » Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:03 am

Mind, with a couple of exceptions (the fight in the ally is much more OTT than the original for example) most of the violence in Watchmen is faithfully taken from the book. It's just there's a difference between going from a panel where the guy has his arms to one where they've been sawn off and actually seeing them get sawn off on screen. If the filmmakers should have been so faithful to the source is a different question I suspect.

And once again, the helicopter/truck thing was perfectly doable without CGI because they did it without CGI. Yes, there's a minimal amount of augmentation but using models and matte paintings to jazz up action sequences has been going on for decades (of the top of my head; the opening of Octopussy merges real airplanes and buildings and models, often in the same shot. Most people regard that as the best bit of the film rather than "cheating").

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Post by Halfshell » Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:10 am

Jetfire wrote:A scene which you essentially gte bored of.
You may do. I, on the other hand, have an attention span.

Once Upon a Time in the West - opening sequence lasts forever. But it's gripping. Long scenes doesn't necessarily equate to rubbish, and isn't a recent thing.

I only have a problem with scenes being long if there's not enough plot to sustain the scene. Which is a problem a lot of films (old and new) have even with scenes that just last a few minutes.

Can I just say here and now that Bruno is a waste of time and money.

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Post by inflatable dalek » Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:18 am

Oh, and mentioning Octopussy fired a neuron, if people want a genuine terrible badly executed CGI sequence that the film makers wouldn't have attempted otherwise hows about the "Gliding of a glacier to escape a super space death ray" bit from Die Another Day? Almost certainly the exact moment the producers decided a low key reboot was needed.

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Post by Springer007 » Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:30 am

I love the Blues Brothers car chase scene. It is humorous and it has a nostalgia for the glory days of shopping malls. I wish our mall had all those nice features, including a car dealership contained in its walls. That and it was just insanely humorous how the Blues Brothers were so stoic through the entire encounter. Even if it made no sense, it is like the scene in Christmas Vacation with the dream sequence of the swimming pool. It is one of those what the hell moments that make a film amazingly loveable. I miss scenes like those. Thus why I love Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and most Monty Python movies.
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Post by Cliffjumper » Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:08 pm

Scene length is surely a matter of subjective taste, though. Once Upon a Time in the West is a great example - I love, love, love the opening, especially as Woody Strode and Jack Elam get wiped out within seconds of the dialogue starting... However, I know people who get bored by that sort of thing, and in terms of plot narrative it goes nowhere.

I actually thought the actual shots in RotF were very well edited, especially those involving CGI. It was the assemblage and the "LET'S DO EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE!" style of the script that made it a bit uneven. I've seen it several times, and while it has quite a few faults, dragging really isn't one of them

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Post by Jetfire » Thu Aug 06, 2009 3:22 pm

Halfshell wrote:You may do. I, on the other hand, have an attention span.
:mad:
Once Upon a Time in the West - opening sequence lasts forever. But it's gripping. Long scenes doesn't necessarily equate to rubbish, and isn't a recent thing.

I only have a problem with scenes being long if there's not enough plot to sustain the scene. Which is a problem a lot of films (old and new) have even with scenes that just last a few minutes.
This would be my point. I love long scenes if they are good. I ahve no issue with long films. If fact a lot of my favorites are 3 hours plus and I don't notice. But in places like Die Hard 4 Truck vs Plane example is where there is no plot to it. No tension either. I just sit there and wait for the next scene. COmpare that with the massive excitement and tension created in the first film where John Mclane simply has no shoes and falling glass all around him. The former an insert for the sake of using CGI and that has happened a lot recently in my opinion or alternatively CGI is used to drag out a scene to the point it spoils some good films sometimes.
Can I just say here and now that Bruno is a waste of time and money.
I'll watch the Hangover then tonight. Thanks for that.
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