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I plan on seeing The Passion of the Christ.  I'm an atheist, and I'm going to see this movie.  Is there something wrong with that?  I don't think so, and if so, why?

Personally, I don't think so either. I viewed it as a story, as opposed to an historical portrayal of an event. My opinion is that it is a brutal assault on the senses. Easily more brutal than the first 25 minutes of Saving Private Ryan. That said, I think it is presented in a very artistic manner cinematically speaking.

However, no one besides Christ and his "entourage" is displayed in the even remotest favorable light. The Jews and Romans both were equally portrayed as "evil" in my opinion, with the Romans taking a giant lead in the physical abuse arena.

As an aside not specifically related to the above quote, I think that viewing art from people that don't share the same philosophy of life can be a healthy thing. Christians, in my experience, tend not to challenge their views by seriously entertaining the views of others. I would hope the views of the objectivist are solid enough that stand up to viewing art with different motivation. I also think it would be incestuous to simply stick with those forms of entertainment that strictly adhere to one's viewpoint. How does one learn without looking outside that which he already knows or believes?

VES

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My review of the movie:

Frankly, I thought the movie was sort of bland. It was a window into sadism and brutality of a bunch of ignorant 2000 year old civilizations.

The cinematography was awesome and I LOVED the flashbacks.

The time when Mary is trying to get up the strength to go help Jesus and has the flashback to when he fell down as a child was seriously seriously moving. Maybe I'm the only one that was emotionally touched by that moment, but I thought that demonstration of a mother's love for her son was very timeless.

Frankly, Satan was the most interesting character in the movie. I wish Mel had done a movie on the biblical story of Satan and all the big bad stuff that Satan has done. That would have been entertainment.

Satan doesn't really have much gender in the movie and frankly...I think he/she looks like Billy Corgan a bit.

Her voice has some amazing affects and the black hood/slightly modified voice, and the way she moves in that cloak is simply one of the coolest things in that whole movie.

Aside from that, I was really disappointed. This movie is a bloodfest and past that, it doesn't do much.

You are left pretty hardpressed to say that The Passion had much going for it past the usual Christian bromides of "love thy neighbor."

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Concerto of Atlantis says

Also, I guess a lot of objectivists will not like a movie such as Mulholland Drive because on the surface, the plot makes no sense, it may seem vague, random, etc. But nothing could be further from the truth. The story makes complete sense. David Lynch, the director chose to tell the story in a weird way in order to engage the viewer. I mean, I didn't understand what happened at all the first time I watched the movie. So I watched it a second and third time, and did research on the internet until I finally understood everything. I like this sort of movie because it really asks you to use your mind.

....

And that, is why Mulholland Drive is my favourite movie of all time.

Personally, I don't enjoy subjecting myself to two hours of utterly nonsensical, surrealistic cinematic gibberish just for the pleasure of straining my mind to try and attach some kind of meaning to Lynch's vacuous drivel. Mulholland Drive is sensationalistic and severely illogical for the sake of being avant garde. It presents a thoroughly sickening sense of life in which the characters are all either cynically manipulative and malevolent or helplessly delusional, neurotic, and miserable.

The claim that all of this madness hides some kind of meaningful message is absurd. That you had to "do research" on the internet to figure out what the hell the movie was about is revealing. I suppose you could say that you would be "using your mind" to try and make some sense out of the ramblings of a schizophrenic mental patient, but that doesn't generally make for good entertainment, let alone good esthetics. The only movie I can think of that approaches Mulholland Drive in sheer level of depravity is Requiem for a Dream.

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Charlotte Gray--another Cate Blanchett film, I don't believe this one was in wide release, but it was very, very good--about a Scottish woman who joins the French resistance during WWII.

Carla: Based on your post, I just watched Charlotte Gray, and enjoyed it very much. I had never seen Billy Crudup in anything before--mmm. So thanks. :)

As for me, I have quite a few that I'm surprised haven't even been mentioned.

My favorites include:

The Patriot (which I do not think can possibly be "just like" Braveheart, even though I haven't seen the latter, because Scotland is not "just like" the United States, and never has been). I tend to like a lot of Mel Gibson's stuff, his crackpot ideas aside: What Women Want, Conspiracy Theory, Ransom, The Man Without a Face were all also good.

Mission Impossible 2--I love John Woo's directing in this film.

Harry Potter--both of them. And all the books. JK Rowling is second only to Ayn Rand on the "favorite authors" list.

The Magnificent Seven--Where have actors like Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn gone?

Others that get high marks include:

The Mask of Zorro

Spiderman

In the Line of Fire--Clint Eastwood is neat.

X-Men

'80s teen movies, including but not limited to Pretty in Pink and St. Elmo's Fire--something irresitibly young about these movies.

I'm also a fan of several that have already been mentioned, such as Chocolat and The Thomas Crown Affair.

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A few of my favorites that haven't been mentioned already:

Quiz Show - A 50s period piece nominally about the quiz show scandals. (Quiz shows of the time were secretly giving the answers to their questions to the contestant they wanted to win, thus fixing the results.) Although based on a true story, the film rises above its naturalistic roots to present a compelling tale about the nature and importance of integrity, and its role in living a happy and productive life. On the basis of his work in this film, I nominate Ralph Fiennes to play Gail Wynand in a hypothetical remake of The Fountainhead.

The Truman Show - Jim Carrey stars as an Everyman who, unknowing, is living inside an artificial world as the star of the most popular TV show on Earth. The most enjoyable part of the film for me was the concretization of the fact that a lie cannot be sustained indefinitely because it conflicts with reality. Given vast resources and a literal lifetime in which to work, the director and producers of the show cannot prevent Truman from penetrating the veil they have drawn over his eyes.

The Game - This one I like simply for the intricacy of the plotting.

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Who here is looking forward to Troy?

There is also a movie coming up about Alexander the great which unfortunately is made by Oliver Stone but that's another story.

I too am looking forward to this movie but sadly I have read that they have butchered the story by changing the ending. I won't say how as that will depress you if you are a Hellenophile like me.

As for Alexander, I have read that the film (which stars Leonardo DeCaprio as Alexander) will explore Alexander's homosexuality as much as it does his desire to conquer the Persian Empire. Lets hope Oliver Stone doesn't inject his disgusting politics into the film and does the subject justice.

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I too am looking forward to this movie but sadly I have read that they have butchered the story by changing the ending. I won't say how as that will depress you if you are a Hellenophile like me.

How did they change the ending? I'm wondering how they handle the story altogether. Since most of Achilles' time was spent pouting in his tent until Patroklos was killed, does Pitt (I'm assuming Pitt is Achilles) spend most of his time sitting in the tent? Or does the movie start right off with the death of Patroklos?

The Iliad itself actually ends with the return of Hektor's body to Troy. The siege is still ongoing, but the Iliad doesn't give the story of the Trojan Horse, etc. In other words, Homer's Iliad is really the story of Achilles and Hector, not the story of the siege of Troy, which was merely the incidental background.

Speaking of The Iliad, what translation does anyone think is the best? I've read two: H.D. Rouse's prose translation, and Richmond Lattimore's verse translation. The prose translation is easier to follow, but of course the verse translation is closer to the spirit of the original.

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I recently saw a movie called "The Crossing". It is a historical drama about Washington's crossing of the Delaware river on Christmas Eve and the subsequent surprise attack on the Hessian mercenaries in Trenton.

December 15, 1776. Just 6 months after declaring independence, America is on the brink of extinction. Repeated defeat at the hands of the British has reduced Washington’s army from some 20,000 men and 300 artillery pieces to fewer than 2000 men and just 13 cannons. They have little ammunition and even less food. Many are barefoot. Over half of the men’s enlistment papers are set to expire in 11 days.

It is an army held together by the sheer will of Washington. He will not countenance talk of surrender to the British or to the despair of the situation. When all is threatened and no one sees any prospect of success, what does Washington do? He thinks. He conceives a brilliant plan -- a plan so daring his commanders are aghast.

He presents the idea to his staff. “So, colonel, what do you think of the plan?”

“I think the general has taken complete leave of his senses…but ….if Washington orders it, the lads will surely do it.”

The movie works because it is both authentic and understated. The drama is in the situation. No special effects required.

At the end, one is left with a renewed appreciation of just how much every American owes to George Washington. May his memory always be blessed.

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The Ninth Gate

Dogma

Jump Tomorrow

Akira (Anime)

Finding Forester

1900

Noting Hill

Dreamcatcher

Matrix 1 & 3

DANGIT WHATS THE NAME OF THAT MOVIE :dough:

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One of my favorite movies will be shown on AMC this Thursday night at 8PM: Zulu, starring Stanley Baker and Michael Caine. It portrays a highly competent British officer of engineers (Lt. John Chard, played by Stanley Baker) who finds himself the senior officer in command of a small British force about to be assaulted by an overwhelming force of Zulu warriors in Natal Africa. Lot of interesting value conflicts in this movie, between the Lt. Chard, a commoner, and his second in command (Michael Caine) who is a member of the upper class; between the British officers and the resident missionary, who wants the British to turn the other cheek and run away; and with various of the British soldiers, ranging from malcontents to Welsh tenors to new and frightened young troopers.

It is a dramatization of the historical battle of Rorke's Drift.

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I forgot to mention that the movie Zulu also contains a stirring rendition of the old Welsh folk song "Men of Harlech." It originally referred to a Welsh force defending a fortress in Harlech, I believe, but was appropriate for the British force at Rorke's Drift.

Men of Harlech

Men of Harlech in the hollow,

Do ye hear, like rushing billow,

Wave on wave that surging follow,

Battle's distant sound?

'Tis the tramp of Saxon foemen,

Saxon spearmen, Saxon bowmen.

Be they knights or hinds or yeomen,

They shall bite the ground!

Loose the folds asunder,

Flag we conquer under!

The placid sky now bright on high

Shall launch its bolts in thunder!

Onward! 'Tis our country needs us!

He is boldest, he who leads us.

Honor's self now proudly heads us!

Freedom, God, and Right!

Rocky steeps and passes narrow

Flash with spear and flight of arrow.

Who would think of death or sorrow?

Death is glory now!

Hurl the reeling horseman over!

Let the earth dead foemen cover!

Fate of friend, of wife, of lover

Trembles on a blow.

Strands of life are riven:

Blow for blow is given,

In deadly lock or battle shock,

And mercy shrieks to heaven.

Men of Harlech, young or hoary,

Would you win a name in story?

Strike for home, for life, for glory!

Freedom, God, and Right!

Actually, there are several differing versions of this song, and I'm not sure this is the exact one used in the movie. But it gives the essential spirit of it.

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I just saw Troy and I have to say that I enjoyed it. It is a good retelling of the Trojan War story (not just the four days of the Illiad). Eric Bana playing Hector came across as the most sympathetic character on screen (and the best of the younger actors). Achilles, played by Brad Pitt, was softened a bit from Homer, but he was still portrayed as a man seeking glory and imortality. Peter O'toole lent the movie stature with his elegant depiction of Trojan King Priam.

Being a lover of ancient Greek culture, I was thrilled to see a modern rendition of this classic. I still have trouble trying to analyze its philosophical theme and the morality of all the heroes. Hector fights for values that are easily identifiable to a modern audience; ie his culture and his family. The Greeks seem to be fighting either for power or marshal glory; neither of which are objective values. I realize that in the poem the Greeks were actually fighting for the breach of Zenea which was the guest-host relationship that was violated by Paris but it doesn't change the fact that they come away looking like war-mongers while the Trojans look the more honorable.

In all its a well made epic with good production values, excellent acting (especially Brian Cox who plays a power-lusting and thouroughly diobolical Agamemnon), some sexy women and great battle scenes (they choreographed the sword scenes beautifully). And women will be dreaming about Brad Pitt's physique for years I am sure. Actually, as much as it kills me to say this, he actually looks like what I envision John Galt to look like. Ayn Rand describes him lean and muscular not bulky. He certainly is "ripped" in this movie.

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Howdy,

Yeah Zulu is a great movie, one of my all time favorites. Not to bad on the historical accuracy either, which makes it even more impressive. Now Zulu Dawn, which is about the battle at Islandawana, is great too. In fact I like it slightly more than Zulu, because the British get wacked. Truth be told, if ever one day I go to Africa, I would like to visit both of those battlefields.

Oh, and as an aside. The battle of Roarke's Drift is noted for having had the most Victoria Crosses awarded in one battle.

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I hated Troy. They really turned it into a movie about how bad war is. The movie brings you close to both sides of the war, they only bad guy was the Greek king who wants to viciously, for no real reason, destroy Troy, and they do of course. The love story was pathetic mostly because Paris, prince of Troy, is a wimp and a coward but Helen loves him anyway. I would have got up and walked out but Achilles was a bad ass. Brad Pitt, and whoever choreographed his moves, saved the movie. If they wanted to make a good movie they should have made it only about Achilles and left out the end. I had way too many ticks with this movie to be able to look past them all and enjoy the film.

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Hey if you put plot spoilers in your post please say so BOLDLY as I hate finding out what happens in a movie before I see it! :confused:

Fight Club, I liked it because of the plot twist that actually worked. If you've read the entire thread everyone has spilled the beans already so don't bother watching it now. ;)

Now for a change here are some movies I've seen recently and hated.

Duplex

Love Actually

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Yeah Zulu is a great movie, one of my all time favorites.  Not to bad on the historical accuracy either, which makes it even more impressive.  Now Zulu Dawn, which is about the battle at Islandawana, is great too.  In fact I like it slightly more than Zulu, because the British get wacked.  Truth be told, if ever one day I go to Africa, I would like to visit both of those battlefields.

Oh, and as an aside.  The battle of Roarke's Drift is noted for having had the most Victoria Crosses awarded in one battle.

If you're interested in the history of the battle of Roarke's Drift, check out "Carnage and Culture" by Victor Davis Hanson. The theme of the book is that western armies have been the most lethal and effective in history beacuse of western culture and values(!). Each chapter identifies a theme and a representative battle - for instance, freedom and Salamis; capitalism and Lepanto; reason and Tenochtitlan; individualism and Midway; or discipline and Roarke's Drift.

VDH is not an Objectivist. Normally I don't need to specify that when recommending an author, but he has so many points that demonstrate the historical and military efficacy of Objectivist virtues and principles that one might think otherwise.

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If you're interested in the history of the battle of Roarke's Drift, check out "Carnage and Culture" by Victor Davis Hanson.  The theme of the book is that western armies have been the most lethal and effective in history beacuse of western culture and values(!).  Each chapter identifies a theme and a representative battle - for instance, freedom and Salamis; capitalism and Lepanto; reason and Tenochtitlan; individualism and Midway; or discipline and Roarke's Drift.

VDH is not an Objectivist.  Normally I don't need to specify that when recommending an author, but he has so many points that demonstrate the historical and military efficacy of Objectivist virtues and principles that one might think otherwise.

That was a very nice description, and you make the book sound really interesting. And, this from someone who has little interest in army battles! :confused:

Have you read Hanson's "Mexifornia: A State of Becoming?" I have not read it myself, but it was a very controversial book last year.

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Now for a change here are some movies I've seen recently and hated.

Duplex

Love Actually

Esthetic responses are very personal and Objectivists disagree about movies all the time.

With that said, I really liked "Love, Actually."

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One other film I dug out of my collection over the long weekend and rewatched: Tremors.

It's a cheesy monster flick, but a surprisingly good one. The thing that raises it above the herd is that the theme is the power of intelligence as a survival tool. Whenever the protagonists think and act on the results of their thought, their situation improves. Whenever they fail to think, or try to rest on the benefits of prior thought, their situation worsens.

It's also pretty funny, riffing on the themes of the genre (e.g. the graduate student who is constantly baffled by why everybody else thinks she knows something about the monsters just because she's a scientist). And, of course, the good guys win in the end.

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With that said, I really liked "Love, Actually."

I thought it was brilliant how they integrated all eight stories together by the end of the movie. Really nice writing.

(And the porno-simulation couple was just precious comedy.)

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One other film I dug out of my collection over the long weekend and rewatched: Tremors.

Dude, that movie rocks! But don't forget the best part: Reba McEntire with an elephant gun! :D

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That was a very nice description, and you make the book sound really interesting. And, this from someone who has little interest in army battles!  :D

Have you read Hanson's "Mexifornia: A State of Becoming?" I have not read it myself, but it was a very controversial book last year.

Thanks, Stephen. High praise indeed.

No, I haven't read that one. I did see an interview with him on C-SPAN regarding that book and the premise looks intriguing. I'm in awe of his skill as a scholar. He is the type of professor I wish I had found in my humanities classes in college - a joy to read, with insights grounded in a thorough knowledge of history and the ability to focus on essentials and principles. He also is quite firsthanded in his analysis.

VDH recently launched his own website that features more info.

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