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Mister Tee
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Postby Mister Tee » Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:54 pm

Last to see this one too, I guess.

There's really not much left to say. Much of it is quite beautiful to look at. I thought the 3-D was a worthy aspect of it. Perhaps the highest compliment I can pay it is to say at certain points I forgot I was watching in 3-D; I'd normalized the depth of field as simply what was expected. I'd agree with what I believe Sonic was saying, that the sheer amount of visual effect details is more impressive than any single effect. But there's something to be said for such obsessive devotion to visuals. As for the design overall, BJ has long been expressing a desire that the Oscars honor animation in the category, and this represents a great leap in that direction.

As for the story...as a confirmed Titianic disser, I was simply relieved there weren't the narrative groaners or egregious over-acting that pockmarked the earlier epic. It was a bland, wildly predictable story (one mention of the big yellow bird and you're counting the minutes till Worthington's riding it), with no characters to speak of. Worthington might have been interesting had they folllowed up on the replacing-his-brother theme, or dealt with his spy/counterspy activities, which are treated way too perfunctorily. Then again, his character made no sense to begin with -- he describes himself at the start as a typical grunt, but behaves like a flower chld from his first Na'vi moment. He's a typical grunt like Frank Serpico was a typical cop.

All tolled, it was a pretty good summer movie, offering something unique (the visuals) not totally offset by a desultory story. I'm with Italiano, that I have nothing serious against it unless it's somehow voted the year's best picture. Especially since, decades hence, the visuals will no doubt be so standard (the way Star Wars' are today) that no one will be able to comprehend why audiences were so excited about them in 2009.

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Postby Damien » Mon Feb 08, 2010 1:35 pm

SURVIVAL INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE

8 February 2010


Tribal people appeal to James Cameron


Survival's appeal to James Cameron
appears today in Variety magazine. ©Survival Tribal peoples’ rights organization Survival International has appealed to Avatar director James Cameron on behalf of an Indian tribe through an ad in the film industry magazine Variety (published today 8 February 2010).

In the ad Survival asks Mr Cameron to help the Dongria Kondh tribe of Orissa, India, whose story is uncannily similar to that of the Na'vi in Avatar. The ad says:

Appeal to James Cameron

Avatar is fantasy .. and real.

The Dongria Kondh tribe in India are struggling to defend their land against a mining company hell-bent on destroying their sacred mountain.

Please help the Dongria.

We've watched your film – now watch ours:

www.survivalinternational.org/mine


Survival's ten-minute film 'Mine: story of a sacred mountain', narrated by Joanna Lumley, exposes the Dongria's plight.

The Dongria live in the Niyamgiri Hills in Orissa state, India. British FTSE-100 company Vedanta Resources is determined to mine their sacred mountain's rich seam of bauxite (aluminium ore). Vedanta is majority-owned by Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal.

The Dongria and other local Kondh people are resisting Vedanta, and are determined to save Niyamgiri from becoming an industrial wasteland. Other Kondh groups are already suffering from a bauxite refinery, built and operated by Vedanta, at the base of the Niyamgiri Hills.

Survival’s director Stephen Corry says, ‘Just as the Na’vi describe the forest of Pandora as ‘their everything’, for the Dongria Kondh, life and land have always been deeply connected. The fundamental story of Avatar – if you take away the multi-coloured lemurs, the long-trunked horses and warring androids – is being played out today in the hills of Niyamgiri in Orissa, India.

Like the Na’vi of ‘Avatar’, the Dongria Kondh are also at risk, as their lands are set to be mined by Vedanta Resources who will stop at nothing to achieve their aims. The mine will destroy the forests on which the Dongria Kondh depend and wreck the lives of thousands of other Kondh tribal people living in the area.

I do hope that James Cameron will join the Dongria's struggle to save their sacred mountain and secure their future.'



To read this story online: http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/5529


For more information and images, or to use the attached image, please contact Miriam Ross:

T (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or (+44) (0)7504543367
E mr@survivalinternational.org
W http://www.survivalinternational.org/

Survival International
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Postby Zahveed » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:06 pm

Calm down, OG. They hit every negative point about the film every one else did. They just added the religious aspect in what some seems to be a minor detail of the review.
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Postby OscarGuy » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:02 am

Shock! The Catholic Church against a film that doesn't make belief in God its spiritual core...I've never been more astounded.
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Postby Big Magilla » Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:17 am

VATICAN CITY – Unlike much of the world, the Vatican is not awed by the film "Avatar."

James Cameron's big-grossing, 3-D spectacle has earned lukewarm reviews by both the Vatican newspaper and its radio station, which say the movie is simplistic in its plot is superficial in its eco-message, despite groundbreaking visual effects.

Perhaps more significantly, the Vatican takes the movie to task for flirting with what it says is the worship of nature as a substitute for religion.

"So much stupefying, enchanting technology, but few genuine emotions," said Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, which devoted three articles to "Avatar" in its Sunday editions.

Vatican Radio called it "rather harmless" but added: "We doubt that this is an heir to those sci-fi masterpieces that — for reasons other than special effects — have marked cinema history."

The story of the tall blue creatures who inhabit Pandora and contend with humans intent on grabbing the resources of their planet has made over $1.1 billion at box offices worldwide. Partly boosted by higher 3-D ticket prices, "Avatar" looks well on its way to becoming the biggest grossing movie of all time.

"Pandora is the planet that cleverly winks at all those pseudo-doctrines that turn ecology into the religion of the millennium," Vatican Radio said. "Nature is no longer a creation to defend, but a divinity to worship."

L'Osservatore Romano said the movie's plot is unoriginal and its message not new. It faulted Cameron for taking a "bland approach."

"He tells the story without going deep into it, and ends up falling into sappiness," it said.

The reviews came out after a red carpet preview held in Rome just a stone's throw from St. Peter's Square. The movie will be released Friday in Italy.

Vatican Radio did say, however, that "really never before have such surprising images been seen," while L'Osservatore said the movie's worth lies in its "extraordinary visual impact."

The Vatican newspaper occasionally likes to comment in its cultural pages on movies or pop culture icons, as it did recently about "The Simpsons" or U2. In one famous instance, several Vatican officials have spoken out against "The Da Vinci Code."

The paper credited "The Simpsons" — the longest-running American animated program — with opening up cartoons to an adult audience.

The show is based on "realistic and intelligent writing," it said, though it added there was some reason to criticize its "excessively crude language, the violence of certain episodes or some extreme choices by the scriptwriters."

Religion, from the snore-evoking sermons of the Rev. Lovejoy to Homer's face-to-face talks with God, appears so frequently on the show that it could be possible to come up with a "Simpsonian theology," it said.

Homer's religious confusion and ignorance are "a mirror of the indifference and the need that modern man feels toward faith," the paper said.

It commented on several religion-themed episodes, including one in which Homer calls for divine intervention by crying: "I'm not normally a religious man, but if you're up there, save me, Superman!"

"Homer finds in God his last refuge, even though he sometimes gets His name sensationally wrong," L'Osservatore said. "But these are just minor mistakes, after all, the two know each other well."




Edited By Big Magilla on 1263306018
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Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Jan 10, 2010 10:53 pm

Umm, Brokeback Mountain made over $100 million at the box-office. And it cost only $14 million to make. Since when is that 'poor'?

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Postby Greg » Sun Jan 10, 2010 4:08 pm

The Big Picture
Patrick Goldstein on the collision of entertainment, media and pop culture

'Avatar': Why do conservatives hate the most popular movie in years?
January 4, 2010 | 6:42 pm

It's no secret that "Avatar" has been stunningly successful on nearly every front. The James Cameron-directed sci-fi epic is already the fourth-highest-grossing film of all time, having earned more than $1 billion around the globe in less than three weeks of theatrical release. The film also has garnered effusive praise from critics, who've been planting its flag on a variety of critics Top 10 lists (it has earned an impressive 83 score on Rotten Tomatoes). The 3-D trip to Pandora is also viewed as a veritable shoo-in for a best picture Oscar nomination when the academy announces its nominees on Feb. 2.

But amid this avalanche of praise and popularity, guess who hates the movie? America's prickly cadre of political conservatives.

For years, pundits and bloggers on the right have ceaselessly attacked liberal Hollywood for being out of touch with rank and file moviegoers, complaining that executives and filmmakers continue to make films that have precious little resonance with Middle America. They have reacted with scorn to such high-profile liberal political advocacy films as "Syriana," "Milk," "W.," "Religulous," "Lions for Lambs," "Brokeback Mountain," "In the Valley of Elah," "Rendition" and "Good Night, and Good Luck," saying that the movies' poor performance at the box office was a clear sign of how thoroughly uninterested real people were in the pet causes of showbiz progressives.

Of course, "Avatar" totally turns this theory on its head. As a host of critics have noted, the film offers a blatantly pro-environmental message; it portrays U.S. military contractors in a decidedly negative light; and it clearly evokes the can't-we-all-get along vibe of the 1960s counterculture. These are all messages guaranteed to alienate everyday moviegoers, so say the right-wing pundits -- and yet the film has been wholeheartedly embraced by audiences everywhere, from Mississippi to Manhattan.

To say that the film has evoked a storm of ire on the right would be an understatement. Big Hollywood's John Nolte, one of my favorite outspoken right-wing film essayists, blasted the film, calling it "a sanctimonious thud of a movie so infested with one-dimensional characters and PC cliches that not a single plot turn, large or small, surprises.... Think of 'Avatar' as 'Death Wish' for leftists, a simplistic, revisionist revenge fantasy where if you freakin' hate the bad guys (America) you're able to forgive the by-the-numbers predictability of it all."

John Podhoretz, the Weekly Standard's film critic, called the film "blitheringly stupid; indeed, it's among the dumbest movies I've ever seen." He goes on to say: "You're going to hear a lot over the next couple of weeks about the movie's politics -- about how it's a Green epic about despoiling the environment, and an attack on the war in Iraq.... The conclusion does ask the audience to root for the defeat of American soldiers at the hands of an insurgency. So it is a deep expression of anti-Americanism -- kind of. The thing is, one would be giving Jim Cameron too much credit to take 'Avatar' -- with its ... hatred of the military and American institutions and the notion that to be human is just way uncool -- at all seriously as a political document. It's more interesting as an example of how deeply rooted these standard issue counterculture cliches in Hollywood have become by now."

Ross Douthat, writing in the New York Times, took Cameron to task on another favorite conservative front, as yet another Hollywood filmmaker who refuses to acknowledge the power of religion. Douthat calls "Avatar" the "Gospel according to James. But not the Christian Gospel. Instead, 'Avatar' is Cameron's long apologia for pantheism -- a faith that equates God with Nature, and calls humanity into religious communion with the natural world." Douthat contends that societies close to nature, like the Na'vi in "Avatar," aren't shining Edens at all -- "they're places where existence tends to be nasty, brutish and short."

There are tons of other grumpy conservative broadsides against the film, but I'll spare you the details, except to say that Cameron's grand cinematic fantasy, with its mixture of social comment, mysticism and transcendent, fanboy-style video game animation, seems to have hit a very raw nerve with political conservatives, who view everything -- foreign affairs, global warming, the White House Christmas tree -- through the prism of partisan sloganeering.

But why is it doing so well with everyday moviegoers if it's so full of supposedly buzz-killing liberal messages?

"It has the politics of the left, but it also has extraordinary spectacle," says Govindini Murty, co-founder of the pioneering conservative blog Libertas and executive producer of the new conservative film "Kalifornistan." "Jim Cameron didn't come out nowhere. He came on the heels of all the left-wing filmmakers who went before him, who knew that someone with their point of view would have the resources to finally make a breakthrough political film. But even though 'Avatar' has an incredibly disturbing anti-human, anti-military, anti-Western world view, it has incredible spectacle and technology and great filmmaking to capture people's attention. The politics are going right over people's heads. Its audience isn't reading the New York Times or the National Review."

I suspect that's a good explanation. But if I were trying to get to the bottom of conservative complaints with "Avatar," I'd offer three more key reasons why the film has set the right's hair on fire: . . .


http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/the_big....rs.html
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Postby ITALIANO » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:57 pm

But that wasnt a river, that was a Venice canal!

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Postby Greg » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:14 pm

ITALIANO wrote:I will throw myself in the Po river when (and IF) it wins Best Picture.

It's not a very deep river, so don't hope.

I just got an image of you impersonating Katharine Hepburn in Summertime.
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Postby ITALIANO » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:00 am

Let's make things clear among all this collective hysterism. My problems with Avatar will begin when (and IF) it wins the Best Picture Oscar, for the simple reason that it ABSOLUTELY doesn't deserve it. I haven't seen too many American movies this year, but I feel that it's not like the Titanic year, with so many good alternative choices; yet, again, Avatar SHOULDN'T win Best Picture. Which doesnt mean that The Hurt Locker should; we will settle on something else, though at the moment I can only think of The White Ribbon, which isn't even the best Hannecke, but it's certainly much better than anything remotely American. Anyway, I'm sure that by March I will have seen a few American movies which are much more deserving than Avatar, otherwise it would really be a dreadful year.

But of the many nominations Avatar will certainly get, let's face it, most will be deserved. Ok, not Best Score. Not Best Song (but will it be nominated?). And probably not Best Director (needless to say its childish screenplay won't be nominated). And I wouldnt even nominate if for Best Picture of course, but it's not like Bill Condon or those who approved the new ten slots format did it so that The White Ribbon or The Messenger could get in; they did it exactly for a movie like Avatar(or like Nine, but Nine proved so bad that maybe will fail even such a wide target), and since it's so technically well done it's not like I will throw myself in the Po river when it's included in a list of ten nominees (of which nine will hopefully be much better, but I doubt).

I will throw myself in the Po river when (and IF) it wins Best Picture.

It's not a very deep river, so don't hope.




Edited By ITALIANO on 1262427308

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Postby Mister Tee » Fri Jan 01, 2010 5:17 pm

My difficulty with the Cameron claque (I haven't seen Avatar, so this is based solely on Titianic) is there seems to be a special no-narrative-required for Mr. James.

I said over and over in '97/'98 that, if people had simply told me I had to see Titanic because it did an amazing visual job of recreating the sinking of the ship, I'd have had no argument. The visuals were was amazing, something I wanted to see, and I had no problem with the film becoming an otherworldy blockbuster on that basis.

But that's not what people, even people with credentials, were saying. Critics with semi-serious portfolio were telling me it was the Best Picture of the Year (a year that included The Ice Storm, LA Confidential, Boogie Nights, the Sweet Hereafter, and any number of other films I ranked higher). What's more, when some of us pointed up the many problems with the script -- anachronisms like flipping the finger; a hopelessly romanticized drifter character for DiCaprio; most everything connected to Bill Zane -- we were treated as if every objection was utterly irrelevant to the film's greatness. Kenneth Turan went somewhat over the top in response, seeming to single out the film as the worst-ever illustration of poor screenplays in modern Hollywood, which even I thought was silly in aworld where Michael Bay was already at large. But I will say Titanic had the worst script attached to it of any movie that the vast majority of critics told me was some sort of classic.

My attitude going into Avatar will be, try and enjoy the ride because the script will likely suck. I'm able to hold this stance because I've pre-discounted all the critical raves based on how the same folks overrated Titanic. I just hope I don't react as BJ has -- not even enjoying it as entertainment -- because I'd really hate to be so disapppointed by the same director twice in one lifetime.

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Postby The Original BJ » Fri Jan 01, 2010 3:49 pm

I guess my biggest problem with Avatar was that I didn't think it really succeeded even at a basic entertainment level. A lot of recent popular hits I've liked to varying degrees -- The Lord of the Rings films, the Pixar films, Titanic, The Dark Knight, District 9 -- may not have been high art, but they were often as emotionally and narratively thrilling as they were visually impressive. They may not have been DEEP, but I thought they were stories worth telling.

Avatar, on the other hand, bored me silly, and barely even qualifies as an "original" story. A lot of friends who have LOVED Avatar have told me I'm not supposed to go for the writing, I'm supposed to go for the amazing visuals. But while I can enjoy a film whose screenplay might not be its trump card, I have a very hard time getting worked up about a film with a story I could care so little about.

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Postby taki15 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 3:29 pm

kaytodd wrote:Like with Titanic, Cameron has used his skills with special effects and as a director to entertain the hell out of audiences with inferior material.

IMHO that's exactly what provokes such a virulent and spiteful reaction to the movie in some quarters, our forum included.

I still remember some critics here blasting "Titanic" not for any artistic reasons, but simply for the fact that it costed 200 million dollars.

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Postby kaytodd » Fri Jan 01, 2010 1:16 pm

Of course Avatar does not deserve to be nominated for Best Picture. I do not see as many films as most people on this board but I know I can list more than ten films I have seen that are more deserving (Sin Nombre, Lorna's Silence, Up In The Air, District 9, 500 Days Of Summer, Up, The Hurt Locker, Inglorious Basterds, The Informant!, Moon, Precious.). I have not seen In The Loop, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Where The Wild Things Are, Ponyo, Drag Me to Hell, Broken Embraces, A Single Man, Crazy Heart, The Messenger or Coraline but I would not be surprised if I would find all of them more deserving as well.

But I was not entertained more by any other film this year. I was enthralled by the images and I guess it is Cameron's skills as a director that got me caught up in the story. That plus big box office means a BP nom. I can understand someone disliking Avatar because of the simplistic story, cartoonish characters and relentless action. But it did not have that effect on me and the B.O. indicates I am far from alone. And it is huge all over the world, not just with us unsophisticated American yahoos and yokels. Is it fair that Avatar is a lock for a BP nom and has a decent chance of winning (I do not think it will)? No. But life isn't fair. Like with Titanic, Cameron has used his skills with special effects and as a director to entertain the hell out of audiences with inferior material.




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Postby anonymous1980 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:25 am

I saw it again on IMAX. Still spectacular entertainment. The flaws in the script are still there but Cameron's direction truly makes me not care about them. It's pure escapist entertainment for the masses. You could do a lot worse than James Cameron (i.e. Michael Bay, Roland Emmerich, etc.) High art? No. Pop art? Yes. It's a very simple, cliched story but well-told through visuals.


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