I rarely find movies have enough interaction or realistic plot to be worth watching. Mostly, I prefer historically based series since they can't make the people too unrealistic. European productions are often better and I think that is because they never had such vast resources so are used to concentrating more on character interaction and plot than on effects.
Most movies based on novels are disappointing because you expect to take longer than 2 hours at most to read a decent book. The movies I like are mostly old and tell a story - Dr. Zhivago, Soldier Blue, Don't Look Now, The Wickerman.
I like Science Fiction especially but that has the biggest gap between movie and novel. The movies and series are really still stuck with Flash Gordon. The novels moved beyond that 50 years ago. Even Isaac Asimov's Robot stories (which are really detection stories in the Sherlock Holmes style he loved and wrote as 'Black Widowers') only use the exotic setting for a psychological story. All good science-fiction stories deal with the familiar in an unfamiliar setting or the unfamiliar in a familiar setting. When they try to do both, all rules are off so when anything can happen there's nothing surprising about anything that happens.
In most movies, SFX takes precedence over plot and characterisation. I've just had confirmation of this checking Enemy Mine, a novel that I thought explored race prejudice from both sides very well. I will make one exception: Solaris. First off, Stanislaw Lem was so versatile that some people think he was a pseudonym for a Polish dissident collective, second the film Solaris (1972 version) Soviet made. What the Russians got away with in Soviet days they got away with brilliantly and SF was one area the censor was light on. Soviet SF is brilliant analysis of human gullibility and susceptibility to not questioning things because they are told those things do not exist to be questioned. They had a good series of comic but telling novels based around a robotic Napalm factory that was given enough intelligence to decide that napalm is bad stuff and produced jam instead. (American of course: who else would be Soviet villains?)
In the novel, human and alien fighter pilots crash on a barren planet and have to co-operate to survive. They learn about each other and realise that both are just expendable pawns in a control game for their masters. The alien is pregnant and dies giving birth but extracts from the human the promise to bring the child up and teach it its genealogy, a religious thing with the aliens, all contained in a booklet the alien wears listing Deeds of the Ancestors that must be learnt and recited by heart.
Both are finally rescued by humans after the war is over and the alien returned to its family. The human fulfills his vow to bring the Book to the alien and ships out there. Now he finds the other side, that while he has no human prejudice, they are prejudiced against him, like Whitey infringing the ghetto with the best of intentions. When he arrives the family deny that any such person exists. Eventually he discovers that the very few aliens returned home without hatred for humans have been considered brainwashed hopelessly insane and shipped off to compounds where everybody tries to forget the shame.
He proves his honesty by reciting the generations with his own addition of praise for the alien's mother. At this, the family feel he deserves the chance, maybe lack of hatred for human is not insanity and he restores the alien to the family and shows that others without prejudice may not be insane either.
For 'Alien' easily read 'Black', 'Feminist', 'Muslim' etc etc.
I can understand chick-flick because they deal with relationships and therefore need characterisation to interact, however superficial. So many others deal with action first or with stereotyped characters. I blame this purely on Hollywood because there were movies with a broader remit between the mid-60s and mid-70s. It's the same that Bollywood has a particular style and stereotyping that its audiences want and isn't directed at exploring depths of personality.
I like 'knowing' comedy sending itself up like the various Monty Python offerings and Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. They are ridiculous and Hitch-hiker's was poor for those of us famliar with the TV and radio series. But Britain does surreal comedy well in a way that Americans can't. They equate Surreal with Juvenile and giving PC the finger and just come out with gross-out stuff.
I like French cinema and the one American who has come close to it is Woody Alan but again, he takes himself far too seriously and always presents the same characters you just want to tell to head out of their backside and notice something else in the world for a change.
There was a radio play recently about the curious circumstance when Peter Lorre was at the end of his life, he sued (and lost) to prevent some nobody from taking the name Peter Lorre Jnr. In the course, he wants to remake his first film about a murderous pedophile in English. The studio's reaction is that Americans go to the movies to feel good, not to be threatened with sympathising with perverts. Great! The same sentiment could be spoken today but in the meantime there were times when movies looking into the soul of 'perverts' and even inviting some understanding did come from the USA.
you never know, we might be getting back to theArt Movie because with TV and DVD in the producer's mind, there is no need to pay a load to visit the cinema so the only reason to do so may become to see something special that is not feel-good simple entertainment.
For TV series, Shogun and I-Claudius had plenty going for them.
When it comes to movies and television, I sometimes wonder if my tastes are more representative of NT than NF, so I'd be curious to see how many other NFs have similar viewing tastes.
I like pretty much any of the comic book hero movies, but I have a much stronger preference for the darker ones (like Dark Knight) that focus more (or at least more compared to other movies) on the human element (I thought the X-Men movies did a good job of that in the hero/villain context) than on the action and special effects. I also enjoy most Sci-Fi movies and fantasy movies, but plot and character development and interaction are important to me. I can enjoy a mindless movie, but its not gonna be memorable to me...
En example of the type of movies I enjoy and consider memorable.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Stranger Than Fiction
V For Vendetta
Current favorite TV series
(I don't watch a lot of TV, but when I do, its usually one of these)
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show
Cities of the Underworld
Past favorite TV series
Penn & Teller BS (this may or may not still be on air, but I don't subscribe to pay channels anymore)
Digging for the Truth (when Josh Bernstein (sp?) was the host)
I tend to like movies that appeal to both NFs & NTs. I'm also very particular about the movies that I like.
First and foremost, I REALLY like for a movie to make me think. Japanese movies are great at that. I like Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex as a TV series because of this. Sometimes I would have to watch an episode twice just to understand. I also appreciate artistic choices in movies, such as the color scheme and imagery in The Ring. Horror/thriller movies (that don't rely on special effects and cheesy gore to make me scared) are another personal favorite of mine.
The one kind of movie I don't like: Slapstick comedy. Don't even get me started on the emptiness I feel inside after watching yet another unwitty slapstick comedy with Will Ferrell. Unfortunately comedies these days are mostly slapstick. I prefer comedies that rely on intelligence and wit to make me laugh, not cuss words, nudity, crude humor, and immature men. (This was venting in case no one picked up on that! )
I don't mind watching chick-flics (sp?) either. Warm fuzzies are nice in moderation. I enjoy Avatar: The Last Airbender (don't tell anyone!) because of the "warm fuzzies" it normally brings towards the end of every episode.
Also, because I'm introverted I am able to enjoy slow paced movies. Thus, The Hours is one of my favorite films.
I also like:
- Hocus Pocus
- Pan's Labyrinth
- Monty Python (Holy Grail)
- Rocky Horror Picture Show
- Girl, Interrupted (interesting memoir as well)
- Dune (have yet to read the books)
- Star Wars
- Lord of the Rings
- X-Men 1 & 2
- Hanging Up
- Welcome to Serajevo
- What Lies Beneath
- Scream Triology
- Urban Legend
- Fight Club
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
I'm sure there are some major ones I'm leaving out, but at least this should give you a taste.
-Lord of the Rings
-The Last of the Mohicans
-The 13th Warrior
-Lawrence of Arabia
-A Clockwork Orange
-No Country for Old Men
-Dances with Wolves
-The Last Samurai
-The Boondock Saints
-The Evil Dead Trilogy
-Sukiyaki Western Django