Author Topic: Battle: Los Angeles  (Read 8929 times)

Bill Binkelman

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Battle: Los Angeles
« on: March 10, 2011, 11:50:28 AM »
Reviews for this are all over the map...some are totally panning it and others are calling it "Blackhawk Down-like" in its intensity. I never did see Skyline, because the reviews were so bad (and Darren Rogers helped to talk me out of it - thanks, Darren). BUT I thought the trailers for that movie (Skyline) were awesome, and I feel the same way about Battle: Los Angeles, which gives me pause. More and more often a movie's trailer gives a false indication of what the actual movie will be like (See trailers for Legion and Monsters, to name two films I saw recently on DVD and the movies were NOTHINg like what the trailers inferred).

So, is anyone here excited about this film? Is this just this year's Skyline or will it be an intense ground-level up-close "you are there" combat movie, just about aliens, not humans?

OTOH, many reviews for Tron Legacy, which I just saw 2 nights ago, were negative and I liked it a lot (saw the 2-d version). So, what the frack do reviewers know?  ::)
May the odds be ever in your favor.

mgriffin

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Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2011, 12:03:44 PM »
Individual critics are obviously hit-and-miss when it comes to matching one moviegoer's preferences. I like to check metacritic.com which combines the opinions of many reviews, and usually does a great job of highlighting movies that are worth seeing or worth avoiding.

They give each film a 1-100 score (and to make it even more obvious, very low scores are colored red, moderately low ones are yellow, and higher scores are green).

Metacritic gives Battle: LA a score of 38 which is obviously quite bad. The "Black Hawk Down" reference appears to come from one of the few positive reviews quoted on Metacritic from the Chicago Tribune. The quote from the other Chicago paper (Ebert for the Sun-Times) is pretty amusing: "Here's a science-fiction film that's an insult to the words "science" and "fiction," and the hyphen in between them. You want to cut it up to clean under your fingernails."

Skyline scored a 26 which gives you some idea. I thought it had real problems (and a terrible third act) but didn't think it was as bad as that.

Monsters had only a 63, but I liked it quite a bit.

Legion had a 32 which was probably about right.

Tron: Legacy scored 49 on Metacritic but that seems to be an averaging of pretty positive and strongly negative reviews, rather than a lot of lukewarm ones.
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Bill Binkelman

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Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2011, 01:11:11 PM »
Interesting that you liked Monsters, Mike. I had no problem with it being very little concerned with the alien "invasion," or that the storyline was more of an allegory (e.g. are WE the real monsters?). But the movie was soooooo deliberately placed (some sequences seemed to drga on forever), the acting was pretty amateurish by the twomain actors, and the actions of the lead characters were so asinine - almost over the top for emphasis. Seriously (plot spoiler ahead...if you are thinking of seeing this movie, stop reading now), the man and woman are 12 hours away from boarding the FINAL ferry away from a "war zone," they have spent $10K to get tickets, and then the guy sleeps with a prostitute and they lose their tickets and their money? Any sensible person would have slept about 10 feet from the dock or even stayed up all night so as to not miss the damn ferry. At that point, I just lost all interest in or sympathy for the two leads. In fact, I would've liked the monsters to get 'em!  ;D

I know on IMDB and Netflix a lot of folks liked the less-action-oriented emphasis of the film and thought it was an "intelligent" version of Cloverfield, but I thought it was so ill-conceived plot-wise, and the performances so bad that I just couldn't stay interested or concerned.

Just my two cents. Taste is so subjective. As I wrote, I thought Tron Legacy was pretty good. So, does your answer mean you and Lena will probably pass on Battle: LA then?
May the odds be ever in your favor.

mgriffin

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Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2011, 01:23:12 PM »
I might go as far as to get something like Battlefield LA from Netflix when it's available. We only go to the theater a couple of times per year lately, though, so I save those trips for "event" films.

I agree taste is subjective but I find I agree with "averaged" group opinions much more often than I agree with individual opinions, which is why Metacritic is useful. Also Netflix recommendations, which are based on some kind of "people who like the kind of things you like, liked this, so you'll probably like it too" algorithm.
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darren bergstein

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Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2011, 04:19:05 PM »
I pretty much agree with Bill's comments, re: Battle LA. Marketing-wise, as well as from a POV of pure spectacle, the trailers for BLA (BLAh? Possibly... ;) ) are some of the most effective I've seen in some time. Based on some advance word I've read, unfortunately this appears to be another case of the trailer revealing the 'best' (or, say, 'money shots') of the entire film, whether or not the trailer in fact distills whatever plot exists. The premise sure as hell ain't original (Transformers meets Independence Day meets War of the Worlds) but I admit that the trailer looks so damned cool it well piqued my interest. Sadly, as Mike said, I as well will probably end up waiting until it gets to my Fios pay-per-view - like I said, some reviews I read indicated it was essentially vapid crap, wholly derivative, nonsensical, and the effects scenes actually few & far between.
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einstein36

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Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2011, 05:53:13 PM »
being a sci-fi nerd and buff...I am going to go ahead and see this movie and I hope it's definitely not another skyline:)....
man....my novel I think is 10 times better than these so called movie writers....
yes, my novel contains aliens, high school drama, etc:)

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sraymar

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Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2011, 06:17:28 PM »
I'm waiting for Battle: Orange County   8)
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Dave Michuda

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Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2011, 07:42:59 PM »
I'm a total sci-fi nerd but I have found that over the last several years I have less tolerance for crap like Transformers, Skyline, BLA & Tron(which I absolutely hated).

Maybe I'm just getting old, well actually I'm sure that's it.  I remember seeing Armageddon in the theaters and now you'd have to pay ME to sit through that movie.



darren bergstein

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Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2011, 08:35:40 PM »
Maybe I'm just getting old, well actually I'm sure that's it.  I remember seeing Armageddon in the theaters and now you'd have to pay ME to sit through that movie.

Armageddon is one of the worst films of the last 20 years, and there's been many. Then again, I'm hardly what you would call a Michael Bay fan; he's essentially a video hack with a seemingly limitless expense account, working for suits forever willing to shove endless shitloads of coin at him. Thought The Rock was okay, but that's pretty much a giant pile of owl-poop, too.

Speaking of witless ideas: now making the rounds is the news of pending sequels *and* prequels to Blade Runner, surely without Ridley Scott's involvement. Scary, ridiculous idea, indeed - originality in Hollywood has become one of the great oxymorons of our time (like 'military intelligence').
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zzzone.net

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Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2011, 04:32:46 AM »
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/battle-los-angeles/

Apparently the critics hate it but the audiences like it.

Dave Michuda

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Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2011, 06:31:54 AM »
BLA just got 3 1/2 stars from the Journal Sentinel here in Milwaukee.  Review is by the paper's tech writer so who knows?

http://www.jsonline.com/entertainment/movies/117743403.html

Numina

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Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2011, 09:22:57 AM »
Based on the trailer I have been wanting to see Battle LA myself but am worried it would result in a similar experience to District 9... a movie I thought was going to be kick ass but I almost walked out in boredom and borderline being offended at just how stupid the story line was. One of the worst movies I've ever seen... so perhaps I shall wait for BLA to hit the shelves as well.

mgriffin

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Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2011, 10:02:22 AM »
Lately it seems like I hear practically everyone I know saying variations on "I can't believe somebody told me (fill in the name of award-winning, critically-acclaimed, universally beloved masterpiece of filmmaking) would be worth watching. OMFG it was the worst thing I've ever seen."

Seriously, friends and family of mine? District 9 / Inception / Citizen Kane / Shawshank Redemption / Blade Runner / Dr. Strangelove is REALLY one of the worst movies you've ever seen? As in, not just "not my kind of thing," but actually something you thought SUCKED?

Taste differ, but... how does this happen?  I've really been thinking about this, trying to figure it out. It seems most of the time it breaks down to one of two things:

1. people who hate any story with a fantastic, speculative or "impossible" element in it (much SF, fantasy and horror)

2. people who can't stand harsh, shocking or overly negative outcomes, emotional intensity, or bad things happening to good people

It's not that I think less of people who hate certain stories -- honest, Jesse! -- but I'm trying to understand this idea of really really HATING a story that just about everybody else agrees is really well-done, and most people really enjoy.
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darren bergstein

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Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2011, 10:03:13 AM »
Based on the trailer I have been wanting to see Battle LA myself but am worried it would result in a similar experience to District 9... a movie I thought was going to be kick ass but I almost walked out in boredom and borderline being offended at just how stupid the story line was. One of the worst movies I've ever seen... so perhaps I shall wait for BLA to hit the shelves as well.

It is truly interesting how wildly different our perceptions can be...I loved District 9 & thought it to be one of the best SF films of the last few years, beautifully shot & executed cinema verité style. Yes, it was certainly derivative of much that has come before (Alien(s), Independence Day, etc.), but the apartheid metaphors (not subtle, but still interesting), storyline & overall design (good effects, too) provided enough variations on a theme that lifted it beyond base clichés. I just hope they don't go ahead with the projected sequel (shudder...).
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darren bergstein

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Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2011, 10:09:39 AM »
...Dr. Strangelove is REALLY one of the worst movies you've ever seen?

I don't know if you're merely using it as an example, but I defy *anyone* to say that Dr. Strangelove sucked, one of the greatest films ever made, of any genre, and on *many* levels. Even if the film's themes don't resonate (don't understand how they can't), or you don't 'get' the humor (which is devastatingly funny & of course pointedly absurd, which is the whole crux), you can't deny the sheer invention being displayed on the screen by Kubrick, Sellers, Scott & co.
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mgriffin

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Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2011, 10:19:12 AM »
Darren, I used examples of movies I've actually heard people say "sucked" or were "horrible" or some variation on "worst movie I've ever seen" recently.

It seems each time someone makes such a statement, it triggers other people to say things like "Well, it's ridiculous that you think movie X was terrible but of course sometimes acclaimed movies do turn out to be awful, for example I really can't stand movie Y." I've been in the middle of a couple of such discussions lately that made me think my brain might short-circuit.

Then I mention the conversation to other friends and they say "That person's clearly crazy, but of course some people criticize me for hating movie Z." And so it goes. As a younger man I would have been inclined to swear off people who made such statements ("What? You think Eraserhead is the worst movie you've ever seen? Fuck off and never speak to me again!") but now I imagine I'd have to blacklist the majority of my friends, family and co-workers.
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darren bergstein

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Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2011, 10:38:29 AM »
...As a younger man I would have been inclined to swear off people who made such statements ("What? You think Eraserhead is the worst movie you've ever seen? Fuck off and never speak to me again!") but now I imagine I'd have to blacklist the majority of my friends, family and co-workers.

:)

Opinions. Well...personally, I've always been down w/Harlan Ellison's maxim that everybody is NOT 'entitled' to their opinion, but, rather to their *informed* opinion. 'Informed' is the qualifier there because, regardless of the subjectivity of so many of these assertions, particularly when it comes to various forms of art, there does exist certainly barometers, gauges, guidelines, in fact, true & literal reasons as to why a certain work of art (*not* necessarily based on universal acclaim) can be justifiably appraised and valued. While 'opinions' (informed or not) will always vary wildly, I think some things can go uncontested, but the very nature of the human condition will always mean that such things will forever be endlessly debated in numerous circles.

But, to stress the nature of 'informed' opinion...this is to say that a general knee-jerk reaction over something, based on nothing less than simply 'I don't like it', just doesn't hold water. Sure, fine, it's anyone's prerogative to summarily dismiss something without much thought - we all do it everyday, regarding many things, sometimes just as a rationale, sometimes to get through the vagaries of existence - but, like you, I find it difficult to deal with individuals who take a hard-line stance on something without backing it up with qualitative info/facts, and/or quickly dismiss out-of-hand other things that truly do have merit, substance, vitality, depth, etc.

Oy...maybe a can o' worms getting opened here, but both your statements & mine will no doubt (as seems to be the context of your above post) invite moocho points-of-view, etc. Let fortune favor the foolish, eh?
« Last Edit: March 11, 2011, 10:46:57 AM by darren bergstein »
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mgriffin

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Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2011, 10:50:25 AM »
I have no problem with informed opinions. I also have no problem with people disliking something because of their own biases.

I know someone who can't watch war movies because their father was a veteran traumatized by his war experiences. For this person, war movies evoke terrible childhood memories. For this reason, though, this person does not go to war movies and walk out in the middle and afterward rant about how much the movie sucked. This person realizes their inherent bias disqualifies them from judging the war movie on its merits, and they either don't watch it, or if they end up seeing a movie that has more of a combat element in it than they expected, pretty much shrugs it off.

Some people confuse their own gut-level dislike of a certain category of aesthetics or entertainment with an objective failure of that movie or book or whatever.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2011, 10:58:45 AM by mgriffin »
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Numina

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Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2011, 10:55:07 AM »
I really do mean it when I say District 9 was one of the worst movies I've ever seen - didn't intend to sound so blunt, but I was sort of upset by just how bad it was (to me).  It started off promising, but then the acting just was ridiculously bad... and the aliens who are addicted to oil and it makes them drunk, and how they were somehow confined to a shanty town yet they had this mega ship that traveled across the universe... the aliens reminded me a lot like Jar Jar Binks in the way there were characterized... just a little more serious and scary looking... add the stupid shanty town pimp/drug lord... just a bunch of sillyness to me and my conclusion was, of all of the movies of its caliber and budget, it was one of the worst.

Inception... ugh... I love the concept, but I was so annoyed with the noisy gun fights... the acting and concept was great, but there was far too much gun fighting and the soundtrack gave me a headache... it was pandering to men-who-like-gun-shooting people.  So, yeah, thumbs down on that one.

I thought Cloverfield was also really bad... I can't handle the camera work on J J Abrams productions... it's why I couldn't handle watching LOST either... I wanted to get into Lost, but again, that jumpy first-person camera handling is seizure inducing to me and ruins it... it's the camera jerkiness and these images that flash by that I want to try and see but you can't and it just drives me nuts.

Movies I think are outstanding?  Star Trek Motion Picture - most people hate this one, but I love it.  Star Wars Episode I - III, Jar Jar Binks ruined it, but I really thought these were great films... not perfect, but I actually like Heyden Christiansen while most seemed to be annoyed with him.  I thought he did well.

Big fan of LotR and the Aliens movies (I actually like all the Alien flicks, even some of the cheesier later ones, not as much as the original two, but more than average).  I have high hopes for the Alien prequels.

Last movie I went to see was Black Swan... not bad... I think the advertisers could have done more by showing some of the freaky effects in the trailers... I sort of liked this one and I thought it would be a silly roommate-stalker chick-flick. Pleasantly surprised.

Oh, and the Harry Potter movies... I can not stand Daniel Radcliff's acting... also, while it's my kind of movie - fantasy sci-fi - but I don't read and I am often very lost in the story when watching the movies.  My wife is fanatical about them and has to whisper in my ear what's going on.

All this said... one of my favorite movies is Dumb & Dumber... if that tells you anything.

mgriffin

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Re: Battle: Los Angeles
« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2011, 11:09:50 AM »
I have a co-worker who is actually a pretty intelligent and successful man, but I've found that our movie preferences are almost diametrically opposed. There are plenty of routine, 3-star kind of movies we can both watch and enjoy, but anything he really enjoys (you know, big budget flicks with generic characters and lots of explosions) I usually hate, and the ones I love, he can't stand. The funny thing is, his wife's tastes are more aligned with mine so he often ends up seeing things he wouldn't normally consider (The Fountain, Pan's Labyrinth, Coen brothers or Pixar stuff) so we often compare notes on stuff I'd rate 5 stars and he'd give 1 or 2.

Whenever this guy tells me his wife made him watch something he hated, I always look it up on Netflix and it  always ends up being fantastic. His hatred for a movie just might be the most reliable barometer I can think of for a high quality film. I don't think I've ever heard a person rant so hatefully against a movie as this guy did about Brokeback Mountain. I think he was afraid he might catch "the gays" from it!
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