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Old July 16th, 2005, 06:42 PM   #1
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Tears of the Sun

Just finished setting up my new website for the DV Info Challenge #2, and reposted my movie. I'm tired and have been up to 4:00am each of the last two evenings.

Checked the TV listings and found a favorite movie just starting. The movie is "Tears of the Son," with Bruce Willis and others.

Just wondering, as I rest and enjoy it, if many others like it too?

Have a great Saturday night all.

Mike
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Old July 16th, 2005, 06:58 PM   #2
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I wrote my third screenplay because I thought "Tears of the Sun" sucked so much.
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Old July 16th, 2005, 07:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Loh
I wrote my third screenplay because I thought "Tears of the Sun" sucked so much.
I'm thinking that we should not colaborate on a project. :) Ha!

Have a great night Keith.

Mike
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Old July 16th, 2005, 08:21 PM   #4
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I thought "Tears of the Sun" was a good movie. It was looselt based on events that occurred/occur in Africa, so there's some merit there. While I may not be a fan of Bruce Willis - he seems pretty one-dimensional to me - the genre is one he does fairly ok with.

While I would say the movie was split between being either a war time story, a humantarian rescue type story, or just plain combat/action type story and this impacted on how good the overall movie was, it still was able to keep my interest thoughout most of it.

I'd give it a C+. I'm curious to know exactly what sucked about it? It's easy to say something sucks without saying why it sucks - I thought his most recent movie, Hostage sucked big time - but, that's a discussion for another time :-)

Peace.
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Old July 16th, 2005, 10:01 PM   #5
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Krystian, you touched on a few of the reasons why I thought it sucked. Sorry to start with such a sophomoric response but you are right, it couldn't figure out whether it was a straight action or political and wound up failing at both. I have no real problem with Bruce Willis as an actor (he has a certain range - it's best to say) but his character was entirely underveloped. The movement of his character was from A-B, linear and predictable.

The most trouble I had with the film was with the relationship of the foreigners with the domestic politics. I take it that the made up situation was the Hollywood version of one of many dozens of real African conflicts ending in genocide. It is almost predictable to see how a complex situation is simplified in the film version so that the local people portrayed are made as one-dimensional as possible. There were the evil locals and the good locals. The conflict was confined to how long the saviours would hold back until they decided to defend the good locals. If there was any representation at all of the local POV it was done through the cipher character of the human rights worker. So the local people are voiceless, victim characters. They could have been ewoks (no! Ewoks fight back!) As a viewer, I've learned nothing, gained no insight. Worse, I've been bored rather than been engaged.

Contrast this with "The Seven Samurai" for example. On the surface, another simple conflict. Seven heroes are contracted to protect a village from marauders. But there are internal conflicts between the characters, between the samurai and the villagers. Not everyone is good and not everyone is bad. It turns out that the marauders are starving and make their final attack out of desperation. The villagers themselves have a history of killing wayward samurai.

Of course, I don't expect Antoine Fuqua to make a masterpiece, but I didn't think it rose above expectations. It certainly wasn't to the level of his "Training Day". The action component was competent and for that alone, it had that level of entertainment. But a year later I don't remember anything of value from it.
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Old July 16th, 2005, 10:39 PM   #6
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Hey Keith.

Thanks for the thoughful reply, wonder what Mike will say? :-)

I agree with your points, and I must admit I see such one-sidedness in many current films of today - not going to start a war by saying just which movies, lol. But, it is very telling on american cinema that there is usually a voiceless someone to save - particularly when it comes to foreigners or foreign countries, but certainly any minority can be substituted there: children, women, seniors, ethnicities, etc.

You are right that complex political situations are oftentimes overly simplified for a movie, but for a wider audience it is sometimes necessary to dumbdown certain things to allow for entertainment value - not saying you can't have both as there are many films that got that mix right. Some I can mention, without starting too great a debate I think are:

The Last Samurai - which I had some problems with, but not too many - had a good balance, although the story was of course about the caucasian and how he changes.

Hero - starring Jet Li! Need I say more? Ok, yes I do since Jet had been in some stinkers. Great movie, historical background with eminent poetic license. Great cinematography, those colors man, wow! Chinese history / mythology at its best, somewhat intellectual which I am sure many regular moviegoers did not expect, but great movie!

Schindler's List - I think it's a great movie and it represented the politics of the time well I thought; particularly as there was always this oppresive feeling about the film.

The Cranes are Flying - old russian film I think is really outstanding - great movie about war and the consequences for everyone involved politics included.

The Seven Samurai - man, that was one of the first black and white films I ever looked for and liked when I saw it, although it was subtitled and I know subtitles can never do justice to an actors dialogue and emotional investment in his/her lines. My dad actually got me looking for this movie a long time ago through a chance remark he made after we had watched the Magnificent Seven - the Hollywood western based on Kurosawa's epic - itself a good movie, no Kurosawa though.

One thing that always struck me as funny is the great disparity between The Seven Samurai (Japanese) and other asian films, most notably chinese martial arts films. The sheer ability in Seven Samurai, wow. If I could have seen Jet Li directed by Kurosawa I'd have one dream come true.

Anyways, don't want to hijack this thread off the topic at hand, Tears of the Sun. I do agree it did not live up to expectations, and it was a let down. But then so was King Arthur. The story was a bit cliched and predictable, but it did have some entertainment value, hence my C+.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 01:18 AM   #7
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Keith, I think I told you earlier that I hadn't seen Tears Of The Sun, but in fact I have, and was confusing it with something else (geeze, I'm doing that a lot lately).

No, I didn't care much for it either, although I just watched Willis in Hostage, which was much better than I expected (although I didn't expect much).
I kind of like Bruce Willis, always have since Moonlighting.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 10:34 AM   #8
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Where to start!

Much of our feelings toward any movie or situation is simply based on our personnal history, and from the view point of someone who spent 7 years in the army, 67-74, and 5 years as a peace officer in Southern California, I can say that any resemblance to reality is totally lost in "Training Day," and "Tears" is much more I guess real and easier for me to get into.

I just wanted to write the last sentence (paragraph) that long, I swear!

I know I am a more emotional person than most, again from personnal history and upbringing. I am not one to seek out the outragous stuff. I am no fan of "Fear Factor," or any of those crazy "REALITY" shows, which are a long way from being REAL! Not a fan of the current trend to make almost everything we hear or watch more and more outragous and unrealistic.

Keith said, I "couldn't figure out whether it was a straight action or political and wound up failing at both."

For me it did not. For those of you who grew up in the era of the extreme violence of the video games and movies we have now, and have had for maybe 20 years, I'm sure this seemed very tame indeed. But, what it was is more realistic. Off of the top of my head, I can't think of a political movie to compare it with, but they are mostly packaged and made for the extreme too. Made we need a new catagory for movies, "Fictional Documentary!"

Keith said, "but his character was entirely underveloped. The movement of his character was from A-B, linear and predictable.."

Could we maybe say again, "realistic." He moves from a highly trained soldier on a specific mission in a combat zone with no emotional involvment except that of keeping himself and his comrads alive and accomplish his mission, to..........a man who finds the situation much different than what he expected, and has to make some hard choices for himself and his men, inorder to save a bunch of people who are going to be slaughtered otherwise. The history of combat from Viet Nam to Irac, (my time period), is full of tails of soldiers sacrificing limb or life to protect their buddies or innocent civilians. Falling on grenades etc. These are not just fictional or Hollywood tales, these are real. Hollywood loves to exploit the relationships of police officers and firefighters, ( I was a cop, and my youngest boy is a firefighter in Atlanta), and in reality it is nothing even close to what exists between soldiers in combat zones. Most cops, "killed in action," die from car accidents where they are driving too fast and wrecklessly. The same holds true for firefighters. Also, their motivation for being a cop or firefighter is generally not what is portrayed in the movies.

I did not go into police work until I was 35. My motivation was a good paying career to support my family and help people by upholding the law. That probably sounds simple and nieve to you, but again that is somewhat a generational and upbringing difference. The older officers that I worked with had very similar motivations, it's a career, and we were pretty much low key about it! Most if not all of the younger officers joined for the action, for the feeling of power and superiority. They got into a lot of trouble and got other officers involved too! They always wanted a fight, so instead of trying to defuse a situation, they were harsh and brash, and this only made many simple, easy situations escalate into chaos. I never fought with any person or suspect except during back-up of other officers who agrivate a situation to that point or lacked the skills to defuse the situation.

My son, who is the firefighter in Atlanta, has the younger generational desire. I cringe many times when he tells me what has been doing. He complains constantly about being on the ambulance and not on the firetruck. He is relieved when they arrive on the scene of a heart attrack, for example, and they don't have to do anything because the person has already died. He is constantly hoping for a big fire to go to. They don't undrstand that a big fire is devistating for all involved, except them because they crave the action!

My father and step father were both in WWII, and neither talked about it. Even if you asked them questions, they were reluctant to talk. Most cops and firefighters can't wait to brag to all!

Dylan,....."Keith, I think I told you earlier that I hadn't seen Tears Of The Sun, but in fact I have, and was confusing it with something else (geeze, I'm doing that a lot lately)."

Hey, you have very busy trying to keep DV Challange #2 together, or that is a good excuse anyway!?!?

I guess the bottom line it that all of us are very different in our views and experiances. Many of them are generational, and that is something we can't change. This may offend some, but I'll relate a short example, of what I mean. And, I don't mean to offend or imply that it's like anyone here or that it applies to them. While trying to shoot my DV #2 movie, I had two young ladies available for the female lead. When the first got into the car accident and got hurt, I called the back-up. She failed to show up twice and did not even call. And, she wanted to do this, and she wants me to film a video of her for an application to "Fear Factor!" I guess you have to supply a video of yourself and how you react with other people with the application. My primary was willing to come with two black eyes, and said to call her back in an hour if the back-up didn't make it. When I did call her back, she had turned of her phone and went to bed! These are very nice people and they are friends! If it would have been me, I would have showed up crutches with a broken leg if I had promissed to! People have changed over time to the point that duty, loyalty and responsibility or not the same. They are simply more interested in themselves. So, now my movie has big blank spots that 20 minutes of their time, and 20 seconds of film time, would have curred. And guys, this was my very first film, and I wanted to finish it! I could be very angry with my friends, but it would serve no purpose, because they would not understand. We will just go on.

Ok, I know this is too long, but I am forcing no one to read the whole damn thing. You could have stopped at anytime and probably did.

Talk about changing the theme of a thread, sorry!

Thanks to all----Mike
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Old July 17th, 2005, 01:39 PM   #9
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I hear you about feeling an affinity to a story, movie, etc. Definitely our personal experiences and view affect how we react to something, whether a movie or not.

I have an uncle who was a career soldier, he's retired now and he saw action in several situations, I think his last hot posting was Desert Storm. He never spoke about his experiences to me, or my cousins no matter how much we bugged him; believe me we pestered him a lot.

His outlook on certain types of movies sounds very similar to yours Mike, so I can easily say I see your point of view.

I thought Tears was entertaining, but to bring it back to a discussion about a fictional story, I believe the movie needed more direction and a clearer central theme. We can argue that life may not be that clear, but this is a movie made for entertainment, not a statement about war; or at least I did not get that impression from the movie. Not disputing that situations can be as they occurred in the film, but this is a movie and should be held more accountable - at least for my money.

It is because it is a movie that I will be much harder in terms of judging it, than if I were to read a magazine article, book, or treatise based on factual, real life events, with real life people.

But again, I totally respect your view and I agree that present "Reality" programming is anything but. Sorry to hear your film had some obstacles, but I'm sure you'll get it back on track. You sound like you've got the patience and the right attitude to make it happen. Good luck!
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Old July 17th, 2005, 01:46 PM   #10
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Thank you Krystian!

I really do look at the movie from a different view point and I guess the biggest would be that I neither saw it as a movie about war or poilitcs, and never did! To me that was just the backdrop. To me the movie was about morality, conviction, and mans duty to his fellow man.

Thanks again!


Mike
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Old July 17th, 2005, 02:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krystian Ramlogan
I agree with your points, and I must admit I see such one-sidedness in many current films of today - not going to start a war by saying just which movies, lol. But, it is very telling on american cinema that there is usually a voiceless someone to save - particularly when it comes to foreigners or foreign countries, but certainly any minority can be substituted there: children, women, seniors, ethnicities, etc.
Krystian, thanks for your examples. There are others too. "Under Fire" and "Salvador" for example, are all about the murkiness of a political situation in which foreigners are thrust into. Even older movies, such as "The Sand Pebbles" have shades of grey.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krystian Ramlogan
The Last Samurai - which I had some problems with, but not too many - had a good balance, although the story was of course about the caucasian and how he changes.
I realize this was needed in that film (after all, Tom Cruise is the star), but I walked out of that movie just shaking my head. That movie would have been better if it was science fiction, not history.

In the same year, the Japanese acadamy awards gave most of their accolades to a film called "Tasogare Seibei" (English title: "Twilight Samurai"), which was a different take on the same era of the samurai being repressed and fading away. However, instead of having a hero about who embraces the declining samurai ways, it is about a samurai who wants to give up his ways, who finds hypocrisy in the noble samurai ways. The hero actually is in the same clan that Tom Cruise visits historically. The man is a fighter who is downtrodden because he is of lowly stature and has to take care of his two children by himself. He becomes involved in a duel unwillingly and reveals that he is actually a master at swordsmanship. His clan connives to make him their assassin when all he wants to do is live his life in peace and raise his children. In the end he is sent against a samurai who doesn't want to fight for their clan, just like he wishes. But his clan forces him. I contrast this with the "Last Samurai" ethos which is all about the surface understanding of the samurai and their noble sacrificial ways. "The Last Samurai" had thirty times the budget, of course, but "Tasogare Seibei" was by far the better movie.

Quote:
One thing that always struck me as funny is the great disparity between The Seven Samurai (Japanese) and other asian films, most notably chinese martial arts films. The sheer ability in Seven Samurai, wow. If I could have seen Jet Li directed by Kurosawa I'd have one dream come true.
Both Chinese and Japanese film culture developed differently and have different markets. You have to see a lot more Asian film before you can really say something like that. That is all I can say without taking this thread off the rails.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 02:26 PM   #12
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Hey Mike, no problem man. Maybe you could start a thread about "war" films you think really nailed the experience? I'd love to hear more about how you see what works and what doesn't. Or how about the Law and Order television series' for realism? I have no clue about those being realistic, but I like SVU.

Hey Keith thanks for more examples man, as a film student I'm always looking to expand my vocabulary. As for my question about the differences between Japanese and Chinese cinema, I understand that there are different cultures involved and hence markets - not to mention demographics and psychographics (I'm a psychology major as well) - but, I was curious to hear what your thoughts are about those differences?

I have actually seen many chinese and japanese and indian films over the years - too many to even name some right now - but, while I've studied some, I haven't been able to get films from those territories as easily since I only speak english, and being a starving film student, lol, it's hard for me to find good movies outside the mainstream. I also saw many japanese films devoted to Karate - I used to do Kyokushin, oossss (must pay respect to my sensi) - and those were always well put together, almost cinematic although intended for the competitive students and not the public, many featured our father, Mas Oyama.

You could email me directly, or maybe start a new thread? Or should I? You'd be more the expert than I, so what'd you think?
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Old July 17th, 2005, 02:30 PM   #13
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Mike, I fully respect what soldiers go through and although I've never served, my bookshelf is full of war history material. And I have to say, compared to what I read from the newspapers, histories and interviews in the media, hardly any of Hollywood movies compare with real life stories. I'm not just speaking of the need to simplify (I know that is a prime need in adapting reality for the screen) but in terms of picking the right stories, making characters as human as their real counterparts. It seems like the majority of films spend lots of time getting the right uniforms, weapons and explosions just right but then that effort is all wasted on a boring, same old same old story.

My criticism regarding realism stopped just at the political criticism and only that. When I brought up "Training Day" it was not to show it as a more realistic movie, but only as one that had a better story and more compelling characters. If "Tears of the Sun" had been science fiction, I'd have the same criticism regarding its story and lack of character development.

Quote:
For me it did not. For those of you who grew up in the era of the extreme violence of the video games and movies we have now, and have had for maybe 20 years, I'm sure this seemed very tame indeed.
Tame? They showed the aftermath of a rape scene where the victim had been cut with a knife. So I didn't find it tame.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 02:35 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Keith Loh
Tame? They showed the aftermath of a rape scene where the victim had been cut with a knife. So I didn't find it tame.

Very poor choice of words on my part! I just meant to say that there weren't enough bombs going off with tons of special effects etc.

Thanks Keith,

Mike
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Old July 17th, 2005, 02:56 PM   #15
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As for my question about the differences between Japanese and Chinese cinema, I understand that there are different cultures involved and hence markets - not to mention demographics and psychographics (I'm a psychology major as well) - but, I was curious to hear what your thoughts are about those differences?
I think that would take a new thread and I am by no means an expert. I would only be able to make observations. But one thing I would throw in is that the two cinemas are so close that there is always cross polination. For example, "Hero" is as much a tribute to Kurosawa's composition and to Ang Lee's (a Taiwanese-American director) work in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" as it is Zhang Yimou's own work.

If you started a thread there are many here who have seen more than I have who could comment further.
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