Dr Duncan James > Storytelling > Films

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"The only reason for the Hobbit movies to exist is that Peter Jackson decided it would be slightly more tasteful to make an 800 million dollar trilogy out of a 300 page book about greed than to literally dig up Tolkien's body and manually turn him over."

Mitchell Visscher (writing in the YouTube comment area)

Timeline is one of my favourite films which has the winning combination of time travel and academics.

I really like the film Point Break which I think an incredible visceral quality to it: the action and emotions feel raw and real to me.

Restrepo is a war film based on real life footage of US troops in Afghanistan. I like it because it shows an alternative view of war compared to standard Hollywood fare. I think it is possible to watch this and form different opinions: the opinion I form is that warfare is a horrible thing and we should try as hard as we can to live peacefully.

If you can bear all the swearing then you might like In the Loop which I think is a really funny film with the UK government adviser who swears very creatively.

Flight of the Phoenix is a film about a plane crash. The survivors try to rebuild the plane as this seems the only realistic way to survive. I like the characterisation and different responses to stress they show.

Alien Outpost is a mixture of a war film and an alien film. I find it fascinating that it has such low review scores. For me it was an interesting story with good characters. Yes, some of them were really annoying but that's real life and other characters clearly didn't offer body language supporting their annoyingness. I strongly recommend it to anyone who is OK with a bit of action in their films.

Last of the Mohicans for some reason hits a spot with me. I find it to be a very moving love story.

Generally I am a fan of cowboy films. I think they have a lot to say about the dilemma of human men who are biologically programmed with adrenalin and testosterone that can promote aggression in a world where aggression is arguably not a good thing. A film I particularly like is True Grit where Matt Damon goes for revenge (an emotion I do not like) with consequences that leads to a strong emotional journey.

If you like computer games or quirkyness then you might like Scott Pilgrim vs the World. He has to fight the 7 evil-ex's of his new girlfriend in a fantastical storyline with nice cinematography and great videogame references all the way.

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