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Showing content with the highest reputation since 03/28/20 in all areas

  1. 5 points
    Yeah, the taotie is one of four legendary creatures often called The Four Fiends. So with all the talk of sequels, you got at least three more to build the Great Wall universe. The Hundun, a formless creature of chaos with six legs, four wings, and no face, although it's also been described as a large sack; Qiongqi, a cross between a hedgehog and large tiger that flies with giant wings; and the Taowu, a shaggy beast with a human head and long boar-like tusks. It's clear the moviemakers just wanted to use the Taotie in name only to refer to the alien dogs that act like hive-mind insect swarms, but for the record the mythological Taotie are creatures with a giant ram's body, tiger’s teeth and human face and hands, although its eyes are hidden under his armpits and has a baby’s voice. The Four Fiends are the evil counterparts for the Four Auspicious Beasts, one for each of the Four Courners of Heaven, aka the cardinal directions of East, West, North, South: the Blue Dragon, the Vermilion Bird, the White Tiger, and the Black Tortoise. I kept looking for ways that the movie might make the human characters stand-ins for one of the Auspicious Beasts in order to symbolize the mythological rivalry, but then I realized I was giving more thought to it than the filmmakers did so I stopped. Disclosure: not Chinese, just a folklore enthusiast. Disclosure II: not Chinese, but after living in Shanghai for five years, I've become *That Guy* who cringes every time every single person mispronounced Taotie. It should be "tao-tee-yay", but I'll forgive if you don't have a falling tone on the last syllable. I did look up "tao-t-a-i" that slant rhymes with "bow tie", and apparently "淘汰" could be read as "natural selection" or "elimination as in natural selection," so that fits!
  2. 4 points
  3. 4 points
  4. 3 points
    For my Movie of the Weekend, I chose Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot (2018). I forgot my original intention of the program, which was to pick another movie with a word from the discussion's title. For Velvet Goldmine I chose National Velvet. Yet last time I forgot and made it rhyming. Couldn't find anything like Titanic so I went the opposite direction and picked Fantastic Voyage. This week I did the same with a "foot" title instead of "head". Next time I'll try to go back to the original deal. Read below for a semi-spoiled review.
  5. 3 points
    At first, I wanted to call shenanigans on the hosts for suggesting that all of the characters should have been decked out in magnets to protect themselves from the tao tei as there was a line in the movie where Strategist Wang calls it a “strange stone,” implying that they were somehow unaware of the existence of magnets, or at the very least, unaware of the effect magnets might have on rabid space mutts. However, while searching for the scene to support this with a quote, I stumbled on another scene where Strategist Wang not only refers to the stone as a magnet, but that they actually have an ancient record of another instance where a magnet was present and the tao tei simply stopped attacking and allowed themselves to be slaughtered. Okay, if the presence of a magnet was that conspicuous during this weird outlier encounter that it was worth being recorded in their tao tei tome, then yeah, there is absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t have spent the subsequent six decades stockpiling magnetite. Why wouldn’t you? You’ve known it works for at least 60 years! According to Wikipedia, magnetite isn’t even all that rare, and that it is commonly found with iron ore. In other words, the same material they’re using to make their armor, weapons, comically large pruning shears, and Cirque de Soleil bungee hoops is lousy with the exact material they know for a fact will peacefully subdue their enemy. I’m sorry, but there’s just no excuse why that entire wall isn’t just overlaid in lodestone.
  6. 3 points
    Nobody could seem to figure out what type of accent Matt Damon was going for in this movie. And apparently that was by design. In an interview with Yahoo, Damon discusses the character's accent, which he created with acclaimed Hollywood dialect coach Tim Monich. "The accent we made up," he says. "It had to be understandable. It couldn't be modern English. And then [Monich] made rules for it -- the way he does with any dialect we're working on -- so we kinda cobbled it together that way.” Who wants to speculate on what those rules could possibly be? I’m guessing they were based on the color of the outfit each character that Damon spoke to was wearing. If the person wore blue, Damon spoke in an Irish accent. If the character wore red, he spoke with a Texas twang. And so on.
  7. 3 points
    Yes. It's not super common, but it can happen in the social insects i mentioned if the colony is under stress or if there aren't any suitable partners elsewhere, which would be the case here, as it seems that there is only one Taotei colony. Even in mammals, it happens in zoos ( not so much nowadays ), in feral cat colonies... Inbreeding is the way you got all the different dog/cat/fish/bird/cow/goat/sheep/insert-any-domesticated-or-somewhat-domesticated-animal-here breeds. And some fruit flies actually seem to favor incest, because why change a winning formula? If your children inbreed, that's your successful genes beeing spread. And then there's mites, where at least one species has the male impregnating his sisters while still inside the womb. You asked. But there are lots of different, non sexual reproduction strategies. Maybe all the Taotei we see are clones, or clonal. Aphids can have super complicated life cycles, where at one point, clone females are born already pregnant with the next generation of ( different bodied ) clone females. In the words of a famous philosopher, " Life, uh... Finds a way ".
  8. 3 points
    Assorted musings: - The preview for this film was one of the first times i remember seeing a piece of media, and out loud, for real, saying " Oh NO...! ". I became, as the kids are saying these days, " Woke " and " Shook ". - I told my co workers about it. Then i had to show them the preview, because they thought i was kidding. They too were shook ( not all of them got woke though ). - I thought they'd be fighting dragons. Would it have been stupid? Yes. Would it have made more sense? Yes. - Whenever i see the Great Wall of China i think about the Futurama gag where they knock it down and then the Mongols invade. - When June was relating to the Taotei, she said " fightfightfight ", like on the Itchy and Scratchy Show theme song. COINCIDENCE??? Yes. - The Taotei life cycle is very insect like. Ants, wasps, bees and termites all have social hierarchies, and each has a different body type ( maybe the ones around the Queen were drones ). Cicadas have a very long larval development stage, as a reproductive strategy to minimize the number of predators that they face when they eventually emerge. The Taotei life cycle seems to be 60 years, which would definitely make it longer than the average human life expectancy in the middle ages. Unfortunately for them, humans have developed the concept of time, so they knew when they were coming. Guys, maybe the Taotei were REAL, and Matt Damon helped make them extinct. - Migrating birds have tiny metallic beads inside their heads, and that's how they know where to go, using the Earth's magnetic field. Do magnets screw them up? I don't know, try it out with your local geese. - Jason Mantzoukas seemed confounded by the idea of bipedal animals; Examples of bipedal animals include: Jason Mantzoukas. - This film wasn't as bad or cringey as it seemed at first, but the same can't be said of Matt Damon
  9. 3 points
    Wouldn't it have been such an easy fix to say that Willem Dafoe's character had learned how to make black powder in the 25 years that he had been prisoner/guest there? Then they'd have a reason to escape with him since he's infinitely more valuable than a couple of saddlebags full of gunpowder. I bet the recruiting numbers for the Nameless Order are pretty great in years 1 through 40 after a Tao Tei attack. Start to dip some after that and then in year 59 there is no way those guys are hitting their quota.
  10. 2 points
    Live from Boston, Paul, June and Jason discuss the 2016 action film The Great Wall. They talk about space dogs, Matt Damon’s accent, magnets, and much more. ... am I the only one who didn’t know this was about aliens OR Pedro Pascal? I don’t know what is going on anymore.
  11. 2 points
  12. 2 points
  13. 2 points
    whoa i thought i was like 6 months away from choosing again i'll find a pick after breakfast
  14. 2 points
    So...when Damon pulled that archery trick with the bowl, did he really just let that first arrow go careening into that crowded hall? When the shot ended with the bowl being propped up by the other two arrows, I really wanted to see an extra in the background staggering through the throng clutching an arrow sticking out of their chest.
  15. 2 points
    It's freaking awesome! It reminds me a little of some of his long songs on Tempest (those weird ones about John Lennon and the Titanic), so yea, I concur it's probably from those around then when he was writing about topics like that. 5 straight albums of Sinatra covers is way too much, that's for sure haha.
  16. 2 points
    I chuckled when Paul talked about Andy Lau and how he starred in Infernal Affairs. Andy Lau is a HUGE star in China and around the world. He never quite penetrated North American recognition the way Jackie Chan or even Tony Leung have, but... yeah. Like those other two, just a seemingly ageless megastar actor and singer (yes, Jackie Chan is also a very popular singer). I think all three of them are in Drunken Master 2, though Andy's part is more of a cameo. Jackie and Tony are costars of the film Gorgeous, and Andy's costar in Infernal Affairs was Tony. Now I want to watch a bunch of Cantonese movies again. Maybe I'll do that in these self-isolating days leading up to some parental leave. I'll make a list if anyone is interested. I've literally seen hundreds of them starting from the early 90s especially, thanks to an early interest in John Woo* that led to watching any movie that came on the Chinese station from Toronto. Anyway, I think Jason alluded to the fact that The Great Wall is a Chinese production, but the podcast (understandably, given their location) pretty much just focused on the American actors, especially Matt Damon. Considering the insanely cheap and quickly made quality of older Chinese films, it's wild to see their industry start to take these steps, making more and more self-mythologizing period dramas with hired guns like Damon to shore up the global box office. I think people also commented on how shitty the CG was. Which is certainly fair. But really, for the most part the Chinese audience doesn't seem to care if the effects are clunky. These are people used to traditional theatre performances and crazy wire work in movies. Personally, I don't like the CG alien dog things but it's not because of the CG (though it is bad) - it's because I don't like the trend of action movies creating a weird creature that the heroes can literally just mow through and we gross human beings who get bent out of shape if someone is mean to a kitten will look at these alien creatures, judge them solely on their looks, and say yeah, that thing has to die. *I hate every movie he made in the USA. Yes, even Face/Off.
  17. 2 points
    A vampire who backs bare-assed into a crucifix has hot cross buns.
  18. 2 points
    At one point in the movie, they hypothesize that the magnets deafen the tao tei, and that being unable to receive audible directions from the queen is what causes them to freeze up. However, there is absolutely no science that magnets have any affect on hearing at all. I’m not even sure how that would work. In fact, all speakers and earbuds are equipped with magnets as part of the speaker diaphragm. If the movie had posited that the tao tei communicated through some kind of magnetoreception (a sense that allows an organism to detect magnetic fields) then they might have had a compelling argument, but the movie specifically says “deafen” while showing them communicate exclusively through audible means. Furthermore, the Earth is essentially a gigantic magnet. That is how compasses work! They aren’t called the North and South Pole for nothing! It is literally magnetic polarization from the Earth’s molten magnetic core. If tao tai were that sensitive to magnetism, they would be in such a chronic state of lethargy that they would have probably starved to death within days of crash landing their jade meteorite on Earth.
  19. 2 points
    I won’t lie: I like that. Fuck easily pinned-down accents!!!
  20. 2 points
    Is the Nameless Order really nameless?
  21. 2 points
  22. 1 point
    "Ye will surely say unto me this ad-lib, '"Improv Man, catchphrase thyself."
  23. 1 point
    Western audiences are probably most familiar with director Zhang Yimoufilms Hero and House of Flying Daggers — which also have super-colorful, hyper-kinetic wuxia fight scenes — but the bigger reference point might be his directing of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games' opening ceremony If you've never seen it, it's definitely worth a watch, especially as it features a similar holographic scroll powerpoint presentation! Those big set-pieces with thousands of ornately-costumed extras were definitely evocative of some of the more mind-blowing elements of those ceremonies. And they're also in keeping with some of the big themes of Chinese communitarian unity and sacrifice, versus western individualism and greed.
  24. 1 point
  25. 1 point
    Stinky is the turtle head that wears the brown crown.
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