Admittedly the first part on the list was a little on the simple side, I think I need to go into a little more detail on some of the other ones. And, as usual, these are MY opinions on what I like about movies, I'm not interested in a debate, so you can keep that to yourself. That all said, here we go...
2. Visuals (CG-FEST!)
This is one of those things that gets a lot of people up in arms and ranting. Seems like if you were to listen to the vocal majority or minority, whatever they are - they're the vocal ones anyway - movies with an excess of CG are apparently generally hated by the movie going audience at large. To that I say, "lighten the fuck up", big deal. It's the audience that's created this "monster" as far as I'm concerned, or at the very least, perpetuated it into it's current state.
The general audience is so jaded that little movies, ones with just a couple people sitting around talking, don't cut it all the time. They're lost in a sea of multi-million dollar studio pictures. That doesn't mean exactly that these little pictures are good anyway, they're just as capable of sucking as the big ones. Each have their own audience, but the big ones are the big ones for a reason. People eat that shit up like crazy and then bitch about the FX - whether they even understand them as being good or not, they just want to rant about how their low attention span brains were disappointed somehow.
This is where folks like Michael Bay come in. I think people love to hate him, yet his movies are always big money makers. Massive explosions, over the top CG visuals and just generally there's crap flying everywhere. If people really hated CG, his movies would tank - but they don't. Explain that one too me if you think I'm wrong.
Actually, I don't care if I'm right or wrong, because personally I love CG-Fests. I'm a visual person I guess, I love to have my eyeballs entertained. That doesn't mean just because it's got an abundance of CG that I'll automatically love it - I can't bring myself to watch Avatar because it just looks so lame and at this point, there's no point, my mind's already made it, so I'll hate it regardless. In any case, I'm not interesting in movies I don't like, I'm talking about why I like the ones I do.
I love CG, I used to think it was something I wanted to do, but it's such a pain in the ass that I've moved on. However, I still love watching that stuff. I think it's because CG can create stuff you just don't see in every day life, it pushes the limit of the director's imagination, beyond what special effects can do, into a world where you can pretty much do whatever the hell you want.
The Pirates of the Caribbean movies are a good example here I think. I love those movies, I think Dead Man's Chest might be one of my favorite movies. I don't have an automatic thing for Pirate movies, so it's not just that. It's got a great cast - so that does help. The visuals though are amazing. Especially Davey Jones - that's a character that could never be really properly visualized with makeup. When I see it, I forget that it's not actually Bill Nighy onscreen, that's just a CG version of him with a octopus face. You can whine about how you didn't think it worked for you, but seriously, that's so insulting to the talent that created it. You do better if you think you know this shit so well.
It's probably one of the best representations of taking an actor and altering them so much that really only the eyes are similar, but if you're familiar with Nighy, you can see the performance is spot on. Yeah, it was motion capture, but that setup wasn't designed to capture the subtly of his performance. All his little ticks and mannerisms were 100% recreated by the animators. And it was fucking awesome. I don't care how you want to spin it, it was amazingly well done.
And yes, there's Gollum, he's well done, but nothing overly remarkable as far as I'm concerned. He's believable because the character is still overall normal looking. And while Andy Serkis is an incredibly physical actor and you can totally see his performance come though, Gollum still ranks mid-range on my top ten list of create CG characters, and that's only because it's not really pushing any boundaries - although the character would look pretty stupid as makeup I think.
See, reason I love this stuff, over the top visuals in general in movies, is because I've always done visual stuff myself. On paper, on computer, or sculpted - whatever, so part of what really draws me to movies with a big emphasis on CG visuals is because it's partially a source of inspiration, but also because it allows me shut my brain off from it's constant chatter. Movies with anything less, I find myself waiting for them to be over, not getting engrossed in them as much - unless there's something else awesome about them.
Now this is easy to say AFTER I've seen a movie, but I'm more or less looking at what draws me to the movie in the first place - so here's a good example. I just saw a trailer for the movie I, Frankenstein. One that I'm sure some people just groaning and moaning about already, but seriously - it looks FUCKING AWESOME! The trailer is nothing but over the top insane visuals, you got Aaron Eckhart and Bill Nighy, along with some other good actors, you got a new take on an old character (and actually a better one than we've previously seen for the most part), along with a bunch of other little things I can pick apart as being what draws me to thinking this movie is something I really want to see and I'm pretty confident I will love.
I'll probably use this as an example to define some of the other things I like about movies, however, it'll be awhile before I actually see it, so I can't really comment on that yet.
And again, this isn't to say that just because a movie automatically has CG in it that I'll love it, there's obviously something missing in the mix that makes those movies uninteresting to me.