Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Martin Scorsese's Next Film Is Going To Netflix!

Yes, you read that headline right! Martin Scorsese, the filmmaker behind some of the most influential American films of the last 40 years, will have his next film, The Irishman (which stars Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino) debut straight to Netflix, as it appears Paramount Pictures, which is in the middle of an upheaval, has decided not to take the major risk of simply distributing the film domestically. Thus, Netflix is in the process of securing worldwide rights to the title, with this pairing offering a paradigm shift for Hollywood.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Someone Find A Remedy For The Story Problems That Plague A Cure For Wellness

It's fairly obvious that director Gore Verbinski carries a soft spot for the twisted and morbid. His debut directorial effort, Mouse Hunt, was a family movie obviously intended to be just a Home Alone knock-off, so of course, he starts off the feature with a funeral procession and a separate on-screen heart attack in short order. His Pirates Of The Caribbean movies frequently diverged into spooky terrain and don't forget about the random cannibal elements (including ravenous rabbits) in The Lone Ranger. After nearly fifteen years of playing in the real of PG & PG-13 fare, Gore Verbinski's newest movie, A Cure For Wellness, offers him the chance to just go nuts with all the twisted story content he can imagine.

Silent Movie Laughs Are Plentiful In The Fantastic Charlie Chaplin Effort The Gold Rush

Note: This review covers the 1942 version of The Gold Rush.

As Smash Mouth once sang, "All that glitters is gold". And in the 19th century, people headed West in the great California gold rush in hopes of scoring a fortune that was located directly below your feet. Even once that gold rush died down, people fervently traveled across the globe to all kinds of biomes in hopes of obtaining financial prosperity beyond their wildest dreams. This concept of striking rich by way of gold was such a ubiquitous idea throughout the 19th century and early 20th century, it was inevitable that one of the most prolific filmmakers of the early 20th century would tackle it in one of his films.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Go On A Thoughtful & Beautiful Journey Out To Sea With The Red Turtle

We've all heard the phrase "A picture's worth a thousand words" ad nauseum in our lives at this point, but there's really no better axiom to pull out in order to really pinpoint why The Red Turtle works so well. This newest feature hailing from Studio Ghibli is a hand-drawn animated feature (with computer animation embellishments) that is an entirely dialogue-free affair, instead choosing to tell its original story solely by way of boatloads of gorgeous animation. Without verbal communication at its beck and call. The Red Turtle creates something extraordinarily unique with a remarkably potent emotional center.

LEGO Batman Builds Up Another Victory At The Box Office As A Trio Of Newcomers Underperform Over President's Day Weekend

Note: All figures discussed here are for the 3-Day weekend.

Well, it's President's Day weekend and a trio of newcomers failed to generate audience interest in a way that made this holiday weekend much weaker at the box office than it has been in the past few years despite the strong showings put up by some holdovers. Leading the pack was The LEGO Batman Movie, which built up another $34.2 million, which is a 35% dip from its opening weekend, a larger second weekend decline than past early February family fare like The LEGO Movie (28%) and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (27%) but is still a fine hold that brings its 10-day domestic total to $98.7 million, meaning it'll surpass $100 million domestically by tomorrow.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Douglas Laman's 20 Best Movies Of 2016 (Part One)

I started out this years Best Movies Of The Year list by wanting to trim down the amount of movies I recognized from 25 to something smaller. I started out doing just 10 of the best movies of the year, then 12, then 13, then 16, then 18 and now I managed to get it down to 20. Yay for brevity! Yes, this is the 20 Best Movies Of 2016, as I cull from the 151 movies I saw from 2016 as of February 17th, 2017, to create a list that examines the best of the best. Plenty of great movies (notably The Handmaiden, The Little Prince and 10 Cloverfield Lane) barely missed this list while I'll freely admit I still haven't many critically raved about movies like Toni Erdmann, The Salesman or I Am Not Your Negro yet. As in the past two years, I rank my movies in alphabetical order instead of from best to worst, though, again as in years past, have selected one movie to be the absolute best of the year.

With all of those formalities out of the way, let's start things off with the first part of my look at the 20 Best Movies Of 2016!

Fist Fight Is About As Painful As A Punch In The Face

Charlie Day is funny. Ice Cube is funny. Jillian Bell is funny. Tracy Morgan is funny. Kumail Najiani is funny. Dean Norris was awesome on Breaking Bad. Christina Hendricks is....I actually haven't watched Mad Men, so my only prior exposure to her has been in two Nicolas Winding Refn movies and her brief cameo in Zoolander 2, so I'm unclear on her talent levels right now but I've heard phenomenal things about her role on Mad Men. Anywho, put all these people in a movie together and you're bound to get something remotely resembling a fun comedy, right? Not quite, what we end up with instead is kind of sort of the exact opposite of that.

Psycho Is Every Bit As Engrossing As You've Heard And Then Some

Sight & Sound Voyage Entry #8
Placement On Sight & Sound 50 Best Movies List: #35 (tied with Metropolis, Jeanne Dielman 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles and Satantango)


You'd think, for a guy as strongly associated with high quality horror/thriller fare like Alfred Hitchcock, the experience of discovering he's directed a top-to-bottom phenomenal movie wouldn't be the least bit surprising at this point. But good golly, the guy's done it again. Watching Psycho for the first time instilled in me a deep a sense of shock how this master of cinema had done it yet again. I could feel the glee spreading from my head to my toes as I watched each new scene of Psycho unfold, with that emotion stemming from me realizing that Hitchcock hadn't just knocked it out of the park here, he'd knocked it out our solar system!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Giddy On Up With The Searchers

Sight & Sound Voyage Entry #7
Placement On Sight & Sound 50 Best Movies List: #7

Certain actors you tend to associate with specific types of movies. Matthew McConaughey, for instance, was the go-to romantic comedy guy for so long that that's what became known for while Adam Sandler was the proprietor of broad immature comedies. Perhaps no single actor is as directly tied to a genre they frequently inhabited as John Wayne is to the world of the Western. That no-nonsense attitude of his that always seemed to have a retort and a bullet ready to go for any situation seems to be the pop culture default for what many classify as a protagonist in a Western motion picture.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Let's All Go Pay A Visit To (Deep Breath) Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

Sight & Sound Voyage Entry #6
Placement On Sight & Sound 50 Best Movies List: #35 (Tied with Psycho, Satantango and Metropolis)

Part of the reason why I wanted to go through all 50 films on Sight & Sounds 50 Best Movies list was because I wanted to get a better grasp on world cinema and the various filmmakers behind some of the most acclaimed motion pictures of all-time. I may be a proud film geek, but there are too many blind spots in my cinema knowledge to count and getting through this list would be a great way to do just that.  Plus, it would expose me to all kinds of movies made in a style that I was completely unfamiliar with, which, of course, is a way to segue into my newest review in this series, which covers the 1975 motion picture Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

In An Attempt To Boost Its Image, DC Films May Hire Noted Anti-Semite Mel Gibson To Direct Suicide Squad Sequel

In addition to that Gotham City Sirens movie that original Suicide Squad director David Ayer and Margot Robbie are doing, it appears that a Suicide Squad 2 is officially a-go, with Warner Bros. actively searching for a filmmaker to take over the job of directing those baddies on a mission since original director David Ayer is busy with the aforementioned Gotham City Sirens movie. The Hollywood Reporter brings word this evening that Daniel Espinosa is one candidate up to direct, with another one that Warner Bros. is actively seeking being....MEL GIBSON???

I'll Cast A Vote For The American President And Its Charming Romance

Watching it 22 years after its release, The American President is like stepping into a time machine and traveling back to a bygone era, when the computers were so large, Michael J. Fox was still around in movies (I always love seeing that guy in stuff!), Rob Reiner was making good high-profile movies and talking about the President didn't send a cold shiver down my spine. It's also a chance to see some of our most esteemed veteran actors like Michael Douglas and Annette Bening in something more light-hearted than they (well, primarily Bening in terms of modern-day roles) usually do.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Realism And Scripted Recreations Collide In Close-Up

Utilizing the filming style of a documentary for a fictional scripted affair is a style of filmmaking that's existed for eons now and has been popularized in the modern era by the likes of The Office and Borat. A cousin of sorts to that type of movie is the Docufiction, which merges documentary with fictional elements. The first American entry in this subgenre is apparently the 1926 motion picture Moana (yes, there was another Moana before last year's Disney musical), but one of the more acclaimed examples of this style of storytelling is an Iranian film from Abbas Kiarostami released in 1990 called Close-Up,

There Aren't Enough Words To Describe The Virtues Of The Phenomenal The Elephant Man

"People fear what they don't understand" is an oft-repeated axiom that feels exemplified by the events depicted in David Lynch's 1980 film The Elephant Man. I mean, look at where my own country, America, is right now. A President got elected by playing to people's ignorance and hatred of people slightly different from themselves. And this is far from the first time people of great power have gotten their high levels of authority by playing into humanities distrust of anything that dares to not adhere to the status quo. But those people who get mocked for being different are human beings, with a beating heart and dreams and their own personal ambitions that far too many refuse to acknowledge even exist.

Monday, February 13, 2017

What Lies Beneath Review

What Lies Beneath is a departure for Robert Zemeckis, a director whose inhabited many different genres in his multiple decades as a filmmaker, but only delved into the world of horror two other times in his career, with the 1992 horror/comedy Death Becomes Her and the feature that traumatized me as a youth, The Polar Express. What Lies Beneath may not be as terrifying as his 2004 Christmas-themed motion picture, but hey, it works on its own merits as a spooky ghost story with some appropriately bombastic twists that feel like they should be told around a campfire via an adult holding a flashlight under their face.

"DARKNESS!" and "NO PARENTS!!" Inform The Incredibly Fun LEGO Batman Movie

With The LEGO Batman Movie, we've now had eleven theatrically released movies starring Batman (the number goes up to twelve if ya wanna count Batman: The Killing Joke, which received a limited two-night long theatrical run last summer). Considering the characters been romping around in comics for nearly eight whole decades now, you can imagine there's plenty of fodder in the universe of Batman for way more than just eleven movies, but a large portion of his mythos has been swept aside in recent theatrical film depictions of the character, namely the presence of the Bat-Family, which consists of characters like Robin and Bat-Girl.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Looking For An Action Movie Sequel With Fun To Spare? John Wick: Chapter 2 Is Just What You've Been Looking For!

There are a couple things you need in an action movie to succeed. A good grasp of the language of how to shoot action sequences is vital, since a cohesive visual style is crucial for the audience to even get anything out of the extended shoot-outs or fistfights. Understanding how to keep bringing new elements to the table in each of your action sequences so they don't get repetitive is a great choice, ditto for getting editors who know how to make all of these scenes flow naturally. John Wick: Chapter 2 understands all these crucial rules as well as one other truism of life: it never hurts to have an adorable pit bull around.

The LEGO Batman Movie Edges Out Fifty Shades For Top Spot At Box Office While John Wick 2 Hits A Bullseye

This was one hopping February weekend as three new wide releases all debuted to over $30 million. Top of the pack was The LEGO Batman Movie, which debuted to $55.6 million, the seventh best opening weekend in February ever and easily the biggest opening weekend of 2017 so far. In terms of computer animated fare, that gives it the thirtieth biggest opening weekend ever, just behind the debuts of Big Hero 6 and Despicable Me. Interestingly, that is a debut that's below a number of opening weekend predictions for the title, which foresaw it managing to beat the opening weekend of The LEGO Movie, while it instead came in about 19% below the debut of that 2014 animated movie.