Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Documentary Spielberg Looks At An Iconic Career In An Engaging Manner

This morning, the nominations for the 90th Academy Awards were announced and among the nine films nominated for Best Picture was The Post, Steven Spielberg's newest directorial effort. With The Post securing a Best Picture nod, this meant, as pointed out by Mark Harris on Twitter, that Spielberg has now had eleven of his movies nominated for Best Picture, the second highest amount of movies a single director has ever had nominated in Best Picture (William Wyler has the most with 13 of his features scoring Best Picture nominations). That's an astonishing accomplishment and it's far from the only place where Spielberg's career has been marked with great success as anyone who's been to a movie theater in the last four decades can attest.


Monday, January 22, 2018

Bet On The Actors Excelling And The Camerawork Underwhelming In Molly's Game

Aaron Sorkin has been writing movies and TV shows for 26 years now and somehow, in that entire period of time, he's never directed anything before his 2017 feature film Molly's Game. This is especially regarding his TV work, the guy was the creator of four different TV shows, one of which (The West Wing) ran for over 150 episodes, and he never once directed an episode of any of these programs despite frequently writing the scripts for individual episodes. Taking all of that into consideration, it's utterly shocking he's taken this long to get behind the camera but he's done just that with the motion picture Molly's Game.


Douglas Laman's 90th Academy Awards Nominees Predictions (PART TWO)

We did Part One back on Saturday, now it's time for the second part of my predictions for who gets nominated for what at this year's Academy Awards ceremony!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

For The Third Weekend In A Row, Jumanji Tops The Box Office While 12 Strong Starts Out Decently And Den Of Thieves "YAWK! YAWK! YAWK! YAWK!"'s It's Way Past Expectations

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle continued to impress at the domestic box office in its fifth weekend of release as it eased down only 28% to gross another $20 million, the seventh biggest fifth weekend in history. With a domestic cume of $316.9 million, it appears this Jake Kasdan directed motion picture is headed for a final domestic gross in the vicinity of $370-380 million. It' astonishing how this one continues to leapfrog past expectations, a clear sign this one has incredible word-of-mouth working in its favor.


Steven Spielberg Kicked Off His Career In Thrilling Style With Duel

Before The Post, before Schindler's List, before even Jaws and The Sugarland Express, Steven Spielberg directed Duel, a TV movie of the week that got expanded into an 89-minute-long feature-length cut for theatrical exhibition domestically and abroad (that longer cut is the one reviewed here). Spielberg's earliest directorial credits were all television work (including a segment in a horror anthology TV movie that starred Joan Crawford!) but this was the first time he got to be behind the camera on a project that reached the runtime of a typical feature-length motion picture, setting the stage for his career in directing theatrical films that was yet to come.


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Douglas Laman's 90th Academy Awards Nominees Predictions (PART ONE)

The nominees for the 90th Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday. Everyone from Variety to The Hollywood Reporter to award-centric websites like Gold Derby have been doing their final round of Oscar nominee predictions, so what the hey, I'll embrace conformity and also join in on predicting who gets nominated for what at this year's Oscars. Just a heads up before we go forward, these Oscar nominee predictions are not based on my own personal desires for what should be nominated, but rather based on numerous other factors like who's getting the most buzz in the industry, who has been nominated at crucial recent award shows like the Producer's Guild of America Awards and so on.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Prepare For Oodles of Laughs And Kindness, Paddington 2 Is Here!

This perception (which is, as so many pieces of entertainment from decades past can attest, is far from new) that films or tv shows aimed at children must be as loud, grating and hip as possible to attract their attention is a thoroughly insulting concept, especially in regards to children themselves. Yes, there are programs that fit such a bill that kids like but it's not the only way to create pieces of pop culture that youngsters enjoy. The first Paddington movie, about a small bear from Peru who goes to London to live with a human family, from three years ago threw off the shackles of default family entertainment and embraced with, charm and an infectious sense of sweetness instead. The result was something shockingly enjoyable that succeeded as much as a comedy as it did as a family movie.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Dean Works Better As A Contemplation of Coping With Grief Than As A Comedy

Dean is the feature film directorial debut for comedian Demetri Martin, who also writes and stars in this project which revolves around Martin playing artist Dean who is struggling with coming to terms with the death of his mother. His Dad, Robert (Kevin Kline), is trying to move forward by selling their old family home, engaging in new exercise routines and keeping in omnipresent contact with his son (which is made all the more easier by the use of his new handy-dandy smartphone). Dean, on the other hand, is looking to be more reclusive as he shuts himself out from his father and tries to avoid fully confronting the internal emotional pain that his mom's passing has caused for him.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

In Laman's Terms: The Queer of The Dawn of Cinema

An image from the pivotal 1919 feature Different From The Others
In Laman's Terms is a weekly editorial column where Douglas Laman rambles on about certain topics or ideas that have been on his mind lately. Sometimes he's got serious subjects to discuss, other times he's just got some silly stuff to shoot the breeze about. Either way, you know he's gonna talk about something In Laman's Terms!

"Somebody, your father or mine, should have told us that not many people have ever died of love. But multitudes have perished, and are perishing every hour--and in the oddest places!--for the lack of it." - James Baldwin

Have you seen the new trailer for Love, Simon? If not, check it out below cuz it's all kinds of sweet and heartwarming, really makes me hope the movie itself is awesome!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Menashe Provides A Thoughtful And Charming Character Study

The tale of the titular lead character of Menashe (played by Menashe Lustig) does not begin with a bang. We do not see the tragic circumstances that led to the death of Menashe's wife, rather, we pick up a short period of time after this event has occurred and follow Menashe as he attempts to pick up the pieces of his life and raise his son, Rieven (Ruben Niborski), as best he can. Menashe, raised as a Hasidic Jewish individual, finds the traditions of this religion bumping into his plans to raise his son, as elders in his community, as well as his son's uncle Eizik (Yoel Weisshaus), believe Rieven should be raised in a more traditional household with two parents instead of having just one guardian whose barely getting by as it is.

Steven Spielberg Created A Phenomenally Impactful Motion Picture With Schindler's List

While watching the documentary Spielberg, which chronicles the filmography of its titular filmmaker, shortly after Schindler's List, I was struck by being reminded of how much of a departure this film was compared to everything else Spielberg had done up to this point. Both in Steven Spielberg's comments on the film and in juxtaposing footage of the feature to footage of past Spielberg movies, Schindler's List feels like a complete 180 from what had come before it. Tight, small-scale conversations had replaced the grand spectacle of his blockbuster efforts, more realistic muted character beats abounded and small touches in the lighting & and writing reinforced that this project, near and dear to the heart of its director, was being executed with a deft & thoughtful touch.

Hot Off The Presses Is Steven Spielberg's Entertaining New Drama The Post

Steven Spielberg's been directing movies since the early 1970's and Meryl Streep got put on the map as an actor of note forty years ago with The Deer Hunter. In the multiple decades they've both worked as prominent figures in the American film industry, it's utterly shocking their paths haven't crossed before now (though Streep did have a voice-over cameo in Spielberg's 2001 masterpiece A.I.: Artificial Intelligence). Such an odd lack of artistic collaboration is finally rectified for The Post, Steven Spielberg's new drama that pairs Streep up with Spielberg regular Tom Hanks for a timely tale of heroic journalism standing up to corrupt forces in the American government.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

As Jumanji Leads The Box Office Again, The Post Has Solid Debut While A Trio of Newcomers, Including Paddington 2, Underwhelm

It's absolutely insane how well Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle is doing at the domestic box office. Did anyone have even the faintest idea of how much cash this one was gonna end up making? For its fourth weekend of release, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle grossed another $27 million, a tiny 27% dip from last weekend that brings this one's domestic gross to $283.1 million. Could this one manage to crack $350 million domestically? It doesn't look impossible at this point but I'll say it ends it's domestic run at $335 million right now, good enough to become the fifth biggest movie of 2017 domestically.

Friday, January 12, 2018

I Can Handle The Nastiness In Brawl In Cell Block 99 But Did It Have To Be So Meandering?

Brawl In Cell Block 99 is a grimy nasty movie, one that finds human beings as simply vehicles to experiment new forms of torment on and I can guarantee you that the features writer/director S. Craig Zahler would take that as a major compliment. He's made a film that's just stacked with depravity, which isn't a bad thing at all inherently, there are movies I absolutely love that are way more grim than this prison-set action film (Au Hasard Balthazar would eat this thing up for breakfast and then go back for seconds). But could it at least be depraved in an interesting way? Could its warped worldview manifest in ways that are actually entertaining instead of frequently meandering?