Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Sense Of An Ending Falls Quite Short Of Being A Riveting Page-Turner

The past is always a difficult thing to grapple with, particularly past regrets and mistakes. Lord knows I myself have spent countless nights sitting in bed thinking about all the social faux pas and other mistakes I've committed over my life and I do not think I'm the only one who's been consumed by such late-night mournful reminiscing. I'd wager very single human being has got their own personal foibles from their past that they can't help but obsess over and Tony Webster (Jim Broadbent), the lead character of the new drama The Sense Of An Ending, is far from an exception in this regard.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Saban's Power Rangers Is...Diverting Fun? Wait, What, It's Actually Fun? Huh.

Someone at Saban Entertainment (the company that owns Power Rangers) obviously wanted to make a live-action feature film about the Power Rangers in order to cash in on the craze of big-budget live-action movies adapting childhood TV shows with massive nostalgia-driven fanbases. And so, lo and behold, the resulting project is Saban's Power Rangers, a $100 million budgeted motion picture whose starting premise basically amounts to "What if we merged The Breakfast Club and Pacific Rim into one movie?". That very much sounds like two motion pictures that should never ever be mashed together but they've gone and done just that. The resulting movie is....actually not bad, much better than I expected it to be, though this whole thing carries more than a few major shortcomings to its name.

Get Trapped With Overly Familiar But Sometimes Chilling Thrills In Life

Jake Gyllenhaal has been on quite the roll lately. His exemplary lead turn in Nightcrawler was one of the peak moments of his entire career and even in something more middling like Southpaw Gyllenhaal managed to craft a solid performance out of a subpar script. Last years Nocturnal Animals continued his recent career choices of doing bold and daring projects by offering Gyllenhaal a chance to inhabit a tortured persona to fascinating results. So, of course, after all these challenging dramas, it's no shocker that the next big movie Jake Gyllenhaal is headlining is Life, a science-fiction horror film chock full of blood and mayhem, just like Nocturnal Animals. What I'm trying to say is that Life is the exact same movie as Nocturnal Animals.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sea A Revolution Begin In Battleship Potemkin

Sight & Sound Voyage Entry #17
Placement On Sight & Sound Top 50 Movies List: #11

Every revolution begins somewhere. Even the biggest uprisings in history have started with ideas from one human being, a singular mind that had had enough of the status quo and were looking to upend it for their own gain and for others. Sometimes these events end in prosperity, other times they esult in chaos. Either way though, these large interruptions come from humble origins as most things do. To quote the movie Lawrence Of Arabia, "Big things have small beginnings", and that's very much true for the rebellion seen in the 1925 Sergei Eisenstein motion picture, Battleship Potemkin, which recreates a real-life mutiny from twenty-three years prior.

Beauty And The Beast Has Gorgeous Second Weekend While Power Rangers Does Decent Business And Life And CHiPS Flop

With another $88.3 million, Beauty And The Beast continued to be an incredible box office juggernaut, handily leading the domestic box office and securing the second best second weekend drop for a movie opening over $150 million, only .4% the exactly 49% dip of Jurassic World. A 49.4% is truly fantastic for the release though, on par with the 48% drop Cinderella saw in its second weekend despite that 2015 Disney family film making over $100 million less on opening weekend. Beauty And The Beast has already taken in $316.9 million in ten days and looks to be on track for a final domestic gross of at least $460 million.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Broken Souls Find Momentary Comfort And Longer-Lasting Pain In Persona

Sight & Sound Voyage Entry #16
Placement On Sight & Sound Top 50 Movies List: #28

Let it never be said that Ingmar Bergman does not start off his movies in a manner reminiscent of the immortal Smash Mouth lyric "...hit the ground running." The very first scene in Persona is an abstract compilation of seemingly unrelated footage playing off, some of it grisly, some of it silly, before we see a nameless character emerge from a hospital bed and approach a giant screen. Then the opening credits start up, kicking off the plot proper. Once that was all over, I kind of just had to pause for a moment and figure out what on Earth I had just watched. The fact that the film itself just casually goes about its business after that perplexing opening sequence. Okee-dokee, I guess that's the kind of motion picture I'm in for?

My Mixed Thoughts On The Justice League Trailer


Here we go.

No need for a preamble here folks. My negative feelings towards Batman v. Superman are well-known at this point, we all know a Justice League movie is headed our way, let's just dig into the first trailer proper.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Movies Begin: A Treasury Of Old Cinema | 1894-1913 (feat. Eadweard Muybridge & Thomas Edison Short Films, The Great Train Robbery, A Trip To The Moon) Review

Reviewing this Kino Lorber DVD collection of some of the earliest pieces of cinema was a total accident, I'll freely admit. While browsing the shelves at my college's library, I stumbled upon The Movies Begin: A Treasury Of Old Cinema | 1894-1913, without having either heard of this The Movies Begin series of DVD's, let alone this specific entry in the franchise. Upon discovering it, of course, I couldn't pass it up, especially since I had seen none of the numerous incredibly important shorts it contained within. It really is true how sometimes truly awesome experiences emerge from spontaneity.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

What Kind Of An Impact Can One Man's Life Have? Andrei Rublev Sets Out To Answer That Very Question

Sight & Sound Voyage Entry #15
Placement On Sight & Sound Top 50 Movies List: #26 (tied with Rashomon)

It's gonna be tough for me to review Andrei Rublev, Andrei Tarkovsky's widely raved 1966 motion picture chronicling the life of an actual famous Russian painter. You see, I'm not familiar with Russian history in the slightest, let alone the various portions of the 15th century in that country this movie depicts. This means that, while I found much to appreciate, admire and even be outright enthralled by in watching the feature film, I did find myself feeling like I'd carry a greater appreciation for Andrei Rublev if I carried more familiarity with the time periods it depicts or even was just more accustomed to Andrei Tarkovsky's obviously individualistic style of filmmaking (this is my first time watching one of his movies).

A Key Component Of My Childhood Comes To Life In The First Trailer For The Captain Underpants Movie

I was a huge reader when I was a kid but few books left as great of an impression on me as Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants books. I read all of the books in that series too many times to count, their gross-out humor making youngsters like myself feel like we were getting away with something inappropriate whilst actually doing some reading. Lord knows I haven't read one of those books in eons (they're still going right? I remember the last one I read as a kid ended on a major cliffhanger that I think only got resolved a few years back), but it's no shocker to me that the books are still relevant enough with today's youngsters to warrant a theatrical movie, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Normalcy Gives Way To Gruesome Bloodshed In The Belko Experiment

Horror movies have always played up the idea that those closest to you can't be trusted, that they have the potential to become monsters under certain circumstances. That's kind of the crux of the whole zombie genre, the concept of your loved ones, friends and neighbors being turned into mindless flesh-eating monsters. You can also see this idea coursing through horror movie masterpieces like The Happening, where both an airborne virus and terrible screenwriting has seemingly normal people acting strange. The Belko Experiment, a new horror film from director Greg McClean, that takes that concept of normal people going malicious and places it in the confines of a cubicle-filled office space.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Audiences Decide To Be Disney's Guest As Beauty And The Beast Has Record Breaking Opening Weekend

A live-action remake of a classic animated Disney movie making big bucks in the Spring? What malarkey is this??? Nah, but sarcasm aside, Disney got their 2017 slate off to a massive start as Beauty And The Beast opened to a tremendous $170 million, the seventh best opening weekend of all-time and the biggest opening weekend ever in March. That's also the biggest opening weekend in history for a movie that wasn't rated PG-13 and already makes it the second biggest movie of 2017, only narrowly putting it behind Logan which it should surpass by Tuesday. It's also already the biggest movie Kevin Kline has ever appeared in, the sixth biggest ever for Emma Thompson and easily the biggest non-Star Wars movie ever for Ewan McGregor. It's also by far the biggest opening weekend ever for a live-action musical, becoming the first time in history a live-action musical opened to over $50 million, let alone $150 million, and beating out the previous opening-weekend champ in this subgenre, High School Musical 3: Senior Year, by $128 million.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Disney's Live-Action Beauty And The Beast Is Overly Derivative Of The Original Animated Classic But Is Still An Entertaining Musical Romp

This new live-action take on Beauty And The Beast is an oddball little movie. It wants to be so much like the original 1991 animated classic its remaking, yet it also wants to be a more quasi-realistic take on the source material. That sense of realism also rubs up against its desire to be a big splashy over-the-top musical in some spots. When it just goes for being a straightforward fairy tale (not unlike the tone set forth in Jean Cocteau's 1946 take on this tale as old as time), it actually works fine. When it's trying to figure out how to ground things in realism while also being overly slavishly faithful to the original movie, well, that's when problems emerge.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

La Belle at ta Bete (Beauty and the Beast) Is A Classical Take On A Beloved Fairy Tale

The various 56 films in the Walt Disney Animation Studios canon have become so ubiquitous in pop culture, it can be difficult to remember that, for many of these feature films, they were not the first attempts to translate their source material to the big screen. There's been plenty of big screen versions of Cinderella beyond just the animated Disney version, for instance, Two other Snow White movies (one of them starring Betty Boop!) preceded Disney's historic animated Snow White motion picture in 1937. Thus, it should come as no surprise that Disney was far from the first studio to adapt the tale of Beauty & The Beast in feature-length narrative form.