Welcome to Land of The Nerds, where I, Lisa Laman, use my love of cinema to explore, review and talk about every genre of film imaginable!
Friday, December 29, 2017
Water You Waiting For? Go See The Thoughtful And Engrossing Romantic Monster Movie Drama The Shape of Water
Posted by Lisa Laman at 1:21 PM No comments:
Labels: 2017, Alexandre Desplay, December 2017, Doug Jones, Guillermo Del Toro, Maudie, Michael Shannon, Michael Stuhlbarg, Movie Review, Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins, Sally Hawkins, The Shape Of Water, Vanessa Taylor
Thursday, December 28, 2017
Huh, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle Is Actually Solid Family Entertainment!
Posted by Lisa Laman at 12:46 PM No comments:
Labels: 2017, Bobby Cannavale, December 2017, Dwayne Johnson, Henry Jackman, Jack Black, Jake Kasdan, Jumanji, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart, Movie Review, Nick Jonas
John Boyega Excels In The Grueling Lead Role of Imperial Dreams
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
Too Many Generic Storytelling Turns Hinder The Interesting Titular Lead Character of Carrie Pilby
Pottersville Is Strange Yuletide Fare That Embraces Sentimentality Over Laughs
Posted by Lisa Laman at 1:23 PM No comments:
Labels: 2017, Bigfoot, Christina Hendricks, Furry, Ian McShane, It's A Wonderful Life, Judy Greer, Michael Shannon, Midnight Special, Movie Review, November 2017, Pottersville, The Night Before, Thomas Lennon
Friday, December 22, 2017
Wowzers, Good Time Is Excellent And Visually Magnificent Crime Thriller Cinema!
Good Time feels so much like a singular movie, like it's the manifestation of a precise one-of-a-kind take on the crime thriller genre. Directed by Ben Safdie and Josh Safdie (the two are commonly referred to as The Safdie Brothers), there's plenty of elements here that are immediately distinctive, most notably the visual aesthetic that leans heavily on a bright neon-infused color scheme that coats every environment the story wanders into which range from a bail bond office to an amusement park. Then there's the score by Oneohtrix Point Never, which pulsates right in your ear with its idiosyncratic sound as well as the camerawork that comes up with truly inventive ways to frame various intensity-driven sequences.
Posted by Lisa Laman at 1:27 PM No comments:
Labels: 2017, August 2017, Benny Safdie, Crime Thriller, Good Time, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Josh Safdie, Movie Review, Oneohtrix Point Never, Peter Verby, Robert Pattinson, Sean Price Williams, The Safdie Brothers
Thursday, December 21, 2017
The Man Who Invented Christmas Is Fine-ish Festive Fare
Denzel Washington Decides To Fight The Law And Nobody Wins In Roman J. Israel, Esq
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
A Great Cast And Confident Directing Make The Brothers Bloom A Delight
Monday, December 18, 2017
"That's How We're Gonna Win This War...Not By Fighting What We Hate, But Saving What We Love": A Look At The Hopeful Heart of Star Wars: The Last Jedi
MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI AHEAD
2017 has been such a rough year, holy smokes.
Sunday, December 17, 2017
I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore Starts Out Strong & Gloomy But Can't Sustain Its Momentum
Posted by Lisa Laman at 7:54 PM No comments:
Labels: 2017, David Yow, Ellijah Wood, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, February 2017, I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore, Lord of the Rings, Macon Blair, Melanie Lynskey, Movie Review, Netflix
A Quiet Passion Certainly Makes Its Voice Heard By Way of Being Emotionally Engaging
"This Is Getting Out of Hand! Now There Are Two of Them!": Star Wars: The Last Jedi Avoids Sophomore Slump And Has Massive Box Office Bow
Saturday, December 16, 2017
The Room Will Tear You Apart With Confusion And Yuks
Friday, December 15, 2017
The Force Is Strong With Writer/Director Rian Johnson's Work On The Excellent Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Posted by Lisa Laman at 11:24 AM No comments:
Labels: 2017, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, December 2017, John Boyega, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Mark Hamill, Movie Review, Oscar Isaac, Rian Johnson, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Five Disney Brands That Never Managed To Take Off (In Laman's Terms)
So apparently, sometime tomorrow, Disney will officially announce that they've acquired all the media assets of 21st Century Fox, which includes the movie studio 20th Century Fox. To put it simply, I absolutely hate this news from top to bottom. I hate how it removes high-profile competition for Disney, I hate how now so many major American movies will be controlled by one studio, I hate how Disney will effectively be giving the Murdoch family $60+ billion to expand their Fox News state media emporium to a worldwide audience, I hate how Disney will likely shutter indie movie studio Fox Searchlight....there's just so much to hate here.
Monday, December 11, 2017
Song to Song Is Out of Tune And Devoid of Substance
Yes, Terrence Malick returned to the silver screen this year with Song to Song, his fourth directorial effort in the last eight years, a stunning turnaround in terms of output considering the long gaps of time between projects in his filmography prior to 2011. Now he's just churning these things out like a madman and while his work ethic that's rivaling Ridley Scott or Takashi Miike is admirable, the quality of his recent efforts suggest he should maybe chillax, take a breather and come up with some kind of imagery or atmosphere he wants to exude before filming a movie instead of just tossing a bunch of major actors into a number of disparate locales and calling it a day.
James Franco Finds The Humanity of Tommy Wiseau In The Thoroughly Entertaining The Disaster Artist
Sunday, December 10, 2017
CHiPS Will Drive You Up The Wall With Its Abysmally Unfunny Attempts At Comedy
There's a lot of things that one could describe as odd about CHiPS on a basic conceptual level beyond the fact that human beings funded a major feature film adaptation of the 1970's TV show CHiPS in 2017. Most notably, the screenplay for CHiPS, which has its script credited solely to Dax Shepard, who also directs and headlines the film, seems to be channeling classic action/comedy cop movies (the kind Shane Black popularized) with extended action sequences, most notably one introducing us to the films antagonists played by Vincent D'onofrio, that are played entirely straight-faced. It then moves into the kind of raunchy foul-mouthed humor you'd expect from a D-grade R-rated American comedy in 2017.
Coco Tops Pre-Star Wars Weekend As Disaster Artist Flourishes And Morgan Freeman/Tommy Lee Jones Just Getting Started Stops Cold At The Box Office
Friday, December 8, 2017
Douglas Laman Returns To The We Love To Watch Podcast To Talk Iron Man 3
We Love To Watch podcast invited me back onto their podcast to kick off their A Very Merry Shane Black Christmas month by talking all about Iron Man 3! Prepare for plenty of interesting discussions on the merits and faults of Iron Man 3 and the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole as well as numerous instances of us getting hilariously sidetracked in our discussion of this movie. Click here for the podcast or listen to it on the Soundcloud box below!
The Lovers, The Lovers, The Lovers, You Don't Treat Me No Good No More
Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri Pokes And Prodes The Audience With Realistic But Occasionally Shallow Vulgarity
Monday, December 4, 2017
Holiday 2017 Box Office Predictions
fourth year in a row, I'm here to speculate on the box office performance of the various movies being put out in wide release over the next three weeks! Before we go further, you should note that all the opening weekend predictions cover only a movies 3-day opening weekend (spanning from Friday to Sunday) and that the only movie expanding from limited release into wide release over the next three weeks covered here is The Disaster Artist. Wonder Wheel, The Shape Of Water and Darkest Hour are all supposed to go into wide release over this period, but The Disaster Artist was the only one with a projected theater count to work with and that really does help things out when trying to predict how a film will fare when it goes into wide release.
With all that out of the way, let's look at my predictions for how things will go down at the box office over the holiday season of 2017!
With all that out of the way, let's look at my predictions for how things will go down at the box office over the holiday season of 2017!
Sunday, December 3, 2017
Jenny Slate And Director Gillian Robespierri Reunite To Answer The Call Of Landline
Posted by Lisa Laman at 1:56 PM No comments:
Labels: 1995, 2017, Abby Quinn, Edie Falco, Elisabeth Holm, Gillian Robespierre, Jay Baruchel, Jenny Slate, John Turturro, July 2017, Landline, Michael Cera, Movie Review, Obvious Child
Coco Livens Up The Top Of The Box Office Once Again As Various Arthouse Releases Make Tons Of Money
So the post-Thanksgiving 2017 weekend was a departure from past post-Thanksgiving frames in that all but two of the holdovers in the top 12 had weekend-to-weekend drops under 50%, whereas it's typical for most movies to lost over 60% in the post-Thanksgiving frame. What caused this? I don't have a clue, maybe it's the large amount of movies with positive buzz in the marketplace (Lady Bird and Three Billboards have oodles of critical accolades and awards attention to their name while Coco and Wonder both have an A+ CinemaScore grade stirring up audience goodwill) or maybe it's because a bunch of these holdovers are centered around the holidays or even just winter in general.
Friday, December 1, 2017
Deck The Halls With Anything But A Bulldog For Christmas
The premise of A Bulldog For Christmas is the same kind of plot we've seen tons of times before in that magical subgenre that revolves around a heavily flawed human being turning into a household pet to learn a lesson about better appreciating their family and life itself (The Shaggy Dog and Nine Lives are famous examples of this subgenre). Here, the person getting turned into a bulldog is college student Sally Kroger (Marylee Osborne) and you can tell she's a troubled soul because she returns home from college covered in piercing and attire that some old out of touch studio executive from 2005 thinks all the cool Goth kids are wearing these days.
Sally wants nothing to do with her families tradition of going to their deceased grandfather's winter home and celebrating Christmas and thus, she is visited by some kind of magical entity known as Chips (Henrique Couto, who also directs this project) who proceeds to turn her into a bulldog so she can learn a valuable lesson about appreciating her family and the spirit of the holidays. Wicked Uncle Randall (Vincent Holiday) shows up soon after Sally has turned into a dog proclaiming he wants to sell the grandfather's house for large sums of money because the prospect of suddenly turning into a dog wasn't enough conflict for this movie.
The absolute strangest part of A Bulldog For Christmas is how little of it actually concerns the titular bulldog. There are two brief segments of the movie that run about a minute each that are solely devoted to footage of the titular bulldog running around in a backyard that are easily the highlight of the whole feature, it's just so much fun to watch this doggo run around and being happy. Aside from those momentary distractions though, A Bulldog For Christmas shuns its lead canine to the sidelines, typically just going back to it so that Marylee Osborne can deliver wry voice-over quips, including one that leads into a confusingly executed fart joke.
When we're not watching medium shots of a bulldog accompanied by banal voiceover work, A Bulldog For Christmas concerns itself with treating the struggles of its various family members as serious as possible. Way too much screentime is handed over to characters delivering somber monologues reflecting their inner emotions while neither the performances nor the writing of these extended dialogue pieces are anywhere near good enough to warrant so much screentime being devoted to them. There's one scene in particular where Peggy Kroger (Erin R. Ryan) wistfully monologues about her woes for what seems like an eternity while her boyfriend tries to propose to her that becomes more and more like nails on a chalkboard as it goes on.
The character-based drama takes up so much of the story of A Bulldog For Christmas that long stretches of screentime without a single appearance by a bulldog. And when that bulldog does show up, it's usually so more tedious voiceover one-liners can rear their head or, in one instance, it's so that the mom of the Kroger family can claim that all bulldogs are "ugly". Bulldogs aren't ugly! What is ugly is the weird green-screen that shows up throughout the film, though at least such distracting backgrounds are bound to capture your attention, unlike the monotonous dialogue. Ugh, A Bulldog For Christmas is so boring and lacking in bulldog shenanigans, you're better off just watching gifs of bulldogs like the one below:
Thursday, November 30, 2017
Douglas Laman Gets A Tune-Up (Entry #8): Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division
DOUGLAS LAMAN GETS A TUNE-UP
ENTRY #8: Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division
Douglas Laman Gets A Tune-Up is a series of essays wherein Douglas Laman listens to an album of music he's never fully listened to before (though he may have heard one or two songs from it) and writes up his brief thoughts on it.
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Consider Giving Olaf's Frozen Adventure The Cold Shoulder
Posted by Lisa Laman at 2:39 PM No comments:
Labels: 2017, Coco, Frozen, Holiday Special, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Kevin Deters, Kristen Bell, November 2017, Olaf's Frozen Adventure, Prep & Landing, Stevie Wermers, Walt Disney Animation Studios
Monday, November 27, 2017
Coco Is Alive On Arrival
In terms of comparing it to past PIXAR productions, Coco is most evocative to me of Ratatouille and not just because both are PIXAR films taking place in non-U.S. territories in the modern era and both are the only features in the studio's canon to depict characters drinking alcohol on-screen. Both are animated family movies heavily reliant on dialogue, with little in the way of big chase scenes or explosions (which, of course, are not inherently bad elements to have around) and both explore the concept of chasing your dream in a nuanced realistic fashion while still utilizing heavily fantastical elements. Plus, Coco, like Ratatouille, is a pretty great movie and is easily one of the studios strongest creations from this decade.
Posted by Lisa Laman at 12:37 PM No comments:
Labels: 2017, Adrian Molina, Alanna Ubach, Ali Baba Bunny, Anthony Gonzales, Benjamin Bratt, Coco, Dias de Los Muertos, Gael Garcia Bernal, Lee Unkrich, Matthew Aldrich, Movie Review, November 2017, PIXAR, Ratatouille
Thanksgiving 2017 Chows Down On Big Box Office From Coco, Justice League And Wonder, Plus Strong Wide Release Grosses From Lady Bird And Three Billboards
Disney's long used the Thanksgiving holiday to launch a family movie box office hit and now they've got another jewel in that financial crown. Coco was the victor of the Thanksgiving holiday with a $49 million bow, the fourth biggest opening weekend ever for a movie opening over Thanksgiving weekend, behind only fellow Disney cartoons Moana ($56.6 million), Toy Story 2 ($57.3 million) and Frozen ($67.3 million) and it's the eleventh biggest weekend gross ever seen by a film playing over the Thanksgiving frame. Coco is also only the third movie to debut over the Thanksgiving frame at the number one spot at the box office in the last ten years, only Four Christmases and Moana were also able to do that.
Saturday, November 25, 2017
Good Luck Chuck, With A Movie Like This One, You're Gonna Need It
Pardon The Obvious Pun, But Lady Bird Absolutely Soars
I love it when an opening scene of a movie just perfectly encapsulates what kind of movie you're about to watch. You only get one shot at a first impression after all and when a feature film is able to come out of the gate swinging with a few minutes of footage that sums up the identity of what's to come so concisely, well, it's a real treat to experience. Lady Bird has this kind of opening sequence, one that depicts our lead character, Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) and her mom Marion McPherson (Laurie Metcalf) driving home from a visit to a nearby college. We get a chance to see these two united in being captivated by an audiobook recording of John Steinbeck's classic novel The Grapes of Wrath but once that's done, it isn't long before friction emerges between the two of them.
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Mudbound Is Compelling Character-Driven Fare That Knows The Power of Well-Written Dialogue
Posted by Lisa Laman at 3:06 PM No comments:
Labels: Carey Mulligan, Dee Rees, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell, Johnathan Banks, Mary J. Blige, Missisippi, Mudbound, Netflix, November 2017, Rob Morgan, Virgil Williams, World War II
Monday, November 20, 2017
Why Did I Put Myself Through The Entire First Season Of Inhumans? Why?
Sunday, November 19, 2017
Justice League Disappoints With $96 Million Bow While Wonder Performs Wonderfully And The Star Isn't So Bright
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Loving Vincent Paints An Intriguing Portrait of An Iconic Painter
Posted by Lisa Laman at 1:02 PM No comments:
Labels: 2017, 2D Animation, Citizen Kane, Douglas Booth, Foreign Film, Jerome Flynn. Chris O'Down, Loving Vincent, Movie Review, Poland, Rashomon, Saoirse Ronan, September 2017, The Red Turtle, Your Name.
Get In Tune With The Captivating Humanistic Beat Of BPM (Beats Per Minute)
Posted by Lisa Laman at 10:32 AM No comments:
Labels: 2017, AIDS, Antoine Reinartz, Arnaud Valois, BPM (Beats Per Minute), Foreign Film, French, Movie Review, Nahuel Perez Biscayart, November 2017, Phillip Mangeot, Robin Campillo
Friday, November 17, 2017
The DCEU Goes From Churning Out Massive Disasters To Churning Out Major Messes With Justice League
MILD SPOILERS AHEAD
And so, to quote the opening line of the Christina Aguilera cover of Car Wash from the movie Shark Tale...here we go again.
Posted by Lisa Laman at 1:08 PM No comments:
Labels: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Ben Affleck, Ciaran Hinds, Ezra Miller, Gal Godot, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa, Justice League, Movie Review, November 2017, Ray Fisher, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
It's Hip To Be Square In Ruben Ostlund's Successfully Uncomfortable Dark Comedy The Square
The Justice League Movie That Almost Was (In Laman's Terms)
|What if I told you this almsot wasn't the first live-action movie iteration of the Justice League?|
Come this Friday, we're finally getting a live-action Justice League film adaptation. It seems crazy that superheroes like Spawn, Howard The Duck, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Tank Girl, Steel, Ghost Rider, The Green Hornet and Big Hero 6 all got movies prior to the Justice League, but it's not like Warner Bros. hasn't been trying to get a live-action Jutice League movie off the ground. In fact, a decade ago, it seemed like a Justice League movie was gonna finally get off the ground, one that has now joined the likes of Tim Burton's Superman Lives or Edgar Wright's Ant-Man movie as among the most tantilizing "What Could Have Been?" unmade superhero movies.
Prepare To Take A Snooze With Sleepless
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Things We Lost In The Fire Burns Brightest When Handling Drug Addiction
Monday, November 13, 2017
There's Some Fun And Clunky Storytelling To Be Found In Murder On The Orient Express
Posted by Lisa Laman at 10:06 AM No comments:
Labels: Agatha Christie, Daisy Ridley, Hercule Poirot, Josh Gad, Judi Dench, Kenneth Branagh, Leslie Odom Jr, Movie Review, Murder on the Orient Express, November 2017, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe
Sunday, November 12, 2017
Thor: Ragnarok Rules Box Office Again As Daddy's Home 2 And Murder On The Orient Express Have Good Opening Weekends
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Set Sail With Ten Canoes And Its Ode To Humanizing Native Populations
Yolŋu Matha being spoken by all the on-screen characters.
Monday, November 6, 2017
Boy is Taika Waitit's Best And Most Emotionally Resonant Feature
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