Friday, December 29, 2017
Water You Waiting For? Go See The Thoughtful And Engrossing Romantic Monster Movie Drama The Shape of Water
Thursday, December 28, 2017
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
Friday, December 22, 2017
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.
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
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
"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
Friday, December 15, 2017
The Force Is Strong With Writer/Director Rian Johnson's Work On The Excellent Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
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
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.
Sunday, December 10, 2017
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
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!
Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri Pokes And Prodes The Audience With Realistic But Occasionally Shallow Vulgarity
Monday, December 4, 2017
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
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
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 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
Monday, November 27, 2017
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.
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
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
Monday, November 20, 2017
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
Friday, November 17, 2017
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.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
|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.
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Monday, November 13, 2017
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
Yolŋu Matha being spoken by all the on-screen characters.