Monday, July 31, 2017
Sunday, July 30, 2017
Saturday, July 29, 2017
DOUGLAS LAMAN GETS A TUNE-UP
ENTRY #5: Blue by Joni Mitchell
Douglas Laman Gets A Tune-Up is a new weekly series 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.
I came out very tired and very aghast at what I just witnessed.
Friday, July 28, 2017
Thursday, July 27, 2017
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Sunday, July 23, 2017
Dunkirk Goes To War With Tremendous Opening Weekend, Girls Trip Hits The Road With Major Box Office And Valerian Stumbles
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Placement On Sight & Sound Top 50 Movies List: #31 (Tied witb Taxi Driver)
For years, I've heard the usual picks of when people say best sequels; The Empire Strikes Back, Spider-Man 2, and of course, The Godfather: Part II. That 1974 Francis Ford Coppola has been held up as the paragon of sequel filmmaking for decades now and getting to actually watch it for the first time totally made me realize why The Godfather: Part II is held up in such high stature in discussions of cinema. This thing not only manages to surpass the quality of its already incredible predecessor but it also does a remarkable job of enhancing the world established by the first movie by lending a sweeping mythic quality to the Corleone crime syndicate.
Before we get to all the Comic-Con craziness, WB held a panel for The LEGO Ninjago Movie yesterday and premiered a new trailer for that film. It actually looks better than the last film and the way they pay homage to classic Kaiju movies with a live-action "monster" is clever. Check the trailer out below!
OK, the panel began with Chris Hardwick doing the moderating (shocker, I know), and the first thing WB stepped up to the plate with was....
READY PLAYER ONE
Steven Spielberg returns to his summer blockbuster roots for the first time (discounting Indiana Jones 4) since War Of The Worlds and Spielberg himself showed up to promote this new science-fiction feature! Before the trailer even started, Hall H (the location where this panel took place) had massive screens popping up showing off all kinds of pieces of 1980's pop culture. Looks like they're totally going all in on the 1980's pop culture references that the book it's based on was apparently drowning in. The cast of the film also showed up once they got done showing off an extended trailer for the movie, which, in true WB Comic-Con fashion, the studio has released and you can watch below!
This looks neat! I wish some of it was brighter so I could see all of the video game coolness better but this feels total go-for-broke fun and I love that in one trailer Spielberg's action sequences have so much personality in life to them. Really good teaser too in terms of clearly establishing the world of the protagonist and what he does for escapism while also leaving plenty for us to discover. Not sure about calling the source material a "holy grail of pop culture" (I haven't read the book for the record) but if anyone's earned the right to be called a cinematic game-changer, it's Spielberg!
Next up is...
BLADE RUNNER 2049
We already got a new trailer for this earlier in the week (I'll embed it below since I haven't linked to it anywhere), so no new publically released footage here, but lots of new plot details showed up and plenty of footage was shown to attendees of the panel. Here's that new trailer that went up earlier in the week, it's a truly spectacular trailer!
After Blade Runner, it was time for...
THE DC EXTENDED UNIVERSE
After three movies that got receptions ranging from mixed to vehemently negative, the DCEU finally got itself a critical and financial smash hit with Wonder Woman, a movie that's well on its way being a bigger domestic grosser than all but two of the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe! Today, gave us a peek at the future of their cinematic universe. To wit, they confirmed the following movies are happening in the DCEU:
Suicide Squad 2
Justice League Dark
The Flash: Flashpoint
Wonder Woman 2
Green Lantern Corps.
Loooots of movies on that slate, no release dates for any of 'em as of yet. I guess Flashpoint is what that solo Flash movie has become. Interesting that Gotham City Sirens (which has a director, writer and lead actor) and a new solo Superman movie (which has a script and was in talks with Matthew Vaughn to direct) are nowhere to be found on that slate as far as I know. Anywho, after that opening salvo showing off the future of the DCEU, they showed off some brief footage from Aquaman and then had the Justice League cast (sans Henry Cavill) come out to chat it up before showing off a new trailer that you can watch below.
I like some of what I see here and also remain apprehensive about what's to come. Smart move heavily emphasizing Wonder Woman and her mythology (looks like her home island is the one that inadvertently brings Steppenwolf to Earth) into the trailer given how popular her movie is, more Wonder Woman can't be a bad thing! Cute Batman Returns reference, Jeremy Irons looks fun and more color showing up here is also good to see, particualrly in the big superhero vs. Parademon showdowns which now take place against a red sky instead of the nighttime backgrounds of the initial teaser that made scuffles visually incoherent.
Some of the stuff still isn't quite gelling for me, namely in how they keep telling the audience how Superman stood as a beacon of hope without offering the slightest bit of evidence to that in the last two movies. Classic case of "telling instead of showing" there. Steppenwolf I'm worried about too, not only have they gone and altered actor Ciaran Hinds voice digitally for the role (I've always said you should always keep the voice of actors doing motion-capture roles so the audience has something clearly human to relate to instead of adding more digital trickery to the proceedings) but the brief glimpses we get of him in the trailer make him look indistinguishable from the likes of Ares and Ronan The Accuser. Some clunky looking sets, over-use of slow-motion and a bungled final trailer tag teasing the return of Superman (Though good luck on general audiences knowing that's him) and I must say this trailer is very much a mixed bag for me, though it's a notable improvement on that dumpster fire of a teaser we got a few months back. If nothing else, Ezra Miller and Jason Momoa look like a lot of fun as The Flash and Aquaman respectively.
Alright folks, that's it for WB at Comic-Con this year! Tune in tonight when I live-blog the Marvel Studios panel!
Friday, July 21, 2017
The Visuals In Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets Are Glorious But Why Did They Have To Be In Service Of Such A Clunky Story?
Thursday, July 20, 2017
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
OK, so, the last 53-ish hours have unleashed a deluge of new movie trailers that have each generated a lot of individual thoughts from yours truly. How about we take a gander at some of these various movie trailers, many of which give us our very first glimpses at highly anticipated titles, on this fine afternoon, shall we?
First up, the movie that became a sensation at SXSW this past March that finally has a movie trailer...
I haven't seen The Room yet (I know, the prospect of me not having seen a culturally impactful movie is shocking) but that didn't stop me from loving this teaser trailer for this raved about James Franco directorial effort. Franco seems to be acing the tiniest bit of physical behavior of Tommy Wiseau here and the scene itself is actually quite funny and well-timed. Not giving too much away while letting one get a clear idea for the tone and atmosphere of what's to come, that's the very idea of a great teaser trailer and that's very much an accurate description of this awesome first look at The Disaster Artist.
Michael Fassbender's been on a rough patch lately with X-Men: Apocalypse, Assassin's Creed and Alien Covenant but at least his next movie, The Snowman, looks incredibly promising. This is one eerie trailer using a nicely chosen song and effectively done wide shots to convey the sense of dread that this snow-fixated killer is creating for the lead characters of this movie. The brief snippet of J.K. Simmons European accent was unexpected for me at least and the entire trailers effective sense of creeping terror took me by surprise as a matter of fact.
Now where did this one come from? I'd barely heard anything about this one before its trailer premiered yesterday morning but it totally got put on my radar with a well-made trailer like this one. The trailers heavy use of voice-over and title cards suggests they're trying to cover up the fact that it's likely heavily free of dialogue, which is fine by me since the bits of non-speaking action (like the main character trying to give his wolf companion some water) come off really well. It also looks great too and it's no wonder Alpha is immediately on my radar when its trailer has so much epic imagery.
PROFESSOR MARSTON & THE WONDER WOMEN
We finally got ourselves a live-action Wonder Woman movie this summer but how about now we do a movie all about the three folks behind Wonder Woman? The unconventional in its era (and even still unorthodox today) polygamous relationship Professor Marston, Elizabeth Holloway Marston and Olive Byrne looks like it's being set up as the crux for an intriguing looking forbidden romance thriller, one that offers Rebecca Hall a woefully rare chance to headline a major motion picture while Luke Evans also looks promising in the lead role, so yes, I'm very much interested in seeing this one.
ONLY THE BRAVE
Lots of macho masculinity in here (I've seen repeated comparisons between this trailer and Peter Berg's work and that feels super accurate), but overall, this first trailer for Only The Brave makes the movie itself look kind of generic but there could be some excitement to be found in this premise in feature-length form, especially with the super talented cast they've assembled. Nice to see Miles Teller is headlining multiple dramas this Fall while more Jeff Bridges is always good (as long as it doesn't involve R.I.P.D.). The trailer for Only The Brave came off as so-so to me but here's to hoping the actual movie turns out better.
BOO 2! A MADEA HALLOWEEN
The first Boo! A Madea Halloween was my first Madea movie and it was bland and poorly made enough to not make me want to check out further entries in the series. This teaser for further Halloween-tinged Madea antics just looks like more unfunny and forgettable cinema, especially with a weird explicit reference to Get Out that closes the trailer. This October, I think I'll just stay home and munch on some Milky Ways instead of giving this one a watch.
I got to see the trailer for The Shape Of Water on my theatrical screening of War For The Planet Of The Apes last Thursday and found it to be an outstanding trailer then. Rewatching it this morning, I was even more moved by this particular viewing of the trailer, to the point that the moment the French music kicked in I began to get misty-eyed. God, this is an amazing trailer, showing off the kind of glorious sets and camerawork we've all come to expect from Guillermo Del Toro's work, but the way it lays out the relationship between Sally Hawkins and the sea beast she discovers really is incredible. In the span of two-and-a-half minutes, both of these individuals are painted with tender humanity that left me emotionally moved. Outstanding trailer, likely one of the best movie trailers we'll see all year and I can't wait to see the super promising looking movie itself this December.
After spending the 1980's and 1990's as an infrequent presence, the American musical came roaring back to life with the early 2000's double-whammy of Moulin Rouge! and Chicago. Since then, it's been common to get a new live-action musical adapting a famous Broadway musical (see: Nine, Les Miserables, Dreamgirls, Into The Woods, etc.) dropping around the holiday season in order to be a heavy presence around awards season. Though the American musical feature film has been far more common in the past 15 years compared to decades prior, the vast majority of them (save for Enchanted and Across The Universe) have been based on previously existing Broadway musicals or remakes of already existing musical movies.
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Monday, July 17, 2017
Sunday, July 16, 2017
At this point, the canon of films made by Walt Disney Animation Studios is so dense (it contain 56 films as of this writing) that you’ve got all kinds of different types of movies in regards to how much success they had. You’ve got your out-and-out hits (Frozen, The Lion King, The Jungle Book), you’ve got your bombs that got reappraised as classics (Fantasia and Sleeping Beauty) and then you’ve got your features that bombed but developed a cult following over the years. Hercules and The Emperor’s New Groove most certainly belong in this category as does (to a far lesser degree) the subject of this Lovefest review, Treasure Planet.
War For The Planet Of The Apes Has Lackluster Debut While Spider-Man Falls, The Big Sick Underwhelms And Wish Upon Falters
Saturday, July 15, 2017
I'm starting to feel sorry for poor sharks at this point. They're always being paraded around in pop culture as ruthless killers when they're not even close to being the most deadly animal on the planet! Hippos kill more people per year than sharks and we're all getting awestruck by the cuteness of videos of baby hippos (don't get me wrong, baby hippos are incredibly adorable). Sharks, meanwhile, still get a reputation for being merciless senseless killers. That doesn't seem fair to me just like it also doesn't strike me as fair that sharks get their image further sullied by appearing in the disposable thriller 47 Meters Down.
Friday, July 14, 2017
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
An Aggravatingly Generic Execution Of An Equally Generic Story Leaves The Devil Wears Prada Stumbling
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Not every man knows what is waiting for him, or what he shall sing; When the ship he is on slips into darkness, there at the end." It is true that the end of our lives is full of uncertainty, but even I could have never predicted that my end of always expecting the best from a Will Ferrell movie would come from such a listless movie like The House. As someone who considers The Other Guys, Elf and Anchorman to be among the best 21st century comedies (heck, I even enjoyed Land Of The Lost!), seeing Ferrell follow up abysmal torturous comedies like Get Hard and Daddy's Home with yet another terrible comedy that pairs him up with Amy Poehler and a whole bunch of funny people (including Nick Kroll and Jason Mantzoukas) to such dismal results is...painful, it's just painful to watch really.
Monday, July 10, 2017
2017 has not been kind to the American comedy. Talented actors like Charlie Day, Will Ferrell and Dwayne Johnson have headlined comedies that have ended up being some of the worst movies of 2017 thus far and more often than not these comedies have ended up producing far more boredom than giggles. Heck, I'm saying that without having seen two of the worst reviewed comedies of 2017 so far, CHiPS and Sandy Wexler. But for those like myself that were thinking there was no hope for laugh-oriented cinema this year, here comes The Big Sick, a Judd Apatow-produced feature that actually does bring a whole bunch of yuks as well as thoughtful character work and terrific performances. A 2017 comedy with all of those elements in spades? To quote Smash Mouth, "What a concept!"
Sunday, July 9, 2017
Moviegoers Love For In The Heart Of The Sea Pays Off As Spider-Man: Homecoming Wins Box Office With Massive Opening Weekend
Saturday, July 8, 2017
Before Tom Holland, Andre Garfield And Tobey Maguire, There Was The 1977 Spider-Man Movie. It Was Bad.
There's a reason Alfred Hitchcock's become known as "The Master of Suspense" but it'd be disingenuous to believe that he only worked on horror fare like Psycho and The Birds in his career. Just as John Ford didn't just do Westerns or Martin Scorsese hasn't done solely gangster movies, Hitchcock also had more variety in terms of the genres he explored than one might expect. For instance, he was very well-versed in the world of spy thrillers, most notably in his movies like North By Northwest and the subject of this review, Notorious, a 1946 feature film that paired the director with a trio of legendary 1940's actors; Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains!
Friday, July 7, 2017
The Spectacularly Fun And Endearing Spider-Man: Homecoming, Like A Beauty School Drop-Out, Goes Back To High School
Prior to 2017, we've been through six different Spider-Man movies, ranging from the cheap-o days of the 1977 movie joint that never even got a U.S. theatrical release to the Sam Raimi classics of the early days of the 21st century to the two Marc Webb movies that proved to be the nadir of the Spider-Man on the silver screen (even that 1977 movie was better than The Amazing Spider-Man 2 since it didn't feature Spider-Stalking). What on Earth could a new iteration of the character possibly bring to the table? Shockingly, quite a bit actually. Spider-Man: Homecoming turns out to have a lot it brings to the table that ends up making it a thoroughly unique take on the Spidey mythos, one with a lot of fun and zest to its name as well.
Thursday, July 6, 2017
Monday, July 3, 2017
Sunday, July 2, 2017
Saturday, July 1, 2017
Considering how Edgar Wright's first four movies had such heavy doses of high-quality action, stylish editing, and rapid-fire dialogue, it dawned on me midway through Baby Driver that Wright's basically been toying with the key ingredients of gangster movies for his entire career. It's like he's been fine tuning his instruments in various ways across his four previous classics until he was finally offered the chance to make an out and out gangster film. Well, now he gets to do just that with Baby Driver, a new crime movie he's directed that's been generating insane amounts of praise for months now ever since it premiered at the South by Southwest festival back in March.