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Archive for the ‘ Movies ’ Category

 

Moby Dick + Wild Things + The Matrix = WTF

February 14th, 2019

One of the most valuable things in life is honesty; particularly, the honesty of someone calling out your bad ideas. When someone cares about you on a personal or professional level, they’ll do their level best to pull you back from the brink. I cannot emphasize how important that is, but let me explain with my own idiotic example. I do screenwriting on the side. Years ago, I was batting about script ideas with my writing partners. As we kicked around ideas, I was struck by the Bad Idea Fairy. “Guys, guys, so there were gold reserves in the sub-basements of the Twin Towers. What if, in the... Read More

A Million Shattered Pieces

February 14th, 2019

Movies aren’t for everyone, though people think they are. A bunch of years ago, my wife and I caught the very good film Adaptation in the theaters. If it’s been a minute since you’ve seen or thought about it, Adaptation is about a lonely screenwriter struggling to adapt a book about an orchid thief. It’s got strong performances by Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep, and a great deal to say about the creative process. Joining us in our cinematic excursion was an Unnamed Member Of Our Extended Family. He’s a great guy, but the film tastes of the aforementioned UMOOEF, as he will be known going... Read More

The Review With the Unnecessarily Long Title

October 5th, 2018

There’s this friend of mine — we’ll call her Polly — who absolutely despises horror movies. Can’t handle them. Not only does she see no artistic merit to them whatsoever, but she also doesn’t enjoy the cinematic experience of being scared. Those intense feelings toward horror cinema have been transferred to Polly’s oldest son. Not only does she refuse to let him watch scary movies, she won’t let him view content with even a hint of the macabre. Let’s be clear, I’m not suggesting she should gather the family around the TV for a double feature of The Exorcist and The Shining.... Read More

The Most Terrible Poverty is Loneliness – Local Movie Reviewer Takes on A Simple Favor

October 5th, 2018

What’s the point of consistently stepping outside our comfort zones? It’s healthy to stretch yourself. Most of us have been encouraged/yelled at by our parents to try new experiences, eat new delicacies, go to new places. By doing that, we get smarter, more empathetic, more sophisticated. When filmmakers stretch themselves? That’s the good stuff. That’s when you have the chance to see something unique. Take Adam McKay for example. As a close friend of Will Ferrell’s, his directorial career began with films like Anchorman and Step Brothers, comedies that walked a fine line between surrealism... Read More

Why? Because They’re Dumb – Local Movie Reviewer Takes on Predator

October 5th, 2018

On the cinematic Venn diagram, there can be an awful lot of overlap between a great movie and an awesome movie. Before we go too much further, let me stake out what I mean by that. A great movie is one with impressive production design, acting, screenwriting, and direction — essentially all the ingredients have been baked in to give us a film of quality. Apollo 13 is a great movie, as is Monster and Deliverance. An awesome movie, on the other hand? That’s a movie that directly tickles our reptile brain, delivering a thrill, a joke, something purely designed to elicit an immediate response.... Read More

Horrible Selfish People

October 5th, 2018

Hollywood gets things wrong all the time. Possibly the most common error made by writers, directors, producers, and the studio executives overseeing the whole thing? It’s that audiences need the main characters to be likable. That’s not correct, because for a film to succeed, your main character doesn’t have to be someone you’d want to have a beer with. They need to be interesting. The problem comes down to confusing sympathy with empathy. Think of it like this; with sympathy, you’re having a positive emotional reaction to someone else’s situation. In that situation, you like the main... Read More

The Ultimate Beer and Pretzels Game

April 2nd, 2018

Has there been any movie genre more maligned recently than the studio comedy? Back in the day, movies with Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase and others were guaranteed to open to enormous business. They would stick around for quite a while and, if you didn’t like the looks of a particular one, no big deal. Another comedy would open soon. Things changed, and there’s a ruthlessly unfunny reason for that. Major studios don’t think regionally or nationally any longer, they think globally. Movie attendance in America has been steadily dropping, but attendance is huge elsewhere. The most profitable... Read More

Cell Theory

April 2nd, 2018

How do you solve a problem like Annihilation? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very good and very challenging film, and one that everyone should see as quickly as possible. Before we get into the specifics, let’s talk about the tragedy of its release, and why it bodes ill for intelligent art. Paramount Pictures ponied up $55 million to adapt the first book in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy. Alex Garland, the director of the superb Ex Machina, was hired to write the screenplay and direct. An impressive team of actors was hired. Things were a go. Upon the film’s completion, as always... Read More