Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok movie review.

Out of all the A-listers in Marvel's ongoing cinematic universe, I doubt many would consider the Thor entries to be among their absolute favorites. In their infancy, Marvel faced a tough time integrating the Norse god of thunder with the likes of Iron Man and Captain America, as his fantastical vibe made it tough to make him feel at home with the rest of his crew. Knowing this, his first solo entry from Kenneth Branagh stripped him of his powers in order to humanize him, serving as a taste of things to come in later entries.

Unfortunately, its follow-up The Dark World is one entry that does not survive the test of time, feeling uncharacteristically generic among Marvel's portfolio, and even its attempts at gargantuan scale were burdened by an over-reliance on powerless audience surrogates. But with Guardians of the Galaxy proving that the universe could dive in to the surreal and fantastical, and be embraced in the meantime, it feels like Marvel is finally letting Thor have the movie he deserves, the joyously eccentric Ragnarok that serves as a fantastic retooling of the character, leaning us closer to what these films should have been in the first place.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

My Top 10 Favorite Halloween Movies.

"When the crypt doors creak and the tombstones quake,
Spooks come out for a swinging wake."
That day is almost upon us. It's nearly time for Halloween, a time that I like many others look forward to every year. And not simply because it signals Christmas as coming closer anytime it's over, but for being that rare time of year when everyone is free to let their freak flag fly, and the macabre spooks and haunts come to go bump in the night, full of festivities for everyone from trick or treaters, to those desiring something a little more ghastly, being that one time of year we welcome the frightening.

And key in this plays into those old annual classics to grace the silver screen and our home theaters, that linger and fester in our mind as they play their horrifying tricks on us, or give us something a little more light to ease us out of the terror and tickle us. Subgenres like the Slasher films were practically born because of Halloween, from Texas Chainsaw to (the appropriately named) Halloween, whose iconic villains and terrorizing nightmare fodder continue to haunt us even today.

It seems every film buff has his or her personal perennial favorite to sit back and enjoy this creepy time of year, and I'm no different. So in celebration of All Hallow's Eve, I've decided to leave my personal favorites for this time of year. These are not meant to be my favorite numerically ranked films, nor are they my attempt to say these are the scariest films ever made. Rather, these films stand here not by preference, but by how perfect they are to watch based on the atmosphere of the season, even if they have little to nothing to do with Halloween. Whether they be scary for the supernatural, for their humanity, or they work as nice counterprogramming to the grim and dark, I think these films are among those perfect to revisit this time of year.


And before we get to the main top ten, some honorable mentions to:
An American Werewolf in London, Evil Dead 2, The Addams Family, The Others, and ParaNorman.

And so, here presented in chronological order of their release, my top ten favorite Halloween films.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Blade Runner 2049 movie review.

Coming into the 1980's, Sci-Fi traveled down a road less of fantastical adventure flicks, and as attitudes in the world changed, became much more grungy, and more chaotic than what we expected of the genre. Director Ridley Scott was one of those who pioneered its migration to that direction, having helmed the retro-fi blue collar Alien, and immediately following it up with Blade Runner, a then divisive film that soon was seen as a classic on reflection, casting usual charming rogue Harrison Ford against type as Rick Deckard, even as Scott spent years perfecting the film with edit after edit.

For years, the idea of a sequel had long gestated, but it seems any ideas simply didn't materialize. But now the idea finally becomes reality, tempting Harrison Ford back alongside Ryan Gosling, and now under the control of Denis Villeneuve. Although, pedigree is one thing, but can those ingrediants capture the same lightning in a bottle? The short answer is yes. Very, very well. Blade Runner 2049 not only stands as one of the year's finest films, but looks poised to be another classic in its own right.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Transformers: The Last Knight is wrong on so many levels.

I don't even feel the Transformers movies are worth the time it takes to talk about them anymore. Everyone has gladly come to the consensus that with each passing entry, Michael Bay's new signature franchise has actively gotten emptier, meaner, dumber, and more aggressively convoluted as they get bigger and louder. In an attempt to restore the series back to basics following the original trilogy's conclusion, the dreaded Age of Extinction only further dug the series into a rabbit hole. But with the removal of screenwriter Ehren Kruger, and this being Michael Bay's last foray into the war between the Autobots and Decepticons, one might have a slim bit of hope that this would be the least bit enjoyable...

...But man, you ain't seen nothing yet. The Last Knight is such old news and such a minuscule blip on the pop culture radar right now, I had no intentions of even giving it the decency of a full write-up. But no film this year has left me so angry, bitter, bored, and above all numb as this one. It's almost mesmerizing how a major blockbuster with one of the highest budgets of all time would manage not only to feel boring, but so incompetent at the same time.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

It movie review.

Stephen King is one of the most singular creative voices in literature. Having forged a unique style primarily rooted in cult classic horror tales concerning the supernatural and evil animals. However, King's novels also afford filmmakers a chance at tremendous emotional heart and dramatic depth, sometimes with influence taken from King's own life and personal struggles. Frank Darabont and Rob Reiner are among those whose treatment of King's work has yielded great rewards, and even tends to highlight my feelings that while King is an admirable and inimitable writer, his stories are typically better accentuated by what other writers bring to his tales.

And much like last August's The Dark Tower, it's been a long road to the big screen for his popular 1986 novel It, which many may know was previously adapted into the ABC miniseries starring Tim Curry. But from what I've heard from fans of the Les Miserables sized book, that series did little justice to the material, whittling down its content to fit cable regulations and a three hour timeslot. With fans becoming eager to see the story done justice, Warner Bros. has decided to split the epic story into two separate chapters covering two different timelines. So how does the new take float...?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Brief thoughts on The Dark Tower.

I've often considered myself someone who respects Stephen King's stories more than I love them. While he's earned every accolade for crafting one of the most unique creative voices in literature, I often find the strengths - and weaknesses -  in his text are usually better accentuated by the interpretations of other writers, and with a bibliography as vast as his, has resulted in films among some of the greatest (The Shawshank Redemption) and some of the worst (Maximum Overdrive) of all time.

But I doubt any of them has had as rocky a road as The Dark Tower, based on King's popular long-running series, centered around the everlong battle between gunslinger Roland of Eld, and the devilish sorcerer the Man in Black. After several attempts spanning well over a decade, the final film makes it way to the screen under Nikolaj Arcel and Imagine Entertainment, and the first of two King adaptations this year (with the reimagining of IT to release next month). Sadly, I'm left wishing that The Dark Tower's bumpy production didn't show.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Brief thoughts on Okja.

Okja, when we first meet her in her title movie, roams around her countryside home without a care in the world. A spectacular, genetically modified "Super-Pig" who's been bred solely for the purpose of being killed for food at a mature age, Okja is a precious and innocent being of nature, that were the corporations trying to get hold of her were to have their way, would warp and mangle into a viciously mutated and marketable product. But maybe Okja is representative of more than just food, as seen through writer/director Bong Joon-Ho's eyes in his latest film from Netflix.