Thursday, April 19, 2018

Brief thoughts on A Quiet Place.

Sound and silence are often taken for granted. With movies, in particular, since films have ironically evolved from no audio at all, to sound and dialogue becoming a huge part of our stories. Nowadays, silence tends to take a back seat to the big budget spectacles, with studios at war with and one-upping each other to see who can have the biggest explosions and mayhem. But silence is never truly gone, simply buried, waiting for a truly special film to make use of it. And so does A Quiet Place, director John Krasinski's eerie and terrifying feature.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Ready Player One movie review.

I am, and I assume many of my readers are, a nostalgic lover of the 80's and its pop culture. The decade of Duran Duran and Michael Jackson still continues to resonate with a great many for its iconic achievements and shifting social attitudes, that obsession continuing to follow us to today, as 80's franchises find new life in continuations and reboots, and generating brand new pop culture phenomenons like Stranger Things, that wear their old-fashioned setting like a badge of honor.

And if you were a lover of the 80's, chances are you were also a lover of Amblin and Steven Spielberg, for crafting some of the most endearing and memorable franchises and films of the decade. But, fun as nostalgia may be, to leap into it blissfully unaware of the world's larger problems can be a danger all on its own. That's an issue Spielberg himself tackles, in his adaptation of Ernest Cline's fanboy favorite book Ready Player One, of a world crumbling to pieces as that nostalgia dominates.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Congratulations, Roger!

14 nominations and 23 years later, you finally earned your gold! Who could ever forget the final traitorous moments of Jesse James’ life, the foreboding snowy mood of Brainerd, when Those We Don’t Speak if surrounded a small village, or when freedom was finally won from Shawshank? These are just a few of the iconic images to grace our screens and burn themselves into our memory, finally earning his due through the intoxicating world of Blade Runner. Congratulations, Deaks, and thanks for all the memories.

Now let’s give Thomas Newman and Greg Russell one.

Friday, March 2, 2018

My official predictions for the 90th annual Academy Awards.

"I'm so glad we've had this time together," but now the pay-off to a long Oscar season concludes this Sunday with the upcoming Academy Awards telecast, and man am I excited! I know I made it clear last year that the Academy Awards are nothing to get too enraged or invested over, but there's always something about that friendly sense of competition between viewers with difference in personal preferences, and the joy to correctly guess your most long shot predictions on your ballot.

But boy, does the telecast itself have a lot to live up to. Last year's ceremony was the best I'd seen in quite a long time, thanks to the charisma and bite of host Jimmy Kimmel, who'll be trying to recapture that lightning in a bottle. He certainly has the chance, what with the wealth of burn material handed to him on a silver platter (expect some scathing jabs at Trump and Weinstein). But how on earth they'll address and poke fun at last year's bewildering Best Picture slip-up? We'll have to wait and see.

But putting aside the telecast, here I am once more to list out my predictions in all 24 competitive categories. Last year saw me hit a personal low of 14. I thought that by playing it safe, I'd be able to get a decent score, so imagine my surprise at shocker wins like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and of course Moonlight's big upset. This year, I've decided I want to be more risky with a lot of my picks, so we'll see if that bolsters my tally. Here are the selections!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Annihilation movie review.

You'd be forgiven for not knowing Alex Garland by name, as much of his career has been strictly behind the scenes. Rising to prominence as an author thanks to his popular novel The Beach, Garland soon made the transition to film, backing films the likes of 28 Days Later, Sunshine, and Never Let Me Go. His limited, but varied credits, that blended psychological character study with powerful central themes, made him a natural fit for the Sci-Fi realm.

But rather than play behind the scenes, he soon struck out on his own, his debut resulting in the fascinating Ex Machina, that took a very intimate and minimalist approach to the genre. So how do you follow up such an ambitious debut? In Garland's case, opt for a larger scale, but just as intimate blend of sci-fi and horror, with an adaptation of Jeff Vandemeer's Annihilation. So what head-scratching ideas has Garland proposed to us today?

Friday, February 23, 2018

Brief thoughts on Early Man.

I absolutely love the work of Aardman Animation, the British stop-motion studio. Like many, I grew up adoring their Wallace and Gromit shorts, and over the years, I've also loved their foray into feature length with films like Chicken Run, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and Shaun the Sheep. In 2018, what looks to be the next big year of stop motion, they've already given us an early delight in the form of their prehistoric Early Man, a long-gestating passion project for the legendary Nick Park, in his first solo directing credit.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Black Panther movie review.

Despite their decade spanning output, and launching several prominent franchises for less popular characters, the Marvel Cinematic Universe hasn't always been the most diverse when it comes to its characters, and even with prominent characters like Falcon and Black Widow, it's been frustrating not to see Marvel give one of those characters their own solo outing to combat those criticisms. It may have taken them a while, but they've finally attempted to diversify their films, by unleashing the long awaited Black Panther.

Black Panther is commonly noted as the first mainstream superhero of black or African descent, soon paving the way for the likes of Luke Cage, Blade, and the aforementioned Falcon, but standing above them all with audiences who continue to resonate to his nobility and outsider status. Having laid the groundwork previously in Marvel's Civil War, and with his solo entry brought to life by Creed director Ryan Coogler, all the ingredients were there for another enjoyable Marvel flick. But what if it were more? What if Black Panther were Marvel's best film so far?