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.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Dunkirk movie review.

It seems customary that at some point in their careers, every director that achieves fame is bound to create a World War II movie. As one of the most significant periods in history, the long and arduous war was a series of battles with numerous outreached arms, taking place on battlefields not just of violence and bloodshed, but sanity and humanity. The perspectives it provides are so versatile, and the scope so expansive, that any director can find a new spin on an already well-documented event.

So if any modern director seemed destined to create one, it had to be Christopher Nolan. Having already carved his name with epics the likes of The Dark Knight trilogy, showing he had a knack for full-scale explosive action and practicality, it seemed only a natural fit for one. But being such a cerebral-based filmmaker, the question still remained if his stylistics would truly blend with the traditional format. Yet while less scientific than his usual repertoire, heady it still remains, in very visceral, intentionally overwhelming ways, more of a thriller and suspenseful horror under the guise of a war movie.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Brief thoughts on Spider-Man: Homecoming - 300th Post!

How many times you gonna do it, Spidey? Sam Raimi's original Spider-Man films were crucial events in the infancy of modern Superflicks, perfecting the mold that had been established with X-Men, and delivering on all the fabulous campiness, lightness, sweetness, and even downright horror of Peter Parker's universe with the definitive representation of the character to date. Unfortunately, this came crashing down when Sony (the holders to the production rights) decided to interfere with Raimi's work by overstuffing Spider-Man 3.

Cut to five years later, and in an attempt to keep the rights from reverting, as well as to copy the successful moves of his former owners at Marvel, decided to create their own expanded universe, leading to the apathetic Amazing Spider-Man that retread the familiar origin story, and the spectacular disaster of its sequel, not to mention laughable proposals like a spin-off with Sally Field's Aunt May as a secret agent. Having reached an agreement to share the character rights, Sony's partnership with Marvel finally allowed the beloved webhead to join the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, first debuting the character in Civil War.

This seemed to be a move that indicated great things to come, especially since Tom Holland's Spidey made for a great scene-stealer in his limited screentime. But upon exiting Spider-Man: Homecoming, I can't help but feel my apathy resurfacing yet again. This is my first true disappointment of Marvel's otherwise highly enjoyable universe.

Friday, July 14, 2017

War for the Planet of the Apes movie review.

As someone who never considered himself a fan of the Planet of the Apes series, the newly rebooted franchise following Caesar and his clan's rise to power and freedom has made for some of my favorite blockbusters of this decade. Starting with Rise, the series decided to shift focus from the humans onto the apes, creating a rousing, and well-built origin story that made the most of their primate cast and motion-capture, even if it meant the humans were generally boring.

Cut to Dawn, when the film went even more ambitious and brutal, managing to make these "Animals" feel  human, delivering on blockbuster excitement without sacrificing mood or character, even making the humans better defined in the meantime. Of course, both movies featured beautiful, lifelike motion-capture from Weta Digital, and outstanding central performances from Andy Serkis. Now with Dawn's seeds sewn for all out war between humans and apes, we join the clan once more for a no less suspenseful, rich, and poignant closer to the new trilogy.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Brief thoughts on Baby Driver.

As his criminal allies wander into the bank to rob its riches, a lone getaway driver waits in his sleek car, drowning out the noise with his rockin' tunes, pounding and drumming to the music in rhythmic pace. Even when the group make their big getaway, his keen sense of rhythm still chugs along, weaving and bobbing through traffic in time to his soundtrack like a devil behind the wheel. One could say that the rhythm of these songs is like a heartbeat to him; a frantic, unruly, but also soulful heartbeat acting as something of an odd moral compass, that suggests numerous deep and unexplored layers with each new track. As is the case with this man (his name's Baby), so too is with the film he is attached to, a film so rousing and hyper-kinetic that you'll be left breathless by the time of its closing moments. This is Baby Driver.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Brief thoughts on The Beguiled.

A lonely, but idyllic all girl's school sits within the woods of Virginia during the Civil War. A student of this school comes across the badly injured John McBurney (Colin Farrell), a Union soldier that the students and teachers take in until his injuries are healed. The location seems tranquil and unassuming, but soon that surface reveals a web of seduction, infighting, and cruelty as the occupants spend more time with their unlikely guest. For all these reasons and more, Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled seems destined to be among the most beautifully twisted films of the year.