REVIEW – Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

December 24, 2017 1 comment
Directed by: Rian Johnson
Produced by: Kathleen Kennedy, Ram Bergman
Written by: Rian Johnson
Edited by: Bob Ducsay
Cinematography by: Steve Yedlin
Music by: John Williams
Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Gwendoline Christie, Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Daniels, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Lupita Nyong’o
Year: 2017

 

One of the first questions I received regarding my opinion of the latest Star Wars film (after having announced to everyone on my Facebook that I had completed my first two viewings, of course) was whether or not The Last Jedi, the eighth episode of the currently main Skywalker saga of films, was made for casual fans or die-hard fans. I had to think about it a bit, not because I didn’t know the direct answer to that, but because I had to think about the context of the attitudes I’d been witnessing about the movie. It seems as though there’s a very vocal number of fans out there who… well, they didn’t really seem to like The Last Jedi, and they were making sure everyone knew it in the loudest, most entitled, and sometimes even most obnoxious possible way. Could that have been the demographic my friend was implying when he used the term “die-hard?” I never really got a follow-up to my response (I’m still waiting!), but the fact that I had to consider it at all just made me realize something: I’m kinda tired of so called “die-hard fans” in general. Also, I still think that, after two viewings and nearly non-stop hours of reading about the film and views on it, The Last Jedi is also a pretty great flick, too!

Read more…

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REVIEW – Christmas, Again

December 19, 2017 Leave a comment
Directed by: Charles Poekel
Produced by: Charles Poekel
Written by: Charles Poekel
Edited by: Robert Greene
Cinematography by: Sean Price Williams
Starring: Kentucker Audley, Hannah Gross, Caitlin Mehner, Andrea Suarez Paz, Jason Shelton, Sam Stillman
Year: 2015

Christmas is almost synonymous with happiness in most everyone’s mind. Songs foretell of all the cheer and glad tidings the season will bring the masses as we all presumably dream about gathering together with family and friends and exchanging gifts and gathering by the fireplace and all that. But, man… Christmas can also be kind of a bummer. Should one thing not be perfect, it’s easy to find yourself worrying about whether you’ve ruined the holiday for everyone. Consider also the fact that missing someone on Christmas can be all sorts of depressing, whether it be due to distance, a break-up… or even worse, as my family this year is currently experiencing (which is also the reason for the shortened and belated Christmas reviewing season on this blog). There are countless Christmas films that embrace the joys of the season, of course, but very few that not only acknowledge but embrace exploring the feelings of loneliness and sadness that can come about when you’re surrounded by people who are seemingly way more happy than you are and don’t know why you can’t just support them in their merriment. Christmas, Again, however, is one such rare film, right down to its matter-of-fact title. Read more…

Christmas Movie Month 2017

December 1, 2017 Leave a comment

Hello again, everyone. It seems as though we all know what time of the year it is again, doesn’t it? Yes, it’s Christmastime – that time of year when we all get together and exchange gifts and eat and say we love each other all that fun stuff. It’s also a time when we tend to watch Christmas movies, usually all the same ones, too, because – let’s be honest – most of those other movies suuuuuck.

Personally, I’ve already pretty much covered my favorites, so with this being the seventh Christmas season I’m covering since starting this blog, I’m going to have to really stretch myself as I spend the next few weeks reviewing nothing but Christmas-appropriate (and perhaps other current holiday season-appropriate?) movies… Well, probably with the exception of a certain big franchise movie that’s coming out during the season. With the way that those films are now coming out, though, you can pretty much guarantee that’s going to be how it is for the next couple years. But who knows? Maybe I’ll finally get around to that certain, related holiday special everyone always talks about?

And so, with December upon us, I hope you, my hypothetical reader, enjoy my season-appropriate reviews. And if you don’t, well then you can look back at these previous reviews of some holiday classics and not-so-classics?


Arthur Christmas

Bad Santa (Director’s Cut)

Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas

The Bishop’s Wife

A Christmas Carol (Disney, 2009) Part 1Part 2

A Christmas Story

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights

Elf

The Family Stone

Four Christmases

Happy Christmas

Home Alone

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

Home Alone 3

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

I’ll Be Home for Christmas (1998)

It’s a Wonderful Life

Jingle All the Way

Joyeux Noël

Krampus

Love Actually

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas

Meet Me in St. Louis

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

The Muppet Christmas Carol * Part 1Part 2

The Nativity Story

New Year’s Eve

The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Polar Express

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Rise of the Guardians

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

The Santa Clause

Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas

Scrooged * Part 1Part 2

This Christmas

Tokyo Godfathers

Trading Places

White Christmas

 

REVIEW – Justice League

November 18, 2017 Leave a comment
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Produced by: Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Jon Berg, Geoff Johns
Written by: Chris Terrio, Joss Whedon
Edited by: David Brenner, Richard Pearson, Martin Walsh
Cinematography by: Fabian Wagner
Music by: Danny Elfman
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, J.K. Simmons, Ciarán Hinds, Joe Morton, Amber Heard, Billy Crudup
Based on characters from DC Comics
Year: 2017

 

Finally, right? I think I finally understand now why DC/Warner Bros feel as though they have to catch up to Marvel now that Justice League has been released after years and years of development and false starts. It’s been a rocky road for DC, to say the least, and it’s hard to fault people for continually pointing this out. The studio has largely been reticent to move away from their bread and butter of Batman and Superman (and characters closely tied to them, as was the case with Suicide Squad), and even their efforts to set themselves apart from Marvel, tonally, has been met with criticism for emulating the grimdark tone of Christopher Nolan’s exceptional Dark Knight Trilogy films, regardless of whether it was appropriate or not. As a result, general reception of nearly all their films, with the notable exception of this year’s Wonder Woman, have also been decidedly negative to mixed, at best (though I still generally like Man of Steel, despite its obvious flaws). Come to think of it, that can actually be said all of pretty much all of their non-Nolan-helmed films (a pretty damn big exception, mind you) since 1992. But now – finally – everything has come together in Justice League, the film that finally unites worlds in live action, as we’ve all been hoping to see. Was it worth it? Does it make the pain of watching DC limp through all those years of trials and errors feel worth it? Read more…

REVIEW – A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

October 31, 2017 Leave a comment
Directed by: Ana Lily Amirpour
Produced by: Justin Begnaud, Sina Sayyah, Elijah Wood
Written by: Ana Lily Amirpour
Edited by: Alex O’Flinn
Cinematography by: Lyle Vincent
Music by: Johnny Jewel
Starring: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh, Mozhan Marnò, Dominic Rains, Rome Shadanloo, Milad Eghbali
Based on the short film by Ana Lily Amirpour
Year: 2014

 

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, as a film, is as vague and provocative as its title suggests. Its hero, the titular Girl, is herself a mystery, spending her nights walking down the streets of the ravaged Bad City, Iran, cloaked in the darkness with the help of her pitch black chador. The conservative covering suggests a subservient nature to everyone who encounters her, but it’s more than that – it’s a disguise this unassuming and lonely Girl puts on to conceal her true identity. She’s an empowered, strong woman who will not be taken advantage of, least of all by men who see her and other women as objects to own and use. She is no object. In fact, she isn’t even really human… Read more…

REVIEW – Happy Death Day

October 28, 2017 Leave a comment
Directed by: Christopher B. Landon
Produced by: Jason Blum
Written by: Scott Lobdell
Edited by: Gregory Plotkin
Cinematography by: Toby Oliver
Music by: Bear McCreary
Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Rachel Matthews, Charles Aitken, Rob Mello, Phi Vu
Year: 2017

 

I originally planned on reviewing far headier stuff this year for Halloween Movie Month, but due to some personal/family circumstances and a general lack of motivation that’s partly resulted from that, I’m choosing instead to focus what little time I have left before the actual day of Halloween with movies that are a bit more lighthearted and easy to digest. At least for now. Considering the fact that the holiday also happens to be my birthday, however, I figured what better time than now to review the recently released and appropriately titled Happy Death Day?

 


 

Is the concept of repeating a certain day over and over, Groundhog Day-style, an overused plot contrivance already? I’m sure there are plenty of examples of TV episodes doing it, or at least doing something similar to it, but I’d be hard pressed to find more than a handful of movies that used the time loop device as their primary driving force. There’s Edge of Tomorrow, of course, and then there’s Run Lola Run, Source Code (sorta…), ARQ, and earlier this year we received 2017’s first film about a young woman repeating a traumatic day in her life with the decidedly more serious Before I Fall. While Wikipedia points me towards a few examples of the time loop being used in a few other films, however, I’m pretty certain that this concept being used in such a particular way, complete with characters fixing mistakes and wrongs, is still mostly known from Groundhog Day, a fact that horror comedy offspring Happy Death Day openly acknowledges, thanks largely to the obligatory meta-commentary all horror comedies are apparently required to integrate into their structure these days. Read more…

REVIEW – Eraserhead

October 11, 2017 Leave a comment
Directed by: David Lynch
Produced by: David Lynch
Written by: David Lynch
Edited by: David Lynch
Cinematography by: Frederick Elmes, Herbert Cardwell
Music by: David Lynch, Fats Waller, Peter Ivers
Starring: Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Judith Anna Roberts, Laurel Near, Jeanne Bates, Allen Joseph, Jack Fisk
Year: 1977

 

Neither having seen The Elephant Man and Dune years prior nor having mere knowledge of just how bizarre David Lynch could get with his body of work could not have prepared me for my first time, firsthand viewing of his debut film Eraserhead this past week. Growing up a budding film fan, this cult classic was always on my radar in some form, whether due to its intriguing title that suggested to my younger self that the film was a dark, artsy slasher film in the tradition of Friday the 13th (I was not aware of the release timeline then) or because of my frequent encounter with that instantly recognizable shot of star Jack Nance staring back at me within a cloud of illuminated dust as I scavenged through movie posters I knew I would never actually end up buying. The movie’s reputation also preceded itself in discussions of film, primarily online, and yet, somehow, I still managed to avoid any spoilers and even major plot details of the film until actually seeing it myself. And, somehow, even afterward, while I know that what I saw was called Eraserhead, I’m still not entirely certain what the hell I saw. Read more…

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