Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Mandalorian | Season 2 Official Trailer

This looks neat.  I'm not convinced that they are going to recapture the magic of the first season.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW7Twd85m2g

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Dune Trailer #1 (2020)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6r-WSSbKUC8

I read the entire Dune series of books in the 1970's. Although good books, I can't imagine them making good movies. The story is overly convoluted and probably not very cinematic.

The previous attempt at a Dune movie was of questionable quality.

Frank Herbert tended to write very weird novels. His "Whipping Star" series of books are a good read, but weird as all get out.

The trailer gives us nothing to indicate that it will be any good. It could be another Battlefield Earth.

Friday, September 4, 2020

John Boyega DESTROYS Disney Star Wars!

https://youtu.be/lwGLZa-io9U?t=473

In this video, Matt Jarbo actually says he is hoping that someone can "red pill" him on The Last Jedi.

I had to take my shot:

I'm not sure if you have seen my previous comments over the last 2+ years defending The Last Jedi, because you never respond, but please allow me to make my case. There are several minor problems with the film that I didn't find too objectionable. I'll cover these, but first, let me say that if you look past these things then there is a pretty entertaining story there. There is so much in the movie that I like: All the interaction between Luke and Rey. The force bond between Rey and Kylo. Rey's vision. Everything that happened in the throne room is gold, and it concludes with Ben practically proposing to Rey which is even more interesting. The Canto Bight story is not the best, but neither does it take up as much screen time as people claim it does. Parts of it, such as the chase scene, are interesting. Everything that happened during the Battle of Crait was also excellent, except for the stupid Rose scene. I liked being surprised by Luke's force projection. His passing, or becoming one with the Force, moved me to tears. If you look at Rey's vision, I really feel that they were going to make her a clone, but changed their minds later. For me, the good parts outweigh the bad by a good margin. The first time around I was a little uncertain how I felt about broom boy. I found the scene both emotionally moving and a little cheesy, but this scene has grown on me. It creates hope for the future. Also, The Last Jedi takes Star Wars in a slightly new direction and I really felt like it needed that. It needed something fresh, and not just you have to have the right bloodline to be a Jedi. The Last Jedi does what Lucas always did, which is to take us to new exotic locations and introduce new ideas that are controversial. (Ewoks, Jar Jar, Midichrorians.) Compare that to The Rise of Crapwalker which hardly does anything original. (I like the movie, but it is my least favorite of the nine. There are real logical problems, like Rey and Kylo both wanting the same goal, which is to go to Exegol to kill Palpatine, but somehow these two characters who have the same goal are fighting each other to the death.) Most of the things that people complain about as cringe-worthy didn't feel that bad. The big one was the direction that they took Luke in, but I feel like we don't own the story. It is up to them to tell the story that they want to tell, and if they want to make Luke a burned-out Jedi, then this actually makes for a pretty interesting story. It is not the story I would have chosen to tell, but I'm not a good storyteller. If they gave me exactly what I expected then I would be bored. I didn't mind the scene with Leia saving herself because I liked seeing her use the Force. It is logical that she could do that. I dislike people comparing this scene to Mary Poppins. I went and looked at the scene in Marry Poppins and they are nothing alike. The Poe joking around bit was not the best, but I kind of enjoyed it anyway. General Hux was always a comical character. His grand speech in The Force Awakens is over the top, so I never saw him as a serious character. Things I don't like in The Last Jedi: 1. Laura Dern's Professor of Gender Studies character. She does not look like a rebel and feels out of place. They are beating us over the head with Social Justice Warrior messages. 2. Rose's very bad dialog More social justice warrior messages along with her stupid dialog in saving Finn. I like Rose Tico, but I don't l like her dialog. 3. Since when has fuel ever been an issue in a Star Wars movie? 4. The slow-speed chase doesn't make sense because the First Order could hyperspace ahead of the rebel fleet. Although I like The Force Awakens, I have some problems with the movie because they don't explain or set up anything. We learn nothing about the new Republic and there are so many unexplained things that the movie feels like it is full of holes. I had high hopes that the third film would pull it all together in a way that would redeem the trilogy, but the third film only proves that they didn't have a plan.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Re: Ben Shapiro Ranks Every Star Wars Movie!

Three of the movies that he considers unwatchable I very much like, The Phantom Menace (which I think is vastly underrated), The Last Jedi, and The Force Awakens.

I think that "Solo" is mediocre.  It is not bad, but it is not great either. 

On Mon, Aug 31, 2020 at 3:21 AM Albert Nelms  wrote:
Just in case you ever wondered what Ben Shapiro thought about Star Wars movies.



Friday, August 21, 2020

Terminator 3 movie

I watched Terminator 3 on Netflix, which I had not seen since it came out in the theaters in 2003. The problem with this film is that the entire movie is almost one long chase scene. It is lacking in the interesting characters and emotions that the previous film had. Despite this, it manages to be moderately entertaining, but it hasn't aged well. For the 167 million dollar budget, it feels only slightly better than a made for TV movie. Rating: B-.

I liked the 4th film in the franchise, but not everyone did. No matter how many times they have tried, they can't seem to recapture the magic of the first two films.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The Secret Life of Pets II


The Secret Life of Pets was way too dark for a kid's movie, with a psycho bunny who wants to kill humans. This movie is definitely not funny and has completely the wrong tone for an animated film. The bunny gets reformed at the end of the film, and in The Secret Life of Pets II becomes more of a nutty character who desperately wants to be a superhero. The best thing that I can say about the sequel is that it is not as dark as the first film, is somewhat funny, and has a brief sequence with Harrison Ford as an old farm dog who teaches the main character how to be brave. There is a second plot where the bunny rescues a tiger from a stereotypical abusive Russian circus master, and this part of the movie is still kind of dark, which bothered me a bit. Mostly the stereotyped cruel Russian circus master bothered me, and it still feels like the wrong tone for a kid's film. However, overall the movie is passable entertainment and parts of it are exciting.  Without Harrison Ford as the crusty old farm dog, the movie wouldn't be worth my time.


Rating: B. The Secret Life of Pets II is available on Netflix streaming.

Get Free Coffee at Panera Bread

I've been getting free coffee for about 3 weeks.  I need to cancel the coffee subscription by the end of September in order not to be charged.


Friday, July 31, 2020

The Seventh Seal

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Seventh_Seal

This is described as one of the greatest movies of all time.  I thought that it was a little boring.  The movie seems pretty dated now.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

28 Days Later

The 2002 "28 Days Later" was a pretty good zombie film. It was about the same level of quality as the Will Smith "I am Legend" that came out in 2007. Also out in 2007 was the sequel to "28 Days Later" called, guess what, "28 Weeks Later." It was okay. It was a good movie.

For a long time now, fans of the first two films have been demanding a third film. After years of telling us that a third movie was never going to happen, apparently it is now starting production. All these years the fans have been assuming that the next film would be called "28 Months Later" since we seem to be following units of time measurement. I see no reason why they would have to stick to this naming convention, but reportedly they are going to comply with the fan expectations.

If we take this naming scheme to its logical extreme, then the following two films will be called "28 years later" and "28 Decades Later."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/28_Days_Later

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Onward


A long time ago there was magic. Magic was used to help people and to make their lives better.  However, magic was difficult to master, and once people discovered technology which was easier, they forgot about magic.

This feels like a world that could have been much more explored, but the movie plays it safe by having all the characters be no different than modern boring humans.  However, that is part of the point, since this is a culture that has lost its heritage.  The movie holds a surprise for us, because what seems on the surface like a three-star film, delivers in a big way with a four-star ending.  This is by no means the best Pixar film, but Pixar can still work a magic of their own.

Our two main characters, both elves and both brothers, go on a quest to find something magical that will bring back their long-deceased father just for a day so that they meet him.  As a result, they discover more about themselves and help their culture regain some of what it lost.

Rating: B+.    I would love to see a sequel where they better explore this world.

P.S. There is much stuff in the trailer that didn't make it into the movie.  This happens sometimes when a movie undergoes many revisions before being released.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Cloud Atlas on Netflix

I was way impressed by the movie and its ambition. but the execution isn't quite as good as its vision.  As good as the movie is, it drags on a little too much. 

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Star Wars sequel trilogy

The three movies of the Disney made Star Wars sequel trilogy, episodes 7, 8 and 9, were entertaining enough, but they really feel like a huge opportunity lost to do something better. The movies could have been another Lord of the Rings, or another Game of Thrones, not that I'm a huge fan of either one of these things, but the new Star Wars trilogy had a chance to be epic, but instead, it was splintered into different creative visions that did not mesh well. I had high hopes that there was some master plan that would pull it all together in the end, but the final film pretty much proved that there was none.

The seventh film was largely a remake of the original Star Wars with new younger characters. Although it might have a few new ideas, it doesn't feel very original and its goal was to just evoke nostalgia. This is not how George Lucas made Star Wars movies because every one of his movies introduced new and sometimes controversial ideas and took us to new unfamiliar exotic locations.

J.J. Abrams, the writer and director of Episode 7, reportedly had a master plan in the beginning. Part of the plan involved Carrie Fisher being critically important to the 9nth film, but she died three years before the movie came out, and a year before it went into production. They did manage to use some old footage of Carrie Fisher in the movie. Colin Trevorrow was scheduled to write and direct Episode 9, and reportedly he had some really interesting ideas, but he was fired over creative differences that conflicted with Episode 8, so J.J. Abrams ended up also writing and directing the 9nth movie.

Part of the problem was that a mostly unproven director, Rian Johnson, was given free rein by Lucasfilm to do whatever he wanted in Episode 8, The Last Jedi. It appears that Rian Johnson ignored any plans that J.J. Abrams had, and made the movie that he wanted to make. Rian Johnson admitted that he had no concern for continuity or what came before, and that he was only interested in his own vision. Johnson introduced some news ideas that could have taken Star Wars in a slightly new direction, and I think that this had the potential to be interesting.

However, in Episode 9, The Rise of Skywalker, J.J. Abrams appears to have gone out of his way to disregard everything Rian Johnson did.

The problem is that Episode 8, The Last Jedi, split the fanbase. It was a little inconsistent with the Star Wars that fans were familiar with. Although I liked The Last Jedi a great deal and it is my favorite of the trilogy, at least half the fans hated it with an almost irrational passion. The was a major backlash to the film.

Because of the backlash to The Last Jedi, this created strife between Disney and Lucasfilm. There was an edict issued by Disney that Episode 9 had to please *all* the fans and not just half of them. George Lucas was brought back to act as a script consultant and introduced some of his ideas, but midway through filming Lucasfilm informed Disney that the new film might not please all the fans as they wanted. This caused the parent company, Disney, to put their foot down and demand rewrites and reshoots.

What we got with Episode 9 feels like it is too crammed full of crowd-pleasing moments. The story proceeds at such a frenetic pace that the audience doesn't have time to notice that much of the movie doesn't make logical sense. I think that the last act is way over the top. The problem is that movie is very entertaining just so long as you don't think about it too much. This might explain the critic score of only 52%.


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Sonic The Hedgehog



The first trailer for Sonic The Hedgehog sparked an internet backlash because many people thought that the Sonic character looked kind of creepy.  The production company responded to the backlash by redoing the animation, and the final result looks fairly good.  I noticed some very minor imperfections in the CGI, but nothing too distracting.

Because of the initial backlash, some of the critics expressed great surprise by saying that the movie is actually good.  This is not what they were expecting.  

Sonic is mostly a kid's film that is not intellectually deep at all, but it has enough jokes that connect and fun stuff to make it a good time.  Jim Carrey plays Dr. Robotnik.  He is essentially playing a cartoon villain, which he plays way over the top, so much so that I found him annoying, but Jim Carrey is also the funniest when he is way over the top.  I was laughing out loud several times, which is a good thing.  We get Jim Carrey at his full nuttiness, although it would have been better if he were more restrained.

There is a bar fight scene in the middle of the movie that is mostly gratuitous because it feels like filler.  However, like the rest of the movie, it is mildly amusing.

If we compare Sonic to another videogame adaptation, Pokemon Detective Pikachu, the story is much more coherent and less of a mess.

Rating:  B.



Sunday, February 9, 2020

Star Wars Sequel Trilogy

I enjoyed the Star Wars sequel trilogy, but in terms of story, it felt like a lost opportunity to do something more significant. What we got was like leftover turkey.  

--
John Coffey

Saturday, February 8, 2020

1917

I saw 1917 for the second time today and this might be the movie of the decade. Since it opened to limited theaters in 2019, I'm not sure which decade.  ☺

--

Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Rise of Skywalker


I hesitated to see The Rise of Skywalker a second time, which is very unusual for me with Star Wars movies. There are minor problems with the movie. I didn't think that it was particularly logical, and the final act is a little over the top. However, it is much easier to appreciate this movie on the second viewing.

On the positive side, the film is a grand spectacle, and I pretty much had a blast for the first 75% of it. The last act is still a grand spectacle, and I understand the movie better and what it was trying to do by seeing it a second time.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

The King vs. Henry V


Henry V is a 1989 movie by Kenneth Branagh adapted from Shakespeare's play.  The King is a 2019 Netflix film covering the same historical events. 

Henry V had a falling out with his father, so his father Henry IV appointed Henry's younger brother to be the successor to the monarchy, but Henry's younger brother was killed in battle shortly before Henry IV's death and Henry V became king at the age of 26.  He succeeded in conquering France in an ongoing 100-year series of wars between France and England.  But he died at the age of 35 and most of his military victories would later be reversed.

Henry V was a young king.  Kenneth Branagh played him at the age of 39 in the movie adaption of Shakespeare's play

One of Henry V's major was victories was at the Battle of Agincourt.  It was a battle that he should have lost because he was badly outnumbered, but a combination of strategy and weather worked in his favor.   At this battle, it was said that Henry V gave a powerful speech to motivate his men, but history does not record this speech.  Shakespeare wrote a fantastic speech for the play ("We happy few. We band of brothers."), but the movie The King substitutes something less grandiose.   Shakespeare handles the battle by having the actors march offstage and the battle is not shown, and the movie version only shows a bit of the battle.  Instead, the King gives us what feels likes a historical re-creation of the battle.

Whereas the Netflix movie The King seems more historically accurate, the movie Henry V is more fun because it is hard to top Shakespeare.

Rating:  The King:  B.

Rating:  Henry V:  A-.

P.S.  I watched The King the same day I watched 1917.  I failed to notice that Dean-Charles Chapman was in both movies.


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Uncut Gems


Adam Sandler plays a jeweler who is also a gambling addict in trouble with the mob, and who can't seem to stop his gambling.  He is a bit of a conman because he has to be to keep at bay all the people who are after him.  He is also unfaithful to his wife with a couple of affairs, so his wife is planning to divorce him.

This is actually a good performance by Adam Sandler, but my problem with the movie is that it is about unpleasant people doing bad things.  In addition, the film is dropping f-bombs literally every five seconds.  I didn't hate the movie from start to finish, because the ending is pretty good, but overall I found the movie to be an unpleasant experience.  I feel the same way about Uncut Gems as I did about American Beauty; there is no way I want to spend two hours with such horrible people.  There is an unpleasant tension as Adam Sandler's character goes from bad to worse. The Guardian said, "Uncut Gems is so stressful it should come with a panic attack warning.  Adam Sandler thriller is brilliant, but watching it is a horrible experience."  I feel the same way.

All the tension in the film does make it somewhat watchable.  I actually considered walking out of the movie, but I wanted to see how the movie ended, so I stayed.  I am glad that I saw the ending because it is the only redeeming part of the movie.

Uncut Gems has a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and I'm sure that there are some people who think that this movie is brilliant, but it is telling that the audience score is only 51%.

Maybe the movie serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of addiction.

Rating:  C.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

1917


The movie 1917 is likely to be one of the best movies I will see this year.  It follows a pair of World War I soldiers on a time-critical mission to get a message to another unit so as to avoid an attack that will end in disaster.  This is based on a real story told to writer and director Sam Mendes by his grandfather.

The movie is filmed in such a way that it appears to be one continuous shot, except for a couple of obvious breaks.  There are continuous shots that last at least 40 minutes.  The camera follows the soldiers through long trenches, across fields, into farmhouses, rivers, underground bunkers, and troop transports.  This is like another character because I spent the whole movie wondering how on earth did they film this?  It is technically very difficult to have everything properly lit while the camera follows the actors through miles of territory. 

The movie creates a suspense that is perfect.  There is not much direct combat, but the horrible aftermath of combat is everywhere in this movie.  On the journey, the soldiers are constantly passing dead bodies and destruction.  The way the movie is filmed gives it an extra sense of realism.

The movie is rated R for war violence and a few swear words.

Rating: A+.



Sunday, January 5, 2020

Knives Out


Knives Out is a mystery whodunit in the spirit of Agatha Cristie, but with quite a few twists, which is a given since it is from director Rian Johnson.  As entertainment, it works really well, although I didn't find it totally believable and I predicted the twist ending.  The movie also tries a little too hard to be a social commentary.

However, Rian Johnson shows that he can make a pretty entertaining movie.

Rating: A-.  My initial thought was to give it a B+, but I did find the movie thoroughly entertaining.   Knives Out has a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.