Monday, December 28, 2020
Thursday, December 3, 2020
Monday, November 30, 2020
Saturday, November 28, 2020
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
AMC suspended this program back in March when their theaters were forced to close, but they reopened their theaters in the summer at which time they informed me that I had till December 1st to reactivate my membership. They have a weird rule that if you quit the program then you have to wait 6 months to get back in, so I don't necessarily want to quit, but at the same time I don't want to go back to movie theaters until a vaccine is widely available.
Fortunately, they just extended the deadline to March 1st. I am hoping that things will be much better by then.
For the last eight months, there were rumors that AMC is on the verge of bankruptcy. I imagine that this applies to many businesses. AMC is owned by Wanda Group, which is a Chinese company located in Beijing.
Sunday, November 8, 2020
The film breaks the 4th wall by having the characters reference that they are in a movie. Early on they hear the movie theme song on the radio and refer to it as the theme song. Near the end, they make references to the script in a throwaway joke.
This could have been a good horror movie or a good comedy, but the mix of the two is completely uninspired. It has nothing new to add. There is almost no suspense, which is the point of a horror film. The only thing I liked was the quirky characters and this just wasn't enough.
Better movies like this are "Shawn of the Dead" and "Cockneys vs Zombies", both of which are pretty entertaining and give us interesting characters. Maybe the British know how to mix humor and horror.
Rating: D. Don't waste your time.
Thursday, November 5, 2020
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Josh Gad on Instagram: “10,000 people retweeted my message to #VOTE and in return I vowed to recap the Star Wars Franchise as Olaf. Here is Part 1: The Prequels!…”
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Sunday, October 25, 2020
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
As long as you aren't expecting much in the way of plot, which barely exists in this film, the movie consists almost entirely of energetic singing and dancing. As such it is a visual spectacle. If this were on stage it would seem brilliant, which is why "Cats" was one of the most successful stage musicals ever made, but it is not exactly what you would expect to see in a movie.
I like what I have seen so far, but I'm not sure if another 60 minutes of this will maintain my interest.
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Saturday, October 10, 2020
When I was reviewing the movie "The Signal", I said that the trouble with low budget science fiction movies is that these types of films might have one good idea, whereas a big-budget movie like "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" is loaded with many good ideas. The Signal kept you in suspense for the whole film, making you think that this story was leading up to something wonderful. There was a payoff in the end, but that payoff was so short that if you had closed your eyes for just a couple of seconds then you would have missed it. Literally. Everything I said about "The Signal" is also true for "The Vast of the Night", except the ending is a little longer. However, both movies are an exercise in prolonged tension to arrive at similar endings. The Vast of the Night feels like a master class in low budget filmmaking. It does a great job with its long camera shots and its unknown actors who give stellar performances. The movie starts by showing an old fashioned television screen like it is playing an episode of the old Twilight Zone. The camera zooms into the screen and now we are following characters in a 1950's small New Mexico town on the night of a high school basketball game. It spends a long 20 minutes introducing its settings and characters, after which the local switchboard operator starts noticing weird things happening. She teams up with her friend, a disk jockey at a one-man radio station to investigate what is going on. Many of the scenes drag on a bit, mostly with conversation. But there is a frantic tension that builds toward the conclusion. Fortunately, the actors really sell this story. We get a sense that these are ordinary people caught up in something big that they don't understand. The minimalist style of this film could be called experimental, but for 85 minutes it works really well. Rating: B+. A reviewer on youtube gave the film an A-. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HEcnacyI_8
Thursday, October 1, 2020
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
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.
Sunday, September 6, 2020
Friday, September 4, 2020
In this video, Matt Jarbo actually says he is hoping that someone can "red pill" him on The Last Jedi. So I had to take my shot:
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Friday, August 21, 2020
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.
Monday, August 17, 2020
Thursday, August 6, 2020
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
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.
Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Saturday, August 1, 2020
Friday, July 31, 2020
Maybe the movie serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of addiction.
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Thursday, July 9, 2020
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."
Thursday, July 2, 2020
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
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.
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
The 1994 hand-drawn animated version of The Lion King is nearly perfect. The animation is beautiful, with most of it having a 3D look. The characters are great and the voice acting by Matthew Broadrick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Whoopi Goldberg, and Cheech Marin all give those characters a very distinctive sound. The music, which effectively pulls at our emotions, is so wonderful that it is like another character in the movie.
The only part of the original film that I did not like as much is the musical number "I just can't wait to become King." This sequence is drawn in a 2D style like a classic Saturday morning cartoon. Although it isn't a particularly bad sequence, its target audience seems to be just for kids.
The 2019 remake has many of the qualities that made the original good, but it also is lacking in many areas. The insistence that everything be photorealistic means that the movie is absolutely gorgeous to look at, but it also means that the characters are far less expressive than their hand-drawn counterparts. For example, the character of Scar had charisma in the original, but in the remake he just comes across as mean. I don't think that the voices are as stylish either, although Seth Rogan does a good job as Pumbaa. Why they didn't use the original cast? Only Jame Earl Jones reprises his role.
The music had a powerful impact on the original. It is strangely more subdued in the remake. The star of the new movie, and by far the best reason to see it, is the computer animation. It is a sight to behold.
Hand-drawn animation is expensive, so the original at 88 minutes feels slightly too short. It is a very compact movie with scenes and dialog taking no more time than they need to in order to convey the story. The remake is 30 minutes longer, with extra and more mature dialog everywhere. Many of the scenes are longer. Some of this is nice, but parts of it also feel unnecessary. The final confrontation with Scar is too long and gives the impression of being more violent.
There are little things done in the original that weren't done in the remake, like Pumba picking up Simba with his horns, or Pumba getting stuck under a tree root while being chased by Nala. I found myself wondering if this was just a technological limitation of the computer animation?
Should you see the 2019 remake of the Lion King? Absolutely. It is a wonderful movie to look at. At times I felt like I was watching a beautiful nature show that just happens to be The Lion King. However, the original is a better overall experience.
The Lion King (1994): A.
The Lion King (2019): B+.
The Lion King (2019) has just a 55% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. My favorite movie critic, Richard Roeper, gives the movie 3.5 out of 4 stars.
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Rogue One is surprisingly beautiful. We see shots of planets that are stunning in their detail and beauty, plus everything else in the movie looks gorgeous. Movies like this are an incredible technical achievement. A generation ago, a movie that looked this amazing would have blown audiences away, even if the story was terrible, which fortunately, it isn't.
I am revising my rating of the film from "B+" to "A-".
Sunday, May 31, 2020
P.S. I watched The King the same day I watched 1917. I failed to notice that Dean-Charles Chapman was in both movies.