Friday, February 3, 2023

Original Anakin Actor Didn't Know Who He Was Playing!

Reportedly, Sebastian Shaw had never seen Star Wars.  He only had 4 or 5 lines as the face of Darth Vader.  When Ian McDermid asked him what he was doing on the set he said, "I don't know, my boy.  It has something to do with science fiction."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=istGHcanD-o&t=14s

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Darth Vader | Behind The Scenes History

I think that this is funny.  Reportedly, the old actor Sebastian Shaw didn't know anything about Star Wars.  He just read a few lines and collected a paycheck.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmOG1wg5sVo&t=456s

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

The Last Of Us Will Never Be The Same

Videogames have become more cinematic, so it is not surprising to see a popular video game adapted into a cinematic-quality series.  So far, I've only seen the first two episodes, but I am impressed.  It is a mixture of The Crazies, The Walking Dead, and A Quiet Place.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6O5aoD3EyY&t=166s

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Rust (upcoming film)


Premise[edit]

In 1880s Kansas, aging outlaw Harland Rust comes out of hiding to rescue his thirteen-year-old grandson Lucas, who has been sentenced to hang for murder after an accidental shooting. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rust_(upcoming_film)

cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot and director Joel Souza was injured on the set of the film Rust when a live round was discharged from a revolver used as a prop by actor Alec Baldwin.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Just Darth Vader being terrifying

Video games are becoming more like movies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYuqVC4zvPA

The full video game does not make a perfect movie, but it is interesting enough...


Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Did you know that in FORREST GUMP...

Star Wars: Premonition | Award Winning Lightsaber Duel | SaberComp 2022

It is amazing how dedicated Star Wars fans make their own quality fiction.  Here we have a Kylo-Ren-Esque villain after a Rey-Esque mother and her child.  The production quality is pretty good for a fan-made short.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K52fEK1XZNo

Monday, January 16, 2023

Encanto

 


A Columbian family is forced to leave their home due to war, and in the jungle they find a magical candle that never burns out and grants each one of the family members a different magical power.  They use their powers to build a small town that becomes a safe haven for refugees.  However, problems arise when third-generation Mirabel is not granted a magical power and the magic seems to be fading.  Some of the family blame Mirabel, even though she is not at fault, and Mirabel goes through a crisis of confidence.

Encanto is a Disney 3D animated musical film with a bizarre premise that is somewhat interesting and could have been something really special until it falls flat on its face.  I haven't been this disappointed in an animated film since I saw Robots, and kind of for the same reason; whatever message the movie is pushing is unrealistic and makes it feel pointless.  Here I am not sure that the movie has a clear message except that if people sing about their feelings then this somehow will make everything wrong in the world better.

It is also one of the most successful properties on the Disney+ streaming service and it has a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  Some of the critical praise focuses on issues like diversity and Latino representation.

I was hoping that Encanto is a Pixar film, but it is not, which explains why it lacks the qualities that make Pixar films great.

The movie throws around a great deal of Spanish lingo such as 'tio', 'abuela', 'casita', and much more.  It expects you to guess the meaning of the words, which is not hard because every time one of these words is used you are given a visual clue as to what they are talking about.  The film is a very small Spanish lesson, mostly set to music.  Even the title, 'Encanto', means spell or enchantment.

Ultimately the movie doesn't work because it feels like a mess without a clear point. 

Rating:  B-.  It is barely passable as entertainment.


Monday, January 9, 2023

Far From the Tree

 


Far From the Tree is an animated short that played in theaters before the Pixar film Encanto.

It is a story about an overly adventurous Raccoon kit who gets scolded by her father for getting them into danger.  Then as an adult, she faces the same challenge with her son.  

In this short, the raccoon animation is more cartoonish.  I think that it might have worked better had the raccoons looked more realistic.  

Although it is supposed to be sentimental and sweet, and I get the same kind of vibes I got from "Piper" released before "Finding Dory", it didn't click with me.  It is barely passable as entertainment.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

All Quiet on the Western Front

 


World War I was one of the most pointless and deadliest wars in history.  It is hard to understand why these countries were at war with each other.  Different nations had become more militaristic, and imperialist.  Because of mutual defense packs, the assassination of Arch-Duke Ferdinand set off a chain of events that led to World War.  As one country was attacked, others felt compelled to join in.

Most of the war was spent in the trenches, with millions dying in pointless charges getting mowed down by machine gun fire while making no real advancement.  The battle lines changed very little.

All Quiet on the Western Front makes no pretense of nobleness nor honor in people trying to kill each other.  Soldiers aren't seen as brave men fighting for a worthy cause.  These young men, teenagers who are practically boys, are sent charging into their likely destruction.  And for what purpose?  Mostly patriotism, but the boys on both sides aren't any different than their enemy.  They are fighting not for a cause, but because they are told that they must do so.

The movie starts with German youth Paul Bäumer patriotically signing up for military service with some of his classmates.  They are told that they will be victorious and march into Paris.  However, any notion of glory quickly disappears as soon as they arrive at the front.  One of the classmates is killed in the first few minutes.

The best battle scene involves the soldiers being attacked by multiple enemy tanks, which looks like Hell on Earth.

The movie is so realistic that it feels almost like watching a documentary.  It doesn't shy away from the horrors of war.  Many people likely will be put off by the film.  As such, it is more of an experience than it is entertainment.  After watching the movie it would be hard to watch other war movies in a positive light.

The film is based on a 1928 German anti-war novel, that would later be banned by the Nazis because it made war look less than glorious.  There were previous movie adaptations in 1930 and 1979, both of which were critically acclaimed.

Rating:  B+.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Avatar Review



"Avatar" is a science fiction epic directed by James Cameron and released in 2009. The movie tells the story of Jake Sully, a disabled former Marine who is sent to the distant planet of Pandora to participate in a corporate-funded project to mine a valuable mineral called unobtanium. While there, Jake falls in love with the native Pandora inhabitants, the Na'vi, and becomes torn between his loyalty to his human employers and his growing connection to the Pandora ecosystem and its inhabitants.

One of the standout elements of "Avatar" is its groundbreaking visuals and special effects, which were groundbreaking at the time of its release and hold up well even by today's standards. The use of motion capture technology and 3D animation allowed the filmmakers to create fully-realized, lifelike characters and breathtakingly realistic environments that are a joy to behold. The movie's action scenes are also well-choreographed and exciting, with impressive set pieces that showcase the unique creatures and landscapes of Pandora.

The story of "Avatar" is not particularly original, with elements of the "white savior" trope and a simplistic, good-versus-evil narrative that pits the human characters against the Na'vi. However, the movie's themes of environmentalism and cultural imperialism are timely and thought-provoking, and the performances of the cast, particularly Sam Worthington as Jake and Zoe Saldana as the Na'vi warrior Neytiri, are strong.

Overall, "Avatar" is a visually stunning and entertaining action adventure that is worth seeing for its groundbreaking special effects and strong performances. While its story may be somewhat simplistic and familiar, the movie's themes and visuals more than make up for it.

--
Best wishes,

John Coffey


P.S.  I didn't write this review.  An AI called chatGPT did.




Sunday, December 25, 2022

IT (2017)

 


When it was announced that Stephen King's very popular novel IT was being made into a feature film, there was almost no end to the hype.  People were very excited about it, and the reviews ended up pretty favorable.  My favorite movie critic, Richard Roeper, gives the film four stars.

However, I see almost no redeeming qualities to the movie.  It has one very disturbing image after another.  The movie about a supernatural killer clown apparently comes from a very dark place in Stephen King's psyche.  We see children constantly in danger and facing gruesome and gory events that seem to go on without end.

A group of preteen boys take it upon themselves to fight this danger, however unrealistic this may be.  They are also plagued by bullies who are far more sadistic than what would seem plausible, along with some uncompassionate adults who are a bit sadistic themselves.

One problem that I have with Stephen King is that he treats American characters as stereotypes, often cruel ones, that are not believable.  There is the crazy religious woman in "The Mist", a movie that didn't work at all for me.  His novel, Under the Dome, is full of stereotyped "good old boy" characters that aren't realistic for Americans anymore.  It is almost painful to read.

When I watched the movie Jurassic Park, I didn't like seeing children in mortal danger.  I have the same problem here.  Nor is it realistic that children would rise to the occasion to take on the mortal threat.  After everything that happens in this movie, these children should be experiencing severe post-traumatic stress.

The movie omits a scene from the book where a teenage girl has sex with six preteen boys as a way of bonding with them.  Very dark indeed.

At no point is it explained where this supernatural killer clown comes from.  Reportedly there was a scene filmed that might have explained it, but it was cut because it was too disturbing.  Given how disturbing the rest of the film is, that's saying something.

I thought that I liked Stephen King novels, like "The Dead Zone" and "The Stand".  I may have to rethink this.

Rating:  D.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Rotten Tomatoes Won’t Exist In 5 Years. Here’s Why.

Avatar Is An Absolute Snooze Fest

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/9IUNuBxXdho

The only movie that almost caused me to walk out of the theater was Uncut Gems.
 
Avatar was passable as entertainment. Not saying that it was great, but it was good enough.

George Lucas on Why Carrie Fisher Was Special