Watching the original Ghostbusters and the remake back to back was an interesting experience. I was really mostly struck by how off my expectations were upon viewing the films themselves. The original sure as hell wasn’t the film I thought it was going to be, and Sony’s reboot defied both my expectations that were developed from the fan backlash and from the critics. Here are my observations of these movies.
There are many, many reasons to dislike Zack Snyder’s awkwardly named Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. A miscast villain here, a forced Justice League tie-in there, and a confused attempt to mash the stories of The Dark Knight Returns and The Death of Superman together ruin what should have been a slam-dunk of a movie. There are a ton of weird choices that went into making this the disaster that it is, but the most alarming to me has to be the way Batman was characterized in this film. Ben Affleck gave a fine performance as Batman, but the central issue with his character all comes back to his hotly debated “no killing rule” that gets more than a little bent in this film, and more critically, entirely ignored. Fans have debated whether or not Batman should even have such a rule for years, “The Rule” has served as a central plot point in both The Dark Knight and Under the Red Hood films, and Batman himself exists as likely the most iconic practitioner of this rule in fiction. My issue with Snyder’s Batman isn’t that he kills criminals (directly and indirectly) with sadistic glee, but that it happens without any discussion within the film for what that means for Batman. I know the last thing this film needs is more pseudo-philosophical drivel shakingly spoken by insecure meat heads, but in this case it’s kind of an important thing to get out of the way.
My 3rd VLog, I feel like I need to be doing these more consistently to get a real feel for them and actually improve…
That new Suicide Squad trailer sure was fun huh? It actually seems public opinion has shifted for this movie, although I was never really among the detractors. As a huge fan of the Joker, hearing he’d be played by Jared Leto perked my interest, and while his appearance doesn’t really fit the Clown Prince’s general style (the Joker of the comics and the animated series has always presented himself as a warped vision of a 1950’s dad), this Joker has potential. Based on the trailer, it seems like Leto is going with a bit of a cartoony lilt when voicing the character, which is very encouraging so far. The other character I’m concerned about of course is Harley Quinn (just like 90% of the people going out to watch this movie, I’m mostly in it for the Joker and Harley), and I’m pretty happy with what I’ve seen so far. I’ve always thought that Margot Robbie was great casting, and her performance alone seems fun and engaging. My only potential issue is her seemingly fluctuating accent, where she has none during the first half of the trailer, but has one on during the closing line. Seems like a nitpick, but inconsistent accents drive me nuts (looking at you Kalinda Sharma).
Finally got to see The Force Awakens, and I really enjoyed it. From the moment Jar Jar Binks unhoods himself to reveal a grizzled face and says “Meesa back” while looking directly at the camera, I knew I was in for a great time… Joking aside, this was a film that really wanted to let me know I was in good hands from the start. It was well-acted, had fun action sequences, and best of all, it had energy to it. The people in this film actually looked like they were having fun, and the series’ hugely missed banter is back with a vengeance. The biggest strength to this movie is what has always been Star Wars‘s greatest asset, and that’s in the characters and the connections they have with each other. The new characters in this film are all well realized and completely distinct in the face of other things that have appeared before in the franchise (although the same can’t be said about the film’s plot). My belief before watching it was that if they could just nail the characters, the rest would be gravy, and thankfully the film did that and more.
So The Force Awakens came out and it basically took over the world, so everyone who writes on the internet basically has to discuss it. I do wanna talk about it eventually, but first I think I need to go over my thoughts on the other Star Wars films, minus episodes I and II, because no thanks. Having recently rewatched these films on the road to seeing The Force Awakens they’re still fresh in my head, so the time to search my feelings on them is now.
I’ve watched a lot of movies this summer and many of them were interesting enough for me to write full articles on. Unfortunately, since I have no desire to write that much, I’d like to just put out my quick thoughts for each of the movies I saw in the order that I watched them. Voice your disagreements if you’d like, but these thoughts of mine have to be known!
Just the other day, my little brother dragged me to see the Minions movie and that got me thinking about the franchise in general. As someone who has seen and enjoyed both Despicable Me films (the first a lot more than its sequel), Minions felt like a significant (yet wholly expected) step down in terms of quality. This certainly wasn’t the case when it came to box office draw as it easily outperformed the previous films in the franchise and smashed some records of its own. This is a movie that was destined to make a lot of money mostly due to how insanely marketable the Minions have become, and its clear from the progression of their role in these movies that the creators know this. At first they were fun side characters that remained peripheral to the plot, then they became central to the plot of the second film as the villain’s plan revolved around them, and then they finally received their own movie. With steadily increasing box-office numbers to coincide with this shift, this is what I’d characterize as a “Hostile Franchise Take-Over” (or an HFT for short), and in this article I’m going to look at how this has affected the movies in the franchise.
Everyone should go see Pixar’s Inside Out. Saying that “everyone” should see something is a pretty common way to praise something, but here I am literally saying that every single person should experience this movie. It’s important, not just as a piece of art, but morally speaking as well. If you are parent, or someone who is planning on having kids, or someone who is or has been a kid – you need to see this movie. It’s got an ambitious premise, a solid script, perfect casting, and is legitimately hilarious; but all of that isn’t as important as the lessons it teaches about being a child and being a parent. It’s also the way it conveys these messages that really gets to me, the complete mastery of metaphoric storytelling. Nothing is overly complicated, it’s all easy to follow, and yet there’s a ton of depth to it all. It’s a movie that explores the importance of sadness, the tragedy of growing up, and the nature of joy. Happiness isn’t forever and sadness isn’t something that should be suppressed, parents can say the most devastating things without realizing it, and children have to learn how to communicate their pain. These are all beautiful messages that the movie teaches so well, and I’m not sure I can do it justice by just telling you about it, but I will tell you just some of the things I loved about it (without spoiling it of course).
The 2004-2011 HBO show Entourage and its recent movie release are fascinating. This is an example of a television dinosaur revived into an era it no longer has a place in. Truly a relic of another age, it’s interesting how this movie shows how much our sensibilities have changed in the last four years. A show that so many unquestionably adored or dismissed as just dumb fun is now being derided by many as toxic.There are a number of reasons for this change in attitude towards it, but I’d wager it has a lot to do with our perceptions on the reality of the world of Entourage. The idea of a bunch of rich white dudes being awful and constantly screwing up but facing almost no repercussions for their behaviour and having everything go their way in the end has become too eerily close to reality. At a time where white and male privilege has fully entered our public consciousness, the existence of something like Entourage seems tone deaf. The problem being in the way the show and movie chooses to confront these “bros”.