November 27, 2017

There was a sad barometer on the state of affairs with the moviegoing public on Friday night.  It happened at Queensway Theatre where the 9:40 showing of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri was being played.   This film has just recently been released (and was a standout at TIFF as Alison reported on).    I am saddened to say that if there were 15 people in this theatre I would be shocked.   I can only imagine how many had gone out to see Thor!    Sadly a film that is likely a Best Movie contender and well acted with a quality cast and script, is overlooked at the box office.   In the end, that is what Hollywood cares about.   And the script/screenplay is marvelous.  The generous sprinkling of profanity throughout it, even with younger members of the cast was funny.   Without repeating your review and the high level plots aspects, for me I liked that each character is shown in shades of grey.   Neither is completely good nor bad.  It shows that we all can have our moments.    Many top news stories on the tip of tongues are covered (like racial issues, the media, news, brutality, homosexuality, broken families etc) are all covered.   There are some stereotypes, like with young women and older men, but it does not play falsely.    In the end, small town America takes it on the chin while sending a message to us all.   I note that Sam Rockwell does an excellent job playing despicable characters.   He has redneck down so well, from the haircut on down.   Also I like Woody Harrelson a great deal here, as I did in War for the Planet of the Apes where he channeled Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now so very well.   He plays a character that could be a caricature with some more depth and understanding.   I really liked this film, and Karen and I spoke about it at length after it was over and the next day.    There should be more movies like this, and encouragement for them to be made.

I re-watched on Netflix Field of Dreams, and this movie holds up well.   Like Shawshank, it is a feel good movie that keeps its emotional impact.   I like the characters and even though I don’t feel that Amy Madigan is a great actress, she does a good job here playing the wife who tolerates and supports her husband’s unusual behavior (even when he is prone to hyperbole like “this may be the last opportunity I have to do something like this”) – -all at the age of 36!!

I also re-watched Star Wars Force Awakens last night to see if I have missed any tidbits and in preparation for The Last Jedi.   There is the talk about bringing Rey to the bad dude for her to have her training completed.   There is Leia and Han talking about Ben and how he isn’t all bad that “there is light in him”.   There was Rey being unwilling to touch Luke’s lightsaber after the first time where she saw the future and the past, but then uses it against Ben.   I wonder about her, and the untrained powers that she has, and how she was able to channel them.   I also wonder how the First Order recovers from yet another massive technological undertaking being blown up by a small group of individual star fighters (It makes me laugh about the Robot Chicken episode about not having fully paid for the Death Star)

December 21st, 2015 – Force Awakens

So here it is – the review of the most hyped movie in recent memory.  And for the most part it delivers – but having said that I still feel a bit empty having seen it.  Before seeing it, I wanted and hoped for it just to “be good” and that they “didn’t screw it up”.   It does an admirable job at melding the old with the new.   You have a new, younger and fresher group (and politically correct) taking the reins of this storied franchise.

Abrams did much here like he did to re-boot Star Trek.  He borrowed heavily from the base material and mirrored previous plot lines.   You won’t need to pay attention long to see what I am talking about.   There is a great deal unsaid, and few Aha moments.   There are some “yea right” moments too – you will know those too – like just incredible coincidences!
There are also scenes and plot lines that will have you pause and scratch your head – like the whole Millennium Falcon subplot.  To say that some stallwarts like R2D2 and Luke Skywalker get short shift is somewhat of an understatement.
Still…..there is much to like here.  Characters who you care about (mostly).  A decent story and decent acting.   I liked the visuals and the scenes of older Empire ships dotting the landscape of a planet that looks a lot like Tattooine.  It’s not, but might as well be.   Our heroine has questions too, along with the baddie Kylo Ren (bad tempered and all which is actually quite refreshing).
I expect that there are at least two movies to be made here (with a three trilogies when they are done).   Expect more as Disney knows how to milk a franchise (just look at Toy Story!!)
I saw this in Imax 3D and the 3D yet again did nothing for me.   It is fun, it is escapism.   It is another chapter in this franchise that has been a part of my life since I was my youngest son’s age (11yo).   Let’s see where else they take us!
P.S> I still left the theatre feeling a little bit disappointed.   Like “is that it?!”  Such is what happens when expectations are so high.
P.P.S> I re-watched Grosse Point Blank and enjoyed.   I like Minnie Driver.   I also watched Resevoir Dogs for the first time and thought Tim Roth and Steve Buschemi were the best parts!  A movie that had eluded me until that point.   Strange.

December 16th, 2015 – Pre-Star Wars

So there are two reviews that I have seen for Star Wars Force Awakens (Globe and Mail and Roger and both are positive generally about it.  I am pleased to hear that.  I did not read anything with a spoiler since I want to be going into this fresh.   I will be taking youngest son to see Star Wars this weekend at some point.

I have a number of films that I will see during the upcoming time off.  TIFF Lightbox has Macbeth.  Others include Bridge of Spies, Heart of the Sea, Trumbo, Carol and Revenant.
On Netflix I have seen a few different things.   One was a documentary about Atari and ET game in a landfill.  Honestly don’t ask me why I watched this.   No idea.  It was really rather silly, especially the ego-maniac former software developer who was responsible for the very bad game ET.
I had also caught Cinderella which was decent but nothing spectacular.   I do think that Cate Blanchett as the baddie step-mother here was not as memorable as Anjelica Huston in Ever After with Drew Barrymore.     Terence and Stamp about the Who was just silly too.
Jack Ryan – with Captain Kirk was okay but predictable,   I noted that Kenneth Branaugh directed and acted.
Disney shorts were good and interesting.
I am caught up on Downton Abbey and await the next season.
I did re-watch A Beautiful Mind last night and again was impressed by Jennifer Connolly.   She supports and allows her husband to be what he could.   And she had a number of leaps of faith that would never have been easy.   Her moment of anger in the bathroom is a priceless scene and won her the Oscar in my mind.
Lots to see.  Hopefully we can connect in the next couple weeks.