Friday, April 22, 2016

'GHOST IN THE SHELL' CASTING CONTROVERSY

There has been a lot of controversy over the casting of Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi in the 'Ghost in the Shell' (GiTS) live action film, which will hit theaters in March 2017. The casting of Johansson in an iconic Japanese role was bad enough, but the topic has exploded over the last few days because of the recent report by Screencrush that producers of GiTS attempted to "Asianfy" white actors with visual effects instead of just hiring Asian actors. Honestly, I've been concerned about Scarlet Johansson's casting as Major Motoko Kusanagi since it was announced last year, but that takes the cake. It's actually quite stunning to hear this type of thing happening in the year 2016. Are these people even from this century? Have they time traveled from 1956?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE REVIEW - "I AM KEEPING YOU ALIVE" [SPOILERS]

This movie is one of the few movies I knew very little about before seeing. I typically visit Rotten Tomatoes before I throw down $30 for a movie, popcorn, and a drink, but I didn't have time this past weekend. Thankfully '10 Cloverfield Lane' didn't disappoint. As a sequel/prequel to the original 2008 'Cloverfield' film, one would expect '10 Cloverfield Lane' to "go big," but instead "it goes home." LITERALLY.

Monday, February 29, 2016

15 MORE RIDICULOUS THINGS ON 'THE WALKING DEAD' [SPOILERS]

I like to preface my "most ridiculous list" by emphasizing my love for 'The Walking Dead.' I have been reading the comics for almost a decade and I've watched the show since its debut in 2010. I'm a hardcore fan. Despite occasional problems on the show, I'm on the train until it hits the wall. Meaning, I will be watching until it ends. So in the spirit of fun, here is a continuation of the Most Ridiculous Things on 'The Walking Dead!' with 15 More Ridiculous Things on 'The Walking Dead!' You can see my original 2014 list here. Admittedly, some of the items below may be the writers illustrating that human behavior is often NOT logical.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

BEST & WORST FILMS OF 2015 - PART 3, WORST FILMS OF THE YEAR

This entry is part 3 of 4 of my best and worst list of 2015. My first post was the best of the best. My second post was the most disappointing. My third post is typically reserved for the worst movies of the year. Unlike the most disappointing list, the films below have very few, if any, redeeming qualities-- be it visuals, direction, writing, or acting. Some of the films are so bad I can't believe someone sober actually wrote it, directed it, or greenlit it. I can't believe I was sober watching them.

It takes a great deal of effort and time to work on these posts. So forgive me, but I don't have the heart or the inclination to write full reviews for the festering pile below. So behold, below is but a simple list with a few giffys for good measure. They are not in any particular order.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

DIVERSITY IN HOLLYWOOD - BEYOND BLACK & WHITE

Photo credit: LA Times
I typically stay away from these conversations. I think it's partially generational (I'm considered a cusper. I'm either an infant Gen X'er ...or ancient Millennial) and partially because I'm originally from the Midwest. It's highly frowned upon in the Midwest to discuss certain things publicly, such as salary, race, politics, or religion. These are private conversations you have with friends or family. Imagine my surprise that not only will I be talking about race, but I will also be discussing gender (in an upcoming post). As I grow older I have come to believe that we can discuss almost anything as long as we do so with respect to others and with a listening heart.  So here goes...breaking the norm, coming out of my comfort zone.

Monday, January 18, 2016

BEST & WORST MOVIES OF 2015 - PART 2, BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS

If you can imagine the previous post was even longer. I was originally going to make one large best and worst list, but it was just too long. So I decided to split them up into 4 parts. The first part was the best films of 2015. The movies on this list are typically films that have some redeeming qualities, but just didn't make the cut. These films are in the fair to middling range. Before I changed it to the biggest disappointments, these probably would have been titled, "Most Ok Movies." They weren't good and they weren't necessarily bad. So next week you will see my choices for the absolute worst/trashiest/should-have-never-been-made-films of 2015.

Monday, January 11, 2016

BEST & WORST MOVIES OF 2015 - PART 1, BEST OF THE BEST

Tis the season for the best and worst of the year. I started my list in January of 2015 and updated it throughout the year. I was going to publish this in December but there were so many good films released in December that I had to wait a few weeks. I always want to have a list longer than 10 films, but it rarely works out that way. Last year I had 11 films on my list. This year I have 10. Alas, I could only think of 10 films for my best list. The worst movie list is plentiful this year at lucky number 17.

My list originally included a huge smattering of all the best and worst of the year, but it became so long that I decided to split it into 4 parts. So next week you will see my choices for the most disappointing films of 2015 (not to be confused with the worst films of the year).

I of course preface all of my lists by saying that these are the films that I HAVE SEEN. I have not seen 'Spotlight,' which I hear is exceptional. Nor have I seen 'Trumbo,' 'Steve Jobs,' 'The Walk,' 'Beasts of No Nation,' 'Hateful Eight,' or 'Creed.' If I haven't previously reviewed a film I added additional details. If I have previously reviewed the film I didn't see the need to review it again. Instead I provided a brief description with a link to the full review.

Please feel free to agree or disagree with me in the comment section. This is my list. I'm sure you have your own. Thanks.

Friday, December 4, 2015

MOCKINGJAY II REVIEW - "OUR LIVES WERE NEVER OURS" [SPOILERS]

Before I get too far into the review I wanted to say that after seeing the final film in the "quadrilogy," I can now say with confidence that four films were truly unnecessary. The third film was completely pointless and there were even a few fatty scenes in 'Mockingjay II' that could have been cut or trimmed. That said, the best part about this film (and about the book it's based on) is that is action-oriented. It gets down to business very quickly.

Monday, November 9, 2015

'SPECTRE' REVIEW - "THEY SAY YOU'RE FINISHED" [SPOILERS]

Wow, I still can't believe how bad this movie was. No wonder Daniel Craig is lashing out at the press. If I was in this film I'd be lashing out too. I can totally feel Daniel's pain after watching this film. 'Spectre' is a shadow of the modern Bond franchise. Everything the previous Bond films did right, 'Spectre' gets wrong. When Bond was rebooted so to speak with Craig, the filmmakers broke all of the "Bond rules" and got back to the basics. The villain in 'Casino Royale,' Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) tortured Bond with a bar of soap, a piece of rope, and a chair. There were no sharks, laser beams, crocodile farms,venomous spiders, or elaborate setups. Bond's fighting style also changed. Bond's new fighting style was vicious, hard, and inelegant-- similar to Jason Bourne. Bond didn't even care which way he received a martini as long as he got it. The new Bond was updated for the new generation, as is always the case. Unfortunately, 'Spectre' is a failed attempt to go back in time to the Bond films of old. For reasons listed above...it just doesn't work,

I preface my review by saying that the opening scene of 'Spectre' in Mexico City during the Day of the Dead celebration is absolutely spectacular. It's also done in a single take and it's breathtaking. It made me want to dress up in costume and go to a Day of the Dead parade. The only thing this film has going for it are the exotic locations. Similar to other Bond films, the locations are absolutely gorgeous. However, beautiful locations without a developed storyline do not make a good movie. The reason 'Skyfall' was well received was because it had a decent storyline, along with incredible visuals, a great song, and stunning scenery. I wish I could say the same for 'Spectre.'

Thursday, October 29, 2015

'BRIDGE OF SPIES' REVIEW - WOULD IT HELP?

I really enjoyed 'Bridge of Spies,' but it wasn't nearly as exciting as I expected it to be. From the first shot one could definitely tell this is a Steven Spielberg film, which is a good thing. Say what you want about Spielberg-- too much melodrama and over sentimentality-- but he's an exceptional director. You don't remain an A-list director in the pit of hell that is Hollywood for 45 years without being good. And make no mistake Spielberg is the best of the best. Is 'Bridge of Spies' well executed? Absolutely? Is it well acted? Yes! Is it intriguing? Of course. But...there's nothing refreshing or thrilling about this tale. Perhaps that's to be expected, as this is based on a true story and must be bound by realism. If you've seen the trailer then you've seen the film. The thing I most remember about 'Bridge of Spies' is how dashing Tom Hanks looks in a nice suit. I don't think that was supposed to be the major "takeaway" but...
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