Monthly Archives: January 2019

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Movie Trailer – Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Joe Berlinger

Starring: Zac Efron, Lily Collins

Release: 2019

I’m not exactly sure what’s going on here.  This is a comedic Ted Bundy story meant to entertain audiences and make us feel he was somehow the hero of his story?  That sounds ludicrous, but it’s also how the trailer reads, which is both disturbing and, in my opinion, negligible.  Americans are obsessed with serial killer stories and true crime exposes, but that only aids in making them feel like experts themselves, who can decide guilt and innocence based on feelings and half-assed facts they heard on Netflix and NPR.  I don’t think this trend is heading in the right direction, when the next step is “are murderers really that bad anyway, aren’t they kinda fun?”.  And for fuck’s sake; Zac Efron in a courtroom battle with Jim Parsons, John Malkovich as their judge, Haley Joel Osment as a co-worker, and JAMES HETFIELD OF METALLICA AS A COP, RANDOMLY?!  Lord take me now.


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Movie Trailer – The Death and Life of John F. Donovan

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Xavier Dolan

Starring: Kit Harington, Jacob Tremblay, Natalie Portman

Release: March 2019

By all early accounts, this movie is absolute garbage, and you can potentially see why right in the trailer.  It’s overloaded with stars and with themes, piled on until audiences will drown in all the emotion and go home broken.  We won’t appreciate any good things things the movie is trying to pass along, and we won’t watch well enough to commend any good acting along the way, because we can feel the fake sincerity pressing in from all angles, and we can’t move under the weight of the narrative; isn’t that obvious to the director?  I’ve talked ad nauseam about Xavier Dolan before, his work his strong, but hopefully he didn’t peak early, because his most recent stuff hasn’t been wonderful.  And it really is odd how many name actors they crammed into one plot: Harington, Tremblay, Portman, Sarah Gadon, Thandie Newton, Susan Sarandon, Michael Gambon, Kathy Bates, Ben Schnetzer.  Especially when you remember how many actors left the movie and/or were completely cut out post-production.  Jessica Chastain & Bella Thorne were supposed to be here too, if you can believe it; what a mess.


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Sports – NFL Picks 2018, Super Bowl

Category : Sports

Here is my Super Bowl pick

(5-5 for the postseason, 163-91-2 for the regular season)

 

NE @ LAR


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Movie Trailer – The Informer

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Andrea Di Stefano

Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Rosamund Pike, Clive Owen

Release: March 22nd, 2019

I really think there was potential here, somewhere deep down or in the early stages of this film, but you can tell that somewhere along the line that was all lost.  What we got instead was a stupid cop movie that we’ve seen a million times, and that’s really disappointing.  Ana de Armas is perfection, a terrific actress and a supreme hottie, but Common offsets that by being the worst actor in the history of history.  I wish I could get my hands on the movie and make it better, because I think anyone could.


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Movie Trailer – Never Look Away

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Starring: Tom Schilling, Paula Beer, Sebastian Koch

Release: 2019

The director of The Lives of Others, which was his first film and was great, makes up for The Tourist, which was his second film and wasn’t.  He goes back to his roots with his third, instead of trying to please Hollywood, and the result should be something spectacular.  I fell in love with Paula Beer in Frantz, which is a criminally under-seen movie that I could not possibly recommend to my film friends more.  This movie looks like a combination of the The Lives of Others and Frantz, with The Pianist and Black Book thrown in for good measure, and that’s something I’d stand in line to see.


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DVD Review – The Bounty

Category : DVD Review

Director: Roger Donaldson

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Mel Gibson, Liam Neeson

Year: 1984

One of my favorite movies of the last 20 years is Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, which came out when I was 20 and stunned me with its dramatic perfection and utter awesomeness.  I didn’t know then how much it owed to The Bounty, a film that came out a year after I was born and which I had never seen, despite its amazing cast and my fascination with British history.  Peter Weir’s swashbuckling tale is an action-packed version of this classic nautical adventure, the two sharing many similarities, and credit should be given where credit is due; obviously Master and Commander owes much to The Bounty and, I’m sure, many other high-seas dramas before it.  But here’s one that stands as a pillar of the genre and remains to this day an excellent depiction of life and death on board a vessel that sails under the auspicious union jack.

The Movie

On a voyage to circumnavigate the globe and deliver exotic plants to islands throughout the world’s oceans, Captain William Bligh faced many dangers, including the weapons held in the hands of his very own crewmen.  Bligh’s aim was Tahiti, where he would sail the Bounty, extract precious fruit plants, and deliver them to other islands, spreading cheap food through the British Empire in aid of his king.  His first mate on this journey was John Fryer, his master’s mate a lifelong friend named Fletcher Christian, both men being strong and able, loyal and brave.  The journey would be difficult and the treatment of the crew at times harsh, but the Bounty would reach its goal in Tahiti, meeting with the natives and taking a much-needed rest, but that’s also where the trouble began.

Pushed hard by their captain, the men leapt at the opportunity to furlough in an island nation, to rest on the sand, and to meet the local women.  Many men even married or impregnated these young girls, creating ties that were hard to break when it was finally time to leave.  Realizing that the crew had grown soft, Bligh became harder on them then ever, demanding extra work on deck and blind belief in his navigational skills, to the point that the men began to think about taking the ship into their own hands, and then turning it right back around to Tahiti where easier lives awaited them.  So began the most famous mutiny in British naval history, with Bligh’s loyalists facing off against Christian’s rebels, with all their fates in the balance.

I’m glad I finally got around to watching this film, because now I see how impactful it has been, how much it set the standard for what was to come later.  I’m sure it mirrors others, which mirror books, and back and back and back, but I’m glad I can now appreciate how this movies shaped one of my favorites, because you should always know the history when possible.  And speaking of, this is a true story, this really happened, there’s an island nation out in the middle of nowhere whose population is made up of the descendants of the survivors of the mutiny, which is pretty incredible, like something out of a Kurt Vonnegut novel.  This disaster remains as an example of how not to conduct your authority, and also as a warning that the hearts of men are easily moved in directions you never thought possible.

The film itself boasts one of the strongest casts you’ll ever see, at least on paper, if not exactly at a time in each actor’s career that represents their very best.  Anthony Hopkins, Mel Gibson, Liam Neeson, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Laurence Olivier, not to mention Edward Fox, Bernard Hill, and Dexter Fletcher.  That’s pretty impressive, although some of the accents aren’t, but the team as a whole came together well, because of course they did.  Surprisingly, the film wasn’t nominated for any Academy Awards, but has turned into a classic since, so you never know how the years are going to change the perception, even if the details stay the same.  The cinematography is great, the boat scenes will capture audiences, and there’s even a love story that pulls its weight, so really the movie has it all, if never quite becoming perfect enough in any one area for us to call it a masterpiece.

The Blu-ray

Video – With an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 (1920x1080p) and shot using JDC cameras and lenses, the video quality of the film is decent given the year, and above average when compared to other 80s flicks.  The sea, the ship, the islands, the natives; it’s all captured with as much clarity as can be expected, and has transferred well to a modern Blu-ray disc.

Audio – The Blu-ray was done in English 5.1, with an option of English stereo.  Subtitles are only available in English, and can be turned on in the disc menu.  The audio is fine as well, for the era, but is haunted by a terrible, probably original, song that plays before and after the movie, 80s pop nonsense that has no place alongside this period piece.

Extras – There are only a few special features on the Blu-ray, including two types of commentary: one by the crew of the film and one by a historical consultant.  Also, four trailers are available for view: The Bounty, The Scarlett Letter, The Crucible, Flesh+Blood.

Final Thoughts

Highly Recommended. The Bounty is better than its overlooked status from 35 years ago, and has since been noticed for what it offers.  It perhaps isn’t quite great enough to be called a classic or an icon, but I found, even watching it for the first time all these years after its original release, that it’s solid enough to have been a foundation, which is seriously important work.  The true story, the naval culture, the British Empire, the struggle between civility and our baser nature; there is a lot to talk about when looking back at this film, and I’m glad I got the chance to appreciate the layers that it is composed of.  The video is nice for its birth year, the audio the same, the bonus features are a bit lacking, so the technical aspects are a bit of a mixed bag, which is no more than you would expect.  But the project as a whole is worth our notice, and if you, like me, missed The Bounty over the passing years, it might be time to remedy that.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 


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Movie Trailer – Isn’t It Romantic

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson

Starring: Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, Adam Devine

Release: February 13th, 2019

We deserve better than this movie.  We shouldn’t have to be subjected to mockery and idiocy and Rebel Wilson.  Let’s band together and refuse to watch any movies this Valentine’s, because they invariably suck.


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Movie Trailer – The Beach Bum

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Harmony Korine

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Isla Fisher, Jonah Hill

Release: March 22nd, 2019

I did not need a Spring Breakers 2 in my life.  No one does.


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Movie Review – Bird Box

Category : Movie Review

Director: Susanne Bier

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich

Year: 2018

The best part about Bird Box is that Sarah Paulson is only in it for 15 minutes.  Had she been strongly featured, I’m not sure I would have lasted 15 minutes.  She’s an awful actress, was the worse part of Glass, and shouldn’t be trusted in a cereal commercial, let along a horror flick that’s desperately trying to be something deeper.  But, luckily or unluckily, depending on how you look at it, Paulson is only one of the many terrible things about this film, so she mostly blends in, which is great for her, but not so great for us.  Bird Box is poorly thought out, poorly executed, and generally stupid, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but will crush the hopes of anyone looking for a mildly good time from a story that’s obviously stolen.  Audiences won’t even get that small consolation, and we really only have ourselves to blame for hoping.

Apparently the world does end in a bang, not with a whisper, as people all over the world kill themselves and blow everything up as mass hysteria sweeps the nations of Earth and what’s left is a whimpering remnant of what we used to be.  A virus or an entity or a toxin, something, makes anyone who sees this “thing” go mad, get scared, lose their shit, and kill themselves.  The only way to survive is to live indoors or with eyes closed, and in the days after the event, that’s easier said than done.  Malorie, pregnant and single, joins a house of random strangers who have all somehow survived, though for how long we do not know.  Viewed at the same time but taking place five years later, she must make her way, blindfolded, down a river with two children, toward a safe zone that she’s not sure exists, all while being pursued by an invisible force that wants to draw her into madness.

Sandra Bullock is beyond horrible; she’s entered a special category of acting in which only she resides, where she overacts at a broken mirror and tries to resurrect Ms. Congeniality in a black cauldron.  She’s awful; how do people not see that, and why does she still draw attention?  Her role in Bird Box is pathetic, and she’s incapable of pulling it off, we ought to have known that from the start; it’s our fault for giving the movie a chance.  All it’s good for is a meme of a blindfolded lady in a boat, that’s its legacy, and that’s all it deserves.  Bullock is bad, Paulson is worse, the “horror” is stupid, the side actors give us nothing, and the plot could not possibly have been more a ripoff of A Quiet Place, The Mist, and a little of The Happening.  It’s about as good as The Happening, maybe only slightly better because of Trevante Rhodes, who is a rising star.  I liked him, I wanted the family to succeed in their mission at the end, so at least I was slightly invested, but the quality of this Netflick is so far below par that it began to circle toward farce.  Had it got there, that at least would have been a positive, but Bird Box couldn’t even manage that, instead stumbling with with its eyes closed off a cliff and screaming for attention on the way down, hoping we would join it.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 


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Movie Trailer – The Hummingbird Project

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Kim Nguyen

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgard, Salma Hayek

Release: March 15th, 2019

Kim Nguyen did Two Lovers and a Bear, which I thought was terrific, so I can’t be too mad at him, but brother does this movie looks bad.  Sometimes you wonder how these obviously terrible features get made; someone with some taste must have been on board at some point and must have thought to themselves “whoa hold on now”.  But no, the machine keeps pumping out the duds, and have you noticed how often these actors’ names are attached to them?  I wouldn’t touch this movie with a 3000 mile fiber optic link.