Author Archives: ochippie

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Movie Trailer – The Professor and the Madman

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Farhad Safinia

Starring: Mel Gibson, Sean Penn

Release: March, 2019

This looks slightly better than I thought it would, but still, come on, we can’t be expected to take this seriously.  A high-octane drama about making the dictionary?  Starring Gibson & Penn & Alan Partridge?  No thank you.


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Movie Trailer – Framing John DeLorean

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Don Argott, Sheena M. Joyce

Starring: Alec Baldwin, Morena Baccarin, Josh Charles

Release: June 7th, 2019

This movie looks …weird.  Part reenactment, part documentary, part drama?  Weird.  And Alec Baldwin’s makeup looks horrendous.


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Movie Review – Triple Frontier

Category : Movie Review

Director: J.C. Chandor

Starring: Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Ben Affleck

Garrett Hedlund, Pedro Pascal, Adria Arjona, Reynaldo Gallegos

Year: 2019

Chandor struck gold directing (and casting Oscar Issac in) A Most Violent Year, one of the very best films of 2014, and boy were there a lot of great films in 2014: Birdman, Boyhood, Selma, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Theory of Everything, Whiplash, Foxcatcher, American Sniper, Noah, The Imitation Game, The Babadook, Still Alice, Wild, Two Days One Night, Into the Woods, Interstellar, Guardians of the Galaxy, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Neighbors, Big Hero 6, The Boxtrolls, Paddington, The Lego Movie, John Wick, Edge of Tomorrow, Fury.  Wow, that’s some list, and of the few which really haven’t stayed in our collective memories very long, I think A Most Violent Year is the best, and definitely deserving of our remembering.  Chandor follows up on that success about four years later, and although the result isn’t quite as strong, I’m glad this guy is back to making movies.

Five ex-soldiers and lasting friends come together for one last mission, but this time they aren’t wearing flags on their shoulders.  Santiago, the mastermind, has been working south of the border, trying to catch a criminal overlord named Lorea.  With the help of an informant, he has finally tracked him down, and he knows that Lorea is hording cash in a jungle fortress, surrounded by guards but miles away from anything.  The plan; use special ops tactics to infiltrate the house, steal the money, make a getaway, and live the rest of life without a care in the world.  The team: Santiago the glue, Tom the planner, Francisco the pilot, and a pair of brothers named Bill & Ben who are about as solid in a pinch as they come.  But you know what they say about best-laid plans, and the U.S. of A. isn’t flying in reinforcements to cover their asses, these soldiers are on their own.

I respect Chandor, this team of actors is an action-epic match made in heaven, and there are grand points being made here about loyalty, service, paybacks, and broken dreams.  There’s a lot to take in, and a lot of screen time to fight over, but for a Netflix original that you go in expecting to be entertained by, Triple Frontier does its job, and also could have been much, much worse.  That’s not to say there weren’t problems.  The writing was pretty bad, the plot was jerky and at times felt like a skit instead of a film, the characters weren’t fleshed out in any way whatsoever.  Audiences get thrown in, it’s a hell of a right, some of it is pure adrenaline, but sometimes the feel is just off, leading to a roller coaster instead of a direct flight to quality.  I love Isaaac, Hunnam & Hedlund are underrated, and the brotherhood worked, I just think the writing was no friend to the story, and everything could have been tightened up over time, had some more energy been put in to making this film better, not released faster.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 


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Movie Trailer – The Art of Self-Defense

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Riley Stearns

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Alessandro Nivola, Imogen Poots

Release: June 21st, 2019

Jesse Eisenberg isn’t exactly my favorite, but I think the best thing I ever saw him do was The Double, and this odd-ball comedy looks like the closest thing he’s done since, so I’m in.  Also, I really like Imogen Poots, probably because of her name.


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Movie Trailer – Good Boys

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Gene Stupnitsky

Starring: Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, Brady Noon

Release: August 16th, 2019

This is an immediate must-see in my book.  Superbad but younger and wronger?  Where do I sign up?


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Sports – 2019 NCAA Tournament

Category : Sports

March Madness is here! It’s time once again to predict a bunch of basketball games, get most of them wrong, and then rub it in your friend’s face when they do worse than you.  The field is wide open this year, per usual, and any team could win the championship.  Here are my picks for the Final Four and my prediction for the winner of the dance:

East – Duke Blue Devils

West – Texas Tech Red Raiders

Midwest – North Carolina Tar Heels

South – Virginia Cavaliers

2018 NCAA Champion


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Movie Trailer – Booksmart

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Olivia Wilde

Starring: Beanie Feldstein, Kaitlyn Dever

Release: May 24th, 2019

I’ve never liked Kaitlyn Dever, I did really like Beanie Feldstein in Lady Bird, so I have a mixed reaction to this casting, and I’m very concerned about Olivia Wilde’s first time directing.  It’s obvious that she took her cue from Greta Gerwig, but decided to go in a Superbad direction, which is cool with me, as long as she can squeeze in some originality as well.  The cast is fun: Jason Sudeikis, Will Forte, Lisa Kudrow.  And I’ve heard good things coming out of festivals, so we’ll just have to give it a legitimate shot and hope the experiment works.


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Movie Trailer – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie

Release: July 26th, 2019

I have no clue what the hell is going on in this movie, but I don’t really need to; I’d watch it if they showed us a two-minute clip of an empty set.  Holy moly, let’s go right now.


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DVD Review – The Apparition

Category : DVD Review

Director: Xavier Giannoli

Starring: Vincent Lindon, Galatea Bellugi, Patrick d’Assumçao

Year: 2018

The Apparition should not be confused with the 2012 film of the same name, starring Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, and Tom Felton, about a spirit brought forth by a college experiment that haunts a young couple.  I’m sure that sort of apparition flick comes a dime a dozen, but this one, the 2018 French drama, is something else all together.  Instead of ghosts, this movie tackles religion, which can be confusing since, what’s the difference?  Thinking you saw a dead person in your hallway and thinking you saw the Virgin Mary on a hill is basically the same, fictional experience, and each fantasy has its fervent supporters who claim that what can’t be real most assuredly is.  Whether or not you are a believer, The Apparition is here to ask the hard questions, exploring our belief in the paranormal, or as some like to call it, God.

The Movie

Jacques Mayano is an award-winning journalist who has recently returned to France from his latest assignment, where the danger of covering a war-torn country led to the death of his friend and colleague, a photographer who was always at Jacques’ side.  Suffering from hearing damage and the emotional toll of seeing a life destroyed, Mayano finds it hard to return to work and to family responsibilities, struggling every day to get back to the world he left behind and which seems to have moved on without him.  Completely out of the blue, Jacques receives a phone call; apparently he’s been requested at the Vatican.  The church has a sensitive matter that they would like him to investigate, gathering evidence and taking statements, attempting to find not exactly the truth, but rather the experience; a strange job for a respected journalist, but the distraction arrives at a time when he needed it most.

Jacques receives some more details along the way; a girl in the French countryside has had a vision of the Virgin Mary, and the excitement in her small town has overwhelmed the local police, and has caused the priest at the local church to declare that he will start a new congregation, going against the wishes of the Vatican.  A team is assembled to investigate the girl’s claim, to get to the body of what it is she saw, and to discover, if they can, what type of person she is.  The church doesn’t simply want the matter debunked, that’s not how it works, but Mayano finds himself struggling to simply dig for facts, especially when he begins to feel that the young girl, Anna, is in serious trouble.  His help isn’t wanted, especially not by Pere Borrodine, the priest who is suddenly the father-figure of a celebrity, but perhaps Anna will accept his aid, since her story isn’t exactly scripture.

None of French director Xavier Giannoli’s feature films have caught much American attention, and neither did The Apparition when it was released in the States this past September, but I’m confident that, had it been more widely seen, it would have been much more broadly revered.  It’s a slow-burning drama if ever there was one, with layers of introspection instead of hours of action, which suited the story, the message, and the actors equally well.  At 140 minutes, the run time is an issue, and the plot does take its time developing into something intriguing, but as long as audiences are willing to put in the work, the reward is sufficient.  I don’t normally praise movies for forcing us to desire to be sucked in; it’s not my job to get hooked, it’s the filmmaker’s job to hook me.  But in this instance, I was confident that the quality was there just beneath the surface, only asking me to lean in to make itself known.

Leading the way was Vincent Lindon, a near-60-year-old French film veteran who has been going strong in the craft for as long as I’ve been alive, and you can easily see how his experience as an actor aided him in diving into this complicated part, and in emerging with something special to see.  His performance was great, as was that of Galatea Bellugi, who played Anna, a relative newcomer who held her own beside the daunting presence of this pro.  Together they painted a portrait of an experience that had many hidden details under the oil, only revealing themselves when peeled back and examined.  The film asks audiences to do just that; to willingly look where we’d rather not, discuss that which is uncomfortable, and leave not knowing the absolute truth.  For those who hate the gray areas, this movie won’t be for you, since it refuses to answer all the questions, leaving us to decide for ourselves what we think happened and what we think it meant, sending us away having witnessed something both sacred and sacrilegious, not knowing which side we are on.

The DVD

Video – With an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 Widescreen, and shot using a Sony F65 Mini camera, the video quality of the film was strong enough to support the plot, never too mesmerizing to draw our attention away from what was important.  The town and surrounding countryside were lovely, and the cinematography inside the church was excellent, with many memorable scenes that will stick with me.  The picture quality of the disc was very nice, and in every way the visuals complimented the movie.

Audio – The disc was done in French 5.1 Dolby Digital, with an option of French 2.0 Dolby Digital.  Subtitles are available in English and English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  The music of the film was instrumental, very powerful, very driving, always carrying a church echo feeling.  It went well with the pressure of the plot and with the sense of desperation that the film carried throughout, bolstering the quieter moments with song that also never shook our focus.

Extras – There are a few special features on the DVD, including a 10 minute interview with director Xavier Giannoli, a 10 minute audition tape with Galatea Bellugi, a 2 minute featurette on the Zaatari Refugee Camp that features at the end of the film, and also a theatrical trailer.

Final Thoughts

Highly RecommendedThe Apparition is strong enough to have been among the Best Foreign Language nominations at last year’s Academy Awards.  It’s moody, it’s heavy, it’s full of content and of questions, and it boasts acting from its leads that doesn’t fail the crew behind the scenes.  I can’t say how the religious would react to this viewpoint, but I think the film does a fantastic job of not shutting doors in the faces of those who want to believe, while also allowing those of little or no faith to view things from a more pragmatic point of view.  What you perceive as real is real in its consequences, right?  And this movie doesn’t pretend it knows what the truth of spirituality is, only that we are all experiencing life at the same time, not from the same place.  The video is top-notch, the audio solidly done as well, and there are a few extras on the DVD, so the technical aspects won’t let audiences down.  Although a bit long, a bit long-winded, and featuring an ending that not everyone is going to be satisfied with, this film has real power, and that’s rare enough that we need to notice it when it appears.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 


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Movie Trailer – Toy Story 4

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Josh Cooley

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tony Hale, Annie Potts

Release: June 21st, 2019

I honestly don’t think this will be very good.  I’m not trying to be a spoil sport, or pretend that animated movies can’t melt my heart, I simply don’t think the magic is still within this franchise.  I loved the first Toy Story as much as the next guy, but the next two were only OK, and I never got the pull that the third one had on some people.  This fourth installment seems forced and recycled, and I’m just not very excited about it.  I’ll watch it with my family anyway, of course, and I’ll be open to having my mind changed; but I wouldn’t put money on it.  Last note; this director has never directed a movie before, like ever, and that’s concerning.  Carry on.