Sep. 15th, 2017 09:23 pm
calzephyr: (Default)
LOL, I have never had a movie going experience so botched as what happened last Sunday. When I told my husband about it, he laughed and it made me feel good because my instincts were so right on. Landmark Cinemas is airing classic science fiction films to prepare for the release of Blade Runner 2049 and this past weekend it was THX1138 (this weekend it's Westworld). I had watched the movie before, but I wanted to see it on the big screen. It was only $5, what a deal! I couldn’t roll hubs out of bed though for it, so I went by myself. Landmark Cinemas is really nice, some of the theatres used to be Cineplexes and were woefully out of date. They got rid of the 90s styling and replaced the regular seatingwith recliner seats, ahhh!

Well, Sunday morning I was in for a total treat because I was the only audience member. I picked the best centre seat and munched away on my popcorn. I guess THX1138 isn’t that big of a draw. Let me say - the future may be bad, but at least it’s not THX1138 bad! Another woman showed up and I thought that was cool - two chicks who dig science fiction, yeah!

The movie started and it quickly became apparent that it was being played from a DVD and someone had left the commentary track on! At first I thought it was similar to the CE3K showing where there was some preamble, but nope. The usher came in and explained the problem and that the movie would be reset. After a few minutes of watching the film again, the other woman left, came back and told me we were in the wrong theatre.

“But my ticket said 11...” I said. Regardless, thinking that perhaps they were showing it in more than one theatre, I followed her out into theatre 12...where I realized that a completely different movie was playing. So I scooted back and finally settled in again to watch the movie. It was sweet - I could be that annoying person with their phone during the movie! Oh, and because it was so botched, the usher gave me a free admission coupon and I didn't have to complain!

We watched THX1138 some time ago and I noticed that there isn't a previous entry for it. It's possible we watched it on our old CRT so it may have been in pan and scan. On the big screen I noticed a ton of details that went by me before. On the other hand, there were some details that I simply noticed because ten years of art college gives you the language to talk about pacing, empty spaces, shadows, etc. etc. One glaring thing I notice was when THX meets the self-described hologram SRT. For a hologram, SRT is pretty tangible. He's hungry and feels emotions. In the world of THX1138, people of colour seem to exist as entertainers. I can't help but think that SRT's lack of self-realization is a slight commentary of the times in which is was produced. And speaking of those times, it still has a futuristic touch that seems rather ageless.

I don't think the future could ever look like THX1138 and it's sad to think that the past had such a morose version of the future. Perhaps in 1971 they just didn't have the understanding, descriptive language or knowledge to paint a brighter picture.
calzephyr: (Default)
We have been watching a lot of movies lately, but two were definitely thumbs down.

First up is Chappie which I bailed on this afternoon after 20 minutes or so. It's just insufferably bad and boring. "You can finish it on your own," I said to my husband, cuz I have better things to do with two hours than sit through this terrible movie. I loved District 9 so much but Neill Blomkamp's follow up movies are just not as good. Even his short films available online aren't fully realized stories and perhaps that the problem with Chappie. It has all the right ingredients - an interesting premise, star power and a cool looking robot - but it just fell horribly flat with me. Robocop it's not.

Valerian left me so woefully confused afterwards and I know I'm not the only one. Maybe it's because the only Luc Besson movie I have watched is The Fifth Element and expected something in the same vein. Valerian was an extremely beautiful movie but another confusing mess. Valerian and Laureline are supposed to be top agents, but they look and act like bickering, inept teenagers. It's hard to believe that they love each other because the acting is so wooden. Again, another interesting story idea and gorgeous visuals, but little star power. We couldn't figure out what the point of the movie was supposed to be at all.
calzephyr: (Default)

I could also see the Blade Runner sequel too, I suppose.
calzephyr: (Default)
I was so afraid that we would miss Wonder Woman in theatres because we have been missing so many movies in theatres lately! I grew up on Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman, so I understand all the anxiety around this movie. It’s one of those characters/movies that everyone hopes will be desperately done right instead of being an embarrassing pile of boobs and tropes. Personally I was worried that Diana and her Amazon friends would have terrible accents - you know, the kind that is your cue to laugh at the funny foreign folk. The cringeworthy moments never happened, to my relief. I knew right from the outset that Gal Godot was perfect for the role after watching her in Fast & Furious. She played Diana with great passion, intelligence, strength and compassion. Us Mediterranean people are pretty passionate and I felt like I was watching my 18 year old self on the screen (albeit more souped up). Slay all the injustices!!!

It was so action packed but I wish that more attention had been paid to the CGI. The distance shots of Themyscira looked fake and oversharpened. Once the action moved over to Europe everything was kind of desaturated. When you're used to the colourful world of Marvel, the weirdly coloured DC world is a letdown. The plot could have been less simple - maybe it was because it was an origin movie - but to dwell on that would be to overlook all the positives packed into the movie. Personally, it was a huge deal to me that Diana is a brunette. We're so overlooked ;-) She wears her costume for her and she was never displayed as anything but the athletic warrior princess she is. Come to think of it, all the Amazons, and I believe many of the background ones were real athletes, were such a refreshing change from the usual. Here were realistic looking women that looked solid and not flimsy.

I was a little bummed by the ending. I really thought it would have a different outocme.

I'm looking forward to Justice League now. I'm not a DC fan at all, but the right movie might change my mind.

Free Birds

Feb. 19th, 2017 06:19 am
calzephyr: (birds)
Spoilers ahead

Let me start by saying that children's movies, like children's books, are often very weird fare. Adults recognize the story gaps that go over children's heads and I don't know about anyone else, but they can be difficult to reconcile. For example, Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree was an extremely popular book when I was a child but it also has been scrutinized as being a tale of poor boundaries and co-dependence. Rather than overthinking the story, the problem just might be poor writing and production that invites comparison or confusion where none is intended. I think that's what happened to Free Birds - the one progressive part of the movie gets lost in the problematic parts and it just becomes a hot mess. To be honest, I also fell asleep in the middle of the movie and had to be nudged awake :-P

In a nutshell, it's about two time travelling turkeys, Reggie and Jake, who try to get turkey off the Thanksgiving dinner menu. They go back in time to the first Thanksgiving and encounter a bunch of wild turkeys who wear face paint and live underground to avoid capture by the pilgrims. Reggie falls in love with the chief's daughter, Jenny.

Perhaps it's a little unfair that Pixar has created such high standards for story and visuals in animated movies and the turkeys can barely clear this hurdle. Some of the animation was truly dreadful, such as Myles Standish's three dogs and the plasticity of the pilgrims. The character designers also seem to have mixed up Myles Standish with an Old West bounty hunter and the depiction of First Nations people isn't very respectful.

There are lots of laughs and the rivalry between Jake and Jenny's older brother Ranger is pretty funny. The parts where the turkeys are talking but are heard by humans as gobbling are hilarious! But the whole thing is so unevenly paced, incoherent and weird. There's even a turkey funeral which seems like an attempt to bring some emotion to the film...but unlike, say, Up, it comes across as out of place and patched on. The film is just full of weird stuff like that - one later scene flashes back to Jake's youth where he escaped from a factory farm. I hate to say it, but I have watched two hour Vine compilations more coherent than this movie :-D

There are so many messages in Free Birds that by the end of the movie, everything feels unresolved even though the turkeys are successful in changing Thanksgiving by turning it into a pizza party. Movies don't have to be this bad!
calzephyr: (birds)
A couple of months ago I remarked to a friend that I had not seen the original Alien movie or Disney's The Little Mermaid. He replied I should come over to watch both, because "those are two movies that just go great together" (LOL).

So it was that my husband I found ourselves watching the dreadful Bee Movie after watching the very grim Snowpiercer. Snowpiercer is a 2013 movie based on a French graphic novel starring Chris Evans and Song Kang-ho. It's actually backed by a Korean studio - which is a growing trend among Asian studios. There are definitely more and more Asian backed films that have a big Hollywood box office star for the main draw.

I don't know if Snowpiercer was in theatres very long. It's an excellent movie, very "thinky" and full of action, but it does fall apart the more one thinks about it. Just as utopias are unattainable, dystopias are rarely sustainable and the logistics of a train that can't stop running and support the people on board doesn't make a lot of sense. It's easier to think of the train as a symbol for class systems. Snowpiercer was so dark and even the hopeful ending ends on the wrong note. In terms of story and style it reminded me of Brazil and Children of Men and a third movie I still can't put my finger on.

Bee Movie should have been the cheerful antidote to Snowpiercer, but I was so bored. This movie is sooooo weird and not very entertaining at all. True, 3D animation in 2007 wasn't that great, but the movie comes off as sounding like it's making fun of oppressed people everywhere when Barry B. Benson, the bee, sues the humans for stealing honey. Ugggghhhh!


Dec. 25th, 2016 10:54 pm
calzephyr: (Christmas)
We didn't want to spend Christmas evening watching something violent - we wanted to laugh and feel good - but we didn't want to get stuck watching Adam Sandler movies or somesuch at the same time. I remembered Matilda because it pops up a lot on Buzzfeed and Matilda herself - Mara Wilson - has recently written articles for Cracked and elsewhere. I was very touched by her recent story about her mother's death while the film was being made.

I would have been a bit too old for Matilda when it first came out, but I wholeheartedly would have loved it as a child because I loved reading and nothing thrills the wee folk like adults getting their come-uppance. I wouldn't have been able to appreciate it though on an aesthetic level however. I loved the tacky, trashy lives of her parents played with great gusto by Danny De Vito and Rhea Perlman and I loved the tons of detail put into the sets as well as the camera work. 80s and 90s movies have a really special feel about them with so much purposely designed that you don't see anymore. Maybe it was all the practical effects instead of whiz bang CGI. Anyhow, we really enjoyed it and still found a lot to laugh about :-)


Sep. 5th, 2016 11:43 am
calzephyr: (procrastinating)
I don't know why it seems like we're always watching cartoons - not that it's a bad thing, but we can often have trouble agreeing on movies. I guess cartoons are always a middle ground!

Home - I have no idea why this movie was in theatres for so short a time. It was awesome and very funny. It's possible that translating Sheldon Cooper to a socially awkward alien could be a little grating for some, but Jim Parsons and Rhianna are just awesome together.

The Nut Job - I can't tell you much about this movie because I fell asleep half an hour in and woke up ten minutes before the end. It's a Canadian/Dutch/Korea production and the animation is pretty fantastic along with big name voice talent - but it was just way too long to tell the competing stories of squirrels and crooks planning their own heists. It's based on a short animation that is much funnier.

The Secret Life of Pets - this movie was all I hoped for after all the hype. It was hilarious and lots of fun as Duke and Max struggle to become friends. The budgie didn't get a lot of screen time, but it was adequate. My favourite scene was when the dogs end up at a sausage factory - so weird! The thing that really stuck out in this movie for me though was that for a movie set in New York, it's not very multicultural at all.
calzephyr: (i see)
I almost asked [ profile] whatwasthatone about this movie because it was driving me crazy. I don't know if kids today still have to take Career and Life Management in high school in Alberta, but it was a dreadful class when I took it. It was a combination of how to get a job/how to balance a checkbook/how not to get pregnant. The gym teacher taught it, of course!

We watched a lot of bad movies in that class all woefully outdated. There was one from the 70s with two teenage boys trying to buy condoms from a drugstore and The Mask. I am sure there were many other short films but none was so memorably awful as Johnny Lingo. Except that I couldn't remember the name. I thought it was Johnny Gringo, which didn't sound right. Google kept coughing up "Johnny Ringo" instead. Finally I typed in "johnny hawaii movie bride educational film" and thankfully the second link was YouTube.

The movie is so cringeworthy, even when I watched it back in 1994. I don't know even where to a nutshell, it's about a girl named Mahana who is considered ugly by everyone in the village and even her father is surprised that someone wants to marry her at all. He even threatens to beat her when she hides and everyone insults her. Only Johnny can see her true beauty. Today it seems like a long and problematic way to teach the value of self-worth. If you watch it, be warned...

Bonus trivia: Blaisdell Makee, who stars as Johnny Lingo, appeared in two episodes of classic Star Trek.


Jul. 10th, 2016 03:42 pm
calzephyr: (birds)

It's so exciting that Disney movies are now on Canadian Netflix! I have been able to catch up with old favourites like The Fox and The Hound and new ones like Tangled, which we missed in theatres. Prior to this, only DreamWorks movies were available and while they are good, the endless sequels are hard to watch, even on a sick day :D

I haven't blogged about movies in a while - we are watching them but few have been really leaving an impression on me. I thought Tangled was worth mentioning though, because it was odd for a Disney movie and a little difficult to watch.

The whole tone of the movie changes when you realize that the villain, Mother Gothel, isn't like other movie villains that are just straight up evil or power hungry. No, clearly Mother Gothel is mentally ill and Rapunzel is a victim of emotional abuse. A quick Google of "mother gothel npd" or "mother gothel bpd" produces loads of results that explain this in detail.  So, unfortunately, I didn't enjoy the movie as much as I should have because a mentally ill villain is kind of problematic. It's not as easy to root for the good guys. I don't know what to say about mentally ill villains. Suddenly Tangled refers less to Rapunzel's hair and more about unhealthy, enmeshed parent child relationships. Otherwise, it was funny and charming and had some great songs :)

calzephyr: (birds)

I'm not sure what flipped when I was a teenager, but I became really interested in movies and movie stars around 1991 despite years of watching Entertainment Tonight with Mom. Suddenly I was reading people and scanning the Entertainment section of the paper. Maybe it had to do with getting a TV that could play past Channel 12. There was only one problem - I was too young to see a lot of movies!

"Well if you were too young, I was definitely too young." my friend said when My Cousin Vinny popped up randomly as a Friday night movie suggestion. I can cross another movie off the list :D

Joe Pesci and Marie Tomei dropping f-bombs are the only scandalous parts to this movie and I enjoyed how well written it was as well as the slow pacing. I couldn't help but think that the whole movie was based on a few true stories, especially the sleepless nights that Vinny endures to getting stuck in a small town. In fact the first fifteen minutes reminded me of our disastrous pit stop in Lima, Montana a few years ago. If I had known it would have been so bad I would have just peed my pants :D

Of course most of the humour comes from the contrast of urban versus rural, New Yorker versus Southern, but I really liked the gentle message of persistance as Vinny tries to prove that he can succeed as a lawyer.

One detail that stuck out for me was the bright pink camera that saves the day. Maybe it only seemed so because of the fact that we would use cell phones today!

calzephyr: (Muffin Buffin)
We really liked the movie! Review to come...

calzephyr: (birds)
[Error: unknown template qotd]I don't know if we're going to see this one or not. I missed the last three movies. I couldn't get past the first half hour of Phantom Menace. The hype and nostalgia buzz did nothing for me.
calzephyr: (birds)

Drive Angry is a strange movie. Maybe it's because it wasn't the movie we expected it to be, or that it tried to be too many things at once. Starring Nicholas Cage at his scenery chewing finest, what we thought it was a movie about road rage and instead it turned out to be a supernatural action movie - kind of like a bug fix version of Ghost Rider. The annoying thing about Drive Angry is that it rides the fine line between low brow and high brow, much like The Car. It's just good enough to not be completely bad, and because of that you want it to be better.

After a confusing intro with a car driving across a bridge in Hell, Cage's character John Milton (hint hint) crosses paths with a tough and pretty road stop waitress, Piper. Amber Heard was awesome as an empowered heroine who gets caught up in Milton's metaphysical mission. It is confusingly told, but Milton has returned topside to avenge the deaths of his daughter and son in law who were murdered by cultists and rescue his granddaughter. Along the way there's The Accountant, played with Agent Smith like weirdness by William Fichtner and a cult leader who looks like a dollar store Elvis.

I sense part of the problem is that too much was crammed into the movie and the title starts to lose meaning. There's a great comic book feel to the movie, with lots of love going into the character design and costuming. The first third of the movie is pretty tasteless and reminded me of Cranked. After Piper learns of Milton's quest, the tone changes considerably and the movie becomes less ballsy and more heartfelt. Some more careful editing and more showing and less telling would have helped. I feel that the sheriff had an untold story in there, or the producers couldn't juggle four plots.

The CGI budget must not have been very big because some of the effects weren't very good for a 2011 movie, but they were passable. The violence was really squishy and mildly gross at times. There were some great car stunts and I loved that they got a Winnebago to boogie like it did :D

At the end of the day, the movie is a pretty entertaining popcorn flick - if you liked Ghost Rider, you'll be all right with this one.

But I gotta it me or are there a lot of phallic references... )
calzephyr: (birds)

I hope there's a lot more of the budgie than in the trailer!

calzephyr: (birds)
Originally posted by [ profile] calzephyr77 at One Day Event - War Movies - Mediterraneo
This movie popped into my head - I watched it years ago. It's about some Italian soldiers that become stranded on a Greek island during WW2. My dad grew up on a small island during WW2 and I appreciated the movie for that alone. It's more funny than serious, IIRC.

calzephyr: (i see)
A friend pointed out to me recently that the carsploitation genre is a thing and it's true that car movies appear quite a lot under the movie tag. I couldn't say why, if it's because my husband loves cars or that I worked on a car website for about five years, but I love the action, plus we have seen most of the movies that show up on carsploitation lists, like Mad Max, Deathproof, Duel and The Car (which I really enjoyed for its unintentional existentialism). And purely by accident, I swear, I became a huge fan of Vin Diesel when we saw Fast & Furious at the cheapie theatre.

Speaking of Vin Diesel, we saw FF7 shortly after it came out. It was good. It was not as good as FF6, naturally, because Paul Walker died halfway through filming. I thought there would be more stunts by Jason Statham or The Rock, but that didn't happen. It was only possible to tell the CGI walker at the very end. The tribute was so touching - brief and not cheesy either. In hindsight the story of the film was so disjointed until the big car chase in Los Angeles, but somehow they made it work together that my sense of disbelief was suspended for the movie. I loved that there was a woman nerd too. Somehow the FF franchise delivers on the smallest whims of its fans :-)

We saw Mad Max: Fury Road today and I loved it despite that the beginning exposition was ruined by the wrong filter being applied for 3D and the audience getting upset. This isn't the first time that something was borked in this theatre too. Anyway...the spoiler free version is that the movie is a tad too long (maybe about 15 minutes or so) and that it is not a traditional action movie and it has very little dialogue. It's very artsy and thinky, and it helps to have watched the previous movies. George Miller just throws the viewer into his post-apocalyptic wasteland and goes from there. If you're expecting a Marvel movie, this is not it. As an Australian, Miller brings a whole different aesthetic compared to American movies. You can see the wish fulfillment on the part of Miller, that he was making up for all the stuff he couldn't do 30+ years ago.

There was a lot of symmetry, which I naturally liked, and as an R-rated film, it didn't shrink from violence at all, which could be quite juicy at times.

Mad Max spoilers )
calzephyr: (birds)
It might surprise some to realize that Oscar Wilde wrote a few fairy tales in addition to his books and plays. A friend was looking for a tear jerker, so I suggested the animated version of The Happy Prince, narrated by Christopher Plummer. The only versions on YouTube are a little blurry, but it doesn't detract from the bittersweet tale of love and compassion.


Oct. 21st, 2014 09:02 pm
calzephyr: (birds)
Oh, the woe that is Canadian Netflix. Technology has not solved the problem of visiting Ye Olde Video Stoppe, where we would finally agree on a movie, but couldn't find it on the shelf. Woe, woe, woe!

We ended up watching Crank because Netflix doesn't have The Transporter. Completely inspired by video games from all generations, mostly GTA, Jason Statham is a hitman named Chev Chelios who crosses the wrong crowd. He wakes up after being beaten up and injected with a drug that will kill him in an hour. The key to staying alive is for him to not stop moving and keep his adrenaline racing. As one can imagine, someone channelled their inner 15 year old or consulted some 15 year old boys because the movie is lewd and crude, including insulting trash talk between the characters. There's car chases, car crashes, parkour, jump cuts, smash cuts, frenetic, fast paced editing. There was a lot of stuff that grossed us out, but the violence is so over the top that it's hard to take seriously. However, it was also a pretty tasteless movie in many respects with many problematic elements in hindsight. Come to think of it, I can't recall a more tasteless movie :P

I caught The Book of Life in 3D with friends on the weekend. It was a good movie, but perhaps too long and visually cluttered for children. It's extremely fast paced for a simple story and it felt like the creators had too many ideas to cram in. I don't regret seeing in the theatre as it would have been so dull on a small screen. It could have been shorter and better balanced with some quieter periods, but I loved that the characters were puppets, who are at the whims of gods. There were some great character designs that worked together well despite being vastly different. At first it appears that the story is all about the female lead, Maria, but it's actually about one of her friends, Manolo, as he tries to find his way in life (and win Maria's heart). Maria is not a Disney princess by any means, and the conflict she faces as she is pressured to marry her other friend (and town hero) Joaquin was very thoughtfully done.


Aug. 31st, 2014 07:40 am
calzephyr: (pwnies)
We get so behind on movies that it's actually kind of embarrassing, especially nerd movies. We crossed X-Men: First Class off our MCU list. I was really surprised by how good it was, especially Jennifer Laurence. She was so sensitive and adorable as Raven. Magneto's sympathetic back story was really well done, and I liked the way he contrasted with privileged Professor X. It's rare in movies to show such fond male friendship too. Usually men can't show their affection for each other unless they're hitting each other ;-). It had some corny moments, but I wish we had seen it on the big screen for the sub scenes. And without the budgie soundtrack too.

88 Minutes was watched a while ago. It stars Al Pacino as a college professor and crime profiler who becomes the target of an anonymous stalker. The movie opens up with a gruesome, needlessly detailed murder of a young woman by a serial killer. It grossed us out. We love Al Pacino and I couldn't figure out why I couldn't remember this movie, but, as entertaining as it turned out to be, it's nothing special. It had all the trappings of a great thriller that didn't pay off. It's also painfully dated with a lot of blue tint and flip phones everywhere. There's a lot of time and geography problems with the movie plus a ridiculous amount of coincidences. All this is forgotten by the time the dramatic final scene rolls around. In hindsight, 88 Minutes felt like it had a lot of re-writes or was made for another actor.

I found Wizards on YouTube. I was really in the mood to watch Heavy Metal, but it wasn't on Netflix and wasn't free on YouTube. I realized that aside from The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse, I hadn't watched any of Ralph Bakshi's movies. Wizards is...horribly dated...and very handmade...and not very entertaining. It was made on such a limited budget that drawings and narration stand in for a lot of the action. There's too much narration and the story that emerges was too boring. Basically, there are two wizard brothers, one good, one bad. The bad one, Blackwolf, digs up military footage and weapons and becomes Hitler reborn. The good one, Avatar, has to stop him with some help from his friends Weehawk and Elinore. The mix and match style plus the rotoscoped scenes just killed the movie for me because it created too much dissonance.


calzephyr: (Default)

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