Showing posts with label Movie Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Movie Review. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

2018 Oscar Nominations for best motion picture aren't the best of the best

2018 Oscar Noms seem to be heavily focused on movies that make obvious political statements rather than actual film greatness.

"Call Me by Your Name”

“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Of these, in my opinion based on seeing some of these films and also RT users' ratings, "Get Out", "The Post", "Phantom Thread" and "Darkest Hour" don't belong. Meanwhile, better movies get snubbed, like "Logan", "Blade Runner 2049" or "Baby Driver" (not withstanding Kevin Spacey's fall from grace).

"Get Out" is a good movie, but it's way overrated in the current environment. It's a by-the-numbers horror story that happens to include obvious social commentary. The movie isn't going to age well with time.

The fact that the horror genre is getting a pass this year at Oscars, while comic hero genre again gets a snub is particularly telling. "Logan" is a superior film to "Get Out" in most aspects. "Logan" also addresses racism, but it does so more cleverly (perhaps too subtly) than "Get Out" by a mile. Where "Get Out" is basically about cultural appropriation and first world problems, "Logan" addresses actual issues with the effects of institutionalized racism. "Logan" also has better acting, script, and overall direction. Additionally, "Logan" actually earns its ending, where "Get Out" just kinda ends. Even the alternate-ending for "Get Out" isn't great (but moderately better than the theatrical ending). About the only area where "Get Out" might be a bit better is with scene composition for *some* of the scenes. That's not enough to include it on the final list of ten instead of several other better films.

That said, "Wonder Woman", "ThorRagnarok", "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2" and other comic hero movies in 2017 aren't cinematic greats; not worthy of Oscar Noms for best motion picture. They are enjoyable and entertaining, but don't really stand above anything other than being slightly better than other films within their own theatrical universes.


Now that female characters are getting more attention in comic hero movies, I think some might be surprized to see me say "Wonder Woman" isn't a great overall movie. It's not. As far as comic hero origin movies go, it's average. It's great to see from where Wonder Woman comes, and her character does have a well-developed story arc. However, the villain is very weakly conceived; on par with the underdeveloped Marvel Cinematic Universe villains. Man of Steel and Batman V Superman primary villains are far more developed and central to the plot and story of their respective movies. Man of Steel is a better movie than Woman Women. (Batman V Superman, was also a good but not great movie which really would've been better served if broken up into a trilogy of three separate movies).


Another issue with the movies nominated for best motion picture is that most of them just aren't that popular. "Call Me by Your Name", "Darkest Hour", "Lady Bird", "Phantom Thread", "The Post", "The Shape of Water" and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" are not going to earn even $50 million at the box office, with several of them unlikely to ever see $25 million. The whole idea of expanding the list of best motion picture nominations to possible ten was to include more popular movies in the most important category in order to help the Oscars attract more interest from potential viewers. It looks like they've given up on that idea in favor of other agendas. Oscars are irrelevant.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Avatar now highest grossing movie ever? No.

I got a chance to meet James Cameron this week. I told him I liked Dark Angel, while I was having my photo taken with him. There, you can see me saying out of the corner of my mouth.

I do love Avatar. I've seen it once in AMC's fake IMAX theater in 3D. I want to see it again soon. This week, it has become the highest grossing film of all time in terms of actual dollars. However, it is not even close to being the highest inflation adjusted grossing film of all time. Right now, Avatar is #21 and Titanic is #6. Adjusted for inflation, the highest grossing film of all time is actually Gone with the Wind currently at over $1.5 billion, followed by Star Wars at $1.3 billion in today's money. These numbers are well over double Avatar's earnings of $603 million.

Though it doesn't benefit me at all, I am rooting for Avatar to approach those numbers. If Cameron can keep the magic of this new franchise alive, the rumors are that this movie is the first of a trilogy. My hope for any sequels is to not allow familiarity with the characters to interfere with making two more great films. Star Wars balanced this fairly well with its first sequel, Empire Strikes Back, but lost much of its magic since. Here's to the hope of continued high quality entertainment from James Cameron!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Autumn-Gem film

I took Allie to something she's not done before, a screening of an independent film, at SCU. The film is called Autumn Gem and is done in the same style as many Biography or History Channel shows. The topic of the film was a late 19th Century Chinese heroine by the name of Qiu Jin. You can see me and Allie in the upper left corner of the room in the panoramic photo. From the looks of my face, I was apparently in the middle of chewing my gum (which is something I don't really do all that often, so this may actually be the first photo of me doing that).


From the movie's website:

Qiu Jin was a seminal leader in both the revolutionary movement and the struggle
for women’s emancipation.
Allie has never heard of Qiu Jin before that evening, as is the case for most Americans (even Chinese Americans who were born in Asia). For me, the film was an interesting exploration into Qiu Jin's role in the Chinese revolution at the turn of the 20th Century. Here's the promotional image from the previous showing.



The makers and supporters of the film hope to sell it to the History Channel or preferably to PBS. Though the film's scope is admirable, in my opinion it needs a bit more editing, production work and clean up before its ready for those venues. It was interesting to watch, but ran a bit long for the quantity of information presented. Even still, if someone is interested in the topic, or even just interested in supporting independent film makers, please check out the upcoming screening dates. They will be all over the country in a 24 day/16 city tour.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

ATTN: Vulcan has been destroyed!

Hey J.J. Abrams, don't let a significant and vital portion of the Star Trek universe get in the way of telling a good story. Though the Star Trek movie was enjoyable and fun, it cuts so deeply that it will be hard to hold validity to the ideals that are behind Star Trek. The destruction of Enterprise in the Star Trek 3 was for a reason. For one character to return from the dead, another had to die. In your movie, one of the four founding member worlds (and 6 billion people) of the Federation is destroyed with nothing gained in return. Either you'll have to find a way to bring back Vulcan, or your going to have end the "alternate time line" at some time to restore balance to the story. This can be done with Spock's death (again) of course, since your whole story hings on the fact that he didn't kill himself at the start of whole story. Anyway, this reboot is a great movie, but it makes the plausible continuation of the franchise very difficult. I guess it does open the door for a second reboot of the franchise in another 20 years.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Holiday Report

As long as the holiday feels, it never lasts long enough. Allie and I split Turkey Day between my aunt's and her parents'.

Friday, we did a little late morning shopping. Got some great deals. Then we headed up to the auto show in SF. We looked at practically every car being made today. I walked away with a better impression of Saab, and a worse impression of Audi. I'm also left wondering why someone would pay $60K for either a Lexus or a Cadillac, so I understand why someone would spend that much for a Mercedes.

In the evening we saw Australia. It was a throwback to classic romantic movies with an Australian twist. Pretty clear. The story backdrop is the Japanese attack on Darwin, though this is almost minor to the story, as it is really about ugliness of racism.

On Sat, we spend time with my friends Ronie, Fern and Miriam. It was nice being able to get together. It's been too long. Everyone has just been too busy.

Sunday was spent cleaning up a bit around the house.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Los Gatos Fiesta de Artes

Allie and I ended up having an enjoyable weekend. On Saturday, we got out into the fresh air and did a little cycling. I've been threatening to do it for a long time. The goal was to go down the path I would take if I rode my bike to work. I thought I could use my street bicycle because one leg of the trail is paved. Unfortunately, I discovered that a significant portion of the path is very gravelly, covered with rocks that are far too big to be safe for my street bicycle. So, in order to ride to work, I'm going to have to brave some rather dangerous city streets, or change the tires on my bike to handle rough terrain. I guess I can borrow Allie's bike (which is a "man's" type too), though it will need some adjustments. Anyway, I'm not cycling to work any time soon.

Instead of continuing down that path, we opted to head down to the local shopping center for a relaxing after-lunch smoothie break.

On Sunday, we meet up with my mother-in-law for some Dim Sum (and 'den some) at her favorite rest'rant. I can never comfortably eat Dim Sum on an empty stomach, so I ate some cereal before going. I don't know how good of an idea that was since I ended up eating too much Dim Sum.

Allie and I planned to head over to the Los Gatos Fiesta de Artes. We invited my mother-in-law to join us. A co-worker's son was at one of the booths that I was interested in (WinePod), so we planned to at least meet up there with them.

The day was warm and sunny. Maybe a little too warm. After going around the faire twice, I finally found the booth. My co-worker had just arrived as well. My wife used to work with us, so there was some catching up him and his wife.

Afterwards, Allie and I took her mother to a rest'rant that we hadn't tried yet, called Steamers Grillhouse. We had a rather expensive, yet tasty lunch. Of course, at this point, I had not yet fully processed the Dim Sum earlier in the day, so I ended up getting somewhat uncomfortably stuffed.

After we headed out and dropped my mother-in-law off, we went home to watch a rental, There Will Be Blood. In case you haven't seen the movie yet, here's a spoiler: Someone bleeds at the end. The rest of the 2.5 hours of the movie don't really lead up to that moment very well. It was about as organized in thought as my blog taken on the whole. The movie needed some serious editing.

Sometime around when we started watching the movie, Allie asked if I wanted dinner. My emphatic "No!" surprized her a little bit. The moment pasted quickly. In fact, I still feel kinda stuffed just thinking about how stuffed I was Sunday evening.

She didn't really watch most of the movie because a friend of hers called up to do some catching up. She talked to her about an hour or so. When she came back, she asked what happened. I was like, "It's too much to go into, and yet, it doesn't seem like anything at all." I didn't feel like going into detail since it didn't really interest me all that much. She asked again, and I relented, telling her about some of the uninteresting events that lead to nowhere. It almost didn't matter since there was such a big jump in time during the last scenes, it was like watching a whole other film; perhaps an independent short film that itself wasn't edited enough. Did I mention that There Will Be Blood of boring?

Well, I'm glad the bulk of my weekend was enjoyable, regardless the movie.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Miriam's BD and such

Welp, there was some fun last week. Allie and I met up with Miriam and some of her girlfriends at PF Changs for a diner for her BD. Save for her older neighbor that joined us with this wife, I was the only guy...something that Allie made sure to point out.

Afterwards, we all headed up to SF to a club to meet up with some more people of various varieties that one might expect to meet in SF. Thangs where fun. We were at this one roof top club with a fairly ok view of the city and a large number of drunk people, and some not so drunk people too.

Allie and I headed out home around Midnight, as did several others. Miriam and several of her girls partied on and didn't get home til about 6am.

On the recent movie front, Allie and I have seen The Happening. Funny how nothing happens in a movie with that title. It was OK. Save for rental.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Movie: I am Legend

I haven't been excited for a film in awhile. I was mildly excited to see I am Legend. I know the story from its previous incarnations and was looking forward to a big budget version that would do it justice. Though I enjoyed much of the film, I found that is lacked a strong story.

The movie is based on a book by the same name. Also, several low budget or independent movies have been made based on this book. This version deviated from the book and the other versions in some ways that seemed necessary, but in other ways, made this movie weaker than other versions. I will say I feel that if the movie would've followed the book, the movie would've been boring. Granted, the book does make excellent social commentary. With that said, it is not one of the better books written in the realm of fiction. I am of the sort that thinks if a movie can be made better than the work upon which it is based, then it should be. In this case, I will say that the movie was well paced. Choices in differences in the plot from the book through much of the movie were good.

However, not enough effort was given to the ending. Where the movie deviates from the book the most (the ending) is perhaps where it should've stuck to the original story more. The whole reason for the title "I am Legend" is that main character becomes as scary to the new vampire civilization in the new world as vampires are scary to us in our world now; deep social commentary. Instead, with this movie, there's a simple ending that doesn't do the rest of the movie any justice and ended up making this movie seem like a prequel to 28 Days Later (which, in my opinion, is a better film). At the end, I was like, "It's over already? That sucks." The voice-over by the heroine at the ended made an attempt to explain the movie title with the movie ended, though this was a very weak attempt at that.

One other point, the CGI was very weak and dated. It felt cartoony.