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  • Gianella's 'Best Picture Nominees' watch continues...

    23 hours ago

    gianella

    I'll be real, I'm quite surprised I've made it this far. Six down, three to go. Below are the three most recent ones I've seen. The ones I have yet to see are The Shape of Water, The Post and Phantom Thread.


    Call Me By Your Name

    • Beautiful, beautiful film.
    • That Italian summer aesthetic? I'm in love.
    • Despite the above I can't say I was a fan but I really liked the ending and that almost made the whole thing worth it?
    • That end conversation with the dad. Oof. Loved that. Would've loved more of that kind of stuff throughout the whole movie but whatever.

     

    Darkest Hour

    • Went into it thinking it would be the biggest drag of my life but, listen, by the first two minutes I was in.
    • That opening shot in parliament was stunning.
    • It really tapped into the history nerd part of me. I was hooked the entire time.
    • Had no idea that was Gary Oldman???!?

     

    Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    • YOOOO
    • An incredible film.
    • I've kind of been rendered speechless by it so I'll just say this: it has a simple premise but then you get so much more. And that 'so much more' bit? Incredible.
    • Also Frances McDormand is great and I'm in love with the movie's poster


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  • LADY BIRD (2017)

    23 hours ago

    gianella

    Gianella's Best Picture nominees watch continues. No spoilers. I do quote something but it doesn't have anything to do with the film's main narrative.


    Nominated for:

    • Best Picture
    • Original Screenplay
    • Director - Greta Gerwig
    • Lead Actress - Saoirse Ronan
    • Supporting Actress - Laurie Metcalf

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    Oh man. Oh boy, oh man. This movie.


    Like, I don't even know what to say - it was just emotions all round for me. I kinda just wanna cry about it for a while.


    It's so poignant. It's so good at encapsulating the emotional tornado that is adolescence and immersing you in it. It's so good at making me - a former all-girl Catholic high school student - laugh. 


    "You're not supposed to eat the wafers!"

    "They're not consecrated." 

    (there are so many good lines in this film but this one got me, man)


    I do wish I didn't hype it up so much for myself but that trailer was too good to not get hyped about. While I was watching it I felt like it was too vignette-y in that it switches to different things so quickly but in hindsight I don't think that affects it all that much. That's probably part of the charm. I plan on re-watching it so we'll see how my opinion changes.


    Now I'm gonna go and not stop thinking about it for a couple of weeks.

  • Screenplay Writing

    1 day ago

    Jayvines

    Over the past few months I've been toying with the idea of writing an FAHC based screenplay based along the lines of an origin story. FINALLY I was able to draft out a rough outline and I'm pretty proud of it!


    Not quite sure how far I'm going to take this, but for now I plan on just getting things down on paper and seeing where it goes. If anyone would like to help editing-wise (I know it's a pain, which is why I like to outsource that job) shoot me a message and I'll get back to you on it!

  • DC Just Can't Catch A Break. Joss Whedon Exits BATGIRL.

    2 days ago

    ericvespe

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    Joss Whedon has stepped away from Batgirl. His official reasoning for departing the project is that he spent a year trying to come up with a story to match the badass character and just couldn't quite do it. I'm sure there's other things at play, like how he didn't quite fix Justice League enough to make it less of a flop and the overall chaotic state of everything behind the scenes at the DCEU, but that's the reason he gave to The Hollywood Reporter.


    Man, DC just can't catch a break. It's getting real frustrating as a comic movie fan seeing them squander so much potential and I say this as someone who likes both Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck as Superman and Batman. 


    There's no reason there can't be amazing movies made out of these properties but the brass at Warner Bros seems less concerned about making good product than just making product period. Any and everything you got, throw it at that wall! Something will stick! 


    Whedon has shown a lot of talent at writing female characters, but maybe this cloud will have a silver lining and they'll actually bring in some, you know, females to write and/or direct these female characters? It certainly worked for Wonder Woman. Something tells me a talented female screenwriter might not have to spend a year trying to find a decent Barbara Gordon story. 

  • Ready or Not, Jurassic World 3 is coming June 11th, 2021!

    3 days ago

    ericvespe

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    You may think it's weird that Universal is announcing a release date for a third installment in a franchise before the second installment is even released, but that's kind of the way Hollywood operates these days.


    Look at their fumble with the Dark Universe. They announced cast and projects bringing their monsters into a giant shared universe and then oops, The Mummy fizzled, public interest was flatlining and suddenly all those projects are gone now.


    It's a little less of a gamble here. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom would have to flop big time for them to rethink this because the first Jurassic World made so, so, so, so much money. Jurassic World 2 would have make Pluto Nash money to derail this franchise at this point.


    People like dinosaurs, they like Chris Pratt and they want to see those two things together in big, spectacle films. It's not a hard formula to figure out.


    According to The Hollywood Reporter Colin Trevorrow will return to co-write alongside franchise newcomer Emily Carmichael, who seems to have been picked by Spielberg himself after Amblin picked up a script of hers called Powerhouse. She has also written a remake of The Black Hole for Disney and worked on the Pacific Rim sequel hitting later this year.


    No director is attached yet.


    Early days, for sure, but again... barring catastrophe this is a no-brainer for Universal. 

  • Not surprising, but still good news: Jessica Chastain in talks to play adult Bev in It: Chapter Two!!!

    4 days ago

    ericvespe

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    Forgive me for the bragging I'm about to do, but I swear I have a point to it. I'm a big Stephen King nut. Like I've literally read every one of his novels and I started doing so in the 6th grade (Cujo was the first book I read). So I let it be known to the powers that be at Warner Bros that I was interested in visiting the set of the film adaptation back when I was with Ain't It Cool and got an invite to the press day.


    While there I got to see a lot of cool things and talk to pretty much everybody, including every one of the kids in the Losers Club. Way back then, when they were still shooting the first one, I asked them to fancast their adult selves should It prove to be popular and warrant a sequel that finishes the second half of the story told in King's giant book.


    They all had great answers (read them all here in more depth if you wish)... Jeremy Ray Taylor pointed out that Ben buffs up when he gets older, so he wanted Chris Pratt, Jack Grazer said in another interview closer to release he saw Jake Gyllenhaal as grown up Eddie (if you saw Okja you know he could pull this off), Finn Wolfhard chose Bill Hader for grown up Richie (brilliant, by the way), Wyatt Oleff thought Joseph Gordon-Levitt would be good for Stanley, Chosen Jacobs liked either Chadwick Boseman or David Oyelowo for Mike (I think Oyelowo is about as perfect casting as possible for that character), Jaeden Lieberher was drawing a blank for Bill and one of the press people attending suggesting Alexander Skarsgard. Jaeden seemed to like it, but Finn loved it, said it would be a big f-you to their Pennywise, Bill Skarsgard, who is Alexander's little brother.


    The very first person who we asked to fancast their adult selves was Sophie Lillis and her response was short, but sweet: "Jessica Chastain. No brainer." 


    Andy and Barbara Muschietti seem to agree as Variety has revealed that Chastain is officially in negotiations to star in the sequel. 


    No surprise. She's the obvious choice with or without the support of her younger self and she also has a history with the Muschietti's, having starred in their first feature film Mama. 


    I'm psyched. I adored the first chapter and I can't wait to see them build up this cast and finish out this story. Looks like that September 2019 release date might still hold since they're casting up now. 


    One other tidbit from the set visit: Andy Muschietti talked about his desire to bring the kids back for the sequel, wanting to film some flashbacks that would influence the adults' story, stuff that wasn't in the first film. He's gotta work fast because all those kids are at an age where 6-12 months will radically change their voices and appearance!

  • At the Screwvies: Episode 102

    4 days ago

    g1Features

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    Hey. So you know that feeling when you're witnessing history. That moment where something approaches and you just know that this is going to have a massive impact. The intensity of the hype? It can be quite overwhelming, but I can't wait for next week and all of us say: "yes, I saw the caveman claymation football movie." Truly a momentous occasion. And I guess there's some cat man walking around. Probably not a big deal.


    STICKMAN: Psschh, he's not made of plasticine.  Just money.


    LARRY: I mean, who else is gonna relate Brexit to football??


    MADHERO: Woah. Leave the politics out of this wholesome blog. They can maybe return to one of our reviews though. Maybe. ANYWAY, we missed the Super Bowl last episode, so we're gonna talk about those things now while everyone has moved on


    STICKMAN: It's all about those Winter Olympics now bruh. Did you SEEE that Grinch teaser. No. 


    NEWS

    LUCASFILM FINALLY RELEASES SOLO TRAILER. ALSO ANNOUNCES THAT GAME OF THRONES SHOWRUNNERS WILL MAKE NEW SERIES OF STAR WARS MOVIES

    Well, it took fucking forever, but we finally got our first look at Solo. After multiple unconfirmed rumors that Disney was preparing for this to die, we got our first look during the Super Bowl and a full trailer not too long after. It looks....like Star Wars. A lot more muted in color than I thought, which contrast the cool teaser posters they have. I'm sure it'll be fine, but the trailer didn't really take much of my scepticism away, but hey I'll probably still see it, so Disney won't care.


    The bigger news came not too long after, when LucasFilm announced that they would be producing a new series of films with David Benihoff and DB Weiss, best known for showrunning all of Game of Thrones, one of the biggest tv shows of all time.  Now after that, they could do pretty much anything they wanted, so to see them tackle Star Wars of all things is pretty exciting. There's been some backlash of some people who see GoT's quality has gone down in the recent seasons, and of course the feeling of Star Wars fatigue, which I'm starting to feel as well. But hey, we'll wait and see what they'll be about when Episode IX is over and done with


    STICKMAN: It sure is a trailer for a Star Wars movie. This time not as visually interesting. Outstanding.


    MADHERO: WHERE. ARE. THE. PORGS


    LARRY: Ehrenreich hasn’t sold me yet, but other than that, not a bad trailer. Admittedly got me hyped for a movie I’ve been skeptical about.


    STICKMAN: What's there to be hyped about!? Why are people won oooover?! Is all it takes just a bunch of Star Wars shapes and noises to get people bending over and taking a big ol ramming from Disney?


    MADHERO: I mean, Glover as Lando looks glorious. I wish the movie was about him


    STICKMAN: I think we all do. Would be an interesting story compared to Han Solo doing the kettle run or whatever.


    LARRY: Yeah, honestly. SHOCKS me that they didn’t even give him a line in the trailer. It’s also a proven talent. As opposed to Ehrenreich.


    MADHERO: But hey, how about that FUTURE STAR WARS?! Guess that announcement means their Confederate show is permanently on ice.


    LARRY: Thank god. What a fucking stupid idea.


    MADHERO: Dumb ideas aside, how do we feel about them working on it? Obviously these guys were in high demand, but Star Wars is extremely different from Game of Thrones.


    LARRY: I mean, I’m fine with it. As long as they don’t come up with any stupid ideas I’m sure they can bring the size and scope needed for a SW film.


    STICKMAN: I have never watched Game of Thrones so. I just expect a lot more porn in these films. Maybe Chewbacca mounting Han Solo.


    MADHERO: .....how?


    STICKMAN: How, Mad? HOW!? CUZ SKY ATLANTIC POACHED IT AND I CAN'T WATCH IT. THAT'S HOOOOW.


    MADHERO: Not even a cheeky dvd box purchase? Dang. That's how I've seen....andpiracy. I'm curious what they come up with and kind of story they'll tell. Should also say this'll be a different thing from what Rian Johnson is cooking up


    LARRY: Yeah at least the trilogies are gonna have variety. They are reaching for outside the Skywalker saga,


    MADHERO: We can speculate forever, but we'll have to wait. MOVING ON


    MISSION IMPOSSIBLE FALLOUT RELEASES ITS FIRST TRAILER DURING THE SUPER BOWL

    As part of many reveals at this year's Super Bowl, we got our first look at the sixth installment in the surprisingly, consistently solid Mission Impossible franchise, following on from Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation with...Fallout. The stunt-heavy action franchise has been going from strength to strength since Mission Impossible 3, so it's fair to say expectations are high for the new one, and we finally got our first trailer....and...well...it certainly looks like a Mission Impossible film!


    Following on from the events of Rogue Nation, we see Tom Cruise, along with his increasingly larger cast of regulars aside Jeremy Renner, who was too busy fighting Thanos I guess, with Henry Cavill sporting the now infamous moustache that had a hand  in ruining Justice League. We got crazy fucking stunts, Tom Cruise piloting his own helicopter, explosions, gun shots, the theme tune, and of course, Ethan Hunt seemingly going rogue/off the radar or something,. I'm a big fan of these films, and the last two were really fun, so I hope this continues the solid, creative and entertaining trend they started. And hell, even if it doesn't, you won't be able to say Tom Cruise didn't give it his all, he fuckin corkscrewed a chopper and kicked the side of a building so hard he broke his ankle. That guy...he's NUTS.


    MADHERO: Henry Cavill's stache took over his Instagram and its great. Totally worth destroying a cinematic universe for.


    STICKMAN: I agree, mainly because that cinematic universe already sucked to begin with. THAT SAID, surprised this one hasn't become a cinematic universe, eh?


    LARRY: Honestly, I like this trailer. Makes MI feel oddly fresh. Also I’m a SUCKER for anything with Simon Pegg.


    MADHERO: Its a really solid trailer, yeah. Quite punchy and reminds you why I like the series in the first place


    LARRY: I also like the addition of Rebecca Ferguson. She seems to fit this franchise somehow.


    STICKMAN: She was in the last one. That's why she fits so well.


    LARRY: Oh shit, I didn’t see that one.


    MADHERO: She was phenomenal in Rogue Nation, so hopefully she'll bring the same here.


    STICKMAN: Also Ethan's girlfriend from Mi3 is back. Thank god, I guess. Really wanted to know about her situation.


    MADHERO: This is also the first time a director returns on a MI film. McQuarrie did really well, so I’m ok with that. Lets hope this is more than ok, for Tom Cruise's ankle's sake


    STICKMAN: Tom Cruise is more Thetan than man these days.


    SUPER BOWL MAKES STUDIOS RELEASE TRAILERS FOR JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING, INCLUDING NETFLIX RELEASING A MOVIE

    HOLY TRAILERS BATMAN. That's right, it's time to do a brief little round-up of the many, many trailers that have hit the interwebs since the last episode. Well, needless to say, we got plenty to chew on. Skyscraper showed us so more action-packed Rock-ness, along with a terribly designed jump in the poster. Red Sparrow also came to play, aka the Black Widow movie we all deserve, along with a spankin new look at Infinity War, featuring Captain America with a newwwew shieldddddd YAYYY. The most talked about drop was probably The Cloverfield Paradox, the newest Cloververse effort which dropped mere hours later on Netflix right after the game was over!! It was an incredibly impressive stunt. Finally, we also got a new look at Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, continuing to prove why this movie shouldn’t exist.


    Outside of the sports, two additional big hitters in this year’s release schedule got new trailers. The first was Deadpool 2, continuing it’s tongue-and-cheek style of self-awareness and odd nostalgic references. Plus Deadpool apparently likes Toy Story. Then, The Incredibles 2premieres an ACTUAL trailer his time, courtesy of the Olympics, and it was awesome, thank his. It showcases a new narrative direction, with Elastigirl taking on superhero duties while Mr. Incredible becomes a stay at home dad. Not gonna lie, I’m into that, and the math joke was so god damn relatable I almost physically reacted to that. Add that to a clearly skeevy Bob Odenkirk, and you have a much more satisfied customer regarding this movie.


    MADHERO: Hold on a sec. WHERE'S THE DUNDEE TRAILER?!


    STICKMAN: Oh wait. It was tourism all along.


    LARRY: Oh, what a shame. Anyway: Hey look an Incredibles trailer finally yay!!!


    MADHERO: There's too many things to discuss. I like Incredibles' Stay At Home dad angle and my boi Bob Odenkirk, but we'll see when it comes out this summer.


    STICKMAN: Jurassic World 2 had....dinosuars?? Along with what seems like 4 different plot threads.


    MADHERO: I like the first Jurassic World as a dumb popcorn film, but that also means I'm not all that excited for the sequel. I'm excited for Deadpool 2 though. Surprise Terry Crews is always good.


    STICKMAN: Deadpool 2 looks like a Deadpool sequel. Can't say I'm jumping off the walls for that.


    LARRY: Gotta appreciate the Toy Story reference.


    MADHERO: It was a really fun segue. I guess the biggun is Cloverfield Paradox, which shocked basically everyone, but we'll talk about that more.....soon


    STICKMAN: Whatever you think about Cloverfield Paradox...that mic drop of a release was fucking amazing. I came back from watching something and saw it and was like OOOH FUUUCCKKK.


    LARRY: No, yeah, very well hidden. Surprised they managed to keep it a secret.


    MADHERO: That was a really fun surprise. I imagine Cloverfield 4 just appearing in my PS4 or something.


    STICKMAN: It's already here. It's inside all of us. It was friendship.


    SONY FAST TRACKS A JUMANJI SEQUEL AFTER FILM CONTINUES TO MAKE LOADS OF MONEY

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    At first, Jumanji seems like one of those films that will come and go without much thought. In our Screwvies preview, I called it a film that I would probably watch it if it comes on Netflix, but wouldn't pay much attention to it. Well shows what I know, cause since then Jumanji has become a collossal hit far beyond what everyone could've expected. The film has made more  than the likes of Spider-Man Homecoming and Spectre, and will surpass Spider-Man 3 to become  Sony's 2nd highest grossing film ever. Its unlikely to pass Skyfall, but the fact its become Dwayne Johnson's and Kevin Hart's biggest domestic hit is something no one could've predicted.


    Sony, a studio often portrayed as desperate for franchises, is obviously thrilled by this, and has now fast tracked a sequel which will see the return of Johnson, Hart, Karen Gillen and Jack Black. Writers Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg are in talks to write the script and Jake Kasdan will likely return to direct as well. Obviously the question is how they'll tackle the sequel, but that's for them to figure out. I still need to see what the big deal is, and I will.....on Netflix cause that's how stubborn I am.


    STICKMAN: Snoooore.


    MADHERO: Watching this movie's success is probably a wilder journey than the actual movie, but I've been baffled by how well it's doing. Really seems like people are connecting to it


    STICKMAN: Nostalgia sells all things. Clowns, board games, other.


    LARRY: Yeah but not normally this well and this quietly. Jumanji has literally been in the Top 5 since release.


    MADHERO: I honestly don't think it was nostalgia. Because otherwise Independence Day Resurgence would've made a billion dollars. Maybe it made all that money because its.....good?


    LARRY: Damn. What an idea. MOVIES BEING GOOD


    STICKMAN: Okay, nostalgia and being watchable.


    MADHERO: It boggles the mind. Most of the people I've talked about it said they've really enjoyed it and were surprised by it, and word of mouth has just really caught on. I imagine this would maybe make 350 million or something. Not make more money than any Spider-Man film.


    STICKMAN: I didn't even like the original Jumanji that much  honestly. You ain't gonna get my ass in a seat by doing a random sequel with Jack Black playing a high school girl.


    LARRY: Well, another one’s coming. So buckle up.


    MADHERO: Its funny. I've seen Jack Black's Bethany been called a better feminist character than Belle from the new Beauty and the Beast, which is pretty wild.


    STICKMAN: Question, if Jack Black as a girl and another guy as a girl talk together about something not relating to men, does Jumanji 2 pass the Bechdel test.


    MADHERO: Maybe we'll get that answer in the sequel. Moving on


    SONY RELEASES TEASER FOR VENOM THAT’S WAY TOO VAGUE AND NO ONE PARTICUARLY LIKES

    Uh-oh! Sony are at it again! Despite finally getting the Spider-Man franchise back on track with Homecoming last year, they've decided they still want to keep doing its own thing as well. We've got the oddly awesome looking Enter the Spider-Verse coming at the end of the year, but before that? We're getting VENOM. The solo outing for the symbiote and its host Eddie Brock that won't have Spider-Man in it. Y'know....just like nobody wanted. And we got our first look at it this week! OH BOY!


    Featured in this first brief look at VENOM is...not Venom, actually. Your only real hints at the titular gooey big boy come from said goo being in a jar for a brief shot, and then Tom Hardy's neck getting all icky gross for a brief shot. The rest of the teaser comprises of Tom Hardy putting on another wacky accent, moping around being all emo, going into a store...there's some bodies and a motercycle chase or something. And then he screams. Cue the logo which is just Venom's face...and that's it, folks. Uhhh...okaaaay? I want this to be good, the teaser wasn't awful, but it was definitely lacking in a crucial departme-WHERE THE FUCK WAS VENOM.


    MADHERO: I expected nothing and somehow I'm still disappointed by this....thing


    STICKMAN: I was hoping to be won over, instead I just feel like my zest for life has diminished a little. Not bad, just...expectedly mediocre.


    MADHERO: I don't know who said it, but they nailed it by saying it looks like a fan trailer using a bunch of other Tom Hardy movies and sci fi to look vaguely like a Venom trailer.


    STICKMAN: Oh my god, that's so accurate it hurts.


    LARRY: I honestly am not as disappointed in this trailer as other people. In fact there’s a lot of merit to not showing Venom. But...yeah it doesn’t do much to make up for it.


    STICKMAN: Nope. If your film is called VENOM. Show at least, like...a nipple. Jesus.


    LARRY: I mean we see the symbiote.


    MADHERO: I never ever thought we were going to see the Venom suit. The CG for that is probably not done, but you could've shown something. I think right now you have the problem that if the logo wasn't slapped on, you'd have no idea what it was.


    LARRY: Okay but like. The suit is one big figure. It’s hard to show portions of it without it looking stupid.


    STICKMAN: Show me his BUTT. I've seen Tom Hardy's butt, many times. I wanna see SOOOMETHING. Prove to me this is a Venom movie and not just Tom Hardy getting jiggy with some goop.


    LARRY: Eh, I am against this movie as a whole so I have barely any stake in it.


    STICKMAN: I just want a good live action Venom. Is it so much to assssk. For FUCK'S SAKE.


    RIP JOHANN JOHANNSON

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    It is unfortunately of those times where we here At The Screwvies must address the passing of another beloved figure in cinema. Johann Johannson, revered film composer, has passed away at 48 due to unknown causes. You may recognize his work from his acclaimed scores for The Theory of Everything, Sicario, and Arrival. He would often blend electronic sounds with orchestral arrangements, creating a unique and memorable sound. He will have one posthumous release, Mary Magdalene, directed by Garth Davis. An accomplished solo musician as well, Johannson’s few notable works had a sincere impact on cinema in a very short period of time. We thank him for all he did, and send condolences to his family and friends at this time. RIP.


    MADHERO: God, this is so unexpected and sad. 48 is way too young


    LARRY: I remember how shocking it was to see this on my feed. So sudden and unfortunate. He was a fantastic composer.


    STICKMAN: This is a real tragedy. A lot of movie composers somewhat go through the motions with what's expected for a film, but this guy always brought something new to the table.


    MADHERO: He hadn't been composing for Hollywood for very long. His first Hollywood film was Denis Villeneuve's Prisoners, with whom he worked with up until Arrival. His Sicario work especially is excellent


    LARRY: I think Arrival is probably his best work. Though Theory of Everything is beautiful, if more straightforward.


    STICKMAN: Sicario is one of those scores that's really influenced a lot of other films and TV shows since that point. A modern day Inception. Feel like this is a guy who was just getting started,  to lose him so suddenly and so young is heartbreaking.


    LARRY: He did so much outside of film. What a multi-faceted talent, man. Taken away too soon.


    MADHERO: He hasn't done a lot of scores, but his always stood out and you can't help but feel he was going to maybe win a Oscar someday, not that you need one for validation. Gone way too soon.


    LARRY: He definitely deserved one.


    STICKMAN: At least his work will live on in the films and other productions he put his mark on.


    ---------------

    MADHERO: Alright. I l joked about it earlier, but yeah, as it turns out, we are in fact dealing with a historical release. He may not be the first black superhero, but the sheer hype for Black Panther has been....something to behold. Even as someone like me,  a white guy, it can't help like you're witnessing something major. So y'know, no pressure and all. With all that hope and hype, can Black Panther actually live up to it? Or will we freeze, despite the claim he never freezes.


    STICKMAN: Oh, so ...we're not dedicating the rest of the blog to Early Man? I...I thought...okay.


    LARRY: HE NEVER FREEZES, MAD.


    MADHERO: Sorry, Sticky.  But some things take priority over British clay cavemen. And hey, you say it, WE ALL DID. So lets cut to the chase. DOES BLACK PANTHER FREEZE OR NOT?!


    STICKMAN: Depends on the quality of the cinema projection I guess.


    MADHERO: YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN! Do you like the angry cat man?


    REVIEW

    BLACK PANTHER

    DIRECTOR: Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed)

    STARRING: Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Forest Whittaker, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett

    SYNOPSIS: T'Challa (Boseman), after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.

    STICKMAN: Mmmm....well, I do. Obviously, I already loved the big angry cat man before I went in. Was his film good? Well...yes! Whilst I don't think it's the best the MCU has to offer, it certainly has plenty of great aspects, some of which are possibly the best we've seen in this franchise.

    First and foremost, the acting talent on display is supreme. There's not a dud performance to be had in here, with the real highlights being Danai Gurira and Letitia Wright in their respective, contrasting but equally entertaining and badass roles...and of course, Michael B Jordon as possibly the best MCU movie villain to date? Providing an effortlessly cool persona, energy, humour and a shit-ton of emotional resonance from the moment he appears on screen. Boseman is great in the lead too, and the world of Wakanda, a true character of its own is brought to life spectacularly, a colourful and wacky setting that I've never really seen before in a blockbuster film. My main quarrel is twofold, once you get past the great cast and vibrant setting/visuals, it's somewhat...standard superhero fare. Not bad, but nothing remarkable in terms of the general beats. Also, the opening 20 minutes or so are kinda a bit hard to get into, there's a lot of loredumping and getting used to the setting and mythology of Wakanda and all its glorious techno-bullshit. Other than that? Really good fun.


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    MADHERO: I agree with a lot of what you're saying. I think one of the biggest strengths of the movies lies in its characters. This is probably the best new ensemble since maybe the GOTG. From its badass female characters in Nakia, Okoye and Shuri, but also iWinston Duke as M'Baku and Andy Serkis having a grand ol time not wearing pingpong balls. The standout is  Michael B. Jordan though, who is not only a great villain for his charisma, but because he manages to become surprisingly sympathetic and you completely understand his anger and frustrations. His relationship with T'Challa gave a real Professor X/Magneto vibe, but one that feels rooted in reality (we'll probably talk more about it, but I did not expect this film to talk about race relations this head on). The world of Wakanda is the true highlight though. From Ruth E. Carter's amazing costumes, Hannah Beachler's production design and Ludwig Goransson's score all make Wakanda feel real and unique in a way Asgard  never did. It makes you believe in a super advanced hidden African nation allowed to flourish without colonialism, and there's something truly remarkable about it, like it was commisioned by a non-existent tourism boad.


    LARRY: To me, Black Panther is another solid Marvel effort. Admittedly, it suffers from a mixed bag of a first half, with some great scenes and some meh scenes. Also some minimal plot contrivances. Whatever it’s fine. But when the second half kicks in, hooooo boy do we start to get to top tier Marvel territory. Strong thematic work and excellent direction reach amazing levels, with already strong performances and gorgeous visuals. I had a blast with it and I’m happy to see an auteur filmmaker take a shot at a Marvel blockbuster without going too overboard. Two thumbs up from this guy.


    MADHERO: If you don't mind, Larry? What did you think was meh about the first half? Because I can understand finding the first part a bit odd (though it makes sense) and the stuff after maybe boring, but I loved seeing Wakanda come to live in that moment and it simply allows to world to be and breather, which you don't really get with other Marvel films. I honestly didn't mind the 2 minute lore dump since its really well animated.


    LARRY: Yeah it feels a tad disjointed, I don’t really love the first action fight sequence or the first tribal fight sequence.


    STICKMAN: The animation was lovely but I'm not a fan of world-building in the form of detached prequel sequences. My main issue was just it being like WOAH HEY HERE'S THE ENTIRE MYTHOLOGY and then setting up stuff for later, but that was 20 minutes out of the two hours  and 10 I think.


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    MADHERO: See, I loved the tribal scene cause it was like nothing I had seen before. That's something that always comes back to me: wow, I really haven't seen it. You could argue that it ultimately becomes a straightforward narrative, but I loved to see the world just be, let Wakanda feel like a real place with a real culture


    LARRY: Nah, let me be clear: I LOVE WAKANDA. It is oozing with lore and character and color. It’s amazing. I just don’t like how the first tribal fight sequence is shot and edited.


    STICKMAN: I thought the action was fine, but not really the MCU at its peak in terms of choreography. The ritual scenes were cool because of the visuals and atmosphere. Also I got to see a lot of buff shirtless dudes.


    MADHERO: The Korea part of the movie is probably the most comic booky, though its really more like James Bond. Its not the best action, but the end battle is a lot of fun for.....reasons.


    STICKMAN: See I really liked that sequence, kinda wish the film had done a bit more of those.


     LARRY: I actually loved the casino scene.


    MADHERO: What I'm surprised by, and I hope this is something we'll see more of in the future, is how separate it feels from the MCU while still very much being a part of it. We often fear the MCU can feel like homework assignment and having to keep up with everything to make sense of it, but Black Panther, besides a couple nods and characters from other films, feels remarkably separate. You do not need to have seen the other films to make sense of it (though it adds a lot of value to certain moments). And there's parts where it feels like a Ryan Coogler film and not just a cog to the machine. With that and Thor Ragnarok, we're seeing an era of Marvel letting their directors do their thing, which I guess they can do now that they're guarenteed money makers


    LARRY: Oh yes, this is certainly very contained.


    STICKMAN: I feel like we've felt that with several MCU films so I don't really see why this is a big deal. There's cosmic space adventures, mind-bending magic, stripped back espionage stuff...it's all connected by references and little tie-ins. Spider-Man and Civil War are really more outliers than anything.


    MADHERO: Well we did with Thor, but there's not much in the way of nods to other films or mentions of other Avengers. Its part of a trend that I hope continues.


    STICKMAN: I'm all for standalone films within the MCU that aren't required to go OH HEY IRON MAN'S OVER THERE, GUYS.


    MADHERO: Well, with Infinity War....who knows who's going to lead the pack after that. Were you guys surprised as well at how surprisingly political it got? Obviously that can happen with royalty and government, but it tackled some issues I never expected a blockbuster to tackle.


    LARRY: I mean, I found it impossible to not be political. Especially considering this film’s place in the pop culture zeitgeist.


    STICKMAN: I wasn't super surprised, if any Marvel film was going to get embroiled in politics, it was going to be this one. The latest run of the Black Panther comics is more  political drama than comic book action, really.


    LARRY: I think it tackled all of these themes very, very well. A very multi-sided argument portrayed in many different ways.


    STICKMAN: The climatic scene between Black Panther the villain was particularly stirring, not to mention having one of the most stirrrrring mid-credits scenes for the MCU. Minus that weird bit about Wales.


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    MADHERO: Obviously I'm not going to experience this movie in a way the think pieces are going to make want to experience it. I hope we're going to get to a point in time where Black Panther is something special, but for now it really is in the best way. Representation in a empowering way that will inspire millions, an amazing batch of characters who'll surely grow in future sequels, and a world I can't wait to reexperience at some point. I don't know where this ranks among the MCU films (its becoming harder and harder) but its a stunning achievement in almost every way and worthy of the hype. Long may the king reign.


    LARRY: Overall I don’t think this is a masterpiece by any stretch, but I think it’s an important film that delivers on quality messages. And, obviously, a lot of people are enjoying and connecting to this film, so I’m happy about that, even with a stark contrast of quality between the first and second half. Also all hail Ryan Coogler. That man is a god.


    STICKMAN: I really liked this film. I was a little disappointed that it didn't have more memorable action sequences, and despite breaking new ground for the MCU in terms of thematics, failed to offer an original narrative once you get past all the presentational/character positives. But I mean...those are what make this such a good film. Not only do you have a layered and inspirational lead hero, but possibly the MCU's best ensemble supporting cast, and maybe its best villain. There's some surprisingly emotional scenes throughout, and although the action scenes are rarely that spectacular, they always have a weight to them because of your connection with the characters, both good and 'bad'.  Foremost it's a fantastic and fully realised achievement, bringing the world of Wakanda and the diverse and likeable citizens within it to life, with spectacular results. It's not cream of the crop  MCU, but it's well worth a watch.


    MADHERO: Well that's that. BUT WAIT, WE'RE NOT COMPLETELY DONE WITH REVIEWS! We talked about football playing claymation cavemen, and of course that refers to Early Man, Aardman's new claymation feature and their first original work since Pirates! Stickman, notorious Aardman hater but lover of football, is the only one that watched it. So hey, is it any good?(edited)


    EARLY MAN

    DIRECTOR: Nick Park (Chicken Run, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit)

    STARRING: Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams, Timothy Spal, Richard Ayoade

    SYNOPSIS: A caveman named Dug (Redmayne), along with his pet sidekick Hognob, unites his tribe to save their valley home when it is claimed by Lord Nooth (Hiddleston) and his Bronze Age City

    STICKMAN: Soooo...as you all know, I really love my football, and despite  my dislike  of Aardm-Oh wait, that's not right. Yes. I somewhat like Aardman productions, they've been a huge inspiration on me my entire life, I love them to bits, and I was very excited for their latest feature, with Nick Park, creator of Wallace & Gromit and directing genius back at the helm for the first time since 2009. Early Man is a really fun and enjoyable film, but sadly it's not quite up to the standards we seek from this studio, particularly this director. Whilst it's frequently very funny, and full of charm, heart and the usual Aardman touches and details throughout, it's unfortunately a very by the numbers underdog narrative that lacks the same compelling characters and story that say, Chicken Run or Curse of the Wererabbit had. It's not bad by any means, but it's not their best by any stretch. I'd put it above Shaun the Sheep, but below the other stop motion features, which is a shame given how long you have to wait for these to come along, but...I'm not saying it was bad at all, just not an instant classic like Nick Park's previous works. That said? If your local screenings of Black Panther are all sold out? Can't go wrong, really. This is a really fun and charming romp.


    MADHERO: That's a bit of a bummer that you didn't like it as much as you could've. Is that partly because of the football? I like both Aardman and football, so will I get more out of it?


    STICKMAN: Honestly it's not so much to do with the football itself, although the use of football as a main plot mechanic means the film lacks the creative action sequences people have maybe come to expect. Toy train chases, pie machines, Queen Victoria and her mechanical battle dress...this film lacks something to that caliber. In fact it doesn't really have much action at all. It's just the football sequence that comprises the end of the film is just kinda...drab?


    MADHERO: Its probably still the best football film ever made, cause...well....that's not a list filled with classics.


    LARRY: Well I’m sorry to hear it’s disappointing


    STICKMAN: I just hold Aardman to a high standard is all. Maybe those going in with lower expectations may find themselves enjoying it a lot more.


    LARRY: I’m a fan of Aardman, so it sucks to see something not living up to potential.


    MADHERO: Tom Hiddleston looks like he at least has a lot of fun with his attempt at a Allo Allo French accent


    STICKMAN: Honestly I had my doubts about the performances from the trailer, but they all do a great job in the film.  You really can't tell it's Hiddleston which means you just focus on the character. Same with Eddie the Red Mane, who's actually pretty good.


    MADHERO: So that's Early Man. Stll pretty good, but doesn't live up to Aardman's high standards. Alright, now time for the usual: talking bullshit about movies we haven't seen yet.


    STICKMAN: I will say....it has one scene with a messenger pigeon that's really funny and creative, and I wish the film  had more scenes like that. Also...there's an aspect of the film which I guess is technically spoilers relating to that which...was really underplayed. Oops! Still, good stuff.


    MOVIES

    ANNIHILATION

    DIRECTOR: Alex Garland (Ex Machina)

    STARRING: Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny

    SYNOPSIS: A biologist (Portman) signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don't apply.

    STICKMAN: OOohhh. I'm so maaaad


    MADHERO: AHHHHHHHHHHH, MY MOST ANTICIPATED MOVIE OF 2018.....and I can't see it in theaters. Fuck


    LARRY: I would say I'm excited to see it theaters but I feel the wounds are still fresh.


    STICKMAN: Not only do I have to wait to see it, I have to wait to see it...on a TV. And some of the reviews are like THIS IS WHAT THE BIG SCREEN WAS MADE FOR.


    LARRY Yeesh...


    MADHERO: Hey now. Don't blame Netflix. Blame Paramount for selling it off. But anyway, I'm still very much ready for Alex Garland's new film. Loved Ex Machina, and people have already said this is on the same level


    STICKMAN: I'm so stoked. Which is what makes the situation so agonizing.


    LARRY: Yeah I'm super excited. I'm also excited to see Natalie Portman in another leading role.


    STICKMAN: I mean. Her being in it is inconsequential to me, personally.


    MADHERO: Heard she's good in this as well, like always, but I'm mostly there for Garland.


    STICKMAN: I'm here for Garland and I'm here for the source material which I hear is fucking nuts.


    LARRY: Bringing in some FRESH CROC


    STICKMAN: Crocs!?


    MADHERO: No spoilers here...I think? Moving on


    GAME NIGHT

    DIRECTOR: John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (Vacation)

    STARRING: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Billy Magnussen, Jeffrey Wright

    SYNOPSIS: A group of friends (Bateman, McAdams etc.) meet regularly for their game night, and one night they find themselves investigating an actual murder mystery.

    STICKMAN: More like LAME Night. Ahaaaah.


    LARRY: Hoooo boy, what even is this movie.


    MADHERO: This looks....surprisingly fun? I dunno I kinda enjoy the dark comedy aspect of it.


    STICKMAN: I love a good dark comedy. I love...a good one. Jason Bateman isn't really a selling point. I'll be honest.


    MADHERO: Watch Ozark mah dude. Bateman's a good acting man.


    LARRY: Yeah Bateman can handle some darker, dramatic stuff. This just looks...odd.


    STICKMAN: There's too much on Netflix, maybe they should shed a little weight and put Annihilation in cinemas.


    MADHERO: Well he's by nature a comedian. I dunno, I think this looks like fun. The directors of this are also working on Flashpoint and were 2(of the 6 credited) writers on Spider-Man Homecoming.


    STICKMAN: It's got a dog on the poster, so that's something. Not my kinda dog, but. I mean. A dog all the same.


    MADHERO: Its a cute lil doggy


    LARRY: It also has a Sorry piece in a burglar mask. So. Hard to gauge.


    MUTE

    DIRECTOR: Duncan Jones (Source Code, Warcraft)

    STARRING: Alexander Skarsgard, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux, Seyneb Saleh

    SYNOPSIS: Leo Beiler (Skarsgard), a mute bartender, searches for his missing girlfriend, Naadirah (Saleh), in the rolling city of immigrants where two American surgeons (Rudd, Theroux) are the only recurring clues

    STICKMAN: Oohhhhhhhh boooy. This is really my week.


    LARRY: DUN-CAN! DUN-CAN! DUN-CAN!


    MADHERO: This is the movie Duncan Jones has been wanting to make for literally ever. Warcraft was a misstep, but he's done excellent work with his 2 small scale sci fi stories, so I'm all for this


    STICKMAN: This week is a case of Good Netflix, Fuck Netflix. If it weren't for Netflix this film would never exist...


    LARRY Yeah if this is closer to Source Code than I'm fucking ready.


    STICKMAN: This could go either way, and Duncan's been pretty forward with his awareness that some people are gonna hate it, so it's going to be interesting to see how it turns out.


    MADHERO: I think it might be closer to Moon in all honesty, especially since its supposedly takes place in the same universe


    STICKMAN: Also watch MOON, Larry. MOON is a classic.


    LARRY: I know, I know.


    MADHERO: You still have a week. Speaking of which.....HOW ABOUT SOME MOVIE OF THE WEEK. NAILED THAT SEGUE!


    ------------

    LARRY: WOWEE


    STICKMAN: AAHHH FUCK The Black Panther lives.


    MADHERO: Well.....we could all be lazy and just pick that as our MOTW, but we could also give some other movies their time in the sun. Including one that'll continue our love/hate relation with Netflix


    STICKMAN: How about that Early Man huh Y'all...go see Early Man?


    LARRY: I just might honestly...I dunno.


    MADHERO: So Sticky. What's your Non-Black Panther Movie of the Week?


    MOVIE OF THE WEEK

    STICKMAN: Uhh...well...shit. Let’s talk about a massively divisive movie, HUH? As we said earlier, The Cloverfield Paradox just came outta nowhere literally hours after we finished writing the previous episode of Screwvies, and being a big Cloverfield fan I stayed up until the Super Bowl finished in the US to watch the movie.

    And what did I think? WELL...it's...okaaaay? A lot of fun, with a interesting premise, it doesn't really nail the landing and it never fully explores the potential of what it has to offer, but despite the massively negative critical reception, I'd say it was pretty good despite this. Hard to talk about it without spoiling the fun, part of what made this exciting was going in knowing basically nothing, but all I'll say is it's nothing like either Cloverfield movie before it, it's not as good as either of them, but offers a fun, visceral sci-fi adventure with some great performances, funny moments and memorable ....events, shall we say. In my eyes, this film was decent, it didn't deserve the mauling it got, even if it weren't that great either.


    MADHERO: We talked about it with the trailers, but regardless of the quality of the actual film,  I'm amazed they actually went and released a movie like that.


    STICKMAN: It was pretty ballsy. In retrospect maybe something of a cover-up, but hey ho. JJ Abrams climaxed the moment the TV spot landed.


    MADHERO: I think Paramount probably knew this would bomb if they released it in theaters, so making Netflix pay 50 mllion (effectively making a small profit of it) proved to be a smart move


    LARRY: I guess, it's setting a troubling precedent though.


    STICKMAN: It was damage control, but enjoyably ballsy damage control, and I enjoyed the movie so it was win-win, really. Can't say I've ever watched a film knowing nothing about it, having only learned the NAME of the film hours prior. I mean, in this day and age? How often do you go into something completely blind?


    LARRY: Rarely. And it mostly correlates to a great viewing experience.


    MADHERO: Only in games and Beyonce dropping Lemonade, but never in film, so it was fun seeing that implemented. Anyway, Larry. Whats your non-Black Panther MOTW?


    LARRY: My MOTW is Coco, the latest entry in the Pixar library, and most certainly a worthy addition. I can't lie, I didn't think much of this film initially, but once I heard reviews claiming it to be top-tier Pixar fare, I knew I had to see it. And yeah, it's damn great.

    Gorgeous animation with vibrant colors, fun characters who feel genuine, powerful and heartwarming music, a story that throws some twists and turns without it being arbitrary, but most importantly, a world that feels wholly and completely its own. Oh, and it's funny. And imaginative. And it made my best friend cry. It's not perfect, for a few small nitpicks regarding story and world-building build up to some spottiness, but the pros far outweigh the cons. Coco is definitely another shining example of why Pixar is the best in the biz.


    MADHERO: Awww yeah, my nr. 5 movie of last year.


    LARRY: Yeah, made my Top 20 post-2017.


    STICKMAN: More like Nono. As in no, I didn’t see it. I wussed out


    MADHERO: Were the skellymen too scary?


    STICKMAN: Yes. Those eyes. What's going on there.


    MADHERO: I said before that the movie didn't really interest me beforehand, but by the end it really got me and it goes into some pretty dark and unexpected directions.


    LARRY: Oh, absolutely. The third act throws you for a LOOP. I won't say what it does, but MAN. It made many friends of mine cry like babies.


    MADHERO: The last minutes of the movie were pretty damn hard to sit through. It made me sad, but oddly good as well.


    STICKMAN: I don't know man, I feel like  it needs a 20 minute prologue with a singing snowman.


    LARRY: Ya see that's what was missing.


    STICKMAN: What did you do Mad. Was it Blade Runner 2049.


    MADHERO: NO..........yes. My MOTW is a film that's near and dear to me because...well, it was my favorite movie of 2017, which I've made no secret was Blade Runner 2049, the sequel I long said should not have been made, but boy if Denis Villeneuve made me shut my big fat mouth and show me how wrong I was.

    I've talked about the movie at length, and I'm only talking about it now cause the Blu Ray just came out here in a fancy pants steelbook made by Mondo, which also comes with those shorts they made to add to the world-building. If you love brainy science fiction that makes a shithole world look absolutely gorgeous  thanks to Deakins' camerawork and the amazing production design. It may not be for everyone, but it was exactly my shit.


    STICKMAN: I'm still maaaad that the sexy ass Blu Ray was only available in the UK at HMV and with the 4K release which means I'd have to pay £20 extra for it. And I mean, that's expensive for porn.


    MADHERO: Not sure if it was in the UK, but here there was a collector's edition with a replica of K's blaster, which was super tempting but also 120 euros which is kinda much


    STICKMAN: They had  a £40 special edition that came with Blade Runner whiskey glasses here. If I drank whiskey and had any money, I'd be thrilled.


    LARRY: Hey I liked this movie a lot. Wasn't in my Top 10 but damn is it inspired.


    MADHERO: Good for you.


    LARRY: ...well geez Mad okay.


    STICKMAN: I'm just kinda skirting around the fact that this is the 50th time we've spoken about the movie film. It was my film of the YEARRR. I rewatched it recently too and  rest assured, I still loved it. My fears about it  not standing up second time through were incorrect.


    LARRY: If anything I figured it would only get better.(edited)


    STICKMAN: Not quite as good as seeing it in IMAX...even if it broke. I was concerned without the twists being unknown it wouldn't be as engrossing, I was incorrect.


    ---------

    MADHERO: Indeed. Well, that about wraps up this colossus of a show. We'll be back with another comic book movie with Black Widow. Weird they recast ScarJo with Jennifer Lawrence though, but I guess its a prequel or something


    STICKMAN: Is there an island of dogs, too?


    LARRY: Ooh boy. Islands


    MADHERO: Doggo Island is in sight too, as well as mopey Bruce Willis. And hey, maybe before all that, we have Oscar Predictions. Depends on production and all that.


    STICKMAN: Gee...well...I'd feel pretty fucking STUPID if I missed out on reading THE NEXT EPISODE OF CINEMAT-At the Screwives. That's the one we do.

  • Yep, Black Panther Is Pretty Great! Check Out My Review!

    1 week ago

    ericvespe

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    The hype is strong for Black Panther. I certainly felt the weight of it as I sat down for the press screening. Not only was this movie supposed to be an all-timer, but it's also super duper important culturally and anyone who doesn't love it probably hates black people and donates to Donald Trump on the regular.


    Thankfully the movie is really damn good so I don't have to question my own progressiveness. Phew, that was a close one.


    Is it in danger of being overhyped? Yeah, for sure. At the end of the day it's a good superhero movie, but I didn't walk out of it feeling like I did after credits rolled on The Dark Knight or even The Avengers.


    To be fair, Black Panther is about something way different than either of those films. Avengers was a big feel good ass-kicking actionfest that was all about dazzling you with the first ever superhero team up of that scale and The Dark Knight was a dark, gritty examination of how good people deal with the injection of chaos into their world. Black Panther isn't going for either of those two feelings, falling somewhere between the two, actually.


    There isn't much action in the movie. In fact it plays a little more like a modern era James Bond film than a typical Marvel superhero story for almost all the action in the first half. The fights are one on one as T'Challa proves his worthiness for the throne and there's a mission to a South Korean underground casino that reminded me a ton of Skyfall in how it was shot and the political intrigue on display.


    This film is more concerned with character and world-building than it is on dazzling you with an action set piece very 15 minutes. Instead it cranks up the emotional stakes until you get the big final action scene, filled with warring tribes on the ground, dogfights in the skies and, yes, armored rhinos, that leaves you exiting the theater feeling fulfilled on that front but when you look back you realize just how little action is actually in the movie.


    That's a testament to a few things working very well. There's the wonderful direction from Ryan Coogler that keeps the pace going and puts an emphasis on bringing out the most personality he can out of his actors. There's the incredible production value on display. Wakanda is bright, detailed, vibrant and just about every single shot, interior or exterior, offers a visual feast for the eyes. From cinematography to production design to wardrobe to makeup, all departments are way on point.


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    I suppose there could be human beings in this world that will be upset that Black Panther is isn't wall to wall kicking and scratching and stabbing and punching, but they'd be overlooking some pretty great character work to complain about it. Hard to believe comic book fans would complain about the little stuff, though, right?


    Oddly enough Black Panther himself is one of the least interesting characters in this film. He's not a bad character by any means and Chadwick Boseman is more confident in his performance than he was in Civil War, but the very nature of T'Challa's place in this story forces him to be a bit more serious. He's taking on the mantle of King. There's no conflict about that even if he does feel the weight of the throne. His struggle in the movie is all about his desire to be a good King, but not knowing if he can be. He's terrified of letting his country down, but even from early on he doesn't let that fear control him.


    So as a character he doesn't grow too much. He's steadfastly good-hearted, a rock for his people, but with the weight of that responsibility on him the whole time.


    That allows the movie to get stolen by some more colorful, looser performances. Everybody is going to walk away from this movie adoring Letitia Wright's Shuri. She's T'Challa's sister and kind of Q from James Bond folded into Tony Stark. She's smart, but young and so, so full of smart-ass that she brightens literally every scene she's in just by being there.


    Then there's Danai Gurira, playing Okoye, the head of the royal guard and loyal to the throne above all else. Gurira could have played this more serious and been badass and intimidating, but by going the more human route she becomes so much richer. She's cocksure and an incredible warrior, but she's also kind and funny and willing to call it like it is, no matter who she's talking to.



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    Okoye also happens to have the most internal conflict in the movie. She's incredibly loyal, but her oath is sworn to the throne, not a specific king. So when the big bad guy comes in and challenges T'Challa to the throne her alliance is tested. She knows Erik Killmonger is bad news and doesn't like his politics. She also knows that T'Challa is a better king, but that's not her choice to make.


    It's a fascinating place to put the greatest warrior asset in this film and Danai Gurira sells every aspect of it; the doubt, the resolve, the badassness, the conflict... it's all there and Gurira makes it look effortless as she somehow expresses it all from scene to scene.


    I brought up Michael B. Jordan's Erik Killmonger, who we know is the bad guy because he spells his name with the evil 'K' instead of the heroic 'C'. Another of this film's strengths is we actually have a good, well-rounded villain. That's not to say Killmonger isn't diabolical at certain points. There definitely fun had and some rhetorical mustaches get twirled, but you can see things from his point of view.


    In many ways he's a stronger leader than T'Challa. He may not be as wise and good-hearted, but he has a plan to save his people... not just the safe, hidden world of Wakanda, but all repressed people of color all over the world. It's time to shift the power away from those who enslaved and back to the people who were wronged. He's not wrong that societies are built to prevent that power from shifting and his plan isn't about making him ruler of the world, really. There's an altruistic undercurrent to the reason he wants the power.


    The easy comparison is that T'Challa is MLK and Killmonger is Malcolm X. They have similar goals and desires, but Killmonger is impatient and willing to use more aggressive tactics. This leads to a faceoff that is actually very dramatic and not just CGI dudes punching each other a lot. There's that, too, of course, but there's meaning behind it and the stakes for winning or losing this fight is high. The result will define the conscience of a whole nation.


    Coogler brings all this to screen in an authentic way that can't be denied. The Afrofuturist look executed so well and automatically makes this a different kind of superhero film. The uniqueness is a fresh flavor for the MCU and on a deeper societal level carries with it a level of representation previously unseen. Yes, we've had great roles for people of color in tentpole cinema, but this isn't just about having a strong black man in a costume, it's about embracing a culture and giving it the same love and signal boosting attention as we do with our traditional European heroes.


    I know I started this review kinda making fun of the woke reviewers, but it is something you can not separate when watching this movie. At least I, a white man quickly approaching middle age, couldn't. That feel of something new is so tied in with the character and the story being told and the world they've built is unquestionably at the forefront of this movie, which could piss off a lot of the more right-leaning white folks that see the movie, but the counter to that is it's going to inspire so many more people on the other side of that coin for exactly the same reasons. Black Panther doesn't hide its differences. It celebrates them. That is the takeaway here and that is what feels revolutionary about the whole project.



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    I hope this if the first of many like giant mega blockbuster films. The box office predictions seem to indicate it might be. There's one thing Hollywood like above all else and that's money. If it become financially safe to make these kinds of movies with this kind of diverse cast then the door will be blown wide open.


    That's exciting, not just from a politically progressive standpoint, but also a cinema-loving standpoint. More diverse voices means more diverse storytelling, which means better, less predictable movies. Also, as a comic book movie fan, it means at least Marvel is still in the business of changing things up. Guardians of the Galaxy changed the feeling of what superhero movies could be. Black Panther does it as well. That will be why Marvel succeeds for another 10 years.

  • Ready Player One Gets A Sweet Painterly Poster!

    1 week ago

    ericvespe

    I'm still flabbergasted that this movie is actually real and is coming out soon. Ready Player One directed by Steven Spielberg is so batshit crazy as a concept that it's either going to be a massive train wreck or something amazing. There doesn't seem to be much middle ground on this one.


    Today they debuted a new poster that is very much in the Spielberg/Struzan style although I don't think the legendary Drew Struzan actually did this one. It's good enough to be one of his, but I don't see his distinct signature anywhere.


    UPDATE: This is the work of the great Paul Shipper whose work you might know from those awesome Scream and Shout Factory Special Edition Blu-Rays. For years he's been the heir apparent to Drew Struzan and I guess he's finally arrived if I even questioned whether or not this piece was a Struzan! Check out more of his work here!


    Check it out:



    KcRcymT.jpg



    That's a way better poster than the previous one, which features star Tye Sheridan with a Go-Go Gadget extra long leg that you can't unsee once you see it.



    ready-player-one-poster-2.jpeg



    I still have no idea if this is going to be great or awful, but if there's one thing I've learned in all my years being a movie geek it's that you never, ever bet against Steven Spielberg.

  • GET OUT (2017)

    1 week ago

    gianella

    5335320170224140711.jpg


    (no spoilers in this, btw)


    Nominated for:

     • Best Picture

     • Original Screenplay

     • Director - Jordan Peele

     • Lead Actor - Daniel Kaluuya   


    So project 'Gianella watches all the 2018 Best Picture nominated movies' officially started today and I need a shorter title for it.


    I've literally been meaning to watch Get Out since the beginning of last year when all you saw on Twitter was buzz about it. It wasn't released in Australia until May and by that point I was busy doing other stuff so now here we are.


    I don't have much to add to all the praise that you've probably seen for it. It's good. I will say though that I haven't reacted so viscerally to a movie in such a long time. There were scenes where the execution of the movie's concept was so good, so perfect that I kinda lost my mind about it. Like, I was the human equivalent of !!!!!!!

  • Michael Fassbender is going to star in a Kung Fury movie? Say what now?

    1 week ago

    ericvespe

    Words I didn't expect to see today were "Michael Fassbender and David Hasselhoff are going to co-star in..." But that's exactly what I saw.


    Looks like Michael Fassbender will take center stage for a feature length Kung Fury film. Yeah, that Kung Fury. 



    kung-fury.jpg



    Tracking-Board got the scoop and I'm still not sure if someone somewhere is playing an elaborate pre-April Fool's Day Joke or not, but it seems legit. 


    The people who produced IT are behind this feature and this is either going to be the worst thing ever made or a stroke of a genius. I can't tell, which is pretty exciting in and of itself, but I'll believe this is real when I actually see it.

  • Happy Birthday Joe Don Baker, Christina Ricci and Abraham Lincoln! You Should Watch...

    1 week ago

    ericvespe

    Welcome friends and neighbors to a new edition of Happy Birthday... You Should Watch! Lots of birthdays today, February 12th, but I'm narrowing it down to three so this doesn't turn into a novella.


    The two going to ignore are Josh Brolin and Michael Ironside. Sorry fellas! But naturally for Brolin I have to go with Inherent Vice (not my favorite movie, but it's probably my favorite Brolin performance... just the chocolate covered banana scene by itself is the best thing he's ever done) and for Michael Ironside... this is tougher. He's been great in so many things... Scanners, Total Recall... But my gut is saying Starship Troopers because he gets to be his usual tough-ass self, but not a villain.



    Addams-Family-Values-Thanksgiving.jpeg



    Addams Family Values (1993) – I was going back and forth between two Christina Ricci performances in my mind. The one I was more inclined to focus on was a film called Black Snake Moan. It's great, she's amazing in it and it's not something everybody has seen. But it's also a movie where she spends 2/3rds of it chained to a radiator while wearing nothing but a cut-off shirt and panties, so any image from the movie I wanted to use looked like I was objectifying her. The movie's more than that, so seek it out if you can, but I went with a little bit of a safer pick.


    Both early '90s Addams Family movies are great, but I think I may like the sequel better and a big part of that is because of what they do with Wednesday Addams. Addams Family Values splits up the family in more ways than one. Uncle Fester is preyed upon by a money-hungry husband killer (a great turn by Joan Cusack) who gets in-between him and the rest of the family. At the same time the kids are sent to a summer camp.


    I was Ricci's age when this movie came out and I'm pretty sure I fell in love while I was in that movie theater. Wednesday's outsider status combined with her gleeful darkness would pretty much define my ideal girlfriend throughout my teenage years. It's no surprise to me that my first longterm girlfriend bore more than a passing resemblance to Ms. Ricci.


    The jokes in the movie come at you lightning fast and there's so much charm on display. The chemistry between Raul Julia and Angelica Huston was so note perfect it really does make me sad Julia passed so young and kept us from getting another half-dozen more of these films.



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    Walking Tall (1973) – Joe Don Baker is one of my favorite character actors. He's probably best known for being Bond's charming American connection in the Pierce Brosnan era (funny since he played a completely different character, a villainous military leader, in The Living Daylights) or the redneck dad in Mars Attacks! Or, for you, MST3K fans, the star of Mitchell, one of the most popular episodes of that point and laugh at bad movies show.


    I kinda like Mitchell... it's silly, but typical of the drive-in action fare of the day. But that's not the one I'm going to recommend on Mr. Baker's 82nd birthday. Nope, the one I recommend is called Walking Tall. The Rock remade it with Johnny Knoxville a few years back in one of the most bizarre adaptations in cinema history. They turned it into a PG-13 action film which is absolutely a disservice to the original story.


    Walking Tall is a true story based on a real life Southern Sheriff named Buford Pusser. He was a bit of a crime-fighting folk hero known for protecting the people of his small Tennessee town with a hunk of wood. He fought low level crime and corruption in his local government. Mr. Pusser was alive when this film was made and was even supposed to star as himself in the sequel, but died in a car crash. The sequels ended up starring Bo Svenson and did cover his death, framing the car accident as the result of him taking on the corruption in this small town.


    Baker is front and center here and force to be reckoned with. He's angry, he's brutal and he's just kind of a regular guy. That was the beauty of the era... character actors could be leads and Joe Don Baker was a great lead here.


    Walking Tall was a massive success on the drive-in circuit and for reasons I don't know Baker was one-and-done with it, instead moving on to two truly great '70s films: The Outfit (starring Robert Duvall) and Charlie Varrick (starring Walter Matthau).


    You can rent Walking Tall on most of the steaming outlets (YouTube, Amazon, GooglePlay and iTunes). Just make sure you're getting the good one. Remember, it's Walking Tall not Rocking Tall.



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    Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989) – This one was an easy call. Before his death, the 16th US President Abraham Lincoln was brought to the '80s thanks to a time traveling phone booth to appear in a documentary called Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.


    Mr. Lincoln did a lot of good in his life. He delivered inspiring speeches that are still remembered today, he fought to end slavery, and put in motion a reconstruction effort that would hastily mend a deeply divided nation. It doesn't surprise me he'd help out a couple time traveling kids with their history project. He was just a good dude, you know?


    There have been plenty of talented people who have played Lincoln, like Henry Fonda and Daniel Day Lewis, but this marks the only movie where Lincoln was able to play himself and he pulls it off without any camera shyness or awkward line delivery. Obviously all those years giving political speeches prepped him for this, perhaps his greatest moment.


    That's it for today. Here are the trailers for all three films we talked about:











    Happy birthday Joe Don Baker, Christina Ricci and Abe Lincoln! Party on, dudes!


    -Eric Vespe

    @ericvespe on Twitter

  • Harry Potter's Chris Columbus To Write and Direct a FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY'S Movie!

    1 week ago

    ericvespe

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    Five Nights At Freddy's is fucked up. And I love it. Even more than the game itself, I love how it has become a staple for young gamers. My nephews (10 and 7) act as my informants in what the kids of today are interested in. Lots of YouTube personalities, Minecraft, Pokemon and this thing, a creepy game about a kid's pizza place that certainly bears no resemblance to Chuck E. Cheese's where the messed up animatronics come to life every night to torment the overnight security guard.


    Blumhouse picked up the property a while ago when Monster House's Gil Kenan was attached. Mr. Kenan isn't on board anymore, but he's been replaced by an interesting director: Chris Columbus (per Deadline).


    Columbus made his name in the Amblin circles in the '80s. He wrote Gremlins and Goonies for Spielberg, went on to direct Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire in the '90s and then hit the jackpot when he was the first to bring Harry Potter to the big screen. You can argue the quality of those first two Potter movies all you want, especially compared to the later, more mature, films, but there's no question Columbus did a masterful job casting the characters and setting up a visual language that would define the series.


    He's been in a bit of a slump post-Potter. I'm not a fan of his Percy Jackson film and his last directorial outing was Pixels, so... yeah. 


    There's a question to tone, but since the Five Nights At Freddy's adaptation is at Blumhouse I imagine they're not going to shy away from the horror side of this story. To ignore that would be to completely miss the point of the game's success. The imagery can be soft, it doesn't have to be an R-rated movie or anything, but the reason the game became a phenomenon was the tension it built as you looked from camera to camera as you tried to keep an eye on the horror show slowly creeping toward you. 


    A Gremlins tone is actually pitch perfect for this thing. Take the horror seriously, but keep it fun and not too emotionally scarring. But how much of that perfect Gremlins tone was Joe Dante and how much was the script? Can Columbus do it?


    I guess we'll find out! 

  • Been a while... Update/ I made guardian again!

    1 week ago

    CaptainAchievement Guardian of the Galaxy

    I haven't really made a post on here in a while, and I figured why not make an update. There are some tasks I put upon myself that I work hard to live up to, and some that I completely lose track of. Posting on this site certainly falls under the latter category. Most of my updates to social media (which aren't THAT frequent anyways) are either on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. If anyone reads this and is curious or wants to get to know me, just look up my name and I shouldn't be too hard to find.


    The thing that made me decide to post on here is that I was checking out the roster of guardians as it stands on the forum (I made guardian again!!!) and I realized "man, I haven't updated my profile in a long time". So I just recently decided to upload some of my more recent RTX-related pictures (I hadn't posted any since 2015, so I had two years' worth of selecting my favorite pics to upload). Then I decided, why not make an update too, so here we are.


    I checked out the most recent journal entries I'd made and honestly, I'm sad that the Monty tribute won't be at the very top. I've reposted that the last couple of years to other social outlets and it always reminds me of happy things (and that I'm not that shitty a writer when anxiety starts to hit).


    The next most recent was regarding the title of The Last Jedi, which has already been out for months. Such a polarizing movie; people either loved it or hated it, nothing in between. I really enjoyed it. I'm not gonna say its my favorite star wars movie but I thought it was certainly in the upper half of stronger entries. They gave Kylo Ren and Luke really interesting development that was just fun to watch.


    Scrolling even further down, I read through my "general update". Feels like several years since I was in that mindset. I had no idea what was coming as I posted that. Anxiety took me on a roller coaster throughout 2017. But to say I learned a lot from it all would be the understatement of my life so far. I feel like I grew a lot from last year and I feel much calmer and positive as I write this. I'm also in my third-to-last semester in college so here's hoping that mentality can stay. The vlogs I mentioned are still ongoing (although on a temporary hiatus while I figure out a new editing app on my new Google Pixel 2 which, thank God, is infinitely better than the iPhones I've had since 2010). I'm still growing as an editor, actor, writer, everything, and that process is helping me do that. I'm pretty much only posting the vlogs as a personal growth project at this point, though; I don't rally have an intention of trying to get famous through YouTube or anything. I am still striving to improve as an actor and writer, though, and I've gotten a lot more experience with that. After struggling all last year, I'm finally on another writing kick and I'm very happy with how my current project is turning out so far. I also started reading more (which is good because I'd been meaning to get away from staring at screens for so much of my days). I just finished Ready Player One last night; incredible book. Now I REALLY can't wait for the movie, which comes out in about a month and a half.


    RTDFW is still going well. We recently decided to add new admins and we're gonna cycle out our current ones as the year goes on. We've all managed the community for over two years now and we all feel we're moving on to different stages in our lives, so we're making room for others to step up and keep the community going strong. Personally, it's one of the hardest decisions I've had to make. Since I founded the thing on December 1st, 2015 with some friends, it's been a huge part of my life. The RT community always meant so much to me, and now I'd had my own chunk of that to manage. But once I graduate, I expect I won't be staying in the Dallas area. I'm considering moving to Austin and if it works out well for my career, I'll stay there (I'd love to work as an actor with RT on a project when I go down there, but I'm trying not to hold my breath on that one). But if not, I'll do what I can down there and look elsewhere. Either way, I won't be in a position to keep managing RTDFW, with our constant in-person meetups. I am hoping to stay on as a mod or a just-online admin so I can still stay connected, though. So we'll see how all that works out. Community is still going strong though, so if anyone's interested, be sure to check out our Facebook page.


    And, finally, I MADE GUARDIAN AGAIN! Can't wait to rejoin all the friends I've made down at RTX 2018 again this year. No idea what exact team or assignment I'll have this time around yet, obviously. But I'm pumped! I adore any opportunity to make a difference and help out in this awesome community! I had the tremendous blessing of being placed on the PA team and assigned, with a team of 3 others, to Funhaus in my first year as a guardian in 2017. It was a surreal experience and I'll never forget all the great friends and memories I made. It'll be a tough RTX to top but I'm really, really looking forward to it.


    Think that's enough for this oversized update. Not sure when the next time I'll post on here is but I've appreciated the beauty in living life more happy-go-lucky, playing things by ear, and all that. So maybe I'll spontaneously decide to post again really soon, or it could be another year, who knows. I'm just happy to have stuff more up-to-date on here. It's a very satisfying feeling.

  • Life Stuff

    2 weeks ago

    gianella

    1. Tested out streaming on Twitch today and everything works out fine except my internet upload speed is literally 0.3 mbps (way to go Australia) and it makes me want to hang myself with the Ethernet cable. So Twitch is a no go until I figure that mess out.


    2. Because I'm just a tad insane, the other day I decided I'm gonna watch all the movies nominated for Best Picture this year. Best Picture noms are my minimum but if I have time to move onto the other categories, I'll do it. I'm telling myself it's so I have a legitimate opinion for once but I think it's just because like to invest my time poorly. I've got less than a month but ya girl determined to see this through.


    3. On the same note, I also want to run through Robert Rodriguez's entire filmography. I've been throwing this idea around in my head for months now. I won't explain the reasons here (if I even have any, lmao) because when I do start this, I'm gonna document it in blog form and so you'll see it then.


    4. I've started playing mahjong on my pc because I'm an old asian man at heart. Also it gives me achievements, lmao.

  • Kathleen Kennedy and Ron Howard Talk About Transitioning Solo Away From Lord & Miller!

    2 weeks ago

    ericvespe

    One of the biggest movie shake ups in recent memory was last summer when Chris Miller and Phil Lord were fired from their Young Han Solo movie mere weeks before filming was to wrap up. 


    Entertainment Weekly has a bunch of Star Wars related stuff hitting right now and one of their pieces is quotes from Kathleen Kennedy and Ron Howard about that time, what went down and where their mindset was when these crucial decisions were made.


    Ron Howard had this to say: “I know Chris and Phil. They’re incredibly talented guys, and all anyone at Imagine Entertainment wants to do is find a way to work with Chris and Phil, and that’s every bit as much the case today as ever, but when I learned that this change was happening, it just came in a moment where I was working on lots of new projects for Imagine, and I had not planned to direct anything last year. So then this came my way, and I was talking to Kathy, and the now tragically late Alli Shearmur, an old friend. I was reluctant, but I also began to feel that I could help.”



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    He also said that Lord & Miller's fingerprints are still all over the movie, but he hopes fans won't be spending time in the theater trying to pick apart what's theirs and what's his and just let the movie play for them.


    Kathy Kennedy won't say a bad thing about Lord & Miller either, but did double down on the talk that they just weren't prepared to work in the way these films demand. 


    “I think these guys are hilarious, but they come from a background of animation and sketch comedy and when you are making these movies you can do that and there’s plenty of room for improvisation, we do that all the time, but it has to be inside of a highly structured process or you can’t get the work done and you can’t move the armies of people to anticipate and have things ready. So, it literally came down to process. Just getting it done.”


    Of course, all this is true... from their point of view. Lord & Miller have been jovial about the situation in the few public appearances they've made since all the turmoil, but they've mostly kept their heads down and focused on their participation in producing the upcoming animated Spider-Man film at Sony that will be seeing MIles Morales behind the mask and writing their followup to The Lego Movie. Right now we just have Lucasfilm and Howard's side of things. 


    I'm sure in time we'll get more of the fuller picture, but it's interesting to see a more detailed point of view of this massive event.


    Of course mid-stream changes isn't new and often isn't bad news. Michael J. Fox famously replaced Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly in Back to the Future after Robert Zemeckis shot half the movie (which Kathleen Kennedy produced, by the way). 


    We won't know if the final film survived until May, but I'm an optimist and I never walk in to any movie hoping to dislike it. Especially a Star Wars movie.


  • Joaquin Phoenix In The Running To Be Yet Another Joker For The DCEU?

    2 weeks ago

    ericvespe

    Because we can't have enough cinematic Jokers Warner Bros is going after yet another new head to cover with pasty makeup and green hair. 


    They're planning a standalone, one-off Joker movie that Todd Phillips is producing and directing that for some reason will not feature their chosen cinematic Joker, Jared Leto. I mean, for all the good reasons it's not starring Jared Leto, but the studio is keeping him on anyway for further DCEU movies. 


    This doesn't make a damn bit of sense to me. Either commit to what you've done and give us a little consistency or recast. But what do I know? I'm just a nerd at a computer, not an exec making seven figures a year.


    Phillips has made his perfect Joker choice clear: He wants Joaquin Phoenix and Variety says Phoenix has weighed it and tentatively agreed. Contract negotiations haven't begun yet, so this is very, very early days, but it's what's in front of us right now.



    2013JoaquinPhoenixPA-14923606220213.jpg


    The Wrap's Umberto Gonzalez added on that Leonardo DiCaprio has also met with Phillips about the role multiple times. Now that would have been interesting considering just how much DiCaprio idolizes Jack Nicholson (and is slowly starting to morph into him as he ages), who very memorably played The Joker in Tim Burton's Batman.


    Phoenix's intensity is a very interesting component to bring to the character. I can see him actually making the Joker scary, which is about as far away from Leto's interpretation as you can get. 


    I don't object to him in the role, I just think it's stupid to be muddying the DCEU waters even further with multiple versions of the same character. If they have a smart script solution to that I'm all ears for it, but right now it sounds like a not great idea.


    Little known fact: If Phoenix does take on the role it won't be his first foray into the DC comics world. Way back in the early days of his career, his Leaf Phoenix days, he was in a show called Little Hercules and this happened... 





    So now he has to play The Joker just so this video becomes the most watched thing in the history of the internet. 


    What do you folks think?

  • Rooster Teeth and The Know Is Giving You An Exclusive Preview Tour of Mondo's Newest Art Gallery!

    2 weeks ago

    ericvespe

    Hey, guys. Exciting news! Tomorrow we'll be giving the whole RT community an early glimpse of Mondo's newest art show. Before doors open for their new event I'll be hosting a Facebook Live tour of all the coolest pieces on display. Artist Jason Edmiston will be joining us and showing us his 100 pieces of original pop art that he's created for this show.


    The show is a sequel to his popular Eyes Without A Face series. He's painted hundreds of pop culture eyeballs and tomorrow you'll be able to see everything he's got in store before anyone else! People have been in line since Wednesday to get in!


    To celebrate the good folks at Mondo have given us the debut of one of his pieces... which should be of particular interest to the RT community. Check it out:



    9YYGQhf.jpg



    Here are some of his other famous eyeballs that'll be at the show:


    GetOut_EWAF_Edmiston.jpg



    Boss-GodfreyCHL_EWAF_Edmiston.jpg



    Rock_EWAF_Edmiston.jpg



    Pikachu_EWAF_Edmiston.jpg



    There's even rumors that he's unveiling a 22 foot long painting. He did King Kong's eyes in his original 2015 show. Can you think of any other giant pop culture character who would demand a 1:1 eyeball painting? I got some theories...


    Anyway, make sure to stay tuned to Rooster Teeth or The Know's Facebook pages tomorrow around 5:30pm CST for a live tour of the gallery and brag to all your friends that you were the first people ever to see what's in store!


    -Eric Vespe

    @ericvespe on Twitter

  • Hoooooly Shit! Game of Thrones' David Benioff and DB Weiss Are Going To Make Star Wars Movies!

    2 weeks ago

    ericvespe

    Gotta love these surprise Star Wars announcements! The Lucasfilm train is charging full steam ahead on these Star Wars movies. Not only are we getting the Skywalker Saga films (i.e. episodes 1-9). Not only are we getting Rian Johnson's completely separate new trilogy. We're also getting a new series of films to be written and produced by the minds behind Game of Thrones.



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    That's right, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will write and produce a new series of Star Wars films that will not be tied to either Johnson's standalone trilogy or the Saga films. The only other detail in the press release is that work would be begin on these new Star Wars films once Benioff and Weiss wrap up the final season of Game of Thrones. 


    Star Wars has already been lifting GoT cast members (long live Phasma!) and we know that this team is really good at developing complex and most of the time really fucked up characters and can play nicely in a brilliant author's sandbox. 



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    It might just be me, but I'm sensing a move away from the standalone film formula they've been trying with both Rogue One and Solo. It seems what's appealing to the creative minds at Lucasfilm is to explore completely unknown areas of the Star Wars Universe. 


    There have been rumors of the Obi-Wan spin-off movie, but nothing has been announced by Disney. The only things announced have been new series with no connections to anything that came before. 


    That, in my humble opinion, is great news. Transitioning the Game of Thrones team immediately into the Star Wars universe is also, in my humble opinion, great news. Maybe this means we'll finally be getting Michelle MacLaren directing a Star Wars movie!


    The sky's the limit on what these guys can do and that is exactly what is going to keep Star Wars fresh. Can't wait to see how this develops! 


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  • The Cloverfield Problem.

    2 weeks ago

    g1TheStickman

    WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS, ALL THE SPOILERS FOR CLOVERFIELD, 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE AND THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX.


    Oh...hello! This wasn't planned until a day ago, obviously. I felt the urge to talk about the weird situation with this franchise in more detail, and...well...in the spirit of Cloverfield itself, here's a blog STRAIGHT OUTTA NOWHERE.

    As you may well know, the 3rd instalment of the Cloverfield franchise just appeared out of nowhere on Sunday evening/Monday morning at the end of the Super Bowl, revealed for the first time as The Cloverfield Paradox during the event, only to then be released on Netflix hours later. It was a pretty amazing marketing stunt, but the general consensus is that it may have been done this way partly due to the mixed-negative reception most fans and critics are now giving it. In the hours before release, its single 30 second teaser trailer told viewers that it would finally explain what happened in the original Cloverfield, released just over 10 years ago. The results were...interesting. So I think it's time to now look over the franchise as a whole, and discuss...just what the fuck exactly is Cloverfield as a franchise, and is it even worth being one? LET'S SEEEEEEE...




    Cloverfield (2008).

    Cloverfield came out as it aimed to continue existing back in 2008, first revealed without any prior knowledge of its existence out of nowhere in July 2007, via the above, mysterious teaser trailer that went on to set the tone for the opening sequence of the film, albeit with new, and alternative footage leading us in to what's perhaps the most iconic shot of the franchise, that decapitated Statue of Liberty head rolling across the street, complete with the must lampooned OH MY GAWWWD's. The first teaser didn't even have a film name attached, merely giving you the release date and the vague hints of some sort of big creature roaming the streets of New York. In a time where film trailers had become (and continue to be) less tantalising teases to get the audiences interest, and more condensed versions of the whole film, showing you every key action scene and big story moment before you can even make up your mind about wanting to see it, or not...Cloverfield's teaser got a lot of people very curious indeed. Throw in the extensive ARG (Alternate Reality Game), that's now become an expected and much loved tradition among hardcore fans for this franchise, and a continued sense of mystery leading right into the day of release and it's no wonder why this low-budget, found footage sci-fi movie was a surprise box office hit, earning over $170 Million against its $25 Million budget. The film was warmly received by fans and critics alike, and has gone on to become a standout of the now since mostly abandoned found footage genre.


    The premise of the film was pretty simple, and intentionally designed less to explain what's going on, and more to immerse you in it. A bunch of friends holding a leaving party for 'Rob' Hawkins find their lives turned upside down when a mysterious entity attacks the city of New York. Whilst initially the aim is, obviously, to ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (Ironically something the film famously pays homage to with its green head flinging antics), when it turns out Rob's close friend and awkward recent sex-partner, Beth is trapped in her appartment, so the mission becomes to rescue her instead. Along the way, the gang encounter the military attempting to fight back what is now known as a giant fucking spider-monkey....THING that drops smaller parasitic creatures off its back, which they then encounter in the New York subway, the bite of these resulting in the unfortunate...uh...exploding? of Marlena, who had really picked the wrong leaving party to just turn up at without knowing anyone. They rescue Beth, get to da evacuation choppa, and all looks well and good as the monster is carpet bombed by the army...only to then resurface and cause the CHOPPA to crash, leaving Rob, Hud (Played by the recently shamed TJ Miller) and Beth stranded in Central Park, Hud suffers from a bad case of 'needing to get a good shot of the monster' syndrome and gets bitten in half, and then our two remaining lovers are seemingly killed in the following airstrike on the park, which may or may not have killed the monster, the audio at the end of the credits...which is required to be played backwards in order to truly understand, suggests IT'S STILL ALIVE. Throw in a mysterious object crashing in the ocean in a flashback (of sorts) seen at the very end of the film, and a general lack of explanation for what the monster is, where it came from, and what happened next? You've got yourself a mysterious ass film, and something people have been wanting a sequel of some sorts to for a long time now. Well...in 2016, they got one...uh...sorta?




    10 Cloverfield Lane (2016).

    Fast forward to roughly 7 years on from the original Cloverfield...and yet again, a mysterious teaser trailer popped in front of a random Paramount release reveals a new Cloverfield movie that nobody in the world knew about, with a release date only two months on from this first reveal. This time, the found footage take is abandoned in favour of traditional filmed fare, with at that point completely unknown director Dan Trachtenberg (Only known prior to this for a Portal fan-film) helming, and John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jr starring. The teaser told you next to nothing, beyond these three dudes being in a bunker, seeming to be getting on just fine, something weird happens above them, then it seems everything goes to shit, cue a mysterious, monster-like noise as the Cloverfield logo reveals itself, followed by 10 and Lane...not propositioning this as an immediate sequel so much as a continuation of the franchise. What followed was a predictable degree of surprise and excitement, followed by another extensive ARG that used corporations and concepts that seemed to tie into the first film in order to flesh out the otherwise mysterious character John Goodman plays. The film released, and was another sizeable success, earning $110 Million against a mere $15 Million budget, and the reviews and audience response were even more glowing, with praise especially going to John Goodman's unhinged and unsettling performance, with early-year awards buzz that predictably, went nowhere. Most people approved of the shift from found-footage genre picture, to tense and claustrophobic human drama, but some criticised the ending for feeling tacked on (Which we'll get to later in the blog), and questioned its placement in what was now, we supposed, a franchise.


    The film opens with lead character, Michelle, as she seemingly ditches her fiancé, packs up her bags and drives off into the sunset. She doesn't get too far, it seems, before being involved in a nasty car crash, and then wakes up with her broken leg in a brace, which is also hand (leg?) cuffed to a pipe in a dingy, sealed room in a weird bunker. John Goodman's Howard soon makes himself known, proclaiming to have saved her from the crash, and also from an apparent apocalyptic event that's left the human race completely wiped out, in his words. After several attempts to escape from her seeming prison, she's eventually allowed out into the whole bunker, where she meets another 'survivor', Emmett, and after witnessing a bloodied, diseased and manic women brain herself to death on the bunker's sealed door, the three all learn to live with each other, and accept that the world really has ended. After living in apocalyptic domestic bliss for some time, Michelle discovers Howard's much-touted daughter was actually a girl he kidnapped and seemingly later killed, and whilst he may have saved her and Emmett from a potential apocalypse, he also may have had ultimately sinister motivations for doing so. After their ensuing escape plan is partially discovered, Emmettt meats an untimely, grisly end protecting Michelle, with Howard starting to show his true colours towards her afterwards, and it becomes time to GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE, come what may. After barely making it out of the bunker alive, and leaving Howard slowly dissolving in its burning remains, Michelle discovers there really was an apocalyptic event, a seeming alien invasion to be precise, which, again she barely survives. The final moments of the film being her decision to stop running away from things, and start to fight, specifically joining the rag-tag human resistance in taking down the alien threat. End film, and again, leaving explanations and conclusions aside in favour of immersing the viewer in a situation that's just as confusing to the characters as it is to them. 10 Cloverfield Lane left even more questions unanswered...in addition to all the ones raised in this film, it also failed to answer anything from the first, or even tell the audience how it ultimately tied in to it...would they ever get their answers? Well...sorta...in a fashion.



    Cloverfield Paradox (2018).

    And thus we arrive at the reason this blog exists today...The Cloverfield Paradox. Unlike the previous two films, this was known about for some time prior to its ultimate reveal, the more attention Bad Robot draws to itself as a purveyor of mysterious projects, the more likely someone's gonna go out of their way to find out. Initially known as 'God Particle', it became known as the third, untitled Cloverfield after not too long, being pushed back from release again and again starting from late 2016, all through 2017 and then supposedly delayed in 2018 too, before suddenly being sold off to Netflix by Paramount, and getting surely the insurmountable peak of surprise releases, being announced and released within the space of 3 hours. The first, and only teaser trailer for this film popped up for 30 seconds during the Super Bowl, revealing the name, release time and a few shots from the film, with the main bulk of the teaser seemingly tying this film into the original Cloverfield...promising to finally reveal what caused the events of that film, going so far as to suggest events may take place simultaneously at one point. This was something of a mis-sell, in immediate hindsight, but the surprise reveal and sudden release got people very excited indeed, with the traditional ARG having been taking place prior to its reveal, in what many had anticipated would be build up to the release of its first trailer, not the film itself. Unfortunately, the excitement of its sudden release started to subside when the majority of people saw, and weren't too impressed with the final product. The critical reviews have been somewhat over the top in their scathing dislike of what I feel is an entertaining, but cliché and half-baked space romp, with some people being more favourable to it than others, with the only universal agreement being that it is a step-down for the 'franchise' and it doesn't fully explore the potentials it lays out, both as a standalone film, and as a tie-in to the series as a whole.


    We start off on earth, with Ava and Michael Hamilton stuck in a long line for some petrol, in a near-future where we've used up all our energy sources, and the world is slowly falling into chaos, with the threat of war over what limited resources remain growing ever closer. It turns out there's a plan, however, and after some encouragement from her husband, Ava makes the decision to do her part, and soon enough we're orbiting the earth in what's both a space station, and a particle accelerator, with the hope behind it being the discovery of an infinitely sustainable energy source from a successful particle collision. After almost two years of failed tests, they finally seem to have some luck, only for everything to quickly hit the fan quite spectacularly, like some sort of shit. Suddenly, they find the earth is missing, and the gyroscope used to position and locate themselves has gone missing too. Tensions start to rise among the international crew, bolstered by increased division between their nations back on Earth. They don't really have that long to think about this, because really weird things start to happen soon after, chiefly...finding a completely unknown women fused inside a wall, who believes she's one of the crew, a Russian crew-member having worms (and a gyroscope, somehow) transported inside his body, which causes some horrific eye...stuff, and eventually, a worm-infested body explosion that, obviously, kills him, and...oh yes, Chris O'Dowd's arm phasing through a wall, disappearing, only to then turn up as ...seemingly some alternate reality version of himself's arm that has sentience? Uhh? It turns out they've phased into an entirely different dimension, and the ship has merged with the version of themselves that had also been there, with a crew that both differed in motivations, and also literally who was and wasn't on board. It also turns out that the Earth in the universe they were now in had succumbed to the energy crisis their Earth is on the verge of, and was close to annihilation. Meanwhile, on the ...real? Earth, Ava's husband is witness to a sudden and catastrophic event that leaves his city in ruins, rescuing a small child from what seems to be a giant monster. Meanwhile, Ava is debating whether or not to stay in this alternate universe, as in this one, her children are still alive, blaming herself for the death of her own as they were killed in a fire from a malfunctioning energy cell that she herself had illegally installed. Throw in the wall-woman, Mina's desires to get revenge on crewmates who were traitorous in her own universe, and also take the possibly now useable energy source of the Particle Accelerator to save her own world? And...well...things get a bit messy. The race to get back to their own dimension before it's too late results in the death of everyone but Ava and her gravely wounded crew member Kiel, who finally make it back home, only for it to turn out that, whilst they've been away, giant monsters that seemingly, their Particle Accelerator incident unleashed on the planet have more or less destroyed the civilisation they were hoping to have saved. Cue huge Cloverfield monster coming out of the clouds, roarwwrrinng, and then end credits. Leaving things on yet another cliffhanger, with scores of unresolved questions, and only vague answers to the big question from 10 years ago...just why are these monsters here? And how are these films connected? Wellll....




    How are they connected? 

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    This has been the million dollar question since 10 Cloverfield Lane dropped...just how exactly do that film, and the 2008 original connect? This has always been a point of confusion for the majority of people, as the brand connection would lead you to believe they either take place at the same time, or 10 Cloverfield Lane is a proper sequel that chronicles another incident that occurred in another part of the USA. Chief problem with concept number 1 is the obvious anachronisms 10 Cloverfield would have if it indeed took place at the same time as the 2008 set original. Phones, cars and technology are quite a bit different now than they were back then, and phones specifically are the kicker, given a modern touch screen phone plays an integral role in the opening...whereas in early 2008, we'd only really just entered the dawn of what's now the modern mobile phone, with a comparatively lower tech flip-phone being an integral plot-device in that one. They simply don't take place at the same time, and given we can assume the original's monster destroyed New York, and continued to survive afterwards, it seems unlikely that it would've been business as usual 7 years later, and even if it had been defeated, aliens and giant monsters are prattled off as ludicrous conspiracy theories by the characters of 10 Cloverfield Lane, which simply wouldn't be the case had this taken place after Cloverfield. Our newest entry to the franchise was promoted as having the answers, at least for how the events of the first film happened. Despite this, the film takes place in the not too distant future of 2028, a full 20 years on from the events of the original Cloverfield movie it was clearly, misleadingly marketed as taking place during. So what's the connection? Well...it's there, but it's not exactly the focus of The Cloverfield Paradox, in fact you could say it's quite literally a throw-away line towards the very start. The non-character of Mark Stambler, chiefly represented through the viral ARG campaign that took place prior to release, turns up very briefly on a newsfeed, discussing the potential dangers of the particle accelerator experiment about to be undertaken. According to him, and his book which I'm surprised doesn't suddenly exist for real yet, the ramifications of this experiment going wrong could result in a tear in the space-time continuum, one that he has on good authority could unleash monsters from another dimension into our own, at any point in time, and possibly in any other dimension in the multi-verse. This is a very specific and sloppy tie into the grander scheme, but it does finally offer...something of an explanation for what's going on? Sorta?


    If the titular 'Cloverfield Paradox' and its very specific prediction of doom are to be believed, the brief tear in space-time caused by the particle accelerator incident that left the crew of Cloverfield Station (There's a lotta Cloverfield stuff to be named in this blog) in another dimension, and later brought them back, was a tear across the entire multi-verse, leaving temporary gateways between different dimensions that allowed monsters to break through and cause havoc in different time periods, in different universes, in an event that occurred both simultaneously but also in completely different times and places across space-time...universe..multiverse...hoo boy. Basically, the monsters of Cloverfield, 10 Cloverfield Lane and the one(s?) seen during The Cloverfield Paradox are from a rift in spacetime that occurred in at least three separate universes. The connection is that they aren't connected in a traditional sense, but are in a multiverse that was afflicted by a singular space-time event that tore through all of them. That's...complicated, and kinda dumb, but it does explain why these films co-exist in the same franchise without having specific connections. The running threads through all of them are a connection to Slusho, JJ Abrams fictional brand that appears in basically all of his films...and more specifically, Tagruato...a conglomerate business that features in all three films to some degree. It's the company Rob is leaving to work for in the first Cloverfield, it's the mining company Howard previously worked for in 10 Cloverfield Lane, as evidenced broadly by the ARG campaign, but also briefly featured on an unopened letter in the film...and finally, the name appears on some equipment on the space station in Cloverfield Paradox, implying they had a hand in its construction. These all being apparent alternate realities, the only through-lines are these companies that exist in all of them. You can't even argue that the monsters themselves are a connection, as 10 Cloverfield Lane features an entirely different, albeit similar in basic concepts species. Which leads us to the biggest question...



    Why are they connected?

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    GOOD QUESTION. And one that's not really answerable from a in-universe perspective. After the original Cloverfield released, and made a lotta muns, got a lotta love...obviously the question became...when's the sequel coming, JJ? Whilst I don't think it was ever designed to become a franchise, producer/creator JJ Abrams and director Matt Reeves both seemed keen to explore the franchise some more in the future, specifically, a film that followed on from, or took place at the same time as the original. The chief example of a potential sequel brought up by both in the months and years following its release was that of another found footage film that followed a different group of people trying to survive the same event, from a different perspective, that maybe offered a bit more insight into the lore behind the attack, and its monsters in the process. Reeves specifically points out that in the bridge scene, featured early into the films 2nd act, where the group we're following encounter another person filming the events unfolding. His idea was the possibility of exploring things from that perspective, having that specific crossover moment, but otherwise telling a completely different found footage story, set within the same disaster. Sounds pretty cool, right? Well obviously that never happened, come 2009 and JJ Abrams was showing reluctance to make a sequel just for the sake of doing one, wanting to make sure they had a solid idea for a follow-up before doing it. At this point the idea of a military-focused sequel that'd abandon the found-footage genre was also mused. Fast forward a few years to the release of Super 8 in 2011, which despite being treated similarly mysteriously to Cloverfield, and featuring many seeming connections, was denied by Bad Robot to be connected to the franchise, with the actual sequel to Cloverfield seemingly in development hell. And that was it until 2016, when 10 Cloverfield Lane suddenly existed...how had they made a new Cloverfield movie without anyone knowing? The answer? Well...they hadn't. It was never meant to be a Cloverfield movie.


    10 Cloverfield Lane, previously called The Cellar, previously called Valencia...was an attempt by Paramount Pictures to make low-risk, microbudget genre movies that cost little to make, but potentially offered a sizeable profit. The script originated in 2012 and circulated the infamous hit list of unproduced, but promising screenplays, then being snapped up by Paramount, who gave it to partner studio Bad Robot to develop further. The film was rewritten, cast, and well into production before the musings of a potential tie-in to Cloverfield originated. The film was finished and renamed The Cellar in 2015, and given several test-screenings, where it's reported the ending of 10 Cloverfield Lane wasn't there at all. Instead of going outside and having a fight with some monsters, Michelle seemingly stepped outside, having completely destroyed the bunker, only to find...nothing. No monsters, no killer gas, but no animals or people either. The film supposedly ended on an ambiguous note, where you were never sure if the event was over, if humanity had survived, and beyond that, if an event had even taken place at all, with the suggestion that it'd all been a lie made up by Howard to kidnap her. When the idea to make it a Cloverfield movie became reality, the budget was marginally increased to include extensive reshoots that tied it into the franchise, and added the required monster madness at the end. It's unknown how much of this was added in order to make it a Cloverfield movie, and how much if it was added because of the test-screening feedback, but the fact of the matter is, this was a standalone thriller re-purposed to become a spiritual follow-up to Cloverfield, with the actual sequel to that film apparently scrapped due to the western kaiju scene, something that was basically non-existent in 2008, having been "played out" by films like 2014 Godzilla and Pacific Rim. Around the same time as Valencia was filming, another micro-budget sci-fi film was in the works at Paramount, called 'God Particle'. Announced in 2012, but only entering production in 2016, this was another intentionally low-budget, but high concept genre picture that initially stood by itself as a standalone project, only to then be tweaked and reshot at a later date after the higher-ups decision to integrate it into Cloverfield suddenly became apparent to the writer. What it seems the Cloverfield franchise has become, is a home for Paramount to repurpose original sci-fi properties into franchise films, in order to make them more financially viable. Something that worked really well with 10 Cloverfield Lane, and worked well for Paradox in terms of marketing, but ended up not succeeding so much as a film, or a tie-in to a larger franchise plan, given Paramount more or less gave up on it succeeding, and sold it off to Netflix. Indeed, it seems whatever plans Bad Robot and Paramount have for Cloverfield are less thought out and more spontaneous whims, which are evidently going to be hit and miss, and remain standalone titles despite leaving so much left unanswered or explored. It also makes you wonder just why Super 8, a film with a marketing campaign somewhat identical to Cloverfield, a monster that, although at the time differed too much from the 2008 original to tie-in, but now could slot in quite nicely in a world where 10 Cloverfield's spaceships exist, and the entire multiverse is at play, and hell...a poster that's almost identical in design and font as 10 Cloverfield Lane's...is...not a Cloverfield film? Because it certainly would be now, there's no question about that.




    What's the future, here?

    As it currently stands, it seems any plans or hopes for a traditional sequel to 2008's Cloverfield, or a sequel to either 10 Cloverfield Lane or The Cloverfield Paradox are more or less off the table. Cloverfield as a franchise doesn't seem to exist as a connected narrative so much as it does an anthology film franchise, seemingly to be comprising of previously unrelated films that've been repurposed in order to vaguely fit around a premise of big monsters causing biiiig problems on our planet. Whether or not this trend of re-purposing existing films will continue, or if eventually what I guess is now the Cloverfield Multiverse will eventually start getting stand-alone titles designed from the get go to be in the franchise remains to be seen. We do know already that there is at least one more film being for the Cloverfield franchise, and that's Overlord, another low-budget sci-fi film that filmed last year, and was reportedly a zombie movie, but may now be about another monster attack, this time set during WWII. None of that is confirmed, but given it's coming from the same sources that outed God Particle all the way back in 2016? Seems pretty likely that it's true. That's currently scheduled for an October release, which would be fitting for its zombie/monster horror angle, but at this point, who the hell knows when a Cloverfield movie's going to be released, for all we know it's already out there and we just don't know it. It's crazy times. Whether or not this film will be any good is another question entirely, it seems, as with any anthology media (Black Mirror, American Horror Story, things of this nature that've caught on a lot again in recent times), the quality is going to vary wildly depending on the premise, and talent involved...and it certainly doesn't help when last minute reshoots and forced injections of brand-connecting mythos are dangerously thrown into the mix. 


    Whilst the idea of a high concept, monster based science fiction franchise which can never be predicted, can land at any moment, and retain the increasingly illusive element of mystery that so few films manage in this day and age is very enticing, my chief concern is the quality of their films, and the need for them to have tie-ins, at the detriment of their own story. Either you're an standalone anthology series that's never going to fill in the narrative blanks left unanswered in each consecutive film, or you're a connected series of monster movies that needs to have a stronger through-line. You can't continued to try to be both, and fail at being either, and expect people to keep turning up at your door each time you pull a wacky marketing stunt from your magic JJ Abrams hat. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed all three of these movies so far, but The Cloverfield Paradox wasn't especially fantastic despite being entertaining, and it does well and truly make you question if Cloverfield'ing random projects at the last minute is a particularly good idea, even if it makes people ooh and aah at the surprises. Three films in, and people are starting to get antsy about the whole concept and the way it both tampers with original movies, and fails to explain its own lore to a satisfying degree. We're at a turning point, I feel. We've had the biggest release stunt possible, we've had the first dud release too. The cracks are starting to show, and if the downward spiral continues, the franchise will have the interest and intrigue it exists solely off of killed stone dead. We have no idea how Overlord will be, we don't even know how much it'll tie into the franchise, and how early on that decision was made. Like everything else in this franchise, it's a total mystery, and that's really starting to become a double edged sword for it. Let's just hope the future gets brighter for Cloverfield before it's too late.





    Well...there's an impromptu blog for you. What did you think of The Cloverfield Paradox? What's your stance on the other films in the franchise, and how do you feel about it being this loosely connected anthology? Let me know in the comments below, and see you next week for Part 2 of my Aardblogs. I'm just...too many blogs, you guys. LATER GATTOORSS.

  • Happy Birthday Rip Torn and Kathy Najimy! You Should Watch...

    2 weeks ago

    ericvespe

    It's been a few days, so I figured it's time to come out with another Happy Birthday... You Should Watch! We got a few interesting February 6th birthdays, but only two I'm going to focus on/recommend a movie for. Those two birthdays are Rip Torn and Kathy Najimy. I'd also like to tip the hat to fellow birthday celebrators Ronald Reagan and Francois Truffaut.


    I must admit one of my cinephile shames is I'm pretty undereducated on the French New Wave so I wouldn't feel confident recommending a Truffaut film against his entire filmography. I mean, I can say The 400 Blows is pretty great, but that'd just be me recommending the big one of his I've seen, so let's avoid that.


    And as far as Ronald Reagan is concerned, he's been in some good movies (like The Killers and Dark Victory), but the only movie of his you can really bring up is Bedtime for Bonzo since it'll never stop being funny that the guy that starred alongside a chimp in a silly kids movie was a two-term President of the United States.


    So, happy birthday to everybody, but let's look at two movies starring these two special people!


    Rip Torn


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    Defending Your Life (1991) – I love this movie. It's one of those silly, high concept romantic comedies that just works for me. It's about a lovable fuck up (Albert Brooks) who dies and then moves on to purgatory where a trial is held to determine whether or not he deserves to move on to heaven or is sent back to be reincarnated and have another go at being an overall good person.


    It's not a sure thing. He was a flawed man. Not bad, not evil, but a little bit of an asshole. The problem is while he's in purgatory he falls in love with Meryl Streep and she's pretty much guaranteed to get into heaven, so if he isn't deemed worthy then he'll never see the love of his (after)life again.


    Rip Torn plays Brooks' lawyer and he pretty much steals the show. It was a big moment for him as an actor because it opened up a whole new world for him. You see he was always known as the very serious, gruff, mean type and this movie showed the world just how great he was at comedy. Turns out that tough exterior was a perfect for delivering dry comedy.


    He followed this film up with his perhaps career-defining work on HBO's The Larry Sanders Show, again tapping into that hard-ass who also happens to be hilarious persona and that was the trend setter for the rest of his career, which saw him mostly in comedic parts. Men in Black, Dodgeball, Freddy Got Fingered, Down Periscope, etc.


    It all started with this role in this very, very good movie, which is available to rent on all major streaming services.





    Kathy Najimy



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    Hocus Pocus (1993) – Hocus Pocus has had a bit of a nostalgia-driven resurgence in recent years. I was 12 when it came out and remember it fondly myself, but it's interesting to see just how much people seem to love it because when it was released I don't remember it having much of a social impact. I don't remember kids talking about it at school or super hyped up on it.


    I was drawn to it for a couple reasons. First at that age I watched literally every movie that came out. I was old enough to ride my bike to the mall (miles away) by myself, through traffic... it was a different time! So I'd just go every weekend and see whatever was playing at the four screen mall theater. If it was the same movies as last week I'd watch my favorite a second time.


    Naturally I was always drawn to anything genre, too, so you better believe I saw this one a couple times. It's also of note that one of the stars of this film was the kid who starred in one of my favorite shows at the time: Eerie, Indiana.


    Anyway, I saw this a lot as a kid and haven't revisited it since, but it's come back in a big way thanks in large part to Disney embracing it at their theme parks every Halloween. They have big special event nights where they bring out people dressed as the Sanderson Sisters and they do a big musical review, which in turn inspires a whole new generation to seek out this movie.


    Kathy Najimy gets to be more at the forefront here than she was in the Sister Act films (another childhood favorite of mine) and plays goofy very well. I like how she bounces off Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker. That chemistry alongside the film's bizarre tone is one of the reasons this flick is enjoying a second life. Available for rent on all major streaming platforms.





    Anyway, that's it for this edition of HBYSW. Let me know what you think of these films, especially if you haven't seen them before and decide to give either a watch. See ya' on the next one!


    -Eric Vespe

    @ericvespe on Twitter

  • At the Screwvies: Episode 101

    2 weeks ago

    g1Features

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    MADHERO: Hey.....you guys. So in the ectasy of us releasing our 100th episode, I said that we'd be talking Black Panther next month. That, as it turns out, wasn;t the case, but don't worry. We've got movies just as exciting like....oh....oh no. Ummmmmmmmm...... yeah. So who's excited for Fifty Shades to be over?


    STICKMAN: I can't wait for my life to be over, does that count.


    LARRY: I can’t wait for this to be over, and I know that counts for something.


    STICKMAN: What horrors lurk in Episode 101.


    MADHERO: Oh....well good that I didn't also mention that we're talking Peter Rabbit as well......shit.


    LARRY: FUCK


    MADHERO: HOW ABOUT SOME NEWS TO SOOTH THE SOUL


    NEWS

    SHAPE OF WATER NOMINATED FOR 13 ACADEMY AWARDS. GET OUT, THREE BILLBOARDS AND LADY BIRD ALSO GET MULTIPLE NOMINATIONS

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    Well, after all the buildup, its finally here: The Oscars finally announced their nominees  this past Tuesday, which took forever and is now mostly about Tiffany Haddish and Andy Serkis being unable to pronounce Missouri, but hey, we also have the actual nominees. With its 13 nominations, only one less than the record, Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water seems to be the current favorite, landing awards in Best Director, Best Actress in what has been a hard to call race. It joins expected nominees like Call Me By Your Name, The Post, Dunkirk and Darkest Hour, but also saw landmark nominees in the Director category, with Greta Gerwig and Jordan Peele being only the 5th woman and dark skinned director nominated in the category for Lady Bird and Get Out respectively.  Three Billboards was long considered a frontrunner, but isn't nominated for  Best Director, which could be considered a pretty big blow. Get Out managed to beat the horror bias and get a Best Picture nomination, which is pretty great to see. Phantom Thread also managed to overperform with a Best Picture and Director nod, something a tad unexpected after the Academy mostly ignored Paul Thomas Anderson's other films.


    Needless to say, the awards is also prime to discuss all the snubs. James Franco, long considered one of the frontrunners for Best Actor for his role in The Disaster Artist, is seemingly out thanks to recent sexual harassment allegations, in favor for Denzel Washington's role in the kinda forgotten Roman J. Isarel Esq. And of course the internet was pissed because Lego Batman got snubbed in favor of Boss Baby.  But hey, it also included landmarks like Rachel Morrison getting nominated for Best Cinematography for Mudbound, making her the first ever woman nominated for the category. Its been a wild ride so  far, but we won't know the eventual winners until another month. I'll just cry about Blade Runner 2049 getting snubbed even though I had accepted that faith. Sniff


    LARRY: Ah, Oscar season. Truly soothes the soul.


    MADHERO: In my experience, it generally leaves most people butthurt, Larry, though this one maybe less than previous years.


    LARRY: Ah, yes. Personally I think this is a great year of nominations. Best Picture in particular is an impeccable race.


    MADHERO: The Best Picture lineup is pretty good, lack of Blade Runner aside.


    STICKMAN: I mean...the Animated Features is a bit of a shitshow but. I don't know who Denis Villeneienvue killed at the Academy, but they ain't biting. He really is the new Christopher Nolan.


    LARRY: Ahem, lack of I TONYA aside. That movie got snubbed to high heaven.


    MADHERO: It, Tonya got its acting noms and that's about what it deserved in my opinion.  After seeing Shape of Water , I'm kinda shocked that's the frontrunner. I love it, but its really weird as well. And its great to see Get Out take a Best Picture nomination as well. Always good to see genre film there.


    STICKMAN: I'm all for a weird monster horror movie about fucking buff fish men getting Best Picture.


    MADHERO: Its not really a horror movie, but I love the love its getting. Same for a film like Lady Bird, which on the surface seems like a generic choice, but its a legitimately great film.


    STICKMAN: I look forward to watching the buff boy for myself in a couple weeks. Lady Bird I dunno even if showing here so NEVER MIND.


    LARRY: EXCUSE ME I TONYA DESERVED A BEST PICTURE NOM. Anyway, as far as Shape, yeah it’s nice to see an outlandish choice get some love, especially one from ol’ GDT.


    MADHERO: del Toro is a lovely man who I wish nothing but the best for. But its going to be an exciting way and we'll get more in depth with our annual Oscar Predictions, in which i'll incorrectly guess Best Picture but win anyway


    STICKMAN: It's gonna be fun to be wrong 99% of the time but get Best Picture right.


    MARVEL STUDIOS RELEASES FIRST TEASER FOR ANT-MAN AND THE WASP


    We're on the precipice of a trailer-overload right now, with both a blockbuster Disney movie (Black Panther) weeks away, and the Super Bowl this weekend, it's fair to say we're going to be getting a first look, or another look at some of this year's biggest films in the coming days. We can only go on what we've got at the time of writing though...so here's a biggun...or a littlen....depending on what siiize they aaare...ahhaaa...AHAh....nng...


    Ant-Man is one of the few recent MCU films to maybe not land with as big a thud as most do in this post-Avengers world, skirting a lot of controversy for its loss of Edgar Wright as director, and its wacky tone, which...given 2017s MCU offerings? Seems practically moribund these days. Despite this, it made a decent score of moneys, and is getting a sequel… and we got our first trailer for it. AWOOWW. Ant-Man and the Wasp sees Scott Lang pair up with Hope van Dyne as they both don their shrinking suits to both take on a new enemy, in the form of a gender-swapped Ghost, who has the ability to phase through objects, turn them invisible and remotely tamper with electronics....and also search for Hope's missing mother, who may still be alive somewhere in the Quantum Realm. The sequel seems to be playing with the growing/shrinking tools a lot more, which is going to be great, it also teases Giant-Man’s return, who we first saw in Civil War...which this film is a direct follow-up to, with Scott fresh out of that weird sea prison thing which I guess he’s not in any more? It’s set before Infinity War, but comes out afterwards...so that’s not confusing at all. Still, I’m a big fan of Ant-Man, and I’m hoping the sequel is even more wacky, and even more creative with its shrinky growy...ness. I think we’re all going to need a laugh after Infinity Wars kills everyone, y’know?


    MADHERO: It had cute size gags and really what more do you need from Ant-Man


    STICKMAN: I want LONG-WINDED RECOLLECTIONS OF THINGS.


    LARRY: This was a really fast-paced trailer. Like, it felt like a lot was conveyed in a very efficient amount of time.


    STICKMAN: Not the best Marvel teaser trailer we've had in the past 12 months, but pretty good. Sums up Ant-Man in a nutshell.


    MADHERO: Nothing will beat Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas slapping their knees shouting ANTS. Its very much a teaser trailer. Something which I'm ok with.  I don't think they established its before Infinity War. I mean it probably is, but Ant-Man is once again fulfilling its role as palette cleanser after something massive


    LARRY: Yeah and there’s also theories that Infinity War will feature time travel so this taking place before Infinity War makes sense. Also, happy to see Hope Van Dyne taking a lead role here. Evangeline Lily deserves some time in the spotlight, very talented actress.


    MADHERO: Well there is a Time Stone, but Ant Man might be a good way to just....chill after that whole apocalypse


    STICKMAN: It's always nice to chill after everyone's died horribly.


    MADHERO: Can't say I like the Wasp suit. Feels a bit too muted in color.


    LARRY: Anyway, yeah, good trailer. The shrinking effects look top notch as always. Hoping for more fun humor with that.


    MADHERO: Was the building built with the giant trolley handle or was it a trolley before and made into a building? FIND OUT IN JULY


    STICKMAN: I CAN'T WAIT TO FIND OUT THAT BULLSHIT.


    STEVEN SPIELBERG WILL WORK ON AN REMAKE OF WEST SIDE STORY AFTER FINISHING INDIANA JONES 5

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    We all excited for Ready Player One? Well don’t expect the Spielberg train to stop any time soon. Not only does he have Indiana Jones 5 on the horizon, but right after that he’ll be tackling one of musical theatre’s most well-known works, Arthur Laurents’ West Side Story! Originally directed for the screen by Jerome Robbins, the story is an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, but set in the 1950’s and driven by racial tensions between the American and Puerto Rican communities in the upper west side of New York City. Spielberg will take directing duties with Tony Kushner (Lincoln, and also many a stageplay) penning the script.


     Obviously remaking a classic musical, which has since been known as a classic movie, may have some purists anxious. But fret not, for a casting call has revealed that Spielberg looks to pull no punches surrounding diversity; the roles will be accurately cast with Latino actors as the Sharks (the name of the gang, no Jaws connection here sadly). This is surely a step in the right direction, but can Spielberg’s magic rekindle the spark of a long-performed musical classic? We’ll find out after he whips up Indy 5... which they say is happening before West Side Story and will come out in 2020, but you never quite know with Spielberg. The Post  happened really fast and another project of his (Kidnapping of Edgardo Montera) seems to be in the backburner.


    MADHERO: Spielberg's first ever musical and immediately remaking a classic? Should've remade Hamilton or something.


    STICKMAN: Should've done Indiana Jones 5 as a musical. Indiana Jones & the Lit Dancefloor.


    MADHERO: That certainly would make me more interested than I am now for Indy 5, and I say that as someone who didnt hate Crystal Skull and whose favorite film is Raiders


    LARRY: ...not sure how to feel about this honestly. I kinda like West Side Story and believe it can find a new emotional heft in today’s society. But why does Spielberg have to do it? I feel like someone with a more distinct style should take it on, someone who’s done musicals before or who’s done choreography and stuff.(edited)


    STICKMAN: I'll do it, if you want. I'll bring a unique perspective to musical cinema.


    MADHERO: Well I'm curious in that its Spielberg's first ever musical and he's a guy that dabbles in so many different genres. Not many directors can go from The Post to Ready Player One. West Side Story could be fascinating if done in modern day.


    LARRY: I would’ve been more interested to see someone of Spanish descent tackle it on, considering a good chunk of the story is surrounding the Puerto Rican struggle.


    STICKMAN: Ready Player One is already causing all the discourse, will be interesting to see how it actually is.


    LARRY: I’d like to see someone like Lin Manuel Miranda maybe do it. He even helped write Spanish translations of the lyrics back when it was revived on Broadway. This would’ve been an AMAZING directorial debut for him.


    MADHERO: I'm curious what he can do, and its a good sign he's looking for Spanish speaking unknown actors. It probably doesn't help that while I know its a classic, I don't really care about the 1981 original


    STICKMAN: I've already filled my musical quota for the next few years with Moana and La La Land. Sorry, Spielbergo.


    JOHN CENA IN TALKS WITH PLATINUM DUNES TO STAR IN A DUKE NUKEM MOVIE

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    Sometimes, a news story comes up onlne, and it seems too stupid to be actually real. Sheer "what the hell were they thinking" territory. My friends, we've reached that with this. You have probably at some point heard of Duke Nukem, the video game franchise that prided itself mainly on being insanely interactive (at the time) as well as being a sendoff of Stallone/Schwarzenegger era action movies. He had his high with Duke Nukem 3D, and his low with Duke Nukem Forever, a game in development for...well...forever, and after it came out was a pile of shit that felt outdated both as a game and tonewise. But if it felt tone deaf in 2011, it sure as hell does in 2018, but Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes is gonna try to make a movie out of it anyway, with the Doctor of Thugganomics himself, John Cena in talks to play the titular Duke.


    This is.....wow. Now it seems like its meant to be promoted as a sort of politically incorrect action movie, cause hey Deadpool made money. But political incorrectness wasn't really why Deadpool made as much bank as it did, and while no director and writer has been set yet, I can't think of any director besides maybe Lord and Miller who can turn this idea into something worthwhile. Relevancy isn't even important here (we're getting a Rampage movie), but releasing Duke Nukem in a post Weinstein world is ....hooo boy. Who knows if it'll even happen, but the fact its even considered is baffling to say the least.


    LARRY: Dumb news is dumb. Of course Platinum fucking Dunes is behind this bullshit. The most bottom of the barrel studio in the industry right now.


    STICKMAN: There was a time for a Duke Nukem movie and it is not now.


    MADHERO: I suppose if Rampage can get a movie, then Duke Nukem can as well Its pure speculation on my end, but I can't help but feel this is Dunes' attempt at their version of Deadpool, which makes this idea at least somewhat more sensible, but just barely


    STICKMAN: I mean, Deadpool worked because he was equal-opportunity foul.


    LARRY: LOL Deadpool isn’t misogynistic as fuck though. Unlike Duke Nukem, which is Tto high heaven. There’s a reason nobody gives a shit about Duke Nukem anymore.


    MADHERO: But Larry, didn't you want to spend 60 dollars on a rerelease of Bulletstorm cause they crammed in Duke Nukem?


    LARRY: Duke Nukem is a fucking RELIC. And should stay that way. The only good pitches I hear about this movie is like Duke being frozen and waking up 30 years later to a Post-Weinstein world, and even that sounds on the nose and stupid.


    STICKMAN: There was a time, a couple years ago where I felt video game movies were reaching a possible upward trend....Assassin's Creed, Warcraft...but...nope, they both sucked. Now we're getting Dukey Nukey. Please save us, mediocre looking Tomb Raider movie.


    MADHERO: He's got the body for it, but John Cena seems like too much of a teddy bear to play the Dukester, and again, if it goes meta (unlikely) there might be some redemption, but they want the politically incorrect action film, and I can't imagine a worse time where I want something like that than during the current presidency.


    LARRY: Cena is so above this role, and that’s saying A LOT.


    NETFLIX RELEASES FIRST TRAILER FOR DUNCAN JONES’ MUTE

    Now this one's been a long time coming, folks. Duncan Jones, director of MOON, Source Code and Warcraft has been trying to get this project off the ground since before MOON even existed, it's his passion project, it's been through development hell a bunch, almost ended up as a graphic novel...and now it's here, it's coming out, and we got our first trailer for it this week. Set in Berlin, 40 years into the future where everything is all Ghost in the Blade Runner'y, we follow a mute (Hence the name) bartender, played by Alexander Skarsgård, as he attempts to find his missing girlfriend, his quest taking him all over the city, and getting him involved with a host of quirky, probably dangerous characters, including a pair of surgeons, played by Paul Rudd and Justin Theorux.


    The trailer doesn't really give us much more than that, but shows how it's all going to look, and well...minus a couple dodgy CGI shots, it's looking pretty lovely. Duncan Jones himself has called this a 'Marmite' film, which to those not in the know about yeast spreads, means you're either going to love it or hate it, so it's safe to say this is going to be a weird and divisive one for sure. Which, given coming out of the door with a universally loved low-budget sci-fi in the form of MOON, Jones has made two further films, one divisive, the other panned? That seems safe to say would've been pretty likely anyway. I'm excited to see what this long-gestating project has to offer, and we can all see for ourselves on  the 23rd of February, as it's landing on Netflix worldwide.


    MADHERO: FUCKING FINALLY


    LARRY: And it’s..........cool I guess yeah.


    MADHERO: I like how we're discussing 2 trailers and both of them feature Paul Rudd. What are the odds


    STICKMAN: Paul Rudd is in all movies, he just uses his ant suit. Prove me wrong, kids.


    MADHERO: Oh damn. That's going to be a lot of spotting. ANYWAY, Duncan Jones has been talking about this project for years, and I'm curious he's going for something not everyone may  like, what with his last movie being Warcraft, which few liked.


    STICKMAN: I'm really looking forward to seeing it, even if I'm not sure what the end result will be like quality-wise. I think after Warcraft he just wanted to do something entirely for himself, maybe. Kinda like a post Ant-Man (starring Paul Rudd) Edgar Wright did his Baby Driver.


     LARRY: I love love LOVE Source Code and really disliked Warcraft, so I’m a little on the fence.


    STICKMAN: What about MOON.


    LARRY: Never saw MOON.


    STICKMAN: Watch MOON, dude. It's fuckin the bomb. Starring YA BOY SAM ROCKWELL...and kke..evkvin..spsapcpacehh


    MADHERO: And hey, its on Netflix, so when you're done with binging Altered Carbon and need more cyberpunky neon goodness, there's this to hold you down


    STICKMAN: It looks nice, been waiting a while, interesting premise....don't know if it'll end up being good, but we'll FIND OUT.


    TOM HANKS TO PLAY AMERICAN TV ICON MR ROGERS IN BIOPIC “YOU ARE MY FRIEND”

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    When I was young, I would often tune into the beloved Mister Rogers Neighborhood, a fun children’s variety show that featured tons of fun characters and explorations of different life lessons and places and what not. Mr. Rogers was always a source of kindness and joy for my family and I, and who better to portray that than probably the last truly great man left on earth, Tom Hanks.


    Yes, a Fred Rogers biopic, entitled “You Are My Friend”, will be hitting us courtesy of TriStar Pictures, director Marielle Heller, and writers Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster. The film will focus on the real-life story of journalist Tom Junod who isn’t initially thrilled to be assigned to cover Mr. Rogers for a story, yet eventually comes around to Rogers’ optimistic outlook. It’s a unique story that will definitely be chock full of some good ol’ fashioned heart and soul, something I’m pretty sure the world needs right now. Color me excited to see some wholesome Tom Hanks back in action.


    STICKMAN: Shoulda called it YOU GOT A FRIEND IN ME. TWITTER JOKE, BUT IT WAS MY JOKE.


    MADHERO: A movie can't contain this much concentrated wholesomeness. It'll cause a black hole.


    LARRY: Would be doing the USA a favor. Given its current state and all.


    STICKMAN: My only awareness of Mr Rogers comes from The Simpsons parodies. Sorry Larry, do you know  any of my British childrens TV presenters. Bit of Dick and Dom, John Craven, Jimmy Savill-Uhh...


    LARRY: Well yeah just know that he was a saint and practically saved children’s television.


    MADHERO: Yeah, being someone who didn't really grow up with American television, my familiarity with Mr Rogers is mostly through parodies. You also see a ton of awesome stories about him about how he truly was one of the sweetest guys you could know


    LARRY: Watch an episode and you’ll get a feeling for the show within the first few minutes. It’s very, VERY wholesome.


    STICKMAN: I'll watch the movie and get a feeling of Tom Hanks.


    MADHERO: Maybe when Twitch does a 24/7 stream like they did with Bob Ross. That shit was soothing as fuck


    LARRY: Tom Hanks is a perfect choice. Take his Walt Disney performance and make it far more kind and sweet, and you have Fred Rogers.


    STICKMAN: Can't wait to hear about Mr Rogers' abusive childhood.


    --------------

    MADHERO: Alright. That's it for the news this week. Again, as I said, we've got no Black Panther as initially promised, and the weekend is not all that busy cause the Super Bowl is happening, but hey, maybe you don't want to see Tom Brady win another one and just want a good time at the movies. Well I've got some bad news


    STICKMAN: I GOT SOME BAADD NEWWS FOR YOOU SUNNSHIIINEE


    LARRY: sad trombone


    STICKMAN: BLACK PANTHER ISN'T WELL, HE'S BACK AT THE HOTEL. HE SENT THESE ALONG AS A SURROGATE LIST....to...ahh...rest doesn't work. Never mind.


    LARRY: Let’s get through this shitbag together.


    MOVIES

    FIFTY SHADES FREED

    DIRECTOR: James Foley (Perfect Stranger, Fifty Shades Darker)

    STARRING: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Kim Basinger, Eric Johnson, Max Martini

    SYNOPSIS: Christian and Ana (Dornan, Johnson) are now married. However, Ana's life is threatened when her former boss (Johnson) swears revenge for being fired from SIP. Elena (Basinger) also returns to haunt Christian and makes the couple's lives a lot more troublesome.

    MADHERO: Well then.....at least its over?


    STICKMAN: Maybe now we can get some actually kinky movies. Y'knoow? Few more gimp suits in the mix.


    MADHERO: Stickman. Have you heard of this thing called.....porn


    STICKMAN: No, do go on.


    LARRY: I love how the trailer got too bored of being some kinky sexual drama and decided to infuse some murder mystery.


    STICKMAN: I love how all the trailers end with like WUHH OOHH WUUHH OHH OH NO NO NO NO NOOOO. How fitting.


    LARRY: Yes, seeing as every time I watch the trailer t makes me scream in pain.


    STICKMAN: Are you into the pain though, Larry.


    LARRY: WUHH OOHH WUUHH OHH NOOO


    MADHERO: The last movie had Grey crash his helicopter and then be fine the next scense, so I hope there's more of that


    STICKMAN: Maybe this is all some meta exercise in masochism. Personally I prefer the gentle touch, y'know? Fifty Shades of Hugs.


    MADHERO: Or maybe Universal just wants to make money off of some horny moms. Whatever works.


    STICKMAN: I mean. That's what Shape of Water is for, surely.


    LARRY: Fifty Shapes of Water


    STICKMAN: Oh no. Ohnonononoooo


    PETER RABBIT

    DIRECTOR: Will Gluck (Friends with Benefits, Annie)

    STARRING: James Corden, Domhnall Gleeson, Rose Byrne, Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, Daisy Ridley

    SYNOPSIS: Peter Rabbit's (Cordon) feud with Mr. McGregor (Gleeson) reaches new heights as both compete for the affections of a kind animal lover (Byrne) who lives next door.

    STICKMAN: OHH NOOO OHHH NOOO NO NO NOOOO


    MADHERO: Oof. This sure is a week isn't it.


    LARRY: Can’t wait to see them slander a wholesome character.


    STICKMAN: What did we do to deserve this punishment. What did Beatrix Potter do to deserve this injustice.


    MADHERO: Well, OG Peter Rabbit was always mischievous. He stole veggies and all that, but I don't think he was ever hip and with it


    LARRY: Ugh. Hip.


    STICKMAN: And James Corden. Well known for his starring role in...The Emoji Movie?


    MADHERO: Its not quite Alvin and the Chipmunks level, but its close. The weird thing that at time of writing reviews have started to trickle in, and they're fairly mixed, but certainly not the shitshow we were expecting


    STICKMAN: This is such an American thing to do. Take something quaint and British, then turn it into bombastic slapstick shitertainment.


    LARRY: Except Paddington. He’s wholesome.


    STICKMAN: Paddington does too much panto/slapstick compared to the source material also, FRANKLY. But Studiocanal made it and they're European. Soooo.


    MADHERO: At least you don't want to strangle Paddington and side with Nicole Kidman. Wheras here I'm all for the rabbit to get baked in a pie.


    STICKMAN: I will say, the Peter Rabbit toys that are coming with Cadbury easter eggs here in the UK are pretty dang cute. Not quite enough to warrant this disaster, but..


    MADHERO: Think Sweeney Todd, but with rabbit. Its a British thing. Anyway....


    THE 15:17 TO PARIS

    DIRECTOR: Clint Eastwood (American Sniper, Sully)

    STARRING: Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, Judy Greer, Jenna Fischer

    SYNOPSIS: Three Americans (Stone, Sadler, Skarlatos) face a terrorist attack aboard a train bound for Paris

    STICKMAN: Oh shit, I'm late for the train.


    LARRY: How do we feel about casting the real guys? I’m personally skeptical.


    STICKMAN: I think it's a big stunt. And it'll probably blow up in Clint Eastwood's face.


    MADHERO: I mean, its interesting. Its obviously a stunt, but you could do worse I suppose. I find it weird that its kinda going under the radar. Even here, where part of the accident happened.


    LARRY: Eh, yeah. Give him props for taking a risk though.


    STICKMAN: I find it weird that it exists, this happened… like...just over a year ago? It was in development pretty soon after I feel.


    MADHERO: 2015, so about 3 years ago. It was initially rushed to make it to Oscar season, but eventually they decided to slow down and release it now.


    STICKMAN: Obviously I appreciate what these guys did to save lives, but I don't need a movie to feel that way. This just feels like a very cynical cashgrab.


    MADHERO: I mean, out of all the movies, this one is probably the most likely I'd see, and that includes our next one


    LARRY: Yeah but them getting involved, I feel, gives it a bit more legitimacy.


    STICKMAN: I won't see any of them.  I'm gonna sit at home and sulk. Maybe look up this...porn you speak of.


    WINCHESTER

    DIRECTOR: Peter and Michael Spierig (Predestination, Jigsaw)

    STARRING: Helen Mirren, Jason Clarke, Sarak Snook, Angus Sampson

    SYNOPSIS: Eccentric firearm heiress (Mirren) believes she is haunted by the souls of people killed by the Winchester repeating rifle.

    STICKMAN: OooOooFFF, the disappointment. The pottenntiaall...wasssteedd.... Dame Helen Mirren in a ghost story. And we get...this shit.


    MADHERO: There's probably a reason why they released this on Super Bowl weekend.


    LARRY: Guys. This was a BAD idea from the start. Helen Mirren as a ghost??? No thanks.


    STICKMAN: Helen Mirren isn't the ghost YOU FOOL.


    MADHERO: But surely there's a good premise in there. The Winchester house is super weird and there's some potenitally good material there. Get good actors like Helen Mirren and Jason Clarke. And The Spierig brothers who made Daybreakers (lets ignore Jigsaw). This defnitely had potential, but seems like it fell on its face


    LARRY: Literally she’s probably the ghost.


    STICKMAN: IT'S NOT THE PREMMIISEE. It's based on a real person. You can't do the THEY WERE DEAD ALL ALONG twist. The idea of a house being built to ward off the spooks that haunt her because of the all the people who died at the hands of the guns that share her name is cool. The execution? Not so much. Apparently it's just a really dull and annoying generic BOO horror film.


    LARRY: I’m sorry but I remember first seeing the trailer and thinking it looked dull. But then again, I’m not a horror guy so.


    MADHERO: Yeah. Apparently a big urban legend. This movie was sent out to die, and it did, opening below Jumanji which came out on Christmas


    STICKMAN: Jack Black trampled on Helen Mirren. That's the true horror.


    -----------------

    MADHERO: Speaking of movies from the past, its now time for MOVIE OF THE WEEK! The part of the show where we discuss films we watched in theaters or on streaming/DVD. I don't know about you guys, but I saw quite a few films this week, which I guess happens when you go to a film festival


    LARRY: Ooh!! A festival!!


    STICKMAN: I went to a fleshtival. Does that count.


    MADHERO: I mean, its over. I could've gone to see Phantom Thread with a live orchestra if it weren't fucking expensive, but I did see plenty of cool things. How about you guys?


    STICKMAN: I don't really watch movies, Larry?


    LARRY: What is movies?


    MADHERO: Larry. You watched one not too long ago. Think we talked about it when we discussed Peter Rabbit. Try and remember it.


    LARRY: OH YEAH! PADDINGTON 2!!


    MOVIE OF THE WEEK

    LARRY: My MOTW is Paddington 2. Now you may be wondering, why am I recommending some dumb kids movie? Well, I was once in your camp, a nay-sayer who saw Paddington as nothing more than children’s fodder. I heard of the sequel’s surprising amount of quality and I refused to accept it. But after so many glowing reviews, I decided to watch the first film (which to be honest was only okay), and then go see the second. And boy oh BOY. Was I shocked.

    Paddington 2 far surpasses its predecessor. If the first was just a taste of this franchise’s wholesome magic, than the sequel is it full steam ahead (that’s a pun you’ll get if you see the movieeee). The dialogue is much funnier, it’s cast of characters is bigger and better, and its plot is more interesting, all while wrapped in the already superb production design, delightful performances, and seamless animation. It also helps that the first film’s only real problem, it’s lackluster villain, is most certainly fixed here with Hugh Grant giving one of the most fun and enjoyable performances of his career. Most of all though, Paddington 2 is just a fun jaunt with plenty of heart, something you sometimes need when it feels like your world is falling apart. And it’s all capped with an ending that made my friend cry. A lot. Do yourself a favor and go take your family to see Paddington 2. I whole-heartedly recommend it.


    MADHERO: O dang. I can't believe you beat Stickman to watching this first. I liked the first movie just fine. I'm surprised that the 2nd one is such a improvement to you.


    STICKMAN: Yeah, I'm surprised too. First one is pleasant enough but I wouldn't rate it that highly.


    LARRY: I feel as though the first was a testing ground. And now that they had the success, they gave more creative control for the sequel. It’s just wayyy funnier and the humor hits harder. Hugh Grant is also a much needed improvement over Nicole Kidman.


    STICKMAN: Is it more or less pantomime than the first? I hear Hugh Grant has a musical number and that's like...real alarm bells for me.


    MADHERO: Hugh Grant is getting a lot of praise for the movie. He has a BAFTA nomination and everything


    STICKMAN: Everyone's sucking this film's dick, there's obviously some redeeming quality. Unless it's just two hours of induced hypnosis  making everyone love Paddington forever.


    LARRY: Those bear eyes are quite hypnotic. But I’m telling you, it’s just such a fun, wholesome experience. Oh and it’s anti-Brexit which makes sense as to why people like it.


    STICKMAN: I'M IN.


    MADHERO; Moving on from bear hypnosis. Sticky, what's your MOTW?


    STICKMAN: MmMMm, well I'm going for an odd one this week. I've seen a ton of stuff since we last did a normal Screwvies MOTW. Early Man...I'm not allowed to talk about until next episodeedeee...soooo...I've gone for mother!...that's...mother! with the the lower case M and exclamation point in the name because....ART.

    So, this one was pretty massively polarising upon its cinema release last year. Got a lot of attention and praise initially, and then famously received an F audience score, which basically never happens ever, and the reviews are now pretty damn split. I was pretty skeptical and wary of a pretentious mess , even the rental store person was like 'Gee I dunno man'. I watched it...and honestly? Was pretty good. Not everything lands, and it is pretty pretentious, but hot damn if it doesn't all come together nicely when it gets a stride going on. In terms of not making sense, I'm not really sure what film people watched, because this is as blatantly obvious an allegory....thing as anything I've ever seen. Doesn't take 5 seconds to smell what Arnrronronofkski is farting out, and it smells pretty good...sometimes. Absurd as it may be, I simply had a great time, it was a really fun, at times maddening roller-coaster ride of genuinely unique horror scenarios, paired with an interesting take on the well worn home invasion genre.


    MADHERO: Boy this is a mood whiplash going from Paddington 2 to mother!


    STICKMAN: We're all about variety here at At the Screwvies. Sometimes.


    MADHERO: I've seen it now as well and its fucking weird, but the actual allegories aren't what you'd call subltle. This isn't The Fountain where you have no idea what's happening


    LARRY: I’m trying to find some dumb connective joke between these two films and I just can’t.


    MADHERO: I don't see Paddington spreading babies on his marmalade sandwich anytime soon


    LARRY: For real?!?! I didn’t see why Aranofsky had to like say anything in interviews. It’s so blatantly biblical. And like if the dialogue and symbols don’t give it away, the credits will.


    MADHERO: Its a rollercoaster ride of a movie, and you just go along at some point because lord know they didn't give a fuck as some point


    STICKMAN: You get to the last 20 minutes and it's just. Woah nelly.


    LARRY: I enjoyed this film in certain ways, even though I felt the most uneasy I had felt in a long, long time.


    STICKMAN: That was kinda the point. I appreciate a horror film that can actually invoke discomfort from me.


    MADHERO: Guess that explains the F Cinemascore


    STICKMAN: More like F for...Frfffpretty good. What about you Mad, what'd you watch. You fuck.


    MADHERO: As mentioned, I went to the International Film Festival in Rotterdam, which is an annual festival with films all over the world. Anyway, I saw 2 Best Picture nominees in Shape of Water and Lady Bird, both of which I loved, but I wanna use this part to briefly talk The Florida Project, which was the first film I saw at the festival and one I probably kept thinking about the most, though it helps I went to 2 Q&A's featuring director Sean Baker, which was great to be a part of.

    Anyway, Florida Project as a movie is relatively plotless, following a bratty 6 year old girl and her friends as she goes on adventures in the motel she lives at with her young mother as part of "the hidden homeless", with some she has way more of a sister relationship with than a mother-daughter one. I'm normally not too big on movies that are more slice of life than an actual narrative, but something about the movie remained incredibly compelling. Part of that is the performances. Not just Willem Dafoe, who deserves all the praise he's getting, but young Brooklynn Prince who plays the young girl is phenomenal, and Bria Vinaite (who was found on Instagram) manages to do a good job of playing a pretty shitty person who reaaaaaaaaaaally shouldn't have had a kid. Its a really great slice of life film that goes into some unexpected directions, and shows that Sean Baker remains one to watch.


    STICKMAN: Why didn't you invite me to the flim flestival. I thought we were pallos.


    MADHERO: You were more than welcome to come. I just aint paying for a boat trip to come to Rotterdam.


    STICKMAN: I'll settle for a private jet. Anyway this film looks interesting, never showed at my cinema sooooo.


    LARRY: Man I’ve been wanting to see this one for a while. Can’t seem to find it except for a few theatres in the city. Which I’m not in too often.


    STICKMAN: If Larry can't find it in New York, what hope do I have living in the middle of nowhere.


    MADHERO: Its a movie that kinda went under the radar, hence why I picked it, and at least in the US, it'll be availible on digital soon


    LARRY: Ooh I’ll definitely catch it on digital.


    STICKMAN: Does Willem Dafoe kill anyone.


    MADHERO: Nope, but he does do something to a pedophile that is....well....you'll see it when you see the film, but it would've been a hot contender for Scene of the Year(edited)


    STICKMAN: Willem Dafoe murdering a pedophile makes this a must watch.Does it make you want to visit the run-down hotel and region of the film? Lotta hipsters be touristing around it now.


    LARRY: That feels...wrong.


    MADHERO: Well its close to Disney and I'm cheap, so sure, but its definitely not the nicest looking place.


    LARRY: Ugh the movie’s cinematography looks amazing. The color paletttttttte


    ---------

    MADHERO: That's it for this episode, and by god, I swear, this time we will actually talk Black Panther. Probably review it even.


    STICKMAN: YEeeeeeeeeeEEEESSSSS


    LARRY: CHADWICK BOSEMAN LET THOSE CLAWS OUT


    MADHERO: AND IF THAT ISN'T YOUR CUP OF TEA, we also got British cavemen and Sitcky and I's most anticipated film of the year. We had to go through Peter Rabbit, but there's light at the end of the shit tunnel


    STICKMAN: God damn what an episode to be had. Can't wait to STEP INTO THE SPOTLIGHTTTT.


    MADHERO: O and whatever comes out of the Super Bowl, so look forward to that!


    LARRY: Shitbags are behind us boys! We off to greener pastures!! GO EAGLES!!


    STICKMAN: YOU ALL SUCK. SEE YOU NEXT EPISODE.

  • Here's My The Cloverfield Paradox Review!

    2 weeks ago

    ericvespe

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    It's almost impossible to separate the circumstances around The Cloverfield Paradox's release from a review of the movie itself, for good or ill. We didn't even know the title of this movie 24 hours ago and now just about everybody has seen it.


    That's groundbreaking and something only Netflix can get away with. I don't think even Hulu or Amazon has the clout (and deep enough pockets) to pull something like that.


    The critics are savaging the movie and they're not entirely wrong. On a script level The Cloverfield Paradox is a mess. The science is sloppy and inconsistent. The film is filled with eye-rolling conveniences and “just because we need it there” plot points, but it's not the worst thing you've seen. Hell, it's probably not the worst thing you've seen this year.


    Are critics upset about it wholly because it's a sci-fi/horror flick that doesn't have a rock solid script or is there something deeper there? It's interesting to note that this kind of surprise drop takes the film critic out of the equation, at least when it comes to first blush impressions. That might rub some the wrong way on its surface and just maybe that resentment sneaks its way into some of the more vitriolic hot takes that have come out over the 16 or so hours.


    Now, I don't buy into movie critic conspiracy theories, mostly because I've been in that world since I was 16 and have seen very little evidence of just about every accusation (from studio bribes to opinions being influenced in major ways by access), so I won't say this is true for everybody who didn't like this obviously super flawed movie, but it is an interesting question as we face a rapidly evolving feature film distribution landscape.


    Personal taste always comes into play as well. For instance, I have a great big ol' soft spot for sci-fi horror and may be more lenient toward the genre than some critics. I also put a lot of weight in high production value and can forgive some plot issues if there are characters I like in the mix.


    Not everybody wants that out of their cinematic adventures. I get that, which is why a good review, whether positive or negative, is at its best when it communicates context. You know my context so when I say I actually liked The Cloverfield Paradox you should have a handle on why.



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    Yes, they once again shoe-horned a Cloverfield tie-in to another completely unrelated script and yes, it shows. It feels like this movie should have had an A and B story. The A story being the sci-fi horror film following Gugu Mbatha-Raw's Hamilton in space as her scientific experiment on board a space shuttle goes wrong and the B story being her husband Michael's story on Earth as the accident above triggers the events of the first Cloverfield movie.


    Either you do that or you keep it a Twilight Zone twist like they did with 10 Cloverfield Lane. You can't have it both ways. They spend just enough time with Roger Davies on Earth to distract from the space story, but not enough to actually have a story reason to divide the narrative like that.


    I like the idea of Davies on a parallel story to the first Cloverfield film while his wife is dealing with some very heady ideas about their relationship in what's going on in space, but it's only that: an idea. If it had been fully integrated then the movie would have been significantly better, but as it is it's just there.


    Or you double down on the formula 10 Cloverfield Lane established and have the big twist be that the energy test that goes wrong in space creates the events of the first movie and have that revealed at the end. As much as the final shot of the movie gets shit on by many of my colleagues I think it could have been a great reveal. It may be a bit typical of these darker sci-fi/horror films (Life had a similar dark ending), but if you're going to stick to a formula do one that has a good pay off.


    The reason I can't hate this movie is because I just like the characters too much. The performances from Mbatha-Raw, Inglourious Basterds' Daniel Bruhl, David Oyelowo and Chris O'Dowd are all notable. I like their chemistry, I like their characters, so I actually gave a shit about what was going on in the space ship.



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    Even when the plot falls into the generic sci-fi/horror movie formula I still liked the characters enough to not let that kill the movie for me. There is one beautiful stretch where things start getting reeaaaaaallllly weird and if that had been the turning point of the movie and they'd fully committed to some of those big, trippy, bizarre ideas the movie would have been much better for it. Sadly it never does, but again I was invested enough by this point to see it through to the end.


    I can't argue the many, many plot conveniences and stuff that made little sense save for that it was needed to push the story along and that could be a movie killer for you. It was indeed for many of my colleagues, but I guess my expectations were more in line for what the movie actually wanted to give me so I was able to leave satisfied.


    Also the price was right. I didn't pay $15 for a ticket and was able to watch it by firing up my Xbox and clicking on the Netflix app, so I find it hard to get all worked up like the movie personally insulted me.


    This isn't the death of the Cloverfield franchise... it might be a warning that people might want to see a movie that, you know, starts out as a Cloverfield movie and isn't retrofitted late in the game to be one, but it's not the end of the line. It's not an affront to the sterling legacy of cheesy sci-fi/horror movies. It's a well-shot, sometimes interesting and risky, goofy character piece about what happens when you fool with mother nature. 



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    The plot is pretty much a copy of about a dozen Star Trek episodes, but with a little taste of the nastiness of something more akin to Event Horizon or the '80s schlockfest Galaxy of Terror. Both of those examples are way more successful at hitting that mark, but I guess at the end of the day I give The Cloverfield Paradox point for even aiming to be that kind of movie.


    What do you folks think? Am I being too easy on this one? Or is everybody else being too tough?

  • Here's Solo: A Star Wars Story's Full Trailer And Nifty Character Posters!

    2 weeks ago

    ericvespe

    Yesterday we got a small TV spot for Solo: A Star Wars Story and this morning we got the first full trailer, which actually doesn't reuse much of that Super Bowl spot footage. I have some thoughts, but let's get to the trailer in case you haven't seen it yet:





    Here's what I like: All the western elements, particularly that Sergio Leone-ish holster shot. Any second of Donald Glover as Lando. Woody Harrelson looking like he's having a ton of fun as the mentor-ish character known as Beckett.


    My concern is that Han Solo will be the least interesting character in the Star Wars prequel spin-off movie called "Solo." 


    I wasn't particularly onboard with idea of these spin-offs being nothing but "Young Fill-In-The-Blank" films. To paraphrase Patton Oswalt, just because I like ice cream doesn't mean I need whole movies to tell me how it was made. At best a young Han or Yoda or Boba Fett movie will feel like fan fiction, at worst it'll completely demystify the characters we love. 


    But I am a Star Wars fan, born and bred. I'll see any Star Wars movie so even if I'm wary of the approach I'll always be hoping for the best. I like a lot of what I saw in the Solo trailer, but if I'm honest it has me the least curious of just about any Star Wars movie since the prequels.


    I will say the poster campaign is pretty on point, though. The character posters put out today are sweet. Check 'em out:



    solo-a-star-wars-story-poster-han-alden-



    solo-a-star-wars-story-poster-chewbacca.



    solo-a-star-wars-story-poster-qira-emili



    solo-a-star-wars-story-poster-lando-dona



    Yeah, they do look a tad like toy packaging art instead of your typical character poster, but hey, I'll take it. Plus, I always like it when they try to weather and age the look of a Star Wars poster. One of my favorite original Star Wars posters did just that:



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    What do you folks think?

  • DUNKIRK

    2 weeks ago

    gianella

    I'm currently in post-RTX recovery mode (I'm gonna make a video all about RTX Syd tomorrow so stay tuned) so all I did today was lie around and watch Dunkirk. Goddamn what a good movie. If you haven't seen it, go watch it and then come back to this. And then discuss it with me. I have many things to say.


    I'll admit I'm a bit biased because I love Christopher Nolan and his timey-wimey movies but Dunkirk really was great and my favourite thing about it wasn't even the time stuff. I would say that time in this movie wasn't as massive a component as it was in, say, Interstellar. Anyway, I digress.


    My favourite thing about it was the way that it captured moments so well. The dialogue's turned down and everything else - sound, cinematography - is cranked up. In doing this, the film shoves us into a bunch of very palpable feelings. Like we're actually there on the land, air and sea in and around Dunkirk. And I love that because that's something I've been wanting to figure out how to do with video for a while now. It's one of the most immersive movies I've ever seen and I wish I'd seen it in an actual cinema and not on my 15" laptop while I lay on the couch.


    Speaking of immersive, God, you gotta have a lot of faith in your movie to have it change aspect ratios multiple times throughout it and not be worried that it'll take the viewer out of it completely. The changes did take me out a couple of times but everything else sucked me right back in so I'd say it wasn't too bad for me.


    The minimal dialogue made for that end reading of Churchill's 'We shall fight them on the beaches' speech so much more impactful. I was glad that happened because honestly there were multiple times while I was watching it that I thought, "This moment would be a really good moment to have a Winston Churchill voice over." The entire movie's an actual piece of art but there was one particular moment where one of the planes is going down and the entire way down you hear the plane engine whirring and the suspense is just building and building and right before it hits the water, the engine cuts off and there's a moment of silence before the sound of the crash hits and, idk man, that literally took my breath away.


    tl;dr - Dunkirk's incredible.


    (also, it's 1:43am here which officially makes it my birthday (yikes). trust me to ring in my 20th writing a review of dunkirk)


    EDIT: also, I would like to know the creative decision behind casting Harry Styles in this film. I'm not opposed to it - he suits playing a Dunkirk solider I guess & 15-year-old me thanks Nolan for it - but I'm just curious.

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