3 Reasons I Miss Midnight Movie Releases

28 04 2015

Well, as any movie fan knows, Marvel is about to take another swim in the ol’ money pool this week with the new The Avengers: Age of Ultron. And, just as I’ve done with other giant movies like The Dark Knight or Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Lucas, I’ll be right there with the rest of the fans on opening night. And, just like any other fan, I’ll find something to complain about. In this case, it’s nothing more than the now commonplace practice of releasing movies an evening early instead of only midnight. Why is this a big deal? Well, if you read the title, you’ll know I’ve got three reasons to rain on the early release’s parade.

Joker and Two-Face

Judge me not, or I’ll ask why you’re being so serious.

1. The Diehard Fans

To some people, people lining up outside a movie theater at 10:30 PM (and who may or may not be in costume) looks weird. I get that. But, imagine you’re so excited for something that you want to watch it as soon as possible, and not only that, but you’ll be surrounded by other fans as crazy as you who think starting a movie at midnight is worth it. You line up, maybe talk to other people dressed as a Slytherin student or Batman villain about their expectations. And then, when the theater’s packed and the movie finally starts, everyone cheers loudly- for a film. But then, once opening scene rolls? Dead silence. Respectful quiet from people who just want to experience the movie the way it’s meant to be. That’s not to say it’s like a morgue the whole time- expect laughter at comedic moments and even applause at the best parts. It’s almost as if you’re at a live play with all the interaction, including (unless you’re Spider-Man 3) applause at the ending credits. Never experienced that before in a theater? Well, you’ve probably never been to the late showing then. Your movie-going world consists of the casual fans.

2. The Casual Fans

If midnight premieres bring out the hardcore fans, 6 o’clock releases bring out the people who wonder when Batman will show up in The Avengers. This is the stereotypical crowd that people love to hate. Screaming babies? Sure, why not bring two! People lighting up the world with their cell phone screens? Check. Throw in that one stain of a human being who successfully stays being loud and obnoxious during the entire show, and you have what I call “the casual crowd.” Instead of a shared experience with your fellow fans, it’s a prime reminder that yes, you do dislike the majority of the human race. The best way to avoid these people is by attending a later showing that only the dedicated will attend.

3. Event Vs. Activity

However, at the end of the night, haven’t you watched the same movie? Yes, but you sure haven’t had the same experience. When movies open at 5:30 on a Thursday night, you’ve watched a movie. When you used to only have a midnight showing, you’ve gone to a premiere. There may be costumes and giveaways, but mostly it’s just a shared celebrational event. And I’m pretty sure those times are gone forever. Are we really going to wait till midnight when everyone else is watching at 5:30? What’s the point? Studios certainly aren’t going to go back to a more honest opening “weekend” at the cost of early profits. I’ll definitely be more ready for work the next morning. At the end of the day, I just hope Hulk’s smashing is loud enough to drown out the crying infants this Thursday evening.

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Interstellar Review

7 11 2014

christopher nolan movie

(Disclaimer: I’ve been accused of being a Nolan fanboy before, but I’ll do my best to stay objective here.) Christopher Nolan’s latest work departs from the action-packed nature of Dark Knight Rises and Inception,  trading dreams for black holes and fist fights for time jumping. There’s the trademark blend of blockbuster and philosophical, and at nearly three hours, it takes a while for the space travel to even take off (zing!). However, the longer segment on Earth is time well spent, and it you can endure the marathon length, there are some great payoffs.

 

Cooper Nolan

Meanwhile, on Hoth…

Chris Nolan’s brother Jonah penned the script all the way back in 2008. At the time, he intended somebody like Spielberg to direct, but after his brother’s directorial rise in recent years he was able to take control instead. Basically, the planet has been running out of food/crops ever since The Blight (some sort of parasite) and the subsequent giant dust storms. This is a futuristic world that was thrown back into a situation not unlike the Great Dust Bowl of the 1930’s. So when Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) finds out that there may be a chance off-galaxy to find a new livable world, he joins Emilia Brand (Anne Hathaway) and crew to jump into a black hole near Saturn. So yes, it’s a sci-fi plot, but it attempts to reach for higher themes then your typical sci-fi flick. Are we alone in the universe? What could we have wrong about science? What is mankind destined for, and what should and shouldn’t we sacrifice to get there? And finally, what does love have to do with all this? (Talk about a curveball).

If it sounds a little heavy, it is (and thank goodness for the fair amount of humor included). And some of these themes and elements (especially the time manipulation) cause some logical leaps in the movie. For example, why is Anne Hathaway’s character not decades older than Cooper in the film’s final act? Did the black hole slingshot slow time down for her too? Or heck, the ending is pretty ambiguous, so maybe what we’re shown of her was in the past? Also, the whole “other civilization” thing is sort of an easy way to explain plot developments, but is not fully explained. I don’t need to know everything, but I would have liked to know why Murph was so important to them in the first place.

Amelia Brand

You’ve got some explainin’ to do…

Potential plot (black) holes aside, let’s get to one of the strongest parts of the movie- the cast. The heart and driving force of the movie is unquestionably Cooper and his daughter Murphy (played very well by both Mackenzie Foy and Jessica Chastain). Their scenes together in the first act of the movie kept the later parts from falling apart. We could believe Cooper’s drive to see them again, and this was a huge source of the film’s emotional impact. It was so effective in fact, that I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed at the less-than-ideal way this plot was resolved. I’m not saying it was a negative; I just like happier endings, okay?  It was a huge surprise to me when Matt Damon showed up near the third act, and kudos to them for keeping it a secret from most of the audience. His portrayal of Dr. Mann effectively sold that he had lost a few screws up there during isolation. The fact that he was Matt Damon distracted a little, especially considering the initial surprise of such a big actor appearing out of nowhere. I may have complained about the ambiguity of Anne Hathaway’s final state, but she carried her weight as Brand, somehow selling us on her love for a man we never physically see. Finally, it’s always nice to see Michael Caine in a Nolan project, but I wish he had a little more to work with during his shorter screen time. Topher Grace and John Lithgow must have just wanted to be in a Nolan film, because their parts were so small I barely had time to notice them.

Matthew Cooper Interstellar Nolan Foy

He did give her a terrible name though…

 

The musical score (once again by the great Hans Zimmer) and special effects were top-notch. My serious advice is to see it in IMAX, because I did not (yet). Nolan loves using those rare, expensive cameras, and around a whole hour of this space epic was shot with IMAX cameras. Besides the spectacle, I could have also benefited from the superior speakers in an IMAX theater. The speakers in my auditorium were so janky some higher musical moments were all but ruined. Hopefully this isn’t widespread but there have been some reports of faulty sound experiences.

 

Murphy Nolan

Somebody really hated Signs…

To sum this all up, Interstellar is a deeply introspective film that trades the action and pizazz of Inception or Dark Knight Rises for an emotional and philosophical sci-fi journey through the stars. You’ll laugh, you’ll tear up, and you’ll definitely look up the plot explanation later just to figure out everything that was happening. But that’s a typical Nolan movie, right? Because of the slower pace, it lacks the re-watch potential of some of his other movies, but this is one trip you don’t want to miss.





The 9 Most Surprising Movies of 2012 (from my point of view)

6 01 2013

Surprises aren’t always a good thing; you never know if the gift box is hiding an iPhone 5 or a Nikki Minaj album. This isn’t my top movies of 2012. These are the movies that surprised me the most by exceeding or defiling my expectations, so movies that I knew would be good (Avengers),  mediocre (The Amazing Spider-Man, Hunger Games) or bad (Twilight) aren’t included.

1. Les Miserables- To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the soundtrack as much as I did. In case my blogs have fooled you, I’m not the most cultured guy in the coffee shop. Musicals in particular (or operettas, for all you hipsters) have had as much impact on my life as a steak does for a vegan. That said, I LIKED the songs. I almost even bought some. So there you go. Good Surprise.

Les Miserables Poster

(Humming soundtrack)

 

2. The Grey-So in case you didn’t see the trailer for The Grey, it looked like Taken, but with wolves instead. Get ready as a team of men crash a plane, band together and fight wolves in an epic tale of survival! And Liam Neeson punches wolves! A lot! Ok. First, this is like the opposite of a survival movie (spoilers). Second, it wasn’t a wolf-punching fun-fest either, and they showed the last scene in the trailer. I maybe could have enjoyed this depressing, thoughtful movie if it hadn’t been advertised so differently. Bad Surprise.

3. Dark Knight Rises-So,  my review of this movie is pretty biased, as I’m both a Nolan and Batman fanboy at heart, but at the same time the movie was nothing like I thought it would be. I was expecting Dark Knight 2, but what we got had more of the Batman Begins feel with a disaster/war movie feel instead of Dark Knight‘s crime noir inspiration. Some people may have been turned off, but I loved how it ended the trilogy on such an epic scale, even if the second one’s still my favorite (yeah, it’s Joker). Good Surprise.

Dark Knight Rises Funny Charles

This is why you don’t watch pirated version.

 

4. Skyfall-The trailer was pretty slick, but I’ve never been a mega-fan of Bond movies (sorry, England). It turns out I really enjoyed the ride this time, including everything from the interesting locations to the psycho villain. Good Surprise. 

Daniel Craig Skyfall

Bond is sad the sky is falling.

5.Prometheus-Prometheus is like a stylish, self-inflated person who claims to tell you everything, but midway though his explanation you realize he knew less than you did. And then he shuts the car door on his hand. This movie wanted to be so ground-breaking and smart, but as I already pointed out, it consisted mostly of smoke and mirrors and added more questions. And had characters dying in the dumbest way possible, like running away from a falling ship the longest way possible. Bad Surprise.

Prometheus Falling Ship

This deserved a repost. Click to enlarge.

6. Lockout-This movie looked like a fun, dumb movie, with at least an interesting premise (prison break in space). However, it was actually just a dumb movie. Period. I walked out of the theater and counted all the better things I could have done with all that wasted time, like build a pirate-themed ant farm. Bad Surprise.

7. The expendables 2-Sure, it was loud and dumb and starred aging action stars, but we knew that, right? What I didn’t know was how hard I would laugh at the overblown hilarity, with a Chuck Norris joke summing up the whole movie. Good Surprise.

Had to have a meme somewhere.

Had to have a meme somewhere.

8. Wreck-it Ralph- This was the most Pixar-quality animated move of the year, and it didn’t come from Pixar. It even tried to pull my heart strings, but I held it off like a man. Good Surprise.

 

9. The Hobbit- Immaculately reproduced sets that made me want to have second breakfast while re-watching the original trilogy? Good Surprise. Annoying CGI Goblin KingBad Surprise. 

Dex and Goblin King

I still call plagiarism.





Dark Knight Rises Review in Five Sentences

25 07 2012

SPOILERS! YE BE WARNED.

1. Dark Knight Rises is not supposed to be The Dark Knight, so swat that idea off your plate from the get-go; Nolan shifts from the style of film noir to revolutionary epic.

 

Bane In Dark Knight Rises

What. Now.

 

2. Cillian Murphy’s cameo was a welcome surprise, proving once again that if Nolan likes you as an actor, he’ll use you in his movies as much as he can (hello, Michael Caine and everyone else from Inception).

 

Dicaprio in Dark Knight

Nolan had Dicaprio in The Dark Knight, but later edited him out.

 

3. I had to eat my dismal predictions of Anne Hathaway playing Catwoman (although she was never called  that name in the movie) and Bane as a villain choice (during the final fight, I seriously thought he was going to break Bats again).

 

Bane

And I did.

 

4. I can’t say for sure if Dark Knight Rises is my favorite Batman movie, since Batman (and Michael Caine) were surprisingly short on screen time, and Joker is the only villain from the previous movies who doesn’t get screen time or even a mention.

 

Joker and Two-Face

Ironically, these two were used the least in the movie.

 

5. However, Nolan crafted a fantastic ending  to his trilogy, blending the signature dark tones, emotional tug, and storytelling to complete what will become the definitive story of Batman as far as the mainstream culture is concerned; it’s more than a great superhero movie, it’s a great movie, period.

 

Bonus Sentence: Would it have killed Nolan to pull a Harry Potter and make eight movies instead of three?





If Michael Bay Was Directing Dark Knight Rises

18 05 2012

So, there’s a few people in the world looking forward to Nolan’s final bat-epic, Dark Knight Rises. As I have already pointed out, Christopher Nolan prefers dark and realistic-ish takes on Batman. However, what if Warner Bros. decided to lighten the mood a little (Avenger-rize)  with a new director? How about Michael Bay? What’s the worst that can happen with him in charge? Shia LaBeouf. Or maybe Megan Fox. Maybe even Nicolas Cage! Probably all working together to create a masterpiece! Let’s take a look.

 

Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox posing at the Trans...

Not a good sign.
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

     Michael Bay Presents Dark Knight Transforms

(The film opens with 45 minutes of no BATMAN or BANE, just SHIA LABEOUF going to COLLEGE.)

MICHAEL CAINE: What the heck did that have to do with the plot?

(CAR EXPLODES behind them)

SHIA LABEOUF: Oh, no, no, no, no, NO!

(The BATMOBILE races in)

MICHAEL CAINE: Master Wayne!

BAT-CHRISTIAN BALE: Alfvred, wefghahlph ardk trulfed pseveaiemivfhysl.

MICHAEL CAINE: Oh, come, Mr. Bay! His voice has never been close to that bad! Those aren’t even real words!

MICHAEL BAY: I know! It’s the perfect filler! And it’s still more meaningful than my usual dialogues!

SHIA LABEOUF: Hey, guys, I’m gonna find some monkeys to swing with. (Walks away to DESTROY INDIANA JONES)

Indiana Jones Disaster

Well there goes everyone’s childhood down the poop chute.

EXT. ROOFTOP OF GOTHAM BANK

(BANE is carrying a BOMB, but is stopped by CATWOMAN)

BANE: You are not Anne Hathaway.

MEGAN FOX: (Pouting expression)

BANE: There’s not a acting bone in your body, or anything real at all, for that matter.

(Camera continually OGLES MEGAN FOX during the conversation)

BANE: REALLY? First Shia Lebeouf, now you? Screw it.

(BANE detonates  bomb, MERCIFULLY TAKING HIMSELF OUT OF THIS TRASH)

(MEGAN FOX runs in SLOW MOTION from the massive EXPLOSION, which has started a chain reaction of MORE FIREBALLS)

MORGAN FREEMAN: WHOOOHOO! Now that’s some REAL messed-up, heavy– sigh,  really Mr. Bay? This is NOT how my character has acted in the other movies.

MICHAEL BAY: I know, but you were the main black character, and I have to have some good old-fashioned racist stereotyping in here somewhere, right? Now let’s see you put those gold teeth back in.

INT. OF THE BATCAVE

BAT-BALE: I think I’m going to need help cleaning up this city, SHIA LEBUTT. Will you take your place as ROBIN?

SHIA LABEOUF: Well, gee, I would love to-

MICHAEL BAY: -And that’s great! Enough character development! Let’s hit the good stuff! AUTOBOTS, ATTACK!

(The ending of the MOVIE is replaced by 45 minutes of CGI BATTLE)

Image of the Batwing filming in Pittsburgh in ...

Right before turning into a DECEPTICON. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SHIA LEBEOUF: NO NO NO NO NO NO!





If Christopher Nolan Directed “The Avengers”

7 05 2012

So, like one or two dozen other people around the world, I saw The Avengers last weekend. Like most of you, I watched this movie and thought, “I could’ve done better.” However, since I’m a little short in the Hollywood influence area, I’d choose the next best person: Christopher Freakin’ Nolan.

Chris Nolan

The Director we deserve, but not the one we need.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What if the man behind Dark Knight decided to add a cold, hard dose of reality to fun-loving, superhero-fueled The Avengers? Well, you’d have a gritty, realistic, mind-bender of a movie, of course without all the aliens and, er, superpowers.

The Unrealistic Comic People

I present Nolan’s likely character presentations.

The Hulk– Dr. Bruce Banner is a very large physicist of a man.  He struggles with anger issues caused by a childhood filled with bullying from all the skinny kids. Despite his weight, he spends half the movie without his shirt on, designed to “shock” the audience.

Iron Man– Replaced by Batman, because Chris Nolan does what Chris Nolan wants.

Thor– Stan Carter claims to be the god of thunder, carrying around his giant sledgehammer and rocking medieval-style locks. Early on, it is revealed he took one too many trips down Trippy Lane during his college years.

Hawkeye– Best shot in the world, former Navy SEAL. His importance in the story is greatly enhanced by the loss of the other’s super powers.

Black Widow– Thor’s deceased wife who only appears in his drug-induced dreams.

Nick Fury– Played by Morgan Freeman, and that’s all you need to know.

Loki– Thor’s adopted brother with delusions of grandeur. His plan is to use an army of illegal aliens to storm New York City, because he’s an agent of chaos who just wants to watch the world burn.

Plot- Switch Loki’s army to disgruntled, exploited illegal aliens. Switch super hero face-offs to gritty hand combat. Besides that, same thing.





100% Accurate Predictions for 2012 Movies- Part 1

23 01 2012

Look out! I’m releasing my fashionably late predictions for this (month-old) new year! First up, lights! Camera! 3D price inflation! Get ready for your must-see movies this year!

Haywire- January 20

OK, so this may already be out, so at least this prediction will be right. “Haywire” pits Gina Carano, former MMA fighter, against Obi-Wan Kenobi, in a very Bourne-ish way. Without the writing, dialogue, and story of Bourne, that is. This falls into the “Could’ve Been Good But They Showed The Whole Thing In The Trailer” category.

None of these characters are really used.

Star Wars: Episode I- The Phantom Menace….IN 3D!!!- February 10

George Lucas has pooped out a new golden egg! It’s the same movie that disappointed you back in the 1999, but this time, the wasted opportunities jump out even more in glorious 3-D! Rumor has it that Lucas makes a cameo as young Han Solo.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

The ticket even costs twice as much as it did then!

The Hunger Games- March 23

Fans will annoy non-readers about how much better the books were. Reviews will contain at least 3 bad puns, such as, “left me HUNGRY for more,” or, “a decidedly four-star MEAL.”

Cover of "The Hunger Games"

The Dark Knight Rises- July 20

The Dark Knight Rises is released and crowned “the definitive comic book movie,” leading to the cancellation of all other planned comic book movies for the next 10 years. Critics cite the only drawback in the movie to be the animatronic Heath Ledger, who “makes Batman’s enunciation sound natural and clear by comparison.”

The Bourne Legacy- August 3

Alternate title: The Bourne Sellout.

Too hard to find the movie poster.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II- November 16

The final “Twilight” entry stuns the world, receiving the ever-elusive 100% rating on rottentomatoes.com. Roger Ebert eats crow, calling the installment, “quite frankly, beautiful.” Time calls it “THE visual and creative triumph of this century.” Congress responds by declaring acid trips during movie reviews illegal.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn

OHMYGOSHTHEY’RESOHOT.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey- December 14

Disappointment ensues when the much-anticipated prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy turns out to be a mash-up of deleted scenes, Youtube parodies, and fan videos, all cobbled together into one semi-coherent plot. Peter Jackson still doubles his wealth.

The poster should have tipped everyone off.