Sunday, July 22, 2012

Chronicle

Well I'm not surprised that Chronicle is getting better rankings than Batman 3.  Its a better movie.  Even in the area where you would think that Batman would leave it in its dust.  Special Effects.  Maybe the special effects are not quite as visually stunning, however they suit the movie perfectly.  Bright, big and clear.  This is a very different movie, however.  Its every day persons brush with the supernatural (ala Heroes), where Batman is an every day dark and tortured person driven into being natural killing vigilante.  Personally the Batman hero persona appeals to be more, but as far as entertaining and thoughtful purpose, Chronicle carries more punch.  Spoilers could easily escape me if I went into too much details, so I will let you watch it.  Overall entertainment 8.0, historical movie significance 8.0.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Batman 3 The Dark Knight Rises

This installment of the Christopher Nolan Batman movies falls a little short of the previous two, however that's a minor quibble.  Story was a little drawn out and the action sporadic, however the performances and dialogue were top notch.  Bale was again good.  Caine had an expanded role and as always filled the screen with his talent.  I usually really like Cotillard, however she may have been a bit mis-cast.  Nolan has a tenancy to do that with his female supporting staff.  Gyllenhaal was really off in the previous movie.  Unlike a bunch of other reviewers I liked Bain and Tom Hardy's portrayal of him. His dramatic dialogue was pretty spooky and cool, and there is only so much you can pull off with that mask.

The film does however suffer a bit from 'more is less' syndrome.

Overall entertainment value 7.5 with a historical significance of 7.0 (grand as it was in scope it might be the one that is forgotten of the three.)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

London Boulevard

Well a mildly entertaining film.  Started off really cool with a Guy Ritchie (at his best) pace and feel.  You could easily get the best of this movie by fast forwarding to the Colin Farrell/Ray Winstone exchanges.  These were really well done with cool tart dialogue.  Both can pull off tough guys really well.  Reminded me of the exchanges in Departed which it comes as no surprise that it was written by the same person William Monahan. 

 

This movie: Entertainment Value of 6.5 and historical film significance of 6.0 (only for the cool, tough guy exchanges)

 

An additive that I found and thought was also kind of cool.  A quote from William Monahan.

I wanted to be an old-fashioned man of letters, so I essentially prepared myself very carefully through my 20s for a job that doesn't exist anymore; You may be able to find a man of letters in Syria or the Horn of Africa, but you could work Manhattan or London with dogs for a year and never find one. Anthony Burgess is dead, Vidal is the last lion, and at any rate belles-lettres aren't where they were left. Anyway, I'm making movies now. Just before all this happened, I thought, 'Out of everything you can do or think you can do, pick one thing and be it.' What I picked was to be the screenwriter.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Frank Ocean

I do not know much about this rapper, but judging from his performance on Jimmy Fallon's show last night, I look forward to hearing the rest of his new album Channel Orange.  Here is a link to the performance backed by Roots from the NBC site.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ted

There is no critical comment to add about Ted.   It is exactly what it promises to be - funny.  I laughed more in this movie then I have in a long time.  There wasn't any huge double over laughter but there was sustainable, consistent laughs that kept you entertained for 106 minutes.  Seth MacFarlane knows how to make guys laugh and now he knows how to do it in full length feature films.  He pulled this off with a bear folks.  Like he did in the past in 22 minute segments with a talking baby, dog and alien.  It even works as a romantic comendy.  Wahlberg, Kunis, McHale and Ribisi were aptly cast.  Ribisi is a genius.
Did you notice how many times a mentioned the word 'laugh'?   It was by design.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Music of Sorkin - Newsroom

The circling vultures seem to have found what they have been hoping for.  One episode in, most critics are calling out Aaron Sorkin for his new HBO series Newsroom.  I will not highlight those issues and instead let you decide for yourself.  Granted some of these critics have the luxury of screening 5 complete episodes and perhaps the series falls off the rails somewhere down the line, but from my early vantage point I am just delighted to once again hear the music and cadence of his dialogue writing.  Since West Wing went off the air I have been longing for this kind of writing.  It feeds a different part of my entertainment needs.  I have comedies to make me laugh, horror and suspense to make me jump and dramas to insight various other emotions. Sorkin on the other hand make me think.  There is no such thing as a lazy Sorkin fan.  If you don't keep up with the dialogue's quick pace and listen attentively for the various political references, you will soon find yourself left behind like a majority of the Nielsen audience grasping for the remote to watch a more mainstream form of mind-numbing entertainment.  Let's not forget folks, that last week behind the NBA finals, America's Got Talent pulled the highest ratings.

Typically characters come first, then story and finally dialogue.  With Sorkin, dialogue comes first.  Well researched content with historical validity.  And as you continue to tune in, the character development follows.  And from time to time real drama is born when its necessary catalyst 'crisis' is injected into the storyline.  For example, in West Wing we had a shooting, a kidnapping, heath scares etc.

Newsroom shows us that anchormen are not just faces with pleasant voices.  Anchormen or anchor-persons are real people and unlike in the old days, modern news is dictated by corporations and political agendas.  Perhaps the outcry from critics, who are for the most part paid journalists, stems from the same anti free press agenda.  With previous Sorkin series and screenplays the political content might have been easier to accept or wallpaper over as the jabs and accusations were less overt.  Newsroom stories are  instead based on true life past headlines that are unearthed and exposed to the light of truth or at the very least educated and plausible conspiracy theories.  As a result, the north american public may feel like they are being called out for being spoon fed lies.  This of course is based on the premise that people will actually watch this show.

So I truly hope that the upcoming episodes keep pace with the first.  I will keep in mind the criticisms identified by the critics and if I agree with them I will be the first to admit it.  Hey I once truly respected M. Night Shyamalan and if he can fall from grace anyone can.