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Warning: Some Spoilers Ahead! I went into my late showing of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker with expectations low enough to make the bottomless sarlacc pit seem like an inflatable kiddie pool. Up to this point the chief effect of popular “sci-fi”’s encounter with director J.J. Abrams has been to leave the genre “scarred […]
I’m watching a beautiful movie on Prime called Little Forest, cheering fare for dark winter evenings. A young woman returns to her rural roots, a Korean farming village, for reasons she can’t fully explain except that she was “hungry” after all the pre-packaged city food. In the gentle plot, she searches for her mother, reconnects […]
The latest Pixar/Disney film is Coco, which tells the story of a boy who, on the Mexican Day of the Dead, accidentally transports himself in the world of the dead. He then must find his way home, encountering and working with his departed family to get back before sunrise, when he would find himself permanently trapped.
If you have seen the previews, then you should already be prepared for the quirky and colorful animation to come. I must confess that I had my doubts before seeing the movie, fearing that the animated skeletons would be little more than fodder for cheap gimmicks and gags, but the story rises far above that, using the animation merely as the vehicle through which a deeper story is told.
The film is very touching, even for a Pixar release, and I should warn you that there were many eyes that were far from dry by the end (including my own). Yes, this is a family film in the sense that the story is safe for children of all ages, but the story itself runs far deeper.
To celebrate Daughter 3’s birthday I took her and 2 of her sisters out to see the new My Little Pony movie. If you have any familiarity with the cartoon series, then you will find this movie very familiar. Running at around 90-ish minutes in length, it is effectively a half-season’s story arc told without […]
I just returned from watching Dunkirk with my eldest. I refrained from reading any reviews of it in advance, just so I could form my own opinion. Spoilers ahead, so be warned.
Actual photo of the beach at Dunkirk
The film is somewhat disorienting to watch. You are following 4 different stories, set at different paces, as they all race towards their intersection. The stories all begin at the start of the film, but one is set over a blurred week of attempted escapes, one picks up in the middle of the first, one a day before, and one begins a mere hour before the climax (the film informs you of this time difference in captions – 1 week, 1 day, 1 hour). The stories all intersect at last in the arrival of the first small craft from the UK at Dunkirk, and mostly run contiguous until the end.
This is a story of the Battle of the Atlantic, the story of an ocean, two ships, and a handful of men. The men are the heroes; the heroines are the ships. The only villain is the sea, the cruel sea, that man has made more cruel… Before there was Das Boot, there was The Cruel […]
The challenge: boil down any film into a single word or notable catchphrase that you’d use to describe it for someone who has never actually seen it. Examples: Preview Open
By popular demand: my review of Fifty Shades Darker. Warning: Spoilers, Dirty Stuff.
This is the second installment of the Fifty Shades of Grey series, with The Boy Billionaire Who Has Time for All Kinds of Bull[expletive] and The Girl Who Puts On Five Percent Too Much Lipstick. So, it’s no Empire Strikes Back. I’m putting this here because some people evidently thought this was worth reading for the sexy foodie sex stuff. They do eat a few salads and things, but it’s not like this is a food erotica movie. There is one food preparation scene. They go grocery shopping. They bring the food back to make dinner. He’s cutting up a bell pepper and she leans across him in a suggestive way a couple of times. Now if this were a movie from the ’40s, and we hadn’t already seen these two do a dozen weird, kinky things in the first installment, there might have been some energy, some sparks. But it’s just dull and dead.
Also, it’s weird how he cuts up the bell pepper. I wonder if this was a conscious choice on the part of Jamie Dornan, because he hacks it up so clumsily that I thought a cut-finger-blood-drinking scene was coming, but no, he gets through the bell pepper okay. Is he trying to depict The Billionaire as someone who doesn’t do little things like that for himself? I dunno. Then they do the sex and she wakes him up and says there’s nothing but cold stir-fry for breakfast. Which is stupid because they went grocery shopping and she totally could have gotten some eggs or something.
The holiday season usually has its fair share of blockbuster releases (Potter, LOTR, and now Star Wars films for the foreseeable future), but summer is still the time of year most heavily concentrated with big-budget, action-packed extravaganzas. That stated, this year there weren’t many summer movies I was particularly interested in. I saw, and loved, […]
Has anyone else seen it yet? This is the new Coen Brothers movie. Been out for about a week, 9/10 according to me, takes place in 1950s Hollywood. Stars George Clooney as a movie star who gets kidnapped and Josh Brolin as the studio head who has to get him back. Other madcap things ensue. […]
Back in 1958 Ian Fleming was looking to make a James Bond film and got introduced to a young writer named Kevin McClory who had recently entered a film, The Boy and the Bridge, into the Venice Film Festival. The movie ended up doing quite poorly in the box office and Fleming grew less interested […]
This whole review is spoilers. You’ve been warned. So we start out with General Princess Leia who sends this Puerto Rican pilot (Poe Dammeron) to the desert planet of Jakku to get the one thing that the resistance needs to find Luke Skywalker, last of the Jedi, who’s AWOL on some remote planet. They need […]
The third installment of James Bond’s adventures might not rise to the artistry of its predecessor From Russia with Love but in many ways it remains, if you’ll pardon the expression, the gold standard. Released less than a year after the previous film, the director and direction of the Bond films changed dramatically. Terence Young […]
When Ian Fleming’s James Bond was first put on the air, Casino Royale was broadcast in 1954 with Barry Nelson as “Jimmy Bond”. The teleplay, which I confess I haven’t seen, was apparently pretty awful since it wasn’t until 1962 that the world was graced with the second first Bond adventure – Dr. No. Watching […]
Reviewed: Fifty Shades of Grey, the movie. For the thread with my review of the book, go here.For a thread in which everyone on Ricochet swears they would never read such a thing, go here. Preview Open
The new Hobbit trilogy is a one pound bag with three pounds of manure. Some failures are predictable: we know that Michael Bay’s Middle Earth would have more explosions than elves and that Tim Burton would spend most of our time in Mirkwood and Moria. Peter Jackson made a masterpiece with his Fellowship of the Ring, perhaps because a limited budget forced him to keep the focus on the fairy tale and to edit out some of J.R.R. Tolkien’s weaker moments (I am rewatching it as I type to remind myself what a good movie looks like). Jackson wisely cut Tom Bombadil and Glorfindel, and he also built up Arwen’s role so her later marriage to Aragorn would make sense. In contrast, Jackson seems to have gotten an unlimited budget for his Hobbit trilogy, which falls short because Tolkien’s fairy tale was never meant to be an epic.
The focus of an epic is a dazzling hero who’s greater than ordinary men: either blessed by the gods — like the near invulnerable Achilles or the wily Odysseus — or he has godlike powers, like Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, or Spiderman. These heroes overcome monsters in part through their powers, but mostly because they have the moral character to use their powers wisely; if not, they come to a tragic end because they misuse their blessings like Heracles and Oedipus. But whether heroic or tragic, the epic’s hero is on a grand scale.
I can’t help but think of the 2003 Chris Rock movie Head of State. Chris Rock plays a Washington DC alderman who gets talked into running for President and … he wins. Thereby becoming the first black President of the United States. I saw it probably around 2004 and enjoyed it. Then I watched it again in 2010. It played … rather differently.
We don’t just watch a film in a vacuum, as with any piece of art, we view it through the lens of our time and place. A film can play one way when you see it the first time, it can play another way, often very differently, later. I know, for example, that if I were to watch Ghost Dad tonight, I would have a different reaction than if I had watched it a year ago.
Western Chauvinist recently contributed a brief but powerful piece of writing to the conversation about period films. She reviewed Titanic in three sentences–okay, technically fragments, but they required skill. My Titanic review took several paragraphs to say the same thing. I’m so impressed, I’d like to call for more of these Shrinkcrits from our Ricochet members. Guidelines: Your review […]