Thursday, March 27, 2014

Omniscient

[Prologue]

There’s an old saying that goes something like, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” While I admire that sentiment, it is, of course, nonsense. Obviously it’s about the destination. Sure, sure, the journey helps, especially if the journey builds and builds, making the destination that much sweeter. But even if the journey is a boring, monotonous mess, the destination can normally make up for it.

And there we have it: the first unnecessary metaphor. I’ll try not to do that too often, but I can’t make any promises. Anyway, the journey is, in this instance, a story. Any old story has a journey, but only the best stories have the destination. Okay, yes, the worst stories have endings, but that’s not what I mean. A destination isn’t just an ending; it’s a meaningful, entirely appropriate, conclusion. You see, if a story is great and the ending is trite or confusing, then the journey didn’t matter. But if the story is good … Well then you have reached your destination. And you’re likely to visit again and again.

Of course, you’re probably wondering where I’m going with all of this. Well, I’ll get right down to it. I’m a Narrator; an Omniscient Narrator to be precise. I tell stories to people who would, otherwise, have no way of hearing them. Perhaps we’ve met before, although there are so many of us that it’s likely you and I have never met at all. But here we are.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: If you want to be a good Narrator, you have to know where to find a good story and if you want to find a good story then you have to know where to look. It just so happens I know exactly where to look.

As far as how you should address me, that is entirely up to you. Some of the other Narrators call me Ford (short for Narrator Forty Eight Thousand Three Hundred and Eleven). But you can call me whatever you’d like.



Just don’t call me Ishmael. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Elysium: Not quite District 9

It is impossible not to compare Neill Blomkamp's sophomore effort to its predecessor District 9. The tone is very much the same and, though they are set in the future, they both deal with issues that are quite relevant today.
While Elysium lacks the emotional impact of District 9, it surpasses it visually and benefits from a more experienced cast (including Sharlto Copley, who's character in this is much more menacing than District 9's likable Wikus).
The creativity Blomkamp puts into his films is refreshing. They aren't simply sci-fi allegories with pretty special effects; He makes the future a reality. The weapons, gadgets, and even ideals all make it quite believable and are a delight to look at.
Elysium falls short for two reasons, in my opinion. One is you know who you're supposed to be rooting for, but Damon's character is far too selfish and complicated to be completely likable. It all serves the story, but I would have liked to have had one character I was with the entire time. The second reason is that it assumes all rich people are selfish (or it fails to mention any humanitarian efforts to help the poor population on Earth). I think in order to be a completely effective story, it has to be honest and not paint the classes with such a one-dimensional brush.
Regardless of its few faults, Elysium is the sci-fi film of the year and is a must-see for fans of Blomkamp. As far as I'm concerned, that man should be given every good sci-fi project.

8/10


Trailer

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fruitvale Station: This shit is relevant, bruh



A perfect film in that it accomplishes everything it sets out to. The characters are as real as it gets (which is nice, considering it's a true story) and the cast absolutely nails it. Their performances suck the viewer in, making the end that much more unbearable to watch. It is rare, considering it actually feels like a true story. It feels like you are thrown into Oscar's day and you laugh with him, cope with him, and suffer with him. Nothing is unnecessary and everything works.

Fruitvale Station could be the most important film in years in some regards: It stresses how important technology is (in this case cell phones). It brings to light some issues that seem to be increasingly relevant (the Zimmerman trial and the film's release date can't be a coincidence). This movie should be seen by everyone.

I will never forget this movie.

9.5/10

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Man of Steel: Nope... Not quite.



Man of Steel was, in some ways, hard for me to watch. Not because it was a particularly bad film, but because it could have been so much better.

What is interesting about the Superman story (to me, anyway) is not how he was born or how he later fought villains and saved the world, but that small period between the two, where he wrestled with his identity and struggled to fit in with other people. His Earth parents are, in many ways, the real heroes of the story because, without them, he could very well be the world's greatest super-villain (for a great take on this, read Mark Waid's IRREDEEMABLE). The fact that this aspect of Superman's life is only glossed over in flash-backs really hurts the movie for me. Costner and Diane Lane were excellent as the Kents and this was where Goyer's script actually felt right. Everything else, however, was a mess.

Forget the Jesus allegory that is shoved into the viewers face. Forget the ridiculous damsel-in-distress/"he's hot" female characters. Forget the plot holes, the constantly shaking camera and the Star Trek lens flares. Forget the hypocrisy of the characters and the sometimes lacking special effects. Man of Steel fails because it tries to please everyone. It sets out to make a philosophical film that is also a bang-bang action blockbuster. It's Michael Bay meets Terrence Malick and it just doesn't work. The movie is constantly contradicting itself.

Yet, somehow, through all of this, I never had the urge to get up and walk out of the theater. Between Hans Zimmer's excellent score and the (mostly) great cast, I felt obliged to stay. And, yes, there was some stuff that I really did like.
But I also liked some stuff in Movie 43, so there's that...

6/10

Monday, March 18, 2013

Like Someone In Love



This is one of those films that I enjoyed thoroughly while it was running, but will probably never see again. The acting was wonderfully charming and the editing was seamless, however the story left a bit to be desired. Now, with films like this, I'm okay with the boring realistic story, since it is done in such an effective way. It is as real as it gets and the sound is entirely diegetic. This is welcomed break from normal cinema.
Like Someone in Love should be enjoyed for what it is: A touching and beautiful study of relationships.

Watch the trailer here: 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Stoker: the best film of the year (so far)




I read that Chan-Wook Park Decided to become a filmmaker after seeing Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. This trivia becomes obvious after watching the dark and suspenseful, masterfully crafted Stoker.
Stoker is highly stylized in that every single frame is absolutely astonishing to look at. Much like Lars Von Trier's Antichrist, the film's beauty juxtaposes the dark and disturbing events taking place. However, unlike Antichrist, you do not want to look away, as the story is worthy of the visuals.
Everything comes together perfectly in Stoker: The sound, the cinematography, the music, the acting (Wasikowska, Goode, and Kidman are all outstanding), the dialogue, the setting, the pacing. Never once did I say, "that's too much," or, "I could do without this scene." In fact, when the movie ended, I just wanted to watch the entire thing again (if I didn't already have plans, I would have).
What I enjoyed most about Stoker was the tension, be it sexual or mystery. I was always on the edge of my seat and it was all done so well that I can't imagine anyone not feeling that way. There was one man on his phone in the theater, which I usually forgive if it is discrete (he was probably dragged there) but, during this movie, I wanted to break his phone into a thousand pieces.
Stoker is somewhat hard to find right now, but will hopefully get a wide release. However you end up seeing it, I urge you to check it out. Watch the Trailer below

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

My 20 Favorite Films of 2012

There were many films released in 2012, and I saw 114 of them. Using Letterboxd.com, I kept all of them in order of favorite to least favorite. I don't feel like writing individual write ups on these, so I'll let the list speak for itself. Here are my top twenty.


20. Argo (Ben Affleck)


19. For a Good Time, Call... (Jamie Travis)


18. Ted (Seth MacFarlane)

17. Robot and Frank (Jake Schreier)


16. Life of Pi (Ang Lee)

15. Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow)

14. Flight (Robert Zemeckis)

13. The Sessions (Ben Lewin)

12. Searching for Sugar Man (Malik Bandjelloul) 

11. Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson)

10. Pirates: Band of Misfits (Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt)

9. The Raid: Redemption (Gareth Evans)

8. Prometheus (Ridley Scott)

7. Seven Psychopaths (Martin McDonagh)

6. Intouchables (Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano)

5. Wreck-It Ralph (Rich Moore)

4. 21 Jump Street (Phil Lord and Chris Miller)

3. Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan)

2. Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino)

1. Looper (Rian Johnson)



Honorable Mentions: Time and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie, Pitch Perfect, Side By Side, Anna Karenina, Room 237, Wanderlust, Brave, Silver Lining's Playbook, Skyfall