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Showing posts from October, 2016

Dracula (1931) Review

Dracula is a 1931 monster movie directed by Tod Browning and Kan Freund and stars the great Bela Lugosi as the titular vampire. The film is considered one of the great monster classics and made Count Dracula into one of the great horror movie icons.

Story
An English lawyer travels to Transylvania in order to help Count Dracula purchase a plot of land. The Count takes the liberty of turning the hapless gentleman into a mindless, deranged man-servant to help him spread death and chaos throughout England. A doctor named Van Helsing deduces that this must be a vampire and tries to stop him. That's pretty much the entire setup and honestly that's all the film needs.

I can honestly see why this version of Count Dracula is such a favorite: he's elegant yet over the top and he's got that great voice everybody loves to imitate. His mind-melted servant is entertaining, to say the least. Most of that comes from the performance, which I'll talk about later.

Technical
Since this …

Sicario Review

Sicario is a 2015 crime thriller directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Taylor Sheridan. This is the third film in Villeneuve's big-budget filmography following Prisoners and Enemy.

Story
Emily Blunt plays an FBI agent who, after an op that produces a horrific find, agrees to accompany a mysterious task force to take down the Mexican crime boss responsible for what she found. Once she joins, she enters a world of deception spear headed by her field leader (Josh Brolin) and a mysterious "consultant" (Benicio Del Toro).

The set up is not the most original premise in the world. However, it does make for a lot of intense scenes. The pacing is really well handled in the movie in that its slow, but never boring. Every time there's a slow scene there's always buildup to something, but you never know what it's going to be. You're just left waiting to see what will happen next. This is what makes great tension.

The characters are ok for the most part, but the …

Cowboy Bebop: The Ballad of Fallen Angels

Really? That's what I waited for?

I am now convinced that Cowboy Bebop, praised as nothing less than the anime second coming, is one of the most overrated TV shows of all time. Throughout these five episodes, I don't feel like I've gotten to know these characters at all and now I've come to the episode that the fans call a transcendent experience.

This episode finds Spike confronted with a previously unknown, but hinted at, tragic past. Nothing really happens until the end of the episode except Spike getting ready for the climax and poorly trying to make us care about something that wasn't even built up in previous episodes. What happens in the climax is next to nothing interesting; a lot of over the top gun fighting with no further explanation as to what exactly Spike is fighting for so there's no emotional weight to any of the violence. The bad guy is unbelievably boring, so there's not even that to enjoy.

I don't understand how people can find an obv…

Midnight in Paris Review

Midnight in Paris is a 2011 romantic comedy written and directed by Woody Allen. This film is often seen as one of Woody Allen's best and definitely his greatest work in recent memory.

Story
The setup is that a struggling writer (Owen Wilson) and his polar opposite fiancĂ© (Rachel McAdams) are on vacation in Paris with her parents and two of their friends. Longing for the France of old and wanting to experience the romance of the legendary city, he takes a walk late at night. Once the clock strikes twelve, however, he somehow travels back in time to his sought after 1920s Paris where he meets exaggerated caricatures of famous artists and writers. This sets him on a road of love, self fulfillment and discovery.

This film was definitely made to appeal to artists/writers, because they can easily identify with the main character. He's often awkward around others, he feels under appreciated and over looked and he has a great passion for the art of his idols. Every creative mind has f…

Cowboy Bebop: Stray Dog Strut

I'm two episodes in to what is considered one of the greatest shows of all time and I've received nothing but filler.
In this episode, Spike is contracted to capture a thief who stole a briefcase from a laboratory, only to find that the case is carrying a corgi. The rest of the episode is Spike and the guy who stole the case trying to get the corgi back. That's it.
I keep waiting for the show to be fantastic, but it's still not there. I've been told I should wait until episode 5 to make my decision, so I've decided to take that advice, however strongly my feelings are that this series is overrated by the anime community.

Cowboy Bebop: Asteroid Blues

Cowboy Bebop is one of those animes you hear about all the time even if you don't watch anime. Everybody calls it a transcendent experience and the best anime of all time. I've finally given in to peer pressure and have decided to do a short review of each episode of Cowboy Bebop as I watch it.

The first episode, "Asteroid Blues", introduces us to a space bounty hunter named Spike Spiegel as he tracks down a drug dealer for a huge bounty with his partner Jet.

I want to get the positives out of the way first; Steven Blum's performance as Spike is great, mostly because his voice is so low and gravely, but also smooth. The over the top anime detail is fun to watch and all the fight scenes are animated smoothly. I also like the visual style of this anime. The people all dress like they're in the old west in the Blade Runner universe. All the ships look dirty and hand made. It feels very genuine.

With all that being said, this episode isn't perfect. The story …

Strangers on a Train Review

Strangers on a Train is a 1951 crime drama written by Raymond Chandler/Czenzi Ormonde/Whitfield Cook and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The film is an adaptation of a thriller novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith that was published the previous year, mirroring Hitchcock's future production history with Psycho about a decade later.

Story
Two men who have never met each other before start a conversation on a train ride, leading to a misunderstanding that spirals out of control. I don't want to give away any more than that, because not knowing what the movie is about is half the fun.

The story and plot are both kept mostly simple by defined motivations for both of our titular strangers. One wants something badly, which conflicts with the wants of another and this causes them to clash, making a strong conflict for the film.

Being an Alfred Hitchcock movie, it's paced extremely well. Every scene that's supposed to be tense uses every agonizing, nail-biting minute to i…

Selma Review

Selma is a 2014 bio-drama written by Paul Webb and directed Ava DuVernay. The film won the 2015 Academy Award for best original song "Glory" and was nominated for Best Picture the same year.

Story

The film tells the story of the build up to Dr. Martin Luther King's march on Selma, Alabama for black America's right to vote. It shows the careful calculations King and his comrades considered to make their protest a success, the opposition they faced and the personal drama and stress that King felt during the time.

The story itself is thoroughly engrossing, though in a different way than other movies. With the benefit of hindsight, we know that Dr. King will get his way and be able to make his march. The tension and intrigue, therefore, come from all the unknown dramas and set backs that they had to go through to get there.

The screenplay is amazing in that they made the character in this movie sound like Martin Luther King Jr. Even if he never said these words you could …

My Version of the DCEU (Phases 1 & 2)

I don't know about everybody else, but I haven't even bothered seeing any of the DCEU movies after Man of Steel. The movie was a bit of a mess and when I heard that Zack Snyder, the director, was going to be the producer on the rest of these movies, I decided that I didn't need to be anywhere near them. However, I've really gotten into watching the CW series The Flash, the Cartoon Network show Young Justice and I just got done reading volume one of the comic series 52. All of these are amazing and really worth checking out. These DC I.P.'s have given me a pretty good idea of what the tone of DC movies should be like and I've started work on a fan fiction version of the DCEU, so I'm going to show you phases 1 and 2 of my version of the DC movies.

Phase 1

I'd do a Wonder Woman movie first; I'm planning to tell these stories in chronological order and it only makes sense to start with her in WW2. I've also decided that Wonder Woman herself will be p…

What Movies Are We Gonna Make?

(Note: Please keep in mind that this involves a lot of pure speculation with not a lot of hard numbers to back it up. This is purely for fun.)
A long time ago George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese were all sitting in their living rooms watching TV. Although this doesn't sound all that interesting, for these young kids it was an experience. Mob movies, sci-fi serials, monster & samurai movies were all seared into the minds of this young generation of film lovers. These "Movie Brats", as they were called later in life, went on to make some of the greatest movies of all time, drawing inspiration from their childhood movies.
A couple of decades later Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez started making movies based off the exploitation grind house movies they loved as kids.
This all got me thinking: what kind of movies are this age of film nuts going to make? What wild inspiration will find its way into our screenplays, cinematography and color coding? If w…