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What! You haven’t seen it yet?

By now, most of you have seen some or all of this seasons blockbusters.

Probably one of the most anticipated large budget “super hero” films, Wonder Woman, raised the bar for DC Films. I previously reviewed it, and if I were to give it stars, it would be 4.5 out of 5, IMHO.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 came out a month before, and that was probably the preview for how Marvel was going to handle the soon to be released Spiderman – Homecoming. Lots of humor interspersed with a lot of action.

The latest Spiderman with Tom Holland in the role, revealed how we recall the Peter Parker / Spiderman of the ’60’s. Fun mixed in with teenage angst. For me this movie rated a solid 4 out of 5 stars.

Continuing to promote and have some fun with it, Tom Holland gives us a little video insight of his “action packed” role.

2017-07-13 15.41.08

 

Passing the Time Away..

John_Wick_Chapter_Two

John Wick 2 Lionsgate Pictures 2017

By now, most people who want to see the movie, John Wick Chapter 2, have already gone to the theater. If you haven’t seen it already, and intend to do so, then maybe you should skip reading this post.

If you haven’t seen the first film, John Wick, you’re among the many, but you may have missed a cult classic. This was intended to be a small budget action film, however the popularity by word of mouth spread. So much so, that the box office for this second film is over double of the first,

John Wick 2, takes the action up a notch with Keanu Reeves reprising a role he’s meant for. Jason Bourne, stay home, you’ve met your match with John Wick.

The Razzie Awards are known for identifying the worst films and actors of the year. Keanu Reeves picked up a different award after acting in John Wick, the Razzie Redeemer Award. He’s even better in Chapter 2.

I think the John Wick films are not for everyone, especially younger children. There’s a cohesive plot line throughout, it essentially revolves around a retired hit man who has been brought out of his desire to be left alone by some very nasty and clever underworld people. Things ramp up after he completes his assignment, when he becomes the target of a high-priced bounty. There’s not a lot of time to catch your breath between kills. The writing and acting keep you engaged in spite of your possible aversion to seeing this much chaos or carnage.

A fan favorite, Laurence Fishburne is in this film, along with Ian McShane. Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. better known as Common, is the principal antagonist, who, like Keanu Reeves, did most of his stunt work.

Shunning most CGI, while using innovative choreography combined with incredible stunt work, the film has a gritty reality throughout and holds your attention to the end.

What’s the body count in this film? If you’ve seen it, you might want to take a guess. I don’t know if it qualifies as the most in a film, after all we’ve seen films which include D-Day, and the Scots battling the Brits in the 14th century, as well as a lot of sandals and swords movies depicting Roman era. Not withstanding those deaths on a grand scale, we have John Wick coldly and methodically slaughtering and maiming people on a very personal, sometimes hand to hand, scale.

Don’t let this put you off, if you liked Die Hard, or Bourne films, this one will reach out and grab you, as evidenced by the remarks and the reactions I heard while in the theater.

John_Wick_Chapter_Two_kills_2

The number of deaths are almost as frequent as 1 per minute of film

Many of you may want to own the Blue-Ray release, now available.

There’s also a comic book for the John Wick series to be made available.

John_Wick_Giovanni_Valletta

John Wick Comic book announced

 
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Posted by on 14/06/2017 in Action, Box Office, Movies

 

The Batman Has Left Us

For those old enough to recall the 1966-68, television series, Batman played by Adam West, it was the last time any of us recall a lighter, more humorous version of Batman & Robin.

When Michael Keaton reprised the role of Batman, sans Robin in the 1980’s, it was a much darker more serious view of the comic book hero.

Gone were the camp, tongue firmly in cheek remarks, as well as the graphical sound effects punches, such as THWACK-BOFF-KAPOW-BONK-ZAP & BAM.

《-Batman Fight Scene Clips-》

As that era of mega-guest stars welcomed to the small screen on a weekly schedule ended, so too has its lead star. Adam West has passed, fighting the last good fight for his life with Lukemia. He was 88 years old.

Adam West Gallery


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 Guest Cameos on the Bat climb (14 in all)

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Posted by on 11/06/2017 in Actors, Comics, Crime Drama, Deaths, Entertainment, Hollywood, Humor, Movies, Popular Culture, Television

 

State of Cinema

Can you recall any picture in the last 3 years that was wildly popular that didn’t include things getting smashed or blown to bits?

Have you gone to a movie or rented one that featured clever or charming dialog, let’s say in the past 24 months?

It’s OK, I can wait for your answer . . .

NO?

la-la-land-poster-small

Click for video

Surprise, I can think of one! La La Land which did – Worldwide: $439,020,154 (£424.7m)

That’s nothing compared to the Faster & the Even More Furious, OK, real title – The Fate of the Furious. Worldwide: $532,481,640 That’s just in the first (opening) weekend. It broke the previous record of $529m (£421.8m) taken in by Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

That kind of money gets attention, which means the type of films I might find more interesting, or have longevity, are not likely to be made in the foreseeable future. That’s kind of shame, because the independent films are constantly trying to break into a market that is walled off from the public.

Why is the Fast & Furious franchise so popular?

fate_of_the_furious_opening_box_office

BBC Entertainment & Arts

That’s a question which seems easy to answer, at least on the surface. Some may say it has universal appeal to young & old, because people like to see escape fantasies of things destroyed. The protagonists and antagonists are people over the top, escaping doom or creating disasters on a grand scale with seemingly little consequence.  Have you ever picked up a sledge-hammer to help demolish a car for charity? Imagine 100’s of times greater smash, with none of the work but all of the fun.

There are other reason(s), I believe which increase its appeal. The actors in the film, identify well with an audience. Paul Walker was one of those people who seemed universally liked. Actors, Tyrese Gibson, Nathalie Emmanuel, Vin Diesel and Ludacris, all have large followings. Dwayne Johnson has starred in four of this franchise movies, and he’s brought new energy to it. Still, they’re not adverse to bringing in other major names, and stirring the pot.

Kurt Russel has been a big action adventure star for years. This time he even has a name that most of us can relate to…  Mr. Nobody.

The Fate of the Furious won’t be a movie I will pay to see, but the next film Kurt Russell will be in, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, is going to be at the top of my screening list. If I’m not there opening day, I will be soon thereafter. The last Guardians of the Galaxy anticipated their audience, adding humor to an imaginative story that grabbed a lot of eyes. This one looks to be every bit the right follow on, in one I’m least familiar as a published graphics novel.


 

Sexual Content Not New

Some people get a little indignant seeing the nipple(s) or the derrière of a woman on screen. Perhaps you may not have watched some early B&W movies. They had their ideas of what was acceptable in film, similar to what we might see today, although censorship soon started after a few of these early films.

Maureen O’Sullivan had a body double in the under water scenes. Co-starring as Jane in “Tarzan the Ape Man”, with Johnny Weissmuller (1932), became the first of 12 films in which he starred as the lead, loosely based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel.

It was a pre-code film, which garnered enough attention by 1934, to have the scenes, featured in the above link, to be removed. They were later restored for the DVD series.

Maureen O’Sullivan talks about the public reaction after doing a couple of these films. What caused a public furor then, would be a trivial problem today.

For entirely different reasons, I doubt a portrayal of an innocent pairing of two people could be presented in such a manner at this time. Women would be protesting this as a film filled with misogyny and brutish male dominance over women, or something quite close to that description.

A final tribute to a passing era of make believe. A time before comic book super heroes, space adventure, or kids with wands.

The many films of Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan. A brief vignette.

 

 

 
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Posted by on 23/03/2017 in Movies

 

We Love to Criticize

By now, even people who didn’t watch the Oscars, heard about the SNAFU during the last presentation. A mix up occurred when the announcement was made for best picture.
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Click on image to find out what happened

The reaction many are having is typical of other instances where we add our two cents, or criticize others when things don’t go perfect. In some ways, I believe we’re compensating for our own failings. It’s easier to point out the flaws in someone or something else, rather than ourselves.

Overall, I believe they handled the situation about as good as we could expect. Both actors were somewhat perplexed when looking at the envelope, however it appeared Faye Dunaway just wanted to get it over and practically yanked it out of the hands of Warren Beatty.

Her announcement started the clock on how long it would take before the error was noticed. Jimmy Kimmel had already sat down. He fully expected that was the end of the evening, then pandemonium broke momentarily when the PWC representative and the Academy stage manager came on stage to examine what they had read, knowing this was the wrong selection for best picture.

Given the circumstances, it’s not really all that earth shaking of a mistake. It will however, give us something to talk about until the Awards season begins again, next year.

emma_stone_oscar_la_la_land_image

Emma Stone received an Oscar for her role in La La Land

A far more serious concern, greater than this mix up, was when a bus load of “tourists” were brought into the theater and paraded in front of the attendees. This was done as a gag introduced by Jimmy Kimmel. Several of the actors posed and shook hands with these people. Here’s the security concern with what transpired. This is a quote from the Hollywood Reporter date March 1, 2017.

“Another more serious problem was the revelation that one of the “regular people” brought onstage from a bus tour of Hollywood monuments turned out to be a registered sex offender — Gary Alan Coe, who was released from prison just three days earlier after serving 20 years for felonies including attempted rape.”

OSCAR Awards 2017

PICTURE:
· Moonlight

DIRECTOR:
· Damien Chazelle – La La Land

ACTOR:
· Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea

ACTRESS:
· Emma Stone – La La Land

SUPPORTING ACTOR:
· Mahershala Ali – Moonlight

SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
· Viola Davis – Fences

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
· Manchester by the Sea – Kenneth Lonergan

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
· Moonlight – Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McRaney

ANIMATED FEATURE:
· Zootopia

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:
· The Salesman

CINEMATOGRAPHY:
· La La Land – Linus Sandgren

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:
· O.J.: Made in America

DOCUMENTARY SHORT:
· The White Helmets

ANIMATED SHORT:
· Piper

LIVE-ACTION SHORT:
· Sing

VISUAL EFFECTS:
· Jungle Book

PRODUCTION DESIGN:
· La La Land

COSTUME DESIGN:
· Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

MAKE-UP & HAIR:
· Suicide Squad

FILM EDITING:
· Hacksaw Ridge – John Gilbert

SOUND MIXING:
· Hacksaw Ridge

SOUND EDITING:
· Arrival

ORIGINAL SCORE:
· La La Land – Justin Hurwitz

ORIGINAL SONG:
· City of Stars – La La Land

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

 
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Posted by on 01/03/2017 in Academy Awards, Awards, Hollywood, Movies

 

Resistance is Futile

A young Bela Lugosi photo

Bela Lugosi – Dracula

The OSCARS may be the buzz that Hollywood would like us to focus on, but only momentarily. They really want us to take them seriously. There will be many brows furrowed, scoldings issued, and appeals made.

This means we’re likely going to hear more speeches on, Donald Trump outrage, immigration, civil rights, racismhuman created environmental changes (our shame – not theirs). We may be hoping to see which cinematography, musical score, writers, actors, graphics, scripts, receive awards, but rest assured, that’s not all they have planned for us.

In many ways, they’ve become an interest group concerned with moral causes and how they continue to portray themselves as super citizens.

comedy - dramaThere are changes in the making. I’m not talking about the continuing inflation of egos, rather many ‘stars’ are getting older, their expenses are going up while box office receipts are going down. Their demands for increased salaries may actually set them back.

=-=- Biggest World Wide Box Office Releases Not From Hollywood -=-=

The news for Hollywood, just like American manufacturing, it can be done elsewhere, and often for less cost with greater profits. China & Japan are having a good year for film making and box office revenue.

Joan Fontaine Cary Grant  Suspicion 1940

Joan Fontaine & Cary Grant

La La Land is a one of the movies nominated for awards, but the title and the ending suggests a bit more reality than many might immediately recognize about the traditional film industry.

A couple of last-minute notes… Greg P. Russell had his Oscar nomination rescinded on Saturday, for 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.

Bill Paxton has died from complications from heart surgery. He was 61.

 
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Posted by on 26/02/2017 in Academy Awards, Actors, Attitude, Awards, Box Office, Entertainment, Finance, Hollywood, Movies, Popular Culture

 
 
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