movies

REVIEW: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Trailer #2)

Just a bit ago, a new trailer for the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi dropped, and I have some thoughts about it. Directed by Rian Johnson, Star Wars: The Last Jedi continues the story began in JJ Abram’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Picking up where The Force Awakens left off, The Last Jedi finds Rey (Daisy Ridley) having just found Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) on the planet Ahch-To. With Rey having taken her first steps into the larger Star Wars universe, The Last Jedi follows her as she continues her journey alongside Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Isaac), and General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). As always, further details on the plot are under lock and key, though this trailer seems to provide some more information on that front.  (more…)

REVIEW: Blade Runner 2049 (Spoiler free)

mv5bnza1njg4nzyxov5bml5banbnxkftztgwodk5nju3mzi-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_It’s certainly a Blade Runner film. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it’s even better than the first. May the internet mob spare my life. Directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, Blade Runner 2049 picks up thirty years after the first film. In those thirty years, the original Nexus brand of Replicants rebelled and a caused a massive blackout that led to the prohibition of al Replicants and the bankruptcy of the Tyrell Corporation. In swept Niander Wallace (Jared Leto), purchasing the remains of the Tyrell Corporation. Wallace invented a new line of Replicants, ensuring they would always obey their masters. Eventually, he got the prohibition lifted and things returned to the way they were. As Blade Runner: 2049 opens, Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a Blade Runner (who is also a Replicant) is on a mission to retire a rogue Replicant, Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista), and uncovers evidence of a conspiracy that stretches all the way back to the events of the first film and its titular Blade Runner, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford). (Very mild spoilers may follow)  (more…)

The Art of Adaptation – A Thoroughly Modern Essay

We’ve all seen good adaptations of things we love and we’ve all seen bad ones. But what, exactly, makes an adaptation good? For the past… pretty much forever… Hollywood, in particular, has been adapting anything it could get its hands on. From books, to tv, to theatre, to video games, Hollywood loves adaptations. The problem is that the adaptations are often not very good at all. You see this with books, like Eragon and the Percy Jackson series and TV shows like Dark Shadows and Video Games like Assassin’s Creed and musicals like RENT and even anime like Death Note and Ghost in the Shell.

The question becomes, why are there so many lousy adaptations? Especially when most of them are based on properties that are really well made in their original mediums? Where is the disconnect?

Contrary to popular belief, there really is an art to adaptation. There are four key things that a good adaptation must adhere to. Respect for the source material and characters, not being a slave to the source material, knowing what to change and what to keep, and telling a story in the most cohesive and interesting way that utilizes the best of what the specific medium has to offer.

Bad adaptations, usually get at least one of those key things wrong, if not more than one of them. So, let’s explore them more in depth and see if we can’t figure out how to go about making a good adaptation.  (more…)

REVIEW: It (2017)

mv5bote0nweyndytywi5mc00mwy0ltg1ndctzjawmjkymwjinzk1xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynjk5nda3otk-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s more than a week late, but what can I say? I’m a college student and getting to the movies isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world, but I’ve seen the movie now, and it was pretty solid! It is a new adaptation of the novel of the same name by Stephen King, written by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, and Gary Dauberman and directed by Andy Muschietti. In 1989, sparked by the mysterious disappearance of Georgie Denbrough (Jackson Robert Scott), a group of kids – known as the Losers Club – investigate the history of their town and uncover a dark secret. Every 27 years, the town of Derry, Maine is plagued by mysterious deaths, and at the center of it all appears to be a clown named Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård). The Losers Club bands together to stop the demonic entity known as Pennywise the Dancing Clown from wreaking further havoc on their town. There’s only one problem: Pennywise can take the form of whatever scares them the most. Can they face their deepest fears and take It down? (Spoilers follow)  (more…)

REVIEW – Death Note (2017)

mv5byzk5zjfhztutyzflmy00mdq0lwe5ogqtztk0ywq3yjdkn2u2xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymzgzmju4njm-_v1_sy1000_cr006661000_al_On the bright side, it’s not awful. It’s not really all that good, either, though. Which is a shame since there’s really a lot of potential in the movie. And it’s even more frustrating since the movie is clearly set up for sequels that I’m not sure it’s gonna get considering the quality of this film. Death Note is Netflix’s latest original movie and is a somewhat loose adaptation of the Manga of the same name written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. In Netflix’s adaptation (written by Charles Parlapanides, Vlas Parlapanides, and Jeremy Slater and directed by Adam Wingard), the action is moved from Japan to Seattle and follows Light Turner (Nat Wolff), a bright student, stumbles across a mystical notebook (and the god of death that accompanies it, Ryuk (voice and facial motion capture by William Dafoe, physical actions by Jason Liles)) that has the power to kill any person whose name he writes in it. Light decides to launch a secret crusade to rid the streets of criminals. Soon, the student-turned-vigilante finds himself pursued by a famous detective known only by the alias L (Lakeith Stanfield). (As always, this will contain spoilers.) 

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A Critque on Things Cut from “The Sound of Music” film.

mv5bodixnjhkyjetyzuymi00ytnjlwe1yjktnjayy2i2mwnknmnml2ltywdll2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymtqxnzmzndi-_v1_sx9999So, I adore The Sound of Music. I grew up on it. When I was three, I used to ride around my house on my tricycle yelling “They’re gone!” like the soldier did at the end of the festival scene when the Von Trapps escaped to the convent. I know most of the words to all of the songs by heart. So, I really adore the film. That being said, some… interesting changes were made when adapting the stage musical into the film. For some reason, the whole thing was made about an hour longer than it was on stage. Several songs were added to the film and a number were taken away. Herein lies my problem with the movie: two of the cut songs were integral to the plotline of the story and ridding the film of them damages the subplot of Captain Von Trapp and Baroness Elsa Schräder’s failed romance.  (more…)

Welcome to a World of Gods and Monsters (The Mummy 2017 Review)

mv5bnjfjndiwntktmdy1my00zme3lwe0n2itmwm2zjazymrkndfmxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyndg2mjuxnjm-_v1_sy1000_cr006311000_al_I’m not quite sure what people were expecting this movie to be, to be honest. It was never advertised as a horror movie or a thriller, so I’m not sure why people were expecting scares/thrills. I mean, the original monster movies would barely classify as horror anymore. They’re more Gothic film than anything else. The trailers for this pitched it as an action/adventure movie involving Tom Cruise getting cursed and bringing a mummy back to life and Jekyll running some secret organization dedicated to finding and eradicating evil, and that’s exactly what we got. The Mummy (directed by Alex Kurtzman from a script by David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie, and Dylan Kussman), follows soldier/thief Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) as he accidentally unearths the tomb of Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), releases her, and ends up cursed. Together with Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), Nick has to work with Prodigium, an organization led by the mysterious Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe), to find a way to break the curse and stop Princess Ahmanet from using Nick as a sacrifice to resurrect the Egyptian god Set. (There may be some mild spoilers ahead, so read with caution.)  (more…)

A Movie Worthy of an Amazonian (Wonder Woman – Review)

wonder_woman_poster2b252852529If this is what it’s like to be a Greek goddess, sign me up. This movie has it all! Interesting mythology, great characters, amazing fight sequences, a well thought out plot, and an atmosphere that just makes you feel good. It’s exactly the kind of superhero movie that’s both wanted and needed right now. The latest film in the DCEU has finally come out! Directed by Patty Jenkins with a screenplay by Allan Heinberg (from a story by Heinberg, Zack Snyder, and Jason Fuchs), Wonder Woman stars Gal Gadot as the titular Amazon warrior as she makes her way through a war-torn Europe during the first World War. With the aid of Steve Trevor (a US Military Pilot who washed onto the shores of Themyscira, played by Chris Pine), Diana Prince (as she’s referred to in the movie – they never actually call her Wonder Woman) sets out to bring an end to the war before any more atrocities can be committed. But, it’s never as simple as that, is it? (This review strives to be spoiler-free, but for anybody really averse to spoilers, you might wanna wait to read this until after you’ve seen the movie. I’m not gonna go into too many specifics, especially about the latter half of the film, but regardless, this is your warning.)  (more…)

REVIEW: Newsies – The Broadway Musical (film)

Newsies_ The Broadway MusicalDisney’s Newsies: The Broadway Musical is a recording of the hit Broadway musical Newsies filmed live at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, CA during the last leg of the musical’s national tour. This filmed version features the return of many of the original Broadway cast – including Jeremy Jordan, Kara Lindsay, Ben Fankhauser, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Kevin Carolan, Mark Aldrich, Tommy Bracco, and John E. Brady – as well as the final national tour cast – including Steve Blanchard, Aisha de Haas, Ethan Steiner, Iain Young, Michael Gorman, Michael Rios, Devin Lewis, and Anthony Norman, among others – combined into one large cast to permanently capture this award-winning musical. As per Fathom Events: Newsies Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy, and leader of a ragged band of teenaged ‘newsies,’ who dreams only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies newsies from across the city to strike and take a stand for what’s right.  (more…)

REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

mv5bmtg2mzi1mtg3of5bml5banbnxkftztgwntu3nda2mti-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_How do you follow up a surprise hit like the first Guardians of the Galaxy film and do it justice? Certainly not like this. With the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Marvel has continued their latest trend of cramming way too many ideas into one film and ultimately diluting the impact of the main story they were trying to tell. Written and directed by James Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. follows our team – Peter Quill/Starlord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Batista), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) – as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand. (Summary courtesy of Marvel.)  Note: this review contains spoilers. (more…)