Ant-Man may just be the most interesting film that Marvel Studios greenlit. Gone are the destruction, the scale, the clash of gods and titans, and taking their place is an ordinary bloke in a extraordinary suit doing his thing across a number of rooms. Talk about unusual, right? Throw in the film’s long and tumultuous production, and it becomes the one film set in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) that moviegoers aren’t completely sold by and keep a wary eye on. Now that it has arrived, how does it stand? Well, it turns out to be a safe and serviceable flick – nothing more, perhaps something less depending on who you are.
If you were to judge Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – one of the favorites from this year’s Sundance Film Festival – based on first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it would be either a “girl with cancer” movie á la The Fault in Our Stars or a quirky, wannabe Wes Anderson flick, or perhaps a combination of the two. What you may not expect is a creative, idiosyncratic film that balances laughs and heartfelt emotion – and that’s exactly what this film is.
My favorite author is Stephen King. In a world where I was insane, I would say that I would try to read every book he’s ever written (maybe I will, but that’s a discussion for another day). What I will do, is read anything and everything related to his epic book series, The Dark Tower. I’ve read it before and the way many people feel about The Lord of the Rings, I feel about The Dark Tower. It’s a seven-book long story about Roland of Gilead, a Gunslinger which doubles as both a knight and a quick-draw gunfighter. He travels between universes following along his path to either save or destroy the world and find the Dark Tower. Continue reading
I don’t get to write about sports on this blog. Correction, I don’t get to write posts solely about sports on this blog. So when amazing things happen to my favorite sports franchise, the Golden State Warriors, I am encouraged to find a way to connect drinking or movies or TV to sports. If I were smarter or worked harder at this, I’d probably find creative solutions to the fact that I’m hamstrung to discuss the thing that I might love most in this world: basketball (Apologies to my dog and even more to my wife). Continue reading
Inside Out is Pixar’s greatest achievement. To many, this will come across as a bold statement; after all, it’s only been about a week since the film’s release. However, I’ve had fruitful discussions with friends about the picture and put much careful thought into it, and while it may be early to say it, I’m quite confident in my opinion. The film rivals Toy Story as the best feature film to date from the studio, and it’s also its most ambitious, creative, moving, and smartly written one to boot. But above all, what makes it such a tremendous film is its empathy.
I’ve been compromised; I admit that I cannot completely enter into a critic’s state of mind when reviewing the long-anticipated Jurassic World. I watched a ton of movies when growing up, but Jurassic Park was one of the three that anchored my childhood (with Star Wars and Free Willy being the other two). Watching dinosaurs come to life was a magical experience like no other, and that had me hooked for the rest of my life. I bought the toys, I played make-believe Jurassic Park and video games with my friends, I wanted to be a paleontologist, I don’t fully hate the sequels, and I caught the film’s re-release back in 2013.
Emotional attachment is a funny thing, as it clouds judgment and evokes fond, personal experiences and memories, and it’s difficult to resist. It’s like telling your child that you loved his or her performance in the school play, even though it actually wasn’t great. That’s exactly how I feel about Jurassic World. It’s tailor-made for the fans who were shaped by the franchise, and I suspect that they will react to so strongly such that the act of being transported to this familiar world outweighs the film’s flaws.
Last year, Martin Scorsese penned a public letter to his daughter, expressing how films nowadays can be made for little money and how important it is to maintain the spark that leads one to making a film. He’s right; what’s unique about this time is that anyone can be a filmmaker. All anyone needs is a camera and an editing system, and he/she can make a film just the way that he/she originally envisioned, without any interference whatsoever. With that, the filmmaker’s voice is preserved, which is something that any director or writer working in Hollywood would kill for.
I couldn’t help but think back to this letter after watching Jim Akin’s second feature-length film, The Ocean of Helena Lee, because it encapsulates just what Scorsese wrote about. Here is a film that was produced with just a thousand dollars and – from its first to final frame – expresses and maintains its filmmaker’s vision and voice. While it does have its fair share of flaws, you can’t help but admire its spirit and tenacity to show and tell a personal human experience.