Posts Tagged ‘movies’

A Wrinkle in Time….sigh.

Thu ,14/06/2018

Earlier this week, kerewin and I checked out A Wrinkle in Time. I had wanted to see this, then when it came out and the reviews weren’t good, I was a bit sad, but still wanted to see it anyway.

Because to me, the original book is very much of my time (came out in the early 60’s, I was born in the late 60’s), it’s not a very conventional book by any means (besides being sci-fi to begin with) and I’ve always considered it one of my key early books that got me really interested in the genre generally.

I think for me the key appeal of the story is that it takes fairly heavy subject matter (the never-ending struggle between good and evil, right and wrong, tough social situations and family struggles) and doesn’t talk down to the reader, despite being a kid’s book in the end. Even re-reading it a couple years ago on a whim, it’s still a good (if now much quicker) read, has respect for its characters and tells a good story – the key criteria above all.

So it’s clear why Hollywood would have a problem making a movie based on this story, and my initial take on the movie is that they made a decent try at it. I liked the new approach of an African-American girl in L.A. – her younger brother is possibly even *more* precocious than the Charles Wallace of the book (who was pretty far along on his own), and the star power of Reese Witherspoon, Oprah, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine and Zach Galifinakis really doesn’t get in the way in the end, BUT….

1) they give short shrift to the main plot – they focus too long on Meg’s school problems and not long enough on the other aspects once they tesser to Uriel, Camazotz, finding Chris Pine (the dad) and then back – happens way too quickly and without enough dialog, at minimum.

2) they completely skip the whole Ixchel sequence (when they tesser out originally with their father and Meg is damaged by IT in doing so, and then she has to go back in, all alone, to rescue Charles Wallace). This is a critical part of the book that shows Meg at her most vulnerable, then launches her back into chaos (Camazotz again) and she learns an important lesson about herself and her inner strength. Because the movie skips this entire sequence, we go from an abortive ‘father rescue’ right to rescuing Charles Wallace – more plot thinning, as it were.

3) there are too many ‘musical segue’ sequences that play like a music video interlude between dramatic scenes. There are at least three and they really just waste screen time that could have been devoted to plot or character dialog…

4) Camazotz far more resembles ‘CGI Dagobah’ than the scary planet depicted in the book. While they start with the kids bouncing the ball in the neighborhood, they quickly blow that off and all of a sudden we have already rescued Chris Pine? Again, far too quickly and thins out the plot yet again.

5) And there is no ‘IT’ in this movie?! Arguably the scariest part of the book in many ways, at best, IT is depicted through a dark, hardly speaking voice while Meg and Charles Wallace scramble around in what looks like a modern version of Yoda’s summer home – Just not scary? And the ‘evil’ is largely depicted as Charles Wallace yelling at or scolding Meg. While it’s possible that the ‘disembodied oversized brain’ of IT in the book may not work cinematically these days – it’s still better than a not-scary root forest with some weird voice in the background? Plus, they keep calling IT ‘The IT’ – as if IT is a piece of evil furniture? Doesn’t work.

6) I saw part of an earlier 2003 adaptation of the book, most namely the first IT sequence – and while there they left out the ‘brain’ too – it is much creepier and weird, arguably truer to the book. I may now need to check out this earlier film just to see the differences.

Anyway, mixed bag, ultimately disappointing but I give them props for trying….

candybowl

2001…..still a landmark.

Sat ,26/05/2018

And given we are lucky enough to have restored one of the few remaining Cinerama theaters in the country (after all these years), we can actually WATCH the movie in its original intended format – that screen is huge, and the movie still holds up well to this day. I go about every other year when it comes around and it’s still worth it. So many other sci-fi movies just don’t hold up anymore for various reasons but this one……

2001 set the standard for the next 50 years of hard (and some soft) sci-fi

candybowl

hard to believe…

Sat ,14/04/2018

but must have been even harder for STING to believe….

candybowl

Right. Meow. (April 20)

Fri ,06/04/2018

..as in, I wish April 20 was Right. Meow.

From the Seattle PI:
In certain smoke-filled dorm rooms across the land, this may be the spring’s most buzzed-about movie. It’s a sequel to the cult 2001 comedy about Vermont Highway Patrol troopers who refuse to let crime get in the way of a good time. Here they venture into French-speaking Canada and pretty quickly test that country’s reputation for politeness. As they say in Quebec: Stupide mais drôle. April 20

SIFF short sci fi films, 2018…

Sun ,25/03/2018

In what’s become something of an annual tradition, a buddy and I went to the SIFF SFF Encore film festival today. While all the films were well made, many this year weren’t really as ‘sci fi’ as in years past.

Here’s the films I was able to find online – pretty much my faves from the show – enjoy!

FTL:

M.A.M.O.N (Monitor Against Mexicans Over Nationwide):

Time Chicken:

GEAR:

Dead Hearts:

Strange Beasts:

Jiminy:

The Privates:

candybowl

pretty wack..

Tue ,06/02/2018

yet, cool.

Willy Wonka dialogue as a sax and drum jazz duet

candybowl

Stormtrooper!

Wed ,17/01/2018

Saw (finally) The Last Jedi last night. Spoiler-laden review coming next, but in the meantime… 🙂

candybowl

Being Evel.

Wed ,03/01/2018

Saw this documentary yesterday – pretty interesting, actually. It’s a look back at the life of Evel Knievel, hosted in part by Johnny Knoxville, several of Evel’s contemporaries, and sports broadcasters like Frank Gifford (RIP), Jim McKay and other ABC Wide World of Sports luminaries. Weirdly, Geraldo is in there too.

As a kid in the 70’s, we all knew about Evel – hard to not know about him. And i’m halfway sure I had one of those Ideal Stunt Cycle toys they show (or had friends who had one – I definitely remember the commercials). I also remembered that EK had spent a bit of time in jail, but didn’t know the details until seeing this movie (pretty scary, actually).

I was also very vague on the whole Snake River rocket jump attempt in ’74, but they sure go into a lot of detail here – sounds like a scary event for a lot of reasons, most of them not positive (for attendees as well as EK). As the story progresses from around that point and beyond, his decline and excesses get hard to watch, and in a couple of key areas, hard to forgive.

While I’m not ready to lionize him quite the way that Johnny Knoxville, Tony Hawk and others seen here do – you can’t argue with his influence on their (and similar) careers, and the industries they spawned (extreme sports, X-Games, etc.).

And I definitely *will* say, that he’s a true American Icon, for better or worse (to the filmmakers’ credit, they cover both) – and yet another example of being true to your dreams.

candybowl

Logan…

Mon ,01/01/2018

finally got around to watching Logan tonight – definitely one of the better X-Men movies, but a few comments (which could be taken by some as spoilers, be forewarned):

1) pretty over the top violent, even with the lead guy having blades fly out of his hands as per usual. We’ve actually been watching Daredevil a bit lately too, and while that show lacks (for the most part) super powers (Daredevil is not a mutant), it’s violent like this one was….

2) there are a lot of influences going on here, from Terminator 2 to The White Mountains, to Escape to Witch Mountain being the most obvious in my mind. Unlike T2, there’s very little to no ‘end of the world monologuing’ a la Linda Hamilton here, however. And unlike the other two, there’s definitely a much darker tone, especially compared to E2WM. Nor was there a ‘rescue’ by other hideout mutants at the end the way I was expecting (following from the White Mountains or E2WM plots).

3) I was a bit unclear on how Charles Xavier is alive in this movie, when he was killed by Jean Grey in the 3rd movie – the 4th movie doesn’t count because that was time travel, and I haven’t seen the Apocalypse one yet.

4) I’m also a little skeptical that they could kill off nearly the entire world’s mutants in the space of only about 25 years(?) – in the early movies, we were led to believe that there were only going to be more and more mutants, and, what about all those that already existed – only Logan, Charles, Caliban and these ‘manufactured’ kid mutants exist over the whole world? Hmm.

Otherwise, it’s pretty good, although also pretty long (clocks in at almost 2.5 hrs).

candybowl

A good point!

Mon ,25/12/2017

happy holidays!

candybowl