Saturday, December 12, 2015
Before typing up anything, I had to re-read NathanC's take and Gerry's comments on Tomorrowland (2015). Both are parents, both have an affinity for the Disney Parks that I get, but I am not in the same league. I'd highly recommend you guys read their posts as Nathan and Gerry cover both the Disney aspect and other aspects of the context of the film in a way I'm just not going to.
Frankly, this movie is a mess - something that explained itself immediately when I saw the name Damon Lindelof appear in the credits as soon as the movie ended. But it was the beginning of the movie, the clunky framing device of George Clooney's Frank Walker talking at the screen and being unable to decide where to start the story, where I felt my hackles first rise. The conceit feels like an in-joke, like the creators couldn't figure out how to start their movie, and made their indecision part of the film.
From there on, I'd argue we have two or three completely different scripts competing for screentime, something I felt to be true of Lindelof's Prometheus script as well. Is this a straightforward sci-fi thriller where we have a Chosen-One who has to outrun the baddies until the mystery of their special-ness is explained and they fulfill the prophecy? Is it a talky sci-fi film exploring deeper ideals? Are the characters wacky 2D stand-ins or three-dimensional people with motivations?
At five years old, I'm not sure I really understood the concepts of cliffhangers or ennui, so this was more or less my intro to those ideas. I've read elsewhere about people my age who freaked out about how bleak they found The Empire Strikes Back (1980), or got wigged out that it didn't have a tight ending where the heroes saved the day. And while I get that, I wouldn't say that was my take away.
Prior to the screening, I only vaguely recall being aware that there was a new Star Wars movie coming out because my mom ordered a Boba Fett toy through the mail (yeah, we were one of those families). But one morning The Admiral grabbed my brother and I, tossed us in the car and drove us to a gigantic theater somewhere in Dallas (I've had Dallas-dwellers identify the theater for me a dozen times based on the description, but I can never remember the name), and we watched The Empire Strikes Back with hundreds of other people.
Friday, December 11, 2015
I believe I'm now legally obligated to see this movie. I'm not even sure I'm happy it exists, but I suppose I'll be catching a matinee at some point.
I kind of feel the way about X-Men movies the way I do about X-Men comics. It's how I got into comics, but I kind of lost interest at some point, but I'd be sad if they went away. Also, too much Wolverine.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
I sure as heck am not bothering with a plot synopsis on this one. If you're old enough to read, you've seen this one.
Disney had a special on Thursday evening talking about the production and legacy of Toy Story (1995), and it was well worth catching. I'd forgotten Joss Whedon was on scripting duties for the movie, and its actually a bit of fun to remember the state of technology and animation from the era. If you get a chance to catch the special on TV or on a DVD extra sometime, I suggest giving it a whirl.
This year marks 20 years since Toy Story hit the big screen and changed animation and entertainment forever.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
I think the first time I saw Miracle on 34th Street (1947) was in high school when some teacher or other was trying to kill time before Christmas break. Between you, me and the wall, what I probably remember most from that first viewing was Maureen O'Hara. Yes, I was a teenage boy. Sue me.
But even with that viewing, I dug the spirit of the whole thing. It's a great example of a true all-ages movie you could take the kids and Grandma to and enjoy it yourself. It's a fantasy, yeah, but it's one that exists in the adult world of drunk Santas, incompetent counselors, exhausted parents, Bellevue Hospital, legal issues, politics and divorce.
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Monday, December 7, 2015
Yeah, yeah. Someone was going to go see this, so it might as well have been me. SimonUK and I talk each other into all sorts of things.
I don't think I'd ever heard of the notion of The Krampus until sometime in the last decade, and I can't remember if the Venture Bros. were my first exposure to the character or not, but I remember being very, very excited about The Krampus. It certainly wasn't part of American Yuletide tradition when I was growing up. All we had was The Grinch, and that was a very, very different kind of story.
In a way, The Krampus is both enforcer of the spirit and meaning of Christmas and the antithesis of the Coca-Cola version of Santa that I think maybe people get a little worn out on, so the idea that there's a version of St. Nick/ Santa/ Father Christmas/ Papa Noel that goes around with a demonic jerk that will hit you with birch switches just sort of appeals, I guess. After all, Christmas is a holiday of behavioral extremes. This season of goodwill and charity is also topped off with family violence, Black Friday brawls over electronics, and spikes in depression.
Krampus (2015) is a product of Michael Dougherty, the same guy who wrote and directed Trick r' Treat, which we watched and quite liked just this last Halloween. Unlike the latter film, Krampus is not an anthology film - it's a pretty straightforward pressure-cooker horror flick that, instead of going after sexy but dumb teenagers or college-kids, or yuppies in a secluded house, takes place in what seems to be the suburban mid-west and pretty much your typical American whitebread family Christmas get together.