Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Wings (1927)

Pushing play on my DVD remote, I had no idea what to expect. I had wanted to see this film for a few years based solely on the historical aspect of the film, being the first to win Best Picture in the Academy awards. Before playing, a menu came up asking if I wanted to play the movie with its original organ score. At that moment I realized that I was about to watch a silent film. This is how little I knew about the movie.

Approaching two and a half hours makes this a daunting undertaking for the majority of today's audience. Luckily, I'm not the majority of today's audience.

The history of this movie alone is amazing. The film crew had the full cooperation of the United States Army Air Corps. (The Air Force didn't exist yet) Richard Arlen, one of the main characters, was a trained pilot and so did his own flight shots in the film. Buddy Rogers, the other main pilot in "Wings" who was not a pilot, took flight training during the pre-production, so that he could also have close up shots while flying. That fun fact alone gives this film top marks in bad assery.

Here's the thing about this movie...

If there has ever been a film that deserved to be the best picture of any year, it is "Wings". The story is interesting. The dog fights are as real as it gets. There's action, romance, and an amazing organ score throughout. 

This film was thought to be lost for years until a copy was found in Paris. The recovery of this film is a blessing straight from the cinema Gods. It's a treasure that will be loved for years to come.

Some historical sticklers will be thrown off by the twenties fashion in a film that takes place during World War I. To that I say, get over it. This is a great film.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The World's End

It was never a secret to anyone around me that I was, for lack of a better word, excited to see the third installment to the “Corenetto Trilogy”, “The World’s End”. So many times I’ve been completely let down by a film that I've been equally excited to see so I went into this cautiously. With that in mind, the time came and I took a deep breath as the movie began.

And so, it begins with the back story of five eighteen year old (Europe and their drinking ages!)  friends taking the challenge of the Golden Mile, twelve pubs, one pint each in one epic night out. The night ended with three of them left stopping after the ninth pub. Twenty or so years later, they try it again!

Here’s The Thing About This Movie…

Suffice it to say, I was not let down by this tale of ale and robot aliens. The dialogue was smooth, natural, and entirely funny. The connection between childhood friends, who have been separated by years, distance, and social status, that can only be re-forged by four pints,  one tap water, and a village full of robots ready to attack feels so real. It’s almost like the actors, writers, and directors are old friends themselves, which in most cases, they are.

It’s a labor of love and that shines through from the beginning to the end. It was strange to see Nick Frost play a smart, responsible adult. We’ve become accustomed to the Weed dealing Ed in “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz’s” Danny Butterman who desperately wants to be the officers you see on his two favorite movies, “Bad Boys 2” and “Point Break”. Not that Ed and Danny were anything alike, but it was refreshing to see him play an entirely opposite character. The same can be said for Simon Pegg and his characters in the trilogy.

In all, I found the movie highly entertaining, and along with “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz”, entirely re-watchable! Go see it! You won’t regret it! At any rate, there’s no point in arguing with me anyway!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Academy Awards

In February 2007, I sat with two friends and, as I had so many times before and since, watched the "Oscars". During that particular awards ceremony, every Best Picture winner was presented. At that moment I decided that I wanted to see every one of them. About six years later, I started that goal.

Not that anyone cares, but I want to write reviews to these films. I'm currently eight movies into this undertaking. I will be writing a review for "Wings" the Winner in the 1927-1928 Academy awards.

Stay tuned!

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Hunger Games

“Well, there’s no turning back now,” my wife, Ellen, joked as I pushed play.

Going in to “The Hunger Games” I admittedly never cared much about the books and care even less about the movie. I get the general idea of the story. Something like, the world recovers from an apocalypse and society decides that they should make teenagers fight to the death to keep their society going. Blah blah blah.

I was surprised by the cast. I knew that the young Mystique and Thor’s little brother were in it. Not Loki… the brother from the more realistic side of his family. But I was delighted to see Woody Harrelson and Donald Sutherland.

“The Hunger Games” is an adapted-from-children’s-literature movie a la “Harry Potter”, “Twilight”, and “Percy Jackson” not that I’ve ever seen “Percy Jackson”, but we all get the general idea. Tweens and Teens are getting too old for cartoons and want to see some real action. But they haven’t had the life experience to handle actually seeing action.  We also don’t really get to know anyone who dies. In fact the only person we’re allowed to like who dies is Rue, played by Amandla Stenberg. She isn’t given enough screen time for us to grow all that attached though.

Here’s The Thing About This Movie…

I didn’t hate “The Hunger Games”. There’s no reason to hate it. With that said, there’s really no reason to like it. The main character, Katniss, played by Jennifer Lawrence, never got awesome. The death of friends and the threat of her own life mostly just made her run and hide better. She uses her bow and arrow about 4 times and only shoots two people. I'm not hoping for a blood bath of a movie, this is obviously not that, but I would like a heroine who is strong rather than one who is only trying to survive. Woody Harrelson was great at being Woody Harrelson. Donald Sutherland didn’t really talk. The rest of the cast gave rather forgettable performances. Not bad, but nothing I’ll even remember tomorrow. It was exactly what I expected, one part “Goblet of Fire”, three parts “New Moon”-esque love triangle.

At the end of the day, this is a movie that will be loved by kids, forgotten by most adults, and especially loved by Lionsgate for all the money they will make off of the next three movies.

I Had A Thought Today

I was driving slowly today, wondering why people can't go a normal speed and why at 6PM a school zone sign was flashing when I had a thought. I've had this thought before, but today I said something about it. The thought was, "I should review movies." I like cinema. I like writing. I like telling people how I feel and, in turn, how they should feel.


I'm reviewing movies! Enjoy!