Diary of a new at Home 3D Blu-Ray Fan or How to get Started with 3D at Home Part 2!

 

 

Per my previous post I have jumped into the world of 3D Bluray/Home Projection and I LOVE IT! 3D TV’s being dead, or prohibitively expensive (for the used ones remaining) held me off for a long time. However, I did my homework and research (for months) before acquiring my current system, and for under $1500 ( and potentially under a $1000 if you get great deals) you can all-in [Bluray, projector, glasses] , have a GREAT 3D system.

So quick update on what I have seen on my 3D system, since part 1, and what the winners and losers are.

Let’s start with the under-performers and move up to the home-runs.

THE MAD MAGICIAN Indicator release, was so far the biggest downer. The B&W 3D was not a pleasant experience.

Also another B&W one that is a difficult watch, is DRAGONFLY SQUADRON. Now the 3D in this is actually very, very good. Lots of depth and separation between objects. What hurts the film, is it is very noisy and grainy, and I don’t typically have an issue with grain. GUN FURY 3D was grainy, but the color presentation with it, had no problem with the grain, and the 3D was phenomenal; however with the DRAGONFLY SQUADRON in 3D, the grain and pops in the film feels likes tiny explosions going off while you are attempting to watch the film. A shame because, as I mentioned the 3D is very impressive.

I found the HOBBIT UNEXPECTED JOURNEY pretty underwhelming in 3D.

I heard lots of praise for RESIDENT EVIL AFTERLIFE’s 3D, however finally watched and the 3D is uneven. It comes and goes. Sometimes it has depth, sometimes it does not.

TRANSFORMERS THE LAST KNIGHT is the same way, moments of effective 3D, and sequences that are basically 2D.

Those are probably the biggest UNDER-PERFORMERS so far.

So the Winners so far…

 

I already mentioned THE LIFE OF PI and GUN FURY 3D as must own 3D films. Both of those films are solid in terms of top-notch 3D presentation. Those are both what i would call demo worthy discs. Solid A+ 3D films.

Another demo worthy disc would be PACIFIC RIM in 3D! Holy cow! That is a must own. Another A+ 3D film.

I would also say STAR WARS FORCE AWAKENS 3D is another great 3D film. Lots of wonderful depth, and one notable striking pop-out. A solid B+.

I’ve only seen a few minutes of IMMORTALS, DRIVE ANGRY and UNIVERSAL SOLDIER:DAY OF RECKONING, but initial impressions is that the 3D in all three of those films, is phenomenal. Especially UNIVERSAL SOLDIER:DAY OF RECKONING (which is the best Universal Soldier film, largely because it is nothing like the previous films. It is Universal Soldier by way of APOCALYPSE NOW). directed by John Hyams I believe, I love this film in 2D, and in 3D it is even better. Initial impressions they are all easily B+, but that grade may go up once i watch the whole film in 3D. DAY OF RECKONING in 3D is a must own. Click on the images to pick up copies while they are still in stock.

MAN OF STEEL in 3D, is better than I expected. People have been lackluster in reviews regarding WB/DC 3D films, but I was pleasantly surprised. While there are no pop-outs in the film, there is nice depth for a good portion of it, especially the more sci-fi aspects. Overall while not an essential 3D disc, the film is more enjoyable to watch in 3D than 2D. And considering I am not a fan of this film (I think it is one of the weakest Superman films, after the first 2 Reeves films, and below SUPERMAN RETURNS), it has its good parts (not the [minor spoilers] video game massacre of millions, and the stupid tornado sacrifice scene), and it is overall a good 3D to have in your collection. I’d say a C+ in terms of its 3D.

Today i will probably sample KONG SKULL ISLAND in 3D, as well as SANGAREE 3D and HERCULES 3D, and I’ll bring you in the next installment what I thought of those.

Also i have some IMAX Docs in 3D coming, so I’ll review those once I view them.

 

And remember guys, like, subscribe and share this post. If I get 7 likes, on this post as well as the first part, and I will break down the hardware that makes up my system and how I have it setup. Till next time, Gals and Guys, be safe out there!

Collection Overview: 3D Bluray Collection Marvel/Disney

Here is my complete Marvel/Lucas Films Blu-Ray/3D  collection. These are, in my humble opinon, must own releases.

 

All these releases have been selected and vetted by me. On top of which, for my personal collection all the tacky, bottom dweller blue cases that any of these may have come with, have been replaced with stylish, bookcase ready, clear or black cases.

Only thing worse than a person displaying Blue Bluray cases is… oh yeah, that’s right— there’s nothing worse. 🙂 .

 

Most of these are still, while getting pricey, available. You will need, at a minimum, a multi-region blu-ray 3D player, 3D projector and 3D glasses.

Check the Links, and best of luck!

New favorite TV Pilot of the Day : Marc & Alana Scott Zicree’s SPACE COMMAND

 

Kemmer, The Son:

Now you don’t like Synthetics?

My God, i don’t believe it. You’re missing the good old days.

 

Kemmer, The Father:

Humans weren’t designed to observe, we were built to do.

So yeah… I miss ’em.

Let me tell you something.

Soft lives make soft men.

Soft men… make soft choices.

 

That beautiful exchange 10 minutes in to SPACE COMMAND tells you everything you need to know about why this may be your must watch and must support show of the day. A 3 year in the making pilot, having seen it, it has charm and wit, and has proved itself worthy of the time and effort that went into its forging. With stars such as the great Mira Furlan, Bill Mumy, McClure, Robert Picardo, Bruce Boxleiter and Doug Jones, alongside new faces, such as Ethan McDowell.

With any project, especially one done for love, on virtually no-budget, and no corporate backing, there will be limitations. Generally the younger actors don’t have the comfort or gravitas, the subtlety of the older actors, and with the exception of Ethan McDowell, that disparity comes across. Ethan McDowell however, manages to hold his own alongside actors who were forged in the fires of many years of theater, and television and movies.

But that disparity with most of the younger actors,  is to be expected given the budget limitations, but those limitations aside, I was completely captivated by the one hour pilot. In the age of streaming where content is the new gold rush, if I was a Netflix, or Apple, or Disney, or At&t I would be attempting to acquire content and production teams like this, that have a built in passionate fan-base.

All in all SPACE COMMAND is a worthy addition to the dreams of men named Roddenberry and Straczynski.

 

 

View it here:

STAR WARS : THE RISE OF SKYWALKER – The Final Word Review :)!

Gift Cards

 

STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER – TO Set the stage for my thoughts on the rise of skywalker, to help you decide if my review is informative, it is helpful to know what informs my viewing experience.

I go into a film having avoided reviews, or special features, or tirades, or predictions, or pontifications or guesses on what it should be. Beyond the first teaser trailer, for a movie I know I am going to see, I avoid all subsequent trailers, there is no need for them, I know I am going to see the movie.

So I go into a film, as much as humanly possible, there to see the film the filmmaker decides to make, and not hoping to see the idea of a film I have made up in my head.

So off the bat, I liked THE RISE OF SKYWALER. My barometer always being at the end of the film… am I glad I saw this film in the theater? Answer? Yes.

And this is coming from someone who saw the film at a Cinebistro, with spacious selected/premium seating, and meals brought to you. For the two of us it came to about a $140 for movie, meals and drink, and tip. Now obviously for a cheapskate like me who prefers $4 matinees, this is not something I am going to indulge in more than 2 or 3 times a year, and only for special movies. At the end of the day, I liked the film and am glad I saw it in the theater, however I did not love the film.

I think a lot of times when people rail against a film, or say they dislike or hate a film ( not a word I would use for a film, hate is a word best left toward things that have raped and pillaged real things in a real world. First worlders using the word hate, for as innocuous a thing as film, have lived a very small life. Applying words out of proportion to the impetus); a lot of times what they are really saying is, that the film is not the film they were expecting, or hoped for, or wanted.

Whether a politician, or a group, or a show, or a book, or a movement, a lot of times, when we choose to dislike a thing it is  less about that thing being good or bad, than it is about that thing not being a reflection of our prejudices. Not wearing our colors, or speaking with our voice, or laughing to our jokes, or sharing our choices.

A lot of it is about something not meeting our expectations.

And in our current always on, and everything preanalyzied, and pontificated on, and second guessed and armchair quarterbacked before it ever comes out, we build up expectations, that fly in the face of actally enjoying the movie.

A lot of times enjoying the movie is about leaving what you want the film to be at the door, and going in just letting the filmmaker tell his story. Allowing them to not be a mindreader and a puppet, and do more than simply regurgitate the fanfiction in your head.

A lot of people confuse nostalgia with quality. “Oh comics today aren’t as good as they were when I was a kid, and movies, and books, and, food, and candy and cartoons”….and as someone who is older than most of you reading this, and have a fond feeling for a lot of things we have deified, the truth is that nostalgia, while comforting to look back on, the past is not necessarily better. I’ll go further, it is not usually better.

The present and the future builds on the past. The 6 minute mile gives way to the 5 minute mile gives way to the 4 minute mile.

We move, in all things, toward a more perfect union. Not all things surely, but as a median, the quality of things have improved in the hundred years from 1920 to 2020.

And in my lifetime, while I love the comic books of Stan and Jack, and Neal Adams and Denny ONeil and Keith Giffen and David Kraft, and some of those books remain masterpieces, as a whole we produce more great books in a month than they cranked out in a year. And yes, our share of bad, but I would argue the general level of craft, of art and storytelling and production is as a whole superior now to then.

And the same goes for film. Nostalgia is fine when we understand it for a feeling and not a formula or a fact, when we understand it is something that is not a barometer of quality, or a map to follow, or to necessarily always steer into.

RISE OF SKYWALKER almost from the first frame is a film that steers into nostalgia and sentiment, and those can be powerful and effective parts of a story when used sparingly, when earned. Here the early parts of the film, feel very… contrived. The humor, and the banter, and the reveal of the big bad, all feels…by the numbers,  and … yes contrived, rather than the natural outgrowth of the story.

You never get a 2nd chance to make a first impression, and RISE OF SKYWALKER starts off with a lot of telling, rather than showing. There is a lot of ‘we are going here because of this’, and ‘must do this because of that’. And while that is part of many films, it felt very obvious and clunky here, it felt like the one thing it should never feel like… it felt like exposition.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker theatrical poster upper portion with Rey, Kylo Ren, and others

I like JJ Abrams as a filmmaker. I loved his first STAR TREK, and while a huge fan of his 2nd STAR TREK film, concede that it was marred by his need to wink and steer into nostalgia, at expense of the story he is telling. Here in RISE OF SKYWALKER It feels like he is at times making fan fiction, playing to nostalgia, rather than actually having his own story to tell.

Rian Johnson’s THE LAST JEDI was met, I think, by a small but vocal group who wanted the film to be only nostalgia, and only their expectations, and only well trod ground, and Rian Johnson told a story that moved the needle, and was about change, and about the end of old things. I wholeheartedly think it is a masterpiece, that will stand the test of time. And people forget in all the social media bs, all the tornado in a teapot, that THE LAST JEDI was a box office success.

But we have become a very reactionary society, where the faceless mob, the agenda driven mob, and arguably the talentless mob, wants to be the tail that wags the dog.

RISE OF SKYWALKER to me, feels like JJ Abram to some extent capitulating and trying to appease the nostalgia crowd, as well as his own nostalgia tropes. I was and am a huge fan of the late Carrie Fisher, and that he wanted to honor her with this film, understandable. However for me, again it felt a lot of the scenes shoehorned in, at the expense of a more compelling story-line. To some extent, again to me, THE LAST JEDI used both those characters more compellingly than how they were used here.

RISE at times, besides feeling very long, feels like a list being checked off. I am not qualified and virtually no one reviewing this… is qualified to call this a bad film, any more than anyone is qualified to call any of the recent batch of STAR WARS films bad films.These are master filmmakers, all of them, and most of the people weighing in with opinions have not made a single film. It’s like someone who is not a painter, saying this painting is bad or this painting is good. You can say that a thing works for you, or does not work for you, but barometers about the quality of a product, from someone outside the industy, ill-informed at best.

So full disclosure, I like all the STAR WARS films, with the exception of the prequels. And even those I do not call bad, they just were not for me. Not everything is geared for everyone. For the intended audience of kids, those rightly may be their favorite films.

As someone who does not see the world with rose-colored glasses, or confuse nostalgia with quality, or have an agenda of hate to defend, I can say that the new films  I have enjoyed for the most part more than the original trilogy. With the exception of EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, which is arguably right up there with THE LAST JEDI as my favorite STAR WARS films.

If you take Nostalgia away from the first STAR WARS film, and compare it warts and all to any of the recent films, the recent films are stronger. They are better shot, better paced, more exciting. And that goes for RISE OF SKYWALKER , which is my least enjoyed of the new films.

 

That said, while the story JJ Abrams ended up telling I found less compelling than the less formulaic story that Rian Johnson was embarking on, there were some things I greatly liked about  RISE OF SKYWALKER. I thought the visuals were stunning. Not as Elegiac and beautiful as THE LAST JEDI, but very close.The battles were stupendous, I liked some of the sentiment, and in moments… it wowed.

So ultimately it was not the movie I would have liked to see, but for what it was, there is a lot of good here, and misgivings about the story-line aside, I overall enjoyed watching it.

Grade: B-.

Streaming TV Guide of the Day : Youtube Shows of the Day! UNDER CONSTRUCTION!

https://yt3.ggpht.com/8Vm1HcN2f6pyYXXpGYaleRExDZ4_FtsR5tn4yqjQ_lCVAa3jNIfInRnYoX3kQzbtREEGJOLJtA=w2560-fcrop64=1,00005a57ffffa5a8-k-c0xffffffff-no-nd-rj

https://yt3.ggpht.com/CGDazuDf3vBdu04atXIq8TtLKu5VPUjCNYIcfkncqMt9IYxElu050zMEn4FoJ0Ce6srS8hfJ-EQ=w2560-fcrop64=1,00005a57ffffa5a8-k-c0xffffffff-no-nd-rj

 

 

DEALS OF THE DAY!

 

Movie Posters of the Day!

Extra Large Movie Poster Image for The Call of the Wild

Harrison Ford is returning to film, to do a new adaptation of Jack London’s THE CALL OF THE WILD. Not a Jack London fan, and I can take or leave his most well known novel, so whether this adaptation works, will depend on the screenwriter and director. So FAR, the trailer looks charming enough, though i’m still not sold on the cg animals. particularly when you mix live action actors with cgi actors, yes it can be done well, and it is getting better, but you are still clearly aware of the artifice. whether the movie is strong enough to transcend that artifice is DEBATABLE. honestly if they were going to do this having a real dog there, at  for the non action scenes, would i think help have grounded the movie. just in the brief trailer i didn’t buy ford and the dog, in the same scene at the same time. but, hoping for the best.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Movie Poster

Extra Large Movie Poster Image for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (#6 of 19)

End of the day, THE STAR WARS films have always (at heart) been fun, larger scale tributes to movie serials of old. They are supposed to be fun, people. And whether brilliant or ‘miss the mark’ for you, they all come from a place of filmmakers… trying to entertain.

If it is not for you, don’t go see them.

Stop bitching, stop whining, either shut the heck up and make your own movies,  or watch something else.  Or wait for the next one and hope it will be better. For those of you, virulently hating on the film because it is not the film your ‘no talent’ ass imagined it would be, and therefore all you have to do with your time… is spread bile on the livelihood of working people, and attack and hope the film fails… I with all sincerity think you are a tragic form of life.

It is space battles. Good guys against bad guys. And if you can’t hope for that film to be good, there is something ineffably broken with you.

For my own money. I hope every movie is going to be great. And if it doesn’t work for me, I move on to something else, and hope the next one they make will be better.

But hoping, and going thru all sorts of machinations to make a film be received poorly, again, it makes that person a particularly smarmy, unctuous and sad form of life.

Again, I’m not saying you have to love Star Wars, or any movie. I may not like the new Star Wars film, but honestly disliking , and having an Agenda against something, based on reasons outside the narrative scope of the film… well it is… classless.

Don’t be that person. Do not be subscribed to that person. 🙂 .

Whether they have a youtube channel, or blog or podcast, or website, do not be the one, spreading the mantra of hate and division and conflict. Let today be the day you speak to those people in the language they understand.

Make today the day, you unsubscribe from people who want to tear joyous things down, and try and embrace the sites and people… that want to hope for the great.

Looking forward to THE RISE OF SKYWALKER. I have to tell you, I have enjoyed all of the new STAR WARS films we have been getting; and THE RISE OF SKYWALKER looks like another one that I will enjoy. 

 

Extra Large Movie Poster Image for Knives Out (#14 of 15)

And speaking of STAR WARS; Rian Johnson made one of my favorite STAR WARS  films, so looking forward to this Agatha Christiesque film, KNIVES OUT. The cast looks great. 

 

Hiram A. Murray in The Great War (2019)

 

I don’t love the first poster for THE GREAT WAR, it seems to overlook the strengths of the trailer, also it threw me since the name of the director was either Steven Luke or Luke Schuetzle. However a little research and it appears Steven Luke is the ‘acting name’ of Luke Schuetzle, who directs, produces, and stars in this WWI biopic. However, the trailer… I LOVED. This is a movie I am looking forward to checking out. When it makes it to streaming, or theatrical or bluray/DVD.

 

Extra Large Movie Poster Image for 1917 (#3 of 3)

I have not seen the trailer for 1917 (another WW1 film), but the pedigree of being directed by Sam Mendes of SKYFALL fame, makes me very interested in catching this one as well.

 

Well that is all for this installment, if you enjoyed please give a like, and check out this week’s other posts.

Till next time, be well!

The Two Best Star Wars Films of All Time!

I appreciate all the Star Wars films, even the ones that do not appeal to me or I did not love.

We have a tendency to want to glamorize the three first Star Wars films, but as someone who saw those films when they first came out in theaters as a wee lad, while wildly popular, with the exception of EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, none of the original three were masterpieces. They were flawed films, but the mythos, the characters, the message, the hope, and the gestalt, the end product was enough to outweigh any flaws.

Perfection is for Gods. And the goal of filmmakers and a film is to try to give us something… wondrous. To share a bit of love, and awe, and joy with us.

I never liked the first Star Wars, even as a kid. It was overlong, badly paced, dragging in the middle.

But I found things to like and to love in that imperfect movie. The characters, the visuals, the bad guys, the spectacle. I never loved the first Star Wars film, but I never hated it. I always liked it, if finding it flawed.

As an adult having revisited the first STAR WARS film several times throughout my life, if is still flawed, and overlong, and badly paced, and plodding in the middle.

However the good in it, always outweighs the negatives. The great characters, the wonderful visuals, the hopeful message. To not take away more good from all that effort expended and all that talent and all those moments, to not at the very least appreciate a flawed but essentially good movie, I think would say more about the viewer than the viewed.

The first STAR WARS for me is not a 10 movie, but it is at least a solid 7 to 8. Which is a passing and respectable grade. EMPIRE is a 9 to 10. RETURN is an 8 to 8. 5.

All in all it is a fondly remembered movie trilogy. But I do not judge things on Nostalgia.

Because something came out when I was a kid doesn’t make it the greatest thing ever, and because something new comes out when I am an adult, it is not the worst thing ever. Because it fails to be for my adult sensibilities, what that old movie was to my kid’s sensibilities does not make it wrong.

As an adult re-watching those movies, I can judge them based on not what they made  me feel as a kid, but on what I get from them now. And the same for a new movie, we should not judge it based on what we want or thought… it would or should be, we judge it on what it is.

The prequels for me, judged for what they were, I thought they were underwhelming. They had nice visuals, but suffered from core characters not as interesting, and a story not as compelling or well told as the original trilogy. I was not a fan, I did not like them, but I did not hate them. They were simply a miss for me, simply not for me. Not everything is for everyone. For me they were flawed films, possibly a 5 to 7 for the trilogy.

However I realize for a younger audience, the trilogy, flaws and all, may be more appealing to them. Again not everything needs to appeal to everyone, and with the Prequels, after a long layoff, Lucas was perhaps looking to  introduce his aging Mythology to a new generation. Not a bad idea. a good idea actually, just not well pulled off in various areas. But overall, flaws and all, it is a rich addition to the mythology. The good that came out of the films, being a richer mytholgy that subsequent tv shows and movies get to build on.

Enter the new Disney Star Wars films. As of this writing, four films, FORCE AWAKENS, ROGIUE ONE, SOLO, and THE LAST JEDI. Films that for some inexplicable reason have met with controversy and hate from some corners, most vocally SOLO and LAST JEDI.

As I said, I have never hated a Star Wars, I can’t readily think of any movie I hate. Hate is a strong word, and I do not go into a theater, pay money, looking to hate or tear something down. I go into a movie looking to be entertained. And even when a movie has flaws, just like that first Star Wars movie all those years ago, if the good outweighs the bad, I count that as a win. It may not be 10 out of 10 movie, but it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be good,. With me, in a world spinning toward mendacity and hate, if a movie has hope and heart and a cogent story and a likeable cast, that cuts a lot of weight with me.

I think all 4 of the new Disney Star Wars films have at least been 8 out of 10. If I had to rate them off the top of my head I would say 8.5 to FORCE AWAKENS, 8.5 to 9 for ROGIUE ONE, 8.5 TO 9 for SOLO, and 9 to 10 for LAST JEDI.

For those of you counting I am saying yes, the new batch of films, as a whole I find more enjoyable than the original 40+ year old trilogy.

With the big exception of EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, I, an original Star Wars fan who saw the trilogy in the theaters, have no problem not seeing them with rose-colored glasses, and saying quite easily… as a whole the new movies are better made.

They are, as a whole, better movies than the original trilogy. Which is no slight against the original trilogy, but is respect and kudos to just the progress in the level of craft of filmmaking and directors.

And yes I will go further with my sacrilege, I think Rian Johnson’s inexplicably panned and railed against THE LAST JEDI Is a flat out masterpiece. Is it perfect? No, nothing made by man ever will be, or should be, but it comes close enough to earn my standing ovation.

My better half and I just finished watching it again on Netflix, we loved it the first time we saw it. But rewatching it.. it is even more impressive. It is in its DNA the heart and soul of STAR WARS distilled right to its closing moments.

Both of us throughout the movie kept marveling at how good the movie was, and openly mystified by the virulent hate and attacks those involved in this movie endured.

Again I have never hated a movie, much less to extend that hate to people whose only ‘crime’ is making a living trying to entertain people, it is for us the inexplicable mewling of the mob. Of people who grade movies either 10 or 0, and attack movies for not agreeing with the version of the movie they make up in their head. It is the mewling of people who watch all the trailers, and spoilers, and gossip, and script leaks, pre-chew and digest and second guess the movie before ever getting in the theater, than complain about how there were no surprises in the movie.

I don’t aim this at those  who fairly watched LAST JEDI and it wasn’t for you, that is fine, not every movie is for everyone, but the attacks LAST JEDI has endured is largely from armchair directors and armchair writers, railing against the movie for not being their fan-fic of what the movie should be.

And for that demographic, who go into cinema looking for something to rail against on social media, the 10 or 0 crowd, the truth is, they would have hated the original trilogy just as much as THE LAST JEDI if they came at it with this same level of entitlement and armchair quarterbacking.

If today’s fans, was the fandom of the original STAR WARS film, that film would have bombed and there would have never been an EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

Fandom has become people with uninformed opinions and too much access, spreading their noise over the signal.

These are the same behind the curve types who hated on Carpenter’s THE THING when it first came out, or buried Welles’ TOUCH OF EVIL.

Here is the thing.

People, the taste you have today, will grow and mature as you do. And things that do not resonate with you today, you likely will grow into tomorrow. That, is the goal, of growing and maturity. So be wary of sticking your flag too deep in the ground on what you hate, because the ground shifts.

Always.

Two best STAR WARS films of all time?

That’s easy.

EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and Rian Johnson’s THE LAST JEDI.

And the most gorgeous, and visually impressive STAR WARS film of all time, well, not even a question, Rian Johnson’s THE LAST JEDI.

That we lost out on him completing his trilogy due to the mewling of the uninformed social media lynch mob, well we and a future generation of film-goers who rediscover THE LAST JEDI (just like THE THING was rediscovered)… will be the losers.

Here endeth the lesson. 🙂

News you can Use!… And a RanT.

DISNEY QUIETLY DELETES ‘TOY STORY 2’ SCENE AMIDST ‘ME-TOO’ BACKLASH.

https://frompage2screen.wordpress.com/2019/07/12/disney-quietly-deletes-toy-story-2-casting-couch-scene-after-metoo/

 

This is a bit longer than I intended it to be, so feel free to read in pieces. I think there may be some grain of wisdom in the wildness of it. It goes hither and yon, but its heart is in the right place.

 

First I have never liked Disney.

I don’t.

I do not like their stance on copyright. I do not like their stance on creator rights. And I do not like that they famously, or infamously bought a news station, rather than being the subject of the news.

I do not like any company that is above the law. All laws. And masks their absolute earth shaking power, behind this facile facade of familial values.

But you do have to respect Disney.

Respect what they have done, and how they have done it.

But cheer-leading is another matter.

I think people who were championing for Disney to buy Fox, or this company, or that company. the mass of people without a stake in Disney, championing Disney so they can see fictional characters share the same screen, are morons who do not understand larger issues of monopoly, and wage manipulation and price fixing, and law making, that comes with allowing a company to get that big. Real tangible issues that affect the people and the quality of life of the people, not at the very top of that economic pyramid.

I think people who take an ownership view of how much billions more, billion and trillion dollar entities like Disney make (oh we have to get the Avengers movie over a Billion or to 2 Billion) are ignorant slaves, cooing for their masters to build a bigger house, and expand their plantation, when you barely have a pot to piss in.

I like the Marvel and Star Wars movies and think Disney has done well by them  (However I would have been happier if neither Disney purchase was approved, and they remained separate companies, because competition and a free market and quality of life and choice… is more important than getting a specific type of movie), and I want entertainment I consume to be good, but as far as being a cheerleader for how much more billions these movies make for their global overloads. I sincerely could not care less. If the movies lose money they lose money, if they gain money they gain money.

The fact that studios have helped destroy local theaters and distribution, that 40 years ago, that money a  blockbuster made would go into the local economy,. Into the Independent theaters, the distributors, the retail companies. That money a movie made, a nice portion of it, went back into the local economy. Not so any longer. Now a studio owns a stake in everything from the distribution company, to the chain of theaters it is shown at, to the theatrical equipment and media used. The Billions a movie makes, is literally billions moving out of the pockets of the many poor, and into the pockets of the few rich.

Only if you are a stock owner should you feel some tiny type of fiscal ownership or incentive in Disney’s financials, and I guarantee you most of the idiots who are clamoring for a movie to break this record or that record, do not own a single Disney stock. They are penniless slaves taking ownership in their masters house, rather than any ownership in their own.

So that is my background on how I feel regarding Disney.

 

Now onto them cowtowing to ‘Me Too’ mob.

 

This is the reason DVDs and Blurays can not be replaced by streaming, because of this tail wagging the dog syndrome, this knee-jerk reaction companies and politicians and courts are engaged in of cowtowing to the mob, and acting and punishing at the whims of the mob, before thinking.

We can have great intentions, but the 2nd those great intentions transcend due process or replace ‘innocent till proven guilty’ with ‘guilty till proven innocent’; you become a mob rather than a movement.

And businesses and courts and the media, cowtowing to this witchhunt atmosphere become part of that lynchmob mentality.

Let us start with the big picture and some historical perspective and work our way down.

A lynch mob mentality. That’s the type of atmosphere, where people lose their job and livelihoods and lives before their day in court, where books get banned and burned, and in the age of streaming, films get… altered.

So that’s the reason if you have a movie you love, you only truly own it, if it is in a physical format. Any item you own in the ‘cloud’ or even on your hard drive (if it is accessible to updates) is subject to this re-writing of content, this editing of content, to placate the unreasoning, scared, power-hungry mob.

Most people have good intentions.

To protect their communities, to support democracy, to fight against discrimination, to oppose sexual harassment, to protect children, to defend women.

But we have allowed people with bad intentions to weaponize these good intentions, with unthinking rigid slogans that replace and usurp the rule of law, and dispense and enact punishment before due process, popular American slogans such as “Make America Great Again aka Keep America White” or “Better Dead than Red” or “Me Too”, when you become a knee jerk defender of slogans over reason and due process, you move from a defender against crime, to a committer or crimes. A lynch mob and a witch hunt.

And I’ll have no truck with that.

Too many people have been lynched in this country, both literally and most recently social media wise, to let anyone get away with mob justice, or mob punishment, as our new normal.

Someone is accused of a crime, guess what people… IT IS STILL AN EFFING ACCUSATION until proven in court. You should not immediately go from reading a headline to attacking that person, and calling for punishment and calling for them to be fired or banned or stripped of their earned honors.

(One thing on that — If an honor a university or organization has given to a person that has earned it, is removed at the behest of the mob, you do harm to the value of that honor. To the integrity of that organization.

What matters is not who the person you gave an honor to… becomes, or was in the past, but that you gave your word. If the reason the honor was given remains a fixed point in time, a fact, than that honor must likewise remain a fact, a fixed point in time.

We do not get to only immortalize a man’s falling down, his standing up, the reasons for those accolades must likewise be a fixed point. For accolades and honors to be removed with the mutterings of the mob, is to make those honors and the institution that gives them and takes them away… of no more value, than spit in wind. I’m looking at you Yale and Xavier and the Navy… to name a few.)

What we do not do, is 4 years before their date in court, pronounce them guilty, fire them, hound them, and generally destroy their life and livelihood on an accusation. That is the definition of a witchhunt and mob justice.

A man or woman’s bad, does not erase their good, and in this ME TOO slogan age, we seem to want to  make a person the one, and erase the other. And that is not how judgement works, or none of us will see the paradise.

Because if men who have done more good, than any twenty of us walking this planet, can be demonized by the mob in the blink of an eye, with none of that good taken into account, all those accolades edited out, and only the bad judged, then none of us, judged that way, will escape hell.

We must weigh the good a person has done against their bad, and only then can they be judged fairly. And they must be judged by people impartial, without axes to grind, or an agenda to put forward, else it is not judgement, it is crucifixion.

This censoring and editing of content, because ‘we’ no longer agree with an actor who is in it, or a joke that is portrayed, is a very slippery slope. And we have been here before, and it does not work out well for anyone.

A bit of an off-topic rant, but one that was brewing for a bit.

And shows how potentially widespread and damaging to every facet of our lives, cow-towing to the mob can be.

Final take away: slogans are for outside the court, not in place of it, and more trivial take away… if you have content you love, be it a book, a song, a movie, in this new digital/streaming age, while accessing it has become easier, so has altering and censoring it. So if you have something you love, own it in a form that can not easily be changed, a physical/tangible form.

 

Here endeth the Rant. 🙂

 

 

Tarantino HATEFUL EIGHT 70mm Road Trip Review

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Quentin Tarantino can be a bit of a provocateur, which I don’t think is a bad thing, but can be off-putting to some, but he is also a great filmmaker.

He is a visionary in the best sense of that word. And there is always a battle between the provocateur aspect to his nature and the filmmaker, and depending on the successfulness of that mixture, will in large part determine whether his film falls on the good or the great scale.

In the HATEFUL EIGHT, I think he gets that mixture right in a way that rockets it right up there, with his best films.

I saw this movie the day after seeing STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS, an impressively written and directed effort by any standards, and while I found it a very good film, HATEFUL EIGHT 70mm Road-Trip Edition felt a great film.

Now visually the STAR WARS film, seen at one of the few IMAX Laser 3D theaters, was the more impressive viewing experience.  The theater I saw the HATEFUL EIGHT in, THE AFI at SILVER SPRING, was a very good theater, and shown in 70 mm, however outside of the increased breadth of the picture I could not tell this was a 70mm film.

Part of this I want to chalk up to being too far from the screen, or the screen not large enough to really dominate the room, it was a big room, but ultimately a well designed movie theater should give you a great picture from any room in the theater, the back of the theater or the front.

I felt the Airbus IMAX Theater in Chantilly Virginia got this RIGHT, and not so much the theater I saw the HATEFUL EIGHT in. Again I don’t think the film projected bad, it looked great in fact, however as someone who has seen LAWRENCE OF ARABIA reissued in 70mm, that is the rich, flooded detail and sensory overload i was expecting. None of that was present here in the HATEFUL EIGHT.

aside from it being a wider picture, I could not tell it wasn’t just typical 35mm, stretched a bit.  I know Quentin and the Weinstein’s retrofitted some theaters to showcase the film in 70mm, unfortunately at the theater I was in they either didn’t test or care how the movie presented to those in the more distant seats.

Is it a 70mm experience from the worst seat in the house? If the answer is no, then you need to do something.

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That criticism however is not on Tarantino, but rather the individual theater owners to insure they are providing the spectacle they are advertising.

I really enjoyed the HATEFUL EIGHT, but it’s 70mm nature, was unfortunately undetectable.  I would have loved to see this film at someplace like the Airbus to see if it’s 70mm nature came across. BEcause i wholeheartedly support tarantino’s push to make 70mm relevant in an age of digital.  I just think we need to do a little more quality control at the individual theaters to ensure viewers are getting that 70mm experience.

But enough about the film stock and visuals, what about the sound?

From Ennio Morricone’s first score for a western in decades, I was of course expecting something good, what we got was great. That score is magnificent, the work of a genius, undimmed by age.

I, in the theater, knew I wanted to purchase that score. That rarely happens to me.

 

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The same can be said of Tarantino’s film in total. HATEFUL EIGHT is an experience, a sometimes uncomfortable, and ugly experience, (man do they say the N word a lot) but without doubt a captivating, and memorable experience. You want to be in this place, with these dire and dangerous people, these ‘HATEFUL EIGHT ‘, to see where the road leads them.

Being a Western, that most iconic and cemented of genres, you know if not when the road will end, that blood will be waiting there at that end.

And there is blood, in extraordinary quantities, at the end of THE HATEFUL EIGHT. But there is more, there is pathos, and regret, and humor, and insight.

Tarantino is not afraid to probe the unexamined questions and uncrossed divide of race and class in our past and our present, our peers and ourselves, but to always do it without losing the narrative purpose, without losing the ability to entertain, is a tricky tightrope to walk.

For a film to be both important and fun to watch is a rare beast, and one the Academy is reluctant to nominate, but HATEFUL EIGHT is such a beast.

I watched the closing credits come across with that wonderful final song, and I thought there at the end of the movie, what I thought during the movie… this is a masterpiece.
Grade: A-.

 

 

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Movie of the Day : STAR WARS VII FORCE AWAKENS in IMAX Laser 3D!

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After 2 years of hype the most eagerly anticipated film in years has arrived, STAR WARS VII THE FORCE AWAKENS, and I saw it at the Airbus IMAX in Chantilly, Virginia voted one of the 7 best theaters in the United States.

No less than the director JJ Abrams praised IMAX 3D Laser Projection as the preferred way to see this years in the making labor of love. He said of STAR WARS VII in a recent associated press interview:

ABRAMS: As someone who really hasn’t been the most vocal advocate of 3-D, the strangest thing happened to me on this. When I was watching the reels in 3-D, there were a number of shots — and I know this sounds insane — that I hadn’t understood in the three-dimensional space quite the way I did when I saw them in 3-D. I actually felt that there were things that were playing better in 3-D. I had never felt that before. And if people have access to a theater that has laser projection, it is shockingly better.

Having seen the film at the 86 foot wide Airbus IMAX, with their newly installed 3D Laser Projection system I have to say… It lived up to the hype.

The screen, the 3d projection system, blew me away. Initially it was so big and so overpowering, that it was daunting. It was so much visual imagery and information going on in every part of the picture, that I found my head going back and forth trying to take the scene in.

Because of how that IMAX room is built, there is not a bad seat in the house. The seats rather than going out away from the screen as most theaters, are closer to the screen and go up, giving the effect that you are almost in the screen, immersed in the screen rather than just watching it.

And adding 3D to the mix and the film is cinema cranked up to 11. That said, it takes a few minutes but suddenly you are grasping all the information your visual cortex is being sent, and there is no more playing ping pong. It becomes a completely immersive, and not at all distracting experience, as 3D can be. Sometimes when wearing those glasses the screen is too dark, not so here, the picture came across as if there were no glasses at all. No doubt this has to do with the far more substantial glasses you get at this IMAX. Not the simplistic RealD glasses.

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All in all, the visuals were stellar. One of my most impressive and memorable screen viewings, right up there with seeing LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in 70mm and seeing Cameron’s AVATAR in IMAX. Now the 3D isn’t the spectacle AVATAR was, with things coming out of the screen at you, and while part of this is no doubt because STAR WARS FORCE AWAKENS was not filmed in 3D or with 3D in mind, the sheer scale and majesty and clarity of projection via IMAX 3D Laser is a spectacle and wonder of its own. Rather than just looking at the screen, IMAX 3D Laser makes you feel as if you are in the frame. It’s a naturalistic and very cinematic effect, that transcends/eliminates the issues some people have with 3D. IMAX 3D Laser at the Airbus IMAX transcends gimmick to deliver an effortless viewing experience, and a rewarding cinematic one and comes highly recommended.

Now I’ve spent all this article discussing how STAR WARS VII is presented, but now a few words on the movie itself. My verdict? JJ Abrams had the unenviable task of living up to the expectations of fans of one of the most iconic film franchises in the world. To his credit he and his crew of writers, actors, etc, were in this humble writer’s opinion up to the task. The movie was a follow-up to a beloved franchise that (prequels aside) ended over thirty plus years ago, and much as he did for STAR TREK he was able to integrate the new and the old in a way that completely captured and paid homage to, what was best in what we’ve come to know as STAR WARS.

I love that the main principals from the original movies, were not only available to return, but were so brilliantly written into this latest chapter. It’s a smart script, that is also inventive, action packed, and satisfying, and leaves the future of Star Wars in good hands indeed.

While it falls short of being a great movie, the film is a solid entry in the Star Wars cannon, being only second to the great EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Grade B+.