MOVIES AND PHYSICAL MEDIA RECOMMENDATIONS AND INSIGHTS
GREAT MOVIE TRAILERS OF THE DAY
Sports and Competition
AUTO AND HOME IMPROVEMENT NEWS AND INSIGHTS
INSIGHT AND NEWS YOU CAN USE
ART BOOKS AND COMIC BOOKS
So while Alan Moore is known for being historically difficult, the reason may be that he has been hoodwinked more than a time or two. And WATCHMEN perhaps being the most painful of the many various conflicts he has had with publishers and other creators, would notoriously be a sore subject with Mr. Moore.
At the end of the day, 35 years removed from Moore’s heyday in comics, he is still that name we reach toward when we think of what is best in comics. So to have the medium’s best writer, our modern day Shakespeare (a writer, writing in a castigated medium for the mob, works that would stand the test of time) not involved with the adaptation, and not wanting the adaptation of his most acclaimed property; well you tend to understand, as a fan of that writer and that property, and not really need to see that adaption.
So I wasn’t calling for a WATCHMEN film, and I was not boycotting it either, I just had no interest in seeing it. Two things started to excite me about the film, One/ that Zack Snyder was attached as Director (coming off 300 he had skyrocketed as one of the most exciting directors, and one of my favorite directors) and Two/ then seeing that first trailer in 2009. The first trailer with the Smashing Pumpkins song… holy cow!!!
For someone to take a long un-filmable project, that had been gestating for decades, and bounced between different writers, directors, production teams, and finally land with one of the most stylish action directors to come along since Sam Peckinpah and John Woo, and to produce a trailer like that— mic drop.
That trailer, as someone like many, who loved Alan Moore’s WATCHMEN; that trailer completely screamed Alan Moore’s WATCHMEN. And more than that it screamed iconic, it screamed visionary, it screamed Zack Snyder.
Visionary is a high compliment, but when looking at the visuals of Zack Snyder, it is well earned. And that vision and love for the source material was all on display in that trailer, and add that perfect song…and you have something that highlights the strengths of Zack Snyder, his visuals, and replaces dialog and plotting, with the pure emotion of the right song.
To this day, that first WATCHMEN trailer remains my favorite trailer of all time. And while the movie was not the trailer (meaning it could not maintain that level of perfection and excitement over 2+ hours, but arguably no film can), the film while definitely having issues (overlong, pacing issues); at the end of the day, flaws and all, it is an achievement of film-making.
You could not cast that film any better than it was cast, it starts great, it ends great, and in-between it is compelling if overlong (but given the depth of content, it was the length it needed to be). And let us speak of that ending, I spoke earlier of adaptions that are better than the original; this film is not better than the graphic novel, but there are moments in this film, that are. One of those moments is the ending. The culmination of Ozymandias’ master plan makes far more sense in the film than in the Graphic novel.
All in all Zack Snyder’s WATCHMEN is a flawed masterpiece, and I’ll take that every day of the week. And the trailer… flawless. Check out the below review.
Anyhow that was just a quick aside about how much i love the 1st 2009 WATCHMEN trailer, and while Zack Snyder has been hit and miss for me film-wise, his visuals (with the exception of the stupid costumes/CGI for the FLASH and CYBORG) are always top notch; and the trailers… genius.
I just saw the trailer for JUSTICE LEAGUE THE SNYDER CUT, and once again, that marriage of iconic visuals as only Zack Snyder can do it, with the perfect song– it makes me excited now to see this, when I had no interest in a ‘Snyder Cut’ of a film that did not work for me the first time.
“You won’t let me live, and you won’t let me die.”
In a very impressive trailer weekend for DC/Warner Brothers, the SNYDER JUSTICE LEAGUE may be my favorite trailer, just edging out both THE BATMAN and WONDER WOMAN 84. Now I definitely think both WONDER WOMAN 84 and THE BATMAN are going to be vastly better films than this re-cut JUSTICE LEAGUE CUT (I don’t see the edit substantially being able to change/better the film. Change it a little, yes. Better it a little, yes. But substantially? No.); however based just on trailers, the Snyder Cut hearkens back to his successful 1st WATCHMEN trailer, and that formula (for the trailer) just works.
Quick words on a few of the ones above:
GANGS OF LONDON- One of the shows I’m most looking forward to in 2020, just based on this trailer, and that it is by the director of the RAID films.
WITCH:SUBVERSION- Is right up there with GANGS OF LONDON (and DRACULA Netflix/BBC though that may be more 2019 trailer) as my favorite trailer so far of 2020. Again that does not mean it is going to be a good film, but it does mean based on the trailer… it looks FANTASTIC.
6 UNDERGROUND – I really loved the trailer for 6 UNDERGROUND. And this is one I have actually seen, and I have to say. I loved this film. While it is the bandwagon thing to bash on Michael Bay, with the exception of his TRANSFORMERS films (and I like 2 of them), I have been a fan of Michael Bay’s films. I love the two BAD BOY films he did, and I think 13 HOURS is a masterpiece. And 6 UNDERGROUND for me is another Michael Bay home-run. It has one of the best car chase scenes in film, right up there with the best ever done (films like his own BAD BOYS 2, as well as RAID 2, DIRTY MARY CRAZY LARRY, BOURNE ULTIMATUM, BULLITT to name a few)
WESTWORLD SEASON 3 – As someone who was not interested enough to watch season 1 or 2 of WESTWORLD, I am very intrigued by the trailer for season 3. The production values look cinematic.
EMPEROR- I praised this trailer previously. Awesome trailer.
The trailer for SERGIO looks phenomenal. The kind of political intrigue thriller that directors like Sydney Pollack and Sydney Lumet would have loved. The real selling point is in its star, who was on the show NARCOS, and just was amazing in that series.
ALL THE RIGHT PLACES – I don’t typically go for the romance, coming of age type film. Which tells you how good this trailer was, that it got me a grumpy curmudgeon, actually interested in this.
HOME BEFORE DARK – Another movie, that is not my type of movie, a family drama, this trailer moved me for some inexplicable reason.
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And give love to today’s:
I’m not crazy about the poster tag-line, a ‘true legend’, while many true things with time become the stuff of legend, and many legends are stories that have outlived and outlasted the crumbling and burying into dust of all things, even concrete evidence, the putting together of those two words… ‘true legend’ , if not exactly an oxymoron, is just slightly inept marketing. You want to put those two together, try this… ‘in a time of imposed truths, he became in his own lifetime… a galvanizing legend’ .
Took me two seconds to come up with that, and I think it shows more thought than what their marketing department did. Call me guys if you need to fire them and get a better marketing presence, we’ll talk. 🙂 .
But that aside, a very good poster and a GREAT Trailer! If the movie lives up to it, it will be a blast.
As someone who just picked up the 2 season set of UNDERGROUND (almost sold out, so you may want to pick it up while you can, use the attached link) and who is a huge fan of the best in Pan African cinema such as SANKOFA, DARESALAM, HYENAS, GENESIS, I AM CUBA, CAMP DE THIAROYE (also available courtesy of the attached links) this film definitely goes on my must check out list. Probably along with the WITCH:SUBVERSION one of the best trailers for the Month of February.
SANKOFA – arguably one of the finest, and both savage and beautiful films made, of a true Holocaust. Haile Gerima’s masterpiece. and the fact that this film is out of print, and does not have a Criterion or similar high-scale Blu-ray or DVD release, is only proof that we have a long way yet to go. Get a copy, you will thank me later.
DARESALAM – This is simply put, cinema at its finest. Get your copy, while you can.
I AM CUBA – For years this film was not available in the west, and then when I finally saw it, I think at a film festival, yeas ago, the camera work, in a time way before CGI, blew my mind. As a fan of David Lean, and Hitchcock and Welles and Fritz Lang, geniuses with the camera, this film was like a generational evolution. In an age before Steadicam adoption, the shots were absolutely mind blowing. When it finally was released on a quality DVD boxset, I rushed out and picked it up, and I told all of you to pick it up. For those new to this blog, back in the day, those who listened to me picked it up for $40. It is decidedly more than that, but still worth picking up, if you have the funds. A Masterpiece.
Quick rant, feel free to bypass this. 🙂
Here’s a tip you should know. Quality non-hollywood films about and by people of color, especially politically provocative films, have a tendency of not staying in print. And either dry up entirely on the secondary market, or explode in price before disappearing into private collections rarely to see the light of day.
I am never in a rush to pick up KNIVES OUT or 1917 or AVENGERS ENDGAME, because that is going to be there for decades to come. But when I hear about a THE GREAT WAR or EMPEROR or a DARESALAM or a BROTHER JOHN on dvd or Blu-ray, I can not race fast enough to purchase these movies. Haile Gerima, who I had the pleasure to interview back in the day, understood the importance of retaining positive images, and words, and movies, and music. That is culture.
And when the ability to view or hear or see these sounds and images, is at the mercy and whims of multinationals… culture itself is held hostage. And the people who depend on the reflective power of culture, to help define the width and the breadth of their aspirations, are likewise diminished.
And particularly today when so many are weaned on streaming, physical media is ironically both scarcer and yet more important and arguably esteemed and sought after, than ever before.
Because those in the know, understand streaming giveth and streaming taketh away, based on the uninformed whims of the lynchmob. You want your favorite film, available to watch when you want, and in the cut of the film you remember, there is no replacement for physical media. There just is not.
Here endeth the soap-box interlude. 🙂
You can take it, or you can leave it alone. 🙂
Either way, be well.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
All these posters grabbed my eye this installment.
In terms of the order/interest I have for them it would go:
Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s A WILD PEAR TREE (Istanbul) would probably be the first thing I tried to watch. If not in theaters, at least via streaming or DVD/Bluray. I am a HUGE fan of the Director’s 2006 film CLIMATES (if you have not seen that film, starring the director and his mesmerizing wife Ebru Ceylan, it is a stunning and amazingly beautiful film) and very interested in catching up with his newer, current work.
That would likely be followed up by Bong Joon Ho’s PARASITE (South Korea) given the praise the films is garnering, and my loving the Director’s previous films MEMORIES OF MURDER and THE HOST.
That is this installment’s MOVIE POSTERS OF THE DAY.
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