Archives For movies

We’ve entered a new age. It’s an age where stars and story no longer run Hollywood. Instead, everything is at the beck and call of the almighty franchise. Can this world be extended through multiple films? Are the characters likeable enough for audiences to follow? Can we plant information in the first film that will come back in later films? Is it a property a set of fans already care about and will want to see made into a series? The Hollywood machine is ever focused on properties. Building on top of identifiable ones, and creating new ones. But in this new landscape and even more devious kind of film has emerged: the pointless movie.

2012 has had its share of pointless movies. Wrath of the Titans, Battleship, The Amazing Spider-Man, Total Recall, The Bourne Legacy. Previous years have brought other pointless movies. But what is a pointless movie? What do I mean when I say that The Bourne Legacy was pointless? It’s a tough line. It’s almost a gut feeling, and depending on your reaction to the actual movies, you’re likely to disagree on a film-by-film basis. I guess the easiest way to explain it is that the pointless movie is that which fails to justify its own existence beyond a corporate decision. Click to read more.

I watched only one movie this week. Just one. I almost didn’t watch that one either, but last night I had a couple friends over and we decided to put something on. It happens. Look, I’m a movie buff, but I’m not the kind who cares to make movies my entire life. I do other things, you know, like watch TV… But seriously. Unless is a stupid movie, I usually prefer to give a film my full attention, and I’m not always in a position or state-of-mind to do that, which in turn causes me to watch a lot less movies.

This week also had distractions. First off, I started watching the classic Doctor Who series. I’m not far in, but I’m enjoying it so far. I also went to the Toronto Film Bloggers Pub Night, the monthly event where a bunch of us film types get together and drink $5 doubles, talk about movies and yell at each other for being wrong. It’s a great time. Then came the Olympics. I love watching the Olympics, so that will probably take of a lot of time that otherwise might’ve gone to movies. Oh well, You can still read about the one movie I did watch, if you like. Click to read more.

I’m not much of a reader. I mean, I love to read, but I don’t do it nearly as much as I’d like to, or even as much as I should. This year, though, I’ve read a fair number of books, at least for me. Weirdly, though, my book-reading often intersects with my movie-watching, and sometimes my TV-watching. It’s usually the movies that inspire me to read.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s like this. There are just so many books out there, and so many are considered great, and so many are considered classics; it’s difficult to know which books to read at any moment in time. That’s why inspiration is important. A little nudging. Sometimes it’s the nudging from a friend, or a teacher, or an employee at a bookstore. Sometimes you’re looking to your idols, trying to soak in the same books that influenced them. For me, it’s usually something to do with movies. Click to read more.

Children don’t always have the best taste in movies. I know this because I see what kids watch and they watch a lot of crap. I also know because I remember the movies I watched as a kid. There is some real garbage there. I don’t think it’s that kids are bad judges, but that the interests and needs of a child are quite different from an adult. Children are more open to the silly and the fanciful, which in a way is actually a great thing. It also means, though, that kids are more easily pandered to and thus entertained.

When I look back at the films I used to watch when I was six or seven or even ten years old, I look back fondly, even at the bad films. Some of those films I look at now and feel almost a sense of shame for having loved. Some of them bring no shame at all, and some of them I shamelessly love to this day. I’d like to share those films with you. Maybe if you’re my age you’ll have the same sense of nostalgia for them, or, if not, you’ll gain some insight into what being a young kid in the 90s was like from a cinematic perspective. Click to read more.

The Bourne Trilogy is one of my favourite movie series of all time. It started with The Bourne Identity, which was a great action spy story with a fantastic hook. The Bourne Supremacy brought in director Paul Greengrass, whose handheld shaky-cam style has come to define many action films for good or ill ever since. Greengrass came back to cap off the Jason Bourne story with The Bourne Ultimatum, which, going with only a basic outline of a script, stripped everything down to a series of amazing action sequences while maintaining some extremely poignant character and emotional beats. I guess it was too much to hope that the suits at Universal would let those three films stand on their own as a nearly perfect, complete story.

The Bourne Legacy takes that third word in its title very seriously. Writer-director Tony Gilroy, who’s also credited with writing the previous films, seemingly owes everything to three sources: his own screenplay for The Bourne Identity, Paul Greengrass’ directorial grittiness and Matt Damon. It’s a shame, then, that despite trying so hard to honour that ‘legacy’, Legacy brings none of those elements to the table in any kind of satisfactory way, either literally or in spirit. What might have been the start of a thrilling new story set in the Bourne universe instead owes a debt it simply can’t pay back. Click to read more.

As you may or may not know, there’s a new Batman film in theatres. It’s a little thing called The Dark Knight Rises, directed by one Christopher Nolan. Well, I saw the film, and I thought it would be nice to talk about it, and so here it comes, the next episode of The justAtadcast.

On the show this week I’ve got two friends from Los Angeles, Jason Eaken and Brett Merryman. I actually know them first as fellow fans of the great Filmspotting podcast, and they were gracious enough to come on and wax rhapsodic about The Dark Knight Rises with me. The episode is a little long, about 100 minutes. Don’t expect most episodes to be this long, but we felt the movie warranted the lengthy discussion. Normally I’d also include an index, but this week we decided to go fairly free-form, starting with our impressions of Nolan and his take on Batman, and then getting into the meat of The Dark Knight Rises. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the podcast.

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It’s been a Batman kind of a week. It’s also been a pretty crazy few days at this blog. My post about angry Batman commenters was featured in the Freshly Pressed section of the WordPress.com front page. I’ve gotten a lot of views from this. Like, an abnormally high number. Basically, in the last 48 hours I’ve gotten more hits than any previous single month. I’ll try not to let it go to my head, but for now I’d like to say thank you to all the people who have been reading my piece and some of the other pieces I’ve written. I’d also like to thank and welcome those who intend to stick around. Hopefully I can continue delivering content worthy of your readership.

As for what I’ve been watching this week? Well. Not much. Not much at all. It’s mostly Batman’s fault. Click to see what I’ve been watching.

Last night’s tragic events in Aurora, Colorado are pretty much beyond my comprehension, let alone within my ability to speak to them. All I can really express are my condolences for the victims and the families of those killed.

There really isn’t anything else to say about what happened, but I have heard some people online and in person express concerns about going to the theatre. Such an incident creates fear. It reveals what we all have generally considered a safe haven for entertainment and escapism is just as prone to the sharp and horrific burst of reality as anywhere else. But that doesn’t mean we should be fearful. It doesn’t mean we should stop living our lives. A movie theatre is a magical place, and none of that is lost, even in the light of such tragedy.

And so I’d like to be positive. I’d like to remind myself why we shouldn’t have fear. I’d like to express why I love going to the movies. Click to read more.

I think the biggest story in the online film world this week, outside of the forthcoming release of The Dark Knight Rises, was probably the vitriolic response that a number of critics got from Rotten Tomatoes users to their less than 100% positive reviews of that film. There’s been plenty of writing on the subject of Batman fans’ reactions to those reviews, and the whole story is wrapped up nicely by Matt Singer over at Criticwire. Some have said that these responses, which have included horrible misogynistic comments and death threats, are the result of some sort of insanity specific to Batman and Nolan fans. I don’t take this view, maybe because I consider myself a huge fan of Nolan’s work and his Batman films, and I also consider myself a fairly reasonable person.

I don’t think it’s fair to single out Batman fans. We saw the same sort of thing happen to several critics who dared to point out the flaws of The Avengers before that film came out. You know what? I kind of sympathize with those terrible fans. I kind of get where they’re coming from. I love Nolan’s work and I love his take on Batman. I look at The Dark Knight Rises, which I haven’t yet seen, and I do very much want to enjoy it. I want it to be great. When I see a negative reaction to the film from a critic, I don’t want to believe them. I don’t want them to be right. I consider their opinion, and even if it’s just for a moment I forget that it’s an opinion and my mind assumes they must be wrong. It’s a silly thing, but I get the impulse. It’s not that I know they’re wrong, or that they can even be wrong, but that I just don’t want to believe I might end up agreeing with them.

Given, then, that I somewhat sympathize with these so-called fans, why then am I not so vitriolic? Well, I think the answer lies partly outside the fans themselves, and at the online, fan-centred, movie news industry and blogs. It’s us. We created the monsters. Click to read more.

I’ve got a disease. A sickness. If you have a Netflix Watch Instantly subscription, you probably have it, too. I call it NNDS, or, Netflix Non-Decisiveness Syndrome. It’s a horrible affliction; a relative of such other awful illnesses like Overwhelming Video Store Disease, Too Many Channels Syndrome and Sizeable DVD Shelf Disease. All of these are the same. You’re presented with with a large, but nonetheless limited set of options. You can watch anything you’ve got in front of you, but how to decide?

It’s a serious problem. We need help. Netflix has thousands of movies and TV episodes, all right there, available to stream with the click of a button. It’s a fucking disaster. A ‘first world problem’ of epic proportions. Who on Earth came up with an idea so dastardly as to give people so many options? Don’t they know that human beings are not built to make these kinds of decisions? Click to learn about the symptoms.