EYG Top 10 Coming of Age Movies Re-List

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The final Re-List episode by the Top 10 guys was loaded up this morning.  It is a sad day as I have truly enjoyed these and I desperately wanted to participate.  Sadly, that was not to be.

The final episode list for the Re-List (re re re re-list!) was Top 10 Coming of Age Movies.  This was clearly a loaded category as 3 films in my top 5 were not even mentioned by either of the two participants on the Re-List this week.

According to Wikipedia,  “a coming-of-age story is a genre of literature, film, and video that focuses on the growth of a protagonist from youth to adulthood (“coming of age”).” There could be some arguments over when some movies are considered coming of age movies or not.  For example, Star Wars: A New Hope was included on one of the lists on the Re-List, but I have eliminated that as a possibility.  I could see an argument for it as Luke was certainly childish when we first meet him on Tatooine.  I just do not think there is enough of a focus on that to classify the film as a coming-of-age movie.  E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial was another included that I just did not think worked for the list, despite the fact that I think it is a beautiful film.

So… for the final Re-List….

 

The Way Way Back (2013) - Rotten Tomatoes#10.  The Way, Way Back.  I saw this in the theaters and did not expect much from it.  However, it was such a great film.  Starring Liam James, Sam Rockwell, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Amanda Peetm Rob Corddry and Maya Rudolph, among others.  The story focuses on the young boy who is struggling to find his voice over a summer where he goes with his mother and her new boyfriend at a beach house.  He goes to work at a local pool and he meets Sam Rockwell, someone he ends up looking up to.  It is a very enjoyable film with some funny moments.

 

Ferris Bueller's Day Off movie review (1986) | Roger Ebert#9.  Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  This film would be higher up the list, but I had some questions about how much of a coming-of-age movie it actually was.  Maybe if you are looking at Cameron as your protagonist it fits.  However, this John Hughes classic was on the show’s list and I found it on many lists during my research, so I decided to include it.  No doubt that it is an absolute awesome movie.

 

Slice of Southern life#8.  Mud.  Two young boys meet up with Mud, played by Matthew McConaughey, who is hiding out on an island in an old, broken down boat.  Being chased by bounty hunters, Mud needs the help of the boys to get away and accomplish what he had come to the area to do.  Great performances, especially from young Tye Sheridan as Ellis.

 

Tom Hanks' 'Big' is returning to theaters for 30th anniversary#7.  Big.  Penny Marshall’s classic film about a 12-year-old boy who wishes to be “big” and he magically gets turned into a 30-year-old man.  The coming of age here is seen as the man, played brilliantly by Tom Hanks, goes about grown up life through the mind and the eyes of a little boy.  A movie full of charm and magic.

 

Elsie Fisher | Movie Reviews Simbasible#6.  Eighth Grade.  A powerful movie that, as a middle school teacher, found completely relatable and realistic.  The first time I saw the scene of Elsie Fisher in the backseat with that teen boy, I was totally frightened for her.  I had so much anxiety and tension… proving how effective this movie was in setting up its situations.  Amazing how much director Bo Burnham got inside the mind of 8th grade kids.

 

Karate Kid" (HD) -- Best scene -- 'Crane Kick' (1984, original ...#5.  The Karate Kid.  The story of Daniel LaRusso, an East coast kid who, because of his mother’s job, had to move out West to California.  He had trouble making friends and wound up on the opposite side of a group of bullies.  The answer?  Karate tournament, of course!  The relationship between Daniel and Mr. Miyagi is the cornerstone of this movie and the performances of Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita carry this film right up until that crane kick to the chin.  Banzai, Daniel-san! Banzai!

 

Sing Street - NYT Watching#4.  Sing Street.  Another movie that caught me completely off-guard with how utterly brilliant it was.  Stemming from money problems, Cosmo had to go to a new school and he had trouble blending in.  In order to impress a beautiful girl, he said that he was in a band.  The problem?  He was not in a band.   The creation of the band and the relationship he had with the girl was beautiful and deep.  The music was criminally overlooked too.

 

IT Movie Producer on Chapter 2, Beverly, and Stephen King | Collider#3.  It.  Though it is known as a horror movie, the Stephen King classic focuses on the Loser’s Club, a group of outcasts teens who have to band together to fight off a killer clown.  The key element to the success of this film was the interaction of the group of kids.  They were real and relatable, even when they are doing supernatural things.  The key to the movie is the relationship with them and how they have to bond together and unite to stop Pennywise.  The sequel was just nowhere near as good as this film.

 

Into the Spider-Verse” Is Comic Book Perfection | The Cornell ...#2.  Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.  Miles Morales gets bitten by a radioactive spider and winds up in the same place as this dimension’s Spider-Man, just as he is fighting to the death with the Kingpin.  Miles has to face the new powers that he is discovering and has to become the hero within to step up and save his world.  The hero’s journey that Miles goes on is beautifully written and perfectly punctuated by another Spider-man, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Ham, Spider-Man Noir and Penny Parker.  Such a beautiful animated film.  I love Spider-Man and I love this version.

 

62. Stand by Me (1986) | Wonders in the Dark#1.  Stand By Me.  One of the greatest Stephen King adaptations around and a film filled with fun, emotional beats and kids going through some powerfully dramatic moments.  Even still, they are able to view these moments through the vision of teenage boys.  The four actors involved in this film are perfectly cast and make such an amazing group that they play off each character brilliantly.  Each boy brings something different to the group and each boy has his own distinct character.  No time was skipped to develop each kid and the film benefits from that.  There are several moments here that bring tears to my eyes and the ending is both tragic and uplifting at the same time.  Stand By Me is a classic.

 

Honorable Mention:  As I said, there were a bunch that were fighting for that final spot.  Love, Simon is a wonderful story from a couple of years ago.  Edge of Seventeen had a great performance at its lead (plus Woody Harrelson is a too-relatable teacher role).  The Breakfast Club was one I wanted to make the list, but I just had to cut it.  The Sandlot is another one that is so great but just came up short.  The surprisingly good Good Boys was considered.  Disney’s Moana was wonderful.  There could be many Disney animated films considered, which was part of the reason why I eliminated MoanaLady Bird was a film a lot of people loved, but I thought was just okay.

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The Social Network (2010)

The Social Network movie poster #706038 - MoviePosters2.com

One of the online movie pundits I like made a comparison of The Social Network to Citizen Kane, format-wise.  I made that decision that I wanted to watch them together to see how I felt about that idea.

I had seen The Social Network before, but I had never seen Citizen Kane.  Touching on the idea of the comparison, I do see some connection between the way the story is told with the non-linear storytelling format (though honestly, the flashbacks feel more like the main story than flashbacks), the main protagonist having negative qualities, and Rooney Mara (who played Erica Albright in Social Network) is comparative to Rosebud in Citizen Kane.  There are other connections, but it would take me diving deeper into both movies to really do that analysis justice.

The Social Network is the story of Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and the founding of Facebook.  We meet Mark as he is breaking up with the aforementioned Erica (Rooney Mara).  Actually, it was Erica who did the breaking up and it sent Mark on this path toward Facebook.  He went back to his room and started blogging negative things about her, showing his true troll side.  This led to an idea to compare other female students at Harvard.

The comparison website had a huge response and that drew the attention of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (both played by Armie Hammer), rowers and legacy students at Harvard.  The brothers approached Zuckerberg with an idea about a social network and they wanted him to write code.  Zuckerberg agreed, taking the idea to another level.

With the monetary investment of his best friend Eduardo (Andrew Garfield), Marc went to town.

Directed by David Fincher, The Social Network just pops with the writing of Aaron Sorkin.  The combination of these talented individuals really provided an amazing product that gave these great actors some fantastic material.  Performances here were just astounding as well.  Jesse Eisenberg, Armie Hammer, Andrew Garfield were all great and it is most likely the best performance in the career of Justin Timberlake.

The film does a great job of showing the character of Mark Zuckerberg and how he was desperate for a connection, yet unable to connect.  The irony of having a person who has so much trouble with the relationships in his life being the driving force behind a platform that is meant to connect to other people is unbelievable.

I did not think originally that this would be a great movie.  I felt that this would be dull, but it is anything but.  I liked it the first time I saw it and this time was even more as I appreciated the technical aspects of the film this time more.  The Social Network is an exceptional film.

vintage

The Social Network movie poster #706038 - MoviePosters2.com

 

Citizen Kane (1941)

Citizen Kane - Regular | Mad Duck Posters

Universally recognized as one of the greatest movies ever made, Citizen Kane is, as movie pundit Scott Mantz might say, the Citizen Kane of movies.

Citizen Kane is one of those experience movies that anybody who considers themselves a cinephile must experience.  Starring the director Orson Welles, Citizen Kane is a movie that has an amazing relevance to today’s world, almost 80 years later.

Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) was a newspaper magnet and one of the country’s richest men.  Upon his death, he became even bigger news, and journalists searched for a hook for their audiences, in their attempt to discover something new about the millionaire.  A group of reporters focused in on a riddle… the last word spoken by Kane was “Rosebud” and no one knew why.  This mystery sent the reporters on a journey into the past of Charles Foster Kane searching for a clue to the true meaning of that allusion.

I had never watched Citizen Kane before, but I knew the answer to the riddle of :What was Rosebud.”  It is one of the most iconic movie images ever put to screen.  I knew about that allusion for decades.  Heck, the first place I ever heard of it was from the Dr. Demento Show and the song “The Homecoming Queen’s Got a Gun” by Julie Brown.  It was a pop culture symbol that everyone knew.  That speaks to the successful nature of the film.

This movie was filmed in ways that would inspire directors and creators for years.  In fact, many of the styles used to film here may not seem special when viewed today, but were, in actuality, influential to the film industry when Orson Welles did it.  Techniques such as “deep focus” which is a technique that allows the filmmaker to keep objects in the foreground and in the distant background in focus at the same time.  Images in the film are utter masterpieces of composition and imagination. They literally teach classes on the imagery found in Citizen Kane.

The story telling of the film was ahead of its time as well.  The film starts off with the death of the main protagonist in Charles Foster Kane, setting up the film’s main mystery with the “Rosebud” utterance.  Then the film is told in flashbacks to the different stages of Kane’s life, and it was not even chronological at this point.  Yet the story is so well constructed that you are never confused about where in the story you are and what place in Kane’s life you are watching.  The use of the news reel right after Kane’s death provides us with exposition in a manner that is both effective and entertaining.

I also found a disturbing comparison between Charles Foster Kane and another of our major public figures in today’s world.  Another multi-millionaire narcissist with delusions of grandeur.

I avoided Citizen Kane for the longest time because I thought I might be bored by it.  Au contraire… I found it completely compelling and fascinating.  The tale of the life of this man and his hopes and his desires, along with a longing for what was and what could have been.  Devastating.  This is an amazing debut from Orson Welles and it had to be difficult for him to manage expectations after the first film you make is one of the most revered films in movie history.

A true masterpiece.

paragon

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The Vast of Night

The Vast of Night” Poster and Trailer are Here! – Craig Zablo

I found a new film that appeared on Amazon Prime today called The Vast of Night.  That was a title that was intriguing and I was not sure what it meant.

It is the 1950’s in a small town in New Mexico.  The young teenager Fay (Sierra McCormick) went to her job at the telephone switchboard, walking with local radio DJ Everett (Jake Horowitz) on the way.  As she was switching calls, Fay hears a strange noise come across the radio.  This same sound came across the phone lines.  Curious, she called Everett at the radio station and they began an investigation into the mysterious sound.

I was really engaged in the story.  There was not a lot of action, so there are going to be people who think it is boring.  However, I found the dialogue and the monologues spoken by the characters to be compelling and thoroughly entertaining.  The monologues are delivered with a remarkable mood that creates a wonderfully creepy tone.

The film has an independent feel that, while may make the third act revelation a tad cheap looking, work for most of this movie.  The low budget look adds to the aura of the film and gives us the tone of the 1950’s movies.

Performances are solid from a group of actors who I had never seen before.  Jake Horowitz was a standout as the DJ.  These actors delivered strong performances and created their specific and developed characters mostly through their dialogue.

There was also a fascinating framing mechanism used in the film where the film made it look like it was a Twilight Zone-like show.  The use of the old fashion TV screen as a transition technique helped make this feel like that anthology show.  It fed right into the mood of the film.

If you are into old time movies and are nostalgic for the old sci-fi films of the 1950’s, you’ll probably get a kick out of this.  It is a slow burn, but it is worth the time.

4 stars 

The Wretched

Movie Review - The Wretched (2020)

This is the number one movie in the U.S. Box Office this week.

Strange, I know.  This is a horror movie that is being shown in a few of the drive-in theaters and the handful theaters of brick and mortar that are open.  I heard about this film being top of the box office from Dam Murrell’s YouTube show Charts with Dan.

Now, of course, we are not talking about massive amounts of money here.  Most of the theaters in the country are still closed down.  According to the last Box Office Mojo website, last week The Wretched made $216, 000.

Then, I found the film on Vudu and I rented it.

In The Wretched, a troubled teen Ben (John-Paul Howard) goes with his father Liam (Jamison Jones).  His parents were getting a divorce and it was causing serious problems for him.  However, it is not long after when he realizes that something strange was happening at their neighbor’s house.  There is a 1000-year old witch posing as the mother next door and making people forget about children.

I liked this movie for the most part.  The young actors are all solid and there is a tension in the plot that creates a anxiety in the viewers minds.  They play upon the uncertainty of what was happening and the creepiness of the witch.

There are some horror tropes that are in heavy use here.  One is the father who does not believe his child.  I can understand why he may not, but it is something that happens regularly in horror.  Now, to be fair, Liam actually comes around pretty quickly after Ben tells him about the witch, and, at least, there have not been a ton of mysterious things happening that the father just ignores.  Still, it is something that happens regularly.

I was very disappointed with the ending of the film too.  The last scene of the film truly takes the film off its rails and wastes everything that came before it.  Again, the twist end is a horror trope that this film applies.  I did not like the ending.

The rest of the film was pretty decent.  I have seen better horror movies, but for a small film, this is much better than many horror movies.  Despite the by the numbers plot, if you can find it, it is worth a watch, especially if you enjoy horror.

3.1 stars

The Amazing Spider-Man #43

Amazing Spider-Man (2018-) #43 - Marvel Comics

The Amazing Spider-Man #43

“True Companions Part Three

Writer:  Nick Spencer

Artist:  Ryan Ottley

Cover Art:  Ryan Ottley & Nathan Fairbairn

The third part of True Companions has finally come out after weeks of waiting and the story has added something to the lore of Spider-Man.  A pet?

Nick Spencer’s current run on The Amazing Spider-Man has been solid, especially with the use of the Spider-Man secondary crew.  The increased role of Boomerang in Spider-man/Peter Parker’s life has been enjoyable to watch.  The return of Mary Jane to the narrative has been extremely welcome (though I worry about what is to come for the pair) and the use of Mayor Fisk, who has been all over the Marvel books lately, trying to get on Spidey’s “good side” is a cool bit of juxtaposition.

Now we bring on Gog.  We had an entire origin issue dedicated to Gog, which tells you that there may be some plans for Gog.

The best part of this issue is how the Spider-man character shines through every moment of the book.  Spencer does a great job of showing us what Spidey would do in each situation, and how the character would react.  This was one of the first times since the switch that I really felt as if Spidey was done right.  Not taking anything away from the rest of the run, but, after Tom Taylor, most would be seen as lesser.

However, this really gives me hope that there are great things on the horizon for Peter Parker and his alter ego.

ReadIt

Amazing Spider-Man (2018-) #43 - Marvel Comics

Avengers #33

Avengers (2018-) #33 - Marvel Comics

Avengers #33

“Moon Knight vs. The Avengers”

The Age of Khonshu Part One

Writer:  Jason Aaron

Artist:  Javier Garron

Cover Art:  Matteo Scalera & Rachelle Rosenberg

The Avengers return to start up a new arc featuring The Moon Knight called The Age of Khonshu.  Everyone’s favorite split personality hero is back and he is taking on the heavy hitters in an attempt to become Earth’s Mightiest Hero and he is well on his way.

Moon Knight has become a dangerous foe and, beneath the light of the Supermoon, Moon Knight has put a plan from Khonshu in play.

While my first thought of placing Moon Knight into this situation was negative, I must say that I enjoyed the execution of the story.  The art is excellent and the individual battles between Moon Knight and the separate Avengers were intriguing.  There is clearly a mystery going on here and what the motives of Moon Knight and Khonshu are still up in the air.

However, this does have the same general feel to it as did the previous story arc from the Captain Marvel series as Carol had to fight and “kill” off the Avengers to fool the villain of the series.  That was not my favorite arc of the Captain Marvel series, but this one has started off better than that did.

The first part of this arc has, at the very least, hooked me enough that I am interested in seeing where it goes.  I have always enjoyed Moon Knight so it is nice to see him get his time in the sun (or Moonlight as the case may be).

tryit

 

Avengers (2018-) #33 - Marvel Comics

Beetlejuice (1988)

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Beetlejuice

Beetlejuice

Beetle….

Wait.  I should be more careful.

One of the most original and fun movies of the 1980’s was the Michael Keaton starring vehicle, Beetlejuice.

A young couple Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara (Geena Davis) purchased a new house and moved in.  Unfortunately, soon after, they were killed in a car wreck only to discover that they were now stuck in the house as ghosts.  They could not leave and could not be seen.  Then, the house was sold to a pretentious couple Charles (Jeffrey Jones) and Delia (Catherine O’Hara), who, along with their depressed daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder), arrived in the house, ready to renovate everything.

Adam and Barbara decide that they would use their ghostly powers to scare them out of the house, but Adam and Barbara discovered quickly that they were not the scary types.  Desperate, they found help from a spirit who they could only summon by saying his name three times:  Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton).

This film is one of the greats form the 1980’s as it blends some exceptional humor with some dark monstrous images.  The entire “Day-O” sequence of the film is just one of the most memorable musical moments in movies.

Michael Keaton is just tremendous as the troublesome Beetlejuice, funny, witty and rotten to the core.  You could tell immediately that Beetlejuice was not going to be helpful in the long run.

There are some great cast members here.  Moving past the main actors, Catherine O’Hara and Jeffrey Jones are fantastic as the snooty new owners of the house.  We get Glenn Shadix as Otho, Robert Goulet, Dick Cavett, Susan Kellerman, and Annie McEnroe playing smaller, but entertaining characters.

The special effects are a little dated, but for 1988, they were not terrible.  This could be updated in this area.  There have been rumors of a Beetlejuice 2 which would feature Michael Keaton returning.  Keaton is masterful in this role and I would love to see what he had to add to the story.

Beetlejuice is a classic movie that is a load of fun.

vintage

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EYG Top 10 Fictional Movie Presidents

EYG23

Good morning.  It is time once again for the Top 10 Show.  This week’s show is Top 10 Fictional Movie Presidents.  I liked this topic because it goes into a different level that they can count down.  Characters instead of just movies.  This helps spice up the topics and there are some movies here that have not been mentioned much, if ever.

I was able to get to around 13 choices too, with the top 3 or so being clear choices for me.

Of course, the title is “fictional movie presidents” which eliminates such possible choices as Jed Bartlett (West Wing), David Palmer (24) or Tom Kirkman (Designated Survivor).  These would all have made a Top 10 fictional presidents list if TV was included.  It is not so they are not.

 

Seven Crazy Political Figures in Movies | All That's Epic ...#10.  President Hathaway (Stephen Colbert), Monsters vs. Aliens.  One of two animated presidents on my list, Stephen Colbert is just fantastic as the president in this movie.  He was so awkward and odd and Colbert’s voice work is exceptional.  The character uses the look of Colbert as well and provides us with some of the best laughs in the movie.

 

Top 10 Presidents in Film | Best For Film#9.  President Arnold Schwarzenegger (Harry Shearer), The Simpsons Movie.  Yes, Arnold is a real person, but I would say, since this is not even Arnold doing the voice, this counts.  Harry Shearer voices the actor turned president from the Simpsons Movie and he does a wonderful job.  Shearer is amazingly talented, doing several of the voices in the Simpsons anyway and being Derek Smalls from Spinal Tap.  I have to say though this may not be quite as funny as it was with whom we have as president right now.

 

Angel Has Fallen Movie Review#8.  President Trumbell (Morgan Freeman), Angel has Fallen.  The third film in this franchise provides what I think was the best president (no offense to Benjamin Asher).  Morgan Freeman is just so presidential.  I believe that he is the president and that he has complete confidence in Mike Banning.  Morgan Freeman is epic in everything he does.

 

Why President Whitmore in 'Independence Day' Is America's Worst ...#7.  Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman), Independence Day.  One of the more iconic speeches given by a fictional presidents was given before Bill Pullman hopped into his plane to fight off aliens.  I have this guy down the list a bit because I am not a huge fan of the character and the speech itself is overrated.  I actually agree with Matt Knost on this as he had Whitmore down his list as well.  I believe he belongs on this list, but #7 seems to be a good fit.

 

President Jack Stanton#6.  President Jack Stanton (John Travolta), Primary Colors.  Reportedly based on President Bill Clinton, this film does an amazing job of showing some of the shady maneuvers that he may have used, while also showing what a good man he was.  He wanted to help people.  He was full of empathy for his constituents.  John Travolta was great in the role even though it did not seem to be the right choice at first.  One could wonder how much of this film was actually fictional…

 

 

Framing Blackness on Twitter: "Tom Lister, Jr. as President ...#5.  President Lindberg (Tommy “Tiny” Lister), The Fifth Element.  As a wrestling fan, I recognized him as Zeus.  So I loved it when he appeared in The Fifth Element.  He showed some skill (much more than he did as Zeus) and some comedic timing.  I am not sure if he was officially the “President of the United States” because the film is not specific and it is a futuristic story, but he made the Top 10 Show’s list, so he is certainly making mine.

 

Dave: The President We Need Right Now - Solzy at the Movies#4.  Dave Kovic (Kevin Kline), Dave.  One of the first ones that popped into my head when the topic came up, Kevin Kline is outstanding as the presidential look-a-like who has to step into the job completely.  Dave is a fun and sweet film, despite the film being very implausible.

 

 

Dramatic Monologue for Men - Michael Douglas as President Andrew ...#3.  President Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas), The American President.  One of my favorite romantic comedies of all time, Michael Douglas has amazing chemistry with Annette Bening.  However, my absolute favorite part is when President Shepherd walked out to the briefing and delivered the most kick-ass monologue in presidential movie history.  It is what any or all presidents should aspire to and I just loved the honesty from this character.  I could see it being replayed constantly on FOX News being taken out of context.  Amazing work here.

 

Air Force One (1997): President James Marshall | Best Movie ...#2.  President James Marshall (Harrison Ford), Air Force One.  I mean… Harrison Ford as President of the United States?  How much better could it be?  Just take him and point him at our enemies and let him kick some ass.  He also delivered one of the most epic quotes in presidential movie history with “GET OFF MY PLANE!”  Most presidents are reduced to being protected by Secret Service.  Nobody needs to protect Harrison Ford.

 

That Dr. Strangelove scene where the U.S. President phones Russia ...#1.  President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers), Dr. Strangelove.  The EYG Hall of Famer Peter Sellers played three separate characters in Dr. Strangelove, including the President of the United States.  He does so with such a perfect dull tone that you could absolutely picture him in this position.  His phone conversations with the Russian leader Dmitri is comedy gold.  Sellers delivers each line with the proper amount of dry humor and apprehension that drives home the humor.  He also has to deal with the craziness of George C. Scott and the “evil?” genius Dr. Strangelove.  Muffley had his hands full, no doubt.  Maybe that is why the world gets blown up.

 

Honorable Mentions:  I had to drop one off the list when I decided to include Arnold on the list.  That one was President Allen Richmond (Gene Hackman) from Absolute Power.  I already mentioned President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) from Olympus has Fallen and London has Fallen.  Jamie Foxx was decent as President James Sawyer in White House Down.  

 

EYG23

Chronicle (2012)

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What happens when the found footage genre meets the super hero origin story?

Well, if you are Josh Trank, you have Chronicle.

I should rephrase what I stated, because, truthfully, Chronicle is not a super HERO origin story as much as it is a super VILLAIN origin story.

Three high school kids (Alex Russell, Dane DeHaan, Michael B. Jordan) come across a weird hatch in the ground outside of the party they were at.  The “radiation” from the strangeness gave them telekinesis powers.  It started as a fun time, but soon their powers started to lead to deeper troubles.

Dane DeHaan’s character Andrew was abused and tormented and that brought an anger to him and, once he gained his powers, suddenly had the power that he lacked to defend himself.

Andrew’s cousin Matt (Alex Russell) tried to get Andrew past his loathing of others and focus on the positives, but Matt’s good intentions did not seem to Andrew to be sincere.

The film was extremely realistic.  What I mean by that is, if this was actually happening to these high school aged boys, this is how things would go.  They would use their new skills in ways that are meant to make them more popular or to have fun and, when they realized that these powers made them dangerous, they would make a decision.  Andrew and Matt are the proverbial both sides of the same coin story that we see in comics on a regular basis.

The found footage technique worked really well in this film.  Found footage had been starting to show its failings about this time, but Chronicle was able to show a different way to approach the genre.  It allowed the characters to go deep inside themselves and show the sides that they may not have shown in a regular film.

Despite Andrew’s constant anger and his poor reactions, you feel bad for him.  He is relatable with the troubles that he faced.  We can all relate to being teased in school, being awkward around others, facing parental issues.  These are the traits that make him human, while his powers are what makes him fantastical.

This was an excellent use of found footage and presented us with some dark images and sad moments in the lives of these boys. Chronicle was a really well done film.

vintage

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Captain Phillips (2013)

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This was one of my favorite movies from 2013.  In fact, looking back at the top 15 list from that year, Captain Phillips was number one.

Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks), captain of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama, and, in 2009, his ship was hijacked by Somali pirates, led by a young man named Muse (Barkhad Abdi).  Phillips is then taken hostage on the ship’s lifeboat as the pirates try desperately to return to Somalia.

Tom Hanks is masterful in this performance, a performance sadly ignored by the Academy voters, and shows every range of the spectrum of emotion.  He goes from fear to anger to frustration.

Yet, the final 5 minutes of screen time for Tom Hanks, when Captain Phillips is safe and be examined on the navy ship, may be the greatest piece of acting I have ever seen.  Phillips is in shock and Hanks completely delivers that feel.  It is heartbreaking, completely raw and as powerful as you could imagine.

This is based on a true story and just watching the anguish and total uncertainty Captain Phillips is amazing at the resiliency of the human spirit.

However, the film does not just focus on Captain Phillip’s strength, but the emotions of Muse and his own fears and anxieties connected to what he was trying to accomplish.  He was desperate in his own way and reacted in a different way.  For much of the movie, there was almost like a chess game going on with Phillips and Muse.

The film is utterly tense and keeps your stomach churning, as if you were actually on the water.  I loved Captain Phillips when I saw it in 2013, and I loved it about as much this time through.

paragon

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Unstoppable (2010)

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One of the most tense, anxiety-filled movies about trains that you are ever going to see.  Plus, it has Chris Pine and Denzel Washington.

What more could you ask for?

Oh, how about Rosario Dawson too?  Excellent.

Denzel was Frank and Chris Pine was Will, and they were together running a train.  Frank was the grizzled veteran and Will was the newbie, both with their own personal life issues interfering with their thoughts.  However, when there is a runaway train out of control, Frank and Chris are the last chance of stopping the train.

Sure, there was a lot of silly coincidences going on here.  The way the train starts off on its own is silly.  Some of the attempts to stop the train came from the mind of people who must not have really wanted that train to stop, because it was not going to work.  Yet, all of that just makes the film work more.

The heroism of the two main characters is just off the charts and everybody loves rooting for underdog heroes to succeed when it seem they have no chance at all surviving their struggle.  The news broadcast of this event really showed this.

Why they did not just do what they did at the end… before things got out of control, I do not know.  I am not trying to think about it too deeply.

Chris Pine and Denzel Washington are great together.  They make a pair of people who are easy to root for and who are interesting to fill the time between dramatic rescue attempts with some good banter about trains.  Throw in the always wonderful Rosario Dawson as Connie, the woman on the radio, and this trio was just perfect for what this movie was.

Unstoppable was just a lot of high tension fun.  Exciting, exhilarating and suspenseful.  Implausible?  Sure.  Still great.

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UNSTOPPABLE: Original Movie Poster at Amazon's Entertainment ...

EYG Top 10 Re-List Fictional Bars/Restaurants

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Sad new this week.  The Top 10 Show is going to stop doing Re-Lists.  I have been waiting for the chance to get to do one of these, but now it looks as if that opportunity is now gone.  Apparently there will be one more after this.  This week’s Re-List is from Nancy Mallory, James Leggett, and Bobby Carney. Nancy Mallory submitted the topic of the Top 10 Fictional Bars/Restaurants.

This is a fun topic and an original idea.  I was surprised as I was doing my research that there were as many as there were.

Frosty Palace | Grease Wiki | Fandom#10.  The Frosty Palace, Grease.  This was the tenth spot and it was in a fight with some others on my list.  However, this is my type of food.  Hamburgers and chocolate shakes.  Yum.  Plus, 1950’s music?  Great.

 

Shooting in The Three Broomsticks — Harry Potter Fan Zone#9.  The Three Broomsticks, Harry Potter franchise.  This one you could actually visit.  Maybe not in England like the fictionalized one, but perhaps Universal.  I juts finished the Harry Potter franchise re-watch and the Three Broomsticks looks to be a great place to be together.

 

 

The Shining--Patterns | The shining, Gold rooms, The shining film#8.  The Gold Room, The Shining.  What would be better than spending time over dinner and drinks by having a conversation with old spirits from the 20’s?  The Shining restaurant is a lovely part of the Overlook Hotel and should not be missed.  Very shriek..er …I mean..chic.

 

 

Feast Week, Day 8 - The Prancing Pony - The Fantasy Network News#7.  The Prancing Pony, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.  Another place where friends can gather for a pint and good discussion.  Sure there are hobbits all over the place, but there is nothing wrong with that.

 

 

Cafe 80's | Futurepedia | Fandom#6.  The Cafe 80’s, Back to the Future II.  Back to the Future’s future restaurant with the 1980’s theme.  Where you can play some shooting games and get yourself a Pepsi.  Watch out for those trouble making kids with the hover boards though.

 

 

Humphrey Bogart and Dooley Wilson in Casablanca playing piano in ...#5.  Rick’s Cafe Americain, Casablanca.  Dinner club with some awesome piano music.  Just remember that “a kiss is just a kiss.  A sigh is just a sigh” as time goes by.  It is a gin joint like no other.  Play it again, Sam.

 

 

Pizza Planet | Disney Wiki | Fandom#4.  Pizza Planet, Toy Story.  Where better to get yourself some pizza than at Pizza Planet?  It is a whole planet of pizza, for goodness sake.  You can also use the CLAW! CLAW! CLAW! and find an alien of your very own for your toys at home.

 

 

9 Reasons Why the Mos Eisley Cantina is So Special | StarWars.com#3.  Mos Eisely Cantina, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.  This might be a little higher on my list of it were not such a hive of scum and villainy.  You must always be cautious when dealing with a group of patrons who might shoot first and eat later.  The perfect location to find yourself a scruffy nerfherder for whatever questionable job you may have in mind.  Plus, there is live music!

 

Double R Diner | Twin Peaks Wiki | Fandom#2.  Double R Diner, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.  Though this started on the TV show, it did make an appearance in Fire Walk with Me.  If you are having a hankering for a damn fine cup of coffee and a piece cherry pie in the place where pie must go to die.

 

TV and Movie News Pulp Fiction: Read The Jack Rabbit Slims Menu ...Pulp Fiction' Songs: Tour the Film's Bestselling Soundtrack ...#1.  Jack Rabbit Slim’s, Pulp Fiction.  This did not make either list on the Re-List this week and it is a major overlook (and I do not mean the Hotel).  How could you ignore Jack Rabbit Slim’s?  Great food and maybe a dance contest too.  Come and try the infamous $5 milk shake (although that price may have been raised because of inflation).  you ignore this restaurant with all of its ambiance and a dance contest too?   More 1950’s nostalgia …plus gangster wives.

 

Honorary Mentions:  There is a restaurant with a rat in the kitchen, but this one you want there.  It is Gusteau’s from Ratatouille.  I bumped The Maidenhead from Joss Whedon’s Serenity.  I just re-watched that film yesterday, but I wanted a shake more from the Frosty Palance.  The Raven from Raiders of the Lost Ark is not necessarily my kind of place, and I am not much for Chinese food so I would avoid Club Obi-Wan.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 Autographed 11x14 ...

With this, the EYG 8 Days of Potter come to an end with the second part of the finale, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  Of course, we are not including the nearly miserable Fantastic Beasts films in our 8 Days of Potter.

Last year, one of the criticisms of Avengers: Endgame was that someone who had never seen another Avenger movie would have trouble jumping into the film. I always thought that was a silly criticism, but you could absolutely say that about Deathly Hallows Part 2 (even if you combined the finales).  Yet, I am not sure why you would start with the last film of the series if you were ready to watch a Harry Potter film.  There is no doubt that if you were unaware of the Harry Potter lore, you would not know what is going on or who most of these people were.

Having said that, this is a really epic conclusion to the Harry Potter franchise, providing the fans with a satisfactory end to the story.  The film wraps up the plot holes well and delivers answers to the lingering mysteries.  Splitting the conclusion into two parts yielded the filmmakers the opportunity to not spare the scenes.

Whereas Deathly Hallows Part 1 was more devoted to quieter character beats, Part 2 is loaded with action and battle.  Part 2 is a war movie.  Two sides gathering to fortify their sides and prepare to mount their offensives is quite powerful.  You knew there would be casualties and some of our favorites would not make it through this confrontation.  The feeling of inevitability washes over the audience and you find yourself holding your breath for much of the time.  When known characters appear on screen, you are holding tight that this would not be their final fate.

One of the problems of the film, which is also not a problem, is the fact that we lose so many of our favorites practically off-screen.  Fred Weasley (James Phelps), Remus Lupin (David Thewlis), and his wife.  I believe these characters, especially Fred, deserved a more noble death for as long as he was around.  Perhaps the idea is that this shows the senselessness of war and how death goes hand in hand.

The final confrontation with Harry and Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) was tense and brutal.  Since I had not read the books, I remember the first time I watching this movie not knowing what was going to happen.  It was a distinct possibility that any of these characters could have fallen.

The end of Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) was unbelievably satisfying.  After seven movies of not knowing his motivation or being sure which side he was on, we get a beautiful answer that checked off every box and made sense.  It did not feel forced.  Every question worked with the answer and nothing felt left out.  Alan Rickman was brilliant in his final spin as Severus Snape.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 certainly hits the landing for the end of a franchise finale.  I do have to say that the “deathly hallows” themselves kind of wind up being unimportant overall, kind of a side note in their own film, but that is a minor complaint.  The acting is top notch from the entire cast.  The audience is given several moments of joy and sorrow, emotionally potent and nostalgically relevant.  The tag on at the ending is sweet and leaves the fans with deep happiness and satisfaction.  Among a cast that we grew up with, Harry Potter concludes with a bang.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 Autographed 11x14 ...

 

Sherlock Holmes (2009)

Sherlock Holmes 8 Inch x 10 Inch Photo Movie Poster Jude Law ...

Robert Downey Jr. has remarkable charisma and it is on full display in his remake of the classic literature character, Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes gets himself involved in the capture of Lord Henry Blackwood (Mark Strong), a serial killer reputedly involved in the occult.  After the execution of Blackwood, the killer makes an apparent return from the grave to gain control of all of England.

Part of the charm of this film is the bromance between Robert Downey Jr’s Sherlock and Jude Law’s Dr. Watson.  They have tons of chemistry with each other and their banter and dialogue elevates everything that they do.

Of course, they have more than just their performances.  This story is smart and clever.  The way the film displays the notable ability of Holmes to make observations is original and creative.  The film takes us into Sherlock’s head as he plans through every move that he is going to make.

Guy Ritchie directed this film and there are a lot of Guy Ritchie touches here.  Those traits actually work very well in this film.

Rachel McAdams is here too as Sherlock’s dangerous flame Irene Adler.  McAdams is perfectly cast here and has a tremendous amount of chemistry with Downey Jr.  Of course, most people seem to have some kind of chemistry with Robert Downey Jr.

Sherlock Holmes is an iconic character and this film helped bring him into the new world of feature films.  Holmes and Watson truly brought the buddy adventure to Victorian England.

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Sherlock Holmes 8 Inch x 10 Inch Photo Movie Poster Jude Law ...