7/06 Finding Dory
7/13 Secret Life of Pets
7/16 Ghostbusters (2016)
7/26 Star Trek Beyond
7/29 Phantom Boy
8/05 Cafe Life
8/18 Suicide Squad
8/22 Kubo and the Two Strings
9/02 Florence Foster Jenkins
9/09 Blazing Saddles
9/10 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
9/23 Magnificent Seven (2016)
Here we see an uptick in my viewing with me getting to see more than one movie a week.
Warcraft. A semi-animated based on the Warcraft games that preceded the World of Warcraft computer game. I actually liked it, in fact I saw it twice, once with again with my wife (who also plays WoW) and bought a copy of the DVD as she started reading Warcraft/WoW fiction and fanfic after seeing the movie. One thing that was wonderful about the DVD was seeing the production footage of how they took live actors and, through green screen, animated them in to the movie. Very cool stuff.
Finding Dory. This deserves a *meh*. I can’t say that I was terribly impressed with it, though my wife quite liked it. Then again, as far as memory serves, I can’t say that I cared much for Finding Nemo.
Secret Life of Pets. Very fun, the personalities were quite vivid. As our pet is a 50 lb Standard Poodle named Dante, we really liked the head-banger poodle in the adverts for this. But personally, I think Zootopia totally dusted it for recent anthropomorphic animated movie.
Ghostbusters. This remake was very good. I really liked the casting and loved the all-woman team. I have a couple of problems with the story, I thought it was particularly weak that they turned the proton packs in to straight blasters, I always liked the ‘capture’ mentality of the original movie which was also the critical plot point of said original movie. But awesome film, I hope they make a sequel as I’d love to hear the poor little lost boys bitch again about their precious childhood memory being messed with.
Star Trek Beyond. Another *meh*. Hey, I have an idea! Let’s destroy the Enterprise! Yeah! Even though this technically wasn’t an Abrams film, I’m really not a fan of his reboot. I did think Anton Yeltsin’s performance as Chekov was quite interesting and good, it’s a shame that he died so tragically after the film was completed. While the action was fine as far as it goes, I thought the story was really weak.
Phantom Boy. This animated and subtitled (in English) film from France was very interesting. While I considered the animation kinda weak, the story was so good that I didn’t really care. A boy is in the hospital, apparently with a very bad cancer (we’re never told exactly what’s wrong with him) and he starts having out of body experiences. But when he does, he’s able to fly around the city and see and hear things that are actually happening. When a police detective is badly wounded and experiences a similar thing, the boy helps him along. The detective eventually recovers, and along with the phantom boy is able to stop a villain from taking over the city.
Cafe Life is a new film from Woody Allen. I haven’t seen anything from him in a long time and this looked interesting. I really like big band swing/jazz from the 1930s, and I enjoyed this film. It revolves around a New York Jew (big surprise) who goes to California to work for his uncle, a big-shot movie producer. Like most Woody movies, the plot goes all over the place and is sometimes kind of predictable. But overall, it was a fun couple of hours in the dark.
Suicide Squad. I put off seeing this for a long time because I don’t like superhero movies where the villain is the main character, as in most of the Batman movies. Then I started hearing more about this after its release and found out that while the focus is on the bad guys, they’re helping to stop what is more or less an alien invasion. It’s actually more of an Egyptian curse from millennia ago, but is there really much of a difference? Back in the ‘80s I read the Suicide Squad comic, so I was initially torn, and now I’m glad I saw it. Heck of an action film and surprisingly true to the comic, though with some modern touches like Harlequin.
Anthropoid. This is a film that deserved more promotion and recognition. I knew it was a World War 2 movie, but I wasn’t terribly interested in it until I found out that it was set in Prague. Having been there, I really wanted to see what it looked like idealized during the war. Fun fact – Czechoslovakia capitulated so early in the war that its capital was largely untouched. The only heavy damage that it suffered was when a bomber destined for Dresden got lost, saw a bend on the Elbe (which also runs through Dresden) and decided they were where they needed to go and dropped their load. Fortunately it didn’t ht the historic parts of the town, though people did die in the bombing. Anyway, the story is a group of Czech commandos who escaped before the capitulation re-infiltrate the country to assassinate a very important Nazi general who had the code name Anthropoid. Very good film, kinda heart-wrenching at times. Definitely deserved more prominence in my ever so humble opinion. I loved seeing Toby Jones in it, he’s better known as Dr. Zola, Hydra scientist, from the Captain America movies. The contrast of him going from near Nazi to Czech underground patriot was kind of amusing.
Kubo and the Two Strings. Very interesting animated movie from Laika Entertainment, who also did Corpse Bride, Box Trolls, and Paranorman. Wonderful animation, great story. And this was one where you needed to sit through the credits as they showed how they built a robot/puppet of one of the giant monsters that Kubo and company have to defeat, and it was really something. I found a very good deal on a Bluray/DVD edition at Best Buy a couple of weeks ago.
Florence Foster Jenkins was an amazing film, very funny. It’s a biographical movie set during World War 2 about a somewhat older widow and arts aficionado/supporter in New York who really wanted to sing opera, sadly she couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. Amazing cast: Meryl Streep as Florence, Hugh Grant as her husband, and Simon Helberg (AKA Howard from Big Bang Theory) as her piano accompanist. Wonderful and touching film.
Blazing Saddles and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I was in Phoenix when Gene Wilder died, and the Harkins chain decided to do a Wilder retrospective. I wish they had included Young Frankenstein, but getting to see these two on the big screen again was wonderful. Blazing Saddles is a film that I re-watch pretty much every year, such an amazing film.
Sully. Wow. Tom Hanks is such a great actor, especially when you look back at his early movies like Big. I caught Hanks on Graham Norton right after he’d finished production and he was still in the Sully haircut and grey hair. While the story of The Miracle on the Hudson is well-known, the little details are quite something.
Magnificent Seven. Another remake, in fact it’s a remake of a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. It’s a decent enough movie, kinda cool putting Denzel Washington in the lead. Lots of interesting characters. But at the basic level, it’s just another cowboy shoot’em’up.
Snowden. The story of how Edward Snowden gained the notoriety is very well-known, this film by Oliver Stone, I think, did his story justice. I haven’t seen Citizenfour, the documentary that won an Academy award, but based on what I’ve learned over the years, this film feels like a pretty accurate telling of his story. I’d like to get the Bluray and see what additional material there is. Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a great job of playing Snowden, the cast also includes Zachary Quinto and Nicholas Cage in very interesting roles.