STAR WARS AT 40

A space opera in eight films, five directors, and two studios. A long time ago — May 25, 1977, to be precise — in a Hollywood far, far away, Star Wars took cinematic hearts and minds by storm. Later subtitled Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars was a ragtag space opera about a young farmer and two mercenaries trying to rescue a captured princess from the evil clutches of the Empire and return her to the Rebel base so she could deliver the stolen plan necessary to destroy the armored base. The backstory was sparse, the plot points were standard, and the characters were archetypal. … Continue reading STAR WARS AT 40

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

If a description is necessary of Disney’s 2017 live-action re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, let it be this: Moviemaking by committee. Not one frame of this two-hour and nine-minute hollow money grab smacks of personality or identity. Nor does it carry the weight of craft, charm or the unbridled joy found in either the 1991 animated version or the 1946 live-action film from Jean Cocteau. Instead, Beauty and the Beast opts for familiarity, redundancy and unnecessary indulgences that neither expand the world nor reveal uncovered truths. Sticking close to both the ’91 animated telling and the ’94 Broadway musical that … Continue reading BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

MILES AHEAD

Miles Davis was a man of few words, but an endless stream of music. Though the story of Davis’s meeting with then First Lady Nancy Reagan at a White House dinner in 1987 is most likely false, the punch line is still rings true: When Reagan asked Davis what he’d done to deserve an invite, Davis responded, “I’ve changed the course of music five or six times. What have you done except fuck the president?” Urban myth or no, that attitude is the attitude of writer/director/star Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis in the bio-pic, Miles Ahead. Situated primarily during Davis’s reclusive … Continue reading MILES AHEAD

Movie Beat – 12.25.13

47 Ronin – A ronin is a master-less samurai, a drifter, a wanderer who makes his way from village to village, performing meaningless tasks for room and board. Kai (Keanu Reeves) joins up with a bunch of other ronin, 46 to be exact, to defeat a bunch of evil spirits and demons plaguing the land. Kou Shibasaki, Rinko Kikuchi, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano, and Min Tanaka co-star. Writers Hossein Amini and Chris Morgan retell the legendary tale with direction from Carl Rinsch. Out in wide release from Universal Pictures.   August: Osage County – Holidays mean family time. Some of … Continue reading Movie Beat – 12.25.13

THE IMPOSSIBLE (2012)

The Impossible has an unfortunate title. When I first saw it, I was immediately reminded of a quote from Star Trek via Spock, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” I have since learned that Spock gleamed this gem from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but that is not where the title of this film comes from. Halfway through the film, two characters look at the stars in the sky. Some stars shine brightly for all to see, some stars are long dead and only now is their light reaching us. “Is there … Continue reading THE IMPOSSIBLE (2012)

Movie Beat – 12.21.12

Barbara – Germany’s official submission for the Foreign Language Academy Award, written and directed by Christian Petzold and starring his muse, Nina Hoss as Barbara. Set in Cold War Germany, Nina is banished to a rural East Germany hospital when she applies for an exit visa. While her lover is working on a way to get her to West Germany, Barbara lies low and tries not to entangle with anyone. Andre (Ronald Zehrfeld), the head physician of the hospital, takes a liking to her, and she to him, but she can’t be certain if he is a spy or not. … Continue reading Movie Beat – 12.21.12