I was one of a fair amount of folks sitting in a dark theatre at my local cineplex waiting on the new Wonder Woman movie last night. As has become Hollywood tradition, theatres pre-release new releases the day before their actual release date. It's seems a bit... counterproductive in terms of opening weekend numbers. But with this movie, I feel these "preview" showings were important since Warner Bros. didn't invest as much in the way of marketing as they did Suicide Squad. Were they worried they'd have another Catwoman on their hands? Well, they shouldn't have fretted about that.
The story line is great, however a bit problematic with setting it in WWI. A friend of mine pointed that out. If Diana was still in London for WWII would she really have let Hitler happen? I'm thinking that's a big fat no. Over look that for a moment. The pacing was great. (There wasn't a really good time to exit the theatre for more snacks or other business.) The costuming was outstanding (my daughter wants her own set of Wonder Woman armor to cosplay). The effects, locations and overall quality of the film were much better than anyone could have asked for.
Gal Gadot is a badass. Not just because she plays my childhood hero and owned the role in ways that Hollywood never thought Lynda Carter could back in the day. (Lynda Carter was a badass too, don't get me wrong.) She served two years, as required, in the Israel Defense Force with a role as combat trainer. She taught gymnastics and calisthenics. Add that to the self defense that the military is taught and we have a badass.
The themes are obvious: Good vs. Evil, Ancient God vs. Humanity, Love vs. Hate, and the loss of innocence. The film really was about Diana's coming of age if you will. We're introduced to the adult version and a memory from the past whisks us back to her childhood. We learn how Diana was raised, how much she doesn't know about the world outside Themyscira and that the Queen is over protective by not allowing Diana to train with the other Amazons. When Steve Trevor crashes his way to the island everything Diana knows is challenged but she still believes in good people and bad people. So she leaves to go fight the war with her wayward pilot.
There's love, explosions, gunfire and lots of girl power. I won't give away any other details of the film but I will tell you... go see it! You won't be sorry! (Wonder Woman will be the DC movie-verse's saving grace!)
I finally finished the series this morning. I liked it. I'm sorry if you didn't. I never read the comics but I was vaguely familiar with the character of Iron Fist; so, I didn't have a preconceived notion of how it was supposed to be, or not be.
A brief background of me... I worked for a few months in a comic book shop because I love comics and I needed the work since, being pregnant, I had to leave my other job. (Lifeguarding is not optimal. Something about lack of oxygen when I had to hold my breath to be underwater...) I am familiar with a lot of comics, not a super fan of one or the other, I admire the skill it takes to compress a story into 24 pages.
So, I never read Iron Fist but I was still excited when Marvel and Netflix announced they were breathing life into minor characters in the Marvel Universe. We need more badass women that don't need to be saved every episode and the character Colleen Wing can hold her own.
I will agree that sometimes the writing was a bit lackluster (hey, I'm available Marvel) and could have been better. Have you ever tried to deliver a line that was stiff and formal to begin with? It's not as easy as you think if you can't connect with the emotion that should be behind the line. Then add combat... I am not a Kung-fu master but it looked pretty obvious to me that there needed to be more rehearsal for some of the fight scenes. There was one that you could tell he didn't really kick someone in the face but did the hard step in front of the face to give the illusion. Maybe that was the fault of the camera angle? Who knows.
While there were some minor missteps in the season... one can hope they will be repaired in the next because I'll be tuning in. I hope you do too.
First things first. I have not watched the entire series, I do have things to do besides sitting on my backside binging shows.
Danny Rand. Iron Fist. I really didn't know a whole lot about the backstory of the character but I had heard of the character and the comic book. So, I did a bit of research. I love how they changed bits of the backstory for the show from the backstory in the comics. It works better for TV.
Danny Rand is a rich white kid raised by mystical monks. If you know the story great! If you don't... Danny is the son of Wendell and Heather Rand. Wendell Rand is head of Rand Enterprises and has a business partner, Harold Meachum. There's an accident and the Rands are presumed dead, but Danny is rescued by two monks from a mystical order that live in a mystical village that appears in the Himalayas once a decade. He is raised for fifteen years to be a warrior before he returns to New York City in search of answers to questions he's had since the accident. (I skipped over a lot but I really want you to read the comic or watch the show!)
The writers insert flashbacks at just the right points so the viewers can see what Danny remembers rather than be told. I'll tell you, flashbacks are tricky to use without being tacky, but have become a staple in the superhero universe. (Greg Berlanti and his team use them quite well over on the CW.) The effects they chose to signal the viewers that a key piece of exposition was coming is great. It gives the sense that his flashback isn't merely a memory but could be happening at the same time but on a different plane of existence.
The interaction with the Meachums is quite interesting and a contrast. We discover that Ward was young Danny's antagonist and Joy was his friend. The dynamic hasn't changed a lot as far a Ward and Danny are concerned but Ward doesn't believe that it really is Danny. However, Joy is more willing to believe that the new stranger is Danny and when she does believe, she wants to help her old friend but Ward doesn't. What the what? Hm. Things might not be what the viewer thinks...
I get why people have their panties in a bunch but what would people say if Luke Cage had been cast as a white guy raised by black parents? What? It could have easily happened but that's not who Luke Cage is. A black man is integral to who Luke Cage is. So why then are people pissed that Danny Rand is a white guy? Danny Rand is an Caucasian character (who just happens to be American) played by a Brit. Shouldn't Americans be mad? No. It doesn't matter all that much. The character of Danny Rand is a rich white kid from NYC, privileged. It makes him who he is. What does matter? Folks get mad at stupid little things instead of waiting to see what happens and that's what matters. Marvel casting has been spot on so far, so give them the benefit.
Please see beyond the nationality of the actor cast as Danny Rand. If you can't, you imply that a white boy can't carry a martial arts show. (Remember Chuck Norris?) Think about what that means about your character.
Okay, I did it. I wasn't going to, but I did. I took my daughter to see a movie about a comic book I had never heard of until the powers that be said "Hey, we're making a movie about 'Suicide Squad.'" I scratched my head and said "Harley Quin was in a comic book other than 'Batman' and her own? Okay, I'm game."
When I saw the first trailer, I was concerned. Very, very concerned. Why? I watch comic book superhero movies all the time. Well, my daughter happens to like Harley Quinn. My beautiful, well-developed, cosplaying fifteen year old. Why should this concern me? Margot Robbie, the fab actress that plays Harley, well, her ass cheeks were hanging out half of the movie. The only time they weren't? When she was in prison. Yeah... we can tell this was geared towards guys. Can we get Will Smith's ass out on the screen? No. But let's have the chick in four inch stilettos with sparkly hot pants and tight white t-shirt...
I'm sure my friends that aren't parents won't understand. My friends that are parents to boys ... kind of get it. Just remember, when you sexualize a character for the sake of a movie, young girls see it. They think 'Oh. So, I have to look like that and act like that for guys to pay attention to me.' Wrong answer. Even if it's "just a character" remember, that's someone's daughter, someone's sister, portraying that character on screen. Guys, how would you feel if that was your daughter or your sister dressed like that? I'm trying to teach my daughter that modesty counts and how you dress and act is how people judge you (and yes folks, it is exactly that way in life; if you've never experienced it, congrats), but first impressions do matter. If you walk through life like Harley Quinn looks in that movie ... Yikes!
So, my daughter liked the movie. The movie was okay. Mind you, never having read the comic I can't have the same beef that fans have. It was better than I expected (Rotten Tomatoes did give it a 27%) but not as good as it could have been. (Thank you Marvel for raising my expectations of comic book movies. You do know how to get it done.) I didn't like Jared Leto's Joker. I did like seeing Batman. Superman's death was addressed, briefly, so DC hit some of the story lines they have going right now. Kudos there. They even introduced Ezra Miller as The Flash and a Bonus scene during the end credits (Marvel-style) introduces Justice League with Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller (how she survives this leads me to believe she is meta human herself, not just a bad ass bitch). But the bonus scene is not handled nearly as well as it could have been.
As a writer and a fledgling screenwriter, who is a comic book geek herself, I would have written a few spots a bit differently in the film. If I had been Warner Brothers I would have found a different director or I would have given the "Suicide Squad" library to David Ayer and said, "Research." The movie opened 5 August and has just covered budget according to the numbers offered up on IMDBpro. It should have busted the budget opening weekend. This could be a sign for WB. Change something or your stuff is going to keep tanking. (Apparently, I'm not the only one that thinks so. Read this open letter to WB CEO Kevin Tsujihara.) I hold out my hope that they have not completely jacked up Wonder Woman.
The story line with Rick Flag and June Moone/The Enchantress was okay. It could have been stronger. The movie could have run longer to work that out. They concentrated on the introduction of the characters in the "Squad", which was fine but went on way too long. I probably would have handled it differently. Joker wasn't as big a part of the movie as the previews suggested and maybe under this title is the only place he was this in love with Harley but I don't remember Joker being that broken up over much of anything. We could have kept Joker to a minimum. Some of his scenes weren't essential to the story. Then, we were intro'd to two characters. One we had kind of been intro'd to already but I was wondering why he was there at all. He wasn't as big of a player in the story and his lines and part could have been absorbed by someone else. The other character you knew was going to get killed. Why? There was no big intro, no backstory. He was clumsily thrown in, like he was an afterthought. Red flag.
If I were you, I'd skip the cost of the ticket and the concessions and wait for it to hit RedBox.
So, this thing happened this past weekend called “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” No, I’ll try not to spoil it for you but I will tell you there has been an uproar over the publication of the SCRIPT. Yes, read that. I said script not book. Folks pre-ordered the book and thought they were getting an actual book. Yikes. No. That’s not what happened at all. It was clearly stated that the release would be a script. I can’t understand how people don’t know the difference.
Here’s my two cents on actually reading the item in question, but I will tell you up front, I have a theatre background and reading plays is not out of the ordinary for me. Now, moving on…
The book/script has about 301 pages, that’s including the “act breaks” and excluding the beginning “intro” pages as well as the ending cast list and acknowledgements. So if you take out the extra blank pages, it’s shorter than a HP novel. If you can, like I did, picture Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Bonnie Wright in their roles, but older then you’ll do just fine reading this addition to the collection. But if you’re the kind of person that needs all the description and action filled in for you then… don’t bother. If you want to know more, read on.
The play begins nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts and we find ourselves seeing Albus off to Hogwarts for the first time and meeting Scorpius Malfoy. (Let me point out now that J.K. Rowling did not write the whole story but she did contribute. Jack Thorne wrote the play.) Then, we skip to years 2, 3, (with brief pauses in each) and land on 4 where the play takes place, all in the span of a few pages. It’s enough to give any stage manager, even a rock star, a headache, but we make it. Albus doesn’t like school, being Harry Potter’s son will do that, apparently. This story does not focus on Harry Potter. It focuses on Albus. It focuses on the dynamic between father and son, both Harry’s relationship with Albus and Draco’s relationship with Scorpius.
Albus feels the need to prove himself worthy of being the great Harry Potter’s son and gets into trouble doing it. He usually has Scorpius in tow, who also feels enormous pressure being Draco Malfoy’s son. More due to the rumors that Scorpius is not Draco’s but Voldemort’s. (That would be impossible without the help of a time-turner and we all know those were destroyed in the Battle of the Ministry in book 5!)
I won’t tell you anymore. You’ll have to read it for yourself. In my opinion, it’s a quick read and a good addition to the world, however I think it would have been fuller and richer had it been a novel. I was not disappointed. After all, I did spend my time in line to get it.
To be fair, I watched four episodes. I had high hopes. I loved the movie and maybe that’s what got in the way. The movie is a comedy classic and it’s hard to re-envision the genius that was John Candy and John Hughes. That’s where I think Will Packer Productions went wrong. I think they tried too hard to be John Hughes’ Uncle Buck. They tried too hard to be that style of comedy!
I say that because this is the writing staff and what they are known for:
Trained as a screenwriter, as well as a fiction writer, I have laughed at jokes that I’ve written only to have my readers slide over them without a peep. What? I know I’m amusing. I make people laugh all the time. But. That doesn't always translate well from the page and I think that’s what’s going on with this show. The writers think “This gag is great!” and on the page it is but falls flat on screen. It could be the actors execution too, however you can have all the acting chops and comedic timing in the world but if you have a bad script, you have a bad script.
Was it the directors? Well, here are your directors:
Will Packer’s been a busy guy and perhaps didn’t have the time to devote to proper development. If it were me, I sure would have put this show on the back burner for Roots too. (Not saying that he did, but it could have been a contributing factor.)
Uncle Buck has previous history on TV. It was series that ran on CBS from September 1990 – March 1991. Remember, the movie was released in 1989 and still fresh in the minds of viewers so it seemed the perfect timing for it. At some point between 1991 and 2014 Universal sold the rights (or loaned them) to Will Packer Productions for the 2016 series.
The original series' premise is that Buck Russell gets custody of the kids after Cindy and Bob Russell are killed in a car accident, however this attempt didn’t survive as it was up against the ABC hit Full House, when ABC was known for its comedy lineup.
The 2016 version of Uncle Buck, the parents are present. In the movie and the first series attempt the parents were removed in some fashion. Maybe that’s what this iteration of Uncle Buck needs. Buck needs to struggle more for this to be funny, organically, and not forced. (And if you’ve seen the show…boy does it feel forced.) Perhaps this is why it's not funny. They are trying way too hard to be different from the original. If the original worked why not stick with it?
Let’s face it. The show isn’t as amusing as black-ish, Modern Family, or even The Big Bang Theory. (Psst, btw Galavant was much funnier!) There are funnier things out there. Go, find them!
Check out more pop culture insight over at PopCultureUncovered.com
Okay, you'll be warned now. This will have a few spoilers. But really? It's been a month and a half, almost two months. If you're here you should have seen it, or you want to know a little a bout it before you take your family to see it. Well, this post isn't so much a review as a rebuttal to all the haters that think J.J. Abrams copied bits from A New Hope for The Force Awakens.
Why am I point out the hero's journey? Because every story has it. If you pick up a copy of Myth and Movies by Stuart Voytilla he takes a look at fifty classic films and points out the hero's journey in each. Every writer knows, whether they realize it or not, that the story must have this journey. So, here's a comparison of ANH and TFA featuring Luke Skywalker and Rey (Solo, I doubt she's a Skywalker but that's for another post).
To first disprove that the movie was "ripped off" from the original, it didn't start the same. One started in space with Leia trying to avoid capture with the stolen plans to the Death Star (which if you want to read the Empire's version of events, Tarkin by James Lucerno is a pretty good read). The other started with someone offering the Resistance the last piece to a map to find Luke that the New Order didn't have. And they were on a planet. (All though I'm thinking Max Von Sydow's character was really one of the Jedi historians that knew much more than he let on.)
We already know our reluctant heroes, Luke and Rey. How are they reluctant? Let's examine where we first meet them.
Luke we meet on Tatooine, a desert world in the Outer Rim. He's in the care of his aunt and uncle who are moisture farmers, left there by Obi-wan as an infant after the death of Padme. (Okay, if you didn't know that please review Episode III.) His uncle acquires two droids from the Jawas and it's Luke's responsibility to ensure they are ready to begin work the next day. (Got that? If you're here you should already know that!) R2-D2 runs away beginning the chain of events that takes Luke on his adventure.
Rey is a scavenger on Jakku, a desert world we can assume is in the Outer Rim. (I don't recall it being mentioned but I'll have to read the novelization to see!) She's on her own and has been since she was a child and dropped on the planet. She has little memory of her family but she firmly believes that they will come back for her. She rescues BB-8 from another scavenger and he follows her knowing that she is a good person and will be able to help him complete his mission. This doesn't start her journey but it's a good indicator that something is going to happen. She meets Finn and this begins her journey.
Some of the things happen out of order from the traditional hero's journey, so here's what's what. Usually during what's called "The Separation" there's the call, the refusal, and meeting the mentor. In the case of Star Wars, it doesn't work that way.
Luke meets Obi-wan/Ben first, then gets the call from Ben.
The refusal of the call...
Luke refuses, at first, to go with Ben on some damn fool adventure. Ben chides him saying that was his uncle talking and indeed Uncle Owen didn't want Luke to leave.
Rey, on the other hand, doesn't meet her mentor in the Force, unless you count General Leia and Han Solo, then you could say she meets her mentors after then call but as she's so strong in the Force... I have trouble seeing that. She gets the call to adventure from Finn, then Han and then Leia. (Wait, Leia? You've seen the movie? Yeah... think about it.)
Rey's refusal is repeated over and over as she says she has to get back to Jakku to wait for her family through most of the first third of the movie.
Crossing the threshold...
Luke crosses the threshold when they discover the Jawas that sold the droids to his uncle have been slaughtered and he returns home to find both his aunt and uncle had been murdered. Here, he now realizes that he has nothing left on Tatooine and leaving is now the only option. He accepts his call to adventure.
Rey's repetitive "I have to get back to Jakku" tells us that she doesn't fully accept her call. She runs from her future when it's laid out before her in the treasure room at Maz's and she's captured by Kylo Ren. This, I believe, is where she crosses her threshold since it's not as clearly defined as Luke's threshold.
Tests, Allies, and Enemies...
Luke's enemies are pretty clear cut as are Rey's. The Empire and the New Order, respectively, Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. But, as Luke and Vader, there seems to be more of a connection to Rey and Kylo. (If Abrams is as much of a fanboy as he claims he is he will have undoubtedly read the EU that has been lovingly crafted over the years and Rey will be Kylo's twin sister, which makes sense right? She's a strong light side to his dark side Jania and Jacen Solo in the EU. But that's my opinion.)
The Inner Most Cave & The Ordeal
This is where I rely on Stuart Voytilla's book for ANH because at this point in viewing the film I become so engrossed I lose all track of what I'm supposed to be doing!
Voytilla says that this is where Obi-wan separates himself from the group. I don't necessarily agree but this is where the group moves into the Death Star to rescue Leia and escape to get her and R2 back to the Rebellion. They do get them back, Han leaves with his reward but not before Luke has his say. The Rebellion goes on to attack the Death Star.
For TFA this is also a bit ... different. There isn't a clearly defined moment. You could argue that it begins with the battle at Maz's and continues with the rescue of Rey (insert a sad moment that in Ep VIII may not be all that sad) and the destruction of the planet killer. The battle here between Finn and Kylo is so extraordinary. (When Kylo felt an awakening in the Force I don't think he necessarily meant Rey. I think he meant Finn. I think that's why Finn's "programming" didn't hold when he saw what was happening at the village in the beginning.) According to EU, not many can wield a lightsaber with such efficiency.
Kylo unknowingly taught Rey her own strength in the Force while holding her prisoner. She already knew of the Jedi lore and accepted it after Han told her that everything about the Jedi she'd heard was true.
For Luke it's an obvious moment, he and Han are awarded medals by Princess Leia.
For Rey, it's taking the Falcon out, which she and Chewie now pilot together, to find Luke. Here is where she finds her mentor.
After examining the journeys of our heroes... how can anyone say that TFA ripped off ANH? Some elements were mere homages to the original but nothing like it at all. I loved Episode VII and I can't wait for Episode VIII. I just hope we don't do away with the EU all together! I want to see Mara Jade Skywalker the former Emperor's Hand turned Jedi Master.
This post was also a product of my daughter studying the Hero's Journey in her Pre-AP English class in school. Thank you to her teacher for allowing her to use Star Wars: A New Hope.
Oh my! I have not read the books yet but I've seen all of the films. Yes, that's right ALL of them. When I have a moment of free time reading the books and doing a book to film adaptation review is on the agenda...
The movie start is so unassuming. I almost missed that it was the beginning. It picks up after Peeta attacks Katniss. Do you remember that? Peeta tried to kill Katniss due to his "conditioning" in the capital. We can't trust him. Katniss can't trust him.
We're reintroduced to District 13 and President Coin. She, and her game master Plutarch Heavensbee, have plans for Katniss and Peeta that Katniss does not realize. Why would she? She's still blinded by her hate for Snow. She confers with Gale and slips out to the front line in an attempt to carry out her mission. However, she's discovered and becomes a beacon of hope, even more than she already is. She is assigned to an "elite" unit and Peeta is sent to join in. But even he is unsure of his role.
So, why did Coin send Peeta out knowing he was still a bit unhinged? Hm. Does she want Katniss dead? Is she a threat to Coin's future government?
All very interesting questions if you haven't read the books. I won't say anymore. The one thing I will say though, I kinda saw the twist at the end. It was really good, if you didn't read the books.
The saddest part of the film wasn't the storyline itself but the fact that Philip Seymour Hoffman wasn't around to finish what he started. I think his character and the ulterior motive was perfect! If you haven't read the books but have seen all the other films ...
Just get your ticket to see this film already!
Oh... I liked the ending of this better than the ending of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2. It just wraps everything up nice and neatly and doesn't feel forced. This is how you end a series.
In this outing as James Bond, Daniel Craig doesn't disappoint. He still makes the character believable. He also shows growth in the character rather than being the flat character that previous Bonds seem to be. Craig's Bond shows compassion and a wider range of feelings. He has a backstory that gives the audience more than a screen full of chesty, curvy women, car chases and explosions, although there is still plenty of that.
Sam Mendes turn as director isn't failing. He's put that backstory into play brilliantly giving Bond, whether it be Craig or the much speculated Idris Elba, something to fight for and something more to be. The character has so much potential. These days people want to see flawed heroes so they know that heroes are people too.
If you aren't sure about going to see this film, do it anyway. You won't be sorry that you did.
I purchased four tickets to this amazing movie. To be honest, I really just wanted to see Jeremy Renner on the big screen again because Avengers: Age of Ultron was just not enough. He turned in a spectacular performance.
I was not disappointed in any aspect of the film! I was worried about Rebecca Ferguson though. I had no idea who she was before this film, I hoped she wouldn't churn out a performance like Paula Patton's terrible turn in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. The chemistry between Tom Cruise and Rebecca Ferguson is more palatable than the previous female co-star.
It was lovely to see Ving Rhames back on the screen and Simon Pegg is always great whether he's in the next Star Trek as Scotty or (here's hoping) the next installment of MI.
Now, to the plot! We open on a mission to stop a payload from leaving a foreign country. Well, duh, it wouldn't be a MI movie without this but this is not the point. This mission is missing one field agent. That would be Brandt. He's back in D.C. defending the I.M.F. to congress and the main protagonist is Alec Baldwin's CIA director. The mission at the beginning was completed, you already know that this is not even related to the rest of the film. It just brings us into the world as it is now in the aftermath of Ghost Protocol.
Skip forward a few minutes, Ethan's dead drop location in London has been compromised by none other than this movie's baddie, the Syndicate. We're introduced to Solomon Lane, former secret agent for some government, played by Sean Harris. (He reminded me of a blond, creepy version of David Tennant.) It's not clear right away how this guy is the Syndicate but all will become clear as Ethan becomes obsessed with finding this guy but he has to go rogue to do it. See, this is where the title comes in.
Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) rescues Ethan from the Syndicate's henchmen at great risk to herself.
And that is enough of that! Just go see this film!
College graduate, Army vet, single mom, Husky mom, Movie lover, writer