At the flicks. (Star Wars the force awakens)

18 Dec

Director JJ Abrams. 

You would think it hard to concentrate surrounded by the prime minister, Gary Linekar, Noel Gallagher, and Benedict Cumberbatch, but as soon as those opening bars rang out I was happily lost in a galaxy far far away. 

We all know by now what a smarty pants JJ is, but his deft ability to walk the light saber thin tightrope between creating new characters and paying homage to the old was his master stroke here. 

There are countless amounts of nods and winks to Star Wars films gone by, most hilarious some brimming with sadness. It seems the cost of achieving what the rebels did at the end of Return of the Jedi has come at quite a high price to many people. War, it appears continues to be cruel. 

The new characters do just fine but it’s Adam Driver who deserves the most credit. His character is the ugliest, most flawed, most vain, most interesting and ultimately in this film, most important. 

Both the light and the dark side of me force are healthy in this new world and although that spells trouble for many it is a healthy place to write future stories from for many writers in the future, and again that is another deft touch from JJ and his team. 

But it’s be returning characters that deserve the most credit here. Chewie is still the dog you always wanted, Leia is strong intelligent and full of grace. Han is still a scoundrel, but THE best kind bless him, and Luke is now so shrouded in mystery that everyone knows his name and all roads lead to Skywalker. BRING on episode VIII!

The Star Wars world should always feel fun. A fantasy world bursting with out of this world characters. It’s back and the hat has been tipped towards the best of the previous films whilst paving the way for some intriguing exploring into a force filled future. 
Papaya. (All movies rated in size of fruit. Raisin bad. Water melon good) 


At the flicks (The Martian)

20 Oct

I read the book. 
I can see how it’s hard for a studio to agree to all the science in the book to go into the film but it comes at a cost. 

Damons character now comes across more cavalier instead of savvy, more hasty instead of hawking. 

Damon is always brilliant. Jumps of the screen like only a handful of modern day stars can but his mission feels less ambitious than the book. Less taxing. Less real. 

The stuff in earth is as disconnected from the fil as the astronaut is from his home planet. 

The special fx brilliant the sound Amazon the dry design costume all great. 

The “tied up in ribbon” at the end lame. 
The movie fun. 

Granny Smith. (All movies rated in terms of fruit. Raisin bad. Watermelon good)

At the flicks. (Inside out.)

21 Jun


Directors. Pete Doctor. Ronaldo del Carmen. 

Pixar kick off the occasion with a truly superb short called LAVA, in which two star crossed volcanos struggle to have the relationship they yearn for. I was crying within 2 minutes. One of the most schmaltzy and gorgeous things Pixar have done. 

Onto the main event. 

I may have just watched the most ambitious Pixar/Disney movie in years. 

A film that explores, in some fantasy, and some reality,the power of emotions and how they impact our lives,our choices, our perception. 

It also asks us to push our imaginations into fantasy and at some point, surreal flights of fancy,whilst watching the very real world of our lead human character (Riley)fracture at the change of dynamic in her entire world as her folks move to San Francisco.

The animation is superb. The styles mix frequently. Another example of Pixar showing that they can do just about anything with enough time. Brilliant. Quite brilliant. Two distinct worlds exist-from inside our main characters brain, where the emotions “live” to the physical world of San Francisco and Riley’s first days at a new school. Using what appears to be real images, rendered animated after the fact. Certainly the birds eye view at times seems too “real” to have always been animated. At other times it changes dimensions,jousting with our ideas of perception, throwing shoutouts to animation styles long since dead in the digital world normally.You could get your money’s worth from the animation alone. 

But it’s the script that really shines through. It’s almost too rammed full of clever ideas that it becomes hard to keep up at times. Suggestion, rumour, innuendo, assumption,puns,in jokes,satire,as well as parody, mix alongside with comments about change, choices,fear,self image,anger, and rebellion, at such a pace it becomes overwhelming.

Amy Poehler is “Joy” the representation of Happiness. Our lead “brain” character. Usually so so happy that only Mzz Poehler has the charm to not make her sappy or exhausting. She is superb. Her journey in the movie mirrors Riley’s and at times she witnesses some horrifically traumatic events. The destruction of Riley’s personality reverberates through Joys world dangerously so. When Joy cries you do too. She is permanently changed by the world she has to endure through “Sadnesses” choices.  

Sadness is the other major emotion living in Riley’s mind.She skulks,she  lingers in corners,not necessarily wanting to BE sad, she just is. She apologises constantly, has thoughts that start out as sad, but turn dark very quickly indeed.As devisive a character as Pixar has ever created. Positioned as the creator of negative thought and depression, she is also overweight, short sighted, with a mildly annoying voice, unable to be controlled or placated enough by the groups of emotions she shares space with that, she at times overrides all of their good intention, with the touch of her hand on a “memory sphere.” She is the most powerful character in the film. 

Though the posters and billboards have reached out to children with vivid colours and depictions of emotion, this film will resonate with adults alike. Anyone bringing children under the age of 10 will probably be grateful that the more adult images don’t sink as deep in as I’m sure they will with grown ups. This is a film  dealing with childhood depression for the first time in her life, and struggling to understand what is occurring. An adorably positive happy kid transforms into someone we barely recognise, running away from home, as her dreams,family,friendships,and personality fractures and break apart in her mind, falling finally back into her parents arms, but forever changed by the first glimpse of darkness. I felt weeps in the pit of my stomach. 

This is a cautionary tale from Pixar. “Young adults take note. Some of your core memories will be as vividly sad as they will be happy”–have Pixar ever explored something so specific and important?

large honeydew melon. (All films are rated based on size of fruit. Raisin bad. Watermelon good.)

At the flicks. (San Andreas) 

2 Jun

Dir: Brad Peyton. 

I just wanted to see movie today. Turn my brain off and get sucked into the black screen in front of me. 

Sadly the movie screen in front of me had two permanent vertical lines right in the top middle of the screen and a tiny tiny letter “h” to boot. Once again this is another LOUD movie. Turn it DOWN!

Dwayne Johnson plays Ray, the luckiest and unluckiest fire safety officer on the planet. He also happens to be the most buff, tallest, unflappable,spawniest, cheesiest, busiest, and best…officer on the planet. Shimmying down a crack between two cliffs in his helicopter he saves a girl and his colleague with no fuel left. Where did they land afterwards? They had seconds folks, seconds! He is always cucumber cool enough to put his chopper on “auto hover” to save his wife who appears to be the only survivor of a rooftop lunch with Kylie Monogue. Able to snatch a loaded gun pointed at him from a rapscallion? Check!

Now the wife is safe, and both still fresh from the grief of losing ONE daughter to a rafting accident, years earlier, his other daughter Blake,played by Alexandria Daddario, who looks like young Maggie Grace with a touch of Vampress,her eyes like glass marbles is right at the epicentre and in need of help. She manages to survive several huge earthquakes including the worlds most powerful ever reaching 9.5 on the Richter scale before The Rock can even get over to her. Buildings are collapsing all around her, and it seems that the special effects company got so good at demolishing buildings they added so so many into the movie. 

But hope springs as she is able to be at the exact window at the exact time that her dad and mum trundle by in sexy little speed boat, with a handy laser pointer. 

Vehicles it seems are left around willie nilly in this world, it was only a few minutes earlier that Ray was able to steal a pristine pick up truck from some thieves. Similar it would seem to the San Andreas Grand Theft Auto game. Wait a minute!

But back to the story, a story that ticks all the disaster movie boxes.  Seperated by glass and rising water Rays daughter happens to have a super bright water proof torch to hand! Brilliant! Check! Young love burgeoning. Check! Constantly telling people they love people,we GET it, you love them, you are family! Check! Prayers. Check!

Dwayne Johnson more than any other actor currently working can make cheesy lines work. He is utterly committed and sincere regardless of what position he finds himself in. “Let’s go get our daughter” he says into the camera. “Don’t quit on me now” he wails. 

But the final American disaster movie cliche was left until the end. “What do we do now?” Asks Rays wife. “We rebuild” says Dwayne, as we move into a USA flag gently blowing in the late afternoon sun. 

The Rock keeps it afloat but this movie is a bit of a sinking stinker. 
Cumquat. (All movies are rated in fruit sizes. Raisin bad. Watermelon good)

At the flicks. (Mad Max Fury Road)

18 May

Mad Max Fury Road. (Minor spoilers)

Dir: George Miller. 
I tried to beat the crowds and attended the 1150am showing of Mad Max Fury Road today. 

The theatre was full of well behaved (quiet once the movie started) enthusiastic patrons. The film was LOUD. This may be the theatre but I get the impression the film was mixed to be loud. It was excessive. 

The art design,set design,costume,and make up were distractingly good. So many ideas. Some great ones, a twisted guitar playing blind Santa Claus slave, a vintage car chopped and spliced onto a big wheel, Max’s costume gets cooler and cooler as the film goes on, Charlize is gorgeous, and even more so with a skinhead daubed in motor oil,those eyes are insane. 

But it feels a little like too much paint on a canvas. Pollock doing Picasso doing Dali. I’d rather see too many good ideas than none at all but it did become exhausting. Everyone has a “thing”? Everyone has an add on?

The stunts, of which there was hundreds were fantastic, if I were a car guy I’m sure I’d goof off on the vehicles. The lighting the locations the props all top notch. It was a fantastic roller coaster ride. 

I had a few problems with the story. Minor but still irked me. Why did Furiousa trust Max so quickly? Why did the wives of ANY of them ever trust Nux? Why was Imortan Joe biting Banes style?
Great non Hollywood ending. Fun score. Quality awards winning costume design make up set design and stunts. Grounded performances by the two leads (much needed with a cast of yahoos) .

Fun. Fun. Fun. 

Medium sized mango.

 (All movies are scored in terms of fruit size. Raisin bad. Watermelon great)

Wild Things Day Picks.

17 Jun


Check in HERE for diary entries from #domswildthings

Day 1. Quito is poor in a way that western countries aren’t. Half naked kids playing football with rubbish. 40 year old people who look 90. Odd foods being eaten. I am a million miles from anything I know and I love it.

 A smile disarms any human. Everyone wants to be happy and well. Everyone’s style is based on necessity. Everyone’s diet is basic and more organic than most whole foods. Every dog is filthy, wily, and calm. They’ve seen it all before.

 Tomorrow I take a 8 hour trip into the jungle. A car. A plane. A boat. A car.
Into the deep amazon. Where wild animals rule and everything is moist and swelling. I’ve wanted to do this since I was a little. Since I saw “the emerald forest”,which if you haven’t seen you should.