Posts Tagged ‘movies’

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Wonder Wednesday

December 5, 2018

First, John Williams is creating new music for Galaxy’s Edge!  Second, great footage of the progress on the new park — it is looking fantastic!

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Wreckin’ It Twice

November 25, 2018

Wreck it Ralph was director Rich Moore’s first film for Disney.  It was a fun and inventive movie, full of great potential and lots of heart, yet marred by lackluster storytelling, extraneous jokes, and veering away at the last minute from actually engaging with the very strong contexts (ostracization and bullying) it had been heading towards.  My opinion has shifted gears over the years to where I now find it a solid movie, if one that still feels like it could have reached higher.

So, for me it was a great delight when Rich’s next film (along with Byron Howard and Jared Bush) came along to find that these weaknesses had all been addressed – the storytelling was buttery smooth, the humour well integrated, the puns turbocharged, and in absolutely. no. way. did the movie avoid the profound and difficult inquiries it was grappling with.  It was moving, it was beautiful, and it was, of course, Zootopia, a film I may have written a thing or two about

Now, two and a half years after Zootopia and six years later from the original comes the sequel to Ralph (directed again by Rich along with Phil Johnston).  As was the tradition, I avoided as many spoilers as possible, watched the original to get ready, and headed to the theatre opening weekend to catch a showing.  Would Ralph Wreck the Day (in a good way) again?

(Spoilers Ahead!) Read the rest of this entry ?

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Will the king rise again?

November 23, 2018

Without much fanfare or warning, Disney dropped a teaser trailer for the “live action” remake of The Lion King…

… and I won’t lie, I got chills from watching it.

In no small part this is unsurprisingly due to the gorgeous visuals on display in this new teaser – the “realistic” rendering on display is quite stunning.  Mainly, though, the chills arise because this trailer shows only beat-for-beat remakes of scenes from the original*, and the original, especially coupled with the great score by Hans Zimmer, will almost always give me the chills.

As for the enterprise as a whole I still have massive concerns about what will result from this remake.  The remake of Beauty and the Beast left me cold in more ways than one** and I do wonder what the intent of this is (besides making a tonne of money, of course).  There are only a pawful of narrative (or other) weaknesses that I’d say would need ameliorating; will they address those or miss them, will they try to shoehorn in unnecessary stuff, will they go for some radical reworking, or will they just leave it as a pure visual overhaul?***  Some of those paths could lead to something amazing.  The others… not so much.

The 1994 release of TLK really landed for me in ways I may never be able to fully understand why.  It had a monumental impact on my life, both in terms of how it spoke to me, what I took from it, the many friendships I developed around it, and the life-directing choices that emerged from it.  I’m not concerned that the remake will ruin my time or memories of that time – I would never give anyone or anything that power – but this movie is something special to me.  I already think it is a great movie, with good storytelling.

Again I won’t lie:  they are clearing doing this, and I so want, and hope, that whatever gets released next year remains equally great, moving, wonderous, and powerful.

Paws crossed.

 

* Which makes me wonder why they didn’t actually pull a page from the original and release the entire Circle of Life sequence as the trailer…

** And Lindsay Ellis unraveled it even further here, enumerating a number of things that point to why my view of the remake had been souring further since I’d written my review…

*** Perhaps strangely I could get behind this direction.  It does leave open a big question of “why bother?” but at the same time, so long as they’re being honest about what they’re doing, there’s an appeal to making something purely for aesthetic delight.

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Philosophy Tuesday

June 26, 2018

“It never even occurred to me to take Gorkon at his word.”

Captain Kirk

I’ve really been digging that expression, “it never even occurred to me,” of late.  There’s lots of insight packed behind it’s familiarity.  It is such an acute, apt, and accurate description of how our mind and, more importantly, our experience works inside of our worlds and worldviews.

It’s not “I couldn’t figure it out,” or “I didn’t choose to do that,” or “I missed it,” or anything similar… it is, literally, “This did not exist for me in any way, shape, or form, within my reality.”

It just doesn’t come up.  And so in the same way that it doesn’t even occur to us to step off a ledge over a gorge to walk to the other side (because we live in a world where gravity exists and ow), so too do we not attempt, or even think of, muse about, or have an inkling to do things that do not exist outside of [our; personal] reality.  Nothing hits our consciousness, nor do we take any unconscious decision/action in that vein.

It’s as though it completely doesn’t exist in the entire universe.

It could be about taking someone at their word, like Kirk.  Or a multitude of other things.  Asking a particular question. Trying something new.  Pursuing an opportunity we’d be fulfilled with.  Approaching someone to talk to them.  Speaking to our kids/friends/lovers/parents/boss/clients/etc in certain more productive, ways.  Trying out for a team.  Ending something that is detrimental to us.  Wearing certain clothes.  Letting someone else “win”.  Starting a hobby.

From the myriad of possibilities out there we get narrowed down to a paltry few that may hit our consciousness.  Like touching (or more aptly no longer touching) the hot stove, we live completely inside of that we see to be real.

This is where mindfulness can be such a boon, to delve into our stories and worldviews and open them up.  To create a larger sandbox to play inside of, to give ourselves freedom.  To let those possibilities and options show up.

And, next time, we get to choose.   Really choose.  Granting us power, self-expression, and a myriad of pathways towards the relatedness, peacefulness, creativity, and the fulfillment we all want.

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Architecture Monday

April 16, 2018

Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture looms almost as large as his reputation (a reputation built upon both his architecture and his ego and actions therein…).  One of the few architects to invent and develop four distinct “styles” during his tenure, each fully developed from a rigorous set of concepts, he designed over 1000 buildings (over 500 of which were built!) over a career that spanned 70 years:  homes, commercial spaces, landscapes, industrial buildings, and, as it turns out, infrastructure.

His design for a trans-bay bridge here in the San Francisco Bay area has been making the rounds of late – perhaps surprisingly this is the first I’ve seen of it (from the wonderful 99pi).  But I’m already quite smitten by it.  Called the Butterfly Bride, it’s sculptural and sensuous, with fluid lines that belie its highway-sized scale.

At the apex of the bridge, required for ship passage, Wright placed a large park in the form of the eponymous butterfly, from which to stop, relax, and observe the water and surrounding hillsides. Truthfully, I can’t see that feature being more than a novelty for longer than a year before it falls mostly into disuse, what with all the whirling traffic (folk were much more sanguine about the highway back then).  But the arcing forms are nice on their own and could be the starting point for a sculptural feature (which could still be adorned with greenery) as a focal point of the bride and something cool to drive through.

Quite the grandiose (though we should expect no less from Wright) and darn good-looking bridge.   And, quite oddly, one that shows up in one of the best christmas movies of all time:

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Wonder Wednesday

April 4, 2018

One of the strong elements in Mulan is the mighty score, composed by the late Jerry Goldsmith.  And no part is more powerful than the music that plays during Mulan’s choice, a glorious mix of orchestral sweep morphing (unexpectedly) into a dynamic mix of synth and percussion, perfectly timed with the action on screen.  It’s glorious.

(When I bought the score, I was seriously frustrated that this piece wasn’t included (instead using an alternate version).  As soon as I had my hands on the VHS, I sent the audio to my computer to capture the rightful piece.  Now, in this our years of YouTube, it’s only a quick search away…)

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Movie Thursday

March 29, 2018

There’s this “March Madness” style tournament bracket voting deal going around on Twitter, so I figured I’d jump on the train and work it out for myself.  Some of the choices were very easy.  Others, not so much!

Some thoughts:

In my special version of the brackets, Mulan jumps up to the bracket above it* so that it doesn’t get eliminated in the first round against such a strong contender…

If we were talking only the first 10 minutes of UP, it would clean up the first few brackets handily, that is some of the most powerful storytelling ever put to film. (The rest isn’t bad per se, just not nearly as strong.)

Forcing a choice between Ratatouille and Wall-E, erg… they’re two of my favourite films of all times. Both very strong. I gave it to Ratatouille by a whisker.  I’ll probably switch choice if you ask me again.  (And then switch once more…)

As for the final result, well, probably no surprise to anyone here!

What would your bracket look like?

 

* This is the one movie I am interested in the upcoming live remake.  The animated version had some issues with knowing what it was going for (both tone and storywise), and the promise and premise never gelled.  A re-working with a solid vision could turn out well!