Posts tagged film
Inspired by actual events, ‘The Iceman’ follows notorious contract killer Richard Kuklinski (Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon) from his early days in the mob until his arrest for the murder of more than 100 men. Appearing to be living the American dream as a devoted husband and father; in reality Kuklinski was a ruthless killer-for-hire. When finally arrested in 1986, neither his wife nor daughters have any clue about his real profession. Co-starring Academy Award nominee Winona Ryder (‘Black Swan’) and Chris Evans (‘Avengers’, ‘Captain America’), ‘The Iceman’ is directed by Ariel Vromen (‘Danika’) from a script he wrote with Morgan Land (‘Rx’). Ray Liotta (‘Goodfellas’), David Schwimmer (“Friends”), Robert Davi (“Profiler”) and Danny Abeckaser (‘Alpha Dog’) round out the cast. The film features cameo appearances by Stephen Dorff (‘Public Enemies’) and James Franco (’127 Hours’).
“Heavy-Handed Look at Serious Problems”
“Hotshots” looks at a movie!
Disconnect has three separate, but connected stories about the serious problems that can be the result of today’s activities with the Internet, computers, and smart phones.
One of the stories ends in a tragedy.
The first story is about a lonely teenage boy who is tricked into thinking that he is communicating with a girl who is interested in him when in fact two other boys in his school are behind the deception.
The second story is about a television reporter who is researching a story about teenage runaways, but ends up interviewing a teenager who performs on an Internet porn site.
And the third story is about a couple who are having marital problems to begin with, and then they discover that they are the victims of identity theft, and all of their credit cards are maxed out.
Some of the characters are connected to only one story, some of the characters are connected to two stories, and at least one of the characters is connected to all three stories.
So, in essence, the three stories are disjointed, but interconnected.
And a key point in solving one of the mysteries in one of the stories is when a character texts, “We didn’t mean for this to happen.”
The only actors of note in the movie are Jason Bateman, wearing an uncharacteristic beard, and Hope Davis, who plays his wife.
Now, although an ad for the movie claims that one critic calls it “The Best Film of the Year,” you might think differently when you see how the serious subjects of the film are handled.
In other words, the filmmakers would have done well to have remembered “A little discretion goes a long way.”
Also, be aware that the movie contains nudity and violence, but neither one is exploited.
However, the movie does point out how extensive social media is being used in today’s society, how it can get out of hand, and how destructive some of those results can be to innocent, unsuspecting victims.
Although the movie does single out one person as being a villain in the circumstances making up one of the stories, most of the characters are victims of the situations, either because of intent or accident.
Disconnect is a heavy-handed look at serious problems that can lead to coincidental, interesting, and devastating results.
I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”
“Terrific, Wonderful Drama”
“Hotshots” looks at a movie!
The Place Beyond the Pines is a wonderful drama in three parts about the influence of one generation on the next, or as William Wordsworth put it in “My Heart Leaps Up,” “The child is father of the man.”
The action takes place in Schenectady, New York, and when the movie opens we meet Luke, played by Ryan Gosling, who performs in a traveling circus as a motorcycle stunt daredevil.
One night a young woman named Romina, played by Eva Mendes, approaches him, and Luke recognizes her as the woman he had a fling with the year before when he was in town.
They talk, and Luke gives Romina a ride home, where he tells her that he leaves town the next day and won’t be back for another year.
Well, the next day Luke goes back to Romina’s house to see her, but she is away at work.
The woman who answers the door is holding a baby in her arms, and she tells Luke, “He’s yours. You want to hold him?”
Luke is immediately smitten by this surprise addition to his life, and he makes some dramatic changes because of it.
He quits his job with the circus, stays in town, and determines that he is going to take care of Romina and the baby, who is named Jason.
Unfortunately, Romina, Jason, and her mother are living in the house of Romina’s boyfriend, Kofi, and Kofi doesn’t take kindly to Luke’s sudden appearance and desires.
Meanwhile, Luke meets a man named Robin, who has a small mechanic shop out in the woods, and he gets a job working for Robin, which also gives Luke a place to stay.
Robin also gives Luke the idea for how Luke can make some fast money to give to Romina and Jason, but it leads to disastrous results.
Then we meet Avery, played by Bradley Cooper, who is a rookie policeman in Schenectady, and his first encounter with Luke makes Avery a hero in the eyes of his fellow policemen, which leads to ill-fated consequences.
Avery has a wife, Jennifer, played by Rose Byrne, and a young baby named AJ.
Then the movie shifts 15 years later to the two teenage boys, Jason and AJ.
The Place Beyond the Pines is a terrific film, and I cannot praise it enough.
I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”
Star Wars was changed, as you know, and in 1997 could also have been changed to “Twenty years ago in a Hollywood universe far, far away a young man named Lucas fulfilled his vision and managed to make a sappy space opera filled with mythological overtones, innovative special effects and filmmaking techniques that were a throwback to Saturday matinee serials, and young Lucas was also farsighted enough to keep all the merchandising rights for his creation, which became so successful that it changed how we look at movies, how Hollywood makes movies and society itself, which became seduced by the Dark Side of merchandising and greed.”
On May 25, 1977, Star Wars opened in a little over 30 theaters and went on to do blockbuster business, earn obscene amounts of money, spawn many equally successful sequels, make George Lucas a wealthy man and an unequaled force in the entertainment industry and perhaps “single-moviedly” create movie fan clubs and people obsessed with collecting every collectible associated with the movies they could get their hands on.
However, Star Wars is more than just a sappy space opera filled with mythological overtones, innovative special effects and filmmaking techniques that are throwbacks to Saturday matinee serials. It is also a transference of power and importance from one generation to the next, and it might not just be coincidence that the “special edition” came 20 years later, the time of one generation.
If you were one of the millions who stood in line at one of the 1800 theaters in which Star Wars (Special Edition) opened January 31, 1997, you might have noticed how it was not as interesting if you already knew everything that happens and what everything means. Wait! We already knew that from the many, many times we had already seen it, whether in theaters the first time around long, long ago or on TV from either broadcast showings, movie rentals or our own private collections.
We already know that Mark Hamill was a wooden actor, that the story is sappy at the beginning when Luke Skywalker is with his aunt and uncle and that scenes go on way, way too, too long to show us the razzle-dazzle of special effects rather than advancing the story. And we already knew that the superficial banter between Han Solo and Princess Leia is just a cover-up for their mutual attraction.
Yes, we knew how the movie begins, how it middles and how it ends. So, why were we so fascinated to want to see it again when it was already etched in our brains like a historical myth?
Well, that depends on who “we” is. Some of us were (ahem) old, old enough to have seen it the first time around, which means we were probably Baby Boomers and didn’t want to grow any older and were reliving that experience again, which helped us to think we were still that age of 20 years earlier.
Some of us were just old enough to have children, and we probably wanted to see it again with our kids, sort of like passing a sacred totem on to the next generation.
And some of us were (ahem) young, young enough to have never seen it on a large screen, where Lucas maintained it was meant to be seen.
Lucas said he was only 50% to 60% happy with the film 20 years earlier and later he was 80% happy with it. He said, “The only thing I joke about now is it would be fun–and we can’t do this for another 10 years or so–to go back and digitize the entire movie and clean it up.”
May the Force help us!
Was this how we wanted Hollywood to treat our icons? Was this how we wanted movies made and remade as new technology allowed filmmakers to ignore the limitations of their raw material?
Think of Independence Day. Think of Plan 9 from Outer Space. Heck, think of Mars Needs Women.
Star Wars created Hollywood’s obsession with the blockbuster, it created the phenomenon in which merchandising earns more than the box office and it probably has a direct influence on why magazines and newspapers contain more advertising than text over time, companies now sponsor sporting events and even uniforms, and athletes make more money from endorsements than they do from playing their sports.
Star Wars is the Force that changed Hollywood, and as Hollywood goes, so goes America.
I rest my case.
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