Good Morning Bleary-Eyed fans, hopefully you’ve recovered from your food comas’ and the inevitable Black Friday wounds. Don’t forget Cyber Monday deals can also be just as dangerous and painful, just think of the Carpul Tunnel Syndrome. The surgery you have to have looks like it is straight out of some horror B-Movie special effects.
While we are all gingerly tending to our wounds and over-sized stomachs, your fellow Bleary-Eyed fans will take care of those “hard to reach” places…like belly buttons and behind the ears. Onto the Top 5 movies everyone watched during their glutton fest! (Note: this is only counting the Friday to Sunday numbers as Wednesday releases are calculated from opening to Thursday).
1) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2- $51.6M ($198.3M Total)
Have to admit I am a little surprised here since a Pixar film released this week, but I’ll go ahead and give the franchise its due, it can certainly make money. Maybe it doesn’t completely tell a coherent story, but it’s entertaining enough to get our seals of approval. People will keep seeing this and I think it’ll have a long run in the Top 5. Kinda like that aunt who came to stay for Thanksgiving, but decided she might as well stay till Christmas. After all, Southwest doesn’t charge for changing flights!
2) The Good Dinosaur ($55.6M Total)
The Good Dinosaur was the second worst opening of a Pixar film and the worst you might ask? Toy Story– the first film by an untested studio even though it was attached to Disney (note, if you look it up Toy Story 2 and A Bug’s Life’s opening weekend gross, you’ll notice severely low numbers due to them only releasing in one theater their opening weekend, the following weekend would be the true opening and follows what is seen regarding about The Good Dinosaur’s opening.) This is a bit odd as there really isn’t another cartoon other than The Peanuts Movie out and that doesn’t appeal to “today’s children”. Thankfully it was still an entertaining film and those that went likely enjoyed it. I have a feeling it might see a reasonable run at the box office, especially as schools start to let out.
3) Creed ($42.6M Total)
I’ll do my best to get a review out there soon, but believe me when I say, this film is good. If you’ve ever enjoyed a sports film (Remember the Titans, Hoosiers, or The Mighty Ducks) then you will fall completely head over heels for this film that passes the torch from the Rocky franchise to a new and younger generation.
4) Spectre- $12.8M ($176.1M Total)
007 and Blofeld continue to rake in a few million over the past few weekends. Spectre still lags behind Skyfall especially with inflation, but it does continue to weigh our action lust until The Force Awakens releases. Then Bond can retire for another three to five years.
5) The Peanuts Movie- $9.7M ($116.8M Total)
On the plus side, The Peanuts Movie has made back it’s $99M budget so far, but they still have to make back the marketing and such they did in the US. Also, it does have a place in the Top 10 of “G-Rated Film Grosses”. Depending upon when it finishes its theatrical run, that ranking will likely go up. One thing I’m sure Fox is watching closely is to see if they can engage new viewership and create new specials. I don’t know if that’ll work, but if it gives them a lift on the Halloween and Christmas Special sales, then it’ll have been worth it.
That’s it for our Top 5. My hope is that a lot more people will Creed a chance in the next few weeks. I doubt Miss Katniss Everdeen will give up her hold on the top spot for another week or two, but in less than 18 days, the most anticipated movie this year will blow our minds out the back of our skulls.
I could have shown real brain matter blown all over the place, but I figured since we all just got cleaned up in the shower, I’ll spare you look at that type of horror and just show the first amazing Captain America: Civil War trailer instead. It’ll likely play before Star Wars.
Hope to have a detailed Creed review to you all tomorrow and we’ve got some great surprises for Wednesday Wars, just pay attention, or actually read this site.
Good morning to all of our Bleary-Eyed fans that actually have to go to work today. Sadly, being unemployed, I have a lot of time to shower, so I find myself with the hot water turning frigid while I rock and cry myself to numbness. It’s especially embarrassing since I had Jennifer Lawrence in the there this morning.
Those of you brave enough to comfort me, hop on in and lend me your body heat while we go over the pre-Thanksgiving Box Office Top 5 from last weekend:
1) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2- $101M
Surprising no one except your pet goldfish named “Startles”, the final film in the dystopian young adult series took the number one spot. Interestingly enough, this was about $20M less than Part 1 did last year around the same time frame. I’m just hoping we’re done with the “two-part final act” to make more money tactic. Look forward to this having a shorter run than its predecessors due to Thanksgiving releasing a new Pixar film (first time we’ve ever had two in a year) and then The Force Awakens releasing in less than a month (I know, me too). I don’t envy Lionsgate having to explain to their shareholders next year why they’re down by about a $100M compared to this year.
2) Spectre- $14.6M ($153.7M Total)
Finally getting knocked off the top spot was 007’s latest adventure, Spectre. It had a good two week run at the #1 spot, but after being out for three weeks, it had no chance against an event film like Mockingjay Part 2. The Master Spy is still raking in a respectable $153.7M total domestic box office gross, with another $524M coming from the Foreign markets. This was largely helped by it releasing in England, Japan, and South Korea over the past few weeks. Make no mistake, the Foreign market is becoming a lot more important to Hollywood right now as American’s continue swimming in debt and iPhones. Wouldn’t be surprised if the next Bond film catered a little more to those markets.
3) The Peanuts Movie- $12.8M ($98.9M Total)
Charlie Brown and the gang are in for some trouble as when Disney/Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur drops this week, so their box office $$’s will turn to figurative peanuts (I couldn’t help myself, I think I have a problem). For a film based on an over 50 year old property, $98.9M isn’t too bad (considering the budget was $99M) in three weeks. The 3D definitely helps, but as that wanes from the public’s collective attention, other films like The Peanuts Movie won’t be so lucky.
4) The Night Before- $10.1M
Releasing in almost half the theaters that The Hunger Games debuted in, the new comedy with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, and Anthony Mackie did about as well as you’d expect considering the competition. This being the opening weekend and a ton of new movies piling on top of it, The Night Before isn’t going to become a Christmas Classic in theaters, but it’ll find it’s following when it’s released on Blu-Ray/OnDemand early next year.
5) Secret in Their Eyes- $6.6M
A pretty forgettable Julia Roberts crime drama takes the final spot on our countdown. She really hasn’t stared in anything since 2010’s Eat, Pray, Love, which is a shame since she’s talented, but maybe she’s just not auditioning for anything. I honestly didn’t even give this any consideration or remember it released this week. Film companies often dump a movie they don’t believe in during a week an Event Film comes out or in January when everyone’s currency has been converted to gift cards.
That’s it for the Top 5 and I believe my tears have frozen to my face and I should probably stop rocking in the fetal position in front of Jennifer Lawrence. We’ve got kind of a lull with films over the next few weeks after Thanksgiving. You’ll have your choice to watch a possible cult Christmas horror film with Krampus or the account that “inspired” the legend of Moby Dick. I personally have to check out both of them, but my red and puffy post-crying eyes will likely enjoy the Thor lead whale movie better.
We here at I Watch Too Many Movies wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving and get to avoid your extend families by spending them in the comfort of a dark theater. Also, Manchicken is dubbed Manturkey for the duration of the week in honor of the Holiday. And don’t forget, no discount is worth your life: stay home on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. There is this new thing called the “Internet” that doesn’t usually trample anyone to death.
This will be a quick review on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 as Manchicken has already done a good job of displaying our feelings of the film. The only reason I’m giving this five minute review is to do two things: 1) showcase the absolutely beautiful IMAX poster for the film that is above and 2) I, unlike Manchicken, never read the books, so you’ll get a slightly different opinion. The old adage that “The book was better than the movie” has been repeated so often, it has become truth when it’s not necessarily correct.
At any rate, I really enjoyed the final film in The Hunger Games series. Unique concept and well executed film, all the way from the actors, directors, and special effects team. As with most young adult novels, I had no knowledge of the books until the movie gained popularity and I saw people cosplaying as people from The Capitol.
Anyway, having not read the books, the light finish for Mockingjay Part 2 seemed a bit odd. They hinted at long term damage, but from what I saw, everyone who made it out alive was just fine. Revolutions come and revolutions go. Each individual person reacts differently, even the figureheads for either side.
After reading Manchicken’s review, I can’t imagine why they would leave out much larger consequences of the battles other than people dying. It’s probably exactly for the reasons he mentioned, they couldn’t disfigure the pretty Jennifer Lawrence.
Couple of final thoughts:
-Where was Bradley Cooper? He would have killed it as someone…I don’t know, he and Jennifer Lawrence just have good chemistry and I don’t think either of them should be in a film without the other.
-All the actors seemed exhausted and if it was just from doing these movies for the last four years, it really helped convince me of the weary survivor state all there characters were in.
-Donald Sutherland is just awesome. Menacing and absolutely calculating. His final scene was the single most insane moment of the movie. I loved it. Oh, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, and Philip Seymour Hoffman (rest in peace) were great as usual.
-I’m really dead tired with the genre of kids living and surviving in a dystopian future. Don’t get me wrong, I know one somehow we will find a way to screw up the planet beyond all recognition, but kids just don’t have to be the heroes all the time. Likely I won’t even attempt to watch this type of film again. Looking at you Divergent and Maze Runner series.
Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:
Well filmed, well directed, and used some amazing set pieces. Jennifer Lawrence was great and the Lesser Hemsworth brother was just fine (seriously, watch that video, anything Jennifer Lawrence says out of character is amazing). Anyway, action was great, finished the series on a high note and was totally enjoyable. Yeah, the break between Part 1 and Part 2 was odd, but I doubt many people would watch a movie in theaters for well over four hours.
So this has been a tough one. In general, a movie review, not to mention the reviewer, has to separate the subject matter of the film from the performances of the actors and the general tone, look, and feel of the movie. Spotlight was difficult because, as I’ll mention later, this made me really sick to my stomach and broke my heart. Well, I’ll go ahead and define a few things and then do my best keep it light and to give a review this film based on the entertainment value and not the wretched subject matter.
First things first. I want everyone to know the difference between “Inspired by a True Story/Events” and “Based on a True Story”. Anything that is “Inspired by” a person, place, or event typically leans more on the fictitious side. The screenwriter(s) or director might have gotten something right from the truth, but that could be something as simple as the names of the people involved, but most take a lot of liberties with the story. While Argo was “Inspired by True Events” Ben Affleck largely downplayed how the Canadians did most of the work and the whole tense end sequence was pure fiction.
Now we get to things “Based on a True Story/Event”. This typically swings completely the other way than “Inspired By” films. Most of the material is not fictionalized, but sometimes names, places, length of time the event occurred in, etc. One of the best examples is 127 Hours. If you’ve seen that film, then you know you can go ahead and ask the crazy bastard who actually sawed his arm off and then went back for more adventuring.
Now that we have cleared up some common misconceptions, let me tell you where Spotlight falls in this spectrum. When you go back up and look at the movie poster at the beginning of the review, you’ll see the following phrase: “The true story behind the scandal that shook the world.” Notice there are no “Inspired By” or even “Based On” in that byline. Spotlight goes one above the other movies we’ve talked about. This is a true story. The director, Tom McCarthy and screenwriter Josh Singer both have the unenviable job of bringing this tale of molestation, corruption, and investigation to the silver screen. Now that we know that this is pretty much biographical, let’s dig into the film.
Again, trying to separate the subject matter from the film, that’s the goal but unfortunately Spotlight really focuses on two things that bug the hell out of me: child molestation and organized religion. Last week on Wednesday Wars we celebrated Veterans, and I was explicit in that most of the post was satire. I didn’t bring my personal bias or thoughts about war and soldiers in general. However, in this case, I will not hid my thoughts on the matter. Like I said in the title, I believe most (if not all) organized religions are crooked and have no place in the modern world. On top of that, and here is where my confirmation bias comes into play, I have absolutely no trouble with believing that the Catholic church is a sordid and dangerous institution. That’s about all I’m going to say on the subject matter.
Spotlight is an investigative team from the Boston Globe who take on large cases and brought to light an absolutely abhorrent story of Catholic priests molesting young boys and girls in the city of Boston. Their 2002 article then spurred a look at the Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal’s. Tom McCarthy, the director, has spent more time in front of the camera than behind it, but you can easily feel the tension in his style. This is something he cares about. Every single frame depicts a horrifying look into one of the oldest institutions in the World and McCarthy makes sure you feel that disgust. Whether it’s from the decidedly grey tint to the cinematography or the extremely heated dialogue written, it’s very apparent that something is seriously wrong here. He absolutely excels at making you feel uncomfortable, as you should, and for a film to elicit emotions like that is really what it’s all about. Of course we love the light-hearted comedies and action films, but sometimes, when you see a film like Spotlight, you’re reminded why the moving pictures are there at all: they exist to move you.
While the discomfort in the theater was absolutely palpable in the air, the ante was upped even from there with the unbelievable cast they put together. I’ll list the major people here, but everyone involved in this production, especially the actors portraying the victims, were involved in a way that you don’t see everyday. It’s as if they understood the gravity of the subject matter and that their acting and every word of dialog would somehow stop this sort of abuse by supposedly trusted individuals. As I said, let me toss out the main cast: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, and Stanley Tucci. I honestly don’t believe I’ve ever written the names of such talent in one review.
The three that I really want to showcase (just couldn’t use the word “Spotlight” there) are Ruffalo, Keaton, and Tucci. First off, it’s really good to see Michael Keaton taking meaty roles recently. Last year’s critical darling, Birdman, was the first time I saw his acting chops really get challenged since the ’89 Batman.
Anyway, Keaton succeeds as the editor of the Spotlight team by not only being their bosses, but he really digs into the trenches with them on this story. I sincerely hope the real Walter Robinson treated his employees the way Keaton gelled with the rest of the cast.
Stanley Tucci usually plays the creepiest of characters, have you seen The Lovely Bones? If not, and you’re a parent, I recommend you don’t. You’ll be convinced Tucci is outside of your house every night. As if one Boogeyman wasn’t enough, Hollywood had to cast Tucci in roles that he’s way too good at. However, in Spotlight, he portrays the attorney that is attempting to bring the criminals to justice. Yes, these people are the worst kind of criminals. And this is going to be really controversial, but at least murderers end their victims’ lives. Anyone who has been molested, raped, physically abused, etc. can attest that at some point you feel you’d rather be dead than live the life laid out in front of you. So, Tucci brings in victims, discusses cases, and the whole time I don’t know how he doesn’t throw up.
In my opinion, the true star of the film is Mark Ruffalo. I love him as The Hulk, but this was a much different role.
Ruffalo very much represents the audience in this film. Not only does he have some of the toughest scenes (many with Tucci), but he handles most of the legwork of the film. The sheer anger and disgust that is put on display with not only his words, but his mannerisms. There are several shots he is in that his face clearly depicts what I hope everyone who watches this film feels: revulsion. I would have never believed he was capable of this range, but he pulls it off, and again, maybe it’s due to how important the investigation that the real Spotlight team did.
There is no good way to end this review. We all know what happened and the fallout. Much of it was covered up as best as it could be by the church, but the World was made aware of a serious systemic problem in their ranks. I didn’t do a good job of separating myself from the subject matter and the film, but hopefully what you read conveyed my own anger and revulsion to this issue. That’s something that just can’t be taken lightly.
Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:
Everyone involved in making this movie did two things: they made it entertaining and they made you feel disgust and anger. This film will move you. It’s opening in wide release today, so I recommend you go take a look. It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you can get past the truly horrific nature at the core of this film, you’ll find actors who care a great deal, a good investigative story, and writing/dialogue that should, and will, make you sick. For me, it confirmed my beliefs. Will it do the same for you, or will it challenge them?
So, I’m a big fan of these movies for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is that I read the books and liked them. The other is that I like Jennifer Lawrence’s performance. Still another is that I love Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance. Finally, I’m a sucker for a dystopian revolutionary film… or series of films in this case. All of that said, this final book really should have just been one movie.
I get why they made them two (I paid to see both of them in theaters, you’ve made your point), but I really think that they harmed the story by adding this really unnatural break between all of the action scenes. In the books the action never stops, not at all. They end up getting pinned in the house a second time, they end up losing a lot more people than they do in the movies, and I feel like they over-simplified the difficult time Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) had returning home. It was really weird.
Warning: there be spoilers ahead
Thoughts on the series as a whole
As we look at the final installment of the series, I find myself thinking about how the movies did overall with the story. I think that they had some really interesting and telling changes in how the story was different on the screen from what it was on paper.
The Setting was obscured
In the book it was very clear that Panem was a the United States, rebuilt from the ruins of some catastrophic future event which resulted in some manner of totalitarian control. The author even hints at where each region might be with enough detail that people have even speculated on maps.
The movies for some reason don’t even seem to mention that this is the case.
Katniss gets nasty scars in the book
In the final book, Katniss gets some nasty facial scars which never heal completely. I don’t know why they didn’t have that happen in the films as well, other than that we wouldn’t want to make the pretty female character less pretty (it would disturb our overly sensitive aesthetic sensibilities).
The books show a much more complicated interaction with Coin
In the books, President Coin was a lot less cut and dry. She was shown to be far more callous and calculating. In the books she was shown to be more power-hungry than I think she was in the books.
Overall thoughts on this movie
Overall I’m glad I saw this film. It wasn’t the best in the series (the second one is still my favorite, that’s when you learn what’s really going on), but it was good to see. I think they were mostly true to the book.
I think that darkmovieknight may have thoughts on this as well, but I really enjoyed the series. I’m glad this installment finally came out and that we got to see how they would finish things. I wish there had been more of the political intrigue in the movies that there was in the books, but it was still a lot of fun.
On this blog we pride ourselves on trying to provide you with an experience which you could share with your grand mother, your co-worker, and even your super-religious busybody next-door neighbor who never returns your power tools when he borrows them. I mean, sure, they might not be into the same types of films as you are, but at least you could discuss the review with them without offending.
This review, however, contains accurate depictions of terrible scenes in a terrible film in a matter-of-fact way. I have done my best to keep it tame, but due to the nature of this film and how awful it was I cannot promise that you won’t have your Mormon neighbor telling to watch your language.
You have been warned.
Allow me to rant
On principal, I make it a point to always give a movie a fair shake. I have never left the theater in the middle of the movie before… until now. This movie was offensive in a special way. It wasn’t blatantly racist – though non-white people are nowhere to be found. It was particularly misogynistic, but not any more so than any other “boys coming of age” nonsense being produced these days. It wasn’t too gruesome or full of gore, and it didn’t offend my delicate sensibilities with naughty words.
No, this film offended my love of zombies and this will not stand!
In this film they have zombie deer (yes, the animal), zombie house cats, zombie old ladies which gum their victims on the ass after their dentures have been dislodged during the fight, and zombies singing “Hit Me Baby One More Time” (yes, the Britney Spears song). The final straw for me was actually when a zombie who was missing his lower mandible performed cunnilingus on a teenage girl before biting her genitals. The teenage girl even described the act as “eat me out” (though she said it to a different, significantly less walking-dead-type individual) prior to this bit.
I walked away from this movie with two thoughts: 1) the people who made this movie do not respect their audience, and 2) perhaps my teachers were right and reading a book might be a better use of my time.
No, I won’t review this movie
So, normally I would give you an intro like this in a lead-up to a movie review. To be honest, I don’t think it would be fair to you – my dear reader – for me to review a movie which I just confessed to walking out of. Additionally, I don’t think this movie really deserves a review. We’ve reviewed some awful movies on this blog before, but this one – at least to me – is likely the worst one we have ever mentioned.
If I were to review this movie…
If I were to review this movie, I don’t think it would go well. It would go something like “yeah, I saw every ‘twist’ coming a mile away,” or “the acting was so bad that I think they may have shot the scene reading teleprompters when the director had to run to the toilet after a particularly harrowing taco Tuesday.” I may also concede that I’ve finally seen a film with less artistic merit than Jackass, and with fewer plot holes than Sharknado.
If I were to describe the “plot” of this fiery train-wreck upon a dung heap I would probably say something like “two boys try to go to a party to get laid, but it was interrupted by a zombie apocalypse.” I didn’t watch the ending, but I’d actually be willing to put money on the chance that the character Ben (played by Tye Sheridan) won the heart of Kendall Grant (played by Halston Sage) after the grand conclusion where I’m guessing that Ben, Carter Grant (played by Logan Miller), and Augie (played by Joey Morgan) saved Kendall. I don’t know if that is how it went down or not because I walked out of the film silent and indignant. Hell, Augie probably got laid by the end as well, who knows? Not me. I don’t know because this film just was not worth my time to finish.
Movies are expensive. This is an expensive hobby (pronounced “habit”). I maintain that I don’t get to tell other people how to make their art, but this was just the worst.
This movie felt like a young child telling the same joke over and over again, explaining it after each attempt when I didn’t laugh as though I didn’t get the joke. I get the freaking joke… it’s just not funny.
Good Morning Bleary Eyed Fans and welcome to a special segment of Wednesday Wars!
Yes, it’s that time again that we celebrate all things Star Wars and continue our countdown till we can return to a Galaxy Far Far Away. This is a special session of Wednesday Wars as we salute the Veterans of our Local Galaxy and those from long time ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away.
First off, we want to make it clear that we at I Watch Too Many Movies will not express our own personal beliefs on war and the various outcomes. Today is meant to honor those that chose or were chosen by their Governments, Resistances, or Empires to fight for their cause. Even if that cause was to enslave an entire galaxy. Now, onto our countdown!
5) The Sith Order
While many would call the Sith the primary antagonists in the Star Wars Universe, I propose that they were fighting a Holy War against the Jedi Order. Their basic dogma was one of control and order while exploiting the Force for power, aggression or personal gain. Unfortunately for many Sith, this inevitably led to both imperial conquest and their own self-destruction. Tyrannical despots such as Emperor Palpatine are prime examples of how their belief caused corruption, pain, and enslavement of others while engineering their own downfall. Other Sith, such as Darth Vader, who turned to the Dark Side due to fear and love for another were manipulated into the Sith Order’s Doctrine. Above we honor Darth Vader, previously Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, by presenting the only remaining fragment of his existence. A powerful reminder to not let Religious Dogma, fear, and charismatic tyrants influence you or anyone you hold dear.
4) The Jedi Order
Similar in many ways to the Sith, the Jedi Order were an ancient monk-like peacekeeping organization unified by the belief and observance of the Light Side of the Force. Again we have many heroes and veterans of the Jedi Order. One of the greatest Jedi to ever have lived perished after a long life of 874 years. We honor Jedi Master Yoda:
Due to a cruel purge of the Jedi Order by Emperor Palpatine, many of the veterans of The Clone Wars were exterminated quickly once the Emperor seized power of the Galactic Senate and formed the Empire. One such fallen hero, Jedi Master Mace Windu, was the first to be claimed by the rise to power of Emperor Palpatine. We honor this brave warrior:
A final hero and veteran of The Clone Wars, Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, also known as General Kenobi, fought in a noble manner for the Jedi Order and Peace in the Galaxy. Master Kenobi was one of the only survivors of the Jedi Purge known as “Order 66”, thus beginning a silent and lonesome war against the Galactic Empire and even his friend and apprentice Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker.
We salute Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi as after defeating what his friend had become, he continued honoring the Jedi Order by caring for the offspring of his fallen friend. Master Kenobi met his end at the hands of his old apprentice, now the mechanized Sith Lord, Darth Vader. He also assisted the Rebel Alliance by taking part in the initial rescue of Leia Organa and saving young Luke Skywalker from Vader which would eventually be key to their victory in the Battle of Yavin. We honor Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi:
3) The Galactic Empire
While under the control of The Sith Lord, Emperor Palpatine, the veterans from the many engagements with the Rebel Alliance, remnants of the Galactic Senate, should be known but still held accountable for the various atrocities they were commanded to inflict upon innocents and other peaceful races and species in the Galaxy. Before becoming the Stormtroopers of the Galactic Empire, many were part of The Grand Army of the Republic during The Clone Wars. These veterans were once comrades in arms with the Jedi commanding during The Clone Wars. One such veteran, the Clone Trooper known as Commander Cody (CC-2224) fought with Jedi General Obi-Wan Kenobi until he was compelled to turn against his long time ally with his implanted loyalty program. Like all of his Clone brethren, Commander Cody executed Order 66, the Galactic Jedi purge, without question or ability to resist. His career ended with betrayal but as it was engineered into his very DNA (and brain), we still honor his service:
After The Clone Wars, many Clone Troopers were converted to the elite soldiers known as Stormtroopers to serve in the militia of the newly formed Galactic Empire. Once Clone production was slowed, and eventually halted, as others joined the Imperial War Machine, Stormtroopers became nameless soldiers of innumerable numbers. The conflicts in which they battled the Rebel Alliance, Stormtroopers were considered extremely expendable by Emperor Palpatine. After being defeated at the hands of the Rebels, prisoners of the Battle of Endor, and other conflicts throughout the Galaxy, many Stormtroopers were forced to see the horrors wrought by Palpatine. Some went into hiding and others began to develop an Imperial Remnant known as The First Order many decades later. Today we honor the fallen, the controlled, and remorseful Stormtrooper men and women:
2) The Rebel Alliance
Opposing the Galactic Empire, the Rebel Alliance has many heroes to mourn and even veterans that are still forced to continue the fight for freedom from the oppressive Galactic Empire and its Remnants, The First Order. Chief among the heroes of the Rebels is Jedi Knight (and now possibly Master) Luke Skywalker. Trained by Jedi Master’s Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, Skywalker was integral to the fall of the Galactic Empire. First, single-handedly winning The Battle of Yavin by destroying the Original Death Star with The Force and Obi-Wan’s guidance, then conquering a personal battle against the Sith Lord Palpatine by refusing to kill his father, former Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, in the form of Darth Vader. This eventually lead to the downfall of Palpatine at the hands of Darth Vader, who had been redeemed by his son. While now in suspected isolation, Luke Skywalker remains a glorious veteran of the Galactic War.
Considered two of the bravest and most heroic soldiers: Han Solo and his long time companion, the Wookiee known as Chewbacca or “Chewie” to Han. Both heroes became renown Veterans of the Rebel Alliance by assisting Luke Skywalker in the destruction of the Original Death Star in the Battle of Yavin, supporting multiple rescues of the Rebel leader, Princess Leia Organa, and lead attacks against the Empire in the Battle of Endor, aided by the local inhabitants of Endor, the Ewoks. His ship, the now legendary Millennium Falcon held up against all odds and continues to be General Solo’s trusty starship.
Other heroes and veterans of the Galactic War who fought on the side of the Rebels are also honored below:
1) The United States Armed Services
While not part of any Galaxy Far, Far Away, the men and women who are veterans of all wars, conflicts, and engagements are honored today in the United States on Veteran’s Day.
Again, today’s Wednesday Wars post was mostly satire and fiction, we are not sharing our own personal opinions on war. However, we mourn the loss of all life in any conflict. This Veteran’s Day, please attempt to understand the hardships many Veterans suffer each and every day. From homelessness, neglected healthcare needs, or psychological trauma, many Veterans could use assistance. There are many ways to support Veterans, but this is entirely your own prerogative and we leave it completely up to you. As stated above, we are just presenting satire about the Veterans of the Star Wars Universe and some insight into what Veterans face here in the United States.
Join us next week as we choose a lighter topic for Wednesday Wars and continue the hype and countdown to the film, as we’re just over a month from the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens! Until then, may the Force be with you and many others that need it.
This post is personally dedicated to my Grandfather (PawPaw) who is a Veteran of the Korean War and has been lucky with his care since returning home in 1953.
Bond, James Bond. Over 24 movies, we’ve heard this phrase uttered a million times by a million actors (giver or take a million) and it never gets old. When a Bond film is announced and then hypes its way to release, there is a certain air of mystery and excitement. Who is the villain and what is their master plan? What new gadgets does Bond get this time? How many STD’s has he contracted since the last film?
Since 2006’s Casino Royale, the Bond reboot if you will, both the quality of the action and storytelling of the films has increased and changed dramatically. In general, the tone of the films have deviated from the typical action film with repetitious plot points to an adventure film that happens to have James Bond in it. It is much the same way that The Dark Knight was a gangster/mob film that happened to have characters dressed as a Bat and a Clown. It is also no coincidence that these films were released so close together as in the mid-to-late 2000’s, writing good films came first and then adding all the traditional troupess (superhero powers, spies, and bulletproof protagonists) was a large part of the film-making industry. Iron Man is another great example of this sort of style. The movie was first about the morality of arms dealing and terrorism, then eventually included a man in a supersuit. And as we all know, this method was extremely successful as all of the films mentioned above went on to either complete series or start an epic universe.
In Spectre, the James Bond franchise reemerges as what audiences think of as the “typical Bond film”. While its really the culmination of the story arc started in Casino Royale, it is very different from the films that proceed it. Casino Royale and Skyfall both gave the Bond films a much needed change of pace and style. They still had witty dialogue, gadgets, attractive women, sex and excitement, but gone were the “over-the-top” set pieces and world destroying plans. In short, those Bond films were much more subtle and personal. You can really tell the difference between them by just knowing the villain’s motives and ultimate goals. Mads Mikkelsen’s Le Chiffre from Casino Royale was there to win a poker tournament to pay off other villains. And Javier Bardem’s Silva in Skyfall just wanted to exact revenge against Dame Judi Dench’s M and MI6 for him being spurned by the agency and his “Mother”. This is a far cry from the last “traditional Bond film”, Die Another Day, which included an ice castle hotel, North Korean face transplants, and a giant sun focusing laser in space.
What made Casino Royale and Skyfall so special was Daniel Craig’s performance and tearing away all the familiar and expected Bond behavior. Daniel Craig’s Bond is vulnerable, he can be hurt, he makes mistakes and he’s all the more entertaining for it. Now don’t get me wrong, all the actors proceeding him had their merits, especially Connery who brought Bond to life, but none of them have been put through the ringer like Craig’s Bond. And with Spectre, you’re going to get a lot more of that, but as we’ve come to expect, Craig pulls it off effortlessly and showcases why he was the perfect choice for James Bond in the first place. Now, there is already a large discussion on whether or not he should return to the role for a fifth time as 007. I believe he wrapped up a good storyline in Spectre and should only return if it is absolutely necessary to the film’s story that Craig be the face of Bond. I’d honestly rather a fresh new face portray the most well known spy, but my choice is pretty controversial:
Back to Spectre. With a brilliant character, excellent track record, and all the hype in the world (at least what’s not being used for The Force Awakens), it really puzzles me why Director Sam Mendes decided to return the series to its typical troupess. The action was completely over-the-top, which while still enjoyable but felt out of place from the other films with Craig’s Bond. Even the elaborate torture machine has been reintroduced. SPECTRE as villainous organization is way more “World Dominating Illuminati”-Type than what we’ve seen in a while. The film makes it seem as if they’ve been behind every criminal activity from terrorism to mismatching hot dogs with hot dog buns.
At any rate, Spectre is very entertaining but lacks the subtle nuances of the more recent Bond films. Now don’t discount the film just because it eschews from what Craig has done with 007, but remember that the James Bond series was highly enjoyable with all the troupess in place. One of these famous troupess are the unique, diabolical, and just plain cool villains.
Christoph Waltz was universally regarded as absolutely terrifying in Inglourious Basterds as Colonel Hans Landa. Then everyone cheered for him passionately as Dr. King Schultz in Django Unchained. It’s also worth noting that he won Oscars (Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role) for both performances. So, bringing him on as the newest and most diabolical of all the new Bond villains was nothing short of a perfect casting decision. He commands all of the attention in almost every scene he is in like a Kardashian on TMZ.
Now I won’t spoil anything, but suffice it to say, if you know your Bond lore, you know who heads up SPECTRE. If not, go back and watch 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever and you’ll get it. Sadly Sam Mendes takes a page from J.J. Abrams’ playbook and chooses to hide details that any Bond fan will easily see. This robs any drama from any possible surprise revelations and just confuses anyone who hasn’t been following the franchise since the early 1960’s.
Coming into the film knowing Waltz will be brilliant pulls a lot of the stress from all the other actors. Ralph Fiennes, with his decidedly attached nose, does his job as the new M by being cross with 007 most of the time, but he gets to kick some ass this time around, which is pretty awesome. The other two actors who I adored in Spectre are Ben Whishaw’s Q (sadly he’s no Desmond Llewelyn or John Cleese, but he brings his own charm and idiosyncrasies to the character of Q) and Dave Bautista as the main brawler villain in the film. Bautista, wrestler turned actor, has been climbing the ranks and becoming one of my favorite people in Hollywood. He absolutely delivers the strong, silent, and menacing big gun of the film.
Anyway, Waltz and Bautista are the perfect villains for the traditional Bond style, and that’s really what Spectre is, just a return to the old Bond films which were mostly successful and beloved. I left the theater entertained, which is the whole purpose of movies, but not “wowed” by the film. Don’t get me wrong, you should absolutely see Spectre in theaters just for the sheer enjoyment of a Bond film and all that that implies, but just be ready to experience the Bond films of old, Aston Martin and all.
Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:
You’re absolutely going to be entertained by Spectre. From the stylish action, over-the-top set pieces, Craig’s perfect portrayal as Bond, and some of the coolest villains in recent memory, there is no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy it. Just don’t go in expecting Casino Royale or Skyfall.
Also, I want this on the record that I went this whole review without making ASINGLEREFERENCETOTENTACLES, so that should make my partner, TheManChicken happy.
I’ll leave everyone with a parting gift. One iconic aspect of all Bond films that is always my favorite are the opening credits and the song that accompanies them. While the official footage isn’t available yet, Sam Smith’s music video (they still make those?) is available, so enjoy “(The) Writing’s On The Wall” and then go see Spectre while it is in theaters.
Good morning you fine Bleary-Eyed fans. It’s Monday morning and it’s time to look back at the weekend and determine which films slugged it out for the top spot in the Box Office Battle Royale. As you might recall, my money was on Spectre for a $60-$80M debut. Check out the number One on our list. Now that we’re all in the shower together…can you now see my powers of insight? Do they make you tremble? Will you fear my mind?
Cleanliness aside, let’s find out the Top 5 from last weekend:
1) Spectre- $73.0M
Ah ha! I told you all where the gross would be, did you listen? No. Did you attempt to make guesses of your own? No. What does this tell me? No one is reading this stuff… Oh well, my hurt feelings aside, congrats to 007 for another great performance at the Box Office. While Skyfall still holds the record for the largest opening of any Bond film with $87.8M in 2012, Spectre did well enough to overthrow The Martian from it’s six week reign at the Number One spot or near it.
We’ll have our official review for Spectre later today, so we can talk more about Craig’s fourth outing as the Spy Supreme and if we believe he should continue.
2) The Peanuts Movie – $45.0M
As predicted, Charles Schultz’s legacy on display in modern animation took the second spot this week. Sadly, the nostalgia wasn’t strong enough to get The Peanuts Movie even remotely close to the largest animated opening of 2015 (Minions @ $115.7M in July). It’s a shame that more people were not interested in the Schultz toon, but from what others have said, it stayed close to the source material and respected the fans and legacy. It may not make much money, but the film adds another notch on the belt for a successful and beloved franchise.
3) The Martian- $9.3M ($197.1M Total)
Continuing in the Top 5 for its sixth week, The Martian continues to thrill audiences and take their money like a mugger in New York. The total above represents the Domestic Box Office, but to truly give you a “wow” statistic, the Worldwide gross to date is an excellent $458.5M. Now, that doesn’t hold much of a candle to Jurassic World’s Worldwide total of $1.7B, but for it not being a sequel, a remake, or Superhero film, The Martian is doing just fine.
Matt Damon and the Red Planet continue to delight and we at I Watch Too Many Movies couldn’t be happier as it will hopefully reignite the love for space and exploration. Maybe we’ll get to Mars a little faster due to this film’s popularity.
4) Goosebumps- $7.0M ($66.4M Total)
The nostalgia machine Goosebumps continues to plod along, but with it being November, it doesn’t look like it’ll be going too much farther. In general we enjoyed what we saw, and despite our earlier concerns, they actually came up with a creative way to bring the books of our childhood to life. Check it out when it comes out video or streaming, but don’t expect anything other than a comedy that the family can enjoy. You never know, it might be a great excuse to get your kids reading the beloved books from your past.
5) Bridge of Spies- $6.1M ($55.0M Total)
Rounding out the Top 5 this weekend was Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies. The film wasn’t built to be a blockbuster success, but give a little bit of history and allow Tom Hanks to stretch acting legs before he’s forced to pick up the role of Robert Langdon in Ron Howard’s Inferno.
What Bridge of Spies does do is give us a stark contrast from the action/adventure/heroics of Spectre. Ask most people though, and they’ll take 007 over anything close to reality.
That rolls up our Top 5 from last weekend’s Box Office. I don’t foresee too much shakeup in the Box Office until November 20th when we get the conclusion of The Hunger Games, some crazy hijinks with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, and a biographical film featuring Tom Hardy portraying identical twin gangsters. I’ve got 5 to 1 odds that we’ll be seeing some big numbers in the next few weeks.
Enjoy the week and remember not to get too much soap in your eyes, because this crowded shower isn’t good about sharing the water.
“Imagine if you had three wishes, three hopes, three dreams, and they all could come true.”
Those are the words adorned across the beautifully simplistic original movie poster of Aladdin. In 1992, Disney was in the early stages of what many call “The Disney Renaissance”. It started in 1989 with The Little Mermaid and ended in 1999 with Tarzan. In that time we were gifted films like Mulan, The Lion King, Hercules (my personal favorite), and the first animated film to receive an Academy Awards nomination for Best Picture, Beauty and the Beast. As with all Renaissance periods, it wasn’t until afterwards did many recognize these great achievements in film making history.
With the release of Aladdin on Blu-Ray, which you can buy here, we can finally pitch our VHS copies and toss in one of many next gen devices we have hanging out around the house. Anytime you watch a film from your childhood, you run the risk of nostalgia and quality clashing. I absolutely adore the film My Science Project from 1985, but it absolutely blows by film standards. So, you have two options at this junction:
Keep it in your memory where it may belong -or-
Take the plunge and revisit your childhood love and discover if the film was indeed as good as you remember
Let’s hold our breath and take that plunge.
Aladdin is not only the hilarious madhouse I remember it to be, but so much more as I view as an adult. I can only imagine my family sitting in the theater, watching Aladdin with me, and enjoying it just as much as I was. As I giggled at Robin Williams’ Genie, my family likely saw the lush, colorful animation, heard the catchy tunes, and were wrapped up in the brilliant storytelling which they could only hope to see in any live-action film that year. Viewing it now, I just cannot imagine anyone not being blown away by what they just watched.
While discussing Aladdin, we really have to start with Robin Williams’ and his pitch perfect performance of the Genie. The character was full of enough zany energy and 90’s pop culture to choke a camel. I cannot for the life of me imagine anyone not finding the Genie just the perfect centerpiece to this film. Most of, if not all, the comedy comes from the Genie and his transformations, dialogue, and songs. I mean, I don’t know anyone who can watch Aladdin and nothave “Friend Like Me” stuck in their heads. Even if you haven’t seen it recently, you are now humming that song.
I just don’t believe they’ve written such a beautiful and tragic character in any of their films. The Genie is a slave to the lamp and whomever holds it and here he has a master that says he’ll wish him free. However unlikely that he would give up a wish, it’s what we’ve come to expect from our hero Aladdin “The Diamond in the Rough”. Which is exactly why it’s such a gut punch when Aladdin may not hold up his end of the bargain later in the film.
All of the other voice actors do a fantastic job and the professional singers they bring in for some of the songs are just perfect. A lot of this can be attributed to the lyrics of Sir Timothy Rice (yeah, he was Knighted, how awesome is that?) and the score of Alan Menken. Much of the music from the Disney Renaissance was done by these two talented men. It also helps when your songs get radio play versions and some are even sung by Sir Elton John.
The whole cast of characters are great, but Abu, the Carpet & Jafar/Iago really stand out to me. I don’t know about you, but I wanted a monkey sidekick after seeing this movie. I had great plans for him all the adventures we would go on. Then one flung poo at me while visiting the zoo, so that fantasy ended pretty quickly. And you would have to be inhuman to not love the Carpet. Let’s face it, every kid wants to fly. I know that every one of you, even if you’re afraid of heights, has wanted to fly. Not only do the Disney Animators work their magic by introducing another means for flight, but they actually have the Carpet emote. Think about that for a second. Tons of characters on screen at any time, and they took the time to make it look like a rug can be happy or sad. That’s just utter dedication to your film and its audience.
Jafar and Iago’s villainy ranks right up there with some of the worst in Disney history (Hades being my favorite) in my opinion. Sure Jafar only has a single song and it’s a reprise, but it’s still pretty menacing. And Jafar is such a classic villain, which is absolutely perfect here. In a film where you’re dealing with the ambiguity of stealing for food, making selfish wishes, and forcing others into slavery, both the Genie and to some extent Jasmine, they really needed a defined villain. Not to mention Gilbert Gottfried’s Iago which his manic energy is only rivaled by the Genie (I can only imagine those recording sessions with those two comedians in the room together). Both Jafar and Iago combine to be an absolutely diabolical team and we know it from the very first scene. Just like audiences knew it when they saw Darth Vader in Star Wars.
I could go on for another several pages but you all know that Aladdin ranks up there with some of the all time greatest films, animated or otherwise. Aladdin is just perfect and it’s a shame they don’t make them like that anymore. We’ll just have to deal with all of our tears while watching a Pixar movie.
Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version: