REVIEWS, Zero Popped Corns

I Just Watched This Movie; “The Fate of the Furious”

Star power. Early on in the history of the film industry, “star talent” became the driving force of audience’s attendance. If your movie could boast an actor or actress with a large following, the film would succeed at the box office. “The Fate of the Furious” is an example of taking this too far. The movie stars Vin Diesel (played by Dom Toretto), obviously named after his favorite car engine, as a man who can only say the word “Family.” Or does the movie star The Rock (played by Luke Hobbs), obviously named for his rock hard physique, as a man who just wants people to stop asking him to save the world? Or does it star Jason Statham (played by Deckard Shaw), obviously named after the famous actor known for action movies, as a man desperately in love with The Rock but too afraid to admit it? There is no clear star, and therefore, how do audiences know which one to go see? What if you’re a Toretto fan but the movie has more Hobbs than Toretto? You don’t want to risk that. So what if the movie broke the record for most pounds of muscle on a single screen? When I saw it this morning at the first showing of the day, the theater was practically empty. What a box office bomb! Add Charlize Theron to the mix and your aiming for such a wide audience it’s destined to fail.

Action. An action movie is one in which characters do more than just sit and talk. To be a great action film, there needs to be high-octane movement. Frustratingly, “The Fast and the Fateful 8” falls short of being even just a good action film. Sure it has a few fistfights, but every time the suspense gets built up, they just sit down on leather seats and gab. For the majority of the film, all of the main characters sit down in their cars, tap their foot, wiggle their arms, and say clipped catchphrases. The filmmakers think that they can fool us into feeling tension and danger by throwing in a few explosions behind them, but it’s clear that their cars can withstand any damage so it’s just a bunch of gimmicks. Even when they get out of the cars, they’re mostly just flirting and playfully insulting each other. Where’s the breakneck pacing and adrenaline inducing activity. I will admit that initially the film got some suspense from my fear of pedestrians being injured by the speeding cars. But by about a third of the way in, I realized that the film takes place in a world where all humans have superhuman reflexes and can jump out of the way to avoid a vehicle driving 11o mph through a busy sidewalk.

Cars. Thank god for the invention of cars. Can you imagine a movie like this, but all of the cars were horses! “The Furious Fates of the Fast” featured 15 times more cars than humans and all but *spoiler* were wrecked or destroyed. The budget breakdown for this movie must have been: $210 million for cars, $30 million for Vin Diesel, $8 million for the family, $2 million for fancy computer graphics, and 800 pounds of cod for The Rock. I have never seen so many cars in my life. They were literally raining from the sky. And honestly, they were the real heroes. If you look at the movie from a script analysis perspective, Toretto and his team were all flawless characters. It was the cars who pushed themselves to their limits and often sacrificed so much of their bodies to save the humans inside of them. At some point, the producer’s are going to eliminate all of the actors from the franchise and we’ll realize these were all just prequels to Pixar’s Cars (it ain’t just a theory).

Despite raising many questions like; Why didn’t any of the characters go into NASCAR? Does Dwayne Johnson write all his own lines? And was Scott Eastwood meant to be a replacement white guy for Paul Walker? because otherwise Scott was useless, the movie kept to the successful structure, tone, and theme of its predecessors. All in all, “The Fast and the Furiosa” was so much fun and deserves only praise for the way it perfectly combines giddying action with meaningful family drama. I give it zero popped corns!

 

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GOLDEN FLAMINGOS

Golden Flamingo Winners 2017

Best Picture


  • Sing Street

Best Director


  • Ezra Edelman          O.J.: Made In America

Best Actress


  • Natalie Portman          Jackie

Best Actor


  • Sunny Pawar          Lion

Best Supporting Actress (tie)


  • Naomi Harris          Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman       Lion

Best Supporting Actor


  • Mahershala Ali          Moonlight

Best Editing


  • O.J.: Made In America

Best Cinematography


  • Jackie

Best Music (tie)


  • La La Land
  • Sing Street

Best Animated Film


  • Zootopia

Best Sound


  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Visual Effects


  • Jungle Book

Best Production Design (tie)


  • La La Land
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Costume Design


  • Jackie

Best Screenplay (tie)


  • Sing Street
  • Lion

Best Documentary


  • O.J.: Made In America

Best Short Live Action


  • Bird Dog

Best Short Animation


  • Borrowed Time

Worst Picture


  • Keanu

Best Animal


  • Judy Hopps the Rabbit          Zootopia

 

3 – Sing Street

3 – O.J.

3 – Jackie

2 – Lion

 

2 – La La Land

2 – Moonlight

2 – Zootopia

2 – Rogue One

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THE MARC

The Marc Nominees

The Golden Flamingo Awards are proud to announce the second year of the Marc. This award will be determined by Marc and will represent “the best in art-proper.” Marc hopes that this award will encourage people to explore these nominees and works.

The Marc


  • Apichatpong Weerasthakul, Cemetery of Splendor
  • Stephen Smith as a lizard, Gobstopper
  • The cast and crew of Muslim in the Midst excluding Sriram Kanneganti, Muslim in the Midst
  • Pablo Neruda, Neruda
  • Fleetwood Mac, Rumours
  • Simon de Beauvoir, The Second Sex
  • Women, 20th Century Women
  • Donald Trump, The Presidential Debates: No, You’re The Puppet
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GOLDEN FLAMINGOS

Golden Flamingo Nominations 2017

After much controversy last year surrounding the nomination of Chewbacca in the “Best Animal” category rather than the “Best Supporting Actor” category, the Golden Flamingo’s president decided to release this letter describing the voting process.

“Dear people of the world, on behalf of the Golden Flamingos and for the sake of transparency I would like to clearly describe the process by which the nominees are categorized, chosen, and judged.

The process begins as our sole voter watches a film. After the completion of the films viewing, that film becomes qualified for Golden Flamingo awards. At the end of the movie year (sometime in February) the sole voter reviews all of the films and determines what the possible nominees should be. Then he places those potential nominees on small slips of paper and puts them in a different hat for each category (much like the Oscars’ voting system). He then selects them one by one, and places them in order from best to worst in a totally subjective manner. Then he removes the worst slips of paper from each category until he finds himself upset that a possible nominee was removed, so he places that paper back in the category and locks in those nominations. 

When it comes time to determine a winner, the sole voter uses a completely subjective system for voting. His favorite wins, or they tie. This is completely different than the entirely objective voting system used by the bigger award shows. They rank nominees based on complex formulas, for example the formula that measures acting performance is:screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-5-20-36-pm

The Meryl Streep Factor of course is equal to the number of previous nominations.

Hopefully this clears up any confusion over these awards and helps people understand just how subjective they are.”

 Here are this year’s nominees:

Best Picture


  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • O.J.: Made in America
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Sing Street

Best Director


  • Damien Chazelle          La La Land
  • Garth Davis          Lion
  • Barry Jenkins          Moonlight
  • Ezra Edelman          O.J.: Made In America
  • John Carney          Sing Street

Best Actress


  • Viola Davis          Fences
  • Taraji P. Henson          Hidden Figures
  • Natalie Portman          Jackie
  • Emma Stone          La La Land
  • Felicity Jones          Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Actor


  • Ralph Fiennes        A Bigger Splash
  • Dnezel Washington          Fences
  • Ryan Gosling          La La Land
  • Sunny Pawar          Lion
  • Dev Patel          Lion

Best Supporting Actress


  • Octavia Spencer         Hidden Figures
  • Nicole Kidman          Lion
  • Michelle Williams          Manchester by the Sea
  • Naomi Harris          Moonlight
  • Lucy Boynton          Sing Street

Best Supporting Actor


  • Ben Foster         Hell or High Water
  • Sam Neill          Hunt for the Wilderpeople
  • Mahershala Ali          Moonlight
  • Diego Luna          Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • John Carroll Lynch          The Founder

Best Editing


  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Jackie
  • O.J.: Made In America
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Cinematography


  • Hell or High Water
  • Jackie
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Moonlight

Best Music


  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • Moana
  • Sing
  • Sing Street

Best Animated Film


  • Finding Dory
  • Moana
  • Sing
  • Zootopia

Best Sound


  • Arrival
  • Moana
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Sing
  • Sing Street

Best Visual Effects


  • Deadpool
  • Doctor Strange
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Jungle Book
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Production Design


  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Jackie
  • La La Land
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Sing Street
  • The Founder
  • Zootopia

Best Costume Design


  • Allied
  • Jackie
  • La La Land
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Sing Street

Best Screenplay


  • Hell or High Water
  • Lion
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Sing Street
  • Zootopia
  • The Founder

Best Documentary


  • Before The Flood
  • Dark Horse
  • JunkTown: A Love Letter
  • O.J.: Made In America
  • 13th

Best Short Live Action


  • Rosa
  • A Test
  • Bird Dog
  • Lerato

Best Short Animation


  • Borrowed Time
  • Inner Workings
  • Piper

Worst Picture


  • Allied
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Ghostbusters
  • Keanu
  • Love & Friendship

Best Animal


  • Dory the Blue Tang          Finding Dory
  • Tupac the Dog          Hunt for the Wilderpeople
  • Baloo the Bear          Jungle Book
  • Keanu the Cat          Keanu
  • Hei Hei the Rooster          Moana
  • Rosita the Pig          Sing
  • Judy Hopps the Rabbit          Zootopia

Notes

Emma Stone, Felicity Jones, Ralph Fiennes are all tied for most nominations (2)

Nomination breakdown by film:

9 – La La Land

9 – Rogue One

8 – Lion

8 – Sing Street

5 – Jackie

4 – Hell or High Water

4 – Moana

4 – Moonlight

4 – O.J.: Made in America

4 – Sing

4 – Zootopia

3 – The Founder

 

 

 

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REVIEWS, Zero Popped Corns

I Just Watched This Movie; “La La Land”

Show biz. There’s a whole industry based on chance encounters and capitalizing on chances to show your talents, it’s called show business. This environment is an untapped wealth of stories about pain, romance, triumph, and music that is explored for the first time in Damien Chazelle’s groundbreaking new film “La La Land.” The film follows a couple of young people dreaming of a career as an actress and a jazz musician. The pair, played by actual real life famous entertainers (how fun!), struggles to get noticed for their unparalleled talent. However, through love and support for each other, they’re able to persevere and find their own successes in the star-making world of Hollywood. Who doesn’t appreciate this kind of story? The answer is absolutely no one. This movie is universally acclaimed, proven by winning the most Golden Globes in history and receiving the most Oscar nominations in history.

Historical context. Sometimes a film can capture the zeitgeist perfectly and serve as a window into the time period at which it was released. As “La La Land” is enshrined at this years Oscars as the greatest film in history, it is comforting to know that it will represent the last moment before a great shift in this country. That shift, is the introduction of self driving cars. This movie, more than anything, embodies all of the issues that current society has with cars. They’re always getting stuck in traffic. If you are an actor or musician, you can’t practice your craft while driving. If you go to a party, you have to walk forever to get to where you parked. If you go to pick someone up, you can’t leave your car to go to the door so you must honk obnoxiously. What makes the film even greater is the casting. They chose the most well known driving actor of our time, Ryan Gosling (the Driver in the movie “Drive”). Gosling shows a cool, sexy ownership and control over his car that only he can. This movie will go down in history similar to how “Top Gun” remembers a time before drones when it was the epitome of cool to be a fighter pilot like the maverick, Tom Cruise.

Music. Everyone loves music. Music has the power to communicate deep themes and move an audience subconsciously to experience all forms of emotion. “La La Land” unfortunately failed to speak to today’s audiences through its many musical numbers. Perhaps to a viewer from the 1940’s, this movie would be jazzy, beautiful, exciting, powerful, and sentimental, but today’s audiences respond to new types of music. For a good comparison, take the most popular musical right now, “Hamilton.” Listen to the soundtrack, you’ll hear rap, hip hop, and R&B styles, styles that are completely absent from the “La La Land” soundtrack. Or think about all of the genres of music that have come since classical and jazz. We have rock, alternative, funk, electronic, beyoncé, and disco, but guess what “La La Land” went with? (none of them!). Seriously who cares about Jazz nowadays? We have better music to listen to, like John Legend or something.

Everyone has their own opinion on “La La Land,” but mine is that it was an extremely enjoyable film with catchy music, interesting cinematography, and a fresh look. I give it zero popped corns.

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Three Popped Corns, Uncategorized

I Just Watched This Movie: “Silence”

Coming-Of-Age. A genre of film, coming-of-age shows the maturation and education of a young character aimed to connect with an audience who’s all been through it before. Taking place a long time ago in a country far away, “Silence” is a coming-of-age story about a young priest who learns the age-old lesson: Christianity doesn’t take root in Japan. An odd period piece that combines the origin story of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), “Silence” shows men torn between the light and the dark side, and having to decide whether to believe in Christ or the Force. A bearded and confused Andrew Garfield plays the main character who bears a striking resemblance to the white European representation of Jesus. Garfield puts on a perfect Portuguese-English accent that’s unfortunately hampered by an apparent tongue injury that occurred prior to the shoot. Over the course of the film Garfield and his friend? brother? cousin? partner? roommate? take a gap year to travel around Japan and hear people’s sins. Unfortunately, their trip goes all wrong when the government decides to imprison them and kill/torture all of their new friends. That’s when they learn what it really means to be a grown up Jesuit priest.

Religion. Religion is all about questions.Lots of questions. What is a Chruch? Who can go inside? Who is God? Who is God’s immediate family? Where is God right now? Can I talk to him? Did he watch this movie too? Any good film about religion needs questions, and this movie had an abundance. The main character wrestles with many questions about his own faith and God’s role in the horrors he’s witnessing. The movie raises a lot of questions for the viewer too. Is it wrong to force these people to believe a new religion that allows Jesuit priests to be treated like royalty among the Japanese peasants? or is wrong that the Japanese government brutally kills so many of these believers? Characters are forced to step bare footed and trample on an image of Jesus to renounce their faith, does this action doom them to hell, or will God understand their plight? What are the answers to these questions? The movie really doesn’t provide any. Should a movie answer the questions it presents? Should the audience deal with leaving the theater unsatisfied? Who knows?

Auteur. An auteur is a film director that transcends the title of director and reaches a level where they take all of the credit for a film. Martin Scorsese (“New York Gangster Movie,” “Other New York Gangster Movie,” and “Boston Gangster Movie”) directs his latest masterpiece that’s being praised by literally every critic and has reminded everyone yet again why he is an auteur. It’s clear that Scorsese had complete control of his craft on his long awaited film that reflects his personal beliefs and experiences that only he could tell after having been a priest in Japan for most of his childhood. A sign of Scorsese’s mastering of the craft would be the way he uses pacing. Normally in a film, scenes of great importance are allowed to be drawn out to give the audience time to process and feel the depth of the drama. Scorsese knows this and maximizes it. Every scene in Silence is treated with this technique giving the film a run time that any auteur would be proud of.

A long movie that requires endurance and an undying appreciation for Scorsese, I found “Silence” to be unsatisfying and a bit painful to watch. With that being said, a whole lot of critics liked it so what do I know? I give it three popped corns.screen-shot-2014-10-04-at-3-50-30-pm

 

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One Popped Corn

I Just Watched This Movie; “The Founder”

Inspirational. Films often use real life success stories to inspire viewers. The new movie, “The Founder” follows the inspirational true story behind the expansion of McDonald’s into a staple of American culture. The movie follows McDonald’s founder Ray Crook Kroc as he sells the concept, and dream, of McDonald’s while cleanly disposing of the restaurant’s real founders and actual history. Unlike the business heroes portrayed in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “There Will Be Blood,” and “Wall Street,” this movie shows the right (legal) way to succeed. As a result, Michael Keaton as Kroc, ends happily wealthy with a wonderful wife he took from an associate and a franchise he took from a couple of nice guys. This movie will surely inspire a new generation to go out and grab what they want in life, staying within the law of course to ensure they get away with it. In the motivational words of Keaton’s character: “If my enemy was drowning, I would shove a hose down his throat.”

Commercialization. Art in it’s essence is an expression of emotions, thoughts, aesthetics, and many other lame touchy feely stuff. The true power of art is when it is used to mimic these motivations, but with a real financial goal behind it. “The Founder” is an expertly crafted commercial that the general public has been fooled into thinking is just a movie. I attended the screening of the film with a packed audience. They all had paid to see this movie with the anticipation of being entertained by Michael Keaton and as they put it “those guys are from tv shows right?” (it was an older audience). Anyway, when the credits rolled the entire crowd broke off into conversations about where they were going to eat lunch. Do you know what places they named? Literally everywhere but McDonald’s. You see, a conglomeration of restaurants; Wendy’s, Burger King, etc., made a movie about food and restaurants and convinced the audience that McDonald’s was born out of the pure evilness of it’s ‘founder.’ This was a perfect negative ad about McDonald’s that subconsciously convinced the audience to both eat out, and avoid McDonald’s.

Prop food. A movie isn’t shot all in just one take. For every camera set up, you can expect that the filmmakers have filmed several takes. In each take, the actors repeat their actions and lines more or less, with minor variations to performance. Due to this repetition, actors will often have fake looking food and mime eating. That way at the beginning of each take, they have just as much food as the last take (also you don’t want the actors to get fat because then that would be a mess for continuity, costume design, etc.). “The Founder” involved some of the best act-eating and prop food that I’ve ever seen. Even the extras eating McDonald’s cheeseburgers showed the same passion and delight as they would in real life. Michael Keaton is shown with food in multiple scenes and always fakes his chewing like a pro. Luckily the film fills most of it’s eating sequences with dialogue and actions as to suspend the audience’s disbelief. If there were awards for eating on screen, this film would take the cake, chew it, swallow it, and leave it untouched for the next person.

Though the protagonist is not the most likable (to say the least), the film’s editing and writing make the movie compelling and interesting to watch. I give this movie one popped corn.

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