Monday, July 06, 2015

Ryan Reynolds and Ben Kingsley Feature Heavily in my Latest IGN Review

On July 4th, my latest IGN review went live.  It's of the new Ryan Reynolds/Ben Kingsley movie, "Self/Less," which is directed by Tarsem Singh.  Opening in theaters this Friday, the movie tells the story of what happens when one dying man, Kingsley, undergoes a process to move his consciousness into another body, Reynolds.

Sure, you may have seen Reynolds in another body switch movie, but "The Change-Up" was pitched as a comedy and this is certainly supposed to be a thriller.  As for how well it succeeds... well, it has some good moments but on the whole it doesn't.  If you want to read more of my thoughts on it, however, you'll just have to venture over to IGN -- no awesome voiceover person reading my thoughts to you this time out.

photo credit: Focus Features

Thursday, July 02, 2015

007(x3) Weeks of 007 #5 - "You Only Live Twice"

Welcome to another edition of 007(x3) Weeks of 007. This week it's movie number five in the James Bond franchise – "You Only Live Twice."

Growing up, "You Only Live Twice" was my favorite Bond movie. From the volcano lair to Bond's trip down the slide to see Tanaka in his underground office to Donald Pleasence's Blofeld, "You Only Live Twice" somehow spoke to me.

Watching it now, right on the heels of the four earlier Bond movies, it feels somewhat more derivative than the others. The massive fight in the volcano lair is a riff on the "Thunderball" underwater fight which itself is a riff on the "Goldfinger" Fort Knox fight. Additionally, Bond's fisticuffs with Blofeld's henchman in the lair smacks of the fight with Oddjob.

I don't want to give the impression that I dislike the movie, I like it, I just see it differently now. I spent the first few weeks talking about the Bond formula and what was required for it and how early it was developed. By "You Only Live Twice" it had gone somewhat from being a formula to being formulaic.

"Dr. No," as you might remember, doesn't feature a pre-title sequence, so the one here in "You Only Live Twice" is the fourth one for the franchise, and it's the third time in a pre-title sequence where the audience is led to believe that Bond is dead or playing dead. First there is Red Grant killing the Bond lookalike in "From Russia with Love," then there is the Jacques Bouvar (JB) funeral in "Thunderball" and now there's Bond "getting shot" and faking his death here (no, no references in "You Only Live Twice" back to the Bouvar funeral). Only "Goldfinger" did it differently which is something I find really interesting as "Goldfinger" is the epitome of a Bond movie.

The other thing that really strikes me with "You Only Live Twice" is just how many classic moments exist across these first five Bond movies. Sure, there are greater and lesser entries into the franchise, but each of these first five movies has something in it that influenced film as a whole or is remembered by the culture at large. I don't know that as we move forward in the rewatch we're going to see that with all the Moore's. I know we won't with the Brosnan's, Dalton's, or Craig's.

So, what do we have that influenced the world at large with "You Only Live Twice?" I have mentioned them both already – Pleasence's scarred Blofeld and the volcano lair.

While we have seen bits and pieces of Blofeld in other Bond movies, this is the first time the two men meet face-to-face and Pleasence is just incredible. Look at the way, in the scenes before we see his face, where he pets his cat. Other Blofeld's did it in a nice, loving way. Pleasence is doing it in a maniacal way; he's not soothing the cat, he's got a tic, and the cat has to be uncomfortable.

As for that Volcano lair, it's a thing of beauty (Ken Adam is again the production designer on the movie). The very notion of using an inactive volcano for a villain's lair is what makes the Connery films the larger than life experiences they are. When you think of Bond movies in general, one of the things you consider are the crazy, over the top lairs, and Dr. No definitely has a good place, but there really isn't one in "From Russia with Love" (Ken Adam didn't work on the movie), Goldfinger's horse farm isn't really one, nor is Largo's yacht. To date in our rewatching of the movies, this is the best one. It may be the best one in the whole franchise.

Last week as you may recall, I said I was getting a little bit tired of M pushing Bond away from Moneypenny and that I wanted to see what a full interaction between the two might be like. With "You Only Live Twice," right as the banter hits its peak, there's M chiming in and breaking stuff up… only he doesn't quite. Instead, he reminds Moneypenny to give Bond the code phrase for the mission, "I love you," which the two play with for a moment before Bond heads off. He isn't forced away from the conversation by M, but it ends anyway. I still want to see a conversation in which M doesn't get involved, but this is closer than we've gotten before.

Finally, Charles Gray. I don't know about you, but when I see Charles Gray I think of him as The Criminologist in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Every time. That may say more about me than him as he had a long and distinguished acting career, but it's what comes into my brain first. In any case, here he is in "You Only Live Twice" as Bond's contact in Japan, Henderson. And, yes, in a couple of week's we'll see him again in "Diamonds are Forever" where he plays Blofeld. I have to check, but that may make him the first actor to play two vastly different, and important, roles in two different Bond movies. He won't be the last person to do that, but he may be the first.

I really feel like if Connery's time as Bond ended with "You Only Live Twice," it would've been the perfect conclusion. They have advanced the SPECTRE story, we have seen everything get bigger both in terms of sets and stakes, and it really feels like a great moment to step away. Which, of course, Connery did… until he came back for one last hurrah in "Diamonds are Forever" before sort of coming back again for one last hurrah in "Never Say Never Again." I am really excited to rewatch "Diamonds are Forever" because it's never been one of my top Bond movies, but right now I still kind of wish this had been the last Connery.

Next week, of course, we'll get a new Bond before we get an old Bond the week after and then another new one. The times, they are a-changing.

007(x3) Weeks of 007 will be back next week with "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" and that famous breaking of the fourth wall.

photo credit: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

"Lass is More" Gets all Nitpicky About one Scene in "Danny Collins"

More than once I have had a colleague look at me and say, "Really, that's what bothers you about the movie?"  The intimation is not that my complaint is incorrect just that it's a relatively small issue in comparison to other things the movie has going on.  My answer, invariably, is, "Yes."

In "Ted 2" I'm terribly troubled by the route they take from NY to Boston as it somehow involves two lane roads.  In "National Treasure" that climactic scene where the sun shines on a certain spot at a certain time of day drives me up the wall (the sun not shining on the same spot at the same time on different days of the year).

Then, there's "Danny Collins."  Here is a fun movie with some serious moments but nothing terribly dark until one terribly miscalculated moment.  And that moment is the focus of today's "Lass is More" minisode.

photo credit: Bleeker Street Films

Monday, June 29, 2015

"Terminator: Genisys" - Not the Best Entry in the Franchise, but not the Worst

The first "Terminator" was this new and different sci-fi horror masterpiece. "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" more or less ditched the horror and was this insanely large action film with incredibly good effects surrounding a new and unbelievable villain. Then the diminishing returns moment set in. "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" had some good things but wasn't new or different in any way except in the philosophical direction it took the franchise. "Terminator: Salvation," well, yeah, if you've seen it, you know.

The point is this – those first two movies were special, they were extraordinary. They were just crazy in a way that few expected and played to people's fears beautifully. The next two were more generic action fare. So, now, after a hiatus of a few years and with Arnold Schwarzenegger back in a lead role after sitting out the last one, we get a new "Terminator" movie and the question is this: is "Terminator: Genisys" like the first two films or more like one of the last two (not that the last two are in any way the same except for the generic action)?

I apologize for disappointing you (no matter what you want to read next), but "Genisys" is solidly somewhere in the middle. "Judgment Day" may be the greatest action movie ever made, so asking "Genisys" to live up to that is kind of a tall order, even if you're a 6'2" former bodybuilder. "Genisys" is something closer to generic action than "Judgment Day," but feels more a part of the franchise certainly than "Salvation."

But, enough comparisons. For now anyway.

"Terminator: Genisys" is the first movie in what could be a new "Terminator" trilogy depending on how the box office receives this one. Directed by Alan Taylor ("Thor: The Dark World"), "Genisys" sees Arnold back as a T-800 and casts Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor, Jason Clarke as John Connor, and Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese.

As for what takes place in this movie, that's a little harder to describe. I wish I could offer up some easy sort of an explanation of it. When I was on set for the movie last year, they were all very tight-lipped about the plot. We were told it featured three time periods: 1984 (the period of the first film), 2017, and 2029 (the end of the war against the machines, when John sends Kyle back in time). They went so far as to tell us that in "Genisys" we would see John send Kyle back to a very different 1984, one where a good T-800 would already be there and already have been watching Sarah for years.

From there, things spin slightly out of control in rather convoluted fashion. Questions are asked, few answers are given, and the movie is propelled forward to its climactic action scenes.

That last sentence offers up a hint about the weakest part of the movie. All four previous "Terminator" movies feel pretty self-contained. They have beginnings, they have endings, and even if you know that the story continues after the credits roll, you don't feel as though the story you have been given is incomplete. With "Genisys," you very much do feel it is incomplete.

One doesn't get the sense that answers aren't given because they don't exist, but rather because they are being held back for the next movie, or even the movie after that one. "Genisys" even features a sequence during the end credits which further lends the sense that the "Terminator" films is just part of the pack of franchises that we'll see over and over again rather than the leader—the game-changer—it had been.

To some extent even the plot we are given feels that way – as others will undoubtedly also point out, the alternate version of 1984 offered here serves as a way to destroy the universe of the films as we know it and allows the producers to go off in any direction they want rather than being beholden to already established canon. That is to say, in this way, it's incredibly reminiscent of the "Star Trek" reboot.

In terms of the acting, we have seen John Connor recast over and over and over again, and Kyle Reese portrayed both by Michael Biehn and Anton Yelchin, though Biehn is the iconic version. We have even seen Sarah Connor played by two actresses – Linda Hamilton in the first two films and Lena Headey in the "Sarah Connor Chronicles." Put another way, there is certainly precedent for recasting these roles, and something that most viewers will able to quickly accept.

Most importantly for a "Terminator" movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger has lost none of his charisma nor any of his charm. He is a joy to watch on screen and he slips back into the persona perfectly. Emilia Clarke delivers a great performance as well. She is something between the Sarah Connor we got in the original film and the one in "Judgment Day" – she knows how the world stands, what the future holds, but she hasn't given up on humanity quite yet.

Jason Clarke gives us a very different sort of John Connor than what we've seen before, no matter which version of John you're looking to. Clarke, as with Schwarzenegger, is compelling, but there's something that rubs me the wrong way about what they have done with the character. If you have seen the trailers (and now posters, too), you know what's coming, but it isn't something I'll discuss here except to say that without some of the plot that is presumably destined for the next two movies I'm just not sure overall what to make of it.

As for Jai Courtney's Kyle Reese, that's easier. He feels too inexperienced, too young, too unable to cope with new information. This Reese is unprepared for anything that he hasn't been spoon fed by a Connor. That is less Courtney's fault than the way the role is written, by even so, Courtney is the least compelling of the actors involved.

For all that doesn't work, however (we haven't even talked about the wonkiness of the alternate timeline and how that, maybe, should change things in ways it doesn't), "Genisys" still has a whole lot going for it. Much of the action is great fun to watch unfold. The effects look outstandingly good as well. Plus, and perhaps it will be played up in future films, the notion that's touched on here that humanity has, essentially, been begging for Skynet (minus Judgment Day) is really quite smart. Would that the concept had been delivered in stronger fashion.

You are going to find a lot of negative reviews for this movie, and I think the very act of making the movie in the first place opened it to criticism. Certainly, "Terminator: Genisys" doesn't define, or redefine, things in the way that "The Terminator" or "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" managed to, but it's an entertaining two hours that show that maybe the franchise isn't quite as dead as it looked when the credits rolled on "Salvation." I want it to be more self-contained than it is, but it is still manages to be better than so many other options.

Photo credit: Paramount Pictures

Friday, June 26, 2015

The IGN Review of "Ted 2" as Read by Someone who isn't me

Having someone else read your words is always an odd experience.  Or, it is for me.  I have a tendency to write in a conversational tone and I hear myself giving emphasis to specific words or sentences across a piece.  When someone else reads my words they don't how I would read them, what emphasis I would give, and consequently things sound somewhat different than how I imagined them.  I tend to think of this as a shortcoming in my writing.

I think back to Elaine on "Seinfeld" arguing about exclamation points and explaining which sentences she would put them on.  It isn't quite the same thing, but if I can't reference a TV show or movie when I'm talking about something, what's the point.

Now, I tell you this to say that you should hear someone else read my "Ted 2" review, which appears at IGN, below.  I have absolutely no complaints whatsoever about the reading--I think it's great, in fact--it just strikes me as weird to have my words coming out of someone else's mouth.

photo credit: Universal Pictures

Thursday, June 25, 2015

007(x3) Weeks of 007 #4 - "Thunderball"

Well, another week has come and gone and here we are once more with our next installment of "007(x3) Weeks of 007." This is the fourth week and that makes it time to talk about Sean Connery's fourth outing as the legendary secret agent.

There is just so much that I could talk about with "Thunderball," but I'm not really going to delve into the whole Kevin McClory thing, the lawsuits, "Never Say Never Again," and "Warhead 2000." It isn't that those things don't interest me, it's just that any real, worthwhile, discussion of that requires a whole lot of time and space and has been done before. These is meant to be what strikes me about the movie and not just a rehash of the events surrounding its production.

Still though, it is difficult to separate "Thunderball" from those events and watching the movie last night has prompted me to go out in search of a book on the subject. I don't have one in hand yet, but I'm on the hunt.

For me, one of the amazing things about "Thunderball" is that it was released in 1965, with "Goldfinger" having come in 1964, "From Russia with Love" in '63, and "Dr. No" in '62. That is four movies in four years and something that would never happen today. It was a different time, but the toll that has to take is still pretty high. If I was Connery, I don't know how many more I'd want to do after that (do note, he did one more before he left the role for the first time).

One of the other spectacular things, and something that would be done in exceptionally different fashion today, is all the underwater moments here. "Thunderball" features several extended underwater, wordless, sequences. Sure, there are hand gestures and some sound effects, but except for the score, these are largely silent portions of the film. The biggest action sequence in the film, the main fight at the end, is entirely underwater. The thing is, in this age of ludicrously fast cuts that don't allow you to see what's going on, the "Thunderball" underwater sequences, which are much more slowly paced, still are utterly captivating. It is this gorgeous, deadly, underwater ballet.

"Thunderball" also offers up one of the most memorable Q-gadgets of any Bond film – the jetpack Bond uses to escape in the pre-title sequence. That jetpack is a real thing which actually works, but it looks just as futuristic and fantastic today as it must have 50 years ago.

One thing has struck me with all of the films to this point is that there is always a scene where Moneypenny and/or Bond get scolded by M for their back and forth. M has repeatedly told them to cut the usual shenanigans and let Bond get to work on his insanely important task. Just once—just once—I would love to see the usual shenanigans go to whatever their logical ending might be. How does Bond extricate himself from these situations when M isn't there to shove him out of the office?

As the world of the Bond films has grown through the years, the speculation grows about the structure of MI6 in the Bond universe. One theory, to which I do not subscribe, suggests that James Bond is just a pseudonym taken by anyone who has the 007 number assigned to him, that the various actors are all playing different Bonds. Truthfully, I don't just "not subscribe" to that notion, I vehemently reject it.

We will, when we get to Brosnan and Craig, have to have a discussion about some of the wonkiness of the timeline, but for me they have to all be the same guy. Looking for perfect continuity may be fun, but it doesn't exist and these are just movies anyway so what, exactly, is the point? You end up doing the sort of backflips scientists had to do to account for the movement of planets and stars when they argued that the Earth was at the center of the solar system.

But, I bring this up because there's a scene in "Thunderball" where all the Double-0s are in the same room as they get their assignment. We don’t see them all but there are nine chairs set out and Bond is the last to arrive and takes the one third from the end, indicating that they are sitting in number order from Double-0 One to Double-0 Nine. I love that moment, and I love it coming soon on the heels of Bond talking about how Jacques Bouvar killed two of Bond's coworkers. I assume Bouvar eliminated Double-0s and they were replaced, but maybe not. It is just this hint of how the Double-0 world works, this brief glimpse into the world, and I love it.

We are running a little long here so just one more thought on the Jacques Bouvar funeral that opens the movie. It is pointed out to Bond that the initials are the same and Bond learns that Bouvar has faked his own death. It feels like a foreshadowing of the events of "You Only Live Twice," and I look forward when rewatching that film to see if they have any references back to the Bouvar funeral here. It just feels too perfect for their not to be.

Even if it doesn't say it at the end of the "Thunderball" credits I will here, "007(x3) Weeks of 007" will return with "You Only Live Twice."

photo credit: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Friday, June 19, 2015

Problems with Digital Libraries, Multiple Users, and Hitting 88mph

I write this missive as my house undergoes another, albeit smaller than in the past, digital transformation. As with many a digital transformation, this one occurs at a crisis point.

On Monday, I noticed an amber light on my NAS, one that hadn't lit up in more than a year. The light could indicate a number of problems, all related to the hard drives. After some diligent checking, I discovered the problem – we had hit 95% capacity on the hard drives and the light was a warning that we were running out of space.

Now, running two 3TB hard drives setup in mirrored fashion (Raid 1), 95% capacity was not the indication of an imminent problem, just the gathering storm. The last time that amber light went on was for the same issue, but with a terabyte less space on the drives, and the instance was 20 months earlier (before I got "The Sopranos" on Blu-ray along with its must-be-downloaded HD digital copy of every episode). Our remaining capacity wasn't going to disappear overnight, but it was going to disappear and a solution had to be figured out.

When this problem first occurred, as may be clear, I went out and bought two bigger hard drives, but my NAS didn't have the ability to handle even larger ones this time, so that wasn't a choice. Cloud storage was also out as the cost for the amount required was not feasible (seriously, that may be a great deal if you're a company, but it isn't if you're a person).

I could have opted to get an entirely new NAS, one which could support larger hard drives. Jumping up to two 6TB drives would have doubled my current capacity and rendered me safe for a few years.

That, however, was not an inexpensive choice, so what I did instead was by a single new 6TB drive, slap it into an external case, and use that to backup a now striped (Raid 0) setup on the current NAS. This, as with the new NAS choice, doubled my capacity, but did so for less than half the cost of that option.

Now, I tell you all that because it underscores just one of the difficulties we face in our digital world – space may be substantially less expensive than it used to be, but we need more of it all the time, and we need access to it as well.

Space isn't just used by the free digital copies I download when I buy a Blu-ray, it's my children's baby pictures, our ever-expanding music collection, backups of our phones and iPads, etc. It isn't world-shattering stuff, it's just extreme annoyance stuff.

And what really galls me about it isn't the solution space-wise, it's the future of it all. When my daughter likes a song and wants us to get it on iTunes we, her parents, end up with a copy, not her. Sure, she can add her profile onto our account for now, but that's a terrible long-term solution and this digital, should-be-forever, copy of a song will disappear for her at some point in the future. We buy Kindle books and eventually she'll lose access to those in a way she wouldn't with a real book as well. And don't even get me started on just me and my wife trying to work out multiple users in iTunes – they may be making all of that easier and better with each iteration of the software, but it's still a cumbersome, unwieldy, poor setup.

 It requires knowledge and discipline to keep multiple users' libraries in-sync content-wise in ways that it really shouldn't. And, as you may be aware, trying to access a large iTunes library from multiple devices is a nightmare which, at least the last time I tried it, regularly resulted in those annoying little exclamation points appearing next to song after song after song. The underlying system feels like it was built without that in mind. Trying to make it happen is like trying to harness the power of a lightning strike for use in your flux capacitor at the exact moment your car hits 88mph. It's doable, but you may find yourself dangling off a building for a short while, and if the DeLorean doesn't start you're really up a creek.

Creating a digital life for one person on one computer isn't an easy process, but it's certainly manageable. Once you go past one person and past one computer, it just doesn't work as seamlessly and effortlessly as it should. I can solve my NAS issues with a little thought, effort, and money, but solving the problem of making sure everyone in my family, including myself, can easily access the appropriate parts of our single digital library now and in the future is something else entirely.

It is one of those things which, from the outside, seems like it should be easy, but also which, I'm sure, a programmer can explain just why it's impossible. The thing is, in a world where all the pictures we take, songs we own, movies we consume, books we read, are digital, it's hugely important and I hope someone out there is working on a true solution.

If not, we're going to wind up disappearing from every photograph we own.

photo credit: Universal Pictures

Thursday, June 18, 2015

007(x3) Weeks of 007 # 3 - "Goldfinger"

Welcome back to third third entry in "007(x3) Weeks of 007," our weekly investigation of a James Bond movie as we head towards the release of "Spectre." Up this week, the most James Bond movie of all James Bond movies, "Goldfinger."

For two weeks we have talked about how the first Bond films were establishing the tropes of the franchise. By the time the producers got to "Goldfinger," they had it all worked out. "Goldfinger" is the mold for Bond movies, it has each and every element you need from a Bond in the middle of some action in the pre-title sequence to an incredible opening song to witty repartee with Moneypenny, a scene in Q branch with Q scolding Bond, an early meeting with the bad guy where he and Bond feel each other out, a memorable henchman, a car chase, Bond getting captured, an outsized set for a climactic battle, and on and on and on.

"Goldfinger" is the one to follow, and follow it they would in future installments. It has one memorable scene and line of dialogue after the next, and not a single scene or moment feels out of place.

Of course, as I said last week, "Goldfinger" isn't my favorite Bond movie, that's "From Russia with Love." This one is certainly high on the list, but it isn't number one. Unlike other Bond films, I don't know the first time I saw it, it just seems to have always existed in my consciousness.

Speaking of number one, there is one thing here that is quite different from the first Bond films – "Goldfinger" lacks a mention of SPECTRE. Dr. No identifies himself as working for SPECTRE in the first film, and then we go so far as seeing Blofeld from behind in "From Russia With Love," but there's nothing here in "Goldfinger" about the organization or its boss. The movie doesn't suffer for the lack of SPECTRE, but that does make it different from the rest of the Connery films and sets it aside from that template somehow… or does it?

One of the things I find so interesting about the Bond films is their relationship to SPECTRE. In the real world this has a lot to do with legal issues, but I'm concerned about the in-film world at the moment. I always think of SPECTRE as being a huge part of the Bond movies, but the truth is that they're only a huge part of the early Bond movies, they do appear in Lazenby's film and a Blofeld-like character briefly appears in a Moore (we'll get there eventually), but that's it. SPECTRE, no matter how tightly associated they are with Bond, don't exist on film in any substantial form after Connery is done with the role. That is going to change this fall, but for now it's true and odd for such an iconic organization. It really goes to show the power of these first films.

"Goldfinger" successfully establishes a world for Bond outside of the presence of SPECTRE – Bond doesn't only go after this one group of baddies, there can always be megalomaniacal loons for our hero to takedown outside of a larger organization. I don't know that "Goldfinger" set out to establish that possibility on purpose—that is to say, I need to do some research and find out if it was a concern—but it did it successfully nonetheless.

You know, no matter how much I want to move away from the discussion of iconic moments in "Goldfinger," it's impossible. The film is just so filled with them. From Jill Masterson's gold-painted death to Bond's Aston Martin to the incredible back and forth 007 has with everyone in the film (how great is the moment he wakes up on the plane and meets Goldfinger's private pilot?), it's one iconic moment after the next. So, give a few sentences on one more.

I am going to eagerly watch the rest of the films to find out if I'm wrong, but, "Do you expect me to talk," "No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die," might be the best exchange between Bond and a villain in the entire franchise. Of course, Bond escapes the laser, but it is this calculating, cruel, moment. It is the moment that puts Gert Fröbe's Auric Goldfinger on the AFI list of top villains (#49) and Fröbe delivers the line with such zeal, such a ruthless animosity. It isn't dark and gritty, like we might expect a bad guy to be today, but it does the job of terrifying our hero and causing fans to wonder just how 007 might escape. "Goldfinger" isn't my favorite Bond movie, but that bit of it is cinematic perfection.

And, because it's something I can't top, I'm going to end the discussion here. "007(x3) Weeks of 007" will return with "Thunderball."

photo credit: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

"Lass is More" Looks at "Welcome to Me"

Sometimes when you watch a movie, you're not sure what to make of it. Welcome to "Welcome to Me."

 It is funny, it is serious, it makes you feel and think and then... it ends and it does so without character growth; without really seeming to care about what happens to the characters at all.  This last bit is moderately ironic as Alice, the main character, doesn't care about anyone either and the movie, purportedly, is concerned with her learning that maybe she should.

This week's "Lass is More" looks at the movie, contemplates what we should feel, and wonders if Will Ferrell (a producer on the movie) and Kristen Wiig are carefully conducting some sort of experiment to see how people react to their various endeavors. We don't mention the black, silent, helicopters we believe to be out there, watching us at all times, but that's only because their presence goes without saying.

photo credit: Alchemy

Friday, June 12, 2015

Thoughts on the Newest "Madame Bovary"

As of yesterday, over at IGN you can read my review of "Madame Bovary," or at least the newest filmic adaptation of the classic novel.  It is one of those movies where some things work really well, others work quite poorly, and while it has its moments it never gels as it should.

The highlight of the film, hands-down, is Mia Wasikowska who is compelling even when her character, and the characters around her, are not.  It is this last thing which is the movie's biggest issue.  Also to the good are the costumes, sets, and Rhys Ifans.  I don't know why I toss in Rhys Ifans into a sentence with costumes and sets, but in my world you list things in threes and Rhys Ifans is quite good and should be listed whether I list in threes, fives, or 10s.

photo credit: Alchemy