Coming Up in April (2017)

April is the month of rain, and we’re already getting plenty of it so you may as well figure out what movies you want to watch while you can’t go outside! There aren’t quite as many blockbusters, but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy the options! Plus that means it’s almost time for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and that’s always a happy thought.

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The Beautiful Tale as Old as Time

Though maybe not as old as time, the tale of Beauty and the Beast is anything but new to us – it is consistently ranked as one of Disney’s best animated features, and until Up (2009) came on the scene at the 2010 ceremony, it was the only animated film to ever be nominated for an Oscar in the Best Picture category. So when the 2017 live action adaptation was announced, there were high expectations for, well, everything. The music would have to be just as beautiful, the animation would have to be just as mind-blowing, and the characters would have to amuse and amaze us the same way they did back in ’91. It’s already difficult to remake a film so that it measures up to the original, let alone enhances the experience with new music and new story lines that bring the narrative more into the twenty-first century (though still takes place in a more medieval France), but does that mean it is impossible to have a remake as good as the original, no matter what new spins and twists are added? Maybe so – the 2017 Beauty and the Beast is not as good as its predecessor. That does not mean, however, that it is not a beautiful, magical, and altogether unforgettable adaption of the Grimm fairy tale that enchanted us as children, or that hearing a story you already know is a complete waste of your time. The little details are enough to envelope you all over again, and you’ll still feel comfortable enough to sing along to “Be Our Guest.”

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The Great Wall’s Backseat Driver

*Warning: Potential Spoilers*

Ever since The Great Wall was announced in its first trailer, one question has been circling the film like a dark storm cloud: can Hollywood make a good, accurate, and respectful film about the Chinese culture? Or, more importantly, should they? Is Hollywood capable of respecting the traditions and history of another culture and put them into a film accurately? When it was revealed that Matt Damon would play the main character, most people said no, Hollywood was just whitewashing another culture and the film would be a mockery of the culture it was meant to portray. Never mind that it is director Yimou Zhang’s first film in almost all English, or that it is still primarily a Chinese film (the most expensive Chinese film ever made to date), and filmed mostly in China. To me, the story being told in The Great Wall takes a backseat to the culture. Yes, Matt Damon is white, but the majority of the cast members fighting alongside him (many getting more interesting screen time than him) are Chinese, and what the audience sees on the screen and hears in the score is so much grander than the story being told. That is where the essence of The Great Wall lies, and that is where the culture takes the reins.

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Get Out: The Horror That Shouldn’t Work

*Warning: Potential Spoilers*

Ever since trailers first started appearing in October, Get Out has been intriguing as both a potentially good horror film (which is sadly hard to find in the found-footage fascination of today’s horror films) and eerily timely, given the current political climate and several escalating events over the past few years. If you were to look at Get Out as any other horror film, you would probably laugh at how ridiculous it is. But doing that would do both you and the film a great disservice, because it means that you aren’t appreciating the true horror of what you are watching. This isn’t a horror movie like Paranormal Activity (2007) or The Purge (2013) (for one thing, Get Out is actually good), and even though those have drawn huge crowds of “horror-fans”, they are not the films that truly know what it means to inspire fear.

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