I hate it when this happens.
Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…
Young Ones is an unusual futuristic/post-apocalyptic film about a family desperately trying to survive in a global drought. Michael Shannon plays Ernest, the father of Kodi Smit-McPhee and Elle Fanning. Ernest, a recovering alcoholic, struggles to make ends meet by serving as a goods transporter among colonies of people. Flem (Nicholas Hoult), a rebellious youth with a motorcycle, wants to court Elle Fanning’s character, but Ernest is having nothing of it. After a fateful encounter between Ernest and Flem, the family finds themselves in more dire straits than ever. Young Ones has a very interesting setting, combining the Mad Max-esque desert wasteland with small futuristic touches like worker robots, but the film as a whole failed to gel for me, because ultimately the setting doesn’t really matter. They could have very easily made this a western with no changes to the script, and while that’s not really a complaint, the problem is that the most intriguing thing in the movie – the setting – doesn’t have any bearing on the story. In the end, Young Ones is a fine movie. It didn’t blow my mind, but it had enough good ideas to be inspiring.
3 out of 5
Song of the Sea
Director Tomm Moore has become my favourite director of animated films thanks to Song of the Sea. His previous film The Secret of Kells was absolutely gorgeous, with an art style that made the movie feel like a series of animated illustrations from a story book. That same style is employed in Song of the Sea, and to magnficent effect. This is the kind of animation that fills me with wonder, and if I’m being honest, makes me feel a swell of emotion just looking at it. Moore’s art style is beautiful, so very, very beautiful. Song of the Sea follows a family that is torn apart when the mother dies giving birth to her daughter – the youngest of her two children. Years later, her son Ben discovers that his mother didn’t die after all, but was in fact a selkie (a kind of water spirit that takes human and seal forms). Before Ben can unravel the mystery of his mother’s disappearance, he and his sister Saorsie are whisked away to the big city by their grandmother. Shortly after their arrival, Ben and Saorsie encounter a group of fairy folk who are trying to find Saorsie because she too might be a selkie. Much like The Secret of Kells, this is the perfect kind of animated movie to watch with people of all ages. Song of the Sea harkens back to a time when not all animated films were computer generated, not all animation was in three dimensions, and not all animated movies had to constantly feature winking meta-humour and different jokes for the children and adults. I’ll say it again: Tomm Moore is my favourite director of animated films, and I urge everyone to watch his movies.
4.5 out of 5
The Maze Runner
Another entry in the long list of recent movie franchises based on young adult novels, The Maze Runner is easy to pitch: it’s Lord of the Flies meets Cube. Thomas, a truly generic white male in his late teens, wakes up with no memories in a strange glade, surrounded by other boys of similar ages. The group informs him that the glade is in the middle of an enormous, ever-changing maze, and after dark, weird creatures stalk the corridors. What’s outside the maze? Why are boys being dropped in the middle of it? Can they ever escape? These are the big questions that drive the plot forward, and the answers…well, don’t always make sense. If you can overlook the leaps of logic The Maze Runner throws at you, though, you’ll find one of the better YA adaptations in some time. The actors playing the lead handful of boys are all pretty good. Maybe not Dylan O’Brien, whose Thomas is an utter blank slate, but Thomas Brodie-Sangster (who you’d know from Game of Thrones) and Will Poulter (Son of Rambow and Voyage of the Dawn Treader) are both top notch, and I feel as though they will go on to be the next big movie stars of their generation. Don’t look for anything deep in The Maze Runner. It’s pretty laughable at times. But if you want a fluffy sci-fi action-adventure film, it’s surprisingly enjoyable.
3.25 out of 5
See you next Sunday for more thrilling short reviews!
Last weekend, Sean Penn’s attempt to be a long-in-the-tooth action hero The Gunman bombed tragically at the box office. Honestly Penn is too chameleonic an actor to be pigeonholed in lobotomized action flicks. Most of the criticisms centered around Penn himself who starred, produced and co-wrote the script. The detractors flayed Penn for self-indulgence by displaying his surprisingly sinewy body, interjecting his geopolitical activism and wasting a sensational supporting cast to scaffold his ego. It was claimed to be a vanity project pure and simple. Less about entertainment and more about insular megalomania. Sometimes though, the results are undeniably arresting for the audience. These are my favorite nosedives into celebrity id…
Wrestlemania 31 is taking place tonight and as hard as it may be to believe, Mark Calaway, a.k.a. The Undertaker, will still be competing in a match in spite of officially turning 50 years old a few days ago. Here’s an interesting piece of history featuring the future Undertaker. In 1989, he competed in Memphis as “The Master of Pain” and in this clip, he becomes embroiled in a feud with a masked wrestler named Lord Humongous, who, of course, is based off the villain from The Road Warrior. Believe it or not, the man under the Lord Humongous mask is the wrestler who would eventually become Sycho Sid and wrestle The Undertaker for the WWF title in the main event of Wrestlemania 13.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m not the biggest James Bond fan out there, but man, Skyfall won me over in a very big way. In fact, I was such a fan of Skyfall and so nonplussed by the Daniel Craig Bond movies that preceded it that I had almost forgotten how they set up Spectre all the way back in Casino Royale.
Anyway, there are two big things that I take away from this trailer (other than the fact that, on a purely visual level, it is absolutely gorgeous).
One: Christoph Waltz is totally playing Blofeld. Maybe they’re not going to name him Blofeld, maybe his character is actually named Oberhauser like all the marketing stuff about the movie has claimed. But he is Blofeld. Come on, Hollywood. Stop trying to fool us into thinking you won’t be bringing back a classic villain by giving him a different name. It didn’t work with Star Trek Into Darkness, and it ain’t working here.
Two: WHAT IS JAMES BOND’S SECRET?! I hope it’s a lead-in to a James Bond Junior revival. Remember that? That was totally a thing.
Spectre comes out November 6, 2015.
Certain movies are beyond reproach. If you are a student of film you must love Citizen Kane whether you find it pedantic or not. I personally love the film but I know other people who were TV/Film majors who weren’t so enthusiastic about it. Of course they kept it secret in effort to appear more mainstream and in tune with what is considered one of the greatest films ever made. There are other films which are held in high regard that have either dated poorly on my opinion or possess less merit upon further examination. Hopefully this will give others the courage to be candid about whether they are buying into the gilded status of a film or not. These are my top 3 overrated classic films…
Hello, folks, I have just returned from a long vacation in Arizona and even though Gill did a fine job taking over the “Before They Were Stars” reins while I was gone, it’s time for me to get back into action. This coming weekend, World Wrestling Entertainment is presenting Wrestlemania 31 and Brock Lesnar, who has just re-signed with the company for three more years, will be defending the world title in the main event. To showcase how far he’s come, here’s some homemade footage of Brock at age 19, competing for the South Dakota amateur wrestling title in 1996. And he actually LOSES the match by submitting at the end, something which seems unfathomable today. Other than being a lot bulkier, it’s amazing to see that Brock pretty much looks exactly the same 19 years later, though I’m beginning to wonder if he literally came out of his mother’s womb with that buzzcut.
Game of Thrones draws ever closer, and with all the recent news about the series, anticipation is at an all-time high. It’s been announced that the TV show is about to diverge from the books in a big way, but it’s also been announced that the show and the books will end the same way. So, uh, spoilers, I guess? Anyway, I’m really curious to see if the show goes the way of True Blood and just starts falling apart. Before we can find out, though, we have to wait. Here are two Game of Thrones themed mashups to help pass the time.