Jan 31, 2016

WIWTW #32

I was on the busier side this week, but lucky for me there's such a thing as short films. I've been very slowly working my way through all the Best Animated Short winners of every year and I've finally worked my way up to 1966. Once I'm done that, I think I'll tackle every nominee for the category which will no doubt take even longer. No complaints here. Without further ado, let's get into WIWTW.

But first...
 

Some News (That I Actually Care About)

  • Even if I haven't seen Beast of No Nation, I'm of the opinion that Idris Elba was mostly like snubbed for this year's Oscars. His win at the SAG Awards just cements that. @Entertainment Weekly
  • Box office report: Kung Fu Panada 3 suffered a bit from franchise fatigue, but not to a very great extent. $41 million ain't no chump change, although it is less than the $47.7 million from Kung Fu Panda 2 and the very impressive $60.2 million opening of the original. At #2, The Revenant continued its run towards likely Oscar glory with $12.4 million. It now stands at $138.2 million domestically. Disappointment of the week? That would be Disney's The Finest Hours which scrounged up a disappointing $10.3 million.
  • So when is Star Wars: The Force Awakens coming out on Blu-Ray? Mark your calendars: April 5th 2016. I'll be waiting for the trilogy boxset in a couple of years myself. @Comicbook.com
  • Scratch everything I've said before regarding Alien: Covenant because it turns out that Noomi Rapace will NOT be reprising her role from Prometheus. The writing was on the wall I guess with the casting of Katherine Waterston. @Yahoo!
  • This isn't the first time we've seen Netflix cutting deals with filmmakers to get the movies they want into their catalog, but this is certainly the priciest of all of them. They've just paid $60 million for studio Plan B's adaptation of The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan which will star Brad Pitt. @The Hollywood Reporter
  •  For those who are interested, here's the list of the full winners at the SAG Awards: @Eonline
Video of the week: The Undisputed series has to be one of the best in B-movie action flicks. Here's the trailer for the newest entry: Boyka: Undisputed IV

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Number of movies watched: 9

Average rating: 5.89
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January 24th

 

OMG: Oh My God! (2012)

Rating: 5.5/10

What is it: Bollywood adaptation of an Indian play which was already adapted into The Man Who Sued God

Bollywood and me don't have the best relationship which is why OMG is a bit of a personal victory. #1, this isn't a romance story and #2, the musical dance numbers are kept to a minimum. There's still however an overabundance of melodrama that's punctuated by a poor score and the movie ends around 20 minutes later than it should've. I will say though that Akshay Kumar is a great presence and so is Mithun Chakraborty as the dishonest religious leader. 

January 25th

 

Boychoir (2014)

Rating: 5.5/10

What is it: A way less interesting version of Whiplash, but with choir singing and Dustin Hoffman

Boychoir makes itself predictable from the very get go. It can pretty much be boiled down to "troubled kid with talent must grow up or get out." The story follows Stet who is accepted into a prestigious private choir school for boys. He's got a gruff but caring choir master played by Dustin Hoffman who pushes him to succeed. With that, I'm sure you can just imagine all the other challenges Stet has to face. Dustin Hoffman and Kathy Bates are nice to have around, but even they aren't enough to raise this movie above the formula-addicted feel-gooder that Boychoir is. The singing's nice I guess.

January 26th

 

Green Lantern: First Flight (2009)

Rating: 7/10

What is it: A DC animation that quickly sets up the GL and throws him into his first mission

It's no exaggeration when I say that Hal Jordan is set up blindingly fast as the Green Lantern. He literally becomes a superhero before the opening credits start rolling. It does seem a bit rushed, but I do understand writer Alan Burnett's desire to skip over the origin story of GL since it had already been done a year before in Justice League: The New Frontier. First Flight hums along in OK fashion for the first 30 or so minutes and no doubt that the story is a bit ridiculous. Still, the heat gets turned up significantly once we know what's what and it all makes for a pretty fun ride with lots of action and a surprisingly good score. The villain is compelling and there are some surprisingly dark and brutal scenes as well.

 

 

The Cart Boy (1995)

Rating: 7/10

What is it: A Canadian short film directed by Mike Clattenburg, featuring the trio from Trailer Park Boys before TPB was a thing

If you're not a fan of Canadian cult TV series Trailer Park Boys, this probably won't be for you. The fact that it's vulgar can't be overstated, but that's par for the course with this crew as fans well know. What makes The Cart Boy so likable is that it breaks your heart in what is a cheesy, but genuine sort of way. The scene in question involves a handicapped kitty and a sob story that certainly got me. The production is very bare bones, even more bare bones than TPB. But it's interesting to see as a fan, particularly due to the fact that an episode of Season 2 plays as a sort of homage to this short. 

January 27th

 

The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics (1965): Best Movie of the Week Award

Rating: 8/10

What is it: An Academy Award-winning animated short film

The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics is an exercise in minimalist animation accompanied by brilliantly written narration and delivery of said narration by Robert Morley. It's actually based on a book before it was adapted by Chuck Jones into this 10-minute short film. It really is a case of less is more and it absolutely deserves its place in the limelight. I fully recommend it. 

January 28th

 

Liberal Arts (2012)

Rating: 6/10

What is it: Josh Radnor directs and stars this comedy/drama

I went to university/college and it was a pretty good time. Do I wish I could go back? Not really, which is probably one of the reasons why Liberal Arts didn't resonate much with me. While it does feel relatively genuine and it has its heart in the right place, it felt too plodding for me. I also didn't feel like the romance between the two main characters was very well developed (by way of hand-written letters over a period of time). While it has some good bitter-sweet scenes about the reality of moving on, it's a case of liking the result and not the journey.

 

Gopala Gopala (2015)

Rating: 4/10

What is it: A Telgu remake of OMG: Oh My God

I was hoping that Gopala Gopala would be at least as OK as OMG was, but that was far from the case. While it did seem to start OK, there's a steep fall in quality that can't be missed. From the acting, the music and to the actual production like camera work and editing, Gopala Gopala is a mess. One aspect that can't be overstated is how much Akshay Kumar is missed. Pawan Kalyan is not even close to being a suitable replacement and it's just lame to have Mithun Chakraborty back from the original but dubbed for three-quarters of the movie for some reason. It also doesn't help that the film is weighed down by a lot of sub-par CGI work and one horrible action sequence in particular. OMG has some of the same criticisms, but it manages to keep its head above the mire, even if it is just barely.

January 29th

 

A Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass Double Feature (1966)

Rating: 7/10

What is it: An Academy Award-winning animated short from the director who brought us Moonbird and The Hole.

I haven't liked all of the John Hubley short films that I've seen, but I've noticed that he seems to start with the sound/vocals/music and then build the animation around that. That's definitely an interesting approach. With this '66 winner of Best Animated Short, Hubley has created possibly the very first music video. Two simple stories are animated and accompanied by two famous Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass songs to very satisfying results. The animation falls into the abstract side of things and is certainly imaginative to say the least.

January 30th

 

License to Wed (2007): Worst Movie of the Week Award

Rating: 3/10

What is it: A "comedy" featuring a couple having to go through a screwy Reverend's marriage course

License to Wed made me mad. Like really mad. Then it made me laugh in disbelief that people could actually create something like this and call it a comedy. John Kransinski and Mandy Moore have nothing to work with and Kransinski himself looks like he'd rather be anywhere else with good reason. The worst aspect of LtW is most likely Robin Williams' Reverand character who if you really think about it, is plain creepy. I don't think there's anyone with a bit of sense who would accept to be a part of his insane course. They also wouldn't watch this movie.