Jun 19, 2016

WIWTW #51

Today's Father's Day and if there's one thing that's true about movies is that there are loads of great fathers throughout cinematic history. Yes, there are loads of bad ones too, but I almost feel as if cinema has explored the concept of fatherhood a lot than it has motherhood. I could be wrong here and be getting caught up in the Father's Day groove, but I'm not about to do a month-long study into the issue.

My favourite cinematic father? For me it's probably Henry Jones, the father of Indiana Jones and played by Sean Connery. OK, so the character's been a bit of deadbeat father for some time, but going on an awesome archaeological adventure together seems like a fair trade off to me. Connery was just a runaway success in the role of Henry and I wish we could've gotten more of him somehow. Crazy to think that Harrison Ford was older than Connery in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and still in the starring role. He'll be far older in the next installment.

From Darth Vader (Star Wars) to Bryan Mills (Taken) to Jim's Dad (American Pie) to Mufasa (Lion King), father's are an important part of movies as they are in real life. Be sure to tell them that today.

Now on to this week's WIWTW.

But first...
 

Some News (That I Actually Care About)

  • The craziness of the MPAA's rating system: @Vulture
  • Box office report: Quickly making up for the rare flub that was Alice Through the Looking Glass, Pixar's Finding Dory earned a mighty $136.2 million this weekend. It now holds the record for the highest grossing opening for an animated film, taking the crown from the uh, slightly undeserving Shrek the Third which made $121.6 million back nine years ago. It was a good weekend for newcomers as Central Intelligence banking heavily on Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart made $34.5 million. Pretty good for a movie with a $50 million budget. The Conjuring 2 finds itself in third with $15.6 million and now sits at $71.7 million domestically. Now You See Me 2 and Warcraft split the scraps.
  • Still a lot of release date shifting over at Warner Bros following the disappointment of Batman v Superman@Deadline
  • Speaking of Indiana Jones, here's a look at a documentary about a fan film of Raiders of the Lost Ark. @Little White Lies
  • And to finish off with a very bizarre piece of news, Brendan Fraser will be plying his craft over in Bollywood as the villain of the upcoming film The Field. Alimony isn't going to pay itself I guess.
Video of the week: Arnold Schwarznegger trumps all.


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Number of movies watched: 8

Average rating: 5.56
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June 12th

 

Ricki and the Flash (2015)

Rating: 5.5/10

What is it: A Meryl Streep music drama

Having Meryl Streep around is usually a good thing for a movie and Ricky and the Flash is no exception to that rule. She drives the scenes she's in forward and does quite well in her performance scenes. Beneath the mask of being a Meryl movie though, RatF is disappointingly thin, overdoes its family drama scenes and spends far too long on the rock performances of Ricki and her band. You'd almost think that you're watching a Lifetime movie if it weren't for Streep and Kevin Kline. Having Mamie Gummer who's the real-life daughter of Streep playing her daughter in the film might seem like a nice idea, but it feels very much like a desperate attempt at drawing an audience here.

 

 

Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam (2010)

Rating: 7/10

What is it: A DC Showcase animated short and the longest one at over 20 minutes

I don't remember which DC animated flicks I saw that had Captain Marvel in them, but I will say that he was one of those characters that confused me  the most as I had no idea who or what he was. Going from being a kid to a super powerful demigod with a single word is a bit out there to say the least, so I'm glad I saw this short which does a good job at explaining the character. Along with Superman, Captain Marvel has to fight Black Adam and it's a satisfying superhero rumble overall. The animation is solid, the humour works and the voice acting gets the job done. There's little doubt in my mind that this is the finest DC Showcase film.


June 13th

 

Catwoman (2011)

Rating: 5/10

What is it: The final DC Showcase short centered around the well-known cat-themed thief

The DC Showcase shorts have been pretty decent overall. Catwoman however finds itself in a particularly bad place with uninspired action and way too much time spent inside a seedy strip club which even features Selina Kyle in her leather cat costume putting on a show. While I get what director Lauren Montgomery was going for, the scene in question comes off as a fourteen year-old's fantasy instead of painting Kyle as a strong woman who knows a thing or two about getting what she wants. The animation is possibly the worst I've ever seen out of the DC Showcase shorts and there's nothing particularly impressive about the voice acting in this one. It's a disappointing finish to what was a pretty good thing.

June 14th

 

Dick (1999)

Rating: 6.5/10

What is it: A satirical account of the Watergate Scandal

I had really low expectations for Dick. I mean the poster looks dumb to be blunt and I was kind of put off by the ditzy characters of Michelle Williams and Kirsten Dunst. I persevered though and I was rewarded. I'm not saying Dick is some kind of masterpiece, but this revisionist take on Watergate is pleasantly amusing. I'm familiar enough with Dan Hedaya who plays Richard Nixon in Dick, but never have I found him so funny as he was here. He's responsible for most of the laughs, but it would be unfair to say that Williams and Dunst don't deliver. It's just that there's only so much you can do with dimwitted teenage girls. Anyhow, Dick is a pretty good example of why you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. 

June 15th

 

U.F.O. Abduction (1989)

Rating: 5.5/10

What is it: One of the earliest examples of found footage horror

Ten years before The Blair Witch Project, there was U.F.O. Abduction which appears to be pretty much unknown and unseen. There was actually a time where people believed that what happened in U.F.O. Abduction was real, but yeah, I doubt many people would be fooled today. U.F.O. Abduction was actually remade later as Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County and sadly, that's the much better version. U.F.O. suffers from an annoying cameraman, little in suspense and even less in scares. U.F.O. is sadly only worth seeing from a historical standpoint and little else. As a big fan of found footage, it's hard not to have respect for the innovation of Dean Alioto's film. I just wish it were scarier. 

June 16th

 

Brooklyn (2015): Best Movie of the Week Award

Rating: 7.5/10

What is it: A romantic drama about a young woman leaving Ireland for New York

I wasn't quite sure what to expect storywise from Brooklyn, but I knew I'd be seeing a good performance from Saoirse Ronan who I finally know how to pronounce since the last Academy Awards. I was not disappointed on both fronts. Director John Crowley really does make this a satisfying quasi-romantic epic making me wish in fact that it had a longer runtime with more time spent on either side of the Atlantic. The mise-en-scène is truly impressive and I was instantly turned into a fan of Emory Cohen. Funny, sad and even at times enraging (in a good way), Brooklyn is the best kind of period weeper.

June 17th

 

VeggieTales: Sweetpea Beauty (2010): Worst Movie of the Week Award

Rating: 2.5/10

What is it: The worst VeggieTales I've seen in some time

VeggieTales always aggravates me, but Sweetpea Beauty takes the cake. It's probably the "God-iest" of all VeggieTales and the least subtle about it. There's nothing inherently wrong with being a Christian film for kids, but when you're brute-forcing your message like Sweetpea Beauty does, it leaves a very sour taste in your mouth. What's ironic is that there's probably the best song from VeggieTales ever and all the credit for that goes to Cydney Trent who's an excellent singer. The animation has seemingly taken a big step back from the excruciatingly slow improvement over the years and the fractured fairy tales angle feels tired and unoriginal. Moving on...

June 18th 

The New Daughter (2009)

Rating: 5/10

What is it: A Kevin Costner horror film directed by the writer of [REC]

The New Daughter is one of those films that's kind of been forgotten. On the surface it's a bit surprising given that it has Kevin Costner starring in it, but it becomes pretty clear why TND never caught on and that's what makes it so frustrating. That's because there's a lot of good stuff about the film. The story takes a patient approach to building up the tension which I always appreciate and there's a decent amount of effective scares. But there's an inescapable feeling of déjà vu and unfortunately, the sense of mystery all but disappears once we get the truth of what's really going on. TND could've benefited from a more indirect approach instead of giving up everything to audiences. Additionally, the climactic scene could've been so much better if it were slowed down.