Jun 26, 2016

WIWTW #52

The summer of 2016 hasn't been that great for poor 'ol Hollywood. Sequels have been bombing left, right and center, leaving only a few movies collecting all the summer riches such as Captain America: Civil War, The Jungle Book and right now Finding Dory (see a pattern?).

Looking at myself, I feel like I'm sort of representative of all this summer movie apathy. I love movies and going to the cinema to watch them on the big screen, but there's been barely anything that's made me want to go out and spend my money. The last movie I saw was The Jungle Book, but there's really nothing else that's screamed "GO SEE THIS!" 

Maybe I'll go see the new Bourne movie? Maybe Suicide Squad? Honestly I don't even know because when I go see a movie in theatres, I want to be practically assured of satisfaction and that's seemingly been in short supply this summer with so many movies getting bad reviews. Warcraft? Yeah I'll wait to see it on video. Same goes for the X-Men movie and Independence Day: Resurgence.

The summer of 2017 is shaping up to be way more interesting. Fast 8, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Bad Boys III, Wonder Woman, The Mummy, War for the Planet of the Apes and way way more. It's almost as if next summer is going to be too cramped. In the meantime, I got things I can do at home. Looks like those five 2-for-1 codes I got for movie tickets are going to expire unused June 30th and I can't bring myself to even care a little bit. 

Now on to this week's WIWTW.

But first...
 

Some News (That I Actually Care About)

  • There's a new streaming service on the block and it's exclusively for the more indie-type of films. @Huffington Post
  • Box office report: Finding Dory topped the box office this weekend and I'm pretty sure that even somebody with no hands could count on their fingers how many people were surprised. $73.2 million proves that people love talking fish and it'll continue Pixar's current practice of harvesting all its older properties with sequels. Independence Day: Resurgence wasn't quite as lucky with only $41.6 million. That's actually less than the $50.2 million the original opened to and it only had a budget of $75 million compared to the $165 million of this one. Fox better hope that the international markets perform well. Central Intelligence added another $18.4 million and Sony's shark film The Shallows made $16.7 million, almost equaling its budget of $17 million which is a welcome victory for the struggling studio. 
  • Nostalgia is proving to be a major ingredient for success at the box office as Finding Dory proves. @The Guardian
  • Will bland action movie actor #548 (Kellan Lutz) land the role of He-Man? Looking like a possibility. @Screen Rant
  • Let's not get into the politics of it all, but it looks like Brexit could seriously affect the UK film industry. @The Guardian
Video of the week: Every Johnnie To movie is worth a look, so here's the trailer for his upcoming film Three.

 _______________________________________________________________________

Number of movies watched: 8

Average rating: 6.19
_______________________________________________________________________

June 19th

 

The Sand Castle (1977): Best Movie of the Week Award

Rating: 8/10

What is it: The Best Animated Short at the 50th Academy Awards

For whatever reason, I don't get the chance to see many Canadian films, but there are some legitimately great ones out there. The Sand Castle which was produced by The National Film Board of Canada is one of them, among many gems produced by the federally funded outfit. TSC is the kind of animated short film that has you smiling at the beauty and simplicity of what's being shown. It's basically a bunch of bizarre creatures going about their business and building a giant sand castle. The stop-motion animation show here is unique and overall this is just a plain fascinating movie to watch as it plays out. It's very easy to see why Co Hoedeman walked away with his Academy Award.

June 20th

 

One Point O (2004)

Rating: 6/10

What is it: A cyberpunk mystery that's like The Matrix without the action

I had low expectations going into One Point O and I suppose I came out feeling OK about it. The story and the setting are very much the best thing about it and reminds me of those short stories you'd read in high school and then have to write up your thoughts about. The dimly lit apartment complex that Simon (Jeremy Sisto) lives in seems to be a character itself and it's populated by a nice collection of recognizable faces (Udo Kier, Bruce Payne and Lance Henriksen). The sound editing is a bit too distracting though and I also feel like the directors try to make this trippier than it has to be. It's an interesting little movie though and would probably be most at home on the small screen late at night.

June 21st

 

Mama (2013)

Rating: 6/10

What is it: A feature-length horror film based on Andrés Muschietti short of the same name

Having Guillermo del Toro of Pan's Labyrinth fame with his name on the forefront of the poster is an easy marketing ploy. It's also very obvious how much of an influence he had on the storyline which is where I have a bit of an issue with this film. The fact that not only did we the audience have to be fed a reason for everything, there was a steady shift towards making Mama a fairy tale that felt out of place to me. What keeps Mama relatively decent in my eyes is that it's still a pretty competent horror movie with good tension and patience. The special effects are a bit of a weakness though. Although thin character-wise, I did enjoy Jessica Chastain's performance and the child actors did good work too.

June 22nd

 

Special Delivery (1978)

Rating: 7.5/10

What is it: Another Academy Award-winning animated short

Special Delivery has got to be the finest example of Canadian black humour that I've ever seen. Long story short, it's about a regular man who has to deal with a series of events following the death of a mailman on his stairs that he lazily decided not to clear. The animation is of the colourful, hand-drawn variety and it meshes very well with the story being told. Wonderfully written narration pushes this film to being among the funnier shorts I've seen and there's no doubt that it deserves to be more widely known. This was the second animated short in a row out of The National Film Board of Canada to win at the Academy Awards which shows how much of a roll they were on.

June 23rd

 

Every Child (1979)

Rating: 7/10

What is it: A short that netted the Film Board of Canada its third win in 3 years

The National Film Board of Canada found itself in a mini dynasty after having won its third Best Animated Short in three years. That's nothing compared to the absolute domination of Disney during the 30's or MGM during the 40's, but it's still pretty cool all the same. Every Child is actually a call to action from UNICEF trying to raise awareness for child abandonment around the world. While the end result could have been a preachy mess, it isn't thankfully. Eugene Fedorenko keeps things light and a lot of that is due to the sound effects brought to us by "Les Mimes Électriques." Every Child is just another feather in the cap for the Film Board of Canada.

June 24th

 

The Fox and the Hound 2 (2006): Worst Movie of the Week Award

Rating: 4.5/10

What is it: The completely unnecessary sequel to The Fox and the Hound

To be fair, The Fox and the Hound 2 is a "mid-quel" but that still doesn't change the fact that nobody needed this movie. Screenwriters Rich Burns and Roger S.H. Schulman eschew everything that made the original good. We lose that grimness, that danger of the wild from the first one which is replaced with this friendly southern/country style sunniness that feels completely out of left field. What used to be a much more legitimate examination into friendship across barriers, TFatH2 is just a bunch of mayhem sandwiched between unmemorable songs. Animation also happens to be worse than the original despite 25 years separating the two films.

June 25th 

 

Safe Passage (1994)

Rating: 5/10

What is it: A weepy family drama film based on the novel of the same name by Ellyn Bache

Susan Sarandon is a great actress and Safe Passage is actually a really good example of that. She's got the crazy, busybody mother thing down pat and she dazzles during multiple scenes throughout the picture. She fights a losing battle against a movie that is unfortunately overdone and overflowing with melodrama. While I can see Safe Passage as a passable way to pass the time in book form, as a movie it's a burden. There are so many characters and so many problems that it's just a drag to watch it all go down. I know that I should've cared about what happened to this family, but I couldn't bring myself to feel anything due to Robert Allan Ackerman's heavy-handedness. 

 

 

Wrongfully Accused (1998)

Rating: 5.5/10

What is it: A Leslie Nielsen-led spoof of The Fugitive

Wrongfully Accused is not a comedic masterpiece. This Pat Proft project is more an exercise in comedy machine-gunning than anything else, but I can't deny that some of the jokes got me really good. Several scenes had me laughing non-stop, but others were barely worth a reaction. Nielsen is enjoyable in the lead role and Bill Conti's score is one of the film's most redeeming features if you can believe it. Besides spoofing The Fugitive, there are a lot of other callouts to movies like North by Northwest and Mission: Impossible. Wrongfully Accused could've certainly benefited from a less is more approach, but it got me laughing just the same which is the ultimate goal of any comedy.