Jul 3, 2016

WIWTW #53

With last week having been a bit light on the number of movies watched, I made sure to make up for lost time. I guess I went a bit crazy because 12 movies in a week is kind of a lot.

But let's be real, a lot of what I saw this week was on the shorter side. Only 7 of the movies I watched are 90+ minutes, so that's actually pretty fair. A movie a day right? Still, my Tuesday with 4 movies watched is a little surreal. Especially when one of them is VeggieTales: Live! Sing Yourself Silly (which came close to ruining my life) is one of them.

Anyhow, the summer months do make it a little more difficult for me to get a lot of movies in since as a Canadian, I have a moral obligation to take advantage of the good weather as much as I can before it's winter again. There's just something very satisfying about sitting in a dark living room with a movie playing while the cold snowy winds are a long forgotten memory. The summer is all about blockbuster movies in air conditioned cinemas and it's too bad Hollywood just mailed it in this year. 

Now on to this week's WIWTW.

But first...
 

Some News (That I Actually Care About)

  • Samuel L. Jackson's as cool as they come, so here's an article about him being pretty candid (while also promoting Legend of Tarzan). @The Guardian
  • Box office report: Finding Dory had no trouble with the new releases this past weekend and added a strong $41.9 million in its third weekend. Looking very likely that it'll pass Toy Story 3 as the highest domestic grossing film out of Pixar. The Legend of Tarzan unfortunately only managed $38.1 million for its opening and that's not going to be too good for the film's bottom line which has a budget of $180 million. Warner Brothers better hope that international audiences come out. The Purge: Election Year was a big success due to his micro-budget of only $10 million. $30.9 million is a great take and Blumhouse (Insidious, Paranormal Activity) has no reason to change their business plan. Surprisingly though, Steven Spielberg is the big loser of the weekend as his newest adventure film The BFG failed to ignite audiences, earning a paltry $19.6 million. It's also a second and rare failure for Disney after Alice Through the Looking Glass from earlier this season. 
  • Nicolas Winding Refn was approached to direct Spectre? The possibilities... @The Playlist
  • A list of the best child actor performances in Steven Spielberg movies. Not sure I agree 100% though: @Vulture
  • Very promising news with Cliff Martinez signing on to score Wolverine 3@Screen Rant
Video of the week: Bad trailer of the day: Supernova (2000)

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Number of movies watched: 12

Average rating: 5.67
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June 26th

 

Greta (2009)

Rating: 5/10

What is it: A Hilary Duff-led romantic dramedy

It's a little disconcerting to see how similar Greta is with Georgia Rule which happened to star another teen star, Lindsay Lohan. Unlike Hilary Duff, Lohan is convincing as a rebellious young woman though. There's also the stern grandmother character played by Jane Fonda who in Greta is replaced by Ellen Burstyn. You can see where I'm going with this. There's just nothing new being brought in Greta and the faux-indie scrapbook stylings don't cover up the rickety writing or acting on display. Burstyn is perfectly fine though and I suppose Evan Ross as the bizarrely named "Julie" is OK. But overall, Greta is just an exercise in repetition and how to mismatch.

June 27th

 

A légy [The Fly] (1980)

Rating: 7/10

What is it: A Hungarian award-winning animated short

On the surface, The Fly is a very simple piece of animation. It's pretty much a three-minute film on flying around a house in the perspective of a fly. What's crazy is that you actually do end up feeling a bit of empathy for the poor guy as he starts getting swatted at by the big, mean human character as the fly tries in vain to find a safe spot. You never actually even see the assailant which adds another layer of tension. The animation itself is an incredible attempt at recreating the world from the point of view of a lowly fly and it all looks very convincing. You'll probably think back on The Fly the next time you bring out the newspaper to swat at that pesky fly buzzing at your window.

June 28th

 

Revenge of the Electric Car (2011)

Rating: 7/10

What is it: A documentary following 4 players in the electric car industry

Revenge of the Electric Car is actually a sequel to Chris Paine's documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? which ended on a pretty sour note concerning the future of electric cars. A LOT has changed since 2006 though. Paine and his crew follow GM, Nissan, (at the time) start-up Tesla as well as Greg 'Gadget' Abbott who runs an electric car garage. I'm not sure of the time frame that the documentary covers, but it's interesting to see how all these players react to different hurdles such as the economic recession of 2008 for example. Bob Lutz in particular is a gem to watch and it's pretty interesting to see the struggles of Tesla trying to get off the ground compared to where they are today. Great documentary for car fans.

 

 

VeggieTales: Live! Sing Yourself Silly (2011): Worst Movie of the Week Award

Rating: 2/10

What is it: A video containing a VeggieTales: Live! performance

Somehow I have survived the ordeal of watching this, but I've probably lost a little bit of my sanity. All I could think of was who would want to pay money to watch giant vegetables with their soulless, unmoving eyes dance in circles while lip syncing irritating songs? The performance itself was a countdown of the top 10 songs that kept changing due to an ongoing storyline of "sharing" the countdown which stressed out the host until she had a nervous breakdown. She learned her lesson eventually though with fake studio cheering punctuating all the action. This was one of the longest hours of my life. The only positive I can offer is that the giant vegetable mouths "singing" are very well timed with the lyrics.

 

 

The Secret Life of Cats (1999)

Rating: 6.5/10

What is it: A National Geographic documentary about the darker side of pet cats

There's nothing like a good cat documentary to make you appreciate your furry companions, but The Secret Life of Cats is not that kind of doc. It starts out by exploring the effect on the local wildlife by letting your cats outside. With such a humongous cat population that would never be as big as it is without human owners, the impact on bird and rodent populations is pretty serious. I can respect that. However, it got to be a bit much once the culling of feral cats in Australia was the topic. Aboriginals eating cats for sustenance? Didn't really need to see that either. It's perfectly fine to educate cat owners on their cat's footprint and being more responsible, but a lot of what director Allison Argo does is overkill. 

 

 

Crac (1981): Best Movie of the Week Award

Rating: 8/10

What is it: A Canadian animated short film exploring the industrialization of Montreal

Crac is a heartwarming look at the societal evolution of Quebec all through the point of view of a handcrafted rocking chair. Sounds ridiculous? Well let me tell you that it's one of the most emotional 15 minutes of film I've ever experienced. With gorgeous pastel-like animation and a cracking score, Crac is without a doubt one of my favourite animated shorts of all time. It's also one of the best ways to have a quick and dirty lesson about Quebec history and culture. Few movies can make that sort of thing interesting. Frédéric Back's Crac was the winner of the Best Animated Short at the 54th Academy Awards and it was more than deserving in my eyes.

June 29th

 

3-Headed Shark Attack (2015)

Rating: 2/10

What is it: Sequel to The Asylum's 2-Headed Shark Attack (obviously)

When I found out that a sequel to modern-day classic 2-Headed Shark Attack had been made, I knew I had to see it eventually and what a piece of work it is. What redeeming quality does it have exactly? Well unless you're that into bikini-clad ladies with little reason to call characters, 3-Headed Shark Attack does little to satisfy anybody. The special effects are a special kind of bad and you'd think that The Asylum could actually hire some screenwriters who have done at least high school level creative writing. Look, I like a bad movie from time to time, even ones from The Asylum can be entertaining in a certain sense. Not 3-Headed Shark Attack though which suffers from the worst thing a bad movie can be: it's boring.

 

 

Footloose (1984)

Rating: 6/10

What is it: A crappy 80's movie partially saved by its 80's-ness

Footloose isn't a good movie. It's unbearably cheesy and there's no way I can overemphasize that. Look no further than the "angry dance" scene with Kevin Bacon which is one of the worst/best things I've maybe ever seen in a movie. Props to whoever did the editing because it hides the fact that Bacon had a lot of stunt doubles do the more difficult steps/acrobatics of the sequence. Anyhow, Bacon is good in the main role, but he doesn't really have the look of the attractive outsider as he's meant to have. On the other hand, John Lithgow and Dianne Wiest add a lot of respectability to this film and absolutely own their scenes. There's some pretty fun music too I suppose and of course some good dancing as well.

June 30th

 

Onegin (1999)

Rating: 7/10

What is it: An adaptation of Alexander Pushkin's novel in verse Eugene Onegin

Directed by the younger sister of Ralph Fiennes, I was expecting Onegin to be a relatively decent period drama and I felt like that's what I got. Fiennes is predictably great and he always found a way to make his scenes interesting. I will admit that I was a bit concerned about Liv Tyler though. Thankfully she gets the job done, if in unspectacular fashion. Onegin lags a little bit in the middle, but finishes with a satisfactory bang. The production values are strong with great costumes and sets and I even thought the score was quite good. Overall this is just a satisfying movie if you're in the mood for a period film. I wouldn't necessarily watch it again but I'd certainly recommend it to people.

July 1st

 

Footloose (2011)

Rating: 5/10

What is it: A pointless remake of a not so great movie

I've already said that the original Footloose is not a good movie. It basically just lives on as an embodiment of the 80's. So what exactly does this remake have going for it? Exactly nothing. With two "actors" who are mostly known for their dancing skills, this Craig Brewer dance film slogs through a story we've already seen with no real purpose. And no, callbacks to the original don't make up for it. Actually, a lot of the scenes from the original with reverend Moore have been cut which is a real shame since it was one of the original's strengths. To add something a little more positive, Miles Teller is actually a lot of fun in this film as Willard. 


 

Chakushin ari (2003)

Rating: 5.5/10

What is it: A J-horror flick involving a vengeful spirit killing people through cellphones

Takashi Miike's Chakushin ari is ridiculous to say the least. The story goes something like this; someone gets a call from themselves dated sometime in the future and they eventually die a violent paranormal death. A random person who has their phone number in that dead person's cellphone then gets a call from themselves too, creating a never ending chain of death. It's silly, but the movie has worse problems. For one thing, I don't really get how the twist makes sense. The special effects aren't anything special either, but they're mostly masked by the lighting which is a good thing. For me, the abandoned hospital sequence is the only worthwhile part of the film with everything else either lacking in scares or sense. 

July 2nd

 

Tango (1981)

Rating: 7/10

What is it: A Polish animated short film and winner at the 55th Academy Awards

It's worth knowing what happened to poor Zbigniew Rybczynski while he was at the Academy Awards, so read it here. Now in terms of the short itself, Tango is an interesting little experiment. It takes place inside a single room with people going in and out of the room and doing a bunch of different things from placing their suitcase on a shelf , retrieving a ball or even getting dressed. It's definitely got a cheeky side, but the animation is the most impressive thing about Tango because I really don't understand how the director managed to do it. I don't know what I'm really supposed to take from the film, but that doesn't change the fact that Tango is a fascinating achievement in animation that should be seen.