Thursday, July 27, 2017

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

I finally checked this film out on video. I am utterly fascinated that the movie made over $1 billion and was so well received. I thought it was boring. Say what you will about all the sequels and reboots that the Hollywood machine churns out. As far as I am concerned, Beauty and the Beast is neither and merely cosplay that cost millions of dollars.

I am not a big fan of watching animated cinema, but I would rather watch the animated version again. I simply see no point to watching this movie, and I think they could have done better. The beginning was the same boring mess of waiting for the beast as the fully animated version. Once Belle arrives at the castle, the film was mildly interesting. Seeing the not-so-live-action characters was kinda cool. Then it sets it that they are simply animated in a different manner than the original animated feature, and the charm wears off quickly.

I cannot say that I was disappointed by the movie, because I did not care in the first place. Maybe your kids will like it. However, as far as my adult friends that have fallen in love with this movie go, I simply do not get it. It is not a bad movie. I am just glad that I did not waste my time seeing this one in theaters.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

http://amzn.to/2kSNxymJohn Wick: Chapter 2 hits like a sledgehammer to the skull from the beginning and never stops. Earlier today, I assumed that it was going to be a fantastic and ultra-exciting movie. In fact, I started to think that I was getting a little too excited.

Nope. John Wick: Chapter 2 is beyond fantastic. I have not enjoyed a film from beginning to end this much in several years. I am shocked by how much I love this film. There is undoubtedly a Godfather effect when comparing Chapter 2 to the first, and John Wick: Chapter 2 is blood opera at its finest.

Everything about the film resonates and pleases: the story and pace, the cast and performances, the directing and cinematography, the fight and stunt choreography, the settings and production design, and the sound and mixing, damn the sound was masterfully executed. All of the different sounds of brutal violence continue to echo a delightful symphony in my ears.

John Wick is officially my favorite action hero, or antihero, since Tarantino’s Beatrix Kiddo. In other words, I cannot think of a film character I have enjoyed this much in over a decade.

That’s not to dismiss Django, but throwing Tarantino back in the mix again is not fair. Meanwhile, technically speaking, Chapter 2 has Django. Franco Nero, the original Django, is a special guest actor in the film, and it simply does not get better than a special appearance by Franco Nero.
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Let’s be honest. I simply love the Keanu as well. I always have. He’s thee One. He’s Johnny Utah, Ted Theodore Logan, Johnny Mnemonic, Jack Traven, Siddhartha, the devil’s right-hand man, Winston Connelly in The Night Before (a ridiculously obscure reference of a film I loved growing up.)

I loved Keanu growing up and I love Keanu as an adult. Ultimately, Keanu is my lifelong man-crush. When I was growing up, people said that choosing Keanu as my favorite actor was queer. I tried to pick some others for a while, but having a closet man-crush does not look good on anyone. F’em.

http://amzn.to/2kSNxymKeanu continually crushes it at the cinema. In a John Wick movie, anyone calling you queer for liking Keanu Reeves or anything meant to demean you and all things queer would probably be stabbed in the neck with a pencil. Have you not seen A Walk in the Clouds? That’s a tough guy film. I’ll tell you what’s tough: Going to see that one alone as a fat little thirteen-year-old. Scary shit. The Last Time I committed Suicide? Keanu as Neal Cassidy’s friend. Iown it.

That new one on DVD The Whole Truth? That was a good sleeper rental. Feeling Minnesota with Cameron Diaz? Own it. Much Ado About Nothing? Parenthood? Constantine (so underrated)? Knock Knock? Eli Roth is a phenomenal filmmaker. See? The list goes on and on. All solid movies with superb performances by Keanu. One might say that Keanu is the proverbial wine that only gets better with time.

http://amzn.to/2kSNxymWhere I come from, he’s Johnny Utah, and that’s really all that needs to be said. John Wick: Chapter 2 is merely more evidence that Keanu is going to win again and again.

I am not saying that I think Chapter 2 is going to win a best picture Oscar next year. However, it very well could end up as my favorite film of 2017. I know, it’s only February, and I too am very excited about several films coming out this year.

Either way, if you are reading this blog, I can’t see how Chapter 2 wouldn’t be the film for you too. I say take the whole family.

I’m trying to see it again with my mother this weekend. That’s right, I immediately want to see it again. My mom is a huge Keanu fan too; she has a different kind of crush for Keanu than me.

John Wick: Chapter 2 far exceeded my expectations. I not only loved the movie but also needed it. Hollywood is always producing films that I enjoy, but Chapter 2 quenched a thirst for elegant cinematic ultraviolence that is rare in forms of superior substance. I am extremely happy this film was made. It is superb cinema.
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The film is so good I admit that it deserves a much deeper analysis than I have provided here...

Monday, February 6, 2017

Split (2017)

Split is a cool movie, and it is definitely one of my favorite M. Knight Shyamalan films. I imagine that many people would agree that it is one of his best films. But like many things, Split is not necessarily for everyone.

For the most part, I like M. Knight's movies and all of their twisty twists. Split is a twisted movie that does not really have a twist while still managing to have a clever twist. And for that I love M. Knight.

Granted, plenty of folks will not share the sentiment as audience members of M. Knight's films often seem divided. Whatevs.

I also love M. Knight's The Happening. The trees killing everyone is a brilliant idea, and I am not afraid to defend the claim.

Honestly, I do not have too much to say about Split that is not simply a blatant give away of plot points and details about the story that are best discovered as meant within the film.

http://amzn.to/2lioFyNI am also watching M. Knight's The Visit in the background. The grandmother is crawling after a child creepily croaking, "I'm gonna get you." Scary stuff. I'm freaked out and obviously distracted.

Anyway, sorry, I like Split more than Shyamalan's acclaimed The Sixth Sense. I may even buy the Split combo pack when it is released. Additionally, James McAvoy's acting is incredible. Even if a viewer does not appreciate the film in general, McAvoy's performance alone is worth the price of admission.

(Since I brought it up and I'm watching it, The Visit is also a really cool Shyamalan flick. The problem is this little boy in the film. He is profoundly annoying.)

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Oh, and while we are on the subject of M. Knight, stop calling Devil an M. Knight movie and tying it into conversations about "his" movies. He did the story and was a producer for the film, he neither directed the film nor wrote the screenplay. It's like when my friend calls Predators Robert Rodriguez's film, he was just a producer on that one. This shit drives me nuts. Nonetheless, I like both Devil and Predators. Fun flicks.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sneaky Pete (Season 1)

Sneaky Pete is now my favorite Amazon show. I have tried to get into the other shows that Amazon offers, but they never really suck me in with enthusiasm. Generally, I never even finish a season or much more than a couple of episodes. Finally, this has changed with Giovanni Ribisi as Sneaky Pete. I have always been a fan of Giovanni Ribisi, and I am glad to see that he has his own show.

https://www.amazon.com/b?_encoding=UTF8&tag=burningempire-20&linkCode=ur2&linkId=c335b415a1dd49d9e9fd8560d3ead5b3&camp=1789&creative=9325&node=16262841Any character that is a card mechanic using memory palaces is right up my alley. It freaking took Amazon long enough to release the first season of this show too. I have been waiting for a season of Sneaky Pete for over a year. I guess that is one of the problems with Amazon’s “pilot season” strategy. If you like one of their pilots, that’s great! Now, wait over fifteen months to see another episode.

It seems to me that Amazon was originally not going to produce Sneaky Pete, and along the way, someone finally decided that Sneaky Pete was the best pilot that Amazon had. I do not know that as a fact. That is just the way it seems to me. Why else would we have to wait around sixteen months to see the second episode of a show?

Nonetheless, I am glad that Sneaky Pete is finally here. The show did not disappoint, and as soon as it was available, I quickly binge watched the entire show. I had extremely high expectations for Sneaky Pete. It did not live up to those expectations exactly, but that is what happens when an audience member has a year to build up expectations. A year of consumerist waiting never results in a product that matches expectations. It is the same way I view the Christian perception of heaven. Even if heaven is some sort of magical place in the sky, occupants will never be as awestruck by its majesty as the confabulations built up in their minds.

Either way, Sneaky Pete does not attempt to be heaven, simply a solid, entertaining show.




According to what I read, after tying this post, the provided reason that the show took a bit longer than usual is that the show runner left and was replaced by Graham Yost (Justified). 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Arrival (2016)

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I saw Arrival for the second time yesterday, and all I can really say about the movie is that it is my favorite movie of last year. I certainly have the ability to say more about the movie, and I could talk about the film for hours. However, it seems that anything I say about the movie could diminish the experience for a prospective audience member.

Generally, I do not care about spoiler sensitivities. There is something to be said about keeping a buttoned lip a few months after a film's release, and why are people reading a blog about a movie if they do not expect spoilers? In other words, as a dude writing a blog about Arrival, I do not feel a responsibility to uphold the no-spoilers rule. Nonetheless, as a huge fan of Arrival, I do feel that it is my duty to protect the sanctity of the experience of seeing the film. Basically, I liked Arrival that much.

I have not seen a movie twice in theaters since The Hateful Eight, and I am happy that I was able to see Arrival in theaters again. Meanwhile, it is also important to note that I see all of Tarantino's (and most Robert Rodriguez) movies twice in theaters, and I can't tell you the last time I saw a movie twice in theaters that was not one of theirs. Oh wait, I saw Batman v. Superman twice, but that was because I saw it free in 3D the first time and then went with some friends that had not seen it. Whatever, I guess that point is lost. Nonetheless, I have been wanting to see Arrival again in theaters and I did. I was also in an incredibly bad mood the first time I saw Arrival, but I still loved it; that's always a good sign.

http://amzn.to/2kHJqIeThe film is nominated for a best picture Oscar, and it certainly gets my vote for "2016 Best Picture." Granted, I have not seen all of the other nominees, but I would have to say, by taking a guess, I would still like Arrival more. I saw La La Land  and Hell or High Water. I liked Hell or High Water a lot, but I do not think it was really worthy of a best picture nomination. Meanwhile, the quality of films last year was kinda shity. In my opinion, the reason why La La Land is winning several awards is primarily because there simply was not strong competition.

It was not a bad movie, and I mostly enjoyed La La Land. However, as far as the Golden Globes, there really was not much competition in the musical or comedy category. Therefore, La La Land takes the cake. Personally, I think "Hollywood" really likes and overrates this Whiplash guy as well. I not only feel as though Arrival is a better movie, but also a much more important movie for humanity.

http://amzn.to/2kHJqIeYesterday when I saw Arrival, I ate a little "too much" "chocolate" before the movie.

Wow! That really made the experience an entirely different ride than I was prepared to handle. The aliens in Arrival are awesome and during the movie I was having mild out of body experiences. In some ways, I was "freaking out," but ultimately, I would not have changed a thing.

Freaking out simply added a new dynamic to the Arrival experience. Arrival demonstrates one of the many reason that I love the cinema: While engaging us in a beautiful story, film also teaches us important lessons about the human condition.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Rogue One (2016)

http://amzn.to/2jlmheiHell yeah, Disney! Since buying out George Lucas, the Star Wars franchise is once again a pleasing cinematic experience. I am delighted by Disney’s treatment of Star Wars thus far. It is strange that selling Jedi to the empire has helped make Star Wars movies enjoyable again. Either way, Rogue One is amazing. It some ways it helps blot out the Lucas prequels and that is perfectly fine with me.

The cinematography and story were incredible. I not only enjoyed the movie but also appreciated the effort. Unlike the Lucas prequels, Rogue One stays true to the original tone and nature of the holy trilogy. It is now apparent that George needed to walk away years ago. One simply cannot forgive him for ruining the original trilogy. I have them on VHS, and I need to convert a backup one day. However, today’s copies, which one can buy easily, are only the Lucas-rewrite versions, and they are unwatchable as far as I am concerned, utter garage.

I love The Force Awakens, and I thought Rogue One was just as good, if not better. The one thing that I will say about the new movies is that the characters thus far are not nearly as lovable or “sticky” as the characters of the original trilogy. Meanwhile, many of the characters of the original trilogy are certainly a presence throughout both recent Star Wars releases. In other words, while we talk trash about George, even the new films stand on the shoulders of his giant.

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Wild Violence of 'The Wild Bunch'


http://amzn.to/2l3bjqhSam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch tears at the screen with blood and violence. The violence in The Wild Bunch is not only historical but also revolutionary. While the film is one of the most controversial movies of its time, today, its controversy remains a frequently revisited and debated subject among scholars, critics, and movie patrons (Gronstad 167). When The Wild Bunch was first release in 1969, critics and general audiences were incredibly divided (Ferrera). Many critics embraced Peckinpah’s vision and use of violence and blood. Others admonished Peckinpah for his brutality and vivid portrays of on-screen violence. Some may feel as though the violence of The Wild Bunch is antiquated when compared to the portrayals of on-screen violence seen today. However, according to Ferrera, the way Peckinpah uses violence changed how filmmakers portray violence, in particular gun violence, on screen. Unlike previous western films, Peckinpah showed audiences that death and violence are bloody and miserable. Even today, the graphic violence in The Wild Bunch is a subject of controversy and debate. Despite the controversy of the past and present that obsesses on Peckinpah’s use of violence, blood and guns, The Wild Bunch remains of the most celebrated and influential American Westerns of all time.
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            Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of The Wild Bunch’s reception is the debate among popular critics around the time of the film’s release. Film audiences had not seen explicit portrayals of violence before Peckinpah’s masterpiece (Ferrera). Bullet holes rip through clothing and human bodies, and blood gushes as the bullets rip through a character’s body. Peckinpah showed the killing of innocent bystanders. The perpetrators of violence use other humans as shields from cascades of bullets. Children giggle as hordes of ants devour a scorpion alive, and later, the children set fire to both the scorpions and ants. The aftermath of gun battle in The Wild Bunch is gruesome and scary. The brightest color in the film is blood. For its time, the violence of The Wild Bunch was unmatched, and many critics and audience members were unsettled and outraged (Canby). Vincent Canby of The New York Times suggests that other critics of the time seemed to have felt as though the film would cause viewers to want to leave the theater and automatically start murdering people. Canby affirms that an impulse to inflict violence on people was not present after watching The Wild Bunch, and the film, “Is very beautiful and the first truly interesting, American-made Western in years.”

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            Although many critics felt as though the film was too violent and not suitable for humanity, Charles Champlin and Roger Ebert celebrated the film. Champlin often squinted during the film in a futile attempt to escape the violence. He refers to The Wild Bunch as, “Not so much a movie as a blood bath,” but affirms that the film is, “Brilliantly made and thought provoking.” Champlin notes the original test audiences of The Wild Bunch recoiled in horror and stormed out of the theaters in droves. Apparently, members of test screenings picketed the theaters the next day, and Warner Brothers made Peckinpah cut 35 minutes of violence before officially releasing the film (Champlin). However, Champlin defended the film’s portrayal of violence, and notes that death in The Wild Bunch is depraved and gut wrenching, just as it is in real life. Roger Ebert also celebrated and defended the film’s use of violence with veracity and eloquence. Ebert affirms that the larger cultural issue at hand is that we depict cowboys, Indians, and the Old West as a fun game for children to play.
While Peckinpah did not make a cowboys and Indians film, The Wild Bunch attacks and destroys the notion of the traditional Western. Ebert notes that Peckinpah utilized excessive violence, but this violence merely comes as a reaction and a response to violence enacted throughout the world on a daily basis. This response to violence continues to reverberate through modern-day culture and violence. After seeing The Wild Bunch a second time, Ebert described some of Peckinpah’s use of violence as, “Blood flowing in an unending stream” and “Geysers of blood everywhere.” While Peckinpah’s use of violence is graphic and unlike any other film of its time, interestingly, Ebert’s statements were hyperbole. Nonetheless, Ebert argues that regardless of how graphic and realistic Peckinpah’s on-screen violence may have been, the film exists in a one-dimensional realm, realism is not synonymous with reality, and it is “Impossible to forget this is a movie.”
            In addition to the variety of responses and debate among film critics and audience members at the time of The Wild Bunch’s release, controversy and commentary continues in modern times. Books, scholarly articles, and blogs continue to chronical and add to the discussion of Peckinpah’s portrayal of on-screen violence in The Wild Bunch.  In Cowboy Metaphysics, Peter A. French does not share the same spirit of support for Peckinpah’s portrayals of violence as Roger Ebert. French categorizes Peckinpah’s use of violence as simply an, “Extreme consciousness of death” (84). According to French, the main characters are courageous and heroic, but they are slightly demonic and lack true altruism in their supposedly heroic actions (126). The concept of a person committing to their word as the single attribute necessary to achieve the highest level of moral integrity in The Wild Bunch is particularly unsettling to French. French argues that this brand of integrity utilized in The Wild Bunch causes one to overlook the appalling traits and violence behavior of the film’s characters (128). In other words, if a character is seen as possessing integrity, their awful behavior is justified, and to a certain degree integrity becomes a device that glorifies violent acts regardless of whether the violence is justifiable or not.
            Meanwhile, critical researcher Asbjorn Gronstad highlights and supports many critically justifiable functions of Peckinpah’s use of violence. Gronstad compares Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch to Thoreau’s Walden, not in plot but in meaning and allegory (169). According to Gronstad, morality is not the overarching theme of the film and its violence. Instead, the film is an allegory for the battle between nature and technological progress (Gronstad 170). Observing and drawing conclusions solely from the lens of morality not only negates Peckinpah’s sense of morality, but also ignores a deeper and important thematic dynamic at play in The Wild Bunch. Gronstad frames Peckinpah’s portrayals of violence as both an admonishment of violence and violence toward, “Socio-cultural homogenization” (169). Additionally, Gronstad claims that by re-representing the past, specifically the Old West, in a more appropriate and accurate light, viewers are able to draw a correlation to the present and possible futures of humanity (171). In order to understand the present, and violence situated in the present, we must work to stop glorifying the past. Violence is not a virtue to Peckinpah. Instead, Peckinpah depicts violence as a product of a bleak world in which humanity is always at odds with machine, and in this world, there is no hope for the past, present, or future (Gronstad 184).
http://amzn.to/2l3bjqh            While controversy and debate about Peckinpah’s use of violence continues over 40 years after the film’s release, The Wild Bunch remains a, “Seminal work of violence and artistry that forever changed the landscape of motion pictures” (Ferrara). According to Ferrara, Peckinpah was the first to use violence as a slowed-down, graphically choreographed visual motif. The sound of flies buzzing over dead bodies, squibs aggressively flinging blood across the screen, different angles of the same action, and the double and triple printing of film were all innovative techniques Peckinpah utilized to depict on-screen violence (Ferrara). While these techniques are a victory of filmmaking that many filmmakers utilize today, they are also the source of much of The Wild Bunch’s controversy. Prior to The Wild Bunch’s release, the Production Code had not yet been eradicated (Ferrara). According to Ferrara, the Production Code was eventually eradicated and replaced by the MPAA, yet the MPAA strongly objected to the violence and required Peckinpah to remove a scene that graphically displays the cutting of a character’s throat.  Upon test screening the film, after making the necessary cuts, audience members’ reactions were often extremely negative, and Ferrara quotes one early audience member saying, “Don’t release this film. The whole thing is sick.” Despite the controversy and the MPAA’s objections to the depictions of violence in The Wild Bunch, the film received several prestigious awards. In 1999, The Wild Bunch was added to the National Film Registry (Ferrara).
http://amzn.to/2l3bjqh            Peckinpah’s own reaction to The Wild Bunch’s release is perhaps one of the most compelling commentaries on the film’s use of violence. Even though there were several audience members that recoiled in horror and condemned the violence in the film, Peckinpah was more appalled by stories of audience members that cheered and attained enjoyment from the film’s violence (Ferrara). Nonetheless, Peckinpah ultimately defended his depictions of violence when condemned by critics, and Peckinpah condemned the idea that he was using on-screen violence as something that is fun and enjoyable (Ferrara). While Peckinpah romanticized the beautiful Mexican landscape in which the film is set, the depictions of violence are brutal, dirty, and devastating. Peckinpah was nicknamed “Bloody Sam” and the final shoot out of The Wild Bunch the “Blood ballet,” yet Peckinpah used violence in the film to speak out against the Vietnam War and violence in general (Ferrara). As Peckinpah himself said, “I wasn't trying to make an epic. I was trying to tell a simple story about bad men in changing times. I was trying to make a few comments on violence, and the people who live by violence.”
http://amzn.to/2l3bjqh            Although Peckinpah expressed disappointed that audience members were thrilled and enjoyed the violence, even Roger Ebert admits enjoying Peckinpah’s use of violence. While audiences were divided on whether certain elements of The Wild Bunch are enjoyable or detestable, the film depicts violence, death, and the gun as gruesome and unenjoyable elements of the world. This depiction was Peckinpah’s goal, and the film does not glorify violence but rather condemns violence in the world. If nothing else, Peckinpah managed to produce a violent film that is still a subject of controversy today. Many critiques of The Wild Bunch, such as French’s Cowboy Metaphysics, paint a grim picture of how Peckinpah depicted violence in The Wild Bunch. However, many popular critics and scholars defend Peckinpah’s use and aesthetic of violence. Ultimately, it seems as though the individuals commenting on the violence in The Wild Bunch are more obsessed with violence than the film itself or Peckinpah, because despite the insurmountable amount of commentary on the violence in The Wild Bunch, I could not find a source that mentions the film ending in laughter and song.

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Works Cited
Canby, Vincent. “Violence and Beauty Mesh in Wild Bunch” 26 June 1969. New York Times... Web. Mar. 2015. 

Champlin, Charles. “Violence Runs Rampant in The Wild Bunch.Los Angeles Times 15 June,
1969... Web. 1 Mar. 2015.

Ebert, Roger. “The Wild Bunch.” Chicago Sun-Times 3 Aug. 1969. Rogerebert.com, n.d.
Web. 1 Mar 2015.

Ferrara, Greg. The Wild Bunch: Articles. Turner Classic Movies, Turner Sports and
Entertainment Digital Network, n.d. Web. 1 Mar 2015.

French, Peter A. Cowboy Metaphysics. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997. Print.

Gronstad, Asbjorn. “Peckinpah’s Walden: The Violent Indictment of ‘Civilization’ in The Wild
Bunch.” Critical Studies 15.1 (2001): 167-186. ASU Library One Search. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.

Peckinpah, Sam, dir. The Wild Bunch. Perf. William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, and Robert Ryan.
Warner Brothers/Seven Arts, 1969. Film.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Boo! A Madea Halloween (2016)

http://amzn.to/2keFZEQYeah! You do your thing Tyler Perry. Don't let these racist douche bags get to you whatsoever. I get that people are quite sensitive to throwing that word "racist" around these days, but I do not care.

I imagine most people that do not like Tyler Perry movies are racists. I might be wrong, but as stated, I do not care. People are more often racist than they think they are, and because they often refuse to admit their racism, they remain racists doing and saying racist shit.

I love Tyler Perry movies.

I often feel as though his films are more for the ladies or Christians than black folk, but therein lies another charm of Tyler Perry: His movies are overtly super Christian, but I do not mind. Under any other circumstances, I would not continue a movie, let alone watch almost all of the guy's movies.

In fact, I think I have seen all of Tyler Perry's movies. I have not seen the animated one nor all of his stage productions on DVD. However, yes, I have seen all of his feature films, except For Colored Girls. I bought the BluRay several years ago for my wife. She was going to wait to watch it with a friend. But they never got around to watching it, so I never got around to watching it. Funny, the only feature film of Tyler Perry's that I have not seen my household owns.

http://amzn.to/2keFZEQBoo! A Madea Halloween is funny as hell. The comedy is a bit slow to start, but during the second act the film becomes laugh-out-loud funny. Meanwhile, it would not be a Tyler Perry movie if somewhere in the film there was not some level of intense drama. This of course happens at the end of the second act, and as usual, I appreciate the intense somewhat soap-opera drama.Tyler Perry is an outright contradiction to my general tastes.

http://amzn.to/2kL00GgBoo! A Madea Halloween is simply a fun Halloween ride with one of America's best characters. Madea is not simply a character for black people; she is an American treasure. I read her book years ago, and it's pretty damn funny. To this day, I always clean my bedroom last and make sure any guest areas are immaculate. That's right, Madea is not only an American treasure but also a life coach.


For the record, the animated Madea movie Madea's Tough Love is not "a Tyler Perry film." Tyler voices Madea in the movie, but others wrote and directed it. Also, Boo! A Madea Halloween has a 21% critics aggregate on Rotten Tomatoes. Fuck the critics! They are no fun.

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Girl on the Train (2016)

http://amzn.to/2keRQTpThis piece contains spoilers. They are not necessarily blatant spoilers. However, because this “review” is not really a review but rather a piece of pro-feminist propaganda, the brief analysis “spoils” the plot and mystery of the film. If you have not seen Girl on the Train, we cannot recommend reading this analysis.

Despite mostly poor reviews, I thoroughly enjoyed Girl on the Train. The acting is phenomenal, and the story is refreshingly unexpected. Maybe “refreshingly” is not a very useful adverb. Instead, let’s say the film is intense and unexpected.

http://amzn.to/2keRQTpI have heard that the film adaptation is not nearly as good as the book, but people always say that don’t they?

I always say that I am a sucker for plot twists of a well-made film. My friends walk out of a film claiming that they knew that was going to happen, seemingly as soon as the FADE IN. However, I often remain ignorant and naïve until the big reveal. Girl on the Train is no exception to my naïve ignorance of plot twists. This is not to say that I cannot write a plot twist, but rather when engaged as an audience member, I am a pushover.

http://amzn.to/2keRQTpToward the end of the second act, I thought that I had the movie figured out and knew exactly how the film would conclude. Boy was this ignorant pushover classically wrong. Once again, I fell for all of the misdirection that appeared as though it was clues and breadcrumbs. It really is a bit of subtle cinematic magic for a gullible audience member like me.

Even the title of the film is deceptive. The film is not about a girl. The film is about women and the varying degrees of illusion and torment they face within a sociopathic patriarchal society. At the end of the film, the main character Rachel states that she is not the girl she used to be.

However, the reality of the matter is that she was never the “girl she used to be,” simply embodying a role constructed by a domineering womanizing psycho.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Fernando di Leo: Il maestro del cinema nero


Introduzione
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Fernando Di Leo è stato un sceneggiatore e un regista italiano. Come un regista, Di Leo ha girato venti film, e ha scritto più di quaranta sceneggiature (Rea). Il lavaro di Fernando Di Leo è influente, discusso e molto divertente. Di Leo ha influenzato un po’ dei più rispettati registi di oggi come Quentin Tarantino e John Woo (Coacci). Nonostante la sua influenza, i suoi film e la sua influenza dei film di oggi sono quasi dimenticati e considerati non sono nelle grazie ai pubblici film.  Tuttavia, i suoi film rimangono entrambi testimonianze sociali della cultura italiana importanti del passato e del presente, e i suoi film sono i fondazioni di molti film gialli criminali.
Questi film e il suo lavaro sono spesso classificati in maniera impropria come film poliziotteschi, ma Di Leo ha girato solo uno film che sarebbe considerato un poliziottesco, Il poliziotto è marcio
http://amzn.to/2kMBnWbCome Gordiano Lupi ha scritto nel suo libro Frenando Di Leo: E il suo cinema nero e perverso, “Di Leo non usa i meccanismi e gli stereotipi del poliziesco, non fa mai cinema consolatorio, evita di creare personaggi – caricatura e di cadere nei cliché del genere. Gira film noir e sono cosa ben diversa dal poliziesco” (Lupi 42). In realtà, i film di Fernando Di Leo sono film neri (o i film noir italiani) spesso ispiravano dal lavaro ed i gialli di Giorgio Scerbanenco. Mentre questi film ispiravano da Giorgio Sceranenco, Di Leo è considerato uno dei inventori dei film criminali italiani. Inoltre, Di Leo è anche considerato uno dei inventoru dei film western all’italiana (o spaghetti western,) e ha scritto le sceneggiature con Sergio Leone come, Per un pugno di dollari e Per qualche dollaro in più (Gomarasca). Molti film di Fernando Di Leo sono molti violenti e spinti, ma anche hanno i temi socioeconomici importanti. Anche se i film di Fernando Di Leo apparentemente si sono dimenticato e si sono ignorati dalla cultura di massa, i suoi film e il suo lavaro in generale sono un po’ dei più importante film della storia film, e Di Leo ha cambiato il modo in cui i film sono girato ed i tipi dei film che concedevano proiettare nel’Italia.

Una biografia di un sceneggiatore
Fernado Di Leo è nato nel 22 gennario 1932 a San Ferdinando di Puglia, ed è morto nel dicember 2003. Suo nono e suo padre sono stati gli avvacati, ed all’inizio della sua vita adulta Fernando si è iscritto a una facoltà di giurisprudenza (Coacci). Anche se glielo ha laureato, questo via ha finito velcomente dopo Fernando Di Leo ha vinto la “Coppa Murano” per il teatro sperimantale Lume del tuo corpo e l'occhio dalla “Aguna di Venezia,” una cerimonia di premiazione per il teatro (Poppi). Ma sembra che la “Aguna di Venezia”  non sia più in uso. Dopo ha vinto la “Coppa Murano,” Di Leo si è trasferito a Roma, ed è andato al Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, dove ha laureato nel 1963. Il suo primo film ha diretto era un cortometraggio (“Un posto in paradiso”) per il film Gli eroi di ieri, oggi e domani, un film a episodi (Anicaflash).
Nonostante il suo inizio nella cinematografia era come un regista, il sua carreria successa ha iniziato grazie alle sue sceneggiature. Sopratutto queste prime sceneggiature sono state film western. Con queste sceneggiature, Fernando Di Leo ed altri registi e sceneggiatori stimati, come Sergio Leone e Víctor Andrés Catena, hanno inventato il western all’italiana, più spesso conosciuto come “il spaghetti western” (Coacci). Durante gli anni 1960, il spaghetti western furano molto successo, e Di Leo scrisse o fu coinvolto nel molti dei film più famosi come Per un pugno di dollari, Una pistola per Ringo, Per qualche dollaro in più, Navajo Joe e molti altri. Gli spaghetti western film e i loro cineasti hanno ispirato altri cineasti, e questo fenomeno è risulato nella produzione di centinaia di altri film. Due dei spaghetti western più famosi che Fernando Di Leo ha scritto con altri sceneggiatori sono Per un pugno di dollari e Per qualche dollaro in più, comunque Di Leo non ha attribuito per il suo lavaro perché delle sue politiche di sinistra (Gomarasca). Tuttavia, le sue politiche di sinistra e il suo punto di vista diventano i fondazioni tematici dei suoi capolavori.

L’inizia di un regista
Prima di Di Leo ha iniziato girare i suoi film neri, ha scritto e ha diretto il film di guerra Rose rosse per il fuhrer nel 1967. Questo film era il suo primo lungometraggio e il film usa molti di temi sinistri che risuonano in quasi tutto del suo lavaro, ma questo tipo film non è stato il suo forte e non è stato il suo genere di preferenza (Lupi). Sembra che Di Leo non abbia travato mai una genere di preferenza come un regista o come un scenggiatore. Invece, sembra che Di Leo semplicemente abbia avuto una preferenza per i film e i soggetti hanno radicato nelle controversie. Molti dei suoi film sono molto discusso, un po’ di sono affrontano i soggetti sensibili come la identità sessuale delle donne giovani e molti dei suoi film sono molto molto violenti.
Di Leo non era mai paura girare il tipo dei film che ha voluto girare. I temi e i soggetti dei suoi film eranno molto discusso, ma i temi socali eranno molto importante negli anni sessanta e negli anni settanta. Per espempio, nel suo film Avere vent’anni, i progtagonisti sono una coppia lesbica. Al tempo il film ha lanciato, il soggetto di una coppia lesbica ha considerato non solo bizarro, ma anche e sopratutto molto offensivo parlare di questi tipi dei soggetti (Gomarasca). Però, per Fernando Di Leo e molti dei suoi film, sembra che la indentità della giovinezza e il paesaggio culturale fosse spesso del più importenza. Intanto, il soggetto della omosessualità nel film Avere vent’anni era un realità in Italia e nel mondo, e Di Leo ha hetto che il film era solo una riflessione del mondo vedeva. I suoi film non eranno per giochi e divertimento. No, invence, ha pensato che il  tema di un film deva essere qualcosa che fa pensare e cambia il paesaggio culturale e il narrativo culturale degli italiani. Avere vent’anni ha un forte tema, ma il film fornisce una voce agli afoni del tempo e oggi.

I gialli di Giorgio Scerbanenco
Seguente gli spaghetti western, Rose rosse per il fuhrer e atri lavori minori dei film, Di Leo ha trovato i libri di Giorgio Scerbanenco, un scrittore dei romanzi criminali, conosciuto come i gailli (Gomarasca). Di Leo ha usato molti di questi libri come il soggetto principale dei suoi film o come le inspirazioni per i suoi personaggi e altri elementi dei suoi film. I critici hanno considerato Scerbanenco solo un scrittore dei romanzi “pulp,” ma per Fernando Di Leo questi libri hanno fornito un tipo di atmosfera e un narrativo culturale che ha voluto rappresentare nei suoi film (Lupi 65). Senza i libri di Giorgio Scerbanenco, Di Leo forse non avrebbe girato un po’ dei suoi migliori film. Il suo primo film bassato su un romanzo di Scernaneco dello stesso nome, è I ragazzi del massacro, ma questo film è stato solo l’esordio della sua carriera di film nero.
http://amzn.to/2kMBnWbMentre  Fernando Di Leo è spesso chiama un inventore del noir all’italiana, Scerbanenco ha influenzato molti altri registi italiani negli anni settanta, come Carlos Saura, Romolo Guerrieri, Duccio Tessari, Yves Boisset, e più (Lupi). Se Fernando Di Leo era il inventore del film nero italiano, era Scerbanenco che ha inventato i film gialli e i film poliziotteschi, senza ha girato mai un film. “Scernanenco è il vero punto di riferimento per la narrativa gialla e poliziesca italiana” (Lupi 65). Nello stesso momento, Scernanenco ha inspirato Fernando Di Leo fare il suo cinema nero, allora deva essere il vero punto di riferimento per la nera italiana. Dopo I ragazzi del massacro, Fernando Di Leo ha girato il film orrore La bestia uccide a sangue freddo con l’attore famoso nel mondo Klaus Kinski, ma Di Leo velocemente ha tornato al lavoro di Giogrio Scerbanenco per il suo film incredibile Milano Calibro 9.

Milano Calibro 9
Di Leo ha scritto e ha diretto il film Milano Calibro 9 nel 1972, e lo è il suo capolavoro. Milano Calibro 9 è non solo il suo capolavoro, ma anche il film che definisce Di Leo come un regista, come un sceneggiatore e come un attivista sociale. Il film mostra il suo stile violento e molti di suoi temi controversi. Prima di questo film i pubblici non hanno esposto al’idea che c’era una criminalità organizzata in una città come Milano, ma alla fine questa rivelazione era conosciuto come una realtà (Gomarasca). Milano Calibro 9 è il perfetto film nero. La colonna sonora è del compositore famoso e prolifico Luis Enriquez Bacalov, e gli interpreti sono Barbara Bouchet, Mario Adorf, Luigi Pistilli e il protagonista principale Gastone Moschin. Prima di Milano Calibro 9 Gastone Moschin era solo un attore della commedia all’italiana, ma questo fatto non è mai evidente nel film.
Gastone Moschin interpreta il personaggio di Ugo Piazza, un ex detenuto. Il suo capo del passato Rocco (interpreta da Mario Adorf) pensa che Ugo abbia rubato trecentomila dollari dalla sua organizzazione criminale. Rocco è pazzo e gli piace torturare le genti. Rocco e la polizia credono che Ugo abbia nascosto i soldi. Ovunque il film molti personaggi innocenti uccidono, e Ugo è uno di questi personaggi. Il film usa un narrativo unico, non c’è una fine felice. Di Leo ha voluto girare un film realistico. Ha voluto mostrare una immagina vera della mala e criminalità organizzata a Milano.

La trilogia della mala
            Di seguito al successo di Milano Calibro 9, Fernando Di Leo ha continuato raffinare il suo stile del film nero. In aggiunta, Di Leo ha continuato usare il lavoro di Giorgio Scerbanenco come uno delle sue ispirazioni per i suoi prossimi film. Il due film che hanno lanciato dopo Milano Calibro 9, sono  La mala ordina e Il boss. Questi due film sono anche buoni esempi del tipo di nero che Di Leo ha girato. Di Leo ha continuato usuare un stile ultravioletto e un narrativo non trattenuto per questi film. Inoltre la realtà, in un senso cinematografico, della mafia milanese e altri paesi inaspettato continua nei film La mala ordina e Il boss. Insieme, questi film Milano Calibro 9, La mala ordina e Il boss sono conosciuto come “La trilogia della mala” o “La trilogia del milieu.” La atmosfera di La mala ordina e Il boss è lo stesso come Milano Calibro 9, ma questi film non sono i continuazioni di Milano Calibro 9. Mentre sono chiamare una trilogia, non ci sono una trilogia nel tipico senso di una trilogia. Invence di sono in relazione con la trauma di Milano Calibro 9, sono in relazione con il stile, lo spirito e il soggetto di Milano Calibro 9. “I personaggi sono ambigui, complessi, mai totalmente buoni e cattivi, realistici, pieni di sfaccettature caratteriali. Di Leo preferisce finali tragici sconvolgenti al lieto fine, perché non ama tutto quello che nel cinema sa di contraffatto e di poco affine alla realtà che ci circonda” (Lupi 42).
            Tutti di questi film di “La triolgia della mala” sono stati molto successo in Italia e in molti paesi ovvunque il mondo. Negli anni settanta il tipo dei film che Fernando Di Leo ha girato, non hanno avuto plauso dalla critica, invece era gli spettatori che hanno voluto andare al cinema per un altro nero di Feranndo Di Leo. Non hanno vinto i premi, e Fernando Di Leo non è stato mai un nome familiare ovunque il mondo. Peró i suoi film hanno fornito molti altri registi, molti altri film e molti altri cineasti una via per facendo il tipo di film che vogliono fare. Dopo l’inzia degli anni ottanta. I film neri sono caduti fuori la favore del pubblico. Di Leo ha continuato girare i film, ma questi film non sono come influente, unico o interesante come Milano Calibro 9 o gli altri film della “Trilogia della mala.” A un certo punto, gli spettatori hanno dimenticato Fernando Di Leo e un po dei suoi migliori film.

Quentin Tarantino ricorda Di Leo
Nonostante gli spettatori in massa che hanno dimenticato Fernando Di Leo, c’è uno uomo che ha rifiutato dimenticare Fernando Di Leo e i suoi film. Questo uomo era il regista americano Quentin Tarantino. Dopo Di Leo è morto nel 2003, Tarantino ha scritto una dedica a Fernando Di Leo per il RaroVideo confezione cofanetto di DVD,  reimmissione nei circuiti di distribuzione dei film di Di Leo. La popularità per Fernando Di Leo salta un’altra volta. Però questa volta gli spettatori non vanno al cinema guardare i suoi film, invence Fernando Di Leo era un grande successo sul video. Purtroppo, questo successo era dopo Fernando Di Leo è morto.
http://amzn.to/2kMBnWbQuentin Tarantino spesso dice che Milano Calibro 9 è il fil in cui si è ispirato diventare un regista. Oggi, una citazione di Tarantino è sulla copertura del DVD di Milano Calibro 9, e sembra che una persona non possa parlare di Ferando Di Leo senza il soggetto di Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino ha detto che ha imparato come fare i suoi film da guardare i film di Fernando Di Leo. Inoltre, Quentin Tarantino ha derivato molte idee e un po’ dei personaggi per il suo film Pulp Fiction dal film di Fernando Di Leo, La mala ordina (Lozzi). Tarantino è forse il quasi solo ragione sappiamo Fernando Di Leo ed i suoi film nel’era moderna. Comunque, Fernando Di Leo ed i suoi film sono lavori importanti che hanno fondato un nuovo genere di cinema all’italiana.

Il poliziotto è marcio
Un altro film importante di Ferando Di Leo è Il poliziotto è marcio. Questo film è importante non solo perché il suo forte tema e titolo, ma anche perché lo ha influenzato le possibilità dei soggetti sensibili nel pubblico e come altri registi girano i loro film. Il protagonista di Il poliziotto è marcio è Malacarne, un poliziotto Milano con le sue mani della mafia. Questo soggetto era una grande controversia. Parlare del poliziotto come “marcio” ha pensato essere tanto offensivo. Dopo Il poliziotto è marcio, Fernando Di Leo era condannato del governo e il pubblico per un breve tempo. Peró, come i migliori film Di Leo ha fatto, questo film è solo una descrizione. “La realtà ci insegna che la storia del crimine è piena di poliziotti marci” (Lupi 31).

Conclusione
http://amzn.to/2kMBnWb            La carriera di Fernando Di Leo è molto interessante. Ha girato molti film di molti generi diversi. Il suo lavoro ha influezato il cinema e i registi di oggi. Il stile e i temi dei suoi film sono forti, molto controversi e molto importanti. Però Fernando Di Leo non ha voluto fare male al mondo, invence ha voluto intrattenere gli spettatori mentre anche provocare un cambiamento del mondo di cinema e il mondo in generale. Giorgio Sceranenco ha inspirato Fernando Di Leo, Fernando Di Leo ha inspirato Quentin Tarantino e Tarantino inspira i registi di domani. I loro lavori sono molto discusso, non sono per tutto, ma Fernando Di Leo non è dimenticato. Lui solo continua scrivere senza un nome, come l’inizia della sua carriera.
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Bibliografia
Coacci, Simone. “Fernando Di Leo: Il rosso e il nero.” OndaCinema. OndaCinem, n.d. Web. 3
marzo 2016. http://www.ondacinema.it/monografie/scheda/fernando_leo.html
“Fernando Di Leo biografia.” ComingSoon.it. Anicaflash, n.d. Web. 3 marzo 2016.
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Gomarasca, Manlio. Fernando Di Leo: La morale del genre. Perf. Fernando Di Leo, Nino
Castelnuovo, and Howard Ross. RaroVideo, 2004. DVD.
Lozzi, Luigi. Anarchio del noir... Tricolore! All That Digital, 2 giugno 2014. Web. 3 marzo
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Lupi, Gordiano. Fernando Di Leo e il suo cinema nero e perverso. Roma: Profondo Rosso, 2009.
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Poppi, Roberto. I registi: dal 1930 ai giorni nostri. Roma: Gremese Editore, 2002. Print.
Rea, Luca. A Candid Interview with Fernando Di Leo on the Making of his Films. Minneapolis:
RaroVideo, 2004. Print.