Replied to Plots of Nineteen-Eighties Movies if Their Protagonists Had Been People of Color by Carlos Greaves (The New Yorker)

Carlos Greaves humorously reimagines the plots of eighties film classics, including “Back to the Future,” “The Breakfast Club,” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” if their protagonists had been people of color.

I really enjoyed these interpretations, particularly the one for Risky Business:

After a suspicious neighbour calls the police on Joel Goodson, and his sex party gets raided, he is tried as an adult on felony charges for destruction of property, solicitation, and twenty-two counts of corrupting a minor. He does not get into Princeton.

However, my favour it Caddyshack:

People of color would not have agreed to make this film​.

Watched Soul from imdb.com

Soul is a movie starring Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, and Graham Norton. After landing the gig of a lifetime, a New York jazz pianist suddenly finds himself trapped in a strange land between Earth and the afterlife.

David Sims describes Soul as a grand ambition.

Compared to Pixar’s recent spate of sequels to past hits, Soul is a loftier project—a messy but expansive story worthy of its director’s grand ambitions.

Namwali Serpell argues that it is another attempt to put a white person in a black body.

Pixar’s “Soul” is, in fact, the latest in a long tradition of American race-transformation tales, each of which finds a pretext—a potion, a spell, a medical treatment, or simply makeup—to put a white person in a black body (or vice versa). One strand of the genre—which encompasses films like “Change of Mind,” “Watermelon Man,” and “Soul Man”—is obviously the legacy of minstrel productions like the 1927 film “The Jazz Singer.” But even recent, more ostensibly race-conscious works (see again “Watchmen” and “Lovecraft Country”) play with this theme in sometimes disturbing ways, as though unable to resist making white people the hero of blackness. The white desire to get inside black flesh is absolved as an empathy exercise. Blackface gets a moral makeover. It’s telling that, in most race-transformation tales, the ideal is presented as a white soul in a black body.

Soul feels like it sits somewhere between Inside Out and The Emoji Movie.

Liked Waterworld at 25: Reappraising cinema’s biggest flop (BBC)

But if film fans are now beginning to appreciate Waterworld, why was it so eagerly dismissed and savaged when it originally hit cinemas? According to the University of Liverpool’s Yannis Tzioumakis, a perfect storm of issues blighted its release. First of all, there was a “huge increase in what’s called enfotainment” – the combination of entertainment and industry news. This primarily covers “box office figures and film productions, especially if they have problems and go over budget”.

Watched 2017 American biographical musical film directed by Michael Gracey from Wikipedia

The Greatest Showman is a 2017 American musical biographical drama film directed by Michael Gracey in his directorial debut, written by Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon and starring Hugh JackmanZac EfronMichelle WilliamsRebecca Ferguson, and Zendaya. Featuring nine original songs from Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the film is inspired by the story of P. T. Barnum‘s creation of Barnum’s American Museum and the lives of its star attractions.

The Greatest Showman was a nice story with some uplifting music. However, it felt like it overlooked some of the messiness of history. As Jackie Mansky explains:

Today, Barnum and his career arguably serve as a Rorschach test for where we are, and what kind of humbug tale we are willing to be sold. But if you’re looking clear eyed at Barnum, an undeniable fact of his biography is his role marketing racism to the masses. “He had these new ways of making racism seem fun and for people to engage in activities that degraded a racially subjected person in ways that were intimate and funny and surprising and novel,” says Reiss. “That’s part of his legacy, that’s part of what he left us, just as he also left us some really great jokes and circus acts and this kind of charming, wise-cracking ‘America’s uncle’ reputation. This is equally a part of his legacy.”

Rather than explore such dark notes, The Greatest Showman is more interested in spinning a pretty tale, a humbug, if you will, of a magnitude, that Barnum himself would likely tip his hat to.

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There is also this strange Disney subplot where it felt like there was a quota to how many times the camera cut to Zac Efron and Zendaya?

Liked What makes the ultimate film soundtrack? (bbc.com)

There is a universal relatability to a brilliant film score, even in fragments. Morricone is credited for (re)defining the sound of the Western (although his music obviously went much further than that); meanwhile, US composer John Williams summons otherworldly adventures, across the Star Wars and Superman sagas, ET and more. When Brand reminisces about leaving a busy cinema screening of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), I instantly think of Williams’s five-note UFO synth motif: “Every single one of us in the crowd looked up at the sky when we walked out,” said Brand. “Suddenly, we were in a world where that was possible. I wanted the real world to be like film… and music is the thing that will allow you to do that.”

Bookmarked Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) – IMDb (IMDb)

Directed by Joachim Rønning. With Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Harris Dickinson, Michelle Pfeiffer. Maleficent and her goddaughter Aurora begin to question the complex family ties that bind them as they are pulled in different directions by impending nuptials, unexpected allies and dark new forces at play.

I enjoyed the exploration of character in the film. However, it is pretty predictable at times.
Watched Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019) – IMDb from IMDb

Directed by J.J. Abrams. With Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver. The surviving members of the resistance face the First Order once again, and the legendary conflict between the Jedi and the Sith reaches its peak bringing the Skywalker saga to its end.

After watching The Mandalorian, The Rise of Skywalker was not the same. It felt like a stretch, with various threads tied off. On a side note, it felt like there were a lot of similarities with Harry Potter and the horcruxes. Something that Becca Benjamin ponders upon in more detailBecca Benjamin ponders upon in more detail.
Watched Frozen II (2019) – IMDb from IMDb

Directed by Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee. With Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff. Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven leave Arendelle to travel to an ancient, autumn-bound forest of an enchanted land. They set out to find the origin of Elsa’s powers in order to save their kingdom.

I was really unsure what Frozen II would provide. In the end, it the movie the we needed right now – two strong female presences, a bridge between two competing parties and to do the ‘next best thing’. As Aly Caviness explains:

If it feels obvious and predictable, that’s because you’ve seen it a thousand times, but no one questions it when the hero is a street rat, a farm boy, or a damn lion. If it feels fresh, it’s because we still don’t have enough heroines going on fully nuanced voyages of self-discovery where the prize is not a heterosexual relationship (a Disney princess stalwart), but rather the contentment that comes with simply knowing yourself. The fact that Elsa gets her own journey of such mythical proportions rightfully allows her to join other recent Disney protagonists like Rey from Nowhere and Moana of Motonui as self-sufficient, self-accepting, and utterly inspiring heroines of the modern age.

Watched The Lion King (2019) – IMDb from IMDb

Directed by Jon Favreau. With Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor. After the murder of his father, a young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery.

I went with my daughters to see the remake of The Lion King. I am still unsure how I feel about what Disney are doing with all these remakes. I was ok with the recreation of the animals, but felt that it was too faithful to the original in regards to storyline. More real than real maybe. Although there may have been some attempt to reimagine the roles, I don’t think it was creative enough.

At least it gave us Beyonce’s Gift.

Liked Opinion | I Said Marvel Movies Aren’t Cinema. Let Me Explain. by Martin Scorsese (nytimes.com)

So, you might ask, what’s my problem? Why not just let superhero films and other franchise films be? The reason is simple. In many places around this country and around the world, franchise films are now your primary choice if you want to see something on the big screen. It’s a perilous time in film exhibition, and there are fewer independent theaters than ever. The equation has flipped and streaming has become the primary delivery system. Still, I don’t know a single filmmaker who doesn’t want to design films for the big screen, to be projected before audiences in theaters.

Liked David Lynch’s chillingly prescient vision of modern America (The Conversation)

Lynch’s body of work implies that the cruelty of such people isn’t really what we should fear most. It is, instead, those who laugh, cheer or simply turn away – responses that enable and empower such behaviors, while giving them an acceptable place in the world.

When they were first released, Lynch’s films may well have appeared as funhouse mirror reflections of society.

Not so anymore.

Replied to Required watching: Fiona Hardy’s favourite childhood films by Em, Author at Affirm Press (Affirm Press)

Fiona Hardy’s brilliant debut novel How to Make a Movie in 12 Days is, in part, an homage to her long-held love of all things film. (If you couldn’t tell by the title, just check out the 20-page school holidays movie guide at the back of the book.) Here, Fiona shares five films that kick-started her movie madness.

Fiona, I forgot about the ‘Hire ten for $xxx’ deal while growing up. It was always so serendipitous. There would be those few films that had just transferred from Overnight to Weekly that you wanted to rent, but then you would be left grabbing all sorts of random flicks to get up to the given total.

On a side note, you might be interested in Reclaim Video and the effort to reclaim lost memories and technology.

Watched Toy Story 4 (2019) – IMDb from IMDb

When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.

I went with the tiddlywinks today to see Toy Story 4. I find each of the films intriguing for the questions that they ask. For me, No. 4 was about perfection and learning to live with ourselves once we move beyond the ideals we often burden ourselves with.
Replied to VHStival at Video Vortex: It’s Happening! (bavatuesdays)

Yesterday I locked into for a trip back to beautiful to Raleigh, North Carolina to attend the 3-day film festival at their local Alamo Drafthouse’s VHStival. I was trying to slow down the travel, but when I saw the insane program (Basketcase (1982), Toxic Avenger (1984), TerrorVision (1986) and Heavy Metal Parking Lot (1986)!) it was impossible not to commit. These folks rule the VHS b-movie programming school. In fact, I bought tickets for these four movies before posting this in fear any publicity may mean no space left for me

I vaguely remember the Toxic Crusaders cartoon growing up, however I never knew there was a film version:

I cannot believe this even made it to a children’s show. Also, as someone who was a cleaner in a past life, I do not think that it is a very fair representation.

Watched Doctor Strange (2016) – IMDb from IMDb

Directed by Scott Derrickson. With Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong. While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, a brilliant neurosurgeon is drawn into the world of the mystic arts.

Finally got around to watching Doctor Strange. It helped make more sense of Infinity War. Out of all the Marvel movies, I felt that this one did the best job of building up the character, although it was still short of Batman Begins in my opinion.
Watched Avengers: Endgame (2019) – IMDb from IMDb

Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo. With Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth. After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos’ actions and restore order to the universe.

Saw the final instalment of the Avengers series. With Thor’s transformation, I was left feeling hopeful.