I kinda love the Oscars. It’s popular to write it off as a bunch of rich people given each other gold statues but it’s also a celebration of film and it’s a great night to highlight many of the people who most of us don’t think about when it comes to filmmaking: screenwriters, editors, cinematographers, sound designers, and so on.
Every year regardless of how much or little writing or podcasting I do (and it’s admittedly much less these days) I still like to highlight my favourite films of the year. 2017 is no different. I have a dozen favourites this year and if you would like to check them out you can do so over at Awesome Friday!
Another year, another list of favourites. 2017 has been a … turbulent year in the real world but a stellar one for film. You may have noticed that I haven’t been writing much lately, VIFF coverage aside, but I have been gong to the movies. As of this writing I watched 323 movies in 2017, 70 of which were 2017 releases. Not too shabby considering that I only go to one festival.
I went to the 2017 Vancouver International Film Festival! This is my third year covering the festival and this year I reviewed XX movies for Awesome Friday! Here is a selection of those reviews.
Wonder Woman, the latest entry in the DCEU is out and, much to my relief, it’s really good. Here’s the review I wrote for Awesome Friday!
It’s been a long four years since Man of Steel premiered and started the new DCEU shared universe. It has been a universe of muted colours and asshole heroes, and one that has been hard to be optimistic about future entries in, but I am happy to report that Wonder Woman is a great movie and that you should definitely see it.
It’s not a movie without issues mind you, and it has a lot of the issues that even the best superhero origin stories do. The big CGI laden battle at the end is kinda blah. There’s a twist you might see coming from a mile away that leads up to said battle. There’s a huge lack of closure for some characters. None of this stuff is deal breaking though, and honestly I feel kinda nitpicky pointing it out. There are some things about good superhero movies that I can accept at this point, and a boring final battle is one of them because the big final battle with an ill-defined bad guy is ok when you have a hero who is incredibly well-defined and nearly perfectly portrayed.
There are two types of people in the world. Those who prefer Star Trek and those who prefer Star Wars. I’ve always been the former, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love the former. For the the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on home video I wrote a piece exploring why maybe I don’t love it as much now as many of the people I know.
Both times there was this immediate rush. Star Wars is good again. What a time to be alive. The interesting thing about watching a movie twice in two days is that everything stands out. The stuff that works and the stuff that doesn’t. There’s a lot of stuff that works about the new Star Wars movies. I love Rey, Finn, and Poe. I love the new locations in Rogue One and the Jedi-less story it tells. I love the tone of the movies, and the effects are some of the best I have ever seen.
I just wish that they didn’t feel exactly the same. There are two George Lucas quotes I have been thinking about lately. The first is from the special features of The Phantom Menace. He’s describing the story of the prequels, how it will have familiar beats as the original trilogy, and he compares them to stanzas in a poem that rhyme. The second is from 2015, right after he’d seen The Force Awakens he was asked what he thought and he replied “I think the fans are going to love it, it’s very much the kind of movie they’ve been looking for.”
I finished watching Iron Fist season one and I had some feelings about it. They are not good feelings.
that’s really the main problem here: the show feels cheap and phoned in. The first half of the show’s 13 episodes could probably have been reduced to two or three, and like Luke Cage they even set themselves up for some great standalone episodes and then ignored the opportunity. Once the plot gets going we’re still saddled with the fact that Danny Rand isn’t a likeable character, and when they try to do anything interesting there are almost no original ideas. Davos’s character arc in Iron Fist is exactly the same as Mordo in Doctor Strange. Colleen Wing’s story has exactly the same twist as Elektra’s in Daredevil‘s second season. There’s one fight in the middle that only seems to happen so that you know someone has seen Drunken Master and another toward the end that makes sure you know that someone really liked the Hong Kong office tower sequence from The Dark Knight.
Long story short, don’t bother watching Iron Fist.
Back when it was new I wrote a short piece on the High Frame Rate (HFR) movie filming and projection technology.
HFR filming and projecting now doubles that frame rate to 48 and the result is that, basically, your brain doesn’t have to work as hard and everything looks much, much, much clearer.
So what does this mean to me? Quite a bit as it turns out because it turns out that I like it. I actually like it quite a bit.
Apparently this means I disagree with the majority of the critics but from what I’ve read most of the critics are just saying “it doesn’t look like a movie” which simply isn’t true. It does look like a movie, it just doesn’t look like movies always have.
It’s an interesting read now because HFR still hasn’t caught on yet. This is likely due to the fact that it still feels pretty undercooked but at the same time there is still so much potential for it to change the way we look at movies.
The 89th Annual Academy Awards were last night. I had some thought about the performances, the host, and the big debacle at the end.
The 89th Annual Academy Awards took place last night. It was an … interesting show. While Simon and I live-blogged the whole thing I have a few follow-up thoughts on the spectacle.
Last night Simon and I upheld our annual tradition and live blogged the Oscars for the 6th year in a row. It was a weird Oscars broadcast that culminated in the wrong film being announced as best picture!
Playing catch up on all the writing I had meant to do last year. Here are some thoughts on the films of the Marvel Universe.
We’re continuing to shake off the dust around here at Awesome Friday HQ, and one easy way to do that is to update the Marvel Fanboy Marvel Cinematic Universe Rankings. Last year there were two additions to the canon of films, Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange. Each were good, but where do they fit? Let’s take a look.