Tarantino Marathon: Pulp Fiction

This is Quentin Tarantino’s best film.

It is no contest. Pulp Fiction was wildly unique when it first premiered at Cannes in the 90s, and it remains wildly unique to this day. Many films have tried to replicate its structure and its aesthetic, but it always felt inauthentic when stacked against Pulp Fiction itself.

One of the biggest criticism of Tarantino’s trademark style is that he takes elements from earlier films, and that his “style,” while bombastic, shouldn’t be praised for being “unique.”

Continue reading

Advertisements

How we became less interested in #GameofThrones with more chaos

This post will actually be void of spoilers. I know, right.

I find myself in several pop-culture conversations daily. The most engaging debates usually involve 3 franchises: Marvel, Star Wars and more recently Game of Thrones.

The truth is, however, the quality of “Game of Thrones” this season has mostly adopted a consensus – great cinematic moments, bad writing/character development and a rushed pace.

I have been less vocal about the quality loss this season, however, because the most significant drop came one season prior. I’ve also been very vocal about show-runners Weiss/Benioff not being particularly skilled at their craft.

Continue reading

Final Oscar (Nominee) Predictions – 2019

What a year. So many great and diverse films. I’m still powering through many of them, but it is probably one of my favorite movie-years of this decade.

The Academy, however, will love some of the lesser films *cough* Bohemian Rhapsody *cough*, regardless many of the predictions seemed a little less complicated this year.

Without further ado, here they are:

Last Update: 01/14/19

Picture (01/14/19)
A Star is Born
Green Book
BlacKkKlansman
Roma
The Favourite
If Beale Street Could Talk
Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
Vice

Continue reading

The Netflix Problem

Netflix is a triple-A production company. They produce a wide array of content from Television series’ to feature films. Watching Netflix grow through the last decade has been fascinating.

As other giants throttle their bandwidth and lobby against the inevitable future of online streaming, they have persevered. For years they’ve developed award-winning TV shows including House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, The Crown, etc.

Their films have also excelled. Mudbound was an Oscar-nominated film and critically, Beasts of No Nation may be the best thing they’ve produced. Now we have Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma. Continue reading

Why I left MoviePass

Those close to me know that I was a huge advocate for what MoviePass was doing.

Summer attendance was as low as it has been since the 90s last summer. After reading several articles behind the ‘$10 a month rationale’ it seemed like a move that was crazy enough to work – except it didn’t work.

Continue reading

75th Venice Film Festival releases strong slate of Award hopefuls

So many potentially great films are set to premiere at the 75th annual Venice Film Festival. It was announced in February that Guillermo del Toro will be the jury president. His film “The Shape of Water” won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director last year, but before that it was awarded the coveted Golden Lion by the festival’s jury.

Our future Best Picture winner may be among the list, lead by one of our most predicted films: “First Man” directed by Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash).

Other festivals openers include: Downsizing, Everest, Birdman, Gravity, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, The Ides of March, and Black Swan. So as you can see, “opening film” doesn’t mean much from an award-prognostication standpoint.

Anyway, here’s that list:

Beach Bum (Harmony Korine)
Destroyer (Karyn Kasuma)
Death and Life of John F. Donovan (Xavier Dolan)
Domino (Brian de Palma)
First Man (Damien Chazelle)
The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)
High Life (Claire Denis)
Maya (Mia Hansen-Love)
The Nightingale (Jennifer Kent)
Non-Fiction (Olivier Assayas)
Norway (Paul Greengrass)
Old Man and the Gun (David Lowery)
Other Side of the Wind
Outlaw King (David Mackenzie)
Peterloo (Mike Leigh)
Radegund (Terrence Malick)
Roma (Alfonso Cuaron)
Share (Pippa Bianco)
Sisters Brothers (Jacques Audiard)
Star is Born (Bradley Cooper)
Wendy (Benh Zeitlin)
Widows (Steve McQueen)

Continue reading

MoviePass and the innovation it inspires

I had an interesting conversation once about the illegal downloading of movies, shows and music.

This person was applying the generalized stereotype that all young people today want everything for free. In political discussion I’ve given myself a rule to avoid generalizations: I believe grouping people together lacks the nuance of the stereotype to begin with. Also, had the ability to download movies illegal happened 100 years ago, the result would’ve likely remained the same.

I try to avoid generalizations the same way I try to avoid absolutisms. I aim to remove “always” and “never” from my vocabulary since they are always exaggerations. If I were to engage a republican citizen by saying “All republicans want…” then I endanger my potential connection to this person with varying opinions.

 

People don’t appreciate being lumped into categories because we all believe we are complex individuals. So when the topic of “MoviePass” comes up I’ll avoid saying “It will never succeed” even as their stock prices plummet and the keep hemorrhaging money.

I’m a huge supporter of MoviePass and I believe their business model is incredibly risky, but has the potential to succeed. I’m eagerly anticipating the numbers in movie theater attendance when compared to last year when summer films had the lowest box office since 2006.

AMC announced their new premium plan recently at $20 a month. For those of us closer to an AMC theater and don’t like MoviePass’ new restrictions on re-viewings or multiple viewings, this may be enough to unsubscribe from MoviePass and try this new plan.

For this rest of us, MoviePass is still the most affordable option and the new restrictions aren’t nearly enough to urge us to leave them.

As I mentioned before, things aren’t looking good for MoviePass. But now, when/if they fall, we already have an alternative plan to subscribe to. If it holds out long enough, we may see Regal and other theater chains roll out competitive plans as well.

When music started being stolen regularly on the internet with the inventions of Napster and sharing programs like Limewire, we soon saw the music industry partner with Apple to find a more accessible way for users to buy music.

Now it’s much easier to just like a button in the iTunes app and pay $1.29 for a song you enjoy, than it is to download illegal copies. Not that illegally downloading music ever really had a significant impact on the music industry, but what it did do was encourage and inspire innovation in already established industries.

If MoviePass’ new plan had never existed, would we have got this new AMC deal?

Competition is the key ingredient in a capitalist society, right? However our movie, TV, and music industries become more and more monopolized each year and the lack of competition discourages this innovation.

Competition = Innovation.

MoviePass started competitive market in theater subscriptions services, they took a bold risk and I will likely fail, but it’s lasting impact will be worth so much to your average movie-goer for decades to come.

“The Last Jedi” volatility continues

Politics, Religion, and Star Wars.

These days, conversations about these three topics can lead to some heated debates.

Fandom is a result of passion and when the first film released in 1977 it not only would reshape the entertainment industry, but it would create it’s own culture.

Any creative medium speaks volumes with what it omits. “Fantasy” is a genre dependent on omission. World-building is in our imagination based on what we have not seen.

Continue reading