Archive for the 'Movies' Category

Hateful Eight (2015)


The Hateful Eight (2015)
Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Damian Bilchir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern. Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Continue reading ‘Hateful Eight (2015)’

5Qs: Consolidated Theaters

It’s the 100th anniversary of Consolidated Theaters. I saw a trailer with some local celebrities talking about their fondest memories of going to those theaters. That’s the inspiration for this thread:

1. What was the first movie you saw in a Consolidated Theater and which theater was it?
2. What was your favorite memory?
3. What was the funniest experience?
4. What is a favorite snack that they no longer sell?
5. What was your favorite theater?


In recent years we’ve seen some interesting changes at the movie theater. In addition to bigger screens, larger and more comfortable seats, huge sound systems, and reserved seating, newer theaters have reclining seats, increased spacing, fold-out tables, and alcoholic beverages. Menu choices have gotten more interesting as well: I recently had okonomiyaki fries at the Ward theaters. They were basically fries with okonomiyaki kinds of toppings, such as cabbage, imitation crab, okonomiyaki sauce and even Kewpie Mayonnaise. While they weren’t amazing, they were a nice alternative to the stuff we’ve been getting our whole lives.

You know how they have special screenings for open-captioned viewing, and for parents with young kids so nobody feels pressured to leave the theater if their kids start making noise? I think they’re great ideas, and I would like to see special text-all-you-like screenings for those of us who like to live-tweet what we’re watching. I think this might encourage hardcore texters to go to these screenings, leaving the regular screenings with far fewer annoying talkers or texters.

We’ve seen a few sing-along films (Frozen and Beauty and the Beast recently), but what about a quote-along screenings, where viewers may feel free to recite dialogue along with the films? This would be great for films like Star Wars, The Princess Bride, Pulp Fiction, The Godfather, and Casablanca.

What have your experiences with the new amenities been like, and what do you think? Is there something you’d like to see local theaters introduce that they haven’t yet tried?

Hell or High Water (2016)


Hell or High Water (2016)
Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Gil Birmingham. Written by Taylor Sheridan. Directed by David Mackenzie. Continue reading ‘Hell or High Water (2016)’

How Streaming Video and Traditional Movies Can Lead to New Art Forms

I came across this Atlantic piece about Christopher Nolan’s recent criticisms of Netflix. Nolan believe that the Netflix’s policies are hurting, even killing, the movie theater business. Specifically, he mentions the policy of allowing internet access to films on the same day Netflix releases those films in the theater. Why not release the films in the theaters for a short period of time, and then stream them online? he asks. After all, Amazon does this, and they have had success. This seems like a reasonable point, and it got me to think, not only about ways online streaming services can actually boost the viability of movie theaters, but also of the new cinematic forms that could result if these two media formed the right, symbiotic relationship. Here are some ideas off the top of my head: Continue reading ‘How Streaming Video and Traditional Movies Can Lead to New Art Forms’

Greatest Cult Movie

I saw this question raised on twitter, and I tried to think of answer. Here’s the first film that came to mind: Continue reading ‘Greatest Cult Movie’

Movies 2017

“The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.”
Alfred Hitchcock

Here’s to a year of increasingly short movies.

Know Payne; Know Gain

I’m just about done with a personal retrospective on the directorial work of Alexander Payne: Citizen Ruth, Election, About Schmidt, Sideways, The Descendants, and Nebraska. Once I’m done with reviewing each of them, I’ll use this space to go through them in chronological order, quoting what we’ve said in the past about these films, and hopefully finding a few interesting things to say about his work overall.

The Lobster (2016)


The Lobster (2015)
Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Lea Seydoux, John C. Reilly. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. Written by Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou. Continue reading ‘The Lobster (2016)’

Hollywood Movies That Are Great Works of Art

I enjoyed the following Fresh Air interview with film director, Francis Ford Coppola. Coppola has just released a book comprised of notes that he took while making The Godfather.

The interview pulled up fond memories of the film, including the opinion that the first two films were great films–specifically, two Hollywood films that could be considered great works of art. This made me wonder what other Hollywood films would qualify. That’s what this thread is about.

But first, what do I mean by “Hollywood movie” and “great work of art.” By “Hollywood movie,” I’m thinking of a movie whose main objective is to entertain a general audience through a strong story and characters. In contrast, an art film is indifferent about entertaining a wide audience, utilizing a conventional narrative or creating likable characters. Technically, a Hollywood movie need not be made in Hollywood or America. For example, by my definition, some of Kurosawa’s films would qualify. Also, some films made in Hollywood would not qualify–e.g,. 2001: a Space Odyssey or Terrence Malick’s films.

Now, by “great work of art,” the first thing that comes to mind is an aesthetic creation where all the parts are not only wonderfully executed individually, but also come together in a highly seamless and skillful way, creating a overpowering aesthetic effect. Such a movie is firing on all cylinders, so to speak, and it is what one thinks of as a masterpiece. This idea of the parts, being excellent by themselves, but also creating a unified whole is something that I distinguishes a great film from a good one, maybe even a very good film.

OK, so what are some of my choices? I mentioned the first two Godfather films. They’re really a good example. The casting/acting, the writing, the cinematography and composition, the music–each of these are wonderful and the way they come together is wonderful as well. Here are some others: Continue reading ‘Hollywood Movies That Are Great Works of Art’

Rank the Star Trek Films

First, the corpus.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn (1982)
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
Star Trek Generations (1994)
Star Trek: Fist Contact (1996)
Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)
Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
Star Trek (2009)
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
Star Trek Beyond (2016)

Rank the Films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Here is the still-growing corpus.

Phase One: Avengers Assembled
Iron Man
The Incredible Hulk (2008, Mark Ruffalo version)
Iron Man 2
Captain America: The First Avenger
Marvel’s The Avengers

Phase Two:
Iron Man 3
Thor: The Dark World
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy
Avengers: Age of Ultron

Phase Three:
Captain America: Civil War

Coming up next are Doctor Strange (this year) and three films in 2017: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Thor: Ragnarock.

The Secret of Kells (2009)

Mitchell said Continue reading ‘The Secret of Kells (2009)’

Ten Best

I’ve been wasting incredible amounts of time lately working on lists. I’ve wasted incredible amounts of time on lists since I was in elementary school, but for some reason I’ve been consumed by them in recent weeks.

I’m going to share a few here. Feel free to comment, argue, post your own, or ignore.

What is the Role and Value of a Movie Critic?

When we were growing up, movie critics like Siskel and Ebert were valuable in helping us determine which movies we should see. Today, many moviegoers don’t really need critics like them because moviegoers can go to online sites that compile ratings and reviews from people like themselves. If a person wants to find movies she will enjoy, she really doesn’t need a professional critic. If this is true, do professional critics–or, let’s say, people who are good at evaluating films–have value? I believe they do and in this thread, I’ll make my case.* Continue reading ‘What is the Role and Value of a Movie Critic?’

1001 Movies You Must Watch Before You Die (Discussion)

In discussing the “1001 Albums” book, I thought of the applying some of the same questions to the “1001 Movie” book. I’m going to focus on the notion of something that must be seen, as well as discuss some of the films that I think come the closest to meeting that standard. Continue reading ‘1001 Movies You Must Watch Before You Die (Discussion)’

2015: Favorite Movies, Books, TV Shows, Etc.

What are some of your favorite or most noteworthy movies, books, TV shows, music, etc. that you’ve encountered in 2015. I’ll start off with my favorite films. Continue reading ‘2015: Favorite Movies, Books, TV Shows, Etc.’

Movie Recommendation Software Hasn’t Been as Good as I Had Hoped

Many years ago, I walked in a Seattle video store and found a computer terminal that would give you film recommendations after you ranked a few films. The recommendations were such that I became enthusiastic about this idea. I’m not sure exactly how the program worked, but I liked the idea of creating a database of ratings from many people and then recommending films based on finding people who have rated films in similar way. Eventually, I found an online site called criticker that seemed to operate in this way. After rating over 2,000 films, and looking at the ratings, I’m no longer so enthusiastic about this approach. I’ll explain why in this thread. Continue reading ‘Movie Recommendation Software Hasn’t Been as Good as I Had Hoped’

Discussion of a few Mumblecore Films

I’ve been on a mini-mumblecore binge recently, for several reasons. For one thing, many of the films I saw were little under 90 minutes, so they require a low time investment. Second, there is a gritty feel that reminds me of 70s films, and I was just in the mood for those. I also became interested in seeing more of one of the actors, Kentucker Audley. In this thread, I’ll review some of the films while making some broader comments about this type of filmmaking. Let’s start with two films: Continue reading ‘Discussion of a few Mumblecore Films’

Movies 2016

Here we go again!