Thursday, February 23, 2017
If you thought last year's Oscars were politically-charged after the "Oscars So White" controversy... fasten your seatbelts folks, it's going to be a bumpy night. While I hope the ceremony and speeches focus more on celebrating the artistry of film rather than pulling a "Meryl Streep" every five minutes, I'm still excited about this year's Academy Awards - the Super Bowl of the movie business. As per tradition, I'm predicting the winners for not just the popular categories, but all 24 of them! I take no half measures here on Talking the Talkies. While I've given this a lot of thought (maybe too much), the Oscars are always full of surprises and upsets, so we'll see how it turns out Sunday, February 26th!
After the broadcast I will update this blog post with the winners highlighted, my reactions, and my final tally. If you want to play along - leave your predictions in the comments below!
Friday, February 17, 2017
The Lego Batman Movie
Dir. Chris McKay
When The Lego Movie opened in 2014, it seemed as though we'd reached the bottom of the barrel in terms of crass movie-marketing commercialism. It's one thing to make a movie about Battleship or a ride at Disney World, but a film literally about interlocking colored bricks!? What's next, the Lincoln Logs movie? Tiddledy Winks? In spite of the cynicism, directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (21 Jump Street) managed to take a concept that at first glance seems anything but artistic, and crafted a surprisingly poignant film about conformity and childhood creativity, all while establishing a kinetic and joyously colorful sandbox world of practically unlimited visual possibility. Continuing the anarchic comic energy of its predecessor, The Lego Batman Movie further develops the "Lego Cinematic Universe" as an irreverent, ADHD-fueled micro-verse that charmingly emulates the feeling of playtime that we all experience as kids, but with the addition of being a genuinely well-conceived iteration of the Batman myth, lovingly spoofing the character with practically hundreds of rapid-fire jokes that, as a huge Bat-fan, made me want to re-watch it immediately.
Thursday, February 2, 2017
Dir. M. Night Shyamalan
We may be witnessing a comeback for M. Night Shyamalan, or what I like to call it: the "Shyamaissance." Having gone from being touted as the 'Next Spielberg' to ruining a beloved franchise and becoming a literal laughing stock (I distinctly remember his producer credit for Devil alone eliciting laughter in theaters), M. Night has found a new lucrative partnership with Blumhouse Pictures - the studio known for making profit-turning low budget horror flicks like the Purge and Sinister films. Starting with last year's surprisingly good The Visit, Shyamalan is slowly working his way back up the ladder, with Split being an encouraging mega-success, making $105 million at the box office on a $9 million budget. However, just because he's no longer in artistic jail doesn't mean he's working at the same level as The Sixth Sense or Unbreakable. Split is a solid b-movie and I'm glad to see a fallen-from-grace director pick themselves back up, but it does have its share of issues - not the least of which is its questionable depiction of a real mental illness.