Saturday, May 27, 2017

Alien: Covenant, The Wall, Your Name, A Quiet Passion Reviews

Alien: Covenant
Dir. Ridley Scott

The thing that irks me the most about Disney's recent Star Wars films are their over-reliance on familiar imagery and plot lines from the original trilogy. With Alien: Covenant, Ridley Scott falls into the same trap of making a complete concession to fans with his own franchise. Prometheus, 2012's Alien prequel co-scripted by Lost scribe Damon Lindelof, was in my opinion a fantastic, intense, original take on the "Alien" mythology, but it came under fire from Slurpee-scarfing mouth-breathers online for not having the same exact creatures as the original 1979 movie and attempting to make something new and original. Well, I hope they're happy now, because in Alien: Covenant Scott pretty much gives those whiny basement-dwellers exactly what they asked for: an Alien retread with the same old aliens as before that bends over backwards to retcon most of the interesting, ambitious philosophical concepts introduced in Prometheus. To many, Alien: Covenant will be an "improvement" over its predecessor due to its stripped-down, back-to-basics quality, but to me this was just a disappointingly empty rehash of old ideas.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, King Arthur, Snatched, Free Fire Reviews

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Dir. James Gunn
Watch Trailer

Back in 2014, who knew this group of intergalactic a-holes would make Guardians of the Galaxy the #1 movie of the summer? James Gunn's first foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe introduced us to a ragtag group of fun, new iconic antiheroes in a world infused with equal parts space battles and pop music, making a refreshingly crowd-pleasing, hilarious, well-written romp out of the typically "stuffy" sci-fi genre. And as with any successful blockbuster, a sequel was fast-tracked immediately. With everybody back on board, the characters are still just as fun to hang around, the banter is just as witty, the music just as danceable, the visuals just as colorful... but we've seen it all before. While both films are enjoyable to watch in their own right, Guardians Vol. 1 felt completely original at the time (keep in mind, it was released before JJ's The Force Awakens), whereas Vol. 2 feels like the familiar groove on a well-played record. The sequel does almost everything that made the original great, but with diminishing returns.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

IFF Boston 2017 Reflections

This was my first year experiencing IFF Boston, a festival celebrating independent film across a number of Boston theaters. The fest premieres all sorts of cool movies from features to shorts to documentaries to even student films, often times with the directors there to promote their work. I officially volunteered at this multi-day event, doing whatever odd jobs I was assigned in my required hot pink t-shirt (a real good look for me).

Although scanning people's tickets and handing out flyers got monotonous after a while, I did get to chat with a handful of cool, fellow movie-loving people. To be completely honest, it was this, more so than even the films, that ended up being the highlight of the festival experience for me. As a generally shy, introverted person in real life who thinks "small talk" belongs in the seventh circle of hell, I was surprised how easily I could snake into conversations with people. Now that it's over, my only problem is that I don't remember any of their names (!), and these mysterious movie folk will likely forever fade into obscurity in my memory.

Anywho... because I was a volunteer, when it wasn't my shift, I could see all the movies I wanted - for FREE! I took advantage of this perk, as you may imagine.

Below I've listed all the movies I saw, along with my personal favorites of the festival highlighted!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Summer 2017 Box Office Predictions

Summer is almost here, so you know what that means: sequels, superheroes, and CGI spectacles. And my annual box office prediction game! Since 2013 I've tried to predict the top ten summer blockbusters to varying degrees of success. This year doesn't seem any easier, as it's always difficult to gauge how fatigued audiences are with certain franchises and what little gems could rise to the surface and become surprise hits. This fun prediction game rewards the accuracy with which you can guess where each summer movie will land on the box office charts. If you'd like to play along, read the points system below and leave your predictions in the comments section:

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