Posts Tagged ‘hollywood’

Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood – One Possible Interpretation

Posted 31 Jul 2019 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, UK / USA / China, 2019

Written and Directed by Quentin Tarantino

In all that has already been written and said about Quentin Tarantino’s latest (and supposedly penultimate) movie, one thing that comes up again and again is the surprisingly disrespectful way in which the character of Bruce Lee (Mike Moh) is portrayed. His one really crucial scene sees him being arrogant toward stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), who is doing guest work on the Green Hornet series, ultimately taking him on in a “friendly” sparring match. Cliff holds his own, which seems improbable, to say the least. One function of this scene is to foreshadow Cliff’s abilities in a later, more serious fight scene, but I believe there is something more to it. In fact, this scene may be the key to really understanding the entire movie.  Read More

Pet Sematary – The Soil Is Still Stony, If Not Quite So Rich

Posted 10 Apr 2019 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews

By Ezra Stead

Pet Sematary, USA, 2019

Directed by Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer

I would never recommend reading a movie review without having first seen the movie in question for yourself, but I would also never dream of spoiling the plot of a movie I review without providing a fair warning. So if you are somehow unfamiliar with the basics of Pet Sematary (come on, you’ve had thirty years to see the original movie, and thirty-five to read the book – what are you even doing with your life?), consider this your warning to stop right here and rectify that.
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Ezra’s Spooktober 2018 – Year Of The King

Posted 25 Oct 2018 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay

By Ezra Stead 

As always, I’m far from finished watching scary movies for the month of October, and we won’t be covering everything I’ve watched this month, for the sake of your time and my sanity. In brief, I’ve caught up on some classic franchise entries (Stepfather IIDamien: Omen IIHalloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers), checked out some newer gems like this year’s The Endless and Terrifier, and revisited some old favorites, including five generally less-loved Stephen King adaptations, which is what we’re going to focus on here.

Stephen King’s Children of the Corn (1984) is not exactly a critically beloved film, but it has managed to spawn eight sequels and a 2009 TV-movie, which is pretty impressive considering the original short story that started it all runs about thirty pages in total. Meanwhile, King’s Dark Tower series, a sprawling saga that runs well over 4,000 pages, got a disappointing 90-minute film adaptation last year. As William Goldman (screenwriter of, among many others, Misery and Dreamcatcher) famously said regarding Hollywood decision-making, “Nobody knows anything.” Anyway, in this writer’s opinion, Children of the Corn is a very enjoyable B-movie worth revisiting, especially for all the scenes that really forefront the very creepy kids. Courtney Gains is especially fun to watch as Malachi, he of the most hateful face in all of cinema. Just look at that scowling bastard up there. Awesome.  Read More

Sorry To Bother You – A Fascinating Mess

Posted 28 Jul 2018 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead 

Sorry to Bother You, USA, 2018

Written and Directed by Boots Riley

It is often lamented by casual movie fans that “Hollywood has run out of ideas.” In fact, the seeming lack of originality in the mainstream movie pool has more to do with a fear of taking chances on those new ideas, which certainly do exist. Why gamble when you can pretty much guarantee a huge opening weekend with a sequel to, or adaptation of, an already beloved existing property? With that in mind, it’s rather amazing that this debut feature from writer-director Boots Riley, a founding member of legendary Hip-Hop group The Coup, ever got greenlit. I mean this in both a good way – because Sorry to Bother You is full of original ideas, sharp satire, and great performances – and in a somewhat more negative way, because it often feels so overstuffed with interesting concepts that it can’t possibly come together as a wholly satisfying, coherent narrative.  Read More

Surprise Dinosaurs! Can Make Any Movie Better

Posted 14 Jul 2018 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay

By Ezra Stead

On the cult-classic two-season animated sitcom The Critic (R.I.P.), one of the half-dozen or so fake movie clips recycled in the opening credits throughout the series depicts a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers-style black-and-white ballroom dancing scene suddenly interrupted by a full-color Tyrannosaurus Rex devouring the dancing couple. The show’s protagonist, Jay Sherman (voiced by Jon Lovitz), responds with his usual catchphrase (“It stinks!”), but every time this particular clip comes up, I can’t help but think he’s dead wrong about it. That would clearly be one of the greatest movies ever made, because nothing can improve literally any movie like the sudden, unexpected appearance of a prehistoric creature or two. In other words: surprise dinosaurs!  Read More

The 4 Most Essential Gangster Movies For Understanding Rap Lyrics

Posted 27 Mar 2018 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay

By Ezra Stead 

More than any other type of songwriting, rap lyrics are peppered with pop culture references, from movies to cars to sports to fashion to other rap songs. Of the movie references, no genre is more popular than the gangster movie (the most popular non-gangster movie references are probably The MatrixStar Wars and, thanks mainly to the Wu-Tang Clan, various kung fu movies). The classic gangster movie narrative of rising to great power from humble means via violent crime and the drug trade has a special resonance with many of the great canonical rappers of Hip-Hop’s Golden Age who found a similar path via rapping about the violent crime and drug trade that they either witnessed in the streets or, in many cases, actively participated in. Beyond that, violent crime has an undeniable entertainment value, whether in movies or in music. Once you’ve seen these four movies, you’ll have a lot better understanding of the references in rap lyrics, though I can’t really help you with the sports, car, or fashion ones.  Read More

Dr. Seuss’ How Ron & Jim Ruined Christmas

Posted 16 Dec 2017 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, USA/Germany, 2000

Directed by Ron Howard

Several times while watching the Ron Howard-directed How the Grinch Stole Christmas, I found myself wondering, “Who is this even for?” At 105 minutes, it’s a bit on the long side for kids small enough to actually enjoy Jim Carrey’s manic, over-the-top turn as the title character, and the whole thing is far too ugly and irritating for older kids, let alone adults. On the other hand, my niece (aged six) and nephew (aged ten) say they love it, and it was released long enough ago that I also have adult friends who remember it fondly. I do know who it’s not for, however, and that is the grumpy old Grinch writing this review, as this is decidedly a Movie I Didn’t Get.  Read More