Category Archives: Books

My Favorite Scene: Watchmen (2009) “Opening Credits”

Watchmen is a polarizing film, just as it has been a polarizing graphic novel since its release in 1986.  The only graphic novel to make Time Magazine’s 100 Best Books of All-Time, Watchmen is a dense, dense piece of work that lends itself to multiple readings.  It has so much happening in every panel, on every page, that a movie adaptation of it was never going to please everyone.  Despite my problems with Zack Snyder recently, I happen to think he did about as good a job making a film out of Watchmen as is humanly possible (with the exception of casting Malin Ackerman as Silk Spectre, because she is painfully awful).  HBO is going to adapt the series in a much more decompressed format, and that may please more people, but I really admire Snyder’s film.  HBO is going to be hard-pressed to find a better Rorschach than Jackie Earle Haley.

The graphic novel spans generations and one of the most brilliant things Snyder did was, after the iconic opening murder of The Comedian (Jeffery Dean Morgan) was to have this five-minute credit sequence that traced the entire history of The Minutemen from their glory days to the current status quo.  It sets the tone for the whole film and contains SO much information SO efficiently handed out to the audience, that even though Watchmen is an extremely long film (depending on what cut you’re watching), this probably shaved 40 minutes of exposition off of the theatrical cut.  Also a little Dylan never hurt anything.  I can’t think of another film where the credits are my favorite scene, but in Watchmen, they are just that brilliantly done.Billy Crudup, Jackie Earle Haley, Patrick Wilson and Jeffery Dean Morgan in Watchmen

Ready Player One Trailer #3 (2018) “Come With Me”

Ready Player One is a book I loved, and I have never felt that any of the trailers that have been presented for Steven Spielberg’s upcoming adaptation of the book felt like they were on point, and that continues with the final trailer, which is an homage to the Willy Wonkaesque quest that players will go on in the OASIS to find the hidden keys.  I have no confidence in Steven Spielberg as a director anymore, either as a serious film maker or a crafter of the kind of blockbusters he created as a the driving financial force in Hollywood.  There seems way more emphasis on Easter Eggs and cameos in this trailer than the actual plot, which is more than enough to sell the story.  If they’d pushed The Iron Giant this much before his own movie, more people would have seen that animated classic.  He’s gotten more screen time than the plot.  I hope I’m wrong, but I think this film is going to go horribly off the rails.  Ready Player One opens in March 29, 2018.

Set in the near future, Ready Player One follows outcast teenager Wade Watts (Sheridan), who escapes from his bleak surroundings by logging in to the OASIS, a globally networked virtual utopia where users can lead idyllic alternate lives. When eccentric billionaire who created the OASIS dies, he offers up his vast fortune as the prize in an elaborate treasure hunt. Along with gamers from around the world, Wade joins the adventure, and quickly finds himself pitted against powerful corporate foes and other ruthless competitors who will do anything, in the oasis or the real world, to reach the treasure first. The film stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cook, Leticia Wright, Mark Rylance, Simon Pegg, and Ben Mendelsohn.
Ready Player One Poster

Movie Review: Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018) “Every Maze Has An End”

Dylan O'Brien in Maze Runner: The Death Cure
The Maze Runner trilogy has been an enjoyable ride from its opening film (which is outstanding) through The Scorch Trials (which I think served as a good bridge film) now to its conclusion in The Death Cure.  Neither final film was able to deliver as good a story as the opening entry, and since this is the rare occasion where I waited to read the books until after the series was finished, I can’t tell you how faithful the adaptation is to James Dashner’s novels, but I think they stand as a good, sometimes great, action adventure trilogy.  If The Death Cure isn’t quite as perfect as end as I might have hoped, it is definitely an end, delivering some great sequences, surprises, and overcoming a bloated run time. Continue reading Movie Review: Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018) “Every Maze Has An End”

I Kill Giants Trailer #1 (2018) *Coward or Warrior?*

I Kill Giants is one of the best graphic novels of the last decade, and Joe Kelly has adapted his award-winning tale for the screen.  I love the look of the trailer.  It really captures Barbara’s odd ferocity and sets you up for finding out what her story really is.  It has a lot of themes in common with last year’s spectacular A Monster Calls, and debuted at film festivals late last year, but will go wide in theaters this March.

“I Kill Giants” tells the story of a young misfit girl named Barbara (Wolfe) battling both real and imaginary monsters in her life. Joe Kelly, who wrote the award winning graphic novel he created with illustrator Ken Niimura, has also written the screenplay adaptation. Saldana will play school psychologist Mrs. Mollé, who plays a key role by helping Barbara face both internal and external threats, forming an inspiring bond with her in the process
Read more at http://www.comingsoon.net/movie/i-kill-giants-2017#sL1bf7fJbVZ4vGfH.99

Jennifer Ehle in I Kill Giants

My Favorite Scene: Moneyball (2011) “That’s What Losing Sounds Like”

If you’re not a baseball fan and you’ve never watched Moneyball because of that, here’s a great piece of news: it’s not really a baseball film; it’s a film about economics.  Wait.  No.  That doesn’t make it sound more exciting.  Moneyball by Michael Lewis is a book that changed the way baseball is viewed by fans and baseball personnel.  It attempted to explain how the Oakland A’s, a team with a payroll a fraction of the size of, say, the Yankees, Red Sox, or Dodgers, is consistently in contention for a spot in the World Series.  The answer is: they don’t sign players or people; they sign numbers.

The Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane became the disciple of a formula that looks for players who simply get on base.  Getting on base produces runs; runs produce wins.  Moneyball is the story of his crusade to change how baseball is run, and only Michael Lewis, who is the best writer on economic matters to people who have no understanding of economics (hi), and Aaron Sorkin, who can make any subject compelling and fun, could have put together a movie version of that crusade that is riveting.  It’s one of Brad Pitt’s best performances, as Beane fighting the entirety of the A’s to make his vision work, and one of the film’s best scenes comes before things start to click and he stumbles upon an upbeat locker room after another loss that Beane knows he’s going to have to answer for to everyone.Moneyball Poster