Monday, October 16, 2017

The Breakdown of 'Happy Death Day', 'The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)', 'The Foreigner', 'The Babysitter', and 'Kingdom of Us'

It is October so that means we need a horror movie in the cinemas, and The Breakdown serves up a review of the horror comedy that is a Groundhog Day style slasher, Happy Death Day. The horror comedy continues with a teenage coming age story mixed with slasher, The Babysitter. We also look at Noah Bambauch's latest in the family dramedy, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected). Then we move into the action territory with Jackie Chan's latest, The Foreigner and a documentary about a family dealing with their father's suicide, Kingdom of Us. As always if you enjoy the show then please spread the word.

Remember you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes.

The Breakdown Outline:

01:11 The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) review
26:08 Happy Death Day review
42:38 The Babysitter review 
1:05:06 The Foreigner review
1:22:49 Kingdom of Us review
1:39:10 Trailer Reviews: Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The New Mutants, Justice League, Blockers, Thoroughbreds
2:03:55 Box Office Analysis
2:12:02 Review Rundown

Star Rating Rundown:

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) **** (CS & SM)
Happy Death Day *** (CS)
The Babysitter ** (CS & SM)
The Foreigner ** (CS)
Kingdom of Us ***½ (CS & SM)

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Battle of the Blockbusters: Analyzing the New(ish) 'Justice League' and 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Trailers

The two biggest movies still to be released in 2017 dropped huge trailers this week in Justice League and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Both have been seen probably billions of times by now and been extensively analyzed by every major movie news web site, but they haven't been written about on this very minor blog. Both are major movie events with a salivating fan base, so both trailers were seen as big events on their own. As for the trailers, one did a great job on fuelling my excitement while leaving tons of questions (let it be clear, this is what a trailer is supposed to do) and the other wiped out the building excitement I started feeling over the summer. Find out which is which!

Justice League (November 17):

The fantastic Wonder Woman was a huge creative course correction for the DC cinematic universe.  Optimism for Justice League was high with hope DC now found the formula and that increased to huge levels when Joss Whedon was hired on to do reshoots. Many were very excited to see what he would add to the movie even if the circumstances behind it were quite sad (Zack Snyder needed to take time off to deal with the death of his son).

After seeing the latest trailer and what I assume the first to contain footage that would have Whedon's work in it, it is pretty clear this is still very much a Zack Snyder comic book movie. We have the return of annoying Snyderisms like the obsession with a metallic colour palate, endless mind-numbing explosions, and action sequences that deny any real world physics. The trailer has done nothing to take away my fears that in order to properly introduce the new characters like Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg to the point where you care about them while also telling the monster/alien/demon invasion story, properly explore the world grieving over Superman, and giving attention to the established character's arcs that this movie will clock in at about 8 hours. Or you know have individual movies for each character before doing a team-up movie, but I sense they may not have enough time for that.

I really dug the opening with the promise that Lois Lane may be a crucial character finally. The movie is actually going to really allow the death of Superman to sink in and be something that affects each character and have a huge impact on the world. It will make the previous events feel like they matter even if everyone including the original poster knows that Superman is coming back before the end credits. Amy Adams conveyed more emotion in this trailer than she was allowed in the previous two movies, so it gives me hope the drama will be more than just filler this time.

Wonder Woman though is back to being a side character in the this trailer, but the previous trailer make me think that is more just to usher in new footage, and I hope we get more than just Gal Gadot's millions dollar smile every few scenes.

There is also a sense of humour here. I like some of the one liners by Batman as he needs to adjust to his rather eccentric new recruits. Ezra Miller has a fun charisma and energy as the Flash, but it feels a little second string after already getting a lot of this routine from Spider-Man in the Marvel movies. Hopefully, there is something to make Barry Allen/Flash stand out other than he runs really fast and reminds us of a cheaper Peter Parker.

After the last trailer looked more polished, I'm back to being a bit hesitant on the CGI again. Maybe just the issue is that it is all just too much, too loud, and too bombastic. Sometimes this stuff does look way better on the big screen then squeezed on to my laptop. The other problem is it doesn't even look like they are planet earth, and most of it just seems like a nightmare Batman is having after downing too many late night lobster thermidors.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi:

Lucasfilm's has been really great with how they have handled the Star Wars trailers since reviving the franchise (as a series of new movies, because the franchise has been alive in books, cartoons, merchandise, and party napkins since 1977) by delivering a sparse amount of trailers for each movie compared to every other big heavyweight franchise that believes you need 140 trailers before release. This is only the second trailer released and has tons of new footage, but leaves even more questions rather than providing any answers to the many questions posed in the original trailer.

It looks like Rey is going to get a long training storyline with Luke Skywalker playing the role of Yoda this time. Unlike last time, the trainee freaks out the trainer. Luke mentions he only saw this much raw power once before and should have been afraid of it then, and it seems obvious to assume he is referencing Kylo Ren (but it could be misdirection). It looks like a major focus of this movie will be the connection and relation between Rey and Ren. It hints they are possibly the two people who are the most powerful ever with the Force. You get a sense it will be playing some deep cosmic connection between the two. It will also be interesting to see if Luke's comment about ending the Jedi that is shown in the original trailer comes before the training or after what I assume is Rey freaking him out with her powers. And does Luke abandon Rey, which causes her to flee to the arms of Ren and Snoke?

It definitely looks like Snoke channels Return of the Jedi's Emperor by trying to lure the hero to the dark side. The movie has enough well-crafted new characters who can take the lead role with Finn and Poe Dameron that there is a slight chance we could see Rey accept the hand of Ren and be swayed to the dark side by the end of this movie. I don't think that is the direction, but her being forced to choose sides looks to be a major storyline. I am really interested to see if the interaction with Ren and Rey plays out the way it is hinted in the trailer or if it is a splicing of separate scenes.

Many months ago, it was mentioned that General Leia Organa was originally scheduled to be the focus of the third movie, like how Han Solo was the focus of The Force Awakens and Luke Skywalker is the focus in this one. Sadly, that isn't going to happen with the passing of Carrie Fisher, and now the big question has been how they will write out Leia with the movie already shot before her passing. This trailer is definitely playing into that speculation with it looking like Ren blows up his mom's ship and kills her just like he murdered his father. He is not the best son. But this could also be a slick Jedi mind trick and it is just an editing of random scenes that look like they fit as one (yep, they seem to be doing that a lot in this trailer).

We also see Finn in action, which is nice because it means he isn't in a coma for the whole movie. Captain Phasma looks to be getting a much bigger role this time and will be rumbling with Finn, as that rivalry had seeds planted in the previous. I really hope Phasma gets a character and personality here, and we learn more about who she is in this world.

Not much Poe other than being stuck in crazy battles, and it looks like the Resistance takes some pretty massive hits and casualties here. With Luke having a bleak outlook, Leia potentially facing her demise, Rey being wooed to the dark sides, and lots of shots of good guys' ships exploding, you get the sense this will be going The Empire Strikes Back route with the heroes being left in a dismal situation by the end.

We also get peaks at some new creatures including some wolf-like things and a fuzzy little chubby guinea pig creature who looks to be Chewbacca's new co-pilot (apparently, it is called a porg). I'm cool with the very targeted at making stuffies for kids new character, because that has always been a Star Wars staple and the last targeted to sell toys to kids creation, BB-8 was adorable and worked. I'll let this fuzzball prove his worth. I should also note that I never had any hatred towards the Ewoks and they make me smile too, so this may be the wrong place for that type of hate.

This had the opposite effect of the Justice League trailer, I am somehow even more stoked and thrilled and geeked and excited for this movie. This was already by far my most anticipated movie of the year and I've so far loved the return to this world by giving the two recent movie both 4 stars (The Force Awakens landed number one on my Top 10 of 2015). Rian Johnson is one of my favourite filmmakers and has created fantastic movies, and I am excited to see what he can do with a huge budget and a universe adored by billions.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Internet is Back

Internet has been down since Friday over here at Spicer Manor. It has been rather stressful trying to get work done that is almost entirely done online while also trying to be prepared for this week's The Breakdown where most movies are watched on Netflix and the show is recorded over Skype. Luckily, I was able to gallivant over to my parent's house for an all-night movie binge and then record The Breakdown on Sunday morning. But I had to eventually go back home to the world that the internet forgot.

It was dark days where my laptop couldn't take me to Google or allow me quick research over at  Wikipedia. I was burning through my data plan on my iPhone in order to research and contact my clients. But the light of a fully working internet in my own home has returned and it is. . . glorious.

Monday, October 09, 2017

The Breakdown of 'Blade Runner 2049', 'My Little Pony: The Movie', 'The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson', 'XXX: Return of Xander Cage' and 'Berlin Syndrome'

The Breakdown is loaded up with five movie reviews this week. The big one is the hotly anticipated sequel to the sci-fi cult classic, Blade Runner 2049. It is also the continuation of Vintember with Vin Diesel's latest, XXX: Return of Xander Cage. Plus the Netflix Original documentary, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, the latest animated feature My Little Pony: The Movie, and the Australian thriller, Berlin Syndrome. As always if you love the show then please spread the word to other movie fans.

Remember you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes. While you are there, please give us a five star review if you enjoy the show.

The Breakdown Outline:

02:00 Blade Runner 2049 review
21:19 The Death and Life of Marsha P. Jouhnson review
34:45 xXx: Return of Xander Cage review
50:45 Berlin Syndrome review
1:06:06 My Little Pony: The Movie review
1:19:20 Box Ofice Analysis
1:31:16 Trailer Review: Pacific Rim Uprising,Roman J Isreal Esq.,Wonder Wheel, Replicas,Only the Brave 
1:45:35 Review Rundown

Rating Rundown:

Blade Runner 2049 ****
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson  ***½ (CS) & **½ (SM)
xXx: Return of Xander Cage ** (CS) & *½ (SM)
Berlin Syndrome ***½ (CS & SM)
My Little Pony: The Movie ** (CS)

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Breakdown is Thundercats are GO!

I did a little globetrotting, but I found myself a place to record The Breakdown while the internet remains a fantasy on the homefront. This means sadly that there won't likely be much writing or the Blade Runner 2049 review as I'll be burning the midnigh oil to prepare for the podcast, then it is back to the land that technology (or more specifically, Rogers) forgot.

Breakdown Warning

It may be a non issue in a few hours, but at the moment, technical issues are raging strong. So, this means the Blade Runner 2049 review continues to be delayed but also the Breakdown recording may need to be postponed, which means the show may not get posted Monday morning. I hope to avoid it but apologize now.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Pesky Technical Difficulties

Remember when The Breakdown was delayed due to some technical issues? Well, the Blade Runner 2049 review is set for the same delay because again technology hates me. Hope the issue is resolved quickly, but until then trust me that the movie is a shining example of what a sequel should deliver. Hope to write more when I do not have to type from my iPhone.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

20 Amazing Headlines You Will Never See on a Movie News (Clickbait) Site

There are many great, insightful, and deep articles written by talented writers for various movie sites. Sometimes those articles even get read by someone occasionally. The reality of social media and the fact that clicks mean money, articles often mean less about how smart and complex they are and more on how sexy is the headline. Often you get a headline that promises a shocking and exclusive revelation of events that happened on the set of The Last Jedi and then the article details the time John Boyega shared a ham and cheese sandwich with Daisy Ridley. Scintillating.

Now, I have a confession, my own little headline may have some clickbaity properties like the word 'Amazing' or you know the promise of a list, because the Facebookers love the lists. I am still confident that those big, popular movie sites will likely avoid the following twenty headlines.

1. Ten Actors Who Had Minor Disagreements with Other Actors That Did Not Lead to Any Disaster Just Like How You Sometimes Disagree with a Fellow Employee at Work

2. The Director That Has Been Rumoured and Reported Everywhere Else is in Fact Directing the Upcoming Blockbuster as You Already Knew

3. Here are Ten Movies that I Really Liked Watching This Year and Seven of Them are on Every Top Ten List You Have Already Read

4. Two Actors Who are Dating are Holding Hands Just Like Non-Actors and We Have a Picture to Prove It

5. A Movie of a TV Show or Toy or Video Game Might Get Made in the Next Few Years as Long as a Script can Get Written, Funding Can be Found, a Director Gets Hired, and Some Actors Cast

6. This Fifth Trailer of a Popular Upcoming Movie has Most of the Same Clips Shown in the Previous Trailers but Have Now Been Rearranged and Played to Led Zeppelin

7. Ten Times a Famous Actor Acted in Movies That We Liked

8. Top Twenty Times a Movie Got Made

9. Ten Times Actors and Directors Totally Got Along to Make Popular and Good Movies

10. Here Are Production Rumours on Movies That We Got Off Wikipedia and We Hope Are True

11. The Oral History of Yor the Hunter of the Future

12. Scientists Confirm that the Remake of Your Favourite 1980s Movie Will Indeed Not Murder or Burn or Murder Burn Your Childhood

13. Here are a Series of Movie Advertising Disguised as Interviews That We Did with Movie Stars Because the Movie Studio Gave Us Tons of Sweet Free Stuff

14. This Famous Actor May or May Not Star in This Popular Movie Slated to be Released in Three Years

15. Exclusive: That Movie You Love is Hated by Someone and That Movie You Hate is Loved by Someone

16. Sixteen Times Celebrities of Varying Popularity Ate Spaghetti at a Restaurant

17. Twenty 2017 Movies that if You're a Movie Buff (and Hey, You're on This Site so You Probably Are) That We're Pretending You Never Heard About but You've Likely Already Seen Ten of Them

18. You Probably Already Guessed but rhe Movie That Made a Billion Dollars is Making a Sequel Because Studios Like Money

19. An Exclusive and In-Depth Career Perspective of Carrot Top

20. Breaking News: Your Life Will Still Be Great Even if the New Marvel Movie is a Disappointment

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates, but Only One Gets Sold for Fundraisers

A child can never be too young to get hooked on capitalism. This is why Everett's school has him out selling chocolate bars in order to raise funds for different school programs. Everett has embraced the salesperson spirit on his first day with his box of chocolate treats by selling five to some of our neighbours. His award winning sales pitch was something like, "I'm selling chocolate bars for my school. If you buy enough I can win prizes. Don't you want me to get prizes?" Not the most traditional advertising route, but seems to be working. So, I'll add, seriously, don't you want this kid to win prizes?

Already posted a sales pitch on Facebook, but decided to take advantage of my blog readership by shilling some chocolates on this site. I realize, having over 80% of my readership living outside of Canada kind of hurts the chances of this being a goldmine sale, but this is targeted to those few living in or around the Brantford area. As long as I don't stuff all the chocolates in my pockets, they should keep real well if we may see each other over the next few months or so. Don't let some space between us stop me from hooking you up with the sweet sweet chocolate.

The deal is the chocolates are going for $3.00 a bar, as stated it goes towards programs and supplies for Everett's school. As Everett wants you to be reminded, if he sells enough then he gets some sweet prizes. And for such a good deed, you get sweet chocolate, so lots of sweetness for everyone.

In case you don't want to stare at the picture, the types are milk chocolate, French mint, crispy rice, caramel & sea salt (not bars but a box of smaller chocolates) and creamy maple (also the box of smaller chocolates). 

If you want to buy some then leave a comment here or on Facebook or you can contact me at christopher.d.spicer at the old gmail.