Monday, May 16, 2016

Twitter Thoughts—April 2016 Week 3

Featuring the films and show:
The Jungle Book (2016) ***½
Brooklyn Nine-Nine, season 3 (23 23-min. eps. 2015-2016) ****
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) ***½
Can’t Stop the Music (1980) no stars

Ah man! I have fallen behind again. This site has gone into the crapper, but I’m doing it, man.  I’m blaming the two year old. If I have any readers left, you’re just going to have to hang with me until he’s… I don’t know… 12? Anyway, These were the non-Ebertfest movies I watched and a TV season I finished during the two weeks I was watching the Ebertfest films.

I thought the latest live action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” was quite impressive. I really wasn’t sure what to think going into it. I didn’t think it looked good from the trailers, but the early buzz was that it was great. I loved the Disney animated version and just didn’t know what to think about seemingly live action animals talking. It’s the lowest form of family filmmaking.

I was struck while watching these animals talk to each other as if it’s actually something that happens in nature that CGI has come so far that it’s wrong to look at a movie like this as a live action movie. This is an animated movie, almost entirely. It uses actual live action elements with the frequency and artistry of the cartoon elements of the original “Pete’s Dragon”, another live action animated update coming from Disney this fall. But it’s the live element that is really foreign here and needs to be assimilated to the CGI we’re seeing, which has become just as dramatically artistic as hand drawn animated movies once were. The CGI here is remarkable.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Twitter Thoughts—Ebertfest 2016

Featuring the films:
The Third Man (1949) ****
Crimson Peak (2015) ***
Grandma (2015) ****
Eve’s Bayou (1997) ***½
L’inhumaine  (1924) ***½
Northfork (2003) ***½
Body and Soul (1925) ***½
Love & Mercy (2015) ****
Blow Up (1980) ***½

I watched as many of the movies featured during the Roger Ebert Film Festival, as I do every year. One day I’ll make it back, but until then I’ll have to make do with streaming and rental services. I was not able to see the movies presented at this year’s festival that are still scheduled to be released this year. Those include the unofficial festival opener, “Everybody Wants Some!!”, but I have no doubt I will catch up with that one and the others I missed as soon as they become available to me.

I opened my Ebertfest with Carol Reed’s post-WWII thriller “The Third Man”. Part of my own collection of films, I’m surprised it took Ebertfest 18 years to get to this one. It’s a film that has been analyzed ad nauseam, so I won’t attempt one here. Instead I’d like to discuss its unusual score comprised entirely of zither music composed and performed by Anton Karas. It’s an unusual sound for a thriller. At first it seems almost out of place, like it belongs in a much more lighthearted plot. As the movie goes along, however, the music informs its unique feel. “The Third Man” is no ordinary thriller as it depends more on the absence of its threat than the presence of one. The zither music eventually becomes an identifying factor of the film’s unique feel and impact. While it seems alien and strange at first, by the final fade out, it’s hard to imagine any other type of music accompanying this story and these images.