Extended Editions: Extending Our Wallets?

The critical consensus is that Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice was negative. However Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice was, I fear, the inadvertent catalyst for something ten times worse than the movie itself:

Extended editions that are hyperextended.

You probably don’t know what I mean. I’ll explain the shift from extended editions then to extended editions now. Then I’ll explore how people might react should these ridiculous cuts be a normality.

Extended Editions Then

 

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“Hey our movies were awesome, lets put in some extra stuff just to please our hardcore fans” 

 

Extended editions have existed for decades and normally, the extra scenes are easter eggs for fans of a movie. They normally don’t add anything to the plot, character development or even the action. The added scenes were there for fans to enjoy. There were exceptions like Blade Runner and Once Upon a Time in America but normally, that’s the status quo.

I personally didn’t care about that one way or the other. I never buy a movie just to see what was left out. I usually buy a movie to watch what I already saw because what I saw was magnificent. But hey, at least the studio throws a bone to those people who want it.

Extended Editions Now.

 

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“Rats, we messed up. Let us try to fix it with the footage that we had in the first place.”

 

Now, with the extended editions of 2016, it seems that it needs to improve on the story, character development, and plot. It is like remaking the film just to make the story clearer which they should have done the first time. It has happened to Batman vs. Superman, Ghostbusters, and Suicide Squad.

I believe, especially with Batman vs. Superman, that they made the extended editions with the intention to please the fans of the franchise. What I am deathly worried about is studios catching and extended editions of that nature will be a trend by major film studios purely to fix filmmaking errors. There is a strong financial incentive to do it as it could be the defibrillator that boosts their DVD and Blu-ray sales in a dying market. If that is the case, consumers will lose in such a huge way.

There is a strong financial incentive to do it as it could be the defibrillator that boosts their DVD and Blu-ray sales in a dying market. If that is the case, consumers will lose in such a huge way.

Possible Consumer Reactions

If studios decide to take this route (and that isn’t a huge if) what I wonder is how consumers would react to it. There is a multitude of consumer reactions that could happen. I’ll start from the worst possible reaction and end at the best possible reaction

1. Consumers only accept extended editions

 

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The only benefit to this (aside from the home video market) is we may not need to see those cringeworthy “Thank You” ads that you can’t bloody skip.

 

If consumers decide to only accept the extended editions of films when they come out on disc or online distribution the cinema is going to really suffer. I can see why people would do that. People could conclude that if the best cut won’t be in cinemas then there would be no point in going there.

I know some online critics on YouTube who has whimsically said “I wonder when the extended edition of this will come out” almost with their eyes rolling. It tells me that people are losing faith with the movie makers and the studios. It also tells me that people perceive the cinematic release of movies as second-rate compared to the redone version.

2. Consumers Fall into Sheep mentality and jump on the bandwagon.

 

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I will be a sad man if this is the consumer mentality in the future

 

This isn’t as bad as the first scenario as people will still be going to the cinema but it’s not great either. As any business would normally do a lot of things to make a profit, it will not hesitate if consumers decide to watch a deliberately, poorly made movie only to buy the movie when it comes out.

Consumers may feel left out if their friends are talking about the movie before they have seen it. They may watch a poorly made movie to get involved in the conversation. This means that people might pay twice the money for half the enjoyment knowing that what they see in the cinemas isn’t the studio’s best work.

3. Consumer Boycott (or the threat of one)

This scenario is the one I am would look forward to because consumers would have decided they don’t want to be ripped off. Studios would then have to respond quickly to consumers. They will stop the “deleting key scenes in movies to only put them in later” routine.

At the end of the day…

I don’t know what will go down in the future. I am not a fortune teller. I am not saying that studios are undergoing this type of direction but it is certainly possible and it is not as farfetched as it once seemed. I hope that it doesn’t happen. I would like to know what you guys think about this potential issue and if you think it will happen. At least there isn’t a Transformers: Age of Extinction Extended Edition wondering around.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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Written by Nelson Cumming

J.K. Rowling has decided to make the transition from an author to a screenwriter, at least for her own book. Is she as good a screenwriter as she is an author?

Well, I think she is a good comedic writer no doubt. I mean that with sincerity. Everything that is meant to be funny is, in fact, funny. The slapstick with the animals (specifically the gem seeking Niffler) provided some comic relief which is backed up by Dan Fogler who plays the only no-maj (a muggle) in the wizarding world who blunders his way through the wizarding world. Fogler was the best performance in the film bar none.

Rowling is also a good writer in expressing the themes and ideas she wishes to explore. A lot of the themes in this movie revolve around political powerplay, divided societies, isolation and repression. She presents that aspect of the story during the first third of the film. I was highly anticipating how it would progress and conclude.

…and then the cliff came.

The one major letdown this film has is that it never comes full circle. All the themes I have mentioned Rowling illustrates. But she doesn’t really progress those ideas further and with all the separate elements of the plot, they never come together.

The subplots: An outline

Without spoiling it. The first thirty minutes is basically plot progression which illustrates the society of witches and no-majs and how divided they are. There no-majs want to eradicate wizards and break their wands. Wizards are forced underground to practice their magic and live with each other.

After that there are comedy skits with the beasts and that element of the story is barely mentioned again. That was disappointing. A subplot involving a boy called Credence and the main antagonist Percival Graves (Colin Farrell) That plot element focused on powerplay, manipulation, isolation, and fear. Yet that subplot doesn’t get a proper emotional payoff by the conclusion.

Rowling also wants the kids to have a good time as well because she wants to show all the beasts that get released and the comedic elements in catching them. The goes for the cuteness factor as well with all the animals. Expect girls and kids to say “awwww”

An Archery Analogy

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Arrows represent the themes and elements to every film. Left is a 5 star movie that hits you to the core. Right was Fantastic Beasts. Yes, they hit, but the elements are never together.

So you can imagine how frustrating it is when all these elements appear in their own scenes but never really come together. This also affected plot progression, traveling from one idea, leaving it behind, and moving on to the next.

All the elements that Rowling decides to dabble into works. That is enough for me to be entertained. But what Fantastic Beasts really suffers from a lack of putting all the plot threads and thematic elements together. That was disappointing for me. It wasn’t about what the story did, it’s what it didn’t do. ***1/4

P.S. The final reveal sucked. It didn’t make sense in both the story and the internal logic in the story.

Everybody Wants Some!!

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Out of all the current great directors out there I know very little about Richard Linklater. After some research and finding out he is one of the biggest indie directors of America, I did feel stupid. I have even seen a couple of his movies.

Nevertheless, his Everybody Wants Some!! feels exactly like Animal House. It’s about these college baseball players having fun in a college dorm before the term begins in three days and pays homage to the eighties while it does it.

I felt this movie was just dabbling in Linklater’s youth. The focus was not really on the story so much as the concept of the situation. It was like “What were the funniest, most memorable things I did in the eighties?” and he put it together in film form.

Don’t believe me? Well, the movie title with the two exclamation points at the end is an homage to Van Halen; The college guys go to parties with a variety of cultural groups. They include country party, a punk party, a dance party and a house party. There is a pothead speaking philosophically about music and there is a costume/ roleplay party.

All of this is good because all of the characters are not assholes.

There is one character in it played by Glen Powell. He really makes the movie work. He is a supporting character who is a rare combination of funny, sleazy and open-minded. He is a frat boy with the one ultimate goal in mind: to have the time of his life no matter how stupid or idiotic it would sound.

That is the heart of this movie.

There is also a romantic subplot that works but it really feels secondary compared to the main plot.

While the movie takes it sweet time sometimes and slow down in momentum, there is always a scene in Everybody Wants Some that always pick it back up. While I don’t think it teaches anyone anything and sometimes the story is a little off-kilter there is always bright spots and 80’s nostalgia that makes Everybody Wants Some!! feel organic. ***

Cabin Fever (2016) Review

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Cabin Fever is one of the laziest movies I have ever seen. It feels as cheap as the movie poster that it’s advertised upon. I wrote in my review of Oujia that it was a pleasantly surprising like a four-year-old who colours in a picture inside the lines with shading. Cabin Fever is like a kid who couldn’t be bothered to colour the picture in their colouring in a book so the mother photocopied the image and claimed it was their child’s work.

Yes, that paragraph is more allegorical as it seems. You see Cabin Fever is a remake of Eli Roth’s own movie shot-for-shot from a director called Travis Z. That should ring alarm bells. It’s even worse considering Roth’s original was a terrible movie in the first place.

Because of that, I don’t mind spoiling the whole movie for you. This movie is about a group of teenagers that rent out a cabin by a lake. Throughout the film there a people bleeding all over the place, which is the fever hinted at in the title (the blood looked like paint). Slowly, the teenagers get infected and most of them die until the main protagonist realizes the disease exists solely in the water.

Warning: Basic Film-making Errors Abound

Now aside from the blatant ripoff of Eil Roth ripping off his own movie, you also have to see the DVD menu of this movie (Yes I rented. I do things old school) On the DVD menu it has the same picture of the woman weeping bleed but with the cottage and the colours are washed out (not to build the suspense. It just looks bland). The only option I could select is “Play Feature”. That’s right. No “Set Up” no “Special Features” and not even “Scene Selection”. Just “Play Feature”. If “Play Feature” the only option it begs the question “Why is there a title card in the first place”

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I am not kidding. This is a screenshot of the title card. I have never seen a title card so cheap-looking and tacky.

The way I have described the setup for this movie sounds attractive for the people who are into campy “so-bad-it’s-good” movies. If only it were that interesting. That’s because Cabin Fever is made just competently enough that there are no intentional laughs in its cinematic ineptitude. The acting is atrocious, yet it is so bland that I couldn’t laugh at it, The “scares” in the movie are not scary at all, and the music is always amplified when a “scary scene” comes up. The only reason I could identify there was a scary scene was because of the music.

Oh and speaking of music, Cabin Fever puts loud distorted music with no build up. Sometimes it was during scenes where the sketchy characters were exchanging dialogue. The music was muffling out the sounds and the words the characters were making. I went for the subtitles, but wouldn’t you know there are no subtitles available.

The Causalities

Cabin Fever is the laziest movie of the year. No question. It’s even lazier than comedies where the actors improvise. It’s even lazier than Norm of the North. This movie is not scary, nor entertaining, nor is it written well. It even goes so far to somehow mess up the sound and it’s too lazy to even have “Scene Selection” on its title menu. It is such a terrible cash grab from Eli Roth and he even failed at that. This movie only grossed approximately $40,000. It has a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Cabin Fever is one of the rare films where absolutely no one wins and everyone loses. It is a void-like abyss. There is nothing on the screen to like and it’s not even because it was too gory (The gory scenes looked so fake that I didn’t care). Cabin Fever has gone beyond the realms of terrible and has made itself irredeemable in the lazy film making atrocity that was passed off as a theatrical release -***

The Conjuring 2 Review

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Written by Nelson Cumming

The Conjuring 2 is a rare movie that will be loved by many viewing circles equally. Director James Wan has a little bit of the Hitchcockian psyche in terms of the spirit and enthusiasm in making horror movies and experimenting with them.

The reason being is because Wan did not go the ABC route of a horror story. While The Conjuring 2 is linear, it changes the order of things that kept it interesting and fresh. One of the things The Conjuring 2 does is great character development before the final act. While I think it’s generally bad for movies to do this, Wan made it believable.

Like Ouija: Origin of Evil, the movie revolves around a little girl called Janet who gets possessed through playing with an Ouija board. Even though Madison Wolfe is good at playing Janet, The Conjuring 2 does not solely rely on her to make The Conjuring 2 as good as it is.

Instead, there is a cast that all have good parts to play that added to the story. Most important were paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga respectively) who, along with a journalist Maurice Grosse, are the only people who believe the family’s story of a demonic spirit. Because of the shared belief system, the relationship between the characters grow. Wan, as I have already mentioned, lets this play out.

The other great thing about The Conjuring 2 is it never runs out of ideas. A horror movie at 130 minutes is rare and there are about seven horror scenes that are almost like set pieces. Each scene was different and they went in between five and ten minutes making every scene feel like a story in of itself.

The movie was really scary because of Wan’s deliberate offbeat timing. He knows the spots where you expect the scares to come and does the jump scare a couple of seconds later. That way when I started to relieve myself, thinking nothing scary happened is when Wan strikes us.

The only real problem I have with the Conjuring 2 was pacing issues. The first 40 minutes is a mixture of good horror scenes interspersed with a boring plodding story development. At 130 minutes, the filmmakers could have easily cut 20 minutes off. It would have been a cleaner, tighter film.

Overall I cannot put much crap on The Conjuring 2. The last hour was incredible. I cannot believe just how well it was made with the way James Wan did it. Wan is confident in his abilities and it shows on the screen. It is a great film for Halloween if you pass the 40-minute mark. ****

November to Remember

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There is a heavenly experience up top and a hellish experience at the bottom.

 

Some Studio Information: The more you know

If there in anytime for a movie critic and a casual goer to go to the movies it is the months of November to December for two reasons:

  1. People have holidays during this time and movie studios know that we are more likely to spend money. In other words, studios put on their biggest blockbuster movies that they know are good and cost a hell of a lot of money to make. This gives them a sizable profit
  2. Award ceremonies like the Academy Awards are up and around the corner. Studios decide to release their most compelling works at this time. Is is so award voters have these spectacular movies fresh in their minds by voting time.

For reason one, that is why last year movies like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Spectre and Mockingjay were released

And is it a coincidence that movies like Brooklyn, The Revenant, The Big Short, Creed, Joy, Anomalisa, and Room were all released during that time of the year? I don’t think so.

November to Remember: A Commemoration

In commemoration for this time of the year, I am going to review one movie per day. All these movies were past releases in 2016 that I had missed that were either critically acclaimed or critically panned. The idea being that the movies are either so good or so bad that I won’t be able to forget it. Oh and also I will be reviewing movies that are coming around during the month of November.

That way it will be a November to Remember.

The Schedule

For the first week will be commemorating the event of Halloween so expect to see some good and bad thrillers/horror movies in this box.

1/11/16: 10 Cloverfield Lane

2/11/16: Green Room

3/11/16: Cabin Fever

4/11/16: The Conjuring 2

5/11/16: Ouija Origin of Evil

6/11/16: The Accountant

7/11/16: Hacksaw Ridge

The second-week will cover some comedies. Some that are comedies and others that are alleged comedies

8/11/16: Everybody Wants Some!!!

9/11/16: Cafe Society

10/11/16: Hunt for the Wilderpeople

11/11/16: Amateur Night

12/11/16: Norm of the North

13/11/16: Arrival

14/11/16: Fifty Shades of Black

 

The Third Week will consist of a lot of interesting movies in general

15/11/16: Tale of Tales

16/11/16: When Marnie was There

17/11/16: The Fifth Wave

18/11/16: Criminal

19/11/16: Where to Invade Next

20/11/16: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

21/11/16: Maggie’s Plan

 

The Final days will consist of the best of the best

22/11/16: Trumbo

23/11/16: (I don’t know yet. I’ll think of something)

24/11/16: Hell or High Water

25/11/16: The Founder

26/11/16: Bad Santa 2

27/11/16: Eye in the Sky

28/11/16: The Lobster

29/11/16: Son of Saul

30/11/16: Room

Obviously, the schedule is subject to change. There is a lot of shifting gears. I have prewritten a fair few of them but not all. If I happen to see a film that blows me away it will be moved into the final week of course 🙂

And that is pretty much it.