As trendy as it is to bash DC movies, I have to admit in 2017, DC has improved considerably from 2016. They have addressed a lot (not all) of my complaints about Batman vs. Superman and Suicide Squad. Because of this, Justice League is entertaining enough for me to watch, but not enough for me to get pumped up for the franchise. I am not convinced they have “Found their stride” for a lack of a better term.
Watching Justice League, I noticed that they took a lot of the critical consensus from last year into account. That is admirable. The tone was not as murky and depressing as Batman vs. Superman, it is not overly zany and jarring as Suicide Squad. The character development still needs work (especially Cyborg) but it was miles better than Suicide Squad just to name a few critiques.
What I ultimately got out of Justice League was a basic plot that was easy to understand and mildly entertaining. It is the kind of movie you would watch to pass the time. Sometimes that is all a movie aspires to be, which I am fine with. Justice League has more ambition than that. The end product is not good enough be an outstanding superhero movie that you would expect or want. It’s just another superhero movie.
To put in perspective how ordinary it is, the villain is the most generic villain ever. He is called Steppenwolf and his movie is to destroy the world, Why? Who knows. I bet you have never heard of a movie villain like that before! He aims to destroy the world through the unification of three boxes that represent power. One box is protected by the Amazonians, another box is protected by the Atlantians and the third box is protected by humans.
Another thing about Justice League you may need to know is that it’s entirely the Superman show. Justice League shows you how omnipotent he really is. In Superman’s first fight sequence, it goes to show how insignificant the rest of the superheroes are. The rest of the characters have some form of inner conflict or vulnerability, but Justice League does not follow through with them, making them small insignificant in comparison to Superman. At least they all want to work together this time.
When I first saw Wonder Woman, I felt it was a great launching platform for a bigger movie down the line. Justice League is not that bigger movie down the line, even though it aspires to be. Nevertheless, it is a step up from BvS and Suicide Squad purely because it addresses a lot of what annoyed me about those movies. However, if you wanted an epic movie where well-developed superheroes united to fight a well-developed villain, well, you would want more than what Justice League gives you. ⭐⭐3/4
Guardians of the Galaxy is one of those movies where positive reception from fans and critics alike was a near-certainty. Guardians of the Galaxy is one of those films people will look back on because it was an innovator especially for 2014. Guardians of the Galaxy mostly works because of the humor, drama, and likability of characters which is what drew me into liking this film.
The plot: Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) steals an orb that has the power to destroy life in order to sell for cash (not knowing the powerful nature of the orb at the time). This gets him in a tangle with bounty hunters Groot (Vin Diesel), Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Drax (Dave Bautista) who have to work with each other to defeat a bigger enemy called Ronan
The plot summarized: I am Groot
I liked Guardians of the Galaxy. Did I love it? I’m not so sure. What I credit Guardians of the Galaxy in doing is getting a film containing a multi-star cast over with critics and audiences and myself as that is a tough task to accomplish. I also appreciate it for being innovative by being a superhero movie that wins the audience through humor while mixing in a tinge of drama. In most superhero movies pre- Guardians of the Galaxy that was the other way round.
The problem is, I am watching Guardians of the Galaxy for the first time in 2017 is that I have seen many superhero movies doing exactly the same thing: Using wacky jokes in order to be liked. Power Rangers,Suicide Squad, The Lego Batman Movie, and Deadpool have also tried to succeed by using lots of in-jokes and meta humor to varying degrees of success. Still, I would rank Guardians of the Galaxy second behind Deadpool out of the movies that I mentioned. That’s a good ranking considering the other movies could have refined what Guardians of the Galaxy paved.
I liked the meta humor to a point. That point was reached when the would be a dramatic point in a conflict in which one of the main characters (mainly Peter) would interject by saying jokes when I thought it was unnecessary as it patronized the main villain Ronan. It watered down the payoff of key fight scenes in the movie. It made me believe that the heroes were not taking the main antagonist Ronan seriously. If the Guardians of the Galaxy treat the villain like a joke, I see no reason to take the threat seriously and therefore I don’t care for the Guardian’s fates. It felt like the movie was selling itself short.
What wasn’t sold short was everything else in the movie from the character development of all four Guardians of the Galaxy as a cohesive unit from bounty hunters who are all in for themselves to the bonding through grief in order to work together and destroy the villain. The emotional payoffs of the four characters worked and made me want to see them fight and win.
The special effects were wild and beautiful to look at most of the time. Marvel have this thing nailed down where they show a lot of colors and shades in their special effects and you never feel like you are drenched in it. Doctor Strange, in my opinion, is still the best superhero movie for the GCI that it had, but Guardians is yet again a close second. It adds a lot of life to the movie and it’s always got me in wanting to see it.
So, Guardians of the Galaxy is not as perfect as what people made me believe, but I am still happy with the final product. Like a lot of three-star movies I give, all they need is some refining and it would have gone a long way with my enjoyment of it. Still, like any three-star movie, I cannot deny I enjoyed it ***3/4
People have done various videos and blogs before on how to maximize your chances on winning your very own Academy award. However, most of the videos and blogs that I have seen have these tips that are exclusive to acting.
For my list, I will like to create tips on how to win an Academy from a variety of eligible categories. I will give tips on not only the actors but for writers, editors, cinematographers and other professions in the film industry if acting is not for you.
1. Bear little resemblance to what you look like
For all three Academy Awards that Daniel Day-Lewis has won, not once did he look like himself. For My Left Foot, he played an unkempt, unshaven man with cerebral palsy. In There Will Be Blood, he played a nineteenth-century mining prospector who fancied a mustache and his face covered in dirt, sweat, and grime. In Lincoln, he played Abraham Lincoln.
Lots of actors and actress undergo physical transformations to fit in with the consistent or setting within a movie. However, the largest physical transformations occur when an actor does a biopic. This ties into the second tip.
2. Be in a True Story
To any person that is watching a movie, they will notice an actor’s talent in a biopic for two reasons. The first one is that they know the character beforehand and so they have a frame of reference on how the actor should perform. The second reason is that you would have known all the mannerisms and attitudes the character would have had because you also have a frame of reference on the person.
Biopics are also good for directors and studios that are looking for the best picture win. Four of the last six films that have won the best picture category were from biopics.
3. Make sure the Director wins his Academy Award
If you want to win Best Picture and join the ensemble of cast and crew on that stage together you must make sure the director wins their award. The reason being is that in the last ten years, seven of the directors who won their award for Best Director won Best Picture.
This fact is not surprising considering that the director is the general, guiding the ship to its destination of success. Have a director that has ambition and acts in good faith to everyone involved. The Best Director category is almost a foreshadowing of the awards presentation for the remainder of that night.
4. Make sure that the Movie is Long
The shortest film nominated for this year’s Best Picture is Moonlight with 111 minutes and the longest film is Hacksaw Ridge at 139 minutes in length. If you are making a 90-minute film you are almost doomed to fail.
The longest film in any set of nominees has won 40% of the time according to Brendan Bettinger from Collider.com. However, the movie length that the winners of the Best Picture category tend to be in the 100-140 minute range, winning nearly 75% of the time.
If you are planning to win best short film this strategy is suicidal and I recommend you don’t try it unless you edit like the editors of Suicide Squad. This fits well into my next point.
5. Edit Smoothly
I know for a fact that critics love breezy movies. You have to give people the sensation that 120 minutes feels like 90 minutes and not make 150 minutes feel like four hours like Batman vs. Superman.
Personally, I love smooth editing. Love it. It is one of my pet peeves. How you use the length of your film is just as important as how long the movie is. That is why I think there is next to no chance that Lion will win Best Picture because it dragged sporadically throughout.
Can you imagine Suicide Squad being nominated for best editing? In the words of The Joker “Ha Ha Ha”
The ultimate goal for editing is to make the film like one long sequence despite many scenes and location changes. One of the ways you can do that is…
6. Shoot with a consistent tone
Shooting with a consistant tone is mainly the cinematographer’s job. From camera movements and angles to lighting, it has to be consistent. It is the equivalent of one coherent thought. It’s easier to sit through as viewers know what realm the movie occupies itself with.
The best films in the world have done this. This year, I believe La La Land had the best use of cinematography. The majority of the movie aimed for being plesent and vibrant. They filmed during twilight (Or magic hour) and the camera was always moving smoothly but briskley, the lighting alwayed glowed and the camera was getting the maximum out of everything that was happening in that movie.
7. Have a Flashy or Eccentric Costumes
For costume design, the common trend that I see for all the winners is you either design costumes that are flashy or eccentric. That cover the extremes on both sides of the spectrum.
When I mean flashy, I mean formal but dazzling. This is the route that finds the most success. Films like Titanic, The Great Gatsby, The Artist and The Grand Budapest Hotel have all won for best costuming and they all have the formal but dazzling feel towards all the costuming in their films.
What I mean by eccentric is to go batshit crazy with costume design. In other words, be the alternate chick on the block. I am referring to winners such as Jenny Beavan for Mad Max Fury Road and Colleen Atwood for Alice in Wonderland. Their costumes were out of left field to say the least.
8. Keep Your Finger on the Pulse
The Best Documentary category is a hard one to give advice to given that is has been marred by controversy over the years. For the documentaries of recent years, they generally deal with hot-button topics that will endure for years to come.
This year it definitely shows. With people complaining about the lack of racial diversity in film, boy those people who complained got their wish, 3 of the five nominated films this year were about racial tensions. Another film called Fire at Sea deals with the tragedy of the European migrant crisis.
As long as it is trending on Facebook or Twitter you have a chance. It gives the Academy the image that they are progressives. I beg to differ, but that is another topic for another time.
9a. Premiere or Show your Film at a Film Festival
The films that are going for Oscar nominations are ones that are premiering at a film festival. That is because the filmmakers are quietly confident that their films will be reviewed positively by cinephiles (movie-lovers) that frequently attend these events.
Some of those people are also members of the academy who expect to be enthralled by the art of cinema. Hell, some of them go their to campaign to promote the films they have done. Those are the reasons why those who campaign for the Oscars go to the festivals. That is because that is where all the voters are.
Out of the nine movies nominated this year, seven of them premiered at a film festival. The other two tried the alternate route which is…
10. Open the Film in December
If a studio doesn’t think it can compete to the same level as ones that premise or show at a festival, they will release the film in December to theaters. This is so the film will be fresher in the voter’s minds. Fresher than the nomated films that premired at film festival (theoretically speaking)
It is next to impossible for a film released January or February to win. This is because people are unlikely to remember movies from eleven months ago. That’s why Deadpool never got a nomination. I knew Marvel didn’t want Deadpool to be nominated because of its February release date.
Now go on and grab that Oscar.
Now all you have to do is become a member of the film industry, get hired to do a job in a movie, work extra long hours to beat the intese competition, pray that your fellow comrades love it and campaign for several months, follow all these steps and boom, you have gotten a goldern stature that represents a pay rise for future projects.
I chose Jamie Foxx for this picture because I don’t want to be accused of whitewashing by hypersensitives. Why has none ever accuse the Academy’s of goldwashing their statue? It’s been covered in gold for over 70 years. I think it’s unfair for the red minority statues and I feel they are underepresented by The Academy #OscarsSoGold
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
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.
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
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.
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.