Archives for July 2017

July 2017 Viewing Summary

So another month has come and gone … and it was quite frankly a pretty sweet month for me at the movies.

After much delay, I finally saw Wonder Woman. This is the film that has made it 3/3 for me in the world of comic-based films (the first being this spring’s Logan and other being Spider-Man: Homecoming – more on that below).

Wonder Woman, simply put, is the superhero film I have been waiting for. It was an awesome, near-perfect balance of a standalone character backstory, packaged in a solid, compelling narrative. I will even admit that were a few moments that left me a bit verklempt.

Given the runaway success of the film, I hope that the producers take note and apply the adage If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – especially for a studio (Warner Brothers/DC Studios) whose track record with this “Justice League” franchise has been spotty to say the very least. Hint: make sure Patty Jenkins is still part of Team WW!

Next on the calendar was Spider-Man: Homecoming. Spider-Man has come home, indeed. Early reservations were immediately quelled with the Disney-fied introduction of the web-slinging teen in Captain America: Civil War. Coming into this film, I felt confident that I would enjoy it.

And boy I did. Post-screening, I was left more than satisfied.

Here are a couple of key items that Spider-Man had going for it:

  • An actual, relatable human villain. We are always told that one of the keys to a good story is a clearly motivate antagonist. We have that here.
  • Shades of John Hughes. While not always a huge fan of those “coming of age films” of the 1980s, this film did take the best of what those films have to offer to deliver a universally appealing teen story, which is the most age appropriate live-action adaptation we have seen.

Last, but not least, there is Edgar Wright’s latest outing, Baby Driver. Weeks after seeing this film, I still have The Commodores’ Easy swirling around in my head. In hindsight, this is an odd musical selection for a film which is by and large a high-octane homage and send-up of gangster films, replete with awesome car chases and snappy dialogue. Baby Driver was a fun ride with some wonderful sequences and a great soundtrack. In fact, the music plays a HUGE role in the film and it underscores and punctuates the action on the screen.

MAJOR props to the sound mixing department for at least two screens that perfectly synched with rapid-movie action sequences.

That’s all for now … as you can see, it was a pretty awesome July for me. How about you?

Bonus: just because I can …

Romero Remembrance(s)

It is one of those strange things, the ability of us to develop for an affinity for noted personalities who we will likely never have the fortune of crossing in life. As a lover of cinema, I have such a relationship with many of my favorite filmmakers.

So when one of them passes away, we reflect upon the impact their films had on our lives as a matter of our remembrances; it is our way of paying tribute …

When I heard of the passing of George A. Romero this past week, my head and my heart was filled with a general sadness afforded someone of his standing at the news of his passing as well as an overwhelming, heartfelt sentimentality as I recounted the connection he and his films had to my own life. Namely, my relationship with my dear, late father.

Poppa D. was a Romero fan and LOVED Night of the Living Dead. And while I was not always a fan of this subgenre which spawned this landmark film, watching it with my father was definitely a cornerstone of my cinematic education.

This education was about many things, chief among them –

  • The aforementioned introduction (and subsequent appreciation) of the horror genre;
  • The significance of the film having an African American (Duane Jones) in the chief protagonist role;
  • The value and significance of independent film productions.

Of course, all of this was not always apparent to me from jump. But over the years, several hours of cinematic studies and subsequent rewatches have left Night of the Living Dead with a special place in my heart.

Imagine that, a film that prominently features flesh eating zombies is one that, when I see it on television, I have to pause and watch because it fills me with warm fuzzies and the fondest of memories.

Thanks George and may you rest in peace.