Friday, September 5, 2014
But movies still get discussed.
Movies like Day of the Dead, Mean Girls, and The November Man
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Sunday, August 31, 2014
By: Steven Johnston
While the Void Zone was on sabbatical, I traveled briefly to Martha’s Vineyard, where I spent Sunday August 10th, 2014 exploring a town called Edgartown. Of course, Edgartown is far more famous as its cinematic alter ego, Amity Island (“Amity, as you know, means friendship”).
On a little street, a few blocks from the water, and less than a mile from the beach featured in the film, there’s a small theater that shows Jaws every Sunday. Spoiler alert, it’s the absolute perfect place to watch it.
My 5 Star review of Jaws was probably a foregone conclusion. After all, Jaws changed cinema. It created the blockbuster, made the world safe for sequels, and set the stage for all of the high octane-action adventure franchises that we know and love today. However, it is completely unrecognizable by today’s standards for blockbusters.
For the vast majority of its two hour and four minute running time, Jaws consists of the three men on a boat. Robert Shaw’s Quint loves and understands the sea, Richard Dreyfuss’ Hooper is fascinated by sharks, and Roy Scheider’s Brody fears the water, but it’s this trio that is dispatched to locate and kill a giant shark that threatens the livelihood of Amity.
Famously, the Shark didn’t work, and director Steven Spielberg was forced to adapt his vision of the film so the Shark remained a mystery, a hidden force rarely seen lurking beneath the waves haunting our heroes as if from a dream. The creature leaves behind clues that only make it more menacing, severed body parts, a dislodged tooth, not to mention damaged boats and completely destroyed beach front infrastructure. As the heroes hunt the beast, they discover that he is stronger and smarter than most sharks. They devise new tactics in order to defeat the creature, and with each confrontation they are more desperate, the stakes are more intense, and the sense of danger for the audience is more palpable.
This is especially true at the Edgartown cinema where the first strains of John Williams’ famous score drew cheers, each entry into the water caused the audience to sit forward, the flash of the shark’s fin caused a collective intake of breath, and the discovery of an underwater corpse drew shrieks. The audience spoke Brody’s famous observation, “We’re going to need a bigger boat” right along with Scheider, and cheered when - SPOLIER ALERT - the creature met its final fate.
Carl Gottlieb and Peter Benchley, working from Benchley’s own novel, do a great job of reinventing what was originally a tale of corruption and infidelity set against the backdrop of a shark attack ridden summer into a script that brings all the drama of the best parts of Moby Dick and all the heart of The Old Man and the Sea. Spielberg should’ve gotten best director for turning what was a technical nightmare into a masterpiece, and the stars deserve accolades.
By today’s standards, this is a small movie, with a small cast. It is steeped in the language of cinema, one shark attack provokes such a reaction from Roy Scheider that Spielberg films in the same film effect perfected by Hitchcock for the movie Vertigo that you just know he must have stood up and cheered. That said, the way the audience in Edgartown reacted to Jaws convinces me that a movie doesn’t need to be gigantic to make a big impression.
See Jaws again, and if possible, see it in Edgartown. It’s easily one of the best film going experiences, I’ve ever had.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Also, they reviewed Paradise Alley, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.
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Thursday, August 21, 2014
They also reviewed some movies, and those movies were The Way Way Back, The Expendables 3, and The Giver.
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Thursday, August 14, 2014
Also, they watched Stir Crazy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), and Guardians of the Galaxy.
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PSA: In light of recent and tragic news, we hear at the Void Zone encourage anyone who have contemplated taking their own life or who knows someone with those thoughts, to please seek help. There's nothing worse in this world than to lose loved ones. For the well-being of not only your self but also those you might leave behind, don't be afraid to seek someone's aid.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
They also review Reservoir Dogs, Punch Drunk Love, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Get it here! Or stream the episode below!
Monday, August 4, 2014
4 stars out of 5
By: Steven Johnston
Guardians of the Galaxy is the tenth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it is unique among them because it is entirely of its own making. It features no characters previously depicted in any of the Marvel films unless you count Benicio del Toro’s bizarre “the Collector” or an even more bizarre character not seen on film since the 1980s who makes two brief appearances alongside the Collector.
Guardians tells the story of a rag tag band of not very super people brought together to prevent Ronan (Lee Pace), a villainous Kree fanatic, from destroying the planet Xandar using an infinity stone which is sought by the aforementioned Collector, Yondu the Ravager (Michael Rooker), Thanos (Josh Brolin), and finally the Nova Corp., personified by Academy Award Nominees Glen Close and John C. Rielly. P.S. That’s only the supporting cast.
The complex plot is chock full of characters, twists, turns, betrayals, surrenders, false surrenders and scams. It’s a wonder, and a testament to writer-director James Gunn, that the Guardians never leave their audience behind. Along the way, Guardians does a great job of building a crazy space-opera neon pop fantasy populated with unlikely locations, hideous beasts, beautiful alien temptresses, and arcane weapons – all of which Peter Quill aka Starlord (Chris Pratt) seems to be enjoying as much as the rest of us.
Quill, the only human, finds himself the de facto leader of the Guardians. He’s assisted by Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the efficient warrior woman/adopted daughter of Thanos, Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), a raccoon that has been genetically and cybernetically altered, Groot (Vin Diesel), Rocket’s best friend and talking tree, and Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), a super strong, highly literal brute with a score to settle against Ronan and Thanos. They’re brought together when Quill steals the infinity stone which quickly gets them all thrown in jail where they squabble until they learn the value of teamwork and bust out in hopes of saving the galaxy.
Of course, the fact that the fate of the galaxy rests in the hands of these – well, Gamora herself describes them as, “The biggest idiots in the galaxy” - is to everyone in that galaxy’s great misfortune. Their loss is our gain, because we get to see a fast talking, quick paced, action-adventure space opera full of fine actors going with gusto into material that could have easily creaked to a halt under the weight of its own exposition. They joke, fight, drink, curse, dance, and groove on the best soundtrack any Marvel film has ever bestowed on us.
I especially appreciated Guardians for its tone. Any movie that features its heroes yawning and scratching their special areas on the slow motion walk to destiny, breaking out of prison to the strains of the Pina Colada song, and a character declaring, without irony, that their heroics make them all just like Kevin Bacon is a can’t miss in my book. We’re supposed to have fun at the movies – a lesson too often forgotten lately - and director James Gunn and his star Chris Pratt understand this.
If there’s a complaint to be made about the film, it’s that Guardians closes on a climax that seems a repeat of the climaxes of both Captain America films, Thor: The Dark World, and The Avengers. But, much like the exposition that gets succinctly disposed with, this complaint hardly matters. What does matter is the interesting CGI world, cheeky dialogue, funny little character moments, and the soundtrack (Awesome Mix Vol. 1). If there’s evidence that Marvel has perfected its house style and taught the audience how to watch their movies, it’s the fact that they’ve made a movie featuring characters you’ve never heard of protecting a planet you don’t live on, and it’s every bit as compelling as the previously seen Earthbound adventures featuring Marvel’s A-List properties.
Go see it. This is the movie we’ve all been waiting for, a mashup of the Avengers and the Bad News Bears which, if we’re lucky, is only a hint of the shape of things to come.