WISDOM OF THE SAGES
EPISODE VI: SUMMER 2018
EPISODE VI: SUMMER 2018
Hello People of the World;
We pretend to “like” certain weather. How useless, how egotistical, to think that your emotions control the weather!
Sorry folks, it will be another short one this month. Getting pretty busy of late.
All right, let’s get going:
1:[ Let’s Begin with some Movie Reviews:
-Solo: One half of the Top Review Team went to see the latest Star Wars vehicle. Because, that's what they are now - just new products. Were we mildly surprised to be charmed by the movie.
Look, I was disappointed with "The Force Awakens", thought "Rogue One" unnecessary and useless, and was bored by "The Last Jedi" because I never cared about anything going on in it. But I did rather enjoy this small caper film from the director of "Willow" and "Cocoon". Yeah.
Look, I am not one of those fans that blame women for "forcing diversity" into something that I thinks defines me. I just enjoy really good stories and thoughtful adventures, and from time to time, fun romps. This was a fun romp. Yes, it shoehorned a lot of Han's traits and ephemera into the story, as if we really needed to know the story reasons for why he cuts his own hair in "The Force Awakens".
I'm kidding, but we really did not need to see how he got his blaster, or catchphrases, or behavior traits, or his last name. There could have been a bit more to this but hell, it got us talking excitedly about the future of Star Wars again. Especially with how this could tie in with the new Star Wars: Underworld Series.
Look, the actor playing Han is NOT Harrison Ford. But no one one in their right mind should be expecting that. But up until he meets Chewbacca, we were not really convinced he could pull off the Han swagger. But this gave rise to a excellent point that Char made, "He's not Han Solo until he meets Chewie" because the two characters are so intertwined that you could not have one without the other. Excellent point and another reason we did not need a Harrison Ford impersonator.
Plus, Donald Glover was AWESOME as Lando. We need a Lando movie right away. Plus, this really redefines his relationship with Lobot, if you know what I mean. Cool.
All in all, a good movie. Nothing complex. Also, I was spoiled about that surprise cameo and I guess I don't mind it, but it is shoehorning a lot into this. Oh well.
-Ocean’s 8: Three-fouths of the Top Review Team went to see the latest entry in the "Ocean's" Saga. Not really a saga, just a franchise, like IHOB. (Yeah, it's IHOB now.) The BW Top Review Team is a huge fan of the Soderberg-directed "Ocean's Eleven" and its cast and characters as it struck the right note between caper and story, character and tone. Here, we find sister Ocean, Debbie, herself a conman, and also released from prison going on to pull a heist of jewels from a MET Gala. Familiar, right?
To do so, she must recruit other women ("Because women get ignored and we need to be ignored") and what a crew she recruits. This truly follows in Soderberg's "Eleven"'s footsteps while making the path their own. Is by no means a heavy film, like its predecessor. But it is a joy to watch because all of the characters, especially Anne Hathaway playing a version of herself that was obviously informed by how people see her, keep the scheme fresh and the pace and fun going. Of course it is more style than substance, it is supposed to be, but it happens to have a cool caper at the center of it.
Of course, the heist is fraught with tension, switches, and a twist. The characters are engaging and funny and really sells the team aspect. I enjoyed this from beginning to end. Of course, it has the obligatory cameos from the first film. Plus, they do something truly brave to set it apart from the other "Ocean's" film. Let's just say, it involves drinking a martini in toast.
Every character is correctly cast and the caper is satisfying, and the romp is fun, fun. I have no problem at all with this (Some do, though I cannot fathom why.) and indeed, have been looking forward to it since it was announced. I can only paraphrase the best line, "There is an 8-year-old girl out there, dreaming of being a criminal. Let's do it for her." (Which got the biggest laugh and applause.)
HIGH RECOMMENDATION (Could make to Top Ten of 2018, seriously)
2:[ Here is what I miss about being a kid; that a superhero tee shirt gives you powers. What cheers me to no end is seeing the smiling face of little kids as they stroll along in life – some dancing unexpectedly, other just happy about getting a new something or going somewhere. I miss that as a kid. I love how they sort of stand taller when wearing a superhero t-shirt though. You can tell, they are wearing their favorite hero’s shirt….
3:[ Looking at all the rusty bikes left at train station bike racks, I could not help but think: how many of these old, rusted out, forgotten bikes, all still chained to the posts, were reported missing simply because the owner went home a different route?
4:[ More Movie Reviews to pad out the month:
-Rifftrax Live: Space Mutiny: BACON Von MEATWICH!
Missing the girls on this one. Half of the Top Review Team attended the re-riffing of "Space Mutiny", a very 80's, very badly made sci-fi epic. If you are a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000, then you already know "Space Mutiny" with its lamé mumu-wearing Cameron Mitchell, requisite big-dumb guy hero Reb Brown who screams for absolutely no reason, woefully-miscast heroine Cissy Cameroon (Whom are married in real life!), a dead character that appears in later shots, reused Battlestar Galactica SFX, incompetent and sweaty mutineer John Philip Law, horribly funny go-cart chases that come to a stand still in close-up shots, and footage from another movie as a coven of Space Witches.
The Lads o' RIfftrax light it up again with footage deleted from the MST3K version and a creepy short film about a magician basically seducing a little boy in front of his dad.
It was fun as is usual and the new jokes were keen and sharp as ever.
-Incredibles 2: I was never asking nor did I think that a sequel was needed. " I think there are movies that are meant to stand on their own - "Unbreakable" was one. "The Incredibles" was another. I really did not think it needed a sequel because it makes its point, tells its story, and all its characters go through a change that should not be taken away in the next film. (I'm looking at you Marvel Cinematic Universe) The open ending of "The Incredibles" meant only that life does go on, and that the Parr Family has reached a point that they can exist in this world again after their confrontation with Syndrome. It was never meant as a situation to be solved.
A sequel would only take all of that back, if only to create family conflict and rehash everyone's point of view. To me a sequel to "The Incredibles" was not needed.
After seeing "The Incredibles 2", eh, I still feel the same way.
But, it was still a very good movie nonetheless. Three of the TOP REVIEW TEAM made it to "The Incredibles 2". Here, the roles are reversed with Elastigirl taking the lead in the superhero world as she is picked by a tycoon to be the face of Superhero Legalization. Meanwhile, Mr. Incredible is left home to care for the three children. Including a super-powered Jack-Jack.
It is a great story with great moments and ideals that made go, "really?", and has enough fun and humor to go around. What I liked best about it was it has one of the best action fights I have seen as Elastigirl confronts the shadowy villain the Screen Slaver, who comes with a scarily prescient message, and they fight inside a cage. It was a great fight scene, that steals the show for me. Much like Okoye's casino fight in "Black Panther".
The only real weakness of the movie, ironically enough, was Mr. Incredible himself. He is reverted to his Me Strong Hero persona that he cannot even enjoy his wife's success and his jealousy mars what could have been a great extension of his learned lesson from the last film, "you (his family) should have been my greatest adventure." I just could not be sympathetic to his situation. Sure, we know men are dad's everyday. But were we really supposed to cheer his learning to navigate parenthood for the few day when we never gave Helen Parr the same props for what she did the last 14 years? This is the film's only downside.
Also, Edna Mode steals the show once again.
What I really want to talk about is "Bao", the short film before the feature. It is directed by a Chinese woman Domee Shi, which a first for Pixar, and is about a Chinese woman who becomes a mother to a dumpling she has made for dinner. As the dumpling grows older, the more she sees her dumpling growing apart from her. The final twist is shocking and heartwarming. This has become my most favorite Pixar short so far.
Read more about it at this webpage: https://www.thrillist.com/…/bao-pixar-short-film-before-inc…
All in all, a very great, if unnecessary sequel. But, if you were to do an unwanted sequel to one of the greatest animated movies of all time, you do it like "The Incredibles 2".
PS: Stay for the theme songs during the end credits! Elastigirl's has been in my head all day since. Also, Frozone's is such cool "Shaft" ripoff.
5:[ I think I finely cracked it – why I don’t care about the new Star Wars movies as I should. They have become “conventional”. I mean they were simple space opera, by way of 30’s serials, but they were not conventional storytelling. Now, every character has to be a secret and plots are reduce to “the feels”. They were fun and hokey but they did make you think about the larger pictures. They inspired me to be a better person, or to get of the rez and make movies. These new ones are just cogs in the blockbuster machine. I don’t care who they cast or who is running the show, just make some damn good stories. Anyway, they are also not something to waste time and column space on. If you enjoy them – good. I can accept my irrelevancy better than most sometimes….
6:[ I am looking forward to that HBO “Fahrenheit 541”. Look, nothing will be as good as the book you imagined in your head. Plus, Michael B Jordan is on a roll….
That is it for this month.
As always, I invite you to comment, correct, or contradict anything I write here. I am open to a critical debate. Thanks for taking the time to check out what I write here and I will see you in a month.
Until next time, remember “I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control everything really are.”
2018 Ernest M Whiteman III