Coming 2017…

podcast

UHMC: Darren Aronofsky’s Batman: Year One

batman_aronofskyBack in the year 2000, Darren Aronofsky was hired by Warner Bros. to collaborate with Frank Miller and write a live-action adaptation of Miller’s masterpiece graphic novel, “Batman: Year One.” Aronofsky was signed on to direct. Warner Bros. ended up rejecting the script because-for starters-they believed it veered too far from the original source material despite it being co-written by the original author. Warner Bros. and Aronofsky parted ways-no hard feelings-and the world ended up with Christopher Nolan’s trilogy.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m exceedingly happy with 2/3 of the Christopher Nolan adaptation. We got from it the performance of a lifetime-literally-that will go down as the greatest comic book character interpretation ever. But what if things had gone differently? Or better yet, what if we were given the best of both worlds and Batman and movie nerds like myself could’ve spent our lives debating it?

A while back, I had heard rumor that the elusive Batman: Year One script intended for Aronofsky to flesh out was still floating around.

Well I found it!!
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2016 (WTF)

Here’s the most compact way I can describe 2016.

2016 truly has been a year of things changing forever. In pop-culture, in world government, world economics, and in our hearts. So much loss. Loss of life and loss of identity. So many changes happening so quickly one after the other that we’re not even given a moment to process one before the other one hits. Suddenly we’re all face-to-face with an avalanche of self-awareness.

I was reminded over and over that our childhood heroes are not immortal. That our world is changing faster than anybody can comprehend or realize. And that in the words of Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Death doesn’t discriminate between the sinner and the saints. He just takes and he takes and he takes.”

Sadly, I don’t have the time to give proper homage to everything deserving of 2016, but I will mention a handful of them and share what these changes personally mean to me. (more…)

Hamilton (An American Musical and The Mixtape)

ha_1After five years with my blog, I am going to be writing my first music album review. Well, two, technically. To tell you the truth, I was never very much into music when I was younger. Movies, TV, and video games were my thing.

On top of that, if I was going to write about music, never in a million years did I ever think I would write about a Broadway musical. But this has been a long time coming. As usual, I don’t really know where to start. I don’t really “plan” these out as well as I should. I just always seem to “write like I’m running out of time.” But I do know that I have been listening to the broadway musical soundtrack of “Hamilton” since probably the very beginning, which was early 2015.

hamilton-mixtape-artist-lineupNow nearly two years later, a record-setting 11 wins of its 16 Tony nominations and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in drama for its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, just scratches the surface of the unforeseen accolade and pop-culture immortality “Hamilton” has achieved. On Friday, the much-anticipated “Hamilton Mixtape” album dropped featuring artists from nearly every spectrum of the pop and hip-hop genre going back twenty years. But before I get to that, and in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last two years, let me take you back to “the room where it happened.” (more…)

Arrival

posterfix-449x700“Arrival” is a science-fiction movie about an alien encounter where the heroes are a soft-spoken linguist and an awkward theoretical physicist. Amy Adams plays Dr. Louise Banks, a linguistics professor who is recruited by the military to learn the alien language and be able to communicate with them to find out why they are here. This is not your typical science-fiction movie and I was pleasantly surprised by that. It also rings ever so true in the world we’re living in today where the consequences of misunderstood language can lead to very dire consequences.

This is something I have somewhat of a personal connection to. Languages are something that I’ve always had a hungry curiosity for. I grew up in a household where two languages were spoken simultaneously and where I was always told (and assured) that being able to speak more than one language would give me an advantage regardless of whatever job or career path I would take. That has since proven true, but I’m always pushing myself to learn more phrases and ways to communicate in additional languages. I’m also fascinated by the idea that being multilingual can actually result in having different personalities based on which language you speak at that time. I wonder how that would work with my family, friends, and I who jump from one language to another mid-sentence.

But I digress… again. (more…)

My Bucket List of People

bucket-listWe’ve all been given some variation of (if not this exact) prompt in school. Probably several times over. “If I could spend a day with anyone in the world, it would be…” and off you would go on your homework adventure. 99.9% of the time, we’d choose a favorite celebrity of ours. We think it’d be so cool to spend a day to hang out with them. To talk to them about their craft or expertise. To learn from what we believe to be the best at whatever it is that they do.

Now who’s thought of that as an adult? I have. Not only have I thought of it, I’ve become a little obsessed with the fantasy of it. Over time, its’ become a bucket list of sorts. The situation is as follows, however: I have several and specific interests. I think it’s only fitting that I be able to choose multiple people depending on my interest and hobby. Much like how I broke down who would direct my perfect movie based on a Three-Act Structure, here are who I would hang out with based on a particular topic of conversation or activity.

 

Ground rule: In order for any of my choices to have even a hairline of possibility, everyone on my list are people who are still living at the time of this publication.  (more…)

Snowden

snowden_film_posterThe world we now live in is a shady one. The last few years alone has (whether we want to accept it or not) opened Pandora’s Box of interpreting the blurred line between surveillance and privacy. George Orwell was very right and very wrong. He was right about everyone being under constant surveillance one day. He was wrong when the people all freely agreed to it.

“Snowden” is the docudrama based on the career of Edward Snowden, a whistleblower who worked for multiple government agencies working in surveillance and clandestine security. Completely blindsided by what his own government was doing, as Snowden continued to work in government agencies and had more of the digital veil removed from in front of his own eyes, was when he made the decision to go public. Doing so, of course, would result in treason, mutiny, and every classified violation under the sun.

Oliver Stone sets the movie primarily in a hotel room in Hong Kong as Snowden gives his first interview to British and American journalists. The rest is told in flashback regarding his very short-lived military career and his quick rise to the top-secret top of what was shown to essentially be a CIA hacking school. Only soon after to be ping pong’d around the world for a variety of surveillance missions for the entire alphabet soup of government agencies. All with his girlfriend in tow who seems to understand (though not always agree) with the rule of being unable to ask any questions regarding the specificity of the work Snowden does.

Stone’s display of the dramatic and overly dramatic played well in showing suspense, intrigue, and anger; the emotions the character Snowden displays throughout the film. Yet, I personally never felt confused or overwhelmed in following the plot.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt absolutely nailed the role of Snowden, at least in regards to his cadence and the presumed reactions he would’ve had to all of this. I read that Gordon-Levitt (along with Oliver Stone) travelled to Russia several times (where the real Snowden now resides) for research.

“Snowden” is a fantastic movie that no matter what side you sit on at the political table will leave you somewhere between intrigued and infuriated. I highly recommend it.