“Arts & Entertainments” by Christopher Beha is a book that at the start I felt was written just for me. It had a parallel and even eerie introduction that had many similarities to my own life about a man named Eddie. He’s in his thirties desperately trying to hold on and improve his meager success of his earlier years in the film industry only to realize that nearly a decade has passed him by and is now teaching at his former high school; a private Catholic school for boys.
I am now in my thirties, was a substitute teacher for two years at my former high school (a private Catholic school for boys), and still effortlessly trying to make my mark in the entertainment industry. There are a few major exceptions of which will never apply to me. The first is that Eddie was trying to be an actor, whereas I am trying to make it as a screenwriter. The other is that in this book, Eddie willingly crashes and burns into it by selling a sex tape he had made with a former ex girlfriend and now television superstar to a reality show… and that is where the freight train that is the parallel stops. (more…)
“Beauty and the Beast,” the animated Disney movie, is (to-date) the only animated film to be nominated for best picture. That was in 1991. 26 years have passed and in the era of remakes and re-interpretations, there is no doubt that a remake, a live-action one no less, would be very large shoes even for Disney themselves to fill. With CGI effects at a near “nothing is impossible” capability, how far or how extreme would Disney be willing to go to make us all experience that magic again? Would Disney even be able to? Even though I tend to avoid extended trailers and reviews, I had seen a nearly shot-for-shot original to remake split-screen and they were virtually identical. So how close was the remake to the original? If I ever write about remakes, I try not to compare them, but I feel like it’s a necessity with this one.
I mean… how do you improve on a tale as old as time?
There’s something special about when a filmmaker releases his first film. I mean, ideally, that should be said for every film of every filmmaker, but “you always remember your first.” Whether it turns out good or bad, there’s a certain level of pride that can never be replaced or overshadowed by anything else a filmmaker does in the future. Hallmark greeting card sentiments aside, “Get Out” is the surprising first film of Jordan Peele.
I say surprising for a number of reasons. If the name sounds familiar, it should. Jordan Peele is half of the comedic duo known as “Key and Peele.” Over the last few decade or so, they have made a respectable climb in sketch comedy with appearances on Mad TV and their show of the same name. So Jordan Peele decides to write and direct his own film, which isn’t uncommon for comedians of his caliber of success. Here’s the kicker… it’s a horror film, and an extremely clever horror film at that!
I’m going to break it down piece by piece (no spoilers) because it absolutely deserves to be.
“Split” is the movie we all expected and hoped M. Night Shyamalan would have made 15 years ago. After “The Sixth Sense” in 1999, Shyamalan’s forever cemented his genius of horror filmmaking by immortalizing and terrifying us all with those four simple little words, “I see dead people.” Nearly every film after that was a precipitous drop compared to his inaugural masterpiece. To some, “Split” may have come 15 years too late. But not for me. (more…)
Back 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!!
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…)