Beauty and the Beast (2017)

“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?

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Get Out

get-out-poster03There’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 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.
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Split

split_ver2“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…)

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…)