Archives for the month of: May, 2017

Kong: Skull Island is directed but Jordan Vogt-Roberts, screenplay by Dan Gildroy, Max Borenstie and Derek Connolly, story by John Gatins, based on the character created by Merian C. Cooper and Edgar Wallace. Kong stars Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson and Brie Larson. 

 This movie expecting a fun, destructive good time. I was unprepared and very surprised at the anti-war, anti-colonial allegory and it came as a welcome surprise. The writing, acting and production worked together to ensue neither of these messages was heavy handed, so, if it doesn suit you, you can safely ignore. I like when my mindless entertainment is expectedly elevated so I was happy to embrace these messages.

The pacing was a bit rushed in this – with any “monster movie” you expect that many of the characters won’t make it to the end, so it’s crucial to pace so the audience has time to care about the characters so, when they do die, it matters to us. This film was very eager to rush through character building and many of the characters lacked any moments where you’d care about them enough so their deaths mattered.

Setting the movie just after the Viet Nam war was an interesting choice – the pride of USA is hurting, while Cold War tensions are mounting. I suspect one of the reasons we are seeing so many movies set in the past is that it is uninteresting to watch people stare a their phones and send text messages. Watching characters interact with one another is interesting.

For the most part, that casting was solid, although Tom Hiddleston is woefully miscast as an “Indiana Jones type”, he lacks the gravity and weight to be believable as a tracker or fighter, at one point in the film the characters are given a choice between following a course of action he suggests and a course of action Samuel L. Jackson suggests – it’s simply not believable anyone would follow over Jackson. Brie Larson too is miscast – she is extremely talented but I don’t buy her as a photojournalist and the there is little chemistry between the romantic leads. This is, in large part, to make up, hair and props. As a chick my day to day like requires a purses. A day trip requires a backpack that includes some water and my camera and phone charger. When I’m going on a day hike, it’s my backpack with some gear, including water and bug repellent, a change of socks,  a rain shell and my hair is tied up. None of the characters aside from the soldiers bring any sort of gear win them and both female characters wear their down, even though they travelling by helicopter. Hiddleston’s character doesn’t even bring along a machete for the brush!

Is the audience really this willing to disbelieve?

Cuz let me tell you, I was annoyed at the movie for this but I was livid when they mentioned the Hollow Earth Theory. Like. What if there are people out there (and there are) who are going to take this as proof or another reason why it must be true? Also, if you are going to tell me that no animals were harmed in the making of this film, shouldn’t you also tell me that that Hollow Earth Theory is a disproven idea and totally fictional. Quit making up your own science!

The fight sequences were too fast so it was difficult to get traction during them and, once again, too many tight shots which meant the over all choreography of many sequences was difficult to discern. I didn’t see this in 3D and I can’t imagine that it translated into 3D.

Some of the casting was very effective – Samuel L. Jackson always brings to this roles a sense of seriousness and likability, even when the character isn’t very likeable and you know you should be rooting for someone else. And John C. Reilly, who brings that sense of fun and reminds us that we are watching a monster movie and should be having a good time, Reilly also serves as the conscience and heart of the story which is a wise choice as the other characters aren’t particularly likeable.

I enjoyed the movie, it looks like they are starting off a franchise of these classic monster movies, so I’m hoping that they only get better from here. Unless you are a fan of monster movies, you can probably skip this one.  If you are a fan of these classic flicks then you’ll have some good nostalgia.

Lucky me!

A dear friend was in the area and invited me to be her guest to see the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit!

Well laid out floor plan and information made this exhibit a delight to attend. The information was informative and direct and the short film was concise and well done. 

The Freudian analysis of O’Keeffe’s work was addressed directly, without being overbearing, tracing it from the origins to her reaction and disavowal of such a reading. For me, I liked the reminded that Freudian analysis and readings aren’t always appropriate or true.

The exhibit was laid out in a good, accessible formations. Sigh lines were mostly clear and it was possible to get very close to the works. 

One of the things I enjoyed most about the exhibit was the opportunity to see more of O’Keefe’s abstract works, I’m much more familiar with her works featuring concrete figures that have abstract elements. 

This exhibit was interesting and enjoyable and I highly suggest seeing it.

 

Arg! Plane left at 11:50pm and we arrived in Trinidad around 5am or so.

The airport is blissfully air conditioned but I’m grumpy, read an excellent book on the flight down (shameful secret – loving Brother Cadfael mysteries) and didn’t sleep at all!

Dad putters and keeps telling me incorrect information “go find the bags, I’ll meet you there”, “where were you, I was waiting at Duty Free”, “why didn’t you bring the bags?” (I showed dad my two – count them! – hands)

Ummm?

Get Duty Free, the bags I’ve already set aside so we grab them and do the immigration and customs things.

The we leave the AC.

I begin a slow, grumpy melt. Dad’s friend isn’t anywhere to be found. Ack!

Oh wait! We find him. He has left the car parked so we have to wait for him to got get the car and come back.

We wait.

I’m melting.

We wait.

I’m seriously melting.

We wait.

I’m tired, my back hurts and I’m melting!

This is the worst thing ever and I was stupid to think I would be ok and visiting Trinidad is just as horrid as I remember it.

I promise myself never again!

Never. Again. 

The friend comes back and we pile our stuff and ourselves into the car.

The car is freezing with AC turned up to full.

I’m freezing.

I’m not sure how it or if it’s possible to freeze and melt in an overlapping way, but I’m doing it!

Yikes!

We drive almost an hour, against traffic – up and down, around traffic circles, on the wrong side of the road (it feels so wrong, driver’s side is also on the wrong side!) – until we are at my grandparents’ place. 

It’s mostly the same.

Except.

There are now two dogs that are attacking me!

I say “attacking”. 

They are jumping on me, yapping, yipping, generally being excitable. We all know they aren’t ting to cause harm or hurt me. They are trying to love me.

Is there any greater hell for a cat person to be beloved by dogs?

It happens everywhere. It’s like. The dogs know and are trying to convince me – like somehow, if they try hard enough, if they are enthusiastic enough, I will suddenly think “Dogs, eh? Well, what do you know! You really are better than cats!”

I’m done.

I’m so done.

I take refuge in the room with the AC and tell dad and Doll (my grandma’s and then my mum’s helper, truly a member of the family now) and the dogs I’m going to have a nap.

I sleep until it’s time for a late dinner.

So, what’s with Ethan Hawke doing all these interesting little films lately? It’s really refreshing that he is in full-force and using his talents to bring attention to projects.

Like this biopic of Canadian “folk” artist Maude Lewis.

“Maudie” is written by Sherry White, directed by Ailslish and, along with Ethan Hawke, stars Sally Hawkins (as Maude) and Kari Machette.

I need to disclose a couple of things – first, I know Maude Lewis through her art and stories about her, Maude Lewis is a source of great pride in Eastern Canada and her story is well known to art-loving Canadians. That said, I believe everyone should know a bit about Maude Lewis as I think her her artistic vision is unique and in order to fully understand art, we need all kinds of voices.

If I didn’t know Lewis’s art and story previously, the way this film was marketed would have been deceiving, the trailer I saw seemed to think this was a reluctant love story between Maude Lewis and the man she first worked for, then married. I was shocked because the way I had heard her story was that her husband was a cruel and abusive man and she left him a few times due to his treatment of her. I was ready to question this film based on this characterizing her story as a story of her husband growing to love her rather than a story about her development and success as an artist. Like. When the story of a famous artist is usual made into a movie, the movie focuses on their life, their vision and their – not usually the story of their relationship. (Except in cases where an exploration is the story as in “Surving Piacasso”.)

Happily the love story I was dreading didn’t materialize.

Maude’s artist notierity was the focus of the film, the relationship being treated with importance but not as the central story. The abuse in the relationship was treated seriously but with a light touch, it didn’t dominate the film or interactions but gave enough for us to understand.

Some lovely cinematography but not overwhelming so, Maude Lewis’s physical world was actually quite small and the film managed to show this with seeming claustrophibic and the changing external set reflected Maude’s evolution.

Great film about an artist people should know more about, I absolutely suggest seeing this one.