Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Titan A.E.

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, as I blog about one of the many DVDs I own.  I'm now picking apart the 2000 animated film Titan A.E..  This is in my notes at September 10, 2016.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Cars 3

I went to see Cars 3.

Cars 3 Movie Poster

Yup, that's pretty much all that's in this blog post.  No other grand adventures in the city.  It's starting to be the busy time of year for us radio folk, with every weekend full of festivals and fairs that we're live on location from.  So, no time for lollygagging on my day off!  It was just go see the movie I wanted to see then come back home!

Although, I really haven't done a true lollygagging day in a while, all the way down to West Edmonton Mall.  Last one was Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 back at the start of May.  I think I'll have to make the effort for Spider-Man: Homecoming, though.  I've seen every Spider-Man film at the Scotiabank Theatre in West Edmonton Mall.  Hell, I've been watching Spider-Man films there back when it was Silver City.  So I must maintain the tradition!

But until then, Cars 3.  I love Pixar.  Always try to make it out to their films.  But the Cars franchise has always felt a little...phoned in to me.  It lacks that trademark heart that's made Pixar famous.  I put down Cars as "good, but not great."  Cars 2 was the first film that made me say, "No thank you," to a Pixar film.  Skipped it in theatres, but I still bought the Blu-Ray because I couldn't have a gap in my collection.  Watched it and...yeah.  It was worth skipping.

But that first teaser for Cars 3 where our hero, Lightening McQueen, gets trashed in an accident had me go, "Ooo.  Interesting."  And so I went to see Cars 3.

Cars 3 has something in common with another Pixar sequel, Monsters University.  They both get into the topic of the death of dreams.  I liked Monsters University because it captures that melancholy moment in our lives when we realize that, no matter how hard we work or how much effort we put in, we just may not achieve our dreams.  Cars 3 tackles the question, "Where do we go once we've peaked?  What do we do when the dream starts coming to an end?" 

Lightening McQueen has been the king of the raceway for about a decade now.  But one by one, he sees his compatriots begin to retire as the next generation of racers begin nipping at their bumpers.  When McQueen attempts a desperate move to defeat a cocky upstart named Jackson Storm, it leads to the wreck that we see in the teaser.  

After spending the off-season sulking, McQueen decides he'll retire on his own terms, and sets out to get his mojo back.  His new sponsor sets him up in one of the most state-of-the-art training centres in the league, and McQueen gets to work with his new trainer, Cruz Ramirez.  Frustrated at his slow progress under Cruz's statistics-based training regime, McQueen decides to hit the road for some old school training.  With Cruz in tow, and the first race of the season coming up quick, can McQueen and Cruz get McQueen back in fighting shape to take down Storm? 

This has got to be one of Pixar's most photo-realistic films.  I swear, some of the backgrounds look just like live-action pictures.  But, Pixar always brings it in the animation game.  Voice acting is solid, as usual.  Cristela Alonzo voices Cruz Ramirez, and brings enough joy to the role to show that she's passionate about the sport, and just not another Queen of Numbers.  Nathan Fillion is good, too, using his natural charm for a slightly darker purpose as Sterling, McQueen's new sponsor. 

And for those who didn't like Larry the Cable Guy's Mater the Tow Truck, and really didn't like Mater taking centre stage in Cars 2, will be relieved to know that Mater is back to being the comedic sidekick.  In fact, his role is so reduced, I'd almost call it an extended cameo. 

But...it's still Cars.  The plot is rather predictable, and as I did see the big twist coming, I like the fact that at least they tried.

Cars 3 finally has some of that heart that Pixar is known for.  Not much, but there's a little peaking through.  I liked it.  3 Nibs.  Full review at the website.

Lou, peaking out from his lost and found box

Oh, and as is the Pixar way, it started with a short film.  Lou is about a sentient lost and found box at a school playground, and his efforts to make sure everything gets back to their rightful owners.  And then Lou has to do battle with a bully who steals stuff.  It's really cute, and honestly, has a lot more heart than Cars 3

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - The Iron Giant: Signature Series

Here we go again on Fishing in  the Discount Bin, my weekly ramble about my recent re-watching of one of my DVDs.  Or Blu-Rays.  Or VHS tapes.  Pretty much any movie I own.  Anyway, this time, we're taking a look at the newer director's cut of The Iron Giant.  This is in my notes at September 10, 2016.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Wonder Woman and the Rest of Summer

Alright!  Last week, I went to the city to see Wonder Woman.  I've been putting off all week sitting down and writing my usual "I went to the city and saw a movie and did stuff!" blog entry.  But now, I've got some time set aside on Sunday night, so let's do this.

Wonder Woman is awesome and you should go see it.

The end.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan -- Theatrical Edition

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, as I ramble about one of the many movies I own on Blu-Ray.  Gotta revisit the classics with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  This is in my notes at September 8, 2016.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Pokemon 3 The Movie

Fishing in the Discount Bin just keeps rolling along, as I blog about one of the many DVDs, Blu-Rays, and the odd VHS that I still own.  We round out in the initial Pokemon trilogy with Pokemon 3 The Movie.  This is in my notes at September 7, 2016.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Thoughts Drifting Off to Sleep

Just some random thoughts I had as I was drifting off to sleep last night, and they're a little too long to tweet.

Firstly, I can't believe how excited I'm getting for Spider-Man Homecoming.  The film's composer, Michael Giacchino, posted this to his Twitter feed a few weeks ago.  I've listened to it hundreds of times, and it always makes me smile.

Have you ever heard the classic Spider-Man theme sound so grand and epic?

Some 20 years ago, when I first discovered the Internet on a late night in Augustana's computer lab, the first thing I typed into a search engine was "Spider-Man Movie," and I just started reading every bit of news I could.  For those who don't know the history, back in the 1990s, the movie rights to Spider-Man were stuck in a legal quagmire.  It looked like a film that would never be made.  But finally, in the year 2000, the complainants were whittled down to just Sony and Marvel, who settled out-of-court, thus paving the way for Spider-Man to hit theatres in 2002.

So, yeah.  I'll never not get excited for a Spider-Man film, because I'll never forget those days where it seemed like a legal impossibility.

That being said, it always easy to look back with disappointment.  With my excitement building, I popped The Amazing Spider-Man into my Blu-Ray player last night and watched a bit of it.  After five minutes, my frustration started boiling to the surface again.  The Amazing Spider-Man films represent everything that's wrong with Hollywood's "gotta build a franchise" mentality.  Those films are just so overstuffed.  The entire attitude is, "Let's throw everything at the wall and see what pays off later."

When The Amazing Spider-Man was first announced, reaction was, "We'll be fine with it, as long as you don't rehash the origin story."  And what did they do?  They rehashed the origin story.  If they skipped the origin story...if they cut out that "mystery of Peter Parker's parents" BS...if they cut all that out and just focused on a proper "Spider-Man vs. the Lizard" story, it probably would have been a much more decent Spider-Man movie.

Same with its sequel.  For some reason, they decided to resurrect "the mystery of Peter Parker's parents" and tried again to make that work.  They awkwardly shoehorned in the Green Goblin just so they could work in the death of Gwen Stacey.  If they cut all that out and just focused on a proper "Spider-Man vs. Electro" story, it would have been a much more decent Spider-Man movie.

Which makes me wonder why Sony is pushing ahead with their "Spider-Verse" cinematic universe plans.  The Venom film has been resurrected, with Tom Hardy playing Eddie Brock.  The film about a to-be-decided-later female character from the Spider-Man universe is going ahead, with the female characters being Silver Sable and Black Cat.  And there's an animated Spider-Man film in the works, focusing on Miles Morales.

For what seemed like an impossibility for so long, we really are lucky to have so much to complain about.

The Mummy hits theatres this Friday, and with it, we get the launch of Universal's "Dark Universe," their attempt to create a new cinematic universe out of their classic monsters.  I'm on the fence about going to see The Mummy, as the Universal Monsters are a franchise I've always been indifferent towards.  Plus, I'm not so sure if I can commit myself to another cinematic universe.  I'll probably give it a few weeks, see what the reviews are like, and then check it out.
But, with that cinematic universe, things seem to be progressing nicely.  It was announced a few weeks ago that the second film will be a remake of The Bride of Frankenstein, from director Bill Condon, who just gave us Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast.  That's slated for Valentine's Day 2019.  With that came the announcement that Johnny Depp has joined the Dark Universe as the Invisible Man, and Javier Bardem is on board as Frankenstein's Monster.

And then yesterday was the announcement that, along with the best-known monsters like the Mummy, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, and Dracula, they're going with some of their deeper cuts like the Phantom of the Opera and the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is one where people are scratching their heads, as the Hunchback has never been portrayed as a monster.  But then, as I was drifting off to sleep last night, I had a thought.  Igor, Dr. Frankenstein's long-suffering assistant, has long been portrayed as a hunchback.  What if they're turning The Hunchback of Notre Dame into Igor's tragic backstory?   I mean, the original novel ends with the Hunchback being buried alive next to his beloved Esmeralda.  What if Dr. Frankenstein rescued Igor during one of his grave-robbing expeditions to get parts for his Monster, and took him in?  I guess we'll know for sure if/when we get to that chapter in the cinematic universe.

And then there's the Phantom of the Opera.  I don't know...I've got a little bit of bitterness towards the Phantom.  Back when I was a kid, the Broadway musical of The Phantom of the Opera was still new and a very big deal.  The Canadian touring show had just launched, and it's only Alberta stop was going to be in Calgary.

Now, back in Entwistle School, the Grade 9 class always gets to go on a massive year-end class trip called the Grade 9 Farewell.  When I was in Grade 8, the Grade 9 Farewell was going to be down to Calgary to see The Phantom of the Opera.  A few students pulled out, so the teacher in charge, Mr. Twerdoclib, decided to hold an essay contest among the Grade 8 students to fill those empty seats.

I entered.  I lost.

Don't get me wrong.  I deserved to lose.  I wrote the whole thing in the backseat of my family's car coming back from a weekend trip in Red Deer.  My bitterness stems from how Mr. Twerdoclib informed me as to how I lost.  One day, he pulls me out of my nice, comfy science class, brings me into his Grade 9 English class, puts me at the front of the room, and proceeds to dress me down as to how lame my essay was.  It was the kind of public humiliation that my 13-year old self never really got over.

I learned two things from that incident.  Firstly, the winning essay was about comparing various branches of the federal government to positions on a baseball team.  I thought to myself, "Huh.  Teachers really like this 'comparison' thing."  So I used that as the formula in every essay I wrote for the rest of my academic career and aced everything.

The second:  Mr. Twerdoclib is a dick.

Anyway, I see the latest touring show for The Phantom of the Opera hits Edmonton next month.  Maybe I'll go.  Get some closure.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Pokemon the Movie 2000

Still boppin' along on Fishing in the Discount Bin, watching movies and blogging about them.  I seem to have hit a run of Pokemon movies, as I'm looking at Pokemon the Movie 2000 this week.  This is in my notes at September 4, 2016.