Headsup: Making Connections

Out this month are two films whose characters suddenly find themselves in circumstances that change their worlds, prompting them to form otherwise-unlikely bonds with each other:

 

King New Orleans
First we have The King of New Orleans, Brian R. Friedman’s independent film that follows New Orleans cabbie Larry Shirt (David Jensen, Ocean’s Eleven, The Mist, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) as he drives everyone from across the social spectrum around the Big Easy.  One of his fares is possibly-expelled Harvard student Bobby Cohn (Richard Brien, Nashville), and the two form a friendship later tested by the epic challenges of Hurricane Katrina.  The film won multiple awards at the Napa Valley Film Festival, the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, and the New Orleans Film Festival, and it is the feature-length debut of Allen Frederic (Lee Daniels’ The Butler, People), who co-directed the film with creative team Coodie & Chike (Benji, Good Morning).  The King of New Orleans will be out on digital platforms (including Amazon and iTunes) on February 21st (timed to tie in with Mardis Gras on the 28th) but is already available on DVD on Amazon for $14.99.   No special features on this one, which is sad because it seems like such a heart-centered project for the creators (and I’m sure they have some crazy behind-the-scenes stories they could tell since it was filmed on location in New Orleans).  If you simply love independent film and/or New Orleans, though, this may be worth checking out.

 

Next is Arrival, the story of elite linguist and translator Louise Banks (Amy Adams) who, Arrivalalongside physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), is called upon to form lines of communication with recently-landed aliens.   The film has already won BAFTA, AFI, and Critics’ Choice Awards (among others) and has eight 2017 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.  The film is now out on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD.  The 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray formats also include over an hour of bonus features surrounding the themes of how we understand time and language, including: a 30-minute feature on xenolinguistics (the study of hypothetical alien language), a talk with Sylvain Bellemare, Michelle Child, and Dave Whitehead about the intricate sound design and the role it plays in the storytelling, Johann Johannson discussing the score, and two featurettes that examine how the filmmakers approached the human processes of linear thinking, time perception, memory, and language.  On Amazon, the DVD is $14.99 (remember, no bonus features), the Blu-ray is $19.99, and the 4K Combo Pack is $24.99.  Both iTunes and Amazon Video also offer the option to rent or purchase digitally (for $5.99 and $14.99 respectively).  With this one I’d suggest (1) taking into account how important sound is to the film and how each format works with your home’s particular sound system, and (2) noting that the 80 minutes of extras (which are pretty cool) add up to a feature-film-length amount of bonus content, so if you’re choosing between the DVD and one of the other formats, that might be a deciding factor.

 

By | 2017-09-24T22:24:37+00:00 February 17th, 2017|Headsup|0 Comments

The Avengers: Age of Ultron – Movie Review

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Written by: Joss Whedon, based on the Marvel comic created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, James Spader, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie and about 1500 other people

Age of Ultron is just another day at the office

How does one follow up a movie that is arguably the most entertaining display of blockbuster prowess in recent memory? How does the ever growing Marvel Cinematic Universe hold up these days? The answer is a straight forward and simple as it is beautiful: everybody is doing their job.

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By | 2017-09-24T22:25:31+00:00 April 25th, 2015|Reviews|1 Comment

The Avengers (2012) – 27 Second Review

Thor Avengers poster by Mondo

Written by: Joss Whedon, based on a story by Zak Penn & Whedon, which was in turn based on the comic created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg, Tom Hiddleston

Review: As a Batman Loyalist, I hesitate to say this is the greatest comic book movie of all time, but only for a second. Because it was the GREATEST comic book movie of all time. The action was awesome, no character was under-utilized, and there were four separate instances that made me fall out of my chair laughing with glee. Also because the Hulk is my spirit animal. See it, and be more awesome for it.

Time: 20 seconds

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By | 2017-09-24T22:31:57+00:00 May 12th, 2012|27 Seconds, Reviews|2 Comments

The Avengers (2012) – Movie Review

Samuel L. Jackson is Nick Fury in The Avengers

Written by: Joss Whedon, based on a story by Zak Penn & Whedon, which was based in turn on characters appearing in Marvel Comics
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Starring: Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston

Where to begin? Let me predict just one simple thing: Starting May 4th, you will believe the hype. The Avengers is everything you would want from a blockbuster movie. It’s loud, fast, charming, funny and such a ride, you will want to see it on the biggest screen, in the best theater.

The story is pretty simple and uses a lot of the more subtle elements that were introduced in the “prequels” to this big superhero team-up: Loki (Hiddleston) is back in a big bad way, with the aid of an alien race, he is trying to conquer the world and to be worshiped as the god he is. In order to do so, he uses the energy cube we were introduced to in Captain America to arrive on earth. Since it has been analyzed by SHIELD, his arrival is neither unnoticed nor without consequence. Loki’s escape and theft of the energy cube is the introduction to the movie and gives you a good idea what’s about to come: a very fast and loud ride. Nick Fury activates the Avengers Initiative to fight Loki and protect the earth from whatever else might be coming.

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By | 2017-09-24T22:32:06+00:00 April 21st, 2012|Reviews|1 Comment