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Friday, September 21, 2018

Going to the Movies so far 2018.

  I have a hard time with the movie going experience and wonder if this is the same for others. It is not that I don't like to watch films on the big screen, it is a great way to see them. It is everything else about the experience.  Start with the cost, a  theater experience in my area is about $13-$15 depending on the theater. That ticket price I am sure is driven by the distribution model in place. Theaters have to take the larger giant budget blockbuster type films and run them even after interest for them has waned. Filling 4-8 screens all day, and long after the film has made bank. Still i can afford the ticket price. Now the fifteen dollar price for a bottle of water and a medium popcorn is ridiculous and I often bring my own snacks in my pockets to avoid that leaching. Certainly complaining about price is a small piece of squabbling. I spend more on beer in a month drinking expensive micro-brews that I do on Movie going in a year.
  The second area to look at is kiddie time. Getting older I want to get into a film and have everyone keep there mouths shut during it. This seems particularly difficult to tweens and teens who come in the theater in packs and proceed to either not be able to handle the material in the film and squeal and yap at every tense moment or get bored and whisper throughout the film because they did not take their ADD medication. It my not be every time but a good number of viewing have been spoiled by these groups. Recently though I had a couple really good experiences where I thought for sure the kids coming in were going to be loud but they were not. So give credit when do, they don't always spoil the experience.
  When it is a good experience movie going is really worth the price of admission. When the sound is not too high, I get a nicely centered seat and everyone is settled in and into the film it is amazing. The group experience can enhance the film and hearing reactions and post film chatter can be a rounding of the film. I always hope for that and recently have had a few experiences just like that.  I have seen some really great films with solid movie going experiences and right now am feeling pretty good about the process, so complaint get laid aside and lets talk about what I have seen. I have not been more than five times this year choosing to watch quite a bit of really good streaming content, but here is a look at what got me in the theater.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018) - Having read all the various comics that covered this story  I was seriously anticipating this film. I decided an afternoon show during the week would minimize the chance of children. When I walked into the theater I immediate saw my favorite position in the theater was taken, but it was a buddy of mine in the seat. He had the exact same idea as I and we got a great film and a decent crowd. That movie was everything I wanted, sure you could complain that there were so many characters that you don't get a enough of any. But I don't think that is really true. This was a story about Thanos and his arc was full and compelling. The action was great and the expected shocking ending was what I was looking forward to.

Black Panther (2018) -  This was one of the best Marvel films to date. A well rounded story with solid characters and story. My wife and I never seem to be able to agree on a film when we go to the theater. One of us ends up settling or even both of us at times. This was a film we agreed on and both enjoyed.It was a fine origin story that was uplifting and with defined rounded characters great actions sequences and what felt like real consequences. (which is often missing in comic movies) It was the story we needed before the Infinity War,  glad I saw it beforehand.

Annihilation (2018) - Such an interesting film, solid science fiction is hard to come by but that is what this is. Asking big questions about what it is to be human both in the characters drives to take part in the mission and in the affects of being on that mission this film was a real winner. It was also one of those times where a crowd member was a bit talkative. One of two guys just was not getting the plot and so the other kept whispering explanations to him. Ugh!

A Quiet Place (2018) - I have seen this film twice, the first in a theater as one of five audience members. I was blown away by how well constructed the film was. Sure any film can be picked apart because really getting the logic of a post apocalyptic monster movie correct is a hard thing to do. That said you can not come out of that film without appreciating the relationships of the family members in the film. You feel there pain and cheer for their triumphs. The monsters are great and the tension in the silence that is the film are really well done. The second time I saw this film was just this weekend, with my sister Lee. She will claim that she doesn't love horror movies so when I recommend something it better be good. She was also blown away by this film. We where is a full theater of recliner seating and there was not a sound in the place for most of the film.  I hope Hereditary is this good.

Jurassic World : Fallen Kingdom (2018) - It is the end of June and I return to the movies to see a summer blockbuster. This is actually a compromise film, my wife and I regularly can't agree to see a film but this one we could agree on.  So off to see it not in 3D since Elisa does not really like 3D. I am not overly excited but have hope that this film will at least be a bit of fun. It does have a bit of fun, some tense scenes and lots of  reminders of past Jurassic Park films. Really though this film was a mess, it was Lost World and with J park scenes thrown in containing none of the magic of the original. The story arc of  the character Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) is suppose to be a way to redeem her after the first J World film but it is really just a gimmick never coming full circle. There is a replacement Hammond in Benjamin Lockwood but he too is just a ploy. All the ploys are to get to the really large number of bad guys in this film. There seems to be a lot of evil in this film. Rafe Small plays Eli Mills the man supposedly spending Lockwood's money on saving the dinosaurs of Jurassic World but instead is collecting them for sale and genetic engineering, for weaponizing them. The sad part is he succeeds and the film ending is a warning about how man's greed and desire for power is more dangerous than the dinos. A bit of a downer.

The Nun (2018) - Like most people who watch and wait for horror I was very excited for this one. There was good promotion and although "The Conjuring" universe is far from perfect it has been producing solid horror entries. Add to that the Director Corin Hardy was coming off a very good effort in The Hallow (2015) and I was good to go for a trip to the theater. In a theater with several really too young children (12-14yrs) I was worried about them talking through the film since they chattered all through the previews, but they were well behaved after the film started. Apparently the Solomon Pond Theater does not enforce the ratings system since this is a rated R film. Speaking of the rating system I really have to question what makes a film an R these days. This film had disturbing images and some violence but in general was pretty tame. There were scares but primarily of the jump scare type. It did build a bit of dread and knowing that this character, Valak a demon that appears in other films further along in the timeline of the universe there was some question whether the demon would be defeated. Overall though I think there was a bunch of not so compelling story. father Burke and Sister Irene are basically doing the exorcist without the exorcism. All good but not particularly new or innovative. The real castle they filmed in which is in Romania was too brightly lit, or the cameras were too sharp. It had a look of sets and the mood of a dark evil place was lost in the lighting. The story was okay and some of the themes like the idea of perpetual praying was interesting if not under utilized. Some of the logic of the demon was a bit askew in that the demon took Nun form to fit in at the cloister but at the time our characters arrive there are no nuns left. Not only that but the demon creates hallucinations of nuns as it looks for a vessel to leave the building in. The blood of Christ bit was a device but could probably be explored a bit more. It served it purpose here but that is a nugget of in film historical potential. So some pluses and minuses in this paragraph of first thoughts. We'll see how it stands up on a re-watch.

The Predator (2018) - How can one take a solid action movie from the height of the 80's action period and totally ruin it? This is the question answered by the latest edition to the franchise. The original film is about machismo, a special unit operating as a well oiled team is confronted with a bad ass alien that is tougher than they are. Who in the group will meet the challenge?  This film instead is a comedy, action, family drama that also has a special unit, unfortunately its purpose is to make us laugh not dread the coming of the seemingly unstoppable alien. Oh wait it is not unstoppable, in fact they just introduce a bigger and badder alien that stops the first one with ease. No one will survive this new one and its alien hunting dogs. Wait that is not true either, a scientist, (Olivia Munn) the military version of The Dream Team (1989) do it while balancing new relationships and old. I am not saying that this film did not have entertaining parts to it. Some of the jokes hit and the action is effective, particularly because the gore factor is pretty decent.  but in the end to have the film be about a father saving his Asperger son who is the key to some alien genetic experiment was just too much to swallow. It fails to capture any of the dread of the original where soldiers are in a life or death struggle. Instead it presents an inevitable shoot'em up where there there is no feeling of stakes.

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