I know we joke around a lot about the silly nature of Spy Kids and how weird the series as a whole is (which is funny as hell don’t get me wrong), but when I went to the 2013 Austin Film Festival and saw Robert Rodriguez speak at his panel about his works someone asked him about the spy kids series and he said that came from not seeing a lot of action movies that the whole family could enjoy featuring prominently Hispanic families and wanted to make those films so his kids and others would be able to have that representation with characters that save the world in a fun actiony way and as silly as those movies are that just struck me as really sweet.
Okay, so you’ve seen a few scary movies and enjoyed them, and now you’re looking to expand your horror prowess. Maybe you’ve been reading/listening to a lot of creepypasta, and you feel like you’re ready to take the plunge. Or maybe you just have a feeling that you’d like horror, but have no idea where to start.
I’ve been a huge fan of all things creepy and scary for years. I was just reading an article called, “Horror Gems You Haven’t Seen Yet” and realized that I actually had seen almost every film on the list, so I guess that makes me an expert. So, my new baby horror fans, allow me to introduce you to the genre.
Let me warn you. I want you to follow, because no matter what you think you might know, we will always be one step, three steps- seven steps ahead of you, and just when you think you’re catching up, that’s when we’ll be right behind you. And at no time will you be anywhere other than exactly where I want you to be. So come close, get all over me because the closer you think you are, the less you’ll actually see.
Hey Marc, you said in an interview back in 2013 I think that you were interested in possibly bringing Vic Sage (aka The Question) into the Arrowverse eventually. Is there still any chance of that happening someday? I absolutely LOVED him on Justice League Unlimited! I don't think the character's being used in the either movies or the comics right now so there's no reason you couldn't do if it was the right story right? Plus, Hub City has been referenced several time in the Arrowverse so far.
I pretty much bring up Vic in every meeting I have about characters I want to see on Arrow. Perhaps one day…
Now, before I start this post I would like to say this isn’t in any way intented to be wank. While I think that the movies of the DC Extended Universe have their problems I don’t think they are as terrible as some people made them. If anything they did entertain me. This post is rather a reponse to a comment I saw a lot in reviews for Wonder Woman: that WW saved the DCEU and is the first movie to get good critics. So, let’s take a look back to the movies of the DCEU so far, let’s see what they did right, what they could do better and what I think is the main problem of the DCEU.
One of the biggest problems of the DCEU is, and there is no way we can’t talk about this, Marvel. Marvel has already established their Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DCEU now feels like a response to it. Unless you are a die hard DC fan most people are familiar with the movies of the MCU and will likely compare these two cinematic universes. And so far it seems like the MCU is the better one. Of course the comparison isn’t balanced. By june 2017 the DCEU contains four movies, the MCU though 15, with number 16 (Spiderman: Homecoming) at the ready. But in a way it feels like this part of the problem. The DCEU tries to do the same thing as the MCU, which ultimately is to bring their established characters together (because why else would they share a universe if not for them to meet?), but they are trying to do in a faster way.
The MCU started in 2008 with Iron Man. By the time we saw the first ensemble movie, The Avengers, four years have passed and we had another Iron Man movie along with three other origin movies (Captain America, Thor and the Hulk movie nobody ever talks about). By the time the Avengers movie came around we already knew these characters because they either were given origin movies (Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Thor) and were otherwise introduced as characters (Nick Fury, Black Widow, Loki). The only new guy was Hawkeye. Avengers worked because it didn’t need to introduce and established its characters. Ensemble movies are always harder when it comes to the characters, simply because they are so much and you can’t give all of them the same screen time if you want to tell a story as well. Simply speaking what the MCU did was to establish and develop their characters in their respective solo movies - they are the character moments so to say - whereas the ensemble movies (Avengers 1&2, Captain America: Civil War) move along the plot. (Of course the solo movies have plot as well and the ensemble movies have character moments, it is just a very abstract way of categorizing these movies).
Now, compare this to the DCEU: Man of Steel (Solo/origin movie), Batman v Superman (ensemble movie), Suicide Squad (ensemble movie), Wonder Woman (Solo/origin movie), Justice League (not released yet but another ensemble movie). The ensemble movies are the ones fans want to see - I remember the exictement over the first Avengers movie because for the first time several superheroes would work together on a big screen. But these movies only work if you have established the characters we see first. Instead of taking their time as the MCU did what DC did felt rushed. They didn’t take their time to establish their characters, which I think is the main reason the movies didn’t work. But let’s take a closer look.
Man of Steel (2013)
I liked this movie for the greater part. I have to admit I wasn’t that familar with the character of Superman/Clark Kent, despite general pop culture knowledge. I haven’t seen any of the other many Superman movies or shows like Smallville, so I had no real expections watching this movie. The reason I liked it though is that it takes its time to explore the character of Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman. The conflict of being a child of two worlds, about finding out who or what he is and whether or not he owes this world to save it was what made this movie worth watching. All of those character moments were the strong points of the movie. I admit I wasn’t particular interested in all the action we saw in the second part of the movie; the big fights and explosions are never my jam. But the movie did establish the main character, it showed us the person Clark is and the hero Superman is and much of the conflict we saw in Batman v Superman (the potentional abuse of power) was already brought to life as well.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
First things first, if you haven’t seen this movie yet, please watch the extended cut. They cut out around 30 minutes of the movie; not only character moments though (who always get cut out first) but plot points as well. The overall tone of the movie doesn’t change and neither the things that didn’t work, but it is the version that makes more sense while watching/feels more coherensive.
As I said I feel the DCEU rushed things. Releasing an ensemble movie so soon felt like a desperate move. The only character that we already know is Superman (and well Lois) and therefore to no surprise the scenes that worked for me the most were the ones regarding Superman and the main conflict of the potentional danger of Superman/his powers. As I said they continued these themes from Man of Steel, so we were already familar with them and they didn’t need a lot of explaining.
The problem is that Batman v Superman needs to be a second Superman movie, a Batman movie and a teaser for Wonder Woman and Justice League all in one movie. That is a lot to handle and the reason the movies feels a bit stuffed. Because boy is there a lot of plot. I guess they wanted to establish Lex Luther as a criminal mastermind and tell a complex story, but with everything that was going on it were the characters who suffered the most.
Batman is the character that doesn’t need another origin movie and feels like he is well known enough to simply throw him into the movie. But the more I think about it the more it would have made sense to release a Batman solo movie before Batman v Superman. It would have established the character (and for that we don’t need an origin movie per se) and explained the character better. I had some problems with his character, because he did seem like an overly agressive guy, a one man army to live out male fantasies of violence, near a psychotic breakdown. What happened to that guy? Robin’s death was mentioned but it might have played a role in it. Showing us how Robin died would have (probably) explained this dark version of Batman and would have already introduced the Joker and Harley Quinn (as Suicide Squad established they were responsible for Robin’s death). (It still wouldn’t have explained the Martha twist though, because it still doesn’t make sense, no matter how you look at it).
Same goes for Wonder Woman. I know they probably wanted to introduce her as this mysterious woman, but everyone who saw a trailer or just the movie poster knew already who she was. The photograph was meant to tease the Wonder Woman movie. But just imagine Wonder Woman would have been released before Batman v Superman. Diana would have still remained a mystery, because she seems to be nothing like the woman we saw in her solo movie. We know that 98 years passed between her first adventoure and Dawn of Justice, which leads to the question what happened in between. Did she return to Themyscira? Did she stay in the human world? If so why are there no more records of her other than some very recent photos and the one from 1918? Also remember the end after Superman sacrficied himself and Lois comes to the scene? She looks at Diana who shakes her head; there is a silent understanding between the two of them. With the knowledge that Diana lost a lover as well the scene makes way more sense.
In short, less plot, more character moments, establishing character in their solo movies before releasing an ensemble movie.
Suicide Squad (2016)
Even worse than Batman v Superman we didn’t know any of the characters before this movie. What they did then was exposition. Lots and lots of exposition. So much that it seemed that they forgot about the second act and we were rushed to the third act. The movie didn’t even try to balance out their characters, but focused instead mainly on Deadshot and Harley Quinn. Which worked for Deadshot, because his story/motivation was simply: everything he did he did for his daughter. Harley Quinn though? I still have questions about her and her relationship to the joker (and it sucked that she wasn’t a character on her own but a woman defined by the relationship to a guy). We hardly saw anything of Harleen Quinzel and the reasons why she fell for a psychopath. And they didn’t even bother with some other characters at all. Slipknot was only there to show us that Amanda Waller meant business and why exactly was Katana in the movie? In all fairness the movie was entertaining but completely missed to make me feel for the characters. Of course you can’t give all of them their own origin movie, but as I said before they could have introduced Harley Quinn and the Joker in a Batman movie for example.
Wonder Woman (2017)
The movie that did everything right. I couldn’t care less about the big bad or the big fight at the end, but it didn’t matter. Why? Because I watched the movie for the character. And they did everything right in showing us who Diana is and what she stands for. The reason why the no man’s land had such a great impact and is the one everyone talks about? Because it is the moment Diana became Wonder Woman. Even though it is an action sequence technically it is a character moment. Not only managed the movie to establish the main character but the supporting characters as well. We feel Diana’s pain after Steve died, because we know about the character and the relationship these two had.
So what does it mean for Justice League? By then we are familiar with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. The movie will introduce us to Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg though, so we will likely see a lot of exposition and bringing the gang together stuff. In order to make the movie still work I think they have to focus more on the characters this time, especially the ones we haven’t met yet, and their relationships with each other, instead of presenting us another complicated plot. The plot is always secondary to the characters, because in order for the plot to work we need to care about the characters first. To me Man of Steel and Wonder Woman are so far the best movies of the DCEU because they are character driven. Let’s hope they took some notes after the sucess of Wonder Woman and we will see more solo and/or origin movies in the future before we get another ensemble movie.
“I don’t know how to be myself. It’s like I’m permanently outside myself. Like, like you could push your hands straight through me if you wanted to. And I can see the type of man I want to be versus the type of man I actually am and I know that I’m doing it but I’m incapable of what needs to be done. I’m like Pinocchio, a wooden boy. Not a real boy. And it kills me.”
This is not my first rant on this subject and it won’t be my last, because for some reason, MCU fanatics can’t and won’t get it through their thick skulls.
The bare minimum is not “good enough” when it comes to diversity.
It’s been happening a lot lately. I’ll see many complaints against the DCEU, and lately, the complaints have been silly. Nothing is off the table. Not even the way Wonder Woman poses in a poster is off the table, but the complaint that boggles me the most is the one about the DCEU’s apparent issue with diversity. Often, these complaints also come with praise for everything the MCU has accomplished in regards to diversity.
The MCU is almost nine years old, which means it will soon be a decade since we were given Iron Man. When it comes to diversity, MCU has done a good job of giving us “magic negr*s” (a term that was coined in the late 1950’s). Rhodey, Nick Fury, Sam Wilson, and others, all fall under this category. For those who do not know what the “magic n*gro” is (or as Spike Lee puts it, the “super-duper magical n*gro”), film critic Rita Kempley states that “It isn’t that the actors or the roles aren’t likeable, valuable or redemptive, but they are without interior lives. For the most part, they materialize only to rescue the better-drawn white characters.”
Even if you are like me and enjoy the MCU films, there is no denying that up until the last year or two, the MCU has been guilty of giving us this type of character of color rather than treating these characters as they do their white male leads. They’re never given center stage or their own stories. They exist to lift up the white male lead.
Let me restate that, again, the bare minimum is not “good enough.” If you’re going to jump on the bandwagon and criticize the DCEU, it would be wise not to use diversity as a weapon against them. Let me remind you that the MCU has been around for almost a decade. It is only now they are giving us a black male lead and giving us a black love interest for one of their most beloved darlings, Peter Parker. Don’t get me wrong, these are good things, but there is no denying that the MCU dawdled in this area as they wondered if it was “safe” with their audience (and let’s be real, the MCU fandom is famous for treating their fans of color like crap), while DCEU jumped right in and pretty much did what they wanted. The DCEU’s Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Flash, and Aquaman are all people of marginalized groups (Jewish, Black, Polynesian, etc). The DCEU didn’t wait around to see what was “safe.” To add to this, the DCEU was born in 2013 with the release of Man of Steel, and this year, the DCEU will turn four.
Let that sink in…
It took the DCEU three years (with the release of BvS last year) to introduce lead characters of color, and we’re getting two movies this year that feature them (one in which the woman of color is the lead).
When I try to present this information to an MCU fanatic, though, they ignore what I have to say and just keep repeating how much better the MCU is for the reason of better diversity or they simply pretend I didn’t say anything.
So, here is a post for everyone frustrated with the same type of MCU fanatic. Any of my followers are welcome to link them to this post or add anything to it any time you run into them.
Chadwick Boseman: I'm not ready for 'Black Panther' fame
Many actors on the verge of the big time like to pretend they have it all worked out, that they know what to expect and are ready.
Not Chadwick Boseman.
The 40-year-old American actor spent more than a decade mainly in television and indie movies before Marvel came calling in 2014 with a lucrative five-picture deal to play African superhero Black Panther.
His appearance in “Captain America: Civil War” (2016) brought Boseman his first taste of real fame but his celebrity is about to skyrocket when a standalone “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” come out in 2018.
“I’m honestly not prepared for the level of it right now. I like being able to do regular stuff – go to the store, go shopping, spend time with my family in a restaurant,” Boseman tells AFP.
Any significant involvement on the creative side of a Marvel movie essentially means that you’ve made it, whether you’re an actor, director, writer or producer.
Two “Avengers” movies and an “Iron Man” are among the top ten grossing films of all time, and the 15 releases in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) so far have made more than $11 billion between them.
“I can’t really go anywhere and people not say, ‘That’s the Black Panther.’ I don’t really know what the (next) level of that is,” Boseman confides.
- Lavished with praise -
“I guess my way of seeing it is that to play people and make it feel real you want to still experience life in a real, regular way. It doesn’t necessarily feel good to know you can’t do any of that stuff. I’m just being completely honest.”
Born in South Carolina, the son of a nurse and an upholstery entrepreneur, Boseman has roots in the west African state of Sierra Leone.
Before Marvel, he was best known for acclaimed portrayal of the legendary Jackie Robinson in Brian Helgeland’s “42” (2013), which had the highest-grossing debut for a baseball movie in Hollywood history.
He was also lavished with praise for his interpretation of soul singer James Brown in “Get on Up” (2014), earning inclusion among the top 10 performances of 2014 by Time magazine.
T'Challa, king and protector of the technologically advanced fictional African nation of Wakanda, has been characterized as the first black superhero, which is partly true.
Around 30 black characters have donned the lycra for the big screen since the early 1990s, including Marvel’s Falcon (Anthony Mackie since 2014), Wesley Snipes’s titular vampire hunter in “Blade” (1998) and Halle Berry’s Kenyan princess Storm in four “X-men” movies.
The Wakandan royal can claim to be the first black superhero to land a standalone movie in the MCU and the first in mainstream American comics, having featured in “The Fantastic Four” in 1966.
- 'Damaging and untrue’ -
Boseman, who recently wrapped filming on “Black Panther,” believes there have been too many “damaging and untrue” portrayals of Africa in American cinema and doesn’t want to add to them.
“I feel the weight of it. You can’t be overly concerned in every breath you take. But you have to do the research and do the work so that when you get there it all feels like it’s honest,” he said.
Boseman, who pays for incognito theater visits so that he can gauge genuine reaction to his movies, has a film up next which, for once, didn’t bring the pressure of having to interpret an already much-loved figure.
In noir revenge thriller “Message from the King,” he plays Jacob King, a South African who spends a week in Los Angeles’ underbelly to hunt the killer of his estranged younger sister.
Fabrice du Welz’s movie casts Boseman opposite an accomplished ensemble including Luke Evans (“The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies,” “Beauty and the Beast”) and Alfred Molina (“Spider-Man 2,” “Boogie Nights”).
“It was exciting to start that process and know that nobody was really going to say, 'That’s not Jacob, that’s not who he is,’” Boseman jokes.
“It’s not necessarily a completely blank canvas. But it is a canvas that I can do a lot with without having to worry about people’s attachment to it.”
“Message from the King” is released theatrically in France on Wednesday and on Netflix later in the year. “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” are scheduled for release in February and May next year.
what are some good shows/movies of the actors/actresses i can watch??
please keep in mind that i have only watched a few of these! a (*) means i super recommend it! :-)) I’ve linked the trailers to each of the movies/shows below, if I was able to find a trailer! All of these are pretty easy to find online to stream. *I only included movies where they have a more prominent role, and are more recent and easily accessible.
CHASKE SPENCER/SAM ULEY: - Winter in the Blood(BONUS: Julia Jones is his co-star in this!) I haven’t watched this personally, but according to a friend of mine, it’s pretty good! (2013)
BRONSON PELLETIER/JARED CAMERON: -Fishing Naked* (BONUS: Tinsel Korey is his co-star in this!) This is a comedic movie! All about this guy named David and his friends pulling pranks to scare off fishing tourists and media. (2015)
ALEX MERAZ/PAUL LAHOTE: - Never Back Down 2 This is also a pretty good movie. Alex plays this guy called Zach Gold and he joins this underground fighting ring to prove something to himself. If you want to see him dancing, shirtless, and fighting in a ring, this is the movie for you! ;;))) (2011) -Mine Games I haven’t watched this personally, but another friend who likes the wolf pack said she really likes this movie! It’s a horror movie, and that’s all I really know about it! (2012) - SUICIDE SQUAD: COMING OUT AUGUST 2016 HOLY FUCK.. I’M SO PROUD OF ALEX FOR LANDING A ROLE IN THIS EVEN IF IT’S SORTA SMOL!! As much as we can see in the trailer, he plays a soldier that accompanies Harley Quinn when she ventures off to do her thing! (You can see Alex in the background of the scene where Harley Quinn is talking about the voices to the soldiers, and the last scene where Harley Quinn breaks the glass of a shop display to grab a purse! He’s also in one frame of the trailer fist-bumping Scott Eastwood! ((listen 2 me that scene slayed my fucking life i was dead i was like yas alex slay me bitch)) He’s sporting a pretty gnarly beard and moustache, so he might be a little hard to spot. Nothing a quick rewind and pause can’t find, though!) I’m so fucking hyped for this movie y’all don’t even know omg… He was also rumored to play a Jason Todd/Robin or smth,, and his role is pretty ambiguous/no-one gives a shit ab his role so who knows?? Maybe his character sneaks up on ya in the film!
KIOWA GORDON/EMBRY CALL: -the Red Road*(BONUS: Jason Momoa is the main character!) This is such a good TV show. It fucks with your mind and Kiowa is pretty bad-ass in this. Here’s a link to an interview about the show where he mentions the Twilight cast and the wolf-pack! :-)) It’s available to watch on Netflix! Kiowa plays this kid named Junior who lives on a reservation. This show is AWESOME. It really just reveals what reservation life is, touches on police brutality and power manipulation, racism, etc.. I really recommend you to watch it if you enjoy crime/mystery shows! (2014-2015) - the Lesser Blessed I haven’t personally seen this, but again, a friend watched it and she really enjoyed it! It’s based off a book, I believe. Kiowa really seems to like playing more angsty roles. (2012) - Wind Walkers This looks like an interesting movie that I haven’t gotten around to watching! I’ve been meaning to. It’s apparently a horror film about Native American monsters. (sorry if I worded that wrong!) (2015)
TYSON HOUSEMAN/QUIL ATEARA V: - Feed the Devil I wasn’t able to find a stream for this movie, unfortunately. I don’t know much about it, either, so watch the trailer!! (2014)
JULIA JONES/LEAH CLEARWATER: - The Ridiculous Six:(BONUS: Taylor Lautner is a main star in this!) This is a comedic movie that stars Adam Sandler and other pretty big names. This was fun to watch! However, the movie has stirred up some controversy over the representation of Native Americans. It’s up to you to watch. It’s available to stream on Netflix. When watching the movie, I think you’ll be able to see why many people argue that it’s controversial– again, up to you to watch. (2015) - Longmire: She is a recurring, guest star on this TV show. - She has quite a few upcoming projects to watch out for as well!
BOOBOO STEWART/SETH CLEARWATER: - Descendants: This is a popular original Disney Channel movie that came out last year! Booboo is a main star, and plays the character “Jay”, son of Jafar. Keep in mind that this is a Disney movie, and it probably won’t appeal to older audiences. I personally didn’t like it just because it was very cliche, but that isn’t to say that the film isn’t good! It’s just not my taste. (2015) - White Frog:* Can I just say: Booboo’s performance in this is INCREDIBLE. He plays a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome, who struggles with his social and personal life after his older brother passes away. There are some awesome stars in this like Gregg Sulkin, and Tyler Posey. This is a wonderful movie to watch with a lovely moral and awesome POC and LGBTQ representation! (2012) - X-Men: Days of Future Past: Booboo has a small role in this film as a superhero called “Warpath”. - Honestly, this kid has so many movies and projects to his name, so trust me, you’ll be able to keep up with him. (2014)
TINSEL KOREY/EMILY YOUNG: - Fishing Naked: see above in Bronson Pelletier’s section! (2015)
TANAYA BEATTY/RACHEL BLACK: - Arctic Air: This is an old Canadian TV series that I believe got cancelled? Anyways, it’s not a bad TV show, and all the full episodes are available on the CBC website, which will be linked HERE. It’s about an airplane hangar facility, and it’s got some interesting drama surrounding it. I think Tanaya is pretty good in this, and is a central character, especially in later seasons! If you ever need screencaps of her, this is the place you want to go. (2012-2014) - Words and Pictures: This is an old rom-com movie. Tanaya, based on the trailer, seems to be a central student in the movie– which I haven’t seen! - the Night Shift:(premiering June 1st, 2016) This is a Canadian medical drama TV series! Tanaya will be playing a central doctor in pretty much every episode. I’m super excited because I love medical dramas and it’s coming out really soon!! :’’) - Tanaya has guest-starred on the hit TV show, “the 100″ as Mel, in the episodes “Many Happy Returns” and “Human Trials”. She’s also appeared frequently in the TV shows “Continuum” and “True Justice”. - Tanaya has quite a few projects that will be coming out in the next few years! She will be a main character in a short film called “The Hunt”, which is currently in pre-production starring Matt Daddario(mega heart eye emoji omg), and is also portraying Sacagawea, a national icon and hero Lemhi Shoshone woman who was a vital guide to the Lewis and Clark expedition, in an upcoming TV mini-series currently in post-production.
**Please keep in mind that most of these movies are low-budget, or indie movies. Don’t expect brilliant, Oscar-worthy pieces of art– and take the projects for what they are. If you don’t like them, don’t leave nasty reviews and discredit all these incredibly hard-working individuals’ efforts and talents. If you’re thinking: “Why do many of these actors mainly have small, indie roles in lower-end productions?”, remember that it’s all a part of a bigger problem surrounding Native American talent and content.
Be reasonable y’all, and respect all the hard work put into the performances, production, and years of effort it took to get these actors and actresses to where they are today.
**Also keep in mind that these are all based off what I could find on the Internet! Some of this info may be outdated, or wrong, but it’s unlikely it is. HAPPY WATCHING!
***EDIT: for Alex Meraz, if u can handle a sad story, pls watch his episode of “New Worlds”!!! It’s super easy to find on YouTube (literally just search “New Worlds Alex Meraz”) and it should be there in pretty good quality!!! I just reblogged an old ask where I link the episode!!!
There’s a deep
irony in a film as gigantic The Lost City of Z being distributed
by a company like Amazon. We live in an
era where it is easier than ever to watch new movies without having to go to a
theater to pay for a ticket. Companies
like Netflix and Amazon are soon to be releasing critically acclaimed movies like Mudbound
and The Big Sick on streaming that will be in contention for next years awards.
worth admiring about this, more people than ever can watch new releases without
having to pay lots of money to find small, art house theaters. Staying at home to watch big films is definitely more convenient.
But with this
change in the way we view in cinema, I wonder if something is lost? Since the dawn of filmmaking, the vision has
always been creating this otherworldly, interactive experience between the
movie and the audience. There’s magic in
the idea of walking into a giant dark room with complete strangers and sharing
a work of art together. Some films don’t
deserve to be seen for the first time in any other way.
If you disagree, I recommend
seeing James Gray’s new movie The
Lost City of Z. It’s a film based on the
true story of Percy Fawcett (Charlie
Hunnam), a British explorer who went searching for the remnants of a
missing ancient city in the Amazonian Jungle.
He faces scrutiny from his peers for his bold theories, but with the
help of his wife (Sienna Miller) and
colleague (Robert Pattinson), he
goes on three expeditions to find the city until his mysterious disappearance
in the jungle with his oldest son (Tom
Holland) in 1925.
I have no previous
experience with James Gray’s filmography, but having seen his latest picture, I
am driven to find every movie that this man has made. The
Lost City of Z is a film with a deep understanding of what it is that makes
us connect with the movies.
The film is as if James
Gray is taking the best elements of various styles of movies and heightening
and then combining them in this film.
The Lost City of Z combines the breathtaking majesty of old studio epic,
the subtlety of a period drama and the breathtaking thrills of an adventure
movie, constantly playing with these three things to produce a movie that feels
Journey Fawcett goes on is larger than life and spans two decades. We see everything from Fawcett’s first
mission into the Amazon to a speculation of what happened to him after he went
missing and the result is a movie that is long in pace, 140 minutes to be
confidence, an indulgence to Gray’s work in this film that’s missing from most
modern cinema. The director isn’t afraid
to make a movie that basks in the grandiose scale of its story and demands the
respect of its audience. He knows that
the story he’s telling is huge and he allows for a flamboyance that never seems
overbearing or unearned.
pulls off this level of cockiness with the help of cinematographer Darius Khondji and composer Christopher Spelman. Staying true to its similarities to the
movies of an older era, The Lost City of
Z is shot on film and boy is it ever.
The darkly lit ballrooms, the strange glow of a boat going down a river
and the shots of Fawcett walking through the forest with the tribes of the
areas he explores, are almost indescribable in their beauty. It’s as though we are right there with them
and we are getting a clear glimpse into this world that no longer exists. It’s like observing a painting where each
images has such richness and texture.
Film can provide an authenticity, a naked
honesty that a lot of digital movies still can’t provide and Gray plays on that
here to provide a work of art that’s simultaneously out of this world and
ingrained in our world. The fight
between digital and film is one that film is clearly losing, but similarly to
the fight between seeing something on a laptop and seeing something in a theater,
Gray is making the case for it while he still can.
And my god, I haven’t
even begun to describe the music. Khondji’s music leaves such a lasting
impression on you after the film has ended.
There isn’t a single beat that isn’t meaningful, that doesn’t feel
designed to create the ultimate love letter to a forgotten craft paved by artists like Bernard Hermann and Ennio Morricone.
soundtrack to a movie like The Lost City
of Z only makes me resent the laziness put into composing the music for a
lot of modern films. Sometimes you hear the music for a recent biopic or action movie and you would think they only thought about it for ten minutes. The music in this movie has heart put
into it and helps carry the viewer further into this unknown land that we
But to praise the
technical elements of this movie for too long feels disrespectful to so much of
what this movie is able to accomplish beyond that. I have highlighted a lot of excellent things
in this movie but making a truly great epic is more than just making a film
that’s big in scale with flawless technical qualities, it’s about displaying a
story that demands the effort. The
Revenant can be as long and pretty look as it wants to be, but that’s a film I
still find pretentious and dull because it contains nothing of substance beneath the surface.
reviewing Pacific Rim in 2013 and
being unimpressed by the lead performance by Charlie Hunnam. After seeing his performance as Percy
Fawcett, I don’t necessarily see him as an amazing actor but I finally
understand his appeal. Within his
performance, he conveys the confidence and masculinity featured in old
performances from actors like Charlton Heston.
But with this role, he’s also allowed to provide an intimacy and a
modern tenderness that’s missing from more classically trained actors.
in Hunnam’s performance, the line between rugged individualism and quiet comforts
of life is the battle at the heart of The
Lost City of Z. The movie argues
that Percy Fawcett’s continued obsession with going into the Amazonian Jungle
and finding his lost city was in part his attempts to escape his place in the
In England, he lives a quiet, ordinary life for
a man of his time period. When he’s
home, he’s bound to same rules and restrictions that tied down most people
living back then. He’s forced to fight
back against people who look down on him for his social class, he’s forced to
fight in a war that he doesn’t want to fight in and he must argue the case for
why the tribes living within the Amazonian Jungles are an advanced society to
people brainwashed by racist colonialism.
But his escape is more than just an attempt
to ignore the limits of his society, his escape is an attempt to ignore the
limits of himself. Despite being
progressive for the time, he has a sexist view of women that allows him to
ignore the hopes and dreams of his wife.
He chooses not to be there for his family, his children grow up while he’s
far away. He preaches that he’s proud to
be an outcast and he doesn’t care about rank or medals, but he’ll gladly receive
awards and praise from his colleagues for his work. Even his treatment of the tribes of the Amazons is questionable. His biggest secret is that he’s not much
better than the people around him.
With this, Fawcett’s
journey into the vast unknown is his way of going to the limits of his world. By charting these unknown lands and
experiencing these things that have been done by no one like him before, he is
trying to avoid the fears that he will become just another person lost to space
and time, another person who live, die, and be forgotten within the miniscule
amount of time that we are given. In his
missing city, he sees redemption from the flaws of being a human being.
attempt to find his lost city is perhaps the ending to his story that he always
wanted. Fawcett never dies, he simply
vanishes without a trace. In disappearing,
he finally becomes the thing that he has been searching for, transcendence from
his reality. Like the city, he becomes a
legend that will never be fully discovered, only leaving bits and pieces behind
for others to search for.
In writing this
review, I realize how smug and hyperbolic my review of this movie is, but I
think that fits with the film. In
the spirit of recent works like Hayou Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises or Pablo Larrain’s Jackie, The Lost City of Z
is about the defiance of time, both in the story and the storytelling.
changing and we are seeing a changing of the guard. In many ways, I choose to accept this. With the death of old Hollywood comes the
death of many of the flaws within it, the lack of diversity, the tyrannical
directors, the misunderstanding of low budget films and the discomfort that
comes with refusing to give in to easier, modern day techniques. There’s so much about embracing new forms of
entertainment and having new ways to watch entertainment that genuinely excites
me and has me looking forward to what the future holds.
But, James Gray’s
The Lost City of Z plays like the final argument for saving a dying art. He uses the best elements of classic cinema
to show an epic story about what it means to live life to the fullest with no
regard for the consequences. Every shot,
every sound, every word is like an artist who’s at the final stage, playing
their instruments like they know that it’s all crumbling around them. This is a film about doing as much as humanly
possible with the little that we are provided.
Five years from now,
ten years from now, the world will be different than what it is now. So, like Fawcett diving into the piranha and
disease infested waters of the Amazonian jungle to reach something just within
his grasp, take time to find things that are worth exploring in the present while
you still can.
For whatever reason I found myself today thinking about Disney’s DINOSAUR (2000, Dir. Ralph Zondag and Eric Leighton), a movie I last watched at my girlfriend’s prompting back in 2015 in anticipation of JURASSIC WORLD’s then upcoming release.
Disney’s DINOSAUR is an interesting film in that it had an unusually long development period, originating in 1988 as a project originally conceived by director Paul Verhoeven (RoboCop  & Starship Troopers ) and stop-motion animator Phil Tippett (Jurassic Park ). However much like Jim Henson and William Stout’s ill-fated muppet dinosaur movie - which I previously blogged about here - Verhoeven and Tippett’s film was shelved after it was learned that Spielberg, Lucas and Bluth already had a dinosaur movie coming out in the form of THE LAND BEFORE TIME (1988, Dir. Don Bluth). Also it had been estimated that to do the film completely in stop-motion would cost upwards of $80-million dollars - too much for Disney to spend at that time on what was then perceived as an unknown quantity as no one knew if a movie about dinosaurs really had the potential to become a mainstream hit.
As with so many other things concerning dinosaurs in popular-culture it was the blockbuster success of JURASSIC PARK (1993, Dir. Stephen Spielberg) that changed Disney’s tune. The studio returned to the project but now without Verhoeven or Tippett’s involvement. It still took until the end of the decade however for the movie to get made due to various creative disagreements - chief among these being whether or not the dinosaurs should talk. What ultimately settled the issue was the box office success of BABE (1995, Dir. Chris Noonan). Audiences, it seemed, wanted talking animals and dinosaurs were no exception.
Many - including it seems a large number of the artists and animators working on the film - felt that the decision to make the dinosaurs talk ruined the movie but DINOSAUR’s success at the box office (it grossed over $349 million worldwide, becoming the fifth highest-grossing film of the year) seems to differ. Personally while I do find some of the movie’s dialogue to be downright cheesy I don’t think it ruins the film as a whole. Rather I find the film’s biggest weakness to be its plot which is far too similar to that of THE LAND BEFORE TIME’s. However it’s also pretty similar to Henson and Stout’s unmade movie too, and I guess there are only so many stories you can tell about dinosaurs and that of a great migration across a harsh desert to new lush feeding grounds seems like a popular one.
Now, if you do want to see an otherwise beautiful CGI dinosaur movie ruined by an 11th hour decision to include corny dialogue look no further then 2013’s WALKING WITH DINOSAURS (Dir. Neil Nightingale and Barry Cook). There’s a film that truely should have been a silent movie.
I meant to publish this a long time ago. Under the cut are 180 quotes from the most popular movies & albums of 2014. You can use these for bios, graphics, para titles, starters, sidebars, descriptions, or anything else you can come up with. If you find this helpful, I would really appreciate a like or reblog. Thanks so much for another fantastic year, I love you all!