Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Film Review: "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" (2018).

"The park is gone." Welcome to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. This science fiction adventure film directed by J. A. Bayona, written by Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, and based on the characters by Michael Crichton. It is the sequel to Jurassic World (2015), and the fifth instalment of the Jurassic Park film series. When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen and Claire mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event.

In April 2014, before the release of Jurassic World, Trevorrow announced that sequels had been discussed. Trevorrow said Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard might reprise their roles for the next few films, and said he would direct the film if asked. However, in May 2015, Trevorrow announced that he would not direct another film in the series. In early June, Trevorrow met with producer Frank Marshall and Universal Studios to discuss a sequel. Later that month, Trevorrow and Connolly devised the basic story during a road trip that they took immediately after the release of Jurassic World. In late July, Universal announced that a fifth film had been scheduled for a June 22 2018 release date, with a script written by Trevorrow and Connolly, and with Pratt and Howard set to reprise their roles. In mid April 2016, J. A. Bayona was announced as the film's director. In September, Bayona confirmed that the film would be the second chapter in a planned Jurassic World trilogy, and compared the film to Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). By April 2017, Toby Jones, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, Ted Levine, James Cromwell, B. D. Wong, Geraldine Chaplin, Isabella Sermon, and Jeff Goldblum rounded out the cast. Filming began in late February, and wrapped in July, with Hawaii and the United Kingdom as locations. Filming lasted for 134 days, and was shot under the code name Ancient Futures. The film was shot with Arri Alexa 65 cameras, and in CinemaScope. The film features more dinosaurs than any previous film in the series, as Bayona wanted to include several new dinosaurs not previously seen in earlier films. The film also features more animatronic dinosaurs than any previous sequel, which were more technologically advanced than in the previous films. Neal Scanlan served as the film's creature effects creative supervisor, while Vickery and Alex Wuttke served as visual effects supervisors. Scanlan worked on the animatronic dinosaurs, while Vickery and Wuttke created CGI versions of the dinosaurs with their ILM team. 

The film stars Pratt, Howard, Wong, and Goldblum, reprising their roles, with Spall, Smith, Pineda, Cromwell, Jones, Levine, Sermon, and Chaplin. Unlike the dinosaurs themselves, the cast were not able to demonstrate the visible signs of realism as they were bound by plot conventions and action formulas.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom demonstrates how much the franchise has lost its magic, and how difficult it can be to put together a truly compelling sequel.

Simon says Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom receives:

Also, see my reviews for The Impossible and Jurassic World.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Film Review: "Incredibles 2" (2018).

It's "back to work" for the Parr family in Incredibles 2. This computer-animated superhero film written and directed by Brad Bird, and produced by Pixar Animation Studios. It is the sequel to 2004's The Incredibles. Everyone’s favourite family of superheroes is back - but this time Helen is in the spotlight, leaving Bob at home with Violet and Dash to navigate the day-to-day heroics of "normal" life. It’s a tough transition for everyone, made tougher by the fact that the family is still unaware of baby Jack-Jack’s emerging superpowers. When a new villain hatches a brilliant and dangerous plot, the family and Frozone must find a way to work together again - which is easier said than done, even when they’re all Incredible.

Over the years, Bird expressed an interest in making a sequel to The Incredibles. But stated that he would only do a sequel if he could come up with a story that was just as good as, or better than, its predecessor. In March 2014, it was finally confirmed, by Disney CEO/chairman Bob Iger at the Disney shareholder meeting, that a sequel was in the works. Around April 2015, Bird started the script, and said that it would be his next film after Tomorrowland (2015). Bird faced multiple challenges crafting the film, the biggest of all was finding a way to distinguish the film from other films and television shows within the superhero genre since the first film's release. By July 2017, original cast members Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell and Samuel L. Jackson would return to reprise their roles. By January 2018, Huck Milner, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, Sophia Bush, Isabella Rossellini, and Jonathan Banks rounded out the cast. For the film, Milner took over voicing Dash, as the character's original voice actor Spencer Fox's voice had deepened since the first film. While Banks voiced Rick Dicker, after the character's original voice actor, Bud Luckey, retired in 2014, and died in 2018. In 2015, Bird confirmed that Michael Giacchino would return to compose the score. Giacchino began work on it around May 2017. Originally scheduled for a June 21 2019 release date, Pixar swapped its release date with Toy Story 4's June 15 2018 due to this film being completed ahead of schedule, whilst the other film was lagging in production.

The film stars Nelson, Hunter, Vowell, Jackson, and Bird, reprising their roles, with newcomers Milner, Odenkirk, Keener, Bush, and Banks. The cast, both old and new, delivered entertaining performances that captured the heroics of its predecessor, and more than the slew of modern superhero movies leaping into theatres.

I always thought there should be a sequel to The Incredibles. Finally it's here, and we are pretty happy. For me, Incredibles 2 was just as an emotional experience as the first film. Instead of essentially remaking an earlier film and deeming it a sequel, the creative team, led by director Brad Bird, delves deeper into their characters and world, while retaining the fun spirit of the original film.

Simon says Incredibles 2 receives:

Also, see my reviews for Tomorrowland and Coco.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

'Once Upon a Time in Canada' Chapter 44.

Yeah… I definitely had quite the day today. I woke up pretty early. So why did I have quite the day today? I spent the day celebrating and photographing Michael, as well as Herwin and Belinda’s graduation.

First I had my shower, and then had my breakfast. Getting dressed and my camera ready were next. Then I made my way to Michael’s place to make sure that he had gotten up and gotten ready for the special day. Only, when I got there, Michael had barely gotten out of bed. So his mother and I had to get his ass out of bed and get him dressed. A lot of work went into getting Michael ready. If his mother and I couldn’t get him up, who could? I sat on the couch in the living room waiting for him to get ready. The waiting wasn’t too long, thank God.

Sure enough, Michael was all ready to go. That wasn’t really a surprise as Michael wouldn’t dare miss or be unprepared for his big day. There’s one tricky bit: Public transport was not going to be the way to get there. The only other option was to Uber there. So thus we called an Uber to pick us up from his place to the Ryerson Athletic Centre. And we luckily made it early enough for Michael to get dressed in his graduation robe and gather with the other graduates.

So I made my way around the building with Michael taking photos of the event, as well as Michael, Herwin, and Belinda. Then Michael’s mother, grandmother, and I made our way to our seats. And I set up my camera and tripod whilst waiting for the event to commence.

When the event commenced, my camera was more than ready. I really needed to take it easy, but I only had one opportunity and thus I couldn’t screw it up. So I was taking shots whenever Michael (especially), Herwin, Belinda or anything important appeared. I took plenty of photos of Michael. The event itself took around two hours. Then, once it was over, I packed up the camera and tripod, and made my way to Michael, Herwin, and Belinda.

Yes, I know it was quite a day, but I couldn’t miss for anything. Besides, it was a special day for my friends. An event like this was something I needed to attend; after all, I never got to go to my graduation. Once we were done, we made our way to Chinatown and had a nice traditional Chinese lunch.

Also, see Chapters 43 and 45.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Film Review: "Hereditary" (2018).

"Every family tree hides a secret" in Hereditary. This supernatural horror film written and directed by Ari Aster, his directorial debut. When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter's family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited.

While a student at the American Film Institute; Aster scripted and directed two provocative short films bringing him under the scope of A24. Aster originally pitched Hereditary as a family tragedy that "curdles into a nightmare," careful not to call it a horror film outright. A fan of domestic dramas, Aster incorporated themes of the genre into his script, envisioning a film rooted in family dynamics, trauma, and grief; Carrie (1976) and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989) served as influences. The script reflects a real-life incident from 2005 in Marietta, Georgia, in which John Kemper Hutcherson accidentally decapitated his childhood friend and passenger, Frankie Brohm, on a telephone pole, after the latter had leaned his head from the vehicle to relieve the symptoms of his inebriation. Hutcherson then drove home with Brohm's headless corpse in the car and fell asleep, until a passerby, walking with his toddler, noticed Brohm's body still in the truck the next morning and notified authorities. By February 2017, Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, and Ann Dowd were cast. Collette was one of the first actresses Aster sought for the role of Annie Graham. Though Collette was reluctant to work on a horror film, the script's grounded approach to the genre convinced her to commit to the project. At the same time, principal photography commenced, and took place throughout Utah. Aster liked Utah for the film because he thought its mountains are beautiful and breathtaking, but also menacing and ominous. Aster wanted any effect that could be done practically to be done that way, instead of in post production.

The film stars Collette, Byrne, Wolff, Shapiro, and Dowd. The cast gave extraordinary performances of such immense pain that it virtually leaves a stain on your sub-conscious. Much of the film is keenly attuned to human failure and the ugliness of families, making for a magnetic but continually cringe-inducing ride.

Ambitious, impressively crafted, and above all unsettling, Hereditary further proves writer-director Ari Aster is a horror auteur to be reckoned with. The film is a horrifying look at families, bloodlines, and family secrets - and it brings us one of the most memorable and disturbing finales in history. The film is an absolutely spellbinding horror film, as well as an observant human portrait. By the end, I was angry at the way the film manipulated me to the point where my heart was thudding, and embarrassed because the film really works. It's a horror classic, and years from now it will still be written and argued about, and it will still be scaring the daylights out of new generations of moviegoers.

Simon says Hereditary receives:

'Once Upon a Time in Canada' Chapter 43.

I had quite the night tonight. Michael needed me to join him on one of his occasional trips to one of his favourite spots in the entire city: the Water Tower. On the way, we got some stuff for the trip. This time round, we had a little bit more than usual, and two additional people, Duncan and Herwin, accompanied us. We all were exhausted from the usual day of work, or whatever Michael was up to, and made our way for a chill night. Simple enough.

The Water Tower has always been the favourite hotspot for not only Michael but for a lot of people going through Exhibition Place (even though there are a couple of other suitable places). So we rendezvoused, made our way through Exhibition Place, and made our up the hill and up the tower. We first had to get through the locked doors before we could sit down and relax at the top. It was the easiest thing of course; we just had to pick the lock. That’s all. My nervousness was just as equal as my excitement. We would probably had a difficult time if we had cut the lock off the door, that would required an electric saw, and there would have been a lot of sparks flying. Plus, we would have been mostly attracted a lot of attention. Then again, other people have done worse then what we did, and would have probably been caught.

Half the time, by the time we finally got to the top, we were just taking in the amazing panoramic view of the city and Lake Ontario. At the same time, I was taking as many photos I could whilst enjoying the view myself. After that, we got out the snacks and drinks, sat down, and talked about what anyone would talk about in that situation – life. We all got involved in that conversation. Then, with the food and drinks running out, the night had to come to an end.

With the blistering heat, it wasn’t exactly a cool time when we were leaving and going down without attracting attention. But, luckily, we didn’t break that much of a sweat when we made our way out. The exit was an exciting one, well… for me at least. But there was a security guard or two patrolling the area. We had only a couple of minutes to make it out “alive.” That was close, with one of the guards almost spotting us with his torch. But, like I said, it was a close one. I don’t know if I want to do this all the time. Once in a while, I can tolerate this kind of thing and let loose a little. After hard days at work, I need to let myself loose, break or bend the rules a bit, and let myself go a bit. To quote a famous character: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Anyways, that enough of that, and I’ve had quite a night. I just went home and went straight to the sack. Got to get some sleep.

Also, see Chapters 42 and 44.