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Ridiculously Serious: Part 1

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I once wrote an article on Hollywood and the push towards super serious ultra-real or ultra-dark films. In that article I posited that the reason the last Hollywood produced Godzilla film failed to be a good film was that it tried to be both too ridiculous and too serious. You can serve one of these masters in any given film, depending entirely on the universe you have built, the characters in it and the story you are telling. And every now and then these very factors can allow you to serve both masters.

Now I have come to this new found train of thought through my own time spent listening to many other cinephiles discuss films. Being someone who loves all manner of film, from dramas, to romance, to action, to sci-fi, thrillers, comedies and even the odd musical…  I am bewildered that I once held the belief you could not have a film that was both ridiculous and self-serious.

I say this because in retrospect, I have seen my fair share of ridiculous and self-serious films that I actually enjoyed. Good examples of this I believe are the films that are most notably ridiculed by critics and self-proclaimed lovers of “good films”. I guess that sounds like a defensive start and that is because it is. Films like John Wick, John Wick: Chapter 2, the James Bond franchise, Resident Evil, Underworld, Fast and Furious or even Transformers… these are films set in universes that are quite unreal. They are not comic book universes and yet are as ridiculous in their plots, settings, characters and conflicts as their comic book film counterparts. And yet they are also not purely dramas, thrillers, action or even purely sci-fi films. They tend to be an amalgamation of these different genres and thus they tend to carry with them the tropes featured therein.

Characters in these films take their conflicts as seriously as characters in a film like Hotel Rwanda. Yet characters in these films often also find themselves performing feats you might only expect to see in comic book based films. This is where I began to understand my enjoyment of these sorts of films and where I also began to understand why it is hard for traditionalists and lovers of more traditional films and film making techniques to appreciate such films.

When a person like me walks into a John Wick film, I am going in fully aware that this is a film set in a pretty ridiculous universe where characters perform incredible stunts and have incredible skills, where the body counts are high and the legal ramifications are low. It isn’t unlike the unrealistic nature of a romantic comedy for instance. But I go in because that is what I am fully intending to enjoy. These films more and more are being helmed by directors who refuse to stagnate in technique. Directors who are true artists despite the feelings of traditionalists and critics. They are people who dare to color outside the lines as it were, be it a Paul Greengrass administering a shaky cam and close up handheld filming technique in order to give the audience a sense of the brutality in a fight between Jason Bourne and any one of his foes or a Michael Bay hero establishment shot. Be it a Zack Snyder film featuring color correction techniques that lend to giving the audience a sense of the mood throughout a film.

This is not unlike Hans Zimmer administering a deafening score for Interstellar while having a far more adventurous one in a Pirates of the Caribbean film. The point is that the artists who dare to make these sort of films tend to understand how while traditional film making techniques are not terrible (see Saving Private Ryan), they can also lend to a very bland and simply unmoving picture (see Bridge of Spies). 2 films directed by Steven Spielberg, one an incredible thing to behold, the other, a picture that just doesn’t connect. Now yes, the story being told can also make a difference but the point remains, traditional film making techniques aren’t what decide if a film is great or not. We have seen many traditionally made films that just fall completely flat in the past and we will no doubt, see more.

More on this in Part 2.

To be continued…

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The First Glass Trailer Is Officially Here

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Universal Pictures has released the first official trailer for Glass.

Glass is the long-awaited Unbreakable sequel, which also serves as a sequel to last year’s Split, finally arrives next year. Samuel L. Jackson is back as Mr. Glass, with James Mcavoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb, and Bruce Willis as David Dunn.

Split was a surprise hit for M. Night Shyamalan and fans of Unbreakable. The movie made $40 million on the opening weekend and did a more than respectable $276 million worldwide, off a $9 million budget. But the biggest twist was finding out it was in the same universe as Unbreakable.

Samuel L. Jackson spoke about his character and working with James McAvoy.

“All of a sudden, my character has the thing he wanted: the heroic good guy, the bad guy, and I get to be in the middle of them. It has a distinct satisfaction if you remember what his theory was all along, that there are people out here with extraordinary powers who can do extraordinary things. And it’s amazing to watch James [McAvoy] have an argument with four different characters in front of my face.”

Glass is set to hit theaters January 18, 2019.

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Rick Ross Is Ready To Drop Port Of Miami 2

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Rick Ross has been hard at work on his follow up to Rather You Than Me.

This time around Rozay has gone back to his roots with a sequel to his 2006 debut album Port of Miami. Ross announced his next lp would be Port of Miami 2: Born to Kill, will take inspiration from the cities he’s visited as of late.

Using his Twitter account Ross elaborated on the concept for the album.

Port of Miami 2 will have sprinkles of flavor from all these dope countries/cities I’ve visited in last few months,” the rapper wrote. Now all we have to do is listen to his album—when it drops—and ask him a few questions about the places he’s visited over the last year or so. This should be fun.

Doing just a bit of cyber-sleuthing, we see that the rapper tweeted out an image of a few beautiful women on the beach. The message attached to the picture is a call to action that seemingly indicates the pic was taken in the Dominican Republic.

“Dominican Republic should be on your bucket list fuck the budget,” wrote Rozay in a tweet he posted just before his Port of Miami 2: Born to Kill update.

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Steve Carrel Stars As A Vet In The Inspiring Film Welcome to Marwen

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Dreamworks released the first trailer for Welcome to Marwen. The film stars Academy Award nominee Steve Carrell in the moving true story of one broken man’s fight as he discovers how artistic imagination can restore the human spirit.

The film is directed by Robert Zemeckis is based on a documentary, Marwencol, by Jeff Malmberg, which tells the story of Mark Hogancamp. Hogancamp loses his memories after being beaten almost to death, and as a form a therapy (because he can afford no other), he makes a replica of a tiny Belgian village and populates it with characters that represent him and those in his life — both loved ones, and his attackers.

Steve Carell plays Hogancamp in the Zemeckis film (which Zemeckis co-wrote with Caroline Thompson), and is joined by Leslie Mann, Merritt Wever, Eiza González, Gwendolyn Christie, Janelle Monáe, Leslie Zemeckis, Diane Kruger, and Neil Jackson. Welcome to Marwen opens in theaters on November 21st.

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