Commentaries

Thursday, October 19, 2017

ONLY THE BRAVE



DECENT DISASTER FILM


Film Review by Fiore


For a disaster film, ONLY THE BRAVE fares better than most.  Though long, it offers fine acting and exceptional cinematography.

Disaster films cannot simply show the disaster.  The films spend most of their time creating emotional content for the viewers.  The often mundane lives of principals involved in the disaster are orchestrated to allow a crescendo of empathy for those characters once the disaster occurs. 

To accomplish this, a producer needs several key elements.  First is quality actors and ONLY THE BRAVE succeeds here.  Josh Brolin, Jeff Bridges and Jennifer Connolly combine to add gravitas to the story.  Connolly is exceptionally notable, and may garner Best Supporting Actress nods.

The next elements needed are technical.  The script needs to be solid, and this one is.  Those who know the story of the Granite Mountain Hot Shots will be familiar with the story and its conclusion.  Those not, will be pleasantly surprised.  Even though the film is over two hours, it is well paced.  With the exception of the road discussion and walk home sequence, it flows well enough to make its length unnoticeable.   

ONLY THE BRAVE also features impressive cinematography, especially the aerial shots of the wildfires.  There is also a cool special effect of a burning bear, which symbolically serves as a chapter segue throughout the tale.


Disaster tales are generally trite.  There stories are mere appetizers to SFX wizardry.  ONLY THE BRAVE offers more, and makes for a much better viewing experience.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

BLADERUNNER 2049



BLADERUNNER 2049

Film Review by FIORE


BLADERUNNER 2049 is one of the most visually stunning films of the year.  Though I saw the film in standard 2D, the screen screams for the IMAX or 3D treatment.  Credit Director of Photography Roger Deakins for the film’s visual acuity.  Deakins is one of Hollywood's top cinematographers, but he surpasses even his own level of excellence in this endeavor.

In addition, the sound is also phenomenal.  Vangelis is not present, but Hans Zimmer takes over the synthesizers and duplicates, and then surpasses the score of the original.

BLADERUNNER 2049 is long, clocking in at nearly three hours.  It doesn’t need to be.  There are several plot slips to merit closer scrutiny.  For example:  Before the climatic conclusion, Ryan Gosling's character Joe, shows up in timely fashion with an armed police car, despite the fact he was suspended from the force.  This would be problematic if not for the movies amazing visuals.

The original BLADERUNNER is an iconic movie. There are so many different versions of the film, it may hold the Hollywood record for most film variants.  The bottom line is the story is a pull fiction detective tale set in the future.  Despite the numerous variations the theatrical version is still the best.  This sequel is not as monumental as the original.

In 2049, replicants are no longer a problem, however some of the older models still linger and must be retired.   Gosling's Joe is one of the last Bladerunners.  His latest mission will lead him to a miracle among replicants and force him to cross paths with legendary Bladerunner Dekkard, again played by Harrison Ford.  Also starring in this episode are Jarred Leto; Robin Wright and Dave Bautista.

BLADERUNNER 2049 offers no antagonist.  While there are villains, the main conflict comes with a concept, rather than an individual.  It’s peculiar because the conflict is never resolved.

Take the original BLADERUNNER, toss it in a bowl with Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY,  shake vigorously and you will have BLADERUNNER 2049.  It's definitely worth a look.

THE WEIGHT



IT'S ALL ABOUT THE END

Film Review by FIORE


As a thriller, THE WEIGHT is a film that builds to a tremendous crescendo, only to fall flat in the final stanzas.  When writing a screen play, it is essential to know the ending.  When the ending is known, all the rest of the script’s elements steer toward that conclusion.  When Christopher Rennier penned THE WEIGHT, he either had no concept how to end it or he and Director Thomas Rennier simply ran out of money and could not shoot it.  The climax of THE WEIGHT is so nonsensical, it renders all preceding conflict moot.  That’s a shame, because until the ending, the film is rather creative.

The movie opens with a stranger who collapses into a hotel, dying from a gunshot wound. Using a timeline shift similar to Quentin Tarrentino’s PULP FICTION, the circumstances surrounding the shooting, and the characters involved are unveiled. 

Staring in THE WEIGHT are Clayne Crawford, who currently plays Martin Riggs on the TV series LETHAL WEAPON, Robert Leeshock, MJ Bracken, Heather Roop and Ken Hudson Campbell.

As with many Independent films, there are a few problems in the initial storytelling.  A scene where two women are captured, and then thrown in the back seat of a car while the kidnapper drives is illogical.  Even women should be able to escape this type of encounter.  And there are jump cuts during the road traveling scene.  Jump cuts are not cool, or Bohemian.  They are simply poor, lazy editing.

These foibles aside, THE WEIGHT unravels an interesting tale, until the ending.  There are so many loose ends, it’s like a bag of string cheese.  Potential, never realized.  THE WEIGHT is currently available on VOD.