Hello, fellow moviegoers!
Okja is directed by Bong Joon Ho, and it stars Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, An Seo Hyun, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Steven Yeun. It's the latest original film to be made available for streaming exclusively on Netflix. It tells the story of Mija, a young girl in South Korea, and her best friend Okja. Okja, however, is what is known as a "super pig", a new species of pig that is much larger, more environmentally friendly, and can feed many more people. When an international company takes Okja from Mija, she will do everything she can to make sure her best friend doesn't become somebody's next meal.
Okja is a film that, while I didn't love it, I did find a lot of enjoyment in watching it. It definitely has some flaws, and there are a few things that could've been cleaned up a little bit, but for the most part, it was a really good movie. It tells the story that it wants to tell, and it's uncompromising in saying what it wants to say. I can't help but feel like most people are either going to love or hate this movie. There will be very few in the middle ground. Okja feels like a very niche movie. It's made for a very specific group of people, and those people will absolutely love it, though everybody else I'm not so sure.
Let's start with what I really liked about Okja. The story and messages of the film were very interesting, and they will cause most people watching the film to legitimately think about some of the decisions they're making in their life. There are a lot of different themes throughout this movie, but none of them felt forced. This film tackles big things like meat production, global industrialization, loyalty, believing in yourself, and a lot more that I'm probably forgetting. Okja is a very deep, and often times depressing film, but it's a film that handles all of its themes and messages extremely well. They never become too heavy handed.
This film didn't really have any major flaws, but there were a few things in it that annoyed me a lot when they happened. The first is something that I can kind of understand, and that was the CGI of Okja, the super pig. I'm not expecting Planet of the Apes level CGI from a low budget film like this, but there were several points in this film where it was painfully obvious that it was an animated animal walking around with this little girl.
The second thing that became annoying occasionally in this film was its humor, specifically, when it resorted to toilet humor. Toilet humor in a film like this felt really odd and out of place. I'm not a big fan of that type of humor in films in general, but admittedly, it does work in some films because it fits with the tone. Okja is not one of those films. By my count, they used that same joke three times, and each time it felt really out of place. There was some other humor in this film that worked well, but the little bit of toilet humor stood out like a sore thumb.
The performances in Okja were really good throughout the entirety of the cast. Tilda Swinton gave a stellar performance, as she does in most things she's in. The lead character of Mija was played by An Seo Hyun, and considering she's only thirteen, she gave an amazing performance. She has the potential to become a big star in the future if she plays her cards right. The performance that stands out to me the most was the one given by Jake Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhall plays a very different character in this film than we're used to seeing. It was over-the-top and ridiculous, but I kind of loved it. Gyllenhaal was hilarious in this movie. From the second he walked on screen, I was blown away at the fact that it was Jake Gyllenhaal I was watching do these things. Also, his voice was really strange, but it worked oddly well. Gyllenhaal was walking a fine line between giving an amazing performance and giving an absolutely awful one. Personally, I think it leaned more to the amazing side because of how ridiculous it was, but I'm sure some people will definitely think he was awful.
Overall, I really liked Okja. Is it one of my favorites of the year? No, but it's a film that I don't regret watching whatsoever. It had a lot of important messages and themes that were handled very well. It never became overcomplicated, but it also didn't dumb anything down. The CGI on the super pig Okja was pretty spotty, and sometimes the film makes use of toilet humor that doesn't work. Okja featured some really strong performances, and Jake Gyllenhaal, in particular, was really interesting to watch. If you're looking for something to see on Netflix, I'd definitely recommend Okja, just be aware that it deals with some pretty heavy stuff at times.
So what did you think of Okja? What's your favorite Netflix original film? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this review, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don't forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and other miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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Hello, fellow moviegoers!
Baby Driver is directed by Edgar Wright, and it stars Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, and Lily James. It tells the story of Baby, a getaway driver for a gang of bank robbers. He's constantly listening to music because it drowns out a constant ringing he has in his ear, and it helps him focus which is why he's such a good driver. When he falls in love with a waitress, he decides it's time for him to be done working with criminals, which as you'd expect, is easier said than done.
Baby Driver is the latest film from Edgar Wright, who has made quite a name for himself as a director. He's directed the likes of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Scott Pilgrim vs the World, all of which are highly stylized and have an almost sarcastic comedic tone to them. Baby Driver changes it up a bit. The tone of this film is more personal, but it still keeps that fun Edgar Wright style that we've all come to love.
Baby Driver, in my opinion, isn't just one of the best films of the year, it might just be Edgar Wright's best film yet. He brought something to this film that we've never really seen from him before, a touch of realism and emotion. Baby Driver had a very personal feel to it. Watching this film felt like we were watching Wright's creative train of thought unfold live on the screen. Wright's directing with this film makes it what it is, and incredibly fun time at the theater. Baby Driver is unique, well-paced, and it may even move you at times.
The soundtrack in this film was a vital element of it. All of the heist and action scenes move to the beat of the music. Which, on paper, sounds ridiculous, but it fit the tone of the film extremely well and served to amp up the incredible amounts of fun in this film. The soundtrack in the film is almost always playing. Save for a few moments, the film is constantly playing music. Which also, on paper, sounds absurd, but Edgar Wright makes it work astonishingly well. I found myself tapping my foot along to the soundtrack several times throughout this film. The soundtrack was infused in the DNA of this film, and at times, it even becomes central to the plot. If the soundtrack was only decent, this film wouldn't have worked nearly as well as it did. Thankfully though, it's stellar, and I'm fully expecting to be listening to it frequently from here on out.
The plot in the film was simple, but it worked well for what the movie was. It's nothing crazy new. A kid wants out of a bad situation so he can be with a girl. You've seen that before, but never like this. In Baby Driver, this old premise feels completely fresh and original. Baby Driver is unlike any film you've seen before. Films like this are why people go to the movies. Baby Driver has everything you want. It's a great summer film, it's not overly complicated, it features catchy music, fun characters, and a solid tone that brought the entire thing together.
The cast in the film gave wonderful performances across the board. The standout performance undoubtedly came from the lead, Ansel Elgort. He brought such a sense of personality to the character of Baby, despite that character being naturally quiet. He doesn't talk a whole lot, but he was able to convey vast amounts of emotion in a glance, and the dialogue he did have he delivered extremely well. The rest of the cast fit their roles really well. Kevin Spacey really brought his A-game in this movie, and he owned the screen every time he was on it. Lily James didn't have a whole lot to do in the film, but she gave a good performance when she could. Jon Hamm really showcases his talent in this film. He's already a well-known actor, but I think this film could take him to a whole new level.
The best thing about this film, by far, is Edgar Wright's style. Edgar Wright has a unique style of film editing. He often uses quick cuts and fading shots, but he uses them in new and creative ways. It's impossible to accurately describe Wright's style. It's so nuanced, and it brings a sense of subtle intensity to Baby Driver, and that's what makes it so great. Edgar Wright films are unlike any other films, and this one is no exception to that.
Baby Driver is unquestionably one of my favorite films of the year so far. Where it will actually fall on that list is yet to be seen, but I'll definitely be seeing it several more times. Even though the film has an all-star cast that gives great performances, the real star here is Edgar Wright. His style and sense of personality made Baby Driver what it was, a truly fantastic film that embodies everything that is the movie going experience. Please, see this movie. It's original films like this that keep the spirit of filmmaking alive.
So what did you think of Baby Driver? Are you a big fan of Edgar Wright? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this review, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don't forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and other miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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Hello, fellow moviegoers!
For today's article, I decided to pose and discuss a question that has been on my mind a lot lately. That question involves the idea of cinematic universes. Cinematic universes have become a dime a dozen anymore. This modern trend all started when Marvel decided to have Samuel L. Jackson show up at the end of Iron Man and ask about the Avengers Initiative. Now, it seems like every other week there is an announcement about some new cinematic universe that is in the works. But are there too many cinematic universes? Is a cinematic universe really the best way to tell these stories? Here's what I think.
First, I'd like to discuss what a "cinematic universe" is exactly. If you're not super up-to-date in film news, then chances are you have no idea what they are. So, to put it simply, a cinematic universe is a series of films that take place in the same world, but they aren't necessarily prequels or sequels to one another. One of the earliest examples of this was the "Universal Monsters", a series of monster movies put out by Universal that featured many of the same cast and recurring characters. This included films such as Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, and more. The modern form of cinematic universe, however, features more interwoven films, rather than loosely tied together films with the same cast.
There are several good examples of a modern cinematic universe done right. Oddly enough, the two most successful examples are both Disney properties. Those would be the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Star Wars films. The Marvel Cinematic universe, or MCU, features all of the films put out by Marvel Studios since 2008. That includes Iron Man, Captain America, The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and much more. The MCU has become incredibly successful, having grossed over $11 billion total throughout 15 films, and they still have dozens more in the works. The Star Wars franchise is new to the world of cinematic universes. What was once just a series of films, became a universe when Disney started canonizing TV shows and comics and creating other films that stray away from the main Skywalker Saga (i.e. Rogue One and the upcoming Han Solo movie). Both the Star Wars films and the MCU are prime examples of how to handle a cinematic universe well.
There are several examples of cinematic universes that have been less than well handled, and there are plenty of cinematic universes that don't need to happen at all. The most recent cinematic universe to get started is Universal's Dark Universe, which began with The Mummy a few weeks ago. Universal is trying to create a new cinematic universe based on the same monsters and characters they did back in the 30s-50s. While that may sound like a good idea on paper, I'm beginning to think that these characters would work best in individual movies. The world they set up in The Mummy was interesting enough, but I'm afraid they're going to focus too much on that, and not enough on the actual characters.
On many occasions, cinematic universes have attempted to launch and then failed miserably. For example, the Dark Universe, which I mentioned above, was supposed to begin with 2014's Dracula Untold. However, that film was neither well received or a box office hit, so they scrapped it and restarted with The Mummy. The same exact thing happened with DC before they officially got the DC Extended Universe up and going. The DCEU was supposed to begin with 2011's Green Lantern starring Ryan Reynolds. However, similar to Dracula Untold, it was a failure, so they tried again with Man of Steel two years later.
In my opinion, a cinematic universe is not the ideal way to make a series of movies. If it works, it works really well, as you can tell with Marvel and Star Wars. However, it's really difficult to start one successfully. Studios get too caught up in the universe and don't focus on the themes and characters. Plus, half the time, the property isn't prime for a cinematic universe anyway (I'm sorry, Dan Aykroyd, but a Ghostbusters cinematic universe is an awful idea). There are certain properties that cinematic universes work well for, but when a cinematic universe fails, it fails hard. The DCEU barely survived 2016, and they're lucky Wonder Woman was amazing, otherwise, they would be in a lot of trouble right about now.
So are there too many cinematic universes? Right now? No. However, studios are constantly trying to make them work and failing at them. If they do end up going through with some of these ideas, there undoubtedly will be too many. A more traditional sequel/prequel series style is a much safer, and often more effective way to handle a series. Cinematic universes are just too risky, and I don't understand why major studios keep green-lighting them.
What do you think? Are you a fan of the cinematic universe, or do you prefer more traditional sequels for a franchise? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this article, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don't forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and other miscellaneous movie thoughts!
Hello, fellow moviegoers!
Wonder Woman is proving to be a success both critically and financially for Warner Bros and their DC properties. It's the first film of the new DC Extended Universe, otherwise known as the DCEU, to receive a Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes at an astonishing 92% approval rating. It's beginning to look like WB and DC are finally getting on the right track as far as their cinematic universe goes. So what does Wonder Woman's success mean for the DCEU? What are they going to do next?
As I mentioned above, Wonder Woman scored a 92% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, which is great for several reasons. First of all, only two films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have either tied or exceeded that score, and those films are the original Iron Man (94%) and The Avengers (92%). So Wonder Woman is in pretty good company as far as Rotten Tomatoes goes. The second reason that 92% is a good sign is how it compares to the other films in the DCEU. Man of Steel scored a rotten 55% approval rating (which I still don't understand how, but that's an argument for another day), and Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad were far below that with 27% and 25% respectively. Wonder Woman is the first film in the DCEU that hasn't been divisive amongst audiences. At the very least, people are thinking it's okay, but most people out there are absolutely loving it.
So what does this mean for the DC Extended Universe? Well, hopefully, it means they're on the right track. Last year Warner Bros brought on DC Comics' chief creative officer Geoff Johns and WB producer Jon Berg to take the reigns and run the DCEU. At the point they were hired, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad already had a lot of work done on them, so there wasn't a whole lot they could do there. However, Wonder Woman was mid-production with over a year until its release, so Johns and Berg probably had a lot of creative input on it. If it is true that Johns and Berg had a big part to play in Wonder Woman, that's very encouraging because they will also carry over into all of the DC films moving forward.
Speaking of the DC Films moving forward, there are quite a few that are in some stage of development. If all the reports are to be believed, there are over a dozen films based on DC characters in development right now. However, there are only two of those films that actually have release dates and have begun filming. The first of those two is Justice League. Justice League is set for release this November and is currently in the middle of post-production and reshoots (keep in mind, almost every major film goes through reshoots). Justice League has had a big shake up recently though. About a month ago, it was announced that director Zack Snyder had stepped away from the project to deal with a family tragedy. Filling in for him to direct the reshoots and oversee post-production is Avengers director Joss Whedon. We've already seen two trailers for Justice League and will undoubtedly get a third by the end of the summer, probably during San Diego Comic-Con. Justice League is set for release on November 17th of this year.
The second DC Film that is confirmed to be coming down the pipe is Aquaman starring Jason Momoa. Aquaman is currently filming in Australia. The film is being directed by James Wan, who is famous for directing such films as Saw, The Conjuring, and Furious 7. Not much is known about the plot of the film, and we haven't seen much from it yet, but I would wager a guess that the first footage will be shown at San Diego Comic-Con in July. Aquaman has assembled an all-star cast that includes Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Ludi Lin, Dolph Lundgren, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Temuera Morrison, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. Aquaman is set for release on December 21st, 2018.
As for the rest of the films DC has in development, some of them are definitely going to happen, some of them I'm not so sure. The ones that will definitely happen and it's just a matter of when would be The Batman directed by Matt Reeves (Dawn/War of the Planet of the Apes) and starring Ben Affleck, The Flash starring Ezra Miller, Shazam starring Dwayne Johnson as the villain Black Adam, Batgirl directed by Joss Whedon, and the recently announced Wonder Woman sequel. The rest of the films DC is working on, I'm unsure as to if or when they'll ever happen. Those films include a Cyborg film, Justice League Dark, Green Lantern Corps, a Justice League sequel, Man of Steel 2, Suicide Squad 2, a Harley Quinn spin-off entitled Gotham City Sirens directed by David Ayer, a Black Adam film, and a Nightwing film directed by Chris McKay (The LEGO Batman Movie).
The reason that, out of all of these films, there are only two actively in production is that Warner Bros and DC are being smart about their properties. They're waiting to see what reaction critics and audiences have to Justice League, then they'll make adjustments and move forward as they see fit. If I had to guess, I would say that the first film we'll see after Aquaman, would be The Batman sometime in 2019.
So what do you think about the current state of the DC Extended Universe? Are you excited to see Justice League? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this article, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don't forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and other miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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