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Peter T Chattaway

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Posts posted by Peter T Chattaway


  1. I'm honestly not being snarky about this, but: I wonder what kind of double-bill this would make with the Mel Gibson-produced FairyTale: A True Story (he has a cameo in it too), which also concerned children who make supernatural claims in the aftermath of World War I.


  2. FWIW, my one concern with the Top 25 lists approach is that I haven't really been much of a list-maker lately. Can't remember the last time I made a year-end Top 10 list. Heck, I still haven't picked an "honorable mention" for our last Ecumenical Jury list (and it's probably way too late to do that now, isn't it). The prospect of trawling through all my moviegoing memories and all of film history to come up with an all-time Top 25 seems kind of... daunting... to me.

    Rob Z wrote:
    : A Top 100 that contains or at least considered, say, Blue and/or Red instead of the trilogy isn’t missing anything as an Arts & Faith list in my book.

    FWIW, I'm one of the people who likes White the best of the trilogy (or at least, that was how I responded when I watched all three films together back in the '90s). I know Leonard Maltin might not be considered the most highbrow of critics, but White was apparently *his* favorite of the trilogy, too -- so I'm not alone in this!

    kenmorefield wrote:
    :
    I'm personally less concerned about bringing those people into A&F and converting them into regular *forum* contributors, though that's not a bad thing. But the Ecumenical Jury has people who contribute to its formation and by and by and large haven't participated in A&F much beyond that, which is fine.

    I dunno, the A&F lists are supposed to reflect the A&F *community*, whereas the Ecumenical Jury is something else, no? I don't think we need to jump through hoops just to contrive a different identity for ourselves. We are who we are. (And who we are keeps changing, but so far we have evolved naturally, not artificially.)


  3. Steven Spielberg Won’t Direct ‘Indiana Jones 5,’ James Mangold in Talks to Replace (EXCLUSIVE)
    After a long development process, Steven Spielberg is handing the directing reins on “Indiana Jones 5” to another filmmaker for the first time in the franchise’s 39-year history, Variety has learned.
    Sources say, while a deal hasn’t closed, “Ford v Ferrari” director James Mangold is in talks to take the job. Mangold has been put in this situation before when he took over the “Wolverine” franchise; 2017’s “Logan” was a blockbuster, grossing $619 million globally, and earning Mangold an Oscar nomination for adapted screenplay.
    Spielberg will remain as a hands-on producer on “Indy 5.” According to a source close to the filmmaker, the decision to leave the director’s chair was entirely Spielberg’s, in a desire to pass along Indy’s whip to a new generation to bring their perspective to the story.
    Harrison Ford, meanwhile, is still on the project. The actor recently made headlines speaking about the future of the franchise while promoting his latest film, “The Call of the Wild.” He told “CBS Sunday Morning” this month that he was “going to start doing ‘Indiana Jones’ in about two months,” and then days later told HeyUGuys that the project is still facing “scheduling issues and a few script things” and that “we’re determined to get it right before we get it made.”
    When Disney first announced the new “Indiana Jones” film in 2016, with Spielberg directing and Ford starring, the studio originally slated the film to open on July 19, 2019. Then it was pushed a year to July 10, 2020, and then delayed again to July 9, 2021, when Jonathan Kasdan (son of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” scribe Lawrence Kasdan) was brought on to take a pass on the script after original screenwriter David Koepp left the project.
    With a new director coming on board, the possibility that “Indy 5” will be pushed once more from its 2021 release date seems likely. Spokespeople for Spielberg and Disney declined to comment. . . .
    Variety, February 26


  4. Wow, a lot of water under the bridge since 2005...

    kenmorefield wrote:
    : Updating this thread -- some time after 2005...this board was acquired by IMAGE Journal and run for several years with Greg Wolfe as principal administrator. 

    I believe Image acquired the board in 2009, which was a, shall we say, eventful year for a number of us both here and off-board.


  5. Links to our threads on Jurassic Park (1993), Jurassic World (2015) and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018). We don't seem to have any threads on The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) or Jurassic Park III (2001).

    - - -

    ‘Jurassic World 3’: ‘Altered Carbon’ & ‘Animal Kingdom’ Actress Dichen Lachman Joins Cast
    EXCLUSIVE: Nepal-born actress Dichen Lachman has joined Universal and Amblin Entertainment’s threequel Jurassic World 3
    Lachman boards the Colin Trevorrow-directed pic which stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Mamoudou Athie, DeWanda Wise, Laura Dern, Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum. Jurassic World 3 hits theaters on June 11, 2021.
    Deadline.com, February 18

    - - -

    Meanwhile, it turns out Trevorrow directed a Jurassic-connected short film that was posted to YouTube back in September:

     


  6. Not to be confused with the 2009 Bible movie.

    - - -

    Ruth Wilson & Matt Bomer To Star In AIDS Activism Drama ‘The Book Of Ruth’ From Tony-Nominated Director Michael Arden & Independent – EFM
    EXCLUSIVE: 
    Ruth Wilson and Matt Bomer are attached to lead The Book Of Ruth, a feature based on the true story of Ruth Coker Burks, a devout Christian divorcée and single mother from Arkansas who became a champion and caregiver for AIDS sufferers in 1980s America.
    Michael Arden, the two-time Tony Award nominated theater director who landed both those noms before the age of 35, will helm the pic, his feature film debut.
    The screenplay comes from Rebecca Pollock and Kas Graham, whose 2019 script Betty Ford appeared on the Blacklist and was optioned by Ryan Murphy with Sarah Paulson attached.
    Set in 1983, Ruth Coker Burks (Wilson) lives a busy life, devoted to her work, her six-year-old daughter Jessica, and her faith. When a handsome new neighbor (Bomer) turns out to be a gay New-Yorker who has fled the City and returned home after the death of his partner to AIDS, she decides to educate herself on the epidemic sweeping the country. . . .
    Deadline.com, February 17

    - - -

    Wikipedia on Ruth Coker Burks:

    Burks' first interaction with an AIDS patient occurred in 1984, when she was visiting a friend in the hospital.[5] Burks' friend had cancer, so Burks spent a lot of time in the hospital.[1] During one visit, she noticed that nurses were afraid to go into one room covered by a red bag and found out that the patient had what was then known as Gay-Related Immune Deficiency (GRID).[1] Burks' cousin was gay, and she had an interest in learning about the disease and was curious about the patient behind the door.[1] She met the patient, a young man who wanted to see his mother before he died.[1] To force his mother to hear his wishes, Burks had to threaten the mother with the publication of the man's obituary in their hometown newspaper; even then, the mother called him a "sinner" and said that she would not see him or claim the body when he died.[1] Burks then took over his palliative care and comforted him until his death 13 hours later.[1] After finding a funeral home that would take his body for cremation, she buried his ashes in her family cemetery.[6]

    After that first encounter, Burks began to receive phone calls from others who needed her help,[7] caring for over 1,000 people over the 30 or so years she worked with them.[4][8] With assistance from her daughter, Burks has buried more than 40 people in her family cemetery in Hot Springs.[7][8] While her charges were still alive, she helped take them to appointments, obtain medications, apply for assistance, and more.[7] She also kept supplies of AIDS medications on hand, as some pharmacies would not carry these medications.[9] Because of her work with people with AIDS, as she told KLRT-TV, she and her daughter were "outcasts" and crosses were burned in her yard twice.[6] Burks received financial assistance from gay bars in Arkansas, including the Discovery Club in Little Rock: "They would twirl up a drag show on Saturday night and here'd come the money. [...] That's how we'd buy medicine, that's how we'd pay rent. If it hadn't been for the drag queens, I don't know what we would have done."[7] In 1988, Norman Jones, owner of the Discovery Club, created Helping People with AIDS, where Burks worked for several years.[2] During Clinton's presidency, Burks was a White House consultant for AIDS education.[2]


  7. Links to our threads on Aladdin (2019) and Genies (in development).

    Links to our other Disney-live-action-films-based-on-animated-films threads on Enchanted (2007), Alice in Wonderland (2010), The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010), Maleficent (2014), Cinderella (2015), The Jungle Book (2016), Alice through the Looking Glass (2016), Pete's Dragon (2016), Beauty and the Beast (2017), Christopher Robin (2018), Dumbo (2019), Aladdin (2019), The Lion King (2019), Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019), Lady and the Tramp (2019), Mulan (2020), Cruella (2021), The Chronicles of Prydain (in development), Enchanted 2 (in development), The Jungle Book 2 (in development), Lilo & Stitch (in development), The Little Mermaid (in development), Night on Bald Mountain (in development), Peter Pan (in development), Pinocchio (in development), Prince Charming (in development), The Sword in the Stone (in development) and Tink (in development). We don't seem to have any threads on 101 Dalmatians (1996) or 102 Dalmatians (2000). Has Disney made any *other* live-action films based on their cartoons?

    The Alice and Maleficent sequels didn't do very well, so I'm not sure what the prospects are for *this* film, but we'll see, I guess.

    - - -

    ‘Aladdin’ Sequel in the Works (EXCLUSIVE)
    Following the massive success of last summer’s reboot, Disney is developing a follow-up to the film with writers John Gatins and Andrea Berloff.
    Sources say the movie is in early development, but after spending the last six months figuring out what direction to take the next film, producers look to have found their path. . . .
    It’s unknown at this time whether director Guy Ritchie will return. Producers hope to bring back stars Will Smith, Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott, but offers won’t be extended to the cast until a script is ready.
    The film will be a theatrical release, not a Disney Plus title. The original animated movie had two straight-to-video sequels, but sources say this new take is completely original and not based on those ideas. . . .
    Following the film’s success, studio execs knew audiences were hungry for more, but were also aware that they needed to find the right take. After a thorough search that involved taking pitches from numerous writers, they finally found what they were looking for following a meeting with Gatins and Berloff.
    Gatins, who earned an Oscar nomination for his work on the Denzel Washington drama “Flight,” most recently wrote “Power Rangers” for Lionsgate. Berloff’s credits include “The Kitchen,” which she also directed, “Sleepless,” and “Straight Outta Compton,” which earned her an Oscar nomination for original screenplay.
    Variety, February 12


  8. Hollywood Still Trying to Put a Ring on Universal’s ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ (EXCLUSIVE)
    Always a bridesmaid, never a bride, the cliche goes, a fate that top filmmakers are still hoping to avoid for a reboot of the iconic movie monster: the Bride of Frankenstein.
    In the past year alone, figures like Oscar-nominated producer Amy Pascal and freshmen horror sensation John Krasinski have been quietly exploring ways to reimagine the skunk-haired creature for the cineplex, insiders familiar with the project told Variety.
    The property has been in a holding pattern since 2017, when Universal Pictures scuttled a planned constellation of films known as the Dark Universe after the failure of Tom Cruise’s “The Mummy.” . . .
    The latest suitor for Bride is Pascal, multiple sources said, who just moved her overall production deal to Universal from Sony Pictures last summer. She has floated the property by her former “Spider-Man” collaborator and director Sam Raimi, said two individuals familiar with the conversations. That union is now unlikely, given he’s close to signing on to direct Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” sequel, which shoots in May. Pascal has also engaged screenwriter David Koepp (“Jurassic Park”), who was involved in crafting the defunct Dark Universe pitch for Jolie’s project. Keopp has previously described his vision a liberation tale, about a female monster created for companionship who has quite the opposite in mind. Spokespeople for Raimi, Koepp, and Jolie declined to comment on the matter. . . .
    Krasinki, deep in edits on the sequel to his hit film “A Quiet Place,” also tinkered with an iteration of Bride and other Universal characters last year, sources said. Banks, too, was offered free reign but ultimately zeroed in on “Invisible Woman.” Same goes for Paul Feig, who pivoted to the hybrid concept “Dark Army,” a literal monster mashup of archive ghouls and some original characters he conceived. He will direct as well as produce with partner Laura Fischer through their FeigCo, set up at Universal.
    Variety, February 11


  9. Aren wrote:
    : I actually searched for that thread before making this one, but could not find it with the search function! Sorry.

    No worries. I found it by searching for "bad boys" (I was actually looking for the thread on the second film and had forgotten that we already had one on the third and fourth films!).


  10. The final tally:

    4 awards

    • Parasite -- Picture, director (Bong Joon Ho), original screenplay, international feature film

    3 awards

    • 1917 -- Cinematography, visual effects, sound mixing

    2 awards

    • Ford v Ferrari -- Film editing, sound editing
    • Joker -- Actor (Joaquin Phoenix), original score
    • Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood -- Supporting actor (Brad Pitt), production design

    1 award

    • American Factory -- Documentary feature
    • Bombshell -- Makeup and hairstyling
    • Jojo Rabbit -- Adapted screenplay
    • Judy -- Actress (Renee Zellweger)
    • Little Women -- Costume design
    • Marriage Story -- Supporting actress (Laura Dern)
    • Rocketman -- Original song
    • Toy Story 4 -- Animated feature

    Of the nine Best Picture nominees, the only one that did not win a single award was The Irishman.


  11. Just a quick note to say that Birds of Prey earned an estimated $33.3 million over the weekend, which, if the estimate holds, would give it (i) the 2nd-best opening of any R-rated film directed by a woman (behind Fifty Shades of Grey), (ii) the 10th-best opening of any live-action film (co-)directed by a woman, and (iii) the 17th-best opening of any film (co-)directed by a woman, as far as I can tell. (The live-action films are in bold below.)

       2019  Captain Marvel (co-directed)          $153.4 million
       2019  Frozen II (co-directed)               $130.3 million
       
    2017  Wonder Woman (dir. Patty Jenkins)              $103.3 million

       2015  Fifty Shades of Grey (dir. Sam Taylor-Johnson)  $85.2 million
       2008  Twilight (dir. Catherine Hardwicke)             $69.6 million
       2012  Pitch Perfect 2 (dir. Elizabeth Banks)          $69.2 million

       2013  Frozen (co-directed)                            $67.4 million
       2012  Brave (co-directed)                             $66.3 million
       2009  Alvin & the Chipmunks 2 (dir. Betty Thomas)     $48.9 million
       2011  Kung Fu Panda 2 (dir. Jennifer Yuh Nelson)      $47.7 million
       2004  Shark Tale (co-directed)                        $47.4 million
       2001  Shrek (co-directed)                             $42.3 million
       2016  Kung Fu Panda 3 (co-directed)                   $41.3 million
       1998  Deep Impact (dir. Mimi Leder)                   $41.2 million
       2009  The Proposal (dir. Anne Fletcher)               $33.6 million
       2000  What Women Want (dir. Nancy Meyers)             $33.6 million
       2020  Birds of Prey (dir. Cathy Yan)        $33.3 million

       2019  Hustlers (dir. Lorene Scafaria)           $33.2 million
       
    2018  A Wrinkle in Time (dir. Ava DuVernay)           $33.1 million

       2014  Unbroken (dir. Angelina Jolie)                  $30.6 million
       1998  Doctor Dolittle (dir. Betty Thomas)             $29.0 million
       2008  Mamma Mia! (dir. Phyllida Lloyd)                $27.8 million

    Birds of Prey's first-weekend gross is nearly identical to that of Hustlers -- but, unlike Hustlers, which did better than expected and benefited from positive word-of-mouth, Birds of Prey did a lot worse than expected (tracking suggested an opening around $55 million, and the studio had estimated more conservatively that it would open around $45 million, which still turned out to be too optimistic). So whereas Hustlers joined the $100 million club in the end, Birds of Prey is unlikely to go that high.


  12. Incidentally, re: that mid-credits tag: The studio announced shortly after this film opened that there will, in fact, be a Bad Boys 4. So I assume that tag is connected to that somehow.

    How soon is that sequel going to come, though? The shortest gap between Bad Boys movies is the *eight years* between the first two films. (Another *seventeen years* passed before the third film came out.)


  13. I watched all three movies in the space of three days. It was the first time I had ever seen the original 1995 film, and the first time I had seen the second film since it came out in 2003. I live-Facebooked the first two films as I was watching them and then wrote up some notes on the third film, also at Facebook. Here is what I wrote:

    - - -

    All right, time to watch Bad Boys (1995) for the first time ever.

    The pre-credits sequence is kind of an amazing time capsule. The film is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer *and Don Simpson* -- he was still alive then. (He died in January 1996.) Martin Lawrence gets top billing over Will Smith! (Both of them had TV shows at the time; this was Smith's first big-screen lead role and Lawrence's second, following 1991's Talkin' Dirty after Dark.) Martin Lawrence, in one of his very first lines of dialogue, mocks a criminal for being fat, which is kind of ironic in light of Lawrence's size nowadays. Lawrence complains that Smith's car doesn't have cupholders, which reminds me of an article I read in the early 1990s about the importance of cupholders to Generation X. And then the credits are filled with names like Tea Leoni and Tcheky Karyo that I haven't seen much of since the 1990s or early 2000s.

    A bad guy uses the word "bitch" -- a staple in the dialogue of Michael Bay's films -- before the first person, a woman, is murdered. The murder victim falls through a glass table (*that* old cliche!).

    The scenes in which Martin Lawrence has to pretend to be Will Smith when he takes Tea Leoni into custody kind of underscore the fact that Will Smith isn't even *in* the movie during those scenes, which, in turn, underscores the fact that Lawrence got top billing over Smith in this movie. Forty minutes in, this does appear to be Lawrence's movie more than Smith's.

    Tea Leoni sees lots of pictures of Will Smith in what she *thinks* is Martin Lawrence's apartment and assumes that Lawrence is gay. Lawrence denies this, nervously. Leoni says don't worry, it's "okay to be a homosexual". This was in 1995, the same year The Celluloid Closet came out; it was also less than two years after Philadelphia and less than three years after The Crying Game (to cite two early-1990s milestones in mainstream film's changing approach to this topic). Side note: Lawrence says Smith's name is "Marcus Burnett", which is very similar to reality-show and "faith-based" producer Mark Burnett.

    Will Smith throws barrels of ether out the back of a speeding truck during a car chase. In Bad Boys II it'll be entire cars and dead bodies, if memory serves. (Michael Bay then had giant objects of some sort fall off a moving vehicle during a chase scene in The Island. It's a motif of his.)

    Lots of double entendres when Martin Lawrence phones home and hears the dialogue between his wife and Will Smith (who are actually looking at a photo album, not having sex).

    Another Bible-movie connection! A store clerk is played by Shaun Toub, who was born in Iran to a Persian Jewish family and played Mary's father Joachim in 2006's The Nativity Story. He also played Yinsen in 2008's Iron Man and 2013's Iron Man 3.

    - - -

    And now, Bad Boys II.

    This film came out in 2003, eight years after the original film. Michael Bay had gone on to direct The Rock, Armageddon and Pearl Harbor, while Will Smith had gone on to star in Independence Day, two Men in Black films and Ali (the last of which got him his first Oscar nomination), and Martin Lawrence had done... Big Momma's House, Black Knight and National Security.

    Amazingly, Martin Lawrence's name still appears before Will Smith's in the opening credits. And the film is still "A Don Simpson / Jerry Bruckheimer Production" even though Simpson had been dead for over seven years by this point.

    In one of the first scenes, a drug lord calls his molls "F---ing bitches" because they accidentally shoot one of his statues. It didn't take long for Bay to put *that* word in his movie again, did it. (The b-word, I mean.)

    The first film didn't do a whole lot with race but the second film begins with a KKK rally that Will Smith and Martin Lawrence have infiltrated; the first time we see them, it is after they throw off their Klan robes.

    Was that Michael Shannon as one of the Klansmen!? (Checks.) Why yes it was! Huh.

    Big special-effects shot of a bullet flying in slow motion from Will Smith's gun, through some props, through Martin Lawrence's butt-cheek and into one of the Klansmen. Big action scene in general. Bigger budget all around.

    Martin Lawrence dismisses one of his fellow cops with a comment about "Ricky Martin"; the fellow cop says "You always gotta go racial, man!"

    Will Smith talks about Martin Lawrence going to "some group thing": "A bunch of men hugging and kissing, that's some cult shit." This, just a few scenes after some cops teased Smith about taking a close look at Lawrence's wounded bum and maybe "giving it a little kiss".

    Will Smith gives Martin Lawrence a "donut" -- a cushion that he picked up at the maternity store.

    Gabrielle Union as an undercover cop who also happens to be Martin Lawrence's sister *and* Will Smith's secret lover brings a very different feminine energy to this film than the first film had.

    *Lots* of machine-gun fire and *lots* of cars colliding in the street during this first-act chase scene. ... And now comes the part where car after car falls off a car carrier while they're driving over a bridge. *Lots* of vehicular damage. A huge spectacle of consumption. ... How long *is* this bridge, anyway?

    The audio-video store scene. 4x3 *and* 16x9 TVs for sale! A video camera broadcasts a conversation between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence that everyone mistakes for a discussion regarding a sexual encounter between them. So there is a series of double entendres here to parallel the ones in the first film. A woman shouts "You two motherf---ers need Jesus!" at Smith and Lawrence as they leave the store and *then* tells her children to cover their ears. This scene manages to play on racial, sexual and religious stereotypes all at once.

    Hey, the hacker who was working for the guys while he was in prison in the first movie is now out of prison and still working for them in *this* movie.

    Martin Lawrence sees two rats having sex and says "They f--- just like us!" A few minutes later, one of the bad guys gives a speech to one of the other bad guys that ends with him saying "without [such-and-such] we are no more than beasts". If I thought this film merited such attention, I'd explore the thematic contrast between these two scenes.

    Martin Lawrence objects to Will Smith's relationship with Gabrielle Union (Lawrence's sister) because of Smith's reputation as a ladies' man, which was established in the first film, but we don't actually see Smith behave all that promiscuously in *this* film. The fact that Smith has closed the commitment gap somewhat, as it were, between himself and Lawrence in this film fits with the fact that the second film is more evenly balanced between its two stars.

    Ah, this scene: the one with the dead bodies falling out of the truck and being run over by Smith & Lawrence's car.

    The first movie had a photo album with pictures of a young Martin Lawrence sporting a giant Afro. The second movie has a school yearbook with a picture of Will Smith sporting a giant set of braces.

    Martin Lawrence checks that the 15-year-old boy dating his daughter is still a virgin. Then Will Smith, who's been threatening the kid by pointing a gun in his face etc., says: "You ever made love to a man? ... Do you *want* to?"

    The morgue scene. More dead bodies, at least one nude and jiggly.

    Martin Lawrence (on ecstasy) to Will Smith: "This is not gay shit, this is man shit, and you're a beautiful man."

    An artist has painted an image of the Last Supper in which the Cuban drug lord is the model for Jesus -- but the Cuban drug lord says it's "depressing" because the Last Supper was followed by the Crucifixion.

    Seeking sanctuary at Guantanamo Bay! (This, in a film that mentioned 9/11 in one of its earliest scenes.)

    At almost 147 minutes, this is easily the longest of the Bad Boys movies. The first one was 118 minutes, and the third one is apparently 123 minutes.

    - - -

    And now, Bad Boys for Life. I obviously couldn't type out my reactions as I was watching the movie in the theatre (the way I did while watching the first two movies at home), but I did scrawl some notes down, so here is my re-creation of my reactions. (SPOILERS, obviously.)

    The opening credits once again list both Don Simpson (who died in 1996) and Jerry Bruckheimer as producers, but *this* time Will Smith gets top billing, instead of Martin Lawrence.

    Will Smith compares his car to the Batmobile. Will Smith was actually *in* a movie with the Batmobile just a few years ago (said movie being 2016's Suicide Squad).

    Will Smith and Martin Lawrence get out of the car, and they are shot from a low angle in a style that is very reminiscent of Michael Bay, even though this is the first movie in the trilogy that Bay did not direct. The moment is then undercut with humour when Lawrence bangs his door against a fire hydrant. Smith blames him for this, but Smith parked the car there, so...

    Will Smith was driving his car very fast throughout the opening credits but it wasn't clear whether there was an actual *chase* going on -- we never saw any bad-guy cars -- and lo and behold, it turns out he was trying to get Martin Lawrence to the hospital to see his grandchild. Lawrence is a grandfather now! And the dad is Reggie, the kid who took Lawrence's daughter out on a date in Bad Boys II. (That movie came out in 2003, just a few months after the invasion of Iraq. Reggie is now a marine, in uniform. Bad Boys II mentioned 9/11 by name but I don't believe there are any references to current politics or geopolitics in this film -- which, come to think of it, is interesting, given that the bad guys are from Mexico and the heroes are black and a *lot* has been said about the current administration's attitude towards both communities. The closest we get may be the bit where Lawrence, in the car with Smith, looks out the window at some white people and says he and Smith are cops and they'll pull themselves over later.)

    The widowed head of the Mexican cartel tells her son to kill a list of people, including Will Smith. This, combined with Smith's top billing, establishes that *this* movie is primarily about Smith (whereas the first movie was primarily about Lawrence and the second movie was more evenly balanced between the two).

    Will Smith is gunned down on the sidewalk and rushed to the hospital. Martin Lawrence prays in the chapel and tells God he'll abandon violence if Smith survives. The Mexican cartel lady *also* prays, to Santa Muerte (Saint Death). This sets up a religious dynamic that plays throughout the entire film -- one that goes well beyond the joking references to the Last Supper in Bad Boys II, etc.

    Martin Lawrence tells Will Smith, "You need to start thinking about your karma, man." So the religious impulses here are a tad syncretistic.

    Martin Lawrence has retired from the police force and has Alexa in his home; a scene soon after this will introduce a drone; and a scene soon after that will reveal that Will Smith has re-named Lawrence "Quitter" in his smartphone's contact list (which made me laugh out loud). What will it be like to watch these three movies back-to-back in another 25 years or so, and to see the technological changes between movies. Smartphones didn't even *exist* when Bad Boys II came out in 2003 (the first iPhone was introduced in 2007). And the first Bad Boys (which features Tea Leoni using one of those brick-like cell phones or cordless phones) came out in April 1995, only seven months after I got my first e-mail account -- and I was one of the first people I knew to get one.

    Will Smith says to Martin Lawrence, “Like the time I broke up with your sister?” That is the film’s only reference to the Gabrielle Union character from Bad Boys II. Does *she* know her brother is a grandfather now, which would make her a great-aunt?

    Joe Pantoliano tells Will Smith a story about two Buddhists on horseback (another religious reference!). As he and Smith walk back to their cars, Pantoliano is shot -- and there is something about the way the scene is shot that I could tell something was about to happen a few seconds before it did happen, which I guess means the movie didn’t tip its hand *too* badly. But sigh, Pantoliano was one of the few characters to appear in all three movies, and now he’s gone.

    The obligatory night club scene, but with none of the Playboy-esque crotch shots that Bay put in the other films (or at least in Bad Boys II).

    Will Smith convinces Martin Lawrence to resume violence against the bad guys, despite Lawrence’s promise to God, by invoking the example of David and Goliath. “Bad boys of the Bible!” I wasn’t expecting this movie to remind me of Gary Cooper in 1941’s Sergeant York (he played a real-life pacifist who eventually found what he believed to be a biblical justification for shooting enemy soldiers) but there you go.

    A car sitting on the back of a truck explodes and flips over onto the street. That’s about as close as this movie gets to the wanton vehicular damage in the car-carrier scene from Bad Boys II.

    We learn that the police unit’s tech guy is super-muscular because he used to be a bouncer but then he renounced violence after a bad incident. So Martin Lawrence isn’t the *only* character who has tried to give up violence. (Yes, the tech guy ends up carrying a gun again, too. And then he talks, happily, about seeing a therapist. But I’m getting ahead of myself.)

    Retcon alert! We learn that Will Smith is the *father* of the Mexican who has been trying to kill him. Smith even says that the Mexican cartel lady is the only person he has ever loved, and he says that she taught him how to be stylish, etc. She made him what he is, basically. So all that rich-trust-fund-kid stuff from the first two movies isn’t the *only* reason he has been so flashy all this time. This feels like the retconning we got about Smith’s other character in the third Men in Black film. The fact that Smith is fighting his own son is also reminiscent of Smith fighting his younger self in last year’s Gemini Man.

    Martin Lawrence calls the Mexican cartel lady a “witch” repeatedly, because of her devotion to Santa Muerte. So, given Lawrence’s prayers to God and his rationalizing re: the Bible, this film is basically setting up a conflict between Judeo-Christianity and a kind of paganism, yes?

    Will Smith tells his son, “I don’t want to fight.” Later, he borrows a line that Martin Lawrence got from one of his theistic self-help tapes and says he’s trying to “penetrate [his son’s] soul with my heart.” So this film is looking for a better, more spiritual note to end on that goes beyond the big explosive shoot-out -- though it certainly goes for the big explosive shoot-out, too.

    The Mexican cartel lady falls several floors into the flaming wreckage of a helicopter. She falls into the flames of hell-icopter, you could say. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the filmmakers intended that pun.)

    Somehow Will Smith’s son helps lift Martin Lawrence up with his right arm despite the fact that he was shot in his right pectoral muscle.

    So now *these* movies get to have mid-credits tags, too -- and this one seems to be suggesting that Will Smith and his son are going to have adventures of their own, now that Martin Lawrence is retired…?

    The end.

    Edited to add: Unless I missed something, this film doesn't have any of the gay-panic humour of the first two films (and the second film in particular).


  14. Sam Raimi in Talks to Direct ‘Doctor Strange 2’ (EXCLUSIVE)
    Sam Raimi, who helped launch the modern superhero movie with 2002’s “Spider-Man,” is in talks to direct “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” for Marvel Studios, Variety has learned.
    Raimi replaces original director Scott Derrickson, who Variety reported on Jan. 9 had officially departed the project due to creative differences. Derrickson will remain as an executive producer. Raimi, meanwhile, will need to get up to speed before the film’s scheduled production start date in May. . . .
    This is something of a coup for both Raimi and Marvel, given Raimi’s reputation with comic book fans — 2004’s “Spider-Man 2” is still widely regarded as one of the best superhero movies ever made. And with 15 features to his name as a director — including the beloved horror trilogy “The Evil Dead,” “Evil Dead II,” and “Army of Darkness” — Raimi is also the most established filmmaker to join the Marvel Studios fold since the earliest days of the studio, when Kenneth Branagh and Joe Johnston respectively directed the first “Thor” and “Captain America” movies in 2011.
    Since then, Marvel’s m.o. has been to hire talented filmmakers who’ve made just a few (or zero) features before, and nothing at a blockbuster scale, like Joss Whedon, Anthony and Joe Russo, James Gunn, Ryan Coogler, and Taika Waititi. Raimi, by contrast, comes to “Doctor Strange 2” with his own distinctive visual style and decades of experience with making tentpole movies, especially featuring Marvel superheroes. . . .
    Rachel McAdams, however, will not reprise her role as Strange’s colleague Christine Palmer.
    Variety, February 5

    'Doctor Strange 2' Lands New Writer With 'Loki' Show Creator (Exclusive)
    Michael Waldron, the head writer of Marvel’s upcoming Disney+ series Loki, has been tapped to work on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. . . .
    Jade Bartlett was the previous writer on Multiverse of Madness and the project was being billed by Marvel as its first scary movie. How scary may have been one of the creative friction points — Marvel had no comment on Derrickson’s departure and has no comment on Waldron’s hiring. Bringing in both a new director and a new writer could point to a broader reworking of the project than previously thought.
    The Hollywood Reporter, February 7


  15. I've only seen this film once, during its 1999 theatrical re-release (which preceded the film's DVD release), but I remember really loving it, and I have listened to the soundtrack *frequently* since then.

    I remember it also cast a new light, for me, on my favorite band of all time, Daniel Amos (some of their new-wave-ish 1980s stuff must have been influenced by these guys), and it also cast a new light, for me, on the soundtrack to The Last Emperor, part of which was composed by David Byrne, and which I had listened to frequently in the years following that film's 1987 release. His instrumental music on that soundtrack was very much in the style of the songs he performed with the Heads.


  16. Anders wrote:
    Americans for all their attentiveness to political and racial issues still have a blind spot when it comes to issues dealing with indigenous peoples.

    But doesn't Frozen II come off as a pretty cliched and/or didactic bit of anti-colonialism etc.?

    Dark Waters felt to me like a very conventional story told in a very intelligent way... but I've never been as attentive to Todd Haynes' directorial style as I would have to be to explain *why* his compositions and whatnot struck me as a cut above the sort of thing we usually see in a real-life legal-procedural drama of that sort. Frankly, the *first* thing that comes to mind whenever I think of Dark Waters is the fact that Anne Hathaway's career was on an upswing just a few years ago -- she won an Oscar, for pity's sake! -- and now she's got a thankless "The Wife" role.

    Oh, and I wish someone had corrected that one kid when he said the Bible calls Mary Magdalene a prostitute. It doesn't!


  17. On 12/12/2019 at 3:56 PM, Peter T Chattaway said:

    The Art Directors Guild nominees:

    Period Film

    • “Ford v Ferrari” – François Audouy
    • “The Irishman” –  Bob Shaw
    • “Jojo Rabbit” – Ra Vincent
    • “Joker” – Mark Friedberg
    • “1917” – Dennis Gassner
    • “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood” – Barbara Ling

    Fantasy Film

    • “Ad Astra” – Kevin Thompson
    • “Aladdin” – Gemma Jackson
    • “Avengers: Endgame” – Charles Wood
    • “Dumbo” – Rick Heinrichs
    • “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” – Patrick Tatopoulos
    • “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” – Rick Carter, Kevin Jenkins

    Contemporary Film

    • “A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood” – Jade Healy
    • “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” –  Kevin Kavanaugh
    • “Knives Out” – David Crank
    • “Parasite” – Lee Ha-Jun
    • “Us” – Ruth De Jong

    The winners will be announced February 1.

    And the winners are... ParasiteOnce Upon a Time in Hollywood and Avengers: Endgame.

    The first two films are nominated for the Oscar in this category, and the third film is not.


  18. On 12/12/2019 at 3:58 PM, Peter T Chattaway said:

    The Art Directors Guild nominees in this category:

    • “Abominable” – Max Boas
    • “Frozen II” – Michael Giaimo
    • “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” – Pierre-Olivier Vincent
    • “The Lion King” – James Chinlund
    • “Toy Story 4” – Bob Pauley

    . . . The winner will be announced February 1.

    And the winner is... Toy Story 4.

    So the guilds are all in for Toy Story 4, except for the Visual Effects Society, which leans towards Missing Link, and the Annie awards, which lean towards the Netflix releases Klaus and I Lost My Body. In other words, everyone is going with Toy Story 4 except for people who actually *work in animation*. Since the Oscar winner is voted on by the entire Academy and not just its animation branch, this might not bode well for anyone who was hoping that the Academy would get out of its Disney rut.


  19. On 1/6/2020 at 8:12 PM, Peter T Chattaway said:

    The Writers Guild nominees in this category:

    • Citizen K, Written by Alex Gibney; Greenwich Entertainment
    • Foster, Written by Mark Jonathan Harris; HBO Documentary Films
    • The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley, Written by Alex Gibney; HBO Documentary Films
    • Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People, Written by Robert Seidman & Oren Rudavsky; First Run Features
    • The Kingmaker, Written by Lauren Greenfield; Showtime Documentary Films

    . . . The winner will be announced February 1.

    And the winner is... The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley.

    But none of the WGA nominees were nominated for the Oscar, so that is of no predictive value here.

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