Last night at 9:45pm, I had a chance to watch 1917 in true IMAX at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. It was the final IMAX screening of the film in the city, and I’m a bit sad that more people aren’t able to experience it in this format. Alas, its run got abridged by Rise of Skywalker on one end and Birds of Prey on the other.
This was my third time watching the film, but my first in IMAX. In this format, I was able to fully appreciate the meticulous details within. The background work is incredible. As the leads walk through the trenches, we see literally hundreds of soldiers alongside them, each playing out their own mini-narrative. They are sleeping, eating, washing clothes, smoking, praying. You appreciate these details more when the screen is five stories tall.
You also can see how much goddamn work went into these sets. There are decaying horse carcasses and rusty nails and bloated cadavers and worn out bunk beds and you can take them all in and marvel at the artistry.
I know there are a lot of people down on this film but I still think it’s a masterpiece. It’s interesting to me how people have reacted differently to the film’s one-shot technique. While some (like me) find it immersive, others think it puts the viewer at a distance to the action. The videogame-like structure to the film makes people feel like it’s a heartless simulacra of war, as opposed to a heartfelt tribute to its heroes. It sometimes seems like people would prefer a Spielbergian Saving Private Ryan-esque shaky cam to fully convey the horrors of war, but I believe that different techniques can bring to light different elements of the experiences depicted. As is obvious, though, your mileage may vary.
The only thing that continues to grate on me about this movie are all the cameos by famous people. An alternate version of this movie in my mind would have been populated by complete unknowns. This way when the characters are introduced, there’s not a big party that goes off in your head, screaming “HEY IT’S MARK STRONG! SHERLOCK AND MORIARTY ARE BOTH HERE! ROBB STARK IS MY BOY!”
It’s possible this movie will get limited runs in the future as part of a “Best Picture Winner” series. If you have the chance to see it in IMAX, I’d urge you to make the effort. It’s worth it.
Reed Morano’s The Rhythm Section poses a genre scenario with an interesting twist: what if an assassin was terrible at her job? Like, truly epically bad?
I discuss the net effect of this in the above video review, featuring Melissa Tamminga.
Some thoughts on the unpleasant experience of watching Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen. For further reading, I’d also recommend John DeVore’s review.
I made a video featuring my top 10 films of 2019. Because what better time to release such a video than 16 days after the year is already over and nobody cares anymore?
Anyways, please watch. Also, you can listen to me count this list down on the Slashfilmcast.
My wife and I went to watch Tom Hooper’s movie Cats. What we saw we can never forget. We are changed. The above video captures what we took away from this experience.
I was really grateful to Ben Pearson for joining me to discuss Spider-Man: Far From Home. We delve into what this movie does to Peter Parker’s arc, the reliance of these movies on the legacy of Tony Stark, and the possibilities of future MCU films.
Also: I ran into some difficulty with my video in this one. My Sony A7III ran out of battery while I was shooting the first half of my video. Despite the camera’s promises to recover the file after I booted it back up, it didn’t work and I lost the entire first half of my side of the video. Making things even worse: I was monitoring the battery life the entire time and it plummeted suddenly from about 18% to 0%. This genuinely shook my faith in the camera system. How can I record interviews with this thing if the camera might die and take my video with it?
In any case, I’m grateful to Daanish Syed for stepping up and helping me out with some photoshopped images that I used to fill in the video above. Check them out. I hope you enjoy them.
I was thrilled to see that Netflix recently released a new romantic comedy featuring two Asian-American leads (Randall Park and Ali Wong). There were so many things that the film nailed that I made the above video with my wife to talk about them. We discuss what the film gets right about the Asian-American experience, and dive into details you might have missed. Check it out.
I had a fun time chatting with Matt Singer about Shazam! recently. We discuss how it ranks in the DCEU, what it means to be a “chosen one”, and whether Zachary Levi really does look and sound like Asher Angel.