Thursday, March 1, 2018

Annihilation: Review, Analysis, Thoughts & Musings

Annihilation is exactly the kind of intellectual science-fiction/horror film I love. By turns poignant, beautiful, mesmerizing, terrifying, wondrous (sometimes simultaneously), Alex Garland's follow up to Ex Machina is a tremendous achievement.


In 2015, longtime novelist and screenwriter Alex Garland (The Beach, Sunshine, 28 Days Later, Dredd) made his (official) directing debut with Ex Machina, a coldly intimate story about an inventor who contrives to put one of his creations to the Turing Test.

Ex Machina (which I liked quite a lot) was like a filmed stage play, due to the low budget and intellectual bent of the material. At the same time, Garland seemed constrained on both an emotional and imaginative level, and so the end result was tense and heady, but frankly a bit sterile.

Intellectual and sterile (to varying degrees) are characteristics of Garland's previous works, and Annihilation is no different. However, in this case, I think the larger canvas of the story and budget has loosened Garland on a visual and emotional level.

I loved Annihilation. Which makes the behind-the-scenes drama between producers Scott Rudin & David Ellison, as well as Paramount's handling of the film's theatrical release all the more tragic.

More below the jump...

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Speculating on the Future of Alien

The recent deal between Disney and 21st Century Fox involves the acquisition of all of Fox's film library. Specifically, the subject of my interest is the Alien franchise and what I'd do with it if I were Disney.

Author's Notes: Most of what follows is conjecture on my part, unless otherwise supported with external links. Also, the Predator franchise is beyond the scope of this post.

Last we saw, the colony ship Covenant was bound for Origae 6, piloted by Peter Weyland's mad android son David. To be clear, I'm not here to argue the merits and debits of Alien: Covenant (but you can click here for my thoughts).

Comments like this one, attributed to Fox Executive Fred Baron (in this article) are what matter in the context of this post:

"(Alien: Covenant) got great reviews and was everything we set out for it to be, it just didn't hit the note at the box office. It will be a profitable film for the studio but whether there's another one (is uncertain)."

What is plainly evident is that the film was nowhere near the hit that 20th Century Fox and/or Ridley Scott expected, and certainly not close to what was needed to rubber stamp another installment. The future is even cloudier, with 21st Century Fox recently agreeing to sell its entire film library to Disney.

So, where shall we go from here? More below the jump:

Thursday, January 11, 2018

When the Chargers Left San Diego

So, one year ago, the Spanos family made the decision to relocate the Chargers to Los Angeles after over half a century in San Diego.

The pain has dulled, but not disappeared. With that in mind, I'm writing up a short post which will include all of the thoughts and feelings I had a year ago.

Links and embedded content are below the jump.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 In Movies

This year, I saw 51 movies which were new releases and/or movies I watched for the first time. Generally, I felt like the movies I saw in 2017 were pretty good.  On my scale of 0-100, 2017's releases averaged 67.35.

That being said, I don't think any of the movies I saw which were released in 2017 qualify as a masterpiece. I'll get to the movie I saw this year which I do think qualifies shortly.

Let's get to it. And no - there's no spoilers here.

Friday, December 15, 2017

On Turning 40

I'm likely at least halfway through my life. With that in mind, here's a somewhat random series of thoughts about what I've learned.

I've been thinking about turning 40 for some time now... I can't say I'm dreading it, and I can't say I'm looking forward to it (though I am looking forward to seeing my family for a late celebration the following week).

I can say that 40 shouldn't matter more than any other birthday, though the whole round number/closing of a 4th decade/roughly halfway through life business helps it feel less arbitrary than other birthdays. I mean, who has a reckoning at 34, or 26, or 43 which isn't prompted by some external set of conditions?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Starting Over

In which I recount the winding road which led me to watch a Los Angeles Chargers game but root for the Miami Dolphins to win.

In retrospect, I think I knew this is how it would end up once the Chargers moved to Los Angeles.

Ultimately, what may be most surprising was that it took so long, and the series of events which coincided to help ease me into the hardest sports fan decision I've ever had to make.

It's one thing to just not root for any team. It's a whole other thing to decide you're ready to start that journey over again with a new team.

For me, that team is now the Miami Dolphins, and this post explains in some small part how I came to that seemingly bizarre decision.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Chargers Aren't Coming Back to San Diego

There's been a string of reports recently of the Chargers "panicking" over their preseason attendance numbers. That may or may not be true, but one thing is for sure: they're staying in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future.

Some people don't think Dean Spanos or the National Football League meant it when they moved the Chargers to Los Angeles in January? Not even when they moved their equipment and materials from Murphy Canyon this summer? Not even with their "Fight for LA" campaign?

Maybe the team and league is panicking over their preseason numbers. One (unidentified) source alleges this is the case. Spanos says otherwise.

I hope it's true, for my own personal schadenfreude regarding the Spanos family, but that hope certainly doesn't make it true.

More importantly, the problem I have is the long leap people are making from the alleged panic over preseason attendance to the possibility of the Chargers returning to San Diego.

Every single one of the stories which lay out why the Chargers are eventually returning to San Diego are built on speculation and fantasy. Nothing has been stated or proposed which would indicate a return to San Diego is a real possibility.

I'll go a step further... people who tell these stories are trading on the anger and heartbreak of San Diego sports fans for personal gain, and I think that is utterly fucking terrible.

All that said, let's get into why the Chargers are going to be staying in Los Angeles for a long time.

More below the jump...