Tag Archives: Movies

The 602 Club 22: All Good Dragons Go to Heaven

tsc-022-th-squareDragonheart.

There are so many movies that come out in theaters and most of them will not be a mega hit. A majority of movies come and go with little fanfare after their initial run, yet there are some that find an even greater audience beyond the theater. These films become cult classics.

In this episode of The 602 Club host Matthew Rushing is joined by Suzanne Abbott to talk about the cult classic, Dragonheart. We discuss famous dragons, the big themes of the film, the story, some of our favorite parts, the cast, production value, music and give our ratings.

Cinderella – Review

poster_66114In 1950, the Walt Disney company had not seen much financial success from its animated films. Fantasia, Pinocchio and Bambi failed to capture the imagination of the public at the time, and the studio needed a hit. Cinderella offered the answer. Critically and financially it became the biggest accomplishment since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and helped restore the Disney company’s reputation as the premiere animation studio. Fast forward to 2014 and Disney has begun a long campaign of remaking its animated features as live action extravaganzas, starting with its greatest princess movie, Cinderella.

“Have Courage and Be Kind”

Going into the movie, one would not expect much more than the basic story seen in the animated feature. What Branagh has done is create depth in a story that many have derided as nothing more than an old fashioned and sadly outdated tale. This simple yet elegant theme, “Have Courage and Be Kind” is the heart of the movie. As the world clamors for more strong female role models, Cinderella would be the farthest from most minds as someone to share with their daughters. Too many times today, for women to be seen as strong they must be presented as bow-wielding, ass-kicking, leather-clad, tortured souls, yet this shows only one side of true strength. The greatest gift of this Cinderella is the reminder to the world that it takes the utmost courage to be kind, especially in the face of constant adversity. Most films give us sarcastic, mean-spirited people who use their painful experiences as excuses to treat people terribly. Crafted with a deft hand, though, Cinderella lovingly directs us to see that it’s easy to be cruel and almost impossible to be kind, unless you have courage.

cinderella-richard-madden-lily-jamesAnother wonderful addition to the story is the meeting of Cinderella and the prince before the ball. Their meet-cute takes place in the woods where the prince is struck not just by her beauty but her virtue and character. He falls in love with her, not because she looks radiant in a dress, but because her true self, her inherent nature, reflectsgenerosity and kindness. Cinderella is never afraid to be anything but who she is–she remains true to herself and her belief that everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and grace. Her strength emanates from the inside out admonishing all of us that it is virtue and good character that make people worthy of being looked up to.

Conclusion

Most people walking into the movie will not expect any surprises, yet Branagh is able to construct something that feels familiar while at the same time fresh, relevant and new. As Disney embarks on this quest to craft live-action versions of its classic films, they’ve created a firm foundation with Cinderella. Not only should you see it, take others to see it and enjoy the delight of a simple fairy tale made new.

Star Wars Heresies – Review

71gU+5spqhLFor almost three generations, the Star Wars Saga has captivated the imaginations and hearts of children and adults. In 1999, George Lucas introduced a whole new trilogy to the world and changed Star Wars forever. In the history of film, there many never be a more debated issue than the merit of the Prequels (until JJ Abrams releases Episode VII that is). These films have been characterized in pop culture as ruining the childhoods of many. Yet is this really the case? Do these films really deserve this intense hate, hate worth of Sith Lords? That is the subject of The Star Wars Heresies: Interpreting the Themes, Symbols and Philosophies of Episodes I, II and III by Paul McDonald.

The book walks through each film and dissecting the mythology, literature and religion behind the stories of the Prequels. McDonald explains his focus and process this way,

While understandably reticent regarding his own press, George Lucas made a telling statement during an interview recorded by the Star Wars Insider magazine regarding the release of Episode I: The Phantom Menace. “If criticism were the kind of analysis it was meant to be in the first place— as it is in other arts, where you have literate, sophisticated people, who are knowledgeable— then it would be worthwhile to listen to it,” he remarked. “[ But] to have them [the critics] rant and rave about their personal feelings is a waste of my time.” I find this really intriguing for a couple of reasons.

To begin with, Lucas himself very clearly delineates between two types of criticism. The first is scholarly, studied, and refined; the second is mostly personal opinion and knee-jerk reaction. More often than not, Star Wars has been subjected to the second—especially the prequels— while Lucas tellingly identifies the first as more important. As we will see, this is where Star Wars really lives and breathes.1

McDonald uses literate criticism to prove his point that far from being nothing but money making, special effects extravaganzas the films are personal explorations of some of our most profound questions in life.

But clearly I must disagree with those who argue that the prequels were only driven by special effects (as well as Lucas’s alleged need to amass a large fortune, especially in light of his donations to charity). As this book proves , Star Wars meets you where you meet it. That Lucas didn’t simply farm out the prequel trilogy for someone else to create speaks not so much to an obsessive need for control but rather to a deep , personal commitment to the project itself. In some ways it could be argued that he was far more invested in the prequels than in the originals, as he purposefully took on the task of writing and directing each of them.2

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. McDonald shows just how well read and literate Lucas is as each Prequel entry is teaming with illusions to philosophy, mythology, religion and literary constructs from many different eras. Whether you are a Prequel hater or lover, this book has something for the Star Wars fan in all of us.

Notes

1. McDonald, Paul F. (2013-09-03). The Star Wars Heresies: Interpreting the Themes, Symbols and Philosophies of Episodes I, II and III (Kindle Locations 85-92). McFarland. Kindle Edition.

2.McDonald, Paul F. (2013-09-03). The Star Wars Heresies: Interpreting the Themes, Symbols and Philosophies of Episodes I, II and III (Kindle Locations 3616-3620). McFarland. Kindle Edition.

 

 

The 602 Club 19: A Page-Turner of a Movie

tsc-019-th-squareThe Rocketeer.

In 1982 a comic mini series came out that harkened back to the serial adventures from the 1930’s. Dave Steven’s Rocketeer became a classic for comic enthusiasts, with it’s fast pace, noir feel, lush artwork, and more adult themes. Then the Walt Disney company did what it does best, it took a property and remade it in their own image.

In this episode of The 602 Club host Matthew Rushing is joined by Darren Moser and Norman Lao to talk about The Rocketeer. We discuss the comic and whether the movie is an improvement, our first experiences with the film, Joe Johnson learning from the masters on how to direct a homage to the serial, the story, the cast, the music and whether or not it still holds up.

The 602 Club 18: Mr. Darcy Kicks Ass

tsc-018-th-squareKingsman.

In 1962 Dr. No hit the big screen and James Bond became the gold standard for spy movies. Throughout the years many films have parodied or paid homage to the spy genre Austin Powers, In Like Flint, Never Say Never Again are just a few examples. Spy movies have continued to be some of the most successful film franchises with The Bourne series as well as Bond still going strong and upcoming sequels are currently the works.

In this episode of The 602 Club host Matthew Rushing is joined by Norman Lao to talk about the latest spy movie, Kingsman: The Secret Service based loosely on Mark Miller’c comic, The Secret Service. We discuss Matthew Vaughn choosing to direct Kingsman over Days of Future Past, being back in the spy game, the idea of a sequel, the themes of the film, the cast, whether seriousness ruins spy movies, plus a few things that just didn’t work.

The 602 Club 17: A Reincarnation of The Matrix

tsc-017-th-squareJupiter Ascending.

Breaking News: Marvel has the rights to use Spider-Man in it’s films and we break it down and share our thoughts on what this will mean for Spider-Man as well as the upcoming Marvel movies.

In 1999 the world of film was changed forever by a film called The Matrix. We were introduced to “bullet time” and for many, this was their first time to hear of the Wachowskis, the writers and directors. The movie left audiences cheering and eagerly anticipating more from this new powerhouse of Hollywood originality. Fast forward to 2015 and the view on them has changed; is their latest a return to the glory days or another disappointment from a once promising team?

In this episode of The 602 Club host Matthew Rushing is joined by Mike Schindler to discuss Jupiter Ascending. We talk through our first impressions from the marketing, making original sic-fi movies, the story, the conversations this film as generated, the visuals, casting, music, rounding out by ranking this in the Wachowski’s body of work.

The 602 Club 15: Road to Becoming the Icon

tsc-015-th-squareMan of Steel.

Every once in a while there is a film that arrives that ignites fandom and creates visceral polarization, Man of Steel has been one of those movies. People seem to love it or hate it, in fact it’s Rotten Tomatoes score indicates that in it’s 55% critical reception. As the cornerstone of the DC cinematic universe, it’s an important film that has set the tone for the movies slated to arrive through the year 2020.

In this super edition of The 602 Club host Matthew Rushing is joined by Justice League members Daniel Proulx, Norman Lao and Will Nguyen to discuss this new take on the original superhero’s beginning. We talk about Krypton, the new Superman suit, the nonlinear nature of the storytelling, Lois Lane and the military, the deaths of Jonathan Kent and Zod as well as the nature of this film as a true origins movie. Listen Here.