Category Archives: Movies

The New Star Wars Trilogy That Could Have Been

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With the conclusion of the latest Star Wars trilogy, and supposedly the end of the Skywalker saga, I’ve been thinking about the series as a whole and its legacy. I liked each movie in the new trilogy upon first watching them. They were all enjoyable and exciting in-theater experiences with seemingly had everything you’d want in a Star Wars story: the Force, the Dark Side, lightsabers, space battles, aliens, planets, robots, Jedi, Sith, old masters, young apprentices, new characters, old characters, science fiction concepts, and more. I truly had a great time watching each movie the first time around, but it was only upon later reflection that I realized the parts didn’t quite add up to the whole. The acting, writing, and direction were all top-notch, especially compared to episodes 1-3, but the problem with this new trilogy, and the one area where the prequels were superior, is perhaps the most important part of all: story. Continue reading

What Movies Can Do That Books Cannot

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Film is the most popular art form today because it is the art form that most resembles real life. In the future, that medium may become virtual reality (VR) and ultimately full-world simulations. But for now, movies are the most visceral medium because they look and sound like real life. Continue reading

Top 10 Movies (At Least 10 Years Old) I Saw in 2019

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With 2019 winding down, it’s time for my fourth annual list of the ten best films (at least ten years old) that I watched this past year. As I’ve said before, these lists are always kind of random and arbitrary, based on the movies I happen to choose to watch (or re-watch) that year. I tend to prefer watching something I’ve never seen before over re-watching, though as you’ll see, there were a couple of those this year. Continue reading

Science Fiction Books vs. Movies

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It’s ironic that I write science fiction books as an adult considering I didn’t even read science fiction books as a child. Actually, I didn’t read any books at all, other than those assigned in school—which, aside from Fahrenheit 451 and 1984, were never science fiction. I loved sci-fi movies as a child and was captivated by space exploration and future technology, but I struggled with books about those same topics. It wasn’t until later in life, post-college, that I really started to enjoy reading (books in general and science fiction in particular). Continue reading

Why are Blockbuster Movies Getting Worse?

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Why are blockbusters getting worse? Short answer: Money.

Long answer: Blockbuster franchise movies have become such a cash cow that the corporations who own the major studios are relying on these billion-dollar movies as a primary source of revenue. The studios operate at the whim of the corporation’s board and shareholders, so they become risk-averse and reject any new or creative ideasbecause they don’t know if it will succeed or fail. Continue reading

From Screenplays to Novels and Beyond

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Since a child, I always loved movies and television more than books or any other kind of art. Film was my favorite form of art because it encapsulated all other art forms: music, photography, cinematography, acting, writing, storytelling, painting, makeup, clothing, fashion, costumes, sculpture, props, architecture, computer graphics, animation, etc… The list goes on. That’s why there are so many names at the end of a movie. Almost all those people are artists in their own right, contributing to the master artwork that is the film. Continue reading

Black Mirror and the Future of Storytelling

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Black Mirror is the future. I don’t mean the dystopian technological prophecies in the show will come true (though many of them might). I mean the format of 50 to 70-minute self-contained stories are the future of film and television storytelling. Continue reading

Recommendation Algorithms Rule Your Life

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Cultural critics used to be essential curators of music, movies, books, and art. When there were only a couple of newspapers or radio stations or TV stations, the select few professional critics had enormous power in telling the public which art they should pay attention to. Then came the internet and everything changed. With blogs, message boards, and podcasts, anybody could become a critic. Both the creation and critique of art became more democratic. Traditional critics became less important. People preferred to take recommendations from like-minded people in their specific cultural niche. This gave real cultural power to bloggers and amateur critics on the internet who developed a following. Continue reading

Top 10 Movies (At Least 10 Years Old) I Saw in 2018

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Last year, I vowed to see more old movies in 2018 to improve this annual list, but halfway through the year, I was failing to do so. I was a MoviePass subscriber, so I spent most of my free time seeing new movies in the theater. When MoviePass changed their deal toward the end of the summer, I canceled my plan, which was a blessing in disguise because I suddenly had a lot more free time to watch older movies. There are so many classics I’ve yet to see, plus masterpieces I want to rewatch. The ten-year rule is kind of arbitrary, but a decade is a good benchmark to judge a film outside of its original context. You can see how it stacks up in history and if it stands the test of time. Again, this is a somewhat random list, based on the movies (at least ten years old) that I happened to watch (or re-watch) this past year. Continue reading