On Magic Beans and Screenwriting Rules

Rian, I love your stuff, but I can’t disagree with you more on this point. You can’t blame the guy for having such a strong opinion on this issue, of course. His film Looper has two “magic beans” by this definition, and it’s a popular point of contention among its detractors. Do I agree with those detractors? No. I really like Looper, and though I haven’t watched it in a while, I’m of the opinion that Johnson’s story is so strong that he gets away with breaking this rule.

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Fixing “Frozen”: An Autopsy in Eight Parts

I didn’t hate Frozen. It’s a sweet charming film, and the way that it subverts classic Disney princess tropes is brilliant and certainly worthy of praise. Despite that, I had plenty of problems with it. In this article, I’m going to detail those issues and attempt to come up with solutions. I wish this film was better than it is, and I can think of a few ways to make it better. There are two big things and then a few little things, so I’ll break it into sections. And there are some spoilers in here, so don’t read this until you see the film.

Continue reading Fixing “Frozen”: An Autopsy in Eight Parts

Best Picture Odyssey – 2014 Edition

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences just released their nominations for this year’s Academy Awards. It’s been a while since I’ve really talked about the Oscars on this blog, so I’m bringing back a feature from 2 years ago that was pretty popular. In the run-up to the Academy Awards on March 2nd, I’ll publish reviews of every Best Picture nominee. I’ve already written reviews for 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and The Wolf of Wall Street, so that leaves the following list.

– American Hustle 

– Captain Phillips

– Dallas Buyers Club

– Her

– Nebraska

– Philomena

A review will go up every Saturday, leading up to the day before the ceremony when I’ll post my final thoughts and predictions. Get excited!

The Top 15 Films of 2013

Well, here we are again. For yet another year, time continued its inexorable march towards an unknown destination, dragging us all a little further to the inevitable end of all things.

Well, maybe that’s a bit grim. In all honesty, 2013 was a fantastic year for film. Making this list was much more difficult than it’s been in past years. When movies are as good as the ones on this list, it’s hard to rank them. Eventually I found an order that I was comfortable with, but the top 8 or 9 films are mostly interchangeable.

Quick disclaimer: Obviously, this list just represents my opinions. The rankings come from a mix of unbiased critique and personal preference. I’m not saying that this is a definitive list of the best movies in 2013. This is based on the movies that I saw and what I got out of them. I’ve also included links to my full reviews of the films, if I wrote them, plus my reviews on Letterboxd. They’re pretty brief, but they represent my immediate thoughts after seeing the film. Anyway, on with the show.

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Roll D20: Reviews of “Zero Charisma” and “Computer Chess”

Let’s talk about nerds, shall we? Somewhere in the past two decades, nerd culture made its way into mainstream popular culture. All of a sudden, the biggest blockbusters are movies based on comic books, video games are getting respect from an artistic perspective, and high-tech devices are in the hands of every “popular kid” all across the nation. Women wear “Geeks Are Sexy” shirts and The Big Bang Theory is the most-watched comedy on television. It was a strange time to be a nerd. I mean, who in their heart of hearts hasn’t wanted their secret, shameful hobby to become accepted by “normal people”? Continue reading Roll D20: Reviews of “Zero Charisma” and “Computer Chess”