O WHAT A TANGLED WEB WE WEAVE: Baby Driver and Spider-Man: Homecoming


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Warning: SPOILERS
I can certainly see why people are so in love with Baby Driver, the new heist film from writer/director Edgar Wright. It’s about as stylish as you can get, and with a stylishness that has a bouncy feel good quality to it that gets you to sit up in your seat, tap your foot and just generally groove out.
It begins with a bank robbery and a car chase orchestrated to a song chosen by the title character (a getaway driver with pouty lips and baby face). It’s followed soon after by a one take with said character bopping down the street to another song, barely dodging people on the street, and backed by some nice gymnastics (this is important because there comes a time when suddenly he’s bumping into people right and left, signaling a sea change within the character).
Everything is calculated and carefully choreographed to be cool and hip. And it is pretty cool. In fact, the movie is not only pretty cool, it’s fully aware as to how cool it is and revels in this coolness to such an extent that it knows that the audience knows that it knows just how cool it is. Continue reading

WHAT HAPPENED TO ONE THROUGH FIVE: Big Hero 6 and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya


First, a word from our sponsors. Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r

 

Warning: SPOILERS
big heroI’m sure you’ve heard the old joke, the one about the guy who said, “I’m not going to see Henry V because I haven’t seen the first four yet”?
Well, don’t worry, fair filmgoers, Big Hero 6 is not a sequel (though believe me, to paraphrase Paul Thomas Anderson, there will be sequels). It’s more an origin story of a group of X-Men like super young adults set in a city named San Fransokyo (so called because it’s an alternative future where Japanese immigrants rebuilt the city where I left my heart after the 1906 earthquake).
Big Hero 6 is a fun and satisfying enough animated movie, especially in the first half where it tends to show a bit more heart and emphasizes emotional resonance over the more prevalent action oriented approach of the second half.
True, it’s fairly familiar and almost Disney paint by number. I mean, c’mon, you gotta know that a mother or father or mother figure or father figure to the central character is going to die early on because, well, it’s Disney, and the only thing that studio likes more than making animated movies that rake in a ton of money is trying to traumatize pre-teens in the first fifteen minutes of their films (unless it’s about a dog, then they wait until the last fifteen). Continue reading