It took us over ten years, but hell, we finally got a great live action “Transformers” movie. The only thought that came to mind while I was watching the opening ten minutes of “Bumblebee” was: Why didn’t we get this in the first place? Why did Sony opt for such a moronic, nonsensical, incoherent mess of a franchise, rather than deliver what is easily the best live action representation of the franchise I’ve seen so far. Everything in “Bumblebee” is the antithesis of what Michael Bay’s movies were, right down to the lack of racial stereotypes, and the jingoism. Granted, there is a meat head military hero with John Cena, but that’s a miniscule nitpick in a movie that’s just such a great experience from beginning to end.
“Roma” is the film that is making rounds this year, with high acclaim and big Oscar buzz and for good reason. Alfonso Cuarón outdoes himself with what is a masterstroke of visual and emotional storytelling. At over two hours in length, “Roma” is an engrossing and absolutely striking story that juxtaposes ideas over and over. There’s life and death, the beginning of one marriage while one comes to an end, and so on. Cuarón devotes so much of “Roma” to how much the tale of Cleo is a microcosm to the tidal wave that is life, and we view it through her eyes, as she endures endless pain, but finds solace in the most unlikely sources.
BOOTLEG FILES 665: “The Man in the Barn” (1937 short film directed by Jacques Tourneur).
LAST SEEN: On YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: No commercial home entertainment release.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.
On the evening of January 13, 1903, an elderly house painter in Enid, Oklahoma, named David E. George laid dying in a hotel room from an attempted suicide. Before he passed away, George told the few people gathered at his bedside, “I killed the best man that ever lived.” The man who was killed, according to George, was Abraham Lincoln – and George insisted that he was John Wilkes Booth, the president’s assassin. Before he could explain how he could be someone who had been killed 38 years earlier, George slipped into a coma before dying.
Hayao Miyazaki has reached a point in his life where there is so much change but he doesn’t know what to do with any of it. He’s reached an old age and has barely any strength any more to sit down and draw all day, but he has no idea what he’d be doing without a pencil or paper in his hand. At his old age he’s still a very curmudgeonly individual who demands perfection and treats his protégés with harsh criticism when they fail to deliver storyboards that meet his pitch perfect idea of what life is. Miyazaki has lived a full life, and in a way he’s ready to go.
Miles Morales was introduced to the Marvel universe in 2011, established in the alternate label the “Ultimate” universe. When that universe’s Peter Parker died, Miles stepped up to become Spider-Man. Since then Morales has become one of the banner Spider-Man iterations that have taken on the mantle of the hero. Morales wasn’t just welcomed in to the primary Marvel universe, but he’s managed to become just as popular as Peter Parker and the original Spider-Man. Some fans will even argue he’s better than Peter Parker’s Spider-Man. It’s general sentiment that’s been accepted by many because Spider-Man is not a person, it’s a movement. It’s a movement where literally anyone can wear the mask and strive for the same goals Peter Parker did.
Much like every trend, America jumps on to what the UK did much better in film. After the rousing success of “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” films, America followed up with “Book Club.” There’s nothing wrong with a movie appealing to the older mature audiences in the mood for a good time that’s not centered on superheroes or animated characters, but “Book Club” is just such a waste of time. It takes a brilliant cast and wastes them in what feels like latter day Garry Marshall when he was trotting out awful holiday based ensemble films.
Warner Bros and DC Comics begins correcting course from their disastrous first run of films by finally focusing on characters that have been woefully under valued for decades. If “Aquaman” is any indication, DC and Warner are on course for a huge comeback that could signal a string of fantastic comic book films, finally. DC garners such a gallery of wonderful mythical superheroes, and James Wan comes on board to not only embrace Aquaman’s universe whole hog, but show us why he’s not at all the geekiest superhero in his stable. If there was anyone that could pull Aquaman out of the doldrums, it’s James Wan. Wan is one of the best, most dynamic filmmakers working today and he can put a creative spin on just about everything.
Jane Russell’s stardom was engineered by Howard Hughes’ fervid imagination, and her initial publicity overemphasized her remarkable physique. But she was a genuinely talented performer adept at light comedy and melodrama. In this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” actor/writer Joe Mannetti returns to offer a tribute to Jane Russell’s iconic place in Hollywood history.