FlixChatter Review – MIDWAY (2019)

Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Written by: Wes Tooke

Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 has inspired many films over the years, most of which center around fictional characters and cheesy love stories. The 1976 Midway is no exception so it was with guarded anticipation I awaited the release of Roland Emmerich’s Midway. I was concerned it would get caught up trying to emulate other popular war films like Pearl Harbor or Dunkirk. However, I think having a German director and Chinese production team offered an interesting perspective.

The film gives a relatively straightforward account of the key naval battles. Beginning with Pearl Harbor and ending with the battle of Midway, it also recounts Doolittle’s Raid on Tokyo (April 1942) and the Battle of Coral Sea (May 1942) which to my recollection were not well (if at all) examined in the 1976 version of Midway.

Although the film relies on a famous cast to get people in the theater, it does a much better job than its predecessor at accurately the battles, ships and planes used. The actors (Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Aaron Eckhart, Nick Jonas, among others) played their roles with respect toward the heroic figures they were portraying. Focusing in on people of lesser rank allowed for deeper interpersonal development, although I didn’t think the film delved into relationships as deeply as it could have.

Many Hollywood based war films have a way of making the US service people look like helpless victims. This film makes sure to express the strength and capability of our country’s military personnel. Although it makes clear we were attacked and left at a great disadvantage it showcases the dedication and skill set of each service member while also expressing Japanese naval superiority.

The production value of the battle scenes are impressive. The bomber scenes concerning Dick Best are no exception. Well placed shots help to create the scale of an expansive world which draws the viewer further into highly realistic battle scenes. Unfortunately, the dialogue was uneven and the weak bits really drew me out of the film.

I felt this film gave equal respect to both US and Japanese service personnel, something that is not very common in war films. The screening I went to was mostly booked for a movie watching organization for veterans, one of whom served in the pacific during this time. It was a very unique and powerful experience watching this film alongside a person who experienced military action during the period portrayed in the film as well as other people currently serving in our armed forces. A timely film to watch, not just during Veteran’s Day. I already greatly respect and appreciate the sacrifices of people in uniform. I know that as a citizen of the US, I greatly benefit, even in ways I am not aware of. I really appreciated this film because it helped me refocus my gratitude.

– Review by Jessie Zumeta


Have you seen MIDWAY? Well, what did you think? 

FlixChatter Review: AQUAMAN (2018)

I’m not the biggest comic book reader, in my younger years I’ve only read Batman and The Punisher comics. So, I’ve only learned about Aquaman from the show Entourage. During that show’s second season, its star ended up playing Aquaman and fans of the comic were hoping an actual film based on the character would be a reality soon. That’s over 10 years ago and now fans can finally see the super hero from the ocean make a splash on the big screen worldwide.

In a long and very cheesy opening, we learned how Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) became a super hero known as Aquaman. One day his father Tom (Temuera Morrison) found his wounded mother Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) on the shore of the ocean. Atlanna told Tom she’s from an ancient city under the ocean called Atlantis, I didn’t really pay attention as to why she decided to come to the surface. Anyhoo, Tom and Atlanna fell in love and had a son and they named him Arthur. One day the army from Atlantis came and took Atlanna back to her home land.

Years later, Arthur is now a full-grown man and known to earthlings as Aquaman. The story took place after the events of Justice League. One day a princess named Mera (Amber Heard) came to the surface and asked Arthur to come to Atlantis and claim his place as the king of the ocean. She also needs his help to stop Arthur’s half brother King Orm (Patrick Wilson) from starting a war that could wipe out everyone living on the surface of the ocean. Reluctantly, Arthur agreed to go with Mera and both must face many obstacles in order to save the world from a mad king.

Five screenwriters were credited with the story, yet the plot of the film is a very simple one. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before and some of the dialogs were very cheesy. Now maybe that’s the goal of this film, many people have complained that DC films are way too dark and serious, so they’ve decided to make this one a very light and cheesy. Director James Wan took inspirations from many films including Star Wars, Avatar, Indiana Jones, Tron: Legacy, Batman Begins and countless others that I couldn’t think of right now. And that’s my main gripe with the film, I don’t mind when a director decided to copy other films, but I expect them to re-interpret it as their own. Wan decided to just copy films that I mentioned, in fact there were two sequences in the film that he stole from Tron: Legacy and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. His pacing is also a bit off, at almost 2 and half hours long, a lot of scenes could have been cut out.

Performance wise, Momoa is definitely the main draw. He looked like he had a great time playing the silly super hero and his charisma really help made this film watchable. Veterans such as Kidman, William Defoe, Dolph Lundgren and Morrison also looked like they had a good time in the film. Unfortunately, the other leads Heard and Wilson looked too stiff or bored in their respective roles. I didn’t really see any chemistry between Heard and Momoa, mostly because I thought heard just looked too stiff in the role. Wilson’s villain is another long line of one-dimensional superhero antagonist and he looked bored.

I think the only saving grace for this film is its beautiful effects, with limitless budget, Wan and his team did a great job of creating the underwater world. They also did a great job with the 3D effects, heck I thought this film might have been one of the best I’ve seen in 3D. I didn’t really hate Aquaman, it’s just too long and kind of a mess. With more originality in the script and action scenes, it could’ve a been a fun superhero film.

TedS_post


So have you seen AQUAMAN? Well, what did you think?

Random Question: What movie(s) have been filmed in your area?

Jason Reitman & Diablo Cody

I just learned yesterday, thanks to Dez @ HollywoodSpy about Charlize Theron and Patrick Wilson starring in Diablo Cody’s new movie Young Adult. The Minnesota-native, Oscar-winning writer is collaborating again with Juno‘s director Jason Reitman (who did the acclaimed Up in the Air last year). According to this anonymous tip on Dezmond’s blog, they’re actually filming the movie right here in downtown Minneapolis! This site that tracks filming locations across the country listed filming dates are Tuesday 10/5 until 10/9. The movie focuses on a divorced, thirty-something young-adult fiction writer (Theron) who returns to her hometown in Minnesota to chase an ex-boyfriend (Wilson).

Well, I’m actually heading to downtown later this evening, but I doubt I’ll run into anything. I’ve never had the privilege of actually seen a movie being filmed up close, the closest thing my hubby and I ever got to a filming location was when we were vacationing in Chicago back in 2007. We were right in the middle of a river boat sightseeing tour when suddenly they stopped the boat because parts of the river and streets were closed down for filming. A few choppers circled the area, some were flying quite low which were pretty cool. It turns out The Dark Knight were filming that very day!!

The Dark Knight filming in Chicago – 2007 (Photos courtesy of Pixelcrave.net)

One of my Chicago friends’ husband happened to work at Hotel 71 at the time and he had told us that the crew transformed their grand ballroom on the top floor to be Bruce Wayne’s penthouse. Unfortunately security was extremely tight that he didn’t get even a glimpse of Chris Nolan nor Christian Bale. The 39th floor of that building does have amazingly dramatic view of the city as the whole place were framed by the floor-to-ceiling windows. Looks like one of the TDK posters was also shot in that ballroom.

Well, have you ever been lucky enough to be in close proximity of a film set? Or maybe you were an extra or know someone who works in a particular movie? Do share your stories!

Conspicuous Trailer of the Week: The Switch

I first heard about this flick when I blogged about Jason Bateman last September when it was still called The Baster. Yeah, no doubt they went with a ‘safer’ title though it sounds so generic now (there are eight other movies with that exact title on IMDb!).
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The plot: An unmarried 40-year-old woman (Kassie) turns to a turkey baster in order to become pregnant. Seven years later, she reunites with her best friend (Wally), who has been living with a secret: he replaced her preferred sperm sample with his own.
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Hmmm, is it just me or this could very well be Jen’s own life story? It’s a terrible thing to say I know, but then again she looks like she’s playing herself here (what else is new). What is it about Jen that she keeps snatching my fave leading men: Clive Owen (
Derailed), Gerry Butler (The Bounty Hunter out tomorrow) and now Bateman. But you know what, the trailer made me laugh, mostly because of Bateman though, who’s probably the saving grace of the movie. In fact it looks more like his movie than Aniston’s.
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The most amusing scenes are between Wally and Kassie’s cute munchkin (Thomas Robinson) who bears an uncanny resemblance to him – and perhaps share his neurotic problems. And check out the supporting cast: Jeff Goldblum (in a Judy Greer-type role as the ‘best friend’), Juliette Lewis, and Patrick Wilson.
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The Switch
is released in theaters on August 20th. What do you think folks? Does this appeal to you in any way, shape or form?