It’s All An Act – Star Wars (1977)

Not many filmmakers get it so right so early in their careers. Remember, this was only Lucas’s third film after THX-1138 and American Graffiti, two equally brilliant films in their own rights. Lucas went on to become a successful producer, but I wish he’d have done more directing. When he abandoned the chair we lost a unique film making eye, as he never really recovered it with the Prequel Trilogy. There are things I truly love about the films that followed, but none of them hold up as well as the original Star Wars. It’s inviting simplicity sparked the imaginations of legions of fans and that is something that should never be discounted, devalued or forgotten.

Don’t Look Back – Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice (2016)

A special message By M.Schinke Let’s get real, OpinionNerds! So since this CoVid-19 bullshit put the Batman v Superman Comes Home charity event here in Detroit on ice we here are the GO!-Quarters are going to play following the bouncing Kryptonite along with all the other good little geeks and weirdos by participating in the…

The Grey Area – Man of Steel: Chances Of Survival

I have a feeling some of the misconception about survivors trapped in rubble stems from one shot of people climbing down into ground zero where a woman looks like she’s helping someone up out from under some debris. While the film clearly shows that these are people climbing down into the crater, as I’ve attempted to illustrate it also clearly shows that the chances of having survived within the area of impact are absolutely zero. Like we’ve discussed here before with General Amajagh in Batman v Sueperman, this criticism is a matter of people injecting information into the storytelling instead of simply following what they’e being given. And like that and so many other cases, the information they’re injecting is bad information, which leads to bad analysis and bad conclusions because people assume they know things they clearly do not. However, I suspect that the people who fervently stand behind this terrible criticism are not ones who will be swayed no matter how detailed an analysis might be. Like the song says; haters gonna hate.

The Grey Area – Batman v Superman: A Motivated Patsy

I have noted that much of the difficulty that people have in regards to assessing this movie is an unwllingness or inability to let go of certain expectations and presumptions so that they may view the material strictly as it is presented. This is true for the great majority of critics, but it is also true for many fans, especially when it comes to the character of Lex Luthor. How you analyze Wallace Keefe’s role in the film depends chiefly on how you analyze Lex’s. It’s easy to look at the character of Lex and interpret the storytelling in a way that supports the idea of the genius master criminal with the intricate two-year plan because ridiculously complicated schemes are what we expect from the character of Lex Luthor. A super-villains gotta super-villain, right? So we allow for certain assumptions to be made, regardless of how reasonable they may or may not be, because we understand Lex as a character that is as intellectually capable as Superman is physically. But that expectation flies in the face of the fact that every other aspect of the films storytelling is firmly rooted in some logical process. Just making sure to leave enough information on screen to allow for an analysis like this to even occur takes a hell of a lot of work, and my appreciation for it grows exponentially every time a challenge is met.

Random Acts Of Opinion – The Way Back (2020)

The film is very well made, giving you all the cues you need to get into the proper emotional space. But intellectually I had a lot of issues from the way Jack slides into coaching as if it’s a thing anyone who used to play ball can do, to the non storytelling behind the mysterious character of Doc (who’s obviously important in Jack’s life for reason that go completely uncovered), to the sudden injection of Jack’s issue with his father and past substance abuse which is mentioned once and has no further bearing on the film or character. I felt along with the movie the entire time, but those feelings quickly faded on the way home as I began to look back on the film. The worst part for me personally was the revelation that with so much going on in the story the film doesn’t actually say anything about finding that, “way back” because no one actually struggles with anything. Now I get that the director and star and everyone involved might have decided against loading the film with a lot of darkness, pain and torment but without that suffering, without that struggle, the movie ends up having no real weight, in my opinion. And without that weight, and even for it’s deliberately austere tone,  it just becomes a, “feel good” movie. And I am no fan of, “feel good” films.

What Was That All About – Mother! (2017)

Director Darren Aaronofsky’s 2017 sense and sensibility assaulting film Mother! is not a difficult movie to understand if you’re willing to do a little digging. The director has been very clear about what the movie is, and this information is not difficult to find. Even without the blatant explanation, the moment someone clues you in to even the slightest degree the pieces of the movie should all fall into line like Sandpeople on Bantha’s. At the risk of serving dessert before the meal, at this point it shouldn’t be a surprise that Mother! is an metaphorical retelling of the Christian bible conveyed in both an amazingly vague and yet painfully direct way. What may not be so easy to immediately grasp is the allegory the film weaves about mankind and it’s relationship with mother Earth, and what a nice house she had before we came along and fucked it all up.

Random Acts Of Opinion – Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020)

The triage for the films performance is likely to go on for some time as it has already gained a vociferous gaggle of supporters. There are discussions being had about it’s level of representation and whether or not a male audience will accept a film with this production pedigree, even though the attendance numbers say they were at least willing to try. And the studio, for better or worse, allowed director Yan and producer Robbie to make the film the way they saw fit; which is exactly what you want from creative partnership like a film. I didn’t enjoy the film because the elements of the presentation that seemed to be the focus didn’t mean much of anything to me while I found the remainder of the elements too light to be impacting. I don’t know what this says about me, but when you’re someone who found the language in Deadpool conversational and who grew up on 80’s and 90’s action movies, nothing this movie throws at you is going to hit that hard. And I didn’t enjoy it because the approach reinforces the idea that these films shouldn’t be treated as movies for adults, even when the rating is literally designed to exclude everyone who isn’t.

Random Acts Of Opinion – The Rhythm Section (2020)

The movie got shit reviews because it didn’t do anything new or spectacular within it’s genre and, I can only guess, because its, “strong female lead” didn’t have a strong female agenda to push. The Stephanie Patrick character isn’t defined by it’s gender, and that’s why it’s so great. The character is defined by it’s experiences like any character should be. The film also does a lot of what people have been complaining for years that these films should do and that’s not to revel in it’s presentation of sex and violence for sport. But that tends to be the problem with people; we bitch and piss about how we’re aren’t getting something but, when we do get it, we chalk it up to a moral win and move on without actually participating in the victory. Much like 2018’s Red Sparrow his is the kind of movie within this genre people are always saying they want to see made. And yet even when they do manage to sneak their way out through the studio door it’s the films like Atomic Blonde (a film I really enjoy) with their still typical approach to violence, sex and all the trappings of fantasy this film lacks, that get all the good press.

I don’t know; you figure it out.

Random Acts Of Opinion – The Gentlemen (2020)

Let’s engage in a little thought problem. What do you do when a movie, by any and all subjective standards you set for yourself, is good. It’s shot extremely well, has a snappy script and a fairly well constructed screenplay. It’s got nice characters, a decent score and good performances from a talented cast. By any measure, minus a few nit-picks, it’s a pretty good movie. But for some reason it just never quite, “get’s there” with you? So what does that mean? And how do you best discuss the movie with others?

When the lion is hungry, he needs to be sure his claws are sharp enough to hold his prey. So as the self proclaimed king of this jungle does The Gentleman dig in, or does it just scratch the surface?

The Grey Area – What’s More Important Than Experience?

Writing this has been difficult for me because I really thought I was learning something about something in this game of talking movies. But what I’ve come to realize is that no matter how much information I gather, no matter how much of the lingo I absorb or how well I can phrase a critique, none of that matters. I don’t like director James Wan’s Aquaman. I don’t like how it’s written and I don’t like how it’s produced. But the reality is that none of the little nit-picks I have with it, none of the things that people might agree with me are weak or poor makes any difference because a lot of people had a really great experience with the movie. And my defense of films like Fight Club or Sucker Punch, no matter how factual or persuasive I might be, don’t mean a goddamn thing if someone had an unpleasant experience with the movie. There is, and has been, a great argument over whether or not film can be objectively analyzed or if everything is subjective, and that’s ultimately a terrifying conversation for someone like me. Because if film is totally subjective, and the only thing that matters is the experience it creates, then the reality is that nothing matters except what you feel, then what the hell have I been spending all my time trying to learn? Honestly; it can be incredibly humbling to realize how little you really matter.

What Was That All About – Man of Steel (2013)

Man of Steel might not be the Superman movie some people wanted; no one can argue that. However to not only ignore but grossly misrepresent the storytelling and characterization because it didn’t fit into the heart shaped box one has built for the character is just pure anti-intellectualism. Perhaps the path through the film cannot be followed at a leisurely pace, but it most certainly does not leave you wanting for connective tissue and storytelling that takes you through the characters experience every step of the way. Though more difficult for people to grasp, a flat character arc is not unique for this kind of film. After all; for Clark to have a transformative arc he’d have to start out as someone very different from the heroic Superman we expect, and I can tell you for a fact that is something that simply would not fly with the very same people that criticize this character as it is. And as for what the movie is about? What one takes away from a film emotionally is never wrong as we all have our individual experiences and reactions. And no one is required to engage in the same level of analysis that I choose to. But if you take nothing else of value from this piece, I hope that it encourages you to develop and engage in some manner of process building of your own. Put together your toolkit and learn how to work it. And don’t do it because I said so or you feel like you have to.

Do it because you choose to.

Random Acts of Opinion – Bad Boys For Life

As entertained as I was by the work of directors Adil and Bilal I can’t help but wonder how the film might have fared if they had managed to keep director Joe Carnahan, a seasoned action filmmaker, attached to the project from early on. And with the series planning on moving forward with a fourth entry you have to wonder if Bad Boys will suffer the same fate as the Lethal Weapon franchise, going back to the well one to many times as the leads age and ending an entertaining series on an almost farcical note. If Bad Boys For Life were indeed to be the last entry in this franchise, it would be a worthy exit for stars Smith and Lawrence. But it feels like the film is being used as a way to set up continuing work without their involvement, which seems like a terrible idea in my opinion. This franchise was built and buoyed on the dynamic between the two stars. Moving on without them seems like a sure way to kill the Bad Boys for good.

Random Acts Of Opinion – Underwater (2020)

Underwater is an entertaining film, to a certain point, but it doesn’t even attempt to do anything new or interesting. Director Eubank’s is technically competent as a director but it became clear to me pretty quickly that he had nothing to say with this film; not about it’s subject, and not about it’s characters. Now that would have been fine if the film had enough going for it to make it an affecting experience but, as much as I allowed the jump scares and mood to work on me, nothing in the went far enough to really get under my skin. The filmmakers have chosen to create an experience over telling a story, which is perfectly fine don’t get me wrong. But in my opinion this film doesn’t push hard enough to create a truly engaging experience, and it moves too fast to immerse you in the environment or create an engaging sense of atmosphere or mood. The filmmakers have made a choice about what kind of movie they want to make, but in my evaluation they refused to commit to what it would take to make that movie work. I feel like this is the expression of corporate interests over artistic intent, imposing limits to make films more sellable. The fact that this will be the last movie released under the 20th Century Fox banner, after they were bought out by Disney, seems oddly appropriate.

The Grey Area- Home Theater 101

Jessi and I use our home theater for watching TV and movies, as well as just sitting in the dim evening light listening to music. With the amount of time we spend in that room, given that it is our living room, it makes sense to me to invest as much as I can to get the best performance out of that space. This won’t be true for everyone but, honestly; if watching movies and TV at home gives you pleasure, and you spend a substantial amount of time doing it, why not try to get the most out of it that you can? No one is telling you that you have to build a whole room and cram a lot of high powered, expensive gear into it – personal entertainment is not a competition. But by putting a little time into research, and making smart monetary investments, you can easily put together a good performing system that fits you space and your needs.

Random Acts Of Opinion – 1917 (2019)

1917 is more than just a technical marvel of cinematography and planning in an age of CGI enhanced everything. It’s a film about people and the emotions, friendships and loves that drive them through terrible times. It never romanticizes the conflict or attempts to elevate the ideas of heroism and sacrifice above the emotional bonds that drive those at it’s center. It is a film best seen in a theater in the largest format you can to get the full impact of the presentation. However some audience members may find that they don’t connect emotionally as strongly as others, and for some the the experience may be underwhelming for a number of  reasons that have nothing to do with how well the movie is actually produced. If you’re planning on seeing it I would move those plans up to ASAP to catch it while it’s still in circulation. You may only get one shot.

Don’t Look Back – Star Wars: Documenting Fantasy

Ya know, looking over all the Star Wars films for this article it solidified for me why, of modern Star Wars, Rogue One is my personal favorite. Of the newer crop of films it’s the one that seems to be most interested in being a real drama, at least most of the time. All of the films have what can be considered the right ingredients to make a Star Wars movie but the intent seems to be on making fun adventure films crafted for younger viewers more than anything approaching legitimate drama. To be fair, it was Lucas himself that opened the door to this, cracking it a tiny bit with the more whimsical elements of Return of the Jedi before kicking it down completely with The Phantom Menace. There is a reason The Empire Strikes Back and even The Last Jedi (apart from how it tries to make it’s characters look silly and other questionable attempts at being, “funny”) resonate with some fans they way they do; it’s an element of sincerity that treats the dramatic storytelling with as much weight as it does the, “fun” elements and allows you to feel that these people are not out there having a good time for our benefit.

Random Acts Of Opinion – Uncut Gems (2019)

I found this movie to be extremely effective. Everything about it works precisely as it should, and everyone involved should be proud and praised for creating a masterful piece of cinema. It’s also a movie I doubt I’ll ever feel the desire to watch again precisely because of how effective it is. It’s two hours and 15 minutes of watching a guy just dig his own grave, holding out basic human hope that he get somehow gets to crawl out from under the mountain of shit he’s created and knowing that there is just no way that’s ever going to happen. It’s a movie that I am thrilled we made the time to go see, but not one that I think I’m going to want to revisit. One trip though Howard Ratners world is fucking plenty, than you very much. I will never regret seeing the movie, and I’m pretty sure I’ll never see it again.

Random Acts Of Opinion – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Forcing the film open By M.Schinke Is this the end for our intrepid heroes, OpinionNerds? Imagine this; you take on the task of creating a sequel trilogy to one of the most popular and beloved trinity of films in the history of, like, ever where you’re one of the screenwriters, the producer and the director….

What Was That All About – Arrival (2016)

Am I right about this one? I’d like to think that I’m at least somewhere in the neighborhood. But whether I’m right or not is hardly what’s important. Understanding a film isn’t always as important as experiencing it. When a film is openly trying to manipulate you it can feel cheap and uncomfortable, like someone reaching inside your head and trying to tickle your brain. When a story is told sincerely, when the ebb and flow of emotions come from a genuine place, you an let go without worrying about that you’re being taken advantage of. These can be the best kinds of films, the ones that you can trust in to take you someplace special; someplace pure. Sometimes, the journey really is just as important as the arrival.

Random Acts Of Opinion – A Hidden Life (2019)

A Hidden Life is a slow meditation on conviction, love and faith. It’s a story of one person making a choice to put action behind what they believe is right, and for it’s period setting that’s a message that could not be more timely. It make the statement that if everyone made an individual choice to swear an oath to goodness, to love of the world and each other before all, each individuals choice would create massive change. By just having the conviction to say, “No” to something you believe is wrong, to make an oath to yourself to do no harm and to embrace peace- by itself it might not mean much. But enough people making enough pledges and having the strength to stand by them. That oath, that promise:

That could change the world.

Random Acts of Opinion – Honey Boy (2019)

Tragic stories of former child stars are, unfortunately, a dime a dozen. In our own way we are all culpable in a system that has virtually zero accountability as long as they aren’t caught violating the law. But this only covers what happens on the sets and in the studios. The very complicated and dangerous adult world that surrounds these kids isn’t interested in protecting them; that’s supposed to be the job of the parents. But how does that work when so often, more often than any of us want to admit, it’s the parents these kids need to be protected from?

The Grey Area – A Certain Brand of Justice

A line of storytelling can be traced that runs through almost the entire first half of the movie, making the brandings something more useful than just Batman doing, “a really bad thing”; storytelling wise. There is an entire substructure of storytelling that operates beneath the main events of the plot, adding rhyme and reason to events that would otherwise appear random. An interesting thing to note is that even with the foundation this storytelling provides, because it’s never directly confronted by any entity within the story, understanding how it works becomes more or less irrelevant. The answers are there to find if you want to ask the questions, but you don’t have to have those answers for the movie to function. You don’t need to know why these things happen, you just need to know that they do. Could director Snyder have made all of this more obvious? Of course he could.

But being obvious isn’t interesting.

Random Acts of Opinion – Marriage Story (2019)

he film isn’t narratively complex but it is emotionally complex; the twisted, conflicting and sometimes contradictory nature of Nicole’s and Charlies relationship so closely mirroring too many real life dramas. Even watching a relationship come apart with this level of fictional honesty can be uncomfortable. But watching Charlie and Nicole work through the all the pain to make something out of the version of their life together they now have to leave can grant a measure of hope for the rest of us that, as hard as it is, it can be done.

Random Acts Of Opinion – 21 Bridges (2019)

I don’t think I’m out of bounds by saying 21 Bridges isn’t going to blow anyone away, but it’s got enough grit for those that like a solid cop drama. I don’t know if the no frills approach will lead to a lot of re-watchability, and the movie certainly doesn’t seem to have much of anything to say, but it’s still a solidly entertaining 99 minutes of a movie. I don’t know if it’s worth crossing the Hudson for, but I’ve done a lot worse for a lot less.

Random Acts Of Opinoin – Black Widow Trailer 1

Picking at the trailer By M.Schinke Oh what a tangled web, OpinionNerds! For the 2010 release of Iron Man 2, Marvel expanded their slate of heroes-on-film by casting Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow; former KGB assassin and then current undercover S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. With the ever growing slate of films based on their characters it…

Random Acts Of Opinion – Harley Quinn (2019)

I know a lot of people are going to find this show very entertaining and they are right to do so. If I watch clips from it or find some way to watch full episodes after my subscription runs out, I’m sure I’ll giggle. I might even chuckle. If that’s all the production wants to get from me then Huzzah to the shop keep. What I’ve learned from this is that people have the definitions of, “mature” and, “edgy” all ass backwards. This show might be edgy, but it is far from mature. That might make it amusing; but not much else.

Don’t Look Back – Batman v Superman Comic Con Trailer (2015)

Movie trailers serve a purpose, and they aren’t going anywhere in the near future. But we have to be careful how much stock we put in them because, in the end, a trailer is just a commercial, and commercials don’t always tell you the truth. It’s up to us to keep that in mind and manage our expectations so we don’t find yourself sitting in a theater eagerly awaiting a movie that doesn’t exist.

Random Acts Of Opinion – The Good Liar (2019)

The Good Liar has all the elements in its text for a movie that could be a tense twisty, turny thriller. And there is entertainment in watching all the pieces fall into place. McKellen and Mirren are always fascinating to watch but there is no cat and mouse between these two fakers, so the movie isn’t really giving the two titanic thespians much of anything to do, in my opinion. I almost wish we were in on, if not on exactly who Mirren’s character is, but the fact that she’s playing McKellen just to give the film a little competitive, “who’s going to come out on top” angle. But that would be a different movie all together, and I don’t get to ask for that. There is an audience out there for this film that will continue to find value in it. It’s sad that I’m not in that audience, but that’s how things work out sometimes.

Random Acts Of Opinion – Ford v Ferrari (2019)

Sports movies are rarely ever about sports. The question of whether the good guy wins the big game/match/race is just the thing that gets people in the door so you can tell them the real story, the story that actually matters.

The Grey Area – Watchmen (2019)

Watchmen isn’t like other comic book universes that exist only as a sandbox for the characters to play in. Watchmen had a purpose; a specific message it was attempting to convey that was laser targeted at the audience the book was going to attract, with the movie following suit in its own way. If the show is just using that world as a backdrop to tell a story about how putting on a hood, airbrushing your face black and driving around in a cool car can’t stop racism we’ve kind of been there already. If it’s a show that ends up being about the theme of legacy in some way that’s very cool, but I fail to so-far grasp why the Watchmen IP, with it’s specific narrative perspective, seemed like a good fit for that. Right now I don’t really care about any of the characters, the story lines aren’t grabbing me and it isn’t exactly going to be setting any new high-water marks for visual presentation. If something doesn’t bubble up in this next episode to really nail my attention to the grocery store counter I may not be willing to extend my disinterest any further.

Random Acts Of Opinion – Doctor Sleep (2019)

Don’t get it twisted; this is a fine, fine movie. Incredibly well made on every level. But even despite all that it didn’t turn me on because it just wasn’t enough. It was frustratingly too tame and seemed to want to play more as a dark superhero movie than a horror film on almost any level. The movie was very dedicated to the adventure of it and sharing the thrills of its dark fantasy world, and it does so with aplomb. But it just didn’t hit the hard notes hard enough for me, and that’s just frustrating. It all comes down to the choices made by the filmmakers and they just aren’t choices that work for me. I get it;  I really do get it. Whether or not I can get behind the choices that were made is irrelevant. Whether or not I think the choices make the movie weaker is irrelevant; they weren’t my choices to make. Doctor Sleep is a movie that had all the right ingredients for a film that could have really lit my fire but we just didn’t spark. It is what it is. I didn’t hate my return to the Overlook Hotel, but I really think it’s time for me to check out.

The Grey Area – Man of Steel: More Adventures In Just Catching The Plot

Storytelling is a really weird, fickle thing that doesn’t always work the way we, the audience, believe it should. Sometimes you can’t see the strings being plucked but you still feel the vibrations moving things along. Other times it’s like a cat sitting on your chest, staring you right in the face and demanding your attention. The artistry is in the choices made; what to obfuscate and what to reveal, when to reveal it and then, finally, how. And these choices are all wrapped up in your intent; your overall approach to how you want the audience to take in the storytelling as you present it to them. These are just a couple of examples of how you can render storytelling in ways that aren’t strictly expository. Breaking down and understanding these ways of approaching storytelling here will help you build out your toolbox, and that can open up all sorts of new avenues for understanding and appreciating the art of film storytelling.

Random Acts Of Opinion – Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

None of this means that Terminator: Dark Fate is a movie that doesn’t entertain. Indeed, what I’m looking for doesn’t seem to have been on the plate for this film to begin with, so nothing that I’ve brought up says anything about whether or not the movie as it exists is entertaining or not. In fact I think it will be entertaining for a great number of people because of how well produced it is. But in my opinion what keeps bringing people back to a film is in watching it’s characters struggle and overcome in a story that resonates beyond the confines of the screen. Like anything else time will tell whether or not this film crosses the divide between just being entertaining to being meaningful to fans of the franchise.

Random Acts Of Opinion – The Lighthouse (2019)

The Lighthouse is a dirty, grimy, dark, lout, disturbing, uncomfortable movie – and that is a very good thing. It’s cinema that pushes you out of your comfort zone and makes you consider the value of entertainment. It’s going to be a movie that many people will be hard pressed to decide whether or not they even enjoyed it – and that’s perfectly okay. A movie like this is one that has artistic merit that extends far beyond the confines of a simple up or down/ like or dislike function. This movie can be challenging and that alone will be enough of a reason for some to ignore or dismiss it. But if you’re up for a little challenge and you want to experience something a little more akin to an old man’s version of cinema, then maybe The Lighthouse is just the beacon in the dark you need.

Don’t Look Back – Superman Returns (2006)

Coming back to the movie By M.Schinke Superman returns! But is there anything worth coming back for, OpinionNerds? 1987 left a bad taste in the mouths of Superman fans all over the world. For so many reasons director Sidney J. Furies Superman IV: The Quest For Peace is a film that just plain didn’t work….

The Grey Area – Is Cinema Subjective, Or Is It Cinema Is Subjective?

Maybe the new wave of cinema is all about reactionism, and the art will be to find different and exciting ways to manipulate and control the audiences responses. It doesn’t sound all that great to me, but the world of film doesn’t exist to service my desires. So who knows; maybe the theme park is the new avant garde of film making and we’re all witness to a new renaissance of storytelling. I have my doubts, but thankfully it’s not up to me. Ultimately it’s up to the filmmakers to decide what the new cinema will be. But in this heavily corporatized entertainment environment where big spectacle incurs big costs, are the filmmakers really driving the bus?

The Grey Area – Batman V Superman: Generally Speaking, He Might Not Be Dead.

This issue is about more than just a particular scene in a Superman movie. There are a lot of films that bank storytelling on items of religion, science, engineering, philosophy, theology, etc., that are probably not within the scope of knowledge for the average movie goer. I don’t know if this is a uniquely American problem, but we have a tendency to see the intelligence of others as a threat; a perceived slight towards our own cognitive limitations that we simply cannot tolerate. My people here in the U.S.A. seem to take particular joy in poking holes in the work of seemingly intelligent filmmakers, especially when they refuse to play down to lowest common denominator. We’ll take any opportunity to blow up details in their films and smear the resulting intellectual goo all over the internet like we’re finger painting the phrase, “YOU’RE NOT BETTER THAN ME!” in our own feces.

Random Acts Of Opinion – Gemini Man (2019)

No matter where you are in your life one of the hardest things anyone can do is come face-to-face with themselves. To have an honest look at what the years and all the choices, good and bad, have done to make you the person you are can be terrifying. All the missed opportunities, all the times you should have zagged when you zigged, the things left unsaid, the kisses left un-stolen, the lies told, the loves lost – self-reflection on that level can be heartbreaking and revealing. It’s a concept ripe for cinema and tackled what I’m sure must have been scores of times in movies I’ve never even seen or heard of, And it’s one that seemed right up director Ang Lee’s alley. Toss in perennial megastar Will Smith, a cool storytelling device and an approach to presentation meant to take film storytelling to a new level and all the ingredients are there for a movie event to be something special. Unfortunately whether or not an audience is able to fully engage with the film as conceived isn’t always in a filmmakers control and, as a result, the final work may not deliver entirely as intended. But does the idea that the film doesn’t completely work mean it should never have been made?

Random Acts Of Opinion – Ad Astra (2019)

Rocketing off with the movie By M.Schinke Always looking for the exit, OpinionNerds. I lament the day science fiction was reduced to, “Sci-Fi”. Though it’s long been misunderstood as nothing more than distracting flights of the fantastic with nothing substantial to say, the great authors of science fiction knew that what they were telling were…

Random Acts Of Opinion – IT: Chapter Two (2019)

Honest engines; I didn’t walk out of IT: Chapter Two hating what I saw. I was dismayed at the overall presentation and left feeling profoundly unsatisfied. And what it comes down to is the simple fact that the movie, while it can be creepy, is never scary. Its spends far more time being sentimental and funny than it does being horrifying. I’m really not interested in an R-rated, mature audience oriented monster movie giving me speeches on the power of friendship and believing in yourself. In terms of intent and execution I’m not sure whether or not to consider the film a success or a failure. I guess that all depends on what one believes the intent to have been.

Don’t Look Back – Marathon Man (1976)

Marathon Man is, from what I can tell, every bit the film it’s reputation makes it out to be. It’s not a narrative that’s going to turn your psychology upside down, but the craft in the presentation leads to a very satisfying viewing experience.

Random Acts Of Opinion – Night Hunter (2019)

With as much as I enjoyed about writer/ director David Raymond’s serial killer thriller, there is a gaping feeling of absence that keeps the movie from truly percolating despite some real acting power and a solid grasp on the mechanics of film making.

Don’t Look Back – Green Lantern (2011)

Shining a light on the film By M.schinke No evil shall excape my sight, OpinionNerds! You know, the biggest problem with director Martin Campbell’s 2011 stab at super hero movies with Green Lantern is not that it’s a, “badly” made movie. More or less,the movie does right what it’s supposed to do right. No, the…

The Grey Area – One Aspect Of Artistry

Looking at one piece of storytelling By M.Schinke Its the little things, OpinionNerds. Before we get started an important note: I am not a filmmaker. I hold no position in the industry or artistry of film making. This piece is based on research and observation; not experience. So if I’m getting anything wrong I’d surely…

The Grey Area – Grounding Out

Sharing my fantasy By M.Schinke Before we even get started I want to get this out of the way: Yes, I know all movies are fantasies because they are all made up. That’s not what we’re talking about; stop being a pedantic prick. That’s my shtick and you’re trampling all over it. You only paid…

Random Acts Of Opinion – Blinded By The Light (2019)

Blinded By The Light can be an entertaining experience whether or not you’re a fan of Springsteen’s music. I ultimately feel the filmmakers choice to be so universal left it without it’s own voice (ironic given some of the films key themes) but I applaud the approach that says there are no, “others” in this world. we all have the same stories. Slightly different textures, slightly different flavors, but we’re all the same no matter what. While it didn’t exactly shine brightly for me, I have no doubt others may find the film…. illuminating.

Don’t Look Back – Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)

Looking at all that glitters By M.Schinke As I recall I think we both kinda liked it, OpinionNerds! What do you do? When the world of blockbuster film making is constantly disappointing you, the indie landscape is as disparate and disconnected as your modern urban metropolis, making finding anything of personal value a chore, and…

It’s All An Act – The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Spinning a web on the film By M.Schinke Just don’t call me late to dinner, OpinionNerds. Directed by Marc Webb, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has a unique distinction; it’s regarded as containing both some of the best, and worst, storytelling in any Spider-Man film. The fifth film in 15 years for the wall-crawling menace, the…

Random Acts Of Opinion – Batman Hush (2019)

Talking about the new film By M.Schinke I will not stay quiet about this, OpinionNerds! Written by Jeph Loeb with art from Jim Lee, Hush is one of Batman most layered and challenging books. It finds a way to include almost all of Batman’s most notable players, reaches all the way back to his origins,…

Random Acts Of Opinion – The Kitchen (2019)

Cooking up some thoughts on the film By M.Schinke Is this the recipe for an entertaining film, OpinionNerds? I don’t know if most people know, but comic books are more than just superheros. Really. Comics have a long history as a storytelling medium and across their publication lifespan many different kinds of stories have been…

Random Acts Of Opinion – The Boys (2019)

Getting the lads together By M.Schinke We’re taking the, “Hero” out of SuperHero, OpinionNerds! When Watchmen hit theaters in 2009 it was seen by many as a cynical, exploitative look at the idea of the superhero and our relationship with them. The movie was dark, at times violently graphic and was certainly not intended for…

The Grey Area – Just A Copy Of A Copy Of A Copy…..

Talking about sources and changes By M.Schinke Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes! Turn and face the strange, OpinionNerds! In 1968, author Richard Hooker (real name  Dr. H. Richard Hornberger) published his book MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors. Based on his experiences in the Korean War the book was somewhat a success and in 1970 the book was…

Random Acts of Opinion – Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019)

Being told a story By M.Schinke Movie number nine is pretty fine, OpinionNerds Quentin Tarantino is a master at his craft. There, I said it. The ninth film by the wildly erratic, twitchy, hyper-vocal auteur film maker (he considers Kill Bill to be one film; don’t get mad at me over it) is so stuffed…

Random Acts Of Opinion – The Art of Self Defense (2019)

Sparring with the film By M.Schinke I’ll take a diet Fight Club with light ice, OpinionNerds I was always a fan of Fight Club. Director David Fincher’s 1999 film about a guy who creates a strong alternate personality to deal with the world that eventually threatens to take over completely has a darkly comic vibe,…

Random Acts of Opinion – Stranger Things Season 3 (2019)

Investigating the new season By M.Schinke It’s like a never ending story, OpinionNerds! When I first heard about Netflix’s Stranger Things I remember thinking it was going to be one of those shows that everyone loved, but I was going to be absolutely repelled by. Powered by unhealthy doses of nostalgia for a time period…

Random Acts Of Opinion – Framing John DeLorean (2019)

Busting the documentary By M.Schinke Is it too late for a cocaine joke, OpinionNerds? For most people, the name DeLorean just means, “that car from Back to the Future, right?” Older people may remember some cocaine laced jokes they heard along with a vague tale about a guy who got really rich and kind of…

Random Acts Of Opinion – Midsommar (2019)

Standing in the sun of the film By M.schinke It’s always brightest just before the dark, OpinionNerds. A question that doesn’t get asked often enough in these days of micromanaged, genre specific output is what exactly makes a horror movie a, “horror movie”? It’s easy enough to peg a slasher film, or a zombie film,…

The Grey Area – A Cartoon Outlook

Talking two-dimensional desires By M.Schinke Let me explain myself, OpinionNerds! I was supposed to be taking a break; a little mental vacation from analysis and breakdowns and just trying to figure out people for a little while. But I have a thought that keeps bouncing around my head as I continue to see comments about…

Random Acts Of Opinion – Dark Phoenix (2019)

Burning in the new film By M.Schinke In 2000, Fox and director Bryan Singer altered the landscape of movies adapted from comic books forever with the release of X-Men. The movie was among the first of it’s kind to take an approach to it’s comic book subject that began to push the material into the…

Random Acts Of Opinion – Toy Story 4 (2019)

Playing with the new film By M.Schinke To Infinity yadda yadda yadda, OpinionNerds! I remember seeing the first Toy Story in theaters and being completely blown away, not just by the technical brilliance of the art and animation, but by how genuine the story and performances were. This continued into Toy Story 2, and I…

Random Acts Of Opinion – Batman Vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2019)

Movies in a half shell By M.Schinke Make mine with pineapple and bacon, OpinionNerds! …………. oh boy. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles track their mortal enemies, The Foot Clan, to Gotham City in the pursuit of stealing advanced tech. This brings them into conflict with Batman and his team who have also been tracking the…

What Was That All About – Alien (1979)

A bursting look at the film By M.Schinke In space, no one can hear you analyze, OpinionNerds! Like any great, impacting movie, director Ridley Scott’s science fiction classic Alien has been dissected and picked over since it’s release in 1979. In the decades that have followed, a number of imitators have burst forth attempting to…

Random Acts Of Opinion – Fosse/Verdon (2019

Dancing with the heartache by M.Schinke Do it again from the top, OpinionNerds In modern history there are a handful of creative partnerships that are truly meaningful. Laurel and Hardy, Martin and Lewis, Lennon and McCartney. In the modern theater there are a handful of names that resonate as powerfully as Bob Fosse and Gwen…

Random Acts Of Opinion – Rocketman (2019)

Blasting off with the new film By M.Schinke The bitch is back, OpinionNerds! As the opening titles render across the screen and settle, a door in the background of the frame bursts open, sending the title scattering across the screen. In stomps an imposingly large looking figure decked out in a flaming orange and bedazzeled spandex…

The Grey Area – Captain America: A Journey Of Character

Examining Cap’s arc in the MCU By M.Schinke I can do this all day, OpinionNerds My contemporaries over at ComicBookDebate.Com recently posted an article that takes a look into the arc of the Captain America character as it appears across the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The article makes the point that as a…

Random Acts Of Opinion – Booksmart (2019)

Thoughts on the movie By M.Schinke Last chance to turn it up, OpinionNerds! High school movies are about as common as hot dogs at a picnic, and it takes quite a bit to make one stand out from the herd. Director Olivia Wilde may have just created a minor classic with Booksmart, putting her stamp…

The Grey Area – Calibrate Your Expectations

Talking picture quality By M.Schinke It’s better to be accurate than good, OpinionNerds! I think it’s fair to say that everyone who has a TV, projector or monitor display of some kind knows about these settings that control how the image looks. Brightness, contrast, LCD back light, color, sharpness, gamma, color temperature and a whole…

Don’t Look Back – The French Connection: Preserving Color

Connecting with the movie By M.Schinke OpinionNerds fais le en Francais! So, time for a confession: I had never before seen director William Friedkin’s The French Connection – a state of being I have recently rectified. The Oscar winning 1971 film is one of those movies that is spoken about with great reverence among film fans, with…

Random Acts Of Opinion – John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum (2019)

Taking a shot at the movie By M.Schinke There is a price if you break the rules, OpinionNerds There are many things I really, really like about the movies that make up the very small but extremely potent John Wick franchise, but the thing I think I enjoy the most is the no-bullshit attitude that…

Don’t Look Back – Brazil (1985)

Looking at the film By M.Schinke Don’t forget to file your paperwork, OpinionNerds Terry Gilliam is a movie legend. Or is it despot? He’s either an artistic hero or a film making villain, a genius or a lunatic, depending on either your mood or the company you’re in. And his films are either classics of…

The Grey Area – Snapping Back, or the Moral Responsibility of Tony Stark

Looking at obligation and responsibility By M.Schinke What is our moral obligation in the face of unprecedented villainy, OpinionNerds? The heroes goal in Avengers: Endgame, the latest blockbuster film from the Marvel franchise juggernaut, is simple – bring back the people lost to The Snap, the undefinably atrocious act perpetrated by Avengers: Infinity War’s main…

Random Acts Of Opinion – Pokemon Detective Pikachu (2019)

Capturing the film By M.Schinke I choose you, OpinionNerds! I was on the outside of the whole Pokemon thing. I was too old when it hit, and the only people I knew who participated in it were cynical speculators who were buying boxes of cards trying to secure the most rare ones pieces to sell…

Random Acts Of Opinion – Avengers Endgame

Looking at the film By M.Schinke Everything that has a beginning has an end, OpinionNerds! Well; that was a movie. It was a long movie, but it’s not one devoid of it’s appropriate emotional affect. It’s also not a movie I particularly cared about other than a sense of intellectual curiosity afterwards, but that’s not…

The Grey Area – Deconstructing Mythology

Tearing down tall tales By M.Schinke Have I got a good one for you, OpinionNerds From all accounts, Zack Snyder has an affinity for the concept of mythology and how it relates to the modern world. Also from accounts, Zack Snyder has a love for deconstruction because he made one movie that deals with the…

Random Acts Of Opinion – Just League Vs The Fatal Five (2019)

Looking at the 34th DC direct to video movie By M.Schinke In brightest day, in blackest night, no DC movie will escape my sight, OpinionNerds! I don’t know who’s idea it was to turn Justice League vs The Fatal Five into a de facto Justice League Unlimited episode but they are either making a commentary…

Random Acts Of Opinion – Amazing Grace (2018)

Listening to the movie By M.Schinke How sweet the sound, OpinionNerds! I need to make something very clear; I know exactly fuck all about gospel music. My religious upbringing was Presbyterian, and if there is one thing they know how to do it’s how to avoid grandiose showcases of emotion. When I was old enough…

The Grey Area – How Do You Do That Do You Do

Thinking about thinking about movies By M.Schinke Analyze this, OpinionNerds! Something no one has been asking me about is how it is I go about the work that I do for my What Was That All About series of articles, wherein I attempt to interpret the metaphor or allegory of a particular film. Well much…

Random Acts Of Opinion – SHAZAM! (2019)

Looking at the movie By M.Schinke Say my name, OpinionNerds! People in the DC films fan community have been split on director David F. Sandberg’s SHAZAM!, the first big screen adaptation of C.C. Beck’s classic Fawcett Comics superhero. Some have been saying it’s going to help drag the image of DC characters and their films…

Don’t Look Back – Batman v Superman: Holding The Line

Martha, bias and character By M.Schinke You’re letting them analyze Martha, OpinionNerds! Before posting a big new Batman article the other day in honor of the characters 80th birthday,  I took some time to revisit the very first essay I ever wrote for *NotThePopularOpinion, Martha, Martha, Martha: How Priming Saved The Man Of Steel. In…

Don’t Look Back – Batman v Superman; The Fear That Drives Us

Trauma and the Dark Knight By M.Schinke Breathe it in, OpinionNerds! One of  the things I love most about the lifespan of movies is the ability to revisit a work, even one you’re quite familiar with, and refine an analysis. A good piece of art is never done, even after it’s released to the world,…

The Grey Area – A Fantasy of Heroism

What did he say this time By M.Schinke Wake Up, OpinionNerds! At a recent event where the 2009 film Watchmen was screened for a private audience, director Zack Snyder made comments that after the original book was released and tore down superheros to their roots, those who hold to the idea that their superhero’s are innocent…

The Grey Area – Speaking In Film

What is film language By M.Schinke Do you see what I’m saying, OpinionNerds? Around these parts when we’re discussing movies we often get into talking about what we call the language of the film making. In context, the definition of language we’re concerned with is the use of an agreed upon system of expressions (images,…

Random Acts Of Opinion – Captive State (2019)

Striking a match with the movie By M.Schinke You Have To Choose A Side, OpinionNerds Outside of Netflix it seems like thrillers are a bit of a dying breed. They’re not action movies, they’re not horror movies, they typically don’t have big budgets to play with and they usually aren’t dumb enough to be flat…

Random Acts of Opinion – Captain Marvel (2019)

21 and counting By M.Schinke I’m not going to fight your war, OpinoinNerds When it comes to the MCU and it’s myriad of, “SuperHero” movie offerings I am not an unbiased observer. My opinion on the franchise as a whole has been built on ten years of storytelling which I have been in the theater…

Don’t Look Back – Push (2009)

Watching and moving By M.Schinke Don’t do it; I’m close to the edge, OpinionNerds In the early part of the 2000’s, before the franchise wars ground down all the reasonable nerds in the world and tossed the resulting meal into the cursing, screaming abattoir of the new fandom, someone had a thought; “People like superhero…

Don’t Look Back – Watchmen (2009)

Watching the Watchmen By M.Schinke Never compromise, OpinionNerds As I’m writing this, director Zack Snyders Watchmen, the 2009 adaptation of the declared unfilmable Alan Moore/ Dave Gibbons adult superhero comic book limited series first published between 1986 and 1987, has just turned 10. And like clockwork, there was a quick, though mostly impotent, set of…

Random Acts of Opinion – Triple Frontier (2019)

Stealing a look at the movie By M.Schinke You can never go back to your normal lives, OpinionNerds The movie landscape is littered with big tent pole movies, action blockbusters and huge, decades long spanning franchises So, when is just being a, “pretty good” movie good enough? Triple Frontier started life in 2010 when it…

Don’t Look back – Superman (1978)

Looking at it for what it is By M.Schinke They say confession is good for the soul, OpinionNerds Okay hold on now; put down the torches and pitchforks – I come in peace. Readers of this blog, or those who interact with me on their Tweet machine of choice, might have a pretty good idea…

The Grey Area – Cinemas Fidelitus

Talking pictures By M.Schinke Let’s get technical, OpinionNerds Fidelity. In our context of film and home video, fidelity is defined by by Dictionary.Com as, “The degree of accuracy with which sound or images are recorded or reproduced” Fidelity is the reason why motion picture cameras and lenses cost so damn much, why so much money…

Don’t Look Back – Dawn Of The Dead (2004)

Staying alive with the film By M.Schinke Get down with the sickness, OpinionNerds! In the early 2000’s producers Eric Newman and Marc Abraham hatched a plan to produce a revamped version of director George A. Romero’s 1978 zombie classic Dawn of the Dead. The duo set out on a mission not to just remake the…

The Grey Area – Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark

Discussing darkness for darkness sake By M.Schinke In the grim darkness of the internet, OpinionNerds…. Not that we haven’t covered this already but let’s do this again – there is no such practical concept as a piece of storytelling being dark, “just for the sake of being dark” unless it is being purposefully exploitative. It…

Don’t Look Back – All That Jazz (1979)

Singing and dancing through the film By M.Schinke Ok, OpinionNerds. A-one-and-a-two-and-a…… There are certain films that I know I’m just not qualified to discuss. Sure, I can follow a plot, I can talk about the language of the camera, I can have an opinion on lighting – that’s all biscuits and gravy. But there are…

Random Acts Of Opinion – Alita: Battle Angel

Fighting with the film By M.Schinke I will not stand by in the face of evil, OpinionNerds! It’s been a long time since I first heard that the legendary James Cameron was planning on adapting the Yukito Kishiro manga, and anime OVA, Gunnm, or Battle Angel Alita as it was known here, to the big…

The Grey Area – What Do We Know and When Do We Know It

 Informing a sequel By M.Schinke The Grey Area is all editorial content by our writer. These pieces are not specifically analytical or scientific, and the opinions contained within may be ones you do not agree with. So try to keep that in mind when replying. Fore warned is fore armed. Not too long ago I…

Random Acts Of Opinion – Reign of the Supermen (2019)

Looking at the film By M.Schinke Superman is dead, OpinionNerds – long live Superman! In August of 2018, WB animation released their long anticipated adaptation of the famed Death of Superman comic book arc with the aptly titled The Death of Superman (we took a look at it here). Now the studio has released the…

What Was That All About – Black Panther (2018)

Communication vs interpretation By M.schinke Is this your king, OpinionNerds Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe got a big ego boost recently (not that they needed it) when the 2018 film Black Panther was nominated in the Best Picture category at the upcoming Oscars. Whether or not I feel the movie deserves this honor, it’s…