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April 26, 2015, 04:49:56 AM
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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #630 on: March 06, 2015, 05:07:29 PM »

"McFarland USA" w/ Kevin Costner.

The Walt Disney Company's effort to crack the burgeoning Latino film market.

If birth and immigration trends continue, by 2050, this country will be a country of minorities: Afro-Americans, Asian-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and even whites will be in the minority. Though, Latinos will make up the largest group of minorities.

Thus the Company is only 35 years ahead of most of Hollywood. And one wonders how a company that consisted of 2 brothers making silent, black and white cartoons in their uncle's garage in L.A. morphed into the largest entertainment company in the world. It's far thinking like this is one of the reasons why.

Of course, it also makes one wish that the so called leaders of this great country would put aside their short term partisan interests and start thinking more in the long term.

One cannot live in southern California for over a decade, from near the coast northwest of L.A. to just north of the Mexican border, without living in an area that is heavily Latino, but nothing as heavily Latino as what is seen in the film. That is one thing a film can do. It can give you a glimpse into lives with which you are not familiar, as this one does.

Enjoyable, even if it is not perfect. Thinking back, one realizes that several important characters disappear from the story without rhyme or reason.

But . . .?! The biggest fault probably lies with its length, as a film can only cover the highlights of the story, when the inter- and intra- relationships of the characters were probably more complex and complicated than those seen in the film. Thus, the story might have worked better in that regard as a longer TV miniseries.

What ever they got wrong, they did get right the subject of cross-country running, as it amazes me how mixed feelings I have about that, as 2 decades before the film even takes place, I ran cross-country in high school. Not that I was any good, never getting past J.V., but it was either that or football, and I knew I was no football player. And we never made all-State like the team in the film, but we did make all-County, and I got a couple of team medals out of that.

What I always thought most interesting was the diversity of the high school sports league in which we participated, while I was in school. Private and public. County and city. And 4 cities. Probably one of the most diverse leagues ever seen.

Private: Marian, a Catholic high school.

County: Castle Park

and 4 cities
Chula Vista: Chula Vista and Hilltop
Coronado: Coronado
Imperial Beach: Mar Vista
National City: National City

Before the film, a half dozen trailers. Probably the best being for "Ant-man." It probably shouldn't surprise me by now, but I continue to be surprised by how well the Marvel films come out. As "Ant-man" is not only a film about a man who can shrink down into the size of an ant, but a film about a man and his relationship with his friends, family, and mentor Hank Pym. Part of it is done during the casting. Whoever would have thought of Michael Douglas as Hank Pym. Not me in a million years, but from the trailer so far, he is the Hank Pym.

Next up: Cinderella. The French version. If one wants to see the German version, then watch "Into the Woods."
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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #631 on: March 17, 2015, 11:42:52 AM »

Cinderella
("And the revival continues." Ken Branagh)

Or, let us play 20 Questions.

Q: What was kept from the 1950 film version?
A: The names.
The stepmother: Lady Tremayne
Though, in the earlier version I thought she got her title from Cinderella's father, but in this version, she got her title from her 1st husband.
The stepsisters; Anastasia and Druillsa
The mice: Gus Gus and Jacq, but in the earlier version, Jacq refers to Jacques, while in this version, Jacq refers to Jacqueline.
The cat: Lucifer.

Q: What disease did the mother die from?
A: Consumption, or, as it was also known "The White Death." Though, that is only a guess, as nothing definitive is said in the film about the cause of death.

Q: Why is the stepmother a better villainess this time around?
A: Previously, in most versions, she has only her cruelty, but here she combines her cruelty with cunning, which makes her not only a better villainess, but a better foe, as well.

Q: Who married above their station? Who married below their station?
A: Cinderella, of course, married above her station, but it is the stepmother who married below her station. Her 1st husband may have been only a lowly knight or lord, but he was a member of the nobility, which put him in the upper class, and while her 2nd husband was a merchant, thus a member of the upper middle class, he was still a member of the middle class. Thus, below her previous station.

Q: How many points on the stag in the forest?
A: Never got a clear enough look to tell.

Q: What was special about the scene in the forest?
A: It was shot in Windsor Forest.
Which is a royal forest.
Which requires a royal dispensation to film there.
Which the Company was able to get,
Which shows the ability of the Company to get what they want. Both here and in the U.K.
And, unlike most of the forests in England, it has never been completely logged off.
Which means there are trees there that were old when Shakespeare was born.

Q: How big or small is that kingdom?
A: It must be plenty big or what a budget buster that ball would have been.

Q: What were the dances danced at the ball?
A: Normally, for that time period, we see the waltz, but we were taught the waltz in junior high, and none of those were a waltz. So, I just don't know.

Q: Why was the Grand Duke so set on the Prince marrying that particular Princess?
A: We don't know enough about the Princess to give a definitive answer, but I can't help but feel, that someone was slipping him something under the table, to promote the marriage.

Q; What advice did the King in the film give the Crown Prince, that Prince Philip should have given Charles?
A: "Marry for love."

And that is halfway, and as I don't want to lose what I have already typed, I'll post this now, and follow with the other questions later.
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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #632 on: March 17, 2015, 12:15:21 PM »

Continuing Cinderella

Q: What were the cruelest words spoken in the film?
A: Cinderella's "I forgive you" to her Stepmother, as that will eat at her and eat at her and eat at her, till the day she dies.

Q: What was the most surprising thing about the film, if one thinks about it?
A: How good was the directing and the acting, and the acting was good from top to bottom. And as proof . . .?!

Q: What was the best scene in the film?
A: The Stepmother and the Grand Duke co-conspiring across the table. It could have been shot far more dramatically then it was, but that it was not, and that that scene worked so well the way it was shot, speaks volumes about what a great pair of actors you had in that scene, and what great writing that scene had.

Q: What trailers were shown before the film began?
A: New trailers for "Tomorrow land" and "Inside Out." While not original, what is in Hollywood?, "Inside Out" is so good, that (IMHO) it has to be considered the front runner, at this time, for next year's Oscar for Best Animated Film.

Q: What joke about gays can be found in the trailer for "Inside Out?"
A: I won't give any hints to what it was, but it is a joke that is likely to pass over the heads of most children and most adults, too, which is why I like it.

Q: What was the audience like?
A: Mothers and daughters.
Father and daughters.
Big brother/little brother dragged to the show, so little sister/big sister could see it.
People of color. And while previous versions of the story had a Cinderella, who was a racial minority, here she was typically white, but that did not stop racial minorities from coming and seeing the film.

Q; What was the biggest surprise about the audience?
A: The number of older, mature woman in the audience.  Who came by themselves, with their BFF, and/or who dragged their husband or male BF to the film. I expected young girls to see the film, but not that.

Q: Why did the theater like this type of audience?
A: Concessions. I can guarantee that for every $ spent on a ticket, especially at Saturday afternoon matinee prices, 2 $ or more was spent on concessions, and a theater's profit is not in ticket sales, but in the sale of concessions.

Q: What memorable moment happened in the audience as the film credits rolled?
A: One must understand, that during the ending credits, a number of songs from the 1950 version are played over the credits, and when the song "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo" played, an older, mature woman, with a man next to her, who I presume was her husband, were standing in the aisle, waiting to leave, began to spontaneously dance in the aisle. Then she grabbed her husband, and they both began to dance in the aisle. The price I paid to see the film was worth it, just to see something like that.

Q: Will there be a sequel?
A: That is open to how well the film does at the box office, but the 1950 version, if direct to dvd, did spawn 1 sequel, which I have seen, and at least another sequel.

And, finally, the facts and figures.

Cost: $95 million
That may seem to be a lot, but for what you get, anything under a $100 million is low cost.
Domestic box office: $67 million (opening weekend)
Or, do not count your chickens before they hatch or your box office receipts before they are finalized.
$3 million less than expected and $2 million less than "Maleficent" took in on its opening weekend.
International box office: #37 million, excluding China, to date.
China box office: $25 million to date.
Audience: 66% female. 34% male.
Which is not surprising, but what is surprising is how many males of all ages loved the film.
Final: still on target to earn $800 million box office, and as it cost less than half of what it cost to make "Maleficent," even if it earns half of what "Maleficent" made. It still comes out ahead.

Next time: probably "Monkey Kingdom."
The Company, probably the last of the major studios to still do full-length documentaries.







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Rev. Powell
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« Reply #633 on: March 18, 2015, 08:40:43 AM »

TIMBUKTU (2014): Jihadist thugs take over the oasis city of Timbuktu, enacting a repressive form of Sharia law, banning football, music, and enacting a liberal death penalty. Social realism with the message that, as much as the West may fear ISIS and other Islamic groups with terrorist ambitions, its the ordinary Muslims who suffer the most under these regimes. An Academy Award best foreign language nominee (lost to IDA). 3/5.
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"The basic plot is that Donna Speir and Hope Marie Carlton, the two undercover DEA agent Playboy Playmates from the last movie, are still running around in jungle shorts, cowboy boots and spaghetti strap T-shirts, firing their machine guns at drug smugglers, Filipino communist guerrillas, and corrupt federal agents while their two friends, Lisa London and Miss May 1984 Patty Duffek, lounge around the pool a lot and talk on speaker phones that look like fax machines."-Joe Bob on SAVAGE BEACH
BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #634 on: March 25, 2015, 03:49:24 PM »

An update on 3 films. 2 seen. 1 not seen. We'll start with the 1 not seen.

American Sniper

More interested in who made it, then the film itself, but there are a couple of salient facts about the film.

Whatever its politics. Whatever one wants to think about its politics. That does not seem to have much effect upon its take at the box office, as thus this month it exceeded "Guardians of the Galaxy," as the top grossing film, released in 2014, at the box office, with a box office gross of $337 million and counting. That is domestic gross only. If one wants to combine domestic with international gross than "Guardians of the Galaxy" probably still has the lead.

I have heard that the total (both domestic and international) gross for the film is $500 million or the domestic was 207% higher than the international. Which makes it somewhat unique in an era, when American films do better internationally than they do domestically.

As I said, what I find interesting is the man who made it, who has had, with a little bit of luck, a career in film and TV for the past 7 decades. That is a long career. Longer than most people, living or dead, in Hollywood.

Right of center, if he is not the most conservative person working in Hollywood, he is one of the most conservative, which would put him at odds with most of Hollywood, but they forgive almost anything in Hollywood, if one is successful. The only unforgivable sin in Hollywood is making a film that loses money at the box office. And he certainly has been successful over the years. Successful enough, that he'll probably keep working into the next decade. May he live so long. And even more so, he probably has the power to pick what he wants to do next, and his home studio--Warner Brothers--would probably finance it.

Big Hero 6
Seen

$221 domestically + $400 internationally = $621 million total and counting.

And like a lot of American films today, earning more internationally that it did domestically, with a gross of 181% higher internationally that domestically, as in . . .

the biggest animated film of all time in . . .
Indonesia
Malaysia
Thailand
and Vietnam.

The top grossing Disney/Pixar animated film in . . .
China

and the 2nd highest grossing Disney/Pixar animated film in . . .
Japan
Korea
and Russia.

Japan is the biggest surprise, as they were the 1st to get into anime. Thus, the people who made this film, must have done something right, for it to be so popular in Japan.

3rd biggest Disney/Pixar animated release ever. Behind only "Frozen" and "The Lion King."

And maybe calling for a sequel.

Cinderella
Seen.

It was the no. 1 film in . . .
Mexico
Hong Kong
Indonesia
Malaysia
the Philippines
Singapore
Thailand
Vietnam
and in China the biggest box office opening in March in history.

Which says several things or asks several questions.

(1) Why, when Asia has such a rich folkloric history of its own, including several versions of its own Cinderella, why it prefers something, if not Americanized, then Westernized?

(2) With several of those countries having their own movie presence, some large, it is still an 1-way street out there. We make something they want to see, but they do not, for the most part, make anything we want to see.

(3) And, it use to be that outside of America, the biggest market for American films was Europe, but . . .?! It looks like now, that Asia has surpassed Europe as the biggest market for American films.

As for the story, itself . . .

There have been people, at least since the 1890's, who have been interested in collecting all the variations of Cinderella, in the world, and there are, at the moment, well over 340 variations of the story from all over the world and dating back to the time of the ancient Egyptians.

And only a decade or two after people started collecting variations of the story, the 1st film version of the story came out, and since that time, it has been adapted for film and TV over 100 times. Making it the most filmed, with the number of films, story of all time, or almost one film version every year, since the 1st film version.
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« Reply #635 on: April 01, 2015, 08:41:31 AM »

IT FOLLOWS: After a sexual encounter, a 19-year old girl is told that a ghostlike being visible only to her is now following her, and the only way she can get rid of it is to pass it on to someone else. Very nicely done budget horror with an atmosphere of paranoia, sexual tension and elusive metaphor; with a better ending, it could have been a genre classic. 4/5.
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"The basic plot is that Donna Speir and Hope Marie Carlton, the two undercover DEA agent Playboy Playmates from the last movie, are still running around in jungle shorts, cowboy boots and spaghetti strap T-shirts, firing their machine guns at drug smugglers, Filipino communist guerrillas, and corrupt federal agents while their two friends, Lisa London and Miss May 1984 Patty Duffek, lounge around the pool a lot and talk on speaker phones that look like fax machines."-Joe Bob on SAVAGE BEACH
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« Reply #636 on: April 08, 2015, 08:57:39 AM »

CINDERELLA (2015): Disney's live-action version version of the familiar fairy tale (wicked stepmother, pumpkin carriage, glass slipper) that follows the cartoon fairly faithfully. Unapologetic, sumptuous, old-fashioned entertainment that makes few concessions to modern tastes or trends (except for spiffy FX in the fairy godmother scenes) but succeeds admirably in what it sets out to do. 4/5.
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"The basic plot is that Donna Speir and Hope Marie Carlton, the two undercover DEA agent Playboy Playmates from the last movie, are still running around in jungle shorts, cowboy boots and spaghetti strap T-shirts, firing their machine guns at drug smugglers, Filipino communist guerrillas, and corrupt federal agents while their two friends, Lisa London and Miss May 1984 Patty Duffek, lounge around the pool a lot and talk on speaker phones that look like fax machines."-Joe Bob on SAVAGE BEACH
BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #637 on: April 09, 2015, 04:07:26 PM »

CINDERELLA (2015): Disney's live-action version version of the familiar fairy tale (wicked stepmother, pumpkin carriage, glass slipper) that follows the cartoon fairly faithfully. Unapologetic, sumptuous, old-fashioned entertainment that makes few concessions to modern tastes or trends (except for spiffy FX in the fairy godmother scenes) but succeeds admirably in what it sets out to do. 4/5.

And what I forgot to say in all my mumbling about "Cinderella," that it is probably the most filmed story in Hollywood history with over a hundred versions since the 1st one in 1907 or almost one an year either in the theaters or on TV.

The question also comes up as to whether there will be a sequel. It seems to have made enough money to be financially feasible for a sequel, and the story is there, as the villains are still out there, no doubt plotting and planning. Though, to work, they need to bring everyone back: cast, director, writer, etc.
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« Reply #638 on: April 09, 2015, 04:35:36 PM »

CINDERELLA (2015): Disney's live-action version version of the familiar fairy tale (wicked stepmother, pumpkin carriage, glass slipper) that follows the cartoon fairly faithfully. Unapologetic, sumptuous, old-fashioned entertainment that makes few concessions to modern tastes or trends (except for spiffy FX in the fairy godmother scenes) but succeeds admirably in what it sets out to do. 4/5.

And what I forgot to say in all my mumbling about "Cinderella," that it is probably the most filmed story in Hollywood history with over a hundred versions since the 1st one in 1907 or almost one an year either in the theaters or on TV.

The question also comes up as to whether there will be a sequel. It seems to have made enough money to be financially feasible for a sequel, and the story is there, as the villains are still out there, no doubt plotting and planning. Though, to work, they need to bring everyone back: cast, director, writer, etc.

I liked this one, but CINDERELLA 2 is not a concept that excites me.

ROMEO AND JULIET is my guess for the most filmed story of all time, considering how many different ways the old "star-crossed lovers" plot has been re-used. There was even a zombie-human version!
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"The basic plot is that Donna Speir and Hope Marie Carlton, the two undercover DEA agent Playboy Playmates from the last movie, are still running around in jungle shorts, cowboy boots and spaghetti strap T-shirts, firing their machine guns at drug smugglers, Filipino communist guerrillas, and corrupt federal agents while their two friends, Lisa London and Miss May 1984 Patty Duffek, lounge around the pool a lot and talk on speaker phones that look like fax machines."-Joe Bob on SAVAGE BEACH
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« Reply #639 on: April 15, 2015, 08:49:41 AM »

SHE'S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE'S ANGRY (2014): Survey of the feminist movement (including the radicals) from the late 1960s through the 1970s. At the risk of being labeled a chauvinist, there's not much new, striking or extraordinary in this parade of talking heads and archival footage that might fit better on PBS than on the big screen. 2.5/5.
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"The basic plot is that Donna Speir and Hope Marie Carlton, the two undercover DEA agent Playboy Playmates from the last movie, are still running around in jungle shorts, cowboy boots and spaghetti strap T-shirts, firing their machine guns at drug smugglers, Filipino communist guerrillas, and corrupt federal agents while their two friends, Lisa London and Miss May 1984 Patty Duffek, lounge around the pool a lot and talk on speaker phones that look like fax machines."-Joe Bob on SAVAGE BEACH
BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #640 on: April 20, 2015, 01:52:27 PM »

Each year, since 2008, around Earth Day, the Walt Disney Company has released a nature documentary under its label Disney Nature. This year it was . . .

"Monkey Kingdom"

Which featured the social hierarchy of a troop of Macaque monkeys in Sri Lanka.

It was scary to see how closely the social hierarchy of Macaques mimics that of man, or . . . ?! Is it the social hierarchy of man mimics the Macaques. Still, it is scary.

We saw also animals that live in conjunction with the Macaques, such as the Monitor Lizard. Darn! Those in Sri Lanka are big suckers. Excluding basketball players, they are longer than most men are tall. Heck! They are bigger than most basketball players. They are only vulnerable, because they are as s-l-o-o-w as molasses in winter. If they were as fast as a horse, man would be in deep doo doo.

Outside the end credits of each nature film, when we get to see the film makers who made the film, I think this is the first time that man has been featured in one of the films. And I can understand why man and wild animals should not mix. Actually, I felt some sympathy for man. While, by nature most wild animals are not deliberately destructive, they are destructive, because they don't know better.

Actually, it was interesting to see how man lives in Sri Lanka compared to here. As advanced as their civilization is, and it is far older than ours, they are still less advanced than we are here.

And they got Tina Fey to narrate
. . . and Mickey Dolenz to sing the theme song for the old TV series "The Monkees." Lord, did that bring back the memories?

As an inducement to get people to see each film the 1st week it is released to theaters, the Company and theaters donate a portion of the box office to an organization that is trying to help the environment. So far they have donated to organizations that have helped the . . .

rainforest in Brazil
coral reefs in the Bahamas
savannas and jungles in Africa
national parks in the U.S.
people in Southeast Asia have clean drinking water.

We are also seeing more animated films. Before this film there were trailers for . . .

"Underdogs." Which is actually an Argentinian film and has been released already in Argentina and most of the rest of the world, but will not be released here till August of this year.
"Hotel Transylvania 2." Which, while a family film, from the audience reaction, where I saw it,  is more for kids than their parents and is scheduled for release in September of this year.
"The Peanuts Movie." Which is proof positive that Charles Schulz is sorely missed and is scheduled for release in November of this year.
But . . .?! Only one film has received an invitation to be shown at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival and that is Pixar's "Inside Out."

One thing that can be said for Pixar, looking at the voice talent associated with the films, they try to cast the best voice for each character, while most of the others try to cast someone famous, best or not, for each character.

And each year, they show a clip from the next film to be shown the next year. In 2016, it is "China Born." We give them two theme parks, and they give us the right to film in parts of the country that are normally out-of-bounds to outsiders.

And finally, the Company is a little bit old and a little bit new.
New: now streaming media
Old: as far as I know it is the last of the major studios to still regularly release full length documentaries to theaters.

Next time: Either "The Avengers" or "Mad Max," which ever comes first, as I am looking forward to seeing both films.
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« Reply #641 on: April 25, 2015, 03:16:48 PM »

MONKEY KINGDOM: Disneynature's 2015 offering follows the adventures of a troop of monkeys living in a ruins in Sri Lanka. Entertainment, not education, and good on that level. You could learn something by accident. 3/5.
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"The basic plot is that Donna Speir and Hope Marie Carlton, the two undercover DEA agent Playboy Playmates from the last movie, are still running around in jungle shorts, cowboy boots and spaghetti strap T-shirts, firing their machine guns at drug smugglers, Filipino communist guerrillas, and corrupt federal agents while their two friends, Lisa London and Miss May 1984 Patty Duffek, lounge around the pool a lot and talk on speaker phones that look like fax machines."-Joe Bob on SAVAGE BEACH
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