I think a major problem with the criticism of Brave is that it unfairly gets compared the rest of Pixar’s brilliance. If I were to compare Brave to Pixar’s best films, it certainly would seemk shitty. And as I would right now actually compare it to the rest of Pixar’s stuff, I would wholeheartedly say that Brave is a lesser work from the studio. But judged on its own…?
Richard Linklater has a very interesting film career. On one hand, he does some mainstream comedy films like School of Rock and Bad News Bears. On the other hand, he makes bizarre art films like A Scanner Darkly, Waking Life, or Slacker. I can’t put my finger on how he picks his projects. I think he just kind of does what he wants. He doesn’t have the most recognizable name in the film business, but he’s had pretty steady output of films (several of the popular, more of them cult hits), and I feel like he doesn’t get his due. That’s why I’ve wasted a whole paragraph talking about him now. Also because I didn’t have a good opening line for a Bernie review.
OH, wait! Wait! Here we go:
Jack gets Black in this dark comedy about… ehhhhh. A little too Gene Shality, maybe. I’ll just stop while I’m ahead.
Like most major science fiction releases, Prometheus has stirred up some debate. The trailers were awe-inspiring, and gave us all hope that Ridley Scott had created some new deep space magic on the big screen. But reviews started to pour in, many of which pointed to the contrary. Now that I’ve put my butt in the theater seat and watched the actual film, did I consider it brilliant? Did I consider it terrible? Should I have eaten that leftover slice of Giordano’s deep dish before I went into the theater? Read on to find out!
Premise: The classic story of Snow White gets the “What if…?” treatment. As in, a group of studio executives somewhere in Hollywood probably had this meeting a few years ago:
“Gentlemen, we need something for our 2012 release schedule. Stevens, what have you got?”
“What if we took Cinderella, but turned it into a steam punk alien story?”
“Nah. Those guys at Disney are making that John Carter picture. It’s gonna be huge, I don’t want to compete with that. What else you got?”
“Hmmm… What if Goldilocks & the Three Bears were in turn-of-the-century England, and Goldilocks was a vampire?
“And so are the bears.”
“CGI vampire bears.”
“CGI vampire bears voiced by Michael Clark Duncan?”
“… Nah, I’ve got seven vampire pictures in the works already. Unless you have a brilliant idea like a former U.S. President fighting vampires, I’m gonna have to pass… What else you got?”
“OK, OK. What if… Snow White was set in a dark gothic fantasy land…? Special effects in literally every scene. I know the guy who produced Alice in Wonderland.”
“I don’t kn-”
“SNOW WHITE IN A FULL SUIT OF BODY ARMOR FIGHTING AN EVIL QUEEN MADE OF CROWS!”
“…Yes… YES…! I SEE IT NOW! HARVEST OUR DREAMY YOUNG TALENT CROPS!”
[everyone feasts upon a unicorn]
There are probably five or six modern era directors who get me giddy schoolgirl levels of excited whenever they release a new film: Quentin Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson, the Coen Bros, Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, and Wes Anderson. They don’t have nonstop output, and tend to favor quality over quantity. They all have careers in which I love 90% of what they’ve ever put out (or in a few cases, 100%). All of these guys seem more like passion project directors than paycheck directors. And they all make films that feel like actual films, that have an eye for cinematography and editing in addition to getting the story across.