Bringing Out the Dead (1999)

This film works quite well as a regret piece. As a teacher, I have plenty of these. The kids I hear about who slipped through the cracks, got into crack or other drugs and somehow never made it in life. Nick Cage’s character wonders what more he could have done. The truth is, in any human endeavor or job you lose some.

Director Martin Scorcese has done more for film than most living directors of our time. Who can forget his Taxi Driver or more recently, Hugo. His work spans the human spectrum and always brings us men who have a vision of themselves they try to live up to, with mixed results.
Nicholas Cage and Ving Rhames are in this film. They make a great duo in the parts they do together. Rhames is the tough free-spirit who tries to get Cage’s character to cope and adapt. They never go away, the ones you lose.

This film is like a dream. It consists of a simple premise: a medic is haunted by the patients he couldn’t save. You might argue it was the first protagonist who could say, “I see dead people.” In the end, we are left with more questions than answers. I like that sort of film, it makes you work. Finally the conclusions are yours and the film helped you get there on your own.

This is not a feel god film but it weaves a web of somber moods that present a point of view. The mystery of death is approached but never addressed. It’s more about those left behind and how we can get stuck in depression and regret when people die, robbing us of our own happiness.

FINAL THOUGHTS
This film is one that makes you think. Due to the nature of its premise there are sections that drag on a little. There are also things that are not explained which can be frustrating. I recommend it for its content but also simply because it is a Scorcese piece.

8/10

Oz the Great and Powerful

Lower your standards for acting and dialog but not for CGI and cinematography. It started very slow and laborious but the middle and end were actually a lot of fun.

If you want to bring people in to see your movie, make it a prequel or sequel to a box office explosion like the Wizard of Oz. Additionally, cast mega actors in the lead roles. Oh, and of you really want to blow it up, get the best CGI into it. Voila, you’ll have a monster hit. Will Oz, the Great and Powerful be “monstrous” successful at the box office? Probably but time will have to tell. On opening day, the critics are divided. Some are saying it’s bad writing but should that matter with a fantasy family movie like this?

This Disney film was directed by Sam Raimi, known for the Evil Dead and the Spiderman Trilogy. It stars James Franco as Oz, Mila Kunis as Theodora, Rachel Weisz as Evanora, and Michelle Williams as Glinda. In addition to those giant-name actors, there is cast of lesser-known known yet famous actors.

To summarize the plot with minimal spoilers: Oscar Diggs is whisked away from Kansas and ends up in Oz (familiar?). He meets three witches who he must contend with to stay alive. In the process, her learns about believing in himself as he saves the Emerald City. He uses his skills of illusion to foil the bad witches impress the inhabitants of Oz. An important note is that he never returns to Kansas.

Prequels contain certain unavoidable things. For sure you are bound to hear the origins of things. Oz the Great and Powerful is no exception. My wife was surprised there was no backstory of the slippers but no other stone is left unturned. It’s as if the screenwriters had a checklist and went right down the line. Even though the script seems canned and simple at times, the movie doesn’t need depth to please viewers. We are talking about a prequel to the Wizard of Oz here, the name along with the Disney moniker is enough to bring in the minions. I was there opening night and I have never seen our small town Cinemark that packed. Will it have staying power? Time will tell but I think but probably. It started very slow and laborious but the middle and end were actually a lot of fun. Lower your standards for acting and dialog but not for CGI and cinematography.

The Damien Riley Podcast – A Nightmare on Elm Street

In just over 4 minutes running time, I preview this horror classic for you all, especially those who haven’t seen it yet. I urge all horror fans to do so … It’s now streaming on Netflix

Man on Wire (2008) 4/5 – Your hands and feet will sweat

Phillipe Petit is the subject of the feature film on this event. This is a different film, a documentary covering the idea to walk on a tightrope across the late World Trade Center. This film is much better than the Hollywood version. It does an amazing job of bringing you into Petit’s world and even onto the wire itself.

Man on Wire“A look at tightrope walker Philippe Petit’s daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City’s World Trade Center’s twin towers in 1974, what some consider, “the artistic crime of the century.”” -IMDB

Cast

Philippe Petit Himself
Jean François Heckel (as Jean-François Heckel) Himself
Jean-Louis Blondeau Himself
Annie Allix Herself

Directed by

James Marsh

Written by

Philippe Petit

Other Info

Documentary
PG-13
Fri 29 Aug 2008 UTC
90min
IMDB Rating: 7.8

The early part of the film shows Petit practicing his unicycle and wire walking skills in Paris. He knew he was destined to do something amazing with his talents but he didn’t know what. Early on, in a dentist’s office he saw the towers in a magazine and got his inspiration to do it.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The best feature of this film is that you get Petit himself talking about why and how he pulled off this feat of art. The amount of work and stealth trickery involved is staggering. It is mindblowing what he was able to do but you keep asking yourself, “why?”

In comparison to the Hollywood version, this film draws you in to a real event. That’s why this one makes my great 100 list and the Hollywood version does not. The documentary is not perfect in that it does contain a lot of interview footage, and that can get less than exciting if you aren’t really into the topic.

4/5

Blogging Mistakes, My Apologies

I noticed my post today Christine (2016) had some errors after I posted it. I want to apologize and let you know I will be proofreading better. I’ve struggled with this for years and years. Thank you readers for your patience and generosity in reading my posts warts and all.

Above are gravatars of past years that represent how errors can work pave the way to good things and nobody’s perfect. Behind every perfect picture is an imperfect story. I know my backstories! Enjoy your day, may it be perfect.