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


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

Fri 29 Aug 2008 UTC
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.


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.


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.

Christine (2016)

I’ve known women who are batshit crazy and loved them anyway. I’ve known women that are outgoing and ambitious and play by the rules and seem normal despite their inner craziness and loved those too. There’s something lovely about most women in the world but when it comes to mental illness, most people lose the affection. This is true mostly because society as a whole doesn’t understand mental illness, we are an ignorant human race.

We understand drive and tenacity but not a twisted version that would take the life of its sufferer. Some people can never be helped to feel good, they are tortured souls plain and simple. Christine is one of those and she fit so well into the background of news reporting that no one ever noticed. Rebecca Hall does a great job portraying this tormented character.

The performances are ok, just enough to get through a very dull yet controversial story. What’s really controversial is the ending, not her life’s work as a reporter.

Christine is a movie based on true events. It’s about the 70’s tv reporter who shot herself in the head on television. There is some
character development to help the viewer me to a conclusion as to why she would do this. The most powerful in my opinion is the stuff about her depression and being hospitalized for it. She shares a couple times that she feels as though she is being baby-sat by her other while at the same time playing the grown-up role by paying the rent and all expenses. This did seem very unfortunate for her.

Meanwhile at work, her boss/tv producer is pushing everyone to get more shocking stories for the show. As she would call it: “blood and guts.” I’m not sure exactly why I wasn’t highly impressed by this film. I am very interested in films presenting mental illness.

Perhaps I don’t understand what would make a person do this. She did have a number of serious life challenges going. I also didn’t like the
side stories about her dating Michael C Hall’s character, which turns out to be a dupe. To me, the choices are thin storytelling. Then again, that’s the story of this depressed woman on a news team. Maybe we’re just meant to watch it and take it in without a thumb up or down, just acknowledge there are people like Christine walking among us,

Ultimately, what we have here is running time of a woman’s life and death. I think the director means to give us information so we can
assume why she did what she did. It’s not a boring film and it’s not terribly engaging. It is interesting to watch though and even when you
know the end is coming, it’s pieced together with fairly good performances. Again, however, I never really embraced Christine. She was depressed and unable to improve her condition. Perhaps the ending was more her fate than anything that could have been avoided. For
solid performances in this based on true story, I give it a