Author Archives: Jamie Insalaco
I can’t imagine why anyone would want this, but if you did, I can send you Quick Review on DVD. Remember Quick Reviews? That was good times. Anyway, if you want it, you got it – just contact me and I’ll hook it up.
I had an epiphany a while back: time is a finite resource. Not exactly breaking news, but this fact has really, finally clicked with me. There are only so many hours in a day – and we don’t get an unlimited number of days.
So what do we want to do with them?
It took a long time for me to realize it, but blogging just isn’t what I want to do. I want to write and/or direct movies. Sure, making a movie review web series or writing about film is fun, but I don’t want to talk about flicks anymore, I want to make my own. Watching movies, writing reviews and learning about the movie business and its history has been a second go at college of sorts for me and that’s been happening for nearly a decade. And once I made Will Reading, I caught the bug but didn’t really know it. It had to spread to every part of my mind, heart and soul before I could accept it as something other than a fantasy, but now I’m sure- it’s time to make movies, one way or another.
This means that there’s no room for blogging, so this chapter has to end. The adventure continues on WillReadingMovie.com and I hope you’ll join me there for the big 2019 marketing push to bring the movie to as many people as possible!
Thanks for the amazing ride here at the blog. This little site has received nearly a million views and received hundreds of thousands of visitors. I learned so much and had a great time doing it, so thanks again for visiting! I hope we’ll cross paths again – see you at the movies!
TECHNICAL NOTE: the creativejamie.com domain will be defunct as of March 20, 2019. I think you’ll still be able to reach the site at creativejamie.wordpress.com.
In the endless stream of remakes and sequels that is the new normal for summer at the movies, here comes The Incredibles 2. Unlike most of it’s “another chapter in the story” brethren, this movie is well written. The thing is, its story beats are nearly identical to the first one.
Even though this movie is about the exact same thing as the previous installment, it’s still creates and expands on interesting characters, situations and does it in a different way than the first installment. This made me think about what Robert zemeckis said when making Back to the Future Part 2 and how the audience wants the same experience when they go see a sequel as they had the first time and The Incredibles 2 fits this tradition like a glove.
The reason it works is because the revisited story points are covered in broad strokes. For example:
- superheroes have conflict with the public
- conflict within the Parr family
- there’s a mysterious villian
- Edna makes a super suit
- Luscious’ wife complains about his super heroing
- Jack-Jack has powers?!?
And so on. The thing is, the subtext drives the relationship between the characters and the way the audience relates to them. It’s the reason the movie is a fun time at the movies instead of a tedious retread of something we’ve already seen.
At its core, The Incredibles 2 is a carbon copy of the original. It doesn’t quite reach the same heights, but then, what movie could? The original film (in what seems to be destined to become a franchise) is essentially without flaw. While this new entry hits all the right (even if the same) notes, the champ is still undisputed. But I still can recommend this movie to fans of the first one.
Ranking movies is about as arbitrary as it gets, and then there’s ranking movies within a specific franchise… Yeah, I’d say it’s an exercise in futility, so you may be wondering, “Why do it?” The fact that you’re reading this is the answer. Anyway, here’s my ranking of worst to best of the Jurassic Park movie series, and just for the record, I don’t care how many Jurassic World movies they make, I’m not calling it that EVER.
5. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
This movie is boring and a carbon copy of the previous installment – all they did was substitute “the park is open” with “the park is covered in lava” and then immediately abandoned what could have been an intriguing ticking clock gimmick for BORING. Meh.
4. Jurassic World
A pale imitation of the original with a pale imitation of Indiana Jones in the lead. There’s a few cool things to look at, but this is a bland affair – aside from the most brutal inessential character death to ever be put on screen.
3. The Lost World: Jurassic Park II
Sure, it’s a clunker, but it’s MEMORABLE.
“We’re not going to make the same mistakes again.” “No, you’ll make all new ones!”
“You got kicked off the team?!?”
And so on. The trailer falling off the cliff is neat, too.
2. Jurassic Park III
This movie gets better every time I see it. The phone gag never gets old. I know the dream sequence is silly, but I look forward to it and I laugh every time.
1. Jurassic Park
Or, as I like to call it, “Jaws for people who think Jaws is boring.” It was visually dazzling in it’s day, but there’s a lot of tension here, too. It’s definitely one of the best of the big budget blockbuster of the 90s.
(And by “Failing,” I mean artistically, obviously not commercially.)
Journey with me into the depths of Universal Pictures and see how a Jurassic World movie gets made… if you DARE.
“Okay everybody, it’s time to open the cash register that is the Jurassic Park franchise. Does anybody have ideas for a script?”
“That’s easy. Just take the script for Jurassic World and cross out “The Park is open,” and replace it with “There’s lava, but not for the entire movie, because that would get expensive,” and that’ll do. For the rest of the time, we’ll just do the exact same ‘genetically engineered dinosaur on the loose’ and ‘dinosaurs can be trained, bond with humans’ thing we did last time.”
“Okay. I think that’s lunch.”
It’s just that simple, folks. They put shiny thing in front of us and we open our wallets.
Speaking of which, Director J. A. Bayona gives us some interesting things to look at during the course of 128 minutes where there’s nothing to think or feel about – he does this trick with shadows that’s both effective and cool to look at, but he does it more than once, which was probably not a good idea.
Meanwhile, the idea to bring human cloning into the movie reeks of both “Look, here’s something NEW! Don’t you see how this movie is totally different?” and “This may be way off brand, but the next movie can now be able human-dinosaur hybrids,” and man, do I NOT want to see that movie.
Anyway, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are both likable enough, Daniella Pineda and Justice Smith are both welcomed additions and Jeff Goldblum isn’t really in this movie, it’s just a cheap gimmick. Toby Jones and B. D. Wong could really use a mustache to twirl, and that about rounds out the cast.
What else can I say about Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom? It’s especially engaging – I’ve never seen so many people leave the theater to go to the bathroom during a movie. It’s not that it’s fundamentally broken, it’s just lazy. If this is your first Jurassic Park movie, maybe you’ll enjoy it. but as a twenty year veteran of the franchise, I was just waiting for it to be over.
Sometimes you wander around Netflix and just pick whatever. If you randomly watch Cube, you could do worse.
I think the thing I liked most about this movie was its ability to make me care and like these characters. I actively rooted for them and I didn’t want them to die – this might seem like a low bar, but trust me, many movies grasp for this bottom rung and fail. Even when one character goes crazy for reasons I don’t fully understand, I just care about how this changes the way that character interacts with the others. I still care, even if it doesn’t make sense.
This is an achievement.
I can’t remember the last time I saw a movie do so much with so little. Man, they recycled and reused basically one set and just let the tension draw from the performances. But more than that, even when the dialogue was pretentious or unclear, the movie found a way to sell it.
Some of the performances are over the top, the last scene is too vague, but somehow, it overcomes all this. Cube isn’t a perfect movie, but it’s pretty damn good. I’m excited to watch it again, so that’s about as ringing an endorsement you’re going to get from me.
I decided not to bury the lead.
So yeah, this movie is not good. 3000 Miles to Graceland opens with two silly looking digital scorpions fighting each other. The metaphor and connection to the plot is, in a word, forced. Anyway, the basic premise is five guys dressed up like Elvis during an Elvis impersonator weekend in Las Vegas rob a Casino. Your brain is going to make you expect to see a scene where they all disappear into a crowd of Elvis’s (or Elvie?), but it never happens. That’s a recurring motif in the movie; the thing the plot seems to pointing to never happens. (The studio decided not to release this movie under its original title: Shattered Expectations.)
And don’t bother waiting for the climactic fight between Kevin Costner and Kurt Russell, because there isn’t one… I guess I just made this point, so moving on.
Besides its own fundemental plot issues, the other big problem with 3000 Miles to Graceland is the characters. You sort of root for Russell, but you don’t sympathize with him, and you don’t really like anyone else. Costner is sorta fun in a bad guy you love to hate sort of way, but you don’t want him to win, and Courtney Cox is just a dispicable excuse for a character you’re supposed to relate to, because you can’t get behind a mother abandoning her son with someone who just got out of prison.
Add I was really surprised when that woman snowballed Costner, but that’s beside the point.
So you’re sitting there, watching the movie, wondering how much longer it could possibly be (it’s a grueling 2+hours), Ice T shows up out of nowhere (Howie Long also pops in and out, doing basically what he did in Broken Arrow) and gives you false hope but provides two of the biggest laughs of the movie, one intentional, one not.
At the end of the day, 3000 Miles to Graceland is bloated and pleases no one. The action isn’t exciting enough, the characters are too flat and the plot barely holds together, so you can’t write it off a genre flick when it doesn’t adhere to any conventions of any genres – except poorly made movies.
3000 Miles to Graceland is streaming on Netflix – proceed at your own risk.
Two of the dogs ALMOST lying in the same position.
There’s been Cardinals around recently and I was lucky to get a quick shot of one.
I’m under six feet tall, but when I fly coach with United, I just can’t fit in the seats. The leg room space is comical.
When I go to the movies, I want to like the movie. I’m not hoping for it to be bad. I went into Bad Samaritan totally cold – I don’t think I’d even seen the poster. I was ready to go with whatever story this movie wanted to tell. No expectations, no preconceived notions, I was ready to see an entertaining story on any terms. And for the first twenty-ish minutes, it seemed like maybe this trip to the theater might work out – there’s David Tennant, the story might have potential… and then it falls apart, piece by piece. Read the rest of this entry
I saw That Awkward Moment in 2014 because everything else was sold out. You probably don’t remember hearing about it because it’s not a good movie. Zac Efron stars and I think he has a lot of talent, but I haven’t seen him play a complex role yet. Michael B. Jordan, on the other hand, had been crushing it since then. Every movie I’ve seen him in isn’t perfect (or even good – COUGH Fantastic Four COUGH), but Jordan is never the problem. In fact, after seeing him in Fahrenheit 451, I now consider him as automatic as it gets.
But just to be clear, this movie is not great.
Yeah, Jordan is excellent. Yeah, I like what they did with social networking, but this movie could use some more world building and more character development. It’s clear enough to get by, but from a story point of view, it’s a straight A student turning in C work.
I don’t want to debate changes they made from the book or nitpick dialogue (Michael Shannon practically had to memorize a phone book), I just want a little bit more. HBO cut corners and prioritized style over substance and it shows. Fahrenheit 451 isn’t bad, but it could have been great.
If you have HBO, consider this a soft recommendation. Michael B. Jordan delivers, but that’s all anyone will remember about this movie.
Here we are for the third Avengers film and the 19th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series. (“Who knows what adventures The [Avengers] will have between now and when the series becomes unprofitable.”) The MCU has been an above-average experience for me with a high point of Winter Soldier and the least enjoyable experience being Age of Ultron. Now, we get to finally see all of the different corners of the MCU come together, which turns out to be a lot of fun. But at the same time, does this story give us high drama or are the cornerstones of the plot indications of the whole thing being just a cheap shell game? Spoilers follow!