War for the Planet of the Apes

 

 

 

First, allow me to say this; I own every Ape film starting with the original Planet of the Apes with Charlton Heston. These films are my guilty cult classic favorites. If all else fails, I will watch one of these films and I’m good. So this would beg to question how could someone mess up an Ape film with a huge built-in audience; well the answer to that question is scattered throughout this latest entry, War for the Planet of the Apes. Where on EARTH does one begin. This film is a bloody bore from beginning to end. It is a combination road-trip and revenge film and allegory all rolled into one. The only thing that is crystal clear in this film is that apes are good and humans are bad.

Now let’s get to the meat of the film. Ceasar, who is the ape leader, should have been a memorable character but instead, he was brooding and distinctly uninteresting. He was the reluctant hero trope seen in countless films, yet he was way too reluctant for this film to generate any real interest in what happens to him. Enter Woody Harrelson’s sterotypical bad guy who not only hated apes, but is also hell-bent on murdering humans who contracted some ape-virus that rendered them mute, which included his own son, thus becoming worthless in his warped sense of Nazi-level purity.

Oh yes, we had Nazi and American slavery symbolism all throughout this film in the way in which the apes were rounded up, put in chains and placed in work camps, with some literally being branded so that they could be subservient to the soldiers and being subjected to cringe-worthy and degrading taunts. These apes were also used as “overseers” to keep the captured apes in line. Oh and did I mention the multitudes of sub-plots, one in particular that involved the good “Northern” soldiers on the hunt for the I assume, “Southern” soldiers led by Harrelson, who’ve gone rogue and are pledging their allegience to a bastardized ideology of superiority, slavery and murdering those they deem inferior. The Civil War was also alive and well within this slow-moving cinematic snail.

War for the Planet of the Apes has gotten high marks on Rotten Tomatoes and has been lauded as “the best in the series”; “smart, thoughtful, confrontational and challenging”; “impeccable film of risky dramatic range” and a host of other wonderful reviews, but I don’t happen to feel that this film is any of that. I love intelligent films with an old-fashioned feel, but War for the Planet of the Apes is a slow-moving, schizophrenic snooze-fest that didn’t quite figure out what kind of film it wanted to be. It had no solid storyline and looked as if the writers and director decided to incorporate everyone’s cool sounding ideas, and as a result of that boundary-less direction, the director didn’t quite know how to piece all of those “fabulous” ideas together in order for the film to make sense. I have no doubt the film will be number one at the box office, but just because it comes out on top, doesn’t mean it’s a good film.

If you go see this film, just know that if you want some mind-blowing special effects, incredible battle scenes and an epic ending that will have you insisting on seeing it again…you ain’t getting it with War for the Planet of the Apes. But what you WILL get is a film aimlessly meandering along with a ton of political messages and imaginery, laughable dialogue, a hard to follow storyline with characters that weren’t fully developed and a waste of over 2 hours that you will never get back.

The Beguiled was Be Damned…

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The coach put me on the bench because I’m batting double OO with movies, the last string of films I viewed…All Eyez on Me, Transformers:The Last Knight and 40 Meters Down, were side-eye inducing without a doubt. But this weekend I saw the new Sofia Coppola film “The Beguiled“, which is based on the 1971 film of the same name starring Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page. Before I go all IN on the film, here’s a little tidbit about Coppola. She just won the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival in May, and is only the 2nd woman in Cannes history to win in that category. Let that sink in for a minute. Now getting back to this film. Out of the gate, the pacing was extremely slow. So much so, that I actually started looking for which exit I could get to the quickest. But I’m a trooper, so I hung in there.

None of the characters were fleshed out, especially Kirsten Dunst and Nicole Kidman’s caricatures of repressed southern belles. By the way, Kidman, Dunst, Elle Fanning and one other character in this meandering nonsensical film, kept losing their southern accents. I could have understood better if this were their first film (nervousness and all), but Kidman is an Oscar winner, Dunst and Fanning have over the years, gotten critical acclaim for their acting. They simply phoned in their performances and looked as if they couldn’t have cared any less if they tried. Now let’s get to Colin Farrell.

His once promising career really hit an all-time low with this schlock. He hardly had any dialogue and the dialogue he had, was comical and it wasn’t supposed to be. THAT’S how bad this film is. His best scenes were off-screen after Kidman’s character amputated his leg and he found out. Why Coppola chose for the audience to hear his tirade instead of seeing it, was puzzling to say the least. That probably would have been great to see because Farrell is a good actor and he does a lot of his best work when he’s in meltdown on-screen.

Coppola’s choices with how she shot this film left me and I’m sure so many others who’ve already seen it, wondering WHY? But here’s one choice she made I’m in full support of…the choice to NOT put the female slave character in this film that was in the book. The Black actress who would have been cast, dodged a bullet thank goodness. No one needs this incarnation of The Beguiled on their acting resume. The long and short of it is basically…The Beguiled didn’t make any sense at all. It was a story without any substance or direction. How Coppola won in Cannes in the Best Director’s category for THIS film is another mystery. To say The Beguiled wasn’t her best work is an understatement, and it also begs to question the legitimacy of her winning that award.

Coppola has done tons of applause worthy work such as Marie Antoinette, The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation, did the judges in Cannes see the same film as the rest of us? Did they get their eyes dilated that day and couldn’t really see the banality of this film….what happened? As one critic noted about the film “it was so unnecessary” and no truer words could EVER be said about this film. This was a good idea gone horribly wrong and Coppola, the writers who helped her create this puerile piece of tripe and the actors, had no clue how to make this film compelling enough to where it would hold your attention and the audience would become emotionally invested. Instead, it had the audience holding their breath counting the minutes until the agony was over.

The Chatter, The Scoodie’s Sister Podcast was with Award-Winning Photojournalist Haywood Galbreath

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The Chatter, which is the sister podcast of The Scoodie,  was honored to interview Haywood Galbreath. He is the first African-American owned news photo service to have permanent credentials in a major court case and invited to participate in the court case photo pool and that case was the infamous “Crime of the Century”, the O.J. Simpson Murder Trial.

Haywood’s career has been spent working for the rights of media access for all qualified media organizations, especially minority owned media organizations that are often denied the privilege to cover events about minorities. He is also an advocate for the underprivileged and underrepresented in America.

A few more of his professional highlights:

First African-American owned news photo service to cover the celebrated Emmy’s from inside the auditorium. (1997)

First African-American owned news photo service to cover the prestigious Breeders’ Cup horse race. (1997)

First African-American owned news photo service to be pool photo in a major court case Geronimo Pratt the Black Panther member who was wrongly accused of murder hearings.

Only African-American owned news service to have a continuous field position for the Super Bowl.

Covered special events for the last five presidents of the United States including Presidents: Barack Obama, George Bush Jr., William Clinton, George Bush Sr. and Ronald Reagan.

Link to Interview: https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/thechatter/episodes/2017-06-30T14_46_25-07_00

#haywoodgalbreath #OJSimpson #Photojournalist #Entertainment
#SydneyChandler #Publicist #Journalist #JenniferThompson

I’m BAAAACK!!

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I’ve been on a rather long hiatus from blogging because sometimes life takes you in some of the most unexpected directions. But now I’m back at it; more energized, more opinionated and even more in your face than ever! So let’s do this and do it BIG!

Special Award Award From The University of Southern California.

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I was honored, along with my production partner in crime Henry Fayson, to receive this medal, The Commanders Award for Recognition of Excellence from the USC Army ROTC. Back in November of 2012, we filmed The USC Ranger’s Challenge in San Luis Obispo. And from that we were asked to film other challenges for the Army ROTC. It was a grueling shoot, we had to roll right along with the officer trainees in the cold, rain and mud. But it was also fascinating and brought a new perspective and respect on what it takes to be an officer in the US Army. Much love and thanks to USC, their exemplary staff and a special shout out to Col. John Kelly, 8th Brigade & Warrior Forge Commander. Hooah!

Baz Luhrmann, Leonardo DiCaprio and Scott Fitzgerald to inaugurate the Festival de Cannes

Carey Mulligan, Leonardo DiCaprio © 2013 BAZMARK FILM III PTY LIMITED

 

 

It is on The Great Gatsby by Australian director Baz Luhrmann, that the curtain will rise at the inauguration of the 66th Festival de Cannes, on Wednesday 15th May, in the Grand Théùtre LumiÚre of the Palais des Festivals, out of Competition in the Official Selection.
Adapted from the famous novel by American author Francis Scott Fitzgerald and set against the roaring twenties on the East Coast of the United States, the film depicts the romantic and tragic figure of Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), as narrated by his friend Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire). Carey Mulligan is Daisy Buchanan, whose husband is played by Joel Edgerton. This prestigious occasion will also be graced with the presence of Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan, as well as the American pop star, rapper Jay-Z.

“It is a great honor for all those who have worked on The Great Gatsby to open the Cannes Film Festival. We are thrilled to return to a country, place and festival that has always been so close to our hearts, not only because my first film Strictly Ballroom was screened there 21 years ago, but also because F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote some of the most poignant and beautiful passages of his extraordinary novel just a short distance away at a villa outside Saint-RaphaĂ«l.”
Produced by Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures, the film was scripted by Baz Luhrmann and his faithful co-screenwriter Craig Pearce, based on Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel.
The opening film will be screened in 3D – for the second time during the history of the Festival, following Up by Pete Docter, in 2009.
On the same day the Festival gets underway – Wednesday 15th May – The Great Gatsby will also open in cinemas nationwide. Both in France and internationally, the film will be distributed in 2D and 3D by Warner Bros. Pictures and in certain regions by Village Roadshow Pictures.
Born in 1962 in Australia, Baz Luhrmann has twice been honoured by the Festival de Cannes for Strictly Ballroom (Un Certain Regard in 1992) and for Moulin Rouge! at the 54th Festival, in 2001, at an opening which is unlikely to be forgotten any time soon.
Leonardo DiCaprio (Jay Gatsby) has rarely been seen on the Croisette. He returns to Cannes for the first time since the 2007 presentation of The 11th Hour, a documentary on ecological issues which the actor himself produced.

Golden Globes 2013 is Now in the Record Books…

Morning! Another Golden Globes Award Show has been marked in the record books. A few surprises such as Argo and Ben Affleck winning Best Picture and Best Director upsetting the expected winners of either Lincoln or Les Miz. Now take that Academy Awards. Ben also won as Best Director at the Critics Choice Awards a couple of days back. Homeland on Showtime, ending the reign of Breaking Bad and Mad Men as Best Television Series, Drama. As well as Claire Danes and Damien Lewis winning for Best Actor and Actress in a Television Series, Drama.  Former President Bill Clinton made a surprise appearance to a standing ovation. To this day, he is my favorite President. Olympic Gold Medalist, Gabby Douglas was looking rather stylish on the red carpet.

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But the most buzzed about part of the evening was Jodie Foster’s rambling, sometimes incoherent, yet poignant acceptance speech for The Cecile B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement. Twitter, Facebook and all across every social media site known to humankind, was  commenting and dissecting its meaning. She kinda, sorta, but not really “came out” or did she? No one is really quite sure on that one. In either case, her sexual orientation is one of the most well-known, best kept secrets in Hollywood, next! She also went into a diatribe about privacy, which by that time, we were all convinced the champagne was really doing most of the talking.

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I also must give some love to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler…they were really funny and entertaining. They kept that show moving and it was quite an improvement over Ricky Gervais.

That’s it for now, next stop The Oscars!