Weekly Watchlist: Week 6

Weekly Watchlist: Week 6. Unfortunately, finals week took its toll and took my time away from films this time around as I had to study for once.

We have a good mixture of oldies and modern films in this batch, though not that many in quantity. This summer I plan on watching around 200 movies before I have to go back into regular school year. Yeehaw, au revoir this is my last article of the semester and maybe for a while now as I am taking on new responsibilities as the new Video Director of this fine website/organization.

So here’s what I watched this time around.

Monday (4.29.19)

Boyz n the Hood (1991) – 4.5/5

  • Rip John Singleton: dude made this when he was 23. This movie is good and real af n I’m mad I haven’t seen it before. Quote of the decade: “They either don’t know, don’t show, or don’t care about the hood”

Tuesday (4.30.19)

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – 4/5

  • Planet of the Apes + Gravity + Star Wars – any logic + awesome lighting & set design + interesting mixture of cinematography styles – any more logic that remained + a huge baby = this movie

Guava Island (2019) – 3.5/5

  • Really big fan of the cinematography; it looks really beautiful and I’m glad they shot it on film,., BUT,.,., this is basically a super long music video with a cool animated intro. Rihanna’s talent is hugely wasted and the story/plot doesn’t entirely work that well; I wish I liked this more

Madeline’s Madeline (2018) – 4/5

  • Everything about this is wow; the cinematography flirts with a documentary style of filming at times. The plot is great and the acting is phenomenal. Lots more I could say but hard to put into words really.

Saturday (5.4.19)

Avengers: Endgame (2019) – 4/5

  • A second viewing I went to with my friend who hadn’t seen it. Glad I saw it though cuz I was able to catch more jokes and step back to analyze the cinematography/visual aspects more.

Tuesday (5.7.19)

The Last Summer (2019) – 1/5

  • Only watched this because my girlfriend had it playing as I woke up. Sad to see that Netflix is spending money on s**t like this. Overall: dumb, fake, & a waste of time.

Saturday (5.11.19)

Whiplash (2014) – 4.5/5

  • I don’t remember the last time I got so emotionally invested into a movie; very nice cinematography, extremely tight framing & extremely tight focus. The acting/directing is incredible w anxiety ridden writing fueling the entire plot. A good movie to watch at 9am but gives me PTSD to when I played the drums

Whiplash (Short Film) (2013) – 4/5

  • I prob should’ve seen this before the feature-length film but I enjoyed it nonetheless; they basically took out one great scene from the feature and made that into a short (which is a great way to get a feature funded; its cool how they translated some of the exact same shots into the feature and kept some of the same actors but I’m very glad they replaced the dude who was eventually played by Miles Teller.

Badlands (1973) – 4.5/5

  • I love the colors in this a lot; the cinematography is simple and nice. This is an extremely impressive director debut: i like the story of people on the run tbh. This film is like bonnie n clyde except bonnie ain’t really feelin’ it; I’m a fan

Naked (1993) – 3.5/5

  • sex -fueled monologues for days in this film; David Thewlis’ character is a god of sarcasm in this. This has a rather nice score & an extremely interesting storyline that goes in every direction. The long takes mixed in with long monologues by Thewlis’ hobo-esque character is such an interesting combination that we see multiple times in this film; each time either ending in screaming or sex. Felt dragged on and annoying at times though, especially towards the end.

Thank you for reading along for this week; I hope these comments offer insight into your choice of what to watch and what to avoid.

I thank those who read along and hope that you watch as many movies as you possibly can; this way, people can become educated on cinema.

Avengers Endgame: Analysis, Themes, and Theories

Despite some plot holes and other minor complaints, Avengers: Endgame is great, and all Marvel fans should rush out to see it!

Avengers: Endgame is finally here! I have been so excited to see this movie, and I know you guys have been too. It seems like everyone and their grandma has seen this movie by now. It’s everything it’s hyped up to be, the culmination of eleven years of movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is it. This is the finale! Just like for the film, Us, I will be doing a spoiler filled analysis of this movie. The trailers of this movie give so little away that any little aspect of the plot I discuss with you would be considered a spoiler. I will be sure to let you know when I am about to spoil the movie before it happens. If you’re wondering if this film is “worth your time”, the answer is absolutely! This film is an epic cinematic event that any Marvel fan should see as soon as they can! The film is wonderfully and impressively constructed, and despite its lack of “artistic aspects” as some people have complained about with this film, you can’t deny that as a fan this is hugely satisfying! So, yes, see this film as soon as you can, and see it in IMAX because the whole film was shot using their cameras. This means that the film will be presented in an expanded aspect ratio then you get in any other showing, and I can safely say it looks very nice on the big screen.

SPOILERS AHEAD! DO NOT PROCEED IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS MOVIE YET! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

I will admit that I was mostly surprised at the direction this film decided to take. That being they decided to have this film take place five years after the events of Avengers: Infinity War. Although looking back this decision makes the most sense for the characters and for the plot, it’s disappointing that they kill Thanos off as easy as they do in the beginning. I was so looking forward to seeing Thanos confront the Avengers once again, and although it happens, it’s much more anti climatic then you’d expect. In the beginning of this movie, Thanos has his own farm, he’s retired, and has even destroyed the Infinity Stones. When the Avengers realize this, they beat him up, and Thor slices off Thanos’ head with his ax. Thor then talks off into the distance as the camera goes out of focus and the film slowly cuts to five years later.

We then see as the characters try to get over their losses and the lives they lead after the events of Infinity War. There’s trash all over cities, everyone’s pissed off all the time, and plants are not being attended to. We see as Captain America leads a support group to help everyone get over the loss of their loved ones, Natasha Romanoff, Black Widow, takes calls from other members of the Avengers, and Thor lives at the remote little civilization of New Asgard where he is an alcoholic that plays Fortnite with his friend Korg, who thankfully is still alive. The only one who seems to have truly moved on is Tony Stark, Iron Man, who is now married to Pepper Potts and has a daughter. Also, ummmmm Bruce Banner, who is now professor Hulk, dabs while taking a picture with some fans, so there’s that. Anyways, the possibility of time travel becomes relevant when the Avengers discover that Scott Lang has been through the quantum realm in what felt like five hours. This is when Tony Stark uses what he knows about the quantum realm to figure out time travel, and when they decide to try to go back in time to retrieve the stones. They explain that this would be better than perhaps killing baby Thanos stopping him from ever getting the stones in the first place because going back in time and changing something only makes a new timeline.

I understand the reasoning behind the rules they present, but the problem is that it makes this movie very complicated and hard to follow.

If you haven’t noticed, the rules that this film presents for time travel is unconventional to what we are used to seeing in films. This makes time travel aspect of the movie very complicated and difficult to follow. I understand why they chose to go with the rules they have here, but I don’t think it worked as well as they thought it would. They seem to break their own rules when Captain America at the end, after he delivers the Infinity Stones back to where they belong, decides to live a life with Peggy Carter, only to have him meet Bucky and Sam back at the bench as an old man in order to give him back the shield. How is Steve able to meet Sam and Bucky back on the bench many years after he reunites with Peggy? Shouldn’t he now just be gone forever living in a different timeline? It’s very confusing and honestly doesn’t make a lick of sense, but it wraps up an arc for Steve’s character, and it feels very satisfying.

What makes this film as exciting and fun to watch, though, is that climatic final battle!

It’s no secret that what everyone truly came here for was that climatic final battle at the end of the film, and wow it is insane! Every major character you’ve ever known from the MCU (except Black Widow of course) is there fighting Thanos and his huge army, and everyone’s entrance is incredible! It’s so satisfying to see all these characters who were once killed in Infinity War come back from the dead fully ready to fight Thanos. Both times I saw the film, people seemed to have a very strong reaction when Spider-Man appeared again, given that his death was one of the most emotional from Infinity War. And don’t forget, of course, when Captain America finally becomes worthy of the hammer Mjonlir, and uses it to fight Thanos. That was incredible! Another stand out moment was seeing Captain America summon Mjonlir towards him as all the Avengers came together to fight Thanos where he utters the line “Avengers…. assemble”. This was for sure the best part of the movie, and definitely worth the price of a ticket alone.
The only disappointing element of the fight is that the Thanos they fight is one from 2014 after their time travel mission goes wrong, as opposed to the one we grew to know in Infinity War. Other than that, I absolutely loved this scene and thought it was a blast!

Despite its flaws, this film is everything I wanted it to be and more!

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I’d be surprised! Avengers: Endgame is a blast! Even when the plot gets complicated or don’t make sense, the film still feels satisfying and important! It may be a little long and you can definitely feel the length, but the film is nothing short of spectacular! It is already one of my favorite movies of the year, and I’m excited to see it for a third time this weekend! I feel like I certainly neglected to discuss some aspect of the movie here, but I feel that everything that needs to be said about this movie has already been said. Everyone’s seen it and talked about it to death at this point. At this point, I feel like a fan boy talking to a bunch of people on an online forum who have already seen the movie and have developed very similar thoughts on it. I’m so happy the Marvel movies have been as good as they have been for this long and I hope that they continue to keep it up for many more years to come!

So that has been all my film reviews for this semester! And wow what a great film to wrap up the semester with! It’s been a blast talking about these movies and I hope you’ve all enjoyed too. My hope is that I’ve been able to encourage others to think about the films they see differently and to think more analytically about them. Filmmaking is one of the most tiring and stressful crafts out there, and I know as a fellow TFM student how it is. But in the end of the day, making your own art and viewing other people’s art is a ton of fun to me! I hope I can keep talking about films and making films next semester, and I hope I can continue to share that with you all next semester! You’re probably going to see a change in content next semester, but I promise it’s not gonna let you down! So with all that said and done, stay safe and have a great summer! Go Aztecs!

Written by: Christian Scognamillo

A Wildly Inaccurate Summary of Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame

The final film in Marvel’s Avengers series was highly anticipated and beloved by many – but not everyone in the theater felt this way.

In my almost 25 years on this planet (yikes), I have seen a total of two superhero movies. The first was Spider-Man (2002), which I remember seeing in the movie theater in my hometown at the age of 7. The second was Deadpool in 2016, also at that same theater with yellow shag carpet on the walls and a crystal chandelier in the “big theater” (the place only has two screens, which we would refer to as the “big theater” or the “small theater”). So as you might expect, I was counting down the days until Avengers: Endgame hit theaters where I would see it on opening night.

Just kidding. I didn’t even know this movie existed until April 24th, when it was discussed on KCR’s own Brett & Mackee in the Morning. But you already knew that, because you undoubtedly listen to San Diego’s Best Morning Radio Show, as voted by the San Diego Union Tribune’s 2018 Reader’s Poll, every Wednesday morning from 10 to 12. As explained above, I’ve never seen any of the other Avengers movies. In fact, I’m not even sure how many there are. I’m going to go ahead and guess that there are twelve movies in the series. (Editor’s note: Andrea, how the heck are you so behind?)

When a fellow KCR member asked me, over Plant Power Fast Food, if I wanted to go to the 1:45 AM 3D showing of Avengers: Endgame that night, I agreed. Maybe it was just the vegan chicken nuggets altering my perception, but this sounded like a great idea to me. A three hour movie, a three hour SUPERHERO movie, at nearly 2 AM on a Thursday night/Friday morning. In the end, we decided on the 11:45 PM showing at AMC Fashion Valley. One sour beer and two hard kombuchas later, and we found ourselves in butter-soaked seats with plastic 3D glasses on our faces. “So it won’t be blurry,” the ticket-taker had informed us.

So here you go: my critical, sleep-deprived review of Avengers: Endgame. This is all surely inaccurate and likely offensive to fans of the series. I’m sorry. “I love you three thousand”.

A “Summary” of the Film

Avengers: Endgame opens with a scene of a family enjoying a nice lakeside picnic and some archery. I’ve already forgotten which character was the dad in this scene. Eventually the dad looks around and his family has disappeared. I think that if I had seen the other eleven Avengers movies I might have understood why this was happening. Instead, I figured aliens were involved somehow. As in, the antagonists in the other Avengers movies were aliens. (Editors note: At least you got that mostly right.)

So then I was introduced to the titular Avengers, I think. To me, the Avengers are Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo/The Hulk, Miley Cyrus’s husband’s brother, Chris Evans, a raccoon, Paul Rudd, and Brett Michel’s father Robert Downey Jr. If I’m being honest, it seems like Robert Downey Jr. carried the team in this movie, particularly by figuring out how to time travel. RDJ is a family man, though, and at first doesn’t want to get involved with this alien-fighting business. However, he relents and agrees to go to space with them despite having a young daughter. I bet you can guess what’s going to happen to his character at the end of the movie.

Why was time travel necessary for the Avengers? I’m not really sure. Paul Rudd spent five years of his life in another dimension, or something, while people in the real world kept living their lives. So I guess the Avengers needed to travel back in time to save Paul Rudd from this other dimension. In order to save Paul Rudd, the Avengers had to retrieve some magic stones from the past.

The Avengers split off into teams and travel into the past to retrieve the magic stones. Paul Rudd becomes tiny, there are two Captain Americas that fight each other (?), Tilda Swinton is on a rooftop. Obviously, this quest for the magic stones was the crux of the whole movie, so I apologize for reducing it to a two-sentence summary.

There’s a scene where RDJ and Chris Evans go back in time to a very All-American looking army base, and RDJ talks to a man who’s expecting a child with his wife. RDJ is very emotional when talking to this man, and hugs him goodbye despite having only just met him. I deduced that this man was actually RDJ’s father and his unborn child would grow up to be none other than Robert Downey Jr. Wikipedia tells me that my conclusion was correct. This, my friends, is what I like to call critical thinking and inference. Yes, I have taken a first-year TFM class.

Okay, what else? Scarlett Johannson dies. Another guy was maybe going to die but Scarlett sacrifices herself instead. I can’t even remember why she had to die – midway through the movie my eyes were definitely starting to close. There was a scary Grim Reaper-looking thing that gave these two a message. The robot woman was a double agent and helped the Big Evil Guy (not an alien) try to take over the world. Some other things happened.

Then there was a big battle scene! “Avengers, assemble!” That’s a direct quote from the film. A lot of other Marvel characters returned for the battle and everyone else in the theater made sounds of excitement and recognition as the camera panned over these characters. I nodded along as if I too understood the significance of this scene.

So the battle seems to be going okay and no one of importance has died yet (except Scarlett Johansson). Baby Spider-Man retrieves the Magic Glove and everything is looking great, but then Big Evil Guy gets the Magic Glove. RDJ confronts him about it (really carrying the team again) and Big Evil Guy tries to flex that he has the Magic Glove. Lo and behold, the Magic Glove is missing its magic stones, rendering it useless! Turns out, RDJ took the magic stones and now has his OWN Magic Glove. He then proclaims that he is Iron Man. This was a big reveal for me. Then he activates the stones or whatever and the bad guys turn to dust.  

All of this was so overwhelming for me that I didn’t realize RDJ was dying. I’m not sure why he had to die, but I think it’s because he was a family man making the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good of the world and this is a movie. Sniffles could be heard throughout the theater as, presumably, we said goodbye to a beloved character. There was a funeral scene, and then some more time travel. Everyone was very solemn, and Samuel L. Jackson was there. Fin.

The Verdict

You’re probably thinking I hated this movie, or was bored to death by it. Surprisingly, I actually had a pretty enjoyable experience. For a three hour movie where I really didn’t understand much of what was happening, I felt engaged with it for almost the entire duration. I was shocked by how quickly those three hours passed. I will admit that it’s a bit of a struggle to follow a movie like this when it’s after midnight and there’s no recap of the previous eleven movies beforehand. So I guess the question is, would I recommend seeing Avengers: Endgame without seeing the other Avengers movies first? No, absolutely not. But if you find yourself in the same situation as me, please do not use my summary of the film as a way to prepare.

Written By: Andrea Renney

Weekly Watchlist: Week 5

On this edition of Weekly Watchlist, an overwhelmed editor works through his backlog, and Eduardo might as well call this “the superhero edition” considering that he watched 11 superhero movies.

I’ve been on a s**t ton of student film sets this semester and these past 2 weeks were fairly busy for me so I didn’t have as much time to watch as many films unfortunately. AlsoRIP Stan Lee; you created a childhood for a lot of people. Not gonna lie though, I’m gonna go back to watching normal movies not filled with action and spandex outfits for a while. Anyways, here’s what I watched this time around.

Friday (4.5.19)

Shazam! (2019) – 2.5/5

  • Score was ass; the acting was the trashiest of trash. The cheap dialogue accompanied by the weak subplots almost ruined it completely. I guess it was really more for kids with adult jokes here and there. Zachary Levi did wonderful and was a great casting choice that saved the movie but other than him, I was thoroughly disappointed

Saturday (4.6.19)

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – 4.5/5

  • A fun time viewing this and one of the MCUs most stylistic film but groot probably didn’t have to die ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ they honestly could’ve figured something out but oh well

Sunday (4.7.19)

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) – 2.5/5

  • Not much to say about this one; wish we got to see more of Quicksilver. Not a terrible movie but not a bad one I guess?

Tuesday (4.9.19)

Raging Bull (1980) – 4/5

  • The only non-marvel movie I was fortunate enough to see. The character development is what sticks out most to me as we see De Niro’s character evolve from a boxer to a bum. Great performances with great directing; the cinematography was pretty well done but the sound design is a technical aspect that was very unique (animals sounds during fights and some experimental stuff thrown in); an overall enjoyable and good film if you don’t mind seeing chubby De Niro and hella blood

Wednesday (4.17.19)

Ant-Man (2015) – 2.5/5

  • Pretty decent and good casting with Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas; not my favorite though and boring-ish at times; Luis is my fav character prob with his story rants

Wednesday (4.24.19)

Captain America: Civil War (2016) – 3/5

  • I think we all feel bad that this is titled as Captain America when it’s literally a marvel movie; this movie has more Avengers in one scene that Avengers: Age of Ultron.        ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Pretty good though and sets up Infinity War/Endgame really well.

Doctor Strange (2016) – 3/5

  • A good origin movie I think and a good cast; ending credit sets up a sequel that will be coming out within the next 2 years.

Thursday (4.25.19)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) – 2.5/5

  • Honestly disappointing; it’s all about Starlord’s dad in this one and it’s not very interesting; not necessarily important either but there’s some good tunes

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) – 3.5/5

  • I think it’s safe to say that this might be my favorite Spider-Man but it’s hard to say. It feels way too high-schooly for me and was a severe change watching this after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and then Thor: Ragnarok. Tom Holland is great in this role though and Michael Keaton makes a great Vulture; I’m sure that Scorpion will be a villain in either Spider-Man: Far From Home or the next one after that.

Friday (4.26.19)

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) – 3/5

  • The best Thor movie in the trilogy and seals him as the most badass dude; nice to see more of the Hulk in this as we all know he ain’t gonna get his own solo movie ever again. Jeff Goldblum is awesome in this and I loved the director cameo.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018) – 3.5/5

  • Had to watch this before Endgame and I’m really glad I did; it’s so pleasing to see almost every single character they’ve created in one movie. I have too much to say about this and the whole series to jam into this article.

Avengers: Endgame (2019) – 4/5

  • Honestly extremely good and a wonderful end to the 11 year movie timeline; so many subplots and beautiful moments; there was some flaws in the plot and in the film overall but this was a gift to the fans and well executed. I honestly have quite a lot to say but it’d take several several paragraphs that I don’t have time to write.

Thank you for reading along for this week; I hope these comments offer insight into your choice of what to watch and what to avoid.

Make sure to check in next week to see what I watch.

Written by: Eduardo Orozco