Monday, November 30, 2015

When A Man Time Travels For Love

Tonight's marathon is all about a simple theme that grounds itself within the realms of science fiction. That theme is a man traveling across time for the woman he loves whether it's a tragedy that happened, the preventing of a future tragedy, or to participate in a modern day nativity story where the man falls in love with the woman he's assigned to protect as a bodyguard, and they end up giving birth to a child who becomes the savior of the human race. What separates this type of love story from all others is the majority of these films deal with a man who falls for a woman he never met but see's them through pictures and videos. They go off what other people say about them and then decide to see for themselves what the hoopla is all about, and inevitably they end up falling for that person. In some cases, they end up giving their life for that person so they may live, or they try to bring them back from the dead by altering time. Tonight is all about meeting your destiny head on and falling for the woman who you never met but are going to thanks to the invention of time travel. It is the perfect blend of action and romance that blends together to make one exciting and passionate evening. We have on the following menu for this evening:

The Time Machine 2002, The Terminator 1984, Deja Vu 2006, The Source Code 2011, and Terminator Genisys 2015

      For the theme of a man traveling for love through time travel, this is a strong setup of movies to put together to carry out that theme. While the stories may all walk the same walk, it's the distinct style and differences of each film that the filmmakers bring to the movies that makes them stand out and apart from each other. The highlights of this marathon are the inclusions of James Camerons The Terminator and the newly released 2015 blockbuster Terminator Genisys that's a reboot of the franchise.  With those films, the story arc of a man going back through time to save a woman from being terminated begins and concludes with the sequel that expands on the romance from the first Terminator movie. The Time Machine deals with the tragedy already occurring and a man going back through time to change that sequence of events. The Source Code specializes in a young man being sent through time to find a bomb on a passenger train but also finds himself falling for one of the female passengers on the train each time he's sent back. As the desperation to find the bomb grows so does his feelings towards the young damsel in distress. What makes this marathon such a good one is the intensity of it with the action, the adrenaline, fear, and ultimately the unexpecting romance between two people thrown into a life or death situation.
        The first movie of the evening is the 2002 Science fiction drama The Time Machine starring Guy Pearce and Mark Addy. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Makeup, the story centers around a 19th century inventor who goes through time to bring back his fiancé after a fatal mugging left her for dead. While doing so, he ends up traveling 800,000 years into the future where he discovers that mankind has been divided into two warring races. Given the time period of this movie taking place in the 19th century, this is the perfect starting point for this marathon as it builds up from there and becomes more modernized. Unlike The Terminator, the tragedy has already occurred and the male lover has to backtrack to alter the events that could do great harm to his future. What he doesn't realize is ultimately by going through time and trying to change events, he possibly did great harm to the future. Although the film has great special effects and looks visually stunning, boosting a soundtrack similar to Avatars, the film suffers when it shifts from being a story of lost love to an action adventure about a man who helps preserve a human race just like Avatar. Even with that huge flaw, the film is the perfect starting point for the marathon because not only does it have a romance dealing with time travel but it has a human story that's built on the preserving of a civilization like The Terminator, making that film a worthy successor.
      The second movie of the marathon is James Cameron's 1984 Science Fiction classic titled The Terminator starring Arnold Schwarzeneggar, Linda Hamilton, and Michael Biehn. The story takes place in the year 2029 where a computer program named Skynet has taken over mankind with machines after a nuclear holocaust in the year 1997. Through the use of a time machine, a Terminator and a survivor of the holocaust is sent back through time to the year 1984. The Terminators mission is to assassinate Sarah Connor, mother of John Connor who becomes the savior of the human race, and the second is Kyle Reese, a member of the resistance who volunteers to go back through time to protect Sarah Connor. Little does she know that Kyle is actually the father of John Connor and Connor gives Reese a picture of Sarah, prompting him to go back through time to save the young girl from being murdered by the machines. Kyle and Sarah end up falling in love within a window of 48 hours after meeting, and Kyle dies protecting Sarah from The Terminator. The love story behind The Terminator is one that often gets overlooked by most audiences but those who notice it realize the greatness and suttlety behind it. It's not a forced love story and builds gradually giving heavy weight to an already compelling story of survival and forbidden love. The Terminator continues to be one of hollywoods most influential movie franchises spawning four sequels and becoming one of the most iconic villains and heroes of all time. One begs to ask the question of whether James Cameron can stop messing with Avatar and get back to doing Terminator films?
      The third movie in the lineup is the 2006 blockbuster titled Deja Vu starring Denzel Washington, Val Kilmer, and Jim Cazievel. The story centers around the bombing of a ferry in New Orleans. An A.T.F agent finds himself becoming associated with a unique case involving experimental surveillance technology to find the mastermind behind the bombings. While conducting his investigation he finds himself becoming obsessed with one of the victims, a female. He uses time travel to go back four days prior and relive the sequence of events leading up to the bombing of the ferry. Deja Vu beyond a reasonable doubt takes direct inspiration from The Terminator in regards to guy going back in time to save girl and falling for her through either a picture of surveillance of the woman prior to the tragedy. Deja Vu is a combination of action, romance, drama, and science fiction all rolled into one film and for the most part it succeeds, even if it doesn't do it as well as The Terminator at blending all four genres together. It is the perfect film to follow up after The Terminator in regards to this theme because it takes the same story and puts it in a modern day setting. One of Denzel and Tony Scott's most underrated films as well as being one of their most daring films.
      The fourth movie of the marathon is the 2011 critically acclaimed time travel film titled The Source Code starring Brokeback Mountain's Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, and Jeffrey Wright. The story centers around a soldier who awakens in someone else's body and discovers that he's part of an experimental government program whose task is to find the bomber of a commuter train. The twist to this mission is he only has 8 minutes to complete his mission each time he's sent back and everytime he does, he finds himself drawn closer and closer to a beautiful female passenger on the train who wonders about his actions. The Source Code is the most debatable film out of the lot where the debate lies on whether it was truly time travel that kept sending him back with the consensus being that it is. He doesn't have legs in reality but is sent back through time and assumes the body of a passenger on the train. Like Deja Vu, he's able to go back in time about 8 minutes before tragedy strikes to protect everyone on the train as well as his newfound love compared to the four days Deja Vu gives Denzel Washington. The film prevails cause it gives a fresh new perspective on the time travel aspect of the story while borrowing elements from popular movies such as Speed and Inception. Speed in regards to love happening on the road and a bomb being located on a speeding vehicle, and Inception using the concept of imagination and repetition.
      The fifth movie of the marathon is the final film of the night and goes back to the events seen in James Cameron's 1984 classic The Terminator titled Terminator Genisys. Bringing back Arnold Schwarzeneggar, Game Of Thrones Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke, Jai Courtney, and JK Simmons, The story centers around John Connor, leader of the human resistance, sending his right hand man Kyle Reese back through time to protect a young woman named Sarah Connor. The twist to Kyle Reese going back is that instead of him having to save her, she protects him with the assistance of the same Terminator model that was sent back through time to kill her. This Terminator and Sarah formulate a father and daughter relationship that puts an entire spin on the original storyline. Genisys is a classic case of people were too scared to embrace it after the result of the third and fourth films in the franchise but the general consensus is that this installment is the best since the first two and did better than the previous two films in regards to worldwide box office. It also brings the love through time travel aspect full circle as SPOILERS...Kyle Reese lives by the end of Genisys instead of dies like in the first movie.

So what are these movies all trying to say as a whole when you put them all together as a marathon?The marathon says that you should go through time to save someone whom you never met but be warmed of the consequences that it may present when history is changed. The message of The Terminator series says that the future is not set and there is no fate but what we make for ourselves. The Time Machine says that sometimes the future cannot be altered because what is done is done, or it may come with dire consequences. The Source Code says that even though you have a total of 8 minutes to find a bomb that's ready to explode on a train, you also have 8 minutes simultaneously to fall in love with someone you never met before and care about each time you go back through time. Deja Vu says that you don't need to meet someone formally at first to fall in love with them and that emotional feelings come naturally, When you travel across time for a girl, it proves that you love this person beyond a reasonable doubt and are willing to do anything to protect them, even going as far as sacrificing your life so they may live.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

When You're Given The Opportunity Of A Lifetime

Tonight's marathon is about being given the opportunity of a lifetime. Here we are presented with several young men who grew up not knowing much about their fathers, are longing deep down for an opportunity to prove themselves and make a difference in the world, and are approached by wiser and much older men who see something inside them and ultimately offer them a chance to learn from them and save the world. Some of those opportunities are learning how to become a member of an organization called MIB, that monitors the traffiking of extraterrestrial life on Earth, an opportunity to preserve the survival of the human race by retrieving a hidden Earth ship before an enemy species does, an opportunity to become Captain of a Starfleet and fight hostile aliens throughout the galaxy, and finally the chance to become a Jedi Knight, save the kidnapped Princess from the Imperial army, and join the rebel forces in destroying a machine that can destroy planets and conquer galaxies. Tonight's marathon is all about rising to the occasion and being who you were destined to be. We have the following films on the menu for this evening: 

Men In Black 1997, Titan AE 2000, Star Trek 2009, and Star Wars: A New Hope 1977

   This is a strong marathon that gets more epic and iconic as it goes inevitably building up to the main event of the evening which is A New Hope. What makes movies like Star Wars and Star Trek such great films is that they give the audience heroes to grow with and ultimately root for in the end. Heroes that begin their journeys with the desire to go beyond their limitations and see the world while becoming what they were destined to be, and ultimately what their fathers before them were like. The lack of a father figure is essential to this marathon as each film centers around a young hero who never really got to know his father very well. With the exception of Luke Skywalker's father, all of the fathers of the characters in the movies prior to A New Hope die heroically, sacrificing their lives for their family and for others. Examples of this is J's father in Men in Black lll who shields others from a blast from an alien, Cale's father in Titan A.E, who gives his son an escape pod to fly away in while his planet gets destroyed, and Kirks father in the opening sequence of Star Trek who successfully evacuated his starship and flew it away from danger in an act of self sacrifice. The moment where Luke Skywalker looks into the sunset in A New Hope is one of the most powerful moments in film history as it shows Luke wanting to break away from the binds of being a farm boy and wanting to become a star pilot like his father before him. It is essentially the pairing of movies you wouldn't think would blend together well on the surface but once you think about the narrative behind each film, suddenly it becomes all clear.
       The first movie of the marathon is the 1997 blockbuster titled Men In Black starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, and Linda Fiorentino. The story centers around a secret organization called The Men In Black that monitors extraterrestrial life on Earth suddenly facing the ultimate threat of the world coming to an end thanks to the help of a giant alien cockroach disguised as a farmer. It is up to two agents named Agent J and Agent K who investigate the aliens arrival and save the world from total destruction. Men In Black focuses heavily on a near retired agent named K, who seeks out a young police officer named J, an aggressive, anti-authorative young adult who secretly wants more out of his life than just living the life of a cop, and gives him the opportunity to join his secret organization which means severing contact with his past life. J takes the opportunity to join the MIB, and ends up proving himself to be a worthy successor to Agent K, who ends up becoming retired at the end of the film. Men In Black remains one of the most successful movies of all time both in terms of pop culture and box office stature. Much like A New Hope, the film centers around a strong-willed and bright individual who wants to become the person he was destined to be.
      The second movie of the marathon is the 2000 science fiction animated film titled Titan A.E featuring the voice talents of Matt Damon, Bill Pullman, John Lequizamo, and Nathan Lane. The story centers around a young man named Cale, who was saved by his father as a child and placed into a fleeing escape pod while the Earth was being destroyed, being sought out by a human captain who tells him that he must find a hidden Earth ship before an evil alien species does in order to preserve the safety of the human race. The opening of Titan A.E parallels the opening of JJ Abrams Star Trek film perfectly with both fathers performing heroic and desperate sacrifices for their families survival and the sons going onto doing great things. The film was not a box office success upon its release but has become a cult classic through life on home video. Unlike Men In Black, Titan A.E has a lot more in common with Star Trek and Star Wars in regards to being a space adventure and having a purpose of saving the world.
       The third movie of the marathon is the 2009 Scfi blockbuster and highly regarded reboot to the popular Star Trek series directed by Star Wars The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams. This Star Trek story is different from all the other Star Trek films combined because it shows the origins of Captain James T. Kirk and how he became a Starfleet Captain, while putting together the crew of the Enterprise. Having an attitude problem much like Agent J in Men In Black and Cale in Titan A.E, Kirk begins as a reckless young individual who gets into bar fights while hitting on exotic women. He is approached by Captain Pike who gives Kirk an opportunity to follow his fathers legacy and become Captain of his own fleet. On his way to becoming a Captain, he must contend with the opposing views of Mr. Spock, who keeps him in check. The two must put aside their differences and battle a vengeful time-traveling Romulan who has the power to create black holes, wiping the Federation out one planet at a time. Abrams Star Trek takes the entire Star Trek serious and turns it on it's head by readjusting the timeline of events from the earlier Trek films and changing things to fit the brand new timeline of Abrams Trek films. The film was met with critical acclaim and is often regarded as being one of the finest Star Trek movies ever made. Captain Kirk wanting to live up to the legacy of his father is much in the same vein as Luke Skywalker wanting to live up to the reputation of his father being the greatest Star pilot in the galaxy and looked upon as a great warrior and Jedi Knight. It is the perfect prelude to Star Wars in this lineup.
      The fourth and final movie of the marathon is the biggest of them all and in many ways, the main event of the evening. The 1977 Science Fiction blockbuster that started it all, and has gone onto become one of the most influential Scfi fantasy franchises of all time. George Lucas Star Wars: A New Hope became the film that every Science Fiction movie after it aspired to be. The story centers around a young boy named Luke Skywalker whose approached by an old Jedi Knight named Obi Wan Kenobi to help rescue Princess Leia from the imperial army led by the ruthless enemy named Darth Vader, and join the rebellion against the Empire. Nominated for ten academy awards including Best Picture and winner of six total, A New Hope redefined all the possibilities of what a summer blockbuster can be and created a great heroic character named Luke Skywalker, whom audiences followed for six years as he went from a regular farm boy on Tatooine to becoming a Jedi Knight and fulfilling his fathers destiny. What the scene in A New Hope where Luke looks into the sunset signifies is him being a young kid who lusts for a life of great significance and wants a chance to prove himself to the world. Like J, Cale, and Kirk, Luke has a problem with authority but in private, he's a guy deep down whose hungry for an opportunity that'll change his life and he gets just that through his fateful meeting with Obi Wan. Luke Skywalker's story is essentially the science fiction version of The Wizard Of Oz.

      So what are all of these movies trying to say as a whole when you put them all together? The marathon says when all of the movies are put together that if someone has a powerful desire to make their dreams come true and wants an opportunity to live a life of great significance, then it will happen if you take a chance on it. Everyone should live out their full potential and desire to do great things. If someone asks you to come with them and help save the world, you should never say no to that because in all honesty, would you really trust someone else to do it over you? The lack of a father figure in one's life does not mean that they abandoned their children, but that sometimes certain circumstances in life prevent them from being there when their children are growing up. Men In Black says that alien do exist and are among us. Titan A.E, Star Trek 2009, and A New Hope all say together as one that when you have faith in your abilities as well as feeling a strong sense of duty, you can defeat your opponents and win the day. NEVER give up on your dreams...nor your destiny.

The Young Heroes:
The Surrogate Fathers/Coaches Who Motivate Our Heroes

The friends who accompany our heroes:

Monday, November 23, 2015

When Love Comes Between Family

Tonight's marathon is all about brothers and sisters sharing the same affections towards the exact same person that they end up falling for. It's a unique love triangle that packs a powerful punch to it and shows the conflict that arises when not just any ordinary person is after the person you're in love with, but a member of your own blood being the other person. This marathon is about love, family, loyalty, deception, having to choose between two people that love another equally, and how a family can change after such a predicament. This marathon dares to ask the question of what you would do if that was you and your brother/sister sharing the same feelings towards someone. Would you let the other have the person in question or would you put your relationship over family? For tonight's charming, touching, and dramatic marathon, we have on the following menu:

Legends Of The Fall 1994, While You Were Sleeping 1995, Sabrina 1995, Brothers 2009, and TheOther Boleyn Girl 2008
  This feels like the perfect lineup of movies for this theme. These films have appealing casts who sell the concept of each film beautifully, while making you question what exactly would you do in the scenario presented. These movies are charming, epic, historical, dramatic, often funny at times, and carry a good moral lesson about the dangers of two people of the same blood being in love with one person. Nearly all of these films have achieved critical acclaim upon their respective releases with some becoming cult classics like Legends Of The Fall, While You Were Sleeping, and Sabrina. There's a saying that if several movies utilize the same storyline then it's up to each filmmakers distinct style of presenting the same story that makes them different yet good.
      We begin our marathon with the first film of the night titled Legends Of The Fall starring Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, and Julie Ormond directed by Edward Zwick. Nominated for three academy awards and winner of Best Cinematography, the film centered around three brothers and their father who live in the wilderness and endure going into the first World War and seeing their lives changed by nature, history, and an unexpected love triangle between two brothers and a girl. The two brothers in question are played by Brad Pitt and Aidan Quinn with the beautiful young girl played by Julie Ormond who also plays the female love interest in First Knight and Sabrina. Legends Of The Fall is a beautiful story about three brothers who endure the trials and tribulations of life together and whose bonds are ultimately tested by their feelings for a girl. One of Edward Zwick's earliest films prior to his slam dunk run of movies such as Great Expectations, The Siege, The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond, and Defiance, Legends Of The Fall is a film that has a powerful story behind it about the love between three brothers while carrying some of the finest cinematography of any film made in the 1990's. Edward Zwick's trademarks in his films are generally considered the music and the cinematography in his films. He also generally tends to get the best work out of his actors such as Tom Cruise in Last Samurai or Leonardo Dicaprio and Djimon Hounsou in Blood Diamond.
      The second movie of the marathon is the Sandra Bullock romantic comedy titled While You Were Sleeping. The story centers around a romantic female, whose a ticket collector at the train station. She ends up saving the life of an unconscious man and while doing so, pretends to be his fiancé after he wakes from a coma but ends up falling for his brother played by Bill Pullman. Charming and being credited as part of the contributing factor to the rise in Sandra Bullock's early career, While You Were Sleeping shows her as being a comedic talent as well as a captivating movie star while surrounding her with a fairy tale story that shows off her admirable well as a charming performance that gives the formula a good name. The concept is handled with skill and presents the story as being often likeable and touching.
      The third movie of the marathon is the 1995 critically acclaimed romantic comedy and remake titled Sabrina starring Harrison Ford, Gregory Kinnear, and Julie Ormond from Legends Of The Fall. The Cinderella inspired tale centers around the transformation of a not so pretty girl into a remarkably beautiful woman who harbors feelings for one of two brothers. The first is a carefree playboy while the other is a workaholic who keeps his carefree brother in check but also finds himself drawn towards Sabrina while trying to draw him away from her due to a business deal. Based on the original 1954 classic starring Humprey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn, the remake directed by Academy Award Winner Sidney Pollack maintains the spirit and charm of the original classic while upgrading it for a new generation. Strong performances and slick direction drive this one to become one of the above average remakes in recent memory.
      The fourth movie of the marathon is the 2009 critically acclaimed remake of the 2004 classic of the same plot titled Brothers starring Natalie Portman, Tobey Maguire, and Jake Gynnehaal. The story centers around two brothers falling for the same girl with one going off to war and the other comforting his brothers wife and children while the opposite goes off to war in Afghanistan. Based on the critically acclaimed 2004 movie titled Brodre starring Susanne Bier, the 2009 remake plays off more like a melodrama but makes for a realistic and engaging story given the climate at the time regarding war. It takes the siblings falling for the same person concept into a far more serious tone than the last three films prior. It is also the film that shows beyond a reasonable doubt that Tobey Maguire can act and gets way too much crap for playing Spiderman.
      The fifth movie of the marathon is The Other Boleyn Girl starring Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, and Eric Bana. The story while playing more like a soap opera compared to the rest of the films centers around two sisters who are both competing for the love of King Henry Vlll. Of all the movies in the marathon that center around two brothers falling for the same girl, this time it's two sisters falling for the same guy with Natalie Portman once again making an appearance from the previous film in the lineup Brothers. This one plays off more like a historical drama compared to the other films in the lineup and has grand art and set decoration and costume design that blends in perfectly with the time period of the story. The ending of this film feels like the perfect finish to this marathon given the buildup of all the films before it, showing the ambitions of two sisters to pursue the king as being ultimately a deadly and dangerous game.

      So what are these movies all trying to say when you put them together as a whole? The message behind all of these films is that two brother or sisters that are in love with the same person should never let love come in the way of family. Sometimes the two should think about who would be the better choice for that person and let the other person have him or her not just because of love but because they would want the best for their other sibling. A movie like Legends Of The Fall teaches that family will always stick together and be there for each other regardless of the situation, and family loyalty is the most important thing in life. While You Were Sleeping says that two brothers who feel for the same girl should let the one with stronger feelings have her, even though pretending to be someone's fiancé while they're in a coma is not right. Sabrina says that you should never judge someone based off their appearance prior to experiencing a transformation and true love does not require a person having to change their appearance for someone. You should also never lead someone on after they fall for you or give them false hope. The better man should always get the girl in the end. Brothers says that just because one brother goes off to war and the other steps in to take care of their family does not mean that they cheated or backstabbed their own blood. The Other Boelyn Girl says that unchecked ambition can lead to intractable consequences such as the end of the movie.

Our characters for this evening: