Category Archives: Films

NFC Championship 2017: Falcons crunchy roll the Packers with some Triple X

The NFC Championship game leading up to Super Bowl LI featured the Green Bay Packers at the Atlanta Falcons.  Broadcast by Fox and narrated by Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, the last game played at the Georgia Dome started with the Falcons on offense.  Halfway through the second quarter, they were on top in scoring with 17 points (courtesy of wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, a field goal, and quarterback Matt Ryan running the ball into the end zone).  The Packers made an unsuccessful field goal attempt in the first quarter, then in the second quarter, Packers fullback Aaron Ripkowski lost possession of the ball and Falcons cornerback Jalen Collins recovered it.

The bottom of the second quarter saw Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers throw an interception into the arms of Falcons safety Ricardo Allen.  With seconds left in the first half of the game, Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones made a TD touch, giving Atlanta a 24 to 0 lead.

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The third quarter came to a thrilling start as Julio Jones ran 73 yards into the end zone for a TD.  He had to get Packers cornerback LeDarius Gunter’s hands off of him first (Gunter received a defensive holding penalty).  Aaron Rodgers and wide receiver Davante Adams finally got some numbers on the board about halfway into the third quarter with a touchdown.  Falcons 31 and Packers 7.  Towards the bottom of the quarter, Falcons running back Devonta Freeman caught the ball right smack on the goal line, and the on-field call was fourth and goal.  The Falcons challenged it and won…and then didn’t get the extra point.  Falcons 37 and Packers 7.

The Packers’ offense increased their momentum in the last couple of minutes of the third quarter and got a TD via wide receiver Jordy Nelson.  They went for and got a two-point conversion (Aaron Ripkowski barreled his way into the end zone).  Falcons 37 and Packers 15.  The Falcons increased their lead with another TD at top of the fourth quarter (thanks to running back Tevin Coleman, whose momentum carried him partly into the tunnel, where he high-fived a guy in a Falcons shirt working the game).  The Packers closed the score gap with another TD soon enough but their two-point conversion failed.  Falcons 44 and Packers 21.  Final score.  FALCONS ARE NFC CHAMPIONS!!!

Get game summary, stats, and play by play here.

Observations & Miscellany:
~  Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosaline were in attendance today.
~ Joe Buck and Troy Aikman both wore blue ties; Joe’s was a very sharp, bright blue like this one.
~ There was so much red in the stadium today.
~ Packers backup QB Brett Hundley went into the game for the last couple of minutes of the game.

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I watched xXx: Return of Xander Cage (D.J. Caruso, 2017) on Friday because Donnie Yen and Kris Wu are in it.  Yes, that Kris Wu who used to be in the Korean boy group, EXO.  He plays a DJ in the film and is there to make things more fun.  One of his songs also plays in the scene when Vin Diesel and his posse first meet Donnie Yen.

The film overall is terrible — the editing, the dialogue, and some of the camerawork, particularly in non-action sequences, were uninspired.  Yet, it’s so much fun to watch  Nina Dobrev was a scene stealer for me; Ruby Rose‘s character was badass (who wouldn’t want to hang out in the African wilderness and inflict injury upon trophy hunters?);  Deepika Padukone demonstrated much onscreen charisma (I hope to see her in more American films of all genres and budgets); and Ice Cube‘s cameo was awesome and cheesy at the same time.

Former NFL tightend Tony Gonzalez was in the previews for Triple X, which was the initial reason I wanted to see the film.  Gonzalez spent five of his seventeen years in the NFL as an Atlanta Falcon and was an incredible athlete.  He also had more screen time than I expected.

NFC Divisional: Falcons pluck the Seahawks with Elle

The Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons NFC divisional game started twenty minutes after the 4:10 pm showing of Paul Verhoeven‘s award-winning psychological drama Elle (2016).*  And why would I opt to watch the film over seeing the entire game between Seattle and Atlanta?  Well, I’ve been wanting to watch Elle for several months and I knew the fourth quarter would still be happening after the movie and I could get myself to a TV.

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I have loved Isabelle Huppert since the moment I watched Hal Hartley‘s Amateur (1994).  She played a woman who went from being a nun to writing erotica.  Something about that premise fascinated me.

Likewise, the premise of Elle intrigued me too.  Huppert portrays a woman who is raped in her house while her grey cat watches (and then leaves before the crime is completed), but instead of turning into a shriveling, paranoid victim, she metabolizes the trauma with subversive rationale and emotional/psychological deviance.

Beyond the basic story-line, I was pleasantly surprised to see that her character was  co-owner of a video game publishing company.  She wasn’t a housewife or a teacher or a high end fashion consultant.  Any more discussion will lead to minor spoilers, so highlight the relevant words at your own discretion.  Verhoeven’s adaptation of  Phillipe Dijan‘s novel Oh… could be interpreted to suggest that a rape fantasy is something that women in general would grow to want if she is willing to sleep with her friend and business partner’s husband because he was there and she wanted to get laid.  Or that just because a woman doesn’t become a broken, ruined creature, that physical violation isn’t that big of a deal.  It is tempting to make such an assertion…or to focus on her character’s inability to have a “normal” reaction to being raped (depression, anger, fear, vulnerability) on account of what her dad did when she was ten years-old that got him locked up in prison.

These interpretations are easy to make, but misses the mark of the character’s narrative and thematic arc.  She colors outside the lines and doesn’t behave as expected and whatever motivates her to act as she does or to think as she does throughout the film, she is purposeful and consequential.  Moreover, her reactions present a perspective on how to make sense of (or pervert) the offender-victim dynamic, especially when the film reveals the identity of her rapist.   Either you, the viewer, knew it all along or figured it out based on formal and plot elements.

 

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And, I was right.  The fourth quarter had just begun when I got to a TV after the movie ended.   I started watching the game (broadcast on Fox and narrated by John Lynch and Kevin Burkhardt) about halfway into the fourth quarter and the Falcons had 29 points to the Seahawks’ 13.  Over the next nine minutes, though not in this exact order, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was intercepted twice (the first time directly into the arms of Falcons safety Allen Ricardo, the second time indirectly into the hands of Falcons linebacker Deion Jones) and threw a touchdown pass (caught by wide receiver Doug Baldwin); Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Mohamed Sanu and two 1st and goal complete passes (one of them caught by wide receiver Julio Jones).

The Falcons beat the Seahawks.  36 to 20. Final score.  Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

*It isn’t drama quite in the way American dramas are drama — 98% seriousness with maybe a laugh or two.  Elle is quite comical throughout the film in dialogue and reality-of-the-situation tone.  I watched the film with at least twenty other people and everyone chuckled and laughed at the intended moments.  The more I think about it, the more I detect a satirical angle.

NFL 2016: Falcons peck the Saints and some Hidden Figures for ya

The first film I watched at the theatre this year was Hidden Figures (Theodore Melfi, 2017).  It is in my list of favorite films of 2016 (it opened in select theatres on Christmas Day and nationwide on January 6).*  The sports inspirational can be a sub-genre of the biopic, can the science inspirational be one too?  I don’t remember the last time I watched a movie where the audience clapped when the ending credits began.

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It’s obvious that the film wants to inspire and bring to light a part of history that many of us may otherwise not have known about, but Hidden Figures also reminds the viewers about the social norms of the times without being too cynical or overly tense.  Archival footage and newsreels serve to ground the film in its historical context while the wardrobe, the set design and the acting highlight the vibrancy and tenacity of smart women who weren’t timid.

A more sobering message, though, is that talent and genius still requires advocates and guides to flourish.  In a Subject-Other/Dominant-Subordinate dynamic, without the support of those with the authority or clout, all the hard work and good manners of the Other wouldn’t get a chance to prove its value.  Even when you’re confident without being arrogant and absolutely deserving of an opportunity (or reward), when was the last time you succeeded in your goal or reached the next outpost without assistance?

Theodore Melfi’s film is based on Margot Lee Shetterly‘s book of the same name.  Read more about it in this NPR article.

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In other news, the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons had a roll around the gridiron at the Georgia Dome today (the 199th and final regular season game here).  I started watching the game a minute into the fourth quarter — the Falcons were way up with points to the Saints’ 13.  By the bottom of the quarter with less than a minute left in the game, the Saints had decreased that score difference substantially.  Falcons 38 and Saints 32.  Final score.  Get game summary, stats and play-by-play here.

 

*The others are The Magnificent Seven, Moonlight,  Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, Certain Women, Hell or High Water, Things to Come, and Lion.

Cinema 2017

I came across this link to Playlist.net’s 100 anticipated films of 2017.

Here are the films I want to watch next year:

Landline
The Dark Tower
In The Fade (so I can hear Diane Kruger speak German)
Alien: Covenant
Valerian and The City of A Thousand Planets
Wonder Woman
The Dinner
The Book of Henry
Paddington 2
Logan
Dark River
It Comes at Night
The Discovery
Suspiria
Wind River
Guardians of the Galazy Vol. 2
John Wick: Chapter 2
Ismael’s Ghosts
The LEGO Batman Movie
Vox Lux
Thelma
Thor: Ragnarok
Get Out
T2: Trainspotting
Lean on Pete
Coco
Annihilation
The Shape of Water
Mother
Logan Lucky
The Snowman
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
The Beguiled
Wonderstruck
Okja
Star Wars: Episode VIII
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk

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NFL 2016: Falcons shred the Packers by one point?!

Oh yes.  I didn’t watch the game but I checked the score on NFL.com and yes, indeedy, the Atlanta Falcons beat the Green Bay Packers by one point for a total of 33 to 32.   Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

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I didn’t watch the game because I went to see The Handmaiden (2016), Park Chan-Wook‘s adaptation of Sarah Waters’s novel Fingersmith.  Park’s film  is a stunning adaptation and a much more compelling work of visual media than the 2005 BBC TV version starring Elaine Cassidy and Sally Hawkins. As disconcerting as some of the narrative elements are (whether suggested or displayed), there were surprisingly, refreshingly humorous moments too.

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The Korean title is 아가씨 (ah ga sshi), which means “miss.”

 

Check out this Esquire interview for Park’s filmmaking pre-production and production process.