Film Franchises Are Great, But Can We Please Stop The Fanboy Fights? (Cross Talk Ep. 29)

I just came back from a fantastic date at the theatre – Star Wars Episode VIII was on the menu today; it was an early Christmas gift from my fiancee. Sweet deal right?

As you may know by now, I love movies, and this was an ideal way for Mysticque and I to spend some time together, with one of my favourite activities, and then bask in some post-film analysis. She SO gets me on a personal level, and I’m super excited to share this passion with her and our family, especially as Miguel grows up, and as we add onto our little tribe – family time is important to me.

This is why of the many reasons why The Fast and the Furious franchise stands out in my mind as an excellent piece of film, worthy of your attention, admiration, and love. But this is not a post or a video about that love, rather it’s a plea to the general populous. Please stop hating on other peoples spirit movies.

Chris channels Star Trek and Friday The 13th on a regular basis, Mike loves him some John Wick (more than anyone I’ve ever met), and I can’t help but carry the torch for Star Wars, Marvel, and my BFF – The Fast and the Furious franchise. Chris also wanted to let me know that he loves Star Wars, much to the chagrin of Fanboys out there – contrarian to what pop culture and water cooler etiquette teaches us.

But didn’t Yoda teach us why fear is such a bad thing already? We fear what we don’t understand, but if we could have a little empathy for The Hunger Games, Fifty Shades of Grey and Harry Potter, maybe we’d all be a little bit more settled… Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. Yeah I have Star Wars on the brain, and no, I’m not going to spoil The Last Jedi for you. We should have all learned that lesson from episode 28 of Cross Talk.

Franchise wars are a very real thing, but that doesn’t mean we can’t hold hands and try to love one another better. This episode of Cross Talk is a thorough discussion on the matter and all three of us gents have some excellent points to make on the topic.

And yeah… I totally flubbed on the title shown in the video, but I’ll correct it soon. I promise – I’m not at my house this evening, where all of the files are stored on my computer. Please just enjoy that small error, knowing I’m human too, and consider that I was so excited to get this video out to you, that I decided to bite the bullet and edit as soon as possible.

With all of that shared… tell us what your opinions are on the ongoing challenges of film franchise wars! We love comments. And shares! And subscribers! No more theories for today friends, but come back y’all and we’ll give you something in the way of an album review tomorrow.

Tim!

Prequel Fever Dreams (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, review)

When exploring new ground, sometimes we have to stumble in order to improve upon what preceded us. And other times we pave the way for greatness, where does this movie fit into the mix?

 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Ezra Miller
Director: David Yates
released on blu-ray March 28, 2017
******* 7/10

IMDB: 7.5
Rotten Tomatoes: 73%, Audience Score 80%
The Guardian: ****/*****

 

David Yates is an English filmmaker who has directed both feature length and short films, as well as a host of television shows, television films, and mini-series. Yates rose to prominence after helming the last four Harry Potter films, and has won quite a few accolades in his time, including six BAFTA awards. Since then, he has gone on to direct the visual stinker known The Legend of Tarzan, and since then… Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

But was it any good?

I think that we can fairly safely state that Yates has a good record with J.K. Rowling adaptations, but I have to wonder if the hype train and guiding hand of Rowling didn’t have a lot to do with his previous successes. Whereas FBAWTFT draws on Harry Potter mythology without having much true direction of it’s own.

That being said, it IS an interesting film, without ever really standing on it’s own two legs. It’s more entertaining for fans of Harry Potter than the average film goer.

In the mid 1920s British wizard and magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has come to New York en route to Arizona.

He encounters the New Salem Philanthropic Society, run by Mary Lou Barebone (Samantha Morton), which believes magic is real and bad. During the presentation, one of Newts creatures escapes from his briefcase and on his way to recover the Niffler, Newt bumps into another no-maj and aspiring baker, Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler). As a consequence, they swap cases.

Demoted Auror Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) watches all of this, and then arrests Newt as an unregistered wizard. She takes him to the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) headquarters, they discover the baked goods inside, and Newt is released. At Jacob’s tenement apartment, several creatures escape from Newt’s suitcase.

Tina and Newt track down Jacob and suitcase, wherein Tina introduces them to Queenie (Alison Sudol), her mindreading sister. Queenie and Jacob hit it off instantly but American wizards can’t be with no-majs.

We then learn Newt has an Obscurus, a parasite that develops inside magically gifted children if they suppress their gifts. Newt then persuades Jacob to help search for the missing creatures. MACUSA officials arrest them and give them the death sentence, thinking Newt and compay are responsible for a mystery creature killing in the city. Director of Magical Security Percival Graves (Colin Farrell) accuses Newt of conspiring with dark wizard Grindelwald, but Queenie and Jacob rescue them and they escape.

Graves approaches Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller), Mary Lou’s adopted son, and offers to free him from his abusive mother. Credence needs to find an Obscurus in turn. But Credence is the Obscurus’ host, and a strong one at that, as most hosts die before ten years of age.

Newt finds Credence, but is then attacked by Graves. Each side tries to coerce Credence to them, but aurors arrive and disintegrate the boy. Graves admits to unleashing the Obscurus, as he is Grindelwal in disguise. He wants to expose the magical community to the world. Luckily Newt has a Thunderbird, which can use rainfall over the entire city to erase all no-maj memories. Jacob must participate in this cleanse as well, and Queenie kisses him goodbye.

The movie ends with a secret gift from Newt to Jacob allowing him collateral to open his bakery, Newt leaving for Europe to write his book, and Queenie eventually seeking out Jacob regardless of the law.

As I mentioned already, it’s an interesting film, and definitely a welcome deviation from the Harry Potter franchise, but the plot feels thin in places, and it’s protagonists don’t seem overly invested in the larger problem of wizard prejudice and wizard terrorism. They are happy to collect their creatures until someone tells them otherwise.

Pros: It is an original story with interesting characters and headed by a rising star in Eddie Redmayne. The pace is nice and slow at the start, letting us explore the magic of this universe from a new perspective.

Cons: The action seemingly comes out of nowhere towards the end, and the stakes are raised almost inconsequentially. There are almost too many good things going on, and yet it is frustrating to learn this is not a stand-alone film, but a set up for a new franchise.

Runtime: 2 hours 13 minutes

Points of InterestThe name New Scamander appears on the Maurader’s Map in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It was originally supposed to be a trilogy of movies, but has now been confirmed as a five part series.

Eddie Redmayne and friends breath fresh new life into a franchise which I can honestly say I thought was finished. And I’m fairly happy with the results. Granted, I’ve seen New York in film far too many times at this point to be excited about a 1920s fantasy version of the city, but all the same, it’s fun to see the wizarding world of Harry Potter expand outside of the United Kingdom.

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This is a movie definitely worth it’s salt, given how difficult it is for prequels to get off the ground these days, but I will do you one better with a my review coming next week. A story for the ages, and my theory on how it attracted both fans and newbies will be a good one.

Tim!

Reach For The Stars (David Wiens interview, Perseverance)

Perseverance has always been about the long game.

Single people who are attracted to a friend, remain purely friends and wait until that person becomes single or interested, then focus on being sexual at the appropriate time, will follow this mantra.

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Thieves use it when they are trying to coerce people out of their money, often with elaborate plans that involve emotions, a false sense of security, and a final change of money or account ownership at the last second to sneakily gain said funds.

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Politicians do it too – when they are negotiating with another party. They will appear weak at first in order to gain a stronger position later on and gain the upper hand, so that they can acquire that which they really wanted in the first place, power and prestige.

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And while those 3 instances are perfect set up examples to demonstrate the value of perseverance in this thing we call life, it can be used in other avenues. And because timotheories is about digital curating at heart, I think I’ve found one example which we can all benefit from, whether we are fully functioning creative professionals or just starting out.

You see, dear readers, it can be challenging to succeed as an artist, no matter what your stripe, but often, the best teacher in life is experience, and I know just the man to get you your allotted life lesson.

That’s right, we’re going to review the final feature length interview with my personal friend, David Wiens. Which means we’ve now reached episode 9 of this incredible series which both highlights artists who deserve exposure, and supplies you with teachable moments. It’s win-win in the long game.

David Wiens is a photographer with an incredible insight of the product photography industry, and he has dedicated the better part of a decade to gain these skills and become an expert in his particular niche. He has applied all sorts of principles from the broader discipline of photography so that he can have his choice of both full-time and freelance jobs.

He realized long ago that in order to make it as an artist, he would have to not only walk the walk and talk the talk, but never balk the balk. Bad pun? Probably, but you get the point.

Besides, you aren’t entirely here for my comedy, you want to watch that sweet sweet interview, and I’ve made you wait long enough. This is truly my most dedicated effort yet, and one which I’m incredibly proud of. I promise.

As always, if you want to check out more timotheories interviews or the Cross Talk series please visit our YouTube channel.  And please, please, please share this post and of course subscribe to both the blog and channel!

Please also check out David’s website to see his portfolio and to contact him for creative services.

And of course my sincerest thanks to David for being decisive, dedicated, and dynamic. See you tomorrow with an album review that’s kind of profane.

Tim!

Santa’s Workshop (Secret Santa Gift Exchange)

Happy Christmas Harry! Whoops, that’s not how I meant to start today’s post!

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Just kidding, who am I, The Grinch?

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I must be pretty grumpy that I can’t come up with some Christmas cheer and make the season just a bit lighter for you dear readers.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s Wisdom Wednesday post, today is going to be all about fun and lighthearted things, because I want to send off the year right and because even timotheories needs to take a break.

Don’t worry though, I’ll be back after the 2015 year is over.

And what a year it’s been! I’ve written just over 70 posts this past 12 months, and I plan to write 5 posts a week next year, along with introducing the Cross Talk and Real Time Games videos into the timotheories YouTube channel mix. AND I want to support more local artists, so my goal is to put out 1 interview a month, so if you or someone you know is interested in talking about the arts and your art practice, please get ahold of me via timotheories@outlook.com or send a message by using the contact form below.

Now it’s time to share with you what today is all about. That’s right we are going to be talking about Santa Claus! Because I was raised with the North American Christmas holiday and know it rather intimately as a consequence.

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And are any of you familiar with the western tradition of Secret Santa? If not, I’ll break it down for you. It is essentially a group event wherein the members exchange gifts but where each person is randomly assigned one person to whom they give a gift. And they do it anonymously. Cool right?

Well we have a tradition like this in my family too – one that has been going on for the better part of 10 years, probably closer to 15 years at this point.

My immediate family all draw for a secret santa, but the twist is that we are supposed to “make” a gift for our person and we are allowed to spend money, but no more than $25 to accomplish the gift construction. It started out this way because we were a family of meager means when I was growing up (as mentioned in this post), and my siblings wanted to give gifts but usually couldn’t afford to do so because they didn’t have jobs.

Thus the Family Secret Santa Gift Exhange was born.

My contribution to this process is to make art of some sort, though I have been known to make food on occasion. And this is how I’ve tied it back to the arts, see?

What is great about this process is that you get to make something special for a loved one, and as a result the gift is just a little bit more meaningful then it would have been if it came from a store.

I bet you’re curious what I did this year, aren’t you dear readers? Well I guess I can share it with you since, it is Christmas eve and all. Plus the exchange happens on Christmas eve, and by the time this post hits the internet, the gifts will all have been shared, and the tears of joy will have dried.

Please see below for reference.

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Cute right? Well, let me explain a bit more about why I made pencil crayon drawings of Pikachu and Yoshi. Have you ever heard of Nintendo? Of course you have. But what may be lesser known to you is a game released for the N64 in 1999. It’s called Super Smash Bros. and is my all-time favourite multiplayer game by Nintendo and also my favourite fighting game ever conceived.

My youngest brother Ryan is a huge video game fan and this is one pastime we have always enjoyed together. And we get incredibly competitive when it comes to Smash Bros. So it’s significant to him. Now, this gift is years in the making, and every time I get Ryan for Secret Santa, I make him a drawing or two.

Please see below for previous entries.

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What is really fun about creating these drawings is that even if I get Ryan by chance every year, and I make 2 every Christmas, I can make them every year for the rest of my life, and I probably won’t have made all of them (upwards of 60 so far). So I may have to change my strategy to complete the original roster.

Please see below for reference.

Super_Smash_Select

As you can see, I’ve only made 6 so far, and there are 6 left. But every time I add a drawing to the wall, I feel a bit better about the project. This scale of work is exactly what art should be about, creating something more than your own ego and sense of worth. If I had never ventured down this road, I would probably struggle with ideas for Ryan every year, but because I commited to making something that suited him, I stuck with the spirit of Santa and made something special, something that hopefully makes miracles.

I hope you enjoyed this last post of the season my friends, and I hope you enjoy the holidays. If you celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas to you and yours, and if not, happy holidays. See you on January 3rd, 2016!

Tim!