Americans expect certain endings in movies

I’m currently watching the movie San Andreas, and it seems like a matter of convenient marketing oriented screenplay that in the aftermath of the earthquake, two of the main characters just happened to be in the very same spot (in Los Angeles no less) they needed to be in to find the other main characters.

Americans want their cinema to have good endings for the protagonists to the point where the storyline often has form insane coincidences for that to be able to happen.

If this were a French film, it’s likely all the characters would die, and there’d be no resolution acceptable to American movie goers.


My thoughts on Transformers: The Last Knight

WARNING: This post contains spoilers.

Late to the party, but I finally saw the film last night. Here are some of my initial reactions:

  • The special effects just keep getting better and better. This work of cinema makes the 2007 Transformers look somewhat vintage in comparison. The light and colours meander through every last fibre of your optic nerves and I imagine could trigger a migraine in someone who are susceptible.
  • The Dark Ages angle was one of the most creative things I’ve ever seen this series do.
  • Anthony Hopkins was the acting MVP for this film IMO. His high ranking aristocrat motif is comical, but it works, as does his estate, a vast world of lineage, where he shows the main characters his historical connection to the events at hand. I was just slightly confused as to his motivations. It’s as though he simply wanted to see the world unravel before he died.
  • The robot butler was so much like C3PO on Star Wars that the writers had to take to acknowledging it so they could get a pass on the rip off.
  • Vivian and Mark Whalberg’s character should have gotten together earlier in the film. They were both clearly stressed out and needed a distraction.
  • There’s some discord in the plotline. Some of Megatron’s allies show in the beginning, manifesting as stock characters and then we never see much of them again.
  • Loved the vintage black car that Vivian was driving around in.
  • As did I like the weaponry and the robots that were helping the main characters throughout the disaster area.
  • I was somewhat impressed that Unicron destroyed some very important parts of the world, including many landmarks, before it and Quintessa were stopped. It shows the gravity of the situation, and the consequences of failure.


In the end, they did fail, because Unicron is shown to be on the move to return. Oops!

Overall, I think it was a great film, having a great deal more substance than many some of the previous Transformers films in the series. It made the relatively long length of the film feel like a bumpy ride rather than tedious. I’d certainly go see it again.


Better Call Saul Season 3 Finale: The Show that Almost Called Itself Off

WARNING: This entry contains spoilers. 

I’m hitting this a little late, nonetheless I had to follow up on my previous post about the popular Breaking Bad prequel. At the time I wrote it I’d become increasingly worried about the writers’ apparent hesitation to wrap things up climactically. This is especially considering that the season was around seven episodes in at that point. “How”, I pondered, “would the show be able to pick this up at the 11th hour and still land a season renewal after the finale was said and done?”

I’m glad to say that I’m pleasantly surprised; the last two episodes delivered well. Kim Wexler’s car accident, though in the long run just a temporary setback, was painfully directed to the interminable slack she’s been having to pick up, owing to Jimmy’s year long bar suspension. We can easily anticipate this is only going to strain Jimmy and Kim’s relationship as the shock of her accident wears off.

Still, the biggest upset, without question, would be the apparent on screen suicide of Chuck McGill, who’s spiraling madness had become something of a stagnant liability to the show, almost as much as Chuck himself had become a liability to Hamlin Hamlin & McGill. Maybe Chuck could somehow survive having intentionally kicked an oil lamp to the floor, sitting there as his living room burst into flames. But if we know Vince Gilligan, we know that when such a sweeping statement of character development is made, it sticks. To that end, we can presume Chuck McGill is dead.

I’m happy to say the show has been renewed for a fourth season, but waiting a year to see what happens next (and the last time around, I had to wait longer, due to production delays) is tedious considering that this season didn’t build things up the way the last season did. My speculation is that season 4 may be the last. The makers of the show seem to think people will stick around forever as a matter of reverence because the show was born out of the timeless sensibilities of Walter White’s Albuquerque. But take it from this Albuquerquean, even we are close to having had enough, as per the show’s decreased viewership.

So my advice to the writers would be this: tie up the gap between Jimmy/Kim’s storyline and that of Mike/Hector/Nacho, which seem to be running hopelessly parallel and separate at this point, and move everything else along fast. To quote the (likely) late Chuck McGill, “Time being of the essence.”