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The 2017 films of Oscar Isaac
Okay, why not? As we're taught in business school, question everything.
Oscar is talented, and while not one of the actors, who seems to be casted in every Blockbuster, the roles he is casted in, are really good.
His current theatrical film, which is due to come off the marquee this week, to make way for Pacific Rim Uprising and Sherlock Gnomes, is Annihilation. This film was on my "To Watch" list, when I first saw the trailer. Based on the novel, written by Jeff VanderMeer, the screenplay adaptation by Alex Garland was easy to follow.
Some of the aunties and uncles were confused, as the film played out. Confusion was the use of flashbacks, to tell Lena and Kane's story.
A secondary reason for Hubbing about Oscar's performance, is this film was produced by one of my favorite companies: Skydance. David Ellison and Dana Goldberg are the same team that also produced The Hitman's Bodyguard, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds. Please see my other Hub for that film's coverage.
- The Hitman's Bodyguard Film
This film doesn’t need a writeup, but I wanted to share my *first* Theatrical Film Screening experience with you!
A third reason for writing about Oscar, is most of the film fans seem to only remember him, as Poe Dameron in the Star Wars franchise. He has other roles and other films, that I would like to bring to the readers' attention.
TrueFact: the author really likes Skydance's films. She also likes Bad Robot's films. These two companies are highlighting MI6, due in theatres on July 27, 2018.
Annihilation Film homework first
Now go and pay the Box Office admission price, to see Annihilation.
Then, bookmark this Hubpage, until you've seen the film.
In the Oahu market, this film is currently showing at Consolidated Ward Cinemas 16 and Regal Cinemas Dole Cannery 18.
If you're thinking that the Box Office admission prices are too costly, then you must first visit my other Hubbed article, called:
"The MoviePass program."
Then, make a conscious decision to see if you would like to become a MoviePass subscriber.
Annihilation film discussion
As an adapted screenplay from a best selling novel, I thought Alex Garland did a great job of transferring the thriller and fantasmal feeling from the novel onto the BigScreen.
Alex also did a great job of directing this film, as I enjoyed the cinematography, special effects, set design, costumes and casting.
After the Opening names, the film begins with our main character, Lena, who's dressed in white scrubs, being questioned by Lomax.
FilmQs: Why is the interview occurring? Why is Lena looking sickly? Why is Lomax wearing a contamination suit?
Through the use of dialogue between Lena and Lomax, the MovieViewer learns that this interview takes place, after the events of the main story have already occurred, per the story's timeline.
As a Story hook, it gets the MovieViewer interested in what's going to happen.
Which is tied up in the Surprise Ending.
As storytelling mechanisms go, beginning at the end of the story, showing how the characters unfold with the plot, their interactions (and in this fantasmal setting, who's going to die next?), there was a good blend of Scene and Sequel.
What is Scene and Sequel?
Defined: Scene and Sequel is the use of pacing, within a screenplay, where action drives the Scene. This is followed by Sequel, a calmer moment, allowing the MovieViewer to relax from the Scene's excitement.
Other likeable story moments include:
- How the characters in the all-Female team respond to the Antagonist.
- How gender and multi-cultural elements are shown within the all-Female team.
- How the Female and Male protagonists react to each other, as they are married.
- How the role of the Facilitator, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh as Ventriss, is used as a plot device.
- Which leads up to the Surprise Ending.
Great casting choices of Natalie Portman as Lena and Benedict Wong as Lomax. Add in Tessa Thompson's character, and you have a mini-Marvel Movie party.
There are not too many characters in Annihilation, as this is not Avengers: Infinity War Part 1, where the character list is being publicised on other websites, with several hundred characters. Now, if you remove the Wakandan Warriors (who are digital people), and count the main Marvel characters, it's 54 different characters.
One of my besties let me know this, as he was involved in the Final Cut of the film, pre-distribution to the Theatres. I know other Tidbits about Infinity War Part 1, but am not leaking them. Because, when IWP1 ends, it's going to leave all Marvel Movie fans wanting to plunk down their hard-earned money for reserved tickets for IWP2, due out in theatres on May 2019.
Back to Annihilation, a lot of the Plot is Man vs. Nature, Man vs. The Unknown (The Shimmer). It also combines Man vs. Himself (which is actually Woman vs. Herself).
The Shimmer as the main antagonist
In any of the 5 trailer versions, Ventriss seemed like she would be the film's antagonist.
Upon seeing the film, her role is The Facilitator. This character arc allows the bringing together of the all-Female crew, into conflict with the Antagonist. Because this is Man vs. The Unknown, the battle is forthcoming.
One could say that Ventriss' personal curiosity is what starts The Inciting Incident, along with Kane, returning from the dead. He's been MIA for about a year, since his last mission. Then, he just disappeared, and no communication has existed, until he returns to his and Lena's house.
FilmQs: Why is Kane returning after a year's time? What's happened? What's going to happen next?
Using an unknown force as the film's antagonist might seem boring at first, but through acting and sharp dialogue, the story works.
I did not fall asleep this time.
Why I liked it so much
As I compose this Hub, I thought about why I liked this film. If you've had the opportunity to read the screenplay for Alien, Annihilation bears a direct derivative (story-wise) to it.
The way that Alex Garland has taken the Alien story, and used an all-Female crew, instead of males and females, to show the gender relationships, updates the Alien screenplay from 1979 into 2010s.
The Alien screenwriters said that they had written the character arcs without regard to gender, as they felt that the role could have been played by either gender.
The setting is modern day Earth, instead of Earth's darkened space colonies, as Alien's cinematography goes. The same "darkened space colony" concept is present in Sir Ridley's Blade Runner stories.
Cinematically, Annihilation is done differently than any of the 6 Alien films. Yes, Prometheus counts as the unofficial Alien 5, even though, Ridley Scott calls Alien: Resurrection as Alien 5. Annihilation uses bright lighting, to resemble The Shimmer's effect on earth.
Instead of Ripley as the sole survivor from the first film, Annihilation has more than one survivor.
I really liked the film for the following reasons:
- Lena's bravery and using a strong female lead.
- Oscar as Kane, who is Lena's husband, and more important to the plot than previously shown in the trailer.
- An all-Female military crew, which showed gender and multi-cultural differences on-screen.
- Ventriss as the older female, who will get what she wants out of the latest mission, no matter the sacrifice to the Team.
- While the scary moments made me jump, the military action was even better. Having an Armory was justifiable, from a Production POV, because the M16's were worth seeing and hearing, with the Dolby Atmos sound mix.
Oscar as Poe Dameron in SW8
Speaking of SW8, Oscar returned as Poe in the latest film, within this part of the Sci-Fi universe.
Funny-ism: with all of the Sci-Fi series and films being produced, wouldn't it be cool, if a filmmaker were to have a film, where all of them meet one another? And, you thought that the Tesseract was invented by Marvel Studios? Actually, the idea of Tessering is from Madeline L'engle's, called A Wrinkle in Time.
With Ava DuVernay's film currently playing in theatres, I guess the idea of Tessering and The Tesseract is null, as Disney now holds the reins on film versioning.
For some of my main critics out there, there was nothing I was disappointed with.
This was a film, where the Special effects, Lighting, Costumes and Set design worked together. I haven't seen a film this good, since Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, SW8, The Post, Blade Runner 2049 (IMAX), It, War for the Planet of the Apes (RPX With RealD 3D), Kong: Skull Island or any of the 2017 Marvel films in *any* Premium Large format (Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardians 2, or Logan).
How's that LIFO method for 2017's great movies?
Poe's opening sequence in SW8 was well-received by audiences, during my RealD 3D full theatrical viewing, at the Regal Cinemas Dole Cannery 18 on Premiere Night. On a Movie assignment, I was paid to independently watch the movie in its entirety, and report the results to the client.
I really like Oscar as Poe, as his cavalier attitude is contagious from the Opening sequence, throughout the remainder of 133-minute adventure.
He also looks different as Poe, with camera angles, than he did in Annihilation. I don't need to tell you about SW8, other than another well-done film. Its Box Office numbers speak for itself: breaking $1 billion worldwide at the end of Week 3.
In fact, Director Rian Johnson wins The Pineapple Award for Best Director of 2017.
If you like Oscar, then you'll appreciate him in Suburbicon
Okay, you knew that I see a lot of films, right?
No Pop Quizzes here, but I would have to create a Spreadsheet, to tell you how many films I see on an annual basis. Actually, when I can hire the appropriate P.A., he or she can create the spreadsheet for me, as I seem to be busy with developing other Creative projects, and have added another "party hat" to my life.
I've agreed to help a friend with the Financing side of films. That's right, if you're looking at trying to fund your film, send me a contact. I can see what I can do, to help you.
I had an idle afternoon in mid-October 2017 (a rarity), so I opted to use my MoviePass at the Cannery and go see Suburbicon. I wanted to see what the Film critics had been saying about George Clooney's latest film.
Written by the Coen Brothers, I wasn't disappointed with the ironic moments, as Matt Damon, Julianne Moore and Oscar were headlining the film.
TrueFact: during this author's viewing, there were quite a lot of negative comments in the Lobby area, "Oh, another Matt Damon film," from the unappreciative mass population, regarding the Downsizing standee.
Oscar as Bud Cooper, the life insurance salesman, was a memorable role. From any trailer version, his one-liner "I want it all," made me want to see what his role was, and what "all" meant.
The acting and writing method made this film seem like it could have been performed on-stage, or easily turned into one. Due to the way that Bud dies on-screen, and shot from only two camera views, as he runs through the neighborhood, after having been poisoned by Rose-Margaret, before finally dying.
I liked the set design, costumes and presentation of suburban issues in America, during the 1950s. Segregation, incest, greed and violence were themes presented.
This was more of a social film, in the words of Charlton Heston.
More social films
Even though Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri, won multiple Oscars for the 2018 awards ceremony, the same undertone used in Three Billboards was turned up a notch in Suburbicon.
I'm thinking that the Incest and Violence towards children, were what keep the film, from being nominated by the Academy, along with the Coen Brothers on its production slate.
A similar situation occurred for Good Time, which was written and produced by The Safdie Brothers. With Robert Pattinson in his 2nd theatrical release of 2017, the first being the Antagonist in The Lost City of Z, I thought Good Time to be an odyssey adventure for Connie. The irony is Connie is supposed to be of a religious Greek Orthodox doctrine, but his belief system is his personal agenda, as he keeps the audience guessing, as to what plays out in the next scene.
Interestingly, Timothee Chalamet is a fan of The Safdie Brothers' work, and is currently acting with Robert in a film version of The King.
What is your favorite "Oscar" film?
Some of Oscar's upcoming work
Oscar will be returning in SW9, as Poe. Episode IX will be the last film in this trilogy. I have not heard of plans for developing a brand new trilogy, as I never get tired of seeing Star Wars on the BigScreen.
Directed by J.J. Abrams, with a story by George Lucas, and written for the screen by Derek Connolly, Chris Terrio and Colin Trevorrow, SW9 looks like it's going to be action and story packed. I'm looking forward to this film, which will be released on December 20, 2019, which is also a Fast and Furious year.
This is why Marvel Studios has 6 theatrical releases in 2018, with the first one in theatres now: Black Panther. Summer 2018 is also going to be a scoop, with Ralph Breaks the Internet 2 and Incredibles 2, released by Disney and Pixar, respectively.
TrueFact: the author laughed out loud, during Trailer playout of Ralph Breaks the Internet 2 and Incredibles 2. Ditto for the Translite posters.
If you follow screenwriters ...
I do, because if I find a screenwriter who delivers a good story, then I follow his or her projects.
Being on the ancillary edge of Hollywood, I could be collaborating with my favorite screenwriter one day. Hollywood is a small town.
For example, Kong: Skull Island was a satisfying story, not only because I saw the film 28 times, during two-week Open Check gig weekends. It was not only the special effects from ILM that made it great, but the way that the Kong story was delivered. This screenplay had 3 writers: Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly.
And, no, I didn't go home dreaming of the movie. Just reciting the screenplay's dialogue from each character, for about a week after the Open Check.
Another nice screenplay example is Justice League. Despite the fans not liking this film (as my Hubpages metascore used to be 80, but took a deep dive towards 60, after I wrote the JL hub), I thought it was good. Chris Terrio and Josh Whedon were the main screenwriters, as Josh used to be in the Marvel Universe, among his involvement in Aliens3 and Aliens4.
Please visit my Hub for film coverage of JL.
- Justice League Double Feature Film
If you haven’t tried a Double Feature, you absolutely must … this was a good double feature!
Chris Terrio is another screenwriter, whom I follow. Some of his upcoming scripted projects include:
- Weather Service
- Untitled George Clooney project
- The Ends of the Earth
- Tell No One
- Richard II
- Justice League 2
TrueFact: the author also enjoyed Oscar as Bud Cooper, the life insurance salesman, in George Clooney's Suburbicon.
A second screenwriter to follow is Colin Trevorrow. His latest work will be seen, in this summer's much anticipated release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, or more commonly referred to as JW5.
Colin wrote Jurassic World, and is currently working on the next installment of Jurassic World. Some of his other projects include:
- World War X
- Stealing Time
- Powerhouse - as a Producer and writer.
- Intelligent Life - same roles.
- Eon - as a Producer.
- Cocked and Loaded - as a writer, along with Derek Connolly.
My last screenwriter of the moment, is Derek Connolly. His name has been known for a few years, as he wrote Monster Trucks, which as a PG-13 film, worked for me.
I explained it to an aunty, who had her 5-year old son with her, while in attendance for Summer Movie Express 2017, the film is "a little like the Fast and the Furious, done with monster trucks."
It was on the same Fast and Furious vein, since Spiro Razatas was the Second Assistant Director on Monster Trucks. Speaking of which, Spiro returns to the BigScreen this fall in Marvel Studios' Venom, starring Tom Hardy. Spiro is the Second A.D., Stunt Coordinator and in charge of Second Unit for Venom, for those Marvel Movie fans in the audience.
TrueFact: Fast and Furious fans also like Marvel movies. Action demographics.
Some of Derek's projects include:
- Metal Gear Solid - as a writer.
- Intelligent Life - collaborating with Colin, where Derek will be an Executive Producer and writer.
- Cocked and Loaded - writing with Colin again.
- Cloaked - as a writer.
What would we do without a mobile news feed?
While checking out my Yahoo!mobile news feed, it was announced this week that Oscar will be shooting in Hawaii, for his next film called Triple Frontier. Described as a thriller and crime drama, the film also stars Ben Affleck, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, Pedro Pascal and Reynaldo Gallegos.
For those in the audience who appreciate the Hottie Look, I believe you will like Pedro Pascal, as his late summer 2017 appearance in Kingsman: The Golden Circle as Whiskey, was pretty good.
Shooting begins in Hawaii on March 23, 2018. My inside industry sources tell me that filming is to be on Maui, since water and beach scenery will be necessary for the screenplay.
Wow, it would be great to meet these guys and the lone gal (Adria Arjona), as I'm impressed with all of their films. But, being one of the main Auditors on Oahu, I never really have the opportunity to leave the main island ("Darn, you're on the wrong island again, sistah!").
You'll remember Adria from The Belko Experiment, as the protagonist's girlfriend. See my Hub on this one.
- The Belko Experiment Film
Very thought provoking-social film. A must-see for today’s MNC-owned corporate culture theme.
Thank you for reading my continuing series on talented actors and actresses, as I'm discovering more about each person's contributions to the industry, as I compose their Hub.
Film openers: Pacific Rim Uprising and Sherlock Gnomes.
I'll be on a Movie assignment at the Art House theatre all day. Hoping to see you there, Pam
© 2018 Pam Freeman