Ian Thomas Malone

A Connecticut Yogi in King Joffrey's Court

Monthly Archive: January 2020

Tuesday

21

January 2020

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Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

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Grab your motorcar and the deed to Toad Hall, we’re going a merrily journey to nowhere in particular. Join Ian & Tarabelle for an in-depth discussion of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, the most idiosyncratic and wonderful attraction in Disney Park history. While The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad served as a loose adaptation of The Wind and the Willows, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride largely abandons any connection to its source material.

 

From Toad Hall to Hell, Ian & Tarabelle cover the ride in all in iterations including the original 1955 version and both tracks at Disney World, where it lived in a certain silly old bear took over in 1998. We love Pooh, but it’s okay if you’re still a little angry about the whole situation.

 

For more Disneyland fun, check out our three part series ranking every ride at Disneyland, as well as our episode covering Galaxy’s Edge.

For more Mr. Toad, check out Ian’s Instagram, where she obnoxiously posts pictures with Mr. Toad for every single visit.

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Monday

20

January 2020

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Quezon’s Game Makes a Mess out of an Inspiring Story

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Manuel Quezon was the rare kind of politician, hellbent on pursuing what he believed was right against overwhelming opposition. As the second president of the Philippines, Quezon was tasked with leading a government in turmoil as World War II approached. Recognizing the threat that the Jewish people faced from Hitler, he attempted to relocate tens of thousands of refugees to the Philippines at a time when too many politicians did nothing.

The film Quezon’s Game centers around the president’s efforts to save as many Jewish refugees as possible. The true story beyond Quezon is a compelling one that deserves to be told. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t do it justice.

The lead acting is the film’s strongest asset. Raymond Bagatsing brings nuance to Quezon, a believable politician. As his wife Aurora, Rachel Alejandro represents the film’s emotional core, drawing out the best in her husband. The scenes between the two supply most of the film’s best moments.

Sadly, the same can’t be said for the film’s supporting cast. Lines are awkward delivered from actors who often look lost in the scenes. Often, the cast seem to deliver their expressions well after speaking, a disconnect that could be forgiven in a community theatre production, but hardly from a feature film.

The script is absolutely atrocious. Heaps of exposition are dumped on the audience all at once. For a film based on a true story, the characters often talk as if they possess a retrospective knowledge of the events they’re supposed to be portraying in real time. There’s very little flow to this film.

While it’s hard to put too much blame on the film’s understandably small budget, director Matthew Rosen has a way of exacerbating this situation. Many of the scenes are shot in buildings with impressive architecture, but the cameras remain zoomed in on the actors, preventing the audience from examining the interesting sets. This dynamic continues for practically the whole film. The lighting also carries the feel of a soap opera, dim and dreary.

With a runtime of over two hours, Quezon’s Game is simply too long for its own good. There’s a lot of scenes that don’t really add anything to the narrative, and there’s too many of people sitting around a table having the same conversations. This wouldn’t be a big deal if the film had a good script or decent actors, but Rosen has a knack for drawing attention to his film’s shortcomings.

Quezon’s Game is an inspiring story with strong lead performances undermined by a weak script, a mediocre supporting cast, and a bloated runtime. The film is a real shame considering its powerful narrative. Manuel Quezon is a very inspiring figure. His legacy deserves a much better film.

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Monday

20

January 2020

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The Peaches of Renly Baratheon

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Grab your peach and the crown off the head of your least favorite older sibling, it’s time for a trip back to Westeros. Join Ian & special guest Sam of the Rainbow Guard for an episode all about the baby sibling of House Baratheon. Dearest Renly wasn’t in our story for very long, but he sure made an impact. Westeros’ most prominent gay character provided some great representation for the LGBTQ community, an ambitious and impeccably dressed figure who knew how to consolidate power and throw a wild tourney.

 

For more of Sam, follow him on Twitter @therainbowguard

 

Be sure to check out Ian’s article on Renly’s status as a queer icon

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Friday

17

January 2020

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Crisis on Infinite Earths

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Get your Lazarus Pit ready for a trip to Earth-CW! The Arrowverse pulled off a crossover for the ages and Estradiol Illusions is here to talk about it. Join host Ian Thomas Malone and special guest Ed Carroll for an exciting discussion covering Crisis on Infinite Earths. Ian & Ed break down what worked, what didn’t, plus all those exciting cameos. We may not have seen Nicholas Cage finally don the Superman costume, but there were so many thrilling moments that made for one of the most ambitious events in television history.   

For more of Ed, follow him on Twitter @EdRevelator34

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Saturday

11

January 2020

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1917 Is a Masterpiece of Filmmaking

Written by , Posted in Blog, Movie Reviews, Pop Culture

The confines of runtimes restrict film in many ways, requiring a director to operate with laser focus into their character’s lives. Two hours depicting an event hardly seems like enough time to capture its essence in full, yet somehow plenty of movies manage to deliver in this regard. 1917 presents its narrative as one single continuous take, a bold approach for director Sam Mendes. The result is a breathtaking experience that captures the brutal emotions that war forces upon young people.

The film follows two young lance corporals, Will Schofield (George MacKay) and Tom Blake (Dean Charles-Chapman) as they journey to deliver a message to a battalion planning to attack German forces in France who are believed to be in retreat. The limits in technology during World War One forced the intelligence to be delivered by hand, through unclear conditions, as aerial intelligence could only reveal so much. The fate of 1,600 British troops, including Blake’s brother, rests in the hands of two young men.

The cinematography works wonders on the narrative, revealing much about the two lead characters as they trudge through hazardous battlefields. Confronted by their own humanity, neither man seems like much of a hardened warrior, individuals merely responding to the circumstances put in front of them. Blake and Schofield repeatedly reveal themselves to be fundamentally decent human beings, doing a job that no one would ever want bestowed upon themselves.

Mendes uses the one-shot approach to fully display the horrors of war through the quiet moments. 1917 is a masterpiece of filmmaking. By presenting the narrative in real-time, Mendes allows the audience to experience the mission fully alongside the protagonists. From the trenches to the destroyed villages to the battlefields ripe with decaying soldiers, you follow them through the heart of war. It’s a deeply unnerving experience.

The pacing works extremely well. There’s plenty of quiet moments, but the suspense never lets up. Character development is a tricky proposition for a one-shot film, but Mendes ensures that there’s plenty of growth along the journey.

The film also utilizes some high-profile actors in a way that keeps the spotlight on the two leads. Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch both play high ranked commanders, delivering strong supporting performances that work well within the confines of the one-shot approach. MacKay and Charles-Chapman are hardly A-list stars, but their low-key profiles serve as a good reminder that war might be waged by elites, but fought by common men.

1917 presents a singular take on World War One, the kind of film that manages to keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time. What’s perhaps most impressive about that notion is the fact that it’s not a particularly action-heavy film, especially for a war narrative. It’s a deeply moving piece of art best enjoyed on the big screen. Few films manage to convey such emotion with such ease. 1917 likely won’t spark an influx of one-shot narratives, but Mendes makes a strong case for the method.

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