Paul Preston

Paul Preston

Welcome to The Movie Guys!

The Movie Guys are film-drenched wise-asses with no shortage of insightful and hilarious things to say about all things movies. Paul is pretty much the Kermit of this gang of renegade film freaks, leading the way and inspiring insanity and a fierce love of movies.

Paul can tell you what day of the week it is any day of the year based on what movies have come out that weekend and whether the grosses are final or not. Paul’s brain is hard-wired to the movie screen for film trivia, facts and 24/7 sensory overload from the entertainment mecca of the world. Paul serves up a cerebral take on what the world’s greatest industry is dishing out. He has worked in a movie theater, video store, film set, video production company and movie-themed amusement park. He’s worked movie premieres, written screenplays, directed short films, served as editor on numerous television shows, written and directed commercials, performed stand-up comedy around the country, performed with The Second City, kick-boxed a grizzly bear, stared down a tank, and defeated all thirteen Halo games and Scientology. He’s qualified. Now sit down.

Click all over the site to find blogs, reviews, video sketches, games and opinions you’ll only get from The Movie Guys!

Paul’s latest obsession – watch one movie a day for the rest of his life! He’s writing about it in a series of posts called “Today I Watched…”
Find it HERE and posted below!

FAVORITE MOVIE OF ALL TIME:
Raiders of the Lost Ark

TOP FIVE FILMS OF 2016:
5. Everybody Wants Some!!
4. Hell or High Water
3. Manchester By The Sea
2. Captain America: Civil War
1. La La Land

LINKS TO RECENT WORK
REVIEWS:
Blade Runner 2049
Blade Runner: The Final Cut
Victoria & Abdul
Battle of the Sexes
mother!
Terminator 2: Judgment Day 3D
Logan Lucky
Detroit
A Ghost Story
To The Bone
Wind River
Atomic Blonde
War For The Planet of the Apes
Despicable Me 3
Okja
Hired Gun
Cars 3
It Comes at Night
Wonder Woman
The Mummy
Alien: Covenant
Baywatch
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Snatched
I Am Not Your Negro
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The Fate of the Furious
Colossal
The Discovery
Gifted
Beauty and the Beast
Fist Fight
Kong: Skull Island
Logan
Table 19
Get Out
I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore
Colin Hay: Waiting For My Real Life
The Lego Batman Movie
Jackie
Gold
Split
Silence
Paul has written the majority of the Archives from 1991 – present, use links in the footer, use the search tool or the dropdown menu at the bottom of the page for more.

ARTICLES:
Reporting From the Floor of Comic-Con 2017
The Best Way Out of Movie Jail
Reporting From the Floor of Comic-Con 2017
La La Land: The Defense Rests
Oscar Rant 2017
Hollywood’s Backloading Problem
Vikram Gandhi – The TMG Interview
Enough with the Spending – Hollywood’s Addiction to Squandering Money
Batting .1000 – Hollywood’s Winning Streaks
Search the ARCHIVES links on this page’s footer or use the search tool for more of Paul’s articles.

VIDEOS:
Paul has hosted, appeared in and contributed original comedy material to every Movie Guys video (200+), seen at the VIDEOS PAGE, or at their YouTube page.
Most recently The New Movie Show.

AUDIO:
Paul hosts THE MOVIE SHOWCAST on iTunes. New episode every Thursday!
Paul has been interviewed on several radio stations here and abroad, hear the interviews at the AUDIO PAGE.
Liberty Devitto, Russell Javors & Chris Johnson – The TMG Interview
The Download on WGN – 9/8/16

THE LIVE SHOW:
Paul is a writer/performer for The Movie Guys LIVE, and has appeared at many red carpets, festivals and screenings, mixing it up with actors and filmmakers of all kinds, moderating Q&As and getting the audience involved.

PAUL’S REVIEWS:

Blade Runner 2049

IT’S BOTH THE YEAR AND THE TICKET PRICE FOR IMAX

Blade Runner 2049

Review by Paul Preston

We’re in a movie era where studios are big on pulling out old films or franchises and re-igniting them. The results are mixed, for every Creed, you get an Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I believe movies that have expanded a mythology like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Jurassic World have resonated more with audiences than straight remakes I defy you to remember like Poltergeist, Total Recall and Footloose.

Blade Runner 2049

Whether you remade or continued the story of Blade Runner, you were in for some work, if you planned to do it right. The 1982 original coughed up a dense world of people and robot slaves based on Philip K. Dick’s book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and the look and feel of the movie was like nothing before it and copied a hundred times over since. Screenwriter of the original, Hampton Fancher, was brought in to continue the story. Fancher’s Hollywood history is interesting, for thirty-five years he’s only written a couple other screenplays, and yet he returns in solid form to this franchise to plot a complicated continuation of the story of Rick Deckard and the replicants.

By 2049, not only has the overpopulation that was present in 2019 continued to escalate, but the Earth’s weather has gone haywire (at one point, it’s snowing in Los Angeles). The Tyrell Corporation is no more, leaving replicant manufacturing to Niander Wallace (Jared Leto, in another wonderfully half-bonkers performance), who gained power and made a fortune solving the world’s hunger crisis. Blade Runner 2049 picks up with Agent K, played by Ryan Gosling, a blade runner in the manner of Deckard from the previous movies, assigned to seek out and “retire” (terminate) replicants who have gone rogue.

Blade Runner 2049

To say more about this movie’s plot is to involve spoilers. The entire plot of Blade Runner 2049 is a spoiler. The trailers give away nothing but the gorgeous visuals and in the first ten minutes of the film there’s a huge reveal and more keep coming, building a plot that is a smart and logical evolution in the arc of robots who want to have dominion over their own lives. Harrison Ford returns as Deckard, whose disappearance factors into protecting replicants from the likes of Wallace. There are replicant factions bent on giving freedom to their kind, built now solely to obey and K’s closest friend, lover and confidant is a hologram (despite the over-population, one of Blade Runner 2049’s signature themes is loneliness).

This is one of Ford’s finest performances (and films) since Clear and Present Danger and The Fugitive in the early ‘90s (although he’s pretty damn good in 42). He anchors Deckard in a fit of loss and sadness that’s palpable. Gosling is the soul of the film as he takes viewers through an original and inventive character arc. His relationship with Joi, the holographic girlfriend is one of the movie’s best with a brief scene towards the end that’s a heartbreaker (it’s a scene from the trailer that, once in context, drips of melancholy, driving home that if non-humans want to feel, then you’re going to feel everything, even sorrow). Ana de Armas’ performance as Joi is spectacular.

Blade Runner 2049

Despite all this, the sequel didn’t find a moment for me quite like Roy Batty’s monologue at the end of the original Blade Runner. That moment where a replicant uses his last remaining moments to act with compassion and in a moment so utterly human, becomes the crux of the two-film arc. 2049 piecemeals together moments both quiet and intense that add up to a lot, but the overall feel is still a bit cold, somewhat detached without galvanizing the viewer, and that may be the point. Future Los Angeles, despite its advances in technology, is a desolate, forlorn place. Batty’s moment remains the emotional highlight of franchise.

You could say the star of the film is director of photography and 13-time Oscar nominee Roger Deakins. The look of this film demands IMAX and its being shown in IMAX 2D, which is a boost to the experience, preventing the 3D projection from dampening the film’s colors and making all the nighttime and rain scenes that much darker. This may very well be one of the best-looking films of all time when you combine Deakins’ cinematography with the immensely detailed work of production designer Dennis Gassner, all spearheaded by director Denis Villeneuve. Villeneuve continues a major winning streak as this follows Prisoners, Sicario and Arrival. The 100-ft. tall holographic advertisements and the vertigo-incuding shots of the giant artifices of the L.A. skyline make this film’s look unique, even to the original.

Blade Runner 2049

Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer’s effectively echoes the legendary music of Vangelis from the original, and Zimmer’s bombastic style works here, when employed to the fullest. There were some crowd scenes where I thought a DJ was playing. Filling out the cast are Dave Bautista in a small but very effective performance at the top of the film as a replicant who claims to have witnessed a miracle. Robin Wright brings her oft-used steeliness to Agent K’s boss at the LAPD who sends him in a mysterious mission to avoid societal calamity and Sylvia Hoeks is great as the badass second to Leto’s Wallace, especially when she out-steelys Wright!

Blade Runner 2049, thankfully, is not the product of the money-grabbing nostalgia machine made up of non-feeling replicants themselves who greenlight films to satisfy our longing for the past. It’s a bold push forward on a classic story, told with overwhelming style.
 
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Release Date: October 6, 2017
Run Time: 163 Minutes
Rated: R
Country: UK/USA/Canada
Distributor: Warner Brothers

PAUL’S TODAY I WATCHED… REVIEWS:

Baby Driver

Baby Driver

Reviews by Paul Preston

Welcome to Today I Watched…, a series of posts documenting my new challenge – watch a movie a day for the rest of my life. Keep coming back to TheMovieGuys.net to find out what I watch each day…and get my take on it.

When I see a movie that’s a new release in theaters or on demand, I’ll give it a proper review in the “Reviews” or “Home Viewing”, otherwise, I’ll write about it here.

Alone

June 27, 2017 – Alone

Yes, it’s another short film called Alone, continuing my quest to see them all. This is yet another one called an award-winning Depression Short Film. A young man is in bed, he’s restless. Eventually, he awakens, makes himself something to eat, grabs his skateboard and heads out for a kick about town on it. This movie returns to the opening scene to make a statement about everything you’ve seen up to then. If you didn’t get it (I didn’t), the filmmaker explains it ALL in the YouTube description. This won an award for Sound Design at the Halifax Film Festival, which doesn’t say much about the fest, ‘cause clearly NO cross dissolves were used to smooth out the audio and no room tone was employed, so every time there’s an edit, the composition of the audio changes, too. It’s distracting. Overall, this is just a young guy making a movie, but even with the best intentions, it’s not really good, and there are 50+ other Alones out there you could be seeing instead.

June 28, 2017 – Baby Driver

Edgar Wright has put together the coolest action movie of the summer with Baby Driver. Cool dialogue, delivered coolly by cool actors doing cool stunts. In a summer of bloated action spectacles that make no effect, the drive-and-chase action of Baby Driver is most welcome. I mean, who can even tell me what the hell that was that was happening at the end of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword? Who even remembers that came out?

Baby Driver

This is an unexpected follow-up to The Fault in Our Stars for Ansel Elgort, who plays Baby, a getaway car driver for Kevin Spacey’s crime boss. Baby’s got tinnitus and is always listening to music to drown out the ringing (which makes for one of the best film soundtracks in years). Baby’s called for a number of heists which include run-ins with Jamie Foxx’s out-of-control, ‘bout-to-snap gangster, Jon Hamm and Eliza González as the cool, collected thieves and Jon Bernthal, who’s just great ‘cause he shows up (I’m a fan). All of the above have varying opinions of skepticism about Baby’s quiet demeanor. Baby seems to be reaching the end of a series of runs that he owes Spacey, and while doing so, he’s also trying to make time with the local waitress, played by Lily James.

Baby Driver does that thing that movie previews do, where they time out the action with the music that’s playing. Bullets fire and cars punch into gear in syncopated rhythm with the songs of the soundtrack. Where that seems pointless in a trailer, here it adds to developing Baby’s world. Without flying piles of garbage or endless streams of mechanical nonsense to act as action sequences (see the likes of Suicide Squad or Transformers: The Last Knight, Wright relies on good ‘ol STUNTS! Baby and company knock around the streets of Atlanta with unique and excitingly staged and shot action sequences. You’ve seen Edgar Wright’s fast-cutting used for comedic effect before in Hot Fuzz or Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, but here it’s used to amp up the excitement and danger.

Baby Driver

There’s no major emotional pull from this movie. You root for Baby and Debora, but I was never overly-passionate about them. Baby talks about how he conducts business, but then goes against the grain of his own set of rules (involving guns) late in the film. I thought that might be a bigger moment in the film, but it wasn’t. It just felt, to me, like a bit of a betrayal of his beliefs to advance the plot. Not as egregious as other summer movies who cavalierly disregard sets of rules they set up (talkin’ to you, The Mummy), but noticeable nonetheless.

One of my least favorite terms is “popcorn movie”, and I could end this piece by telling you just turn your head off and enjoy this popcorn movie. But I think “popcorn movie” denotes laziness on two fronts – the filmmaker and the viewer. The filmmaker didn’t strive to shoot higher with his work and you, the viewer, got lazy by LETTING HIM OFF. So while people will tell you awful films like Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales are “alright”, a “good popcorn movie”, know that Edgar Wright shoots higher. He hasn’t made Birdman, but he’s elevated the style and exceptionalism of summer movie entertainment for at least one weekend.

June 29, 2017 – To The Bone – read the review of the Netflix original drama about anorexia in the HOME VIEWING category of TheMovieGuys.net.

Alone

June 30, 2017 – Alone

Here’s another movie called Alone that’s about depression. I’M starting to get depressed. This one doesn’t really have hope, which I’ve enjoyed in some of the other depression shorts. It’s just a straight-up exploration of someone going down and down and down into depression and meeting her inevitable end. You’ll notice I don’t include the links for shorts I watch that I’m not all that thrilled with. No need to crap on these shorts directly, they’re just trying to get by. But don’t seek this one out either, it’s just a bummer.