WALL·E (2008)

” Just needed someone to look after you, that’s all. “

Left alone on a planet, a trash compacting robot searches for meaning in an endless loop.  In a sea of meaningless nostalgia, Wall-E fantasizes about companionship and a sense of belonging.  His adventure leads him on a quest for love and to preserve hope that Earth will once again be inhabitable.  Wall-E provides a vision of a post-consumerist world, neglected and void of any responsibility.  It does this through vivid dystopian landscapes and social commentary that, at times, seems closer to reality than fiction.

Once Upon A Time In America (1984)

When I picked up Once Upon a Time in America I had no idea what it was about and certainly no idea how long it was.  I put off starting the film for a few days and then settled in.  The film is set between the 1920’s to the 1960’s and follows the life of David “Noodles” Aaronson, a Jewish gangster who grew up during prohibition, played by De Niro.  Noodles reluctantly returns to his childhood neighborhood and reflects on a life of excitement, passion, and betrayal.  Sergio Leone’s final film features a well-crafted and driving story line, masterfully executed suspense sequences, and elegant editing and camera work.

Founder, The (2016)

The Founder follows Ray Kroc, played by Michael Keaton, as he transitions from a milk shake maker salesman to ‘founding’ the biggest name in fast food.  His duplicitous behavior helped bring him riches beyond his wildest imagination, but at the cost of both business and personal relationships.  The director, John Lee Hancock, straddles the benevolent nature of big business by showcasing Kroc’s success through self-fulfilling perseverance and blatant disregard for anyone else.  His desire to maintain forward momentum left many behind him in his wake in order for one the best business models to date to flourish.  Good, wholesome, intentions overpowered by greed and pride is at the heart of this film.  Did Richard and Maurice McDonald lack the follow-through to execute a venture on this magnitude or were they just steamrolled by an ambitious cutthroat?

Babel (2006)

“I’m not bad I just did something stupid.”

Babel‘s immersive story sends us on a trip to Morocco, Japan, Mexico, and The United States.  The plot follows four main story lines that are all linked by a .270 Winchester M70 rifle.  A husband and wife, played by Pitt and Blanchett, on vacation in Morocco, a small family in the Moroccan desert, two children and their nanny in San Diego and Mexico, and a young deaf woman in Japan.  The screenplay is seamlessly spliced between these story arcs and tracks a non-linear timeline.  Through times of violence and regret, each character is learning how to grow from their mistakes.

The First Movie: From Antiquity – 1906

 

The short answer for the question, “What is the first movie?”, depends on your definition of a movie.  Are you looking for the earliest projected image?  Then the answer would be  images that were projected through Magic Lanterns, a centuries old device comprised of a light source and glass.  The first projection using film would be the 1887 film Man Walking Around the Corner by Le Prince.  The first commercial release of motion capture would be seconds long short films designed for the Zoetrope.  The first feature film was The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Fight in 1897 at over an hour long.  The first motion picture that had a story arc is considered to be The Story of the Kelly Gang, a 1906 Australian film with a run time of 60 minutes that played in several countries.  What can be pinpointed as the “first movie” is subjective and up for individual interpretation.