Quantcast
   
Monday - January 21, 2019

Articles Written By TimBrennan

 

A Million Shattered Pieces

January 20th, 2019
glass poster

Movies aren’t for everyone, though people think they are. A bunch of years ago, my wife and I caught the very good film Adaptation in the theaters. If it’s been a minute since you’ve seen or thought about it, Adaptation is about a lonely screenwriter struggling to adapt a book about an orchid thief. It’s got strong performances by Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep, and a great deal to say about the creative process. Joining us in our cinematic excursion was an Unnamed Member Of Our Extended Family. He’s a great guy, but the film tastes of the aforementioned UMOOEF, as he will be known going... Read More

Make It Stop

January 13th, 2019
Keanu Reeves in Replicas

I kind of hate January. There, I said it. Yes, it’s the first month of a new year, and it represents a new start and new possibilities and blah blah blah. After the warmth of the holiday season, January is cold, bleak, bereft of life. The main reason I hate January, though? It’s the month where movies go to die. For the most part, certain times of the year correspond with certain movies. Summer is for big blockbusters. Late fall is when then Academy Award hopefuls are rolled out. January is the dumping ground of the studios. People are going back to work or back to school, and there generally... Read More

The Glass Between Their Love

January 6th, 2019

On July 6, 2016, Philando Castile died tragically and pointlessly. Officer Jeronimo Yanez pulled Castile over during a traffic stop. Later, Yanez claimed Castile was pulled over because he looked like the suspect in a robbery. In the car with Castile was his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds. Her four-year-old daughter was in the back seat. As Yanez asked Castile to produce his license and insurance, Castile informed the police officer that he had a licensed firearm in his possession. At this point, Officer Yanez panicked. He raised his voice, unholstered his firearm, and fired at Philando Castile seven... Read More

The Angler – Local Movie Reviewer Gives Opinions on Vice

December 30th, 2018

There are a lot of people extremely angry at Adam McKay’s new film Vice. It’s not surprising, considering the film a) is about some of the most well-known people in recent history and b) is political. If you’re reading this, you probably have an opinion about Vice-President Richard Cheney, whether you think he was a tough government operator who did what was necessary, or you think he was a major player in Hell’s demonic hierarchy. The political aspects make things even trickier. We’ve talked before about how at this moment in history, virtually everything is polarized. One of the problems... Read More

Swimming Upstream – Local Movie Reviewer Splashes with Aquaman

December 23rd, 2018

Poor Aquaman. Ask any kid, any comic aficionado, any pop culture enthusiast who their favorite superhero is. Batman will come up a lot, Spider-Man and Wolverine will certainly get mentioned, even Black Panther and The Flash will get some love*. But the King of Atlantis? Eh…not so much. Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger created the character for DC Comics way back in 1941, and he languished in obscurity until the era of Saturday morning cartoons in the 1960s. From that point on, Aquaman became a joke. You could tell people all day long that he was immensely powerful, due to an ability to withstand... Read More

The Road Better Off Not Taken

December 16th, 2018

As much as I love Unforgiven, In the Line of Fire, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and Dirty Harry, I think my favorite Clint Eastwood film is Escape from Alcatraz. As bank robber Frank Morris, you can see him plotting a way off the famed prison from the very first scenes of the film. Eastwood’s Morris is taciturn, intelligent, and does not suffer fools gladly.* Clint Eastwood casts a long shadow. He’s been in the entertainment industry since 1955, and he has 72 acting credits and 40 directorial credits. At age 88, he keeps at it, releasing a film or two every few years. He’s made some... Read More

Anyone Can Be Under the Mask – Local Movie Reviewer Takes a Ride Through the Spider-Verse

December 9th, 2018

Just imagine it. You step up to the corner of the skyscraper. You look down through the plastic lenses of your mask — and down is a long way down. But who cares? It’s a beautiful spring day, the sun is out, and you’re in New York City. So you step off into space, gravity catches you, and you’re cannonballing toward the ground. Lazily, you stretch your right arm out, aim, and double-tap your web shooters. The webline streams out and adheres to a wall. The line goes taut, but you’re holding on as you swing in a tight parabola. Then you let go, pull a pretty slick backflip, and momentum... Read More

Driving Mr. Shirley

December 2nd, 2018

I’ve mentioned to you guys before that my wife is not the world’s biggest fan of going to the movies. As a semi-professional introvert, the notion of being crammed into a theater with loud talkers, loud eaters, and dipsticks checking their smartphones every three minutes does not appeal to her. Weird, huh? Along with all of that, she feels a high degree of scorn toward a certain type of film — dramas that are “Inspired By A True Story.” When she sees that phrase in a trailer, she just can’t help herself and she’ll snort disdainfully. Why that particular phrase? It implies that the... Read More

A Big Strong Man Who Needs Saving – Local Movie Reviewer Glows About Ralph Breaks the Internet

November 25th, 2018

There’s a vast world of difference between a family movie and a kid’s movie. If you’re a) a parent or b) someone who spends a chunk of time around children, you know the difference immediately. But what is the difference? It’s a tricky concept, to be sure, and I think there’s a great deal of overlap between the two. I can hear you muttering under your breath, “Who cares? What difference does it make?” Here’s the thing about that, Disgruntled Reader Whom I Just Made Up — at some point in your life, you may be called upon to take a kid to a movie. Your enjoyment of the film may... Read More

When They Go Low, We Go High*

November 18th, 2018

Movies are a drug for me, and there’s a certain type of movie that delivers a high that simply can’t be beaten. They don’t come around too often, but when they do, it’s like a blast of pleasure to the left and right hemispheres of my brain simultaneously. Take a moment and imagine there are really two kinds of movies. Low film and high film. Low films are, first and foremost, designed to entertain. That doesn’t mean they’re disreputable or of poor quality, though they can be. Transformers and Suicide Squad are low films that are also eau de garbage. Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Avengers... Read More

Thousand Year Soldiers – A Review on Overlord

November 11th, 2018

“That was better than it had any right to be.” A friend of mine said that after we departed the theater, having just seen the new film Overlord. He was quite right, but you might be reasonably asking yourself, “What’s up with the smug condescension? Aren’t you supposed to give each movie its day in court and approach it as a cinematic tabula rasa?”    Yeah, I know. You’re supposed to, but let’s be honest here. We all have our biases, especially when it comes to movies. Some people want to immediately take a suicide pill when they see a trailer for the latest Marvel movie. Others... Read More

Mercury Rising: Local Movie Reviewer Has Thoughts About Bohemian Rhapsody

November 4th, 2018

My neighbors Jennifer and Paul are absolutely delightful people. Our kids play together, and we’ve made it a point to hang out whenever possible. Paul is a ridiculously talented baker, and Jennifer quietly sabotages the Minnesota Nice caricature with her vicious sense of humor. They’re great…except for one teensy-weensy thing. A while back, we’re all having dinner together. As they’re from Minnesota, I’m asking questions about the state. Inevitably, the subject of Prince comes up. I mention to them that I’m a big fan of His Purple Majesty. With a sneer, Jennifer responds with,... Read More

The Night HE Came Back! – A Review on the 11th Installment of Halloween

October 28th, 2018

“I met him, 15 years ago. I was told there was nothing left; no reason, no conscience, no understanding in even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this…six-year-old child with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and…the blackest eyes — the Devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up, because I realized that what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply…evil.” John Carpenter and Debra Hill wrote those words for the screenplay of 1978’s Halloween.... Read More

No Vacancy – Local Denverite Reviews Bad Times at the El Royale

October 21st, 2018

One of the worst clichés in the history of film is also one of the most accurate. I think you know it, and when I tell you what it is, your response will likely range between rolling your eyes indulgently and a desire to burn down your nearest movie theater and salt the earth. It’s when a filmmaker says, “I wanted New York/Gotham City/Oz to feel like a character.” I know, I know, I can hear your chortling from here. That still doesn’t change the fact that it’s a true statement, though! Places have character. They can feel very distinctive. We’ve all walked into a building or across... Read More

Symbi-Nope: Local Movie Reviewer Takes on Venom

October 14th, 2018

Folks, I’d like to apologize up front for this review of Venom. To put things into context, we’re going to have to make a deep dive into nerdery. I know! I can hear your eyes rolling from here. We’ll make this quick, I promise. In 1988, The Amazing Spider-Man #300 was published.* That comic book introduced Venom, an enemy of the wall-crawler. Built like a weightlifter and utterly vicious, he’s got the same powers as ya boi Spidey, along with extremely flexible morals. Totally unsurprisingly, the character was an instant hit, beloved by edgelords** before edgelords were a thing. But isn’t... Read More

Twelve Notes – Local Movie Reviewer Explores the New Remake “A Star is Born”

October 7th, 2018

One of the old Hollywood legends is about the genesis of 1937’s A Star Is Born. Allegedly, it was not-so-secretly about the relationship between Barbara Stanwyck and Frank Fay. While Fay was a success on Broadway, his film career fizzled. Stanwyck became a massive film star, and Fay worked out his resentment of her through alcoholism and physical abuse. For a while, that was the template for these remakes, that of the meteoric rise of the ingènue and the corresponding fall of the has-been. That tells us that, at the end of the day, there aren’t that many stories. In Christopher Booker’s... Read More

The Review With the Unnecessarily Long Title

September 30th, 2018

There’s this friend of mine — we’ll call her Polly — who absolutely despises horror movies. Can’t handle them. Not only does she see no artistic merit to them whatsoever, but she also doesn’t enjoy the cinematic experience of being scared. Those intense feelings toward horror cinema have been transferred to Polly’s oldest son. Not only does she refuse to let him watch scary movies, she won’t let him view content with even a hint of the macabre. Let’s be clear, I’m not suggesting she should gather the family around the TV for a double feature of The Exorcist and The Shining.... Read More

The Most Terrible Poverty is Loneliness – Local Movie Reviewer Takes on A Simple Favor

September 23rd, 2018

What’s the point of consistently stepping outside our comfort zones? It’s healthy to stretch yourself. Most of us have been encouraged/yelled at by our parents to try new experiences, eat new delicacies, go to new places. By doing that, we get smarter, more empathetic, more sophisticated. When filmmakers stretch themselves? That’s the good stuff. That’s when you have the chance to see something unique. Take Adam McKay for example. As a close friend of Will Ferrell’s, his directorial career began with films like Anchorman and Step Brothers, comedies that walked a fine line between surrealism... Read More

Why? Because They’re Dumb – Local Movie Reviewer Takes on Predator

September 16th, 2018

On the cinematic Venn diagram, there can be an awful lot of overlap between a great movie and an awesome movie. Before we go too much further, let me stake out what I mean by that. A great movie is one with impressive production design, acting, screenwriting, and direction — essentially all the ingredients have been baked in to give us a film of quality. Apollo 13 is a great movie, as is Monster and Deliverance. An awesome movie, on the other hand? That’s a movie that directly tickles our reptile brain, delivering a thrill, a joke, something purely designed to elicit an immediate response.... Read More

Horrible Selfish People

September 9th, 2018

Hollywood gets things wrong all the time. Possibly the most common error made by writers, directors, producers, and the studio executives overseeing the whole thing? It’s that audiences need the main characters to be likable. That’s not correct, because for a film to succeed, your main character doesn’t have to be someone you’d want to have a beer with. They need to be interesting. The problem comes down to confusing sympathy with empathy. Think of it like this; with sympathy, you’re having a positive emotional reaction to someone else’s situation. In that situation, you like the main... Read More