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Monday - May 10, 2021

Articles Written By TimBrennan

 

Into the Void

May 5th, 2021

Stowaway is streaming on Netflix Life is fragile. It’s easy to forget that on an average day. Last Thursday, for example, many of us were at work, spending time with kids, looking at cat pictures online, trying to get a COVID-19 vaccine, and wondering if it’s too late to order a pizza. For many of us, last Thursday was the last day of our lives. If regular life on our planet carries with it a certain sense of risk, then a life lived in the stars is insanely, ludicrously dangerous. I have a great deal of respect for people who choose to assume risk in order to protect others or advance human... Read More

Erin Go AARGH!

April 28th, 2021

Boys From County Hell is streaming on Shudder As I write this, we’re well into springtime in Colorado’s Front Range.* The sun sets later, flowers are beginning to bloom, and the promise of renewal is upon us. It’s a time for us to emerge from the snowy gloom of winter and embrace all that life and possibility have to offer. What’s the best way to do that? A good vampire movie. You don’t buy it either, huh? Bloodsuckers were around in the infancy of film, and even though most people haven’t seen the original Dracula, virtually everyone knows Bela Lugosi and his iconic performance.**... Read More

Addiction Nation

April 19th, 2021

Crisis is streaming on Prime Years ago, I was driving to the low-pay, high-stress job I held at the time. I turned my head to check my blind spot and, being an imbecile, I somehow screwed up my back.* The pain was quite serious, so much so that I got to work, then reconsidered and went to an ER. After the ER doctor helpfully concluded that I tweaked my back, he gave me a prescription for Codeine and sent me home. I remember how it felt once the Codeine took effect. I felt like I was literally melting into my chair, and I was so relaxed that the Manson Family could have burst through the door and... Read More

A Little Blood

April 14th, 2021

For the Sake of Vicious is streaming on Apple TV There’s one aspect of filmmaking that’s never gotten the respect it deserves. Directors are fawned over at film festivals. Actors are feted at the Academy Awards. Hell, even lowly screenwriters have websites, publications, and festivals honoring their achievements. But year after year, stunt performers are consistently ignored.* We all know that a big reason for that is due to marketing. Studios want us to watch an action extravaganza and believe that Arnold/Tom/Will/Chris/Chris/Chris are doing all their own stunts. It’s true that some actors... Read More

Giant Animal Smashy-Smashy

April 6th, 2021

Godzilla vs. Kong is streaming on HBO Max There are those of you who might scoff at the idea of intentionally watching a Godzilla movie. I’m not implying that you’re the stereotypical snob, one reclined in a leather wingback chair, sipping a mug of Earl Grey and desperate to return to leafing through the pages of Ulysses for the seventh time. What I am saying is that you might think you have something, literally anything, better to do than that. Want to take the idea of a giant lizard stomping on people seriously for a moment? There’s a precedent. First, watch the OG Godzilla from 1954.... Read More

Sisterhood of the Murdering Pants

March 30th, 2021

Slaxx is streaming on Shudder Well, hello! Got another film to gab about this week? I sure do. Terrific! Is it something with the sturm und drang of Justice League? The rampant silliness of Barb and Star? The intense empathy of Nomadland? …kind of? Surely it’s the kind of towering cinematic achievement that will inevitably be celebrated at Cannes and/or the Academy Awards? That’s taking things a bit far. What I’m talking about is a genre piece. A genre piece? Okay, fine. A horror movie. Now we’re on firmer conversational footing! We all know you’re partial to transgressive horror... Read More

Gods Among Us

March 22nd, 2021

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is streaming on HBO Max Second chances don’t come around too often. That’s just as true in the movie business as it is anywhere else.* For filmmaker Zack Snyder, his 2017 film Justice League seemed to be firmly in the rearview mirror. Can you blame him? The Marvel Cinematic Universe had producer Kevin Feige coordinating everything. The MCU made money — lots of it. Warner Bros. very quickly realized that a) they owned the rights to the DC comics characters and b) they also loved money. In short order, they rushed to create the competing DC Extended Universe.... Read More

Shoot, Stab, Repeat

March 16th, 2021

Boss Level is streaming on Hulu In the world of Hollywood, it can take time for a genre to emerge. That’s mostly due to the overwhelming cowardice lurking throughout the entertainment industry. If you have a novel idea for a movie, say, an action flick where the hero is scared and tired, or a series of films that create an interconnected cinematic universe, the vast number of executives will pass on it before you can finish your first sentence.  It took a minute for time loop movies to catch on. Groundhog Day wasn’t the first. As best as I can figure, the first time loop movie was The Girl... Read More

Two Peas In a Pod

March 9th, 2021

Bard and Star Go To Vista Del Mar is streaming on Prime “It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.” You know that line, even if you’ve never seen the classic comedy This is Spinal Tap. There’s real truth in that line, particularly considering the dire state of American comedy movies.  A few decades back, comedy was king at the box office. It felt for a while there that the purpose of Saturday Night Live was to groom cast members for future careers as massive movie stars. You had folks like Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Tina Fey, and Will Ferrell appearing in movies that... Read More

Down The Road

March 1st, 2021

Nomadland is streaming on Hulu The nature of the world is to change. It’s always been so, despite our best efforts to push back against it. Some of us, one percent or so, have the financial means to handle anything. If the economy tanks or they have a health crisis, their limitless coffers allow them to bob gently on the surface of the water. Meanwhile, people like me, and possibly you, live a different kind of existence. Right now, my family is comfortable-ish. We can pay our bills, occasionally order takeout, sometimes feed the needs of our charmingly avaricious son, and even put a little... Read More

The Man With the Car

February 24th, 2021

Judas and the Black Messiah is streaming on HBOMax Just imagine it. A few years after the horrors of World War II, you’re born. Living in the suburbs of Chicago, radio and television tell you — endlessly — that you live in the greatest country in the world. A bastion of freedom and justice. A place where, by virtue of hard work and cleverness, you can become anything you can imagine. Initially, you want to be a centerfielder for the Yankees. Life has other plans, and you find yourself cooking breakfasts for other kids in your neighborhood. You think you have to. Hell, who else will? As you... Read More

Woodgod

February 15th, 2021

Sator is streaming on Prime Timing is everything. So many aspects of our lives depend on a certain something taking place at a certain moment. Meet the right person at the right moment, and they could become a lifelong friend or the great love of your life. If the timing is off? You might never meet them at all, or you might catch them at a low point and be repelled. Art is the same way. Imagine you’re in Florence and your plan for the day is to view Michaelangelo’s famous statue of David. In one instance, you got a good night’s sleep, you’re not hangry, and you’ve managed to beat the... Read More

Details, Details

February 9th, 2021

The Little Things is streaming on HBOMax Hey, you! You, the person who just dropped a few hundred bucks on screenwriting software and who bought a veritable library of books on how to write a winning script. You, the person who was struck by a (potentially misguided) bolt of motivation to roll up your sleeves and bang out a screenplay about a serial killer. Maybe…don’t? Look, don’t get me wrong, pretty much as long as there have been movies, there have been movies about disturbing maniacs who prey on the innocent. Fritz Lang’s M had to do with a child murderer in Berlin, and it was... Read More

Nice Guys

February 7th, 2021

Promising Young Woman is streaming on Prime They said he came from a respectable family. Regarding his character, they said he was kind, loving, and respectful. By all accounts, he had a bright future ahead of him in the medical field, and a spot on the U.S. Olympic Swim Team beckoned. On January 17, 2015, the vast majority of people would have thought that Brock Turner was going places. A promising young man, indeed. Twenty-four hours later, he was under arrest. Not long after that, he was facing two charges of rape, two charges of felony sexual assault, and one charge of attempted rape. There... Read More

In the Company of Wolves

January 23rd, 2021

Hunted is streaming on Shudder She didn’t want to go. It would mean leaving the safety of the village, leaving behind a world of predictability and order. Yet, there was no choice, not when the matter concerned her grandmother, whom she loved. The old woman lived in a cottage nestled far in the woods. The old woman was sick and was in desperate need of food and medicine. What choice did her granddaughter have? So, she wrapped her red cloak around herself tightly and took the first tentative steps into the forest. I bet that sounds familiar. You know all about Red Riding Hood, the old folk tale... Read More

The Last Man

January 11th, 2021

My kid Liam is around six months into his thirteenth year. He’s kind, smart, funny, and I can already see that he’ll go much further in life than I ever will. That’s how it’s supposed to be. Also, since he’s taking his first coltish steps in being a teenager, he has Opinions. Many, many opinions about many, many subjects. Which is also how it’s supposed to be. For example, here’s me camped out in my chair, watching George Clooney’s newest film, The Midnight Sky. Maybe 45 minutes into it, Liam comes in and announces he’s done with school. He asks what I’m watching and what I... Read More

Life On Earth

January 5th, 2021

If you’re reading this, you’re alive and you survived 2020. Trust me when I tell you, that’s good! We had an insanely acrimonious presidential election, a pandemic that almost completely caught the world unawares, and an economy that’s currently curled in the fetal position. Selfishness and willful ignorance swept the land. There was serious talk of secession. The whole thing sucked. And then? Then, we passed across that hazy and insubstantial border to 2021. A new year. An opportunity to, if you’re a cynic, make laughable public promises to change your life and fail to do so. Years of... Read More

Age of Wonder

December 28th, 2020

To one degree or another, superheroes are all about symbolism. Despite having been originally designed as characters for children, they have become our modern mythology. When used correctly, they can simultaneously deliver surface-level thrills while also having something legitimate to say. If Batman is about dealing with trauma and Superman is about the desire to help, then Wonder Woman is ultimately about hope.* Hope with a clear-eyed and flinty view of things as they are and not as we’d like them to be. Consider that, while she has the Lasso of Truth, Wonder Woman carried a sword in the comics... Read More

Christmas Goosed

December 21st, 2020

Let’s get a few things out of the way first. First, I do not hate Christmas. Take away the rampant commercialization and repugnant consumerism, and you still have a time of year to be thankful, to be hopeful, and to push yourself to be just a little more decent. Yes, even in 2020. It’s Christmas movies I don’t like. Specifically, the Hallmark Christmas movie sub-genre. If you don’t know these kinds of films, trust me when I tell you, you know them. A person from the bustling big city is sent to a charming and almost completely white small town. They meet a person of the opposite sex* who... Read More

Just a Writer

December 16th, 2020

Mank is streaming on Netflix France has Voltaire, Simone de Beauvoir, Marcel Proust, and so many others. They’re justifiably proud of the literary output of their citizens, with thousands of pages waxing rhapsodic about philosophy, the arts, politics, and so much more. Not to be outdone is England, with immortal wordsmiths like Douglas Adams, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, and the 800-pound gorilla in the room, William Shakespeare. You know what country, deep down in its bones, doesn’t really care about writers? That would be the good old United States of America. It’s appalling, considering... Read More