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Thursday - July 9, 2020

Articles Written By TimBrennan

 

Critic & Son – MCU Edition

July 5th, 2020

I’m writing this on the morning of July 2. By now, we should have been a couple of months deep into the summer movie season. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t miss it. Facts are facts, though. We’ve got one heck of a nasty virus wreaking havoc on the country, and one of the casualties is the modern moviegoing experience. At this point, the only way I’d set foot in a theater is if I could be enclosed in a human-sized hamster ball. What is a summer movie, anyway? Well, it’s complicated.* Jaws is the first summer blockbuster, proving to studios that audiences would flock to theaters... Read More

Brothers

June 28th, 2020

Da 5 Bloods is streaming on Netflix I’ve never served in the military. At the tail end of high school, recruiters from the Army bombarded my phone, trying to convince me to sign up for officer training school. What they didn’t realize, and what I only dimly knew at the time, was that I would have been an absolutely horrible soldier. There’s a host of reasons, but the main might be that I ask too many questions, and when you’re part of a chain of command, asking too many questions at the wrong time can get people killed. I’ve also never been Black. For God’s sake, have you seen me? If... Read More

Girl Kills World

June 21st, 2020

Everyone who’s into movies has a thing. A thing that is endlessly fascinating and that can be refracted through a thousand different lenses. One friend of mine has a deep and abiding love of schlocky horror movies. Loves ‘em, can’t get enough of ‘em. They’re his happy place, and whenever he’s having a tough day, a small scotch and a viewing of Motel Hell will perk him right up. My thing is comedians playing villains. However, let me be clear. If a comedian or comedic actor is playing a comedic villain, that doesn’t scratch the itch. Instead, when a funnyman plays a real nasty piece... Read More

Ain’t Love Grand?

June 14th, 2020

The Lovebirds is streaming on Netflix If you’re like me, you could use some quiet time. There’s something to be said for bringing back naps and giving us adults a scheduled block with which we can reflect and recharge. Why? Oh, only because the country is literally on fire and going foo-foo nutty. Let’s take a moment to review, shall we? In the past few weeks alone, we’ve been treated to:   Police brutality Police brutality in response to the aforementioned police brutality Numerous riots Peaceful protests that dwarf the riots The President orders the teargassing of peaceful protesters... Read More

Fight the Power

June 7th, 2020

Why did Mookie throw the trash can? You can see the crowd watching the murder of Radio Raheem at the hands of white cops, their shared looks of horror. Mookie shares the same look, then runs his hands down his face. He’s come to a decision. With deliberate purpose, he walks to a battered trash can, tosses away the lid and the garbage, then lifts up the can.  You can see Mookie break into a run and heave the trash can. It smashes through the window of Sal’s Famous Pizzeria. The look on his face isn’t one of triumph or exultation. It’s exhaustion. 1989 was the year that put Spike Lee on... Read More

Amateurs

May 31st, 2020

Time to Hunt is streaming on Netflix We should be in the summer movie season right now. We should be bombarded by entertainment options: a little Marvel, a Pixar movie, a studio comedy—you know, the usual. We should be escaping the increasingly oppressive heat, complaining about ding-dongs on their smartphones, and praying that nobody spilled anything in or around our seats. All of that should be going on. But it isn’t, and it’s increasingly looking like the 2020 summer movie season simply isn’t going to happen. How are we supposed to deal with it, particularly when it’s one of a host... Read More

Critic & Son – Star Wars Edition

May 24th, 2020

You shouldn’t expect your kids to be into the same things you are. It certainly wasn’t the case with my father and me. Bill was a World War II veteran, a lover of big band music, and a guy with the kind of effortless charisma that made him likable to everyone he came across.* He was also a casual moviegoer. I remember him laughing himself into a mild asthma attack during The Naked Gun, and I remember us seeing both Goodfellas and The Silence of the Lambs theatrically. However, I should emphasize he was a casual moviegoer. Did he care about the works of Altman and Kurosawa? Nope. Not even a... Read More

Touchable

May 17th, 2020

  Sometimes the meaning of a life is revealed at the end of it. We’ve seen that in film for decades, and perhaps the best example of this is Citizen Kane.* After a meteoric rise and a life spent in journalism and the halls of power, Charles Foster Kane is moments away from death. He whispers, “Rosebud,” and as the film commences, we learn that all the power and prestige in the world is meaningless without love. A real life tends to be messier. Sometimes that’s problematic, and reality is jettisoned in favor of a narrative. The end result might look a bit like Braveheart, a cracking... Read More

The Worst of All Possible Parents

May 10th, 2020

The Willoughbys is streaming on Netflix Once upon a time, there lived a parent. This parent had the colossal misfortune to be a) alive during a pandemic and b) in charge of children. It was bad enough that the wicked virus forced people to stay inside.* Movie theaters closed. Baseball stadiums were empty. Jobs vanished. People scoffed at the idea of eating at buffets. As you can imagine, all that time spent inside was incredibly boring for the parent. There were only so many times they could make sourdough bread! But as dull as it was for the parent, it was a thousand times worse for their kids.... Read More

Return of the Sad Action Guy

May 3rd, 2020

Extraction is streaming on Netflix now. Not all action movies are created equally. You know that, and you know there’s a wide world of difference between an honest-to-God classic like Die Hard and a disappointment sandwich like A Good Day to Die Hard. Like me, you’re likely stuck in coronavirus lockdown, and you’re likely looking for entertainment to take the edge off. The question is, what flavor of action movie are you after? If you break it down, there are really three kinds of action protagonists. The first is Happy Action Guy. Bruce Willis has played quite a few of them, and despite... Read More

The Expanse of Dreams

April 26th, 2020

The Room is currently streaming on Shudder.   Some people love home renovation projects. Can’t get enough of them. I am not one of those people, due to a comical lack of handyman skills. An example? My involvement in a house painting project with my wife ended with an irritated lesson in proper brush techniques and the hissed admonition to “Go get pizza. Just go.” Needless to say, I got the pizza. Your experience might have been different. Many years ago, my friends Stacy and Dave bought a home located in a small town in New England. Having been built in the late 1700s, their house passed... Read More

Language!

April 19th, 2020

Coffee & Kareem is streaming on Netflix.   We can’t help what we find funny. Who knows where it comes from in the first place? We all have those particular peccadillos that crack us up and make little to no sense. That’s just it—our sense of humor is simply that, a sense. There’s no logic, no rhyme or reason to explain it. Years ago, I worked with a guy and got a very close look at his sense of humor. He was responsible, well-liked, and good at his job. Yet no matter what he was doing, if he saw someone fall, he would immediately die of laughter. You’d hear this loud, almost... Read More

Mahk’s Pahking the Cah in Hahvahd Yahd

April 12th, 2020

Spenser Confidential is streaming on Netflix.   Gather round, children, and let Graybeard Tim regale you with tales of the Long Ago Times! Back in the day, there were three tiers of screened entertainment. The first was theatrical films. This was where the Scorseses, Spielbergs, and Coppolas of the world lived, and actors like Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise strode the world like a colossus. In short, it was the big time. The second tier was television, and at the time it was looked at as a decidedly lesser art form.* You had formulaic cop shows with lawmen (and they were almost always men) who... Read More

Ignition

April 5th, 2020

Portrait of a Lady on Fire is streaming on Hulu.   Connections are everything. We all know that humans are social animals. We all know that there’s an inescapable aspect of us that yearns to be around others. That connection might be on a professional level, a familial level, a romantic level. Even introverts, who might feel like they have been in training for current events, need somebody else in their lives. Making the right connection is hard enough. You have to be in the right place at the right time with the right person. Even then, the bonds can be tenuous. Ghosting seems like a 21st-century... Read More

Up The Down Elevator

March 29th, 2020

The Platform is streaming on Netflix now.   It’s hard enough for a quality film to break through to audiences under normal circumstances. The Motion Picture Association of America tells us that, despite the usual fluctuations, an average of 600 movies are released yearly. Of that number, some of them have advantages. Major studio backing and a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign can get a film a hell of a lot closer to the finish line of profitability, regardless of its actual quality. But, as you’ve probably noticed, we’re a country mile past “normal” these days. Going to the movies... Read More

The Show Must Go On

March 22nd, 2020

Here’s the weird thing about change: most of the time, we don’t notice it happening until it’s already happened. Smartphones are an omnipresent feature of life, and the fact is that if you don’t have one, you’re operating at a fairly huge disadvantage. Yet it wasn’t that long ago that they were looked at as frivolous and hardly necessary. Once in a while though, change kicks us in the teeth. Our good friend the coronavirus has seen to that, and right now things are changing very quickly. As I write this, I see that there’s very serious talk from staunch conservatives about sending... Read More

The Grind

March 15th, 2020

We’re all scared. Can you blame us? There’s a pandemic cutting through every corner of the world. The guy who’s supposed to be in charge doesn’t appear to know what he’s doing. People are hoarding toilet paper, for God’s sake. As a species, as a country, and as individuals, we’re living in a time of great uncertainty, and it might feel like we’re going to hit bottom any minute. What are we supposed to do? You know who knows a little something about that? Ben Affleck. It wasn’t easy for him, growing up with a father who was an alcoholic and the eventual split that took place between... Read More

A Little Magic

March 8th, 2020

The internet has given us a great deal. From my laptop or phone, I have access to several lifetimes’ worth of information and culture. I can order a pizza, have it personalized precisely to my specifications, and it will be delivered to my overpriced hovel—all without having to speak to a human being. It’s a kind of magic. The internet has also taken away a great deal. It can feel like decency is in short supply sometimes, and it can also feel like blizzards of information hide the fact that much of the information can’t be trusted. One of the worst casualties of the information age is... Read More

A Disappearing Act

March 1st, 2020

The good news is, we’re in a golden age of horror movies. Back in the old days, horror wasn’t taken seriously as a genre. If you liked a good scare, you’d run into a few problems; you’d need to sift through a Mount Everest of crummy movies to unearth the very occasional gems. When you did find something good, who were you going to talk to about it? Certainly not the people who would snobbishly decry the degeneracy of horror. Things changed, and for once, they changed for the better. I have friends online that I can talk movies with. There’s a streaming service, Shudder, dedicated exclusively... Read More

The Feel Bad Movie of The Year

February 23rd, 2020

Not long ago on my birthday, I decided to do something for myself. To celebrate my inevitable march toward old age and the grave, a drive in the mountains was just the thing. I fired up the trusty Prius, put my iPhone music on shuffle,* and off I went into the majesty of Colorado’s iconic Front Range. I stopped at Flagstaff Lookout Point. The road to the top was closed due to snow, and I figured a little stroll would do me good. After a few minutes of picking my way through the recently fallen snow, I became acutely aware of two things. First, as far as I could tell, I was the only one up there.... Read More