Quantcast
   
Tuesday - May 21, 2019

Articles Written By TimBrennan

 

A Man of Focus

May 19th, 2019

Let’s begin with something that’s indisputable. On April 1, 2009, Alfonso Hernandez and Michael Edmonds thought it would be funny to shoot a dog dead. Why? All cruelty has ever needed to flourish is an opportunity. In this case, Hernandez and Edmonds saw a yellow Labrador puppy outside a home. They shot the dog with a .357 Magnum pistol, then stood over her body, laughing. In addition to being evil, this was a seriously dumb move. The puppy’s name was Dasy. Her guardian was Marcus Luttrell, a SEAL team member awarded the Navy Cross for heroism in combat while serving in Afghanistan. He was... Read More

Detective Deadpool

May 12th, 2019
tim goodman

In order to understand Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, you need to understand a couple of startling facts. First, let’s explain what Pokémon actually is. Created in 1995, this Japanese franchise concerns itself with a world overflowing with what are known a   s pocket monsters. Folks known as trainers must capture different species of Pokémon, which are weird critters that have fantastic powers. From there, they do battle with other trainers to become a champion.* You probably know this, but Pokémon is massive. 807 distinct species of the titular beastie have been created so far, and they appear... Read More

When Everything Works

May 5th, 2019

I don’t know if you guys knew this, but Hollywood is kind of shallow. If you’re a woman, regardless of your talent, intelligence, or drive, an awful lot of people are going to base their first and last impressions of you on your looks and body type. How many wildly talented women never got their shot because they didn’t wear a size zero? Take Charlize Theron for example. Impossibly attractive, she was first noticed in 1996’s 2 Days in the Valley.* For several years, she appeared in a string of forgettable films. She took a risk in 2003 playing serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster. The... Read More

The End Is The Beginning

April 28th, 2019

“A thing isn’t beautiful because it lasts.” That quote comes from the under-loved Avengers: Age of Ultron. Upon its 2015 release, we were 11 films deep and there were two schools of thought about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a sprawling epic of interconnectivity. Eager nerds like myself were excited. Comic book creators and imagination machines like Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, and Steve Ditko used these characters, perhaps unwittingly, as a kind of modern mythology. There were lessons of tolerance, justice, decency. You could take something of real value away from the adventures of a bunch of... Read More

Hell No

April 21st, 2019

Some characters lend themselves to endless interpretations. Batman is one of them. Let’s say you’re planning to make a Batman movie, and by some miracle, you don’t have to attach it to an expanded universe or follow up on threads from a previous installment. Warner Brothers gives you a $90 million budget and sends you on your merry way. What kind of film should you make? Lucky you, because you have options! Just a few of them might be:   A goofy comedy that’s tonally similar to the 1966 Batman television series A horror movie where Batman is trapped within Arkham Asylum A procedural... Read More

The Cat Came Back

April 14th, 2019

Zana died early in the morning. She was an Abyssinian, a breed of cat known for their small bodies and hilariously large ears. Our family has had mostly good luck with long-lived pets, and Zana was no exception. She made it to 17 years old, and even in the last years of her life when she committed to being a cranky old lady, she would still frequently clamber into my lap and purr softly as I petted her. The morning she passed, she was in bed with my wife and me. It was early when she started meowing, loudly and urgently. I remember picking her up and taking her into the bathroom, then laying her... Read More

My Name Is

April 7th, 2019

Director Zack Snyder has thoughts. During a charity event screening of his films Dawn of the Dead, Watchmen, and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, he was asked about the depiction of Batman. Specifically, the depiction that the Caped Crusader was awfully, well…homicidal. During the film, Ben Affleck’s Dark Knight straight-up mows down crooks with cunningly hidden machine guns in the Batmobile and decimates goons in a brutal warehouse battle. It’s all a bit much. Snyder responded with the immortal quote, “Someone says to me: Batman killed a guy. I’m like, ‘F**k, really? Wake the... Read More

The Flap of a Hummingbird’s Wing

March 31st, 2019

Roger Ebert once wrote, “…for me, the movies are like a machine that generates empathy. It lets you understand a little bit more about different hopes, aspirations, dreams, and fears.” That quote is something I keep returning to throughout the years since empathy allows us to drop into the lives of people that aren’t necessarily likable, yet we can still find a connection with them. Empathizing with Captain America is easy. Empathizing with Hannibal Lecter, or Travis Bickle, or Annie Wilkes? That’s a little bit harder, and it requires some work on the part of the viewer. I know, the... Read More

I’m Right Behind Me

March 24th, 2019

Like all right-thinking people, I’m a gigantic fan of Key & Peele. If you’re reading this, the odds are that you are too. It’s possible, though, that maybe you aren’t familiar with their stuff. If so, that’s okay! I try to be mindful that not everyone comes to the same material at the same time.* Good art has a way of coming to people when they’re ready for it. Created by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, their sketch comedy show ran on Comedy Central from 2012 to 2015. Beyond getting truly goofy, Key and Peele genuinely had something to say, and they made their points with wit... Read More

Wannabe

March 17th, 2019

Do you know what drives me absolutely batty? When a movie doesn’t know what it wants to be. You’d think that would be reasonably easy to work out, right? Perhaps not, but let’s perform a thought experiment from a couple of angles. Imagine you’re a screenwriter. A major studio hires you to pen the latest installment of their box-office dominating franchise. To do that, you need to figure out genre and tone. With genre, are you making a superhero movie? An action flick? A comedy? Science fiction? If you want to blend the genres, great. The Cabin in the Woods is ultimately a horror movie that... Read More

Higher, Further, Faster

March 10th, 2019

Representation matters. It’s just as important to see some facsimile of yourself at age seven as it is at age 77. It’s a way of shaping your identity, a way of telling the world that you matter. Done right, representation can show you a higher path and provide you with a way to be better. As a kid, my morals were shaped more powerfully and acutely by comics than they ever were by church.* Spider-Man taught me doing the right thing can suck. It can be lonely and painful, but it’s no less the right thing to do. Superman taught me that consideration for others makes the world not only a better... Read More

 Maybe Not So Much With the New Friend

March 3rd, 2019

Big film genres stick around. As long as movies are a device for long-form storytelling, we’ll always have earnest dramas, goofy comedies, and movies where a guy walks away from an explosion without looking at it. But smaller sub-genres come and go, and we seem to be entering a resurgence of the Yuppies in Peril film. If it’s been a minute since you’ve seen one of these flicks; no worries—I’m here to help. Originally, Yuppies in Peril movies focused on a young, white, and affluent person, couple or family being psychologically and physically assaulted. For example, disc jockey Clint Eastwood... Read More

Any Neighborhood

February 24th, 2019

Decisions have consequences. Sometimes they’re gigantic. Can you imagine if President Obama had hesitated and decided not to send in Seal Team Six to kill Osama bin Laden? If General Eisenhower had opted not to postpone the invasion of Normandy due to poor weather conditions? Most of the time, our decisions don’t feel monumental. However, like small streams feeding into a river that runs to the sea, they build upon each other. Take a moment to consider the decisions you’ve made in the last year. Think about where you were versus where you are now. It might not feel like it, but you’ve likely... Read More

Manic Pixie Cyborg Girl

February 17th, 2019

As much as we love to bellyache about Hollywood failing to come up with new ideas, there are two irrefutable facts we have to contend with. The first is that, frequently, when something blazingly original is released theatrically, audiences shun it. Speed Racer was a failure. Cloud Atlas was a failure. Mortal Engines was a failure. The second fact? As long as there have been movies, there have been adaptations. It’s hardly a new phenomenon. George De Maurier’s 1895 novel Trilby, which I’m sure you all have read, was adapted into a silent film way back in 1915. This kind of thing has been... Read More

Everything Is (Slightly Less) Awesome

February 10th, 2019

It’s very difficult to be surprised by movies these days. You’ve seen trailers released by major studios that seem to leech most of the drama out of the film they’re promoting. If you go to certain corners of the internet, you can piece together marketing materials, leaked screenplays, and footage and basically get the gist of a film before it’s even playing theatrically. That sucks, so I cherish those moments, particularly in studio blockbusters, when I get blindsided. One of my favorites from 2018 was the last 30 minutes of Avengers: Infinity War. If you haven’t gotten around to seeing... Read More

Moby Dick + Wild Things + The Matrix = WTF

February 3rd, 2019
anne hathaway serenity

One of the most valuable things in life is honesty; particularly, the honesty of someone calling out your bad ideas. When someone cares about you on a personal or professional level, they’ll do their level best to pull you back from the brink. I cannot emphasize how important that is, but let me explain with my own idiotic example. I do screenwriting on the side. Years ago, I was batting about script ideas with my writing partners. As we kicked around ideas, I was struck by the Bad Idea Fairy. “Guys, guys, so there were gold reserves in the sub-basements of the Twin Towers. What if, in the... Read More

No Backup

January 27th, 2019

I love seeing actors take risks. Even more so, I love seeing movie stars take risks. It’s not the kind of thing that happens too often because, like criminals, movie stars tend to be a superstitious and cowardly lot. Considering that the era when a matinee icon could guarantee a huge opening for a movie is essentially dead, movie stars are increasingly faced with two choices. They can either retreat into a niche that gets increasingly smaller, or they can adapt. Robin Williams was an early adopter of adaptation. For those of you too young to remember, Williams was a hyperactive stand-up comedian... Read More

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