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Wednesday - January 27, 2021

Archive for the ‘ Movies ’ Category

 

A Talk Amongst Friends

January 27th, 2021

One Night in Miami is streaming on Prime There’s a vast canyon of difference between a celebrity and an icon. Celebrities are famous, sure. Most of the time, that fame is earned. Here in the Denver area, there’s a reason why people still talk about John Elway. There’s a reason why, when Samuel L. Jackson appears on the screen, all those with taste smile in anticipation. Sometimes people are famous for being famous, which is an experience people in both the Kardashian and Hilton clans are intimately familiar with. Icons are a different breed of cat. They represent something that speaks to... 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

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

Raw Sugar

December 9th, 2020

Sweet Parents is streaming on Prime There’s an old story, one where a couple goes to the big city. These two have an artistic way about them. They’re enchanted by the lights, the energy, the seemingly limitless possibilities. They look at each other and agree that one way or another, they can make a life here. It won’t be easy, since hardly anything ever is. But it’s possible. There’s another story, one that’s far less popular. The same couple gets chewed up and spit out by the big city, a place that allows for very few mistakes. Their dreams? Crushed. Their hopes? Dashed. Those starry... Read More

Dying Is Easy

November 20th, 2020

All Joking Aside is streaming on Prime When it comes to the arts, there’s nothing harder than stand-up comedy. Don’t get me wrong; to play principal cello for the Boston Pops is an undeniable achievement. To create a magnificent sculpture is a feat that most people will never accomplish. Hell, writing a novel or screenplay is still a pretty big deal, considering the legions of people who talk about it but never do it. Stand-up is different for a few reasons. First, most people aren’t consistently funny. Your mom or co-worker might drop a wicked bon mot from time to time. Doing that for a... Read More

Disorder In the Court

November 16th, 2020

The Trial of the Chicago 7 is streaming on Netflix There’s a long and semi-proud tradition in Hollywood of the courtroom movie. Some of them, such as To Kill a Mockingbird, The Verdict, and 12 Angry Men stand the test of time.* They have something particular to say about the law, about justice, and how we either uphold our ideals or abandon them altogether. Here’s the thing about making a courtroom movie…they’re hard. The first problem before you is the script. Ever read legal transcripts? If not, they’re a very effective substitution for valium. Your first challenge is to hack through... Read More

Second Verse, A Little Different Than the First

November 4th, 2020

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is streaming on Prime How does he do it? He must have the luck of Loki or some other trickster god on his side, considering the pranks he’s pulled have edged out of the realm of the audacious and into the realm of the openly suicidal. How is it possible that Sacha Baron Cohen hasn’t been tarred and feathered, shot out of a cannon, or drawn and quartered yet? Of all the genres out there, comedy is the one that takes the most courage. It’s not just about putting yourself out there. You have to be willing to step into the spotlight, act like a ding-dong, and run the... Read More

Something Dark, Twisted and Awesome

October 28th, 2020

The Mortuary Collection is streaming on Shudder For a while there, horror anthologies seemed to be on the way out. You had your Twilight Zone: The Movie, your Creepshow, Body Bags, and others. Years passed, and while a steady stream of films was released that focused on short-form horror, not too many of them captured the imagination of audiences. In the last ten or so years, I think there were three films that truly helped to goose the genre and remain beloved to this day. If your taste in horror leans more independent, you’re probably a fan of 2012’s V/H/S. For a more international flavor,... Read More

Noche de los Muertos

October 21st, 2020

Murder in the woods is streaming on Prime Slasher movies are a cultural fixture. They have been for a long time. So much so that, if you’re not into horror like myself, you still know the rhythms of the genre. Ask anyone from a grandma in Arkansas to a Generation Z-er in Los Angeles, and they’ll tell you that your standard-issue slasher movie consists of: A group of high-school or college-age folks. They consisting of a dopey jock, a stoner, a hothead, a sexually aggressive woman, a “nice” guy, and a virginal young woman. An isolated area, such as a cabin, camp, or lakeside manor. A rampaging... Read More

Miss Mystery

October 16th, 2020

Enola Holmes is streaming on Netflix   Perhaps the best part of a movie, for me, is the first couple of seconds. By that point, I have a broad idea of the premise. I’ve poured myself a drink. My brain is prepared. When the first production company logo appears onscreen, we’re in a Schrodinger’s Movie scenario. Anything is possible, and even if the premise is ill-advised, there’s a chance of getting something amazing.*  Add to that the excitement you get from hearing a strong concept. A secret organization protects Earth from alien threats? Sold. A rag-tag group of scientists opens... Read More

That Old Time Religion

October 6th, 2020

The Devil All the Time is streaming on Netflix I’ve been to the South, but I’ve never been to The South. To clarify, years ago my wife and I took a week off for a road trip. We were on the East Coast then, and with the exception of a couple of trips to Florida, I had never spent any appreciable time further South than Maryland. I was intensely curious about what I would find. Honestly, I loved it. In particular, I fell deeply in love with Charleston, the elegantly crumbling South Carolina city. The food? Incredible. The sights? Marvelous. The people? Delightful.* In particular was a couple... Read More

Choose Trust

September 29th, 2020

IRL is streaming on Prime I’ve been involved in a few long-distance relationships. Despite taking place about a million years ago, I still remember them. Chiefly, I remember them being not entirely awesome. While everyone else went on dates or prowled bars or parties for ill-advised hookups, I waited by the phone. In between calls and letters, there was a delightful chasm of insecurity to navigate. As much as dating sucked, long-distance dating was a horror show. That’s not the case for everyone. Long-distance relationships can work. For them to survive and thrive, they depend on trust. They... Read More

Tempest in a Teapot

September 21st, 2020

Cuties is streaming on Netflix  Take a seat. Better yet, make a nice, hot cup of tea, pull up your nearest fainting couch, and get ready for some information that is sure to blow your mind. Ready? You sure? Okay…here goes. *takes a deep breath* Americans are really, really stupid when it comes to both art and nuance. An example is the kerfuffle that sprang up regarding The Last Temptation of Christ. It all began with the 1955 novel written by Nikos Kazantzakis that examined the life of Jesus. Specifically, it posited the concept of Jesus briefly succumbing to temptation while on the cross and... Read More

Time Is Like a Cold Wind

September 14th, 2020

I’m Thinking of Ending Things is streaming on Netflix The movie isn’t the problem. I’m the problem. Nobody ever said art was easy, right? Making art can be something that goes beyond difficult. It can go to a place that feels like self-flagellation, as if you’re hurling your entire body against a brick wall. All in service for…what, exactly? The slim possibility that your artwork manages to escape into the wild, a viewer sees it and thinks, “Ah, I see what you’re doing. Good work.” Art is a two-way street. It requires both an artist and a viewer of the art.* I get it, and I’m... Read More

Be Excellent To Each Other

September 8th, 2020

Bill & Ted Face the Music is streaming on Prime Let’s talk about trilogies. Specifically, how unbelievably hard they are to pull off. It’s difficult enough to pull off a good movie, considering you need a strong script, solid direction, and competent actors. To pull off a decent sequel, you need to build on the world you first established and go in a new direction yet one that’s not so new it undoes the first film. To do all of that, and add a third film wrapping up everything? It’s easier to climb up Mount Everest blindfolded and naked. Even the most prestigious and profitable franchises... Read More

A King Has Gone to His Rest

September 3rd, 2020

“In African cultures, we often refer to loved ones that have passed on as ancestors. Sometimes you are genetically related. Sometimes you are not. I had the privilege of directing scenes of Chad’s character, T’Challa, communicating with the ancestors of Wakanda. We were in Atlanta, in an abandoned warehouse, with bluescreens, and massive movie lights, but Chad’s performance made it feel real. I think it was because, from the time that I met him, the ancestors spoke through him. It’s no secret to me now how he was able to skillfully portray some of our most notable ones. I had no doubt... Read More

A Gorilla Never Forgets

August 30th, 2020

The One and Only Ivan is streaming on Disney+. Once upon a time, there was a mall, located in a faraway land known as Tacoma. This mall wasn’t the sort of mall you might have hung out at as an incorrigible youth. It didn’t have a food court. It didn’t have an Apple store. It didn’t have a mall security guard. It was not a gleaming bastion to capitalism. Instead, this mall was…different. Instead of chains, it was a haven of small businesses. Some of them were the kind of places that sold incredible art or wonderful used books. Other were the kind of places that would sell throwing... Read More

Superheavy

August 23rd, 2020

Project Power is streaming on Netflix Next to westerns, there’s no other genre that has the flexibility that superheroes have in terms of storytelling. You might think that your options are limited to an MCU snarkfest or the Snyder cut of Justice League, truly an edgelord’s delight. But there’s more to superheroes than that. A hell of a lot more. Consider Wild Cards. Originally a series of anthology novels, the premise focused on an alien virus released over the skies of New York City. 90 percent of those infected died. Nine percent lived and were known as Jokers, people afflicted with crippling... Read More

Headspace

August 16th, 2020

7500 is streaming on Amazon Prime Americans are not good at empathy. We like to think we are, but the hard truth is, we suck at it. Why? Because empathy is a skill. It takes a great deal of time, effort, and imagination to try to put yourself into the place of someone different than yourself. Some people are better at it than others. Some people don’t see the value of attempting empathy in the first place. For example, since the murder of George Floyd, a great deal of white people have taken a hard look at their biases and privilege. They have had to reckon with the concept of systemic racism,... Read More

What A Croc

August 9th, 2020

The Pool is streaming on Shudder. There aren’t too many animals that genuinely scare me. Sure, I know that my place on the food chain isn’t anywhere near as high as I’d like to think. During a visit to the Denver Zoo a year or so back, I was spending time at the lion exhibit. A male lion padded up close to the barrier, sat down, then gave me a long look. That look was similar to the look I used to give the Taco Bell menu in college. As a middle-aged man with white beginning to speckle my beard, there are still a few critters that freak me out. One is chimpanzees, and as adorably cute as they... Read More