Quantcast
   
Thursday - September 23, 2021

Archive for the ‘ Movies ’ Category

 

Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu

September 14th, 2021

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a trend-setter, and it’s kind of amazing considering the risks taken. Consider the lead of Iron Man was a troubled actor with a notable drug problem. Consider that the vast majority of people had no earthly idea who Iron Man even was. Consider that the idea of an interconnected multi-film franchise was looked at as, to be charitable, raging insanity. The irony is that, despite the huge chances taken by the MCU, Marvel Comics originally followed numerous trends instead of inspiring them. The creation of the Fantastic Four was a response to DC Comics’ creation... Read More

Bruja

September 6th, 2021

I’m a genre nerd. While a thoughtful documentary or smart drama will capture my attention, nothing gets my nerd radar pinging faster than a film that Wikipedia defines as, “a stylistic or thematic category for motion pictures based on similarities either in the narrative elements, aesthetic approach, or the emotional response to the film.” Luckily, there’s an awful lot of room for filmmakers to operate in when it comes to genre. A war movie only has to feature…well, war. A vampire movie simply needs to have something within it that can be recognized as some sort of vampire. Science... Read More

Uncaged

August 30th, 2021

Is it fair to call Nicolas Cage a film icon? Not in the religious sense of the word, but more the idea that an icon represents a concept.  Take a look at his filmography for a moment. You’ll first notice a fairly astonishing amount of good to great films he’s made. Red Rock West. Leaving Las Vegas. Lord of War. The Rock. Mandy. If any other actor had done just one of those films, they’d be looked at as an all-timer. The other thing you’ll notice on said filmography? A titanic amount of crap. Some of it was due to simply picking the wrong projects. Some of it was due to fallout from a high-profile... Read More

Signs and Portents

August 24th, 2021

The past is a distant country. The further away we travel from it, the more strange the customs feel and the more unlike our own times it becomes. Consider the life you lead right now, the things you take for granted and consider to be normal. Now consider how jarring it would be to time travel back to, say, 1951. The clothing, technology, standards, everything would feel odd, and 1951 was only 70 years ago. Take that sense of disconnectedness and multiply it. You probably have something close to the chasm between how we think about the Middle Ages and the lived experience of Europeans. From the... Read More

The Do-Over

August 17th, 2021

Once upon a time, there was a director who got royally screwed. His name was (and continues to be) David Ayer, and his upbringing in South Central Los Angeles informed him well. There are likely two reasons you’re familiar with Ayer. The first is his work as the talented screenwriter of Training Day and the director of very good films such as End of Watch and Fury. The second reason is that he’s the guy who made 2016’s Suicide Squad. Despite making nearly $750 million and winning the Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyle, Suicide Squad was critically reviled. I read over my review*... Read More

The Bog

August 2nd, 2021

What’s the best day of your life? It could be the day you hit that professional milestone, the one you’ve been striving toward for months or years. It might be the birth of your child, and the knowledge that you’re going to step up and guide them in a positive direction. For many of us, the best day involves your significant other. They’re the one person who has your back, who can brighten your life, and who you can see spending your life with. What’s the worst day of your life? It might be the day you made one bad decision, the mistake that got you fired from a job and demolished any... Read More

Don’t Drive Angry

July 26th, 2021

If you’ve driven a vehicle, you’ve gotten mad. That’s just a facet of life in present-day America. You get behind the wheel and after you’ve left point A and you’re on the way to point B…something happens. Maybe it’s a person in front of you going a little too slow. Maybe it’s some Danica Patrick wannabe who’s riding your bumper. Maybe it’s some clown swerving all over the place and nearly sideswiping you. They’re not driving because they’re like Mad Max, shiny and chrome on the Fury Road, they’re just dicking around on their phone. Road rage is exquisite grist for... Read More

Everything’s Fine

July 19th, 2021

I adore crime movies, though some flavors more than others. About half of Quentin Tarantino’s filmography focuses on crime, and Pulp Fiction alone birthed legions of imitators. For years, there were scores of films involving loquacious scumbags holding forth on pop culture and committing unexpected (but completely expected) acts of violence. Some of these movies were even good. Tarantino’s crime movies are like a cheeseburger ordered at the trendiest restaurant you can imagine, cooked by the biggest celebrity chef out there. You’ll enjoy that burger, I promise you, but while you’re eating... Read More

Budapest With An S.H.

July 12th, 2021

Prequels are terrible. That is, until they aren’t. It used to be that the idea of checking out the earlier adventures of beloved characters was nothing more than a craven cash grab. You had the tomfoolery of Butch and Sundance: The Early Years, the nonsense of Hannibal Rising, and the blatant idiocy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Done well, a prequel can add texture and character to a franchise. It can fill in the blanks and even recontextualize the original work. Despite the clunky execution, mostly poor acting, and thunderingly obvious storytelling, George Lucas deserves credit. His Prequel trilogy... Read More

Mommy Brain

July 6th, 2021

False Positive is streaming on Hulu In 2016, the World Health Organization estimated that around 830 women die on a daily basis due to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. If you read that number and were floored by the lethal math on display, it’s probably because you’re a man. The fact of the matter is, the process of pregnancy has always been tied up with risk. Three hundred years ago, along with the distressingly normal dangers associated with birth, a pregnant woman had to contend with barbaric practices that barely met the definition of medical, as well as an insanely misogynistic... Read More

Young Reeds

June 28th, 2021

Mainstream American movies aren’t usually designed to take risks. No big surprise there. The last several decades have given us action movies where we’re never too worried about the hero. Dramas where some degree of justice is usually reached.* Comedies that only ever make us uncomfortable due to gross-out jokes. First of all, I’m here to tell you…that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with watching Keanu Reeves shoot people in the face, nothing wrong with a nice drama about a White guy and a Black guy becoming friends, and nothing wrong with Will Ferrell screaming about being stuck... Read More

Little Dream

June 21st, 2021

In The Heights is streaming on HBO Max I wasn’t a fan of musicals until I was. It took a while. The problem began with old black and white movies. Fred Astaire. A vibe right at home in the 30s and 40s. The kind of thing that was a fairly reliable moneymaker in theaters up until the 60s. And, yes, there are a few films that, even then, I recognized as classics. What kind of monster dislikes Singin’ In The Rain? Andrew Lloyd Webber’s output didn’t help matters. I saw The Phantom of the Opera and even bought an overpriced t-shirt in a misguided gambit to try and fit in with the theater kids... Read More

The Devil Went Down to Connecticut

June 14th, 2021

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is streaming on HBO Max Much like life, franchises find a way. Sooner or later, they realize they can’t keep doing the same thing over and over, and they need to evolve. The Fast and the Furious began as a charmingly low rent ripoff of Point Break. With F9 being released a few weeks from now, we’ll see a series that took enormous chances and transformed into something entirely different.  We’ve arrived at a point, not unlike the late 1960s, where studios don’t fully know what audiences want and are scared to death about it. Back then, the studios... Read More

Sex Positive

June 7th, 2021

A while back, Toni Morrison said, “All good art is political.” I think that’s about right, yet I’d take it a step further and say that all art is political — full stop. Does that mean that every movie you see and every book you read has an overt political agenda? No. What I would say is that to quote an interesting article from the American Psychological Association, “Politics is personal.”* “But why do movies have to be political? Why do they have to be so woke” I see people whining. These folks conveniently forget that movies have always been political, particularly when it... Read More

Common Things

May 31st, 2021

The Dry is streaming on Prime We all have secrets. From the smallest to the most squalid, everyone has a moment, a decision that they dearly wish the rest of the world would never discover. It’s part of being human, and the good news is that for the vast majority of us, our secrets don’t really matter all that much in the grand scheme of things. But here’s the thing about secrets — if you live in a big, bustling urban environment, you also live with a cloak of anonymity. You can be about your business with minimal worry of being discovered. Small towns, though? The kinds of towns whose... Read More

Understuffed

May 25th, 2021

Benny Loves You is streaming on Prime Back in the day, the vast majority of scary cinema didn’t exactly knock themselves out in terms of a smart script, committed actors, or innovative directors. The feeling was that audiences wanted gore, gratuitous nudity, and jump scares, so why bother casting pearls before swine? You know what? I get it. During my first couple years of college, many of my friends would spend their Friday nights going to a game, checking out a party, going on a date, and in some vanishingly rare circumstances, getting schoolwork done. Baby Tim didn’t do much of those things.... Read More

Skater Boy Meets World

May 17th, 2021

A few years from now, my kid will graduate from high school. Before that happens, he’ll live in a world where his primary focus is getting good grades in school and spending enormous amounts of time online with his friends. The vast majority of decisions regarding his well-being are made by either his mother or me. Once graduation happens, he’ll enter a world that’s sometimes hostile and frequently irrational. He’ll have to take on the load of higher education, decide what his potential career path will be, juggle relationships, and accept or ignore advice from his clearly well-meaning... Read More

H Like A Bomb

May 10th, 2021

There aren’t that many movies that kicked off an entire sub-genre. I’ll concede that, prior to 1995, an awful lot of crime movies existed. You had your action flicks, your mobster movies, and your heist cinema, for example. Jimmy Cagney’s career was built on crime movies, and Marlon Brando won Oscars for On the Waterfront and The Godfather, both of which have to do with the underworld. And then? Heat came along in 1995. At the time, all that was really advertised about the film was that it starred Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. That right there is usually enough to get butts in seats.* But,... Read More

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