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Wednesday - June 16, 2021

Archive for the ‘ Movies ’ Category

 

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

Plan B is streaming on Hulu 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,... 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

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

A Documentary Film for All Coffee Lovers

February 17th, 2021

Part love letter, part visual treatise, A Film About Coffee is a beautiful documentary that explores the growing field of specialty coffee. It’s a short but comprehensive film that ebbs and flows from roastery to farm to café. With interviews from industry professionals around the world—including company owners, champion baristas, seasoned growers, and dedicated buyers—this food doc covers many bases to prove the importance of ethically sourced and skillfully crafted coffee. By showing the hard work and passion it takes to make a great cup of coffee, A Film About Coffee asks viewers to... 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