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Tuesday - March 26, 2019

Archive for the ‘ Movies ’ Category

 

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

The Angler – Local Movie Reviewer Gives Opinions on Vice

December 30th, 2018

There are a lot of people extremely angry at Adam McKay’s new film Vice. It’s not surprising, considering the film a) is about some of the most well-known people in recent history and b) is political. If you’re reading this, you probably have an opinion about Vice-President Richard Cheney, whether you think he was a tough government operator who did what was necessary, or you think he was a major player in Hell’s demonic hierarchy. The political aspects make things even trickier. We’ve talked before about how at this moment in history, virtually everything is polarized. One of the problems... Read More

Swimming Upstream – Local Movie Reviewer Splashes with Aquaman

December 23rd, 2018

Poor Aquaman. Ask any kid, any comic aficionado, any pop culture enthusiast who their favorite superhero is. Batman will come up a lot, Spider-Man and Wolverine will certainly get mentioned, even Black Panther and The Flash will get some love*. But the King of Atlantis? Eh…not so much. Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger created the character for DC Comics way back in 1941, and he languished in obscurity until the era of Saturday morning cartoons in the 1960s. From that point on, Aquaman became a joke. You could tell people all day long that he was immensely powerful, due to an ability to withstand... Read More

The Road Better Off Not Taken

December 16th, 2018

As much as I love Unforgiven, In the Line of Fire, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and Dirty Harry, I think my favorite Clint Eastwood film is Escape from Alcatraz. As bank robber Frank Morris, you can see him plotting a way off the famed prison from the very first scenes of the film. Eastwood’s Morris is taciturn, intelligent, and does not suffer fools gladly.* Clint Eastwood casts a long shadow. He’s been in the entertainment industry since 1955, and he has 72 acting credits and 40 directorial credits. At age 88, he keeps at it, releasing a film or two every few years. He’s made some... Read More

Anyone Can Be Under the Mask – Local Movie Reviewer Takes a Ride Through the Spider-Verse

December 9th, 2018

Just imagine it. You step up to the corner of the skyscraper. You look down through the plastic lenses of your mask — and down is a long way down. But who cares? It’s a beautiful spring day, the sun is out, and you’re in New York City. So you step off into space, gravity catches you, and you’re cannonballing toward the ground. Lazily, you stretch your right arm out, aim, and double-tap your web shooters. The webline streams out and adheres to a wall. The line goes taut, but you’re holding on as you swing in a tight parabola. Then you let go, pull a pretty slick backflip, and momentum... Read More

Driving Mr. Shirley

December 2nd, 2018

I’ve mentioned to you guys before that my wife is not the world’s biggest fan of going to the movies. As a semi-professional introvert, the notion of being crammed into a theater with loud talkers, loud eaters, and dipsticks checking their smartphones every three minutes does not appeal to her. Weird, huh? Along with all of that, she feels a high degree of scorn toward a certain type of film — dramas that are “Inspired By A True Story.” When she sees that phrase in a trailer, she just can’t help herself and she’ll snort disdainfully. Why that particular phrase? It implies that the... Read More

A Big Strong Man Who Needs Saving – Local Movie Reviewer Glows About Ralph Breaks the Internet

November 25th, 2018

There’s a vast world of difference between a family movie and a kid’s movie. If you’re a) a parent or b) someone who spends a chunk of time around children, you know the difference immediately. But what is the difference? It’s a tricky concept, to be sure, and I think there’s a great deal of overlap between the two. I can hear you muttering under your breath, “Who cares? What difference does it make?” Here’s the thing about that, Disgruntled Reader Whom I Just Made Up — at some point in your life, you may be called upon to take a kid to a movie. Your enjoyment of the film may... Read More

When They Go Low, We Go High*

November 18th, 2018

Movies are a drug for me, and there’s a certain type of movie that delivers a high that simply can’t be beaten. They don’t come around too often, but when they do, it’s like a blast of pleasure to the left and right hemispheres of my brain simultaneously. Take a moment and imagine there are really two kinds of movies. Low film and high film. Low films are, first and foremost, designed to entertain. That doesn’t mean they’re disreputable or of poor quality, though they can be. Transformers and Suicide Squad are low films that are also eau de garbage. Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Avengers... Read More

Thousand Year Soldiers – A Review on Overlord

November 11th, 2018

“That was better than it had any right to be.” A friend of mine said that after we departed the theater, having just seen the new film Overlord. He was quite right, but you might be reasonably asking yourself, “What’s up with the smug condescension? Aren’t you supposed to give each movie its day in court and approach it as a cinematic tabula rasa?”    Yeah, I know. You’re supposed to, but let’s be honest here. We all have our biases, especially when it comes to movies. Some people want to immediately take a suicide pill when they see a trailer for the latest Marvel movie. Others... Read More