It’s fair to say that Gal Gadot and Wonder Woman was the brightest spot of the lucrative train wreck that was Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Her radical hero reveal music alone was worth the price of admission and her ability to steal the show from two of the biggest comic book heroes in the world generated all the buzz her solo movie could ever need. Fast forward to June 2nd, 2017 and although the film world may not be dramatically changed, the DCU does finally have an enjoyable movie under its belt and what appears to be a commercial and critical success.
Category: Reviews (Page 2 of 3)
From the outset, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 has all the makings of a hit. A sequel to a gigantically, if not surprisingly, successful movie, the latest from the Marvel Studios hit making machine, the middle movie in a planned trilogy, and the film that essentially kicks off the 2017 summer movie season! And like most situations where an expectation exists, the likelihood that the exact opposite will happen is staggering, the aforementioned success of the first film being a prime example. So, the fact that Vol. 2 met and exceeded my personal expectations is a feat worthy of applause and all of your time and money. How it achieved this “lofty goal” however is what makes this movie so enjoyable.
Imagine a world where the leader of the free world is a white supremacist’s wet dream but the hottest movie in that same country is rife with evil whiteys. It shouldn’t be that hard because it’s the world you are currently living in. The reason Get Out, the directorial debut of Jordan Peele, has captured the hearts of Americans is the way it offers a fresh take on the never ending struggles with human racism. Although it was written during the Obama administration when many people thought America was reaching a moment of great progressions, Get Out resonates much more in these past few months when the scope of discrimination in modern times has been brought to the forefront. It’s a lot to tackle in a single movie but with its perfect execution of satirical horror, Get Out gets it done.
It’s been 12 years since Peter Jackson’s King Kong, and more importantly almost 20 years since Mighty Joe Young, so we were way overdue for a movie starring a large ape, right? And who better than Legendary Pictures, the production company responsible for the 2014 Godzilla, to try and revive this monster movie luminary. Kong: Skull Island my fall victim to a lot of the same problems that plagued Godzilla, namely any character not named Godzilla, but it makes up for it’s large and lackluster human cast by providing one of the most visually stunning movies in recent memory.
Before Logan even came out, everything written about it invariably sounded similar. “This is the best X-Men movie yet!” “The definitive Wolverine movie that we’ve all been waiting for!” “Why is Spanish so difficult to understand sometimes?” And while I’m not one that has ever in my entire life dabbled in hyperbole, I can tell you that the superlatives being bandied about are entirely appropriate. What’s great about Logan though is despite the legacy attached to the universe it takes place in and the history of its title character, the movie shines in ways that have nothing to do with any preconceived notions.
Writing about La La Land has proven a bit tricky. On the one hand, I am eager to share why I feel so strongly that it is, by a wide margin, the best movie I watched in 2016. On the other hand, going into this film not knowing exactly what to expect made the experience all the more magical, and I worry that over explaining, over comparing, or over analyzing it will potentially take away some of that magic from you. So before I go on, consider the following:
If you have any interest in La La Land, for any reason, stop reading this and go watch it. You can finish reading this when you come back – this website should still be up and running by the time you get back. However, if you need someone to convince you to spend any time watching a romantic comedy musical starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone (I know that description doesn’t immediately speak to a lot of people), or if you have already seen it and can’t get it out of your head and you feel compelled to read anything you can about it, then, please, continue.
Wait, didn’t we just have a Star Wars movie last year? I’m apparently now old enough to complain to youths about how long I had to wait for new Star Wars the way parents complain to me about not having had the Internet in the ‘40s. Disney, the current proprietors of the Star Wars franchise, are set to give us saga films (read: the ones with those pesky roman numerals) on odd years, and a nice side story film on evens. Market saturation think piece aside, myself and countless nerds across the land have struggled with the all of the sudden nature of a series that has gone through two hibernation periods, 16 years and 10 years respectively. But who cares about my emotional turmoil over what is essentially an embarrassment of riches, you guys just want to know if this movie is worth seeing, and the answer to that is a resounding yes. But I do have some quibbles.
I’ve written and talked about movies more in the past four months than the entirety of my previous life. In doing so, I’ve been made aware of how much “reality” factors into my enjoyment of the movies. Not in terms of the subject matter, because I go gonzo for stuff like Lord of the Rings and Games that involve Thrones on the TV side, but reality in the context of the world that’s been created for my entertainment. I get really hung up on whether the reactions of the characters fit into the construct I’ve set up for this world based on the mood and themes of the movie itself. This isn’t any revolutionary concept but it’s what drives a lot of my enjoyment in watching movies.
In a movie like Manchester by the Sea, there is a lot that hinges on the believability of the actors when it comes to loss and tragedy. Basically the entire movie is an exploration of how certain people, specifically men from the Boston area, deal with the loss of loved ones. In those terms, I can’t think of a movie that handles this theme better. The main focus is on Casey Affleck’s character Lee Chandler and his nephew Patty Chandler, played by Lucas Hedges. When Patty’s father and Lee’s brother passes away, Lee if left with custody over Patty and struggles with how to deal with the responsibility that’s been thrust upon him. From the very beginning of the movie, it’s made apparent that Lee doesn’t deal with his emotions in a healthy way and the rest of the time the audience is waiting to see if he will eventually get it.
Starring Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson
“Oh, shall I have chamomile tea? Or shall I have some other sort of FUCKING TEA?” I think about this quote a lot. It’s a line from “The Tandem Story” which made its rounds in the late ’90s, when the Internet was in its infancy and genderized humor was still riding a Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus high. Sent primarily via email forwards with the subject line FW: FW: FW: TOO FUNNY!!!! it purported to be a real assignment wherein a male and female student take turns writing paragraphs with the goal to create a unified story. How it plays out is that the woman wants the story to be about mulling over lost love while drinking tea, and the man keeps trying to veer it into an exciting space combat adventure. You can read it here, or you can just watch Nocturnal Animals, which is kind of the same thing.
For at least a decade now, one of the largest criticisms of the film industry has been its inability to create anything new and original. Sequels, prequels, adaptations of preexisting properties, remakes, rehashes; anything but brand new ideas. Disregarding the fact that there’s plenty of terrible original films that grace screens nationwide and a seemingly unending stream of independent films just waiting for people to view them, it’s easy to complain about safe, big budget studio movies being forced down our throats on nearly every media platform known to man. A new symptom of these gigantic blockbuster anthology films and the universes they create is the ability for new stories to be told within the already established rules and lore of said universe. We’re collectively going to see at least one of these every other year by way of the Disney-backed Star Wars universe, starting with Rogue One, but the Harry Potter universe got the first shot with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.