Friday, July 13, 2018

Brief thoughts on Sicario: Day of the Soldado.

Having seen Won't You Be My Neighbor? a couple weeks ago, it was easy enough to *say* that spreading more positivity would go a long way. In the back of your mind, however, you know it can never be that easy again, since we as a people live in fear of terrorism and within a world of conflict. And what conflict is more timely than the issue of immigration control, and the ongoing cartel wars of Mexico. Three years ago, we were plunged headfirst into that war with Sicario, a brutal and sweat-inducing thriller of the so-called "good guys" resorting to the violence of their enemies, that made us question if there were any real heroes and villains anymore. And that's a fear that gets further explored in Day of the Soldado, that drops any pretense of heroic duty as its leads are let loose like ravenous wolves tearing coyotes to shreds.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Ant-Man and the Wasp movie review.

While the immediate Avengers were still raking in money through their second crossover Age of Ultron, one of Marvel's lesser known, quirkier characters made a surprise entrance onto the scene. That being Ant-Man, the man donning a suit allowing him to shrink at will, giving him added agility and strength as he took on smaller targets in the criminal world. Despite its seemingly filler appearance, it was a fun change of pace for the MCU, veering it closer to a heist film full of inventive visual enjoyment, and was lifted by Paul Rudd's spot on lead performance.

But one detail that excited many was the tease for future films featuring the Wasp, Ant-Man's longtime partner, being able to dominate the scene right alongside her charming teammate. Three years later, you have many of the original team, including director Peyton Reed, to finally deliver on that potential with Ant-Man and the Wasp, which comes to cap off Marvel's mega-successful 2018 (not counting the peripheral Venom spin-off). Of course, one wouldn't expect it to reach the heights of Black Panther or Infinity War, so it's best to take it as a nice, inoffensive cleanser. And that's precisely what it is, ending Marvel's year with neither a bang nor whimper, but a pleasing growl.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

(Not so) Brief thoughts on Won't You Be My Neighbor?

It seems only customary and normal anymore that we as a people should be cynical, seeing much before us with jaded eyes, and expecting the worst. Because it works; cynicism sells, in business, in media, so often clouding our judgment and suppressing our happiness. In today's day and age, that a soul as patient and as warm-hearted as Fred Rogers, an ordained minister who spearheaded the popular Mister Roger's Neighborhood for PBS, would exist is unheard of, living by a philosophy of a little kindness going a long way, a kindness carried over into Won't You Be My Neighbor?, encapsulating his life and his spirit.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom movie review.

Celebrating it's 25th anniversary this year, Jurassic Park has had its up and downs in bringing John Hammond's vision of a world where dinosaurs co-exist with humans to life. After the disaster of his initial first vision, his dream finally came to glorious life through the Masrani Corp. with Jurassic World, that corrected those mistakes while simultaneously making new ones. And yet, we can't seem to imagine a world where these dinosaurs aren't in our lives, destined to fade into extinction as the once proud Isla Nublar meets its end.

And like its screen counterparts, the Jurassic Park series has had its own ups and downs. Many know of my adoration of Steven Spielberg's original masterpiece, and Colin Trevorrow's highly enjoyable update three years ago, even if it couldn't live up its standards. But all good things must come to an end, as we now must wave goodbye to those memories on Isla Nublar, as the dinosaurs take a greater step into a more expansive future. Embrace it, dread it, it can't be stopped. And I know this for sure, as there's plenty within Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom that I dread AND embrace.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Incredibles 2 movie review.

The Incredibles was a very unique entry in Pixar's lineup, a semi-satirical take on the superhero genre, and the studio's first film to feature an all humans cast. While I thought it was not a perfect film, it certainly lived up to its title with its tightly focused storyline and stylized kinetic action. But what really made that film so strong is the superhero family at the core of the film, that despite their powers were very imperfect people, and great characters at their center, that even without the heroics it would still have been a great movie. It was very much a passion project for director Brad Bird, who'd just come off the Iron Giant, and proved himself a highly capable animation director.

So well-received was the film, that for years fans had repeatedly asked for a follow-up. And with Pixar going full steam recently with sequels, I don't think any made more sense than this one to receive it. However, there was always the pervading fear in my mind that the film wouldn't live up to everyone's hype - especially with Bird coming off a bomb with Tomorrowland, and that maybe this had more to do with business than passion. I'm happy to report that it is the latter. In fact, I think a more extreme case can be argued... that Incredibles 2 may actually exceed its predecessor.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Hereditary movie review.

It seems every generation, we're always yearning for that next "classic in horror" to come and wow us. The horror film has no shortage of classic films preying upon our deepest, most psychological fears, taking us uncomfortably into the realm of the supernatural. We yearn for those films in the vein of Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist to return atop the pedestal, after horror took a more slasher approach in the vein of John Carpenter and Halloween. But anymore, amid the constant jump scare factories and shoestring budget fodder, the search for that next horror classic is harder and harder, so desperate are we to convince ourselves Unfriended was the next big thing.

But those gems are not gone, merely hidden in the rough. Horror has stepped its game up in recent memory, with this year alone giving us the fantastic A Quiet Place. Distributor A24 has waged its own chips in the horror realm, driving us closer to the days of literal and figurative horror, and the release of their latest film, newcomer Ari Aster's Hereditary, may be the closest thing yet to becoming that horror classic of a generation.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Brief thoughts on Hotel Artemis.

Figured I'd go ahead and churn something out real quick for this movie. Imagine John Wick, but the film took place entirely within The Continental, and you have a pretty good idea of what to expect of Hotel Artemis from Drew Pearce. Set within a futuristic riot-torn Los Angeles, the film centers on the caretakers and the revolving patients of the Hotel Artemis, an underground hospital for criminals with paid memberships, with strict rules of non-violence within the premises. As the busy night of rounds unfolds, those rules will be broken as the night reaches a brutal finale.