Friday - February 28, 2020

Archive for the ‘ Movie Reviews ’ Category

 

A Death Without a Body

December 16th, 2019

If you’re currently married or you were ever married, I’ve got news for you: your marriage is insane. I hate to be the one to tell you, but there it is. People you know, people you love, will take stock of your relationship and life choices and say, “They’re cuckoo banana-pants. No doubt about it.” Luckily, you aren’t alone. Everybody’s marriage is insane—yes, including mine. From the outside, they’re nearly impossible to understand. From the inside? Well, it ain’t much easier. Some days you can feel an almost religious degree of closeness to your partner, while during others... Read More

The Doughnut Hole

December 8th, 2019

Making a movie is hard. Making a good movie? That’s really hard. Making a good mystery? These days that appears to be damn near impossible, given the relative scarcity of mysteries. Horror movies, superhero flicks, action, and dramas are all doing well in theaters and multiplexes. A good old whodunit? They’re a rare breed. But why? Is it because, as a society, we’re dumber? I imagine that some people of a certain age would sneeringly point to Millennials and the rise of social media and claim their attention spans have been irrevocably damaged.* Yet the average American reads somewhere in... Read More

The Man Who Painted Houses

December 1st, 2019

What is cinema? Is cinema only cinema when you’re watching it in a movie theater? While their methods have changed throughout the years, ultimately a sculpture remains a sculpture and a painting stays a painting. Most of the arts have resolutely remained themselves, but cinema has a kind of protean quality, whether its worshipers choose to admit it or not. Consider that the first movie theater opened June 19, 1905, in Pittsburgh. 96 seats were dragged into an empty store located on Smithfield Street, and when it opened, admission was a nickel. At their height, theaters bore the more grandiose... Read More

Go Like Hell

November 24th, 2019

One of the keenest pleasures found in moviegoing is that of competence porn. A great comedy can flood your brain with endorphins, a solid horror movie can unnerve you days after you saw it, and the right drama can restore your faith in the essential decency of humanity. Even the much-maligned superhero genre can, when executed properly, provide viewers with something mythic. That’s all well and good, but I really dig films about smart people doing a particular job with intelligence and competence. Consider Apollo 13, a film I absolutely adore. On the one hand, I understand perhaps 25 percent... Read More

Eat The Rich

November 17th, 2019

“Someday, even the experts will figure out, that crime is not caused by rap music…or even my music, but by a power structure of self-absorbed property owners so brain dead and stupid they won’t even see that if you’re too goddamn greedy to pay taxes for schools and services, they’re not going to be any good anymore! And that uneducated time bombs are a very poor investment as a future workforce. And if you go on teaching people that life is cheap, and leave them to rot in ghettos and jails, they may one day feel justified in coming back to rob and kill you. Duh!” Jello... Read More

This Franchise is Terminated

November 10th, 2019

Sometimes it feels like franchises never end. There’s a bunch of films in the Fast and Furious series, the James Bond movies have been trucking along since 1962, and the MCU will end at roughly the same time that our sun goes supernova and wipes out all human life on our fragile planet. But franchises end. Consider the little-remembered Francis the Talking Mule series. Based on a 1946 novel, seven films were made during the 1950s about a mule in the Army that could talk. Presumably, they were profitable—for a while, anyway. As time went on, audiences either a) searched for new diversions in... Read More

A Comedy of Terrors

November 3rd, 2019

Anything can be funny, right? There are two schools of thought, there. The first is the theory that anything has the potential to be amusing. Comedy is all about puncturing bubbles of pretention, going after targets that deserve skewering. As long as the joke teller is punching up instead of punching down, the only limitation is their imagination. The other school of thought is that some subjects are too sacrosanct to be mocked and to even attempt them is, at best, in poor taste. We wouldn’t dream of making fun of the Nazis, right? Ah…as a matter of fact, we would! There’s a long and... Read More