Thursday - November 26, 2020
 

Second Verse, A Little Different Than the First

November 5th, 2020

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is streaming on Prime How does he do it? He must have the luck of Loki or some other trickster god on his side, considering the pranks he’s pulled have edged out of the realm of the audacious and into the realm of the openly suicidal. How is it possible that Sacha Baron Cohen hasn’t been tarred and feathered, shot out of a cannon, or drawn and quartered yet? Of all the genres out there, comedy is the one that takes the most courage. It’s not just about putting yourself out there. You have to be willing to step into the spotlight, act like a ding-dong, and run the... Read More

Miss Mystery

October 23rd, 2020

Enola Holmes is streaming on Netflix Perhaps the best part of a movie, for me, is the first couple of seconds. By that point, I have a broad idea of the premise. I’ve poured myself a drink. My brain is prepared. When the first production company logo appears onscreen, we’re in a Schrodinger’s Movie scenario. Anything is possible, and even if the premise is ill-advised, there’s a chance of getting something amazing.* Add to that the excitement you get from hearing a strong concept. A secret organization protects Earth from alien threats? Sold. A rag-tag group of scientists opens a business... Read More

Be Excellent To Each Other

September 14th, 2020

Bill & Ted Face the Music is streaming on Prime Let’s talk about trilogies. Specifically, how unbelievably hard they are to pull off. It’s difficult enough to pull off a good movie, considering you need a strong script, solid direction, and competent actors. To pull off a decent sequel, you need to build on the world you first established and go in a new direction yet one that’s not so new it undoes the first film. To do all of that, and add a third film wrapping up everything? It’s easier to climb up Mount Everest blindfolded and naked. Even the most prestigious and profitable franchises... Read More

A Gorilla Never Forgets

August 31st, 2020

The One and Only Ivan is streaming on Disney+. Once upon a time, there was a mall, located in a faraway land known as Tacoma. This mall wasn’t the sort of mall you might have hung out at as an incorrigible youth. It didn’t have a food court. It didn’t have an Apple store. It didn’t have a mall security guard. It was not a gleaming bastion to capitalism. Instead, this mall was…different. Instead of chains, it was a haven of small businesses. Some of them were the kind of places that sold incredible art or wonderful used books. Other were the kind of places that would sell throwing... Read More

Superheavy

August 28th, 2020

Project Power is streaming on Netflix Next to westerns, there’s no other genre that has the flexibility that superheroes have in terms of storytelling. You might think that your options are limited to an MCU snarkfest or the Snyder cut of Justice League, truly an edgelord’s delight. But there’s more to superheroes than that. A hell of a lot more. Consider Wild Cards. Originally a series of anthology novels, the premise focused on an alien virus released over the skies of New York City. 90 percent of those infected died. Nine percent lived and were known as Jokers, people afflicted with crippling... Read More

Blast From the Past

July 29th, 2020

The Old Guard is streaming on Netflix So there I was, in the midst of a bout of pandemic depression. The old ways of coping were gone for the moment. I couldn’t schlep to my local movie theater. I couldn’t take my kid to a ball game. Up until recently, the zoo and local museums were closed. Sure, there are plenty of trails close by, but even my dog seems to be getting burned out by the constant walks. I’ll pick up his leash and say, “Ready to go for an adventure?” His eyes get wide as if to say, “Jesus, again?” You know what that’s like. Nobody wants to socially distance. Nobody... Read More

Their Performance Is an Adventure

July 17th, 2020

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is streaming on Netflix I like to think I’m a relatively knowledgeable guy. I read a number of reputable news outlets daily, including The Washington Post and The Atlantic. I’m able to speak quasi-intelligently on a fairly wide range of topics. While I might not be a dazzling sophisticate like some of you, I’m not some drooling bumpkin. Yet up until a few weeks ago, I’d never heard of the Eurovision Song Contest. I know, typical American. If you’re an ignorant savage like me, get ready for some righteous science. The Eurovision Song Contest... Read More

Girl Kills World

June 24th, 2020

Everyone who’s into movies has a thing. A thing that is endlessly fascinating and that can be refracted through a thousand different lenses. One friend of mine has a deep and abiding love of schlocky horror movies. Loves ‘em, can’t get enough of ‘em. They’re his happy place, and whenever he’s having a tough day, a small scotch and a viewing of Motel Hell will perk him right up. My thing is comedians playing villains. However, let me be clear. If a comedian or comedic actor is playing a comedic villain, that doesn’t scratch the itch. Instead, when a funnyman plays a real nasty piece... Read More

Amateurs

June 9th, 2020

Time to Hunt is streaming on Netflix We should be in the summer movie season right now. We should be bombarded by entertainment options: a little Marvel, a Pixar movie, a studio comedy—you know, the usual. We should be escaping the increasingly oppressive heat, complaining about ding-dongs on their smartphones, and praying that nobody spilled anything in or around our seats. All of that should be going on. But it isn’t, and it’s increasingly looking like the 2020 summer movie season simply isn’t going to happen. How are we supposed to deal with it, particularly when it’s one of a host... Read More

Critic & Son – Star Wars Edition

May 28th, 2020

You shouldn’t expect your kids to be into the same things you are. It certainly wasn’t the case with my father and me. Bill was a World War II veteran, a lover of big band music, and a guy with the kind of effortless charisma that made him likable to everyone he came across.* He was also a casual moviegoer. I remember him laughing himself into a mild asthma attack during The Naked Gun, and I remember us seeing both Goodfellas and The Silence of the Lambs theatrically. However, I should emphasize he was a casual moviegoer. Did he care about the works of Altman and Kurosawa? Nope. Not even a... Read More

The Worst of All Possible Parents

May 15th, 2020

The Willoughbys is streaming on Netflix Once upon a time, there lived a parent. This parent had the colossal misfortune to be a) alive during a pandemic and b) in charge of children. It was bad enough that the wicked virus forced people to stay inside.* Movie theaters closed. Baseball stadiums were empty. Jobs vanished. People scoffed at the idea of eating at buffets. As you can imagine, all that time spent inside was incredibly boring for the parent. There were only so many times they could make sourdough bread! But as dull as it was for the parent, it was a thousand times worse for their kids.... Read More

Return of the Sad Action Guy

May 10th, 2020

Extraction is streaming on Netflix now. Not all action movies are created equally. You know that, and you know there’s a wide world of difference between an honest-to-God classic like Die Hard and a disappointment sandwich like A Good Day to Die Hard. Like me, you’re likely stuck in coronavirus lockdown, and you’re likely looking for entertainment to take the edge off. The question is, what flavor of action movie are you after? If you break it down, there are really three kinds of action protagonists. The first is Happy Action Guy. Bruce Willis has played quite a few of them, and despite... Read More

Language!

April 21st, 2020

Coffee & Kareem is streaming on Netflix. We can’t help what we find funny. Who knows where it comes from in the first place? We all have those particular peccadillos that crack us up and make little to no sense. That’s just it—our sense of humor is simply that, a sense. There’s no logic, no rhyme or reason to explain it. Years ago, I worked with a guy and got a very close look at his sense of humor. He was responsible, well-liked, and good at his job. Yet no matter what he was doing, if he saw someone fall, he would immediately die of laughter. You’d hear this loud, almost Joker-style... Read More

Mahk’s Pahking the Cah in Hahvahd Yahd

April 14th, 2020

Spenser Confidential is streaming on Netflix. Gather round, children, and let Graybeard Tim regale you with tales of the Long Ago Times! Back in the day, there were three tiers of screened entertainment. The first was theatrical films. This was where the Scorseses, Spielbergs, and Coppolas of the world lived, and actors like Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise strode the world like a colossus. In short, it was the big time. The second tier was television, and at the time it was looked at as a decidedly lesser art form.* You had formulaic cop shows with lawmen (and they were almost always men) who would... Read More

Ignition

April 6th, 2020

Portrait of a Lady on Fire is streaming on Hulu. Connections are everything. We all know that humans are social animals. We all know that there’s an inescapable aspect of us that yearns to be around others. That connection might be on a professional level, a familial level, a romantic level. Even introverts, who might feel like they have been in training for current events, need somebody else in their lives. Making the right connection is hard enough. You have to be in the right place at the right time with the right person. Even then, the bonds can be tenuous. Ghosting seems like a 21st-century... Read More

Up The Down Elevator

March 31st, 2020

The Platform is streaming on Netflix now. It’s hard enough for a quality film to break through to audiences under normal circumstances. The Motion Picture Association of America tells us that, despite the usual fluctuations, an average of 600 movies are released yearly. Of that number, some of them have advantages. Major studio backing and a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign can get a film a hell of a lot closer to the finish line of profitability, regardless of its actual quality. But, as you’ve probably noticed, we’re a country mile past “normal” these days. Going to the movies... Read More

A Disappearing Act

March 2nd, 2020

The good news is, we’re in a golden age of horror movies. Back in the old days, horror wasn’t taken seriously as a genre. If you liked a good scare, you’d run into a few problems; you’d need to sift through a Mount Everest of crummy movies to unearth the very occasional gems. When you did find something good, who were you going to talk to about it? Certainly not the people who would snobbishly decry the degeneracy of horror. Things changed, and for once, they changed for the better. I have friends online that I can talk movies with. There’s a streaming service, Shudder, dedicated exclusively... Read More