Monday, May 31, 2021

April/May 2021 Movie Grades

I reactivated my AMC A-List 6 weeks ago.  Here is what I have seen-

Voyagers – Lord of the Flies set in space.  It had a few good moments but overall, it felt like another CW teen angst story.     C

Nobody - Bob Odenkirk is just fun to watch as John Wick.  The first 2/3 of the movie is riveting.  The last third took on a campy tone and I would not have been surprised to find that the writing and directing were done by someone else.  It felt that different.  Still, it was good enough for a second viewing that same week.  If guns and brutal fight scenes are your cup of tea, this is a good one.  B

The Unholy – My daughter is my horror film buddy… and we both agreed that this was a dud.  It had a good cast and Jefferey Dean Morgan in the center seat made it endurable.  However, since nothing in the story was particularly scary, they went to the jump-scare well 10 times too often.  D

Nomadland – The story of a wanderlust-driven widow living out of her van.  There is a thin plot, but mostly it is just a series of encounters with different people.  A slow burn that is designed to meander.  I was completely entranced and I left the theater desperate to travel.  B+

Wrath of Man – A moderately entertaining revenge/heist flick.  A father develops an elaborate plan to get revenge on the men who killed his son.  I guess Liam Neeson is too old for this role now.  B-

Those Who Wish Me Dead -  This movie started off on the wrong foot for me.  Angelina Jolie and her cadre of firefighters are just a bunch of loud bullies.  They are introduced interrupting a commencement that they are too cool to respect.  In the next scene, the guys in her posse are in a bar making fun of others for not being as “manly” as them.  I had nothing but disdain for the protagonists the first 10 minutes in.  It did pick up after that somewhat.  Ultimately, it is a story about a firefighter saving a kid in the mountain forests, but I never shook my first impressions.  C

Spiral -  I usually pass on Saw movies and their like.  I don’t want to see one torture death, let alone a series of them.  However, I am a fan of Chris Rock… and there was nothing else new to see that week, so I gave it a go.  Minus the torture-death aspect, I enjoyed the movie.  Chris Rock delivered.  It was a good cop story.  Just give me the edited version, please.  B

Raya and the Last Dragon – This was a very enjoyable Disney movie. It succeeds in walking that line of keeping the adults entertained while engaging the children.  Fun characters.  Fun story.  B+

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World – AMC has been doing “Fan-Faves” in their theaters.  Older flicks for 5 bucks.  I hope they continue this practice beyond the pandemic.  I have tried to get in to see Back to the Future and Raiders of the Lost Ark but they are always sold out (theaters still only allow 40% seating).  I did not see this movie when it first came out but I assume it must have been for 20 somethings then what Singles was back in the early 90s.  Still, even at 50+ I thought this movie was hilarious.  I love fast, underplayed witty lines and this movie had loads of that.  B+

Cruella – The trailers for this movie did not do it justice.  I went in with low expectations and ended up thoroughly enjoying it.  The character of Cruella was a perfect anti-hero.  This is the direction that the Harley Quinn movie SHOULD have taken. The movie has one major failing through no fault of its own.  It is NOT a kid’s movie, though it can’t help but be billed as such.  It is long and filled with dialog… and the kids in my theater were not enjoying it.  You might want to catch this at a later showing to avoid a theater of bored 7-year-olds.  B+

A Quiet Place II – I was not as enamored with the first one as much as everyone else seemed to be.  So, when this one chose to retread the same territory as the first one, I found myself looking at my watch a lot.  Not a good sign if the movie is only an hour and a half.  C+

(BTW, my grades speak primarily to my personal enjoyment of the movie.  You may notice I rarely give A’s.  To me, those are reserved for movies I can see a dozen times and never get bored.  Movies like Tombstone, A few Good Men, The Thing, 2010.  C’s are “average” and still worth a watch, but not a repeat.  B’s are enjoyable and probably worthy of another view or two.  D’s I don’t recommend and F’s I walk out of.)

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Black Superman?

Putting different spins on canon comic characters has been going on since... forever.  In fact, Marvel once had a monthly called "What IF" that looked at just such stories - What IF the spider had bitten MJ rather than Peter Parker?  Disney+ will be doing an animated Marvel series of these stories this summer.

Superman is a favorite for such tales.

In one story, called Red Son, Superman lands in Russia rather than Kansas and no longer fights for the "American Way".

In the popular game and comic series "INJUSTICE", Superman becomes an overlord of Earth after Lois and his unborn child are killed by the Joker.  He rules with an iron fist and kills heroes like Shazam.  Snyder was clearly hinting at taking the character in this direction in his movie "Justice League" which premiered on HBO a few weeks back.

And do you know HOW CLOSE we came to having Nicolas Cage as Superman??  The script was written and they were outfitting the man who stole The Constitution with a big S and a cape!

Yep, everyone loves a new spin on the Superman legend.


Apparently, for some folks, asking "What if Superman were black?" is pure Kryptonite. Warner Brothers is getting a lot of hate mail, written with smoldering Crayola's, by fans who do not want to see a black Kal-El on the silver screen.

Me?  I'm all in!  Just give me a second to run to the concession stand and grab a popcorn and soda.

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