Archive of ‘Movie Reviews’ category

Loss and Rogue One (Spoilers)


Primed by Imaginary World’s episode “Workin’ on the Death Star” which deals in part on the ethics of destroying the Death Star, watching Rogue One was not a pleasant experience. Though admittedly, I went in expecting a depressing movie. For the original trilogy to be meaningful, the characters in Rogue One have to lose and lose badly so I knew from the onset that most of the characters would die sad and premature deaths.

What I didn’t expect was my knee-jerk revulsion to the amount of death in Rogue One, and how it’s glossed over. I don’t think film or art necessarily has a moral obligation.… Read more »

Captain America: War on Friendship


First a word about spoilers. My TV reviews are full recaps, but movie reviews are limited to only things covered in the trailers and/ or movie posters. If you haven’t seen the Captain America: Civil War trailer and are afraid of spoilers, please don’t read this review.

Yesterday, I watched Captain America: Civil War and found that I don’t have much an opinion about it. It was good, it wasn’t great, and I’m on the fence on whether the fight scenes really warrant a special trip to the theater.

Ever since Tony Zhou made his video on Jackie Chan, I haven’t been able to watch fight scenes the same way.… Read more »

Zootopia: Double Review


I went into it having only seen a few early trailers of a Fox character giving a bunny cop a hard time. There was also that sloth DMV scene, which went on way too long. A lot people are going to talk about the references for adults (there is a great Breaking Bad reference), or about the themes (race, gender, stereotypes, etc.), but at its core, it’s a solid story and delightfully imagined and wonderfully cast. 

Idris Elba and J. K. Simmons are delightful as the tough as nails police chief Bogo and so smooth he’s greasy Mayor Lionhart. Nate Torrence stole every scene he was in as Clawhauser, the doughnut guzzling, Shakira loving leopard cheetah.Read more »

Unexpected Valentine: Deadpool


After so many gritty, dark super hero movies, we finally get one that is still dark in material but macabre in approach. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool is a crude, irreverent, and surprisingly sweet movie.

I’m not a follower of the Deadpool comics, but I do know that Deadpool’s claim to fame is that he’s cognizant that he’s in a comic book. They didn’t go that direction with movie. He does take delight in breaking the fourth wall and having several meta-conversations about heroes. He also makes wry comments about the X-Men franchise, but the fact that he’s in a movie doesn’t seem to dictate his choices as a character.… Read more »

Hail, Caesar! is All Spectacle and Smoke


The Coen Brothers’ latest film Hail, Caesar! is an homage to classic Hollywood, but it is so zany that I never found its heart. Or better yet, it didn’t find mine. It didn’t ring true. And yet, many of its individual parts are funny and wonderful. It’s like the Coen Brothers made a list of their favorite things from the 1950s: Hollywood, Westerns, starlets in trouble, the studio system, Commies, etc. But it holds together like a weird jello fruit dessert.

The plot (not that the plot is particularly important to the movie) follows Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), head of production at Capitol Pictures and fixer extraordinaire, across four movies in various parts of production.… Read more »

Profiting Off the End of the World: The Big Short


I didn’t like this movie.

But first, here’s some context. Today, I went to the dentist and my reward (here’s a Freaknomics episode on reward bundling) was that I got to go watch a movie and spend the day at the mall. I like my dentist, but I hate going to see her. Even though my rational brain understands the value of regular visits, my kid brain is confounded that I must sit in a torture chair on a Saturday and then part with money. Also, if I’m particularly feeling sorry for myself, I feel that it’s bad for my soul as well.… Read more »

Why Rey Shouldn’t Be [SPOILER]


This contains spoilers.

Office poll is complete. Everyone thinks Rey may be Luke’s long lost daughter, but I really really hope she’s not.

But before we delve too into this. It shouldn’t matter who Rey’s parents are? I know it is specifically set up as a mystery, which warrants a lot of interest. But on another level, does a powerful woman need to have a powerful man standing behind her? 

Part of me is annoyed that it’s come up so much. It was what the women beside me were talking about as soon as the movie finished. It was one of the first topics of conversation in the office.… Read more »

The Force Awakens Review


A word on Spoilers. Rather than write two separate reviews, the top portion of the review is spoiler-free and the bottom has spoilers and demarcated with a giant SPOILERS line.

I would characterize myself as a medium-light fan of Star Wars. I am hopelessly nerdy to my hip sister, but I’m a dilettante to others. It’s hard to talk about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, without first telling you about where I come from as a Star Wars fan. I watched the original trilogy on VHS before the Phantom Menace came out in 1999, but the new trilogy was a formative part of my adolescence.… Read more »

Elizabethtown and Sympathies for the Manic Pixie Dream Girl


I watched Elizabethtown over the weekend, but the review swiftly got derailed by the problem of the manic pixie dream girl and my measured defense of it. Ten years ago, writer Nathan Rabin coined the phrase “manic pixie dream girl” to describe Kirsten Dunst’s character Claire. 

Nathan Rabin writes:

The trope of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a fundamentally sexist one, since it makes women seem less like autonomous, independent entities than appealing props to help mopey, sad white men self-actualize. Within that context, the phrase was useful precisely because, while still fairly flexible, it also benefited from a certain specificity.

Read more »

The Martian: Go, Team Terra!


Despite it’s disaster premise, Ridley Scott’s The Martian is the most bighearted, optimistic film about human goodness, intelligence, and resourcefulness in like forever. If you removed the profanity and some of the gore, it would be more wholesome than Disney with all the cooperative competence of classic Star Trek. In a nutshell, Matt Damon gets stranded on Mars; NASA, JPL, and others move heaven and earth to get him home safely. It’s a 90% man versus nature (people versus nature?), with the barest bit of politicking going around and plenty of nerd humor thrown in.

While some have claimed that The Martian is a little too Team USA, it’s also about the coming together of the international science community.… Read more »

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