Avengers: Infinity War

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As a Marvel movie, the latest installment of the Avengers, Infinity War, is an exciting, non-stop action, thrill ride. And it’s a lot of fun. As a film in and of itself, it doesn’t really work. Taking for granted you have intimate knowledge of the characters and plot points of the previous movies (which I do), the movie doesn’t do anything to establish characters or even give any of them time to breath. It’s essentially one big action sequence divided amongst five different set pieces. Continue reading

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I Feel Pretty

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There’s a good movie somewhere in the depths of “I Feel Pretty” but the version that flits about on screen isn’t it. Sure, Amy Schumer gives it her best effort, and she’s a solid presence and game for anything, but the film doesn’t even stay true to the logic it establishes. Schumer is Renee, a low-level employee at a makeup company who suffers from esteem issues surrounding her appearance, until a freak SoulCycle accident instills her with an overblown sense of vanity.

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A Quiet Place

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The most unsettling thing about A Quiet Place, the new movie from triple-threat John Krasinski (who co-wrote, directed and stars) is that the lack of noise throughout made me really self-conscious about eating popcorn (and chewing ice). Actually, that’s not really true. While the movie itself is rather soft and unobtrusive, it does such an amazing job at creating interminable tension (a loose nail here, slow-moving monsters there) that the anxiety-inducing audibility of popcorn chewing was barely top 5. I can’t think of a recent movie so good at exploiting the audiences own uncomfortableness since 10 Cloverfield Lane, which is mildly interesting since A Quiet Place could’ve easily slotted into the Cloverfield mythos.

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Blockers

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Really, for being a film about a virginity pact and with that visual pun of the rooster in the ads, Blockers is so much better than it deserves to be. Despite the fact that it made me laugh throughout, it is also a broad comedy with fantastically well-drawn characters with believable relationships, evident and honest motivations, and a great heart. Credit that to director Kay Cannon (writer-producer of 30 Rock, and the Pitch Perfect movies) who maintains a delicate balance between dick jokes and complex familial dynamics. Continue reading

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Marvel re-view – Phase One

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Because I’m a nerd I watch and enjoy a lot of movies, and comic book movies especially. And because I’m an obsessive nerd I often make lists and rankings for no reason other than to express my joy and amusement (or lack thereof) on any given set of parameters. It’s not uncommon for my friends and I to talk about our list of the best Marvel movie with every few releases. I haven’t done this in a few movies and I’m actually quite curious, and given that this month will see the 18th Marvel movie (Avengers: Infinity War), its biggest yet, I decided to revisit all the Marvel movies before redoing my rank after viewing Infinity War. Some I’ve only seen once, others I can’t even count, but now I’m rewatching with this specific focus in mind. Here I’ll recount my thoughts as I work through each phase, before unveiling my list in May after the Avengers has time to settle.
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Ready Player One

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Keeping the spirit of the nostalgia porn novel it’s based on, if not the specific plot, Ready Player One simplifies and adjusts a lot of the source material. In doing so, it’s alleviated some issues (the deus ex Morrow of the book was the weakest aspect that is thankfully excised here, also WAY less Rush), but it’s created a slew more. While it’s s visual feast, the entire film is a series of easter eggs whose major theme is the celebration of easter eggs, it excises too much of what made the book great (an almost singular focus on 80s nostalgia) and replaced it with dumber methods of getting the plot from point A to point B.

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Roseanne (2018)

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Over twenty years since the original ended and nearly a year since the reboot was officially announced, Roseanne has finally returned to the airwaves. Two episodes premiered back-to-back on Tuesday and focused on the return of America’s favorite blue-collar family. Right from the start, they addressed Dan’s death (which was revealed in the finale and ignored here) as Roseanne (dressed in the infamous chicken shirt) wakes him up from beneath his C-Pap facemask. It’s good that they did away with the dreadful final season completely (the Conner clan didn’t win the lottery either) but it was still a bit of a rough start.

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Isle of Dogs

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I will say that maybe this wasn’t the best movie for my frame of mind right now. While I’m generally a fan of Wes Anderson (even his weakest effort, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou has its moments), I’m still in recovery after the death of my own pup. A movie about a bunch of dogs rejected by their owners and suffering was going to hit me pretty hard. While I wouldn’t call it upper level Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore), it was still fun and entertaining and even in animation still follows the usual Anderson tropes (omniscient narrator, fancy fonts, brilliant art direction, dark humor).

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Flower

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Going into a movie cold can be a pretty astounding experience. There are no pre-conceived notions, no spoilers to work through, or scenes from the trailer leading you a certain way. I saw Flower because I heard it was “interesting” and I remember Zoey Deutch from last year’s Rebel in the Rye, where she dazzled in a minor role. She pretty much breaks out here, the central figure in a charming indie, that unfolds somewhat surprisingly.

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Everything New is Old Again

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It was either title it that or reboot it and toot it. But I’m digressing before I even begin. The state of television in the past few years has been bifurcated from the old network (cable and regular) state into a war between that and the new binge-tastic mode proffered by Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and the like. Weirdly, both sides have employed a similar strategy for some of their programs – bring back the old shit.

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