Monthly Archives: October 2017

Teetering at the Gates of H-E-Double Hockey Sticks

I was drawn to comics as a young kid. They were one of the first things I enjoyed reading on my own, and I enjoyed the larger than life characters, the colorful artwork, and the idea that anyone could save the world if they one day woke up with magical gifts. There were morals to a lot of the stories, Spider-Man was built on the motto of “with great power, comes great responsibility.” But they weren’t heavy-handed or forced, and the characters weren’t always painted with such specific sides of black and white. I also enjoyed my child’s picture book of the bible. Back then.

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Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

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For a superhero that’s been around for over seventy-five years, the origins of Wonder Woman are anything but conventional. So posits Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, an intriguing, but rough biopic that follows the relationships of her creator, William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans), his wife Elizabeth (the exquisite Rebecca Hall) and their girlfriend, Olive (Bella Heathcote). With Wonder Woman having something of a moment right now, with a summer box office smash and the upcoming Justice League, the most famous female superhero of all time is merely background fodder here, with the focus being on the relationship dynamics of the three main characters amidst the framing device of deposition on the decency of the early Wonder Woman comics, with their reliance on bondage themes, nods to lesbianism, and hints at sadomasochism. Continue reading

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Blade Runner 2049

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In 1982, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner had an expectation of LA in 2019 that we will likely fall short of: flying cars and android slaves passing as human (called replicants). It painted a dystopian future (is there any other kind?) of dark moodiness and a staggering loss of basic humanity. On that front, we’re a little closer. I wasn’t a huge fan of the original. It had amazing visuals and production design, and thoughtful writing, but I was subjected to the original cut, which had that awful voice-over that managed to ruin an otherwise thoughtful and quiet piece. Blade Runner 2049 capitalizes on the world of the original, and creates a more engaging, more thoughtful, if less stylized film.

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Battle of the Sexes

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In some ways, the titular tennis match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King featured in Battle of the Sexes, operates as a microcosm of the 2016 election: boorish letch challenges more qualified woman in a contest that is bigger than what it is on the surface. The denouement can be a bit cathartic in that way. I’m not as familiar with the actual match, other than a vague awareness of a TV movie called “When Billie Beat Bobby” so I had some idea which way this was going to go.

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American Made

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I go back and forth on Tom Cruise. I get why he’s a movie star. He’s definitely an evolution of the 50s icons like Jimmy Stewart, William Holden and Joan Crawford; actors who may not have had a deep reservoir of talent but could use their charisma and presence to command the big screen. Cruise isn’t a great actor, but he is much better served in roles like Barry Seal in American Made, where he can capitalize on his inherent charm to give life to a character that could come off as just another asshole in the wrong hands. Cruise’s wheelhouse is in being an endearing asshole (Magnolia, Jerry Maguire).

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