Monthly Archives: February 2018

Annihilation

annihilation

I read somewhere that before he adapted Jeff VanderMeer’s novel, writer-director Alex Garland (writer-director of Ex Machina, writer of 28 Days Later and Never Let Me Go, and the novel The Beach) opted not to re-read the original novel but instead did the script from memory to give it a dream-like quality. This is evident on screen as the entirety of the thoughtful, interesting, slow-moving but creepy and confounding Annihilation has an ethereal quality that flows between each scene.

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Game Night

Game-NightDespite its well-worn premise, with solid actors, acerbic dialogue, and a quick pace, Game Night is a far funnier experience than it deserves to be. Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) are an ultra-competitive couple that host a regular game night with a disparate group of friends. When Max’s older brother (Kyle Chandler), drops into town and tries to one up their game, a grand case of mistaken identity follows involving multiple deaths, a bloody dog, and an airplane chase cribbed from one of the Fast and Furious movies. It doesn’t matter which.

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Black Panther

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Ever since Guardians of the Galaxy blew into theaters and made a kajillion dollars Marvel has relaxed their policy on the uniformity of their movies. Sure, there’s still a bit of a formula, but like the Guardians before it, and Ant-Man as well, Black Panther is a Marvel movie that has been allowed to have its own identity, and that’s not entirely because the cast is predominantly black. With a story that feels more akin to Game of Thrones than Iron Man, a more vibrant color palette than the reds and blues that dominates most Marvel flicks, a cast of characters that are more fully-drawn than many of their four-color counterparts, and real-world themes that have resonance after the obligatory post-credits sequence, Black Panther easily finds its way into the upper echelon of superhero flicks, Marvel or otherwise.

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The Last Laugh of the Laughter

It was just announced that Hollywood institution IOwest is closing. It was the west coast arm of the Chicago improv club that has been around for nearly twenty-five years. I was never an actual member of the IO community but it was a huge part of my time in Los Angeles and it feels weird that in just over ten days it will be no more.

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