Monthly Archives: March 2018

Ready Player One

READY PLAYER ONE

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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Tomb Raider

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Video games don’t have a great history of translating to the big screen. Conceived, historically, as a single-person active experience, it loses something by trying to make it a passive experience for a mass audience. The original two Tomb Raiders eschewed story for action and treated the titular and iconic Lara Croft character as an homage rather than a transfer of the same character to a different medium. This Tomb Raider, while still maintaining the action scenes of the first movie, finds inspiration from the more grounded video game reboot of 2013.

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Love, Simon

lovesimonRomantic teen comedies deal with similar tropes – the awkward crush, the grand declarations of love, the out-of-place dance sequence. Love, Simon hits all those notes, with the only difference being that the central character is gay. While there are ways that the film pushes the confines of the adolescent angst usually found in these films, it still bears the same mediocrities that limits its heterosexual counterparts as well.

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Thoroughbreds

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In the same vein as Heathers before it, Thoroughbreds is pitch-black drama with enough charm and humor to make it entertaining. It’s a slow and thoughtful film that takes a fairly simple premise and plot and deepens it with rich characters and fine performances. I was disappointed in the ending, but it didn’t lessen the impact of the movie and my general impression of it.

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Just a Blip

I’ve always prided myself on being a good observer. It’s the lot of any writer or storyteller. You pay more attention to the world around than the average person. It’s also connected to the low-grade paranoia I’ve been afflicted with my whole life. It’s probably an ego thing, but my mistrust of random people stems from the fact I think that they are all plotting against me. As I look around at the people in my immediate vicinity I’m putting together the witness report for when I have to explain to the police about the guy that tried to kill me. All of this to say that I’m not usually surprised by people in my vicinity so when I was walking home last night and I heard a woman screaming, I was fairly stunned.

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A Wrinkle in Time

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I’m not remotely familiar with the source material, but I am a fan of Ava DuVernay so I thought I’d give A Wrinkle in Time a shot. I can cut it some slack given that it’s a movie targeted to a different demographic than mine, but given my penchant for superheroes and cartoons, I really can’t forgive that much. This movie is weak, across all levels. The story doesn’t flow or make any sense, the acting is forced with each of the actors seemingly in different movies, the dialogue stilted, and the visuals might be interesting, but untethered from reality and thus feel like a cartoon backdrop.

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