He’s In A Rough Place, Emotionally

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I finally saw Ant-Man And The Wasp last night! Hooray! (I’ve also decided to sign up for Sutbs A-List, so that I can get through the rest of movie season with relative ease. Double hooray!)

I really, really loved Ant-Mana lot, it’s probably the most rewatched MCU movie for me. (At least post Avengers…) due in no small part to Paul Rudd’s lovely performance, it’s heart being about fathers and daughters, and Michael Pena as Luis. (Sadly not as well used here)

Ant-Man And The Wasp is not as good as Ant-Man, but it’s still quite good, and makes use of a Partridge Family song, which is a delight. Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer are delightful in both their kinda creepy de-aged versions (prep for a full movie of this effect in Captain Marvel folks…I wonder how it will sustain?) and as their distinguished perfect selves. (Lawrence Fishburn is also good.)

I didn’t think the villain, Ghost, was as disconnected as I’d heard (She’s pretty well tied in to Pym, his legacy and SHIELD.) (Also, like, I love Howard and Peggy, but DAMN, SHIELD SUCKS you guys.) And Evangeline Lilly does well enough, and Paul Rudd is still great, but this is a lower tier one. (This seems to be happening with the second parts of Marvel trilogies regularly. The Winter Soldier being the exception that proves the rule…)

Worth seeing, as it stands alone in a few ways, and it has a damn charming cast, but not going to move mountains or anything.

POST CREDITS!

First in the mid credits, as everyone gets ready to enter the Quantum Realm for some experimenting, only Scott makes it before Janet, Hank and Hope all get poofed. So…yeah…we’ll see what happens there.

Rankings:

  1. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  2. Deadpool 2
  3. Ocean’s 8
  4. Infinity War
  5. Ant-Man And The Wasp

Trailers

The House With The Clock In The Walls: This looks like a delight, and since I now have A-List, I will likely actually see it. (I discovered if I even only go to one movie a week, not even the 3 allotted, the thing will pay for itself.)

Creed II: I would have gone to see this even if it wasn’t about Adonis avenging his father’s death by fighting Drago Jr. But since it is about that, well, now I’ll go see it seventeen times.

Alpha: This movie looks so dumb, but PUPPIES!!!!

Bumblebee: I hope it’s good, since it’s writer is now making the Batgirl movie, but I’m not super confident…

The Nutcracker And The Four Realms: I’ve talked about how excited I am for this movie before, but the new trailer makes me even more so. Seriously, it looks kind of wonderful.

Dumbo: “Baby Mine” will make me cry no matter what, so there’s that, I guess?

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I Like You, Just As You Are

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The thing about Mr. Rogers, and Mr. Rogers’s Neighborhood is that it’s one of those crazy full on cultural memories that’s hard to parse. We all simply, know this man and his show and how it looks to us. It’s comforting and real, and beautiful and that’s what the really interestingly constructed Won’t You Be My Neighbor is examining. That feeling of comfort and, even more specifically, the man who inspired it.

A quiet biography of a great a can get dull, feel like hagiography, or be simply uninspired. But that’s not the case here. Everything you’ve heard about Won’t You Be My Neighbor is likely true. From the way it brings this larger than life figure back to earth, to that cathartic cry you will have in the last few moments (if not before) (I cried like six times. )

I have fond memories of post pre-school and home sick mornings watching Mr. Rogers. Memories of King Friday and Lady Elaine and Daniel Striped Tiger and the trolly. Daniel of course, now carries on his creator’s legacy, and is used to amazing effect here, as an eerie animated avatar of Rogers’ childhood psyche.

Interviews with cast and crew and family and friends illuminate this great man, and the much discussed conversation about Francois Clemmens being kept in the closet by his employer is such a blip, that’s actually kind of lovely. (And takes the context of the times and socio-political position Rogers was in into account. Something that I think young internet writers don’t want to deal with…but I digress.) That’s not a story about oppression (entirely) it’s a story about how compassion and open dialog lead to changing minds and norms.

And while I get that calls to civility and calm are hard right now, (And often extended hypocritically! ) it’s impossible for me to not think kindness is the way to go on a one to one basis, and that seems to be what the film is arguing for. Fury at institutions is not discounted by the way. Roger’s righteous anger at the establishment’s exploitation of children and disregarding of their feelings and safety are stunningly portrayed.

  1. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  2. Deadpool 2
  3. Ocean’s 8
  4. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
  5. Avengers: Infinity War (Weird how low this is ranking)

Trailers

Johnny English: Huh, I remember when this movie happened. It’s nice that it’s getting a sequel I guess.

Somewhere There Is An Eight Year Old Girl, Dreaming Of Being A Criminal

Ocean's 8

Hey all! I’m gonna do my best to get caught up on movie season in the next week! (Incredibles 2, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and Won’t You Be My Neighbor coming soon!)

There are few movies that I love the way that I love Stephen Sodeberg’s remake of Ocean’s 11. It’s such a perfect movie, slick and funny, and sexy. So I had mixed expectations walking into Ocean’s 8, which I wanted to love but that I had heard was only OK.

Anyone who thought this movie was only OK clearly does not like heist movies. It’s a delight, taking as much from The Sting as it does from it’s predicessors. The performances are all amazing, and while everyone is rightly talking about Anne Hathaway, more people should be talking about Helena Bonham Carter who is fabulous and hilarious is in this movie.

But I loved all of them, Sandra Bullock has some very fun moments (when she literally practices a speech in a mirror, a wonderful callback to Clooney and Pitt I burst out giggling.) Cate Blanchett is so sexy I almost fainted, until I saw Rhianna in that red dress (HOOOLLLLYYY CRAP!) Mindy Kaling and Awkwafina and delightful and Sarah Paulson is very good. (I liked the concept of her character, a housewife who gets her kicks from fencing stuff that “fell off a truck” more than Paulson’s performance…which again, fine.) A few key cameos from the original 11, although it’s very clear that Danny faked his death, you guys…like SUPER clear.

My July Camp NaNoWriMo project is a heist. (I’m not gonna get to into it here.) So I’m diving into this genre at the moment. (It’s such a good one, that I love so much.)

Rankings

  1. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  2. Deadpool 2
  3. Ocean’s 8
  4. Avengers: Infinity War (Weird how low this is ranking)

Trailers:

Operation Finale: Sad movie about the Nuremberg trials…but also Oscar Isaac…soooo

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again: ARE CHER AND ANDY GARCIA GOING TO BONE IN THIS MOVIE? Also Cher singing “Fernando.” *DIES* Also, where’s Donna? Also, this movie is required to be seen in Dine In, and not alone, because I must be drunk and mocking it at all times.

Widows: More Lady Heists!

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald: OK, let’s make something clear…THE TRAILERS give Rowling an in to make Dumbledore’s sexuality explicit. “I cannot confront Grindelwald…he and I have a past, we were in love and I’m not strong enough.” IT’S RIGHT THERE JO! GET IT TOGETHER! Otherwise, looks super dope.

The Nutcracker: The Secret Of The Four Realms: I’m actually really stoked for this? Like in a very odd way. I kind of love that Disney has just accepted “Tim Burton and Baz Luhrman had a baby and it was a fairytale nightmare-scape” as a filmmaking aesthetic. The movies aren’t always great. (Or ever? Beauty And The Beast and Cinderella were pretty good. I know other people like Maleficent…the Alice movies are awful) But they’re cool to look at. And I like Kiera Knightly

A Simple Favor: In which Anna Kendrick continues to live out all our dreams, this time by killing Blake Lively because of her perfect life, maybe? (Also that this isn’t Leighton Meister seems like a mistake in the casting department, but I love Anna too. Get the girl back to her creepy stalker roots.)

A Star Is Born: Unless this movies completely poops the bed, and Gaga whiffs “The Man Who Got Away” (HIGHLY UNLIKELY) it’s gonna be favorite of the year, I bet.

Everything You’ve Heard About Me Is True

Solo

There’s a hundred different reasons that I genuinely enjoyed myself while watching Solo: A Star Wars Story last night, but the main one, the one that I think matters the most, is goddamn is that movie fun.

The chases, the fight scenes, the interactions between the characters and last minute reveal that made me audibly gasp, all of it really feels absolutely perfect. And oddly, I think it’s weird Frankenstein production added to that. Somehow, the loose comedy feel of Chris Miller and Phil Lord, combines all alchemy like with Ron Howard’s earnest competence to make something beautiful.

I’m all in on this movie. I’m in on Alden Einhrich (Baby Han), I’m in on Quira (Space Khalessi), I’m in on Tobias Beckett (Woody MOTHER FUCKING HARRELSON) and of course I’m in on Lando. (Duh)

Seriously, this is a fan service movie, but most of the fan service is clever enough, and also I’m a fan and I like to be serviced occasionally.

It’s fun heist adventure, tightly paced and adorably performed. Plus there’s a delightful twist end cameo

You ready:

Darth Maul is back. I think this means we’re clearly on the road to Ahsoka. (IF WE’RE PULLING CLONE WARS AND REBELS SHIT INTO THE MOVIES WHY IS SHE NOT THERE???) (I realize I’ve become like those Star Wars weirdos who go around whining about how Mara Jade isn’t a thing anymore and why that sucks.) (AHSOKA LIVES!)

Anyway, Solo, is good dirty heisty fun that has Space ships.

So you go in with that as a baseline. It’s not a deep movie but it’s got lots of whizz bangs and great quips and super fun.

Rankings:

  1. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  2. Deadpool 2
  3. Avengers: Infinity War

Trailers:

 

You’re Heart’s Not In The Right Place

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I really enjoyed the first Deadpool (It in fact reinvigorated my enthusiasm for the character over all.) and was really  excited for the second one too. And like Guardians of The Galaxy: Vol 2, Deadpool 2 had a tough needle to thread.

It mostly succeeds. The jokes whizz by as fast as the bullets, Ryan Reynolds continues to be wonderful, and I will most certainly wear out this soundtrack (figuratively) over the summer.

The new characters are boatloads of fun. Especially the too cool for school Domino, and Josh Brolin’s excellent turn as Cable. The plot is functional and interesting, if involving a not to gruesome fridgeing in the first act. (It’s handled and subverted pretty well throughout the whole film, and I’m not too made at it.)

The blood and jokes remain the thing, but what this movie does that the first didn’t is ground itself in Wade’s pain. Seriously, it’s a brutal movie, not just bloody and violent, but actually kind of adult and nuanced in it’s subject matter, perhaps even more so than Logan, which, Wade tells us in no uncertain terms, in the first few moments, they are trying to top here.

Deadpool 2 is first rate entertainment, and a very good entry in the super hero cinema canon.

And genuinely, has a soundtrack to kick the asses off both Guardians volumes!

Rankings:

  1. Deadpool 2
  2. Avengers: Infinity War

Trailers:

We were a little late so we missed a couple, but here’s what we did see

Ocean’s 8: I cannot wait to see this movie. Badly, badly, can’t wait. I need it and it’s fancy dresses and talented ladies talking to each other the whole time so badly I can barely stand it.

Mission Impossible: Fallout: Over drinks after the movie we had an extended conversation about Scientology. That is how little I care about this movie.

Bohemian Rhapsody: This comes out on my birthday and also looks amazing. We all need a little Freddy in our lives right now I think.

The First Purge: I will not see this and frankly, I resent that these people have pulled Marissa Tomei into their nonsense, she deserves better.

The Happytime Murders: this looks incredible. Also, selfishly, I want it to do well so that there’s talk of an Avenue Q movie.

 

 

What was the cost?

Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War is very good and very surprising and you should go see it.

It is a very good part 1 of a series finale. The performances are all great but especially Josh Brolin and Zoe Saldana.

If you don’t want Avengers: Infinity War spoilers I suggest you take your butt some place else because I am not ok and this is now a place place for others who are not ok.

OK?

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E

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I think I might have been OK if it weren’t for Spider-Man. Seriously. I mean, the Not OK began when Thanos killed Loki and Heimdall in the first five minutes, cemented when he sacrificed Gamora to obtain the soul stone being kept by a specter of The Red Skull, but I could have handled that.

But man, when Peter looked at Tony and said he didn’t feel so good, I LOST it. And then Bucky AND Sam, AND T’Challa AND Wanda AND all of the Guardians except Rocket and Nebula?

Somewhere George RR Martin is shaking his head and shooting off an email to Joe And Anthony Russo and Kevin Feige asking who hurt them?

Then we got the post credits. It is deeply fitting that Nick Fury’s final moment is an aborted mumbling of the word “motherfucker” AS HE PAGES CAPTAIN MARVEL.

Yes, Carol’s gonna fix this because she has to.

Look, the movie was great. I can’t wait to watch it again and be traumatized all over again.

Rankings:

  1. Avengers: Infinity War

Trailers!

Solo: A Star Wars Story: Aless and I have workshopped some alternate names for this movie that we are very excited to see: Lando! Khaleesi In Space, Woody In Space, The Young Chewbacca.

Deadpool 2: Just, holy shit, it looks good.

Venom: I mean fine, I love Tom Hardy, it looks freaky but awesome.

The Meg: YOU GUYS IT’S A MOVIE WHERE RAINN WILSON AND JASON STATHAM FIGHT A GIANT SHARK BECAUSE GOD LOVES ME. THIS IS GOING TO BE MY NEW FAVORITE FOREVER.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom: God it looks so dumb. Like SO dumb. I’m gonna love it so much.

The Wound Is Where The Light Comes In

I have no real nostalgia for A Wrinkle In Time, I didn’t read it as a kid. I read it when I was 22, and I didn’t really get it’s charms. I sometimes wondered if I had come to it earlier if I’d have loved it, or if I came to it later, when I got better at meeting stories on their own terms rather than my own, I would have liked it more.

Regardless, Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved novel was not one that meant anything to me at all, beyond, the experience of reading it one time and thinking, “huh.”

Ava Duvernay’s film version, however, won me over in it’s first five minutes. As I have stated from time to time, I’m a sucker for stories about familial love. So a movie that has a lengthy scene where a young girl sits with her parents and they tell her how they love her and that love will never ever leave her, hits me right where I like things. (And having her dad played by Best Chris, Chris Pine, well, that’s just a bonus!)

That’s how we come upon the Murrys, who’s daughter Meg, and son Charles Wallace, are two members of our space-time travelling trio in the movie. The third is Calvin, a classmates of Meg’s, who’s nursing a big bad and obvious crush on her. Well, obvious to everyone but Meg, who is kind of convinced he’s making fun of her.

Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin go off in search of Meg’s father, who has gotten lost on his five year mission to go where no man has gone before…I mean, who discovered a science magical form of space travel known as tessering, but is in fact missing. They are guided on their journey by three mysterious women, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which. The Mrs.’s are played with whimsical joy by Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Oprah respectively.

This movie isn’t complicated. It’s a straightforward kiddie adventure about the power of love and faith and family, but it’s a well executed and deeply felt take on that story. Duvernay guides her actors well, particularly young Storm Reid as Meg. Meg’s not easy, she’s prickly and insecure and not entirely nice. But she’s good which is more important, and she has Oprah giving her personal pep talks, so she gets it together.

Overall, I was deeply impressed. I cried a few times. (This happens, like a lot, but the reunion between Meg and her father is incredibly emotional) It’s a visually stunning movie, that manages to transport you to the many worlds the kids stay and all of the adults that pop in do a great job without hogging up too much time and they share gracefully.

I can’t speak to how a hardcore fan of the book would react to this adaptation, I remember very little about it, but it’s quite good, on it’s own as a movie and worth seeing.