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.



Visions Of Gideon

It’s amazing to me, sometimes, how adaptations can change and improve or destroy or remain neutral on their source material. Adaptation can be so tricky, and walks this strange line in art.

If you didn’t see a few weeks ago, I really disliked the novel Call Me By Your Nameand while I was curious, I wasn’t overly enthused about going to see the movie, of a book that left me almost entirely cold. Crystan, however, is obsessed with this movie and insisted that we go.

loved the movie. It’s weird to love a movie for a book you’re not nuts over, but it was great. I even like Elio, who I came out of the book thinking was kind of the worst. Part of that comes from Timothee Chalamait’s incredible performance, which captures the awkward, open hearted melancholy of young obsession much better than prose. (Also, on film you don’t have to read seven different chapters that amount to Elio masturbating…but you know, whatever.) And Armie Hammer is the perfect hot dork of everyone’s dreams as Oliver. As Crystan and I talked about before the movie, you don’t expect someone with that beautiful face to be as good as he is, but oooh boy, is Armie a good actor.

There’s also something old fashioned and wonderful about this film that I think is why so many people have found it captivating. The long tracking shots of the Italian Countryside and tender conversations between young lovers aren’t new, we just haven’t seen them in so long that it’s refreshing. (Also, the young lovers both being men, makes this revolutionary.)

But I just adored the film. Completely head over heals for it, and will probably watch it again a few times when/if it starts streaming anywhere. It’s just so lovely. I’ve also listened to the soundtrack a few times since as well. I mean, seriously, watch this movie, it’s very worth it.

Wakanda Forever

You guys, this movie.

This movie.

It’s really, really good.

This movie, by the way is Black Panther. It’s directed by Ryan Coogler. It’s starring a young woman named Letitia Wright.

Oh, OK, technically it’s starring Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan. But mostly. Leitia Wright as Shuri, Princess of Wakanda. Everything about this movie is awesome, but she is the awesomest, and I know that’s not a word.

She’s smart and funny, and she knows how to get under her brother, T’Challa, King of Wakanda’s skin, and oh yeah, she’s also a tech genius and total badass.


Actually every woman in this movie is a badass. That’s Shuri, getting geared up for a fight with Nakia, played by Goddess Among Us Lupita N’Yongo.

Seriously, I was already excited to go into a movie that was guaranteed to have tons of “No White Guys,” moments, but OMG there are moments where not only are there no white guys, but there are NO GUYS AT ALL. Seriously, at least twenty minutes of this two hour long movie are just badass black women talking to eachother. And it’s NOT EVEN LIKE IT’S A BIG DEAL.

Aside from my particular political reasons for loving this movie, it’s just a really good movie. Chadwick Boseman is great. Michael B. Jordan is great (natch). Ryan Coogler is a very good director who is excellent at working inside of a formula while still reinventing that forumila. (Creed anyone?)

Anyway, back to Shuri, who is now my favorite Disney Princess. (SHE IS TOO A DISNEY PRINCESS!) I keep thinking about her as an aspirational figure. She’s a princess, she’s a warrior, she’s a scientist (SHE FIXED BUCKY!) and she doesn’t take crap. I’m not a sciencey person, but I know that whenever someone asks me why I want to be a writer I explain it’s because I saw Little Women when I was seven because I wanted to be Jo March. I keep thinking about all the little girls who will fall in love with Shuri because of her humor and her heart and her bad-ass-ness, and will want to become scientists like her and my heart explodes.

I think even more about how each of the women in this movie gets to be different, they can have conflicting goals and loyalties. And it’s fine.

Also, there is a white guy in the movie. And he’s played by Martin Freeman! And he’s a pilot. (I think this is hilarious since the various black dudes in the MCU are pilots. Rhodey, Sam…uh, that’s it, right?)

Black Panther is worth the hype, I should write a proper review, and I probably will after I see the movie a second time today. (WOO HOO NO WORK FOR ME TODAY!) But for now, I just wanted to bask in how awesome it was.

The Road to Infinity: I am Iron Man

Iron Man

So, I’m rewatching all of the MCU movies. Some one them, I will be watching for the first time since I saw them in theaters. Some of them, I have watched a zillion times.

Iron Man, is one I’ve watched a zillion times. Everytime, I am reminded of why this is the movie that launched an empire.

It’s really, really solid. The script is good, the performances are excellent, and the effects still look a lot better than a lot of what you see in most superhero movies. (They are also used quite sparingly.)

And Good God, is Robert Downey Jr. excellent in this movie. He’s just astounding. Over the course of 20 films, he’s given a mix of good to phenomenal performances as Tony Stark, but this original one is the phenomenal one.

Also, I will never, ever let anyone say a bad word about Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, or generally as an actress. (Gwyneth Paltrow as an insufferable internet personality, sure, fire away! SHE has time to do Yoga everyday AND raise her children!) She’s such a bright spot in every scene she’s in and she really does look like she’s having a ball.

And this movie has a social conscious that I always forget about. I don’t just mean, Tony’s realization that he’s complicit in a cycle of violence that will ultimately lead to the creation of The Avengers, the signing of the Sokovia Accords and his mentorship of Peter Parker, but I mean the scene on the roof.

While at a benefit Tony and Pepper have a romantic moment, and she is immediately uncomfortable. When he tries to brush it off she insists that they discuss it, that the power differential between them (he’s her boss!) makes where it was heading inappropriate. And, this is the important part, Tony backs off. Granted, he finds out that his mentor is trying to take away his company (and murder him) but still, he backs off, until they can have a real conversation about it.

I love Tony and Pepper.

Anyway, I also think that people don’t give Jon Favreau enough credit. Iron Man moves well, manages to stay small enough and big enough in the right places and somehow, hits every note perfectly. The impact of these decisions cannot be overstated, as they shaped the other 19 movies substantially. (Though even in The Incredible Hulk, made the same year, things are ramped up a bit…)

Overall, I was wary about diving back into the MCU, I don’t know how all of the movies are going to hold up. (I am SUPER  nervous about watching Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World again, because OMG…) But I’m glad to know that Iron Man holds up and knowing how this story winds up going is an excellent beginning.

Plus, you guys, Phil Coulson, showing up for the first time, so unassuming at first and then such a complete and total badass.

We’re here to talk about “The Avengers Initiative.” Let’s get moving!

Prince Of Humbug

greatest showman.jpg


The opening moment of The Greatest Showman is Hugh Jackman, as P.T. Barnum, in silhouette, standing, cane extended, top hat on, ankles crossed, poised to start dancing, and he sings in a husky whisper, “this is the moment you’ve been waiting for.”

I inhaled sharply. I have been waiting for this moment. For a very long time, it feels sometimes. I’m a superhero fan so to complain about Jackman’s career eschewing his song and dance roots so that he could play Wolverine for all those years always felt like choosing between air and water. I wanted, I needed both.

Les Mis came and went mostly unremarked upon. (A shame really, because Jackman is very good as Jean Valjean) and three more rounds as Logan (all quite good) kept him away for five more years. So as The Greatest Showman began it’s run up, I found myself singing “Hello Dolly” in my head everytime I saw something related to it.

I tell you all this so that you understand how much I wanted to love this movie. My heart was open, ready to fill in the space carved out nearly fourteen years ago when I watched the West End version of Oklahoma on PBS the first time. Barnum is a perfect persona for Jackman, all flash and twinkle with a dark side a mile long. Add in Zac Efron (also coming home) and Zendaya and Michelle Williams (who is incredible in this, but who is always incredible) and I was a perfect mark, the kind of sucker Barnum would have dreamed of walking by his museum.

This movie. *sigh*

This movie is fine.

It could have been great, and has flashes of greatness. The performances are strong. The songs are very good. The script is thin but satisfactory.

But the movie lacks style. The whole time I was sitting there thinking, “this movie needs Baz Luhrman and it needs him badly.” Hell, it probably even could have been stepped up with Bill Condon, who co-wrote the screenplay and did truly interesting work with Chicago and Dreamgirls. Instead aesthetically, it feels like Moulin Rouge‘s technicolor dream world of oddballs got lost and popped into Newsies and it never quite gels.

Jackman is phenomenal, and Williams is even better as Charity Barnum, and the movie hinges on them. Efron and Zendaya do well in their roles and their duet “Rewrite The Stars” is probably the best song in the movie, though “This Is Me” a full company song lead by Keala Settle as the Bearded Lady is the best number, and certainly the one with the strongest point of view and “The Other Side” a duet between Jackman and Efron is pure musical theater goodness, complete with soft shoe and Sondheim-esque talk singing.

I’ve very recently decided that while I appreciate the music of Pasek and Paul, I think that their work is not always for me. I loved the movie La La Land, but found the songs underwhelming, I hated the song they wrote for The Flash, I’m not in love with A Christmas Story and while I get the appeal of Dear Evan Hansen, I am no longer sixteen and so the music doesn’t do much for me. (And it winning Best Score over Natasha, Pierre And The Great Comet of 1812 or War Paint or Come From Away is criminal…) The Greatest Showman is a bit of an outlier there. These songs are very good if terminally poppy and a bit obsessed with dropping the beat.


  1. Wonder Woman
  2. The Big Sick
  3. Coco
  4. Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
  5. Battle Of The Sexes
  6. Dunkirk
  7. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  8. Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  9. The Greatest Showman
  10. Thor: Ragnarok
  11. Justice League
  12. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword
  13. The Dark Tower
  14. Cars 3
  15. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales


I’ve stopped commenting on trailers mostly because few grab me these days.

Peter Rabbit looks awful. It doesn’t even appear to have anything to do with Peter Rabbit at all. Whattabummer

Paddington 2 I didn’t see the first one, thought I heard it was surprisingly delightful and I’m sure this one will be quite good too, and features Hugh Grant, whom I completely adore.

Love, Simon: GAY YA MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!! WE SHOULD ALL SUPPORT THIS. Yes, it’s still a white cis upper middle class gay boy, and it’s a coming out story, (booo) but STILL!

Next week is going to be dedicated to wrap ups. Movie Season summaries. (And possibly a rearranging of rankings) a “what I learned in my Disney Year” post, and a plan for moving forward in 2018 (whether I stick to that plan or not WHO KNOWS…but it involves a lot of Marvel)

I’m still going to be going to the movies pretty regularly even though the season is over, and I may review an Oscar bait here and there, we’ll see.

Let The Past Die

The Last Jedi





Star Wars: Episode VII: The Last Jedi is a strange movie. There’s no getting around that. It’s paced oddly. (Poorly in certain spots) It’s full of weird looking creatures and off center character beats, and more weirdo philosophy than the seven movies that preceded it combined.

It’s also Carrie Fisher’s best performance of the five that she’s in, a fitting goodbye to a legend that we all love, allows Mark Hamill to play the comedy that he’s excellent at, deepens both Kylo Ren and Rey, and executes a B-Plot with exactly 0 white guys. (Seriously, the B-Plot heist is centered around Poe, Finn, new character Rose, Leia, new character Vice Admiral Holdo, and a surprise appearance by Benicio Del Toro.)

I need to see the movie again before I really evaluate it. But I enjoyed it immensely, if only for it’s truly spectacular moments. (This is why I want to see it again. I felt similarly about Revenge Of The Sith, so I want to watch it a bit more calmly.) Rey and Kylo fighting off Snoke’s guards after Kylo assasinates him. The force connection between Rey and Kylo convincing each of them that the other can be turned. Luke’s final conversation with Yoda. (Who after 40+ years is finally fed up with the Skywalker boys and their shit) The Star Wars version of the battle of Helm’s Deep. (Just when you thought there was nothing left from Tolkien for this series to mine!) Holdo’s sacrifice. Leia using the force to survive in space. That final moment between Luke and Leia. Luke brushing his shoulder off after a barrage of bullets in the battle.

The plot is what it is. There’s a maguffin, there’s a confrontation, there is, truly the best saber battle we’ve seen yet. The performances are strong, the character beats mostly work. The themes discussed including legacy, corruption and hope are well explored. It’s way too long. There’s definitely fat that could be trimmed, but for the most part it’s worth it.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say. I’ve got plenty of family time to log this week, and talking Star Wars with my family is my favorite thing.


  1. Wonder Woman
  2. The Big Sick
  3. Coco
  4. Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
  5. Battle Of The Sexes
  6. Dunkirk
  7. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  8. Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  9. Thor: Ragnarok
  10. Justice League
  11. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword
  12. The Dark Tower
  13. Cars 3
  14. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Remember Me


You know how sometimes you see something at just the right moment in your life? Like there’s a weird confluence of events that leads to you sitting in a theater with a bottle of Miller Lite crying like baby on a Saturday morning?

That’s kind of what’s happening with me and Coco…

You guys know at this point that stories about art, family and faith are heavy hitters for me, so like, I was primed for Coco to begin with, but there’s also a deeply touching subplot about aging family members, which given some personal stuff these past few years absolutely destroyed me.

From a purely objective standpoint Coco is a brilliant work. It’s tightly scripted, stunningly animated with delightful music and memorable characters. It may be my new favorite Pixar flick, it’s certainly in the top 3.

But regardless of where it sits in canon, it’s a wonderful movie about figuring out your place, and the price of dreams.

Bonus: Olaf’s Frozen Adventure is very cute with some good jokes and some OK songs. It is WAYYYY too long to be placed in front of a feature. Also, I’d imagine if you weren’t just back from Disney World where “That Time Of Year” was played at least once an hour…you might find the song more amusing and less groan inducing.


  1. Wonder Woman
  2. The Big Sick
  3. Coco
  4. Battle Of The Sexes
  5. Dunkirk
  6. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  7. Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  8. Thor: Ragnarok
  9. Justice League
  10. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword
  11. The Dark Tower
  12. Cars 3
  13. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales


Duck Duck Goose: No.

Ferdinand: MMmm… Maybe? Seriously, it looks quite charming, and I can’t get over how good a pick for Ferdinand John Cena is.