Eventually The Tower Will Fall

The Dark Tower

On this level of the Tower, one near our own, in fact possibly even Keystone Earth, they sure refer to it as such over and over again in this movie, Jake Chambers isn’t the son of an indifferent depressed mom and a cocaine addicted status obsessed network executive, but the son of a dead fire fighter and a grieving but loving mom, and an indifferent stepfather.

Other than those details though, this is Jake, lonely, possibly crazy, sweet as pie, Jake. Strong with the touch (though they call it the Shine here, as a way to link us up even further to Stephen King, which, when you think about it, with all the talk of psychics and other worlds, that Danny Torrance and Carrie never come up in the books is WEIRD), and drawn to a terrifying mansion in Dutch Hill where he defeats a demon and finds his way through a portal to Mid-World, where he comes upon Roland Deschain.

And this is Roland, he is carrying the horn of Eld (SQUEE!) hardened and obsessed with revenge. He’s lost the path of the beam, though, he’s after Walter, who this time around is running a breaker facility, and wants Jake to be the one to finally bring the Dark Tower down.

Look, I get that if you’ve been waiting 30 years, this movie might not do the trick, but nothing will. I however was satisfied, and would be happy for more. (NO EDDIE! GIVE ME EDDIE!) Idris Elba and Matthew McConnaghey are excellently cast, and I really enjoyed McConnaghey’s performance, as the idea that Walter is kind of bored of this whole dance is enticing. The first thing we see is a bunch of psychic kids scrawling 19 all over the place, and while Jake enters Mid-World, he sees “All Hail The Crimson King” scrawled on a wall, and they’re on the run from Taheen employees of The Sombra Coporations and we even pay a visit to The Dixie Pig, so I was happy. (Not totally though, because like, where’s Susannah?) I half expected a moment where Jake hands Roland a soda for the can to read Noz-A-La.

In edition to the two perfect leads, we get Dennis Haysbert in a brief but perfect spot as Stephen Deschain. (In my head, I’m seeing Audra McDonald as Gabrielle. I’m not sure why…except that I love her.) And frankly, this movie is kind of bonkers in a way that fits with The Dark Tower, if a little stripped down and way less violent and scary.

It ends with a bullet between the eyes for Walter and Roland and Jake off to find other worlds, (and hopefully, Oy!) so maybe with enough money and luck we’ll see more and the rest of the Ka-Tet of 19 is waiting.

Rankings:

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. The Big Sick
  3. Dunkirk
  4. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  5. Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  6. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword
  7. The Dark Tower
  8. Cars 3
  9. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Trailers:

We were pretty drunk, and late, so I didn’t remember many trailers. But whatever that plane crash movie with Idris and Kate Winslet is…well, that looks pretty good.

 

 

 

All We Did Was Survive…That’s Enough

Dunkirk_Film_poster

There’s a moment towards the end of Dunkirk when a small fleet of personal fishing and pleasure boats break through the fog to the French beach and the thousands of men stranded there begin applauding and cheering.

It’s one of those, “not a dry eye in the house” moments that feels truly earned by the film that preceded it, and really surprised me, especially coming from Christopher Nolan, who’s made himself the king of a the not necessarily earned but audience pleasing third act twist.

But that’s kind of all of Dunkirk, a masterfully made war film, that feels somehow like the absolute culmination of Nolan’s career so far as a filmmaker, and yet like a complete departure from anything he’s done before. The genre trappings he’s been able to hide behind before are stripped away for one thing, but it’s still somehow about the way communities and individuals intersect and the ability of the human mind and spirit to transcend unthinkable circumstances (both big favorite themes of his.) It’s a movie that is both epic in scale and claustrophobic-ally small at the same time.

A game ensemble of British character actors take us through the day of evacuation, special stand outs however, go to Mark Rylance as “Patriotic And Determined Civilian With A Boat” and Kenneth Branagh as “Officer On A Pier Looking Concerned.” (I don’t remember any characters’ names, but that’s more because I don’t know that anyone is given names.) I was less impressed by Cillian Murphy as “Shell Shocked Soldier Who Whines The Whole Time.”

Overall, I think Dunkirk is really special, and if it had been released in November, would be a shoe in for awards conversation. Even with it’s mid summer blockbuster slot, I think it’s got good chances.

Rankings:

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. The Big Sick
  3. Dunkirk
  4. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  5. Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  6. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword
  7. Cars 3
  8. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Trailers:

I did the 70MM so there were few trailers (it was cool to watch a movie on film again though, I haven’t done that in quite a while)

Justice League: It looks…fine? My lack of enthusiasm in either direction about this movie worries me. I do like the cover of “Come Together” used at the end though. Definitely a cool choice, And hey, it’s more Wonder Woman…so that’s good? Right?

 

You Completely Overwhelm Me

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I’ve been waiting a long time for The Big Sick, and the fact that I knew the story of the movie pretty much by heart before the it was even conceived, having listened to The Indoor Kids, Kumail Najiani and Emily V. Gordon’s podcast, as well as read Emily’s book and Tumblr, and listened to them on countless other podcasts.

Of course this would all be moot if The Big Sick weren’t good on it’s own, but it is. Struggling comedian Kumail meets charming grad student Emily and they fall in love, but he’s holding her at arms length, because his mother is trying to arrange a marriage for him, and he’s knows his family won’t approve of a white girl. They break up when she realizes that they have no shot at a future.

What happens next is even more wrenching, when Emily falls terribly ill and is pushed into a medically induced coma, and Kumail is forced to bond with her parents, played sublimely by Holly Hunter and Ray Ramano.

Zoe Kazan is lovely as Emily, and manages to capture the real Emily’s vibe while not doing an outright impression which is cool. Kumail also does well, and I really love the stuff with his family.

Trailers

I missed them, because I sat down in the wrong theater and sat there for fifteen minutes…I know.

Rankings!

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. The Big Sick
  3. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  4. Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  5. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword
  6. Cars 3
  7. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Stay Close To The Ground

Spider-man

Every time something new started in Spider-Man: Homecoming I thought, “Well, that’s perfect.” From the opening of Peter’s video diary showing his time in Civil War from his perspective, to the pounding drums of The Ramones “Blitzkreig Bop” over the credits (Because QUEENS! You guys, both Spider-Man and The Ramones are from Queens!) every second of Homecoming feels right.

Tom Holland is a treasure, and I feared with a whole movie to cover we met wind up with some Charlie Hunnam/Ed Westwick/Robert Pattinson “whisper to cover the British Accent” thing, but that didn’t happen and his dorky infectious youth is such a good fit for Peter Parker that even the flaws in this movie, of which I feel there are very few, are easy to miss.

Zendaya’s Michelle (MJ to her friends…a little on the “John Blake’s name is actually Robin” side there, Homecoming…) is probably my favorite character in anything in a very long time. Jacob Batalon’s Ned is as endearing a BFF as we’ve ever gotten in the MCU, and of course Robert Downey Jr., Marissa Tomei and Jon Favreau acquit themselves well. Michael Keaton’s Vulture is terrifying and compelling. (Did we expect less than that from him?)

The cameos by Hannibal Burress, Martin Starr and Donald Glover are all hilarious and kind of perfect. (Put. *CLAP* Donald. *CLAP* Glover *CLAP* In *CLAP* All *CLAP* The *CLAP* Things *CLAP*) And a last minute appearance by Gwyneth Paltrow actually had me PHYSICALLY BOUNCING OUT OF MY SEAT! (TONY AND PEPPER GOT BACK TOGETHER! AND THEN ANOTHER THING HAPPENS! NO SPOILERS!)

The action is fun and zippy and not overused, the superhero through the lens of John Hughes is equally great.

Oh, and those Captain America school videos? Further proof that Evans is the best Chris. And that post credit is further FURTHER proof. (This is mostly to shut down my brother, who insists that Pratt is the best.)

RANKINGS!

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  3. Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  4. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword
  5. Cars 3
  6. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Trailers:

The Dark Tower: I mean, I didn’t NOT CRY, when The Man In Black asked Roland if he told the boy everyone who walked with him died. I haven’t been breaking into sobs whenever I think about Jake Chambers lately or anything. (Also, is it just Roland and Jake in this movie? No Eddie and Susannah? I have a lot of questions…I’ll get my answers in a few weeks I guess) (I hope we get Eddie and Susannah.) (Especially Eddie.)

Dunkirk: SO SO SO SO SO GOOD. Also, I didn’t realize Kenneth Branagh was in it. Because I needed more reasons to see this movie.

Daddy’s Home 2: Aside from the perfection of casting Jon Lithgow as Will Ferrell’s father I just do not see a need for this to exist. I would much prefer if they’d done The Other Guys 2 as both Ferrell and Wahlberg were funnier in it, and it’s a better movie.

Pitch Perfect 3: Wooo, a waste of all of these women’s talents is coming out again. (My dislike of Pitch Perfect 2 is deep.)

Kingsman: The Golden Circle: GOD IT LOOKS SO GOOD!

Wonder: I don’t actually want to see this, but it does feature Daveed Diggs as an elementary school teacher, which feels right. And it made me wish Aless was with me (she’s in Italy, whatever!) because I don’t think the strangers around me appreciated my squealing of his name when he appeared on screen. (Look,  they’re lucky I didn’t shout “LAFAYETTE!” in rhythm to “Guns and Ships.”)

 

 

You Don’t Know How That Feels

Cars 3 is an interesting animal. I mean, all of the Cars movies are sort of interesting and a little bit weird, but also quite enjoyable.

I had a feeling that I was going to like it, because it’s basically the plot of Rocky 3, and I really, really like Rocky 3. (It’s my favorite Rocky…) Lightning McQueen wants to come back, but it seems like racing has moved on, and his mentor is dead, and his partner is supportive, but unable do much for him, and there’s outside pressure that has nothing to do with why he fell in love with the whole thing anyway.

The movie itself is sweet, touching, and not overly long, which made for a nice change. I adore new character Cruz Ramirez, as well as several quite sweet tributes to Paul Newman.

There are fun cameos as always, although I think Lighting’s new corporate boss being a Cadillac named “Mr. Sterling” being voiced by Nathan Fillion and NOT John Slattery is a waste of a perfectly good easter egg. (Not to take away from Fillion, who is as always, flawless.)

Cars 3 is worth checking out, Pixar usually is, if only to see what they were able to do visually, and this one has a fun story and some nice new characters to go along with it.

Short:

Lou, about the sentient, loving Lost and Found being is straight up adorable, with a touching bit to say about bullying, and attachment.

Rankings:

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  3. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword
  4. Cars 3
  5. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Trailers

Despicable Me 3: This is coming up. I’ll probably go see it. Unlikely I’ll see it opening night.

Ferdinand: I knew this was happening, I did not know that John Cena was voicing Ferdinand. That’s kind of ridiculously perfect.

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure: Oh my goodness, can I not wait for a short of Olaf running around learning about Scandinavian Christmas traditions. Also, Else and Anna’s Christmas dresses are everything.

Coco: OK, this is going to be great, or at the very least beautiful. I don’t know a lot about Dios De Los Muertos, except that it’s also my birthday, and in Ireland we call it All Souls Day.

They Do Not Deserve You

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When I was waiting for my car last night on the way home from Wonder Woman, I texted my brother, “Wonder Woman is perfect by the way.” His answer: “Well they took long enough I would hope so.”

I loved this movie. I went in ready to love this movie and it’s perfect and wonderful and I want to hug it and also I want to see it a million times. Aless summed it up, “I don’t think I will ever get tired of watching that movie.”

Patty Jenkins and the team at DC and Warner Brothers have created something really special, and it’s not like they had any pressure on them to do it right or anything. (HAHA) And through a coup of casting Gal Gadot, who I think might actually be Wonder Woman, like hiding out or something, and a singular focus on telling a strong story with defined characters, they cleared the very high bar that had been set for them.

Let’s talk about Gadot. I was in the “Who?” “She’s too skinny.” “I’m not sure about this.” camps three years ago when her casting was announced. But she’s amazing, she understands this character in a way that’s hard to articulate, her every move and word embodies Diana and it’s just so wonderful.

There’s a moment in this movie, the first time we see Diana in Wonder Woman’s costume, where she pushes herself over the top of a trench in Belgium and runs through No Man’s Land, deflecting bullets with her shield and bracelets, taking the fire as the men who follow her chase through to the other side. I was crying the whole time. Happy joyous, “HOLY SHIT THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING” tears, streaming down my face. It’s a wonderful moment.

Chris Pine is great in this movie too, which does incredible things with Steve Trevor, who is brave, funny, interesting and DAMN IS THE BOY FINE. I mean, look, I’m not saying the rest of the movie could have been crappy and the scene where he takes a bath and then he and Diana have a conversation about his dick would have mad the whole endeavor worth it, (yes that happens, and yes it’s better than how I described it) and I don’t want to dwell on the fact that the image of him in a fedora walking through the streets of 1918 London, (SWOOON) is my new image of male perfection, but seriously, he’s a very attractive man and has passed Hemsworth to become the third best Chris. (He’s even inching up on Pratt…none will touch Evans though.)

I could keep going on about how much I loved this movie, but I’m just going to say one more thing, this a movie where Bruce Wayne does not appear and it still managed to get across the part of his personality that I like the best from versions other than movies. He finds the original copy of the picture of Wonder Woman with her war buddies, and sends it to her, with a note that reads, “I found the original, maybe someday you’ll tell me your story.” A little bit cranky, but deeply invested in the people he cares about.

Because this movie is perfect.

Rankings!

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  3. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword
  4. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Trailers

Transformers again.

The extended Dunkirk look was fabulous. Good lord is that movie going to be good. I hope it wins Nolan his Oscar. I kind of don’t see how it couldn’t…though it would be sweet sweet irony if Logan wins.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle: How do we make this thing most people love better? Add Jeff Bridges and Channing Tatum!

Thor: Ragnorok: *Aless and I practically collapse into giggles on the floor of the theater in anticipation.*

Balance Is The Answer

King Arthur

I like to visit Camelot every few years. I’ve mentioned this before.

I think Guy Ritchie is one of the greatest working action directors. I’ve mentioned this before.

I’m not sure that Charlie Hunnam is actually a good actor, though I have consistently enjoyed his work. I’ve mentioned this before

So, with all of that out of the way, it should be a foregone conclusion that I really really enjoyed, King Arthur: Legend Of  The Sword. But I was  nervous going in because this movie has not been tracking well, and it made not nearly enough money last week to be considered a hit, which is a shame, because this movie is a complete and utter delight. Obviously, I knew that this movie was probably going to have my favorite stylish action of the summer but goddamn do I love how Ritchie handles fights.

From Arthur’s brawling as he grows up on the streets of Londinium to the stunning magic assisted sword fights to the incredible opening battle featuring giant elephant demons (Yup, that’s a thing. AND IT WAS AWESOME), all of the action was superbly fun. And only two of the scenes utilized slow motion.

Hunnam is kind of perfect here? I don’t know how else to say this. I’ve been onto his schtick since about season 3 of Sons of Anarchy (stare intensely at his co-stars until it’s time to shout) but it’s actually deeply effective for Arthur, and even more surprisingly, he handles the wisecracking required of a Ritchie lead miraculously.

Jude Law does well as the villain. (Arthur’s uncle Vortigan, who’s new to me.) An unnamed sorceress plays Merlin’s role (I kept waiting for someone to call her Morgan or Vivienne, but it never happened) and I squeed a bit when one of Arthur’s street buddies rose as a new knight, “Sir Tristan.” (Everyone else had their normal names, but this guy had gone by the street name “Wet Stick” the whole movie).

Overall I think it’s a bummer this movie didn’t hit because it’s a whole lot of fun, and it’s vaguely educational, because I bet some kid is going to see this movie and get into Athurian legend.

I hope so at least.

I also hope that either this or The Man From UNCLE get sequels, though that seems unlikely.

Trailers:

Kingsman: The Golden Circle: Lord does that look good. The first one was so special, I hope they keep it going.

Transformers: The Last Knight: Guys, I can’t decide if I’ve just seen this trailer a bunch of times and I have stockholm syndrome, or do I actually want to see a new Transformers movie?

The Hitman’s Bodyguard: I have never heard of this movie before, and it looks PRETTY dumb, but using Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” in the trailer is genius.

Wonder Woman: We’re so close. It feels close right? Anyway, this trailer is bank, all of them have been.

Rankings:

  1. Guardians Of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  2. King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword

Quick unrelated note: Today is the 6th Anniversary of The Fangirl’s Dilemma! A lot has changed and lot hasn’t, but thanks to everyone who’s read for the past 6 years!

Yours in love, nerdiness & girl power – Reenie