Friday, January 13, 2023

A little something for the weekend?

Getting back into a regular writing and publishing schedule while also planning Karen’s funeral and working through all the loose ends of her estate is proving to be tougher than expected. However, even though I promised I’d stop doing them, writing a movie review always seems to be a good way for me to get me moving again. Without further ado, then…

Recommended watching:

Written and directed by Jordan Peele, who you should at least recognize as being one-half of the comedy duo of Key & Peele, NOPE is heir to a long line of clever little science fiction/horror movies. Filmed on a modest budget ($68 million), this is not a movie that will dazzle you with its special effects, awe you with the big-name star power of its cast, or stun you with the sheer imaginative brilliance of its script. This is simply a movie that will entertain you, from its slow-burn beginning to its frenetic climax, and it seems as if there are damned few filmmakers content to do that these days. You will care about the fates of the characters in this movie, and follow willingly along with them as they go down the rabbit hole and discover that something that only seemed a little odd at first is far more sinister than they’d ever imagined.

If you liked TREMORS, I believe you’ll enjoy NOPE.

Recommended missing:

The latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, THOR: Love and Thunder, is… weird. It seems to be trying to follow in the footsteps of THOR: Ragnarok, but with not one iota of the wit that made Ragnarok entertaining. It cost a quarter of a billion dollars to make. There may be a few scenes that don’t have eye-popping CGI effects, but if there were, I don’t remember them. The movie is packed with big-name actors and actresses: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Chris Pratt, Christian Bale as the villain (Did they actually try to come up with an “All Chris” cast?) If you watch closely you’ll spot gobs of other “name” actors in bit parts and cameos. Even Russell Crowe gets a turn, as an obnoxious, overweight, and intentionally unhelpful Zeus.

The core story of the movie is that Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is dying, from an unspecified cancer that has reached Stage 4 and is not responding to chemotherapy. In desperation she decides to abandon science and seek magical help in New Asgard, and ends up becoming the Mighty Thor, complete with her own set of chrome armor and a pieced-back-together Mjolnir. Thereafter…

Ah, who cares? This movie is just plain weird. It seems to be going off in six different directions at the same time, and can’t find a single voice. It’s a comedy—no, it’s a tragedy—it’s a self-parody—no, it’s a statement, about all sorts of things that are utterly irrelevant in a comic-book movie. Korg, the rock creature from Ragnarok, is gay? From what else is revealed in this story Korg’s species is hermaphroditic, like earthworms. In the context of a hermaphroditic species, how can the idea of gay possibly have any meaning?

There are lots more things about this movie that bother me: for one, the music is terrible. Someone is credited as the composer for this film, but it sounds more like they hired a DJ to spin records for a sock hop. For another, Jane Foster is way too active and healthy-looking for someone who has Stage 4 cancer and is in chemotherapy. On top of that, the depiction of chemo as presented in this movie is nowhere near as ugly and invasive as the real thing. (But then, if they were to make it realistic, this would be a horror movie.)

I could go on and on with the failings of this movie, but suffice to say: I watched this one so that you don’t have to. If you liked THOR: Ragnarok, give this one a miss. Watching it will only make you question your own judgment for having liked Ragnarok.

Recommended running screaming from:

Combining the worst aspects of JUSTICE LEAGUE and SUICIDE SQUAD, the latest entry in the DC Cinematic Universe, BLACK ADAM, is an object lesson in how to spend a quarter of a billion dollars to make a tedious, uninteresting movie that seems to be much longer than its two-hour running time. The only worthwhile thing in this movie is Pierce Brosnan’s turn as Doctor Fate. I don’t think Pierce Brosnan could deliver a bad performance if he tried.

Wait, I spoke too soon. Brosnan was painfully awful in Mama Mia. Okay, amend that to, “I don’t think Pierce Brosnan could deliver a bad performance if he tried, provided the part doesn’t require him to sing.” Seriously, the guy can’t carry a tune in a bucket.

The only way BLACK ADAM could have been worse is if the script had required Pierce Brosnan to sing. If your choice tonight is between watching BLACK ADAM or cleaning the litter box, clean the litter box. Your cat will thank you.