What’s New on the Site
“What Remains of Edith Finch” is a fresh, emotional, interactive experience – Christopher reviews the latest Giant Sparrow PS4 and PC exclusive.
What We’ve Been Reading
Clint’s Reading List
All Them Bright Stars – Nancy Kress
This is a wonderful short from the collection Trinity and Other Stories by Nancy Kress. In our culture of race relations, vernacular, semantics, and attempts at kindness or lack thereof we have to remain conscious of those around us and the effect we have on them. Not to the extreme, but rather just treating everyone we meet like a human being. The story is about a young, blue alien man who visits an American diner and is turned out by the owner while a waitress feels for him. The invasion on life is brief, heartwarming, and frustrating all at the same time.
What We’ve Been Watching
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2 – The follow-up to James Gunn’s surprise hit, Guardians of the Galaxy succeeds in many places other Marvel films falter. First and foremost, it reaches further out in to the Marvel Cosmic, effectively establishing its own corner of the MCU, without much intrusion from more Earth-based goings-on. And for the most part, that works. In a landscape where Marvel films are churned out twice a year, and as a result, are beginning to feel more episodic than cinematic, Guardians Vol 2 firmly establishes itself as a standalone film. It pushes the story of the characters we grew to love in the first movie, without needing to tie much in to how this will effect the next set of comic book films.
However, it’s not without its own set of issues. Gunn, effectively being given free reign has chosen a mostly more introspective story. A story that focuses on the relationship between father and son, self-potential, and of course a theme that would make Vin Diesel’s non-Groot persona Dom Toretto proud, family. As a result of following a more nuanced topic, the pacing becomes a little disjointed while trying to balance these moments of brief character discovery with the spectacle you come to expect from a long-anticipated tent-pole film.
But overall, Guardians Vol 2 does a fine job of expanding the characters just a little further, while retaining the fun and heart that captured our attention in the first place.
Colossal – After waiting months to see this I was finally given the chance. For those out of the loop, Anne Hathaway plays Gloria, an unemployed writer who drinks way too much (cliches sell tickets people). Her boyfriend kicks her out and she moves home, reconnecting with her childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis). After a giant monster attacks Seol she learns that she controls it by walking through a specific playground at a specific time, allowing the monster to appear. From here we’re given several films all at once – one about guilt and the actions of those unaware of what they’re doing, one about men and the way they treat women, and one about a giant kaiju that is bitch-slapping a robot across the face. It’s a solid movie with a large set of awesome premises that does not explore all of them fully. Sudeikis gets a lot of the spotlight here, with the film focusing on the subversion of the “nice guy” routine while Gloria’s drinking is pushed to the backburner, despite it being the introductory reason for the plot in the first place. I think Vigalondo went with the right theme to follow but I wish he had found a better way to make the leap.
Predator 2 – We’re building up to a new Predator film so I’ve been working back through the old three. I’d forgotten just how great this one was. Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Robert Davi, and Bill Paxton all come together for a really stellar cast that I had forgotten about for the most part. None of it is brilliant, don’t get me wrong, but when you start with a drug and explosion-laden intro in the streets of L.A. that is followed by a slaughter from a predator then you know exactly what you’re in for. This is the film that opened these things up as a bigger idea, with new weapons and lore added to the mythos that really does still get the toy-loving doofus in me all riled up.
Prometheus – People had problems with this one, but I very much enjoyed it. I have issues with it, a lot of them the same as everyone else, but this was a film that didn’t spoon feed me or force me to sit through extended periods of exposition. Instead, it gave me context and skipped over more of that and allows the audience to come to its own conclusions. Noomi Rapace is a pretty solid actress, as is Charlize Theron, but it’s Fassbender that stands out in this. The first bit with him just roaming around the ship is one of the most interesting things I’ve seen from him in his career.
Alien Anthology Boxset – That’s right, I went through the whole damn boxset this week (classes letting out is a marvelous thing). Watching all of these in the buildup to Alien: Covenent is an exciting affair, from the perfect devastation of Ridley Scott’s Alien all the way down to Jeunet’s Alien Resurrection and all of it’s gloriously scattershot pieces. The franchise has long been a favorite of mine, even the lesser parts (let’s be honest…the bad parts). I went through each of these aiming for a unique experience, but I think the best by far was listening to the alternate score on the audio for Alien. Goldsmith cut together what we have had for years but listening to this has been wonderful, a completely separate score that deviates in many key ways from the original. Not all of it works, but it’s a damn fine extra to have.
Logan Noir – Holy shit this was gorgeous. I’m up or down on whether or not I prefer the color version or this black and white re-release but it was absolutely beautiful. The film does take on a new feeling without the desolate browns and oranges from the initial release. I first thought that I might enjoy it as a passing thing, but it’s been two days and I have to admit…it’s stuck with me. In color the film is a Western, reminiscent of Italian filmmakers. The original run actually reminds me a lot of Antonioni’s Red Desert in tone and imagery, whereas this film reminds me more of something akin to Double Indemnity, maybe even something like Psycho in terms of it’s slower pacing and tone as well as its dwelling on death. This’ll be out Tuesday, May 23rd, and I highly recommend checking it out at some point. The Noir version will be available on the blu-ray (I’m not a shill, I just loved it).
Psycho – Speaking of black and white gorgeousness, Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece is still one for the ages. Regular readers will remember I’ve been watching Bates Motel and there was no way that wasn’t going to put me in the mood to visit the Hitchcock original film. This is still a stunning bit of rug-pulling, the switching in protagonist and the focus on the killer remaining very unique and standout in terms of film characters. I recently purchased a book I can’t wait to dive into, Robert Graysmith’s The Girl in Hitchcock’s Shower, that is about the body double for the film in the most iconic scene. I’m deeply engrossed in this story at the moment and had to make sure this was on my watchlist this week.