Friday - August 17, 2018
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Articles Written By TimBrennan

 

Infiltrate Hate

August 12th, 2018
BlacKkKlansman

Hate groups walk a very particular line, only they don’t know it. On the one hand, it wouldn’t be out of line to call members of the Ku Klux Klan and related organizations domestic terrorists. Entire seconds of research shows us a vast number of murders, lynchings, rapes, and attacks that are physical, emotional, and psychological in nature. On the other hand? There’s no other way to say it — they’re ridiculous. Grown-ass adults spending their time dressing up in sheets, using secret codes and goofball titles, and fervently believing the most nonsensical conspiracy theories possible.... Read More

Give These Women a Better Movie!

August 5th, 2018
the spy who dumped me

As human beings, we’re all about categorization. That’s particularly true when it comes to how we view actors. Denzel Washington does righteousness. Bill Murray does sarcasm. Tom Cruise does focus. While we say we want something new from our film actors, what we often want is something that’s the same that feels new. It’s not fair, but there it is. So what happens when an actor isn’t easily categorized? Exhibit A is Mila Kunis. She’s been working steadily for several years, and while she’s mostly done comedy, she has an equal gift for drama. Her best films are probably Ted and Black... Read More

Done The Impossible

July 29th, 2018
Mission: Impossible - Fallout

You have an opinion on Tom Cruise. You might be an obsessive cineaste like me, or you might be a casual filmgoer. But I guarantee you that, when I bring up the man formerly known as Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, a person who’s coming up on 40 years in the movie business, you likely aren’t responding with a hearty “Meh.” For a while, a long while there, he was the biggest movie star in the world.* The 80’s and 90’s were his time. Go take a gander at his IMDB page, and I’m willing to bet that anyone can find a movie he’s in that they like. He racked up some well-deserved Academy Award... Read More

Dwayne Johnson Fights a Building

July 22nd, 2018
Skyscraper

Die Hard is the greatest American action movie ever made. Released on July 12, 1988, there are an awful lot of reasons why it shouldn’t have worked. Casting the lead role of John McClane wasn’t easy. The studios really wanted either Al Pacino or Richard Gere, but neither was interested. Stallone passed on it. Schwarzenegger passed on it. Eastwood passed on it. Hell, even Frank Sinatra passed on it.* They had to settle for Bruce Willis, a motormouthed television actor. Weirder yet? Despite only being known for fairly obscure English TV, Alan Rickman landed the iconic role of archvillain Hans... Read More

The Top Tier of Telemarketers

July 15th, 2018
Sorry to Bother You

“Pictures were made to entertain. If you want to send a message, try Western Union.” That quote was originally attributed to film mogul Samuel Goldwyn.* It proves that, ever since the dawn of the motion picture business, studio heads usually didn’t give a damn about making an artistic statement. They are, as a great American philosopher once said, all about the benjamins. Sometimes that’s cool! Sometimes we just want pure entertainment for a couple of hours, a way to escape from a chaotic and hostile world. We don’t want to think of movies as Art, because we think Art is work. I think... Read More

Earth’s Tiniest Heroes

July 8th, 2018
Ant-Man and the Wasp

What do superheroes mean? Everything means something, but they don’t always mean the same thing. Westerns are a nostalgic look back at a time of independence and exploration. They’re also about the subjugation of native peoples and a time of almost complete anarchy. Science fiction can be a hopeful look to the years ahead, and it can also be a reflection of our anxieties about the present. Most folks tend to read superheroes as adolescent power fantasies. We want to have the brains of Iron Man, the raw power of the Hulk, the morality of Captain America. That’s why it’s easy to understand... Read More

Love Or The Lack Of It

July 1st, 2018
Won't You Be My Neighbor

These days, it seems like we Americans spend the majority of our time screaming at each other. There’s been a lot of talk about a lack of civility, a lack of respect. There’s a feeling of a yawning chasm that, every day, gets a little wider. There’s a feeling that we’ll eventually be swallowed by it. You know what? I’m part of the problem. I wish it weren’t so, but it is. Just this last May, President Donald Trump referred to some undocumented immigrants as “animals” who would be removed from the United States “at a rate that’s never happened before.” My first mistake? Deciding... Read More

A Disappointment 65 Million Years In The Making

June 24th, 2018
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

As a parent who loves movies, teaching my kid to be film literate has always been a priority. The trick is making it all age appropriate. It’s not like on his eleventh birthday, I’m going to pour him a big glass of lemonade and sit him down to watch Schindler’s List.* With kids, you need to watch what they watch, see how they react to it, and help them to put things in context. When he was younger, I’d try to curate the good stuff for him, films like The Iron Giant. Yet there  were always touchstone films that I chomped at the bit to show him. This week, one of those touchstones were... Read More

Superhero Fatigue? Pshaw!

June 17th, 2018
Incredibles 2

I’ve seen Avengers: Infinity War three times. While the fandom of some folks leans toward Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, or Star Wars, I’ve always been a Marvel Zombie. As a small child, I partially learned to read from the comics, and the characters helped me develop what passes for a moral code. But there’s one thing that’s nagged at me ever since Iron Man was released — do these films absolutely have to be live action? Consider the aforementioned Infinity War. According to the Wall Street Journal, the most recent installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe had a production budget... Read More

The Atrocity Exhibition

June 10th, 2018
Hereditary

When Rick* and his wife Lisa checked the voicemail, there was nothing, only silence. Rick thought nothing of it, until getting a phone call later from his father-in-law. He said to Lisa, “I want you to talk to your mother.” Her mother had slurred speech, and she had no idea what day it was. They rushed over, and took Lisa’s mother to the ER. The tentative diagnosis was that she’d had a stroke. While she recovered, Rick and Lisa took it upon themselves to clean up their parents’ home. They found evidence of sizable hoarding. A couch covered with junkmail. Stacks of VHS tapes. Empty bottles,... Read More