We’ve seen Chiwetel Ejiofor’s (star of 12 Years a Slave, Doctor Strange) directorial debut on Netflix, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, and found it compelling and enlightening. Based on a true story about a Malawian boy who saves his village from famine with his wits, ingenuity, and education, The Boy offers us an inside look at things we can barely begin to relate to; widespread starvation, civil unrest and the breakdown of society. Things that we may have to relate to sooner than we think.
We have seen the latest Marvel super extravaganza, Captain Marvel, and come away with the suspicion that it’s missing something from the usual Marvel formula. If anything, it feels DC-esque in the way it’s attempting to shoe horn in a new, unknown super power into the MCU. Uninspired fights, plot twists that are seen for miles away, and lacking engaging supporting characters (aside from Jackson’s Nick Fury, whom Brie’s Marvel has very good chemistry with) that give the main character emotional stakes, Captain Marvel is good, perhaps, but not great, and maybe that’s overselling it.
At long last we’re ready to wrap up our second annual “Groundhog Day” Star Wars movie marathon! With the help and support of the Bald Move community, we raised $15,691.51 for the National Alliance to End Homelessness over 24 grueling hours of non-stop Star Wars watching. There was food, there was mugs, there were socks. Mark Hamill gave us a tip of his cap. Bidets were raffled. Jim and A.Ron break down their thoughts and feelings on the event, and dish on plans for future marathons, then invite Ben Noll from the National Alliance to discuss their mission and how they feel they can truly end homelessness. Thanks everyone for helping to make this a smashing success, and we can’t wait to see what happens next year!
Jim and A.Ron have seen the highly acclaimed Netflix original, “Roma”, and we’re conflicted. On the one hand, we can see what it’s seen as great; it’s beautiful to look at, and it’s final act is as good as anything you’ll see anywhere and is widely accessible. The problem is that it asks you to crawl through 90 minutes tedious and boring and banal moments of everyday life before you get there. Now, that’s exactly how real life is, which is probably the point, and probably makes the final act land as well as it does, but it’s not going to be something everyone can or is willing to interface with. We think on balance it’s worth the effort, but not everyone is going to agree on the math on that.
Nicholas Ragovis / AKA Doctor_Nick, victor of the Bald Move Fantasy Football League, has come to claim his spoils; a commissioned podcast! He has a great film for us, the 2006 German film The Lives of Others. Written and directed by Henckel von Donnersmarck, the movie offers a look into the brutal repression and paranoia of the East German State Police during the 80s, and the effects it had on the lives of those that had to live under it. But there is hope in the form of a Stasi captain that has to confront his own conscious and humanity during an assignment to monitor an esteemed playwright. This movie has us thinking about totalitarian regimes past, current, and future, the strength of the human spirit, and how we as citizens need to keep the hands of the joyless off the levers of state power.
Jim and A.Ron saw Alita: Battle Angel tonight, and declare it a mess, albeit a beautiful, groundbreaking one in terms of effects work. This feels like the first half of the third part of a movie trilogy; everything is mysterious, nothing makes sense, the world is being built hastily and right in front of our eyes, and the movie ends right at the beginning of what promised to be a kick ass third act. But if you want to see what state of the art CG looks like in 2019, this is a shining $170 million example.
We took a look at the latest Netflix original, High Flying Bird. Directed by Steven Soderbergh and shot on an iPhone 8, it tells the tale of NBA management squeezing the players for a reduced share of profits during a labor dispute, and one high profile sports agent that is caught in the middle. It works on the level of a heist film; instead of smooth talking con-man Danny Ocean, we have smooth talking agent Ray Burke. Instead of boosting millions off of a ruthless billionaire casino owner, we’re negotiating for millions off ruthless billionaire team owners. But it also works as a commentary on the power dynamics of labor in general, and on a meta level, the film industry itself. It’s a well made, well-acted, gorgeous film, and it’s final act is as thought provoking as it is fun to watch unfold.
Jim and A.Ron have seen The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part and it’s almost if not just as good as the first one. Father/son relational dynamics take a back seat to big bro/little sis dynamics for the sequel, but Everything Remains Awesome. This movie is bright, colorful, funny, inventive, and packs a lot of heart. Go see it unless your inner child is dead and your heart is gripped by icy black despair. In which case I’d recommend The Lego Batman Movie, instead.
Jim and A.Ron checked out the latest Netflix original film, “Velvet Buzzsaw”. Directed by Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler) and starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo. It functions well enough as a horror story, a farcical look at art criticism, as well as an introspective look at the creative process and the related critical process. We have quibbles here and there, but the film looks great, has some inventive/gruesome deaths, and the main cast has a lot of fun being terrible people.
Jim and I have seen the new Netflix original movie, “Polar”. Based on a graphic novel of the same name, “Polar” is an ultraviolent revenge flick combining elements from “John Wick”, “Crank”, and “Sin City” with an engaging and energetic performance from Mads Mikkelsen as anaaginh hitman. Unfortunately, it’s also a tonal mess, careening from slap stick humor to gory horror and back again, never sure of when to take itself seriously and commit to a point of view.