We’ve seen Solo: A Star Wars Story and… really liked it! Maybe it was low expectations, maybe it’s just impossible to hate on Han, Chewie, and Lando dashing around the galaxy doing derring-do (although…), all we know is that we found ourselves grinning like idiots throughout huge chunks of this movie. Maybe you will too? It’s hard to tell, I feel like I used to know what a Star Wars fan would like, but after the prequels and The Last Jedi, I just don’t know. The big takeaway is that we’re both back to being pretty excited to see what kind of storytelling can take place in this universe, which is something we were afraid wasn’t possible anymore.
We have seen Deadpool 2! If you saw Deadpool, and liked it, well, here is more of it. It is arguably even better, or at any rate, just as good. We loved Deadpool, and had an even better time with 2. There are more jokes, more over the top action, better cameos, and truly shocking and original things put on screen that you’re just not going to see in other franchises, all done in a very brisk, slick, and above all else, entertaining fashion. The trailer does not ruin this film, there are plenty of fresh jokes and action you’ve never seen. If you didn’t like Deadpool, nothing here is going to change your mind.
It took ten years of careful buildup to make the massive undertaking that is Avengers: Infinity War possible, but was all the effort worth it? Hell, yes. This is hands down the most epic comic book film ever made, and it is full to bursting with Marvel Studios hallmarks; funny interactions within the heroes, inventive and imaginative fight scenes, jaw-dropping, awesome world and universe building, and genuine character beats. The final act contains some effective gut punches that Jim and I are both more than a little skeptical of, but in the moment really work well, and can only really be judged after we see what comes next. At this point, I’m not willing to bet against Marvel.
Jim and I went to see the new horror/suspense film, A Quiet Place, directed by and starring John Krasinski, who is joined by his co-star Emily Blunt. Both are extremely effective at wringing genuine fear and emotion from the audience as they interact with a cast of really talented young actors. There are problems we have with the film, some of them big ones, but the bottom line is the movie offers a very unique theater experience, it’s extremely tense and scary, and the parts that have to work really work well.
We saw Steven Spielberg’s 80’s nostalgic fun fest, Ready Player One, and we were surprised that it managed to be a good film. We’d heard nothing but shaky things leading up to it, but with our appropriately set expectations, we had a lot of fun with it. It’s not perfect, the ending in particular is a bit of a mess, but it works if you want it to work, and if you’re in this movie’s target demo, you’re going to want it to work. Since we’re both pretty much at ground zero of that target, we can’t say how well it would hold up if you’re safely outside the film’s nostalgia blast wave.
Jim and I saw a movie about giant robots punching even bigger monsters, and it was even dumber than we thought it would be. Jim and I have no small amount of affection for the first Pacific Rim. But hoo-boy, Pacific Rim: Uprising might up the robot on monster punching action slightly, but removes all of the spunk and charm of the original to give us a loud, boring, and thoroughly by the numbers action movie. My 11 year old loved it, though, so if you have one of those around, or are one of those in heart and mind, by all means, don’t let us stop you from seeing Pacific Rim 2. Everybody else should steer well clear.
Tonight we were supposed to see A Wrinkle in Time, but we were upstaged by A Wrinkle in Ticket Pre-sales, so we called an audible and saw the movie we were supposed to see last week, Red Sparrow. Starring Jennifer Lawrence as a Russian ballerina turned deadly secret agent, and Joel Edgerton as just a dumb*ss American spy it manages to be lurid without being interesting. We’ll tell you what we thought about the movie up front, then talk about upcoming movies and trailers for a bit, but if you want our full spoiler-filled take you’ll have to be a Club Member!
We’ve just seen Annihilation, and boy are our minds blown. Written and directed by Alex Garland and starring Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaacs, Tessa Thompson, and Jennifer Jason Leigh, it features a plot that it is alien, wondrous, unfathomable, and terrifying, with visuals to match. It compares favorably to The Arrival, and is the kind of movie we wanted Alien: Covenant to be. It’s just too bad that Paramount had so little faith in the film, in our eyes they had something special on their hands, and we feel sorry for the international audience that is going to see this for the first time on the small screen. For everybody in the US, Canada, and China, go see this film!
Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther is a great super hero film, and an even better launching point into interesting discussions about the politics of colonialism and liberation. Starring Chadwick Boseman as the Panther himself, and Michael B. Jordan as the best Marvel villain since Magneto, the movie is a constant challenge to one’s complacency and sense of justice. Wakanda looks amazing, the cast is fantastic, the world they are building is both visually and philosophically amazing, to the point that one of the films weaknesses is that we were desperate to learn and know more.
We saw The Post tonight, the star-studded retelling of The Washington Post’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers, the internal history commissioned by the Dept. of Defense that detailed the long list of failures in America’s involvement politically and militarily in Vietnam, risking financial ruin and jail time. Told from the perspective of the owner of the Post, Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep), and her editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), as they wrestle with their own cozy relationships with previous and current presidential administrations and the legal, financial, and ethical risks of defying the government. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more impressive cast, the film is gorgeous and extremely well written and tells a powerful and important story of how vital a free press is to the health of our nation.