Sunday, June 22, 2014

What’s the last thing you remember?

X-Men: Days of Future Past - 3.5/5
There’s always been a cheapness to Bryan Singer’s X-Men. Bigness on a very small scale. The action scenes, despite cool uses of power and despite people dying and despite them being people that I have an immediate relation to (despite zero character development), feel television-sized. "A lot" does not equal "weight" and there is no density to them outside of “hey, I know him!” Fortunately (and surprisingly), then, that the majority of the movie focuses on a small handful of people. It manages to work all its flaws into a perfect plot for the person making the movie: a small battle wrapped up in a bigger one. Indeed, indeed, the true action scenes take place between Magneto and Mystique and Professor X not as they trade punches with Sentinels but as the two males try to talk their way into the girl’s heart. There’s a tenseness and, because of past entries and the unpredictability of a time travel movie, a genuine sense of not knowing what she will decide. Additionally, a lesson learned from ‘First Class’ (and the Marvel Studios movies) is that Bryan Singer’s X-Men can be serious without being dour. It’s free to be a comic book movie. There’s a fun-ness, even if all of the jokes aren’t exactly functional. Characters appear because they’d be a blast, not because they have any real bearing on the plot. Quicksilver is great, and then disappears. Wolverine, a plot instigator, is literally tossed aside at the end, a final realization of how unimportant he is. It’s not a tight movie and it’s a movie that can’t help winking at the audience, but when it focuses on the genuine battle of philosophical differences that can decide the fate of the world, it’s damn fine.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Obvious Child - 4.5/5
Jenny Slater’s got this beautiful, expressive face and physical body. She’s inviting. She welcomes you in. Which is good, you know, because it’s a movie about following through with your abortion plans. Despite its potential heaviness, it doesn’t really wave a flag or have a message except to say that people can handle a difficult situation with an appropriate amount of maturity and immaturity. Bad things can be both serious and a joke. It’s not pro or con, it just is, and that’s all it need be. Her opposite, her lover-man, threatens to be a nice guy, but he turns out to be a nice guy with jokes. A _____ with jokes will always be better than a _____, solo. He’s a nice guy, but also worthwhile. Jenny Slater does this wincing thing at the end when she holds his hand. It just about killed me. 

I wish I didn’t know you, but I do.

Edge of Tomorrow - 4.5/5
It is a video game movies in all of the obvious ways, but also in the more subtle ways that you learn at 3am when trying to beat the final boss in Metal Gear: Solid. It’s fun, it’s repetitive, and it’s frustrating. So fucking frustrating. This movie is funny, interesting, and its repetitions rarely feel repititious, but more than anything, it captures that frustration of having to beat the game. You can’t go to sleep until you beat the game. You lose so many times but you just can’t not win. Beyond that, it does most everything else right. Tom Cruise’s relationship with Emily Blunt isn’t romantic, though she is beautiful and strong and worthy of some romance, but built on the bonds of fighting next to someone over and over and over and over again. Their one shared kiss isn’t even romantic; it’s more of respect and kinship. “Thank you for fighting next to me.” “Thank you for believing me.” A kiss of shared reality. And all of it rests extraordinarily well on Tom Cruise’s shoulders. He gets to be the coward, the hero, the pawn, the mastermind, the shat upon, and the shitter of upon. The ending has this extraordinarily large chance to turn cheesy, but Tom Cruise smiles this dumb-shit smile and all is forgiven. He’s a goddamned movie star. This is how they do, bay-bee. In terms of flaws – with a few lines and odd wardrobe choices, it make its secondary characters bigger than they ever needed to be, but it doesn’t follow through with giving all of them a moment to live or die. The biggest, though, is that fucking title. “All You Need Is Kill” is an all-time great name. I hope they retroactively go back and fix it. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

A sentimentalist

is one who desires to have the luxury of an emotion without paying for it.

The business of

irrationalizing the rational.

The business of

rationalizing the irrational.

Even stupidity

gets assigned meaning.