Snitch: Dwayne Johnson and a Hard Place

I was about ten minutes into Rampage when I realized I had seen this movie before. The situation will be built up to extreme peril. Dwayne Johnson will utilize the skills conveniently part of his character’s makeup. He will be convincing, charismatic. He will save the day. Sure, there are giant video-game monsters in Rampage, but the concept is basically a fill in the blank. You could substitute the scenario with the biggest earthquake of all time, or the tallest building in the world and get basically the same movie. In watching Rampage, I longed for something smaller, muted, more serious that allows Johnson the actor to take center stage. I realized we already had such a movie – 2013’s SnitchContinue reading

Ant-Man: The Little Superhero That Could

There’s a never-ending charm to Ant-Man’s shrinking powers. In the summer blockbuster game, it’s go big or go home. The world’s ending. Shit’s blowing up. The good guy’s gotta stop the bad guy. Cue half-hour finale. 2015’s Ant-Man is all of the above except refreshingly, cheekily scaled back. Peyton Reed’s film has no other ambition than to charm and entertain the hell out of you. I didn’t admire it then. I respect the hell out of it now.  Continue reading

Millie Bobby Brown and the Depths of Meme Culture

No, Millie Bobby Brown isn’t homophobic. She’s not racist. She’s not a hateful bigot. I can’t believe this needs to be said, but in lieu of a series of escalating memes ironically portraying the Stranger Things-star as otherwise, this is where we’re at. The curiosity of meme culture and our insatiable thirst for the next *100K+ sensation! has unduly brought us here, and not without consequence. Millie Bobby Brown has left Twitter in response to an apparent in-joke done in incredibly poor taste. It sounds like we’ve entered a warped reality – normally an ideal setting for Eleven – except this is very real and utterly upside down.  Continue reading

I Saw ‘Infinity War’ Five Times

This isn’t a cry for help.

I’ve seen Infinity War five times now. (Just one more and my Infinity War Gauntlet is complete!) With the rest of summer movie season underway, I suppose it’s time to bid farewell to the most ambitious superhero crossover – that is, until the Blu-ray comes out. Of course, the film’s theatrical run is nowhere close to being over. The film is principally eyeing down The Force Awakens’ global tally, with Titanic soon in its crosshairs. (We go live to James Cameron in 5…4….) Infinity War will enjoy a storied box office run, but it’s cultural moment has surely come to an end.  Continue reading

On ‘Arrested Development’ and Family

I could sure use a Forget-Me-Now, though I suppose that might be the easy way around this.

Arrested Development’s latest (half) season is due to roll out on Netflix tomorrow. The cast has done the usual promoting – including Jeffrey Tambor – but it all came to a screeching halt with a fateful sitdown with The New York Times. Such articles are meant to be the high point of a media’s promotion tour. Instead, it was a Shakespearean (or rather, Bluth-ian) fall of disastrous proportions. Try as hard as they might, Netflix found out the hard way that there is no escaping the elephant in the room.  Continue reading