‘The Batman’ Review – Finally a Batman Movie for Hot Topic Dwellers

I was roughly 10 minutes into The Batman when I knew this was absolutely my shit. Before the Nirvana needle drop and before Robert Pattinson emerges vengeful in the suit, there’s a voiceover. A moody, angsty, noir-y voiceover. Amazing to see a Batman movie wholeheartedly embrace the voiceover when The Lego Batman Movie parodied it into oblivion. This Batman narrates like a hardboiled P.I. This Batman journals to his black heart’s content. In an internet age of blogs and YouTube channels and podcasts, this RULES.

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‘Dune: Part One’ Review – An Epic Sci-Fi Feast for the Eyes

As soon as that deep bellow erupted in the din of the theater, I was wholly (holy?) immersed in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune. When that tribal beat shook the shit outta my seat – rocking the theater and the surrounding area it felt like – my body was READY. Dune is far from the first blockbuster of the year yet it feels monumentally bigger than Godzilla fighting Kong, than Dwayne Johnson’s everything—larger than anything put out by Marvel or DC in 2021 put together. It’s amazing what filmmakers can achieve with a single frame when you’re patient enough to fill the panorama of the big screen. Many movies strive for a proper use of the word, “epic.” Dune is the only one so far this year where the word hardly does it any justice.

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‘Halloween Kills’ Review – An Ambitious, If Otherwise Messy Slasher Sequel

It could have ended with the 2018 Halloween movie. There, I said it. That’s not to say David Gordon Green’s follow-up is unnecessary—just that it comes at tremendous cost. Halloween Kills is everything that its predecessor and originator aren’t: gory, blunt, LOUD. Make no mistake, this is a Halloween movie. Any self-respecting fan will recognize the callbacks to John Carpenter’s original. Halloween Kills, too, wants to throw it back to other slasher sequels that had characters rallying together to take on the boogeyman. Its reach exceeds its grasp, but Halloween Kills makes the cut as a dumb, brutal, and nonetheless ambitious entry in the legacyquel trilogy.

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‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ Review – A Thrilling Martial Arts Odyssey

How the hell do you introduce a new superhero this far into the Marvel game? This is something the MCU has to contend with as the roster gets bigger, and Shang-Chi is the newest member post-Endgame. For one, you stack the right talent: director Destin Daniel Cretton at the helm, a storied action cinematographer in Bill Pope, the late Brad Allan as fight choreographer, along with a dizzying who’s who of a predominantly Asian cast. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings may be burdened with the standard grooves of an origin story, but it blazes past the stumbling block to the tune of a martial arts action romp.

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CHVRCHES ‘Screen Violence’ Review – Horror Never Sounded So Euphoric

The first time I heard of CHVRCHES was in 2016 through video games of all things: “Warning Call,” the soaring theme for Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. I was one of, like, 10 people who wanted a sequel to Mirror’s Edge so this kind of stuck. Then, while cruising past some fools in Forza Horizon 3, on came “Clearest Blue” and that Depeche Mode-style beat drop poured in like confetti. And I haven’t even gotten to their fiery collaboration with Paramore’s Hayley Williams.

As a band, I never knew what to make of Chvrches. I only liked 3 songs off of Love Is Dead but was otherwise infatuated with their elegant covers. Once I heard the tie-in song to Death Stranding, I started listening INTENTLY. (Any group that can make Hideo Kojima cry has my undivided attention.)

The moves they made in the leadup to their newest album definitely piqued my interest. The Cure’s Robert Smith lends some guest vocals on the LP, plus a dual collaboration with horror maestro-turned-composer John Carpenter. Now THOSE are some power moves for a Scottish pop-trio you thought you had figured out by now. With Screen Violence, Chvrches defies barriers and expectations, traversing a sci-fi horror synth-scape with the sunny optimism of a John Hughes movie. It’s no wonder they turn to film over video games for inspiration. Their sound has blossomed into something unbearably cinematic.

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