Mary Poppins Returns, and so do the Nineties, Yay!

Today is a pretty good day for trailers you guys, even if it does seem rather early in the week for Flashback Friday. But never mind all that, there’s things to see, starting with the nanny we all wish we had…

Mary Poppins Returns

The Banks children are all grown up and overwhelmed by the stresses of adulting, so naturally their former nanny comes back to add a spoonful of sugar into their dreary lives. It seems slightly sacrilegious to admit I’m probably going to throw money at this thing, especially when we all know there can only be one Mary Poppins, and that’s Miss Julie Andrews. Forgive me for going, Miss Julie, but it looks… interesting? Fine, it looks like a boatload of fun, with re-imagined themes that bring us right back to the original, from the nostalgia-inducing kite and giant clock to escapist adventures replete  with old-timey technicolor animation. While I’m sure a number of Hamilton fans are plotzing over Lin-Manuel Miranda, I’m in this for Ben Whishaw and Emily Blunt, who always seems to  make everything better with that posh British accent. Also, Colin Firth, who does makes everything better, but is not in…

Captain Marvel

Never fear, Jude Law is there to represent the Brits. Speaking of nostalgic 90’s movies, Marvel Studios wastes no time going all-in on the best decade ever (the nineties rules and everything else is trash, I’m clearly biased, don’t @ me!) by having the titular heroine crash land into a Blockbuster in the first official trailer for Captain Marvel. More than just a big Flashback Friday moment, it could also be a cheeky reference to how all the Marvel movies have been blockbusters. Kevin Feige, you sly dog. Anyhowitzer, here’s hoping that bit becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, because it does look sorta/kinda/maybe boring? I’m not sure how I feel about this trailer.  I do know it didn’t make me scream and abuse the replay button the way I did for Avengers: Infinity War. I also know zilch about Captain Marvel, and in the interest of not spoiling the experience, have resolved to avoid further research. We shall see what we shall see.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: the Stinging Sequel

Ant-Man and the Wasp: the Stinging Sequel

I saw a joke about The Wasp that was floating around Twitter a few weeks ago involving Armie Hammer. Specifically that Armie Hammer should play The Wasp because he’s a WASP so he should be The Wasp.

*crickets*

Well that fell flat and it read better as a Twitter post which I can no longer find the link to, so let’s just shrug it off and move on, shall we? Ant-Man is back and this time he’s brought a partner! But before I get into the whys and wheretofores, a quick multiple choice doubling as refresher course:

Paul Rudd is:

  • an ageless vampire
  • the guy who played Josh in Clueless
  • the winner of the same genetic lottery as Keanu Reeves
  • all of the above

I used to think aging like fine wine was only limited to Sean Connery, but Paul Rudd, who is just a year shy of fifty, is still hot, still funny and just fiiiinnneee, girlfriend.  Paul Rudd can. I would let Paul Rudd, but Paul Rudd would definitely not let me, and neither would my lawfully wedded spouse if we’re being entirely honest here, so I’ll just have to settle for crumbs by paying the entry fee at the local Cineplex to see him as Ant-Man. Who says money can’t buy everything?

I loved the first Ant-Man movie. It sits right in the top five of my mental list of best Marvel Studio offerings, next to the first Iron Man and Thor: Ragnarok. So I came prepared to be amazed and left the theatre a trifle disappointed, which made me sort of wonder: is Marvel losing its touch? Is Ant-Man and The Wasp a victim of the dreaded sophomore slump?

Now that I’ve had some time to ruminate,  I realize it doesn’t quite feel like a Marvel movie because the stakes are refreshingly small. In Thor: Ragnarok, Asgard was at stake. In Black Panther, it was the future of Wakanda. In Avengers: Infinity War, it was the existence of Earth and everyone who lives in it. After that crazy collision of galaxies, superheroes and mystical jewels/ingots/McGuffins, we’re suddenly in San Francisco, where the only things at stake are a magically shrinking building and an electronic part available on the black market. (Cue the always arresting Walton Goggins as one of the baddies: “I got the lab!”).  It’s peanuts. And that’s the genius of Ant-Man as a superhero.

Ant-Man is all about scale. It’s life viewed from the perspective of someone who can grow and shrink at will, and it’s the little things that make it funny, like blowing up a Hello Kitty Pez dispenser and using it to wreak havoc through the streets of San Francisco. At it’s core, Ant-Man is really a story about an ex-con who really, truly, wants to make good and be a good dad but somehow life keeps getting in his way.

Slight spoilers ahead, read at your own risk!

Continue reading “Ant-Man and the Wasp: the Stinging Sequel”

The first fifteen minutes of Infinity Wars, in a running commentary that’s as spoiler-free as I can make it

The first fifteen minutes of Infinity Wars, in a running commentary that’s as spoiler-free as I can make it

And he went through so much to save them.

Noooooo! 

Sige, Taylor Swift pa more.

Is it over? Is the Gwyneth gone?

Ha! These two with their zingers flying. 

(No, that was not a euphemism.)

These zingers are fun. 

Who wrote these zingers?

Zingers. Zingers everywhere. 

“We’re all gonna die!”

New York City bus drivers, they’ve seen everything.

 

I’m seeing this movie again.

A quick run-through of my initial reaction to the official trailer of Avengers: Infinity War

The official trailer for Avengers: Infinity War has been released, and I just realized I feel  the way I used to feel catching a featured music video from an upcoming movie on MTV. Why? because I’m old and music videos used to function as unofficial trailers. Anyway.  It’s here!

I have no idea how many times I’ve hit replay because that thunderous Avengers theme is so emotionally manipulative, I don’t know where to begin. Or maybe I have all the feels because I’m revisiting how much money I’ve spent on the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the past ten years and this April I might end up spending even more. If the movie is as great as its trailer, I just might watch it a couple more times. Or five. It’s like the MCU is a goddamn annual subscription or something, you guys.

(It is.)

So, a few things:

Are we 100% convinced that Thanos is Josh Brolin and not Bruce Willis in Smurf drag?

thanos.gif

Teen Groot!

teen groot.gif

Rocket Raccoon and the fervent hope that Pepper Potts doesn’t appear anywhere in this movie!

rocket raccoon

Doctor Strange as the 1% who want to know where the hell Hawkeye is and his adversary as the rest of us who don’t give a rat’s arse!

stephen strange.gif

And lastly, but not leastly, I expect the mandatory Marvel superhero heaving beefcake shots to be on a strict 1:1 ratio.  Or this happens.

avengers gear up.gif

Sorry, paying customer here. It’s only fair.

Sleeping With Swamp Thing

Sleeping With Swamp Thing

I was looking forward to The Shape of Water, something Le Hubs and I have been planning to go see, but through a combination of factors – chief of them being apathy because it’s winter – didn’t really get to see until yesterday.

The Shape of Water, which, by del Toro’s confession, came from his obsession with the Creature from the Black Lagoon, is the story of what would happen if the girl ends up with the creature. It doesn’t help that the creature – referred to as “The Asset” – looks so much like Abe Sapien from Hellboy, it’s hard to silence the voice in my head screaming “origin story!” (For the record, I wasn’t the only one doing this.)

Set in the Cold War era, Elisa (Sally Hawkins, here a soundless tour-de-force) is a cleaner who works for a top-secret government institution whose main goal is to outstrip the Russians in the race for space dominance. She’s mute, lives above a movie theatre and has friends who are full of spunk: a gay BFF (Richard Jenkins) and a sassy black woman (Octavia Spencer, earning every inch of that Oscar cred) at work. Her life is a routine, and she seems content. Well, content enough. Whatever frustrations she may have are exorcised in her bathtub  before her morning even begins.

A story isn’t a story unless something happens, so of course something happens to Elisa, in the form of a mysterious tank brought in one day by Strickland (Michael Shannon, channeling that intense menace as always) who turns out to be the worst sort of alpha male. Twisted, racist and brutal, Strickland is dismissive of and yet inexplicably turned on by, imperfection.

The tank holds The Asset, an amphibious humanoid (Abe Sapien!) caught in the wilds of the Amazon and dragged to America for dissection because scientists need answers for allowing astronauts to breathe in space. Elisa meets The Asset (Abe Sapien!) and feels sorry for him. She decides to keep him company during her lunch break, and their unlikely bond is formed by  hard boiled eggs and classic oldies. Despite The Asset (Abe Sapien!) having a bulge as unobtrusive as a Ken doll, there are clearly sparks which lead to the inevitable.

Other things happen of course, as they must, because stories have to have beginnings, middles, and ends. There’s a beautifully evocative scene involving some towels and taps that are allowed to run. Stripped of everything, The Shape of Water celebrates love in its purest form, where looks don’t matter, shortcomings are overlooked and physical barriers are swept aside, the way humans have improbable sex with dinosaurs in those crazy erotic fiction novels that actually exist.  But having effectively silenced “Abe Sapien Origins!” the voice had popped up again, squeaking things like “monster porn!” and “slimy, slithery, splendid!”, the possible mechanics of this particular scenario so distracting, it messed with my ability to appreciate the movie  for how visually striking and remarkably tender it really is.

Maybe this was because I didn’t go in expecting a love story. That’s on me, for ignoring every obvious marker and breathless movie blurb. To be fair, I never expect a romance when it comes to Guillermo del Toro. Not even when it’s marketed as one. (Exhibit A: Crimson Peak.) To watch a Guillermo del Toro film is to surrender to the clutches of the visionary equivalent of Edgar Allan Poe, even when he goes full-on Technicolor with something like Pacific Rim. It’s the dance of the dark, and the sinister, everything imbued with the sweet scent of rot that seeps through his work. If there’s any sort of romance to be had from del Toro, it’s the deep and abiding love he has for the macabre.

 

Artwork by James Jean, by way of the official website of The Oscars

Justice delayed is still justice. Or something.

Justice delayed is still justice. Or something.

It’s official. It took the third movie for me to finally admit it, but Wonder Woman is single-handedly saving the DCU from its moody, emo self.

She’d already made the last third of BvS watchable, even if the rest of the movie was complete shit, similar Martha’s and all. The standalone Wonder Woman movie shone, if only because next to all those duds it was nice to see a DCU movie done right for once… done right, except for the fight scenes, which I wasn’t quite satisfied by, but it’s a minor complaint in a movie that was okay.

Full disclosure: I was fully prepared to dislike Justice League. I had seen Suicide Squad, and that ensemble movie was a complete dumpster fire. The aesthetic of the DCU has never charmed me, and I don’t think it’s meant to be charming at all. Not that every superhero world has to be charming, but if you’ve sat through Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, you’re going to come out of the theatre wondering if they hate their viewers. The world is too grim, its colour palette too dark, its heroes too tortured and there seems to be absolutely no hope of redemption from the cartoon characters who play their villains.

It doesn’t help that DC’s villains have been played in various reiterations by actors capable of truly mining the depths of their character – Heath Ledger’s Joker and Kevin Spacey’s Luthor come to mind. (I realize this is a bad time to celebrate Kevin Spacey, but the man can act. Let’s give him that.) After bravura performances like that, what are their successors supposed to do to avoid being carbon copies? We get Jared Leto as the Joker by way of Hot Topic. We get a motor-mouthed Jesse Eisenberg as a wholly irritating Lex Luthor. They even gave up on having an actual actor and handed us Steppenwolf (still can’t get over that name, my mind goes to Scandinavian metal bands whenever it’s mentioned.) Steppenwolf, for all the vocal stylings of Ciaran Hinds, is the crappiest CGI rendered character since Continue reading “Justice delayed is still justice. Or something.”

Thor:Ragnarok is totally, madly, wonderfully skux

Thor:Ragnarok is totally, madly, wonderfully skux

There are directors with a signature so unique, there is no mistaking their work for anyone else’s. Martin Scorsese and gravitas. Steven Spielberg and childlike wonder. Christopher Nolan and mindtrips, Wes Anderson and whimsy. Quentin Tarantino and dialogue, Tim Burton and oddities, Joss Whedon and wit… Taika Waititi and sheer unbridled irreverence?

It’s official. Taika Waititi takes nothing seriously, not even Asgard. And it works.

Continue reading “Thor:Ragnarok is totally, madly, wonderfully skux”