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About Webslinger

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  1. Two nights ago, I braved Serenity and had a blast for all the wrong reasons. Tonight, I turn my attention toward Paul Verhoeven's beloved 1995 masterpiece Showgirls. Wish me luck.
  2. Agreed on all points. One of the aspects I find so frustrating about the "debate" about the LGBTQ+ community (I mean, there was even a literal debate about trans identity on the BBC a while back - yikes!) is that the things people outside of the community see as lively topics for debate in the so-called free marketplace of ideas - i.e. same-sex marriage, which bathrooms trans people should use, whether being LGBTQ+ should disqualify a person from a job - have real world consequences for the community itself. An individual opinion may not be insidious or guided by bigotry or malice in and of itself, but if that opinion gains repetition and traction on a wider societal level - or if enough people just see their right to their opinion as being more important than the impact that opinion has on the targeted population - it can serve as a justification for real harm. TL, DR: Opinions don't exist in a vacuum and the lives of people in vulnerable communities - LGBTQ+ or otherwise - shouldn't be debated as blithely as if one were discussing whether pineapples on pizza are gross (hey, we even had the same point of comparison!).
  3. I just finished watching Serenity, and I have some questions. Actually, scratch that: I have all the questions - and that's despite the fact that I knew the ending going in. It's at the same level of "What on earth were any of these talented people thinking?!?" level of hilarious absurdity as Collateral Beauty and The Snowman. Like those films, I had a blast watching it for precisely none of the reasons the filmmakers intended.
  4. Sanders at least has a good eye for visual style and exciting setpieces. Snow White and Ghost in the Shell were both misses for me, but at least they looked really pretty. Not sure where that would have factored into Rub & Tug, however.
  5. Just read about the re-litigation of the Scarlett Johansson Wants to Play a Trans Man Saga, and after trying to type out some semblance of the many, many, many thoughts I have about it, I just sighed and called it a day. My shortened, brutally honest opinion? If she feels so passionate about this project and its artistic merit, stay on in another role and/or a major behind-the-camera capacity and use her clout to get the movie off the ground with a trans actor in the role. They're out there, and Johansson's involvement in a significant capacity could be enough to get the project off the ground even with an unknown lead. As is, this whole situation reads like she just wants to play a baity role without having to bear any responsibility for the implications her decision carries for continuing to shut a marginalized community out of representing itself on screen (a problem that's actually even further exacerbated by the fact that trans-masculine people tend to be even less visible than trans-feminine people, even within the trans community).
  6. I've just started watching (probably ultimately going to be hate-watching) the McConaughey-Hathaway joint Serenity. Should be fun.
  7. A- Avengers: Endgame Booksmart Toy Story 4 Us B+ Fighting with My Family High Flying Bird How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum Late Night Long Shot Midsommar Rocketman Shazam! Spider-Man: Far from Home B Captain Marvel Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile Five Feet Apart Happy Death Day 2U Isn't It Romantic The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part Ma Pet Sematary Pokemon: Detective Pikachu Yesterday B- Dumbo Escape Room C+ Alita: Battle Angel Glass The Upside C Aladdin Dark Phoenix Godzilla: King of the Monsters Men in Black: International
  8. After dazzling film buffs with last year’s brilliantly crafted Hereditary, writer-director Ari Aster swings for the fences with his follow-up, Midsommar – a devilishly twisted, leisurely-paced horror film that has the power to crawl under viewers’ skin. Like Hereditary, the horror in Midsommar has so many allegorical possibilities at play that it takes time and thought to process properly, and this psychological dimension enhances the deeply unnerving nature of the violence onscreen. Without giving away anything specific, it feels like a worthy companion piece to Aster’s previous film in its examination of how innocent people try – and fail – to cope with violence beyond their control or their comprehension. Rising star Florence Pugh shines in the lead role, in which she convincingly portrays her character’s fear, trauma, and increasingly drained reaction to the horrific occurrences around her. Pugh does an excellent job of capturing wide-eyed fear and all-consuming grief at different turns, and she succeeds in making her character a sympathetic audience window into the action. The tension between Pugh and Jack Reynor as her emotionally unresponsive boyfriend is believable and sells the use of the film’s horror as allegory for an especially nasty breakup, as per Aster’s comments in interviews. There’s also some surprisingly effective gallows humor from the rest of the cast – particularly Will Poulter and William Jackson Harper in roles that will work particularly well for viewers who have seen their work elsewhere. That said, one can never escape the sense of dread that something horrific lurks just around the corner; in that regard, Aster does an excellent job of twisting the film’s beautiful scenery and bright design into a creepy, nightmarish atmosphere. The actual violence in the film is fairly minimal, but what’s present is presented so starkly that it’s hard to shake; moreover, the threat of violence and sense that something horrific must be coming are more than enough to keep a viewer on edge throughout much of the very long running time. Ultimately, Midsommar is not quite as coherent or efficient in its presentation as Hereditary, but it’s a highly ambitious and unnerving horror film that will linger in viewers’ memories for some time after the credits begin to roll. B+ Stray Thoughts: - This observation from the second half of my Letterboxd entry is long, so into the spoiler tag it goes: - The violence is suuuuper messed up in its presentation, but it wasn't quite as visceral as I was expecting. I know there's been some speculation about how close this film came to the dreaded NC-17, but if it had trouble with the MPAA, I'm guessing it was more about the sex scene (which is pretty graphic even for an R-rated film, tbh) than the violence. That being said, Ari Aster still has one hell of a sick mind. Some of those deaths feel like him responding to people who thought the deaths in Hereditary were unnerving with a "Hold my beer."
  9. Tasked with following up an exceedingly enjoyable reboot in Homecoming and a beloved pop culture behemoth in Avengers: Endgame (not to mention inviting comparison to Into the Spider-Verse, even if it’s out of continuity), Spider-Man: Far from Home lands as a highly entertaining popcorn flick – even if it doesn’t quite reach the heights of its forebears. As the first MCU entry released in the wake of Endgame and its game-changing developments, this Spider-Man faces the tough task of advancing a fun story of its own while also placing itself within the larger context of the MCU’s new normal. In each of those aspects, Far from Home succeeds: it recaptures much of the humor and heart that made Homecoming such a delight, and wrings effective drama from Peter’s pressure to step into a leadership role and comedy from the existential predicament many of its characters faced after the conclusion of Endgame. Though the stakes are fairly low, the film zips along and gets plenty of entertainment value out of its well-executed action sequences and character interactions alike. Once again, Tom Holland makes the most of spot-on casting in the title role. Holland’s sheer joy at being Spider-Man remains as fun to watch as it was in the previous film and his Avengers appearances, and he nails down levels of spunk and likability that continue to allow him to stand out from the good but radically different performances Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield gave in the past continuities of this franchise; within this film, there’s really a sense that Holland has made this character his own in ways that neither of his predecessors did. He also shares some legitimately cute chemistry with Zendaya, who once again does witty work in a genre-savvy turn that puts a spin on the standard love interest role. Comic book fans will undoubtedly know where the Mysterio storyline is headed from the very start, but Jake Gyllenhaal is fun to watch every step of the way in this role; he succeeds in crafting a mysterious aura around his character for the first part of the film and goes off in some inspired directions after the script begins to peel back his layers. Overall, Far from Home falls a bit short of the charm its predecessor had, but it’s a thoroughly entertaining diversion that has me excited to see what’s in store next for the titular webslinger (see what I did there?). B+ Stray Thoughts: - Obligatory Franchise Ranking: 1.) Spider-Man 2 (my love for it circa 2004-2005 is largely responsible for my handle at BOM that I've used ever since); 2.) Into the Spider-Verse; 3.) Homecoming; 4.) Spider-Man; 5.) Far from Home; 6.) Spider-Man 3 (I actually like this one more than most); 7.) Amazing Spider-Man; 8.) Amazing Spider-Man 2. - I knew Mysterio was a villain and I figured Jake Gyllenhaal wouldn't have been cast in the role otherwise, but I still enjoyed the hell out of the big reveal and Gyllenhaal's shift from aloof otherworldliness to full-on CHEW ALL THE SCENERY Mode. - I loved the illusion fight in Berlin. It's a more exciting and visually and aurally dynamic sequence than anything on display in the previous film.
  10. This was nuts. It's not mainstream-friendly at all, but I feel like the trailers established that point pretty clearly so I'm not expecting it to draw in many viewers expecting something more conventional in the first place.
  11. A- Avengers: Endgame Booksmart Toy Story 4 Us B+ Fighting with My Family High Flying Bird How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum Late Night Long Shot Rocketman Shazam! Spider-Man: Far from Home B Captain Marvel Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile Five Feet Apart Happy Death Day 2U Isn't It Romantic The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part Ma Pet Sematary Pokemon: Detective Pikachu Yesterday B- Dumbo Escape Room C+ Alita: Battle Angel Glass The Upside C Aladdin Dark Phoenix Godzilla: King of the Monsters Men in Black: International
  12. Honestly, 39.2 sounds much more realistic to me than the 50+ speculation from yesterday. It had discount Tuesday, no 7:00 night-before previews to boost the number (and it seemed like the midnight shows were relatively limited in scope - anecdotally, many of the theaters I look at didn't run it at midnight despite doing the early openings virtually every week), and the fact that the 4th falls on Thursday should spread business out for much of the general audience. If it drops hard today and doesn't recover tomorrow, then I'll sound the alarm; but for now, I'm not taking that number as a sign of impending doom.
  13. I'm looking forward to seeing how Far from Home plays out this week as the first huge midweek opener since... Despicable Me 2 in 2013? Sure, we've had other movies open on Wednesdays since then, but none that had particularly high box office expectations attached to them. Combined with the absence of night-before (i.e. before midnight) previews, it feels like a throwback to the days of old.
  14. Today marks the 20th anniversary of one of the release of one of the most ground-breaking comedies of my lifetime - a film whose envelope-pushing humor and razor-sharp social observations still hold up all this time later, and was basically singlehandedly responsible for buying its creators decades of work rather than cursing them to flame out as a flash in the pan fad. The movie I'm referring to, of course, is Wild Wild West.
  15. So, I'm watching the Red Sox/Yankees London game and the opening was a filmed segment with Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, and Kumail Nanjiani promoting MIB International. Whoops.
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