Yes, There’s a Scene During the “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” End Credits

Venom Let There Be Carnage!

Rated PG-13 for high body count, one shrewdly placed F-bomb, and splattering more food than blood.

A lot of Tom Hardy fans were looking forward to the new film where he plays a thickly accented schlub possessed of too much power who can’t deal with its consequences and, after leaving too much death in his wake, hits some major obstacles and faces the possibility of living out the rest of his life in powerless mediocrity. That was 2020, and we all agreed never to speak of Capone again. One year later Venom: Let There Be Carnage reminds us why Hardy rules, sometimes despite his surroundings.

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Yes, There’s a Scene After “The Suicide Squad” End Credits

The Suicide Squad Movie Poster!

Unquestionably the bloodiest film I’ve ever seen on an IMAX screen, or likely ever will see on one.

Sure, I could’ve been a better blogger and rushed to type my thoughts after being flabbergasted (at IMAX size, no less) by James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad while it was still cool on opening weekend and before everyone decided it was “over” because it didn’t make $400 million at the box office, as if the HBO Max day-and-date release was never a mitigating factor. What else is there to say about a film so nakedly audacious about its primary objectives, so cocky about its body count in all the trailers and interviews, and so thorough in exceeding its dark-humored, extreme expectations? Besides adding that, yes, I too said “wow” and “YUCK” more times than I could count?

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Yes, There’s a Scene After “The Green Knight” End Credits

Gawain in "The Green Knight"!

For standard heroes, yellow is not a good look…

Some Hollywood adaptations go through the motions of the full original story, typically regarded as a boon for new viewers unfamiliar with the original. Some of your more challenging renditions assume everyone knows the original text backwards and forwards, thus giving the filmmakers leeway to invert, subvert, satirize, or otherwise frame it through a cracked lens from an askew angle. With the visually majestic misadventure of The Green Knight, writer/director David Lowery (whose riff on Disney’s Pete’s Dragon was straightforward and exceeded every expectation) opts for the latter treatment and avoids the easy way out, the road taken by far too many King Arthur flops. The tale of Sir Gawain and his verdant nemesis recently came up in the BOOM! Studios series Once and Future, which benefited me as an advance refresher. Other viewers who came into it cold might have questions and argue about it with the driver the entire way home. Which is fine! Arguing about cinema is much more fun offline than on-.

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Yes, There’s a Scene After the “Black Widow” End Credits

Marvel's Black Widows!

Never, ever mess with war Widows.

Nearly a decade in the making and fourteen months in the releasing, the next chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is here at long last, two years after Spider-Man: Far From Home capped off Phase III in theaters. Fans had to content themselves with Marvel’s new above-average TV fare on Disney+ (or, I guess, some comics) until the world was ready for Black Widow…or at least a lot of the world. Calling them “most of the world” might be an overstatement considering the pandemic has not yet been called off in numerous countries and states. Alternatively, Disney+ subscribers who can’t wait for the home video release in October can cough up thirty bucks and slightly expand that virtual library of above-average TV fare.

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“A Quiet Place Part II”: Prolonging the Silence

A Quiet Place Part II

Sometimes it’s just nice to get out of the house.

If you and your loved ones are still debating whether or not it’s time to return to theaters and leave the safety zone where you’ve been harbored for the past year, might I suggest starting with the simplest of creature comforts? Emphasis on the “creature”.

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“Final Account”: Minutes from the Nazi-Occupied Neighborhood Association Meeting

"Final Account" movie poster.

A relic of the Before Times: a movie poster made of actual paper. I remember those!

Anne and I saw the new documentary Final Account in a county where masks were required of all patrons regardless of inoculation levels, in an auditorium where the A/C was on the fritz. Posted signs and the clerk warned us, but we insisted on proceeding anyway despite any consequences ahead. The environment was livable at first, but our comfort levels fluctuated as time went on and the air quality went from breathable to stifling and back again. Eventually we convinced ourselves to overlook our nagging concerns, but at no point could we simply sit back and pretend everything was fine.

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“Godzilla vs. Kong”: When Humanity’s Doom Was Super-Sized, Not Microscopic

King Kong Waits.

“Waitwaitwaitwait — they signed me up to fight WHO?”

Once upon a time at the cinema, the deadliest monsters weren’t lurking in our own airways, weren’t infiltrating nursing homes to murder our loved ones, and weren’t other humans screaming in our faces about their hallucinatory conspiracy theories. In our shared realm of pure imagination, creatures fifty feet tall or more threatened our lives, our livelihoods, our close-quarters societies, and our very infrastructure that is the ultimate status symbol of superior lifeforms. In each rueful tale humankind was brought low by its hubris and its denial of its own frailty, screaming at the heavens as our deathblow came not from ironically itty-bitty microorganisms, but from amazing colossal oppressors who deemed us just as squashable as ants. Though they were arguably empowered by humanity’s sins, at least we could see them coming from a mile away and escape them if we had a cool enough car. In those days, dire threats to our entire species were much more fun.

Blame nostalgia for old-fashioned monsters, as opposed to today’s monsters outside our windows, as the primary motivation that drove me to see Godzilla vs. Kong in theaters and break my own rules.

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MCC Live-Tweeting: The Oscars 2021 Pandemic Dinner Theater

Oscars 2021 telecast title card.

At least not all the awards went to white folks this year, so there’s that.

At a cozy and snappy 217 minutes (two minutes longer than last year’s), the 93rd Academy Awards went hostless for its third straight year in its very special pandemic edition co-produced by director Steven Soderbergh. A maximum of 170 guests were allowed into an auditorium furnished like a company Christmas party inside L.A.’s Union Station, while all the European nominees who cared to participate holed up in a rented UK theater, and someone let Bryan Cranston have the Kodak Theater all to himself. In pre-show interviews Soderbergh insisted strict COVID-19 protocols were in place, same as they’re using for current Hollywood productions, and AMPAS president David Rubin swore from the red carpet that everyone was “100% safe”. Here’s hoping all the scaled-down glitz and glamour wasn’t for the sake of an awkward super-spreader event.

(Occasionally a mask could be seen in the crowd. At one point the camera lingered on a seated, masked Frances McDormand glowering in repose. She was among the few celebs I spotted taking measures for the public to see. In that one moment, at least.)

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Oscars Quest 2021: All the Other Viewing I Could Fit In Before the Big Event

Promising Young Woman, Carey Mulligan

Do you…like to watch?

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! Longtime MCC readers know this time of year is my annual Oscar Quest, during which I venture out to see all Academy Award nominees for Best Picture, regardless of whether I think I’ll like them or not, whether their politics and beliefs agree with mine or not, whether they’re good or bad for me, and whether or not my friends and family have ever heard of them. I’ve seen every Best Picture nominee from 1988 to the present, many of which were worth the hunt. The eight nominees for Best Picture of the Pandemic Year may pose more of a viewing challenge…

Whenever I’ve been away from here over the past six weeks, I was either hiding out in Skyrim again, getting a good night’s sleep because I’m needing those more than ever, or seeing how many of this year’s Oscar nominees I could watch. Many were on streaming services to which I already subscribe. Two were released on Redbox for us old folks who like physical media. Some were available for rental on Vudu or YouTube, though those were lowest priority. Five nominees were sadly, annoyingly beyond my grasp on services not in our household (three were exclusive to Amazon Prime, two to Apple TV). Otherwise, I was willing to let myself get carried away. I arguably did.

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The MCC 2021 Oscar-Nominated Documentary Revue

Ann Cupolo Freeman from "Crip Camp".

Retired social worker and physical rehab specialist Ann Cupolo Freeman, among the many campers who grew up to become activists in Netflix’s Crip Camp.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! Longtime MCC readers know this time of year is my annual Oscar Quest, during which I venture out to see all Academy Award nominees for Best Picture, regardless of whether I think I’ll like them or not, whether their politics and beliefs agree with mine or not, whether they’re good or bad for me, and whether or not my friends and family have ever heard of them. I’ve seen every Best Picture nominee from 1988 to the present, many of which were worth the hunt. The eight nominees for Best Picture of the Pandemic Year may pose more of a viewing challenge…

In my youth and young-adulthood, seeing any of the Oscar-nominated documentaries before the ceremonies was usually impossible. Or after the ceremonies, for that matter. Streaming media changed the game and broadened access and opportunities for ordinary viewers even before the pandemic turned the convenience into a lifesaver. I’ve yet to enjoy a year in which all the nominees for Best Documentary Short Film or Best Documentary Feature were universally clickable, but the percentages have been generously high. It’s been fun seeing how many I could chase down legally without overpaying for the privilege.

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