Advertisements

“First Man”: The Last 2018 Review

first man!

If that had been me in 1969, the first several recorded minutes of the moon landing would’ve been me screaming, “AAAAAHHH! THAT’S THE MOON! WE’RE ON THE FREAKING MOON! AAAAAAHH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!”

Here at Midlife Crisis Crossover we try not to hold ourselves to too many fixed rules, but one I haven’t broken yet is: every film I see in theaters gets its own full-length entry. Sometimes they can take a while because I get distracted by other things I’d rather write about first. Sometimes shifting into overthinking mode takes more brain muscle than I care to exert. Sometimes I don’t feel like a movie needs more than a shrug and a “meh”, but I refuse to settle for a three-word entry. Sometimes I’m not enthusiastic about sharing candid thoughts on a film I thought would be much better than it was, and would rather see succeed despite my tepid reaction to it, particularly if it’s not doing well in theaters in the first place.

That reluctance brings us to First Man, the latest film from Damien Chazelle, director of La-La Land and Whiplash, two films I loved. Our family saw it back in October on its second week of release. In the past we’ve sought out spaceflight history in our entertainment as well as in our vacation choices (cf. Kennedy Space Center, the Cosmosphere, et al.). I assumed this would be one of my favorite films of the year.

it kinda wasn’t. Hence the nearly three-month delay on the mandatory wool-gathering. But I can’t get to my annual “Best/Worst of the Year” pop culture listicles until and unless I finish all the movie entries first. So here we go, checking the one missing box. Because it’s always exciting when you have to force yourself to write.

Continue reading

Advertisements

“Blade Runner 2049” and the Importance of Theatrical Competence

Blade Runner 2049!

All things considered, such a beautiful film made it extremely hard to choose just one moment for our lead photo.

When I was 10 the original Blade Runner was the first R-rated film I ever saw in theaters. Mom had a strict policy against them till I was a teenager, but made the first exception while we were on vacation visiting family who wanted to see it. I’d already read and enjoyed the Marvel Comics adaptation by Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson, and did Mom the unspoken favor of asking her to lead me to the bathroom as soon as I knew Joanna Cassidy’s nude scene was coming. It was the least I could do in return for the opportunity to see revolutionary science fiction cinema unfold before my eyes.

Other kids had the first two Star Wars films, neither of which I saw till adulthood. I had Blade Runner. I never needed or expected a sequel. Not every story needs to be a never-ending saga. 35 years later, here we are anyway.

That was the intro I wrote before I saw Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 on its second weekend of release, capturing my trepidation in advance regardless of whether it blew me away or offended me with corporate greed. I’m sad to say that evening was an unpleasant experience.

It wasn’t the movie’s fault. It was Regal Cinemas’.

Continue reading

You Can’t Spell “La La Land” Without L.A.

La La Land!

After the 2014 Best Picture nominee Whiplash gave us a world where collegiate jazz is a nightmarish torture chamber of brutal perfectionism that only the most warped can survive, director Damien Chazelle rebukes his own darkest timeline with the nostalgic club jazz and vintage Hollywood set pieces of La La Land, an eye-popping, romantic pageant wired like an old-fashioned musical but keenly aware of our compromised 21st-century tableau that rewards far fewer dreamers than previous eras did.

Continue reading

“The Big Short”: Mortgages Most Foul

The Big Short!

“Hi, yes, I don’t have a question. I’d just like to point out for the record that no one has ever produced a single shred of evidence linking paper companies to the 2008 recession. So SUCK IT, BANKS.”

The first time I saw the name Adam McKay, he was a writer on Saturday Night Live who occasionally appeared in short films that helped kill time during the show’s after-12:30 wasteland. Those never did much for me, but he moved on to helming Will Ferrell comedies that attracted much larger audiences, of which I’ve not been a part. Fourteen years after his SNL stint, he’s now co-written a Marvel super-hero movie (last summer’s not-bad Ant-Man) and directed a Best Picture nominee in The Big Short, which ought to be mandatory viewing as an ethics cautionary tale in all future finance classes ever.

As Hollywood careers go, that escalated nicely.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: