I was always such a big fan of movie serials and pulp superheroes even before my initiation in to comic books. I loved characters like Superman and The X-Men, but I also loved The Shadow, Commander Cody, and the Green Hornet. Some of those heroes made up some of my most entertaining fantasies, and it wasn’t a big adjustment considering most of the nineties’ superhero movies were mainly adaptations of pulp heroes like “The Phantom” and “The Rocketeer.” Kerry Conran remains one of the most prophetic filmmakers of all time.
No one loves Kevin Smith more than Kevin Smith. He’s a fan of not just building this façade of an extended universe with his films, but the smug idea that he ultimately rejected Hollywood when all is said and done. After endless efforts to hit the mainstream vein, and re-invent himself as a horror director, Smith has come back to doing what he does best: Repeating himself, repeating the same old jokes, and giving his hardcore fans a ton of weed jokes, and near endless pop culture references about “Star Wars” and “Batman.”
Johannes Roberts’ “47 Meters Down: Uncaged” is a real testament to the concept of the score and how a great score can often help enhance a movie going experience. A lot of times the score can even become its own character. “Uncaged” has a score that genuinely stinks with a droning blaring bass that sounds more like library music than anything else. And that’s when there is a score since inexplicably, only about twenty percent of the movie’s run time has an actual score. The rest is complete silence that punctuates this absolutely awful sequel.
In the nineties, many American movie studios were trying to beat Disney at their game by basically—mimicking everything that made their movies a hit. They didn’t try to rewrite the rules until the early aughts; before then we had a bunch of movies that were basically D grade copies of Disney hits. Richard Rich is a once Disney animator who tries his best to riff on Disney, taking a classic fairy tale and adding about every trope from the Disney list you can imagine, right down to funny talking animals. What he forgets is entertainment and a sense of life.
For folks that loved the original 2009 “Wonder Woman” animated DC movie, Warner and DC have rebooted “Wonder Woman” in to the New 52 mold with a refresher on her origin and a twist on her relationship with Steve Trevor. I can’t say that I liked “Bloodlines” as much as I did “Wonder Woman,” but it’s a pretty good piece of action filler until the live action sequel arrives in theaters very soon. “Bloodlines” is interested in expanding on Wonder Woman’s world and that’s what it excels in, most of the time.
So far we’re about ten alternate time lines deep in to the “Terminator” series, a movie franchise that continues to chug on thanks to the good word from James Cameron. Methinks without Cameron, “Terminator” would and should be put to sleep as a limp IP that loses more and more fans every single year. The convoluted timeline doesn’t even want to try to explain its own concept and logic (and lack thereof) anymore. It’s now basically rebooted itself (once again), and takes off limping to the finish line. From a confusing (bold?) retcon, to an over arching theme with heavy social commentary, “Terminator: Dark Fate” incidentally makes an argument against its existence.
With their partnership with GKids, Shout Factory has managed to obtain a remarkable chunk of Studio Ghibli’s library and have given choice titles some truly deluxe treatment. Among some of Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpieces is the incredible “Spirited Away” a film that owes a lot to “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Wizard of Oz,” that also evokes subtle social commentary on child trafficking. In either case, “Spirited Away” is still a remarkable and stellar piece of art, with some of Miyazaki’s most memorable creations including No Face, and the Soot Sprites.
If I have to pick a favorite aspect of “Over the Garden Wall” is the ambiguity of it all. There’s not a ton of exposition or explanation as to whom or what the characters Greg and Wirt are. We just know that they’re brothers, they have polar opposite personalities, and they’re stuck in a timeless land filled with dangers and mysterious oddities that they can’t possibly fathom. Along the way, Greg and Wirt learn a lot about the idea of grief, and confronting their fears, and learning to appreciate one another as brothers. They also have their own personality quirks that could count as flaws, but only make you love them even more. By the time the series ends, you’ll be glad you met them and realize you know everything that you need to know about them. I encourage you to fall in love with it like I did.