Charlize Theron is a woman who can play almost any role at this point and come out looking golden. She’s been able to portray so many interesting characters, and in “Long Shot” she is a beautiful politician fighting for the role of president. “Long Shot” would be a good movie if it weren’t mired in all that Judd Apatow nonsense that was very popular in the early aughts that reduces her to a cliché. There’s the frumpy man child winning the love of the ideal gorgeous woman, and there’s even the snide BFF of said woman who hates the frumpy man child at first, but then eventually learns to love him. And of course, there’s Seth Rogen who’s made a career of playing Seth Rogen once again playing Seth Rogen.
Nostalgia entertainment is about as popular as ever and modern streaming services and networks are banking on the fascinating topics that can be mined from the mementos of pop culture. One of the most entertaining documentary series to be brought to the popular Netflix service has been by Brian Volk-Weiss’s “The Toys That Made Us.” While most studios would cut corners by merely making a series that relies on “Remember this?” and “Remember when…?” what “The Toys That Made Us” instead does is examine the importance and relevance of iconic toy lines from the eighties and nineties.
I remember not enjoying “Man’s Best Friend” too much back in 1993, and in 2019, it hasn’t aged very well at all. Unless you have a fancy for nineties horror with rock bottom expectations, John Lafia’s killer dog movie is a movie that’s confused in both tone and genre, quite often. I had a tough time developing the emotions during this experience, because nothing is ever really clarified for the audience. Is this a dark comedy or a horror film? Should we loathe Max or sympathize with Max? Is he the film’s villain, an anti-hero, or the victim of circumstances like Cujo?
“Endgame” accomplishes a grand feat. It’s not only a sequel that resolves just about every question we had with “Infinity War,” but it also acts as a wonderful book end to the first ten years of Marvel movies. This movie is a kind of “What If?” if you will, and I loved how the Russo Brothers don’t just make good on closing the epic saga of the infinity stones, but also have some fun tinkering in the Marvel Cinematic Universe established by folks like Joss Whedon, and Jon Favreau prior. It’s a marvelous and brilliant compilation of everything we love about this cinematic universe, plus a dramatic pay off for folks that have come to fall in love with these heroes and villains for of all these years.
Hoping to market off of the momentum of “Captain Marvel,” Netflix releases Brie Larson’s 2017 directed film “Unicorn Store,” a movie I can describe as a delightfully cute, drama comedy for the dreamers and artists, but it suffers from a hazy message to its audience. I’m one of Larson’s biggest admirers and fans, but “Unicorn Store” is a filled with so much quirk that it forgets to come full circle and fill us in on what it’s trying to say. Is it best to sometimes abandon your dreams for better dreams? Is it fine to have dreams but embrace adult responsibility? Are dreams for some people, but not for others?
One of the best movies about the American Drive-In that I’ve possibly ever seen, “At the Drive-In,” is a wonderful documentary directed by Alexander Monelli that embraces and celebrates everything that’s so enchanting about the drive-in. It’s also a testament to the love and commitment that movie buffs are capable of, even in the face of financial dire straits and a changing climate of pop culture. Drive-Ins have become something of a memory of American pop culture and in the new generation is a community that has struggled to stay alive. One of the few standing is the Mahoning Drive-In in Pennsylvania.
David Sanberg makes the leap from solid horror chillers to blockbusters with what is surprisingly one of DC/Warner’s most modest superhero movie to date. While “Wonder Woman” and “Aquaman” had massive epic plots about world wars and societies in peril, “Shazam!” is a more personal and down to Earth tale with very relevant overtones about bullies and the damage they can inflict on the people they victimize, as well as the environment around them. Sure, “Shazam!” is a superhero movie, but it’s also one worth watching for its positive ideas, and fantastic energy.
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