While comic book movies are almost always a guaranteed money maker, it’s quite a shock to many that one of the highest grossing comic book movies of all time is a movie about Aquaman. After spending decades being a basic punch line for all of pop culture, Aquaman swoops in and basically has changed the course of how we think of the character and DC’s Comic book movies. All it took was a skilled director like James Wan, and the undeniable charisma of Jason Momoa.
Robert Zemeckis’ “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” is a charming, if flawed tribute to the Beatles and the rampant Beatles Mania that ran throughout much of the late sixties. I’m sure Zemeckis bear witness to a lot of the “Beatlemania,” and his film seems to come from a place of experience. For folks that loved movies like “American Graffiti” or “Dazed and Confused,” Zemeckis’ 1978 comedy is one of those movie set over the course of a night that centers on a group of teenagers that are so devoted to the Beatles, they risk just about everything to see them on the Ed Sullivan Show.
It should just about go without saying that “Audition” is basically Takashe Miike’s masterpiece. If not then it’s the most accessible in where Miike is able to basically cut loose in a horror movie that begins as a romance about a man finding love again that descends in to darkness and torture. Twenty years later, “Audition” is a masterpiece of the genre, of film, and hasn’t aged a single bit since its release in 1999. It embraces romance, drama, a hint of dark comedy, and builds up to a fever pitch of a climax that’s both horrifying and will leave audiences feeling physically pained.
Ryan Coogler came storming out of the gate with “Creed,” a spiritual sequel to “Rocky” that was so good, it stood side by side comfortably with the original “Rocky.” As all things in Hollywood, despite Stallone’s attempted justification for re-visiting old story lines, “Creed” made money, so we have “Creed II.” I mean, there is room here for the writers to explore the whole dynamic between Adonis confronting the man who murdered his father, but much of that is sidestepped in favor of usual “Rocky” movie tropes, boiling down to a sequel that’s pretty damn—erm, okay. It’s not a bad movie, but it’s not “Creed.”
It’s not even “Rocky II.”
I knew I was in trouble with “Kiss Kiss” when twenty minutes in, the film had shifted to its third musical montage involving our female characters. “Kiss Kiss” is not only incredibly silly, but insanely boring to the point where I shut it down once the credits showed. I didn’t even want to soak in what was basically just an excuse to show women bouncing around and inflicting pain on one another for ninety excruciating minutes.
You don’t know how good you have it. These days everyone has Iron Man, and Captain America, Oscar winning Spider-Man movies, and massive team movies from DC and Marvel. Aquaman is a friggin’ box office juggernaut. In 1996, though we had slim pickings, and, well the best we could get was a truly terrible, painfully dull cinematic adaptation of a pulpy Dark Horse comic that doubled as a remake for “Casablanca.” No seriously, this is as good as it got for us comic book fan boys.
It’s pretty disappointing that the Academy almost cut out the entire Live Action short category this year for the Oscars, as there are so many wonderful short films nominated. There are five pretty fantastic short films with strong messages about childhood and loss of innocence, and I hope now that they’re back in the broadcast, that audiences get a chance to watch and celebrate them.
I was thoroughly surprised with 2017’s “Happy Death Day.” The more I’ve thought about it and re-watched it, I’ve come to like it more and more as a horror reworking of “Groundhog’s Day.” It’s a fun and creepy character piece about a despicable young woman who realizes that maybe the way to keep herself from dying and end the cycle of re-living the same day over and over, is to think about other people in her life. “Happy Death Day 2U” is that same concept, but a wholly different movie. It’s a sequel that brings us a new angle of the narrative, expands on the concept of the original film, while also continuing to explore the character of Tree Gelbman.