A Remarkably Unremarkable Film

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“The Dead Speak!” proclaims the opening crawl to Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. Indeed, old voices are something of a thematic motif here, but they serve to remind us of when Star Wars had better days. Rise of the Skywalker is not a bad movie by any means, it’s just okay. Aggressively okay. J.J. Abrams, with his mystery box storytelling, weaves a tale that makes little coherent sense on its face, and where all the parts don’t mesh together. …


Built Ford Tough?

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Ford v Ferrari is the most basic of basic Oscar bait movies. It’s a really simple story that hits all the right notes for something entertaining, and nothing much else beyond that. This means that the film in and of itself is incredibly entertaining. But it also means that once Oscar season is over you’re not likely to hear about it very much. This stems not just from how formulaic the entire design of the movie is, but also because it tries so hard to fill it in with enough content to justify it’s run time. …


You’re So 2009, Zombieland

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Back in 2009, Zombieland came out and ended up being a really delightful film. It had a good cast, poked fun at the zombie genre as it was really taking off, and was just a fun ride. It was a movie that came out at the right time, and ended up being really charming as a result. With the iron being hot off of the success of Zombieland the producers… waited ten years to give us a sequel. Needless to say, the charm has pretty much worn off at this point. …


Perhaps the Most Cynical Movie Ever Made

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Photo Credit: IMDB

Have you ever seen a movie that you recognized was good, but you somehow can’t decide if you actually like the movie? That’s the dilemma with Ad Astra. It’s a thematically ambitious, beautiful, technical marvel, with some heavy emotions, but it’s also a drag, and deliberately cynical. Not that the movie being cynical is necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn’t make it an easy movie recommend.

Brad Pitt plays Roy McBride. He is the son of a famous astronaut H. Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones). Years ago, Clifford went on a mission to Neptune, and never returned. After a power surge from Neptune hits a space station that Roy works on, he is given top secret information, and learns his father may be alive. Space Command needs Roy to go to Mars, and send a message to Neptune to see if they can reach Clifford, and put a stop to those power surges. Failure to do so may result in the end of the human race. …


Hey Losers! Time to Float!

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Photo Credit: IMDB

There are very few books that you can justify splitting into two films. More often than not splitting a book into two films is more of a cynical cash grab by the studio rather than being done for the sake of telling the story itself. The reason “IT” is a prime candidate for splitting into two parts is simple: Half of the story takes place in childhood and the other half in adulthood. Even if the first movie had turned out bad, it concludes in a way that if a sequel never materialized viewers could’ve taken the ending to be ambiguous. The point is that the first film tells a complete story without it being a cliffhanger that intentionally baits us into seeing another part. This means that you get the sense that more time and care is being done with IT: Chapter Two because rather than being one giant movie simply split into two parts, it’s two movies with their own set of stories and themes. …


The Day That Wasn’t

“When you see the world through rose colored glasses all the red flags just look like flags.”

More than usual, I’m seeing this meme going around social media. It suggests that we should return to the days of 9/12, where everyone was waving flags, expressing patriotism and coming together in unbridled unity.

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This is a romanticized fiction. A sentiment being applied to a day that was, in actuality, wrought with fear, confusion and trauma. September 12, 2001 was not this glorious time of unity, nor was it a day of patriotism. I woke up that day feeling distraught and scared. Our leaders didn’t know what to do, let alone what to tell us. …


Can you say, “A surprisingly delightful movie?”

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Dora the Explorer was a show that premiered on Nick Jr. in the year 2000. It was an innocuous show that mostly drew from other Nick Jr. shows such as Blue’s Clues. A big sticking point of the show was that as Dora explored, she’d look to the audience and ask them questions by saying things like, “Do you see the mountain?” For younger audiences it was a small, educational show, and it had some charm to it. Of course, the idea that you could turn a show like Dora the Explorer into a film seems kind of absurd, especially if you’re going to make it just like the show. But here’s the thing, they did turn this show into a live action movie… and it’s actually pretty good. There isn’t much to draw from when it comes to the show, so they built this movie around familiar aspects of the show, and around the absurdity that is: a young girl exploring the jungle with no parental supervision whatsoever. It’s embracing how silly the whole idea of Dora the Explorer is that actually makes the movie so worthwhile. …


The Difference Between East and West is No Barrier for Humanity

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Photo Credit: IMDB

Over the past decade, North American movies have become quite a staple in China. As a result, there has been an increase in Asian representation in film, but whether or not this is good representation has always been another story entirely. This is simply because the need to connect with these audiences usually stops at merely casting an Asian character, but not really having them do much. Some of these inserts have been shameless such as Transformers: Age of Extinction inserting an Asian character that only uses martial arts in a quick elevator scene. Other times Asian characters just fulfill typical stereotypes. So very few movies presented to North American audiences really have Asian characters that aren’t there to confirm North American thoughts and ideas. …


It’s clear from your vacant expressions… the lights are not all on upstairs

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Photo Credit: IMDB

The original Lion King was released in the summer of 1994 and quickly became a generation defining animated classic. It’s the latest in a slew of Disney movies to receive the remake treatment, and like many of the previous remakes there isn’t much magic, but it will tickle your nostalgia. Also like most remakes, this comes at the expense of quality. The Lion King as a more live action kind of film demonstrates why some films are better off being animated.

The story of The Lion King is familiar to most (especially millennials) but it helps to go over it again, in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past twenty-five years. Simba is the son of Mufasa, and he is one day destined to be the king once the sun sets on Mufasa’s time. Mufasa’s brother, Scar, though, doesn’t like this because prior to the birth of Simba, he was supposed to be next in line for the throne. As such, Scar concocts a plan to drive Mufasa and Simba out of the picture and take his place as king, bringing terror to the pride lands, and leaving no one to stand up to him unless Simba asserts his rightful place as king. …


A Heartwarming Gift to Long Time Fans

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Photo Credit: IMDB

When Toy Story 3 was released in 2010 it was pretty much the perfect ending. So when the sequel was announced I, and many others, were skeptical of what Toy Story could possibly do. The third one didn’t just seem like the perfect ending to a trilogy, but the perfect ending with these characters, period. The question was simple: Where do you go from Toy Story 3? Turns out that the team behind the fourth installment must’ve been asking themselves the same question. The answer seems to be making a movie about letting go of the past and being open to new adventures and experiences. …

About

Sean Rhodes

Culture. Pop Culture. Film. Videogames, they’re all important and it’s important to understand all of it.

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