Humungus
Movies. TV. Feelings.
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Photo: Netflix

First, watch Netflix’s new French thriller series ‘Lupin’

Here’s how to be a gentleman thief, according to the sleek new Netflix show Lupin: be cool, be French. That’s it, actually. A monocle helps. But mostly, gentlemen thieves are cool and French, which are the same thing, at least to me.

In Lupin, the gentleman thief is courteous. Affable. He’s always one step ahead of everyone. And he takes his time. He is patient. This is the least American virtue and that is why gentlemen thieves must be French.

But I don’t want anyone to think gentlemen thieves have to be men, they do not. The ‘gentleman’ in ‘gentleman thief’ is non-gender specific. Anyone can be a gentleman thief. It also helps to be confident, not arrogant. They should be good at pickpocketing and planning complex robberies, so spreadsheet skills are a must. …


A silhouetted person walking to the end of a tunnel where stone steps lead upward.
A silhouetted person walking to the end of a tunnel where stone steps lead upward.
Photo: Marlon Nartea via Unsplash

And endless goodbyes. The pandemic is getting to me (again).

I used to wander around New York City for hours, but I don’t do that anymore. I have been swallowed by the pandemic and I am trapped in its belly.

My old therapist Bill used to encourage me to “flaneur,” which is a French word for stroll or lounge or just, you know, fuck around. It’s a state of mind. Bill was a cranky old Irish Jew from Staten Island, and he fancied himself a street philosopher and was always telling me to take it easy, to sit out this fight or that fight, to go for a walk and not worry about where I end up. …


The two stars of the upcoming movie ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’
The two stars of the upcoming movie ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Get ready to rumble: It’s the thrilla between giant ape and ‘Zilla, folks

This trailer kicks ass. Explosions! Jet fighters! Legendary colossuses smacking each other around as we tiny mortals flee! I don’t know if the movie will be any good but we can worry about that in a couple of months when Warner Bros. releases Godzilla vs. Kong, a movie that promises to wrestle with one of art’s greatest themes: what happens when a giant gorilla meets a prehistoric dragon.

I wish I could watch this in a movie theater with a bucket of popcorn and a side bucket of vanilla soda. But, alas, I do not want to sit in a theater until the pandemic has substantially ebbed. …


Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany in Disney+’s ‘WandaVision’
Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany in Disney+’s ‘WandaVision’
Photo: Disney+

The first Marvel series on Disney+ is a mystery wrapped in a sitcom

Yeah, so I actually do not have a crazy theory about WandaVision. I don’t have any theory about the new streaming show on Disney+, the first such offering from blockbuster factory Marvel Studios on that platform. But I do have an opinion: I am three episodes in and I have no idea what’s really going on in this weekly half-hour nightmare comedy about a mutant and a robot.

The internet is bursting with hunches as to why Scarlett Witch and Vision are starring in a TV show inside a TV show. Are they trapped in some kind of purgatory with a laugh track? A time loop? Is there a secret organization behind their bewildering predicament, or is it magic? …


Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka in 1971’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’
Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka in 1971’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’
Photo: Paramount Pictures

Yup, it’s true. ‘Wonka: The Early Years’ is coming soon

The rumors are troompa-loompa. Hollywood is making a prequel to Roald Dahl’s classic book Charlie and the Chocolate, which has inspired two film adaptations, one beloved and the other bizarre, but forgettable. The movie will be called Wonka. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news if you haven’t read about this upcoming blockbuster.

Don’t blame me, blame Warner Bros Pictures. Wonka should be in theaters in 2023, assuming there are still movie theaters then. The way things are going, I don’t know. I’m fairly certain Wonka will come out and be available on some kind of screen. But, you know, things may start to improve. …


A blonde woman holding a crowbar, wearing a pantsuit in front of an underpass, with broken tail light shards on the ground.
A blonde woman holding a crowbar, wearing a pantsuit in front of an underpass, with broken tail light shards on the ground.
Photo: Focus Features

The new dark comedy-thriller isn’t what you think it is, my dudes

The word “promising” does a lot of work in the new movie Promising Young Woman, which is currently available on video-on-demand. The main character, Cassie, was a promising young woman until her friend Nina suffers an act of brutal sexual violence that is ignored by the medical school where it took place. Cassie drops out to care for Nina, who dies shortly thereafter, presumably of suicide.

Cassie had a bright future but that future became a casualty of the rape she spends the whole movie consumed with. The message is subtle but not so subtle that I didn’t get it: Rape culture ruins the lives of the victims and their friends and loved ones. …


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Photo: Netflix

It’s a highly bingeable docuseries about two best friends

Hi, my name is John and I want you to stream the Good Stuff™ and only the Good Stuff™. I’m not an algorithm. I’m a real live eternal soul wearing a rapidly aging man body. I just want to make sure you’re properly entertained. That’s all.

So, if I may suggest: Check out Netflix’s new docuseries Pretend It’s A City. But before I get into why I think this zippy, very funny interview series is worth your time and attention, I’d like to confess that I have been thinking about writing fanfic for the first time. And, yes, Pretend It’s A City is the inspiration. I desperately want to write short stories about motor-mouthed humorist Fran Lebowitz and her trusty sidekick Marty Scorcese having adventures in all five boroughs of New York City. …


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Photo: Amazon Prime

In ‘Sound Of Metal,’ a man loses the world and gains a moment of grace

It is rare when I see a male character on screen that I identified with as much as British rapper/actor Riz Ahmed’s Ruben Stone in Sound Of Metal, which is streaming on Amazon Prime. Ruben is a former addict and heavy-metal drummer who suddenly learns he is going deaf. In Sound Of Metal, a man loses his world but gains a moment of grace. The movie is the crooked journey between those two moments, one terrifying and the other poignant and hard-won.

There aren’t many movie characters that I directly identify with, and I do not think it is necessarily the responsibility of the movies to hold up mirrors to reality. I relate to C-3PO and I am not a gold-plated protocol droid. One of the necessary pleasures of fiction is the permission it gives to pretend to be someone else. …


John David Washington and Robert Pattinson, the stars of Christopher Nolan’s time travel movie ‘Tenet’
John David Washington and Robert Pattinson, the stars of Christopher Nolan’s time travel movie ‘Tenet’
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

I also have a few important questions about his new-ish movie ‘Tenet’

There is a scene in the classic 1955 thriller Night of the Hunter that reminds me of director Christopher Nolan, a man who tries to make smart blockbusters.

In the scene, a psycho preacher perfectly played by sleepy-eyed Robert Mitchum tells the story of good versus evil, and while he tells the story he acts it out — he has the word LOVE tattooed on one set of knuckles, and the word HATE inked on the other. His two hands wrestle until LOVE wins.

I should probably write more about this haunting movie that follows a pair of children running from a murderer disguised as a man of God. My sister used to terrorize me late at night by humming the hymn Mitchum would sing while he stalked his victims. I will not get into the many reasons Night of the Hunter is required viewing in this essay. …


A scene from Netflix’s period drama ‘Bridgerton’
A scene from Netflix’s period drama ‘Bridgerton’
Photo: Netflix

Apparently, the hot new Netflix bodice-ripper is more than just a fancy soap opera

I love period movies because I love costumes and sexually-repressed butlers. But there was something about Netflix’s steamy Pride & Prejudice-style drama Bridgerton from superstar showrunner Shonda Rhimes that didn’t interest me. I’ve heard there’s lots of S-E-X and, you know, there’s a time and place for cheesy, horny hubba-hubba fluff. In the words of my future mother-in-law, there are “lots of butts” in Bridgerton. Which is fine! There is nothing wrong with butts and just… entertainment. But then I read this in Simone Samuels essay titled “Bridgerton Is A Welcome Respite From Racial Trauma”:

Let’s escape into this world where Black people are treated as equals and have equal access to titles and nobility and status and are not just slaves and servants and who have pretty dresses and can marry whomever they want and who don’t have to worry about being shot and killed in broad daylight by the state. …

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