Category: the Batman


 

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Malcolm X, Do the Right Thing, Coming to America…Black Panther is in the pantheon of great black films, immediately.

So what can I say that hasn’t been hot taked to death already?  I picked a few things…

  • Stakes – Yes, I’m going to use ‘the Dark Knight’ as one of the best examples, but it’s true: even in Marvel movies, if it feels like the villain gets NO real wins or causes no real consequence…kind of takes you out of it a bit.  Taking over the world?  Ehhh…everything else better be perfect.  Beating the hero in a battle and genuinely creating a long term change in the protagonist and their world?  That’s how its done.
  •   Mike – I never doubted Michael B’s ability to play a villain.  But I loved, LOVED how this particular villain takes advantage of that vulnerability and sensitivity that Mike has done in everything from ‘the Wire’ to ‘Fruitvale Station’.  A lot of the love for Killmonger comes from him being a hurt, vindictive person pushing it to its extreme (as opposed to an asshole whose evil just for the sake of being evil).
  • Coogler – The ‘weakness’ of the film to me is the action sequences.  And they’re not remotely bad; it’s just we’ve all been conditioned at this point to turn our brains off a bit when it’s ‘super CGI time’ in superhero movies.

Then my boy Ben sent this to me.  I don’t want to anoint Ryan as ‘our Spielberg/Scorsese’, even after a weekend like this…but…LISTEN TO HOW MUCH THOUGHT AND DETAIL WENT INTO THIS…

 

So yeah, enter your superlative here.  Looking forward to seeing it again.

 

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Darkest-Hour-Movie

First, Rest in Peace Reg E. Cathey.  From ‘Oz’ to ‘the Wire’ to ‘House of Cards’, Cathey was a fantastic, Emmy winning character actor.  More importantly, judging by the words of those who knew him and worked with him, an even better human being.  He will be missed.

Speaking of character actors.  Lee Harvey Oswald.  Commissioner Gordon. Dracula.  Gary Oldman owned these roles and numerous others in movies big and small over the years. But no Oscar.  That’s probably changing next month.

‘Darkest Hour’ benefits not just from having Gary Oldman in the leading role (barely recognizable under all that makeup), but also from living in a world where its target audience has been given ‘the Crown’ and ‘Dunkirk’ over the past 12 months.  Knowing so much more about World War II era London helps a movie we’re so much of the conflict is cerebral and hard to visualize.

None of this is to take away from what Oldman does here.  You expect dialect expertise, you expect a few outbursts of anger, you expect a great monologue from two if for no other reason than it’s Winston Churchill.  And you get all of that and a little more.

It’ll be a surprise if Gary doesn’t get his ‘Lifetime Achievement’ Oscar for this.

 

 

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Have to start the week with this trailer, that spread like wildfire, and with good reason.

Such an obvious concept and genre turn, that we haven’t seen done exactly like this…

Until next year apparently.

Wow…

 

 

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DC finally got the formula right for the most part.  Now can they get the general goodwill of the fanbase back?

To the degree you can put away what came before it, ‘Justice League’ is actually enjoyable and has some fun moments.  For this generation, Superman has never felt more like Superman, the Flash is fun without feeling like a knock off of the current Spider-Man (which I worried about before I saw the film), the Aquaman take is fresh and different.  We’ll never know how much credit goes to Josh Whedon and how blame goes to Zack Snyder, but this one was fun without feeling like a complete Marvel copy cat.

Are there flaws?  Definitely.  It irked me to hear Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent being referred to, in public, by their alternate identities.  But as opposed to episodes in the past, it didn’t pull the whole movie down.  If, as it seems, Batfleck is done putting on the cowl, I think it’s a little unfortunate he never got a full solo run with the character.  He’s above average as both ‘Asshole Bruce Wayne’ and ‘Older Batman’.  It is what it is.

Ignore the negativity.  Give this one a chance and judge it for yourself.

 

‘Wayne Thanksgiving’

 

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I was at the game last night, but this skit was sent to me multiple times this morning.

And for good reason, it’s great.

If you tell me this is one of the pieces Donald Glover ghostwrote for this episode…I wouldn’t doubt you for a millisecond.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Finally got to see ‘Dunkirk’ on the big screen last week, courtesy of Warner Brothers.  There was a dessert service after the Q&A with Nolan, so yes, ‘For Your Consideration’ season has begun!

I’m not a World War II buff by any means so Dunkirk didn’t hold a strong meaning to me beyond doing a cursory Google search on why it’s important. After I did that though, it made complete sense to me why the British hold it in such high regard, and why Nolan wanted to make this movie.

Interested to note during the Q&A, how they decided early on to ‘not’ try to be ‘Saving Private Ryan’.  A, because he considers it a masterpiece and B, in true Christopher Nolan style, he wanted to focus on the practical details of ‘how would this happen in real life?’ as opposed to ‘this is how these things play out in a movie’…

(Prince of Gotham nodding….)

Relating directly to war (without spoiling some of story points of ‘Dunkirk’), Nolan also says he was attracted to doing a different type of war movie, because, in talking to veterans, war is very much like life in that, death often happens completely randomly, and the ‘good guys’ or ‘heroes’ may never get the credit they really deserve, and ‘the bad guys’ may not always suffer in proportion to the damage they’ve done.

(cueing up the Hans Zimmer as my eyes mist up…)

As far as ‘Dunkirk’ the movie goes, I personally wouldn’t call it Nolan’s best, but it’s solid.  With the studio backing him up, I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t finally get a Best Director nomination this year.

 

 

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I was aware I hadn’t seen him make any public appearances in years, but still felt a little sad tonight to hear about the passing of Hugh Hefner.

First, the big stuff that everyone will touch on, in one way or another.  The magazine of course, which came onto the zeitgeist at the perfect moment.  One of the great American brands; who can argue that?  Besides the magazine, there is the annual Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl, there are/were Clubs, the Logo, and the Mansion.

I was still very much in the ‘new kid in town’ phase when I worked at the Playboy Mansion.  I was still in school, so this was probably my second come up from being in the ‘Mafia’.  I met Hef my first day there, have NO idea what I said to him, but he smiled and shook my hand and welcomed me to his home.  I got the private tour early on.  When I look at my dream list for Aziz Manor: the library, the screening room, the basement gym, the luxury car garage… the mental blueprint for those things didn’t come from a comic book or Neverland; it was from my experience in Holmby Hills.  I may be off on the timeline, but I want to say my Kansas buddies started referring to me as ‘Hollywood’ around this time.  But, I mean, I was a kid in my early twenties, what can I say?  Depending on who’d you ask, making it feel ‘normal’ to have a chef make your gourmet lunch from scratch everyday, or to have casual conversations with Playboy Bunnies on a regular basis, was either one of the best or worst things to happen in my formative years in La La Land.

From one Midwestern born kid to another, thanks for the memories Hef.  Icon gets thrown around a little too much for my taste, but you were the real thing.

 

 

sanctuary

RACHEL: ‘What will you do?’

BRUCE: ‘Rebuild it.  Just the way it was, brick for brick.’

ALFRED: ‘Just the way it was, sir?’

BRUCE: ‘Yeah.  Why?’

ALFRED: ‘I thought this might be a good opportunity for improving the foundations.’

BRUCE: ‘In the southeast corner…’

ALFRED: ‘Precisely sir…’

 

 

spiderman

Didn’t really go in with any expectations, and have to say I enjoyed it.

Not another origin story (thank God) but picking up where ‘Civil War’ left off, the first real ‘Marvel’ Spider-Man movie feels that way.  Not just because of the Iron Man and Captain America cameos, but just in general tone.  There are stakes, but not ‘the whole world will collapse if Spider-Man fails’ stakes (another big plus); there’s a lightness that never goes into camp…it’s not a ‘game changer’ but it’s enjoyable.

It’s early but I already feel like Tom Holland is my favorite Peter Parker.  In physique and the way the character is written, actually feels like a teenager trying to be cool and figure life out, but even with his intellect and powers, he can never completely win.  That matches everything I have in my head about Peter Parker.  Michael Keaton is equally relatable as the Vulture, the main antagonist for this adventure.  While we’re here, my favorite in joke in the movie kind of has to be seen as a ‘Batman joke’.  Don’t forget though folks, Christian Bale and Kevin Conroy got the idea of using a deeper tenor for Batman because Michael Keaton did it (in a way more subtle manner I’ll give you) in 89.

So yeah, this one is a winner.  Glad the web slinger looks to be fully back on his feet cinematically.

 

 

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What’s up?

So I don’t have a lot of deep thoughts this Eid. The train is rolling so this will be assorted quick hits…

‘Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King.’  Uploaded to Netflix right around when Ramadan started, so I didn’t say anything that weekend.  But if you haven’t seen it yet, give yourself an hour to watch it.  Funny dude coming from a point of view we still don’t see often enough.

For someone who enjoys social media, I have to say…really didn’t miss it.  I’m back, and I enjoy being plugged in.  Do I need to be plugged in 24/7/365?  Don’t feel like it anymore (this space included).  Definitely shifting more into a ‘when I have something worthwhile to say/share, I’ll do it’ mode…

Having said that, I got all the texts, memes, notifications, songs and more while I was ‘away.’  They were all appreciated.  A lot of important phone calls made the past month.  The Dark Knight persona has served me well, but in terms of the truth of my life, it’s always nice to be reminded I’m not ‘alone’.  Not at all.

The future has never looked better; I’m looking forward to sharing my journey with you in due time.

Peace!