I love a good cheesy action movie. I love robots, I love monsters, and I love the spectacle of cities being smashed to pieces by giant forms of both. John Boyega, Charlie Day, Tian Jing, Rinko Kikuchi… I really thought I was going to like this film. Heck, I saw it on opening day. So why didn’t I?
It’s post-Oscars season, and the drive to watch all of the dimly lit, monotone, stuffy awards-bait movies has abated. Now you can watch fun things again! But before giving into your baser impulses come May and indulging in a popcorn blockbuster or three, here are some recommendations based on the big names at the Oscars that I was able to see. Some are more intellectual, some decidedly lowbrow, but at least one of them should catch your eye.
What does it mean to be human? Is it woven into our DNA, hardcoded in rows of As and Gs and Cs and Ts? And what makes our genes special, unlike those of, say, a shark or a deer or a tree? Annihilation seeks to answer these questions, while simultaneously answering none of them. Instead, it simply offers different perspectives on the nature of the crazy series of coincidences that lead to sentient life, on a platter of shiny purple CGI. With mostly decent acting. But somehow, it worms it way into your brain, and it won’t let go. It sticks with you, gripping with its shiny purple hands. And for the effect it leaves you with when you walk out alone, Annihilation is more than worth seeing.
I knew going in that this movie hit two of my favorite topics: true crime and figure skating. But I didn’t know much else. “The Incident,” as the film refers to the attack on Tonya Harding’s competitor Nancy Kerrigan, happened the year before I was born. And all the details seem to have become muddled over time. But this is the film’s strength. What could have easily been a schlocky biopic instead relies heavily on the boundary between truth and falsehood, creating an extremely satisfying examination of what it means to be a public figure.
They push and pull like a fish-man and a mute woman do… Okay, putting aside the shameless Ed Sheeran pun, this movie is a work of art, but strange. Very strange. I didn’t expect the showing I attended to be full of older couples, and I was somewhat worried about whether or not they knew what they were in for. Judging by the gasps and nervous laughter, I’m not sure all of them were prepared for this sort of surreal tumble into Guillermo del Toro’s brain. But it takes falling down the rabbit hole to get to this weird and wet Wonderland.
It’s been way too long since I last wrote for TM2M, but I’m glad to be back. It feels fitting, then, that my first review upon returning is for Thor: Ragnarok, a film all about returning to old haunts. Unlike my reviews, this movie seems to go scorched-earth on its archive. And while a lot of fun, I’m not sure it’s the wisest idea for the series as a whole.
How Eddie Redmayne can take himself seriously playing magical zoologist Newt Scamander is a mystery to me. I lost all composure at the sight of him flipping his waistcoat over his hip and crab-walking to attract a loose rumpant in Central Park in a vague approximation of its mating dance. And if that’s what you’re looking for, then Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them might be the movie for you.