I Like This One

Avengers: Endgame

It’s Kill Bill: Volume 2. That’s the least spoilery way I can sum up Avengers: Endgame. Infinity War was about building up the mystique of its villain and showcasing all the best fights. Its second part and conclusion decides not to really try to one-up that movie’s greatest strengths, and instead focuses on pathos and catharsis. But that’s not to say it’s not self-contained, Endgame is a complete story told in three distinct parts: the aftermath of The Snap, a celebration of the whole MCU, and a riveting, fan service-driven conclusion. Unless you’re someone who is only interested in the action, I’m sure you’ll be happy to have seen it. And if you have seen it, join me after the jump for some more details.

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MCU Retrospecticus: Ant-Man and the Wasp

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Original Review: n/a

One thing I didn’t mention in my Ant-Man review is how it parallels the first Iron Man so well. You could describe Tony Stark or Hank Pym’s arc as the story of a guy recovering from a trauma and standing up to the evil dude who took over his company. The big difference being that Hank Pym is not the main character of Ant-Man, Scott Lang is, so they came up with a contrived reason for Hank and Hope to have to rely on Scott to help them. The smartest thing Ant-Man and the Wasp does is lean back the other way, letting the film become the story of a super hero father and daughter, and this other guy who wants to help but mostly wants to take care of his own daughter.

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The Vault: The Abominable Dr. Phibes

The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

This is part 2 in a 300 part series of Fangoria Magazine’s “Top 300 Horror Movies”. Here we go!

Why is it so damn hard to find a copy of The Abominable Dr. Phibes? For anyone who’s not a horror fan I’m sure the answer is “Because it’s called The Abominable Dr. Phibes.” Fair enough. It is a title that invokes the worst of b-movie shlock. Maybe a film you’d catch at 2:00 AM on a nostalgia channel or featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Yet there is a “Je ne sais quoi” to Phibes that is memorable. Or maybe it’s the fact that Phibes laid the groundwork for an iconic horror franchise and nobody talks about it.

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The Third Annual Mildly Pleased Criterion Draft

As we find ourselves in the midst of Avengers: Endgame and the NFL Draft – two celebrations of grown men pummeling each other – we thought we’d class things up a bit. On this podcast, we offer our very own draft pertaining to the films each of us will review during the Criterion Month of July. Much like past years, John sticks to a theme, Sean tries to see some of The Greatest Movies of All Time™, and Colin just befuddles everyone with movies no one’s heard of. Be sure to check back in July when we get this Criterion train a-rollin’! Continue reading

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MCU Retrospecticus: Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Original Review: Some Kind of Movie – Ep. 9: Why is Gamora? (unrated)

Well, the reviews for Endgame are out and it sounds good. I wouldn’t know, I’m scared to actually read any of them, because it’s hard to write critically about a film without revealing plot details and those are something I’m trying to avoid. But it does have me thinking about this year we’ve had and whether the climactic moment of Infinity War should have been more than a cliffhanger setting up this year’s part two.

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Blood Thicker Than Water

Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising

In retrospect, it makes sense that after one listen, I (undeservedly) wrote off Weyes Blood’s last album, 2016’s Front Row Seat To Earth. For one, it came out around the time I had finally embraced streaming music as an integral part of my music-listening habits. So I might have felt a bit overwhelmed by being able to easily listen to every single album that got decent reviews. Also, it was an easy album to lump in with other artists like Father John Misty or Whitney – who seem to be channeling the Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter scene of the early ’70s. Continue reading

MCU Retrospecticus: Black Panther

Black Panther (2018)

Original Review: Wakanda Forever (four stars)

I think Wakanda is Marvel’s most interesting idea. Like Clark Kent being the alter ego of Superman, an unassuming, landlocked African nation secretly being the world’s richest and most technologically advanced place is immediately exciting. On top of that, it is a tantalizing alternate reality where we get to see a country that has grown up peacefully and without the influence of colonization. It’s so intriguing that it’s fun just to think about. Black Panther is one of the MCU’s most popular films and definitely its most acclaimed in a big part because it realizes this world. The struggle between the two lead characters, T’Challa and Killmonger, represents alternate visions for the future of Wakanda, making the story more compelling than typical save-the-planet super heroics. But it all ends in a terrible CGI battle, perhaps the worst out of all Marvel movies. Here’s my pitch for how they could have avoided that.

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