Season eight of Game of Thrones has been a wild ride. The spectacle has never been greater. It pushed what ‘TV’ can be to new heights, but at the same time it was in such a hurry to wrap everything up that all the character moments felt forced and out of place. I will not spoil who wins, but I don’t think it was the audience.
A lot of people have been saying the reason season eight wasn’t what they wanted was because David Benioff and D. B. Weiss no longer had any books to work off of. Just a bullet pointed list of what was going to happen in the books. My guess is that Benioff and Weiss didn’t really like all the spectacle and action. They liked all the dirty politics and intrigue, but with a zombie army and an impatient queen with dragons there wouldn’t be any time for that, so they just pushed through all craziness to the ending. For better or worse.
In the end season eight wasn’t the best of what Game of Thrones has offered, but it wasn’t near as bad as Twitter is saying it is. Even with this truncated and fast forwarded season, this show still gave us seasons three through six, which was some of the best television ever, and that is something to be thankful for. Maybe your player didn’t win the throne, but we still got dragon battles and a zombie army, which is pretty sweet.
Avengers: Endgame feels like an impossible movie to review. Either you have spent the last decade at least partially keeping up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or you have not. If you have, Endgame is a great way to put a bow on the last eleven years of films and clear the slate for the next eleven. If you have not, it is all noise and references to things that don’t make any sense. Which makes it a unique piece of media.
Avengers: Endgame picks up right after Avengers: Infinity War. Our heroes have failed, and they are struggling with their failure. Though they wouldn’t be the Avengers if they didn’t Avenge something from time to time, so they assemble to save the universe one more time.
I am not going to lie, while I found a lot of moments in this picture really moving, the character work is really great, I have a lot of problems with the plot. Problems I cannot get in to without spoiling the movie. Just know that while you are watching it everything seems to hold together, but afterwards don’t think about anything too hard, or it all turns in to mush.
At the end of Avengers: Infinity War it was no accident that the original Avengers were the ones that survived. Because Endgame is about those heroes’ journey to where they are now, and how they have grown and changed. The new class will get their movies, this was one more trip with Cap, Tony and the gang. Plus, Rocket and Nebula. So, it is not surprising that the best parts of this movie are those characters interacting with one another. Everything that is not that those interactions is a little sketchy.
Endgame had me laughing, cheering, and crying, so in that regard it was a success, and it is a must watch for anyone with even a passing interest in Marvel’s films. What the Russo brothers did to tie up all these plot threads in the last two movies is astounding. It is an incredible achievement for them and Marvel’s producing team, but not quite all those pieces fit together as nicely as they want us to think they did. Though I am still quite excited to see what Marvel brings us next!
Sometimes from the beginning people hear of a movie, and they are like, “That is a bad idea.”, but given some time people come around. Like Detective Pikachu, but sometimes it is just a bad idea. I give you exhibit A: The live action Sonic The Hedgehog trailer:
Oh man this looks bad. Sonic looks like an unlicensed knockoff, and they just let Jim Carrey off of his leash to try and salvage things. Then they spoil the movie’s twist for no apparent reason. Anyway, I know one movie I will not be watching come November. Though you are welcome to disagree.
Oh man this movie. The first Fantastic Beasts movie wasn’t perfect, but it was fun, and it expanded the Wizarding World in some interesting ways, but Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald flushes that all down the toilet. It takes a fun, wonderous, and exciting world and makes it sad, muddled, and boring.
In the Crimes of Grindelwald, Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) escapes from wizard jail, so he can kill babies and talk to people. Sooo much talking, and it is not just Grindelwald who talks to everyone, everyone wants to hunker down and chat about ‘serious’ things. Oh yeah, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his beasts are here from time to time.
The Crimes of Grindelwald feels like the middle part of a long book where they are introducing new characters and growing old ones, so that the climax will have more meaning. The problem is that they don’t really have time for any of that in this movie, so people just kind of show up and we are supposed to care about them, and then nothing happens and the movie ends because they don’t have time for the climax either.
It was also strange that they replaced Newt with Grindelwald as the protagonist of the film. Newt is just trying to find Tina (Katherine Waterston) and doesn’t really care that much about what is happening until he is forced to. Which means we are forced to watch Jonny Depp growl and snarl his way through dialog as he executes his ‘plan’.
There are so many things wrong with Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald that I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. It is a real shame too because Edie Redmayne is still great as Newt, and he is a cool character. Had this movie continued to focus on him and his beasts, Warner Bros probably would have had another hit on its hands, but instead we are getting the dark, grim and worst of all boring prequel to the fun stories about The Boy Who Lived. Unlike the babies in this movie. They died.
It is hard to believe that Us is only the second movie that Jordan Peele has written and directed. He is already proving himself to be a master, and he has once again used the horror genre to shine a light social issues without being preachy. This time the focus shifts more to classism instead of racism, but not completely. However, if you are in the theater for thrills instead of sociology lessons, never fear, Us has them in spades.
Us is about a family on vacation at their summer home in the vicinity of Santa Cruz, CA, but instead of rest and relaxation, they are attacked by murderous doppelgangers of themselves. They will struggle to survive and keep to their family alive.
The first two thirds of Us are just about perfect. The building sense of dread, and the initial attack, but it falters a bit at the end. It explains the in universe origins of the doppelgangers a little too much. Horror works best as a nightmare with no explanation needed. Because once you start explaining things and adding logic to them it invites the minds of the viewers to start picking at the movie as well. Making the flaws a little more apparent, but honestly that is a nitpick. The film is fantastic otherwise.
The best part of Us is the performances. With each actor having two roles to play, and all of them doing a great job, but Lupita Nyong’o is the real standout. She manages to play off of herself brilliantly. Which I am guessing is not super easy to do. Elisabeth Moss gives a very fun performance as well. She was clearly having a lot of fun making this movie.
Us delivers chills and thrills a plenty, and quite a few good laughs. With just a small helping of social commentary. Like they say, “A spoonful of colored corn syrup helps sociology go down.” I can’t wait to see what Jordan Peele has next. If his first two movies are anything to go by it will be chilling and thought provoking.