Glass dominated the box-office this last weekend, but because I had not seen Split, I figured I needed to rectify that before going to see the last movie in the Unbreakable trilogy. Split is unquestionably an M. Night Shyamalan movie. With its deliberate pacing and sullen mood. Split takes itself very seriously. I would not say it is one of Shyamalan’s best movies, but it is far from his worst.
Split starts with three girls being abducted after a birthday party. The girls, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, and Jessica Sula, are informed that they are to be sacrificed to ‘The Beast’ who is one of Kevin Crumb’s (James McAvoy) personalities. The girls of course will try and escape while McAvoy wears different sweaters and uses different voices to torment them.
All kidding aside, McAvoy gives a great performance. It must have been fun as an actor to play so many very different characters while trying to link them all together. Without his performance, Split would have been a bore. Which is true of most M. Night Shyamalan films. Because of their slow pacing, if the people on screen are not engaging you get the Lady in the Water instead of the Sixth Sense.
The biggest problem with Split is that it is very linear. I am not saying all M. Night movies need a twist, but it is always nice if there are a few turns on a filmic journey. Split is a straight shot. This movie is about three girls in peril because of the actions of a mentally ill creep. Full stop. It is almost as if Shyamalan wanted to prove he could apply the hallmarks of his style without a surprise ending. It mostly works.
Between the mood and the great performances, Split is an interesting film. It is shot well and doesn’t outlast its welcome, so while it isn’t worth running out and adding to your Blu-Ray collection, it is worth a cheap rental or a watch on Netflix or whatever streaming service it eventually lands on. Split has me excited for Glass just to see how this movie fits in to Unbreakable’s universe. Which I guess means I enjoyed myself.
The thing I remember thinking while watching A Very English Scandal was that this couldn’t be real. That the BBC and Amazon must have fudged things to make this show more insane, but in looking up the facts for myself, it turns out they even left a few other crazy things out. All of which makes for an interesting show to watch, and one carried by fantastic lead performances.
A Very English Scandal is about the Jeremy Thorpe Scandal. Where Thorpe, the leader of the Liberal Party, attempted to have a homosexual lover killed, so that he would not be exposed as gay. Which sounds dark, but this show ends up being more of a dramady. Mostly because of how crazy all the characters in the show are.
The writers did a great job on the script, but Hugh Grant as Thorpe and Ben Whishaw as Thorpe’s former love interest Norman Scott really make this work. They manage to ride the line between playing their characters over the top while still being believable perfectly. It is no wonder Whishaw won a Golden Globe, and I am sure will be in the running for a BAFTA and an Emmy.
A Very English Scandal is not visually graphic, but it is verbally, so keep that in mind before watching it. Otherwise it is a fun three hours of British history, and one you probably will not soon forget. You can watch it now on Amazon Prime Video or the BBC iPlayer.
You know Tony Stark mourning the world? Forget that. Everything is fine. As a matter of fact here are not one but two trailers featuring the lost in space and snapped Spider-Man:
That is for the US, here is the one for International Audiences:
There are some slight differences, but the biggest change for me is that they censored the joke at the end for the international teaser. Not sure why. But hey, Mysterio looks cool. Anyway, I guess we don’t need to watch Endgame now because it all turns out alright for the characters we love. Though I am guessing we still do loose a couple.
If you follow movie industry sites, one of the biggest stories is how well Warner Bros./DC’s Aquaman is doing. How the film is going to bank $1 Billion even though the lead character is often a joke, but you know what, this shouldn’t be that surprising. While indeed Aquaman has been the butt of a few jokes, you never need to explain the joke to anyone because Aquaman is a household name.
Aquaman came out in 1941, and he has been one of the most well-known heroes since. My Grandfather understands who Aquaman is and what he can do. He is the strong guy from Atlantis who can control/talk to fish. With every Marvel hero that hits the scene I have to prepare myself for all the questions, “Where did they come from? What are their powers? What other heroes do they hang out with? Why is there villain bad?” Now Marvel has been on such an amazing run that none of those questions stop most people from going to the movie, but not one person asked me about Aquaman. They just asked if I was going to see the movie opening night or wait a couple of weekends.
The other overriding theme you will hear is that all the DCEU films were such failures that Aquaman’s success is some sort of anomaly, but guess what? Except for China, Aquaman is doing almost the same amount of business worldwide as the rest of the DCEU movies. The average DCEU film, not counting Aquaman, did $750 Million worldwide, and that is with Justice League pulling the average down. Plus, Suicide Squad couldn’t be screened in China because it featured villains as the main characters, so it broke the moral media code of China Film Co. (the Chinese media importer), and it made $750 Million anyway. In other words, except for a movie that was visibly and aggressively orange, people have been turning out for the DCEU movies, so it should be no surprise that when one comes out un-tinted and fun looking with a hunky man as the lead, people showed up again. Add to that, China has a thing for mermaid movies (look it up), Aquaman looks more like the norm, than an outlier.
Considering the disappointment of Justice League, it was easy to get carried away with all the DCEU is doomed talk, but it turns out maybe people just don’t like orange unfinished movies. If proper care is taken, ‘A’ list superheroes will perform like ‘A’ list superheroes and make tons of cash. Which is to say, when Shazam only makes $600 Million the DCEU world is not ending, because ‘B’ list superheroes will perform like ‘B’ list superheroes and make slightly less cash. Just ask Ant-Man.
I have been hesitant to watch season eight of Voltron: Legendary Defender for a couple of reasons, someone spoiled the ending and I didn’t want it to be over. Voltron has been better than I ever could have imagined, and this final season was mostly great. I mean the original series exists in this Voltron as a fictional retelling of what happened. How cool is that?
If I have any qualms about season eight, it is that they didn’t really have time to explore everything that they brought to the table. Ideas would be brought up and then resolved almost instantly, but at least they resolved them.
While season seven was mostly just buildup and then a lot of explosions, season eight was about finishing character arcs. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of explosions, but all the moments with the biggest impacts were story beats, and that is the way it should be. The fact they were able to bring back so many characters from the earlier seasons and give them interesting conclusions was fantastic.
While the ending was spoiled, it was still satisfying, and it worked better than I thought it would, so if that is putting you off, I don’t think it should stop you the way it did for me. Voltron: Legendary Defender is how all reboots should work. With respect for its source material, but never shackled to it. Use the original as inspiration for something better. I love the Voltron from my childhood, but the Voltron from my 30’s is much, much better.