An unmotivated 20-something must fend off the seven evil exes of his new girlfriend if he wants to date her.
Directed by Edgar Wright
Starring Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Ellen Wong
Review by Jon Kissel
Nerd idol Edgar Wright has been pumping out references and homages to cultural totems for a few decades, dating back to his English sitcom Spaced that he created with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. This trio would go on to make their Cornetto Trilogy of rapid-fire comedic genre films with, for me at least, diminishing returns, and Wright’s forays into summer filmmaking haven’t hit the nail on the head either. Baby Driver was too eccentric for my tastes, as is Scott Pilgrim vs the World. A cult hit that failed to find much of an audience in its theatrical run, Scott Pilgrim is a movie-as-video-game, kinetic and vaguely nonsensical with graphical and audio flourishes that work on those who’ve dug deep into the hidden properties of… checks notes… Seinfeld and The Legend of Zelda. This action comedy for the hipster set is both narrow in its appeal and broad in its references. There’s fun to be had in certain corners, but Wright is throwing an exhausting amount at the wall. Some sticks, and some pathetically drips down to the floor.
The 21st century golden age TV shows have introduced the culturally aware to the idea of the ‘bad fan,’ the usually misogynist viewer who takes exactly the wrong message from whatever they’re watching. Rick and Morty has them, clogging up Twitter and reddit with gibberish about how much they see themselves in Rick and remembering how awesome the show was before women were hired in the writer’s room. The era’s inaugural hit, The Sopranos, had them until the end, perpetually wondering when a series that started in a therapist’s office was going to erupt in a bloodbath between mobsters and missing Russians. Breaking Bad had the most vocal bad fans, prompting series co-star Anna Gunn to write an op-ed defending her character from morons who chose to interpret a megalomaniac’s evil deeds as a beaten-down man living into his most empowered self. The showrunners and creators of all three aforementioned shows disavowed their bad fans, but in two of the three cases (David Chase wrote his disdain for fans of all kinds into his show), there are traces of blood in the water that kept them going.
If you’re a fan of Spider-Man, you’re in the midst of a golden age. Tom Holland is widely praised as the best live-action representation of the character, a stance I agree with based on the fact that he’s a credible high schooler and not a man in in his early 30’s creepily walking down a school hallway. As if Holland’s five appearances in four years wasn’t enough web crawling, Sony produced the animated adventure Into the Spider-Verse, introducing no less than seven new versions of the character in one outing while also creating what many are calling one of the best superhero movies ever. Away from the growing umbrella of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Into the Spider-Verse is allowed to go wherever it wants to, freed from any kind of realism or prior lore. That freedom is coupled with an earnestness that the character has presumably had for its entire life, and while I don’t subscribe to the fawning praise for the film, the film is a refreshing diversion from an increasingly serialized genre.
Modern Westerns like No Country For Old Men meets a rural, low-key version of Heat in David Mackenzie's Hell or High Water. With its Texas setting and its equal time given to the crooks and the cops that are chasing them, Mackenzie's film, written by the increasingly impressive Taylor Sheridan, is buoyed along its fairly familiar path by a top-notch cast and a resonant backdrop of scheming bankers and post-industrial blight. A perfect fit for 2016, the film gives a voice to those who want to punch the powerful in the nose by any self-destructive means necessary.
Hugh Jackman's portrayed Logan, otherwise known as Wolverine, in nine films dating back seventeen years. Over that period, the X-Men films featuring Jackman have been all over the map, spanning from the execrable to the entertaining. However, he's never been at the center of a film like Logan, his final bravura outing in the role. While the X-Men films keep getting bigger, with larger casts and greater destruction, the stand-alone Wolverine films keep getting smaller as the casts constrict and there's a turn toward the internal. That focus bears substantial fruit in Logan, by far the best X-Men film in the extended franchise, and one of the best superhero films in the present era that Wolverine and the X-Men arguably kicked off.
JUST SOME IDIOTS GIVING SURPRISINGLY AVERAGE MOVIE REVIEWS.
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