January 14th, 2019

This week I went out with youngest son to see the latest Best Animated Film from the Golden Globes, which is Spiderman: Into the Spider Verse.   It defeated Incredibles 2 and Ralph Breaks the Internet.   Now I preface the review with the well-known understanding that I am not a big superhero guy.   I just am not, unless it has Christian Bale acting as Batman.   Beyond that I am not really interested (okay, well maybe still Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, but in truth that has nothing to do with being a super hero).   Both son and I found the story here to be a bit confusing.   In short we have the (laughable) bad guy Kingpin.  Laughable because only in animation could a character be so unbelievably big through the shoulders and body and actually move.   Every time he came on screen I had to chuckle.  So there was that.  But he creates a machine, not really explained, that can create alternate dimensions where his own wife and son could return to him.  As part of this we see a young man with his police father who is bitten by a radioactive spider.   He then becomes another spider-man in addition to the already known Peter Parker.   The stories of the alternate dimension spider-people stand on their own (one voice was particularly interesting) and they do come together.   The animation was very good, incorporating comic book views, as well as visuals that can only be accomplished through animation.   Still.   Maybe it is just me, but the super hero overload, and especially Spider-man who seems to have a re-boot every three to five years, just wears on me.   The wrinkle is that alternate dimensions means anybody could be Spider-man, and even have some unique powers that he currently does not as Peter Parker.   But for me, I only live in one dimension, and that is the Peter Parker dimension.   Yes, I like the added flair with personalizing the individual Spidey look but in the end there isn’t a big emotional connection to the story.   For the Incredibles, I can feel for the family and hope that things go well.   I suppose this young new Spidey I hope for too, but it’s not the same.  And yes it isn’t lost on me that the Incredibles are super heroes too, but again, it’s not the same.

On Netflix they have released Chappaquiddick, starring Jason Clark and Kate Mara, and the dentist from The Hangover.  This is the Teddy Kennedy story and his car accident very late at night with a woman not his wife, off a bridge on an island in Cape Cod.   Its Senator Kennedy in 1969 as Apollo 11 has left to land on the moon, and he is on the island preparing for a potential Presidential bid.   He has gathered up some staffers who worked on brother Bobby’s campaign.   The accident takes place and you see through it all the actions and in-actions of Teddy.   The knee-jerk reaction for most people, I think, would be after the accident and miracle of escaping a car overturned in water, would be to seek help (just a short run up the way) and help the woman with you.   But Senator Kennedy is not most people.   He thinks of himself and his political career.   “There goes the White House” he says.   And after a failed attempt with his friends to assist, and being told to “get help” Teddy doesn’t.   Family patriarch is the aging Joe Kennedy, crumpled and barely able to speak, and he provides no help nor comfort.   He is played by Bruce Dern, and shows a man incapable of compassion nor love for his only remaining son.   It was an eye opening film, and makes you realize the celebrity and power of the family that has many powerful people spin-doctoring their way through a crisis.   You can youtube the actual address to the people with Teddy explaining the incident.   I am amazed at the end result and won’t spoil it here for those who don’t know it.   But suffice it to say that even though the people of Massachusetts decided to forgive and forget, I am not so sure that a man of character such as this should be representing The People.
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Monday January 7th, 2019 (New Years Edition and Golden Globes discussion)

Welcome to 2019!   The movie discourse has already begun with the Golden Globe Awards from last night.   There is clearly some controversy here, but really that is the point.   For me, I was pleasantly surprised to see Glenn Close win for Best Actress in a Drama.  She surprised most who thought Lady Gaga was going to win, including herself I think from her reaction.  I have not seen The Wife but it is on my list.   I won’t revisit the poor categories here and the films that were missed for consideration by the Globes.   Still with the choices they had, they made some surprises elsewhere.   Regina King winning for Best Supporting Actress in If Beale Street Could Talk.  Another film that I need to see.    I had thought one of Supporting women in The Favourite would been victorious.   But it was not to be.   I think that King’s performance merited this award.
Rami Malek as rock icon Freddie Mercury was the reason to see that film.  Was it the best performance for an actor in the year?   Not from what I have seen.   And many others that I have not seen.   Despite the value here, I can say without any hesitation that Bohemian Rhapsody was not the best dramatic film of the year.   It simply isn’t.   There are better stories.   Better writing.  Better everything.  A watered down version of the life of Freddie Mercury through the eyes of the surviving members of the band (who now race to head out on tour to capitalize on this new momentum).   Call yourself Queen.  Sing the words.  But the music died with Freddie.   Cristian Bale and Olivia Colman winning were solid victories.   I need to see Vice.   Not sure just how good it is.  American politics played out by actors for living people left.  So the awards are given.   Sandra Oh and Andy Sandburg were not funny and the bits they tried to use for laughs didn’t work, like trying to give flu shots to the stars.   The look of Willem Dafoe as they tried to roll up his sleeve was priceless.   Sharing needles likely is not really something to be encouraged by the media.   I really liked the Carol Burnett Award, and her speech as its first justified recipient.   She made good points about how television has changed since her days with Tim Conway, Harvey Korman and Vicki Lawrence.   She is a class act, and deserves to have others in television be recognized for their contribution to the medium.    Anyway, a strange night with strange nominees for categories that didn’t really match what was on screen.  Let’s see what Oscar chooses to do and I will remain hopeful it makes better choices all around.

For my movie I will review Tag, which was a panned and moronic film inspired by a true story.    Seems some friends (10) play a game of Tag with one another as adults and have been since being kids.   The film has Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Isla Fisher (who I really like) and the dentist from The Hangover.   Not a bad cast.   But the film goes horribly wrong by the methods employed by the Renner character to avoid getting tagged.   And there are extreme actions taken to get help on finding a character – for example, threatening waterboarding and actually tying up the person and putting a cloth over their face.   Then there is a faked pregnancy and miscarriage which is in very bad taste.  They go too far for a film concept that doesn’t merit a full length feature with the stars involved.  Needless to say I can not recommend and I wouldn’t waste your time with it.

Finally a quick thought or two about Paddington which is on Netflix.  It is a real life version with a Ted-like bear (however nowhere near as vulgar (and fun) as Ted).   The story follows what I can remember as a kid about the young bear who loves marmalade and gets into trouble just by carelessness mostly.   He has a family that takes him in from the train station.  Dad is the Dad from Downton Abbey, and his Wife is the deaf lady cleaner from Shape of Water.   It is harmless.  It is decent.   It isn’t particularly memorable as saw it and forgot almost just as quickly.