film, women

Black Panther – Review

(Thought I’d try something a little different)

Marvel Studios introduced the character in Captain America: Civil War where T’Challa, prince of the African nation Wakanda appears as a force of relative antagonism. The movie Black Panther expands on the character, and the presence of Wakanda to tell a story which is only tangential to the ongoing consistency of the film universe.

But, Matt, you ask, do I need to harvest your nerd-infused brain meats to understand or enjoy it?

No, you don’t.

It’s a mixture of genres, but the overall look and discipline of the film is consistent and lends itself to an entertaining and exciting piece of film.

Thematically, it deals with the legacies of fathers being passed down to their offspring, the ideas of nationalism and identity, all wreathed in a knowing sense of humour, gorgeous visuals and some great performances.

Chadwick Bozeman, as T’Challa/Black Panther is charismatic, vulnerable yet heroic and carries the film alongside a great supporting cast. He has a gentle strength and nobility, alongside a physical presence which is sourced in a clear idea of the character.

I’m not precious about the adaptation of characters from one medium to another, and even my nerd Fu doesn’t tingle when films omit certain characteristics to make a film accessible to an audience outside of those who know what a long box is. Yet here we get a version who feels new and authentic.

So, why go see it?

It looks gorgeous, with a unique sense of styles, a colour palette and costumes which combine traditional African styles with a science fiction setting.

The performances are great. Notable stand outs are Michael B Jordan as the antagonist Eric Killmonger who has a wounded swagger which makes him compelling to watch. He was in The Wire, which adds to my theory of how any Wire alumni bring an extra charge to whatever film they’re in. I wasn’t in The Wire but I appropriate a similar level of awesome in my self.

He’s also an antagonist who embodies an important part of story structure, in they believe themselves a hero, and his motivation feels authentic and considered although he doesn’t get enough screen time.

Danai Gurira is fantastic, bold, distinct and carries a lot of the film’s internal plotting whilst also delivering kinetic action sequences which are balletic and evocative. Lupita Nyongo, Letitia Wright and Angela Bassett all work parallel to portray capable, beautiful characters who move the story forwards through action and intention. It’s a relief to see no characters are useful idiots and they have dialogue and action sequences which count as highlights in the movie.

Go see it, either as an interest in a film which generated some divisive publicity or because you’re a completist nerd like me who enjoys and learns from a multiple tier approach and consistency which is educational for a writer. Also it has lasers, ship battles, men with shirts off who’ve never seen a bloody carb in their lives, and armour plated rhinos.

Let me know if you like this, or want to disagree with me in the comments.

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anxiety, beauty, creative writing, grief, loneliness, love, masculinity, maturity, nature, passion, poetry, sex, stoicism, Uncategorized, women, writing

The End Of The Affair (Quote)

I loved this film, beautifully filmed and devastating. This scene struck me in particular.
Sarah:
Love doesn’t end, just because we don’t see each other.
Maurice Bendrix:
Doesn’t it?
Sarah:
People go on loving God, don’t they? All their lives. Without seeing him.
Maurice Bendrix:
That’s not my kind of love.
Sarah:
Maybe there is no other kind.
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comics, television

Suicide Squad/Batman vs Superman – random thoughts

Trailers only show scenes from perhaps the first two acts of a movie.  They’re an art form in and of themselves.  I enjoy them but I’m seldom completely swayed by their arguments. 

So DC are rolling out their attempt to build a cinematic universe around their characters.  It’s not as well thought out as Marvel but come on it’s fucking Batman and if it doesn’t reference George Clooney’s era then it will take box office scalps even if it was ninety minutes of Batman practicing card tricks.
(My favourite Batman in film is The Dark Knight or Batman Returns,  The Penguin’s crew were pure Burton but I loved how Nolan figured out how to make a crime noir with costumes)

Zack Snyder produces lovely but insubstantial movies and he has that eye for spectacle that Nolan or Bay has, although he lacks both the chilly intellectual bent of the former or the earnest humour of the latter. I didn’t enjoy Man of Steel because it lacked warmth and Superman is characterised by his love for humanity as well as a third act that was a wall of noise, darkly lit and just unremitting. 
So now we get to see his Batman and I rate Ben Affleck highly. If you’ve seen The Town or Argo, maybe take in his performance in changing lanes and you’ve got the basis for a solid portrayal. 
Ok does Jesse Eisenberg look like he’s related to the Joker in the same way that Sideshow Cecil resembles Sideshow Bob or is it just me?
I will probably see it if only because I have a deep seated love for the mythology even though the films seem to veer towards a post 9/11 ideology when I prefer escapism with enough plausibility.  Sure, Batman could stop terrorism but I’d rather see him punch an intelligent ape who’s wearing a jet pack.  But that’s because I watch work that’s challenging and visceral but I think that it’s clumsily done by DC. Marvel have a better take but they’ve been lucky as much as good.
David Ayer is a good director and I think  Suicide Squad will be entertaining if overshadowed by Margot Robbie and Jared Leto.  Robbie can act and that matters more than the fact that she’s photogenic for mining a popular character.  Shame the comics are shit and they’re not going with the Timm/Dini character. It’s more like Girl, Interrupted on MDMA but I hope that it’s a good movie.

I love comics and the books I actually read are making their way to other media.  Preacher.  Scalped. 100 Bullets.  Sandman.  All fantastic works but it’ll be the success of properties like Suicide Squad that will determine whether other films get made.
And yet it’s like having an opinion about a mountain as it’ll happen and my opinion is of no consequence regardless of the outcome.  I’m too invested in my own work to worry but I love good pop culture because you can have intellectual stimulation and spectacle and I don’t see why we can’t have both. 

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Uncategorized

The Lego Movie 18/01/2015

It had me crying with laughter, was surprisingly touching and inventive on a level that I’ve not seen for a long time. The voice casting was fantastic and there were so many moments that had me in stitches.

  • ‘SPACESHIP’ Charlie Day’s shrieks of joy were a thing to behold.
  • It was self aware enough, not too much to stifle the joy out of it but that added to the humour immensely.
  • I won’t spoil it for anyone but the third act reveal was very touching and fed into the biggest laugh which was the final scene.
  • Alison Brie as Unikitty was fantastic. Also just want to mention Charlie Day again because his character had me rolling.
  • The level of detail was incredible, Beatles posters, movies, even the passengers in the cars. It looks like people went blind or insane making this and it’s worth every second.
  • As corporate tie ins go, an oddly subversive message here, but at the same time, I just want to watch Liam Neeson do the Good Cop/Bad Cop thing again.
  • Metalbeard. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as Superman and a clingy Green Lantern, Cobie Smulders as Wonder Woman.
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Uncategorized

Be Careful What You Wish For

OK, so imagine you’ve written a screenplay and Ridley Scott wants to direct it.

Open the champagne because you’ve made it right?

Wrong. 

Ridley Scott has made some amazing films, Exodus looks to be the latest in a downward spiral for him after Prometheus, which looked gorgeous but felt disjointed.

Usually you imagine “sexism” as a pervasive institutional power directed top down against you, oppressing you with sexist jokes or heels at work, but it’s much more illuminating to understand sexism as just another tool to increase consumption.  An obvious example:  it costs women more to dress professionally, even though they get paid less.

This article is brilliant. It nails a number of sacred ideas in the culture and does so with a lot of considered insight.

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Uncategorized

Down and Dirty Pictures

I have finished it and it’s a great book,  and it’s interesting to see how without authorial caveat that Harvey Weinstein has become a victim of his own flaws although admittedly still massively successful.  The losses are, as they so often are, absorbed by the artists.  There’s no middle ground for pictures and film makers are expected to be auteurs without apprenticeship. 

There’s an interesting parallel between that and self publishing to me but that’s better left unsaid.

I am now about to start The Killing Season by Miles Corwin which is a non fiction book about a summer spent with the LAPD homicide division.  I love police procedural pieces, non fiction especially. Usually you find that murder is committed for mundane reasons.  Moments of rage or perceived slights rather than baroque serial killer geniuses tend to be the norm.  Murder is a way to address an inconvenience for some people. 

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