After Kathryn Bigelow gets Detroit out this week, following The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, the woman really needs to mellow out and make a movie about animated ducks or something. She is possibly the most INTENSE director about unflinchingly taking on controversial, contemporary issues working today, and my first sentence was flippant, because we need someone doing that. Hollywood doesn’t really finance many message pictures anymore, any issue pictures, and that’s what Bigelow brings to the table.
Zero Dark Thirty is a controversial movie for a lot of reasons, not the least of which the graphic torture depicted (which happened), but also because it was made so soon after the killing of Osama bin Laden. The “War of Terror” is so frustrating because it isn’t traditional warfare. Our enemies don’t wear uniforms, adhere to a country, or even a single doctrine. It’s more a war against a sick madness and how do you fight that? The hunt for bin Laden was so important to Americans because he was the face. He was the uniform, the symbol, the figurehead. There are a lot of powerful scenes in the film but I like this meeting at the beginning with Mark Strong (tremendously underrated actor) painting the picture of frustration of the American people that this man had eluded the largest manhunt in history for a decade and sets the stage for everything to come.
It’s hard to believe, but 2017 is halfway over, and what a strange year it has been so far at the movies. Defying the traditional movie calendar, February and March provided blockbusters and surprises, while May and June (were it not for Guardians Vol. 2 and Wonder Woman) would have been a bleak cinematic wasteland. More than ever, the international box office has supplanted the U.S. as the measure of a film’s success. For an example you need look no farther than The Fate of the Furious. The eighth installment in the Fast and the Furious franchise made a respectable $225.4 million at home, but a whopping $1.013 billion overseas. Whatever a film’s gross, its long-term legacy lies in its quality, and we’ve already had some fantastic movies. Here are my top five:
Though it’s not going to pass the box office juggernaut that is Beauty and the Beast, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 still looks like it will be the biggest film of the summer and certainly was a hit with the fans. KT asked readers to dub the most awesome Guardian of them all and thus began one of the most furiously contested polls we’ve ever had. In the beginning, there was Star Lord. Peter Quill was dominating this poll through week one, and then it became a three-way race for the next two weeks as Rocket and Groot pulled right alongside him locking it into a virtual three-way tie. However, last week saw a surge of support for the Galaxy’s most gun-obsessed trash panda, and Rocket is the pick as KT’s Favorite Guardian of the Galaxy with Groot at #2 and Star Lord at #3. Absolutely no love for Gamora or Mantis? I get Gamora had really nothing to do in the last film but how do you not love Mantis? Fickle horde. A new poll should be up in a week. Thanks to all for the frenzied voting.
Each Thursday we look at what is going to be coming out in theaters this weekend, show you the trailers for the big releases, predict the box office winner and just generally give you enough of a carrot to pull you through the rest of the work week. Three films have the temerity to challenge The Guardians of the Galaxy, but from the reviews, you’re better off with viewing number two of classic rock and space madness. Continue reading In Theaters This Week (5/12/2017): King Arthur, Snatched, The Wall→
Guardians of the Galaxy was the biggest surprise of the first two phases of the MCU, so it’s shouldn’t be a huge surprise that James Gunn took your expectations for where the stacefaring group may go next and stood them on their head. For all the amazing special F/X, Guardians 2 is a much smaller, character-driven movie than the first one was. It is undoubtedly Star Lord’s (Chrs Pratt) film, closing questions on his origin in the first film that will give birth to conflicts sure to pop up for the survivors of Infinity War. In the end, though, this film is about family. Not the families we’re born into, but the families we cobble together out of the people who share our mutual life damage and how they can be as strong and weird and wonderful as any biological bond. It’s a funny (probably funnier overall than the first film), screwball sci-fi family dramedy that makes issue #15 of the MCU as fresh as the first.