January, so far

I’m two planned movies away from the end of the month, but I’ve got time now soooooo. Not the best month for new releases, between awards season focus and pandemic shuffling. BUT the fun theaters are picking up the slack with great classic screenings. Also, my Alamo Season Pass is reinstated, so I intend to use that whenever I can.

Licorice Pizza – I adore the first half of PTA’s filmography (thru There Will Be Blood) but I haven’t cared for anything that came after. This was prolly the one I most enjoyed outta the back half. It still doesn’t rival anything from the first half, had some very problematic things going on, and it may have lost my interest partway thru, but I still prefer it over the others. The kids were great, and I can’t get over how much of PSH I saw in his kid’s face.

The 355 – Love everything about this cast, but the whole thing was kinda basic. Predictable turns in a fairly standard plot. Some cool sequences, but I’d like to put those and these ladies in a better film.

Shampoo – The first movie I used my Alamo season pass on was this Warren Beatty classic. It was not for me at all. It’s super dated and I just did not care about his character at all. He had no redeeming qualities for me. Goldie Hawn, however, is an absolute goddess and I was delighted whenever she had screentime. It was also the first time I watched a young Goldie and saw Kate Hudson.

Scream (2022) – This has been the (only) movie to talk about these days, so when asked my opinion, my response is thus. What sets the Scream movies apart in the horror world is the meta aspect. This movie expertly continues that tradition. The “re-quel” speech is my favorite part of it and pretty good representation of the film as a whole

Boogie Nights – Yes this is firmly in the top half of PTA’s filmography, and I forgot just how good it is. Or how funny it is. Such a treat to see it on the big screen at Alamo.

The Goonies – I know I must have gushed over this movie many times, so I’ll spare you that. I did get to see it as a Movie Party at Alamo, which was so much fun. They gave us a bunch of props including a bag of plastic jewels and a tiny Baby Ruth. Much fun was had. Never say die.

Magnolia – Okay so lots of theaters have been diving into PTA’s back catalog bc of Licorice Pizza and the lack of current films. This one was at the New Bev. Twenty years ago, Magnolia changed the way I look at movies and it was so majestic on the big screen. I can’t get over how much I love every frame of this. And with that, I think Punch Drunk Love is now the only PTA I have not seen on the big screen.

Dec roundup, part 1

Don’t Look Up – I got really excited to see that Alamo was showing this. I’d heard very polarized buzz going in, and it didn’t take long to get why. The film is very uneven, but when it hits, it HITS. There are so many moments of sheer brilliance and biting humor. For me, that was more than enough to make the film worth it (plus add in the epic cast to really knock it over the edge) but not everyone is gonna feel the same way. And that’s cool. Just don’t be a dick about it.

West Side Story – I’m a musical theater kid, so I know West Side very well. I was even in it in college (just an ensemble role, random Shark or Jet girl as needed). I have issues with the show in general, mostly that it’s kinda basic. I love the Jets, and the more they dance, the more I love them, but I couldn’t care less about Tony and Maria. The message of the story is important, but has been done better elsewhere. For this movie update, the filmmaking is phenomenal. It really does feel like it came right outta the 50s and is absolutely gorgeous. But it’s still West Side Story (and the Jets didn’t dance as much as I’d have liked). Was totally willing to see it again so I could take Mom on Christmas Eve (which I did and she was ambivalent towards it), but there are so many other more exciting and better musicals out there that deserve a chance on the big screen.

Red Rocket – This was simply delightful. I absolutely fell in love with Simon Rex from the first five minutes and his charisma was a joy to watch. Unique spin on the Might have gone on a tad long, but I’ll allow it. Also, excellent use of N Sync.

Black Christmas
– Caught this OG slasher classic as the first half of a festive double feature at the New Beverly (my first post-pandemmy return, not that the pandemmy is over yet). Such an amazing opportunity to see this on the big screen. Not only does it hold up, it’s amazing seeing cinema history in action. So many tropes of the genre can be traced back to this film and it’s not hard to understand why

Silent Night, Deadly Night
– The second half of the double feature, and once I get my hands on the BluRay, this might need to be added to my yearly Christmas movies. It was absolutely batshit and I lived for every second. Okay so this kid ends up believing that Santa punishes the naughty the kids, which is tragically (and kinda uninentionally hilariously) reinforced when a criminal in a Santa suit kills his parents. Kid grows up afraid of Santa, somehow ends up in a Santa suit himself (because reasons), and goes on a killing spree doling out punishment. God bless us, every one!

Spider-man: No Way Home
– Where do I even start with this one? I’ve already seen it twice. The first was one of the best movie going experiences of all time (almost on par with Endgame). Second time I took the not so little little cousin back home, but I woulda gone without her. I feel like the best movies in the MCU are the ones that are the most patient and really honor previous films and tie everything up nicely, and this is the new gold standard. I think if I even try to elaborate further, I’ll end up with a whole novel, so let’s just end it here. We know I loved it.

Nov Recap, Part 1

Wrote and deleted my paragraph of excuses for the late posting bc whatever.

Scream – I got to go to a brunch screening of Scream on Halloween at Alamo. Mostly went cause it gave me somewhere to wear my costume. No one commented on it, but I left a few of my character’s business cards with the check. And Scream is still awesome.

The Eternals – A month ago I prolly coulda gotten a full post outta this, but laziness prevails. I enjoyed it, as I enjoy pretty much all MCU movies, but it was A LOT to process. 10 new heroes who have lived thousands of years is a ton of info to squish into one film. Some great setup for later, and it certainly was a better watch than most set up type of films, but tough to rank it amongst the greats. In a year with tons of Marvel content, it’s prolly towards the bottom, but still far ahead most other competitors.

Spencer – One of the most stylishly beautiful movies to look at, so much that the aesthetic is almost enough to carry the film. Story is minimal, but the mood is palpable. I left there so depressed because I could FEEL the claustrophobia Diana had being trapped in her situation. As gorgeously decorated as her world was, it was a very sad one, and that theme came across loud and clear.

Belfast – I was kinda happy that the BFFF forgot to take the day off when I came to visit in NYC bc it gave me a chance to visit the new Alamo in lower Manhattan (even tho I haven’t been to the Brooklyn one yet). I liked this movie more than I thought I would. Branagh did a fantastic job of telling a story about a difficult time thru a child’s eyes, so that it felt fun and magical despite it’s bleak backdrop. Not sure how sold I am on this as a possible Awards front runner, but worth the watch

Ghostbusters: Afterlife – It’s funny to me how Ghostbusters has evolved to be seen as a family movie. That’s not really where it started, but Afterlife seeks to fully claim that classification. It was fun, and at its best when it fully leaned into the nostalgia, but otherwise felt like a pretty basic fam-com (is that a phrase?) Woulda also benefit from more of a B storyline than just sticking with a straight thru plotline.

King Richard – I say this every time I review sports movies, but there is a reason we all love them so much. Except for the sport, not much differentiation there. It did seem weird that a film about Venus and Serena is really about their dad. Initially I thought it was bc Will Smith is gonna Will Smith, but I heard later that the ladies actually wanted it that way, to honor their father. I still think it’s a weird choice, but it delivered everything it served up (see what I did there?)

Tick Tick Boom

I’m not gonna bother to check the correct punctuation on that title.

Skipping ahead of a couple of movies that will get quick posts later because this one left me with some thoughts. Or really, more just experiential anecdotes that I can easily fill a post with.

I was in NYC this past weekend, seeing the BFFF for the first time in (according to Google) 845 days. Really, all I wanted to do was hang with the bestie. The only show I bought tix for was Moulin Rouge. Otherwise, the weekend was pretty open. A few weeks ago, I saw Lin-Manuel Miranda tweet that the marquee at the Paris theater had been updated to include his directorial debut Tick Tick Boom. A movie musical with a very limited theatrical run at an iconic NYC theater that I would love to check out and the opportunity to watch it with my even more of a theatre geek best friend? Yes please. So I jumped on those tix as soon as they went on sale.

It ended up being the perfect end to a wonderful weekend. After Moulin Rouge, we sang showtunes while knocking back G&T’s at NYC institution Marie’s Crisis. Saturday we walked thru all five floors of Moma in between other bits of running around the city. So by Sunday, a nice brunch at a diner and a chill movie was just what the doctor ordered.

Oh and a quick word on the Paris theater. It’s an old classic, single auditorium theater in NYC (I believe the last single auditorium standing, but I’m too lazy to confirm). Recently Netflix entered in an agreement with them to help keep the theater open that will give them a steady venue to exhibit their films. We might be getting something similar in LA with the Egyptian.

Right so Tick Tick Boom is by and about Jonathan Larson, the man who wrote the musical phenomenon RENT. Originally a three person stage musical, the story follows his attempt to get his first musical produced and the affects it has on him and his relationships. In other words, it’s basically a musical for people who love musicals. And this movie was produced by people who love musicals. It all shows through beautifully. There’s also some of the best Broadway Easter eggs sprinkled throughout the film if you know to look for them, or I should say if you know who to look for.

I knew even less about the musical going in than what I wrote in that previous paragraph (of course I know Rent well). I absolutely loved every frame of it. The music was gorgeous (which I downloaded at 1 AM the next morning when I was home in LA and getting a jump on some Black Friday sales before going to bed). Perfect casting. I loved Andrew Garfield, and thought his voice sounded so great. The bestie pointed out that Larson wasn’t really much of a singer so it made sense to have a lead who also wasn’t a formally trained singer. Happy to see original American Idiot Favorite Son Joshua Henry in the film, as well as Vanessa Hudgens who has been really working her way up in the musical space.

I could not have chosen a more perfect venue for this film. The Paris is not too far from the Broadway theaters the characters are aspiring towards, so of course the auditorium was filled with theater people. There were countless moments were applause broke out, making this much more magical than it would have been watching on Netflix (though I may likely rewatch it there soon). Towards the end of the film (I initially typed “show”) there was a gorgeous song about friendship. The bestie put his arm around me and pulled me close saying there wasn’t anyone else he would have wanted to see this with. The room got awful dusty. I wouldn’t have traded this weekend for anything.

Tick Tick Boom – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

Last Night in SoHo

Purposely held off on doing my Oct part 2 post because I wanted to include this. Then I saw it (loved it) and had thoughts. Besides, this was possibly my most anticipated movie of the year. It deserves a proper write up.

I was pretty much sold from the first trailer. Gorgeous looking mysterious horror from Edgar Wright. Lest you forget that the man behind the more comedic Cornetto trilogy and Scott Pilgrim truly is a horror fan, I’ve been binging Eli Roth’s History of Horror this past week and Wright is featured rather prominently. Just about every episode has some brilliant (and often funny) commentary from this film geek.

But yeah, hooked from trailer one, a trailer that started to play way too often at the theater. Just before the second trailer started to work its way into the rotation, Wright tweeted. He said that if you were already sold on seeing the film, avoid the second trailer. I’d actually just had several conversations with someone about watching vs avoiding trailers for movies, so this advice burned into my brain. Avoid the trailer. Got it. But what about when it inevitably plays before some other movie I’m at the theater to see? Even with me purposely showing up 10-15 min late, I still catch 2-3 trailers each time (hi, AMC).

It ended up happening twice, I think. No Time To Die and Halloween Kills. Maybe another I’ve forgotten. My solution? Eyes down at my lap, trying to sing to myself whatever last song was stuck in my head or stuffing my face with any contraband food I may have snuck in and focusing really hard on how good it was (which it likely wasn’t). I didn’t see the imagery, but unfortunately did catch a few key words here and there. And yeah, it informed where the plot was going, but thankfully there was so much more mystery and atmosphere to it, that it didn’t spoil things.

Right, speaking of mystery and spoilage and such. None here. Hopefully all of my non-existent readers know by now I try to be careful. Once the film started to play a few festivals, Wright pleaded again via Twitter that those who got to see the film early should “keep the secrets” of the film, and I intend to honor that.

I did love pretty much everything about this film. It looked gorgeous, especially in its invocation of the 60’s (possibly my favorite era). Ever since hearing that Thomasin McKenzie was gonna be one to watch starting from Leave No Trace (which I saw and can confirm, she’s amazing), I always get excited to see what she does next. Her expressions and emotions were perfection. And we already know Anya Taylor-Joy is perfection, esp in this genre.

I’m sure I’ve droned on about what type of horror films I actually find scary and which I don’t. One of my sticking points is that it needs to be unavoidable and inescapable. By taking the psychological and nightmare route, it meets that criteria. You can’t run from your own thoughts and your own dreams, and if you can’t tell what’s real from reality is there anything you can even do about it. Wright played that card expertly and at full throttle.

Walking out of the movie, I ran into not one, but two tiny groups of co-workers (from our sister companies), all of whom had also been at the Friday evening Dolby screening in Century City. First off, further confirmation that I’m working at the right place when all of us choose to see premium format movies in our free time. There was one common thought from all of them after. None expected the horror elements (to the point where one friend’s gf was visibly upset at him for having brought her). So I guess not only did Wright do his job, the rest of the film community who had already experienced the film did so too. And in that spirit, I’ll end this before I say more than I dare.

Last Night in SoHo – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

October part 1

I still don’t have my laptop back, but thankfully I’m good about putting movies into my Google Calendar. The lack of laptop is my excuse for putting this off for so long, but we know better than that. Splitting this into two posts

Got to see The Addams Family (my generation’s, with Raul Julia) and A Clockwork Orange at Alamo (not on the same day). Addams at least gave me an excuse to bust out the Wednesday dress for some easy cosplay. Not much else to report, just like bragging about Alamo trips. Scream brunch coming up on Halloween!

Venom: Let There Be Carnage – I know I had fun watching this, but now nearly a month out I can hardly remember any of it. Still, I’ll take a light and breezy blast of a supe movie over something that takes itself way too seriously and suffers for it any day. Venom knew exactly what it was and didn’t try to be anything else. Respect.

The Many Saints of Newark – I tried to binge my way thru The Sopranos in the background while I was working for a couple weeks as a refresher. Totally the right call to help me remember who some people were, although I wish I woulda been able to pay the attention it deserved. Without The Sopranos tie in, Saints woulda felt like just another wannabe gangster movie. It’s those references and echoed performances that made this really special. Worth noting, while it was marketed as such, it’s not actually Tony’s story. It’s Dickie Moltisanti’s (father of Chrissy), and he’s a damn good character to dig into. Oh and because I didn’t know this until IMDB trivia told me, “Moltisanti” means many saints, hence the title that was far more brilliant than I initially realized.

Titane – My instinctive reaction to the trailer was that this looked cool and artsy, but that I wouldn’t be into it. I intended to skip it, but kept hearing good things. It took me reading the synopsis on wikipedia to finally convince me to go and yeah, it was cool and artsy, but I wasn’t into it. I liked the dark and the weird, but the pacing and storytelling weren’t my style. Basically my reaction to the trailer was correct. Got a similar vibe from the Lamb trailer, so I skipped that one. I know I shouldn’t put all my stock into trailers, but given how many movies I see, I think I’m justified in finding some way to filter the list down.

No Time to Die – Since Mr Bond is rather ubiquitous, I got asked about this movie a lot by those who know how to best initiate small talk with me. While I always make a point to try and say something more insightful than just a few words, I usually couldn’t get further than “It was long”. Doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. It was a great Bond film, and wonderful sendoff for Daniel Craig. Bonus points for Rami Malek using his God given “resting villain face” as he joked on SNL. But for the life of me, I still am at a loss for saying anything else more profound or thoughtful. It was a modern Bond movie.

September roundup

My personal laptop is in the shop for the next 3-5 weeks. Among the things I forgot I would lose access to was my spreadsheet of watched movies. If I really wanted to, I could dig it outta the backup I took of my drive, but let’s be real. I’m too lazy. So instead of going in some semblance of order, here’s a few of what I remember I did see since we last spoke. And by remember, I mean scrolling thru my A-List history and Google calendar for anything before this past week.

School of Rock – Watched this at Alamo this week, and the smile on my face was the biggest I’ve had in a very long time. I only wish it was a rowdy screening so I could have sung along. Hadn’t seen the movie in a while, but the stage show was still very fresh in my brain, and it tracked so much better than I remembered. Also, was struck by Dewey’s sincerity in dealing with the kids. Sure, his underlying actions were selfish, but these kids felt comfortable enough with him to bring their problems, and when they did, he listened wholeheartedly and gave sound guidance. Mad respect.

The Room – FINALLY! Screenings of The Room returned with a vengeance this past weekend, selling out multiple shows with Tommy in attendance. I’d been dying to return. Admittedly, the crowd was a little rusty with their callbacks. It took a while for them to get going, and some of them needed my buddy and I to start them up. Still, the most fun theater experience ever.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – First repeat movie of the year (I think), although a big reason was because I got a huge migraine halfway thru the first watch that made it hard to focus (mentally and visually). But I loved it so much. Simultaneously felt very connected to the MCU and very much like its own fresh new thing. And some of the best fight sequences in the whole franchise (hooray for beautifully choregraphed martial arts). That bus battle is going down in history.

Malignant – I wasn’t sold that I wanted to see this, but many horror fans that I trust were talking it up. The trailer made it look like lazy jump scare stuff, which it most certainly was not. Mostly I went because I trust James Wan, and he did not betray me. I dug the vibe, but mostly, yes I loved the final act. No spoilers, but I will say that even though I figured it out a little too soon due to a certain clue that I’ve seen used before, it was so bonkers I didn’t care. Sure the “why” may be a little dumb, but you can’t beat the execution. Pun kinda intended.

The Card Counter – I don’t understand what Paul Schrader was trying to say with this film, or why I should care. And for most of it, I didn’t. There was a point maybe 2/3 in where I did start to get into it and feel invested in the story, and then it was gone. Beautifully shot and put together, but lacking on the story front for me.

Copshop – I had a free evening, and this looked up my alley. Gave me a “Nobody” vibe, and we know how much I loved that one. Copshop was a “me” movie, but not on the level I’d hoped. While I’m normally a stickler for plot, this is the type of movie where you want to minimize the story and increase the insanity. I felt like the set up went on too long, and once we got to the full on shoot ’em up, I wanted more. I wanted bigger.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye – I am very interested in stories like this, about corruption within religious organizations. Let’s just say I have personal reasons that I could make a whole series of posts about. So I was very much glued to this story, and Jessica Chastain’s epic performance, even if some elements of it were a little triggering for me.

Dear Evan Hansen – Speaking of triggering, oh boy was this hard for me to watch. Look, I know there’s all sorts of opinions and controversies around the film between the casting and its handling of the subject matter. For me, this just hit very close to home. The way that Ben Platt exhibited his social anxiety made a knot form in my chest that did not let up, esp when you add in the sucidal ideation as a result of various high school pressures. Oh and add in the overachieving side character who used her perceived perfection to cover up her struggles, yeah very real. I still don’t know if I can say I liked it. I can just say that I felt it, and for better or worse, isn’t that ultimately the goal?


We have another movie in the running for favorite of the year, and it’s a polar opposite of its competition (Nobody). This warrants a full post.

While obsessively checking Alamo’s schedule, I noticed there were repeated listing for a film called CODA. That’s the first thing that got my attention. After a week or so, my Twitter started lighting up with people talking about how much they adored this movie. That really made me take notice, so I did some quick IMDB research.

CODA stands for “Child of Deaf Adults” but also has a double meaning referring to music. The story follows a girl who is the only hearing member of her otherwise deaf family. She’s torn between staying home to help the family’s struggling business or leaving for college to study singing. Now I’m really interested. Final selling point is one of the family members is played by Daniel Durant, who I saw as Moritz in Deaf West Theatre’s production of Spring Awakening on Broadway. That is one of the best things I’ve ever seen on stage, and as my favorite character in that show, Durant was phenomenal. Sold!

I didn’t end up going to Alamo tho. Timing and budget worked out better for my first return trip to The Landmark, which was a nice theater to revisit. Had to haul it to get there from my screening of The Night House across town at the dine in (including a snack stop at CVS) but I made it in good time. Sat in the wrong auditorium for a while tho, bc Fandango didn’t update the listing. Ticket taker told me the right place to go, but I stubbornly didn’t listen to him until it was clear that I wasn’t where I was supposta be.

I absolutely adored every second of the movie. It was so heartwarming and feel good, I was close to happy tears throughout most of the last act. But it also had me thinking, because I could see both sides of our leading lady’s struggle, and I felt for her so much. Granted, I was also looking at this thru the lens of a mostly well adjusted adult, so therapy taught me exactly how she needed to respond to her situation to best serve herself, but I still enjoyed watching it play out. Emilia Jones absolutely owned this movie, and I was thoroughly impressed with her performance.

Oh bonus shout out for scene stealer Eugenio Derbez as her music teacher. Perfectly sized role for him, allowing him to be silly and just over the top enough without being grating. I absolutely love him when he finds that balance.

As if this movie wasn’t already enough to make my heart ridiculously happy, it also gave me a chance to brush up some of my ASL skillz. It was actually that production of Spring Awakening that finally got me to take a course a few years back. Unfortunately, they only offered level 1, so I’ve only got some very basic knowledge and vocab. I’ve spent most of the past week refreshing myself on some basic signs for a few simple sentences. Knowing my track record, I prolly won’t get much past that this time, but maybe one day I’ll pick it back up for reals.

Anyways, this movie is streaming on Apple I think, so it’s absolutely worth checking out. Or if you’re lucky enough to find a screening nearby (open captions!!), highly highly recommend it.

CODA – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

Summer Recap

I liked the quick hit recap approach from last month, so I was waiting to build up a few more movies to warrant a post. Then they built up quickly, so I’ll hafta split it into multiples. The good news is that movies are still holding their release dates (except you Venom, gonna make me sit thru the exact same trailer for a whole other month) and the theaters are staying open here. My A-List has been getting a ton of use, and Alamo is hitting my bank account hard. All is right with the world. In that regard at least.

Stillwater – Realized that the timing of my return trip from Texas and the multiple releases that weekend were gonna be tricky to fit in. So instead of my usual afternoon at the movies, I hurried Mom thru dinner and dropped her off at home so I could run to a Thur night movie–that I hadn’t realized was two and a half hours long. This was a very solid and interesting drama, that I knew I’d immediately forget about days later (which I pretty much did). I also felt kinda guilty later about giving it my money since it’s pretty blatantly exploiting a real life story even if it claims to be fully original. So maybe best forgotten about after all.

The Green Knight – This one is gonna be a bit of a hot take because I know hardcore cinephiles have been drooling over this for months before its release. It wasn’t for me. Yes, it was absolutely gorgeous to look at, and the craft of it was stunning. I value story about most else, and that was way too slow for me (which makes sense when I realize it was the same director as A Ghost Story). My brain was in a very detailed and elaborate (cue Mariah) sweet sweet fantasy baby throughout the whole 2 hours, and yet I didn’t miss a single plot point. That’s a problem for me. Highlight of the day was that while I was waiting for my hot dog at concessions, I took one turn at the crane game. It was one of those sideways cranes that I don’t like, but I somehow managed to hook three Spider-men on that one turn. So I kept one and gave the other two to the little cousins.

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery – Saw this at Alamo a few days after I got back (and Eastern Promises a couple days before). The main reason I wanted to watch this there was because when Bond first moved its release date last year and we all thought they were being silly and paranoid, Alamo replaced it on its lineup with Austin Powers. Then Alamo (and everyone else closed). I forgot how absolutely hilarious this movie is (I typically prefer the second film), and how much I love being in an audience for a good comedy. The buzz of laughter was non-stop and it felt so good to soak it all in. Also forgot what a goddess Mindy Sterling is, and we need more of her. I would absolutely do a repeat viewing in a heartbeat.

The Suicide Squad – This was frustrating. While we know where I typically side on the Marvel vs DC debate, I was genuinely rooting for this film. James Gunn gave me hope. And I love some of what he did, but it was a bit of a mess. A lot of things felt like he was doing them just because he could, and the humor and violence felt forced as a result. But my biggest problem was the character development, or lack thereof–always a risk with a big ensemble film, esp when most characters are net new. Too much time was spent on peeps who didn’t hang around long, and not enough was spent on the ones that stay (could we have more Polka Dot Man backstory and a better explanation of his abilities, please). It was hard to feel a connection to them or even differentiate some of the similarly powered dudes (looking at you Elba and Cena). The one character that was done right was Ratcatcher 2 so of course she ended up being my favorite. That’s what happens when you properly invest the time and effort. I wish I could cherry pick which squad members we did focus on, and then have them introduced right.

Jungle Cruise – There was exactly one thing I wanted out of this movie and I got it: The Rock giving a very classic Jungle Cruise experience, full of puns I love from the ride and a few new ones. I got exactly that about twenty minutes into the film. I was happy, and didn’t need anything else besides that. Which is good because it was otherwise a fairly generic adventure. Fun and enjoyable, but it felt like an amalgam of every other family adventure film that came before–most of whom are also owned by the Mouse.

Donnie Darko – I just wanted to brag that I got to see this at Alamo.

Black Widow

Once 2020 rolled into 2021 and movie theaters still hadn’t opened yet in LA, but vaccines were starting to roll out, I’d made a decision. I was going to hold out until I was vaxxed up before going back. However, there’d be one exception. Black Widow. I’ve seen all 23 other MCU films in theaters, all the way back to the OG Iron Man, and I was not about to break my streak. I’d even planned on taking a vacation day in the middle of the week so I could see it on 11 AM on a Wednesday morning or something. Thankfully, I got my surprise J&J vaxx that woulda taken care of me in time for Widow’s May date. And then more thankfully she got pushed to July, giving us even more time.

Because this was a special movie, I opted to go see it at Alamo. Although really, it’s because at the time tix went on sale, I wasn’t currently holding any upcoming Alamo tix and I hate that. But still, MCU movie, I was gonna go all out. Whatever it takes, yeah? Isn’t that what the Avengers say. I jumped so quickly on those tickets, I didn’t realize until afterwards that I’d picked the open caption screening. I felt bad that I may have taken a seat from someone who needed it (esp since it turned out to be the only OC showtime) but skipping right to it, I absolutely loved it. I typically watch movies at home with the subtitles so that I can be sure to catch all the dialog, so of course I’d be into it on the big screen. Esp with the thick Russian accents most characters had, it was brilliant. WE. NEED. TO. NORMALIZE. THESE. SCREENINGS.

Right, so the movie. It honestly felt like a filler movie. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s a reason not every movie can be Endgame. I’ve always said that even the worst MCU movies are not bad movies, esp when compared to some of their less stellar competitors in the genre. So this was certainly on the lighter, less weighty side, which is fine. If there is anything wrong with that, it’s that it didn’t really further the story of the MCU. The film took place in between Civil War and Infinity War, so we ultimately know how the broad strokes will play out. Still, a fun place to visit. Besides, we got all the D+ series that have been setting so much groundwork for Phase 4, that this was a nice little break.

What it did do best, and may be that one crucial piece of setup is introducing Florence Pugh as Yelena. I won’t go into what she’s primed for, but she was my absolute favorite part of the film. Florence stole every scene she was in, as she often (always) tends to do. Once we were getting towards the end of the film, I realized I no longer cared what Nat was doing and I only wanted to watch Yelena. Given where things leave off for both of them, that’s probably a good thing for the future of the franchise.

David Harbor was another standout, so hopefully we’ll find a way to bring him back as well.

Black Widow – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n