The second episode of “Loki” has been out for some time now, and I’ve got to tell you, this is the hardest time I’ve had writing about one of these shows. Not because there isn’t anything to write about. Quite the contrary. After only two episodes, “Loki” has a lot of tricky, deep themes up its sleeve.
Okay guys, I know it. You’re tired of hearing about how good Marvel is. After thirteen years of existence, the MCU has produced hit after hit, with only the occasional Thor: The Dark World to leave a mark.
Do you remember the classic horror franchise A Nightmare on Elm Street? Remember the first film? An imaginative, ambient slasher with a strange but horrific premise? Remember when the third film, Dream Warriors, was announced? How bizarre it was to see the classic Krueger story transformed into a fantasy-horror-team-up film with a tone akin to that of a teen superhero movie? Because I don’t, I wasn’t born when those movies came out and I stopped my retro viewings after the second one. But I do imagine the feeling must have been pretty similar to how I felt walking out of The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.
Angelina Jolie. The most household of household names. You won’t find anyone in the world who doesn’t know who Jolie is by name and name alone. Before we even get to her actual credentials — roles like Lara Croft in the original Tomb Raider movies, Mr. And Mrs. Smith, and Maleficent — she boasts accolades that include several Humanitarian awards and Oscars, and she even became a Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She’s got a heavy business card, is what I’m getting at here. And it’s exactly that kind of star power and genuine, groundbreaking talent that serves not only as the shining light over Those Who Wish Me Dead from Warner Bros., but also the biggest obstacle standing in the way of an otherwise plain neo-western thriller.
So, we’re finally here. Last week was the finale of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” a Marvel/Disney limited series that for the last six weeks has been absolutely dominating my television screen as much as it has my mind. Being a fan of Marvel’s live-action superhero ventures since I was a kid in 2008, it wasn’t hard for TFATWS to catch my eye. But while I came for the heroics, action, and quippy one-liners, what really compelled me (and many viewers) to stay were the mostly poignant and deep conversations about race, status, and the humanity of our favorite, godlike heroes. Key word: “mostly.”
The fifth and penultimate episode of TFATWS is called “Truth,” and that’s certainly no accident. After leaving us for an entire week with the final image of Cap’s blood-soaked shield stuck in our minds, TFATWS replaces it with even more memorable scenes and heavy imagery. Each of them are arguably just as hard to swallow as John Walker’s closing scene from the week prior.
Roughly 13 years have gone by since the release of Iron Man, the film that introduced us to the Marvel Cinematic Universe — that may not seem like a long time, but keep in mind that last year (2020) counted as at least five. This, mixed with the fact that currently 23 movies and two limited series have come out since, proves it’s pretty impossible to undermine the legacy and longevity of the MCU. But as time goes on, this sprawling superhero franchise has seen quite a few major changes. The Avengers ushered in a “Heroic Age” of superhero films, but we now see Marvel attempting to dissect those very heroic ideals that previous films were built on.
The third episode of TFATWS ushers us into the halfway point of the series. With just three episodes left after it, Episode 3 strives to reveal as much as it can about the secrets of the Super Soldier serum, which has oft been alluded to since the beginning of the show. “Power Broker” delivers on this goal using seedy locales, lurking threats, and an unlikely alliance between Sam, Bucky, and Helmut Zemo (the villain from Captain America: Civil War, portrayed once again by Daniel Brühl).
It’s been a week since the exciting conclusion to “WandaVision” graced our screens. The Disney+ original series captured the attention of new and old MCU fans alike with its first bizarre and eye-catching premiere on January 15, and not much has changed eight episodes later. Every episode was wrought with fan theories, speculation, and nail-biting anticipation for the next week. And now, it’s over. The sun has set on yet another chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and “WandaVision” certainly went out with a bang. The finale featured some of the best action sequences and most crushing emotional moments in the entire (limited) series. The stellar acting from the cast, including Elizabeth Olsen, Kathryn Hahn, Teyonah Parris and Paul Bettany, only helped catapult the positive reception of the finale, and it helped cement “WandaVision” as one of the must-watch shows of the year.
The undersea adventures of SpongeBob and his Bikini Bottom-dwelling fans have been going on since 1999, entertaining multiple generations and sparking that age-old debate about which era of the sea sponge’s escapades is the best. Well, it’s not much of a debate per se, it’s more like the original generation of viewers (now fully-grown adults) yelling at the younger generation, who don’t seem to be paying much attention because they’re too busy trying to watch “SpongeBob.”
Hey all, welcome back to your favorite weekly recap of your favorite Marvel streaming series. I’m not sure if either of those statements is true, but if you’re reading this then you probably have some emotional investment in “WandaVision” and my long-winded rambling related to it.
We’re only a third of the way through “WandaVision,” but if this recent episode is any indication, we can expect an avalanche of strange occurrences and sudden twists to occur every single week. Episode 3 of “WandaVision,” aptly titled “Now in Color,” comes to Disney+ with another 40 minutes of laughs, love, and absolute madness. The show starts off how the second episode ended, in brand spanking new technicolor!
For those unaware, “WandaVision” is the newest project from Marvel Studios, and it’s the first in a long line of miniseries that all share a connection to each other and the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. It follows everyone’s favorite odd couple — Wanda Maximoff and Vision (last name not included) — after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Back when this idea was first announced, it was met with excitement from some and exhaustion from others. I’m only a little bit ashamed to admit that for a while, I landed on the latter.
If you told me there was a movie being made about Ma Rainey, the legendary blues singer who inspired the likes of Bessie Smith and Langston Hughes, I’d sit back and buckle in for a jazz-filled good time. If you told me the movie was based off a play written by August Wilson of Fences fame, I would immediately unbuckle myself to go and grab a pair of tissues.
The Babysitter: Killer Queen, directed by McG and starring pretty much the exact same cast as the first film, was released exclusively on Netflix earlier this month and is described by the service as a “teen comedy horror…sequel.” Thanks to the sequel’s release, the original went from a cult-favorite film to the first in a cult-favorite franchise. Much like the majority of its cast and crew, The Babysitter: Killer Queen is more of the same kind of material we got from the first movie. Yet, for whatever reason, I enjoyed this one a lot more.
Directed and written by Sean Durkin in his latest film since 2011, The Nest tells the story of Rory O’Hara, portrayed by Jude Law, who after a seemingly successful life of entrepreneurism in the States, moves back to London in the late 1980s so he can work for his old company. Along with his loving wife Allison (Carrie Coon) and their children Samantha and Ben (Oona Roche and Charlie Shotwell), the family moves into a luxurious, countryside house, and as this summary might hint, things begin to take a “twisted turn” once they arrive.
When it comes to psychological horror, there is one unwritten but common and maybe even obvious imperative: you have to mess with your audience’s mind. The true horror doesn’t come from a man in a papier-mâché Halloween mask or a creepy-crawly creature from the fifth dimension like you’ll see in other scary movies. It comes from mystery, the feeling that you never have any idea what is actually going on in the film you’re watching, as well as the sense of dread that confusion might entail. So I guess you could say Rent-A-Pal is a pretty good psychological horror — one certainly deserving the genre label.
If you search the name “Ellis Haizlip” in your preferred search engine of choice today, you won’t get a lot of results. There is no Wikipedia page, and his IMDB spotlight is slim, to say the least. Most of what you’ll get are stories and reviews about Mr. Soul, the documentary detailing the life and career of Haizlip and his time as the producer and host of “Soul!” from 1968 to 1973. A documentary, I might add, that most people wouldn’t even know to search the name of because much like the person it’s analyzing, it wasn’t massively advertised. Still, Mr. Soul is just as important to American life and TV as the man himself was.
On August 28, 2020, the world stood still. As I sat in a diner, patiently awaiting my “breakfast for dinner,” I did what every person nowadays does when there’s nothing else to do: I checked my phone. The first thing I saw when I opened Twitter and looked at my timeline was the most shocking and heartbreaking news I never knew I wasn’t prepared to hear. Chadwick Boseman, star of Black Panther, was dead at 43. Boseman passed away peacefully, surrounded by his wife and family, according to the statement made on his official Twitter account. I sat there in shock and disbelief, hoping and praying that this might be some sort of joke. That maybe his account had been hacked, or I was stuck in some sort of lucid dream. It didn’t take long for the swarms of tweets and replies full of the same amount of disbelief to come in, as well as the responses from those who knew him or wished to know him more. Then I realized it was real.
Tesla stars Ethan Hawke as the titular inventor who navigates life in the 1800s, one of America’s most “brainstormy” times. Around him are a handful of equally inventive and enigmatic characters, such as Anne Morgan, portrayed by Eve Hewson, and George Westinghouse, portrayed by Jim Gaffigan. And of course, you can’t have a Tesla movie without his famous frenemy and rival in the electricity circuit, Thomas Edison; a role that is perfectly performed by Kyle MacLachlan in small doses. Edison isn’t in the film a whole lot, but he manages to steal the show in a manner accurate to how his real-life inspiration repeatedly stole Tesla’s thunder.
Personally, I believe the horror genre doesn’t get nearly enough credit these days. I’ve struggled to figure out just why that is. Perhaps it’s because of the over-saturation of the genre, the fact that there are quite literally hundreds of films to choose from, many of them admittedly not exactly something to write home about. Maybe it’s because even when horror was at its peak, when the big monsters like Dracula or Jason Voorhees spooked audiences during the Halloween season, horror was advertised as something of a niche genre; meant only for those who could truly appreciate the shock, schlock, and gore of a scary movie. Or maybe it’s because no on-screen jump scare could ever compare to the horrors of reality that many of us have to live through on a daily basis. Either way, the horror genre is pretty underappreciated and often times overlooked when awards season comes around.