When I was a child, my parents would take me to the library every week. I would always pick out a couple of movies on VHS (remember those?) to watch on the weekends, and inevitably there were certain movies that wound up in my rotation, movies that I would check out regularly and watch obsessively, movies that shaped me as a consumer of film and television. One of those movies was Raiders of the Lost Ark, and to this day it remains one of my most beloved movies of all time, a movie that I can watch any time and never gets old to me.
What Pirates of the Caribbean was to pirate films, it’s clear that The Lone Ranger was meant to be for westerns. Disney even hired the same writers, the same director, and the same actor, to start what they thought would be a huge franchise. To take The Lone Ranger on those terms, it’s clearly a failure – it doesn’t quite have the verve or energy of Pirates of the Caribbean, it was a major financial flop, and it was fairly reviled, critically. And yet… judged in isolation, this is actually a pretty good movie.
I have no idea how Dean Israelite’s Power Rangers was actually made, but it feels like a film that’s been focus grouped to death. Every decision in the film feels less like an artistic decision than a decision designed to increase the film’s generic appeal to a young audience.
Continue reading “2017 Movie #47: Power Rangers”
Already one of the most discussed films of 2017, Jordan Peele’s incisive directing debut, Get Out, is a wholly effective satirical horror film, and one of the most exciting debuts in recent memory. Ostensibly about the (near universal) terror of meeting future in-laws for the first time, it quickly transforms into a drama about society and some of the new challenges of race in modern society.
Sid and Nancy is an aggressively punk rock film, a film that has no interest in appealing to normal cinematic sensibilities, an in-your-face film about the brief relationship shared in the all-too-short lives of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen.
Robert Zemeckis, who happens to historically be one of my favorite directors (largely on the strength of just a couple of movies from an overall spotty filmography), has perhaps never shown as much ambition than when he chose to make an adaptation of Beowulf. The epic poem, despite numerous attempts at adaptation, hasn’t always been well adapted – in some ways, the original text defies adaptation. In attempting to adapt Beowulf, Zemeckis is overall successful, but it’s a flawed film to be sure.
Steven Spielberg never really had an edge. In his old age, he’s really leaned into that aspect of himself – and in no film is this more clear than in 2015’s Bridge of Spies, an old fashioned morality tale about a Good Guy lawyer who is always Right. One person’s quaint naiveté is another person’s uplifting drama, and I can see why Bridge of Spies might end up being a polarizing film as a result.