Movie of the Week: Chronicle

After much last-minute deliberation, I fell on Chronicle for our Movie of the Week. I figured it would be a good change-of-pace movie from our comedic choices the last couple of weeks. On top of that, it had been awhile since I’d seen it myself, and figured it would be a good opportunity to revisit it for my own potential inspiration. And while the film had always stuck in my mind as a surprisingly solid piece of work, there was even more quality work on display here than I remembered, and my totally random choice ended up paying off handsomely.

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Among the Stars, A Return to My Geek Heaven

I’ve always been a big fan of science fiction, going back to my childhood. The last few years have seen a great influx of original scifi properties, and even though many of them were not as successful as I might like it’s still been very gratifying to see the increasingly regimented production environment open up enough for the likes of District 9, Moon, Looper, and Her. However, in spite of all of this it still feels like there’s a void to fill when it comes to my original passion: space opera. After Star Wars defined my childhood and Firefly informed my teenage years, my excitement for fun, swashbuckling space adventure has largely gone unfulfilled (JJ Abrams’ first Star Trek is the major exception there). But it looks like this year might be the best opportunity in a while to solve this issue, with two movies coming out within a few weeks of each other: Jupiter Ascending and Guardians of the Galaxy.

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Movie of the Week: Not Another Teen Movie

It  was Shiran’s turn to pick our Movie of the Week this time, and she decided to show me something a little out of my usual stomping grounds. The movie she chose was Not Another Teen Movie, something that I don’t think I’d ever have seen on my own. This is a great example of what I love about this tradition, the fact that it opens both of us up to new movies, and serves as a great bridge between our shared tastes and our unique interests. And as it turns out, Not Another Teen Movie also shares enough with things I already like to still work for me. More after the jump:

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In The Lego Movie, Every(one) Is Indeed Awesome

There’s a song you may have heard from The Lego Movie called “Everything is Awesome!” And while that song is, within the context of the movie, meant to represent vapid, nonsensical, manufactured music, it is also an infectiously cheerful and catchy bit of work. So in that regard, it is a perfect summation of The Lego Movie as a whole, both in what it represents and just as a simple capsule review. Why break down the layers of terrifically-constructed (and very meta) entertainment and how they all come together in the service of a great thematic lesson when I can just cheerfully scream “EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!” at you? But since just posting the song is a lame way to review a movie (and would rob me of the opportunity to ramble in a very how-smart-am-I? way), I’ll go into more spoiler-laden depth after the jump.

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Movie of the Week: Zack and Miri Make A Porno

For almost all of last year, my girlfriend Shiran and I had a tradition of sharing movies with each other every week, trying to fill the gaps in each others’ film experience and share movies that we like. We introduced each other to the likes of Star Wars, Enchanted, Jurassic Park, Big Sleep, Hot Rod, Attack the Block, Terminator, Alien, Stranger Than Fiction, Manchurian Candidate, Clueless, and Hellboy, among many others. While we lost our rhythm late last year during the holiday rush, we finally picked up the tradition this past Thursday, almost exactly a year after it first started. To renew our tradition, decided to show Shiran Zack and Miri Make A Porno as a nice easing-in movie, a Kevin Smith film that also has a lot of crossover with the comedy worlds that she’s more familiar with. Our recaps after the jump:

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Meet Ms. Marvel, And Then Read Her Book

This past Wednesday, Marvel Comics published Ms. Marvel #1, the debut issue of a brand-new character who is inheriting the mantle of Ms. Marvel and setting out on a heroic journey on her own. While the fact that this is a series from the Big Two that stars an all-new female hero is (unfortunately still) notable all on its own, the truly standout aspect of the series is that it follows a Pakistani-American Muslim girl, Kamala Khan. The announcement of this series and character drew a great deal of press and debate last fall, and some of that discussion seems to have returned with the publishing of the first issue. So I figured that I’d throw my two cents in on this comic, and hopefully bring it to the attention of my non-comics-reading audience.

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Remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman

You don’t really expect much to stand out on Super Bowl Sunday that isn’t football related, and yet yesterday felt defined by the news that Philip Seymour Hoffman had died. For anyone that’s a fan of film, it was truly heartbreaking news, something that stunned and saddened me instantly. Hoffman was certainly a modern acting giant, the sort of actor that lent some legitimacy to every project he did (there are very few duds on his resume, as far as I’ve seen). In considering his career, I tried to remember what my first exposure to his work would have been (I’d heard about Capote but I think it might’ve been Mission: Impossible III). But I soon found myself drowning in memories of great performances of all different kinds, while also being reminded of all the movies of his I’ve yet to see. So when I woke up today, I felt compelled to revisit a couple of great performances of his, performances that show the great range he had, and the unique vulnerability that was a constant in his whole career.

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