So, here we are America. The primaries are officially over, and the general election is set. The Democratic and Republican parties have both selected their nominees for President of the United States, and it’s up to us to choose one. Of course, it’s proving to be more challenging than usual, due in no small part to the recalcitrant, argumentative wing of the left that continues to resist the idea of voting for the Democratic nominee.
I once saw a meme on Facebook challenging people to justify voting for HER without mentioning HIS name. Now, skipping past the fallacy of that argument (the nature of the opponent is HUGELY relevant to the value of a candidate), I figured I’d take the bait and do one better: I’m not going to mention EITHER nominee by name. Because ultimately, the nominees are just figureheads for the real bellwethers of policy: the party platforms. To me, the real question is which platform is better… and the answer couldn’t be more obvious.
It’s April 26, which means it’s Alien Day, in reference to the planet LV-426 in the original film (whether this is better or worse than May The Fourth Be With You is up in the air). That led to a lot of activity today, from screenings to sales to debate over the possibility of Newt being resurrected for Neill Blomkamp’s film. For me though, LV-4/26 has led to the discovery of a forgotten old comic book that may be one of the best Alien stories ever.
So far this year, my favorite movies have been films driven by uplift and hope and sheer entertainment, spread over a range of tones and styles. But even now, when I could use as much entertaining inspiration as possible, it can just as (if not more) cathartic to watch something unabashedly mean and ugly and grisly. For me, that film is Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room, a rip-roaring motherfucker of a film that punches you in the face and expects a “thank you” for it. I highly recommend it.
There have been many iterations of The Jungle Book over the years, including several live-action films, but none have been enough to usurp the 1967 animated classic or the original Rudyard Kipling stories. Until now, that is. With this latest incarnation of the tale of Mowgli, director Jon Favreau and screenwriter Justin Marks have created what might prove to be the ultimate version of Kipling’s world, removing the ugly racism and retaining all of the wonder and adventure. The result is one of the best films I’ve seen this year, and one I already can’t wait to revisit.
This past week has seen Las Vegas play host to the annual CinemaCon, a convention where theater owners and Hollywood executives gather to show off new movies and hardware, and to panic about the future of their industry. Over the last few years, it seems like CinemaCon has always been the backdrop for the latest hand-wringing about winning over young audience members or internet streaming or what-have-you. This year’s convention was no different, and once again showcased an industry that seems incredibly desperate and oblivious to what its audience wants.
The first few months of this year have been… hectic for me, to say the least. I left my job, wound up back at my previous job, struggled to nail down health insurance and unemployment and found out my cat is very sick. And through all of that I was attempting to complete several creative writing endeavors, launch a podcast and maintain this blog. It’s been stressful, upsetting and difficult to say the least. Thankfully there have been plenty of good movies (and comics and books and TV shows) to provide at least some relief from the perpetual panic. But two films in particular– 10 Cloverfield Lane and Eddie The Eagle— did more than distract me. Rather, these films inspired me and uplifted me in the exact way that I needed. So it’s not surprising these have been my two favorite movies of the year so far.
Last year around this time I really enjoyed It Follows, despite not fully being able to articulate the themes it is built on at the time. It took an extended discussion and a rewatch months later for me to wrap my head around the film in a satisfactory way, a fate that will certainly also befall The Witch this year. Writer/director Robert Eggers’ debut is a film that is undoubtedly thematic in its construction and execution, but not in a way I can easily summarize just yet. What I can say with certainty though is that like It Follows before it, The Witch is intense as hell and a very engrossing watch, whether you “get it” or not.