Dunkirk (2017)

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Dunkirk was a brilliant way for Christopher Nolan to trick a pretty broad audience into seeing a largely dialogueless, nonlinear experimental film shot on 70mm film.  Much of the story is told through action, with only snippets of conversation here and there to fill in essential details.  The film is also divided into three sections—one on the land, one on the sea and one in the air, each taking place over a different amount of time (a week, a day, an hour).

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It Comes at Night (2017)

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There’s a specific sub-genre of horror movies, the “siege” type scenario, the kind of movie where people are essentially locked into one area, one house or one cabin (or in the case of Dawn of the Dead, a mall), and they are unable to leave because the world around them is crumbling and rife with threat.  In the case of It Comes at Night, there is a deadly, highly-communicable disease.  Contact with the disease is, as of now, pretty much 100% lethal.  In the vein of George A. Romero or John Carpenter, the disease isn’t the monster—the disease just does what a disease does—the real monster is humanity.

Something John Carpenter has said again and again is that it’s so easy to say that monsters are out there, that they live in the shadows, that they dwell in the darkness.  But what’s really scary is the truth, that the monsters are already among us and we are them.

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Wonder Woman

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It’s silly that a movie like Wonder Woman has to be considered semi-controversial in a modern era that has backslid into a sort of proud misogyny.  I might be incorrect, but I feel like if this movie had come out ten, twenty years ago, it wouldn’t have been a problem.  There would have been virtually no conversations about the fact that it’s a woman-directed film starring, egads, another woman.  Perhaps because the superhero film genre that’s exploded is such a boy’s club?  I don’t know.

Anyway, that said, I’d like to forever ignore such idiocy.  Wonder Woman is a character who’s been around for ages.  She’s been beloved for generations.  Making this film is a fucking no-brainer, so I’m going to discuss the film and ignore the titty-baby pleas of MRA children-men.

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Twin Peaks: The Return

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How often does a decades-too-late sequel, reunion or follow-up ever work out?  It does, sometimes.  Fury Road, the fourth Mad Max movie, for example, was the fun bit of mayhem everyone expected it to be.  Usually, though, the results are something more like the second Dumb and Dumber… not terrible, but something better left alone.  The problem is that the characters are old now.  You look at Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey goofing around and you’re like, man, this is all kind of sad.

Twin Peaks had an excellent first season, a second season that started off great, got lost along the way, and found itself near the end—too late for audiences, because the show was canceled.  A movie was made, but the movie was not interested in wrapping up loose ends, and was instead a prequel.  People hated it.

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Alien: Covenant

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Sometimes while watching the latest entry in the Alien franchise, Alien: Covenant I wondered if Ridley Scott, the man who directed both this and the original film that kicked everything off, had even watched Alien.

Alien: Covenant seems to follow the path of Prometheus, as opposed to the original Alien.  As such, it is populated with characters who make the worst possible decision in any situation.  I’m not sure which film I enjoy more… or less.  Both Alien: Covenant and Prometheus are dull, lifeless exercises in… I don’t even know what.  The movies don’t seem to be thrilled with any of the ideas that they’re presenting.  In Alien: Covenant, while exploring caverns, the movie simply allows the exploration to happen—when this moment should be a wonderful, exciting sequence filled with wonders and horrors and delights, it’s treated like the characters are walking to the grocery store.

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Reevaluating Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

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At the time of its release, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me was dismissed for a number of reasons.  Namely, it was a prequel at a time when the series on which the movie was based ended on a cliffhanger.  People wanted to see the story continue, not regress backward and tell us what we already know.  It lacked the humor of the show, taking the world of Twin Peaks onto a much darker trajectory.  And the final blow was that there was hardly any Special Agent Dale Cooper of the FBI.

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Fargo: The Law of Non-Contradiction

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Howard Zimmerman, a conman and supposed movie producer, at one point in the episode of Fargo titled “The Law of Non-Contradiction” explains life through the lens of quantum physics.  He says we’re nothing but particles floating through space and that the only times we ever feel really alive are when we have special connections with people that we meet.  Synapses fire.  Something happens.  It’s the only thing that shakes us out of the illusion of life and we fully experience it.

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Kong: Skull Island (2017)

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My secret, guilty pleasure is that I love monster movies.  Love ’em.  Especially the ones that make it a point to portray the main, giant beast as a misunderstood creature.  I’ve had a soft spot for monster movies ever since I saw Godzilla 1985 for the first time.  Godzilla was the goddamned star of that movie and when they killed him, I was heartbroken.

Kong: Skull Island is similar.  Kong, the giant ape of Skull Island, isn’t attacking the helicopters swarming his home because he’s an asshole, he’s attacking them because they’re dropping bombs everywhere, which are sure to awake the subterranean dinosaur creatures that have a taste for blood.  He and the indigenous human inhabitants of the island have an agreement:  They leave him alone and he leaves them alone.  Kong takes care of killing and eating the giant, man-eating monsters of the island and they, in return, let him do his thing… which mostly consists of walking around, enjoying the scenery, eating and jumping from giant rock to giant rock.

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Logan (2017)

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The first word muttered by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in his new solo outing Logan is, “Fuck,” while some thugs try to strip the car that he’s drunkenly sleeping inside of.  Straight from the first line uttered, the filmmakers wanted it to be very, very clear that this isn’t like the previous movies we’ve seen Wolverine in.  When he proceeds to hack off his attacker’s limbs with his retractable claws, pierce skulls and then push the bullets out of his wounds into a dirty bathroom sink, we know we’re watching something unlike what we’ve seen before.

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Get Out (2017)

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Get Out begins in familiar horror territory.  A young, black man is walking to a friend’s house at night, and an unseen person in a car pursues them.  The young man, seriously scared, turns around and walks the other way.  He is snatched by the pursuer, rendered unconscious, thrown into a car and taken away.  We’ve seen this kind of cold open before, a million times over, but there’s a racial subtext to Get Out that elevates the horror into a sickening reality… much of the horror of Get Out is based on average, everyday fears and a fact of life of what it’s like to be a black man in America.  In any other movie, seeing the red and blue flash of a police siren would bring hope, but in this movie, it has a gut-wrenching implication to it.

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