Entertainment Rex: June 2021

I went to the movies for the first time since February 2020 today!

God, I have really missed that. Obviously in the COVID era, I have developed quite the affinity for watching movies at home, but I have always adored the cinema. Watching movies at home is fine, if a bit distracting. Watching them in the movie theater always feels more like an experience. The lighting is perfect; the sound is impeccable! I just love it.

I’ll, of course, get into what I watched soon, but as for now, I was just happy to get back to it. And with five MCU movies coming out between now and the end of the year? I’m starting a rush of triumphant cinema returns.

Even though the theater I sat in today was approximately 97 degrees and I was DYING in my seat. I still loved it.

Is the anticipation killing you? Let’s get into it!


MOVIES

Obviously A Quiet Place Part 2 was my welcome back moment to the movies, which was a HUGE relief when the last movie I had seen in cinemas was… Bloodshot.

For something like fifteen months, my last movie experience was Bloodshot.

That was no good.

Imagine having THAT taste in your mouth for over a year.

The entirely unnecessary and unneeded sequel to the brilliant A Quiet Place was, just like the first, gorgeously made and put together. I kind of want the folks in production behind the AQP movies to make everything. Let John Krasinski direct every movie from here out.

That said, the story was full of forced drama and characters doing relatively dumb things just because. It was still a really good movie, don’t get me wrong… but its predecessor never had me thinking “Wait, why is this happening?”; it just had me on the edge of my seat. This movie sometimes sends a character off to investigate shit that they have no realistic business having a desire to investigate, and I sat there thinking, “Movie, this is very much a ‘JUST BECAUSE’ scene, come on”.

Crank, man. I was at least somewhat excited to watch that; I had heard good things about how frantic and fun it is. Sorry, though; I thought it was trash. Even when I went to grade it, I thought initially it was a full star, but then… I couldn’t even give it that. I’m not going to ignore the homophobic slurs and the god awful rape scene that has aged as poorly as Matthew Perry, but even putting those aside for a moment: this wasn’t even fun. Statham’s character had a strange amount of down time for a guy who was NEVER SUPPOSED TO STOP GOING. He spends a lot of time sitting down or just walking about. THIS IS NOT WHAT I WAS PROMISED, MOVIE.

And then, oh yeah. That rape scene. So… half a star.

I’ve seen Clue a bunch in my life. I decided to rewatch it because I wanted some dependable joy. It’s FINALLY hitting the point where I don’t think it is unquestioned brilliance, but if it takes me 5 or 6 viewings to figure that out? It’s still a 5 star flick. Some of the best lines in moviedom live here; I’ll never not love stuff like “Why is the car stopped” / “It’s frightened”.

In that same vein, a lot of my more highly reviewed flicks here were re-watches. 21 Jump St, Ready or Not, Cape Fear; I’ve seen these all before. Ready Or Not and Cape Fear were watched with friends who’d never seen them before and wanted to get in on them; 21 Jump St was because it was alphabetically at the top of my Plex Playlist and sometimes scrolling is hard.

And, look, sometimes when you venture into new territory, you get Crank or Scooby-Doo.

That’s not fair. Scooby Doo is a high 2 stars. I mean, it does exactly what it sets out to do; I’m just not the target audience. Take out the really undesirable extended farting scene and make the visual effects somewhat less abhorrently horrendous, and this is an easy 2.5, the Average Film by my ratings.

Maggie is a serviceable indie flick that stars ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER for some reason and has an original spin on zombies. It feels a bit empty, but the story and the sight of ARNOLD in a low-budget indie flick are worthwhile. Bumblebee would have been much higher if it didn’t resort to big robots having a smashy fight, but really? What did I expect from it? The rest of it was so much better than that, though.


READING

Well, first off, I started reading some comics this week for a new article series, but you can relive that HERE. That was originally going to be a monthly series, but you know what? I think I’ll stick to 5 issues per stretch and bump it up to twice per month.

Additionally, I finally followed through on my long-stewing desire to get back into manga in a very head-on way, so I went to Barnes & Noble and dropped some coin on several volume #1’s that looked promising.

Taking the picture on my comic cover game table was probably not ideal, but…

I know, I know… I never read Fullmetal Alchemist yet! What the hell is my problem? Well, I had enough faith in it that I bought the first 6 volumes (the 3-in-1’s are $15 bucks each, and you can’t pass that up). I know it’s one of the more highly regarded series in the genre; I just never got around to it.

These were all recent purchases–within the last five days–so I’ll confess to having only read two so far. The first being Komi Can’t Communicate. It’s the story of a young high school girl who has such crippling social anxiety about talking to people that everyone assumes she is cool and aloof. A new classmate figures her out, though, and they strike up a friendship whereupon he promises he’ll help her meet her goal: to make 100 friends.

It’s the kind of book that works for me because it’s funny and relies a good bit on facial gags. The story can be a bit simplistic at times–and there is a a trans character for whom I need to read more to see if her transness is going to just be a joke since the main character has a few moments of being really confused about how she used to be a boy–but I did genuinely laugh out loud a few times.

The other I’ve gotten through has been Spy x Family, and I have no earthly idea if I’m supposed to call that book Spy Family or Spy And Family or Spy Ex Family or what.

Maybe Spy By Family?

Spy Times Family?

I have no clue.

I’ve been going with Spy and Family in my head.

ANYWAY, it’s about as master spy (who frequently comes across as an amateur goof) who has to pretend to have a family to get close to his next target… and prevent a war from breaking out. Unbeknownst to him, the girl he adopts can read minds, and the woman he brings in as a pseudo-wife is a professional assassin who is also using him for her own cover identity.

It’s a pretty typical Shonen Jump kind of title. Action and humor and weird circumstances. I could see myself getting into it because I am a god damn basic manga fan.

Of the remaining titles, Blue Exorcist was pretty much a “Eh, might as well” purchase, so I am the least jazzed for that. Nichijou looks so damn reminiscent of Azumanga Daioh… if it’s HALF as good as that series, I’ll be pleased. The Promised Neverland looks to be the most artful of the group.


TELEVISION

Loki (TV series) - Wikipedia

I caught the first episode of Loki on Disney Plus, and… we will see. You can’t argue with the performances and capabilities of Owen Wilson and Tom Hiddleston, but at the same time… The MCU gave us three “phases” of movies to build up to a final two-part cinematic conclusion regarding the Infinity Gauntlet. And then this show made the Infinity Stones literally as useful as paperweights in the first episode. I just am uneasy with the idea that the TVA has as much power as they do that they can effortlessly nullify Infinity Stones.

Not that the MCU has been amazingly grounded in a while. Carol Danvers has godlike power. Thor bathed in neutron star. I get it. But this power creep suddenly feels like a bridge too far. Twenty-three films worth of plot for a “Oh, we all have those; we use them as paperweights” joke.


That’s it for the front half of June! Hopefully Loki earns its story in its future episodes and the other manga I bought is a lot of fun… even if that hypothetically puts me on the hook for buying more manga. Oh well.

Until next time… take care!

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