Friday, November 24, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Red Robin and Damian are shocked Nightwing invited Red Hood to Robin Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I've been waiting all year for a front-runner, a film to set the standard to which every movie that follows will have to try to measure up. I don't have to wait any longer. Writer/director Martin McDonagh takes us to a little-used patch of road in rural Missouri where the sudden use of three derelict billboards begin to raise the eyes of the local community.


Pixar's nineteenth feature isn't one of the studio's best, but it does display plenty of heart. We open to extended narration setting up the life and family of young Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) whose family's hatred of music makes the first-half of the movie seem like Footloose with dead people. More than anything in the world Miguel wants to be a musician which, through a somewhat convoluted series of events, sends him into the netherworld on Día de Muertos when the spirits can leave the Land of the Dead and visit their living relatives (only if their families have remembered to place their picture in the family ofrenda, or altar).

The Man Who Invented Christmas

On television, stage, and in film there have been plenty of adaptations of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol over the years (Mickey Mouse and Bill Murray have provided two of my favorites). The latest from director Bharat Nalluri and screenwriter Susan Coyne, based on Les Standiford's book, doesn't add much new to the proceedings, but proves to be an enjoyable holiday romp focused on the turmoil in Dickens' (Dan Stevens) life and the creation of one of his most famous works. The script follows a familiar path seen before with authors talking directly to their characters and stealing names and lines from real-life to work into their writing. The later reminded me of Shakespeare in Love, which had far more wit than we find here.

The main takeaway of the movie seems to be that Dickens had as much Scrooge (Christopher Plummer) in him as Bob Cratchit, and only by coming to terms with the fact was he able to finish the book that had ties to his own troubled upbringing. Stevens is likable enough in the role, with serviceable support from Plummer, Jonathan Pryce, Morfydd Clark, and others while the movie brings Victorian London, and various Dickens' characters, to life.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster) is known for unconventional storytelling, and his latest certainly fits that bill. Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) is a respected surgeon with a wife (Nicole Kidman), two children (Raffey Cassidy and Sunny Suljic), and secretive relationship to the son (Barry Keoghan) of a former patient with an equally strange mother (Alicia Silverstone, in a surprisingly small role). When Steven’s son develops odd symptoms that can’t be explained, the doctor is confronted by Martin (Keoghan) who makes veiled threats while suggesting that he is somehow responsible.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a frustrating movie. The film is visually stunning with a haunting score, but every time an actor delivers a torturous line-reading (more appropriate to a group of lonely souls reading publicly from their Twilight fan fiction) the spell is broken. There's a stiltedness to every performance, no character speaks naturally, and even their reactions, movements, and manners are so affected it will make you wonder if you missed the note explaining that everyone in the film is autistic.