🎬 Nobody

Nobody is a surprisingly good action movie. It nails everything there is to nail about the action genre. Specifically, the writing and editing are top notch. The story is set up with great efficiency, and every set-up is paired with a call-back later in the film, which is very satisfying to see. Also, Bob Odenkirk’s acting in it is fantastic.

I will admit that it does play a little like a mashup of The Accountant and John Wick, but I liked it better than either of those two movies that share its genre.

🎬 After days of trying, we finally got the whole family together to watch a movie today. We picked Encanto and really enjoyed it.

🎬 No Time To Die

I watched the most recent Bond film, No Time to Die, last night.

I have seen every Bond film at this point, largely inspired by John Gruber, who famously (in tech circles at least) is a Bond fan. Despite having seen dozens of Bond movies over the years, I don’t consider myself a Bond fan. Most of them are ridiculous and their sexism has obviously not aged well.

I like to think of James Bond as a terrible spy. After all, everybody knows who he is, and he never actually spies on anyone, either. While not a spy, he is instead a sloppy fixer who always managers to get the job done. I also think of him, in most Bond movies anyway, as a sociopath. Over and over again, especially in the earlier Bond movies, he sleeps with women who wind up dead the next day, and appears to be completely unfazed by it. Also, of course, he kills scores of people and never seems to have PTSD let along give it a second thought.

Daniel Craig has a more soulful and less sociopathic take on the character. His Bond’s story arc comes to a close in No Time to Die, which plays out, in many ways, like a tragic love story. Bond is, well, bonded to his love interest (wife?) Madeleine, Madeleine’s daughter Mathilde, and even his CIA friend Felix. Overall, I think the film’s focus on these relationships worked very well.

There were a few points of inconsistent writing when it comes to the two female agents—one of whom, Nomi, is the new 007—who aid Bond in his mission. Nomi’s numerous jokes at Bond’s expense did not land at all, mainly because Daniel Craig looks and acts like a super-man in all the action scenes rather than the creaky old man she insinuates him to be.

The Daniel Craig Bond films always lose me in the third act. This one had some weaknesses that I think all these movies have. For example, I thought villain’s motive to kill millions of people was weak, and that his secret base’s security was especially lackadaisical. Still, the story had personal stakes for Bond (which is a speciality of most or all of the Daniel Craig Bond movies, if I recall correctly), and those stakes held my interest quite a bit.

Overall, despite some minor stumbles in the dialog, I very much enjoyed it. It may be my favorite Bond movie now, or at least sit in my personal top three list alongside _ From Russia with Love_ and The Spy Who Loved Me.

🎬 My wife and I had only time enough to watch the opening number in In the Heights so far. We absolutely loved it and can’t wait to watch more tonight.

🎬 I can’t get enough articles about the In the Heights movie. Vulture has a fascinating one about how the “96,000” pool scene was filmed.

🎬 My daughter and I watched Raya and the Last Dragon this afternoon, partly because it is too hot to play outside. We really liked it.

🎬 I rewatched Wall-E today with my daughter and enjoyed it even more than the first time I saw it.

🎬 Zach Snyder’s Justice League

I was not I initially interested at all in the Snyder Cut of Justice League but I ended up watching it anyway, over two nights. I’m glad I did.

I thought the theatrical release of Justice League was pretty bad, but not quite as bad as the professional movie review consensus was. I figured that the Snyder cut must be better, but I was surprised at how much better it is. Granted, it still isn’t good. It doesn’t fix its pacing problems. It still is not as brisk and pleasurable as the best of the Marvel movies. It doesn’t tell a cohesive story, but it also crams in too many story lines for a non-DC fan to keep track of. It still has some dumb script problems, such every single part of the nonsensical museum height/terrorist bombing blot in the opening Wonder Woman scene, that could have been solved by editing a few sentences of dialog. While not exactly good, it is a good bad movie now. Its reach often exceeds its grasp, but it offers a lot of interesting material to people who are already fans. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be the kind of movie that would bring a lot new fans in.

It is now very clear to me that Zach Snyder’s vision was dark and wild and weird—definitely too much of all of those things to launch a successful franchise—but Joss Whedon’s contributions were just awful: tasteless, asinine, nonsensical, and insulting to the audience. Whedon’s dialog (notably Superman’s and The Flash’s) and the character moments he created, like the race between The Flash and Superman, are embarrassing to watch and make the characters seem stupid. Snyder’s cut simply had better dialog for them. Simply getting rid of the random people that Whedon put into that nuclear wasteland Russian city—the one that existed in the movie only to be destroyed in a bout of cinematic excess—made the climax bearable. Who needs to worry about a family who shouldn’t be living in a nuclear wasteland anyway when the entire world is already at stake? Whedon really did screw up that movie.

I think that the Snyder Cut works very well for fans of the comics, especially fans of the “what-if” versions of all the famous characters. Some fans, like me, believe that comic book characters are archetypes, and really can be anything, and no representation of them is truly canonical. The grim, dark version of the Justice League is an interesting thought experiment, one of many worth exploring. It is not something I ever felt hung up on as “not the real version” of Superman or whatever. The Snyder Cut isn’t the real version of the DC Universe to me, because nothing is. It’s all just ideas and entertainment anyway.

🎬 I watched Frozen 2 again with my family today. We still could not really understand some of the workings of the plot. I do admire the music and the visual appearance of the movie even more than on my first viewing.

🎬 I enjoyed Pixar’s Soul quite a bit.

🎬 Wonder Woman: 1984 was all kinds of just OK. I mostly enjoyed the set pieces but through the whole thing didn’t fit together that well. I would love a better-written, more cohesive adventure, if there is another sequel. Maybe team up Gal Godot and Linda Carter.

“The French Dispatch” appears, from its initial trailer, to be the most “Wes Anderson” Wes Anderson movie ever.

‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Is Now the Worst-Reviewed ‘Star Wars’ Movie

Per Matt Golderberg at Collider:

Now, the final Rotten Tomatoes tally has come in, and it looks like The Rise of Skywalker is the worst-reviewed Star Wars movie ever, sitting at 52%, one percent lower than Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

I actually enjoyed Rise of Skywalker. The Last Jedi was the film that ruined the Star Wars franchise for me—it wasn’t really bad, like The Phantom Menace, but it both added and threw out so much of the Star Wars canon that it made the phone thing seem silly and unimportant.

Now that I have seen all all three “sequel trilogy” movies, the whole “Star Wars” franchise seems silly and unimportant. Creatively, the sequel trilogy was completely bankrupt, amounting mostly to remakes of the prior (good) films, and repeats and amplifications of prior plot points. I don’t hate it now, though. I think of it as enjoyable cinematic fluff: entertaining diversions, like really high-budget B-movies. It just isn’t important and it clearly doesn’t make any sense. Accepting that, I can enjoy them when I want to escape to “a time long ago, in a galaxy far away,” and otherwise not think about them at all.

🎬 I really enjoyed Rise of the Skywalker. Sure, it contains fan service, but, honestly, all sequels are fan service. I liked it a lot more than The Last Jedi, and think that reviewers like A.O. Scott are just blowing off steam about franchise films or something.

The cast of Solo certainly is appealing, even if the movie itself may be largely inconsequential. To think, I used to care more about the director than the cast. 🎬

🎬 Batman Ninja is easily one of the weirdest movies I have seen—and that includes actual anime. I am still a bit puzzled why I watched it. I guess I’m a sucker for Batman and for animation.

🎬 Rewatching “The Last Jedi”

I am enjoying “The Last Jedi” a lot more on the second viewing. I didn’t like it when I first saw it in the theatre, for a dozen different reasons. But now I get it in a way I hadn’t. Some things I thought were annoying, like Po’s actions, were supposed to be. The whole movie is about learning from failure, and is well structured around that theme.

📽️ Justice League

🎬 I saw “Justice League” last night and really enjoyed it. I had very low expectations, due to its grim, overly macho preview and predecessor. I’m a comic book fan, though, and “Justice League” felt like the sort of story i’ve seen many times before, but, of course, filmed in live action with tons of special effects. I thought that the film did have problems, but it was obviously made for comic book fans—who have read and seen the save-the-world story many times before, and want to see an even bigger version of it—and it succeeded more than all the negative reviews suggested. Yes, I could quibble about a dozen things, and I think the movie would have been even better with just Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman in it, but I enjoyed it quite a bit, and hope they make a sequel in a couple years.

🎬 I saw “Thor: Ragnarok” today and thoroughly enjoyed it. The “Thor” and “Captain America” series started off a little weak but ended up much stronger than the “Iron Man” series, which had the opposite trajectory. It’s upsetting that they never made a “Black Widow” movie series.

🎬 This article is the best thing I’ve ever read about Star Wars.

🎬 I am finally seeing “The Last Jedi” tonight. Hope it is good!