Fool Me Once: A Review of “X-Men: Days of Future Past”

I am sick to death of superhero franchises. We need to put a stop to them, and quickly.

Studios have realized two things: One, that people will see absolutely anything as long as it’s got superheroes or a Marvel logo in it, and two, that they can trick people into getting invested in the franchise by treating it like a television show. X-Men: Days of Future Past is an infuriating film, mostly because it isn’t a film at all. It’s a palate cleanser, a mega-blockbuster excuse to stroke fandom ego and put pieces in place for their next mega-blockbuster. And they’ve sunk lower than ever before with this one. This movie is less like an episode of a TV show and more like the webisode-prequel to a new season of a TV show. There is nothing accomplished in this movie that isn’t just about moving pieces into place for whatever the next movie is going to be about. It’s an insult to the audience.

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A Review of “Noah”

The funny thing about religious texts, including the Bible, is how much of human nature they take for granted. When Abraham is told to kill his son, the text doesn’t say that he was wracked with indecision for days. There aren’t really any characters in the Bible. The people spoken of are always conduits for God’s word or will and not much else in terms of personality. In fact, the most complex Biblical characters are the ones who don’t obey the word of God. Consider Cain, who is driven by greed and jealousy towards his more successful brother. Is he evil? No doubt. But his motives are more relatable than, say, Moses’, because I’m guessing most people reading this haven’t literally been contacted by God for a personal mission.

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Josh’s Favorite Films: “Fargo”

Since the Academy Awards a few weeks ago, there’s been a lull in content on Popcorn Culture. That’s mostly due to the lack of good movies being released, as always happens around this time of year. The Grand Budapest Hotel and Nymphomaniac are around the corner, but they’re not in theaters near me yet. So to compensate for this drought, I’m introducing a new series. It’s something I’ve really never done before, so it should be interesting to see how it goes. Every so often, when there’s some downtime on the site, I’ll write up a review of one of my favorite films of all time. The inaugural post will be for the 1996 Coen Bros. classic Fargo. Enjoy!

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Best Picture Odyssey: “Nebraska”

Well, we’ve reached the end of the series. I kinda wish I had something more bombastic to close with, but this isn’t exactly a great list of nominees. I mean, I don’t hate all the films, and a few of them even made my top 10 from last year (including this week’s subject), but for the most part this is a pretty forgettable group of films. It’s a side effect of expanding the field to nine or ten nominees. When’s the last time you heard someone talk about Beasts of the Southern Wild, or Amour? I can’t see Philomena or Dallas Buyers Club still being dissected and analyzed next February.  Continue reading Best Picture Odyssey: “Nebraska”

A Review of “The LEGO Movie”

When you’re a young film buff, just starting to dig in to cinema’s massive canon, there’s this feeling that comes with each film you watch. It’s a kind of high, really. It’s a mixture of bliss and astonishment, of wonder and revelation. In the few years you’ve lived up to this point, you’ve never experienced such an elaborate array of thoughts and emotions from a film. You understand what people mean when they say that films are “great,” and there’s nothing that you want to do more than consume as many of these great films as you possibly can. Cinema is your drug, and you’ve just taken your first hit.

But as with all drugs, the strength of the high fades as time goes on. You’re able to intellectually recognize “greatness” in films, and there’s still a fantastic wave of joy that comes with watching them. If there wasn’t, you wouldn’t watch movies anymore. But in the back of your mind, you know that you’re never going to get that original feeling back. The more films you watch, the harder it becomes for a film to surprise you, and becoming an adult means dampening that part of your brain that gets excited about absolutely everything that’s new. That’s just the way that the world works.

Why do I mention all this? Well, for a long time it’s what I assumed was true. It’s not true, though. I know that now. Because a couple days ago I saw The LEGO Movie, and I felt something inside me that I haven’t felt for a very, very long time. I felt like I was seeing something new.

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Best Picture Odyssey: “Captain Phillips”

This is going to be a much shorter review than the other ones in this series, for a couple reasons. First, and probably most importantly, I haven’t seen this movie in a very long while. It came out in October, the second earliest release of any of its fellow nominees (bested only by Gravity) and it’s not exactly the kind of film that ingrains itself in the cultural zeitgeist for very long after it comes out. To be honest, I don’t remember it very well. I mean, I remember scenes and shots and moments. But if I had any in-depth opinions on it, they’re long gone. There is another reason that this is going to be a short review, though. I spent most of this week thinking about another movie, one that I liked a lot more than this and one that I have a lot more to say about. That review will go up in a day or so. But anyway. Captain Phillips. Let’s do this.

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Best Picture Odyssey: “Philomena”

Ugh, do I have to?

That sounds like a negative judgment, but it’s not. In fact, I think this is a pretty good movie, all things considered. But it’s not a really interesting type of good. It’s so generically effective and engaging that talking about it is kinda boring. Well, here goes nothing.

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