Robots, Strippers and the Best of 2015 (So Far)

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The idea that Hollywood is reliant on sequels and franchises is nothing new. If anything has changed, it’s that the films no longer have any real interest in working on their own terms. Call it the Marvel Effect if you wish, but the first priority of so many blockbusters these days seems to be the life of the franchise rather than the story they are attempting to tell in the moment. This is certainly the case with Terminator Genisys, which refurbishes the universe of James Cameron’s creation for the modern cinematic age. Of all the ways to make a new Terminator film, the method chosen by the filmmakers is truly one of the weirdest—it is at once a slave to the franchise’s past and a clear attempt at creating something new. It does neither job well, and ultimately betrays the best aspects of the franchise it is trying so hard to revitalize. Continue reading

Optimism, Destroyed by Earthquake

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 10.28.17 PMThis post vaguely discusses the end of Tomorrowland

There’s a scene toward the end of Tomorrowland, the latest blockbuster Disney adventure directed by Brad Bird, where we are presented with a long monologue about how humans have made no effort to avoid the apocalypse—in fact, we have embraced it, particularly in our media and entertainment. Not 24 hours after I sat through this sermon, I decided to take in San Andreas, the smash Dwayne Johnson vehicle that depicts the obliteration of California by earthquake. It was difficult not to constantly think back to the Disney film’s words about how we view the apocalypse while sitting through all the CGI mayhem, and it seems the more movies I watch the less patience I generally have for the use of mass disaster as a means of entertainment. Millions may die and cities may be leveled, but who cares as long as Johnson gets back to his family? Continue reading