Movie Review – We’re All Going to the World’s Fair

We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (2022)
Written & Directed by Jane Schoenbrun

Reality is breaking down. By this, I mean humanity has fragmented into billions of hyper-individualistic pods, each of which often seems to be creating its own version of reality in its head. You can see this most prominently in the QAnon types who construct wildly elaborate fantasies of their childhood favorites not really being dead, that Trump is still the president, and the inevitable arrival of disease-curing medbeds. These are all real delusions that a significant portion of the American population is under now. The youth are escaping in their own way too. A TikTok trend a few months ago (or was it years? Time is also falling apart) had teenagers and young adults speaking with conviction about manifesting themselves into a parallel reality where they were students at Hogwarts. They would describe elaborate scenarios of having relationships with fictional characters they’d been reading about since they were children. I would look at this and say they were just lucid dreaming, but it was a version of tangible reality to them. We create dream realms because the systems we live under have done a shit job preparing us to face the horrors of the present moment.

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Movie Review – The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022)
Written by Tom Gormican & Kevin Etten
Directed by Tom Gormican

At this point, we must acknowledge that Nicolas Cage is a movie institution. He makes movies he is passionate about or jobs that help pay for something new in his life. His motivations are the same as any working person; he just sometimes gets paid an obscenely large amount for what he does. For example, Pig (2021) was made on a budget of around $3 million and earned back just a little more than that at the box office. This tells us that Cage didn’t agree to star in that film for the payday but because he genuinely believed in the project. As much as a cartoon as he’s become in the zeitgeist, I still see him as a genuine artist who doesn’t care what you or I think at the end of the day. He’s in the movies that he wants to be in. With this picture, he allows the filmmakers to deconstruct his film persona for some laughs and genuine human insight.

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Comic Book Review – Daredevil: Lockdown and Devil’s Reign

Daredevil: Lockdown (2021)
Reprints Daredevil #31-36
Written by Chip Zdarsky
Art by Mike Hawthorne, Marco Checchetto, Stefano Landini, Francesco Mobili, and Manuel Garcia

Devil’s Reign (2022)
Reprints Devil’s Reign #1-6 & Devil’s Reign Omega
Written by Chip Zdarsky
Art by Marco Checchetto

Throughout Chip Zdarsky’s current run on Daredevil, he’s made it a point to show how it’s not just organized crime that creates problems in urban environments. The police & the city government will agitate the public to serve their own purposes, often to continue a flow of money & power from criminal enterprise. Lockdown finds Matt Murdock serving time in prison while being allowed to keep his identity secret due to a Supreme Court ruling within the Marvel Universe. Being spotlighted as Daredevil doesn’t afford him any benefits, though and he quickly becomes targeted by his fellow inmates but also a corrupt warden.

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Movie Review – Men

Men (2022)
Written & Directed by Alex Garland

Alex Garland has been a complicated director for me. I can’t say I’ve ever loved his work, but I find it fascinating. Every time he releases a film or, in one instance, made a television series, I am there for it. I don’t think you can argue that Garland is an uninteresting filmmaker though you could say he has a lot of missteps or doesn’t necessarily communicate his ideas clearly. When the first trailer for Men dropped, I knew I would be watching it as soon as possible and that it would be a unique viewing experience as all his work has been. Men has gotten a lot of negative press and seems to be both a critical and box office failure. I knew all these things going into it but ended up loving it more than I have most of Garland’s other work. It is undoubtedly his most esoteric movie, and I understand the adverse reactions entirely.

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Movie Review – Nope

Nope (2022)
Written & Directed by Jordan Peele

It’s rare to have these moments, but this is the most excited I have been to write about a new release film for a long time. Especially a summer blockbuster movie, which has become one of my least favorite kinds of films in recent years. Before we get into the meat of the interview, I will also say that this is my favorite Jordan Peele movie, and I would argue it is the picture that will take him to the next level of his career. Get Out & Us are great movies, but I think Nope has that extra bit that was always missing for me. This is a movie that people should discuss in how they talk about Jaws or The Exorcist or any other “phenomenon” movie. If Nope had come out in the 1980s, it would have been a massive hit on the level of those movies. Unfortunately, I think it won’t have that level of buzz because we live in such a media-saturated world.

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Comic Book Review – Icon and Rocket: Season One

Icon and Rocket: Season One (2022)
Reprints Icon and Rocket: Season One #1-6
Written by Reginald Hudlin
Art by Doug Braithwaite

When I was thirteen, I got two comic book fan magazine subscriptions. Of course, one was Wizard Magazine. If you were a comic book fan in America in the 1990s, you likely owned at least a few issues of this publication. The other magazine, well, I cannot for the life of me remember the name of it. I have looked up lists of American comics mags from the period and cannot find it. I remember the cover was in color, but the magazine’s inside was black & white, not quite newsprint but not fantastic paper either. It was sold in our local Kroger grocery store. If you know what it might be, let me know. I say all of that to state that my first knowledge of DC’s Milestone Comics imprint happened with that second magazine.

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Movie Review – Hatching

Hatching (2022)
Written by Ilja Rautsi
Directed by Hanna Bergholm

In American culture, a fraction of the populace has been lost & enamored in the concept of internet celebrity. This often manifests as a desire to be an “influencer,” typically a poster on Instagram promoting products to their followers. For people who can’t ascertain a particular talent or passion due to living in a society that leaves its people exhausted from extracting their labor, being an influencer feels like a “get rich quick” scheme. People hope to escape the drudgery of everyday life by cultivating a fanbase around their internet persona. It’s understandable, but that doesn’t make it any less depressing. That’s the thing with capitalism; it rarely offers the idea of introspection or knowing one’s self; instead, it encourages us to perform so that we can be accepted into an artificial norm majority. Well, it seems it’s not just the United States experiencing this, as this horror picture from Finland is interested in examining the phenomenon.

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