Patron Pick – Eagle vs. Shark

This is a special reward available to Patreon patrons who pledge at the $10 or $20 a month levels. Each month those patrons will pick a film for me to review. If they choose, they also get to include some of their thoughts about the movie. This Pick comes from Bekah Lindstrom.

Eagle vs. Shark (2007)
Written & Directed by Taika Waititi

I do not like Taika Waititi. Let me clarify. I don’t like what Waititi’s work has become; the worst aspects of his pre-Thor: Ragnarok work have just been amplified and played up, and it has diminished for me what might have otherwise been a fairly notable filmmaking career. I think Boy and Hunt for the Wilderpeople are the best pieces of his work. In terms of his producing/supporting other artists, Reservation Dogs is fantastic. But that’s about it as far as I’m concerned. Eagle vs. Shark might be one of the best examples of Waititi wasting his talent, and we will certainly get into it.

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Patron Pick – Blow Out

This is a special reward available to Patreon patrons who pledge at the $10 or $20 a month levels. Each month those patrons will pick a film for me to review. If they choose, they also get to include some of their own thoughts about the movie. This Pick comes from Matt Harris.

Blow Out (1981)
Written & Directed by Brian De Palma

In 1966, Italian director Michaelangelo Antonioni wrote & directed Blow-Up, a mystery film about a fashion photographer who believes he may have caught a crime on film while shooting in a park. When director Brian De Palma was working on Dressed to Kill, he started to think about reframing Antonioni’s film around sound rather than images. By late 1980, De Palma was shooting Blow Out in his hometown of Philadelphia, working alongside many recurring collaborators. The result is a film made in the vein of dozens of 1970s political thrillers, wrapped up in the post-Watergate paranoia that has fueled Americans’ minds ever since. 

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TV Review – The West Wing Sucks Part 5

Not much has changed in the 24 hours since I posted my last review of this bullshit show. This weekend is being used by the elite to try and burn the fight out of many Americans. On Monday, they expect all the groveling cows to return to their shitty jobs for paltry wages. Congress is on their two-week break, and I can guarantee you’re going to see ramping up of anti-LGBTQ talking points among the conservative campaigns in the coming months. Hell, at this point, I suspect the Dems will join them on those talking points, appealing to an imaginary group of conservatives that would ever vote for a Dem. 

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Comic Book Review – Justice League: The Darkseid War

Justice League: The Darkseid War Essential Edition (2018)
Reprints Justice League #40-50, Justice League: The Darkseid War Special, and DC Sneak Peek: Justice League
Written by Geoff Johns
Directed by Jason Fabok and Francis Manapul

The New 52 came in with the Justice League and ended with it too. After fifty issues, Geoff Johns capped off his run as Rebirth became the banner on every comic. With this final arc, Johns could wrap up most of the threads laid out over the last four years, more or less. The Darkseid War brought back the titular menace from the first arc and expanded on DC lore. Now it did so in some highly confusing ways and clashed with other points, but this is sort of a thing for DC Comics ever since Crisis. The continuity just doesn’t quite fit. But you just get used to it and move on, I suppose.

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Movie Review – Amarcord

Amarcord (1973)
Written by Federico Fellini and Tonino Guerra
Directed by Federico Fellini

Nostalgia is a hell of a thing, ain’t it? It’s such a powerful hallucinogen. People construct vivid dreams out of fragments of memories that make them yearn for a non-existent past when they were a child and blind to the workings of the universe. Fellini knows it too, and while he wasn’t overtly political (he was a member of Christian Democracy and Catholic but was rather wishy-washy when it came to pinning his personal beliefs down), he clearly was disgusted by authoritarianism. Fellini experienced this in the form of Mussolini’s fascist movement when he was a child, made to participate in the basic compulsory youth programs that never asked for parental permission. Amarcord is the story of fondly remembering childhood but being unable to close your eyes to the evil at the core of quaint small-town life.

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TV Review – The West Wing Sucks Part 4

This is the end. Not of the world, probably not of humanity (yet). This is the end of the age we were born into. The world we knew is burning away. The world to come is uncertain. It could be fascist. It could be socialist. I am distraught it is the former. If you are out of the loop, reproductive rights for people with a uterus are gone in the United States. This is a reversal of a ruling predicate on a right to personal privacy. 

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Movie Review – Juliet of the Spirits

Juliet of the Spirits (1965)
Written by Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli, Ennio Flaiano, and Brunello Rondi
Directed by Federico Fellini

8 ½ garnered justified acclaim for Federico Fellini, adding to his reputation as one of the best filmmakers of all-time while in the middle of his career. That success caused the director to continue down this path of psychoanalysis through cinema in his following picture, Juliet of the Spirits. He once again centered a movie around his wife & constant muse, Giulietta Masina, whom he hadn’t made a film with since Nights of Cabiria, seven years prior. The relationship between these two was not necessarily conventional, but it worked for them. They occupied different floors of the same house day to day and had different circles of friends. It’s well-known that Fellini constantly flirted with other women, but they stayed together and seemed to have a very passionate relationship. In Fellini’s words, Juliet of the Spirits was an homage to Masina. 

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Movie Review – 8 1/2

8 ½ (1963)
Written by Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli, Ennio Flaiano, and Brunello Rondi
Directed by Federico Fellini

Somewhere around the first quarter of rewatching this film (for me, it was my wife’s first time), I turned to Ariana. We exchanged knowing looks, and eventually, one of us spoke. “This is fucking incredibly good, right?” The other confirmed this statement as we returned to watch what is undoubtedly one of the best films ever made. I first saw 8 ½ before my brain was truly ready for it. I was a twentysomething with arrested development due to being brought up in a homeschooled household. My neophyte brain was just developing during those years, playing catch up. Now, at 41, I look at 8 ½, and I see a film that resonates with me on a level few films do. This is what an artistic masterpiece looks like.

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Movie Review – La Dolce Vita

La Dolce Vita (1960)
Written by Federico Fellini, Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli, Brunello Rondi, and Pier Paolo Pasolini
Directed by Federico Fellini

It’s not often that a film’s inspiration starts with a trend in women’s fashion, but that is where La Dolce Vita began. Sack dresses were becoming popular in Italy and would eventually become one of the iconic pieces of 1960s fashion. Fellini said they fascinated him because they were so flowing and formless that you did not know the body type of the woman wearing them. This led him to think about the tremendous aesthetic beauty happening in the wealthier circles he was moving in as his filmmaking reputation grew, how, from the outside, it was flowing and luxurious, but that the truth was hidden inside somewhere. Fellini also had tremendous help building out this initial thought with a staff of five writers, including longtime collaborator Tullio Pinelli. Pinelli met Fellini at a newsstand which he refers to as a moment of creative lightning striking. The two were in sync from the start and, with the other writers, told a story of the excess of Italian nightlife looking very different in the early morning light.

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