Movie Review – Dark Night

Dark Night (2016)
Written & Directed by Tim Sutton

On July 20th, 2012, during a midnight screen of The Dark Knight Returns, a man wearing tactical gear set off tear gas inside the theater and proceeded to fire into the audience using multiple firearms he’d prepared for this occasion. 12 people were dead, 58 were wounded in the shooting. What followed was another cycle of the gun/mental health debate in America, which ended, as always, with nothing done on either front by leaders who feared political reprisal if they were to act. It was another reminder that we live in a society where the average and considered politically safest response of an elected official in the wake of mass murder is to do nothing.

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TV Review – Joe Pera Talks With You

Joe Pera Talks With You Season 1 (Adult Swim)
Written by Joe Pera, Connor O’Malley, Jo Firestone, Amalia Levari, and Dan Licata
Directed by Marty Schousboe

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a fascinating cultural anomaly, part of a state yet physically separate. The Yoopers have been shaped by a brutally cold winter landscape. There’s a strong sense of independence because of their geographic isolation. They take pleasure in the sports and activities of winter because it lasts nearly eight months for them in some years. This isn’t a barren wasteland though, Yoopers have a rich culture of arts, food, and even a quirky sense of humor. Joe Pera was born in Ithaca, New York, but is based out of Michigan now.

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Movie Review – The King of Comedy

The King of Comedy (1982)
Written by Paul D. Zimmerman
Directed by Martin Scorsese

The King of Comedy came out in the wake of Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, and Raging Bull. It features no gratuitous sex or nudity, little profanity, and not one drop of blood (well DeNiro does get a small scratch on his hand in the opening scene). It is a Scorsese film with a PG rating. When it was initially released, the film was a total failure. People went in expecting laughs with a title like The King of Comedy, but instead from an uncomfortable and cringe-inducing character study about the demented nature of fame. Todd Phillips cites this as one of the primary influences on his recent movie Joker, but it’s relatively clear he couldn’t reproduce the script that makes The King of Comedy one of Scorsese’s best.

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Movie Review – Joker

Joker (2019)
Written by Todd Phillips & Scott Silver
Directed by Todd Phillips

We are incapable of having a nuanced conversation about anything in popular culture. As I scroll through endless hot takes on Warner Bros.’ latest DC Comics property turned movie Joker, I find myself getting numbingly-exhausted. Apparently, Joker is either A) a clarion call to Trump-loving incels or B) the most magnificent piece of cinema ever produced, so we should end filmmaking now. Joker is a beautiful, ugly, well-acted, terribly-written, film that says so much while being so profoundly shallow and on the nose. This is going to be a long review and go into a lot of detail, much of which will involve me rambling about things you may find tangentially unconnected from Joker, but this is my review so…nyah.

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Movie Review – Wings of Desire

Wings of Desire (1987)
Written by Wim Wenders, Peter Handke, & Richard Reitinger
Directed by Wim Wenders

In the late 1980s, the city of Berlin was divided, split down the center by the construction of the Berlin Wall by the Soviets in 1961. This wall served as a physical representation of the ideological rift that existed in the world during the Cold War. While Wings of Desire is not about this wall, it is ever-present in the background, a reminder that West Berlin was once part of a whole and in 1987 a fragment. Our first scene puts the audience above the city, through the eyes of the angel, that is the film’s protagonist. We see the complexity and beauty of this place through the perspective of one who loves it and the people dearly.

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PopCult September 2019 Digest

Features
My Favorite Stephen King Adaptations
Short Film Showcase #3
Short Film Showcase #4
Best of the 2010s: My Favorite Films of 2016

Movie Reviews (*** = popcult recommends)
Revenge
Leave No Trace ***
Pet Semetary (2019)
Stand By Me
It Chapter Two
To Kill a Mockingbird ***
Support the Girls
Cinema Paradiso
In Fabric ***
Between Two Ferns
Tigers Are Not Afraid

Television Reviews
Best of All in the Family Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7

Comic Book Reviews
The Wild Storm Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4
Heroes in Crisis

Comic Book Review – Heroes in Crisis

Heroes in Crisis (2019)
Reprints Heroes in Crisis #1-9
Written by Tom King
Art by Clay Mann & Mitch Gerards

Most event comics in the DC Universe are now bloated multi-title crossovers that stretch their thin story premise to an unreasonable length. They find some way to hammer the word “crisis” into the title as a way of drumming up nostalgia in burnout fanboys. If you read my reviews of the DC event books a couple of summers ago then you know I have had my nostalgia glasses removed and see most of my love for these books evaporating. I’m an adult now, and the understanding I had of story structure and character development has evolved since those days. Zero Hour and Infinite Crisis are just convoluted and boring books at this point. Then Tom King comes along, riding the acclaim of work like The Vision and Mr. Miracle. It’s announced he’ll be writing Heroes in Crisis, an event book.

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