November 12, 2018

Comic-book legend Stan Lee died today at the age of 95.  While most of us are probably most familiar with him from his delightful cameos in the Marvel movies, he was way more than a funny face. Lee didn’t single-handedly build Marvel into the multimedia behemoth it is today. But he, with the help of some talented collaborators, was its prime architect. Lee and Jack Kirby created the X-Men, Fantastic Four and a good chunk of who make up the… Read more

October 30, 2018

We live in some crazy times. In the United States, we may be as divided as I can ever remember, and no division seems perhaps as stringent as the divide today between science and faith. But it wasn’t always so. “There was a time in the mid-1800s, the great revival movement and so on, when there was no difference between being religious and being scientific,” says documentary director David Conover. “They were very much drawing on the same thing. …… Read more

October 25, 2018

“I need to find a way to fill this big, black hole in me.” Nic Sheff (Timothée Chalamet) says this in Beautiful Boy,  speaking in a meeting to family, friends and fellow addicts. He’s talking about his own addictions, especially to crystal meth. “I felt complete,” he says of the aftermath of taking the drug. “I’ve been chasing that high ever since.” He talks about how grateful he is to be off the drug now, how much his parents and… Read more

October 19, 2018

Michael Myers is a big jerk. We’ve known that for a while, of course. The Halloween franchise’s big, bad boogeyman has been terrorizing the teens of Haddonfield, Illinois, for 40 years now. And while the latest sequel (out this very day) conveniently ignores every Halloween film but the 1978 original, Michael’s personal kill count still easily climbs into the double digits. Yes, Michael Myers is indeed a terrible human being. Or is he? Might he be … something else? After… Read more

October 17, 2018

As Halloween tears into theaters this weekend, you might want to keep an eye out for a smaller, lighter option. It’s called Change in the Air and, appropriately, it’s a nice change of pace from the season’s gore-filled horror flicks and heavy Oscar contenders. It’s a light, dreamy story about a quiet neighborhood upended by a mysterious newcomer (played by The Marvelous Ms. Maisel’s Rachel Brosnahan). It’s about the corrosive nature of secrets, the healing power of community and is… Read more

October 12, 2018

The real Neil Armstrong didn’t like to be pinned down, on earth or in heaven. First Man depicts the astronaut as an incredibly private man, and indeed he was. Both political parties wooed the American hero, but Armstrong refused to get into politics. He didn’t talk much about himself—even, as the Associated Press notes (and the movie illustrates), to his family. The movie makes only the smallest of nods toward faith (his daughter is buried in a Christian funeral), and… Read more

October 9, 2018

I watched New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees break one of the National Football League’s most hallowed records last night—one held by one of my favorite players, Peyton Manning. After all, Manning set the mark as a member of the Denver Broncos, my lifelong favorite team. And in a year like this is shaping out to be (the Broncos are 2-3 and just lost a game to the lowly New York Jets), we Broncos fans need all the records and… Read more

October 8, 2018

Is the new movie Venom silly? Yep. Dumb? Sure. No one’s going to walk into Sony’s new superhero movie expecting a thoughtful study on, I dunno, environmental nihilism. It’s a weird mashup of The Exorcist and 48 Hours abducted by its own CGI. But hey, even light, silly, dumb movies can have something to say. And Venom has something to say about science—particularly science divorced from a higher morality. Moviemakers have long been suspicious of science and technology unfettered by… Read more

October 4, 2018

It’s barely October, but the movie awards season seems already in full swing. Oscarbait films are beginning to hit theaters, and one of the biggest just landed like a white-hot asteroid: A Star is Born. The core story is almost as old as the Hollywood hills. Janet Gaynor and Fredric March first brought life this tragic tale in 1937, followed by the more famous remakes of 1954 (Judy Garland and James Mason) and 1976 (Barbra Streisand and Kris Kritofferson). But… Read more

October 4, 2018

A new trailer for Disney’s upcoming fantasy film, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, just rolled out, and boy, does it look … odd. But in a good way. I admit, I’m looking forward to this one. I’m not sure if Disney’s Nutcracker has much to do, plot-wise, at least, with Tchaikovsky’s ballet (or the E.T.A. Hoffman story that inspired him). The title’s “Four Realms” addendum suggests that maybe the Mouse House is toying with creating a holiday franchise out… Read more

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