Black Panther is unmistakably a Marvel Cinematic Universe origin film: competently executed with the house anti-style largely intact; solidly acted with a few well-choreographed action sequences that culminate in an un-rousing and sometimes-shoddy-looking CGI mishmash; and seasoned with a healthy dose of humor and inter-universe connections designed to appeal to those of us who have waded through the previous 17 entries in the indefatigable mega-franchise.
Imagine being surprised with a gift from a friend. They come to your office, put a nicely wrapped present on your desk, and say goodbye. How sweet! It’s not your birthday; Christmas is long past. You didn’t get married recently. This is just a nice little boost to your day. And then you open up the present and you look inside and it’s … well. Yeah. I’m pretty sure that’s doggie doo doo.
In the latest episode of the Substandard (subscribe, review, etc.), Vic, JVL, and I discuss the Super Bowl (ugh, JVL is disgustingly happy) as well as westerns, tied to Hostiles. What better time to rank the five greatest post-Unforgiven westerns?
I’m not even mad. I’m impressed. It takes some guts to publish a 1,500-word Facebook post 20 minutes before the State of the Union explaining why you, Hillary Clinton, feminist hero, didn’t fire a dude for sexually harassing one of your young female staffers despite the fact that everyone in your campaign told you to get rid of him ASAP. It’s kind of like, I dunno, trading for a new franchise quarterback in the middle of the Cavalcade of Horrors section of Donald Trump’s speech.
There’s a moment in 12 Strong—a fact-based accounting of the first Special Forces team inserted into Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks—when the soldiers we’ve been following watch a video of a woman being stoned to death in Afghanistan. It is brutal and ugly but not what one of the men had asked for. “This isn’t intel, it’s motivation,” he says, adding that he doesn’t need motivation. He’s got two collapsed skyscrapers and 3,000 dead Americans worth of motivation.
In an odd moment of judicial bravado today, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina proclaimed “I just signed your death warrant” to Larry Nassar while sentencing him to as many as 175 years in prison. Twitter and IRL lawyer Gabriel Malor suggested some reasons as to why this bit of showboating was improper, and his thoughts are well worth reading. Mostly, though, I was left wondering: “Well, why not literally sign a death warrant for Nassar?”