Of all the adjectives that flitted through my head when I learned that Kurt Sutter (the creator of Sons of Anarchy and a writer on The Shield) was teaming up with Antoine Fuqua (the director of Training Day, Tears of the Sun, and Olympus Has Fallen), “dull” wasn’t one of them. And yet I couldn’t help hearing that word banging about my skull while coming out of the screening of Southpaw, a paint-by-numbers tale of loss and redemption.
Ant-Man is the latest offering from the Marvel movie factory, and like its predecessors it is an expert confection of light-hearted, low-calorie fluff: a movie that is funny and amusing and action-packed without anything approaching real sentiment or emotion and that never diverts from the studio’s house style.
The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards Skynet. That’s my takeaway from five Terminator movies. No matter what we do, no matter how many attempts we make to go through time to stop it, we’re going to wind up with a self-aware computer system that is bent on the destruction of mankind.
As a red-blooded American male, I take a great deal of pride in being emotionally dead inside. This is especially true when it comes to films: A man tearing up during a touching moment on the big screen is entirely unacceptable, unless, of course, one happens to be watching the closing moments of Field of Dreams.
One imagines that the elevator pitch for Rick Famuyiwa’s Dope was simple: “It’s Risky Business by way of Boyz ’n’ the Hood!” While the funny but scattered indie doesn’t quite live up to that elevated pedigree, Dope is nevertheless a hearteningly low-key change of pace from the general bombast of the summer months.
What’s most frustrating about Jurassic World is that there’s part of a good movie in there, somewhere, just dying to get out. Unfortunately, it’s buried under a thin ash of nostalgia, smothered by a uselessly mawkish family drama, and strangled by a profusion of half-thought-out subplots that don’t make a particularly great deal of sense.