One of these days, Hollywood is finally going to do what it’s been trying to do for decades now: turn out a video game adaptation that is not only a critical success but also a box office smash. The fact that the industry has failed on both accounts literally every time they’ve tried is, apparently, not enough to stop the powers that be from hoping that, seriously, one of these days, eventually, somehow, someway, a video game will be turned into a great film.
The debut of Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation the weekend before last prompted any number of think pieces on Tom Cruise. Essays and interviews focused on “The Rehabilitation of Tom Cruise,” while (accurate) proclamations that he’s “The Greatest Movie Star of All Time” were made. We looked back at “Cruise’s Oscar Years” as part of Grantland’s “Tom Cruise Week,” which featured a NCAA-style bracket to determine which Cruise character completes us.
The new documentary Best of Enemies suggests that if you want to know why the cable news landscape looks like it does—with endless gibbering armies of talking heads racking up hour after hour of airtime—you could do worse than considering the encounters between William F. Buckley Jr. and Gore Vidal during the 1968 party conventions.
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.