Alien: Covenant is a film that’s asking the big questions, the life-altering musings that only the greatest masters of cinema would attempt to tackle. Questions that have reverberated throughout the ages. Questions like: Where do we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? Why did the people making Prometheus hire Guy Pearce—in his mid-forties when the film was released—to play the wizened, ancient, age-spot-covered Peter Weyland?
Guardians of the Galaxy was a breath of fresh air in 2014, injecting new life into the Marvel Cinematic Universe by bringing a huge-hearted, utterly absurd comic space opera starring foul-mouthed rodents and talking trees to the big screen. The perfect mix of humor and action, Guardians of the Galaxy remains one of the best pictures Marvel has made.
In the latest Substandard, I ranted about anti-science foodies and JVL lectured me on how all techno-thrillers ever made have been amazingly good while Vic regaled us with stories of his A-plus parenting. We spent a lot of time talking about The Circle, though, and I wanted to expand on some of my thoughts about it below. So, after the podcast (to which you can subscribe and leave a review here; if you don’t leave a review, Luke Skywalker will blow up another government office building), I’ll have some more thoughts on The Circle, almost certainly the worst major film that will be released this year.
As I was leaving the preview screening for Free Fire, I was somewhat surprised to hear an audience member telling a compatriot that it was “the best-edited film [they’ve] seen all year.” On the one hand, the year is still short—we’re only a third of the way through it and other contenders include mish-mashed semi-coherent tripe such as The Fate of the Furious. Maybe this guy just hadn’t, you know, seen many movies this year.
Reinhold Niebuhr just won’t go away—which, for a twentieth-century liberal theologian, is saying something. Nearly a half-century after his death in 1971 he is still regularly cited in discussions of American politics (Barack Obama called him his “favorite philosopher”), many of his books are still in print, and in 2015 his major works were published by the Library of America. Now he is the subject of an impressively produced documentary—broadcasting on PBS and the World Channel this month—that will further encourage interest in America’s most popular and brilliant midcentury intellectual.
There’s a funny moment from South Park involving Kyle Broflovski’s reaction to The Passion of the Christ. He cringes and holds his head, averting his eyes from the violence done to Jim Caviezel’s Jesus. He winces and hunches. Eventually, overcome by the imagery on the screen, he vomits on himself, emotionally and physically spent.
This is basically how I felt watching The Fate of the Furious. I hope the Regal Majestic crew didn’t mind the mess.