Quick-Thoughts: Space Jam 2 A New Legacy

“Gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:23

Idk, I’m not religious, but it sure feels like that line was made to prophesies Space Jam 2: A New Legacy breaking all order for the human race, huh?

You know what? I have no doubt that A.I. has the potential to write better movies than us in the future, but if Space Jam 2: A New Legacy proves anything, it’s that we’re currently living in its developmental stage where if it were to be used in the mainstream, it would be *wrongly* used to draw in tickets rather than to break creative boundaries. It’s kind of sad that even for something following up what I’d call an overrated cult phenomena which already reeked a bit of corporate gimmick to begin with, it had to be the one and only offering generated first from what appears to be some sort of algorithmic machine that manages to calculate up a whole two-hour CRIB TOUR of everything Warner Bros. owns while maintaining it within the confines of their 150-million dollar budget, analyzing each property for if their investment would be worth it in regards to current audience recognizability or whatever other nostalgic fish-bate deviancy they were going for with this steroid of a product. I mean, the amount of DC referencing here says it all.

The best way I can describe this movie is that it’s essentially a two hour conga line that wants to add on a random quick joke or pop culture reference to its back at least every five seconds, but the overbearingness of how much information that requires is ultimately forcing the presumed army of desk job workers (or A.I. bots) to write them all on the spot in whatever constrained time frame they were given to finish everything, and on top of that, were also forced to conspire loopholes that could interweave an actual story into this back and forth mania with themes, plot or character revelations which felt, again, as if they were pressured to be thought up of “on the spot”, no matter the cost of how convenient, cheesy, or ridiculous every single one of them ended up being. Yep, every single one.

So in hindsight, all this movie did for me was just reaffirm that in defiance of even my own ADHD issues, I still manage to have boomer-tendencies because of how frustrated I was with the possible swiftness that a movie’s agenda could get. Godspeed, Warner Bros., and pay your animators extra for wasting their very apparent talent. 

The Come and See (1985) cameo was pretty lit though. 

Verdict: D-

2021 Ranked

“Space Jam 2: A New Legacy” is now playing in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.

Quick-Thoughts: Leos Carax’s Holy Motors (2012)

“Your punishment… is to be you.” 

Strangely enough, I’ve actually written out a premise for a movie I’m planning on making in the near future that happens to be quite similar to Holy Motors’. However, the execution I had in mind wasn’t even… umm… anything remotely like this.

In the industry, our world becomes a movie, lost in its roles. It seems that anybody could easily describe this film as being a vignette of out-of-context sequences that could be in various different types of movies, but for what it’s worth contextually with its themes and messages, I actually think what Leos Carax has done here is often well open (a few times to a fault) about the concerns it wants to make regarding the performer experience. It honestly reminds me of something Jean-Luc Godard would come up with (maybe not edit) but with WAY less talking in it, conforming to its excess and commitments of visual fiction within fiction to insight the burdening complexity that the succeeding artist must put themselves through. Holy Motors is a beautiful, spacious, maybe even sometimes tragic and absurd little waltz basically made for full-time actors who’re going through a midlife crisis, but one with enough sundry insinuation there to suggest that being an “actor” could well be representative of the precise, terminological reflection of what a human being is in general, creatures who behave as if they’re being constantly re-scripted into new characters, commanded to stage acts through predeterminations drafted by perhaps a ruling order such as God or if we go off our more literal actor theory, the mechanical, amalgamated, concealed, and ever so aging yet also victimized state of industry upper-ups themselves. That’s very cram-y, Carax, but I f**k with it. What a riotous capper of a final scene too! Gloomy satire! 

Here’s a fun fact though for those who’ve seen the movie already: right as Ryan Gosling saw Eva Mendes (now wife) get swooped away straight from the hands of a homeless, cannibalistic sewer leprechaun, that’s when he actually knew he had fallen in love.

Verdict: A-

Leos Carax Ranked [Coming Soon]

“Holy Motors” is now available to stream on Kanopy.

Quick-Thoughts: John Cassavetes’ Minnie and Moskowitz (1971)

Oh how I’ve missed John Cassavetes and the absolute… dread… that his movies make me feel. Anyways though, this movie should’ve been called “U-Turns and Moskowitz” instead.

Something I’ve come to notice as a frequent custom of Cassavetes regarding his films is that he has his actors willingly repeat a lot of the same lines over and over again, but I can’t help but connect with that myself because these instances usually occur whenever either two strangers are interacting or someone close to another is trying to convince them of something that really isn’t true. It seems to me that in conversations such as these, lines may technically be worded differently but a lot of the times they feel like desperate, ingenuine manipulations to make themselves appear like they care when they really don’t give a s**t or are doing so because they themselves internally wish they were interested enough to the degree of being able to eulogize someone constantly to an obnoxious tea, hence why in full view it’s basically just repetition. Cassavetes to me understands this phony talk we find clashing in ourselves, and decides to cut the bulls**t in his bitterness of it, making characters repeat exact lines over and over again, representing the uncovered form of our blabber and revealing how much reiteration we have to say to others and in a psychological way back to ourselves to convince all which are inclusive that what we’re saying comes from the heart and out of places of assuredness for the world we live in, when in reality, it may just derive from a habit that comes from very human, social insecurities, as if we need these tedious, idealistic claims to keep us from actually using our brains — stay away from mental chaos!

Minnie and Moskowitz deals in characters who are able to easily explode emotionally as if the background of society has been stripped down, a personality trait of character writing and performance that almost seems too rare in the world of cinema. In reality, people aren’t programed to be able to bottle that emotion up to complete mental tranquility, and I love it when movies understand that and showcase characters who are vulnerable enough sometimes to lose their sense of any precaution to what society sees even if just for a couple minutes, whether we’re dealing with complete jackasses of characters that you want to spit at or one’s you feel are true victims to the people that encompass them, fueling desperation.

I mean, Minnie and Moskowitz in general feels like a Woman’s hellhole as well. It’s an outspoken exemplar of a time period’s common male thinking but amplified by psycho characters to really showcase how ugly misogynistic mindsets are compared to if they were presented through the supposedly “normal”, quiet types. But, even like the film’s diss on the inauthenticity of cinema especially when it comes to romances, as much as you may hate having to witness difficult people as your leads in a story, Cassavetes simply doesn’t write Prince Charmings because he knows there aren’t any. In a world so merciless, and when you’re so lonely right in it, you may just be willing enough to resort to opening up with the most selfish and unpleasant of individuals. It’s amazing how the state of what we live in could drive us anywhere at this point, no matter how demeaning the destination may be. Sadly, sometimes we allow ourselves to be imprisoned by others because that’s just how we were taught, to forget about the self and worry about the ironically terrible people that cornered us into this box in the first place. Is this what love is? Jeepers.

Oh, and pass it down to our kids too, why don’t we? Smh.

Verdict: A-

John Cassavetes Ranked

“Minnie and Moskowitz” is now available to stream on The Criterion Channel.

Quick-Thoughts: Space Jam (1996)

So this is basically just Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters but for Michael Jordan’s career, right? And instead of using mainly the work of his past to heft the film thematically they use mainly Looney Tunes shenanigans to do it instead. Da? 

I guess it’s hard not to at least applaud a film for being this outright weird, let alone one made for a large mainstream audience of 90s children, competitive basketball fans, and nostalgic adults hungry for some Looney Tunes crave. From aliens “talent-extracting” people, steroid references, a suspiciously casual slavery plot point, humans being ball-folded/inflated, and ummm… public masturbation jokes, yeah, Space Jam you could say was a “trip”. For a movie that creatively wants to be a representation of Michael Jordan’s transition from basketball to baseball and his booming revival then back to basketball, however, they sure do shadow his story for the mundane Looney Tunes narrative at hand. 

The beginning of the movie sufficiently explains Michael Jordan’s decision to switch over to baseball, but from there on out it gets loose with its reality-based comparisons. In the second act, Michael Jordan almost instantly decides to play basketball again when asked, leaving the core concept to such wasted potential as the rest of the film becomes your predictable, formulaic sports game flick that happens to have a few blatant allegories here and there. For example, there’s one about ominous contractors who are willing to sell the soul of their players, but it doesn’t do anything with it because of how restricted it is in this children’s narrative that can’t do anything but say said *parallel* exists and then leave it at that. Space Jam is either just a series of tame insinuations or really unfunny references to the familiar Looney Tunes characters’ quirks and pop culture of the 90s. 

The main theme is such a bop though. 

Verdict: C-

“Space Jam” is now available to stream on HBO Max and Hulu.

Quick-Thoughts: Fear Street Part Three: 1666

Yo, these MOFOs were way ahead of their time taking perks in 1666.

The first half of this conclusion to the three-part Fear Street saga is such a run-of-the-mill retread of a Salem’s Witch Trial conundrum that cowers to go beyond the standard story beat of people who don’t fit into popular belief and standards being blamed for natural disasters by easily manipulated religious nuts. The worst part about the first half of all this too is that we know were everybody ends up because of preconceived information disclosed in the first two Fear Street parts, so not only are we waiting through nearly an hour of seeing how surface-level a statement on higher-ups using marginalized groups as targets can go on for, but the only surprises we have to look forward to is how exactly A gets to B, via a predictable false victim plot. Jeez, who else seconds that we should’ve all just watched The VVitch (2015) again instead if we wanted to relearn about how the s****y patriarchy destroys the lives of others? 

What’s interesting about my experience with this movie though was that I inferred based on moments in the plot that this was possibly leading up to a new allegory, one on how past injustices are detrimental enough to counteract centuries of recurring injustices because of how it forces radical self-defense out from those victimized who have no other choice, as if initiating some sort of curse that harms all kin from thereon forth, and I was like well damn that’s unfortunate that you’re using exhausting textbook formula to help paint this picture, but yeah go ahead, that’s better than nothing. Yet instead, it actually ended up being a way cornier commentary that just read along the lines of people who create disasters so that they can be clean-up crew, save the day, and get rewarded amidst false public knowledge — i.e. The Incredibles (2004), Frozen (2013)… should I list any more Disney movies for which do the same thing this R-rated movie does that somehow is also miles more immature than those animated examples I just mentioned and furthermore didn’t require you to go through two mediocre movies to get there?

Lastly, remember when I complimented the previous two parts for being fearless when it came to just killing off characters? Well, Part Three I guess decided to call it quits and order in a huge shipment of plot armor to go around. Plus, the climax was edited like a trailer; I don’t think I could’ve possibly left that obnoxious detail out, let alone how foreseeable every occurrence in it was to top things off. Anyhow… failed experiment, Netflix, but to a degree, I respect the attempt? Try again! 

Verdict: D

2021 Ranked

“Fear Street Part Three: 1666” is now available to stream on Netflix.

Quick-Thoughts: Pig

I take it Gordon Ramsay may have a new favorite movie now.

An absolute flip-book of genre subversions; like seriously, the amount of stereotypes Pig is able to avoid is unorthodox. For example: I wasn’t expecting to see, in a supposed Taken-type premise, Nicky Cage to just be someone who goes full-blown psychologist-mode on MOFOs as if he were Freud Wick rather than the latter, deconstructing how socialization has restricted the familiar faces he comes across, all while on his journey to find a truffle pig that was stolen from him. Surprisingly refined in execution, natural and comfortable in its relaxing 3 chapter structure — yeah, it’s just a fancy rewording of the model act structure — Michael Sarnoski smartly does enough with not too much of a reliance on exaggerated thrills but with modest revelations. 

As if the film didn’t feel any more relevant than it does today with characters who are secretly under the pressure of validation at the expectations of thousands of faces, we discover where the breaking point of burden and ambition usually is: when tragedy strikes, awakening rediscovery. Even if you were a celebrity, it seems as if the hole of being known and respected by artistic communities isn’t enough to please the self in light of how minute hobby-based groups are to all humankind; realizations such as this just keeps encouraging many to harmfully impress more people, continuously reaching an egotistical point of striving to be some sort of god. As silly as it sounds, why not have your purpose devoted to sparking a friendship with something as uncomplicated and unconditional as a pig? Why force yourself to be in the minds of so many when it’s already difficult enough to care about just one thing? 

As familiar as these messages may be in the larger scheme of movies that have preached it better before, I’m still nonetheless looking forward to what Sarnoski does next. We also have a fellow “frame within a frame” simp on our hands too so welcome to the club, buddy!

Verdict: B-

2021 Ranked

“Pig” is now playing in theaters.

Quick-Thoughts: Leos Carax’s Boy Meets Girl (1984)

This is like if Charlie Brown’s “sad walk” was adapted into an entire feature-length.

I can tell Leos Carax has one serious hard-on (but hey, who doesn’t?) for French New Wave cinema in this pitfall of heartbreak he has subjected to quite excessively in the vein of that style, but not to an utterly tarnishing point where I couldn’t be guzzled into what’s essentially occurring here. 

There’s nothing more to say in terms of plot when I mention that this is just a break-up aftermath colliding with a meet-up inception. After his departure from a partner, our main youthful griever Alex is forced to dial-in and endure steadily both the classic wails of aggression and passionate flauntings of affection from the random lovers that surround the streets in irritating or insensible manners, often gazing mindlessly or ignoring stubbornly at these no-name strangers depending on their situation, all in the name of maintaining his glorification of love as some invincible euphoria. I noticed touches of surrealism in its life-sedated, dreamy atmosphere of stringy dialogue and noises that make the film really easy to sink deep into. Boy Meets Girl may not seem like its to completion with its ideas on the complications of young romance and perhaps a bit too tribute-y to its inspirers, but holy f**k is it a mood that I have no regrets testing out and admittedly relating to.

Lighting and sound direction had me floatin’ too. 

Verdict: B-

Leos Carax Ranked

“Boy Meets Girl” is now available to stream on Kanopy.

Where Many Phase 4 Slates Failed, Loki However Triumphantly Rejuvenates New Life for the Future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

WARNING: This is a spoiler-free review but it will be discussing some of the show’s plot-points vaguely and some of the shows key themes.

Professional time-romancer Christopher Nolan must be trembling in his little boarding school suit. 

I’m sure at some point in everybody’s life, we’ve both asked or been asked the eons-old question “if you knew exactly when you were going to die, what would you do?” but better yet, what would you do if you heard that you were always going to be a narcissistic little s**t and furthermore a failure to your purpose-driven conquests from your conception to your final days alive? How drastic could such knowledge change the course of how you as a person would evolve if there were some sort of way to theoretically reattempt said destiny?

Between Loki and this year’s challenging show Invincible, comic-book media seems to have reached a point of such emetic over-saturation that we’ve grown a keenness to look back on how insignificant, in the grander scheme of things, many of those conventional and tedious superhero stories were, which ironically demeans a lot of the MCU’s catalog. On Earth, air fryers may be the new zeitgeist of convenient home-meal cooking, but on another planet in the Marvel galaxy they could be using them as port-a-potty trash bins at a local fair, just like how the all-mighty “infinity stones” hyped-up as detrimentally urgent throughout the multi-billion dollar 4-part Avengers franchise, considering they are elements that could literally mutate universal laws as we know it, are inventively used in Loki as none other than paperweights in cutesy, collected office spaces for time-cops. Obviously though, that self-aware nuance is only there to give weight to Loki being this true “epic”, setting forth Phase 4 of the saga as a superior: a clever way of looking past the fact that we are just entering another era of facing new “bigger” villains for both our established and joining characters to defeat. While it does almost seem like this is some sort of twisted marketing ploy to make us feel as if what we saw beforehand wasn’t even close to the tip of the iceberg of what can happen in this already 24-film and 12-TV show universe, Loki for the most part pulls this cynicism off handsomely in spirit of the character’s own devious construction. All the way back to when the blockbuster hit The Avengers (2012) landed, we’ve known Loki to be maybe Marvel’s most big-headed character, someone so convinced of his importance unlike any other, but that’s all for the better with how the show sets-up his character to be demeaned by others yet at the aim of convincingly having him reshaped as he becomes unsettled by the truths of the universe, truths that eerily seem almost too comparable to his own controlling personality.

With the show’s open establishment of the “multiverse”, consisting of the idea that there are countless timelines of us all coexisting, it begs us to wonder what copies of ourselves could insinuate about the self in definition. Is it possible that individualism is so loose and flimsy that we could be anyone or anything depending on the circumstances of events? Could our countless paradox selves be so contrasting from one another that we couldn’t distinguish them as one of us unless we were directly told who they were? Or maybe if we had the chance to awkwardly sit down and talk with one of them, could we actually learn anything about ourselves from copies living in contrasting lives or are they too different to take personally? Would the slightest of similarities delight or dishearten us when learning about our distinctions? Of course though, the show takes this to mythical degrees with its so-called “variant” term — which I’ll keep secretive in definition for the sake of not ruining any big details for those who haven’t seen the show yet — but not at the expense of how entertaining it is to see the word leading to engaging possibilities in the Loki storyline. Suffice it to say, questions such as this may just be why this is the geekiest of the Marvel shows thanks to transferring company from the acclaimed cartoon phenomena Rick and Morty, working as the writers here. The 6-episode show though isn’t just fascinated by the thought-theories of identity, but timeless topics such as “chaos theory” often discussed between Loki and a new character Mobius, looped in the inner-workings of time travel which is used as their framework. Their dynamic is bouncy yet competitive, reminding me a bit of the anime Death Note (2006-2007) where two main characters feed off by playing mind games with one another to a point though of present ambiguity where even the audience can’t be too sure what these trickster characters are up to.

Unfortunately, these sort of bittersweet relationships dwindle a little away after those first two episodes. The show also begins relying more on the MCU franchise’s infamous last-second plot conveniences and lack of explanations of these said conveniences. A character named Sylvie to me is one of the few saving graces during all of this, however, who pops up as a primary in the following episodes, shadowing as maybe too much of a plot convenience herself, but not enough to diminish how empathetic her character motivation is and how it intriguingly plays into the arc of Loki’s. There seems to furthermore be a bit of Blade Runner (1982) influence in the way that the human and replicant juxtaposition connects to Loki’s time-cop and variant juxtaposition, but at least it’s not completely identical; I’m more upset with how the juxtaposition is introduced, feeling a bit like it was suddenly plopped from the sky. If there’s anything to wholly commend though, it’s how Loki’s character streamlines throughout all the episodes. His redemption arc, unlike so many other MCU ones, is actually convincing within just the first episode, justifying his change in character to a possible slight rise in moral grounds — plus Thor: Ragnarok (2017) has already proved he is capable of evolving. There’s another character in the show, who shall remain nameless for spoiler reasons, that I think added something interesting as well, to say the least. He/she is basically an allegory for being a blindly loyal religious-like fanatic who’s in denial, and the plot sort of ties into that emphasis arrestingly, but that development to him/her felt incomplete, leaving open ends for it to be probably expanded on another time

If I wanted to pick apart episodes separately, I think I had the most gripes with the 3rd and 5th ones. Episode 3 has a great concept of developing the dynamic between Loki and Sylvie, but I think if the conversations included here were written slightly more natural and with a little more devastation, it would’ve made the show from thereon stronger. The climax of the episode is also horridly executed, with some action sequences that seriously gave me flashbacks to Black Widow — yuck! Luckily, I do think the final scene of the episode does save it with this dire closure to crisis that you could imagine would bring any two individuals close together. Episode 5 hammers a little more on the subtle existential crisis for the Loki character regarding the topic of conquest being pointless when there’s nothing to be sought after it’s been completed, as he meets some informative and awakeningly endless amounts of “variants”. However, I don’t want to be that prude, but the climax of the episode feels suspiciously similar to the climax of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), which is a climax I’m not too keen on myself.

The final episode (episode 6) you could argue is just another familiar dive into the “concealed dictatorship vs. chaotic freedom” argument of which one is more peaceful, but I’m personally a fan of how it was done, since it felt surprisingly for Marvel standards, extremely nihilistic in its discourse of empty meaning in destinies. The show ends on a firm note in its conclusion with its drawn-out discussion of how time travel, in its ability to change the course of predetermined events, could be an answer to free will. It also poses the idea that it would make sense that someone as egotistical as Loki could rightfully be the one controlling what stays and what goes in this universe since it totally fits with life: a merciless, incalculable series of events. Wouldn’t it explain a lot if it were just some careless, heartless psycho who was pulling the strings all along, letting so many tragic disasters occur in the day to day scope of life? By that point, it seemed as if the final episode was really selling it for how serious these MCU creators still are about enriching this already branch-brimmed, decade-long franchise storyline while SHOCKINGLY paralleling it well to our own reality.

Among other things though, I must vaguely add something I found delightfully hilarious in this final episode; once you watch the show you’ll know what I’m talking about. The show takes a full swing at how far a person could take his or her ego with a never before seen occurrence to my eyes that perfectly captures the *sparkling* trademark of Loki’s persona. Believe me, my jaw dropped to the motherf**kin’ floor when it happened, but good on the show for getting… weird.

On the topic of “weird”, it sure feels like that after finally seeing a good MCU-related piece since an entire pandemic has passed by, initiating the end of its hiatus by crapping out two shows I didn’t like and one movie I REALLY didn’t like too, giving me the red flag that maybe the MCU was finally coming to a coda when it came to anticipation. Yet, Loki may have just saved it for me. I don’t think I’ve been this pleased by this franchise since Avengers: Infinity War (2018) or this excited for the future of Marvel since… also Avengers: Infinity War (2018). If you want me to pull out the big, chaddy word “philosophical”… well then… this show very much does feel like Marvel’s most “philosophical” but furthermore daring thematic project they’ve completed thus far, and that may be why it’s a top-tier addition in the canon for me. The lack of action also proves to me how real the risk-factor in creating this must’ve been as well, but I’m quite pleased to see how positive the reactions to this show have been despite all that. After WandaVision attempted to progress the franchise by failing to tonally unite creative ideas with conventional familiarities, and Falcon and the Winter Soldier felt like a desperate final shot in the dark to indulge in more of the tiresome MCU formula and see if fans would still support it, Loki coincidentally feels like the aftermath to all this failure, where the 13-year-long legacy has finally decided to say, “screw it, let’s just change everything up completely and let it run our fuel from here on out no matter what the people think; it may be a major risk, yeah, but let’s just see where it takes us.” And, to be honest, all I can say is, “thank you.” I wish you all the best of luck in developing what you have introduced with Loki.

Shoutout to Ms. Minutes though. When’s she getting a spin-off?

Loki Math: 

1. Glorious Purpose = B+

2. The Variant = B

3. Lamentis = B-

4. The Nexus Event = B-

5. Journey Into Mystery = B-

6. For All Time. Always = B+

Total Verdict: B

2021 Ranked, The Marvel Cinematic Universe Ranked

“Loki” is now available to stream on Disney+.

Double Feature Review: Sean Baker’s Tangerine (2015) and The Florida Project (2017)

Tangerine (2015)

Screened at The Frida Cinema • 2nd Viewing

Los Angeles to me is a bittersweet place that really gives no f**ks, and the amount of f**ks given in this movie accurately represents this “lovely” city of angels. From its shocking subculture dives into the transgender, police, and transportation communities, filmed only on an iPhone 5 — inudatedly auto-lit and all — with DIY bike trackers to rouse out the loony ride, and amplified *literally* by actors who thrash each other around with either their mitts or sassy slurs, I’d consider Tangerine to be one of the greatest comedies of the 2010s. It may be a bit unorthodoxly anxious and even sometimes covertly hopeless with its depiction of how trivial virtue is to the people that mark this holy land’s soil in a Mike Nichols The Graduate (1967) sort of way, but never enough to say, “hey, what happens here will never and should never work out in the end” cause look, at least it currently is working out, it’s just kind of tough s**t to handle for notably lower-classers, spotlighting themselves in the loudest areas where they’ve succumb to the constant shoegazing (no, I will not apologize for using that word) of noise that has simply become the streamline frequencies of everyday life to them. This is LA, baby. Donut Time.

Verdict: B+

“Tangerine” is now available to stream on Kanopy.

The Florida Project (2017)

Screened at The Frida Cinema • 2nd Viewing

There’s a dominating innocence to The Florida Project despite it being set in a mildly dangerous world for children, yet all of it feels so passively wholesome from that engagement of being in this childish mindset of our lead characters. It may feel wrong at times to indulge in immaturity — and adult immaturity for that matter — or praise the simple glimpses of youthful behavior, but instinctively you can’t help but smile and chuckle throughout most of it despite what’s going on behind the scenes; life’s alarming technicalities seem to be background noise to splendor but nonetheless always catching up to us infrequently. Some people have criticized this tropical-street film for it’s rude, vulgar, and self-entitled characters, but the truth is Sean Baker just doesn’t want to be disingenuous in hard-boiling a depiction on the type of people you sometimes find in lower-class, single-parent family holds; that’s life! Amidst the irresponsibility seen at hand, we as an audience are still free enough to celebrate in those moments of oblivion from our adolescent subjects, but at the end of the hour we can see there are both blessings and hitches with setting a childhood experience in a lifestyle of legal, ethical, and parental complication. The movie slowly escalates four-year-old Moonee into tougher and tougher positions of trying to maintain neglect where her duties to face reality are continuously pressured as she gives her own best efforts to preserve innocent fantasies.

Verdict: B

“The Florida Project” is now available to stream on Netflix.

Quick-Thoughts: Fear Street Part Two 1978

Shoutout to all the unbiased kills, nonetheless. Every class of individual is on the menu when it comes to Fear Street and I can’t help but respect that. 

Is this movie a paradox? Obviously, it’s a tribute to kitsch cult flicks in the domain of specifically a Friday the 13th feature (duuuh) but instead of having your usual cruddy acting and directing you’d come to expect from that schlock of a franchise, it’s instead pretty competently… well… acted and shot. Yet, that’s what makes it also fail for me? If you’ve, say, been given a considerably goofy premise full of witchcraft and summer camp thrills, you’d expect to compliment it with goofy performances or presentation, right? At least, it would help fit the tone more? However, Part Two isn’t aiming for that, it’s aiming for grounded direness amidst clumsily homaging a genre known for ridiculousness. I’m not necessarily saying that the Friday the 13th movies are better than this, cause frankly they aren’t when it comes to my taste, but I am saying that they are at least more tonally sound than what Leigh Janiak has done here despite the fact that what she has undoubtedly done here is use stronger talents in the scope of execution to make a more watchable, character-driven Jason Voorhees-type film that’s integrated with a “big picture” underlying plot which ties in with those other two Fear Street parts.

If we toggle back to a complaint from my review of Fear Street Part One: 1994, however, I did mention that that film in particular accomplished little in progressing Craven’s 90s breed of slasher crave. Technically though, Part Two: 1978 is doing something more noticeably different for what it’s harkening to by making a shallow Friday the 13th-like movie have that prevalent (but snoozy and mawkish) emotion to its horror. Yet, if you ask me, that’s kind of a f**king bare minimum reach for progressively advancing a 1970s summer-camp slasher genre since it never really needed that “refined” exploration in the first place. Is it something to partially commend Janiak for? Sure, since we now have a mediocrely mundane version of a Friday the 13th movie — no more over-the-top kills cause now we’re aiming for practical GRIT! — but that literally does mere for me in terms of entertainment value. You see, what’s happened here is the creators at hand have sucked the soul out of that classic franchise’s absurdity and replaced it with normalized relational melodrama pitched in appealing visuals and cuts, yet the effort essentially just leads us straight back to square one in terms of quality for this particular era of slasher cinema. If my math is correct, if you sacrifice some *alleged* good from the originals and then add some *alleged* good from the new, the answer would be a profoundly neutral ≈.

Should I even watch Part Three at this point? I mean, I’ve made it this far so I might as well, huh? Welp, Review III coming next week, yaaaaay…

Verdict: C-

2021 Ranked

“Fear Street Part Two: 1978” is now available to stream on Netflix.