I’ve had several reviews published over at Gunaxin.com, but I have not had time to link them on here and give you some bonus thoughts. We’re gonna do that now for the last seven reviews. (Well, at least link to the last seven.) Special thanks to Philip over at Gunaxin for publishing these!
SHAZAM! – click here for review
* I know I mention this in the review, but this film and Annabelle: Creation share the same director, David F. Sandberg. Seeing how the Annabelle doll makes an appearance in a pawn shop in the early goings of Shazam!, does this mean these two universes are definitively tied together? It’s kind of exciting to me to think about the possibility of Justice League vs. Annabelle, but there’s no way in hell that’s happening.
* Also mentioned in the review is the appearance of Djimon Hounsou, who can now claim “Bingo” on the big franchise appearance card. The DC Extended Universe gets him in this film; the Marvel Cinematic Universe has him in Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel; he’s the villain in Furious Seven; and the last two spots are claimed by Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life and How to Train Your Dragon 2. To top it off, he’s just finished filming the Charlie’s Angels reboot. Can you think of anyone else appearing in as many large franchises?
HELLBOY – click here for review (although I’ll understand if you didn’t)
AVENGERS: ENDGAME – click here for review
* Not gonna lie: the director-imposed moratorium on talking about spoilers regarding this movie did not sit well with me. I’m not talking about requests to keep spoilers out of reviews; that is a rule which should be unspoken and unsullied. But demanding that the public – the PUBLIC – not talk about it until after it had been out a week… it’s arrogant and presumptuous, and I’m not here for it.
* The Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country-esque sign-off by the Original Six (sorry, hockey fans) was beautiful.
* The mysterious clanking sound over the last part of the closing credits? It’s Tony Stark hammering the first Iron Man suit from the first film.
* It’s a shame that Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) couldn’t at least have made a small appearance in this film, but his storyline from ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” might’ve had something to do with that…
JOHN WICK – CHAPTER 3: PARABELLUM – click here for review
* Being a recovering Catholic, I find the juxtaposition of religious imagery and terminology over a profession as anti-Fifth Commandment fascinating. Yes, Chiun (Joel Grey) from Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins once said, “Professional assassination is the highest form of public service.” The killers in the John Wick universe are certainly treated better than anyone in any profession whatsoever, and I’m wondering if the religious iconography is meant to tell us that these people are, indeed, doing God’s work by taking out his trash.
* If the next movie doesn’t show us the High Table, I’m going to be very pissed off.
* The world needs more Keanu Reeves.
MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL – click here for review
* I remember in the summer of 1997, I wasn’t enthralled with what the large screen had to offer. Speed 2: Cruise Control, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and Batman & Robin were among the failures I remember. I saw Men in Black twice that summer. The first was to watch it; the second was to see if I was wrong in my assessment that it failed to connect with me. Sure, I laughed where they wanted me to laugh, but there was something disconnecting about it that I couldn’t put my finger on. MIB:I suffers from that same malady, like the studio was saying, “ENJOY THIS! NOW!” rather than “We’re inviting you into our world and would be glad if you stayed a while.” It wasn’t… enough. The same held true for the rest of the films which followed.
TOY STORY 4 – click here for review
* I was late to the Toy Story films. Like, “I didn’t see the first Toy Story until the third one came out on Blu-Ray” late. Which is weird, especially since I’m a Joss Whedon fan and he’d done script work on this film. But the hype kinda got to me and turned me off of it.
* I keep saying this, and I’ll say it again: STAY ALL THE WAY TO THE CLOSING LOGOS. The Pixar logo includes the punchline to what TVTropes.org calls a “brick joke” and you should see it. People have tweeted angrily about something never happening to a certain character in the movie, but THAT’S BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T STAY.
* There’s honestly no way any part of any Toy Story film which will ever top the emotional climax of Toy Story 3. But I’m grateful for the story the screenwriters chose to continue. It feels good.
* Did I say the world needs more Keanu Reeves? Because the world needs more Keanu Reeves.
YESTERDAY – click here for review
* I’m a musician and I loved this movie. So much.
* However, I was raised more on The Monkees than The Beatles. My parents didn’t have a Beatles record until they bought a vinyl copy of “1967-1970” at a yard sale in the late ‘80s, which is right around when I started learning how to play drums. “Something” on Side 4 was my jam.
* Both the singer/songwriter and industry sides of the film were like looking back through memories. While not successful on the same level as Jack is in the film, I’ve been through the auditions, some showcases, the recording process, the promotion struggles, the road grind, and the hopes that someone somewhere would hear what we had to offer. These experiences lead into why I loved this movie as much as I did. Even the bedroom recording scenes by the train tracks – and the interruptions the train would cause – felt familiar.
* The commentary on how the Beatles’ music would get chewed up and spit out by The Industry these days is devastating. Would we, as a mass audience, even appreciate what they had to offer if they came out now instead of 60 years ago?