The moment that Captain Marvel starts working is when Brie Larson’s hero crashes in through the roof of a Blockbuster Video. If you thought that nerd culture’s recent spate of eighties nostalgia was overbearing, just you wait. The nineties are back baby. Her first reaction to it is to blow the head off a True Lies standee. The disappearance of the video store was a great blow to the growing democratisation of culture; our local one was family owned, lived in a tiny place between the One-Stop and a chippy. They had as complete a collection of the studio Ghibli films as I think it was possible to have, the proprietor was the guy who introduced us to them.
Literally one of the first scenes in On the Basis of Sex is a love scene — as though the film wants to remind you that the octogenerian Supreme Court judge fucks. It’s got an odd structure: spending ten minutes profiling her time at Harvard Law School, ten hunting for jobs in New York, and the rest on the tax law case she takes on while a professor — her first as a future women’s rights attorney.
I think I underrated Florence Pugh when I caught Lady Macbeth back a few years ago. I think because its complicated relationship with race stood out to me so much that I kinda overlooked her central performance. There’s still tics of it that I can remember to this day, same with her bit part in that Liam Neeson train movie The Commuter. She’s gonna be in Greta Gerwig’s Little Women later this year and I cannot wait. She’s a great actor, I think she’s incredibly winning in this and once again I’m not gonna be able to talk about her much because the movie’s got a heck of a lot of other stuff going on. Her rise should be meteoric.
I don’t think I ever actually wrote about the original Happy Death Day, it came out in one of those periods when I hadn’t the energy for anything. Yeah, I actually have two and a half paragraphs about it sitting in the draft folder that constitutes my recycle bin. It was a fun and poppy flick. I compared it to other Groundhog Day x whatever genre movies and found it to be well placed in the pack.
The Kid Who Would be King is just one of those films that doesn’t get made anymore. Childhood fantasy that is strange and dark and a little too kinky for young audiences to be entirely comfortable with. Like those 80s Jim Henson movies, and the worlds of fleshy, wet puppetry they inspired. Rebecca Ferguson’s Morgana begins the film bound underground by the roots of Britain’s trees that she writhes against in order to break free from a country that is weakening. By the end she has transformed into draconic form, her beaklike face disconcertingly leathery, like the puppets these things used to be.
Dammit I was not expecting to cry during this movie. Wahlberg reuniting with the director of Daddy’s Home 2 does not sound like the setup for a emotional rollercoaster. The bland, gauzy cinematography with which these people’s airy, open plan homes are shot should deaden one’s senses. Everything about it seems like it packs the punch of a half tablet of asprin, but god damn if by the ending I ain’t welling up at the ability of this unlikely family to make it work.
The one thing that works in Alita: Battle Angel is Alita herself. Forget the strange discomfort you’ll have at first to the overlarge, CGI augmented eyes set inside that tiny impish face. Rosa Salazar’s performance as an amnesiac robot discovering the world for the first time is truly winning. Robert Rodriguez’s vision of a future after the devastation of most of the planet detailed enough that we are content largely to watch it unfurl through her eyes.