So, in the movie Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 there’s a scene where the hypoglycemic hero has a drop in his blood sugar level and collapses on the ground. Kevin James, giving an unconvincing physical performance, must flail around the lobby of the Vegas hotel where the film takes place until a child’s melting ice cream drips into his open mouth. You can find this scene on youtube.
I listen to a lot of podcasts, I always did before but now that I drive to my new job having to concentrate on the road means that I’m not able to skip the adverts. There’s one app that is being pimped everywhere recently called robinhood, a cursory search informs me that it is stylised without a space or a capital because of course. It claims to be opening up trading to all, allowing commoners access into the rarified world of capital. It is of course outside of its marketing puff one of the most petit-bourgeois concepts imaginable nobody without any money is gonna get rich off their fucking backs. And in the most self-congratulatory liberal way possible they brag about having an option to only invest in companies with female CEOs — so proud, a part of me dies every time.
Alright, Venom is bad. Not like interestingly bad, or creatively bad, there’s honestly very little of merit to be found in this feature. What makes it redeemable is that it is the exact sort of bad that makes it really fun to watch.
Once it catches on fire, at the base of the titular skyscraper, a crowd forms. They are there at first to watch the calamity. Then, on a mission to save his family, trapped halfway up, above the blaze Dwayne Johnson busts through the police cordon, climbs a crane, and launches himself into the burning building. News helicopters chart his ascent.
I’ve been struggling on the how of criticising Deadpool 2 (what no witty subtitle?) for just about a week now. Not because there’s loads to criticise, or even that I really disliked it. No, the problem lies in its relationship to itself, or more accurately Deadpool’s relationship to the entire construct that surrounds him.
You know what? The robots in this film are BIG. I don’t quite know what it is, they certainly aren’t better realised or animated than megastructures in other films. I weren’t even watching it in 3D, lol who even does that anymore, but however it is that you generate that elusive concept of bigness, Steven S. DeKnight pumps that through every frame. Like, the ‘exterior’ scenes are often pretty wonky, the lighting is off, the characters awkwardly composited onto the backgrounds. But way off in the back there there’s a big metal fella out of focus and despite the artifice there’s a little part of my brain still going, ‘Wow, so big tho.’
What has the world done to you Lara? I remember paying some of one of the PS1 games as a child, I think it belonged to the boy down the bottom of the garden. It felt good, a game where you were the girl, there’s something to that. You read the history of the design and look at the marketing materials and the cynicism of the ploy is laid pretty bare. I guess the games were good enough and gamers were trash enough that it was just let slide for a neat decade.
So this is what happened to all the tightly constructed thrillers that we used to have twenty years ago. They just became the Funny Movies. Like, since the original Hangover they’ve both been cribbing from the same playbook, except instead of waking up with a cadaver and whatever local mob boss gunning for you, it’s just replaced with a series of spiralling comic hijinks. Game Night even draws up its own convoluted web of organised crime, shadowy masterminds who ain’t all that they seem, hard pressed paranoia. The only thing that makes it a comedy is that it’s about the Funny People.
I think I habitually overrate Marvel movies. I mean, I’m pretty sincere when I consider them just about the most important contemporary releases. A decade seems to have been the right amount of time for these movies to mutate, a hybrid combination of pap and prestige. They are the most honest reflection of our culture and politics that is being created right now. You can feel it in the struggles, the barbs present in these films’ souls. What they see in society, what they want to be seen, and what remains conspicuously absent from their tapestries.
Den of Thieves has all the makings of a fun cops and robbers, cat and mouse heist film. A scrappy bunch of ne’er do wells with an elaborate plot to jack the United States Federal Reserve. The bunch of hard working dicks dedicated to tracking them down. Sure it might end on a totally bone-headed twist that is completely undeserved but aside from that the bones are functional.