Captain Marvel (2019) Review: “I just want to go on the record and say that this film is great”

 

Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel is a Marvel installment directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. It stars Brie Larson in her debut as Captain Marvel and is groundbreaking in that it’s Marvel’s first film to star a female superhero. The first thing I want to say is that this movie is good. I’ve been watching reviews since I saw it, and I’ve found myself confused and bewildered by the response to the film and the critiques I’ve seen. So, I just want to go on the record and say that this film is great and the article is going to read more as a rebuttal to some stuff I’ve seen that’s confusing me. Continue reading

Every Movie I Watched for the First Time in 2018: An Analysis

776EF43C-CA9F-4BCE-844A-49ABD4EF0D9E

Movies impact us.

In 2016, I argued that if “movies can impact a moviegoer’s worldview (by stimulating creativity, encouraging empathy, and raising awareness), then moviegoers should thoughtfully consider which movies they choose to watch.” And I stand by that argument.

But now, in 2019, I offer two clarifications: Continue reading

Top Movies of 2018: Mo’ Money’s Picks

Below are Mo’ Money’s top films of 2018 only including films that premiered anywhere in the world in the calendar year.

2A58BF55-8A83-4BBD-81C2-1D3FFB769940

2018 was a great year for me, but one way that it really shone was all the great movies I was able to access via streaming and physical media. My war against theaters continues, and yet I was able to see 57 movies that premiered in 2018 including a number of independent Midwestern productions. While I missed a lot of films that only played in festivals or haven’t released in the United States yet, and my list may change over the years, I believe the following movies are great and worth watching if you can access them. Continue reading

She-Ra and Catra: An Evolved Hero-Villain Relationship

This article contains mild spoilers.

catradora

Noelle Stevenson understands characterization.

Last year, I discovered Nimona, an Eisner-nomated webcomic-turned-novel written by Stevenson about a whimsical, enigmatic shapeshifter who befriends an evil figure with an ultimately good heart. I found Nimona at a secondhand bookstore—the kind of store filled with spine-damaged books sporting dogeared pages—and I was surprised by the pristine condition of the copy I found. As I flipped through the beginning of the graphic novel, I saw a collection of glossy, well-preserved, wrinkle-free images.

Then I got to a page featuring a profoundly tense moment between Nimona, the shapeshifter, and Lord Ballister Blackheart, the semi-benevolent villain. The white border of the page was filled with scrapbook-style stars and bold exclamation points apparently drawn by the book’s previous owner.

Later, when I read that page—a page filled with genuine heartache and refreshingly nuanced character interactions—I added a couple exclamation points of my own.

Noelle Stevenson understands characterization, and that storytelling skill is evident in her latest creation, Netflix’s 2018 She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. Continue reading

How Indie Video Games Depict Depression, Anxiety, and Grief

Links and videos of several indie games are posted below the article.

elude

Consider author Tom Bissell’s experience with The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion as described in his book, Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter:

Oblivion is less a game than a world that best rewards full citizenship, and for a while I lived there and claimed it. At the time I was residing in Rome on a highly coveted literary fellowship, surrounded by interesting and brilliant people, and quite naturally mired in a lagoon of depression more dreadfully lush than any before or since. I would be lying if I said Oblivion did not, in some ways, aggravate my depression, but it also gave me something with which to fill my days other than piranhic self-hatred. It was an extra life; I am grateful to have it.

I read those words years ago while eating subpar noodles in a building that used to be a Blockbuster Video. The dim restaurant lights shielded me well enough from the gaggle of suburban families that surrounded me, so I hunched my back and unashamedly swallowed Bissell’s words. As a post-college, pre-career teacher wannabe, the 200-plus-page book about the artistry of video games perfectly quenched both my thirst for entertainment and my need to be perceived as an intellectual. But, more importantly, Bissell’s novel, including the excerpt above, connected with a part of me that I did not yet acknowledge: my depression and my (sometimes subconscious) attempts to deal with it. Continue reading

Cinema Sins, BobVids, and a Culture of Discontent

Garden State

If you have ever tried to explain your deep appreciation of a piece of art anywhere on the internet, you likely understand how much amateur criticism and intense posturing exists online.

At best, this negativity is an aggravating byproduct of crowdsourcing artistic validation. At worst, this persistent and indiscriminate criticism is a symptom of a relatively new and alarmingly widespread brand of groupthink. One that is unquestioningly unimpressed—always.

Either way, we seem to be entering a modern era of discontent, and this problem is worth dissecting.

With that in mind, meet a proud part of the problem: Cinema Sins. Continue reading

Film Review: The Girl in the Crawlspace (John Oak Dalton, 2018)

Full disclosure: I have had numerous conversations with John Oak Dalton about Indiana films, and received a screener of the film prior to the premiere at the Hoosierdance International Film Festival in Kokomo (it plays on September 14-15, 2018). The film is finished except for a few audio tweaks. I may update this review when the final  release is available.
29133437_151995925480087_4940326865693835264_n

Promotional material

John Oak Dalton’s directorial debut, The Girl in the Crawlspace, is an interesting marriage of Indiana cinema and Ohioan cinema.  John Oak Dalton began his film career with support from the late African-American, Indianapolis-based director Ivan Rogers and even did some editorial work in Rogers’ Forgive Me Father (2001).  He has spent most of his career writing numerous screenplays mostly for the Polonia Brothers and Dayton’s Henrique Couto who produced this works.  It stars mostly Ohio talent, but was largely shot in Indiana (Mooreland and Farmland) with some footage shot in New Lebanon, OH, which is the location for Couto’s Calamity Jane’s Revenge (2015). Continue reading