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Tuesday - October 4, 2022
Quad Cities USA - Guide to Davenport & Bettendorf Iowa and Rock Island & Moline Illinois
 

To Capitalism and Beyond! (Movie Review: Lightyear)

July 5th, 2022
To Capitalism and Beyond! (Movie Review: Lightyear)

Is Pixar the greatest animation studio in the history of film? Possibly. It can certainly compete with Disney, its quasi-parent, along with the mighty Studio Ghibli of Japan. For my money, Pixar slightly edges out Studio Ghibli and comes out on top due to two factors — the quality of animation and innovative storytelling. From 1995 to 2010, nearly every Pixar release could be considered a classic. I’ll grant you that Monsters, Inc. is well-meaning fluff, and I recognize that Cars is less geared toward families and more aimed at young children. But Wall-E, Up, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille... Read More

Running and Screaming (Movie Review: Jurassic World: Dominion)

June 17th, 2022
Running and Screaming (Movie Review: Jurassic World: Dominion)

There’s an old belief that all little boys go dino-mad for a minute. I have no idea if that’s accurate, but I do know I was no exception. Back then, I recall a zoo of molded plastic critters, everything from the T-rex to the Stegosaurus. I remember junior paleontology books and a bemused father* taking me over and over and over to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science so that I could gawk at the fossils. I love dinosaurs. I always have. Even now. I recently finished the very good book The Last Days of the Dinosaurs by Riley Black.** Odds are I’ll stop loving them right around the time... Read More

Flyboy (Movie Review: Top Gun: Maverick)

May 24th, 2022
Flyboy (Movie Review: Top Gun: Maverick)

The first time I saw Top Gun, I hated it. As a wee lad, I remember seeing it in a packed theater in 1986. I remember the whooshing of the jets, the omnipresent soundtrack, and the unnerving intensity of Tom Cruise. I remember the buzz of the audience walking out. People adored it, and I remember looking around and thinking, “What movie did you guys just see because that sucked.” Is it still that bad, though?* Of course not, and it’s yet another example where the movie isn’t the problem; I’m the problem. I should like it. Consider that, despite what you might think of his personal life,... Read More

Strange Tales (Movie Review: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness)

May 12th, 2022
Strange Tales (Movie Review: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness)

Within stories, the idea of continuity is powerful. It’s like the lure of history, the pull to understand events or character through the study of a chain of events. That’s why we dive into literary series, why we’ll binge-watch a show on Netflix, and why we’ll carry around decades of plot points regarding comic books. Author Douglas Wolk recently released his book All of the Marvels. He wrote about his experience reading every comic book published by Marvel Comics.*  When I say “every comic book,” I mean that Wolk read over twenty-seven thousand published works, attempted to make... Read More

Michael’s Game (Review: Halloween Kills)

October 20th, 2021
Michael’s Game (Review: Halloween Kills)

He was close. He thought he was ready, but at the last moment, he stepped away. Wait — let me back up and I’ll explain. To set the stage, last weekend I knew my upcoming review would be Halloween Kills, the latest entry in the extremely venerable franchise. The film picks up moments after the end of the 2018 Halloween, and as I had a little free time, rewatching Halloween felt like a good move. As my son Liam has gotten older, he’s been developing his own tastes when it comes to film. He has directors he likes* and films he’s been curious about.** The only genre he hasn’t leapt into is... Read More

The Bond Craigslist (Review: No Time to Die)

October 5th, 2021
The Bond Craigslist (Review: No Time to Die)

I once read that a person’s preferred 007 can be determined by when their father showed them their first Bond movie. This is not a concept that’s supported by any kind of rigorous scientific method, and I know that because of my own experiences. My father was a product of World War II and the Cold War. The exploits of a gentleman spy were right up his alley, and to the best of my knowledge, he never missed a Bond movie either theatrically or on television.* He loved Bond, and Roger Moore was his Bond. My first full Bond experience was us trooping to the theater to see A View to a Kill.** Dad... Read More

Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu (Review: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings)

September 29th, 2021
Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu (Review: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a trend-setter, and it’s kind of amazing considering the risks taken. Consider the lead of Iron Man was a troubled actor with a notable drug problem. Consider that the vast majority of people had no earthly idea who Iron Man even was. Consider that the idea of an interconnected multi-film franchise was looked at as, to be charitable, raging insanity. The irony is that, despite the huge chances taken by the MCU, Marvel Comics originally followed numerous trends instead of inspiring them. The creation of the Fantastic Four was a response to DC Comics’ creation... Read More

Budapest With An S.H. (Review: Black Widow)

July 20th, 2021
Budapest With An S.H. (Review: Black Widow)

Black Widow is streaming on Disney+ Prequels are terrible. That is, until they aren’t. It used to be that the idea of checking out the earlier adventures of beloved characters was nothing more than a craven cash grab. You had the tomfoolery of Butch and Sundance: The Early Years, the nonsense of Hannibal Rising, and the blatant idiocy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Done well, a prequel can add texture and character to a franchise. It can fill in the blanks and even recontextualize the original work. Despite the clunky execution, mostly poor acting, and thunderingly obvious storytelling, George... Read More

Everything’s Fine (Review: No Sudden Move)

July 19th, 2021
Everything’s Fine (Review: No Sudden Move)

No Sudden Move is streaming on HBO MAX I adore crime movies, though some flavors more than others. About half of Quentin Tarantino’s filmography focuses on crime, and Pulp Fiction alone birthed legions of imitators. For years, there were scores of films involving loquacious scumbags holding forth on pop culture and committing unexpected (but completely expected) acts of violence. Some of these movies were even good. Tarantino’s crime movies are like a cheeseburger ordered at the trendiest restaurant you can imagine, cooked by the biggest celebrity chef out there. You’ll enjoy that burger,... Read More

Mommy Brain (Review: False Positive)

July 8th, 2021
Mommy Brain (Review: False Positive)

False Positive is streaming on Hulu In 2016, the World Health Organization estimated that around 830 women die on a daily basis due to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. If you read that number and were floored by the lethal math on display, it’s probably because you’re a man. The fact of the matter is, the process of pregnancy has always been tied up with risk. Three hundred years ago, along with the distressingly normal dangers associated with birth, a pregnant woman had to contend with barbaric practices that barely met the definition of medical, as well as an insanely misogynistic... Read More