Thursday, May 23, 2019

I see this as an absolute win.

Around this time next year, er, in two years (damn you, math), Two Dollar Cinema will turn ten years old. Though nothing is set in stone, that anniversary will serve as an ending point for this project - at least as the current format goes. And when I reach the end of this long (and sometimes arduous) journey, I hope to figure out a way to not only tie it all together, but to also pay tribute to those who have been along the way.

If only there was a blueprint for how to end something in the most perfect way possible...

It might be impossible to overstate how good Avengers: Endgame truly is, but don't think that that's going to stop me from trying. Easily my favorite film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Russo Brothers have improbably saved their best for last. 

As of this post, I've only managed to see Endgame once, and as anyone, er, everyone who has seen the film can (and will) tell you (with a glow not unlike a new bride or expectant mother), that simply isn't enough time to take it all in. It's so densely packed, so stuffed with perfect moments, I need to see it again.

And again. And again.

While rehashing the plot is foolish on countless levels (insert Charlie Day conspiracy pic here), all I can tell you is wowwwwwwwwwwwww. With storylines, plot points, scores to settle, callbacks, nods, winks, and relationships from over twenty films prior, somehow in Endgame, they all coalesce into a gripping story that simultaneously saved and destroyed me. Had I not been sitting with my brother-in-law (aka the Grinch), I'm not sure I would have made it out alive.

Friday, May 10, 2019

By the way, Harry, happy birthday...

When I told my wife that Two Dollar Cinema was coming up on its ninth birthday, I followed that up an unintended feeler, one that bordered both a question and a statement. Guess I'll do it for one more year, then finally shut it down ...? She didn't hesitate in her response:

That sounds good. 

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Get out of here, Devil!

Almost two years ago to the day, some drug-dealing asshole totaled my wife's (fairly) new car while evading the police through our neighborhood. Fortunately, no one was in (or near) the car when it happened, but I still remember my wife getting emotional moments after they towed it away. While most of her tears were because she was overwhelmed at the thought of what could have happened, I know she was also mourning the loss of something she once loved now needing to be replaced.

And worse, for absolutely no good reason.

Uh, Red? You're balls are on fire.
It's unfair to say that David Harbour doesn't do a good job in the latest Hellboy flick, when his biggest misstep may be the alarming fact that he is simply not Ron Perlman. While I'm not sure we even needed a third Hellboy flick with Ron Perlman, I'm now fairly certain we didn't need a third Hellboy flick without Ron Perlman.

But like the guy that smashed in my wife's car, even if what you're selling benefits no one, if there's money to be made...

Though I'm no scholar of Hellboy lore, obviously, similarities exist between the original del Toro films and this new one, helmed by Neil Marshall. Hellboy is still a wise-cracking demon unearthed by Nazis during WWII. He's still part of some super-secret government organization that uses monsters to, um...fight other monsters (think the Suicide Squad with more scales and less twirling garbage).

And yes, he's still got a massive right arm that he absolutely obliterates people with. The meat may be the same, but it's the potatoes that are different this time around.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

I'm a snake.

There's room at the top. Just not enough to sit down.

I'm not sure if my dad stole that line, but of all the advice he's ever given me - that's the bit that stuck. I was probably seventeen at the time, and even at peak I KNOW EVERYTHING, OLD MAN those words not only penetrated, but they actually made sense. You can make it - you just have to work hard. Always.

I wish I could tell you that in the two-plus decades since that conversation, I have proven his words true, but I think I'd be lying on both fronts. I'm not sure I've ever worked that hard, and the payoff...uh...I do okay? (He was talking about money, right?)

While I wish I had that type-A fire, I simply don't and likely never will. Honestly, I'm about as relaxed a guy as you'd ever meet. Not like, Dude-level, but pretty close. Never too high, never too low. Hell, I rarely get upset about anything...

...even shit that's entirely stupid and unfair.

Oh, Laggies, how you've put my in an uncomfortable spot. Typically I'm okay with young people trying to figure it out (though my thoughts here might suggest otherwise), and generally speaking I love Keira Knightley doing just about anything, but good God, f--k all this noise. My dad told me I couldn't sit at the top, fine, but I didn't know it was because there's all these a-holes just laying the f--k around.

Foolishly stripped of her accent, Knightley plays Megan, a woman in her late twenties still hanging out, playing Nintendo. Her (awful) friends have grown up (represented here by being married and/or pregnant [lame]) and seems like ol' Meg should probably follow suit. But even with a shockingly supportive boyfriend (of the high-school sweetheart variety, naturally), she can't seem to find any footing whatsoever in adulthood. So, she concocts a plan (plan might be overstating it, more like if bracing yourself before going through a windshield could be considered planning) to turn her life around: she volunteers at a local orphanage and teaches parent-less children how to express themselves through cooking.

Oh, wait - sometimes my notes are hard to read. *adjusts imaginary glasses* My mistake, she actually just DISAPPEARS FROM SOCIETY AND MOVES IN WITH A HIGH SCHOOL GIRL SHE MET A F--KING GROCERY STORE.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Mom, what's wrong with your body?

For the last year or so, we've been thinking about having another child. Intentionally. Being that my wife just recently returned to work full-time, from a logistical standpoint, a baby isn't really the best idea. Add to that the fact that Mrs. Two Dollar Cinema also just turned forty (I'm currently an impressively spry...thirty-nine), and another kid likely isn't a good call from any standpoint.

Besides, you hear all these horror stories about the things that can go wrong during pregnancies (why do people love to talk about this?) and it's (more than) enough to make you dial back the let's have another talk and simply quit while you're ahead. My wife and I already have two kick-ass kids, sometimes I think having another would be akin to pressing our luck.

No matter how much fun it could be, with an uncertain ending looming...

...I'm just not sure it's ultimately worth it.

May the Fourth be with you, new moms.
Though the actual premise had slipped my mind, word that Jason Reitman's Tully had a divisive ending did not. So much so, in fact, that it was all I could think about for much of the films ninety-seven minute run-time. What could possibly happen that would upset so many people. Does someone ---


Before THE ENDING, Tully tells the remarkably unremarkable tale of Marlo (Charlize Theron, in full-chameleon form), a tired mom, who is, when the film opens, days away from having her third child. Her youngest, the 'quirky' Jonah, is a bit of a handful (to say the least), and there seems to be some sort of loose talk about 'it' happening again.  Her wealthy brother (my [imaginary] best friend Mark Duplass) offers up the ultimate present for a new(ish) mom: a night nanny.

Apparently, heaven is real and angels exist, and oddly enough can be hired to enter your house at night and care for your infant child. WHILE YOU SLEEP. Though I never had too much trouble sleeping through the night (my pillow isn't the greatest, but I'll live), turns out it can be quite a bitch for the mother of a newborn. Enter Tully, an energetic and enigmatic twenty-something who will not only take the baby, but she'll also make bomb-ass cupcakes in the process. Oh, and she'll ride dad like a wild horse if you ask her - wait, WHAT?

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Do yourself a favor - stay away from this one.

Outside of Event Horizon where I swear the temperature of the theater was set to abandoned spacecraft degrees, the most physically uncomfortable movie-going experience I've ever had was seeing The Descent on the big screen. That movie was so goddamned suffocating, I remember feeling genuine relief when exiting the theater. Like, thank God we made it out of there, you know? I can finally breathe.

But let's be real - can we? Ghost ships are one thing, freezing theaters another, but seriously WHO THE F--K GOES IN A CAVE? Those f--kers are terrifying enough before the monsters show up.

I didn't know what I was getting into with 2014's As Above So Below, but I recall it made an appearance at my local theater awhile back, thereby catapulting it miles, um, above most of the 'short horror' available to stream on Netflix. Had I known it was a found footage flick, I might not have pressed play, but even with a tired delivery method and a moderately goofy premise, I'm not all that mad that I did.

A fine-ass archaeologist named Scarlett Marlowe is on a quest to find the Philosopher's Stone, an ancient relic that supposedly grants eternal life. Being that Scarlett is um, super hot, she rather easily assembles a crew of dudes to not only accompany her, but to also film her as she embarks on this obviously foolish journey. See, this Philosopher's stone isn't buried in the bowels of Hogwarts, but instead hidden within in the catacombs of Paris. 

While that may not completely sound like a terrible place to go-go-go -go on an adventure- once they saw what that meant firsthand, everyone should have said f--k this and headed to a café to romantically share a baguette with Gerard Depardieu. Sorry, I don't really know anything about France.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Y'all scared of a family?

In the not too distant past, I caught a compelling story on NPR about everyone's favorite group of people - the top 1%. Seems these ultra-rich dudes were looking around at the post-election state of affairs and collectively deciding they needed to get ready. Like really ready.

For what you ask? While some would say the apocalypse, others might call it the revolution, but however you want to phrase it, the idea was simple: if the economy collapsed the extremely wealthy would be targets. The less fortunate (aka the other ninety-nine percent) would come after them and it wouldn't be pretty. Their solution? High-end luxury fortifications.

Deep underground.

While Us might actually be an allegory about an entirely different topic, I couldn't help but think that somewhere along the way Jordan Peele had heard or read a similar story. Maybe it was before he wrote the script, or maybe it was while buying his own abandoned missile silo, either way I'd like to think this disheartening example of the separation between rich and poor was on his mind. I mean, after reading the bible and watching tons of classic horror films, that is...

After getting lost as a young girl on the boardwalk of Santa Cruz, we meet a now grown-up version of Adelaide Wilson (the impeccable Lupita Nyong'o), quietly dreading a return visit with her well-meaning husband and two kids. She's beyond hesitant, but agrees to go along as long as the entire family returns before nightfall. Her husband agrees, and after a slightly harrowing moment where they couldn't find their young son Jason,  they make it back to the house in one piece. Phew.

Turns out, that relief was incredibly short-lived, as four strangers show up outside of the vacation home and do the worst thing imaginable. They just sort of...stand there.

Oh, f--k me.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Most people don't feel like heroes deep down.

Regardless of what it says about my moral character, I still think I'm taking invisibility. Flight's cool, but c'mon - I could just sneak onto a plane. Super strength would be rad, sure - but I'm already pretty f--king jacked.


Fine, I might not exactly be ripped (or have any real muscle definition whatsoever), but I sure felt that way walking out of Shazam!. Not necessarily because of the movie, mind you, but, thanks to Fandango, because I had just seen a major movie release two weeks early. Who wants to f--king touch me?

Knowing nothing of the character beforehand, my son and I hustled into DC's latest armed only with the information afforded to us by that badass trailer. After some mysterious, uh, occurrence, some young orphan kid is granted great powers. But instead of the accompanying 'great responsibilities', the kid and his friend do the two things that any teenage boys would do: jack and shit.

When we meet Billy, this punk-ass jerkface is messing with the cops...seemingly, for the millionth time. While he looks to initially to be your run of the mill douchey teen, turns out this dude's on a mission to find his mom. Aw? See, back when he was just a wee one, young Billy got separated at a carnival and hasn't seen his momma since. And even if the resulting foster homes are actually kind of nice, Billy ain't having it. He needs to find his mom. Drop the question mark: Awwww confirmed.