Mary Poppins Returns–doing Nostalgia right

Star Wars Episode 7.  The Day of the Doctor.  Ocean’s 8.  Live action Beauty and the Beast. All, on some level or another, movies that offer some fun in the viewing–some thrills, some warms feelings, some familiar taps of the toe to classic songs and musical themes.

In other words…nostalgia–that feeling of fondness and comfortability that comes from revisiting sights and sounds and situations that used to occupy happy places in our hearts in the past, especially from our childhood.  Mary Poppins Returns, the sequel to the 1964 Disney classic, definitely trades in on that nostalgic quality to earn some of its goodwill.  But it does so perhaps in the best way I have ever seen.

Mary Poppins Emily Blunt.jpg

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Aquaman

Back in the 1990’s, I used to make a joke about Kevin Costner, how he seemed to only star in three hour movies in which he got to play some iconic childhood hero. Like he’s saying, “Hey, I’m Robin Hood!” (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) or “Hey, I’m a cowboy!” (Wyatt Earp), or “Hey, I’m an Indian!” (Dances with Wolves), or “Hey, I’m Aquaman!” (Waterworld).

Of course, Waterworld is not actually about Aquaman, but some other guy who can swim really fast and survive the depths of the ocean. Part of the joke is that the idea of making an actual Aquaman movie is just ludicrous. Oh, how times have changed.

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

OK, this is the film that demonstrates more than any other that we are genuinely in some sort of golden age of cinematic comic book adaptations.  Not because, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is perfect (it’s not), but because it includes geeky material that is so esoteric that even comic book nerds would find it a bit obscure, and yet which movie studio executives are apparently still confident will pull in enough of an audience to make the film profitable.

Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse

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Weekly Geeky Question #51: Making a “Great” Christian Film

It’s the penultimate Weekly Geeky Question, where my friend Rod asks me some geeky question that I have to answer.  We’re now up to Week #51, so only one more to go.  This week’s question is quite a bit different than any other we’ve had this year:

How would I create an openly evangelistic Christian film…and make it awesome and popular?

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Weekly Geeky Question #50: Awesome Story Payoffs

It’s time for another Weekly Geeky Question.  Each week my friend Rod asks me some geeky question that I have to answer.  We’re now up to Week #50, so we’ve been at this for a while.  This week’s question follows on from last week, where we talked about disappointing story payoffs.

What are some of the most best story payoff’s that I have ever seen?

Paul Levitz

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Weekly Geeky Question #49: Disappointing Story Payoffs

Well, it’s Weekly Geeky Question time, and we’re up to Week #49–with the end of 2018 approaching more rapidly than any of us are prepared to deal with.   My Friend Rod is back with another question, and this time it’s about one of my favorite things, which is story structure.  What Rod wants to know is,,,

What are some of the most disappointing story payoff’s that I have ever seen?

Peanuts_Writer2

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Godzilla (2014)

I’ve never been a particular fan of Godzilla.  In fact, until recently, I’d only seen two of his 35+ movies–Godzilla vs Megalon (in college) and Godzilla: Final Wars with my friend Rod.  Well, there were scraps of others, including the Roland Emmerich-helmed nightmare from 1998.  Anyway, none of them impressed me, although Final Wars had some ludicrous fun associated with it.

Godzilla

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Movies on a Plane: Towering Inferno / Die Hard mash-up, funny spies, derivative dystopia, video game adaptation reboot prequel & some serious drama thrown in to boot

As promised last time, there was a flight back from New York to Perth, and thanks again to Qatar Airways top-notch in-flight entertainment system, I watched a whole lot of stuff.

My usual go-to viewing in situations like this is cheap entertaining fluff films that are engaging enough to hold my interest but not so taxing as to require any real focus.  As we’ll see, I stayed true to form for much of this trip, but not all of it…

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Movies on a Plane: Genetic engineering, inept thieves, courtroom romance, Star Trek pastiche, and bizarre experiments

A long trip to the USA and back, all in just over a week, can only mean one thing…

Actually, it can mean a whole lot of things.  But amongst those things is that there’s bee a whole lot of on-board ocean-traversing movie-viewing going on.  Let’s summarize!  Warning:  most of these things are not very good, and there are plenty of spoilers lurking about.

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Once (2006)

I’m a bit late to the party when it comes to Once, the Irish musical romantic drama by director John Carney.  It’s a small project, shot on a very low budget for a feature film (less than $200,000 apparently) but won wide-spread critical acclaim upon its release and even won an Oscar for Best Song.

Once

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