No longer is the cinema a place to go chill with your buds for a couple of hours, yell at the blind bikini model not to open the basement door, and then go have a couple of beers. It has become a destination, an event. Each movie bigger, louder, more brash than its predecessors. Plots get short changed, actors become extras, and life muddles on. But then TV jumped in. All of the stuff on Netflix & HBO showed that people cared about using a brain cell or two as well as enjoying action. So movies are tilting back. while having mixed results with critics, films such as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice have found legions of fans due to its dark themes and its ability to avoid the common tropes. This movie, and its predecessor, Man of Steel, showed some real world ramifications of the existence of superheroes. People die. Captain America: Civil War built its entire plot around that premise. While nowhere near as dark as its DC counterparts it still got people talking. Quick side conversation after any Marvel movie; why do they have churches when gods, literally, walk among the populace? Yeah, bring that one up at Sunday school. It’ll be fun.
So what do you have to look to for your intellectual, and prurient, gratification? Quite a bit actually.
Let’s take them in order.
LOGAN – March 3, 2017
Set in the future of 2024, Logan and Professor Charles Xavier must cope with the loss of the X-Men when a corporation lead by Nathaniel Essex is destroying the world leaving it to destruction, with Logan’s healing abilities slowly fading away and Xavier’s Alzheimer’s forcing him to forget. Logan must defeat Nathaniel Essex with the help of a young girl named Laura Kinney, a female clone of Wolverine.
That’s the official take. What this really is is a cinematic take on OLD MAN LOGAN, a highly respected, some say revered, comic book that featured Wolverine from the X-Men as an old man losing his powers. This in a world where mutants are all pretty much dead and gone thanks to government entities, and scared humans, hunting them down. This is about as dark as Marvel is going to get. As it stands this has an R rating, mostly for violence, profanity, and more violence. This will not be a film for the kiddies. It is, however, a fitting farewell to an iconic character and the actor who brought him to life for over a decade.
KONG: SKULL ISLAND – March 10, 2017
Kong: Skull Island reimagines the origin of the mythic Kong in a compelling, original adventure from director Jordan Vogt-Roberts. In the film, a diverse team of explorers is brought together to venture deep into an uncharted island in the Pacific — as beautiful as it is treacherous — unaware that they’re crossing into the domain of the mythic Kong.
This is a move that no one asked for but many may be happy to discover. Word from those in the know is that it’s smarter, funnier, and darker than people may expect. Also, to a one, I’m told Kong is exactly what you want Kong to be. So that will be a nice change of pace.
POWER RANGERS – March 24, 2017
SABAN’S POWER RANGERS follows five ordinary teens who must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove — and the world — is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so, they will have to overcome their real-life issues and before it’s too late, band together as the Power Rangers.
Okay, good news for adults, there is enough plot, and side jokes that kids will miss, that you should enjoy this. Better news is that there’s plenty of action and emo angst to justify aiming this at teens. That said, you can take the kids who are Power Ranger fans and they should enjoy it too. It humanizes the kids from Angel Grove while still keeping one foot in the wacky world that allows all this to work.
GHOST IN THE SHELL – March 31, 2017
A cyborg policewoman attempts to bring down a nefarious computer hacker.
Yep. That’s it. That’s the entire plot released by the studio. This being slightly less than the what the original 1995 cartoon presented with it being a take on “what is the essence of a soul?”, “what defines a human anyway?”, “what is better for humanity?”, and, of course, “what is the nature of sexuality?” The original movie left people talking for years. Many are still squabbling over meanings and nuance. Something tells me this version will not have the same effect on movie goers.
One thing we do know about it is that the nude scenes have been replaced with innuendo or silly unitards. That may be enough for rural American audiences but I’m not sure about anyone else. As a friend of mine opined, “It’s like the Lego version of Citizen Kane.”
Well, let’s not set the bar too high.
Oh, did I mention that many people are completely freaked out by the fact that a story about Japanese culture and how it deals with the future features Scarlett Johansson as the Japanese lead. Yeah, so there’s that. On the plus side, it looks pretty.
Next up, Jim Carrey as Malcolm X.
Please God let me be joking.
Anyway, that gets you through March. If you have any money left after that I’ll catch you up on some more.