Thursday, June 29, 2023

Asteroid City (Wes Anderson, 2023)


(Warning: plot twists discussed in full and explicit detail)

Wes Anderson's latest is more of the usual, only different-- good news to Anderson fans, an occasion to groan for most everyone else (tho go figure, opening weekend gave him his biggest box office earnings ever).

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse


In Philip K. Dick's Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, celebrity singer and TV host Jason Taverner passes out in a medical facility, having been treated for an attack from a 'Callisto cuddle sponge,' a dangerous parasite (alien, judging from the name) thrown at him by a former lover. He wakes up in a cheap motel, learns he's not only not famous but his friends don't know him, and he has no identification papers-- dangerous situation in Dick's version of 1988 United States, where if you can't prove who you are to one of many police checkpoints in Los Angeles you can be arrested and sent to a forced labor camp. 

Thursday, June 08, 2023

The Whale (Darren Aronofsky, 2022)

Killing me softly

(Warning: plot details explicitly discussed)

Darren Aronofsky's The Whale (2022) adapted Samuel D Hunter's play to the big screen and we more or less know how the film has fared: made respectable money from a small ($3 million) budget, won Brendan Fraser an Academy Award for playing a morbidly obese man trying to re-connect with his estranged daughter, provoked either ecstatic or angry reactions from a broad range of critics. 

Aronofsky was smart enough to consult with the Obesity Action Coalition, and the statement on their website is interesting: they did not have any input on the decision to cast Fraser, nor did they have any input about the design and appearance of the suit meant to make the actor look like he weighed 600 pounds; they did find Fraser 'highly receptive' to their suggestions about how to approach his role, and felt he did 'a remarkable job.' They admitted to taking part in the production to 'help make sure' the character is portrayed in a 'realistic' way, but didn't explicitly say it was realistic; they hedged a little saying 'how individuals experience obesity varies,' but admit 'SOME people may have had (the same) experiences.' Tactfully worded, and about the best the production could hope for, considering this may have been a late innings consultation.  Stayed clear of a full-throated approval, but no violent objections. 

I do like what they have to say about the title: ''Whale' is often a derogatory term used for people with obesity. However, after reading the play and seeing the has a much deeper meaning.' These people take context into consideration, how cool is that?

O what did I think of it? Well let me tell you.