‘Trolls World Tour’ fine, but not for $20

Images courtesy Universal Pictures.

$20/10 Well I guess I should write something.

With the entire world under quarantine and theaters shuttered, most movies have been pulled from the release schedule. But one, Trolls World Tour, which I had particularly been looking forward to, stayed in line with its April release date, shifting to a streaming debut instead. It’s out now, and you too can stream it into your quarantined home.

For $20. You can do this for $20.

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Revisiting ‘Contagion’ in the age of coronavirus

Images courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures.

As the COVID-19 pandemic quietly spreads through the U.S. and the country very loudly grinds to a halt, movie theaters are one of many businesses that are shutting their doors. Amid news of delayed releases and entire theater chains closing, last weekend was the worst at the box office in 25 years, and no. 1 finisher Onward in particular suffered a second-weekend drop of more than 70%, which is almost unprecedented.

Americans didn’t go to the movies last week, and they won’t be returning for some time. But there is one movie that remains a communal experience right now, something people are watching in droves, is a nine-year-old horror movie directly related to the present crisis – Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion. 

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‘Onward’ made me very uncomfortable

Image courtesy Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

5/10 Every movie, to one degree or another, mirrors the world it releases into – that’s the whole concept behind this blog. Some, like Ad Astra, are such clear and urgent cries about the anxieties of their time the subtext is inescapable, and others, like The Hunt, are ripped in bad faith from the headlines.

In others, like Onward, the whole movie is so bland that the subtext is all you notice.

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‘Emma’ delightful, but only for moments at a time

Images courtesy Focus Features.

6/10 Luxurious period comedy Emma is absolutely raucous at points, but as it wears on, it just doesn’t spend enough time being funny.

Hartfield, England, early 1800s- Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy), handsome, clever and rich, has lived nearly 21 years in the world with very little to distress or vex her. After two people she introduced get married, Woodhouse decides that she is a matchmaker, much to the chagrin of longtime companion George Knightley (Johnny Flynn). Woodhouse takes on Harriet Smith (Mia Goth), a new friend of uncertain breeding, as her plaything, attempting to set her up with various local gentlemen to generally chaotic results.

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Sometimes good things happen

Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

This was supposed to be 1917’s night, but I came in with a sneaking suspicion. A suspicion that there would be, well, not quite an upset, but the Academy would go a different direction, that they would give 1917 its due in technical awards – which they didn’t – but that for Best Director and Picture, they would go for something with more soul, something that spoke to them on a deeper level, something that would surprise everyone.

I thought they’d give Best Director and Picture to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

1917 was the favorite, but that would be the Hollywood thing to do, pass up a better movie for one that’s more romantic about Hollywood itself. You could spend the few week interval between nomination announcements and the actual ceremony talking up about how director Quentin Tarantino is “due,” it’d be fine. It’d be a shock to draw viewers, a nice surprise for Tarantino fans and the Academy would get what it wanted anyway. It’s something Parasite director Bong Joon Ho said as he lay the groundwork for his inevitably winning Best International Picture and nothing else – “The Oscars are not an international film festival. They’re very local.”

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