The Möbius Strip- All ‘Captain Marvel’ all the time, ‘Us’ premiers at SXSW

Captain Marvel zoomed in to save the 2019 box office with a $153.4 million debut and $456.7 million worldwide. That ranks for the third highest March opening, the fifth highest international opening and the sixth highest worldwide opening on the all-time charts. The holdovers aren’t even worth discussing – Captain Marvel made significantly more than three times the rest of the top 12 combined- Box Office Mojo

Captain Marvel’s success is more impressive when looking exclusively at China, where it made $88.6 million headlining the biggest March weekend overall in the country’s history. That’s the third-largest debut for an MCU film in the Middle Kingdom and by far the largest stand-alone introduction of a new character – Black Panther debuted at just $66.5 million last year. Marvel also blew Wonder Woman, which debuted at $38 million, right out of the water- The Hollywood Reporter

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‘Captain Marvel’ is everything that drives me up a wall about the MCU, I hate it so much

OK, it isn’t absolutely everything that drives me up a wall about the MCU. Danvers actually has relationships with her antagonists, which is a significant step up from the Marvel standard, and there’s much better special effects than we’re used to seeing out of the studio. Images courtesy Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

6/10 It is such a tremendously good thing that Captain Marvel is a movie that exists, but could the movie itself have been good? Is that really so much to ask?

In 1996 on the Kree homeworld of Hala, Vers (Brie Larson), an elite Starforce warrior and amnesiac of six years, suffers nightmares of her mysterious past. After a rescue operation goes awry, she crash-lands on Earth. As she hunts down the skrull leader Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) alongside young SHIELD agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), she begins to remember her life as Air Force pilot Carol Danvers. She reconciles her shattered identity with her nigh uncontrollable energy powers.

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Unpacking the hateful version of history at the 91st Academy Awards

Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

In 1915, Epoch Producing Co. released what is widely considered to be the first epic film, though there is some pushback against that, Birth of a Nation. In the film, after chronicling the Civil War and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln – in a way that made it clear there were very fine people on both sides – the film depicts the war’s aftermath as black men, played by white actors covered head-to-toe in shoe polish, descending upon the South as a swarm of amorous locusts to sake their uncontrollable lust by raping every white woman they could get their hands on. The only thing standing in their way are the women’s white saviors, the knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

The film pushed a version of history that was demonstrably untrue, even within living memory at the time, but a version that made white men more comfortable than to grapple honestly with the racism at the heart of the Civil War, or the film’s own making for that matter. This new version of history was so popular that the Klan, which had essentially fallen apart by the 1870s, was refounded in 1915 because of Birth of a Nation’s popularity and how romantically it portrayed the organization.

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‘Cold War’ artsy fartsy, would be cooler if it weren’t

Images courtesy Amazon Studios.

4/10 After debuting in May 2018 at Cannes, where writer/director Paweł Pawlikowski won the festival’s best director award, and rolling out across several film markets overseas over a period of months, Polish- and French-language period drama Cold War has finally made it into more than 40 American theaters. In addition to being nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, it’s earned Oscar nominations for Pawlikowski and cinematographer Łukasz Żal, which would indicate it as a shoo-in for the Foreign Language award were it not for Roma and its 10 nominations.

Cold War is meant to be a primarily visual feast, but I can’t get behind what it’s doing visually. It’s a neat idea, but the movie would have been stronger with more traditional choices.

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‘Serenity’ swallowed by its distributor over big dumb twist

Images courtesy Aviron Pictures, whether they want to admit it or not.

2/10 After acquiring the distribution rights to Serenity in February 2018, Aviron Pictures set a Sept. 28 release date, where it would have competed against nothing even vaguely memorable, and later pushed that back to Oct. 19, where it would have an early Oscar season date against Halloween.

Then, suddenly, Aviron pushed it all the way back to Jan. 25 and didn’t tell anyone. Marketing completely stopped – to be aware that Serenity was coming out, you would have had to already have seen trailers in anticipation of the Oct. 19 release, be the kind of person who actually pays attention to movie news and be the kind of person who goes to see movies that the studio clearly doesn’t believe in.

Aviron waited until the first big movie of the year, Glass, came out a weekend beforehand, and only then quietly slid Serenity onto screens. What’s behind the curtain that’s so bad that early January wasn’t a deep enough hole to hide it in? Anyone who’s seen Serenity, whether they hated it or even if they liked it, can easily tell you.

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