‘Morbius’ a disorganized, obviously incomplete disaster

As usual, the visual effects drown where prosthetics would swim. Images courtesy Sony Pictures Releasing.

1/10 Morbius would be an absolute disaster if approached as a completed movie, but the reality of it is worse. Despite having been initially slated for release way back in July 2020, the theatrical release is obviously a work in progress, and it looks like no one ever intended to complete it.

Manhattan- Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Michael Morbius (Jared Leto, who also produces executively) searches for a cure to his extremely rare congenital blood – or DNA? I don’t know what’s going on – disease, so rare I guess it doesn’t have even a fictional name. In his desperation, he goes out onto the ocean and performs a dangerous experiment on himself, filling in the gaps of his DNA with that of a vampire bat and becoming a horrifying pseudo-vampire who must consume human blood multiple times a day in order to survive. Morbius, a medical doctor, is racked with guilt over his condition, a conflict that only deepens when his “cure” is appropriated by his surrogate and/or legally adopted brother who suffers from the same disease, a difficult-to-identify character played by Matt Smith.

Morbius is one of the most disorganized theatrical cuts I’ve ever seen. It appears to have been cobbled together from footage of several different drafts of the movie – you see this all the time at the screenplay level, with different versions of a script built on top of each other, and that usually turns out fine, but this looks like it happened at the production level. Different scenes of Morbius appear to have been produced for completely different versions of the movie at different times and then mashed together, and it looks like nobody went through to iron it out. This feels less like a finished movie and more like a rough cut with samples of different approaches for a producer to look at, then send back for more editing. The movie is full not only of shifts in filmmaking style, quality and tone, but surface-level continuity contradictions and gaps of basic scene-to-scene information.

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On slapping Chris Rock in the face

Photo by Ruth Fremson, The New York Times.

The highlight of the 94th Academy Awards ceremony last night had nothing to do with any award. As he was presenting the award for Best Documentary Feature, Chris Rock singled out Jada Pinkett Smith’s haircut and said he was looking forward to G.I. Jane 2. Her husband, superstar Will Smith, sitting with her in the front row as a Best Actor nominee, got out of his chair and slapped Rock in the face, then shouted curses at him after he sat back down.

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‘The Batman’ is a triumph

Images courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures.

9/10 The Batman is a grueling marathon of angst and anxiety, the perfect balance of a wannabe-hardcore crime story and the real fears that undergird its telling. It is a bold statement of and about Batman in media that could only exist as a Batman story. 

Gotham City, Thursday, Oct. 31- A year into Bruce Wayne’s campaign to defeat violence as a concept through superior firepower as Batman (Robert Pattinson), violent crime is up throughout the city, and his crusade appears to have had little effect. A serial killer calling himself the Riddler (Paul Dano) begins a string of vicious murders of Gotham’s political elite, leaving clues for the police, cryptic messages for news media and greeting cards addressed to Batman personally. The case takes him into the epicenter of Gotham’s criminal underworld. 

Batman changes dramatically through the decades, and he has changed again in The Batman. The film lays out the entire recent history of the character in media like a roadmap to the deteriorating mood of the 21st centuy.

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Performance anxiety and real-world rage of Bo Burnham’s ‘Inside’

Images courtesy Netflix.

Perusing year-end Netflix originals, I get a nagging, grim itch to revisit “Inside,” the comedy special that released to rapturous praise last May. I’d started some fights about it around the time of its release because I found it to be lazy and insincere, and months later, I got worried that I was being unfair. Despite appearances, I do actually second-guess myself sometimes, and getting it right is important to me. Maybe, on a more committed viewing, this will have gotten better.

It hasn’t gotten better. It’s gotten much, much worse.

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‘The Worst Person in the World’ is a normal woman

Hey, what if you stopped trying to rationalize everything you do and just have sex? It’d probably be easier than this extended “is this cheating?” sequence. Images courtesy Neon.

According to everything I’d heard about The Worst Person in the World, I’ve dated this girl about four or five times, and that is exactly the case, because she’s a completely normal young woman.

Oslo- In The Worst Person in the World, Julie (Renate Reinsve) goes from training to be a doctor to a therapist to a photographer, blitzing her way through four lovers in the process to accompany each life, and that’s just the prologue. Then, over 12 more chapters, she sticks with the photography thing and stays committed mostly to Aksel (Anders Danielsen Lie) or Eivind (Herbert Nordrum).

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