Tim Burton’s ‘Dumbo’ nobody’s baby

Images courtesy Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

3/10 When a movie is advertised as “from the imagination of Tim Burton,” you tend to go into it expecting a real blue-blooded Tim Burton passion project, one that he really took ownership of and fought hard to get the property rights and push past the finish line.

But that’s not Dumbo. Walking out of the movie, it’s difficult to figure out who was ever passionate about this project.

In 1919, circus horseman Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) returns from World War I one arm the lesser to find his old troupe in shambles, his wife months-dead of influenza and his two children rudderless. Ringmaster Max Medici (Danny DeVito) hires Farrier back to take care of the circus’ new pregnant elephant, who soon gives birth to Baby Dumbo (Edd Osmond in the motion capture suit). Dumbo is immediately noticed for his ears, which dwarf the rest of his body. Farrier’s daughter, Milly (Nico Parker), soon discovers that he can use these ears as wings and fly.

The flying baby attracts attention from entertainment entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), who buys out the circus and whisks off all the important characters to Dreamland, where they perform with trapeze artist Colette Marchant (Eva Green).

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‘Us’ a triumph of genre, auteur filmmaking

Images courtesy Universal Pictures.

9/10 Leaving the theater for the first time, the only thing I’m 100 percent sure about Us is that I need to see it again.

At their vacation home in Santa Cruz, California, the Wilson family, mother Adelaide, father Gabe and children Zora and Jason (Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright and Evan Alex), are attacked in the night by four invaders, each clad in red and wielding golden shears. The Wilsons are terrified to realize that these invaders, these erratic, sub-lingual ghouls, are perfect doppelgangers corresponding to each of the family members.

Us is transcendent. It’s tightly written, meticulously choreographed, brilliantly acted and carefully shot. Realistically almost every scene is a highlight, but the 1986-set prologue scene, the doppelgangers’ introduction and the climactic dance-battle all stand out.

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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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