‘Broken Hearts Gallery’ an authentic offering for date nights that aren’t happening

Nick, in this movie that was shot in 2019, out of nowhere, for no reason at all, specifies in this scene that he’s from a little town called Kenosha, Wisconsin. There is truly no escape from this nightmare year of 2020. Images courtesy Sony Pictures Releasing.

8/10 As Tenet stalked through the summer searching for a suitable release date, it had a couple of ambitious satellites following it. Unhinged, the premier film for Solstice Studios, was determined to beat the blockbuster back into theaters.

Another studio, No Trace Camping, also sought to take advantage of the droves of people heading back to the movies with just its fifth feature and first in four years, much more traditional blockbuster counterprogramming in The Broken Hearts Gallery.

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Careening off the international tightrope of ‘Mulan’

Images courtesy Walt Disney Motion Picture Studios.

2/10 $30. This ugly, fascy movie costs $30.

China has been on track for several decades to become the dominant economy in the world. This has affected the film industry like any other, as China’s burgeoning theatrical distribution system has made its cinematic industry almost comparable to Hollywood, and many large-scale, globally oriented Hollywood productions are focusing their efforts on appealing to Chinese viewers just as much as American ones.

Disney has been particularly eager to make this transition, and while many of its recent films have clearly had China in mind, the crown jewel of its effort has been the live-action adaptation of Mulan, which was made as a distinct tribute to Chinese cinema and delayed for several years so it could feature Chinese megastar Liu Yifei. Several Hollywood productions, particularly ones set in East Asia, had been accused of whitewashing while this movie was being developed, and since the original 1998 cartoon was met with apathy in the Middle Kingdom, it was both an opportunity and an imperative to make a Mulan that was more consistent with the Chinese folklore.

And so, after a five year production process and months of pandemic-related delay, Disney releases its celebration of Chinese folklore and send-up of its historic cinema while the Chinese government is actively suppressing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, which have been making international headlines for more than a year now, and on an entirely separate note, is engaged in a genocide against the Uyghurs, a religious and ethnic minority native to the deserts in the country’s northwest. These are in addition to the nation’s decades-long imperialist streak in Tibet and Taiwan.

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Don’t try to understand ‘Tenet,’ just feel it

Mask up. Images courtesy Warner Bros.

9/10 God damn it’s good to be back at the movies.

A fresh-faced protagonist (John David Washington) is promoted from the CIA to an international secret society called Tenet. He is introduced to “inverted” munitions, bullets made at an unknown point in the future moving backward through time – they impact, then fire, then you pull the trigger. Tenet scientists are discovering more and more inverted objects, most of which indicate an apocalyptic global war is coming. The protagonist attempts to trace the munitions, hoping they’ll lead him to a way to save the future.

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Why ‘Tenet’ is coming out now

Images courtesy Warner Bros.

Ever since the coronavirus pandemic closed theaters around the globe in the winter, Warner Bros. has held firm that Tenet would hit the big screen, the clarion call that would summon audiences back to the movies in droves. Over a large network of compromises, that’s happening now. Today is Tenet’s official release date in the U.S., though it’s been running for the past few days and has already made $53.6 million overseas.

You can’t understand a compromise unless you’re taking all interested parties into account, so I wanted to take a minute to jot down everything that’s gone into this decision. Continue reading

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After two years to get the edit right, ‘New Mutants’ is a mess

Images courtesy 20th Century Studios.

2/10 After two years of post-production, you’d think The New Mutants would at least be organized.

In The New Mutants, Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt) awakens imprisoned in a facility for adolescent mutants who have killed people with their emerging powers. Moonstar has vast psionic powers, but her primary ability is to conjure the deepest fears of anyone she meets, something she has no control over at this point in her life — obviously, this causes several problems. She is held with Scottish werewolf Rahne Sinclair (Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones fame), Russian magician Illyana Rasputin (Anya Taylor-Joy, who had just starred in The Witch), Kentucky coal miner Sam Guthrie (Charlie Heaton from Stranger Things) and young Brazilian billionaire Bobby da Costa (Henry Zaga, who had a bit part in 13 Reasons Why). Their only captor is Cecilia Reyes (Alice Braga), who is ostensibly treating them, but takes her orders from a mysterious superior meant to set up the sequel that will never happen.

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