Shot Caller

81ccc407ed5f20464ce3570e8c418c9c

Providing nothing particularly new or insightful to the prison yard piece, Shot Caller coasts by on the strength of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s performance, who gives it his all to infuse his character with the appropriate gravitas to get you invested. It would work just fine if the cliches-who needs another wife and son that appear more by name than face?-did not get in the way.

C+

Advertisements

The Square

ob_0eee12_the-square-poster-in-english

One of the reasons why salvation cannot be earned by works alone is because everybody has good intentions. The Square, from the director of the bitingly funny Force Majeuremakes this obvious. From high class intellectuals to street thugs, people make an effort to be progressive, inclusive, to put up with ridiculous scenarios in the name of “I’m a better person than you”. And they all fall short.

This movie does too.

C+

Deadpool 2

9ye9zv3

If by year’s end I were to craft a list detailing my favorite scenes of all the movies I watched in 2018, the weather advisory in Deadpool 2 would be at the top.
What did I do to deserve such a comedic gem?

I like to think that my blatant enjoyment of this parachute sequence (I was laughing so hard I had to turn to my neighbor, I couldn’t contain myself) is a reward for all the times I have sat in a movie theater, indifferently observing men in tights saving the planet over and over again.
Every superhero movie that I have ever watched is not so unmemorable now that it led, in one way or another, to the creation of this unparalleled comedy spectacle.

A-

Ingrid Goes West

stauffer_ingridgoeswest_final_sm_1024x1024

With one hand can I count the movies that have made me squirm so uncomfortably in my seat as the cringe inducing Ingrid Goes West. So what made me react so strongly to this movie, which is not particularly memorable besides Aubrey Plaza’s loopy performance?

My theory is that the Instagram Age has turned everybody, regardless of follower count, into an artist. Naturally we strive for success, measured in the ever precious likes and comments. When we fall short we risk losing exposure, the lack of which can prove fatal to our purpose of staying relevant. And once that’s gone, what is left but a seeming announcement to the world that we could not make it, that we are not good looking, popular or funny enough?

Maybe the fact that this made me so uncomfortable is because I too have fallen prey to the allure of the like. Hashtags, witty captions, that perfect angle; I want to appear cool because I don’t feel like I am. I want people to like me because I am lonely. The movie’s resolution does not provide a remedy to the need for validation from strangers, but gives in to it. The protagonist will continue to lead a life dictated by the interest of others; whether that’s a happy ending or not depends on what kind of an Instagram user you are.

B

The Rider

1993149497

It is easier for somebody who does not believe in an ever loving God to make sense of the injustices of this world. A believer, on the other hand, must come to reconcile the truth of a benevolent and kind God with the bitter realities of a life marked by pain and disappointment.

How do the children of God carry on in the face of profound sorrows? The Rider, a frequently moving and lyrical picture, posits that the Almighty has crafted each and every creature on this earth for a purpose, so we should pursue it, against all odds.

I look at myself, weary and slowly losing faith of ever achieving my dreams, and wonder. If God made me with a purpose, why aren’t I fulfilling it? Why am I stuck with such a mediocre and unexceptional existence? Prayer is hard to come by now, so preoccupied are my thoughts on what to do next. It was never supposed to be this way.

I had so much hope for the future, so much love and trust in my Savior, so much joy in the today. But more and more that feels like a bygone era, a person who was unaware that this world destroys goodness and God is…where is God?

A-

Bad Samaritan

bad_samaritan_ver3

“Executive sir, would you like to fund my movie?”

“What’s your movie about?”

“About a serial killer”

“Sorry, those stories are a dime a dozen”

“But wait, let me finish. The serial killer used to break horses as a kid, but was traumatized. So now he breaks people.”

“Take all of my money”

D

Avengers: Infinity War

avengers__infinity_war_poster_concept_by_the_dark_mamba_995-dbq0ty3

The universal language of hope is why this flick has broken every box office record in history. As cinema it is not particularly profound, nor does it prove insightful to the follies and manners of humankind. But who really needs our nature to play out on the screen, when most of us go to the theater to escape reality, not dive deeper into it?

Superhero movies are box office behemoths because they portray the world as it should be-sure, there’s extraterrestrial invasions all the time, but there are also men and women of good, men and women who do right for right’s sake, who willingly lay down their lives for strangers, and who will never stop until all darkness has been vanquished.

It is this what we aspire to do, to be able to correct the wicked course of the world. Superhero movies are wildly, maniacally successful because they display our dire need for a savior, and how incredibly cool it looks when we finally let them take the wheel.

B