Our Greatest Living Film Critic, VI

Volume VI, March 2019

Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

Watched Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018). Though they joked about it, joking doesn’t take away the fact that this was yet another movie that tells Spider-man’s origin story. There were a couple action sequences where the faux stop motion made the action sequences feel like a strobe light was going off, but otherwise the animation was flawless and sui generis. I don’t like it when people re-imagine Aunt May as a badass. There were some very good jokes, and the voice acting was excellent, but the hype was too much to live up to. I give it 3.75 Johns Romita, Jr. out of a possible 5 Johns Romita, Jr.

Free Solo (2018)

Watched Free Solo (2018), a horror movie about a man climbing El Capitan without any ropes. Alex Honnold plays himself. I call it a horror movie because the main 20-minute climbing sequence is the most anxious I’ve ever felt watching anything, even though it’s a documentary and we know he succeeds. I tried imagining that he was just 5 feet above a thick rubber pad, but they kept shooting from above. The most interesting non-vertiginous theme is how the presence of the camera affects the subject, and whether it is ethical to do that to someone whose life depends on complete concentration. Not surprisingly, after wrestling with the question, they decided to continue making their movie. Honnold seems highly intelligent, goofy, introspective, emotionally stunted, and a decent cook. I give it 4 furniture questions a day out of a possible 5 furniture questions a day.

Triple Frontier (2019)

Watched Triple Frontier (2019), about some ex-special forces guys who steal too much money from a cartel boss in Brazil and then have to get away with it. Movie was sold as The Dirty Dozen (1967) meets The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), but I would say it is more Three Kings (1999) meets Fitzcarraldo (1982), since the majority of the movie is about the logistics of moving things over a mountain. Oscar Isaac is very watchable and so is Ben Affleck, who gets a couple good speeches and looks eerily like my brother now. Garrett Hedlund is surprisingly good, and Charlie Hunnam’s American accent is embarrassingly bad. This is a pretty broey movie, and that’s fine. There was some talk that it was a parable for military imperialism in South America, but if it is it’s so inconsistent about it that it doesn’t count. It wants to be about the psychological consequences of asking soldiers to commit ultraviolence, but it doesn’t really earn that either. It’s just a ‘B’ movie about some knuckleheads getting in over their head when they try to commit a crime. I give it 3.25 Chekov’s Donkeys out of a possible 5 Chekov’s Donkeys.