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April 2018

Linkspam hears the verdict

Unless you were living under a rock this week, you know that Bill Cosby was convicted on three counts of sexual assault Thursday.

Ever since this began, it seems my entire generation has struggled to reconcile our memory of the friendly, sweater-wearing Cliff Huxtable and the funnyman who voiced Fat Albert and sold pudding pops with the predator described in court. The impact seems to be twice as harsh for African-Americans who grew up watching The Cosby Show and A Different World, who saw positive reflections of middle- and upper-class black America presented on a national stage for the first time.

Some lamented that this seminal work is now tainted forever with Cosby's sins. And I am never going to be That Person and tell the black community what to think or how to feel. It’s not my place.

But I do think this is going to be one of the great struggles for us as a society, as social media now puts us in closer contact with the people we have previously idolized: how to separate art from artist. One nasty tweet can reveal that an artist we loved is actually a racist, or misogynist, or simply clueless and rude. We’ve gone through it many times, with allegations against Woody Allen and Kevin Spacey and so, so many others, going back to Orson Scott Card and before. How can we separate the person from the work? And is it fair to do so?

I know the choice I make: to try to separate art from artist up to the point that the artist’s malfeasance or problematic beliefs infects the art. But I also try to pay attention to the financial impact of my consumption of art, to ensure that little to none of my money goes to support causes I would stand against. That means, for example, if I simply must read a book from an author who espouses hateful homophobia, I can always get it from the library without giving him my money.

Can we really say that we should throw out The Cosby Show and A Different World because Cosby was a criminal? (Good luck finding either on streaming services, by the way.) There were so many artists who worked on those shows, writers and actors who did good work that deserves to be remembered. It wasn’t just cheap laughs that entertained us; it made us think, in ways that the modern sitcom often avoids, and busted stereotypes that go back decades.

It would be a sad thing for our collective culture if the fine work of so many people disappeared or was disparaged and dismissed because the lead actor was a criminal. The legacy of those shows does not belong to Cosby alone.

EDIT: A little birdie has informed me that you can find A Different World streaming on Amazon Prime.

• Speaking of artists doing very bad things… Smallville actress Allison Mack has been charged in the ongoing NXIVM sex cult weirdness. Mack is accused of assisting group leader Keith Raniere with coercing and enslaving unwilling women into the cult and forcing them to have sex with Raniere. As many as 50 women are alleged to be victims of the cult.

• Winter is not coming…. George R.R. Martin says The Winds of Winter will not be published in 2018. There hasn’t been a new Ice and Fire novel since 2011. Instead, there will be a 1,000-page history of the kings of Westeros, coming out in November. The fictional history has been compared by some as Martin’s Simarillion. Meanwhile, HBO is considering three to five possible spinoffs. Yikes.

• The first St. Louis Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Film Festival will take place at First Friday in May at the St. Louis Science Center. Attendees will be able to learn about cinematography, special effects, editing, directing, lighting, costuming and set design as well as screening the various short films. As it will be May the Fourth (be with you), the Planetarium will celebrate Star Wars Day. Finishing up with a screening of Ed Wood in the Planetarium, I’m really wishing I were off work.

• Ever since I saw this sillyMarvel Bunch” video, this song has been stuck in my head, so I gift it to you and you can have it stuck in your head. (Chris Evans, we gotta talk about the 'stache.) I think those guys have a movie coming out, have you heard anything?

Hamilton may be gone (don’t worry, it’ll be back) but there’s still theater in St. Louis! Highlights this week include The Dresser by Gaslight Theater, Falling by Bankside Reperatory Theater Company, The Fantasticks by the Hawthorne Players, and Jesus Christ Superstar by Stray Dog Theater.

• In case you were worried that you weren’t giving enough money to Amazon, they’re now raising the price of Amazon Prime from $99 to $119. The change goes into effect May 11 and will apply to renewals beginning June 16. Amazon has had cost increases, they say. Sign on the dotted line if you feel sorry for them.

• Locals: Afterwords Books in Edwardsville celebrates its ninth anniversary on Saturday, May 12! Drop by for baked goodies, a 20-percentn discount, storytime and a drawing for a $50 gift card. Congrats to one of the hidden jewels of Edwardsville!

• Is Thursday really Alien Day? Is that a real thing? Twitter thinks so.

• A recent study in the journal PLOS One found that authors with female names were paid 9 percent less than authors with male names; female-dominated genres such as romand are thought of with less value; and there are gender differences in the prices of books within the same genre. Who’s surprised?

• You could fill a whole column with the latest in WTF is Next for Star Trek, but this latest one is interesting. S.J Clarkson has been tapped for the next movie, which makes her the first female director in the franchise. Side-eye that it took that long, but if you’re hoping to find out what movie they’re doing… is it the flashback movie with Chris Hemsworth as George Kirk? Is it that weird-ass idea of letting Quentin Tarantino direct a Star Trek movie? Is it Prime Universe or Abramsverse? Stay tuned.

• You know what Hollywood thinks needs a sequel? If you answered A Quiet Place, you’re right. Not sure if Paramount is right, since the movie was one of those experiences that really works and would be hard to recapture. But that isn’t stopping them

 

RIP

• Bob Dorough, creator of Schoolhouse Rock, age 94. Sing along with “Conjunction Junction” and “I’m Just a Bill,” songs by Dorough the jazz pianist and vocalist. He was first hired by an ad exec to write a song to help his kids learn their times tables. The rest is television history.

Arthur Rubenstein, 80, movie composer who worked on more than 300 films and television programs. His music direction could be heard on Broadway in A Chorus Line, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita and more. You’ve heard his scores in Wargames, Lost in America, Blue Thunder, Nick of Time and many other movies, frequently working with John Badham. He founded a symphony that presented more than 60 free classical concerts to 80,000 families and children. His composition “Observations” was performed at the Griffith Observatory in honor of the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s achievements.

 

Trailer Park

Jurassic World, which doesn’t look any less sexist or annoying, but I applaud Chris Pratt for his multi-tasking this year (although his Star-Lord and Owen the Raptor Whisperer appear to be roughly the same guy).

Kin, with Dennis Quaid and a young kid in a dystopian future, whose older brother just got back out of prison and is already getting back in trouble. Enter an alien body, funky ray guns, and wackiness ensues. It’s an interesting setup, but could someone turn on the lights? You can be grimdark and still light the set.

Deadpool 2, and I couldn’t get the silly thing to run, but given how I usually feel about Deadpool humor, it’s probably best. (In all fairness, I didn’t see the first one. But the menfolk did, and assured me that they found it hilarious and I would absolutely hate it. I trust their judgement.)

• In a completely different vein…. The Tale, pending from HBO and starring Laura Dern as a documentarian whose mother finds a short story she had written as a child that exposes long-buried secrets. Also starring Ellen Burstyn, John Heard (RIP), Jason Ritter and Isabelle Nelisse.

• Curious about the new Venom movie? Have a trailer that actually shows some plot! Tom Hardy plays a reporter who gets infected with the Venom symbiote, and who may or may not be an unethical turd. Can Marvel manage to produce one journalist who is competent, dedicated and ethical? We’ll see, but I’m not holding out hope.

 

Coming This Weekend

Avengers: Infinity War. You might heard a little something about it.

• Foolish enough to actually premiere the same weekend: Kings, about a foster family in South Central Los Angeles right before the Rodney King riots; and Disobedience, a starcrossed love story between two women in a conservative Jewish society. (Technically it premiered last year, starring Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams; this is its wide U.S. release.)

 

Continuing:

I Feel Pretty, Super Troopers 2, Traffik, Rampage, Truth or Dare, Isle of Dogs, Blockers, A Quiet Place, Ready Player One, A Wrinkle in Time, Pacific Rim Uprising, Acrimony, I Can Only Imagine, Love Simon, Sherlock Gnomes, Chappaquiddick, and The Miracle Season. And probably BLACK PANTHER.

 

Avengers assemble! 


Linkspam wins the awards (not really)

The Pulitzer Prizes are out - in case you’re wondering, your Friendly Neighborhood CultureGeek did not win one. Next year!

However, there were some really amazing choices, and Poynter has a great summary analysis. Here are some of the highlights:

The New York Times and New Yorker shared t he prize for public service for exposing Harvey Weinstein and kicking off the #metoo movement, changing the national conversation about sexual harassment and abuse. The Washington Post won for investigative reporting in the Alabama Senate race. The Arizona Republic and USA Today network won for explanatory reporting of the “unintended consequences” of building a wall on the Mexican border. The New York Times and Washington Post shared an award for “deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage” of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Note: This was the first Pulitzer for USA Today, after 35 years of reporting.

That’s the short version of the journalism awards, which will be detailed to a much greater extent on my other blogs. This is a blog about pop culture, and so we should take a closer look at the artistic awards than my “day job.”

The fiction Pulitzer went to Less by Andrew Sean Greer (Little Brown), described as a book of fine prose and structure about growing older and the essential nature of love. Finalists were In the Distance by Hernan Diaz (Coffee House Press) and The Idiot by Elif Batuman (Penguin Press).

The drama Pulitzer went to Cost of Living by Martyna Majok, examining perceptions of privilege through a former trucker and his recently paralyzed ex-wife, and an arrogant young man with cerebral palsy and his caregiver. Fiinalists were Everybody by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and The Minutes by Tracy Letts.

The poetry Pulitzer went to Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 by Frank Bidart, with finalists Incendiary Art by Patricia Smith and semiautomatic by Evie Shockley.

The history Pulitzer went to The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea by Jack E. Davis; nonfiction went to Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America; and biography went to Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser. Music went to DAMN by Kendrick Lamar.

Netflix is picking up a vampire series based on the V-Wars novel/anthology/comic series by Jonathan Maberry. The series will star Ian Somerhalder as the doctor trying to solve the vampire plague while society is ripped apart by its spread. I will now shamelessly name-drop that Jonathan is a friend of mine, and he’s killed me in one of his novels. I couldn’t be happier for Jonathan on his success, and not just because he’s a terrific writer. He’s also a really good guy, and his success story gives hope to the rest of us toiling in the vineyards that good work finds a home.

AMC is picking up NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, who is not a personal friend, but a pretty nifty writer. Hill is famously the son of Stephen King, who launched his own horror-writer career under a pseudonym to try to “make it” without his father’s fame. The series follows an artist who discovers she can track an immortal creature who steals the souls of children and deposits them in a twisted version of a Christmas village…  Is anyone else excited about how much creepy-supernatural programming is getting picked up by the non-network systems, including possible Dark Tower at Amazon? NOS4A2 launches in 2019.

• Speaking of Stephen King, part II of IT will film in July. The only character cast yet is Jessica Chastain as Beverly, and I wait to see if they sugar-coat Beverly’s life as much as the TV series did - one of my few complaints about it. I have more complaints about the new adaptation, primarily the utter travesty inflicted on Mike’s character, but I wait to see what the final product will be in developing my favorite novel of all time to the screen.

• Amid criticisms that review conglomerate Rotten Tomatoes is a) needlessly black-and-white with movies rated fresh or rotten, and b) overwhelmingly male among its certified critics, a new site is being launched. CherryPicks will offer a tiered rating system and feature opinions from women, which the Mary Sue says should counterbalance RT’s tendency to rate male-led movies dramatically higher. I find the concept intriguing, though the name annoys me. The site launches in the fall.

• For your little burst of nostalgia today: watch Angela Lansbury and the late great Jerry Orbach record “Be Our Guest” for the original Beauty and the Beast. Trivia note: Orbach is probably best known as the world-weary detective Lenny Briscoe on Law & Order, and for a long time his partner was played by Jesse L. Williams. Both Orbach and Williams were song-and-dance Broadway stars before they donned the trenchcoats, and rumor has it that when they were out and about filming in New York City, they would entertain the passers-by and extras with song and dance routines. It is criminal that in the age of the selfie and street video, no YouTube clips have survived of this (at least none that I have found.)

Huey Lewis has canceled all his 2018 performances, including the one in Alton. Seems Huey lost most of his hearing a couple of months ago, possibly due to Meniere’s disease, and cannot hear music well enough to sing. Huey later posted that the response from fans and colleagues is “truly overwhelming,” and he he is focusing on improving and finding a way to sing again.

Blockers is a nuanced and sex-positive teen comedy - wait, what? And it’s the Mary Sue saying this, but wow, was that NOT what I expected to hear about this movie. Three girls plan to lose their virginity on prom night, their parents do their best to derail this plan, wackiness ensues… but the girls are allowed their own agency and owning their (not entirely hetero) sexuality? Am I in Bizarro World? (Don’t worry, there’s still stupidity and vomit.)

Strange Horizons has a verrrrrrry long and extensive exploration of why everything we know about James T. Kirk is wrong. They’re not the first to point out that Kirk was a) not a womanizer and b) not a lightweight charmer who never took anything seriously, despite how the idiot AbramsTrek movies have portrayed him. I recall Keith DeCandido expounding on this to a great extent, your humble CultureGeek has said much the same. I don’t expect the writers of the current Trek to actually notice, mind you. It’s too much fun to remember him as a blithe horndog.

• Locals: international violin superstar Rachel Barton Pine will perform at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 23 in Dunham Hall at SIUE, with the combined orchestras of SIUE and SIUC. Pine first performed with the Chicago Symphony at age 10, and has been a virtuoso performer around the world, including winning a gold medal at the J.S. Bach International Violin Competition in Germany. Order tickets at artandissues.com.

• Also local: Gift of Voice needs to sell 41 more tickets to Suicide: The Ripple Effect in order to screen the film in Edwardsville on May 1. The documentary follows a man who tried to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge at age 19, and the “ripple effect” his attempt had on his family, friends and first responders who saved him, as well as his advocacy of a suicide prevention net on the bridge. Order your tickets here. The screening accompanies a suicide prevention program at SIUE on April 27, targeted at high school and college students.

• Also also local: SIUE will host the world premiere of a thought-provoking new play titled The Great Divide by E.M. Lewis. It's a political play, according to the playwright. "This is the story of the longest, angriest, strangest presidential election this country has ever seen,” said Lewis. “This is a story about America, in this divided moment.” The play runs Thursday-Sunday; click here for full details.

 

RIP

• Harry Anderson, 65, best known to you as Judge Harry Stone of Night Court and to me as the grownup Richie Tozier in the original IT miniseries, a role he was born to play. A longtime standup and stage magician, Anderson left Hollywood in 2000 to live in New Orleans and run a nightclub. They managed to make it through Katrina, and according to this piece in the New York Times, Anderson reopened his club as the French Quarter Town Hall to evolve a de facto government in the storm-paralyzed city. But in 2006, unable to make the bills in the post-Katrina mess, Anderson and his wife shut down and left for Asheville. His cause of death was not immediately known.

R. Lee Ermey, 74, best known as the shouting drill sergeant of Full Metal Jacket. He was actually a drill instructor and staff sergeant in the Marines and served 14 months in Vietnam, retiring after 11 years in the military before he became an actor. He also appeared in movies such as Mississippi Burning, Se7en, Prefontaine, and was the voice of the Army Men in the Toy Story series. Semper Fi.

Milos Forman, 86, inexplicably remembered as the director of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest instead of the intense, epic masterpiece that was Amadeus. Forman was born in Czechoslovakia, orphaned when his parents died in Nazi concentration camps and was raised in foster homes. He was in Paris in 1968 when Russia took over Czechoslovakia, placing the artistic world under Soviet control, and he fled to New York to continue working there. Other films included Hair, The People Vs. Larry Flynt and Ragtime.

Art Bell, 72, host of Coast to Coast AM on more than 400 radio stations. He took calls unscreened, with a separate line just for the Area 51 folk, according to the Washington Post. No matter how crazy, he put them on the air, beginning in 1984 as a political talk show.

Jean Marzollo, 75, author of the I Spy books - a total of 150 children’s books, from I’m a Seed to Ten Little Christmas Presents. A teacher first, she wrote books for adults on learning through play and baby-care for dads, before branching into children’s books on a variety of topics from learning to count to the life of Martin Luther King Jr. to the eight I Spy puzzle books.

 

Trailer Park

• The only thing I don’t love about The Incredibles 2 trailer is that they kept the off-screen Nagging Wife of Frozone. I know a lot of people find her funny; I find her an annoying, borderline-stereotype trope that is actually subverted IN The Incredibles, as Elastigirl gets whapped upside the head by Edna Mode and reminded of her own identity, which is not dependent on her husband’s behavior and doesn’t have to be limited to the wet-blanket wife who doesn’t understand. Everything else about this trailer is pure gold, mind you.

• The Verge says almost everything I would say about The Meg, which apparently added “the” so that people wouldn’t think it was a Meg Ryan comedy? No one can figure out of they’re trying to be serious. And I’m usually all about the sharks - Jaws is a personal favorite - but given author Steve Alten’s horrific author-scam attempt a few years ago, I’m reticent about giving him more money.

Hotel Artemis has a ridiculously stellar cast with Jodie Foster, Jeff Goldblum, Dave Bautista, Sterling K. brown, Zachary Quinto and others, on an underground hospital for criminals in a dystopian future with lots of dark lighting.

 

Coming This Weekend

I Feel Pretty, Amy Schumer’s latest comedy about an insecure woman who gets hit on the head and suddenly lives confidently and fearlessly. Um, I’m hoping it’s not nearly as bad as its promos.

• Traffik. Vacationing couples vs. vicious bikers. Looks to be a bright spot in a lousy batch this weekend. How long until the summer blockbusters? (But seriously, I'd watch Omar Epps read the phone book, so I might give this a try.)

• Ghost Stories. In limited release, British take on "skeptic debunker meets real ghosts." Promo is vaguely creepy, also co-stars our favorite hobbit, Martin Freeman. 

• Super Troopers 2. No

 

Continuing:

Rampage (unfortunately), Truth or Dare, A Quiet Place, Blockers, Ready Player One, Acrimony, BLACK PANTHER, I Can Only Imagine, Chappaquiddick, The Miracle Season, Love Simon, Midnight Sun, and Sherlock Gnomes.


Linkspam defies Hollywood physics, and other reboot fun!

Oh we got trouble, right here on the Frontier... Look, I am trying to remain optimistic about The Last Starfighter reboot, folks. But can it fly without Professor Harold Hill?

The fact that this movie has never had a sequel defies Hollywood physics, since the Nick Castle sci-fi adventure attained cult status and was a seminal film for many of us nerds who grew up in the 1980s. It was Cretaceous-era CGI, it had snarky dialogue and teenagers who weren’t spoiled rich suburban kids dealing with such trials as prom - many of us could relate to Alex Rogan’s frustration at being unable to afford college and fears of being trapped in the trailer park forever.

But what really made Last Starfighter fly, pardon the expression, was Robert Preston as a cosmic Music Man, shamelessly riffing off his own iconic performance as the lovable con man with a smartass grin and terrific patter.

It didn’t precisely lose money - it cost $14 million and made $28 million. Reviews were tepidly warm, but the fondness we ‘80s kids have for it has grown over the years. There was a novelization, comic, and briefly, an off-Broadway musical (shudder). There was not a video game, which also defies Hollywood physics - one was developed, but never released.

A sequel was promised in 2008, and fell into development hell. Lorimar Pictures’ demise in 1992 complicated the rights, with Universal and Warner Bros. at odds on who has the right to remakes vs. sequels. A TV reboot was promised in 2015, which also disappeared unseen.

Now Rogue One’s screenwriter is working with the original Last Starfighter screenwriter on a reboot. Concept art only, but this one seems to have some groundwork laid.

But… Seth Rogen as Centauri? I’m not sold on that. Lance Guest is still working, though he’s never had a role as big as Alex since. (I’d love to see Wil Wheaton as a human bad guy; he was an extra as a kid in the trailer park, and I’ve seen him do villain on Criminal Minds.)

Look. We try to stay sanguine about reboots and remakes and sequels to beloved icons because they can’t change the good stuff. As Stephen King says, “The book is there on the shelf. They can’t change a word.” I can enjoy the hell out of the first two Mummy movies and still maintain the third does not exist.

But when you wait this long for something… you want it to be awesome. You want it to hit out of the park, because otherwise it feels like empty nostalgia: this sequel/remake was created solely to suck money out of your pockets because all we did was slap the title of your favorite on it with a Roman numeral. We waited many years for Independence Day - another one whose lack of a sequel defied Hollywood physics - and look what we got: a mishmash of a script and a yawner of an alien invasion, which takes some doing.

We know there are more reboots coming - the latest is a “modern take” on A League of Their Own, which is still set during WWII so I’m not sure how modern it can be - and some might actually be good updates, like the pending Fahrenheit 451 starring Black Panther’s Michael B. Jordan (see Trailer Park, below).

So I’m hoping that the writers remember what made Last Starfighter one of our favorites. And while we sadly cannot bring back Robert Preston, we will need something or someone that iconic to bring life to the new one, and defend the Frontier from Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada.

• Ouch. The premise, script, and even the details of the crime and investigation from a 2009 episode of Bones appear to have been lifted and used in the third episode of Instinct, a CBS crime show that just barely got started. The episode’s writer is Christopher Ambrose, who worked on Bones for three years.. but did not write the episode he’s accused of plagiarizing. Stay tuned...

• Writers: Please note that Amazon is apparently removing erotic novels from rankings because… well, reasons. Maybe because sex sells better than anything else, and Amazon doesn’t mind making gazillions off those sales but doesn’t want to look like it’s selling sex. Or maybe because they don’t actually know the difference between erotica and romance and love stories. Or, if you believe them, it was “inadvertent.” No word yet on whether the authors who were de-listed into the “no-rank dungeon” have been restored. As the Vice piece points out, there is almost literally no way to make a living as a romance or erotica novelist without Amazon, so what they do affects the livelihoods of thousands of writers.

Black Panther is now the top-grossing superhero movie of all time in the U.S., so rock on Wakanda! It’s also the top-grossing film of 2018 by far at $656.9 million (second is Peter Rabbit, way in the distance with $112 million, and Fifty Shades Freed with $100 million, and can we fix that, please?). It did not bust the record for weeks at the top - that’s still Titanic in the modern era with 17 weeks. That’s just domestic gross, of course, because Hollywood seems to think only American dollars are worth anything. Worldwide gross going into its seventh week is $1.28 billion-with-a-B.

For all-time domestic gross, it’s No. 4; for all-time worldwide, it’s No. 10. Now those latter numbers don’t mean as much because they’re not adjusted for inflation; but when you adjust for inflation, it’s at No. 34 and climbing. It’s passed Ghostbusters, Independence Day, Cleopatra and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. But it has a long way to go to catch the all-time top-five champs of adjusted gross: Titanic, E.T., The Sound of Music, Star Wars and Gone With the Wind. (I love Box Office Mojo.)

 

RIP

• David Bischoff, science fiction and television writer who authored more than 80 books, including tie-ins for Aliens, Farscape, Star Trek: The Next Generation and WarGames. He wrote several episodes of TNG as well, and taught creative writing at Seton Hill University.

Chicago Fire actress DuShon Monique Brown, at age 49. Before becoming an actress, she was a crisis counselor at high school, and had a masters degree in counseling and a backround in social work. She was a Chicago native who grew up on the South Side, and worked for a long time on the Chicago stage before her TV breaks. The cause of death was not released.

Steven Bochco, 74, creator of Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, NYPD Blue and a few other shows you might have heard of. Known as the writer who redefined the television drama, he opened doors for realistic portrayals of law enforcement and arc storytelling with a visual style and language that resonated with viewers. “Police detectives did not solve crimes in a single episode, and they had flaws just like the bad guys,” wrote the New York Times. “They drank, swore and had messy personal lives- provocative portrayals that caused some episodes to carry ‘explicit warnings,’ scared off some advertisers and led some network affiliates to refuse to broadcast episodes.” He had lawyers wrestling with issues like capital punishment and AIDS, nudity and racist language among cops, the first R-rated show on network television, and gave us thoughtful, serious entertainment that also made us think. Remember what that was like?

 

Trailer Park

Fahrenheit 451, with Michael B. Jordan as the lead “firefighter” in Ray Bradbury’s dystopic terror. (I wonder how they’re going to address the ebook issue?) “Knowledge is a dangerous thing…”

• I don’t often share trailers for TV shows, but ABC’s The Crossing intrigues me. The “people from another time/space/dimension show up in a small town” has been done a lot, but this one looks nifty. Also: the sheriff does yoga. Hee.

• I have issues with the sociological basis of the Purge movies, but setting that aside, the latest round is about The First Purge. It delves into how this came about in the first place - and stars Marisa Tomei. While some of the Purge movies have descended into nothing but violence-porn, this one actually seems to address some of the more serious issues behind the concept, such as income disparity (the poor have no protection while the rich hide behind million-dollar security systems) and hopefully the ludicrousness of the idea that human violence just needs an outlet to be eliminated. We’ll see…

 

Coming This Weekend

A Quiet Place, the one about the family that has to stay in total silence or be hunted by big nasty beasties. Starring Emily Blunt, among others.

Blockers, to which you’re not supposed to add “cock” despite the obviousness of the poster. Premise: “Three parents try to stop their daughters from having sex on prom night.” Hilarious. (Note: sarcasm font enabled.)

The Miracle Season, quasi-fact-based sports feel-good about a girls’ volleyball team striving for a championship after one of them dies.

Chappaquiddick is supposedly in limited release, but it’s playing now in local theaters, so I guess we’re “limited.” I was somewhat skeptical of this, but then the Boston Globe wrote this review - and they’re very familiar with the Kennedy mystique, so I’d trust them over some others.

 

Continuing:

Ready Player One, Acrimony, I Can Only Imagine, Pacific Rim: Uprising, Sherlock Gnomes, Love Simon, Tomb Raider, A Wrinkle in Time, Paul: Apostle of Christ. And, of course, BLACK PANTHER.

 

We’ll be seeing A Quiet Place, so look for reviews next week - along with Ready Player One, if life doesn’t intervene. Have a nice one!