Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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OK, let me start this like that: where I came from (eastern Europe; Poland, to be more precise) nobody really talks or even experiences issues that are at hand here (racism, mostly), so I think that this great, aggressive, not really politically correct comedy would be wasted on many of my kin, even those, who claim to get the problems of black people in the US. BUT I have an MA in philosophy, specializing in most recent cultural problems, so I feel entitled to have a say in such topics and to really get them and to be right whenever I talk about them. I am joking, of course, but there is something to it, because I laughed really hard on this movie (diner scene with its absolute misunderstanding of what racism it and even how to define it is hilarious to a philosophy adept) and, what is more, I found some of its observations of how racial discourse in USA unnecessarily becomes more and more convoluted and misses the point from the both sides very apt and timely. Oh, and the rap battles are cool too - and the final one(‘s) bring it to a whole other level. There is great power in this movie, one that needs to influence our (over)thinking of some of the most important topics of the contemporary.
Looking at the reception that this new version of "Mulan" got, at least among general audience, not the critics, one can arrive to a conclusion that many viewers did not get, what Disney did here and why it did it; or, at least, they did not like it. But since nobody (as far as I heard) really talks about how new "Mulan" is a wuxia movie, and that it is made so because creators wanted it feel more connected to the Chinese roots of the original story, I am going with the first one. This movie is not really a remade version of 1998 Disney classic; its a retelling of the same story that it was based on. Now the real question is: does it all make it a better movie? My answer to that is: not really; I like wuxia cinema as much as any other guy, but lets be honest: we all love Disney renaissance movies a lot more (well, maybe not ALL of us, but I do). And while I respect, and even praise, Disney's attempts to mix things a little bit with their live action remakes, this particular one did not captivate me one bit, and not because it is so different from the earlier movie - I just did not feel like wuxia on that particular evening that I watched it.
The sequel to „Maleficent", Disney's interesting revision of "Sleeping Beauty", is... well, actually, it is a Disney sequel, with everything that entails. That is to say: 1) it is completely unnecessary, given the closed character of its predecessor; 2) it relies too heavily on revealing elements from the past of main characters; 3) it has to start from "and they lived happily ever after", and thus feels unauthentic and invents a threat that comes from absolutely nowhere; 5) introduces too many new characters and becomes hard to follow (at least with any interest) because of that, and, finally: 4) it prolongs a certain marriage too much for its own good. But this sequel at least have Angelina Jolie in a delightfully intimidating role and a beautiful, mesmerizing castle that you cannot help but pay attention to. If only the villainess ended more gruesomely...
"Trollhunter" is a marvel of a cozy mocumentary which remarkably captures climate of a car trip to Norway (and I happen to know something about it ...) and combines it with inspired serious fantasy supported by CGI which can be rather called imaginative than simply good. And I did not even mention the humor of it all; it is frugal, I admit it, but it does not mean that it is not funny. Overall this movie has all markings of a great, grounded (and sometimes dangerous) adventure, best enjoyed on a long, winter evening, under warm blanket and with a hot tea (or cocoa) in the reach of your hand.
First of all: it has style to spare. I mean, seriously: the design of the city in "Mystery Men" is easily an equal of the design of Gotham in Burton's and Schumacher's "Batman" series, and sometimes, maybe, it may even surpass it for a moment or two. In another words: Champion City is a city that deserves a better movie. Not that something is particularly wrong with this one; it is just that this one is plain silly for the most time, and not always in funny way. On the other hand the satire it derives from its source material (as I presume) is now perhaps even more accurate and funny than it was in 1999. Plus, it used "All Star" by Smash Mouth two whole years before "Shreck" made it so famous, so there's that. It is a mess of a movie, but at leas it is a mess that we can enjoy for what it is; that is good news, since mess is generally not known to be enjoyable.