I was hoping this one would come to be.  I really thought DuVernay’s Selma and felt that it would be good to bring some of that passion to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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AP Images

In a talk with Essence Magazine, she confirmed she was not going to direct.  Explaining that why she loved the people involved, she could not come to a place of agreement with Marvel.  This is certainly not the first time Marvel and a Director could not find a point where their visions aligned enough make things work.

A lot of this comes down to just how Avengers-centric the Marvel Cinematic Universe is.  There is seeming to be less and less room for specific visions within the films themselves.  Already Civil War looks less like a Captain America film and more like a mid season replacement for the regular Avengers.

Marvel Studios needs to start looking to expand their product.   Movies that are not connected to the Avengers and movies that might even be outside their theatrical universe. Warner Brothers has shifted films based on Vertigo comics to New Line.  Marvel needs to start exploring movies that are based in some of their more independent books.

As it stands, their vision and commitment to the Avengers franchise is becoming to restrictive to allow them to work with directors uncomfortable with making a film that serves the bigger puzzle.

With Warning (Calvary, 2014)

To be honest, I expected Calvary to be a somewhat plodding movie.  I thought it would be “Gee, it was good, but kinda slow.”

Calvary_movieposterInstead, it begins with a bang.  Father James (Brendan Gleeson) is in the confessional, but instead of a confession, he is given an unrepentant threat to his life.  The “confessor” tells of having been molested for several years by a Priest.  Father James asks if he has sought therapy or made an accusation.  But this sick priest is dead, so the confessor feels there is no chance for justice there.  And really, what good would it do to take his life were he still alive?  No, the confessor believes a truly bolder statement would be to kill a good and trusted priest.  He gives Father James one week to get his affairs in order.

As the week proceeds, Father James does little to try and prevent this threat to occur, instead, he tries to go about his life, helping the community around him, trying to help a community that has given up hope heal.  You wonder who might be the person who made the threat…Father James seems to recognize the voice.  And even when they meet on that fateful day, Father James seeks to bring healing.  Knowing what he may be going towards, he still takes the time to connect with the people in his community.  He seeks to help the man who has made it his purpose to end Father James’ life.

There is a great exchange that occurs late in the film…Father James is speaking with his daughter and says, “There is too much talk about sins and not enough about virtues.”  His daughter asks, “What would be your number one?” He responds, “I think forgiveness has been highly underrated.”

There is another bit about how dangerous people are who want to be hated and despised.  I think that is true.  There is a bizarre form of self righteousness that can occur in people who enjoy being hated.  They feel as if being hated justifies their belief.  People hate them because they are right.

Calvary is full of sly, dark humor and emotion.  It is easy to root for Gleeson, for he is a good priest.  This is not a story where we find out that he harbors all sorts of dark secrets.  No, he genuinely seems to care about his community.  He loves his daughter and feels regrets for retreating after her mother died.

It is a very well written film that is worth seeing.  If I had seen it last year?  It (like Locke) would have made my top ten of 2014 list.

I was asked what the title of the film means.  I believe my explanation is correct…but it is a huge spoiler to reveal it.  So read on only if you want to ruin the ending of the film. Read More

My short reaction to the newest Terminator film is that I did enjoy it. It had some good jokes, Arnold’s aged Terminator was a fun take, while feeling familiar. I thought Emilia Clarke did pretty well taking over for Linda Hamilton. Plus J.K. Simmons!

term_genThe cast is fun to watch, the effects are good.  And hey, that twist might have felt more crazy cool had it not been revealed in a trailer a few months ago.

I liked the numerous visuals clearly referencing the previous films.  Little moments meant to evoke the emotional beats of previous films. I was surprised that Arnold Aside, they simply recast characters from the first film.  I expected digital trickery on that front.

That said, do not try and figure out how it all fits. Trying to do so reveals that the film is a real mess.  Truthfully, this franchise is a mess made worse with each film. It does not fit, even though they clearly intend it to.  There are some pretty big questions raised.  One is, if Sarah and Kyle have sex and make a baby in 2017, it would simply be unlikely that it would result in John Conner.

The film feels like it was simply built from a series of sessions of people sitting around saying, “Wouldn’t this just blow the audiences’ minds?!”  In a fashion, a lot of the stuff will, but not in a good way.  Attempting to put it all together nearly gave Entertainment Weekly’s Darren Franich an aneurysm.