One of the arguments about Captain Marvel that I’ve seen recently is that it doesn’t try to introduce the new superhero so much as it tries to tie up any loose ends in the MCU. That it is more about Fury’s origin than it is Carol’s. And I kind of get that because, yes, this film goes back to a time before anything else. It shows us a time before S.H.I.E.L.D. knew anything about superheroes or other worlds. It inevitably acts as an intro to the MCU. But, at the same time, those arguments also really do a disservice to the film itself. I like the idea that her presence on Earth kick-started the Avengers programme. I like that it was her who introduced Nick to the wider world. It makes that pager scene in Infinity War all the more tragic. He finally has an emergency that requires her help but he is disintegrated before they can reunite. Imagine how Carol’s going to feel when she finds out she didn’t get here in time to save him? Horrible! But let’s not think about the future because watching Captain Marvel last weekend has put me in a reflective mood. The final moments of the film when Fury realises he needs to put something in place to protect the Earth the defining moment in the MCU. It’s the reason we’re all here. It’s the reason that, in 2008, Phil Coulson turned up on Tony Stark’s doorstop asking questions. So, why not go back to the start this week? See where it all began.
Anyone who’s been keeping up with my Sunday Rundowns of late will know that I’ve been making painfully slow progress with Shakespeare: The World as a Stage by Bill Bryson. So, when I was approached by Linh Le James to read her novel #Toots for a review, I decided it would be a good excuse for a break from my current read. And, thankfully, it was a quick read that proved to me it’s not that I’m in a slump that Byrson is taking so long. It’s just the book itself. So, I’m now wondering, still being only about halfway through at 2.5 weeks, whether it’s worth carrying on with it. I don’t want to give up considering how much time I’ve put into it but it feels like this uphill struggle is never going to end. I mean, there’s only so much pleasure you can take reading the history of a man who we know next to nothing about. It’s pretty much all speculation. I’ll be honest, I could have been asked to review any book right now and I’d probably had agreed just to give me the excuse to put Bryson down again. Maybe that explains why I got through #Toots in only 3 days? Or maybe it was just the best book I’ve ever read?
It’s safe to say that there was a lot riding on this film for me. I found Wonder Woman to be a fantastic celebration of female superheroes. So much so that, as you may remember, I started tearing up during the opening scene. But I’ve never been that big a fan of Wonder Woman as a character. I’d not really read the comics and I’d not seen the TV show. She wasn’t really on my radar. Unlike Carol. I love Carol. I loved her as Ms Marvel. I love her as Captain Marvel. I love the idea of Brie Larson playing her. This film definitely sounded like it was being made for someone like me. I wanted it to be good. I wanted it to be loved. A difficult thing considering it was already under threat of trolls before its opening weekend. Let’s be honest, this was never going to be given a fair hearing from a lot of male fans and film critics. You know who I mean: men who see themselves as being as cool as Tony Stark, as sweet as Steve Rogers, and as intelligent as Bruce Banner. But men who are, in actuality, only as cringe-inducing as the Spider-Man 3‘s dancing Peter Parker. I know it’s what we’ve come to expect from pathetic fan boys and the fragile white male ego but that doesn’t mean it gets any easier to stomach. But let’s not give them any more attention and get on with the real work.
The other day I saw a post on Instagram that made me feel super old. And, considering I turned 31 on Tuesday, that’s saying something. Turns out that Cruel Intentions turns 20 years old this week. I don’t remember how old I was but I do recall first watching this film at a sleepover. And I’m pretty certain I wasn’t a teenager yet but, with my memory for this kind of thing, I’ve no way of knowing for sure. What I do remember is that my twin sister became kind of obsessed with the band Counting Crows afterwards. For years she would play the piano part for the song ‘Colorblind’ on repeat. Our piano lives in the room directly underneath my childhood bedroom so, it’s safe to say, that I quickly became sick of that song. But. obviously, it always reminded me of this film. Cruel Intentions is one of those films you probably first watched at a young and impressionable age. As such, it has the effect of seeming really sexy and dark. The Sarah Michelle Gellar/Selma Blair kiss was much talked about at the time for being either controversial or groundbreaking. At whatever age I first watched it, I can say that it felt like a very grown-up film. So, would rewatching it 20 years after its release change things? I already know younger me was massively embarrassing so I’m expecting this to go badly.
What’s this? Another Wednesday and I’m reviewing something that isn’t my current read? Yep, yet again, I’ve had to resort to reading a short story in order to stick to my upload policy. There’s something about Shakespeare: The World As Stage by Bill Bryson that is making it difficult for me to finish. Although, I am in the midst of birthday week so I’ve had other things on my mind. So, what was I to do? Check Kindle Unlimited for an interesting sounding short story that I could finish in less than an hour today, obviously. There really was no thought beyond that. It was basically the first short story I came across that sounded interesting. I’d never heard of the author before or the short story collection that it came from. But I guess that’ the joy of having to read something for a review. You pick up things that you’d never have considered before. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing.
The Oscars took place over a month ago and I’m still banging on about them. I know I know. Broken record much? But it’s one if the biggest and most controversial events in the movie lovers calendar. For the most part, this year wasn’t the most exciting. Once again, many amazing and worthy films/directors/actors were ignored and many worthy films/directors/actors got looked over for more Oscar-y films/directors/actors. I write this in the midst of Steven Spielberg’s outrageous idea to get Netflix films banned from being nominated in the future. I’d love to go into that whole argument now and rant about Spielberg’s general irrelevance these days but, as it’s my birthday, I feel like I should take the high road. So, instead let’s talk about one of the biggest surprises that came out of last Saturday that was also one of the most underwhelming. Rami Malek gave a great performance as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody and I think that he definitely deserved the win. However, I don’t think many were convinced he would. The Best Actor category was incredibly boring this year as there was no real stand-out. The most remarkable performance for me? Willem Dafoe as Vincent van Gogh. It’s a shame he lost out to it but it’s an even bigger shame that his loss isn’t as a big of a deal as it should be.
Whenever anyone asked me what I thought of Vice in the last few weeks my go to answer would always be “it wasn’t as good as The Big Short“. It’s something I said because I truly thought it was my opinion. But when I looked back at my review of Adam McKay’s previous Oscar nominated film, I discovered that I’d been more scathing of it than my memory lead me to believe. I guess I do remember feeling a bit weird at the end of it because the people who gained from so much misery were being portrayed as heroic. Still, I decided it was important to rewatch The Big Short to really answer the question “is it better than Vice?” Or have I just been lying to everyone for ages? I don’t know why I’m pretending there’s any suspense here because you can see from my above rating that, yes, I preferred this film to Vice. But, why?
Up until yesterday, I was only reading Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Billy Bryson. Up until the point I stopped kidding myself that I would finish it for today. Given the fact that I’ve fallen asleep reading it every night since I started it, it was never going to happen. But, as we know by now, I’m pretty delusional when it comes to my reading goals. So it took a while for me to admit defeat. Stubbornness can be useful in certain situations but sometimes it can make life difficult. Like forcing me to find a quick read to finish in one night. Normally, that would involve me buying a super small book during my lunch break. But, as I’m still trying (and failing) to stick to my book buying ban, I decided that this time I would go back to one of the books on my shelf that I have already loved but never reviewed. A collection of poems, in fact, that I’ve owned for years and adored. I loved it so much that I’ve gifted it to a few friends and I’m the kind of person that doesn’t normally force my bookish loves on my unsuspecting friends.
Boy, were there a few surprises during this weekend’s Oscars. I was tempted to write a post about it but decided it would just be another rant about how undeserving Green Book is of the Best Picture title. I mean, seriously? I know Roma is a Netflix film but how can anyone say it wasn’t the best film of this year? It’s fucking madness. Another (sort of) surprising turn of event were the winners of Best Actor and Best Actress category. I loved both Rami Malek and Olivia Colman’s performances and I know they both won at the BAFTAs but I just didn’t trust the voters to let them win. And, after finally seeing The Wife recently, I thought Glenn Close was kind of shoe-in. I mean, without wishing to spoilt the upcoming review, she was fucking breathtaking in that film. And this makes it her 7th time of being passed over. It’s insane and, if I didn’t love Colman quite so much, I’d be outraged. Just be sure that if Gaga had won I’d have genuinely flipped. I’d have demanded the Oscar be taken away and given to Close instead.
So, we’re here. The last film to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. I was supposed to be writing this review when I got home from work yesterday but I was absolutely exhausted. I figured future Laura could deal with it tonight. Well, future Laura isn’t happy now. Especially because, after a rough day, a work friend and I were in desperate need of a drink to unwind. So, I got home late and am madly trying to finish this. Which is a shame because I still haven’t quite worked out how I feel about Green Book. It was something I was really looking forward to but didn’t really know much about. It sounded a bit like Driving Miss Daisy which didn’t appeal but, let’s be honest, Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali were enough to get me interested. Both are very interesting actors and I imaged they would work well together. But then I watched it. And I had a lot of thoughts. So many that, earlier tonight, I couldn’t explain it to my drinking buddy. God knows what that means for this post.