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Hey everybody, Black Panther comes out this week

Plus one or two other new movie releases

Black Panther: Whither Simba?
Black Panther: Whither Simba?

I came out of the screening for Black Panther unmoved. I like films set in Africa. I like star Chadwick Boseman. I sometimes like director Ryan Coogler and actor Michael B. Jordan. I like actress Lupita Nyong'o. I even like superhero movies sometimes.

Movie

Black Panther **

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The first entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to feature a black superhero feels more like the first black Bond film, minus the cavalier attitude toward women and plus some supernatural elements. You’ve got your central drama over who gets to get their hands on the advanced technology. Your tour of the gadget lab prior to embarking on a mission. Your slightly creaky humor — in this case, a “What are those?” shoe joke and a reference to whipping one’s hair back and forth. Your entanglement with the CIA and punch-up with an evil black-marketeer in a casino. And most importantly, your bad guy bursting with dreams of world domination — the violent creation of a new world order to replace the current, admittedly miserable one. It’s also a bit ponderous (Bonderous?), and prone to answering profound political questions via mortal combat. That’s one thing when you’ve got a licensed-to-kill operative trying to stop a countdown, but it’s another when you have it as the accepted method for legitimate political rivals to determine a nation’s foreign policy. Credit to director and co-writer Ryan Coogler for envisioning an epic and assembling the requisite elements: a struggle for the throne, a nation on the brink of transformation, a compelling juxtaposition of father-son relationships, a brilliant array of women determined to aid their king in his hour of need, and a daring mix of the ancient and the very new. Points off for poor pacing, action, and dialogue; goofy physics (including a charging rhino stopping on a dime for laffs); and an overall failure to make his dramatic beats register in regions below the brain. Ultimately, it's more interesting to think about than it is to watch.

Find showtimes

Not this time. There were so many things that didn't work for me, right form the outset. What kind of royal family sends the king's brother to do undercover intel work in early-'90s Oakland? For that matter, what country that has a policy of hiding from the world bothers with a worldwide network of undercover operatives? The list of grievances was long.

In the end, I broke down and wrote a tepidly positive review, mostly because I liked the ideas that went into the film more than the execution. But I had to think a lot about it to get to that point. A properly executed film of should hit both head and heart. Oh well.

Speaking of where a film hits, The Double Lover takes aim at the head, the heart, and the nether regions. Two out of three ain't bad? It's better than Early Man's numbskull humor, anyway.

And speaking of the head: The Female Brain is not yet reviewed. Maybe tonight.

In other news, there's still time to take in this year's Oscar-Nominated Short Films before they are sent to short-film heaven.

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Black Panther: Whither Simba?
Black Panther: Whither Simba?

I came out of the screening for Black Panther unmoved. I like films set in Africa. I like star Chadwick Boseman. I sometimes like director Ryan Coogler and actor Michael B. Jordan. I like actress Lupita Nyong'o. I even like superhero movies sometimes.

Movie

Black Panther **

thumbnail

The first entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to feature a black superhero feels more like the first black Bond film, minus the cavalier attitude toward women and plus some supernatural elements. You’ve got your central drama over who gets to get their hands on the advanced technology. Your tour of the gadget lab prior to embarking on a mission. Your slightly creaky humor — in this case, a “What are those?” shoe joke and a reference to whipping one’s hair back and forth. Your entanglement with the CIA and punch-up with an evil black-marketeer in a casino. And most importantly, your bad guy bursting with dreams of world domination — the violent creation of a new world order to replace the current, admittedly miserable one. It’s also a bit ponderous (Bonderous?), and prone to answering profound political questions via mortal combat. That’s one thing when you’ve got a licensed-to-kill operative trying to stop a countdown, but it’s another when you have it as the accepted method for legitimate political rivals to determine a nation’s foreign policy. Credit to director and co-writer Ryan Coogler for envisioning an epic and assembling the requisite elements: a struggle for the throne, a nation on the brink of transformation, a compelling juxtaposition of father-son relationships, a brilliant array of women determined to aid their king in his hour of need, and a daring mix of the ancient and the very new. Points off for poor pacing, action, and dialogue; goofy physics (including a charging rhino stopping on a dime for laffs); and an overall failure to make his dramatic beats register in regions below the brain. Ultimately, it's more interesting to think about than it is to watch.

Find showtimes

Not this time. There were so many things that didn't work for me, right form the outset. What kind of royal family sends the king's brother to do undercover intel work in early-'90s Oakland? For that matter, what country that has a policy of hiding from the world bothers with a worldwide network of undercover operatives? The list of grievances was long.

In the end, I broke down and wrote a tepidly positive review, mostly because I liked the ideas that went into the film more than the execution. But I had to think a lot about it to get to that point. A properly executed film of should hit both head and heart. Oh well.

Speaking of where a film hits, The Double Lover takes aim at the head, the heart, and the nether regions. Two out of three ain't bad? It's better than Early Man's numbskull humor, anyway.

And speaking of the head: The Female Brain is not yet reviewed. Maybe tonight.

In other news, there's still time to take in this year's Oscar-Nominated Short Films before they are sent to short-film heaven.

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