Monday, September 18, 2017

Review: ‘Mother!’

Mother! takes place in a world seemingly divorced from time. With the exception of a single scene where a cell phone is used, technology doesn’t even play a part. Our main character’s husband is a writer, yet only writes with ink on page, with his final product being a single square sheet of canvas. The story painstakingly follows Jennifer Lawrence as she rebuilds her husband’s gigantic house out in the middle of nowhere.

Isolated from civilization and other people for so long, when a stranger knocks on the door looking for a place to stay our main character’s husband (The Poet) invites him in for as long as he’d like. Much to the chagrin of our main character. On a side note, I am not using character names because most of the characters don’t have names. They are referred to with titles such as him, her, little brother, the Poet and goddess. Things quickly spiral out of control and this man’s entire family ends up inviting themselves over and JLaw seems to be the only person reasonable enough to wonder why she’s the only one that has a problem with this. Now, after the first party of people is dispatched the story really goes off the rails here and things go off the rails in a way seemingly unique to Aronofsky.







Once the Poet finishes his piece and JLaw becomes the “Mother” in question, the visions that we are lead to believe are simply symptoms of whatever ailment she has come to life. The heart of the house, which Mother taps into multiple times during the story, is slowly shriveling in sequence with her decaying relationship. As the heart or soul of the house slowly dies, more and more insanity (i.e. the public) is allowed to enter and change the characteristics of the house itself.

To me, this entire story is symbolic of storytelling, and what happens to stories once they get so popular the creators don’t even really control them anymore. Look at any of the major mega franchises in the world like Star Wars or Game of Thrones. George Lucas hasn’t been the shepherd of the Star Wars franchise for decades, long before he sold the rights to Disney. Just like how the house, which is the Poet’s heart and soul, is taken over and irrevocably changed by his adoring fans. This is perfectly highlighted in the wake scene where Mother comes out of her room to find much of her house repainted with fresh paint. She rushes downstairs to find houseguests she doesn’t know repainting her home in a different color than she had chosen in a previous scene. The say something to the effect of “you’ve been so generous with us, we thought we’d give back a little.” To me, this is like when anyone but the original writer writes another entry in a well-established franchise. Look at all the Star Wars book that came out, or even the new movies. Sure, the framework we all know and love is there, but there is a new (different) coat of paint. And it will never be the same.

The Poet’s work is so transformative that even he doesn’t own the work itself anymore, the house is destroyed along with the heart of soul of his creativity (that glass heart) but an endless cycle of destruction and creation begins again. Symbolizing the spark of creation when an artist begins working on a new piece, eventually growing into maturity and letting it go out into the world to live on its own. This also reflected in the speech the Poet gives at little brother’s wake and even more brutally reflected in the scene where the legion of follows literally devour the joint creation of Mother and the Poet, their child.

Of course, all of this bonkers stuff really gets going once Mother gets off her meds, leaving an out that this is really all in her mind… or was it?


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by Christopher Moore
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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Season Review: ‘The Defenders’

The Defenders is a culmination of Marvel and Netflix’s partnership to create a more gritty, street level world to the MCU. Since the release of the first season of Daredevil in 2015, Netflix has created its own smaller, bloodier pocket of the MCU to play around in. They used a tried and true formula, once spearheaded by Marvel’s connected film push. Give each Defender their own show, similar to how most Avengers get their own movie. Sprinkle in a few crossover moments and a threat to bring them all together and vualla, you’ve got a Netflix/Marvel small scale Avengers. On paper, this is a not brainer. Three of the four shows leading up to this teamup have been ranging to good to great. The notably exception being Iron Fist, lead by Finn Jones who seems unwilling or unable to do his own stunts in both his own series and now The Defenders.

Truly, the greatest flaw of this team-up series is making Danny Rand the most important character. Marvel knows they screwed up with his series and there are a few scenes throughout this series that seem to be forcefully crammed in to help put a different spin on the character. Beyond Rand, the show had a few great moments of a reluctant team coming together to do good. A great difference between the Avengers and the Defenders is that the Defenders are real people with real lives. Sure we see Tony Stark talking with Pepper Potts and Ant Man has a family to care about but we really haven’t seen anything close to a character like Jessica Jones on screen before.

During the build up to our team coming together we get a frantically fast paced narrative that has to give equal time to all the four teammates. This leads each episode to feel both rushed and lacking forward moments at the same time. I watched the show over a few days but would love to see how someone would react watching one episode a week.

For me, Daredevil is the king of these four shows, both from a writing standpoint but also from a cinematography standpoint. They should have co-opted that crew because other than a few fight scenes nothing feels as kinetic and heavy as the fight scenes in Daredevil proper.

With the Hand dispatched at the end of the season and a few loose strings, it will be fun to see the fallout from these events in each of these character’s next seasons of their own shows. Let’s just hope The Punisher can get in on the fun next time.


Quick Thoughts:

  • Are our Misty Knight cyborg dreams really going to come true?
  • I dug seeing all of the side characters come together and there were a few fun scenes of them complaining about their super powered friends.
  • This is the second time Marvel/Netflix has pulled this villain twist. Something makes me think they can’t afford A-list actors.

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by Christopher Moore
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Monday, August 28, 2017

Season Review: ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 7

Overall, I would characterize this season of Game of Thrones as a down season. There are a lot of contributing factors, but the shortened season clearly led to an increased pace that was fun as first but became overwhelming by the end. There is unique fun to be had when a show that has historically been the slowest of slow burns all of a sudden goes into overdrive, but it became too fast by the end. This season was filled with memorable moments and a couple of genuinely amazing episodes of television. Spoils of War and Stormborn come to mind, but those moments don’t take away the rushed nature pervades this entire season.

All of this is even more frustrating when you look at specific story-lines that made up a large chunk of the season. Arya, Sansa and Bran reuniting should have been a momentous, landmark moment. Instead we got a forgettable scene and a frustratingly stupid betrayal story-line for the entire season. At least it ended in a satisfying scene and Bran was able to do something to help out his family. Beyond the Wall was a fun episode, filled with amazing set-piece moments. It is unfortunate that the episodes fun is undercut by the bizarre plan that our heroes are trying to complete. Not to mention the even more bizarre plan that Dany has to save them.

One thing that I really appreciated about this season was the unpredictability. I think the consensus going into to the season was that Kings landing would be dealt with by the finale which would leave the final six episodes for our heroes to do battle with the Night King. That is not at all what happened and that was a good realization for me. The show still has some tricks up its sleeve, at least at the macro level. Now that the White Walkers are beyond the wall, with the Night King astride an Ice Dragon, I don’t see how the final season will be able to pump the breaks. But maybe that’s not such a bad thing, if they can write it competently.

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by Christopher Moore
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Monday, August 21, 2017

Season Review: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later’

To say that Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later took an interesting road to be created is a colossal understatement. Probably the epitome of the Netflix revival narrative, this season is a sequel series to a 16 year old independent movie which last year had a mirroring prequel series. Not to even mention the star studded cast that all (except Bradley Cooper) returned two times to reprise these goofy roles. Incredibly, it all works.

Where 10 Years Later picks up is just that, 10 years after the campers vowed to meet on the same stoop at Camp Firewood exactly a decade after the events of the movie. In a series filled with meta-humor, setting the series in the 90’s adds yet another level on top of it all. In the movie, these actors were 20 year olds playing elementary school kids. In the prequel series the same actors are still playing elementary school kids, in fact they are slightly younger. In 10 Years Later these actors are in the 40’s playing characters around the same age as when they were producing the movie originally.

Why this stuff works hits at the core of what makes this series so special. I feel like it taps into a kind of goofball comedy that just doesn’t work anymore. There are talking tin cans, characters reference the fact they are in a television show, people die and come back instantaneously. But it is all done with just enough of a wink and a nod that you understand they writers know exactly how ridiculous everything is. They are able to walk that fine line perfectly culminating in a fantastic season (maybe even series) finale

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by Christopher Moore
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Friday, August 11, 2017

My Pet Game of Thrones Theory

I’ve thought a lot about hanging threads this season of Game of Thrones . These last two shortened seasons are a time for finality and resolution. Whether we like those resolutions is another story. One specific thread has been barely touched on this season is Jon Snow’s parentage. Apart from the quick “I’m no Stark” line, we haven’t seen one story beat moving that issue toward a resolution. We know that Bran knows, but his new all-knowing personality doesn’t seem to deem that important information right now.

When thinking about how this thread could be resolved in some sort of poetic way, an interesting idea came to me. I believe that Sean Bean reprising his role as Ned Stark will appear in a vision to Jon Snow via the Three Eyed Raven’s powers and make good on his promise from season 1. Sure, this is wild speculation that is most likely false but I do have some history to back it up. As we know from Bran’s arc, the Three Eyed Raven can target visions to specific people to help them gain knowledge. In addition, Michelle Fairley reprised her role as Catelyn Stark in a previous vision. This would be a great, symbolic way to close the loop on this mystery and open the door for whatever fallout comes afterward. Plus it would show Bran actually doing something of meaning with his newfound abilities.

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by Christopher Moore
This post first appeared on on

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Review: ‘The Dark Tower’


The Dark Tower seems to me like a film that was beat into submission by too many forces competing for creative control. From the beginning, making a book series filled with brutal, vile imagery PG-13 meant you were going to cut out a lot of what gave the book series flavor. Then to make an unholy amalgamation of all the books, seemingly mashing together set-pieces from book 2, 6 and 7, makes matters ever worse. Almost none of this movie occurs in the books and what does occur is changed so much that it is almost unrecognizable. But they gave themselves a major out by making this a sort of sequel to the books, which is bizarrely never mentioned in the movie at all.

I tried to put myself in the shoes of someone who didn’t know anything about this world, or the long twisted history of the characters within it. So many scenes throw around phrases, special objects, or abilities that I’ve spent almost 5,000 pages reading about. So when Walter pulls out Black 13 from his cabinet and uses it to glamour Roland I know the importance of that item and the long bloody road it took to get into his possession (or rather Father Callahan’s). To the average viewer, Matthew McConaughey pulls out a magical ball from a cabinet and can suddenly teleport.

Another great example of this is the scene where Roland and Jake take refuge in what I guess is supposed to me a Manni Village though they never explain that in the film. The main Manni reveals to the tribe that Roland is Roland Deschain, Son of Steven, last in the line of Eld. Everyone is at a loss for words and can’t believe the last of the Eld, a true Gunslinger and protector of the White is here at their dinner table. That was great for me to see, it echoed back to Roland and his Ka-Tet meeting the kind folk of River Crossing. Roland promising to take a cross from them and lay it at the foot of the Dark Tower if someday his quest is fulfilled. I suspect everyone else in the theater was confused as to why this was so important and forgot all about it a scene later.

What really irks me about this adaptation/sequel is how far is strays from the soul messages of the series. The Dark Tower novels are not about crazy gunplay. Sure, fantastic action happens, but at the end of the day the series is about analyzing the concepts of destiny, storytelling, person bonds and purpose. None of that is conveyed in this film. Looking back I can’t remember a single time Ka is mentioned. What are we even doing here? If they get a shot at making a sequel or the series, I’d love to see them pull more from the messaging of the books and remember the face of their fathers.





tumblr_ockw6xwPZI1t7b5qro1_1280-300x153 Review: 'The Dark Tower' Movies

I would be remiss if I didn’t get super nerdy for a second and talk about the implications of this being a sequel to the books. The Horn of Eld is clearly seen multiple times in the film and bizarrely never mentioned or even touched upon. I found the addition of it to be a really cool way to get around the common gripe of the movie being different from the books. “Sure it’s different, it’s the next cycle in Roland’s Journey.” With Roland never getting to the Tower, I’m hoping a possible sequel will bring in Eddy, Oddetta/Detta, the Crimson King and even Oy. “Do animals still talk in your world.” King specifically said on Twitter that this is the last time around and Roland will reach the Tower and blow. I need to see that, no matter what. If I’m remembering correctly before the coda of the last book Roland hears a horn blow as he approaches the Tower. I never understood what that meant or symbolized. I’d love to see a re-done version of that scene.

Regardless how bad this movie was, seeing certain things on screen gave me shivers. When the “Tet-Corporation” production logo came up after the Sony logo I nearly lost my shit. So cool. Hearing Roland recite the Gunslinger’s Creed is inarguably amazing. I just wish the soul of the series was on screen along with the cool stuff.


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by Christopher Moore
This post first appeared on on

Monday, July 31, 2017

Review: ‘Game of Thrones’ 7.03 – ‘The Queen’s Justice’

The Queen’s Justice sort of felt to me like the scene in The Dark Knight where the Joker talks about being like a dog chasing a car. If he finally got one, he wouldn’t know what to do with it. That’s how I felt this week. Major moments we have been building up to have finally come to fruition and I don’t feel let down I just don’t have that anticipation to rely on anymore. Jon finally meets Dany, Casterly Rock is shown on screen and Olenna Tyrell is dead. All of this is major to the show but so much is happening so fast it is hard to reminisce for too long while looking forward to the next episode.

We are certainly getting a lot more action at a quicker pace this season but I feel like the overall quality of the action has certainly taken a dip. Casterly rock is constantly alluded to as one of the most beautiful places in Westeros. To me, it seemed like a fairly plain seaside castle and the action that followed amounted to about two hallway fights. I know that was kind of the point, they pulled out most the men in an attempt to trick the unsullied but still. The battle went by very quick. To me this points to the idea that while yes we are getting more higher produced episodes, we are still working towards a couple major scenes that are still a cash sink to produce. Maybe even more so than earlier major set-pieces.

It was still amazing to see these characters interact for the first time on screen. Dany and Jon’s push-pull mediated by Tyrion was fantastic. These characters have so much family history and they are all so smart. It’s just fun to see them interact. Though it do find it interesting that the theme of these first few episodes has been “it wasn’t as easy to take over Westeros as Dany thought.” I think that will change fairy soon. Maybe even next week as I believe reviewers were only sent the first three episodes.

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by Christopher Moore
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