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New Escapist Column! On “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and “Captain America 4″…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the announcement that Anthony Mackie would be reprising his role as Sam Wilson in Captain America 4, it seemed like a good opportunity to take stock of what is happening with Marvel’s streaming series.

Disney have long insisted that streaming represents the future of the company, investing heavily in bringing their existing brands to the medium. However, even with the boost that the pandemic has brought to streaming, there is a question to be asked about where the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe lies. Are shows like WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier paving the future of the MCU? Or are they just commercials for big-ticket feature films?

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Video! “Outside the Wire – Review in 3 Minutes”

I’m thrilled to be launching 3-Minute Reviews on Escapist Movies. Over the coming weeks and months, I will be joining a set of contributors in adding these reviews to the channel. For the moment, I’m honoured to contribute a three-minute feature film review to the channel, discussing Outside the Wire.

41. Crossover (-#35)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, The Bottom 100 is a subset of the fortnightly The 250 podcast, a trip through some of the worst movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, Preston A. Whitmore II’s Crossover.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 35th worst movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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Non-Review Review: The Night Before

The Night Before does not always work well, but it works hard.

The tale of three unlikely best friends embarking on one final Christmas bender runs through the checklist of the modern “overgrown manchild” comedy genre elements. There is arrested development. There is adulthood beaconing. There is responsibility to be claimed. There is friendship to be fractured and ultimately strengthened. There is a great supporting cast and a number of very effectively employed cameos. All The Night Before does is to apply a layer of festive frosting atop a familiar recipe.

A star performance...?

A star performance…?

The formula has been dulled somewhat by the frequency with which it has been deployed. A lot of The Night Before feels familiar and even rote. However, there are moments of absurd clarity. The Night Before puts a surprising amount of effort into some of its more effective gags, painstakingly setting up the pins so that they might be knocked down at a later date. In particular, one of the climactic gags is the result of a great deal of careful alignment over the preceding nineties minutes, a laugh that looks cheap but is as intricately crafted as a fancy tree ornament.

The Night Before is not the most hilarious or memorable or definitive of these sorts of Apatow-esque comedies, but there is an endearing effort to it all. There is never a sense of coasting, even at points where the film leans towards the nostalgia and arrested development that it spends so much effort trying to escape.

You take my elf...  You take my elf-control.

You take my elf…
You take my elf-control.

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