‘Color Out of Space’ is Here to Blow Your Mind Just as You Asked

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CREDIT: RLJE Films

Color Out of Space is basically the inverse of Cats. While the nonsense with the Jellicles was disturbing in just the ways one would expect, this blast of no-holds-barred horror sci-fi is satisfying in the ways that you would expect a movie based on an H.P. Lovecraft short story starring Nicolas Cage and directed by Richard Stanley after a long stint in director jail to be. In many ways, it’s like Annihilation but if instead of starring a quintet of women, it starred Cage with his typical five-times-bigger-than-the-average-person personality. After a couple hours’ journey through an unremitting vision, it concludes on a note (for the survivors) of “Well, that was weird. At least now we can move on with our lives.” And you can, too!

I give Color Out of Space A Million Colors Into My Face.

This Is a Movie Review: ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Weaves 50-Plus Years of Superhero History Into One Neat Little Package

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CREDIT: Sony Pictures Entertainment

This review was originally published on News Cult in November 2018.

Starring: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Liev Schreiber, Bryan Tyree Henry, Luna Lauren Velez, Lily Tomlin, Nicolas Cage, Kimiko Glenn, John Mulaney, Kathryn Hahn, Chris Pine, Zoë Kravitz

Directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman

Running Time: 117 Minutes

Rating: PG for Superhero Bumps and Bruises and Dimension-Altering Explosions

Release Date: December 14, 2018

Even if you prefer Tom Holland or Andrew Garfield’s versions of Peter Parker, it is fundamentally outrageous that the cinematic Spider-Man has been rebooted multiple times so soon after the massively successful Tobey Maguire chapters. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse avoids this pitfall by forgoing the same old Peter Parker origin story, or even the same old Peter Parker himself. Instead, the focus this time is on Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), a Puerto Rican and African-American teenager who inherits the Spider-Man mantle after he too is bitten by a radioactive arachnid. Additionally, while Miles is the primary protagonist, room is also made for just about every parallel universe version of Spider-Man that has ever existed in the comics (including noir, manga, and porcine iterations). I would love it if the live-action Marvel action movies were similarly diverse, but there is more space to be bold within animation (at least according to how the blockbuster industry currently operates).

A running gag throughout Spider-Verse is each version of Spider-Man giving us the rundown on his (or her) origin story. The film assumes that the audience is significantly familiar with the web-crawler’s mythos, and thus we get shout-outs to iconic moments from both the panel and the screen, like the murdered uncle and the upside-down kiss in the rain. These moments could play as cheap nostalgia, but instead they are far from it because there is so much visual information to digest. The effect is more one of self-awareness and reinterpretation.

Spider-Verse follows in a line of recent animated franchise films like The Lego Movie and Teen Titans Go! To the Movies that benefit from their deep wealth of knowledge about their own histories. They all comment on their own pasts, avoiding snark in the name of favoring celebration while also managing to craft new adventures that stand on their own. Spider-Verse takes its unique place as one of the most visually vibrant entries in the history of CG-animated cinema, with a cornucopia of expressive and energetic styles. Add to that a sterling voice cast, and this is one of the witties (vocally and visually), and just plain most satisfying, experiences you’ll have in all of 2018.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is Recommended If You Like: Every Spider-Man Comic Ever, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, The Lego Movie

Grade: 4 out of 5 Alternate Dimensions

 

This Is a Movie Review: Mandy

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© SpectreVision – Umedia – Legion M – XYZ Films

A couple lives an idyllic life together somewhere way out in the woods. Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) wears her trusty Mӧtley Crüe T-shirt and reads fantasy novels, while Red (Nicolas Cage) dotes on her and dreams crazy dreams. But then a band of weirdos arrives and starts spouting some mystical, hallucinogenic, prog rock-inspired gobbledydook. I guess they’re a cult, but it feels more accurate to describe them as a bastard manifestation of the most destructive forces of nature. So when they put Mandy down for good, Red is wired for one thing and one thing only: unhinged, hardcore vengeance. That means essentially a 45-minute, unbroken Nicolas Cage freakout. Panos Cosmatos’ trippy, delirious style, in which he tints nearly every frame in a blood-red envelope, is a perfect fit for Cage at his most extreme. It’s practically a deconstruction of becoming un-Caged, with the silliest moments (the sword-style chainsaw fight, Cage just giving multiple takes of bulging his eyes out) making their points the clearest.

I give Mandy 3000 Screams of Agony out of 5000 Violations.