COWS IN THE FIELD #64: TOP GUN

Had a lovely time chatting with Justin and Laura on the Cows In The Field podcast, talking about the ecstatic ridiculousness of the original 1986 Top Gun and how it transformed the war film into a sports movie. We also discussed the career mythology of Tom Cruise, his role as America’s son, and decided that my call-sign should probably be Brewski. Cows In The Field, 05/27/2022

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YIPPIE KI-YAY, MELON FARMER: CHARLES BRONSON IN MR. MAJESTYK

“Vince Majestyk is a classic Elmore Leonard protagonist in the tradition of Chili Palmer or Raylan Givens, an unflappable fellow completely at ease in his own skin, matter-of-factly reacting to violent threats in ways that reduce the bad guys issuing them to furious, sputtering wrecks. These are the coolest characters because they don’t ever try to be cool.” – Crooked Marquee, 05/27/2022

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TOP GUN: MAVERICK

“Outrageously entertaining, boasting the most exquisitely choreographed action sequences since Mad Max: Fury Road. The movie, like its main character, is a relic from another era, somehow still buzzing the tower of a world that’s passed it by. This is the kind of massively-scaled, old-fashioned crowd-pleaser you probably thought Hollywood forgot how to make.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 05/26/2022

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EMERGENCY

“Dávila’s script won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at Sundance, I’m guessing on the strength of this premise. Their journey across campus is like a frat comedy remake of The Wages Of Fear, except instead of transporting nitroglycerin through the jungle they’re carrying a passed-out white girl across an ocean of privilege, which might be even more dangerous.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 05/19/2022

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MONTANA STORY

“Pained monologues are delivered, pondering the ruins of the white man’s settler colonialism while the minority characters nonetheless remain on the margins, speaking like sentient fortune cookies. It’s all very staid and reverential and rather annoyingly enamored of its own importance. But I’ll tell you, that Haley Lu Richardson sure can pluck a chicken.” – North Shore Movies, 05/19/2022

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SEMI-TOUGH: JULES AND JIM ON THE 30 YARD LINE

“Ritchie keeps a polite distance from the novel’s more notorious shenanigans. Football is a backdrop instead of the film’s focus, and you’ve never seen a SuperBowl treated so nonchalantly. Fans of the book found the adaptation treasonous, but others were beguiled by the offbeat rhythms and an airy, almost European approach to such a distinctly American game.” – Crooked Marquee, 05/13/2022

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OUT OF THE BLUE AT THE BRATTLE

“A masterpiece of alienation returns in all its ragged, unseemly glory. The movie means to be Hopper’s reckoning with the legacy his generation has left for their children, and as far as metaphors go, the original Easy Rider wiping out a bus full of kids while he was wasted isn’t exactly a subtle one. But then, we never admired Dennis Hopper for his understatement.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 05/11/2022

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DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS

“The 28th official MCU entry is tasked with managing not just movie continuity but also that of several streaming Disney+ programs. I’ve seen all these movies and watched some of the shows, yet still found Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness nigh-incomprehensible most of the time, like I was bluffing my way through a class for which I hadn’t done the reading.” – North Shore Movies, 05/06/2022

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MALIGNANT MOMS AT THE COOLIDGE

“I think Dunaway’s actually pretty great in Mommie Dearest, going for broke with a baroquely stylized turn a galaxy away from the low-key naturalism so fashionable in boring biopics intending to bring icons down to earth. She’s not just playing Joan Crawford, she’s playing a larger-than-life idea of Crawford as imagined by someone who grew up seeing her on a giant screen.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 05/06/2022

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INLAND EMPIRE RETURNS TO THE BRATTLE

“The films of David Lynch vibrate on a frequency of intense dread, one that’s often counterbalanced by equally intense expressions of innocence, purity and love that would seem laughably corny if they weren’t so hard-won. Inland Empire is strictly the scary stuff, his most heartless, hopeless movie. And perhaps tellingly, to date his last.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 05/04/2022

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