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Yo, Put Your Mask Back On

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I said it before and I’ll say it again; I didn’t read Spider-Man comics for Aunt May, I read them for Spider-Man. And I want to see Spider-Man kicking the grains outta Sandman, not having a bad day at work or marrying Mary Jane Watson. This comic cost me sixty-five cents, put your mask on and go fight Mysterio. Also, it’s 1985.

I’d say a lot of it is ego.

Movies are a whole different animal, and there are plenty of reasons why your favorite hero ain’t wearing their mask. If I had to guess, I’d say a lot of it is ego. Just look at this recent poster for Avengers : Infinity War. With few exceptions, it’s a buncha human heads stuck on superhero bodies. Worse, it’s a bunch of narcissistic actor heads.

Bruce Wayne wasn’t on a cover of Batman until issue 101.

Unfortunately, it makes some sense that movies would shift the focus away from secret identities to super-recognizable celebrities. A lot of these actors are box-office draws in a time when less folks go to the actual movies. And it’s definitely cheaper to have a human talk to you out of their actual face than to CGI a complicated fight scene, I get it. Still, at some point it calls way too much attention to itself.

It used to be a real rarity to see a superhero without their mask on, especially on the cover of a comic book. Bruce Wayne wasn’t on a cover of Batman until issue 101. In the first 200 issues of Amazing Spider-Man (roughly 17 years) Peter was on the cover about five times.  Yet you barely see a clip of this movie where Tom Holland isn’t letting it all hang out. Jeez, even Vision has Paul Bettany’s head in this movie. These guys must have better agents than James Spader did.

And while I’m fake-angry about something totally inconsequential, what is up with costumes that appear out of nowhere? Yeah, I know the nano-technology Tony Stark employs in Infinity War has a basis in the comics, but how much am I supposed to suspend my disbelief exactly? You want me to believe Stark keeps a whole Iron Man suit up his butt? Are there really no more phone-booths?

Also, I can’t wait for this movie.

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White Right: Meeting the Enemy

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Deeyah Khan puts herself in real jeopardy in White Right: Meeting the Enemy, confronting the whitest rightest supremacists and Neo-Nazis with the oldest trick in the book; she becomes their first friend of color. No shit. You’ll be amazed as Deeyah proves racism is born from miseducation and a total lack of experience.  Sure, not everyone becomes a believer in the end, but you sure will.

 

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Ray Romano’s Dad Comedy Hits Home

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For his latest Netflix special, comedian Ray Romano returns to the Comedy Cellar doing two surprise gigs for unsuspecting fans. 

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Roma: Return of the Auteur

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Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma is easy on the eyes yet sometimes hard to watch, which is a credit to the Director and that connection he creates between viewer and heroine – in this case Cleo, the family maid and emotional heartbeat of the film. We love and sympathize with Cleo immediately. There’s no way she’s making it to the end unscathed.

Cleo is part of the family, yet could be fired any minute for, say, not cleaning up after the dog the day Dad leaves the family forever. That uneasy precipice between acceptance and utility has made her a warrior that handles each situation with a compassion lacking in the noxious men around her.  She’s the Marge Gundersen of Mexico City – insofar as she spends much of the film pregnant, making all the right moves within a world where the options are questionable.

Cuarón does more with silence than most do with tons of exposition and editing. There’s a reason he’s the only person to be nominated for Best Director and Best Cinematographer in the same year.

Like some of the 1969 sci-fi movie Marooned referenced within the film, Roma moves at a snail’s pace – allowing the story to seep into being rather than seem forced upon you. Underlying anxieties of race and toxic masculinity bubble beneath the surface, tethering the zeitgeist of 1971 Mexico City to the here and now.

What Yalitza Aparicio brings to the role of Cleo is astounding. She has an unassuming charm yet commands the screen. A masterfully presented scene of Cleo in labor does something few films ever do: get me to suspend my disbelief. I’m always hyper-aware that there’s a sound guy holding a boom mic off camera and a slew of crew itching for craft services. It’s a curse that keeps me from enjoying movies like most folks do. But there are moments in Roma when I forgot I was watching people pretend. It’s a great trick if you can pull it off, and Roma does so with grace.

Roma (2018) 2h 15min | Drama | 21 November 2018 (USA) Summary: A year in the life of a middle-class family's maid in Mexico City in the early 1970s.
Countries: Mexico, USALanguages: Spanish, North American Indian, English, Norwegian, Japanese, German, French

Using a host of pen names, Eric Curran has been blogging in one form or another for well over 10 years. He's a partner at One Track Mine, and also runs the blog Jealous Foodies.

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