Archive | April, 2023

“Renfield” Is a High-Concept Comedy That Doesn’t Suck

13 Apr

Poor Robert Montague Renfield.

For hundreds of years, he’s been in a dysfunctional, co-dependent relationship with his boss, someone who takes advantage of Renfield, summoning him from wherever he is to demand food and other assistance. Renfield gave up his life to work for this man, abandoning his wife and child, and all these years later, his boss has never shown him any appreciation. He just keeps on being more and more demanding.

You might say Renfield’s boss is a real monster — and you’d be right. That’s because his boss is the Prince of Darkness himself, Dracula. Renfield is Dracula’s familiar.

Suffice it to say, all these years later, Renfield has finally had enough, and he’s decided he wants out of this relationship. He just doesn’t know how to do it. And that’s the high-concept premise of the new horror comedy Renfield, a film that doesn’t suck. Really.

Continue reading

Catching Up on 2023 Movie Reviews

4 Apr

More than a quarter of 2023 is now in the rear-view and suffice it to say, it’s been a busy time for movies. Is Hollywood catching up after a slower 2022? Maybe. But regardless, it’s meant a more-than-average amount of movie-watching and moviegoing — for me, at least — after some “off” years. 

So far this year, I’ve seen 16 new films (12 in a theater, and four via streaming). That may not be much to some people, but for me, it’s a lot. Especially for the first three months, which is usually a quiet time and one typically filled with less-than-appealing options — or holdovers that received a limited year-end release for awards consideration and are only now available to a wider audience. I’ve shared my thoughts about most of what I’ve seen on Twitter, but have neglected to write longer reviews. 

To correct that somewhat and get some of my reviews more “on the record,” allow me to share some quick thoughts about all the 2023 releases I’ve watched this year, in reverse chronological order.

Continue reading

“Air” Never Quite Reaches Championship Heights

3 Apr

Air, Ben Affleck’s simply titled origin story of the Air Jordan, is not a sports movie. It’s a sports marketing movie. The film tells the story of how, in 1984, Nike sports marketing executive Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon) worked to convince both his colleagues and Michael Jordan’s parents (Viola Davis and her actual husband, Julius Tennon) that a Jordan-branded basketball sneaker would be a slam dunk.

It’s easy for viewers now to dismiss this as an obvious idea. But remember: It all happened before MJ’s rookie NBA season, back when he was an unproven player, and Nike was the number-three sneaker brand (behind Converse and Adidas), not the corporate behemoth we know today. Also, athlete-branded shoes just weren’t a thing back then. But against all odds, and the wishes of the company’s board of directors, Nike went all in on this deal — one that, if it failed, likely would have ended the fledgling brand altogether. 

All these years later, we know how that gamble turned out.

Continue reading
%d bloggers like this: