A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Deadpool (Tim Miller, 2016)

Good nasty fun, and a fine example of having your cake and eating it too. By which I mean that, thanks to director Tim Miller, screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and star Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool succeeds not only in sending up the destructive violence of comic-book superhero movies, but also in providing its own entertainingly destructive violence. Reynolds plays Wade Wilson, a former special forces op who, learning that he has cancer, submits to an experimental treatment that leaves him disfigured but invulnerable. And so it goes, as Wilson crafts a superhero costume to hide his disfigurement and calls himself Deadpool. (He takes his name from the "dead pool" run by his friend Weasel (T.J. Miller), who runs a bar whose regulars frequently get themselves into mortal scrapes and place bets on who'll get killed next.) No truth, justice, and the American way for Deadpool, whose chief aim is to get even with Ajax (Ed Skrein), who caused his disfigurement and claims to have a way of reversing it. The whole thing is an excuse for cynical wisecracks and the kind of destruction that in the usual superhero films is brought about by the fight against evil. In this case, Deadpool is only on the side of right by default: Ajax and his minions are so much worse. The film made a lot of money, surprising only those who thought that giving it an R rating -- for sex and naughty language as well as the usually more-tolerated violence -- would eliminate, or at least severely reduce, the supposed "core audience" for comic-book superhero movies: teenage boys. Deadpool does nothing to advance the art of film, but it still serves to expose the less idealistic side of superheroism.