Author: Ian D.

Blade Runner 2049

At the end of the screening of Blade Runner 2049 we were asked to wait through the end credits. As the house lights came up our wonderful public relations person read a lengthy message from Director Denis Villeneuve begging us to avoid spoilers. Not only that but to avoid basic plot, characters and other details as we gave our impressions. The funny thing is, 2049 doesn’t feel that spoilable – especially at its 2-hour and 45-minute runtime.

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Battle of the Sexes

Tennis was my sport growing up.  From the moment I could hold up a racket my Dad had me out on the court chasing balls until my feet hurt.  In retrospect this was obviously an easy way to where out a tween boy who stayed up too late on the weekends but I still appreciated it.  I played all through high school and less so in college but always stayed a fan of the professional game.  Growing up with Sampras, Agassi, Federer (who is still doing it, showoff,) Graf, Seles then the Williams sisters I never had a shortage of favorite players.  One of the best things about the game is how it embraces its history and keeps legendary players around each modern iteration of the game.  It’s how I learned about Arthur Ashe, Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe and of course Billie Jean King.

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Kingsman: The Secret Service was released in 2014 to little fanfare. A relatively unknown spy property with some established talent (Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson) introducing a new leading man (Taron Egerton) from the Director of Kick Ass (Matthew Vaughn) would make most Hollywood studios queasy. But the risk paid off as Vaughn imbued Kingsman with a manic, almost cartoon like energy as Eggsy (Egerton) was recruited to a secret underground agency by Merlin (Mark Strong) and Gallahad (Firth.) It was one of the best blockbuster surprises of that year. So, of course the honest impulse of any good executive is following such a rousing debut is, “let’s franchise this shit!”

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When Stranger Things debuted in July last summer it was instantly a phenomenon.  Not only was it an impeccably made series but it also paid homage to our intense nostalgia-pangs for the 1980’s.  All 10-episodes were peppered with references to John Carpenter, Steven Spielberg, Goonies and most obviously Stephen King.  King’s 1986-opus IT was a clear inspiration for the brigade of tweens as they hunted for their friend in the upside-down.

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Ingrid Goes West

You’ve seen the photos on Instagram:  The perfect plate of tuna tartar, then immaculately framed “candid” shot at the top of a craggy mountain ridge, the sunrise over Maui so stunning it makes you want to barf.  The corporate world has a term for these people, “influencers.”  What are they influencing exactly? Typing that makes me feel like Matt Damon transforming into his old self at the end of Saving Private Ryan.  The entire nature of the enterprise is smug and cynical but to deny their existence in a marketing portfolio is to have your head in the sand.  Influencers have reach and reach equals eyeballs, eyeballs attached to wallets.

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