‘Eighth Grade’ About as Bad as You Remember

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Comedian, and now writer/director Bo Burnham has released his first feature Eighth Grade, starring Elsie Fisher as awkward, in-between Kayla Day.

Kayla is trying like almost anyone her age to be cool and fit in in the fast paced, technology-laden world of teens today. We watch, many times, as Kayla creates videos for her YouTube channel: advice on things like being yourself and fitting in. These videos highlight the ways in which Kayla makes an effort to find these things in life and within herself.

Throughout, we are privy to awkward conversations with Dad (Josh Hamilton), the muted sharp glares to and from ‘popular’ girl Kennedy and a handful of awesomely socially tragic clashes with equally awkward and removed teen boys. Everyone in their own world amid a sea of extremely thick atmosphere that feels all too familiar, compressed and leaves you gasping.

A note here on the score: It comes far too often, too loud. The chosen songs sound hastily made and are in such jarring contrast with the film itself, it further warps whatever is left to be gleaned from on screen. There is no matching of emotion or intention, merely blaring beats better used elsewhere.

The direction style doesn’t favor glamour shots, opting instead for a well lived-in feel. The costumes and scenery are muted, everyday colorful: very grounded in reality, glittered with iPhones and punctuated by so many uhms and ahs.

Burnham clearly has an adept feel for the material, but this is also his downfall. The strangest bit comes during an active shooter drill (yes, of course) followed almost immediately by an earthquake preparedness drill. This evasion tactic practice leads to some reaching attempts at innocent flirting tinged with a hint of the salacious, terrifying trouble it could bring. On many occasions we are set up with something that pushes beyond the grainy film of the movie into interesting and gripping territory, only for it to be deflated moments after; this uneven rise and fall gives the movie a meandering feel that never quite reaches the apex of understanding it needs to drive home just what is important here.

To say this movie has merit is to say a lot, outside of style and deadly accurate tone, the structure crumbles in on itself and the message, if there is one, is lost. Moments of reflection and success are muddled through and perhaps that is the point, however, this makes for a trying and very painful watch that doesn’t seem to know which audience it wants to pull in.

Is this meant to be a burdened nostalgia cringefest for those that have grown through the struggles of young adulthood? Or is there a message amid the noise for the ones coming up in the now? This film is rated ‘R’, so the latter seems a stretch at best. Presenting the dredge of middle school without resolve is certainly bold, but this film stumbles more than it strides.

If the idea of a mostly accurate depiction of the slow ache of growing pains sounds intriguing, give this one a watch when it comes to DVD or the streaming service of your choice.

A24, highly regarded production company, and noted comedian Bo Burnham have taken us to school, and it isn’t pretty.

 

Check out Zachary Levi as Shazam

This week marks the beginning of San Diego comic-con. the one time every year where nerds gather in droves to celebrate their favorite pieces of pop culture. This year is expected to be one filled with a lot of things DC. We have an Aquaman trailer or teaser potentially dropping. There are rumblings of a new, crazy story comic to DC Comics, and now we have Shazam.

Shazam is looking to be one of the more lighthearted films in the DCEU. It’s hard to see Zachary Levi as a down and dark superhero. Shazam has always been the noble, cheery type, and hopefully this translates well into a live action film.

This shot right here might give us a glimpse into what the Shazam film might turn out to be. A fun-filled romp to bring the DCEU back on track. It’s too soon to say of course. Keep your eyes and ears open when it comes to news out of SDCC. We might be getting a sneak peek at what can be a real refreshing move in the DC cinematic universe.

Doctor Who Series 11 Teaser Rundown

Here is our first full glimpse at Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor.

This trailer is a bit strange, but that’s to be expected from a new Doctor who trailer featuring a brand new Doctor. It’s too soon for those over at Who to let us know what kind of Doctor Whittaker is going to be. So we get a trailer essentially presenting the new companions. Seems like Whittaker is taking a liking to three individuals in particular, and offers a small gift to each.

The first one is the most unclear, but it seems the man knows someone is there and realizes the change or slow down of time. He’s just enjoying what looks like a plate of baked beans when the reality before him is nearly halted. With this interesting shapes or cracks of light appearing before him. This is suggesting something very interesting indeed. Viewers of CW’s The Flash might find this effect very familiar, and ultimately seems to be hinting at The Doctor moving through time/space unencumbered by the Tardis.

Now the second individual The Doctor meets is a woman who just missed out on the last slice of pizza. So Whittaker takes it upon herself to refill the empty pizza box leaving the woman absolutely puzzled (but delighted, I’m sure.) The third is a little more poetic. Take a seemingly normal looking older gentlemen and swap his boring newspaper with a fun comic book titled “The Beano: Summer Special 1981”.

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Continue reading Doctor Who Series 11 Teaser Rundown

Trogdor!! The Board Game Coming to a Table Top Nearest You

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The Brothers Chaps (Homestar Runner) and James Ernest (Cheapass Games) have come together via Kickstarter (FULLY FUNDED 7/17/18) to present:

Trogdor!! The Board Game

Now, through the magic of giving someone your money, you will be able to play as Keepers of Trogdor, dedicated to helping in full decimation of all peasants, land and thatched huts. Trogdor will burninate the entire village, but only with your help.

The base level donation gets you a pretty sweet board, box and painted  wooden meeples. (Sooo cool!)

The next donation level up gets you the same game, in addition to the meeples, you will be granted plastic minis in full colored detail!

At the Wyrmwood Beefy Tier you get a wyrmwood board, the entire contents of the game, including the fully detailed plastic minis! 

At the Wyrmwood Consummate level you get everything above plus a stylish but lazy susan on which to play the very game you’re backing!

Pretty fancy stuff, with more to come as stretch-goals are met.

Continue reading Trogdor!! The Board Game Coming to a Table Top Nearest You

Stranger Things Goes To The Mall

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Ever miss the days of Sam Goody, Waldenbooks, Zales, Radio Shack and…The Gap? Well we hope your nostalgia fix hasn’t been satiated just yet. It seems like in the next installment of Stranger Things we’re going to be seeing the gang spend a good amount of time in the new Starcourt Mall! Now not only does Starcourt sport the finest retail stores in all of the United States, but it is also home to a world class foodcourt! Where you can even get a scoop of ice cream from the good guy next store, Steve Harrington.

Continue reading Stranger Things Goes To The Mall

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