Joshua Rivera
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An investigation into Marvel movies’ noticeable lack of kissing

An investigation into Marvel movies’ noticeable lack of kissing

Movies used to have loads of kissing — even movies for children. Maybe especially movies for children. Handsome princes kissed princesses, in Leave It to Beaver, and Anna Chlumsky and Macaulay Culkin famously kissed in My Girl. For a while, movies treated growing up as synonymous with kissing. It’s one of the first “adult” things people look forward to when they’re young (usually after a healthy period of being grossed out by the thought), and it’s something many people continue to look forward to well into adulthood. A good movie kiss is fun to watch and an exciting story development, a...

Apr 22
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The Muppets’ secret weapon can’t work in the Disney era

The Muppets’ secret weapon can’t work in the Disney era

There are few things in modern pop culture more magical than the moments when you can forget that the Muppets aren’t actually living creatures. Usually, it happens with a song — at least, it does for me, every time I see Kermit the Frog in a swamp. Or when I see from The Great Muppet Caper, where Fozzie, Gonzo, and Kermit — taken completely seriously by everyone around them — sing and dance through a bustling movie set, laying out the premise of the story viewers are about to see.All puppetry is a testament to the power of make-believe, but as a cast of felt-and-fur characters with more...

Apr 11
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HBO is trying so hard to make a Game of Thrones spinoff work

HBO is trying so hard to make a Game of Thrones spinoff work

Filed under:Three new series in development show the difficulty of recreating successIt’s been two years since Game of Thrones ended its landmark eight-season run, leaving a void that HBO, frankly, couldn’t be more desperate to fill. The network’s manic search began in 2017, before the seventh season even premiered, when the network announced that not one, were in development. But only one of those developing shows ever made it to the pilot phase, and it was promptly canned along with the others. Further announcements followed: A series an , and one show that does appear to be getting made,...

Mar 19
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Zack Snyder’s Justice League does right by Cyborg but no one else

Zack Snyder’s Justice League does right by Cyborg but no one else

On Oct. 14, 2014, Warner Bros. announced its long-awaited response to the Marvel Cinematic Universe: 10 DC films, kicking off with 2016’s , and concluding with a Green Lantern reboot planned for 2020. , it seems hilarious in its hubris — while six of those 10 movies did come out, and a seventh (The Flash) does , it’s safe to say that the intended plan for all of them was initially very different. Film studios make plans, and Darkseid laughs.The failure of Justice League’s theatrical release and the collapse of the initial DC film universe around it has made it one of the most infamous...

Mar 15
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WandaVision’s biggest villain is the Marvel Cinematic Universe

WandaVision’s biggest villain is the Marvel Cinematic Universe

[Ed. note: Spoilers ahead for episode 1-6 of WandaVision.]Something is wrong with Wanda Maximoff and the Vision. Viewers could tell as much from the very start of , a Cinematic Universe TV show that doesn’t fit the mold of the MCU films, or the previous, rather neglected Marvel shows on traditional networks. Now, in the final few weeks of the series’ nine-episode run, there’s a relatively clear picture. The initially inexplicable sitcom setting of the early episodes is all a manifestation of Wanda’s grief over the Vision’s death in , a death that could not be reversed in . This is a...

Feb 19
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Tiger and the need to complicate the world we grew up in

Tiger and the need to complicate the world we grew up in

Filed under:The HBO Sports documentary takes the legend of Tiger Woods as its subjectThe year is kicking off with what’s becoming a loose tradition: a documentary about a renowned ‘90s athlete that aims to shade in a more complete picture. This time around, it’s Tiger, a two-part HBO Sports documentary about golf superstar Tiger Woods. Like The Last Dance, which chronicled Michael Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls while reflecting on his entire career, Tiger attempts to complicate the prevailing narrative of a legend defined by his meteoric rise and equally steep fall.Even if you...

Jan 23
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Hulu’s Animaniacs reboot can’t survive a BoJack Horseman world

Hulu’s Animaniacs reboot can’t survive a BoJack Horseman world

Filed under:The revival is actually quite like the original, which is exactly why it doesn’t workWatching the original Animaniacs today is probably the closest you can get to scrolling through a TikTok feed from the mid-’90s. The madcap variety show was like Looney Tunes by way of golden-age Saturday Night Live, a pre-social media era meme factory that seemed more interested in parodying show business and celebrity than actually entertaining children. (The first episode is about a dang psychiatrist to the stars!) Funny thing is, kids loved the antics of the Warner brothers and sister as...

Nov 25
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The Good Lord Bird is a timely reminder that Americans aren’t usually fans of progress

The Good Lord Bird is a timely reminder that Americans aren’t usually fans of progress

Filed under:Ethan Hawke’s take on abolitionist John Brown’s story is dazzling and disconcertingAt a time when American politicians and media personalities speak glibly of patriotism and freedom, it’s easy to forget that very few people who dedicated themselves to advancing those causes have ever been particularly popular — at least before they’re dead. “Most folks never heard of John Brown,” The Good Lord Bird’s opening narration begins, introducing us to one such unpopular subject. “If they have, they know he was hung for being a traitor, stirring up all kinds of trouble, and starting the...

Oct 9
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The world is finally coming around to Starship Troopers

The world is finally coming around to Starship Troopers

Filed under:The sci-fi satire arrived too early, and we’re hearing what it said 23 years too lateThe Verge is a place where you can consider the future. So are movies. In Yesterday’s Future, we revisit a movie about the future and consider the things it tells us about today, tomorrow, and yesterday.The movie: Starship Troopers (1997)The future: Two hundred years from now, Earth is governed by the United Citizen Federation, a new world order where people are defined as either citizens or civilians. To be a citizen, you must enlist in the UCF marines, which will earn you the respect of your...

July 10, 2020
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