PINERO | The Revisionist History of Black Panther

Black Panther hits theaters everywhere tomorrow.  The buzz around the movie is electric, as evidenced by its formidable social media presence, record-breaking box office projections and ubiquity in the thinkpiece realm. Though the reviews are glowing, what seems to be propelling this global phenomenon is not the movie itself, but its materiality to the world as it is today. In the comic book world, the word “retcon” is a common portmanteau for “retroactive continuity.” It refers to the reframing of past events to serve a current plot need. For example, TV shows often retcon characters’ backstories in order to explain their present actions.


After Seven Years, Does Jigsaw Pick Up the Halloween Tradition?

“If it’s Halloween, it must be Saw.”

It’s been seven years since that tagline has been heard in cinemas. In 2004, Saw hit theaters and created a whole new subgenre of horror. It became an annual tradition. Every Halloween brought more death traps, more mystery and an ever growing web of mythos. For seven years, Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures harvested huge profits from these low-budget, box office hits.


Holy Split, Signs of M. Night Shyamalan’s Return Are Happening

Director M. Night Shyamalan gets a lot of crap, and rightfully so. Until his most recent outing, Split, he hadn’t made a good movie in more than a decade. After Earth was bad. The Happening was so bad that it was funny. The Last Airbender was so far down the scale of badness that it was no longer eligible to be funny.

Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting

GUEST ROOM | Who Needs Meaning?

When I was a junior in high school, I taught a film and media class at my former elementary school. I gathered a group of 11 year olds around a computer to write a script and asked them, “What message do you want to share to your audience?” They told me they wanted to make a movie about a dog traveling around the world; somehow dynamite and chicken wings were involved but I can’t remember how. “No, I mean what do you want the meaning to be?” I asked again. They didn’t understand what I was trying to say. They suggested dinosaurs instead of the dog.


Three Takes on Arrival

“What happens now?”

“They arrive.”

by Elyes Benatar

Arrival. The title itself echoes as a strike against convention. This is not a film about aliens invading. It’s a film about aliens arriving. It’s a film that presents a realistic narrative about humanity’s attempts at contact and interaction with extraterrestrial beings.


Sew Their Mouths To Prevent Further Sequels

What do you think when you think horror? A rated R flick that tries to scare the daylights out of you? Recently, rated R has become a dying art replaced by PG-13, a much bigger and more profitable demographic. But does it work? It does in The Haunting (1963) (rated G) and Lights Out (recent PG-13 flick) but doesn’t always, as with the 2014 film Ouija.


You Just Got Trolled

Well, I said this before in a past installment of my column Animation Analysis, but I must repeat it here with greater sincerity: I owe DreamWorks Animation an apology. All of the previous flak I’ve given Trolls, I would like to redirect to their marketing team for making me think this was going to be a stinker of a film. Seriously though, do some reorganizing in that department. The cringeworthy teaser gave us twerking trolls; the film itself actually turned out far better than I dared to hope. To be sure, it has its share of flaws, but overall DreamWorks’ Trolls, directed by Walt Dohrn and Mike Mitchell, actually delivers a good time.


Sonic Sea: An Ocean of Emotion

It’s no secret that humans are destroying the earth at an alarming rate. However, not much is being done because not enough people care. The 60-minute documentary Sonic Sea explores the impact of noise pollution on whales and other marine mammals and presents possible solutions and measures that can be taken to prevent more harm. The documentary opens with an animation of the sea, along with soothing music, setting the stage for an emotional journey that could make any landlubber want to do anything in their power to save our oceans and marine mammals. The film first explores the increasing number of whale and dolphin beachings and features several scientists each giving their take on the situation, as well as mildly graphic images of the stranded animals.


Jack Reacher: A Relatable Hero Marred by Poor Screenwriting

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is exactly what I expected it to be. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but watching this movie with the wrong expectations could be rough. I’d place this in the realm of the first three Transformers movies (Age of Extinction was just garbage) — not strictly good films, but fun if you’re willing to turn off your brain a little. The Jack Reacher films are based on Lee Child’s popular long-running novel series of the same name. Never Go Back is largely based on the plot of the eighteenth novel in the series, with which it shares its title.