Sunday, April 30, 2023

Nerd Notes: April 2023

Apparently some people had problems with this season of The Mandalorian but, you know, I say those people are clowns. I think the current era of serialized storytelling has ruined many viewer's ability to just enjoy an episode of television for what it is rather than getting agitated when it isn't immediately apparent how an individual episode progresses the larger arc of the season. Sure, you could say that this was the weakest of the three seasons but yet it was still freaking awesome and it's crazy to me to see people bitching about it. I'm so stoked that Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau are going to be getting their chance to bring their corner of the SW universe to the big screen.  

Is this movie a one off or is it the start of a new horror franchise? Time will tell but as mediocre and middle of the road as this movie is, I'm kind of rooting for it to get a couple of sequels. Russell Crowe strikes just the right note of sincere hamminess here and I'd be very game to see him continue to go up against various occult forces a few more times, with The Vatican sending him on missions that only he can handle. The shameless, blatantly commercial set up for more at the end of The Pope's Exorcist is actually one of the most appealing aspects of this movie so I'm pulling for a follow up. I do hope they step their game up a bit if the opportunity to do a sequel should arise but far worse movies than this have spawned franchises. 

It's always a bummer when something looks like a slam dunk on paper but then proves to be kind of unsatisfying. Such is the case with Renfield. Telling the tale of Dracula's eternally put upon assistant, giving Reinfield's plight as a bug eating lackey a comedic slant, sounds terrific. It sounds even better to know that Nicholas Cage will be playing the Count. In reality, though, this movie is just ok. The main problem is that rather than being content to be a funny tale about Renfield, it also wants to be a kick ass action film and a semi-serious character study as well. The tone of this movie is all over the place. Some movies can smoothly veer from serious to funny but here it's jarring. Adding to the jarring aspect of Renfield is how weirdly plot heavy it is. Aside from telling Renfield's story, there's the story of a cop played by Awkwafina who is up against her corrupt, paid off precinct and she's also trying to take down the mob family responsible for killing her honest cop dad. Then there's another subplot about the adult son of the matriarch of the mob family who is trying to prove himself to his mother and who becomes an adversary to Renfield and Awkwafina's character. It's just a lot of story bogging down what should have been a simple, quirky tale. For splatter fans, this does offer up a ton of over the top gore but all the hard R bloodshed is just another indication that this is a movie that never quite knows what it wants to be or what master it's trying to serve. 

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