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Tag Archives: box office

Michael Medved: Black Panther’s Misleading Utopia

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“Black Panther” has made movie history as the first smash hit about a black superhero. But even as international audiences savor this splashy entertainment, it’s worth noting some necessary reservations.

 

The dialogue is full of clunky clichés, the plot is convoluted, the lavish sets and costumes look tacky and sometimes tawdry, and the special effects often fail to convince. Despite strong performances from a distinguished cast, the movie creates a totally fictitious African utopia that ignores fundamental truths about civilizations. The story centers on the fantasy kingdom of “Wakanda,” which, in carefully guarded isolation, has developed technological advances that lead the world.

 

In fact, isolation invariably produces stagnation, not progress. Moreover, Wakanda in the movie is a medieval, tribal society, choosing all-powerful rulers through trial by combat and magical incantations. In the real world, advancement and wellbeing grow reliably from democratic, free market institutions, not from authoritarian societies based on brutality and sorcery echoing Game of Thrones.

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Michael Medved: No Market For Mauling The Middle Class

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“Suburbicon”—the prestigious new movie release from director George Clooney—features Matt Damon and Juliane Moore with a screenplay co-written by the Oscar-winning Coen brothers.

The film opened with high hopes on more than 2,000 screens, but proved to be a commercial disaster with just $2.8 million on opening weekend. Even more shocking, “Suburbicon” got a dismal D-minus grade from CinemaScore.

Why the negative response?

It’s billed as an expose of “white privilege”—depicting a fictional suburb in 1959 that reacts to its first black family with disgusting violence and bigotry., while highlighting corruption, adultery and murder by the seemingly bland middle-class family at the center of the dark comedy.

Actually, the public is tired of Hollywood plutocrats who look down on the hard-working, decent suburban lives that many citizens live, and loathes the condescending assumption that the American dream has become the American nightmare.

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Michael Medved: No Rational Explanation for “It”

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After a miserable summer for movies, with box-office down some 15 percent across the board, September brought a big surprise: a modestly budgeted fright-fest with no big names smashed all records for horror films or for September releases in general.

“It,” based on a 1986 Stephen King novel and a ’90s TV miniseries, centers on an ageless cannibal clown who arises from the sewers of a Maine town every 27 years to murder and mutilate local children. A group of outcast 13-year-olds does battle with this demonic force, while the film’s only adults engage in incest, sadism, attempted rape, child abuse, and wanton cruelty.

As in many Stephen King stories, supernatural power functions only on the dark side, never balanced by the goodly or the godly. The only genuinely scary aspect of the whole “It” phenomenon is the public reception for this mediocre product: the $117 million in opening weekend business is as grotesque as anything on screen.

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