17 posts categorized "Comic Book"

January 28, 2020


Joker“Joker” is a cinematic dead end. An exploitation movie without a sense of humor, a satire without a point, a hollow story with no empathic protagonist, and a shallow rip-off of Martin Scorsese’s “King of Comedy” and “Taxi Driver" put together, here is a movie that doesn’t begin to meet the criteria of meaningful art. Casting Robert De Niro as a television talk show host à la Jerry Lewis in “King of Comedy” comes across as a cheap stunt — a really cheap bit.


Set in an early ‘80s era that never happened, the film follows mentally ill Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix). Getting all the rejection he requires is high on Arthur’s daily list of things to do. Arthur wants to be a stand-up comic but hasn’t any aptitude for the gig. It doesn’t help that one of his litany of medical woes includes Arthur laughing uncontrollably in social situations. Charming.


Homicidal thoughts lead to a series of killings after Arthur gets a gun. However, if you’re looking for an anti-gun theme, you’re on your own. It would also be a stretch to make a case for “Joker” putting a fine point on the mistreatment and neglect that America treats its mentally ill.


I’m curious what Michael Haneke or Lars von Trier would have to say about “Joker,” considering the rigor with which each filmmaker has employed in their trenchant social satires (see Haneke’s “Funny Games” or von Trier’s “Manderlay”). My guess it that neither filmmaker would have any favorable words for such an insipid film as this.

Joker 2

Some audiences may marvel at Joaquin Phoenix’s willingness to put his personal demons so publicly on display but, based on his wince-inducing Golden Globes speech, the type-casting on display just cuts too close to the bone. This movie can make you feel sick — vomit-in-your-seat sick.


Naturally, Arthur has parental issues. He takes care of his ailing, also mentally ill, mother when he isn’t trying to track down his biological dad. Could it be that his father is the millionaire Thomas Wayne, father to Batman? Yawn.


You can blame this film's kitchen sink narrative design on “Joker’s” basis in DC Comics characters, but screenwriters Scott Silver (“8 Mile”) and Todd Phillips are clearly shooting from the hip with a hack cavalier attitude that openly insults their audience.

Cinema is dead. Here's your proof.

Rated R. 122 mins.

Zero Stars


Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Every bit helps!

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March 07, 2018


Black_pantherLike adults who read Harry Potter books as if they aren’t children’s books written on a sixth grade reading level, many grown audiences [knowingly or unknowingly] ignore the fact that superhero movies are a children’s genre.

Superhero movies such as “Black Panther” represent nothing more than a dubious method for indoctrinating kids into accepting and participating in violent behavior, with the help of their goose-stepping parents.

Screen Shot 2022-03-25 at 11.26.29 AM

You need look no further than “Black Panther’s” repetitive return to “ritual combat” as its means of electing a leader for a fictional East African tribe to know that something is rotten in Denmark, or in this case “Wakanda.” Nevermind that Marvel comic book writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby lifted the term “Wakanda” from a Native American word for God.

Capitalist exploitation?

You bet.


For as boring as the movie is, and “Black Panther” is nothing if not an utter mind-numbing experience, here is yet another reminder of Hollywood’s lazy and persistent use of redundant comic book material to profit from marketing violence to kids while, in this case, spitting on the graves of native peoples. 


What's the point of competent filmmaking if there isn't a shred of originality or narrative inspiration anywhere to be found? "Black Panther" isn't a movie, it's military propaganda pushed through a corporate system (in this case Hollywood) built on the same economic model as America's military industrial complex that protects the corporate elite. 

These movies aren’t about ideas, such as civilized discussion or compatible behavior, they are about greed and instilling vengeful behavior in kids who grow up instilled with oversimplified notions about wars, fighting, and taking revenge on fellow human beings.  


Just as the “Star Wars” movies have made many times over their box office profits on toys, so too does Hollywood deal in superhero merchandising to elevate profit margins to astronomical levels. Follow the money. You might think it’s a big deal for a movie like “Black Panther” to employ so many black actors, but you can bet the film’s producers are not sharing any product revenues with those same thespians. To put it simply, superhero movies are nothing more than very long commercials. Think about it when Halloween rolls around and every other nine-year-old is wearing a Black Panther costume. You can’t call that Cinema.

Black Panther

“Black Panther” is forgettable as it is toxic. To pretend otherwise is pure folly. As for the popularity of superhero movies, keep in mind their relation to a lowest common denominator cashed in on by faceless corporations. All you have to do is follow the money. Go ahead; buy a toy. But remember to think about what it really represents.  

Rated PG-13. 134 mins.

1 Star

Screen Shot 2020-08-06 at 10.32.28 PMI know a thing or two about diversity. Can you pick me out of my high school swim team photo for The Ebony Pearls?

Treehouse Brewing's American Brown Ale BEAR is the beer of choice for Mike and Cole to hash out the first (and hopefully only) superhero movie to make it into the Feast. We also have our first food-fight as a result.


Do superhero hero movies indoctrinate children into violent behavior? Cole thinks so. Could this be the movie that breaks LA GRANDE BOUFFE (THE BIG FEAST)? Superhero movies do indeed teach confrontation after all. Get out the electric knife for this one Bouffers, and don't worry about the mess. 

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and follow us on SOUNDCLOUD. And tell your friends! 

This is what badass black social commentary looks and sounds like. Fuck with that.


Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your generosity helps keep the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

November 26, 2017


LoganIf indoctrinating child audiences into accepting, and enjoying, brutal deadly violence was the intent of the filmmakers responsible for making “Logan,” then their mission is accomplished. Audiences not wanting to be party to such a disgusting cause will want to avoid this cinematic abomination like the plague.

How much senseless killing can an audience member be expected to endure, especially when it's committed by a child? You’ll be asking yourself that question when “Logan’s” third act slips into gear after a black family are brutally murdered in their plantation-posited home after they have the bad luck of receiving charity from Hugh Jackman’s Logan and Patrick Stewart’s Charles during a runaway horse episode on a local highway.


As superhero movies go, this one seems poised to put a final nail in their long overdue coffin. Where spectacle was once the genre of song-and-dance musicals, superhero movies have turned Hollywood into a profit-fueled anti-Cinema war zone. Profit does not equal quality, and in the case of superhero movies it doesn't equate as Cinema because their storylines are dumbed down to the point of being amoral. You never have to worry about being talked down to as an audience member in this arena of blood for blood's sake. This is pro-violence propaganda for the masses. 

Screen Shot 2022-03-25 at 5.53.07 PM

In 2029, long suffering mutant Logan (a.k.a. Wolverine) cares for his wheelchair bound mentor Professor X (a.k.a. Charles) in a fenced off compound somewhere near the Mexican border. Logan drives a limo to provide a meager financial backing for the ailing Charles, whose weird episodes can have far-reaching negative effects on the people and atmosphere around him when they strike. Things get especially strange when Logan takes over caring for a similarly hand-blade equipped child, the [seemingly mute] mutant named Laura (Dafne Keen) who desperately wants/needs to be transported to the Canadian border where “Eden” awaits. The “Antichrist” reference seems apropos as there is far more graphic violence in this film than there is in Lars von Trier’s psychological thriller. Breaking character is etched in stone as a rule of dramaturgy to never cross, and yet it occurs in this movie like a fart that can't be held in. Screenwriting teachers take note. This is a sure-fire way to make your cinematic cake fall. 


Naturally our of trio limo-ensconced travelers are pursued by a militarized gang of soldiers overseen by an evil doctor (played by Richard E. Grant). Chase scene after redundant chase scene gives way to repetitive sequences of decapitating violence. Blood spews, characters yell in monstrous glee after bringing mutilation and death to their victims. There are more murders committed by a child (Laura) than in any film I can think of.

Logan speaks the film's theme when he says, You have to learn to live with hurting people. Kids aren't the only audiences this film seeks to indoctrinate into a sociopathic mindset. How anyone could think this is a responsible message to teach young people is beyond me. 


“Logan” is a film that will scar your psyche. I cannot in good conscious recommend that any peace-loving person expose yourself or your children to viewing “Logan.” There is nothing to be gained; it’s not entertaining, and it will leave you with memories you don’t need to have rolling around in your brain.  

Screen Shot 2022-03-25 at 5.52.58 PM

Rated R. 137 mins.

Zero Stars


Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your generosity helps keep the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

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