2018’s understated science fiction drama tackles family dynamics and personal responsibility with the dashed hopes of more to come

Jonathan and Josh Baker’s KIN is a movie I’m sad to say I dismissed when it was dropped on me in August 2018, seemingly out of nowhere and with little fanfare. It’s a movie I would’ve loved to have seen in theaters, especially since it was boasting an IMAX screen. But, theater hopping is a family affair. And my peeps are typically against science fiction films, or so indifferent to the theatergoing experience (these days) that it takes a film of noisy proportions (Black Panther) to get them to consider spending money where they believe it isn’t necessary.


Missing in action since 2002, Liu Kang returns to the forefront of ‘Mortal Kombat’ in his first franchise altering story since the 90s

Liu Kang (modeled after Youngtaxlee, and voiced by Michael Yang King) in “Mortal Kombat 11” is the most realized the character has been since the 1995 film. | © NetherRealm Studios.

As I’ve written these opinion pieces on Mortal Kombat, I’ve learned and re-learned things about the franchise I was otherwise disinterested in, or didn’t know about because I was not a super fan who desired to know all there was to offer about Mortal Kombat.

To some degree, I still view it as something my big brother loved, and so, not necessarily something I can ever become completely attached to. But it becomes less of a nostalgic piece the more I learn about it in the present.

One particular aspect of the series I’ve ignored is John Tobias, a person…


‘King of the Monsters’ follows the all-too common trend of science fiction and broadcasts Malthusian fascism in its tale of climate change

King Ghidorah acts independently of the human villains but carries out their every desire. | © Warner Bros. Ent.

Climate Change is fast becoming the centerpiece of discussion I never thought it would be as a kid. I know what people should do to safe-keep the environment thanks to shows like Sesame Street, Sailor Moon, and Captain Planet and the Planeteers urging its young viewers to “do their part”. It was ‘stop deforestation’, ‘protect the trees’, ‘keep animals off the endangered species list’, ‘save the marshlands’, etc.. Public service announcements about recycling and energy management seemed so common, I never questioned that anyone would doubt global warming was legitimate given the potential dangers. …


Godzilla and his motley crew of human allies are just along for the ride

In 2009, mainstream media was caught in the throes of the Twilight pandemic. My sister (nineteen at the time) enjoyed Stephanie Myers’ vampire series-turned-mega franchise, and talked my ears off about the books whenever she got the chance.

With the film adaptation of New Moon on the horizon that November, it was impossible to ignore the advertisement blitz. Fast food commercials created dramatizations of teenage girls aligning with #TeamEdward or #TeamJacob. Slurpee cups and Burger King ads egged on the fight over which of Bella Swan’s ghoulish boyfriends were the “best”.

Seven years later, the hashtag team debate reemerged with…


REVIEW

Supermassive walks the path of least resistance in their latest game about a family haunted by past sins

Everyone tells a different version of the Massachusetts Salem witch trials. In the 328 years since the event, historical accounts of the Salem town and Salem village schism change. Who sparked the accusations or baked the witch cake shift depending on the sources. Historians disagree on details big and small, but the broader picture is complete enough that a consistent timeline of events is accessible to everyone.

I don’t think it’s off point to say that without historians working to keep the atrocities of the Salem witch trials alive through extensive preservation of its people and sociology, the biblical nightmare…


‘Star Wars’ was never a planned story, but it also wasn’t subject to the whims of no plan at all either

Late environment concept piece of Rey on Jakku (“The Force Awakens”). | © 2014 Yanick Dusseault

A common refrain you’ll hear from the casual viewer to the die-hard Star Wars fan is that Star Wars wasn’t a series with a roadmap. 1977’s Star Wars had a beginning, middle, and an end. It was a bottled narrative that ends with the definitive victory of the heroes over the analog villains with no guarantee a sequel would be on the horizon until it happened. Heck, Lucas originally wanted to make a Flash Gordon adaptation if that tells you anything about its beginnings.

Keiichi Sato and Kazuyoshi Katayama created The Big O as a one-off neo-noir series with no…


Episode IX drives home the message that ‘Star Wars’ doesn’t have the room nor the creatives necessary to support diverse narratives

You’ll notice whenever a Black actor gains prominence in film and television, it becomes effortless for the audience and TPTB to renegotiate a Black character’s significance within the works they appear. What’s uncontested importance for white characters is debatable for Black characters.

February 2020, Netflix debuted the BBC Two produced docuseries, They Gotta Have Us. Aired October 2018, the Simon Frederick directed series marathons crucial points in Black history in interviews with Black actors, writers, directors, and producers that took part in the eighteen-month production.

Among them were veterans Dianann Carrol, Robert Townsend, and newcomers Barry Jenkins, and John Boyega. The docuseries celebrates Black talent in the US and UK while observing creative and career setbacks reinforced by white supremacy in the film industry.

Boyega’s interview, appearing in the first episode, retells the story of his meeting with Abrams to an animated…


Episode IX never stood much chance of being a good film, and the bitter pill is living with that reality

However let down Boyega and Isaac are by the story, constant quipping and humor of “The Rise of Skywalker”, both actors continue to demonstrate a dynamic stronger than anything Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver conjure in a contrite battle of “Light vs. Dark” by simply feeding into their natural chemistry.

Depending on whom you ask, J.J. Abrams’ decision not to direct the whole of the Sequel Trilogy beyond Episode VII changes from franchise fatigue (he was still working on Star Trek: Into Darkness when hired to direct Episode VII) or wanting to spend more time with his family.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Abrams’ childhood friend, Greg Grunberg (Snap Wexley), suggests Abrams regretted leaving after reading Rian Johnson’s script for Episode VIII. Abrams thought Johnson’s script so good he wished he wrote it.

“I never hear him express regret like that,” Grunberg says. The following month (January 2016)…


‘The Last Jedi’ is not a sequel to ‘The Force Awakens’ but a standard, non-subversive refutation of its ideas and its lead characters

Brian Rood unintentionally illustrates the dynamics of “The Last Jedi” in the positioning of the characters, none of whom are done any real justice by the script. | © 2017 LucasFilm

As The Force Awakens nears its conclusion, it establishes three branching paths for Finn, Rey Skywalker, and Kylo Ren.

For all of my frustration with how Kasdan and Abrams ended Finn’s arc, the unfortunate implications that it carried for Finn in the future, if I was naive enough to trust LucasFilm, an argument can be made that Finn suffering the worst kind’ve defeat was an attempt to combine elements of Luke Skywalker’s lowest point in his middle journey (The Empire Strikes Back) with the inexperienced highs from his beginning (A New Hope).

When confronted by Kylo Ren, when the chance…


The start of the Sequel Trilogy is flawed and clumsy, but its heart is mostly in the right place with the right director and screenwriter

Ah, yes, the scene that made millions of Star Wars fans lose their marbles and expose themselves online as racists. | © 2015 LucasFilm

Potential. That’s a word you’ll see a lot when reading anything about Disney’s Star Wars Trilogy (sorry, “The Skywalker Saga”). “Man, this trilogy had so much potential. What happened?” A nebulous collection of ideas and impressions that could’ve come together to make ‘something great’, but never reached it. It’s not a lie. The Sequel Trilogy, as we informally know it, however much its start mirrored A New Hope, stuck its landing with an optimistic setup.

But, in the years following Disney being outed as ‘flying blind’ with the franchise, its last two films failed to live up to its beginning…

Geena Hardy

Writer | Artist | 32 | Heel | Author reworking her first story, blogger and writer of long opinion pieces on my favorite things | https://ko-fi.com/geenahardy

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