Let's catch you up on movies I've watched so far in April. Don't worry. It's a short list.

35. (973.) Zootopia (2016)
Is this what Disney has been reduced to? The studio has mastered the prerequisite cute, anthropomorphic animals living in a fairy tale world, but they really need to consider investing in some accomplished writers. Every scene in this movie makes the scene that preceded it make absolutely no logical sense. That may be forgiven in a comedic romp or an adventure fable, but this movie wants to be a detective story with a very dark heart, a kid-friendly Chinatown. If you go see it, leave your brain at the door.

36. (974.) Admission (2013)
I'll let you in on a little admission of my own: I almost never watch a movie in one sitting anymore. I think it took me a week to get through Admission. It's got its funny moments, but in general, it's an uncomfortable study of flawed people muddling through life. Think of it as a glossy women's magazine's attempt at a crafting a Woody Allen movie. The highlight of the film was the denouement, a frank reminder that we are all tested every day to find our own answers to life's tough questions, questions with no answer key. Then the film immediately squanders its own message by fading to a black screen with the definitive words "The End." I guess life doesn't go on.

37. (975.) Abar (1977)
Believe it or not, this is a blaxplotation super hero origin story! (Is this the first on-screen black super hero?) The hero, Abar, begins the movie as a community organizer who just wants to maintain the separate but equal peace that exists when the races stay in their place and ignore each other. By the end, he's an invulnerable superman with the power to — well, that's not really clear. The film was made on a shoestring by people who had no idea what they were doing and with actors who — welll, actors isn't really the right word. However, the dialog certainly has its moments — well, at least for the first two acts. Best line in the film (delivered by the hero during a bizarre wild-west dream sequence): "My friends call me Deadwood Dick; but my enemies call me Smart Black Nigger." That's Blazing Saddles quality satire right there.

38. (976.) Designing Woman (1957)
I like sultry Lauren Bacall and flinty Gregory Peck, but I felt this romantic comedy wasted their talents. The film builds itself on a comedy of errors in which the chauvinist male lies to hide his past and the silly woman becomes irrationally jealous. All of these problems could be solved by a single, rational conversation, but the worst bit is that the movie's climax is build on a wholly separate subplot about a crooked boxing promoter trying to kidnap — and kill! — the wife only to have her saved by a Broadway dancer. (I'm not going to lie, the climax is a lot of fun. Far more fun than everything that came before it.) Maybe I should just stop watching anything that falls into the "romantic comedy" category.

More to come.

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To be continued...

 

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