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There’s Only One Way To Rank Marvel Movies. This Is It.

Although you could say, I’m a most unlikely Marvel fan, David’s kind invitation to disagree with him is too tempting to pass up. Perhaps its because he dismissed Guardians of the Galaxy. Or maybe it’s because he placed Iron Man too far down on the list. Or it could be, I just wanted to defend my favorite superheroes. Whatever subconscious reasons propelled me to my keyboard, I think the Marvel Universe deserves our attention as creators.

UPDATED: Ranking My 10 Favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe Films

And sorting out the others. Disagree with my choices?

With the fourth Avengers movie debuting this weekend, the closing chapter of a 22-film series, I decided to start a discussion over which installments in the series have been the best, which are weaker, and why.

The Ethical Transhumanism of Star Trek

In a universe where cybernetics, genetic engineering, alien tech and thousands of worlds exist, why are the humans of the Federation so human? Let’s take a look at the limited, ethical transhumanism of “Star Trek”.

‘The Highwaymen’: Bonnie and Clyde Are Long Since Dead, But the Cult Mentality Lives On

The made-for-TV film “The Highwaymen” has been on Netflix for several weeks now, but I didn’t get around to watching it until a couple of weeks ago.

The much talked-about vehicle for Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson is, as most readers will know, the story of how two retired Texas Rangers, Frank Hamer (Costner) and Maney Gault (Harrelson) tracked down the legendary couple Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, when other law enforcement agencies across several states, including the FBI, had failed.

Christopher Plummer: A Modern Prospero

Deconstructing Canadian Culture, Part 22: As Blue-Blooded and Upper Canadian as They Come

To criticize a universally beloved 89-year-old titan of stage and screen – possibly best known as Captain Von Trapp from The Sound of Music, a role he famously detests –  is a thing not easily done.

This is the man they brought in to save Ridley Scott’s All The Money In The World after Kevin Spacey’s heinous deeds were exposed at the height of #MeToo. (He will not be the last Canadian on our list that acted as a calming force during that period of justified outrage.) Spike Lee trusted him enough to cast him in two of his films. He played a Klingon with a hilarious eyepatch and “The Emperor” in a schlocky Star War ripoff, Starcrash, with the same grace and aplomb as his many, many Shakespearean turns – Henry V, Hamlet, Caesar, Mercutio, Lear, and, yes – Prospero.

But as Christopher Plummer himself will readily admit, his life has been a charmed one, mostly free of the struggle and want common to most actors. Plummer’s easygoing yet authoritative presence, his capability and durability, and above all his magical ability to project order cannot be truly understood unless you know that he was born to the cream of Canadian society, the great-grandson of Canada’s third Prime Minister, John Abbott.

Mary Pickford: The Archetypal (Canadian) Actress

Deconstructing Canadian Culture, Part 21: The Blank Screen

The history of Canadian actors is unlike the history of Canadians in any other medium. Canadian novelists are celebrated at home and barely noticed abroad. Canadian musicians are oddities and curiosities with hardcore fanbases. Canadian directors are singular visionaries who engage (or refuse to engage) with the meaning of life itself.

But Canadians have been such an integral part of Hollywood that you have to remind people that a famous actor is, or was Canadian. And so, as I introduce the archetypal Canadian actress – Gladys Smith, aka Mary Pickford – I really have to squint to pick out what makes her Canadian.

Shamed Writer-Director James Gunn Is Back For ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 3’ Are We Groot?

Disney reinstating James Gunn as the writer-director of Guardians of the Galaxy 3 ignited a controversy reaching beyond the tarnishing of Disney’s brand. It sparks a question, to which the answer is a social-political barometer. Do we really want to trade redemption for social assassination? 

The Reitman Family’s Blissful Ignorance

Deconstructing Canadian Culture, Part 20: Space to Laugh an Easy Laugh

Meatballs. Space Jam. Kindergarten Cop. Animal House. And above all, Ghostbusters.

These are just a few of the easy, breezy, morally loose and lighthearted comedy classics either directed by or produced by Canadian film legend Ivan Reitman. I don’t have to introduce or analyze them, because you know them all. You can quote lines from them. These films were memeworthy before memes were a thing.

Everything about the guy just screams likeability. Reitman was happy to lend some of his middle-to-low-brow cred to more artistically-minded Canadians – he produced Atom Egoyan’s Chloe, and helped David Cronenberg with a couple of his early projects in the ’70s. Kids can – and probably should, these days – watch his films and delight in them. Actors like Bill Murray, Danny DeVito and Sigourney Weaver loved working with him, and years later he helped give birth to the “Frat Pack” comedy explosion with 2003’s Old School. Even SJWs have to build around or subvert the structures he creates rather than trying to tear them down – that’s how you got “Lady Ghostbusters.”

David Cronenberg’s Silent Hell

Deconstructing Canadian Culture, Part 16: The Awkward Quiet

The scariest thing in a David Cronenberg film isn’t the chilling body-horror practical effects or the strangely stilted performances. It’s the long, awkward stretches of quiet.

Watch Naked Lunch, Scanners, or The Dead Zone and pay attention to the background music or lack thereof. A Cronenberg film doesn’t need to rely on creepy strings or jump-scare stings. More so than anyone in our series so far – yes, even Jordan Peterson – Cronenberg’s films are distillations of the nihilistic, the amoral, and the meaningless, presented (for the most part) without ornamentation.

There is blood, and there is gore, and there are transformations into fly-men, and all of these are great selling points for a film trailer. But these concessions to traditional horror are never the point of a Cronenberg film. The point is that the characters were already monsters, and the only thing that has changed is that now they look like monsters.

Why Wall-E Is a Cute Post-Apocalyptic Movie No Matter How It Goes

“Wall-E” is arguably the cutest post-apocalyptic movie ever. It is clear that the environmental disaster forced humanity to flee the Earth. We don’t see billions dead, though they’re likely under the trash, because there is no way humanity could build more than a modest armada. We don’t see an armada. We only see the Axiom. One ship with a few thousand people is the remnant of the human ra

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