#REVIEW: HOMECOMING, by Beyoncé

Do y’all ever wonder if Beyoncé’s marketing people, like, hate her guts? Her last six albums or whatever have been released with no fanfare and no warning and everybody notices and spends lots of money and they end up topping the charts anyway. Is this always the plan, do you think, or does she have terrible conversations with the marketing team where the team produces a carefully thought-out multi-level marketing and release plan and Bey just goes “Oh, that? I got bored so it came out this morning. It’s #1 on iTunes. But you guys are great, really.”

I probably say this every time I talk about her: I consider myself a pretty big fan of Beyoncé as a person and a musician and a businesswoman and just as a general cultural icon and I’ve nonetheless never been hugely into her music. Here’s the thing, though: I really liked Everything is Love, the album she released last summer (again, out of nowhere) with Jay-Z, and Homecoming, her latest nearly-two-hours-long CD of her 2018 headlining Coachella show is fucking amazing. There are something like forty tracks included; she tends to bounce from song to song pretty rapidly and rarely if ever performs an entire song from start to finish. I thought at first this was going to be annoying but it works– it might help that I honestly don’t know the majority of the songs all that well, so the fact that she’s basically just singing the best parts is all good.

Also all good: the what appears to be an entire fucking marching band complete with a drumline and step team that backs her up for most of the show. There is a documentary included along with the music that I haven’t gotten around to watching yet (and I may not, to be completely honest) but the sonic effect of these guys is really cool and unique. The recording quality for the show is top-notch, as should probably be expected.

So: adjustment to my Current Theory of Beyoncé: her last two releases have been fantastic and I can’t wait for her next one. I’d tell you to go check it out, but statistically you probably already have.

I see movies

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You like movies, right?  Everybody likes movies.  You may have noticed that they made another movie about that Spider-Man dude recently.

Quick!  Guess if I saw it.

Of course I did.  And I’m pleased to report that I liked it quite a damn lot; I continue to be amazed that Marvel has cranked out something like ten thousand of these movies and I haven’t seen one I disliked yet.  It’s not the best superhero movie of the year– that title belongs to Wonder Woman still, but it’s a solid effort, especially when you consider that there have been like seventeen movies just about Spider-Man in the last fifteen years or so.

Highlights: Tom Holland, Tom Holland, Tom Holland, and Tom Holland.  Also Michael Keaton.  Actually, hell, let’s be honest here: I like the entire damn cast.  There’s just enough Robert Downey Jr– I didn’t want this to have as much Iron Man in it as, say, Civil War did– and he’s got enough screen time that it’s more than a cameo but not a lot more than a cameo, if you know what I mean.  Putting Peter Parker back in high school was the right move, and Tom Holland plays young more than well enough.  Michael Keaton as the Vulture (who, note, is never actually referred to by that name) is the best villain Marvel’s put on-screen since Loki, and I actually really like how low-stakes the film is for most of its runtime; it fits Spider-Man’s role as a street-level hero.  This movie gets the character’s soul completely right, and that’s really important.

One minor gripe: this guy?

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The character’s name is supposedly Ned?  And maybe he’s supposed to be Ned Leeds, although they don’t ever use his last name, and shouldn’t Ned Leeds be a lot older than Peter anyway?  And: nah.  Fuck that.  This isn’t Ned.  This is Ganke, dammit, and I want Miles Morales in a Marvel movie.  Donald Glover plays his uncle Aaron!  He’s out there, dammit!  Quit giving me his friends under weird pseudonyms and his relatives and give me Miles Morales!  

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I also saw this, finally.  You may remember my review of the book of The Girl With All the Gifts: I loved the hell out of it, and it ended up being my second favorite book of 2016.  I actually first heard of the book when I saw the trailer for the movie and it blew me away, and then I waited a year and a goddamn half and the damn movie either never came out in the States at all (I’ve been unable to get a solid answer on this, and believe me, I’ve looked) or got such a limited release that I was never anywhere near a theater that showed it.

Well, good news: Apple to the rescue!  I was able to rent the movie for 24 hours for just 99 cents, and if anything it’s even a bit creepier than the book was– and, remember, I loved the book.  You won’t be able to find this in theaters anywhere, but it’s absolutely worth hunting down if you have any way to stream it.  Read the book, too, while you’re at it.