Thanks to its lengthy boom throughout the days of John Wayne and Lee van Cleef, the legacy of the western genre lingers on in the minds of those too young to be a part of its heyday and too old to let that missed, nostalgic opportunity go. Kurt Russell had a hand in a modern western and it was good. Every few years, performers come together and seem hellbent on appearing in one of their own westerns. Few will match the ground-breaking pace and exploration of those westerns of old, but the Tim Blake Nelson-starring feature, Old Henry, may be up there with them for its intricate style, gritty and dirty characters and consistent iconography.
Ambition and nightmares fuse rather nicely throughout Nightmare Alley, a modern spin on the defiant, dormant neo-noir genre. Every so often, a creative will come along and be so sure of their abilities in reviving it. Naturally, whether the work they offer is great or godless, they are met with stirring reviews and a box office bomb. Nightmare Alley is on that course regardless and probably knew it. To know that and persevere is bold and inevitable because Nightmare Alley is a certainly grand film and far closer to the top of the Best Picture pile than any of the others to be given such a nod. It is at least filled with worldbuilding and experimentation, which is no surprise since Guillermo Del Toro helms this delightfully twisted feature.
What is consistent and almost inevitable with adaptations of presidential terms is that they live or die entirely on who portrays the incumbent. Lincoln does well to draw Daniel Day-Lewis into the fold. So great an opportunity it is for director Steven Spielberg to take on the life of the sixteenth President of the United States, the actual challenge of adapting Abraham Lincoln’s life and times in office is underrepresented. The highlight wheel whirs away, bagging Day-Lewis that inevitable Academy Award in the process. Lincoln will not struggle to win over those history buffs it so clearly appeals to, and it does segregate the market somewhat, casting out Oliver Stone and slapping his hands away from another adaptation of a monumentally interesting political figure.
Sequels, often they’re tedious and nowhere close as good as the original. That, surprisingly, is not the case for Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, the sequel to that childhood classic everyone in my generation loves to feel wholly nostalgic for. It’s easy to see why, especially in my case when I’d come home from school and stick CBBC on, where they’d play classic Scooby-Doo every day. It was a lot of fun, one of the few things I miss from my childhood and it’s a painful reminder each day that I’ll never re-live such an enjoyable time. Still, I can try my best to cling to my nostalgia, especially by watching old classics I’ve not watched in years for fear of loathing them.