Summer Movie Preview: August 2014

Posted in Movies, Previews with tags , , , , on July 31, 2014 by Sarah

August 1

Calvary

Irish writer/director John Michael McDonagh follows up his stellar feature-film debut, The Guard, with Calvary, the story of a priest (Brendan Gleeson) who must deal with the assholes in his parish after one of them threatens him during confession. Because The Guard was ostensibly a comedy and because Calvary co-stars Chris O’Dowd, a lot of people assumed this would be a comedy, but it’s actually a pretty dark, thoughtful exploration of Irish history and the awful ways people treat each other. I’ve been super into Irish cinema the last few years—they’re cranking out some genuinely good films and it’s worth your while to check them out.

Limited

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Lucy: A dumb movie made by smart(?) people

Posted in Movies, Reviews with tags , , , , , , on July 29, 2014 by Sarah

Lucy_posterI don’t have terribly high expectations of writer/director Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, The Professional). He’s a stylish director capable of delivering slick action scenes, but his movies are always kind of undercooked, plot-wise. The Professional stands out as a movie that still hangs together today, though it does retain its share of weirdness, but generally, Luc Besson is a messy director. So it’s not a surprise that his latest, a techno-thriller starring Scarlett Johansson as the titular Lucy, is a messy movie. What is surprising is how very dumb Lucy is. Continue reading

Managing Comic Con disappointment

Posted in Event, Movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2014 by Sarah

Yesterday while sifting through the last bit of Comic Con panels and interviews, I came across this vlog from Beyond The Trailer’s Grace Randolph. Here, have a look:

I don’t say this to pick on Randolph, but her video condensed everything that bugged me about the aura of entitlement that has grown to surround Comic Con and which manifested strongly this year after Saturday in Hall H, when no major announcements were made by Warner Brothers/DC or Marvel. I’m just using Randolph’s video because she clearly articulates a number of issues that I think fans are going to have to get straight with before next year’s Comic Con. Continue reading

The Purge: Anarchy is B-movie fun with delusions of grandeur

Posted in Movies, Reviews with tags , , , on July 22, 2014 by Sarah

PG2_31_5_Promo_4C_2F.inddLast summer The Purge was a surprise sleeper hit. On a $3 million budget, it made over $89 million worldwide, so a sequel was immediately ordered. Now, just one year later, that sequel, The Purge: Anarchy, is in theaters, which is kind of impressive (super speedy turn around), but would be more so if the script wasn’t 87% people whisper-yelling “get down!”, “stay back!”, and “follow me!”. Still, The Purge: Anarchy is dumb B-movie fun, as long as it’s not getting up its own ass with socio-political commentary. Movies like this don’t need to be smart, they just need to be entertaining, and The Purge: Anarchy is, if nothing else, entertaining. Continue reading

Best of the Summer 2014: Snowpiercer

Posted in Movies, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2014 by Sarah

snowpiercer-international-posterIt’s not like this is a hard call. Summer 2014 is some weak-ass shit, as far as movies are concerned. The best movie up till now was X-Men: Days of Future Past, a well-made and very fun movie that made no fucking sense. But now it is now, not then, and now we have the first—only—truly great summer movie of 2014: Bong Joon-ho’s long awaited Snowpiercer. And boy oh boy, it’s a DOOZY.

The rest of the world got Snowpiercer last year, but thanks to Harvey Weinstein and his Scissors of Doom, most English-speaking territories had to wait for it, left to wonder if what we would eventually see would be Bong’s vision or Harvey Scissorhands’ trimmed down, dumbed-down edit. The good news is that Weinstein, after a protracted, played-out-in-the-press battle, gave up and agreed to release Bong’s original cut. The bad news is, he opted to give Snowpiercer a drastically reduced limited release and then proceeded to do no promotion for the movie. It would live or die by word of mouth, but this is a great movie, and word of mouth has been great, which is translating into solid box office. Justice! Continue reading

Summer Movie Preview: July 2014

Posted in Movies, Previews with tags , , , , on July 3, 2014 by Sarah

Totally forgot to do one of these for June. Oops.

July 2

Deliver Us from Evil

Scott Derrickson (Sinister) made one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen: The Exorcism of Emily Rose. That movie legit gave me screaming night terrors. Thus Derrickson has earned my loyalty through fear and terror, and I will see whatever he makes (stoked for Dr. Strange). It helps that he’s a good director with a great sense of atmosphere, and this movie features a strong cast with Eric Bana and Edgar Ramirez, Joel McHale, and Sean Harris (Prometheus) in what is said to be a real scene-stealing performance.

If you can’t make it to Snowpiercer over the holiday weekend, this is your best shot for actual quality at the mainstream cineplex.

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VOD Review Double Shot: They Came Together & Trust Me

Posted in Movies, Reviews with tags , , , , , , on July 1, 2014 by Sarah

I’m way behind on reviews, so I’m going to be doubling up on demand reviews for the next couple weeks. Never let it be said that there’s nothing good to watch! Good movies are everywhere, you just have to…sit at home and push a couple buttons. Seriously, it’s never been easier to access quality cinema.

They Came Together

TCT-poster2001’s Wet Hot American Summer is, as far as I’m concerned, a comedy achievement along the lines of Spinal Tap. It’s not quite Spinal Tap (NOTHING IS SPINAL TAP), but it’s pretty close. Written by Michael Showalter and David Wain, and directed by Wain, Summer is like a time capsule, except it wasn’t memorializing the past but predicting the future. Look at the cast: Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Ken Marino, Joe Lo Truglio, Elizabeth Banks, Bradley Cooper, H. Jon Benjamin (the immortal voice of Sterling Archer) voicing a can of vegetables, Michael Ian Black—it’s a who’s who of today’s top comedy performers and writers. It’s also incredibly funny and actually quite touching. Continue reading

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