And I know I am in a vastly overwhelmed minority on this one. Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is one of the best-reviewed films of the year, a likely shoo-in for serious awards contention, and represents the kind of ambitious filmmaking American cinema needs more of. And yet, I didn’t like it. I didn’t hate, but I did not enjoy this movie on any level other than the conceptual, and I’m actually really bummed out about it because I wanted to like it, so much. But I found it boring and unengaging, just a collection of “hey remember when” moments as opposed to actual introspection and exploration of what it means to grow up. Continue reading
Once upon a time, Guardians of the Galaxy was a big risk, a comic book property completely unheard of by general audiences—even more obscure than Iron Man was back in 2008—featuring a talking raccoon and a space ent as two of its main characters. However, director James Gunn (Super, Slither), who co-wrote the script along with Nicole Perlman, the first woman credited with writing a Marvel screenplay, proved the right kind of weird to ground the project. Guardians of the Galaxy is a splendid film—wonderful to look at, exciting to watch, in turns deeply funny and emotional. By some metrics, it’s the best Marvel movie yet; certainly it is the funniest and best-looking. Continue reading
I 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
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
Last 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
It’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