Superfly review

When Sony announced it was making a modern, Atlanta-set version of Super Fly (re-styling it as Superfly), it didn’t come as a surprise. We’re in the midst of a blaxploitation craze. Tons of film and television projects are in development based upon 1970s black action movies – films that were often criticized for their stereotypical portrayals of black people, but applauded for bringing stories centered on black people into the spotlight.

A new Shaft film starring Jessie T. Usher will be released in 2019. Underground co-creator Misha Green is developing a new Cleopatra Jones film at Warner Bros. Power creator Courtney Kemp was recently developing a reboot of Get Christie Love! starring Kylie Bunbury, and Hulu is reportedly working on a reboot of Foxy Brown starring Meagan Good.

Since the project was first announced, I was never completely against a Super Fly remake. If updated to modern times and made like a Power-esque crime drama, I always thought there could be a market for it. But just because I thought it could work doesn’t mean we actually needed a remake. Read More »

Favorite Dinosaur Movies - Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Every week in /Answers, we answer a new pop culture-related question. In this edition, tying in with the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, we ask, “What are your favorite dinosaur movies that aren’t Jurassic Park?” Read More »

Cloak and Dagger Call/Response review

This week’s episode of Cloak & Dagger, “Call/Response,” finally puts us in a room with Tandy and Tyrone talking to each other alone, and in a great surprise, we finally get a glimpse of Tyrone’s superhero costume. The backstory is as rich in New Orleans’ history as it is steeped in emotional anguish. Let’s run down the moments that made this episode yet another solid entry in this show’s run thus far. Read More »

trailer round-up damsel

If you’re looking for some professionals to ask for filmmaking advise, you could do worse than the Zellner Brothers. They’ve been making indie features for a decade now and shorts for even longer. They know a thing or two about getting films made.

Their latest is Damsel, a western that asks a lot of questions about its genre and society as a whole. Samuel (Robert Pattinson) is on a mission to rescue his fiancé Penelope (Mia Wasikowska). All is not what it seems with Samuel and Penelope and the old west in which they live, and Damsel gets further and further away from a traditional cowboy movie. (Read our review here.)

David and Nathan Zellner spoke with /Film about Damsel and how to make indie movies in Los Angeles. Some mild spoilers might make this a better read after you see Damsel but nothing too specific for anyone who hasn’t yet. Damsel is now playing in theaters.

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Bob Hoskins in Who Framed Roger Rabbit

There is a man squatting at the lowest point of his personal and professional life. He’s a classic film-noir detective living from job to job in Hollywood in the late 1940s, the dark hero of an ’80s neo-noir. The man used to be on the LAPD, but now he’s just a hacky private investigator who’s drowned his former glory by guzzling scotch day and night. But the job he’s on now is tough, the toughest one he’s had yet: it started small, with him taking sleazy pictures of a gorgeous woman fooling around on her husband, but it’s turned into a case full of greed, murder, and a city-wide conspiracy.

The worst cut of all: to save his reputation and his life, this gumshoe has to go to the one place he’s feared for years, the place where his cop brother was killed. As he stares into the abyss of a tunnel where doom waits on the other side, the camera zooms in on his sweaty, terrified face. He bucks up the last shreds of courage he has, gets back into his car, drives through the tunnel, and is confronted with…

Bright colors, hand-drawn animation, literal songbirds, and half of the most beloved animated characters of all time. The man is Eddie Valiant, the place is Toontown, and the film is Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which turns 30 today.

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Arachnophobia Revisited

In the annals of genre cinema, Arachnophobia is a slightly strange case. The feature directorial debut of Frank Marshall – co-founder of Amblin Entertainment with Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy – it arrived in theaters on July 18th, 1990, as the first title released beneath Disney’s Hollywood Pictures banner, which was founded so the studio could unveil more adult-oriented fare. Arachnophobia received solid reviews, was a modest box office hit – placing #3 behind Ghost and Die Harder before raking in $55 million total on a budget of $22 mil – and became a VHS staple for an entire generation of ‘90s kids. Ask most folks in their mid-30s these days, and they can cite whole scenes involving the picture’s practically rendered poisonous arachnids that scared the bejeezus out of them, doing for popcorn bowls what Psycho did for showers.

Still – thanks to format changeovers and market demand – Arachnophobia has also become something of home video relic. There’s an OOP bargain bin Blu-ray you can snag for a few bucks on Amazon, and a decent HD stream available at the same mega retailer. Nevertheless, its omnipresence somehow seemed to skip a generation, remaining in those Gen Xers’ nightmares, while the other scary classics Marshall produced with Spielberg (namely: Poltergeist and Gremlins) endured and solidified themselves in the Millennial pop culture vernacular. Perhaps it was simply due to iconography, as ghostly girls and green demons were burned into memory much easier than simple spiders. Or maybe the title of the film itself became an odd bit of self-fulfilling prophecy, as legions of potential movie-watchers steered clear since spiders creep people out on the regular during their everyday existences.

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Wachowskis Movies Revisited

Lana and Lilly Wachowski have always been bold, innovative, and constantly surprising. They’re best known for their Matrix blockbusters, of course, while their audacious box office flops Speed Racer, Cloud Atlas, and Jupiter Ascending confounded expectations and helped create a profoundly idiosyncratic body of work that many struggled to pigeonhole. But the last few years have reframed their filmography in exciting ways.

Sense8, now complete on Netflix, brings together themes that have permeated the Wachowskis’ work for decades, and their coming-out as trans women puts their entire oeuvre into a new context. Suddenly, all these big-budget effects spectacles click into thematic sync. It all stems from the relationship between the body, the mind, and the soul – the self the world sees, versus the self inside.

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Wild Things Sequels

(Welcome to DTV Descent, a series that explores the weird and wild world of direct-to-video sequels to theatrically released movies. In this edition, I’ve been forced to accept the existence of three – three! – sequels to one of 1998’s best comedies.)

You read that headline right. 1998’s Wild Things is a comedy, and it’s a pretty brilliant one at that. Sure it’s also sleazy, ridiculous, and filled with more twists than a busload of Chubby Checker impersonators, but the damn thing is a blast from beginning to end. Every frame is dripping with sweat and pheromones, every character wants to shtup every other character (when they’re not busy shtupping them over), and the entire cast plays it 100% straight. Well, maybe not Bill Murray, but no one’s complaining.

A recent re-watch confirmed it as beautifully absurd and gloriously entertaining, and for a brief while, all was right with the world. Then I got the bi-weekly call from Slash HQ. Don’t tell him I shared this, but my editor Jacob Hall likes to pick the sequels I cover here, and I think he enjoys it a bit too much. Every two weeks he pulls out his wheel of DTV sequels, puffs menacingly on a cigar, and gives the wheel a spin as his sadistic chuckles echo around him…but I digress. This week’s torture was decided, and that’s why I endured a first-time watch of the three DTV Wild Things sequels made between 2004 and 2010. (And yes, I’m terrified of the day Jacob’s wheel lands on Hellraiser.)

Keep reading for a look at Wild Things 2, Wild Things: Diamonds in the Rough, and Wild Things: Foursome.

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Best Movies Streaming Right Now June 21

(Welcome to Now Stream This, a column dedicated to the best movies streaming on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and every other streaming service out there.) 

Attention streaming movie fans: I’ve gathered up 10 must-stream movies to make your life easier. You’re welcome. In this edition of Now Stream This, you’ll find a wild Western from Sam Raimi; the directorial debut of Kelly Reichardt; the acting debut of Edward Norton; not one but two Ralph Fiennes films; an underrated ghost movie; a documentary about one of the worst films ever made, and more!

These are the best movies streaming right now. Let’s get streaming.

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Movies to Watch With Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom

We never got a Jaws 5. Not really. There’s the Italian knockoff Cruel Jaws that wanted people to think it was part of the franchise, but it’s a million nautical miles from counting. So we stalled out at Jaws: The Revenge. Way to go, humanity.

It’s easy to forget how wild it is that, decades after the initial adventure, the other Steven Spielberg franchise about prehistoric beasts transforming family dramas into horror films has made it to a fifth entry. Welcome…to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

A little rundown: Spielberg made the first two, Captain America director Joe Johnston did the third, Colin Trevorrow rebooted the fourth film as the start of the modern trilogy, and now a man known equally for horror and big-scale disaster, J.A. Bayona, is up to bat.

Turns out that’s a good combination of genres to have. With a volcano about to blow on Isla Nublar, Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) head toward danger to save the dinosaurs from a second extinction.

Will they succeed? Will life find a way? What movies will you watch with it?

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