Spider-Man Homecoming Spoiler Review

(In our Spoiler Reviews, we take a deep dive into a new release and get to the heart of what makes it tick…and every story point is up for discussion. In this entry: Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Homecoming.

The hype is real — Spider-Man: Homecoming is definitely the best Spider-Man movie made to date. The film, which stars Tom Holland as a fresh-faced Peter Parker, gives us our best version of the character as well as the most realistic, most diverse on-screen version of Queens in a Spider-Man film. There are a ton of positives with this film, as well as some food for thought, so without further ado, let’s get into it.

Spoilers ahead.

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spider-man homecoming theme

For some fans, it goes without saying that Spider-Man: Homecoming isn’t just a title that describes what’s happening in the high school life of the superhero’s young alter ego Peter Parker (Tom Holland). It’s also evocative of the fact that the webslinger is finally back home where he belongs, in the same cinematic universe as his other Marvel Comics comrades, the Avengers.

Spider-Man: Homecoming gives us the spectacular version of the webslinger that fans have been waiting to see. It stands out from the rest of the adaptations, including the more favored original iteration directed by Sam Raimi and portrayed by Tobey Maguire, simply because it introduces a dynamic that has been lacking from the Spider-Man franchises thus far. Not only does it combine the trials and tribulations of high school life with the dangers of being a secret superhero, but it also gives Spider-Man a much larger world to play in, one that may be more intimidating than the wallcrawler himself even realizes.

Read on for more in our full Spider-Man Homecoming review. Read More »

Despicable Me 3 trailer

In just seven years, Illumination Entertainment has turned the grouchy, pointy-nosed villain Gru and his yellow Minions into some of the most recognizable characters in all of pop culture. They’ve starred in multiple movies, they show up in theme parks, you can buy their toys, and so on. The characters are ubiquitous. This feat of marketing is even more fascinating in its success considering that the Despicable Me franchise has yet to produce a truly good film, a streak sadly continued by the latest, Despicable Me 3. Like the first two films, as well as the obnoxious Minions spin-off film from 2015, this new entry is a loud, manic, and frantic extended episode of an overly familiar sitcom.

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Baby Driver Review

(This review originally ran following Baby Driver‘s world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival. The film opens in theaters today.)

Edgar Wright makes movies for movie fans, first and foremost. Is there a wide audience for a zombie comedy that upends the genre while also delivering one of the most affecting horror tales of the 21st century? Maybe not at first, but Shaun of the Dead exists and it is spectacular. It took too many people too long to fall in love with a stylized rom-com martial arts adventure that appropriates video game language to provide commentary on how relationships evolve, but Scott Pilgrim vs. the World has rightfully become recognized as a one-of-a-kind pop masterpiece.

And speaking of pop masterpieces, Wright’s latest film, Baby Driver held its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival over the weekend and it’s remarkable for two reasons. First, Wright’s unique voice remains intact, even as he plunges into a genre that is new to him and a story that takes away some of his more familiar crutches. Second, he’s made a movie that feels like it has the capacity to win over the average moviegoer as quickly as it wins the hearts of his fellow cinephiles.

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War for the Planet of the Apes beach ceasar angry

Though the release of War for the Planet of the Apes is still over two weeks away, 20th Century Fox knows they have a winner on their hands and have unleashed the extremely positive reviews and word of mouth a little early. Last week, the studio held free fan screenings all around the world, as well as the first press screenings, and while we already delivered our own glowing review of the movie (along with one compelling observation about a particular shortcoming), there are plenty more voices to be heard.

We’ve assembled some excerpts of War for the Planet of the Apes reviews to give you a wider scope of how the sequel is being perceived. The reactions so far are extremely positive, though there are some who were not quite as impressed as the rest. Find out more in our War for the Planet of the Apes reviews round-up below. Read More »

The Little Hours review

The Little Hours is based on one of the tales found in The Decameron, a collection of 14th century novellas from Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio. But even if, like me, you’d never heard of that author before (let alone read his work), all you really need to know about this film is that it features a cast of hilarious people doing filthy, hysterical things. The trailer prominently features a quote from the Catholic League that refers to the movie as “pure trash” – but there’s an important distinction that needs to be made there. It may be trashy, but it’s definitely not trash. The Little Hours is one of the funniest films of 2017. Read More »

Desolation review

A mysterious man with reflective glasses stalks a trio of isolated campers in Desolation, the feature directorial debut of filmmaker Sam Patton. When Abby (Jaimi Paige) loses her husband to sickness, she takes her 13-year-old son Sam (Toby Nichols) and her best friend Jenn (Alyshia Ochse) on a multi-day hiking trip to spread her husband’s ashes at the top of a mountain. But during the trip, the group slowly realizes they’re being followed by a silent man with a beard, hood, and sunglasses. Our protagonists are worried, and it turns out their fears are justified: The Hiker (Claude Duhamel) is a killer, and they’re all alone in the woods with him.
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Never Here review

Miranda (Mireille Enos) is an installation artist interested in exploring the concept of identity. One of her exhibits is based on the time she found a man’s phone, went through it to learn the places he normally visited, and then trekked to those places to surreptitiously take photos of him, which she put on display in a gallery. But when she poses as the key witness in a police investigation of a random assault that occurred just outside her apartment window, Miranda is struck with inspiration for her latest idea, a twisted, voyeuristic documentation of the man she believes committed the crime.

It’s fitting that Miranda’s last name is “Fall,” since the character slowly descends into her own delusional interpretation of the world over the course of Camille Thoman’s unsettling directorial debut, Never Here. Read More »

The Bachelors review

The majority of movies at film festivals don’t release trailers beforehand, so we often choose which films to see based on the filmmakers involved, the cast, and a brief description. Approaching a movie fresh is a hugely different experience than seeing one that’s strategically unveiled three trailers and a barrage of TV spots, and because so much about them is unknown, I find myself watching festival films with a different level of anticipation. Not only am I hoping the film turns out to be good (as I do with every movie I see), but in the back of my mind, I’m secretly hoping to see something revelatory. Something that moves me in a way that a huge studio project might not be able to. Something with an awards-worthy performance, or perhaps something that heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in the world of independent film.

Most of the time, festival films don’t live up to those expectations. Sometimes, you just get a movie that’s fine, a middle-of-the-road piece of work that neither moves you nor insults your intelligence. Something competently made with respectable actors and a handful of pleasant moments, but you won’t ever give it a second thought. That may sound harsh or dismissive, but think about it: if you watch a lot of movies, doesn’t that accurately describe a large percentage of them? Such is the case with The Bachelors, Kurt Voelker’s exploration of grief, loneliness, and despair through the eyes of two men who have lost the most important woman in their lives. Read More »

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Rough Night Trailer

The premise of Lucia Aniello’s Rough Night is fairly simple. Jess (Scarlett Johansson) is getting married, so for her bachelorette party, she and her best friends head out to Miami. There’s her college roommate, Alice (Jillian Bell); former item and now polar opposites, Blair (Zoe Kravitz) and Frankie (Ilana Glazer); and Jess’s friend from her semester abroad in Australia, Pippa (Kate McKinnon), all ready to relive the old glory days. They get drunk, they get wild, and when a stripper ends up dead, they scramble to cover it up. If this sounds like the set-up of two different movies, that’s because it is; while there are parts of Rough Night that stand out for hitting the rough patches of friendship on the nose, there’s not enough in between them to quite hold it all together.

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