Thor Ragnarok 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: Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok.)

No one would ever accuse the Marvel Cinematic Universe of being dark and serious, but with Thor: Ragnarok, Marvel goes into full-comedy mode, crafting their funniest film to date. Perhaps finally realizing how inconsequential and dry the Thor films have been, Marvel hired What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople director Taika Waititi and let him go wild. The results are laugh-out-loud funny, albeit with a caveat: Thor: Ragnarok cares more about landing a great punchline or sight-gag than it does about plot. 

Read More »

stranger things 2

On the October 31, 2017 episode of /Film Daily, Peter Sciretta is joined by Ben Pearson and Chris Evangelista for a spoiler-filled discussion and review of the hit Netflix series Stranger Things 2.

You can subscribe to /Film Daily on iTunes, Google Play, Overcast and all the popular podcast apps (here is the RSS URL if you need it).

Read More »

Stranger Things 2 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: the second season Netflix’s highly anticipated Stranger Things.)

What was it that made Stranger Things season 1 such a hit? Was it the nostalgia factor, with the abundance of 1980s charm drawing viewers in? Was it the rather ingenious combination of Stephen King and Steven Spielberg-like material that tapped into an overall vibe that audiences were inherently familiar with? Both of those things likely played a part, but what truly worked best about the first season of Stranger Things was how it handled its characters. Specifically, how it created a cast of highly likable, relatable characters, cast them perfectly, and then had them work together. The chemistry was unbeatable.

Which is why Stranger Things season 2, or Stranger Things 2, as it’s officially called, seems like just an anomaly. When it came time to plan the second season for their wildly popular show, the Duffer Brothers seemingly decided to take everything that made the first season so memorable and do the complete opposite. There’s a certain amount of appreciation here: it’s gutsy to go so against the grain; to reject fan service in lieu of something different. It would’ve been very easy for Stranger Things 2 to simply remake the first season, and the fact that the Duffers avoided that is commendable. But there’s a difference between trying something different and completely jettisoning things that were working so well. You don’t throw the Demogorgon out with the bathwater.

Read More »

Mindhunter 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: Netflix’s new serial killer drama Mindhunter.)

“The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” -William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

The term “serial killer” is a relatively new invention. Yes, people have committed multiple murderers throughout history, but no one began to really classify, or even begin to try to understand, these types of violent crimes until the the 1970s. You may not be familiar with the name John Douglas, but I guarantee you are familiar with his work. From Douglas sprang the very concept of criminal profiling. His work has served as the inspiration for a steady stream of movies and TV shows. The character of FBI agent Jack Crawford, played most prominently by Scott Glenn in The Silence of the Lambs and Laurence Fishburne on the TV series Hannibal, was based directly on Douglas.

Now, the early days of Douglas’ career are given the full dramatization treatment with Mindhunter, a new Netflix series created by playwright Joe Penhall, with David Fincher and Charlize Theron both serving as executive producers. With Mindhunter, Netflix has produced their best show in recent memory, and arguably one of the best shows in their ever-growing catalogue.

Read More »

Gosling Blade Runner

(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: Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049.)

Any review of Blade Runner 2049 is by default a spoiler review. Warner Brothers and director Denis Villeneuve have gone to extreme lengths to keep the majority of details about their sci-fi sequel a secret, including limiting press screenings and issuing stern warnings to the press who did see the film to not reveal anything. This is both a commendable and unfortunate approach. While it’s true that movie marketing tends to give away too much for many films, and going into a film cold can make for a more rewarding experience, the tight-lipped approach to Blade Runner 2049 may have inadvertently doomed it at the box office. Audiences knew so little about the film from its less-than-engaging trailers that they simply didn’t bother to attend.

Which is a shame, because Blade Runner 2049 is one of the very best films of 2017, and one of the most staggering big studio releases you’re likely to come across. How on earth did Denis Villeneuve convince Warner Brothers to let him make a gigantic, foreboding tone poem and dress it up as a Blade Runner sequel? We may never know, and if the film continues to underperform, we may never get so lucky again.

So how about we dive into a Blade Runner 2049 spoiler review and talk about what makes this movie work so well?

Read More »

mother! early reviews

(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: Darren Aronofsky’s mother!)

Darren Aronofsky’s talents extend beyond his gripping filmmaking, inspiring intense debate among those who watch the finished product. His latest film, mother!, is starting to inspire the loudest debate of all: those who have seen the film (whether or not they’ve walked out before it ended) are fiercely divided among those who love it and those who helped give it a CinemaScore of F this past weekend. Technically, a lot happens in mother!, but there’s not exactly a plot or character arcs on display (neither of which, of course, are necessary). The film does bear similarities to many of Aronofsky’s previous films, from Black Swan to Noah, but it’s still very singular. What else could you call a movie where a massive group of people devour a newborn baby?

Ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself. To attempt to answer the question at the core of mother! — to wit, what the hell is this about? — it’s worth exploring the multiple allegories that present themselves throughout.

Read More »

Stephen King's It Reviews

(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: Andy Muschietti’s It.)

How do you make a good Stephen King adaptation? That’s apparently a hard question to answer, since there are far more bad King film adaptations than good. More often than not, it seems filmmakers only latch onto the Stephen King brand – they figure if they make something that attempts to be scary and slap King’s name on it, the audience will come. That’s likely true, but the audience won’t come back again.

Last weekend, Andy Muschietti’s big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s It defied expectations – expectations that were already trending positively – and took in the largest opening weekend at the box office in horror movie history. This success isn’t just the result of the King name brand – if it were, we’d still be talking about the Dark Tower film adaptation instead of consigning it to the dust. The success of It is the result of supremely positive word-of-mouth. The trailers were edited well enough to drum up buzz, and then early reviews were overwhelmingly positive. The hype just kept on building.

And that’s because the movie is good. And more than that, it’s a good Stephen King adaptation.

Read More »

Defenders Group

(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: the first season of Marvel’s The Defenders.)

When the entire world needs saving, the Avengers are the team you probably want on the job (if this particular world exists in the MCU, that is). But when the local neighborhood needs protection, maybe it’s time for some smaller fish to spring into action. Enter The Defenders, the latest Marvel show to drop onto Netflix for fans to binge over a weekend and then swiftly forget about.

There was a time when a series like The Defenders would feel like a major event, yet there’s a curious lack of excitement revolving around the project. Perhaps it’s become harder to be enthusiastic about an event like this when every form of superhero entertainment is treated like an event now. In other words, it’s become exhausting.

Read More »

The Dark Tower TV show

(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: the big screen adaptation of Stephen King‘s The Dark Tower.)

The Man in Black fled across the desert, and The Dark Tower movie followed. Bringing Stephen King’s fantasy-epic series to the big screen has been a highly-anticipated dream for many fans of the books. Long have they desired to see the realm of Mid-World realized on the silver screen; to see the adventures of Roland Deschain brought to life. And now that that day has finally come, the results are crushingly disappointing. Because The Dark Tower is one of the most frustrating types of films: it’s neither excellent nor atrocious – it just is. A middling, often lazy film that just sort of lays there like an old, threadbare carpet.

It’s time to travel once again around the wheel and figure out just why this film is such a misfire, and how badly it forgets not only the face of its father but also the very source material that brought it into existence.

Spoilers follow, of course.

Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Dunkirk 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: Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk.)

In Christopher Nolan movies, the clock is always ticking.

Time is a precious commodity, and it’s also a luxury that the characters who inhabit Nolan films do not have. With his tenth film, Dunkirk, Nolan applies his favored ticking clock narrative to its fullest, crafting arguably his best film, or at least the film that most exemplifies his considerable talents. It’s also in a way a rebuff of the criticisms that have dogged many of his films up until this point – if you thought some of Nolan’s films before Dunkirk were too exposition-heavy, here is a film with almost no exposition to speak of. If you believed his previous movies lacked emotion or feeling, witness this: a film that is relentlessly tense and harrowing, concluding with a moment of perfectly rendered emotional triumph. It seems hyperbolic to throw the “masterpiece” designation around so soon after a film is released, but if Nolan’s Dunkirk isn’t officially a masterpiece yet, time may eventually fully reward it that distinction. The clock is ticking.

Read More »