the disaster artist review

(This review originally ran during our coverage of the SXSW Film Festival earlier this year. The Disaster Artist opens in limited release today and expands next week.)

The most surprising thing about The Disaster Artist, James Franco‘s adaptation of Greg Sestero’s book of the same name, is that it doesn’t have a mean-spirited bone in its body. Here’s a film about the making of The Room, one of the worst and most baffling movies to ever achieve cult infamy, told with sincerity, sweetness, and pure affection. Franco isn’t here to laugh at The Room – he’s here to laugh with it. The Disaster Artist has no scorn for its subject. Instead, it is fascinated by this impossible-to-believe tale and the impossible-to-believe movie it produced. No irony. No scorn. Only love.

And that makes a movie whose existence already feels impossible feel all the more unlikely and all the more wonderful.

Read More »

2018 Sundance Film Festival

December is nearly upon us, and I can almost see the 2018 Sundance Film Festival peeking its way up over the holiday season horizon. /Film will be on the ground in Park City, Utah in January to bring you coverage of all of the biggest and best in the world of independent film, including movies from filmmakers like Reed Morano, Gun Van Sant, Debra Granik, Idris Elba, Ethan Hawke, David Wain, and many more. The festival runs from January 18-28, 2018.

Below, read about the 10 notable movies we’re looking forward to, and see the full list of what’ll be playing at the festival.
Read More »

Suburbicon Review

(This review originally ran during our coverage of the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. Suburbicon is in theaters today.)

It’s not often that one film attempts so many different things and manages to make none of them work, but gosh darn it, Suburbicon somehow makes such blundering seem easy. Director George Clooney packs a whole lot of ideas into his tale of the underbelly of 1950s suburbia, but they’re really bad, lazy ideas, which is a shame because Suburbicon has quite the pedigree.

The biggest problem with Suburbicon is that it’s really two different movies cobbled together. One movie is a dark, farcical Coen Brothers-style crime movie. Which makes sense, since the Coens have a writing credit on the film. But then there’s the other movie, one that deals with racism and white supremacy. This is an element of the film that absolutely none of the advertising even hints at, which is kind of strange.

You really shouldn’t hold a movie’s advertising against it, but the trailers for Suburbicon make it look like a wacky dark comedy about a family man in the 50s fighting back against his tormentors. That’s not even close to what this movie is about, and the fact that the trailers tried to sell it as that hints at a movie that folks don’t know how to sell.
Read More »

bodied review

Bodied is not the movie I thought it was going to be when I walked into the Fantastic Fest screening. Joseph Kahn‘s previous feature, Detention, is one of those so-crazy-I-can’t-believe-it-exists kind of movies and I think that’s what was in my brain when I sat down to watch his new one.

The premise of Bodied is simple: a young fan is mentored by his idol and his nurtured talent shines. You’ve seen this story before, especially in movies about sports or martial arts, but never quite in this way. Battle Rap is the forum here, not a stadium or a dojo.

Read More »

Arnold Schwarzenegger Beyond Fest

Late last week, Beyond Fest 2017 hosted a double feature of Predator and The Running Man to celebrate the 30th anniversaries of both films, and star Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared in person for a Q&A session beforehand. It was everything an Arnold fan could have hoped for: great stories, terrific jokes, and even a surprise appearance by Predator co-star Bill Duke.

Read on for some highlights of the event, including a video of Arnold arm wrestling a young fan and the actor’s recounting of how he orchestrated one of Hollywood’s all-time great troll moves during the height of his feud with Sylvester Stallone. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Best F(r)iends review

With Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero, the stars of Wiseau’s legendarily awful 2oo3 drama The Room, co-starring in a new movie together, comparisons to that original disasterpiece are impossible to avoid. Best F(r)iends, a new buddy crime movie directed by Justin MacGregor and written by Sestero, embraces the inevitable juxtaposition by acknowledging and paying homage to The Room throughout its entire run time: it’s not a sequel, but it’s clearly a spiritual successor and often feels like it could be set in the same cinematic Wiseau-niverse.

To watch Best F(r)iends is to step through a portal into a bizarre, topsy-turvy world in which Wiseau is once again a lead character in a feature film, still very much in possession of all the unique eccentricities his fans have found so strangely irresistible. 14 years later, this is the same old Tommy, and those who have worn out their DVD copies of The Room are going to go nuts for it.
Read More »

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Review

S. Craig Zahler‘s Brawl in Cell Block 99 may be one of the most violent movies ever made. It’s easy to imagine scenes from its gore-soaked final act becoming YouTube shock fodder in the years ahead, moments that people spring on unsuspecting friends to get a reaction. That may sound like catnip for seasoned genre film fans, audiences who are numb to cinematic violence and feel like they’ve seen everything, but even those with the most hardened nerves may find themselves lightheaded. It’s that gross. It’s that unsparing. It’s that effective.

But it also comes at the end of a bad movie. Albeit, a bad movie that curious viewers should definitely check out for themselves because Brawl in Cell Block 99 is too weird to ignore, too audacious to write off, and too damn interesting to stop thinking about. But yes, it is bad.

Read More »

wheelman review

Allow me to thumb my suspenders and clear the kids off my lawn before I break out this old cliche, but they don’t make ’em like this much anymore.

Wheelman may represent the shifting cinematic landscape of 2017 – it was produced by Netflix and will skip theaters and arrive directly on the streaming service next month – but it’s a straightforward, simple, muscular, and blissfully old school thriller that, much like its leading man, feels like it escaped from 1974. But even when this crime-gone-wrong movie traffics in familiar beats, it does so with a slick confidence and calm-under-fire grace. Making a movie that feels this cool (this effortlessly cool) sometimes feels like a lost art. This is the kind of hardened, macho, dizzyingly entertaining crime movie that gets in, does its job, and gets out without wasting a single second of your precious time. You get the sense that Wheelman respects you, the audience member: it’s not here to beat around the bush. Like a great getaway driver, its focus is squarely on delivering the goods.

Read More »

Thelma Review

Joachim Trier‘s Thelma begins with one of the most haunting opening scenes in recent memory. A young girl and her father trek out into the wilderness surrounding their home, crossing over a frozen lake and entering the woods. The father is armed with a rifle. When his young daughter isn’t looking, he takes aim at the back of her head. He hesitates. He doesn’t pull the trigger.

And then we leap forward a number of years and Thelma (Eili Harboe) is heading to university in Oslo and learns that something is wrong with her. Or right with her. Because Thelma has supernatural abilities. And like any kid heading off to college for the first time, she’s got some serious stuff to figure out.

Read More »

anna and the apocalypse review

As a Scottish zombie Christmas musical comedy, Anna and the Apocalypse sounds like a joke. And for a little while, it feels like one.

Conceived as a High School Musical riff where the shambling undead arrive to wreak havoc on a more trivial teen movie, director John McPhail‘s film leans hard into comedy and irony in its first act. But like the 21st century’s greatest horror comedy (Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead), the film finds its voice and its soul when it drops the wink and becomes a fully realized musical horror movie with actual stakes…and the nerve to literally tear its lovable cast to pieces.

Read More »