elle trailer

Paul Verhoeven has a unique talent for getting a rise out of audiences. RoboCop is a goofy action movie…that is also about the inner rot eating away at American culture. Starship Troopers is a wild science fiction action movie…that is also a vicious parody of fascism and military propaganda. Basic Instinct is a sexy psychological thriller…that leaves you feeling disgusted with yourself on just about every level. And Showgirls is…well, it’s Showgirls.

Excluding 2012’s crowdsourced experiment Tricked, Elle is Verhoeven’s first feature film since 2006’s exceptional World War II drama Black Book and it certainly looks like he’s up to his old tricks. Here’s a thriller that looks standard on the outside, but promises all kinds of provocative nastiness on the inside. The trailer and the talent involved is more than enough to grab my interest, but I’ll be honest: I’m dreading this movie as much as I’m looking forward to seeing it.

Watch the Elle trailer after the jump.

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Jaws Book Cover - Jaws Movie Compared to the Book

Jaws is one of the most well known movies of all time, right down to the iconic theme music composed by John Williams. However, there are likely plenty among general audiences out there who don’t know that the 1975 thriller directed by Steven Spielberg was based on a book by Peter Benchley. The book is also called Jaws, but there are quite a few differences between the book and what ended up on the big screen.

See the Jaws movie compared to the book after the jump. Read More »

Mr. Robot Python Part 1 Recap

“You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox here.”

So begins one of the most important, influential video games ever made. Infocom’s Zork was birthed in an MIT lab in the late 1970s. It was released to the public as a series of text-based adventure games in the early ’80s, and went on to shape much of the structure present in modern adventure and exploration games. Its enigmatic opening remains, perhaps, the greatest beginning to a video game ever made. Poor grammar aside, Zork’s opening lines invite the player into a new universe built almost entirely by the player’s own imagination. Where modern games max out on polygons and rendering detail and atmospheric effects to present a cinematic vision for gamers, Zork stands as a testament to the power of simple text on a screen, as well as to the underlying structures that make games work. Give the play a place to explore; set boundaries; create obstacles; leverage frustration. As you progress and fail and progress some more in search of a path to the end, the biggest question the game leave you with is, “what am I not seeing?”

It’s fitting that Elliot asks himself the same thing near the end of “Python Part 1,” the penultimate episode of Mr. Robot’s similarly enigmatic, confounding, sometimes frustrating second season. Elliot—and not just Elliot—is searching through a dark, unknowable space, the boundaries of which keep expanding and expanding as the search carries on. At some point there might be an end, or an escape, or even just a door to some better place of the imagination. Our “hero” is caught in the second stages of an adventure. He’s left the field, entered the house, found the door to a mysterious cellar, venture down and discovered the Great Underground Empire.

But what are we not seeing?  Read More »

Amy Adams in NOCTURNAL ANIMALS teaser trailer

The fall festivals have yielded a bounty of excellent films, and one of the most talked-about right now is Nocturnal Animals. The second feature from fashion designer turned filmmaker Tom Ford stars Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal in an unusual, engaging, and drop-dead gorgeous tale of love and revenge.

Nocturnal Animals is actually two narratives braided together. In one, Susan (Adams) receives a manuscript for a novel by her ex-husband Edward. The two have long been estranged following an unforgivable betrayal on her part, but the book has her reflecting upon their history together. The other is the story laid out in Edward’s book, following a father, Tony (Gyllenhaal), whose family is brutally assaulted on a deserted road one night.

Watch the Nocturnal Animals teaser trailer below. Read More »

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS teaser

The first wave of reviews for Tom Ford‘s Nocturnal Animals are mostly positive. The critics who aren’t particularly taken with Ford’s romantic crime thriller describe it as a hollow piece of work. Ford’s moving debut A Single Man received similar criticisms from its few detractors, so it sounds like we should expect a similar response to his latest film, although it looks and sounds like a completely different movie.

Below, watch the Nocturnal Animals teaser for the trailer.

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NOCTURNAL ANIMALS review

There’s a lot to admire about Nocturnal Animals, the second feature from Tom Ford. The narrative is actually two narratives, beautifully braided together by Ford and brought to life by Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal. It’s pretentious pulp, in a good way — engaging to watch and pretty to behold. But Nocturnal Animals seems to be aiming for profundity, and there it falls short. It’s trying to say something, but what isn’t exactly clear.  Read More »

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american assassin first look

Actor Dylan O’Brien still has work to finish on The Maze Runner series, but he recently attached himself to another potential franchise. Based on Vince Flynn‘s best-selling book series, O’Brien will play CIA black ops recruit Mitch Rapp. Director Michael Cuesta‘s (Kill the Messenger) thriller also stars Michael KeatonTaylor Kitsch, and Sanaa Lathan.

Below, check out the American Assassin first look.

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The Belko Experiment Review

James Gunn has been tied up with Marvel movies for the past couple of years, but somewhere in there, he found the time to write and produce The Belko Experiment. Greg McLean, the Aussie filmmaker behind the nasty Wolf Creek films, takes the helm, and the result is a simple, entertaining horror-thriller that doesn’t take itself too seriously.  Read More »

Headshot review

Iko Uwais may not be a household name in the U.S. just yet, but among fans of a certain type of action movie he’s a superstar. The Indonesian actor and martial artist burst onto the scene with Merantau and had an even bigger breakthrough in The Raid. Headshot, from directors Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel (collectively known as the Mo brothers, though they are not actual brothers), has Uwais doing what he does best — kicking ass and taking names — with spectacularly entertaining results.  Read More »