iron fist spoiler review soundtrack

(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: Marvel’s new Netflix series, Iron Fist.)

For the most part, Marvel’s latest Netflix foray, Iron Fist, has been critically panned. The issues are plenty, and the resulting conversation has only served to underline exactly how the series falls short. There’s the story, the characterizations, the casting, the editing, and – this is a criticism that’s been leveled against all of Marvel’s Netflix series — it’s just too long. DaredevilJessica JonesLuke Cage could all have done with a little trimming.

In the case of Iron Fist, an altered cut could result in a drastically different and better show. It just requires a little bit of Garfield Minus GarfieldThere’s an interesting show lurking somewhere within Iron Fist…as long as you remove Iron Fist himself.

Spoilers lie ahead, of course.

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beauty and the beast compared to the original

(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: Bill Condon’s Beauty and the Beast.)

Once Walt Disney Pictures began adapting its animated classics for live-action, starting with Tim Burton’s 2010 take on Alice in Wonderland and moving into villain-centered fairy tales like Maleficent, it was a safe bet that a new version of Beauty and the Beast wouldn’t be too far behind. The 1991 film is beloved the world over and was a central part of pop culture for countless Millennials growing up. Plus, it garnered heaps of critical praise and a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars, the first for an animated film. So it’s no surprise that Disney has gone all-in with its live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast: it boasts an all-star cast including Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Luke Evans, and more; its director, Bill Condon, has directed everything from entries in the Twilight Saga to the Dreamgirls musical adaptation; and its reported $160 million budget is evident in the sets, costumes, and extensive CGI.

But can the new Beauty and the Beast compare to the 1991 classic? Does this remake feel as timeless as the film that inspired its existence? Or do its changes — and there are quite a few — feel dull and lifeless? Let’s dive in and compare the original and its remake to find out.

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small crimes review

You know the drill. A man gets out of prison and returns home. His old life is gone, but the wreckage remains. His friends are scattered. His enemies are powerful. There is no hope for escape. But maybe, just maybe, one last job, one last crime, one last ass-covering, will be all he needs to pull himself up and put his act back together. And then it all goes horribly wrong, of course.

Small Crimes, like so many neo-noirs, is all about a small pile of poor decisions rapidly growing into a large pile of poor decisions, until the whole thing topples over into chaos. But this one is especially nasty, particularly bloodthirsty, and completely unwilling to pull its punches. This movie has a mean streak…and it grins as it draws blood.

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Beauty and the Beast review

Whenever there’s news of a remake or reboot of an old and beloved movie, the reactions usually range from cautious optimism to some variation on “only when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.” In the case of Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast, it’s the movie itself to which those latter adjectives apply.

This isn’t to say that the movie’s got nothing going on; if anything, it has too much going on. Padded out with 45 extra minutes, the movie’s M.O. is to take everything in the original and crank it up from ten to twenty. There’s more magic, more backstory, more cutlery, more dance breaks, more everything. It feels like love up to a point, the way the best stories get embellished with time, but when the new songs come clunking to remind you of exactly what it takes to get a Best Original Song nomination (and how good the old songs are), the proceedings start to feel a little less genuine.

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win it all review

Win It All is a nice movie.

That may seem like faint praise, but it’s hard to think of a more accurate or complimentary way to describe the latest collaboration between co-writer/director Joe Swanberg and co-writer/actor Jake Johnson. It is a pleasant, agreeable movie about people you like, where every single scene (and the movie itself) refuses to overstay its welcome. It is funny. It is moving. It is sweet. It is easy to watch. It is nice.

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atomic blonde review

In a nutshell: Atomic Blonde is about a badass, bisexual British secret agent who fights like John Wick and seduces like James Bond who travels to Germany days before the fall of the Berlin Wall to recover some stolen intelligence. She wears a number of amazing outfits, kills a whole bunch of bad guys, and just looks terrific as she struts through noisy nightclubs and desolate alleyways to a soundtrack of ’80s synth pop. It is excellent, two-fisted entertainment and further proof that Charlize Theron is one of our great modern action heroes.

In a smaller nutshell: Atomic Blonde is one of the most purely entertaining action movies coming out this year.

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the disaster artist review

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-t0-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.

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Baby Driver Review

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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song to song review

Late in Song to Song, a character strums an old guitar, noting that she could play the same chord for hours straight. Read it as another odd musing in a film filled with them or read it as director Terrence Malick summoning a nugget of self-awareness. Whatever it is, this moment sums up this film (and Malick’s recent output): this is the work of an artist willing to do the same thing over and over and over again, not because it makes a crowd-pleasing song, because it pleases him. These are his chords. His monotonous, frustrating, repetitive and undeniably distinctive chords.

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Baby Driver Reviews

Last night, attendees of South by Southwest were lucky enough to see the world premiere of Baby Driver, the latest film from Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim vs the World director Edgar Wright. The first trailer debuted just before the screening was over (watch it along with a much different international trailer over here), and if you’re somehow not convinced to see the movie, maybe the early buzz from the first reactions to the movie will help.

We have a round-up of some brief reactions to Baby Driver after the jump. Read More »