Fullmetal_Alchemist

Today, a live-action version of Fullmetal Alchemist, based on the popular anime and manga series, made its world premiere as the opening film of the 30th Tokyo International Film Festival. As numerous sites have reported, this film adaptation is unique in that it has eschewed the usual whitewashing in favor of a homegrown Japanese cast. Some have cried foul over this, given the story’s European cultural background. Yet while the original manga volumes have sold over 70 million copies worldwide, Fullmetal Alchemist was written and illustrated by a Japanese woman. In a poll conducted by the Japanese television network TV Asahi, it ranked as the most popular anime of all time in Japan.

In a year when Hollywood has already tied itself up in screenwriting knots trying to justify uploading a Japanese woman’s consciousness into a white woman’s body (see: Ghost in the Shell), it is understandable why Japan would want to be protective of this property and why it would want to maybe tip the balance of racebending in favor of non-Caucasian for once. The issue is more complicated than that, of course, but ultimately, regardless of the politics of its casting, Fullmetal Alchemist has to be evaluated on its own merits as a film.

So how does the film measure up?

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Geostorm reviews

Geostorm has had a rough road to the big screen. The Dean Devlin-directed disaster movie was shot back in 2014 but after some reportedly awful test screenings, the film underwent massive and expensive reshoots and was delayed all the way until today, when it finally stumbled into theaters without press screenings or even Thursday night showings in most markets.

Sounds bad, right? Well, the reviews have arrived, and while the movie’s 18% Rotten Tomatoes score might seem dire, some of the reviews are having the opposite effect intended: they’re painting the film as being so bad that it might actually be worth seeing if you’re amped for a “so bad it’s good” experience. Take a look at some Geostorm review quotes below, and decide for yourselves whether you’re ready to face down the storm(s).
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Thor Ragnarok review round-up

After 17 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you’d think that superhero movies might start feeling a little stale. And while that might be applicable to some of the action beats in Thor: Ragnarok, the film as a whole is as fresh as it gets. This is a full-fledged comedy that also happens to be a vibrant, colorful, intergalactic eyeful that has a couple Avengers in it as lead characters.

But even though the film isn’t out yet, its comedy bona fides have been well-established in the trailers and marketing materials so far. So what do critics think about it? Check out our Thor Ragnarok review round-up to find out.
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lady bird trailer

Love hurts. Whether it’s platonic, romantic, or familial, the relationships that we build are rarely as clean or as kind as we usually see on screen. Part of what makes Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird so remarkable is her refusal to shy away from that ugliness and how, as a result, the film becomes all the more beautiful.

Lady Bird follows Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) as she navigates her last year of high school. Her dissatisfaction with her life in the suburbs (she wants to go to college on the East Coast) is compounded by financial anxieties — her family may not be able to afford tuition to the colleges she really wants to attend, and she pretends they’re in a different income bracket in order to impress her new friends — as well as her romantic hopes and disappointments, and her fractious relationship with her mother (Laurie Metcalf).

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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.

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Wonderstruck trailer 2

Todd HaynesWonderstruck is like a meal where the servings are just a little too small. There’s not enough food to properly chew on, or at least not enough to warrant the size or splendor of the plate on which it’s being served.

The film is adapted from Brian Selznick’s novel by the same name, and is relatively dense in a way that makes its literary origin obvious. There are two stories, set fifty years apart. In 1927, a deaf girl named Rose (Millicent Simmonds, who is notably also deaf) runs away from home in pursuit of actress, Lillian Mayhew (Julianne Moore). In 1977, a boy named Ben (Oakes Fegley) runs away from home in the wake of his mother’s death, in a bid to find the father he never knew.

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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.

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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?

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thor ragnarok reviews

Marvel directors have had a tough time nailing a tone down for Thor. Is he a self-serious Norse god with a tragic Shakespearean background? Or is he comedic relief, obtusely stumbling over human courtesies?  Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi asks: Why can’t we have both? But mostly the latter.

Early Thor Ragnarok reviews are out, and they’re heaping praise on the offbeat, retro, and lighthearted take on the mythic Avenger. The third Thor film has generated tons of positive buzz for finally letting loose the comedic talents of star Chris Hemsworth, who, until now, had mostly played the dour epic hero in his solo films, and tapping into the trippy potential of the cosmos. But Thor is nothing without his team (hurray for the Revengers!), with stellar supporting turns from the scene-stealing Tessa Thompson, fellow Avenger Mark Ruffalo, and vampy villainess Cate Blanchett.

Check out the early social media buzz for Thor: Ragnarok below.

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Last Flag Flying Review

There’s one thing that Richard Linklater said while attending this year’s New York Film Festival that’s stuck with me: “To me, time and cinema are so intertwined that you can’t even separate them.” It’s a sentiment that’s similarly inextricable from his latest film, Last Flag Flying. There’s no escaping time. The movie is a snapshot of a very specific moment in American history — one that we’re still recovering from — and constantly reminds us of the passage of time despite how stuck its characters seem to be. In the moment, the big picture Linklater’s getting at is hard to see, but that’s the nature of time, isn’t it? It’s only hindsight that’s 20/20.

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