ready player one 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: Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One.)

Steven Spielberg has spent nearly his entire career proving his critics wrong. When the filmmaker rose to prominence as a blockbuster wunderkind, there was a prevailing sense among critics that Spielberg was little more than a purveyor of harmless, artless pop – not a serious filmmaker. “If there is such a thing as a movie sense — and I think there is, Spielberg really has it,” critic Pauline Kael said. “But he may be so full of it that he doesn’t have much else.” Yet Spielberg did have much else, and he proved it time after time, crafting a lifetime worth of fantastic, heartfelt, downright magical films.

Until now.

It’s taken nearly 44 years, but with Ready Player One, Spielberg has finally proven his critics right. Here, on the heels of The Post – a wonderful, important film that had the 71-year-old filmmaker still firing on all cylinders – Spielberg offers up a muddled, downright hideous catastrophe. It’s official – Ready Player One is Steven Spielberg’s worst film.

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Satan's Slaves Review

Satan’s Slaves reminds me of Babak Anvari’s Under The Shadow – two piss-yourself-scary stories so deeply rooted in overseas culture and indigenous circumstance. Joko Anwar’s Indonesian monstrosity does not mess around, readers. Within minutes you’ll be hit with the first of many paranormal punches that land like Manny Pacquiao on a speed bag, one after the other with impressive stamina. Scares are executed via a madman’s blueprint, birthed from beyond the grave and traced from your gnarliest nightmares. I do not scare easy, but you better believe this impossibly proficient downpour of demonization turned me into Jumpy McScreamsALot. Carved by tools that have been sharpened, dipped in acid and blessed by Satan for good measure. Take no prisoners terror, make no mistake.

A Quiet Place and Hereditary have already been dubbed 2018’s scariest films to beat, but you can add Satan’s Slaves to that list now – the most horrifying film of 2018 you haven’t heard of yet. Read More »

Pacific Rim Uprising 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: Steven S. DeKnight’s Pacific Rim Uprising.)

When it was announced that Guillermo del Toro wouldn’t be coming back for a sequel to his 2013 sci-fi action adventure Pacific Rim, fans of the original movie were understandably worried. Sure, the idea of giant monsters called kaiju battling against giant pilot-controlled robots sounds like it sells itself, but del Toro brought his signature style and passion for monsters and epic fantastical imagery to bring it to life in spectacular fashion.

Pacific Rim Uprising is certainly not a Guillermo del Toro movie, but it benefits from taking place in a world he created that’s rich with mythology. Thankfully, Steven S. DeKnight, along with co-writers Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder and T.S. Nowlin, jumps into this sandbox with an engaging expansion of that mythology, advancements of the wild sci-fi concepts introduced in the first movie, some scrappy new characters, and tremendous action sequences that surpass the thrills and excitement of the first film’s monstrous battles. Read More »

Pacific Rim Uprising TV spot Jaegers

Somewhere around the halfway mark of director Steven S. DeKnight‘s Pacific Rim Uprising, my groans of exasperation turned into gasps of delight. I can pinpoint the exact moment in which my opinion of the movie changed, but so as not to spoil what is genuinely one of the strangest scenes in a blockbuster in recent memory, let me just say that once Pacific Rim Uprising really starts drinking its own Kool-Aid, it’s an absolute joy. Given the visually and narratively incoherent mess that is the Transformers franchise (the closest thing that Pacific Rim has to a genre competitor except perhaps Power Rangers), I’d call it a feat. It’s just a wonder that the Toei Animation logo isn’t slapped all over it.

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Juuso Laatio and Jukka Vidgren’s Heavy Trip blast-beats a warrior’s drum for road-trippin’ comedics and heavy metal odysseys. This is a story of companionship bonded by outsider dismissal; a blossoming “Symphonic Post-Apocalyptic Reindeer-Grinding Christ-Abusing Extreme War Pagan Fennoscandian” metal band ready to break from their basement shackles. Laatio and Vidgren respect Nordic brands of face-melting musicianship rooted in mythology and “crappy fantasy novels” as Deathgasm does, except with a more Anchorman approach (animal fights, national crises, etc). To quote Jason Lei Howden’s equally amplified metal adventure, this hilarious endeavor isn’t just brutal – it’s “brutal as fuck!”

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Five years ago, Steven Soderbergh directed what he’d said would be his cinematic swan song. Side Effects, ostensibly about a woman who reacts quite poorly to some medication she was prescribed by a sweaty British doctor, was a nasty piece of work that featured one of Jude Law’s more underrated performances. If Side Effects was really Soderbergh’s last feature, it would’ve been a fine note on which to exit. Instead, last summer, the auteur returned with the goofy and charming Logan Lucky. His own luck has, temporarily, evaporated with Unsane, which is a highly idiotic inversion of Side Effects.

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After five years of waiting, Pacific Rim Uprising is finally hitting theaters. The sequel to Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 sci-fi action extravaganza brings Star Wars lead John Boyega into the mix as Jake Pentecost, the son of Idris Elba’s deceased character from the first film. This time, the humans are prepared for the return of the giant, city-demolishing monsters known as kaiju, but are critics prepared for a sequel that is out of the hands of monster master Guillermo del Toro?

The first Pacific Rim Uprising reviews are in, and it sounds like the sequel from director Steven S. DeKnight may not be as good as its predecessor, but fans will still have a good time in the end. However, they apparently have to suffer through a boring first half before they get there. Get the full scoop with the Pacific Rim Uprising early buzz below. Read More »

Wildling Review

Wildling is Fritz Böhm’s first feature film, and it’s such an assured debut, darkly mystical and elegant. This nighttime fairy tale tells the story of Anna (Bel Powley), a young woman who’s spent much of her life locked in a room like Rapunzel, with only “Daddy” (Lord of the RingsBrad Dourif, in an equally untrustworthy role) as company.

Daddy treats Anna with tenderness, warning her against “the wildling” that stalks the woods surrounding their remote fairy tale tower. He seems loving and protective – but he’s also keeping Anna in seclusion. We watch her grow from toddlerhood to young womanhood in the confines of the same tiny room – and all the while we keep seeing Daddy inject a mysterious substance into Anna’s tummy. These opening scenes are disorienting, diving right into the narrative instead of offering any tidy context, immediately eliciting intrigue and perplexity from the audience. The context comes later, as Wildling’s story grows clearer but never less strange. Read More »

Film Criticism Video Essay

Film criticism matters! Shout it from the rooftops. That said, there seems to be a common misconception about what film criticism even is. An informative new film criticism video essay attempts to get to the bottom of just what criticism is, and why it’s important.

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first light review

As this generation’s filmmakers attempt to create their own superhero origin stories without going through Marvel or DC, Jason Stone’s First Light succeeds by blending Chronicle with YA romance. Hard sci-fi elements that limit themselves to rural country suburbs before breaking out like a conspiracy containment gone wrong. As illuminations flicker and cosmic mysteries unravel, a relationship between boy and girl remains thematically intrinsic – powers exist, but effects needn’t overshadow story. Not to suggest a boring watch by any means – it’s just nice to see the unknown be mixed with tender crafts.

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