Posted on Friday, January 20th, 2017 by Jacob Hall
(This review originally ran after Split‘s first screening at Fantastic Fest 2016. It arrives in theaters today.)
Every filmmaker finds themselves in a rough patch every now and again, but few directors have had quite as public a rough patch as M. Night Shyamalan. It wasn’t enough that the immensely talented director of The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs was stumbling with duds like The Lady in the Water and The Last Airbender – his name had become synonymous with disappointment for many moviegoers. He had become a punchline.
But now, it’s looking like Shyamalan has started to get his groove back. The Visit was one of last year’s more pleasant surprises and now Split, which held its world premiere as part of a secret screening at Fantastic Fest, has seemingly revealed his future going forward: he’s going to keep on making low-budget horror movies until someone tells him to stop. If his latest film is any indication, few people are going to tell him to stop anytime soon.
Read More »
Though plenty of people make jokes at the expense of Kevin Smith nowadays, more often than not the filmmaker is first to poke fun at himself, especially with regards to the kinds of movies he makes. One of his favorite targets from his own career is Jersey Girl, a film released in the spring of 2004 that didn’t get very good reviews and only earned $36 million at the box office on a budget of $35 million.
However, before Kevin Smith was able to poke fun at his own film, he was nervous about how it would be received. One person who got an early look at the movie, over a year before it would be released, was Smith’s longtime friend Casey Affleck. He saw the film in January of 2003 and decided to e-mail a review to Kevin Smith. It’s pretty funny, and it might be harsher than anything Smith has said about his own movie.
Read Casey Affleck’s Jersey Girl review below. Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, December 28th, 2016 by Angie Han
Note: With Paterson in limited release starting today, we’re re-running our review from the New York Film Festival.
In the past five years, Adam Driver has gone from total obscurity to total ubiquity. Girls was the show that launched him to fame, but his work since then has proven that his breakout role was no fluke. There’s a reason he’s being courted by everyone from the blockbuster magicians at Disney (for Star Wars: The Force Awakens) to top-level directors like Noah Baumbach, the Coens, and Jeff Nichols. With Paterson, he checks another acclaimed auteur off his to-do list, Jim Jarmusch, and the results of their meeting prove as wonderfully idiosyncratic as they are. Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, December 21st, 2016 by Jacob Hall
Note: With The Autopsy of Jane Doe out now, we’re re-running our review from Fantastic Fest.
The horror genre is so often dominated by stupid characters doing stupid things, so it’s refreshing to watch a film like The Autopsy of Jane Doe. Here is a frightening story about two intelligent men whose talents for science and deduction break against a wall of undefinable supernatural power. Here is a fascinating mystery where the pleasures are not only derived from a series of increasingly terrifying and impossible discoveries, but from watching these two men work down a checklist of every possible rational explanation before realizing they are beyond their limits.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe is a film as interested in process as it is in jump scares and the result is one of the most entertaining horror movies I’ve seen in a year that has had no shortage of great scary movies.
Read More »
Posted on Monday, December 19th, 2016 by Angie Han
Note: With Sing out this weekend, we’re re-running our review from the TIFF.
Since Despicable Me, Illumination Entertainment has established itself as a go-to source for sturdy family entertainment. Their films may not reach the artistic heights of Pixar or Disney, but you can generally count on them to be perfectly pleasant and inoffensive, able to entertain the kids without annoying the parents.
Sing is Illumination’s first musical, but otherwise it’s cut from the same cloth as the company’s other films. While not especially deep, the combination of a star-studded cast and an equally star-studded music catalogue make for a fun time. It’s light and sweet and pretty as cotton candy, and it dissolves from memory just as quickly. Read More »
The time has come for another Star Wars movie to hit theaters this weekend. It’s not quite as big of a deal as it was last year when Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrived, mostly since that was a movie that fans had wanted to see for 32 years. Meanwhile, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has been dubbed an experiment to see how fans like a spin-off story that lies outside of the primary Star Wars saga episodes.
However, in the case of Rogue One, we’re dealing with a spin-off that has direct ties to the events of Star Wars: A New Hope. It’s a little bit of that familiar territory with a bunch of new elements, not unlike what J.J. Abrams did with Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
So how did Rogue One turn out after all of the troubling chatter about reshoots and whatnot? Well, our own Peter Sciretta already offered his spoiler-free thoughts on the movie, which you can read whether you’ve seen the movie or not, and David Chen also put forth his own video review. After the jump, I offer up some more thoughts on the movie, but beware of major spoilers from here on out. Read More »
It’s no secret that writer/director Kevin Smith loves Star Wars. So its no surprise that the Clerks/Mallrats filmmaker LOVED Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. He was one of the people we quoted in the Rogue One premiere early reactions, where he called it “Empire Strikes Back good!” And now in the latest episode of his Youtube talk show Fatman on Batman, Kevin Smith gives a spoiler-filled review of Disney’s first Star Wars stand alone movie. What this has to do with Batman, I don’t know. But you can watch the Kevin Smith Rogue One review now, embedded after the jump.
Read More »
Just a few days before Christmas, the sci-fi adventure romance Passengers will hit screens, putting Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence at the center of a story that feels like Titanic in space. While we’ll have to wait a little longer to see this one, some members of the press have already seen the movie ahead of time, and the first Passengers reviews have started to hit the web.
While both Pratt and Lawrence get acclaim for their performances, the consensus seems to be that their talents are wasted on a movie that never quite reaches its full potential, seemingly because director Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) doesn’t really know how to keep Jon Spaihts‘ script (which made the Black List years ago) as interesting as it should be on screen.
Read More »
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
Posted on Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 by David Chen
Imagine a world where the Star Wars prequels never existed. If instead of Episodes I-III, we got Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, there would be a lot fewer adults disenchanted with the world of Star Wars today (not that the franchise is currently wanting for fans). Rogue One does so much right when it comes to filling in the gaps before Episode IV that it’s easy to overlook some of its flaws. It’s that rare prequel that actually makes the film that follows it more impactful and emotionally resonant. It is a thrilling, ambitious, and occasionally spectacular experience that takes the Star Wars franchise in exciting new directions.
That’s not to say the film doesn’t have its flaws though, which include a bit too much ambition when it comes to introducing side characters. But fans of Star Wars will find that this movie not only honors their memories of the original films, it also has enough memorable moments, characters, and ideas to make the journey worthwhile. Hit the jump to see my full video review of Rogue One and see the rest of our coverage here.
Read More »
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters later this week and avoiding spoilers until after the Thursday night debut may be as hard as stealing the Death Star plans from the Galactic Empire. But like a band of Rebellion soldiers, we have your back. What follows are my spoiler-free thoughts on Rogue One.
Here are a few of the questions I answer: Is it good? Is it better than The Force Awakens? What is not so good about the film? How was Michael Giacchino’s score? Were the reshoots obvious? Are there a ton of connections to other Star Wars movies? What do I need to see/read before watching the film? Is Darth Vader in a lot of the movie?
Hit the jump to read my Rogue One spoiler-free review.
Read More »