We never got a Jaws 5. Not really. There’s the Italian knockoff Cruel Jaws that wanted people to think it was part of the franchise, but it’s a million nautical miles from counting. So we stalled out at Jaws: The Revenge. Way to go, humanity.
It’s easy to forget how wild it is that, decades after the initial adventure, the other Steven Spielberg franchise about prehistoric beasts transforming family dramas into horror films has made it to a fifth entry. Welcome…to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
A little rundown: Spielberg made the first two, Captain America director Joe Johnston did the third, Colin Trevorrow rebooted the fourth film as the start of the modern trilogy, and now a man known equally for horror and big-scale disaster, J.A. Bayona, is up to bat.
Turns out that’s a good combination of genres to have. With a volcano about to blow on Isla Nublar, Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) head toward danger to save the dinosaurs from a second extinction.
Will they succeed? Will life find a way? What movies will you watch with it?
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Summer means seeing movies with the whole family. Something breezy. Something light. Something like Hereditary, which should give your family plenty to talk about at the ice cream parlor afterward. If anyone can still speak that is.
Even in our exaggerated world, it’s incredibly rare for a movie to be dubbed “the scariest of the year” by so many different critics and fans, which is reason enough to get hyped for the Toni Collette-starring grief fest. Trust me. I googled “scariest movie of the year” for every year for the past 10 years, and the sentiment is hardly ever common enough to earn a consensus (shout out to The Witch). There were years that no one used the phrase at all, but not this year! Hereditary and A Quiet Place are dueling for the honor by making it difficult to eat roast pigeon or popcorn during your movie.
Here are 6 movies to watch after (after!) you see Hereditary and stop screaming. Or while you’re still screaming. Either way.
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I’ll assume everyone is planning to rewatch the prequels before seeing Solo: A Star Wars Story, so I only need to offer three double features this week.
Just kidding. Would that it were so simple.
Ron Howard’s foray into the universe of Corellia and Kashyyyk also takes place before A New Hope, but there’s little reason to subject yourself to podracing and amorous picnics just to get a feel for the time period. Watch all the Star Wars movies your head can handle, sure, but let’s see if we can expand the galaxy a bit with some space Westerns, classic adventures, and a look at what Howard was doing back in 1977 when Star Wars first lit a fire in fans’ eyes.
Here are 6 non-Star Wars movies to watch before or after you see young Han borrow young Lando’s capes.
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Melissa McCarthy goes back to school this weekend in Life of the Party, which fits squarely into the McCarthy comedy mold that has made her approximately a quadrillion dollars. A genre she’s made her own, becoming one of the few genuinely new movie stars in an era where the intellectual property is the star. A genre that’s best described as crassly heartfelt.
It may be formulaic, but it’s also weirdly subversive, if only because there aren’t many movies in the grand ol’ college party flick tradition that focus on women. At least not many where the leading ladies aren’t hiding in their sorority house from a masked slasher or fighting Seth Rogen.
Also, Revenge of the Nerds is super creepy, y’all. So here are 6 movies to pair with McCarthy’s new vehicle for telling jokes about her vagoogle.
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It’s here. Whether you hate Marvel enough to sabotage their movies’ IMDB scores or love them enough to get Stan Lee’s face tattooed on your back, the studio has done something impressively unique in cinema by executing 19 movies over ten years to lead us all to an unthinkable team-up of dozens of superheroes.
Avengers: Infinity War is a gargantuan achievement with a mind-scrambling amount of moving parts that had to fall into place over the past decade. It’s such an insane prospect that it’s easy to forget it’s technically the third in a series of Marvel team-ups. A threequel. A nineteenthquel. And still only a launchpad for three centuries of Marvel phases lorded over by an eventually-cybernetic Kevin Feige.
There’s no challenge in picking double features for it. There are 18 easy choices, but it would be a lot more fun to look outside the Marvel universe for inspiration…and then tie those movies to the superheroes that will probably die in Infinity War.
I haven’t seen it yet, but there are a bunch of characters who could (should) buy the farm. Not Hawkeye, though. He’s already got one. Every movie I’ve chosen corresponds with an Avenger who Thanos should destroy.
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(Welcome to Nostalgia Bomb, a series where we take a look back on beloved childhood favorites and discern whether or not they’re actually any good. In this edition: a look back at Swing Kids, the early ’90s drama about dancing in the face of Nazism starring a young Christian Bale).
For about three months in 1998, everyone got into swing music.
The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Royal Crown Revue. The big band sound was suddenly everywhere after creeping into the public eye through the early ’90s.
RCR featured prominently in The Mask in 1994 as the flashy backing band for Cameron Diaz’s character’s dance numbers. Then Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was in Swingers. Then Brian Setzer, 1980s savior of rockabilly, had a hit covering the Louis Prima song “Jump, Jive an’ Wail” in 1998 (it won a Grammy!) and the nation had a reached a fever pitch culminating in Old Navy cashing in on the trend.
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Isle of Dogs could have been set anywhere, but Wes Anderson chose Japan. A dystopian future version of Japan, that is, where the dog flu outbreak is so severe that all the doggos are banished to Trash Island.
His ninth feature, it’s also a thoroughly Wes Andersony Wes Anderson movie that borrows several design and musical trappings from Japanese culture, generating much controversy.
However, this film offers us a great opportunity to check out a cornucopia of Japanese movies that echo Anderson’s stop-motion style, canine subject matter and his favorite themes: family tension, daddy issues, and dry comedy.
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(Welcome to Movie Mixtape, where we find cinematic relatives and seek out interesting connections between new releases and older movies that allow us to rethink and enjoy what’s in our theaters as well as the favorites on our shelf. In this edition: Ready Player One.)
Ready Player One feels like the beginning of the end of geeks dominating pop culture.
Even as Marvel plans its hundred-year reign and properties of all stripes from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s are born anew, Steven Spielberg’s latest is like seeing someone’s $5 bet and raising them a billion dollars. Ernest Cline’s novel was the geek equivalent of handing someone a tub of chocolate frosting after busting buttons at the all-you-can-eat buffet. “I heard you like geek culture. How about all of it at once?”
It wouldn’t surprise me if, after this, the entire film-going world needs an antacid.
The movie also spits in the face of this column’s central idea. Finding connections between movies? How about a movie made solely from connections to hundreds of movies, comic books, and video games?
An avalanche of references for Captain America not to get. A sea made of Easter egg yolks. A movie that’s a natural double feature. Hopefully, this list will offer some choice gems that both celebrate and question nostalgia.
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(Welcome to Movie Mixtape, where we find cinematic relatives and seek out interesting connections between new releases and older movies that allow us to rethink and enjoy what’s in our theaters as well as the favorites on our shelf. In this edition: Tomb Raider.)
The new Tomb Raider is a fascinating cultural artifact when you think too long about it.
For one, it’s an attempt at reviving a commercially successful franchise that was laughed out of theaters twice in the early 2000s, with Angelina Jolie (in the first chapter of her conversion from dramatic riot grrl to action star) declining to continue in the lead role. The hodge podge of production companies behind both movies decided not to move forward with out her but now, 15 years later, a different mix of production companies have recast the iconic adventurer with Alicia Vikander (in the first chapter of her conversion from creepy robot and period dramatist to action star) in hopes of fresh success emerging from the dormant cradle of life.
For two, the insanely popular video game series its based on is now old enough to buy alcohol. It’s also, theoretically, the simplest to convert from game to film because it utilizes so many cinematic concepts to begin with. It’s an adventure with a brash lead and exotic locations. Yet Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and its sequel were made during the same cartoonish era that delivered League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
The early 2000s was when geek properties hit puberty. Their forms were changing, they were getting more attention, but they were still gawky and embarrassingly awkward and few people took them seriously. So, more than just a reboot, Tomb Raider has the opportunity to apply modern depth to films that were last made with extra cheese.
Here are six movies to watch alongside Tomb Raider.
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In the grand tradition of Spy vs Spy, Jennifer Lawrence plays a ballerina-turned-undercover-operative in Red Sparrow, a Russian agent who falls for CIA spook Nate Nash (“Nash, out!”), played by Joel Edgerton. It’s also a glowering action reunion for her and director Francis Lawrence, who helmed a triptych of Hunger Games movies, and, by most accounts, is a Soviet tank-full of style over substance.
There are thousands of spy movies to pair with it, and most of them involve Russia (really, the Soviet Union) ferreting into sticky situations to get information on Americans that will probably yell “Wolverines!” while thwarting them in the end. The tricky thing is considering how few female-led spy films there are compared to the grand list of one of the most popular modern genres. Red Sparrow is rare on that front, but there are plenty of other connections to make.
Here are some movies to watch alongside Lawrence’s descent into deep cover.
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