People's Republic of Desire

If you’re anything like me and the thought that you’ve accidentally Instagram Live-d your makeup routine induces sudden nausea, than making a living by live-streaming is probably not one of your career goals. But for the subjects of Hao Wu‘s documentary People’s Republic of Desire, live-streaming isn’t just how they make their living, it’s how they make up their sense of self. Though I am unable to get past my inhibitions, I will gladly watch other people sit on their couch and answer the questions that roll in on the screen. It’s become increasingly easier to check out of your life for a moment and check in to someone else’s. But the line between voyeurism and escapism is a thin one that is barely toed by the subjects in Wu’s documentary. Read More »

Nightmare Cinema - Mickey Rourke

Just as countless horror anthologies of past years have been defined by their own grab bag results, Nightmare Cinema is a mixed collection of eerie crescendos and deflating downswings. Joe Dante. Mick Garris. Alejandro Brugués. Ryûhei Kitamura. David Slade. These directors would fill the roster of any movie lover’s Murderers’ Row, and their collective worth skews towards positive reactions with an emphasis on differentiation. Their segments take ambitious swings and rarely skimp on absurdity, to a degree where the highest peaks overshadow the shallowest valleys.

Could this be thanks to Mr. “Projectionist,” Mickey Rourke’s wraparound purveyor of nasty delights whose old-school theatrical torture ushers in each story with opening night menace? Maybe not entirely, but boy does Nightmare Cinema introduce one maliciously memorable mascot. Read More »

the Equalizer 2 review

It’s fairly cold comfort that The Equalizer 2 is an improvement on its 2014 predecessor. That film’s director and star, Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington, have returned for this follow-up, which is largely more of the same. The first film was exceedingly dour, grim and gratuitously violent, with Washington’s Robert McCall laying waste to all sorts of faceless baddies. This time around, while the reasons why McCall has to fend off bad guys hit closer to home, much of the story is predictable and Fuqua’s unable to rein in the film to a more manageable length. All told, this manages to be a bit better simply by not being that excessive.

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mamma mia here we go again reviews

No one was clamoring for a sequel to 2008’s Mamma Mia, the smash-hit jukebox musical based on the popular Broadway play. It was campy, kitschy, and just the right thing to put on in the background as you drank rosé and and reminisced of the glory days of ABBA. And yet, 10 years later, here comes a sequel as dazzling and dedicated to joy as the first one was. And critics say that it could melt our cold, cynical hearts.

The Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again reviews are here and, despite a healthy heaping of cynicism from the critics going into the films, they found themselves tapping their feet to the music. It’s a silly, solid sequel that just may be what we need in these trying times.

See what critics are saying in their Mamma Mia Here We Go Again reviews below.

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Just a Breath Away Review

Supposedly, if you want to know how wealthy someone is in Beijing, you simply ask them what floor they live on. The bigger the number, the wealthier they are. To live above the air pollution is a much coveted position, one which, in the case of the protagonists of Dans La Brume (the film’s English title is Just a Breath Away), can be a fate changer. 

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Eighth Grade Review

Any adult will tell you that middle school is one of the most awful parts of adolescence. Faces explode with acne, hormones are raging, conversations are awkward, and everyone sucks. So comedian Bo Burnham decided to make his feature writing and directorial debut recounting just how awful that time in all of our lives was with a wonderful, lively movie called Eighth Grade, and just like that we have a fresh new voice on the page and behind the camera. Read More »

About halfway through Mission: Impossible – Fallout, I found myself thinking that I’d happily watch Tom Cruise run for the film’s entire duration. In fairness, that’s pretty much what he does as he reprises the role of Ethan Hunt, but I mean it literally. Tom Cruise runs with the kind of mania that means it’s unsurprising he broke his ankle leaping from building to building while filming Fallout — and then kept running in order to save the take — or that he actually jumped out of a plane at 25,000 feet for another sequence in the movie. He runs so fast that it’s impossible not to go along with him. (And he knows it, too. His Twitter and Instagram bios read: “Running in movies since 1981.”)

That energy sustains almost the entirety of Fallout. Directed by Rogue Nation’s Christopher McQuarrie, Fallout does nothing if not cement Mission: Impossible as the greatest franchise we currently have, and manages it by leaning fully into the near-demented earnestness given tangible shape in Cruise’s running. It hurtles along at such a breakneck speed that it might as well combust, and that even talking about it almost feels like spoiling it, as the temptation is to name every insane set piece in simple awe.

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It is the height of chutzpah for Universal Pictures to release Skyscraper, the latest action-movie event starring Dwayne Johnson, on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the film to which it owes a massive debt, Die Hard. Though Skyscraper isn’t solely derivative of the seminal action movie about a down-on-his-luck cop who has to fend off a series of Eurotrash terrorists while trapped in a fancy high-rise, it’s unable to escape from the shadows of better action films. Johnson is charming as always, even if the film around him can’t measure up.

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The First Purge Review

When I saw The Purge: Anarchy in 2014, it shook me so badly that I genuinely feared I was going to be “purged” while walking back to my friend’s car in the movie theater parking lot. The franchise, which posits a future in which all crime is legal for 12 hours out of every year for reasons that have slowly been spun into clarity, had me hooked. Its approach to horror — socially and politically conscious horror, as it were — was effective, and if the third installment in the series, 2016’s The Purge: Election Year was a bit more blunt in its political underpinnings, it made up for it in how it spun the American political climate into a Grand Guignol spectacle. As such, I had high hopes for The First Purge.

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day of the soldado 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: Sicario: Day of the Soldado.)

Did you remember to send a card to your parents for The Day of the Soldado? Did you take advantage of Amazon’s Day of the Soldado Cyber Monday Sale? I sure hope so, because Sicario: The Day of the Soldado has come and gone. And now we have to talk about it. For reasons beyond mortal comprehension, someone, somewhere, said, “What if we made a sequel to 2015’s Sicario, but got rid of all the good stuff?”

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