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 »
Posted on Thursday, July 12th, 2018 by Karen Han
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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Posted on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018 by Karen Han
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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(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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Posted on Thursday, June 28th, 2018 by Karen Han
In some alternate universe, there is a version of The Revenant that stars Benicio Del Toro. It’s easy to picture while watching Sicario: Day of the Soldado. As Alejandro, the near-superhuman hitman introduced in the first Sicario (2015), cuts a swath of destruction through Mexico, he faces greater and bloodier odds, to the point that it becomes almost laughable. That isn’t a bad thing in and of itself; the problem is that this is a Sicario that wants to be a Logan. Unfortunately, superimposing Western tropes and a sudden heart-of-gold narrative onto a film that doesn’t really fit into those constraints — and doesn’t benefit from them, either — is a losing game.
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Though it feels like roughly two decades have passed since April, it’s only been two months since the release of Avengers: Infinity War, the first part of a two-part capper to the current Marvel Cinematic Universe. Infinity War ended grimly enough, even though there’s next to no doubt that much of its tragedy will be undone at some point in the conclusion next May. It’s a pleasant surprise that the specter of that dark cliffhanger doesn’t hover over Marvel’s latest, Ant-Man and the Wasp, which smoothly course-corrects from its 2015 predecessor while keeping things low-key.
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(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: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.)
Welcome to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The fifth entry in the Jurassic Park franchise, and the follow-up to 2015’s Jurassic World, doubles-down on all the elements that made the previous film unpleasant, while adding a few twists and turns. Director J.A. Bayona does his absolute best to breathe life into this weak, rushed story. But a few stellar visuals aren’t enough to rescue this film from itself.
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Late Friday night, the first reactions to Marvel’s latest superhero sequel hit the web.
Ant-Man and the Wasp has been screened for critics, and the first reactions from social media have started to surface. So far, the buzz is pretty damn high with many calling it fun and hilarious, praising the creative use of size (both big and small), and one reaction even thinks it’s Marvel’s best sequel since Captain America: The Winter Soldier. That sounds like high praise, so without further adieu, we’ll let the reactions speak for themselves. Read More »
When Sony announced it was making a modern, Atlanta-set version of Super Fly (re-styling it as Superfly), it didn’t come as a surprise. We’re in the midst of a blaxploitation craze. Tons of film and television projects are in development based upon 1970s black action movies – films that were often criticized for their stereotypical portrayals of black people, but applauded for bringing stories centered on black people into the spotlight.
A new Shaft film starring Jessie T. Usher will be released in 2019. Underground co-creator Misha Green is developing a new Cleopatra Jones film at Warner Bros. Power creator Courtney Kemp was recently developing a reboot of Get Christie Love! starring Kylie Bunbury, and Hulu is reportedly working on a reboot of Foxy Brown starring Meagan Good.
Since the project was first announced, I was never completely against a Super Fly remake. If updated to modern times and made like a Power-esque crime drama, I always thought there could be a market for it. But just because I thought it could work doesn’t mean we actually needed a remake. Read More »