The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.
In this edition, see how animation evolved between the release of Frozen in 2013 and this year’s sequel Frozen 2. Plus, see how a professional dancer and choreographer reviews dance scenes from movies like Save the Last Dance, Chicago, Silver Linings Playbook and others. And finally, listen as Jamie Lee Curtis breaks down her career from Halloween through Knives Out and plenty in between. Read More »
We’re getting closer to the end of 2019, and that means the year-end lists delivering what critics think are the best movies of the year are starting to arrive. It’s a little early, especially since some of the movies appearing on lists haven’t hit theaters yet, but many critics have seen those movies in advance thanks to deadlines for voting bodies to determine their awards nominations. That brings us to film critic David Ehrlich‘s traditional video countdown of the Top 25 Movies of 2019. Did any of your favorites make the cut? Find out below. Read More »
Genre films have a unique ability to offer entertaining and fantastical stories, while also being able to offer poignant commentary. This year saw the release of Parasite, Bong Joon-ho’s masterpiece that’s part black comedy, part home invasion thriller, and all-round commentary on class.
Another film that uses genre to tell a very entertaining story while also offering commentary on the time in which it was made is Rian Johnson’s whodunit Knives Out. The film doesn’t hide its politics, but it also doesn’t put them under the spotlight, instead putting enough on screen to spark conversations…the very same conversations that millions of American families had during Thanksgiving, which is exactly when the film was released.
This post contains some minor spoilers for Knives Out.
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Whether he does it on purpose or not, writer/director and renowned cinephile Rian Johnson has a genuine gift for selecting a genre in which to work, pulling said genre apart to see what makes it tick, and then putting it back together in new and interesting ways to make something that feels genuinely fresh, even though he’s using familiar tools of the trade. He says he’s just trying to make the best version of whatever sandbox in which he chooses to play, and I’d say he’s accomplished just that with film noir (Brick), heist movies (The Brothers Bloom), time travel (Looper), and even the Star Wars universe (The Last Jedi, and let’s be honest: Star Wars is its own genre at this point).
With his latest and arguably greatest work, Knives Out, Johnson strolls through the world of murder mysteries, crafting a modern, Agatha Christie-style whodunit with a family full of lying suspects and just as many false leads, as private detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig, wielding a razor-sharp Southern accent) investigates the murder of world-famous crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), who is found dead at his estate just after celebrating his 85th birthday. Blanc interviews every member of Thrombey large family and the house staff to get to the truth, which may not even be the truth the true killer realizes it is.
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Frozen 2 may have opened in theaters the weekend before Thanksgiving, but that didn’t keep Disney animated sequel from setting new box office records for the holiday weekend. The movie not only broke the record for the five-day holiday weekend, but also the standard three-day weekend window. It wasn’t the only movie to rake in cash over Thanksgiving though.
Knives Out came in second place, and while it may have made less than a third of what Frozen 2 earned, the murder mystery from director Rian Johnson exceeded early box office projections and has been getting rave reviews from audiences too. Get the full Frozen 2 box office rundown and the rest of the weekend numbers below. Read More »
Martin Scorsese’s comments about the Marvel Cinematic Universe have, by their very nature of being critical of something so popular and dominant, been mostly misconstrued as targeting Marvel, and Marvel only. But his real criticism is not about the MCU, as much as it’s about the franchise nature of all of modern Hollywood. The notion of franchises permeating all of Hollywood’s major output is something that you can see manifest as soon as filmmakers and actors are able to, for one reason or another, escape the franchise world if only for a short project. A good example arrives in theaters this week: Rian Johnson’s newest, best film, Knives Out.
Knives Out is a whodunit in the style of Agatha Christie, gussied up for modern times. (In spite of its throwback appeal, Knives Out unquestionably takes place in the present.) Its massive ensemble cast includes everyone from Christopher Plummer to Jamie Lee Curtis to Michael Shannon. But its two biggest stars – Daniel Craig and Chris Evans – are best known for their work as two of the biggest franchise heroes of all time. So maybe their performances in Knives Out are so extremely delightful for just one reason: they’re both playing wildly against type.
This post contains spoilers for Knives Out.
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The game’s afoot and everyone’s a suspect in Knives Out, Rian Johnson‘s deliriously funny whodunit. It’s the most fun you’ll ever have trying to solve a murder. Gathering together a killer cast of movie stars and character actors, Johnson has crafted a film that’s both a loving homage to locked room mysteries and a giddy, laugh-out-loud funny comedy that keeps pulling the rug out from under you just when you think you’ve found your footing. It’s a total blast.
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Posted on Monday, November 25th, 2019 by Jacob Hall
When I sat down to speak with director Rian Johnson the day after his new murder mystery thriller, Knives Out, closed Fantastic Fest 2019, I had one question on the top of my tongue. That question: “What defines a Rian Johnson movie?” After all, Johnson has spent his career leaping between genres, from grim modern noirs like Brick to quirky comedies like The Brothers Bloom to serious-minded science fiction like Looper and even giant blockbusters like Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I had a theory about this. One that tied straight into Knives Out, which is unquestionably one of the year’s straight-up most entertaining movies.
But before we got there, we talked about other things. We talked about the differences between Raymond Chandler and Agatha Christie. We talked about the beauty of a detective’s final monologue. We talked, spoiler-free, about the unique perspective from which the film takes place. Perhaps most interestingly, we talked about how Knives Out was designed to be a movie specifically set in 2019, a period piece before any time has passed at all.
Our full conversation begins below.
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Posted on Thursday, November 21st, 2019 by David Chen
Composer Nathan Johnson’s work spans a wide variety of genres, from low-budget film noir to high-budget sci-fi. He’s played in many different types of media (and with many types of instruments, as when he invented new ones to write the innovative score for Brick), so I was excited to see him try something more conventional by tackling the score for Rian Johnson’s new murder mystery, Knives Out.
True to form, the score for Knives Out is a delight. As with Johnson’s other work, he manages to infuse the old and the new, blending classical orchestral string instrumentation with a jazzy sensibility. Today, we are pleased to be able to bring you an exclusive track from the film. Below, you can listen an exclusive track from the film’s score.
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The buzz is strong for Knives Out, the latest film from Looper and Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson. This time he’s reaching back to his roots by tackling another murder mystery. But instead of the film noir set in high school that we got with Brick, this time it’s a whodunit set squarely in the center of an affluent family, where all the members seem to be extremely inconvenienced by the mere prospect of a murder investigation, especially since it appears the family patriarch committed suicide.
A new batch of Knives Out clips serve as introductions to certain characters, including Chris Evans being quite a douchebag, Daniel Craig being a patient investigator and observer of the truth, and Jamie Lee Curtis and Toni Collette not being too keen on this investigation in any capacity. Read More »