Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom—or as I like to think of it, Jurassic Park 4: Part 2—is a bizarre proposition. A mess of rampaging dinosaurs, too-convenient storytelling, and an utter absence of emotional stakes, the film offers a few entertaining moments. But overflowing with sheer nonsense, insufferable characters, and a shocking lack of thrills, it’s insanely boring for long, long stretches, something a movie ostensibly about dinosaurs eating people should absolutely not be. I can forgive almost anything in the pursuit of watching giant prehistoric reptiles chow down on flat, terrified characters, but I sure as hell can’t cotton to dull and drab.
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
I’m a sucker for a good boxing movie. Or any fighting movie, really. But especially the Sweet Science. There’s something to be said for the poetry of brutal movement, triumph of the spirit, grand metaphors for the human condition, and all that jazz. And I loved Creed, so of course I’m excited for Creed 2 (or Creed II if you will), which now has a brand spanking new trailer.
Monday, June 18, 2018
With Yixi Sun’s Susu, gothic British horror gets filtered through a Chinese lens. Two young students, Qi’an (Ziton Wu) and Aimo (Lun Zhu), living in the U.K. wind up in the middle of a dark, tangled mystery when they take a job digging into the archives of Susu (Junjie Mao), a long-dead Kunqu Opera star. Which, of course, are located in a massive, ancient country manner overseen by a family of weirdos with all manner of secrets and skeletons hidden away in various closets.
Friday, June 15, 2018
Johnnie To has carried the Hong Kong action banner like few others and 2012’s Drug War stands as one of his greatest achievements, which says something, because the man has churned out some all-timers. Sure, that was only a few years ago, but that didn’t stop South Korean director Lee Hae-young (The Silenced) from remaking it as Believer. He puts more of a thriller spin on the proceedings rather than turning in a straight-up action ride, allowing the film to stand on its own, both for better and worse.
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
I’ve admittedly never watched Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, the dystopian anime sci-fi based on a popular manga. But I will watch the ever-loving-crap out of any film Kim Jee-woon makes, and that includes his upcoming live-action remake of Jin-Roh. It doesn’t actually reveal much, but a new teaser trailer certainly sets the mood, and I’m way, way in.
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
So, another Seattle International Film Festival is in the books. As usual, I watched a crap-load of movies over the past six weeks—SIFF is nothing if not a marathon. My total topped 60 this year, which isn’t even half of the features. (On the final night, I encountered someone on their 123rd movie.) Overall, it was the strongest field in a few years; I routinely found myself pleasantly surprised by movies I didn’t expect. With that in mind, here are my favorites of SIFF 2018, in no particular order.
Monday, June 11, 2018
A bittersweet, blackly comic riff on Thelma and Louise, with a flourish of Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia thrown in for good measure, Chedeng & Apple is part road trip comedy, part lesbian romance, part off-kilter voyage of self-reclamation. After all, one title character spends most of the movie toting a Louis Vuitton bag holding the severed head of her abusive husband. Sounds like a hoot, right?