In a summer of rehashed franchises, I quite enjoyed Jurassic World (it isn’t a great movie, but it’s a damn lot of fun), and Mad Max: Fury Road is one of best, most eyebrow-scorching action films in years. If you were hoping that Terminator Genisys, the fifth installment in the killer-robots-from-the-future saga, was going to fall somewhere in this realm, you will be disappointed. Lazy storytelling, messy CGI, and bland action combine to form a movie that the most natural reaction to is a slump-shouldered sigh and a muttered, “I wish that was better.” Intended to launch a new trilogy, it doesn’t bring enough, or any, new ideas to the table to warrant more.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Sunday, June 28, 2015
Growing up a punk rock kid in a small or at least smallish town, Penelope Spheeris’ 1981 documentary The Decline of Western Civilization, chronicling the early Los Angeles scene, served as a de facto history text book. You poured over the footage of The Germs, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, and more, noting how they lived, how they dressed, the fuck you attitude they flaunted by their very existence. This was your primer, your roadmap to being an outsider.
Saturday, June 27, 2015
Friday, June 26, 2015
You may have noticed this, but around these parts there’s a fair amount of excitement for 5 Second Films’ horror send up Dude BroParty Massacre 3. It got shockingly positive reviews at its recent premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival, and now we know when we’ll see the film, as well as a new clip to tide us over until then.
Ramen Hui’s upcoming Monster Hunt is going to be a sight to behold. As you can see in this first trailer, it’s a period piece, a comedic fantasy adventure, a kid-friendly romp, and features a pregnant dude who gives birth to a monster that looks like an albino turnip. Yeah. Take a look for yourself after the jump.
Horror favorite Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno has had a bumpy ride on the way to the theaters later this year. Sure, it was only delayed a year—some movies never get a release—but for fans waiting for his take on the white-do-gooders-devoured-by-jungle-cannibals genre have been salivating over this one for a while. You still have a couple more months to wait, but this new trailer should whet your whistle.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Seth MacFarlane’s 2012 film Ted surprised a lot of people. Raunchy and raucous, it was, at its core, about two lifelong friends, and that nugget of sweetness is what makes it stand apart from your average foul-mouthed comedy. The new sequel, Ted 2, is everything about the first film recycled, less effective, and generally forgettable.
Despite generally mixed critical and popular responses, I’m a big fan of this post-political career Arnold Schwarzenegger. Sure, he’s doing obvious cash grabs by revisiting franchises like TerminatorGenisys and Conan (both of which I’m totally okay with), but he’s also doing gritty action again, with projects like The Last Stand and Sabotage. He’s even blazing new trails in movies like Maggie, more an intimate family drama than a zombie movie. One of his next films sounds like one close to my heart, as he’s set to headline the upcoming revenge film 478.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for. We’ve heard that Terminator Genisys rewrites the franchise timeline, and that one scene features Arnold Schwarzenegger’s older, grizzled T-800 throwing down with his original 1984 self. There have been glimpses, and we don’t get to see much in this new clip, but we get the beginning, and that’s enough to pique my interest. Check it out after the jump.
Wet Hot American Summer is one of my favorite comedies of all time. It’s got everyone I love in it, and sometimes I still hump the fridge and fondle my sweaters. So, of course, I’m psyched for the upcoming Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp series on Netflix. While we still have to wait more than a month, this promotional video will help take the edge off. Also, the movie is streaming on Netflix, so you have no excuse not to watch it repeatedly.
Saturday, June 20, 2015
Everyone loves Big Bird (if you don’t, what’s wrong with you?). The Sesame Street character is an iconic figure in the lives of generations of children around the world, but it’s easy to forget that there’s a real dude inside that feathery yellow walking puppet. For more than 40 years, that has been Caroll Spinney, and the new documentary I Am Big Bird tells the touching story of a man who has spent his life delighting fans across the globe.
Friday, June 19, 2015
When you hear of a South Korean thriller about a corrupt homicide detective covering up his own hit and run as some unknown force stalks him from the shadows, you probably think dark and gritty. And A HardDay certainly has elements of that, but it is also startlingly funny to boot. While this new trailer plays up the action elements, there is much more going on, and you also get a taste of the absurdity in play.
Mia Hansen-Love’s dance music-fueled drama Eden is an intimate film. First off, it positions the viewer as part of the story, placing you in the middle of the action. Second, the fictionalized depiction of the early days and evolution of the “French touch” sound of electronic music in the mid-1990s, is a story inspired by the musical aspirations of her younger brother, Sven, who chased the dragon of becoming a DJ and also co-wrote the script.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
The trailer for Dark Places, based on the novel by Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn, is creepy and eerie and looks like a dark, compelling whodunit. Libby Day (Charlize Theron) survived the murder of her whole family, but when she is confronted by a mysterious group of crime solvers years later, she is forced to confront what she actually saw, or didn’t, as the case may be. Check out the trailer below.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Pixar’s latest opus, Inside Out, stands close to the summit of the studio’s considerable mountain of work. I don’t think it is quite up there with the likes of WALL-E, Up, and a few others, but it’s not far off, definitely in the upper echelon, which puts it head and shoulders above most movies, animated or otherwise. It’s an ingenious, moving story about the pain of growing up and handling big, new emotions that delights older and younger viewers alike.
Yes, one of the most fun movies I’ve seen so far this year, the Canadian post-apocalyptic send up Turbo Kid, finally has a release date. And to celebrate, the lunatics responsible for this one have also unleashed an awesome new trailer. Check it out below.
Monday, June 15, 2015
Deathgasm is the demonic, heavy mental horror film you didn’t even know you wanted. Okay, I knew this is exactly what I wanted, but the likes of Wild Zero, Black Roses, and Rock and Roll Nightmare are all personal favorites. It’s like this movie was made specifically for me, which was quite nice of writer/director Jason Lei Howden. When you hear a title like Deathgasm, odds are it conjures up some particular, rather vivid imagery, and that’s exactly the movie you see on screen. And it’s fucking awesome: funny, gore-soaked, and actually a bit touching.
Sunday, June 14, 2015
It’s one of the most notorious moments in American academic history, where what began as a scientific experiment, as a quest for knowledge, crossed a line and became something sinister and, ultimately, infamous. It’s one of those real-life situations that sounds stranger than fiction, and now the Stanford Prison Experiment is the subject of a new movie, interestingly enough titled The Stanford Prison Experiment. After premiering at Sundance, the film is set for release, and this new trailer shows just how harrowing and disturbing a time we’re in for.
Saturday, June 13, 2015
Looking at Redeemer it’s like they made this movie just for me. A straightforward premise—there are bad guys, but when an ever worse guys shows up, shit gets interesting—and badass action combines into what is a movie I need to watch very soon.
Friday, June 12, 2015
We’ve been hearing about it since it caused a stir at Sundance, but Rick Famuyiwa’s Dope finally hits theaters next week. To mark the occasion, there’s a fresh new red band trailer to gawk at. Check it out after the jump.
Thursday, June 11, 2015
It looks like swingers are finally getting the R-rated sex comedy they so richly deserve. This red band trailer for Patrick Brice’s The Overnight is not what you normally what comes to mind when you think of this genre. Sure, it’s filthy and funny, but there’s more unnerving and unsettling potential to found here, which is certainly welcome. Check it out.
Imagine you never leave your small, dingy Manhattan apartment, and the only contact you have with the outside world is through movies. Growing up like this you might turn out a little weird, and the Angulo family, a literal band of brothers raised in such a situation by their isolationist parents, are indeed an interesting bunch. Their only outlet for creativity, and just to stave off boredom, is to recreate their favorite films, like Reservoir Dogs, The Dark Knight, and The Grand Budapest Hotel, crafting intricate costumes out of cereal boxes, yoga mats, and whatever other resources they can get their hands on.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Jurassic World is big and dumb and lacks most of the sense of wonder and awe of Steven Spielberg’s 1993 original, but it’s also a lot of fun. Some elements, like character and story and motivation, don’t work so well, but on the level of sheer adventure and spectacle, this is a solid, special effects-heavy summer popcorn movie.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
The Punisher is one of my favorite comic books, but it has not fared well when it comes to big screen adaptations. Part of this is because the overtly violent, morally questionable (or repugnant if you like) stance makes any adaptation a hard-R by necessity. Since Daredevil became a hit on Netflix, with a darker, grittier tone rather than the bright fun of Marvel Cinematic Universe, many have wondered if the character could show up there. And now we know he will, and who is going to play him. Get more after the jump.
Monday, June 8, 2015
Ridley Scott’s last few movies have been less than stellar. Exodus: Gods and Kings is just bad, and while I’m one of Prometheus’ defenders, it’s a film with tons of major problems. That said, he’s still a damn cinematic treasure, and I was pumped for his latest, The Martian, even before this awesome new trailer dropped.
The 2015 Seattle International Film Festival may be officially in the books, but I've got some catching up to do. In that sprit, here are a couple more reviews from SIFF, one is a dance music coming of age tale, the other a documentary that will make you want to watch a slew of questionable, and awesome, films.
Sunday, June 7, 2015
Well Bound to Vengeance certainly looks like a grim piece of exploitation/revenge horror, but one that puts enough of a different spin on the subgenre to keep it from getting stale. Distributed by IFC Midnight, this new trailer gives you a good idea of what it’s all about. Check it out below.
The Seattle International Film Festival is winding down (today is the last day), and though I haven't seen as many movies as I would have like (stupid day job), I'm still behind and have some catching up to do. So here are a couple more short reviews, one of a world premiere, the other of a documentary that created quite a buzz at Sundance. Enjoy.
Saturday, June 6, 2015
Well, we've hit the final weekend of the 41st Seattle International Film Festival, which is rather like nearing the end of a marathon. You can see the finish line, but you know there's still ground to cover before it's over. Just to pass the time, here are a few more quick reviews from the festival, including a pleasant surprise and one of the best movies I've seen this year. Check it out.
Thursday, June 4, 2015
More than any other genre, horror is known for churning out sequel after sequel. That’s one of the benefits of working on the cheap, all you need is one strong opening weekend and you can make a profit, and after a few installments, you can pull that off based on name recognition alone. The latest horror franchise to expand the brand is Insidious, which drops the tepid, totally generic Insidious: Chapter 3 in theaters this weekend.
Mad Max: Fury Road may be the action movie of the summer (likely the year, maybe the decade), but the upcoming Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation may very well give George Miller’s film a run for its money. The nonstop chaos and mayhem brought by Tom Cruise and company in on full display in this new trailer. Check it out after the jump.
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
It feels like we’ve been hearing nonstop good things about indie horror We Are Still Here for a while now. People have been intoning names like Lucio Fulci and calling it atmospheric, gory, original, and scary as hell. You get a glimpse of all of that from this new trailer. And it has Barbara Crampton in it, which is always a bonus. Check it out after the jump.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
The 41st Seattle International Film Festival keeps rolling right along, but we're on the downhill slope of the marathon 25-day cinematic party. In that frame of mind, we've got another couple of short reviews of movies you might want to check out.
Monday, June 1, 2015
It was supposed to hit theaters last September, but Eli Roth’s cannibal gore fest The Green Inferno was pulled and shelved indefinitely. Now, however, it has a new release date, and will make its way into theaters this September, opening September 25.
I love Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and I don’t usually get too bent out of shape about the endless parade of remakes and reboots. That’s just the lay of the land in the current movie world, I’ve accepted this fact. But come the fuck on, Dwayne Johnson is now starring in a remake of Big Trouble in Little China. For fuck’s sake. (Just a warning, there’s going to be much more bad language after this.)