Tuesday, June 27, 2017

'Okja' (2017) Movie Review



Outside of the fact that he makes great movies, my favorite thing about Bong Joon-ho is that you never know to expect from one project to the next. The South Korean director has turned out the greatest modern creature feature with The Host, which is still so much more than just that. His resume also includes murder mysteries (Mother, Memories of Murder), post-apocalyptic sci-fi set entirely on a moving train (Snowpiercer), and even black comedy (Barking Dogs Never Bite). Bong’s latest, Okja, fits into his larger body of work by being both utterly fantastic and unlike anything he’s done before, despite the presence of a fantastic beast.

Monday, June 26, 2017

'Baby Driver' (2017) Movie Review



Once again I find myself in the camp where I’m the curmudgeonly asshole who doesn’t like the movie everyone else loves, but I don’t particularly care for Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver. It’s fine, just fine, and that’s as high as the praise from this general vicinity is going to get.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

'Transformers: The Last Knight' (2017) Movie Review



Let’s be frank. At this point, five movies of Michael Bay-directed robotic mayhem into the franchise, most potential moviegoers don’t need me or anyone else to tell them whether or not to see Transformers: The Last Knight. As the last two installments both topped the billion-dollar mark at the global box office—the first has the smallest take at $709 million—this may well be the most “critic proof” franchise in all of franchise-dom. It basically prints money regardless of brutal reviews. And when this one dominates the box office, it’s sure to be the latest bullet in the studio’s “movie critics don’t matter” gun. (Despite earlier this summer when they placed the blame for the underperforming Baywatch and Pirates of the Caribbean: Johnny Depp Earns a Paycheck squarely at the feet of those fun-hating critics they didn’t make the movies for anyway.)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Ready To Get Extreme...Again? Sounds Like 'xXx: Return Of Xander Cage' Is Getting A Sequel



Are you mentally prepared for xXx 4? Well, ready or not, it sounds like it’s headed our way, so start thinking of what renegade shit you’d like to see Vin Diesel do now that we’ve watched him ski through a jungle.

Friday, June 16, 2017

'The Villainess' Trailer Will Beat The Holy Hell Out Of You



After debuting at Cannes last month, Jung Byung-gil’s Korean revenge action film The Villainess is getting ready to roll out to the public. At least in Asia. Check out this badass new trailer and try not to drool on your keyboard.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

'Happy Death Day' Trailer: Like 'Groundhog Day' With More Stabbing



I admit, I’m a sucker for the “like Groundhog Day but…” knockoff. Okay, maybe not Before I Fall, but Edge of Tomorrow is boss. Before you lob sub-par examples my way, know I’m on the hook for Happy Death Day, a slasher take on the live-the-same-day-over-and-over trick. This new trailer looks kind of awesome.

Jean-Claude Van Damme's 'Full Love' Is Finally Coming Out And There's A Trailer To Prove It



Jean-Claude Van Damme has had a weird career. He’s been a huge star, been the butt of jokes, resurrected and reinvented himself a handful of times in a variety of ways (think both JCVD and Jean-Claude Van Johnson among others). He’s dabbled in directing, most notably with 1996’s The Quest (where the goal is to acquire a big, gold dragon that has no name beyond the “big, gold dragon). His only other turn at the helm is something of an oddity, languishing on the shelf for years, though it’s finally seeing the light of day under the moniker Full Love, and there’s a new trailer for you to check out.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

SIFF 2017: 'The Feels' (2017) Movie Review



Jenee LaMarque’s The Feels starts out looking like it’s going to be a lesbian version of Bridesmaids or The Hangover. Like those films, it’s bursting with raunchy humor, heavily improvised, and set during a bachelorette weekend. There’s booze and drugs and all manner of pre-getting-hitched shenanigans. But it’s also sweet and earnest and I got misty at places I legit didn’t expect. And all of this from one of the few (maybe only?) movies primarily about the female orgasm.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Top 10 Films Of SIFF 2017



Another Seattle International Film Festival has come and gone. That means I spent the bulk of the last six weeks (preview screenings start well before the 25-day festival gets rolling proper) working full time at my day job then spending every available free moment in a movie theater, waiting in line outside a movie theater, or at a computer writing about what I watched inside a movie theater (or, to be honest, sitting on my couch as there are more and more screeners every year).

Friday, June 9, 2017

SIFF 2017: 'Jungle Trap' (2016) Movie Review



So some of you, like me, are way into long-lost, shot-on-video oddities that spring forth from the minds of lunatics. You know who you are and you know what I’m talking about and if you don’t, you probably don’t need to read any further, because the movie we’re about to discuss, Jungle Trap, isn’t for you.

SIFF 2017: 'The Landing' (2017) Movie Review



For a space mission that never happened, Apollo 18 has a unique place in pop culture. It’s been the name of a record, a videogame, an indie rock band, and less-than-stellar found footage horror movie. Now it’s the subject of faux-documentary, The Landing, which screens at the Seattle International Film Festival.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

'The Mummy' (2017) Movie Review



For a stretch of The Mummy, Tom Cruise’s Nick Morton asks over and over, “That’s really your plan?” like he just can’t believe it. And that’s essentially my reaction to Universal’s latest attempt to kick off their “Dark Universe” where they reboot all their classic monster movie properties with modern action spectacle trappings. 2014’s Dracula Untold was a failed first endeavor, and I can’t help but wonder if this uninspiring re-launch will meet a similar fate.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

SIFF 2017: 'At The End Of The Tunnel' (2016) Movie Review



Like Hitchcock with a nasty streak, Argentinian director Rodrigo Grande crafts a tight, vicious crime thriller with At the End of the Tunnel. With a twisting, turning, rigidly constructed plot that shifts and evolves over the course of the movie, this is a dark, tension-heavy throwback of the kind we see woefully few of in modern times.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

'It Comes At Night' (2017) Movie Review



Grim, bleak, desolate. These are just a few accurate words to describe It Comes at Night, the moody new slow-burn horror joint from writer/director Trey Edward Shults (Krisha). An unrelenting apocalyptic mood piece about how people cope with the end of the world, vagaries and uncertainty abound, and the oppressive downer nature is certain to crush the spirit and will to live of many a viewer. Which means it’s my kind of bummer.

SIFF 2017: 'Landline' (2017) Capsule Review



Gillian Robespierre reteams with Jenny Slate, star of her debut feature Obvious Child, for her follow up, Landline. Likeable and fun, though less inclined to stick to the ribs, the story follows two mid-1990s sisters (Slate and Abby Quinn) who discover their father (John Turturro) is cheating on their mother (Edie Falco as good as she’s ever been).

Monday, June 5, 2017

SIFF 2017: 'Wind River' (2017) Capsule Review



Taylor Sheridan won acclaim for writing recent crime dramas Sicario and Hell or High Water, which afforded him the chance to direct his own script, Wind River. Beginning with a murder of a young woman on an isolated Indian reservation, the story follows a tracker (Jeremy Renner), grieving his own loss, as he helps a newbie FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen), stalk the killer. As he says, he “hunts predators.”

Friday, June 2, 2017

SIFF 2017: 'Dirtbag: The Legend Of Fred Beckey' (2017) Movie Review



Fred Beckey is something of a myth, a legendary “dirtbag”—think a vagabond ski bum for the mountaineering set—who sacrifices everything to climbing. Normal people don’t know his name, but the hardcore speak of him with reverence and awe. It’s difficult to live up to such hype, but when we meet the man himself in Dave O’Leske’s documentary, Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey, he more than lives up to the billing.

SIFF 2017: 'Infinity Baby' (2017) Movie Review



It’s easy to look at director Bob Byington’s Infinity Baby as a prototypical “film festival” movie. Shot in black and white, featuring a who’s who of indie movie staples, it’s at times unbearably twee, rides a quirky concept to the point of distraction, and is far more in love with its own wit than it should be—Onur Tukel’s script isn’t nearly as clever as it thinks it is. That’s not to say there aren’t merits, because there are, but much of the first half borders on insufferable.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

'Wonder Woman' (2017) Movie Review



Here’s the bad news: Wonder Woman is a flawed superhero origin story. Now that we have that out of the way, the good news is that it’s mostly awesome, finally brings one of the greatest comic book characters ever to the big screen after more than 75 years, breaks up just a little bit of the boys’ club that is contemporary superhero movies, and is easily the best thing the DC Extended Universe has produced thus far.

SIFF 2017: 'Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World' (2017) Capsule Review



Catherine Bainbridge’s documentary, Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, examines the oft-ignored and overlooked contributions of Native Americans to the history of popular music. (Hint: It goes way deeper than the dude in the headdress from the Village People.) 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

SIFF 2017: 'Endless Poetry' (2016) Movie Review



At 88-years-old, Alejandro Jodorowsky remains the reigning godfather of Avant Garde, surrealist cinema. So it’s no surprise that the Chilean director’s latest, the highly autobiographical Endless Poetry, is gorgeous, challenging, and weird as all hell.

Monday, May 29, 2017

SIFF 2017: 'Small Town Killers' (2017) Movie Review



You ever get drunk, order a bunch of shit online, and be totally surprised when it arrives? What do you do when the unwanted package shows up on your doorstep? That’s what happens to sex-obsessed blue-collar BFFs Edward (Ulrich Thomsen) and Ib (the perfectly named Nicolas Bro) in Danish director Ole Bornedal’s black comedy Small Town Killers. Only instead of a box of movies or a questionable clothing item like a man-romper, they order a Russian hitman to kill their wives.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Like 'Thunderheart'? Watch This 'Wind River' Trailer



Do you like Thunderheart? If the answer is yes (which is the correct answer, by the way), you may want to check out the trailer for Taylor Sheridan’s new feature, Wind River.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

'Baywatch' (2017) Movie Review



Baywatch can’t decide what movie it wants to be. Is it a foul-mouthed, satiric send up of the long-running cheeseball T&A fest (the easy comparison is 21 Jump Street)? Or is it an earnest action drama about a ragtag group of lifeguards becoming a family and saving their beach? The attempt to be both ultimately drags director Seth Gordon’s (Identity Thief) film down to drown in the watery depths.

SIFF 2017: 'Bad Day For The Cut' (2017) Capsule Review




Never mess with a man’s mother. That’s cinematic villainy 101. It doesn’t matter how old the guy is, and in the case of Chris Baugh’s debut feature, Bad Day for the Cut, that’s certainly the case, because this old dude will mess you up but good.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

SIFF 2017: 'Lake Bodom' (2016) Movie Review



I’ll give it to Finnish director Taneli Mustonen and the crew behind the new slasher, Lake Bodom, they go for it with gusto. Playing with horror tropes from a variety of subgenres, and even sub-subgenres, individual pieces are fantastic. Taken together, however, the whole is disjointed and watches almost like multiple shorts stitched together with little care for continuity or reason.

Monday, May 22, 2017

SIFF 2017: 'Wulu' (2016) Movie Review



In Mali in 2007, drug trafficking was a growth industry. It got so bad it ultimately contributed to governmental collapse and a military coup d’etat a few years later. This is the world of Daouda Coulibaly’s debut feature, Wulu, a rags-to-riches crime saga like you won't see anywhere else.

Friday, May 19, 2017

SIFF 2017: 'Bad Black (2016) Movie Review



If you’re not familiar with Wakaliwood, Bad Black is your loud, raucous wakeup call. You need to be watching the insane action movies coming out of Wakaliga, a slum in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. This shit’ll blow your mind.

SIFF 2017: 'Entanglement' (2017) Movie Review



Ben (Silicon Valley star Thomas Middleditch) is depressed. In fact, Jason James’ dark comedy Entanglement begins with montage of failed suicide attempts. Fortunately, Ben’s too inept to die—he tries to gas himself with an exhaust pipe, but a kid steals his car; he takes a bath with a toaster, but forgets to plug it in; when he succeeds in slitting his wrists, he gets up to answer the front door.

SIFF 2017: 'Time Trap' (2017) Movie Review



When a group of college students—and two tweens named Veeves and Furby, brought along for specious reasons—head into a mysterious cave system to find a beloved professor, himself searching for a group of hippies who disappeared years before, they discover underground time is not the same as surface time. And then shit gets real weird.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

'Okja' Trailer: Meet The Most Adorable Super Pig



Any Bong Joon-ho movie is worth getting excited about. But when it’s about a little girl trying to rescue her best friend, a best friend that just happens to be a giant pig monster, it has my full attention. The Korean auteur’s latest premieres at Cannes tomorrow, and Netflix dropped a wonderful new trailer for Okja.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

13 SIFF 2017 Films You Need To See




It’s that time of year again, time for the 2017 Seattle International Film Festival. For those unfamiliar, this is an epic, near-month-long marathon of movies from around the globe. What better way to spend a burgeoning Pacific Northwest summer than by sitting indoors in the dark watching movies?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

'Alien: Covenant' (2017) Movie Review



In 2012, Ridley Scott ventured back to the site of one of his greatest cinematic triumphs with Prometheus. This sci-fi opus, set in the Alien universe and serving as a precursor to one of the all-time greats, is uneven at best. I’m a staunch defender—it’s ambitious, full of lofty themes, moody and tense and creepy all in a line with the original, not to mention gorgeous—but I understand where the detractors come from.

'War For The Planet Of The Apes' Trailer Will Finish The Fight



Who knew motion capture monkeys would be the of the most affecting blockbuster movie characters of the last few years? But here we are. As we prepare to wrap up the trilogy (though one producer said there could be more movies down the road), 20th Century Fox has unleashed a ferocious new trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes.

Friday, May 12, 2017

'Deathgasm' Director Teams Up With Harry Potter For Insane Sounding Action Comedy 'Guns Akimbo'



New Zealand-based demonic heavy metal gore fest Deathgasm was one of my favorite movies of 2015. It’s like everything I love all in one place. Director Jason Lei Howden just lined up his second feature, an action comedy also steeped in violence, called Guns Akimbo. And he’s teaming up with Harry Potter himself, DanielRadcliff, to star.

The 'Turbo Kid' Team Is Back For Horror Thriller "Summer Of '84"



A few years ago, a bunch of insane Canadians got together for Turbo Kid, a loving and totally rad send up cheap, schlocky post-apocalyptic movies like The New Barbarians, 1990: The Bronx Warriors, and the slew of similar Mad Max knock-offs that permeated the 1980s. Now that same team is back and working on a horror slasher called Summer of ‘84, and I’m pretty damn psyched.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

'King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword' (2017) Movie Review



Do you lament the lack of sword and sorcery movies coming out of Hollywood? Well, fans of the likes of Krull, Beastmaster, Hawk the Slayer, and the slew of awesomely cheesy dudes-with swords-fighting-evil-magicians-movies that proliferated the early 1980s, are in luck with Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. I won’t necessarily say it’s good, but it’s a decent modern approximation of those movies, for both good and ill. It’s crazy, but not quite crazy enough. And though there are delirious highs, there are crushing, cringe-inducing lows. So, you know, par for the course.

Monday, May 8, 2017

'Blade Runner 2049' Trailer: Ryan Gosling Wants To Ask Harrison Ford Some Questions



I’m admittedly skeptical about things like sequels to game-changing classics that arrive, I don’t know, let’s say 35 years after the original. In most cases, I’d rather Hollywood leave well enough alone, but since that’s never going to happen, at least we can hope these movies are good. And holy shit, does Blade Runner 2049 look good. Check out the new trailer below. Any lingering skepticism (very little at this point) I had just got blown to dust.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Watch The Trailer For Stylish Cannes-Bound South Korean Thriller 'The Merciless'



Over at least the last couple of decades, no one does gritty crime thrillers quite like South Korean filmmakers. There’s a laundry list of incredible titles from a collection of my favorite directors currently working anywhere, and it looks like Byun Sung-hyun wants to add his name to that roster with The Merciless. Check out the international trailer for Cannes-bound picture.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Gareth Evans' Actioner 'Apostle' Goes To Church In First Image



After Merantau, The Raid, The Raid 2, and even that short, I’m completely in the bag for anything Gareth Evans does next. That especially includes his upcoming Apostle, which, in addition to being a Gareth Evans movie, also has an awesome cast and sounds freaking rad. It’s still off in the distant future, but now we have our first look at Apostle. Check it out after the jump.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

'Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2' (2017) Movie Review



What’s the one thing Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel’s 2014 deep space adventure, is missing? That’s right, Kurt Russell. Fortunately for everyone, writer/director James Gunn’s follow up, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 rectifies that oversight with a vengeance. Oh yeah, and there’s Baby Groot, who may be the most adorable character to ever grace the silver screen.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Full 'It Comes At Night' Trailer Is Terrifying



A24’s upcoming horror It Comes at Night, from Krisha director Trey Edward Shults, debuted with a surprise screening this weekend at the inaugural Overlook Film Festival (one of many, many reasons I’m bummed I didn’t make it to this awesome new genre fest in my own back yard). The internet had a collective orgasmic freakout, which only makes me want to watch this right now. And to accompany the unexpected premiere (it’s reportedly still a rough cut with unfinished special effects), there’s a creepy new trailer. Check it out after the jump.

Monday, April 24, 2017

'Once Upon A Time In Venice' Trailer: Bruce Willis Fights To Save His Dog



I understand very little in this world as much I understand going on a kill-crazy rampage because someone fucked with your dog (or pets in general). Seriously, I’d murder every last one of you for my dogs, which is why a movie like John Wick speaks to me on such a deep level. I also love Bruce Willis, despite the fact that we probably wouldn’t get along at all in real life. But combine Bruce Willis with a movie about a dude fucking people up to get his dog back, and I’m in. If that sounds like your jam, you should probably watch the trailer for Once Upon a Time in Venice.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

'The Survivalist' Trailer Is My Kind Of Post-Apocalyptic Bummer



Are most post-apocalyptic joints too light and fluffy? If that’s the case, you may want to watch the trailer for Stephen Fingleton’s debut feature, The Survivalist. This appears to be bleak, depressing shit, but just my speed of bleak and depressing. Check it out after the jump and get ready to curl up in the fetal position and rock the sadness away for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

'Free Fire' (2016) Movie Review



A filmmaker most known for dark, often nightmarish, genre-bending films, Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire is his most accessible work yet. Inspired by mean-spirited 1970s B-movie shoot-em-ups—obviously pulling from a similar pool as Tarantino did for Reservoir DogsFree Fire is ultraviolent, laugh-out-loud funny, and jubilantly vicious, if a bit slight.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

'The Lost City Of Z' (2017) Movie Review



To get this out of the way up front, I hated every second of James Gray’s The Lost City of Z. In reality, that’s probably all you need to know. Everything that comes after this is simply a more specific reiteration of that larger point. I dislike this in a raw, visceral way that I don’t hate many movies.

Good Lord, Ben Wheatley's Giant Crab Monster Movie 'Freakshift' Keeps Getting Better And Better



Ben Wheatley’s bang-bang shoot-em-up, Free Fire, hits theaters this weekend (my review goes up tomorrow if you feel so inclined to check back), and as such, the director’s been on the press trail. This means that there’s been ample opportunity for people to ask him about his upcoming Freakshift, and the more he says, the more a movie that already sounds unbearably rad keeps getting better and better.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Watch The 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Trailer



Hey, guess what? Star Wars: The Last Jedi just released it’s first trailer. You should watch it now. Like right now. And be bummed that it’s not December and we still have like two-thirds of a year until we can see the actual movie.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Ana Lily Amirpour's 'The Bad Batch' Trailer Had Me At 'Keanu Reeves As A Post-Apocalyptic Cult Leader'



Twee indie Iranian vampire western A Girl WalksHome Alone at Night is a goddamned masterpiece, so, of course, anything writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour does next is high on my list. It doesn’t hurt my feelings at all that her next movie is a weird-as-hell post-apocalyptic cannibal joint. And the latest trailer for The Bad Batch does nothing but sell me.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

'The Fate Of The Furious' (2017) Movie Review



If 2015’s Furious 7 was a bit too reserved and subdued—what with cars parachuting from cargo planes and leaping skyscraper to skyscraper—don’t worry, The Fate of the Furious, also known as the eighth Fast and Furious movie (AKA #F8), rectifies that with gleeful abandon. It walks a fine line between sheer idiocy and inspired brilliance, often leaping back and forth between the two, and represents a marked drop in quality in the franchise for the first time in almost a decade.