Cinematic adaptations of beloved literary works are a dicey proposition at best. No matter how good a job filmmakers do, there will forever be those who decry it as an abomination. I’m normally whatever about these—a good movie is a good movie, even if it’s based on a book I love and even if it’s nothing like said book. I’m not hugely invested in Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time either way. I read it once as a youngster, I remember one of my sister’s elementary school classes turning it into a play, but that’s about it. That said, the trailer for Ava Duverney’s adaptation looks bonkers and epic and all kinds of rad. Take a look for yourself.
Monday, November 20, 2017
Friday, November 17, 2017
Over the past few years, Taylor Sheridan has won acclaim for writing gritty crime dramas like Sicario and Hell or High Water, and his directorial debut, Wind River. Director James M. Dagg, working from a script by the China Brothers, tries to get in on that act with Sweet Virginia. His sophomore feature dredges similar aesthetic and thematic territory. While it succeeds on some fronts, it hits less hard on others, though the finished product is a serviceable, if unremarkable, mumblecore neo-noir.
Thursday, November 16, 2017
You know, sometimes I look at a certain movie and I think, “Did I make that?” Because I’m fairly certain I’m the only one who could possibly want to see it. And that’s the sensation I get watching the first trailer for Rampage. It stars Dwayne Johnson and a giant gorilla, a giant wolf, and a giant crocodile. And based on this first look, it’s already the greatest video game movie ever made.
“I’m just so tired of all these Star Wars.” Okay, I’m not, not at all. Nor did I have the titular line in Star Wars, which has always chaffed. We’re now less than a month away from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which I’m rather jazzed for. And just in case we didn’t already know that, we’re at the point where Lucasfilm is beating us about the head, neck, and face with promotional material. This includes a bunch of new TV spots.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Justice League is clunky and messy. It’s jumbled and misshapen. The presence of multiple directors—Zack Snyder did the bulk of the heavy lifting, though Joss Whedon handled extensive reshoots and rewrites, and roughly 20% of the finished film belongs to him, according to reports—is readily apparent in the mishmash of tones and the fact that it watches like multiple movies shoehorned together. Cringe-worthy choices abound. The fight scenes all look like they’re lifted from a video game promo. And, of course, since this is a superhero movie, the plot revolves around an iconic group of comic book characters searching for CGI boxes powerful enough to destroy the world. But for all the bumps and bruises and problems, and they are legion, Justice League is a hell of a lot of fun.
People are complicated creatures. We’re all capable of cruelty and kindness, anger and compassion. Everyone’s part good, everyone’s part shit. It’s this internal dichotomy that drives Martin McDonagh’s pitch-black comedy/drama Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and it’s why his characters are more complex and authentic than those we often find on screen. They’re brutally flawed, but devastatingly human. It doesn’t hurt that the phenomenal cast all give career best performances, or at least damn close.
Monday, November 13, 2017
So far, December 15 is shaping up to be the best day of my calendar year. Not only does Star Wars: The Last Jedi open, but Amazon drops the first season of Jean-Claude Van Johnson, and the after-the-fact sci-fi sequel Beyond Skyline also hits. And I might be most excited about that last one. Check out this new clip to see why.
Friday, November 10, 2017
Throughout their history, westerns have often been grim, gritty, and dicey on the racism front. All of which figures prominently into the trailer for Hostiles, the latest from Black Mass and Out of the Furnace director Scott Cooper.
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
This first paragraph has little to do with the movie we’ll be discussing today. We’ll get to that, but I have to get something off my chest first. Multiple times walking out of Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express, which, admittedly, isn’t great, I overheard people ask, “Have you heard of her before?” Her being AGATHA FUCKING CHRISTIE. Only the most celebrated mystery writer of all fucking time. Apologies, I needed to yell about that for a moment. I’m rage hyperventilating just thinking about it. Onward.
Friday, November 3, 2017
It makes such an insane amount of sense, yet somehow I never thought about it until right this very moment, but Park Chan-wook adapting a John le Carre novel sounds like a perfect meeting of the minds. And just to be clear, that’s what’s happening. The South Korean hit machine signed on to adapt The Little Drummer Girl in a six-part adaptation. If six hours of Park Chan-wook doing John le Carre doesn’t sound like the best way to spend six hours, we probably wouldn’t be friends in real life.