Going back to the 1970s, there’s a whole subset of zombie movies that involve Nazis. (My personal favorite subset of this subset is the Nazi-zombies-emerging-from-bodies-of-water sub-subgenre.) Recent installments like the Dead Snow movies have taken a swing at this and now J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robots are having their say with Overlord. The first trailer has emerged from the mystery box and it’s a wild time for sure. Check it out after the jump.
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
If you’ve always wanted to watch a movie that explores what Denzel Washington’s life would be like as a Lyft driver, you’re in luck, because that comprises the bulk of The Equalizer 2’s bloated, 121-minute runtime. And yes, it’s as dull as that sounds.
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
It hits South Korean theater in just over a week, but we’ve been wondering when the rest of us might see Illang: The Wolf Brigade, Kim Jee-woon’s live-action adaptation of Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade. While we don’t have a precise date, it now has a home outside of its native land, as Netflix acquired the international rights, or at least most of them.
Friday, July 13, 2018
'The Dead Don't Die': Jim Jarmusch Is Filming A Zombie Movie With Bill Murray, Adam Driver, And Selena Gomez
Indie auteur Jim Jarmusch isn’t usually associated with horror. Sure, he made a vampire movie with Only Lovers LeftAlive, which I love, but it is, as expected, an artsy, existential love story that just happens to feature immortal, blood-sucking rockers. But apparently he has a secret zombie film on the way called The Dead Don’t Die, and it stars Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Chloe Sevigny, and Selena Gomez.
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Why not? I’ll watch a one-legged Dwayne Johnson dangle off of a burning building with Neve Campbell for 102 minutes. Sure, there’s more to Skyscraper than that, but not much. And that’s all that matters in what’s a serviceable, at times goofily over-the-top entertaining, at times dreadful and dreary Die-Hard-meets-Towering-Inferno riff. And I’m fairly certain the entire film was bankrolled by the Chinese duct tape industry. Seriously, the silver-backed tape has a much more significant presence than it has any right to.
Oh, sweet Baby Jesus, today is a good day! If you’re not familiar with The FP, you really should rectify that situation. When I reviewed it in 2012, I said it was “like watching the hyper-active, sugar-fueled bastard child of The Warriors, Japanese pop culture, and a hillbilly bounce all over the screen.” And I stand by that. I’ve been tracking the sequel, Beats of Rage for some time, and now it’s reportedly in the can, set to make a film festival debut this fall, and mastermind Jason Trost just dropped this new trailer and we gotta Beat-Beat this out.
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Indonesian filmmaker Timo Tjahjanto may have taken a detour into action ass-kickery recently with Headshot. He also has another actioner in the pipe—The Night Comes for Us with Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, and Julie Estelle—which I’m suitably jacked up for. But one half of the duo known as the Mo Brothers (along with Kimo Stamboel), his heart lies in horror. Before that drops, he’s set to deliver May the Devil Take You. Another horror joint, it has an unsettling new trailer, complete with a floating woman holding what appears to be a severed goat head. You know, just in case the title didn’t tip you off to the evil lurking within. Check it out below.
Monday, July 9, 2018
Zombie movies have been done every which way, and then some. It’s been said often, but bears repeating, that it’s difficult to bring anything new or fresh to the genre. But a movie doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel or do something entirely unheard of in order to be effective. Dominique Rocher’s debut feature, The Night Eats the World, falls into a category with films like The Girl with all the Gifts, Train to Busan, and The Battery, movies that, while they don’t necessarily blow up the categorical conventions, do what they do well, put an inventive spin on the proceedings, and breathe a bit of life into what can be a stale horror subset.
For his follow up to The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Yorgos Lanthimos is taking on an 18th century British period piece. And as you can imagine, being a Yorgos Lanthimos film and all, The Favourite isn’t exactly what you expect from this set up. I don’t entirely know what I’m watching with this new trailer, but I love it and can’t wait to see more.
Friday, July 6, 2018
Godmonster of Indian Flats has just about everything you could possibly want out of a movie. It has dope fur vests, sheep farmers, old-west-style prostitutes, racist land barons, a racist sheriff who used to be a Wall Street player (?), pie throwing children, faking a dog’s death as a means of blackmail, black-hood-wearing lynch mobs, and, of course, an eight-foot-tall rampaging mutant sheep monster. If that doesn’t make you want to watch this oddity from 1973, nothing I can say will change your mind. Just know you’re missing something truly strange and wonderful.
Tuesday, July 3, 2018
When The First Purge, the latest in Blumhouse’s saga of a future where all crime is legal for one night, sticks to the horror elements that drive the franchise, it’s often quite effective. In short bursts, it taps an underlying sense of dread and evokes a visceral, gut-level terror. When the protagonists stumble their way through dark streets, pursued by gangs of giddily murderous revelers draped in eerie masks, it’s tense and scary and raw. The framework around these moments, however, doesn’t always support the weight.
Monday, July 2, 2018
So, if you need an infusion of gonzo action this Monday afternoon, we’re more than happy to oblige. Check out the badass new teaser trailer for Erik Matti’s Buybust, which checks off all of the items on our action wish list.
Friday, June 29, 2018
Thursday, June 28, 2018
Denis Villeneuve’s 2015 drug war thriller Sicario is a crushing masterclass in tension, sparse landscapes full of violence, and grim realism. The follow-up, Sicario: Day of the Soldado, while filling a certain niche, feels very much like a facsimile. Gritty and low-down and dirty, it watches like one of those should-have-been DTV titles that magically gets a theatrical run because of name recognition. Think London Has Fallen or pretty much anything with Gerard Butler these days and you’re in the ball park. This comes with positives, but also drawbacks.
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
This 'Mandy' Trailer Has Nicolas Cage Fighting An Evil Cult, Is Everything I've Ever Wanted In A Movie
Tuesday, June 26, 2018
As psyched as I am for a Shane Black-directed, Shane Black/Fred Dekker-written take on The Predator, thus far, the trailers haven’t exactly lit me on fire. That is, until now. This latest trailer is badass. It practically sweats Black’s trademark machismo and looks like exactly the movie I hope it is.
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
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.
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?
Friday, June 8, 2018
Well damn. I didn’t realize how excited I was, or really that I was excited at all, for Blumhouse’s new Halloween movie until the other day when they released a handful of teasers for the first trailer. (I know, I know, trailers for trailers, it’s silly, all that.) But when the music kicked in, I got chills. Well, the full trailer is here. Again, chills.
Thursday, June 7, 2018
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
-Blue Scholars, “No Rest for the Weary”
Joseph Kahn’s Bodied follows Adam (Calum Worthy, American Vandal), a nerdy white college student. Fully entrenched in the PC world of academia, he’s writing his thesis on the use of the granddaddy of all racial slurs in the world of underground rap battles. Immersing himself in this world, he, along with his mentor Behn Grymm (Jackie Long), discovers a penchant for sick rhymes and ill burns that outrages everyone around him and throws his coddled, carefully manicured life into chaos.
American Animals is a movie that has an admittedly cool hook—it tells a true story, but along with the dramatization, director Bart Layton (The Imposter) splices in interviews with the real people involved. But like many films with a cool hook, it’s too in love with its own coolness, to the point of distraction. And while it tries to do something different, it’s so hyper-stylized—I counted at least six slow-motion montages set to conspicuously recognizable pop songs—that the stylistics cease to have any substantial impact and it’s not nearly as edgy as it wants to be or thinks it is.
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
The less I say about Hereditary, the better, so I’ll try to keep this brief. What’s important is that this stands as one of the best horror movies in years. It moves in unexpected ways, overflows with bonkers great performances, and builds to a genre crescendo that rips out your still-beating heart and shows it to you. Writer/director Ari Aster crafts a creepy, cryptic, moody horror tone poem about coping with grief and loss and family that rattles and shakes in deep, profound ways.
Monday, June 4, 2018
Sundance fave Hearts Beat Loud shows maybe the best on-screen father-daughter relationship I’ve ever seen. Sam (Kiersey Clemons) is the driven, focused one, about to start a pre-med program. Her father, Frank (Nick Offerman), is the head-in-the-clouds dreamer unable to relinquish a fading musical ambition and desire to start a band with his daughter.
Susupiria is arguably horror legend Dario Argento’s greatest work. So, of course there were grumblings from the faithful when a remake was announced. That’s just what happens in these situations. What we’ve seen thus far looks creepy and witchy and weird, and early reactions to footage have been overwhelmingly positive. But that’s all second hand and hearsay, at least until now. Amazon dropped the first trailer for Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria and it looks pretty rad.
Friday, June 1, 2018
Road trip movies are hard. They’ve been done so much, it’s a struggle to find anything new; they rely on a series of vignettes, so it’s difficult to maintain many carrying themes and through lines; and if the people on said road trip don’t have chemistry, your movie is in trouble. Most known for indie dramas, writer/director Hannah Fidell (6 Years) dives headlong into mismatched buddy road comedy with The Long Dumb Road. It falls into some of these pitfalls at the same time as it skirts others, and while the results are often uneven, it’s also a raucous good time.
Thursday, May 31, 2018
Holy crap have I been waiting for this. Let the Corpses Tan landed on my radar last year when it showed up at a bunch of fests and got raves from folks I trust on these matters. It looks like a bonkers slice of ‘70s Italian scumfuckery and I intend that at the highest compliment. Kino Lorber is set to release it in late summer, and this new trailer reaffirms my desire to inject this directly into my brain.
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
I repeat, this is not a drill. Hot off of Okja last year, Korean hit factory Bong Joon-ho has reportedly started filming his follow-up, Parasite, which, according to the news, doesn’t involve any actual parasites. It will be released next year and marks the Snowpiercer director’s return to filming entirely in his native tongue for the first time since Mother in 2009.
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Chris Caldwell and Zeek Earl’s debut feature, Prospect—which adapts their short film of the same name—is a lot of things. It’s a stripped-down, retro-futuristic sci-fi narrative. It’s the story of an angry, frustrated young woman coming into her own and finding her true strength. And it’s a slow-burn, morally ambiguous western saga about two unlikely partners who are never sure they can trust one another, but may have no other choice. Except, you know, with space helmets instead of cowboy hats. Taken together, it’s a tight, promising introduction to these filmmakers.
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Once again this year I’m helping cover the SeattleInternational Film Festival for The Seattle Times. That’s where the bulk of my reviews and writing time are focused for this year’s fest. And it’s been a fantastic slate thus far. Check out links to my reviews, and a number of other fine writers, below.
Monday, May 21, 2018
What would a movie about a hitman on the run be without a bunch of people to shoot? John Wick has never had a lack of targets, and the upcoming John Wick: Chapter 3—possibly titled John Wick: Parabellum—just added a crazy ton of actors. The list includes Halle Berry, Anjelica Huston, Jason Mantzoukas, Asia Kate Dillon, Mark Dascascos, and most importantly, at least from my perspective, Yayan Ruhian and Cecep Arif Rahman from The Raid and Man of Tai Chi and Triple Threat star Tiger Chen.
Friday, May 18, 2018
Though I usually wind up liking but not loving his movies as much as many other people, Guillermo del Toro has an infectious love and enthusiasm for movies. Last year, the same year he won a Best Picture Oscar for The Shape of Water, he declared Issa Lopez’ Tigers are Not Afraid one of his favorite films of 2017. And it’s easy to see why he approves, as it bears a heavy influence of Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone.
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
I’ve said it before, but I think it bears repeating: If Tom Cruise can in fact die, and the jury is still out on that one, he’s going to die doing an insane stunt, probably for a Mission: Impossible movie. Seriously, just watch the new trailer for Mission: Impossible—Fallout and count the times where he almost bites it.
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Did we need a standalone Han Solo movie in the Star Wars universe? No, no we didn’t. But no one asked me, and in the grand scheme of things, unnecessary as it is, we could have done much worse than Solo: A Star Wars Story. Granted, we also could have done much better. It’s a wildly mixed bag, but with the utter chaos behind the scenes—the ousting of directors Chris Lord and Phil Miller 2/3 of the way through production, the recasting, the rewrites, the reshoots—worse was always on the table as a very real possibility.
Marky Mark is sick of coddling all the pussies and his new movie is here to prove that. I don’t exactly know how that ties into his new action movie, Mile 22, but the Trump pal once again teams up with director Peter Berg (Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon) for some rah-rah, flag-waving, manly shit. And they, of course, can’t help but getting a jab in at people with feelings (AKA the aforementioned pussies) at the start of this new trailer.
Monday, May 14, 2018
The Seattle International Film Festival is an ungainly monster. It runs almost four full weeks (25 days), more if you hit up press screenings and screeners that start two weeks ahead of time, and features more than 400 movies, 168 of them features. You’ll find things that literally won’t see anywhere else. And while that’s awesome, wading through everything gets a bit much.
After pummeling audiences about the head, neck, and face in 2016 with Headshot, which I called one of the angriest action movies I’ve ever seen, Timo Tjahjanto, also known as one-half of the Mo Brothers, returns to his horror roots with May the Devil Take You. I have no idea what it’s about, but the director teased us with a quick glimpse, and I’m way, way, way, way down.
Friday, May 11, 2018
When two cinematic madmen hook up, you can bet the result is going to be some crazy ass shit. And that’s exactly what I expect from the tag team of Sion Sono and Nicolas Cage. If the prospect of these to lunatics working together doesn’t get your Spidey sense tingling, you may be dead. The duo is set to work together on Prisoners of the Ghostland, Sono’s English-language debut, and it sounds rad and insane.
Thursday, May 10, 2018
If you have any inkling, even the slightest idea of what Breaking In is all about, you, well, know exactly what Breaking In is all about. It’s a stripped-down, to-the-point home invasion thriller that delivers 100% what it promises. How much mileage you get out of that depends on you, but it accomplishes precisely what it sets out to do. But it’s easily watchable, even if there’s little substance, and Gabrielle Union is terrific as a desperate, vengeful mother fucking up BillyBurke and his gang of goons.
He didn’t write John McTiernan’s 1987 Predator, but Shane Black appeared in the film. In the years since, he’s become a celebrated writer and director in his own right. And now he’s back to try to breathe some new life into the franchise with The Predator. 20th Century Fox just released the first trailer for the sci-fi actioner. Check it out below.
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Talk about a third Bill & Ted movie has been going around for years. It’s one of those things that I never actually thought would happen—and one I’ve never been entirely sure I wanted, as the first two are perfect, and that comic sequel was good enough for me—but it’s apparently official: Bill & Ted Face the Music is officially a go. And despite any misgivings, that’s excellent news.
Thursday, April 26, 2018
When you begin your movie with a Lovecraft quote, you establish certain wingnut expectations right out of the gate. And Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, the duo behind 2014’s Spring, meet those expectations with the twisty sci-fi/horror cult thriller The Endless. And there’s a character named Shitty Carl, which is a nice bonus.
Over the last few years, action fans have been blessed with two installments in the John Wick franchise. It’s easily the biggest and best action series going. (We can debate the best portion of that statement, but as far as this style of non-superhero, non-giant-robot action goes, it’s by far the biggest—most of this ilk heads straight to DTV.) Thank whatever higher power you prefer, John Wick: Chapter 3 is on the way, and it now has a first synopsis.