Thursday, July 31, 2014
When Brendan Gleeson gets together with John Michael McDonagh, magical things happen. The two first teamed up in 2011 for the black comedy, The Guard, which, though it gets dark when it needs to, showcases Gleeson’s easy charm, humor and ability to absolutely take control of the frame. He’s proven time and time again that he’s one of the best and most underappreciated character actors working today. Their latest collaboration, Calvary, takes a different approach than their last endeavor, but is no less impressive, illustrating again that Gleeson is equally adept in the lead of this character study as in any supporting roles.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
There aren't any words. Just watch this, get pumped, and get bummed that we have to wait until May 15, 2015 to see Mad Max: Fury Road. It better be worth it, we've already been waiting since 2010.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Have you ever wondered what would look like if Star Wars had an awesome baby with Indiana Jones? I spent a significant amount as a child dreaming of just such a scenario, and my best guess is that it would probably look a lot like Marvel’s latest addition to their cinematic universe, Guardians of the Galaxy. I’ve been looking forward to this title since the comic book giant made the announcement—how can you not get excited at the prospect of badass talking raccoon?—and while my hopes were high, the actual movie totally lived up to and exceeded my expectations.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Abandon all logic ye who enter here, because we are about to start talking Lucy. You might want to leave reason and science by the door while you're at it, you won’t have much call to use either of those for the next 90 minutes or so. French action auteur Luc Besson has made his version of 2001, or at least his Tree of Life, and it is a wild, wild time. People are going to walk into what they think is a Scarlett Johansson-fronted action movie and have their minds broken. This is very much not the movie you were led to expect, but goddamn if it isn’t a total freaking blast. There will be those who laud this as the most fun movie of the summer, while others will condemn it as complete and utter nonsense, and somehow they’ll both be right.
It’s impossible to talk about Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” without talking about how the film was made. This isn’t, however, a case of technical innovation or pushing the boundaries of special effects. A passion project of the highest order, Linklater and company filmed “Boyhood” over the course of 12-years, with the cast and crew coming together annually to shoot for a while before moving on to the rest of their lives. This is a technique that has been used often in documentary filmmaking, and while this approach could be a gimmick, the film uses it to great effect, and the result is a beautiful, unique coming of age story recorded and shown like you’ve never seen before.
It’s been a big summer for science fiction movies, both in the sense of the number of options, as well as sheer size and spectacle. We’ve had giant robots (Transformers: Age of Extinction), giant prehistoric monsters (Godzilla), and giant movie stars like Tom Cruise (Edge of Tomorrow). And this isn’t even taking into account a swarm of super smart monkeys (Dawn of the Planet of theApes) that recently arrived, or the gang of adolescent turtles (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and the talking raccoon in deep space (Guardians of the Galaxy) that are yet to arrive.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Season eight of BBC’s venerable sci-fi adventure Doctor Who is on on the way, and though the August 23 premiere date still feels like a rather long way off, we’ve got something that just might tide you over until then. Titan Comics unveiled not one, but two new continuing Doctor Who comics. While new episodes of the television series will properly introduce fans to Peter Capaldi’s twelfth incarnation of the Time Lord, these comics follow the adventures of fan favorite tenth and eleventh Doctors. Though both issues are quick hitters—you’ll be in and out in few minutes each—they’re a fun way to fill your time before the show returns.
Sunday, July 20, 2014
David Cronenberg has been turning out creepy, memorable films that range from good to great for more than four decades, and one of his fan favorites, 1981’s Scanners, just got the Criterion Blu-ray treatment. If you have any inkling that you need to add this to your collection, do it, now, don’t waste any time. This is the Canadian auteur in the middle of an epic run, preceded by Shivers, Rabid, and The Brood, and followed immediately by Videodrome, The Dead Zone, and The Fly. Most filmmakers can only dream of a string of movies like that.
Friday, July 18, 2014
For the most part, end of the year awards are complete and total bullshit. We could go through list of films from every single year and pick out which movie should have won and Oscar, what actor or actress deserved the Golden Globe, and point out all the best picture winners that have faded into obscurity while movies that didn’t even get a nomination have become universally regarded as classics. Awards are little more than a way for the movie industry to congratulate itself, and many serious movie fans don’t put a great deal of stock into them as anything more than a curiosity. Less than a year later I barely remember who took home what trophy. Still, with the release of Matt Reeves’ phenomenal Dawn of the Planet of theApes, the subject of praise and actors wearing motion capture suits has come up quite a bit.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
When “The Purge” opened last summer, it was a huge success. With a budget of $3 million it eventually earned more than $89 million worldwide, and as a result, barely a year later we have James DeMonaco’s sequel, “The Purge: Anarchy.” You can be forgiven for having reservations about this movie. After all, it wasn’t even green lit when the original opened, and a year from approval to a finished script to shooting to post-production to a wide release, is almost unheard of and doesn’t bode well from a quality standpoint. So the fact that this movie is good, better than the first—though it is definitely more of an action film than straight horror—may come as a surprise for many of you.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
The opening shot of Ari Folman’s (Waltz With Bashir) The Congress is the single best part of the movie. Harvey Keitel’s silver-tongued Hollywood agent Al talks off screen while the camera focuses solely on Robin Wright (The Princess Bride). Playing a version of herself—that is, an actress named Robin Wright—the long take is nothing but her reactions. It’s like she’s giving a demonstration of how to act. There’s nothing huge, every move is so subtle that you almost miss them, but she conveys an incredible range of emotion and feeling. She’s mesmerizing, and from this moment on all you want is to watch her to see what she does next. The problem with this live-action/animation hybrid is that it is a slow, steady downhill slide from this beginning.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
In 2011, Rise of the Planet of the Apes rebooted the beloved franchise in a way that made many people forget about Tim Burton’s disastrous attempt to do the same thing in 2001. Rise was far better than most of us expected it to be, but the follow up, Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is one of those rarest things, a sequel that not only tops its predecessor in every way, but straight up blows it out of the water. And I like Rise, quite a bit actually, but the follow up is simply that much better. This is up there with Edge of Tomorrow and Snowpiercer vying for the best movie of the summer. Epic and bold, it, in true Apes fashion, aims to examine the animal in man by looking at the more human side of the animals.
Friday, July 4, 2014
George Takei is a science fiction icon for his portrayal of Hikaru Sulu, the helmsman of the USS Enterprise on Star Trek. While that one role could easily have been his defining moment, there is so, so much more to him than his work on TV and in film. He’s become an outspoken activist for both the Asian and LGBT communities, a meme-producing force on Facebook, and a—finally legally acknowledged—husband to boot. Jennifer Kroot’s new documentary, To Be Takei, offers a hilarious, agreeable, ultimately very intimate look into his life.
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
500 years in the future, Koko Marstellar is a former corporate mercenary-for-hire now living the good life running boywhores and slinging booze on the Sixty Islands, a manmade archipelago where rich travellers indulge their wildest, most base desires. It’s a cushy gig, but one that comes crashing down around her ears in spectacular fashion as her old pal slash new boss, Portia Delecompte, decides it is high time to pay Koko back for…well, she can’t quite remember, but for it must have been pretty major. Thus kicks off of the high-octane, ass-kicking plot of Kieran Shea’s new novel Koko Takes a Holiday, which runs from the pleasure islands of the Sixty all the way into low-Earth orbit and back again.
For fans of international cinema, the news that South Korean director Bong Joon-ho is making a new movie is enough to start you salivating. All he’s done over the last ten plus years is turn out hit after hit, like Memories of Murder, Mother, and The Host—the good one with monsters, not the crappy one by the lady who wrote Twilight. The news only got better from there. This film was going to be his English-language debut—as much as the presence of subtitles don’t sway me one little bit, I do sometimes feel like I miss details. Then we found out this was going to be a post-apocalyptic story, another plus, and he together an incredible cast of actors from around the globe.