Thursday, December 29, 2016
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
It’s the last week of 2016, I don’t have any reviews to write, Carrie Fisher just died, and the whole world is covered in shit. For some reason, these bleak circumstances seem a wholly appropriate place to drop a list of my top horror movies of 2016. There are certainly some grim times to be found among these titles.
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Without fail, some people grouse about how that particular 365-day journey around the sun was a bad year for movies. 2016 is no exception, a circumstance made all the more egregious because so many giant blockbusters sucked ass or, perhaps even worse, wound up inane and tepid and unmemorable in every regard.
Monday, December 26, 2016
It was a merry Christmas, indeed. Not for the usual, warm, fuzzy, holiday nonsense that other people have been compelling me to endure for damn near 40 years against my will. No, on this day we set aside to celebrate fat dudes and the savior of humanity or whatever, I’m in a festive mood because we got our first look at Alien: Covenant, and holy shit balls. Like I said, merry Christmas, indeed.
Friday, December 23, 2016
Admittedly, this isn’t the freshest bit of news, but since it came out a few days ago, I haven’t stopped thinking about it for more than a couple of minutes. After he floored me with Arrival and wowed me with that brief Blade Runner 2049 teaser trailer, I keep saying that I hope director Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners) continues to splash around in the science fiction end of the pool. And it looks like he may do just that. Reports say he could helm an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s legendary sci-fi novel Dune.
Thursday, December 22, 2016
Already a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play, Denzel Washington's film adaptation of August Wilson's Fences is going to add some accompanying award hardware to the roster this year, most notably in the acting categories. This, even as it struggles, often unsuccessfully, to distinguish itself from its stage roots.
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Because I’m a super fancy film critic (i.e. I spend most of my free time sitting silently in dark rooms watching movies most people never see; writing about them online, where no one reads about them, for little to no money; and talking about these movies no one sees with other likeminded obsessives—jealous?), I get to vote in super fancy end-of-the-year film critic polls. One of these is the Seattle Film Critics Society, which just announced the 2016 Seattle Film Awards nominations.
Back in 2011, André Øvredal made easily my favorite found footage horror joint, Troll Hunter. Though it’s been a bit, the Norwegian director is back with his third feature, and English-language debut, The Autopsy of Jane Doe. And it’s a perfect genre antidote to big blockbusters and end-of-the-year award bait. Don’t get me wrong, I love and appreciate both of those things, but damn it gets exhausting, so it’s nice to have a bit of nasty horror counterprogramming.
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Movies are an accumulation of thousands upon thousands of choices. The collective decisions of directors, actors, writers, editors, DPs, and even casting agents, add up to the final product that makes it to the silver screen. And sometimes, just sometimes, a single one of those fucks it up for everyone and sends the flaming wreckage of a movie into the waiting fireball of a sun. Such is the case with Morten Tyldum’s deep space romance, Passengers, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt.
Monday, December 19, 2016
Bad guys, apparently you didn’t get the message the first time, but you really, really, need to stop messing with John Wick. It’s not going to end well. To be fair, I hope you never learn this lesson, since that would make John Wick: Chapter 2 the last in the saga of the reluctant hitman, and I don’t that to happen because this new trailer and poster look amazing.
Okay, I’m going to come right out and say this: Denis Villeneuve should only make science fiction movies from now on. Arrival is going to land very near the apex of my top movies of 2016 list, and though it’s less than two-minutes-long, the first trailer for the long-in-the-works Blade Runner 2049 looks spectacular.
Friday, December 16, 2016
'xXx: Return Of Xander Cage' Trailers: Vin Diesel Breaks A Gun And Wishes Us A Merry Freakin' Christmas
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
After Whiplash whipped up a frenzy, writer/director Damien Chazelle could do damn near anything he wanted. Helm a superhero movie? Probably could have done that. Tackle a big-budget summer blockbuster or weighty Oscar-bait drama? So many others have followed that path. But what does he do? He makes La La Land, a full-on throwback musical. And he absolutely kills it.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
What are you doing? Why are you reading this? Odds are, you already know whether or not you’re going to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Hell, most of you probably have tickets (or you’re not seeing it until 2017). You don’t need me to tell you whether it’s good or not. Go see Rogue One. Come back afterwards and we can discuss it then.
Monday, December 12, 2016
Between Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto turning his back on his makeshift family, Charlize Theron’s terrible, terrible pseudo-dreadlocks (is she going to a rave?), and a goddamn submarine bursting through the icepack and getting into a high-speed chase with a Lamborghini and a tank, I have no clue what’s going on in the first trailer for The Fate of the Furious, the latest in the Fast and Furious franchise. But holy hell, whatever it is, I love the shit out of it.
Friday, December 9, 2016
Looks like Christmas came early, True Believers. Last night arrived with snow (at least here in Seattle) and two, count ‘em, two, new trailers for Spider-Man: Homecoming. The first is the domestic version, followed by an international take, and together, they feature a nice collection of footage.
Like many film fans, when I hear Hollywood plans to reboot a franchise I love and adore, my immediate reaction is not positive. That said, there have been incredible reboots and re-launches, and for my money, the best is the revamped Planet of the Apes saga. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was better than anyone expected, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is legitimately great—it wound up on my top ten list that year. The next chapter, War for the Planet of the Apes drops summer 2017, and if this first trailer is in any way representative of the finished product, good golly we’re in for another fantastic ape-versus-human adventure.
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
When an ambitious young journalist tracks down what he hopes will be a career-launching story, he falls into a world of high-stakes political intrigue. Such is the set up of Nathan Williams’ gorgeous, filmed-in-Washington, shot-on-a-shoestring debut feature, If There’s a Hell Below.
A certain level of utter chaos and mayhem from the guy behind Tokyo Gore Police and Mutant Girl Squad is to be expected, and the trailer for Japanese director Yoshihiro Nishimura’s Kodoku Meatball Machine does not disappoint on that front. Check it out below, it’ll be the most insane two minutes of your day. If it isn’t, holy shit, you’re having a weird one.
Sunday, December 4, 2016
As much as I do enjoy a number of Marvel movies, 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy stands out as my favorite. It’s so different than everything else the comic book studio has produced, and the deep space high adventure is just so damn much fun. So, it’s understandable I’m psyched for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and the fact that it releases fantastic trailers like this latest one only stokes that fire.
Friday, December 2, 2016
It feels like it’s been forever since André Øvredal dropped Troll Hunter in our laps, and to be fair, that was in 2011, so it has been a while. But the Norwegian helmer is back with his first English-language horror offering, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, which his here with a creepy new trailer for you to gawk at.
'The Handmaid's Tale': Take A First Look At Hulu's Margaret Atwood Adaptation Starring Elisabeth Moss
Earlier this year I reread Margaret Atwood’s speculative fiction masterwork The Handmaid’s Tale. It had been a while, but I was struck by how prescient and immediate and current the 1985 novel felt. People are fond of debating which fictional dystopia we’re going to wind up with—the frontrunners are always George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (though the current landscape certainly feels like a synthesis of the two).
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Any Martin Scorsese movie is going to be an automatic awards contender; that’s just a fact. And we’re talking biggies here, too, like Oscar, not just some random Seattle film asshole’s end of the year top ten list. Such is the case with his latest, Silence, though it’s been a tight race to see if it would squeak in under the deadline and make the cut for 2016. This has now been decided with a resounding yes, and there’s a tense new trailer just in case you need extra motivation to get up for a Martin Scorsese movie. Check it out after the jump.
Monday, November 21, 2016
Diversity and empowerment took a swift shot recently, which is why Disney’s latest animated offering, Moana, couldn’t have arrived at a better time. But it’s also more than just a welcome respite from the ugliness currently popping up with alarming frequency outside. It’s also an epic adventure, the type that girls and young women—and young people in general—everywhere are sure to imagine themselves embarking on.
Friday, November 18, 2016
When it was released in 1971, the critical response to Robert Altman’s revisionist anti-western, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, was positive, but tempered. Co-star Julie Christie received an Academy Award nomination, celebrated cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond’s gauzy camerawork earned a BAFTA nomination, and a few other accolades added up. Over the years, however, it’s become recognized as a classic of the American New Wave. A maverick, anti-establishment feature, and the Criterion Collection just released a fantastic new Blu-ray worthy of that elevated status.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
One of the biggest knocks on Gareth Edwards’ 2014 Godzilla reboot was that the titular King of the Monsters only actually appeared on screen for like ten minutes or whatever. Judging by this new trailer, that’s not going to be an issue for Kong: Skull Island. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Kings of Summer) and company certainly don’t skimp on the monkey.
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
A movie based on a text book, even one for fictional teenage wizards, is something of a hard sell. But Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them captures the wonder and magic of the wizarding world of Harry Potter. While extant fans will get the most mileage, and the connections are obvious—though it thankfully never veers into Hobbit-esque straight up shilling for the previous franchise—it stands on its own, and the high adventure and marvelous action astound.
Friday, November 11, 2016
It’s been a rough week for a lot of folks. People are looking for hope, and maybe, just maybe, two new international trailers for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story can help with that a bit. Hope and resistance are what we've got to lean on right now, and like what we’ve seen thus far, they hammer that home hard once again.
Thursday, November 10, 2016
Remember a few days ago when movies seemed way more important than they do right now? Those were good times. (For the record, I still believe film and books and music and art are vitally important—we will need them desperately in the coming days—I’m just being hyperbolic, so go watch movies like Moonlight and maybe give THIS ARTICLE a read.) The world has apparently decided to remain turning, and Hollywood keeps kicking out movies. And that includes Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and we’ve got the first trailer for your perusal. It’s straight up bananas.
Monday, November 7, 2016
Stunt-performer-turned-director Chad Stahelski (with partner in crime David Leitch) turned in one of the best modern action movies with John Wick, and I’m understandably pretty jazzed about John Wick: Chapter 2. Stahelski tackled the sequel solo (while Leitch helms the upcoming spy thriller The Coldest City), but that’s not all he has on his plate. He’ll direct a movie called Triple Threat, which just so happens to star three of the preeminent movie badasses of the moment: Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, and Tiger Chen.
Action auteur Ringo Lam has a penchant for movies titled BLANK on Fire. Though to be fair, there are usually a great many things on fire and exploding in his films. His resume includes the likes of City on Fire, School on Fire, and Prison on Fire (as well as Prison on Fire 2). And he’s back at it with a trailer for Sky on Fire, which appears to be everything we can hope for.
Friday, November 4, 2016
A Gareth Evans movie is always good news. It’s been too long since he pummeled us all about the head and neck with The Raid and The Raid 2 (and, of course, Merantau). But he’s back with a new project in the works called Apostle, and as if that’s not enough, he’s bringing badass leading man Dan Stevens along for the ride.
Thursday, November 3, 2016
Marvel movies take a great deal of (often very warranted) heat for being overly similar. It’s one thing to create an overarching aesthetic in a shared cinematic universe and lay out markers that identify a film as a piece of a larger work. It’s another when every film cranked out starts to feel like the same damn thing. The comic book giant’s latest endeavor, the mystical adventure Doctor Strange, is unique in that it both manages to buck this trend while falling face-first into most of the pitfalls.
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
On one hand, writer/director Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight is a relatively simple story: a young man coming of age, trying to figure out who he is and where he fits in this world. That’s a tale told countless times. On the other hand, the story is nuanced and complex—like growing into adult hood tends to be—and the result is wholly unique and lovely and moving.
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
I know it gets piles of hate, and it’s a deeply flawed film to be sure, but I still totally dig Prometheus. It’s grand and epic and ambitious, it’s as immersive a world as Ridley Scott has created in I don’t know how the hell long, and it’s badass as hell to boot. All of the criticisms are warranted, they just don’t impact my enjoyment like they do for many people.
Monday, October 31, 2016
I really wanted to like The Eyes of My Mother. It had great reviews, was supposedly a brutal, terrifying slow burn, and all around sounded like my jam. While it is all of those things, it just didn’t do it for me. (You can read my REVIEW if you’re so inclined.) But that’s not going to stop it from opening, and a new trailer is here to creep you out.
Friday, October 28, 2016
There’s been talk of a new Rambo movie since, well, Sylvester Stallone dusted off one of his most celebrated characters for 2008’s Rambo. A number of versions have kicked around over the years, and now it sounds like not only has one idea actually stuck, it’s the stupidest fucking one anyone could come up with.
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Watching Ron Howard’s new thriller, Inferno, I couldn’t help but mentally compare Tom Hanks’ adventurous Harvard symbology professor and puzzle enthusiast, Robert Langdon, to Matthew McConaughey’s Wooderson from Dazed and Confused. He keeps getting older, but his youngish, brown-haired female sidekicks stay (roughly) the same age.
Monday, October 24, 2016
Sure, his last couple of movies haven’t been great (Elysium was less than stellar, and who the hell thought it was a good idea to put Die Antwoord in a movie about an adorable robot?), but at least visually, Neill Blomkamp is still one of the most exciting filmmakers out there right now. Though the Alien movie he’s been developing got back-burnered, the South African director has a quick-hitter for us to enjoy, the short, BMW-produced actioner The Escape. Check it out below.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Jack Reacher didn’t light the world on fire, but it’s fine for what it is—a stripped-down, mid-budget, star-driven actioner. Despite the fact that Tom Cruise is all of 5’7” and the titular character in Lee Childs’ series of novels is a hulking 6’5”, he has—even with my father’s constant rantings and railings on the subject—the metaphorical stature to play the role. Through not a bank-breaking success, the first picture made enough cash to warrant a sequel, and we all wanted to know if Cruise could pull it off again in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.
Hugh Jackman’s last go-round as the fan-favorite, claw-having, self-healing mutant Wolverine is bearing down on us quickly, and Logan, as it’s been dubbed, promises something very different from your typical X-Feature. Just how different is readily apparent in the first trailer. Check it out below, along with a red band version.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Over the last couple of days, we’ve heard rumblings that our first look at Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 might arrive with Marvel’s latest joint, Doctor Strange. But lo and behold, we don’t even have to wait that long, because a shiny new teaser just hit the airwaves. Check it out below.
Monday, October 17, 2016
If westerns have taught us nothing else—and I’ve taken far too many life lessons from the genre—it’s that nothing brings a killer who has renounced killing back to his old ways like messing with his family or his dog. That’s the primary education a small-town numbskull learns in writer/director Ti West’s take on the spaghetti western, In a Valley of Violence.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
It’s rare to describe a single film as both cute and stunningly violent, but here we are talking about The Accountant, which is weirdly adorable for a movie where so many people get shot in the head.
It’s safe to say, most of us are excited for a Star Wars movie, any Star Wars movie. But we have a lot to look forward to with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story later this year—it’s the first of the “standalone” films, it explores different corners of that far, far away galaxy we all adore, it’s supposedly a gritty war film, it has little to do with the Force, and much more. And it looks incredible, including the latest, purportedly final trailer. Check it out below.
Monday, October 10, 2016
February 2017 is shaping up to be a wonderful month for fans of bone-crunching fight scenes and wild gunplay. At least as far as movies go. Not only does John Wick: Chapter 2 open, but The Raid star Iko Uwais is back to dismantle dudes in the Mo Brothers’ Headshot. The film made the fall festival rounds and just dropped a second trailer that continues to deliver on the promise of the first.
Saturday, October 8, 2016
Don’t mind that noise, that’s just the sound of me in the corner squealing with glee at the first footage from John Wick: Chapter 2. I won’t waste your time with words on an important occasion like this. Check it out for yourself below.
Friday, October 7, 2016
I maintain that if he’d been born a generation earlier, we’d speak about Scott Adkins in hushed, reverent tones reserved for the legends of the action realm. But an accident of birth doesn’t make his movies any less badass or me anticipate them any less. Next up, he returns to his best known franchise for Boyka: Undisputed, the fourth installment in the franchise, and with the release approaching, Millennium Films released a new clip and trailer.
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
The easy comparison for Tate Taylor’s mystery thriller The Girl on the Train is Gone Girl. They’re both based on massively popular, best-selling novels, books that became bona fide cultural sensations, and the marketing team has done everything in its power to evoke David Fincher’s artfully trashy noir. More accurate comparisons, however, are the generic thrillers that populate the Lifetime Movie Network. (Also, I can’t be the only one annoyed that every mystery with an adult female protagonist has to be The Girl did This, The Girl with That, This Girl, can I?)