Taken on their own, the last 15-20 minutes of Summer of 84—the latest from RKSS, the Canadian filmmaking collective behind Turbo Kid—work reasonably well. They would have worked even better if the film had done a single thing in the previous 80 minutes to earn the climax. It feels like they started with the end, but had no idea how to get there.
Thursday, August 16, 2018
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Erik Matti’s BuyBust is almost great. As it is, it’s a solid actioner, especially for those of us who favor the gritty, down-and-dirty style usually relegated to the direct-to-video realm. Especially rough around the edges and chaotic, and full of weird-as-hell flourishes, it’s mean and violent and bleak as hell—be prepared for beheadings and morally questionable dirty deeds American movies shy away from. Matti and company offer a non-stop buffet of tension and potential disaster for the stars, all wrapped in an intriguing commentary on the current state of Philippines society and the draconian drug war under Duterte.
To know him is to have strong feelings about him. Whatever your stance, French button-pusher, Gaspar Noé, is back with his latest attempt to shock and awe and discomfit, Climax. (I, for one, really want his wife and frequent collaborator, Lucile Hadžihalilović, to make another movie, because her last one, Evolution, was an all-timer.) With a title like Climax, and the man himself behind the camera, you know we’re in for a wild ride, and if you didn’t, this new trailer drives that point home.
Wednesday, August 8, 2018
If you know anything about The Meg, even the simple fact that it involves Jason Statham and a giant shark, and have ever seen a movie, it’s easy to predict what you’re going to get when you sit down in the theater. And The Meg delivers precisely the movie it promises, for better and worse.
Mario Kassar is best known for producing movies like Total Recall, First Blood, Terminator 2, and a certain style of American action movie through his Carolco Pictures. But he’s apparently teaming with Indonesian filmmakers to develop Foxtrot Six, an action/sci-fi film starring the likes of Julie Estelle, Hammer Girl from The Raid 2, and Oka Antara (The Raid 2, Killers). It’s been in the works for a while, but the first teaser dropped today. Check it out.
Tuesday, August 7, 2018
Thinking of arthouse powerhouse A24, what comes to mind? Deft, off-kilter indie dramas? Unusual coming-of-age tales? Prestige horror? Odds are, when you think of A24 and their output, you probably don’t immediately go to gritty Muay Thai prison dramas. Well, with the release of Jean-Stephane Sauvaire’s A Prayer Before Dawn, that line of thinking certainly has to change.
Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Calling All Earthlings isn’t a great documentary. It’s messy and unfocused, threads show up and wander off willy nilly, and overall, it’s a jumble that lacks much oomph, narrative coherence, or discernible arc. It’s also bonkers weird, occasionally fascinating, and offers a unique look at a peculiar slice of wing-nut outsider Americana.
Monday, July 30, 2018
What’s the next move after you make one of the most critically acclaimed horror movies in years? One that breaks financial records for the indie art-house studio that backed the project? Well, if you’re Ari Aster and A24, the team behind Hereditary, you team up again for a cult-y Scandinavian cult horror film, that’s what.
Horror hounds know there are roughly one billion Puppet Master movies. Okay, only 13, but still, it’s a bunch and many of them are…let’s stay strictly for the hardcore. We’re talking cheap, DTV offerings of varying quality. So, it may seem strange, in 2018, to be super pumped up for a movie like Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich. But it’s got such manic, over-the-top buzz from sources I trust in these matters, and sounds so bat-shit crazy, I find myself crazy jacked up for this particular slice of mayhem. And by the look of this trailer, my enthusiasm is wholly justified.
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Since the beginning, the Mission: Impossible movies have always been a showcase for Tom Cruise doing insane stunts for our amusement. And god bless the crazy little Scientology monster for that. I’ve said many times that if he can die—and I’m not sure he can—he’s going to die doing one of these movies, and I find a certain nobility in people putting themselves in harm’s way to entertain me. The last few chapters, however, has been a constant escalation in this regard as the franchise frontman pushes further and further the bounds of sanity and insurance coverage with each successive stunt. And Mission: Impossible—Fallout takes things to a whole new stratosphere. Literally in one case.
Monday, July 23, 2018
I was out of town all weekend, nothing interesting happened in the realm of movies or general pop culture, right? Oh wait, San Diego Comic-Con went down, so the studios unveiled a glut of new shiny new promotional material for their upcoming slates of major motion pictures. (You know, because Comic-Con is all about movie not actual comics.) As usual, there’s a ton of stuff to sift through, but because this isn’t my day job anymore, I’m only going to focus on the ones that I find particularly interesting or that appeal to my peculiar sensibilities: Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Aquaman, Glass, and Shazam!
Check out all of the trailers below.
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
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.
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.