Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) is a miserable human being. She’s a drunk, working menial jobs she feels are below her, and does her level best to push away everyone in her life except her elderly cat. In dire straits and driven by desperation, the former best-selling author and celebrity biographer turns to forging personal letters from famous literary figures, selling her wares to unsuspecting collectors. Such is the plot of Marielle Heller’s Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which recounts Israel’s bizarre real-life saga, carried by a soaring, career-best performance from McCarthy.
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Tuesday, October 30, 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, his thesis focuses 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.
Monday, October 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.
Those of us who went to college and did a thesis often look back at them and cringe. In general, no matter what our chosen field, they’re usually bad, or at least viewing them in retrospect, we see things we could have done to make them better or improvements we should have made. That brings us to Lisa Brühlmann’s haunting new body horror Blue My Mind, which was her film school thesis, and is lightyears more accomplished than anything I churned out in college. Or beyond for that matter. After making the film festival rounds, it’s finally being released. Check out a new trailer below.
Friday, October 26, 2018
'Between Worlds' Trailer: Nic Cage's Girlfriend's Daughter Is Possessed By His Dead Wife, Or Something
Nicolas Cage is not one to rest on his laurels. Fresh off the maniac glory that is Mandy, he’s back with Between Worlds, where he plays a trucker whose dead wife’s spirit takes over the body of his current girlfriend’s daughter. Yes, you read that right. If you don’t believe me, watch this trailer.
Just to get this out of the way: I love Mandy, it’s going to land very high on my end-of-year best-of list. It wraps up in a satisfying manner and I don’t think it needs or even should receive a sequel. That said, if it does get a follow up, which it won’t, it should definitely follow director Panos Cosmatos’ sequel idea, because hot damn, it’s a doozy.
Thursday, October 25, 2018
Sure, on the surface, I know Cold Pursuit is a remake of the 2014 Norwegian thriller In Order of Disappearance, which is good. But god damn, it’s really difficult to take a movie about Liam Neeson as a vengeful snowplow driver seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I will watch the hell out of this movie, but we’ll see how it translates. In the meantime, watch the first trailer below.
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
I’m not entirely sure what to make of this Bird Box trailer. It doesn’t offer a lot of information, which is good considering I’d never heard of this film until yesterday. What it does have is a crazy good cast, a whole lot of juice in the creative team, and a heady, apocalyptic sci-fi premise. So I’m in. Check it out below.
Monday, October 22, 2018
I’ve been frothing at the mouth over Timo Tjahjanto’s The Night Comes for Us since the first moment I caught a whisper of its existence. The Indonesian director’s previous film, 2016’s Headshot—co-directed with Kimo Stamboel, who produced Night—serves up a vicious, angry action extravaganza that builds on what The Raid movies created. And his latest endeavor cranks things up to the umpteenth degree.
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
The new, much-discussed Halloween—a direct sequel to the 1978 original that, to the chagrin of many, completely ignores the franchise’s admittedly bumpy continuity—has issues. The plotting flails all over the place, it often ignores the most interesting elements, among others, and we’ll get to that. But what matters more than anything else, however, is that it’s goddamn lot of fun. I watched the whole thing with a goofy, shit-eating grin plastered across my face and I want to do it again. Soon.
Friday, October 12, 2018
Even if I didn’t particularly care for her last film, Let the Sunshine In (though Juliette Binoche is incredible in it), a new Claire Denis movie will always be a cause for celebration. And the Trouble Every Day and Beau Travail director helming an esoteric, erotic, deep space sci-fi thriller with an incredible cast? Well, that’s reason enough to throw a damn party. Her latest, High Life, has been on my must-watch radar since I first heard about it, and this new French trailer only cranks up my anticipation.
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
“Anyone can conceivably die on any given day.”
If heights make you queasy in any way, shape, or form, stay away—far, far away—from Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s new documentary, Free Solo. It is not for the faint of heart. Unless you like watching a maybe-lunatic dangle from his fingertips thousands of feet up a sheer rock face without any sort of backup plan. If that’s your jam, you’re very much in luck.
Over the course of the next two weeks, on consecutive Fridays, Netflix is set to release two of my most anticipated movies of 2018. First up is The Raid mastermind Gareth Evans’ old-timey cult saga, Apostle. Following hot on that film’s heels comes Timo Tjahjanto’s brutal gangland yarn The Night Comes for Us, which just dropped a new trailer to make action fans salivate. It also happens to prominently feature key pieces of The Raid franchise in Joe Taslim, Iko Uwais, and Julie Estelle. Watch it and get psyched.
“Sometimes dead is better.” We can go back and forth all day about the value of remakes and reboots and whatnot, but in the end, as long as a movie delivers the goods, who really cares about the origins or source material? And I know this is just a trailer, and I know we still have to wait until April of next year, but this first trailer for the new adaptation of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary looks like it has the right stuff. Check it out.
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Following the groundbreaking success of Pulp Fiction came a wave of lesser films attempting to replicate that formula. Crime sagas with layered timelines, interlocking narratives, and eccentric characters were everywhere. With few exceptions, most of these endeavors fell flat. Bad Times at the El Royale, the latest from Cabin in the Woods director Drew Goddard, could easily be one of these movies.
Monday, October 8, 2018
Anytime Park Chan-wook does anything, I’m there. The same generally goes for any John le Carré adaptation. But the Oldboy director adapting the master spy novelist is too good a proposition to ignore. I’ve been eagerly waiting for Park’s version of the espionage thriller The Little Drummer Girl, and this new trailer has what I’m looking for.
Thursday, October 4, 2018
Venom is a bad movie and I can’t in good conscience recommend it to anyone. It’s not good, y’all. Unless you’re a stoned 15-year-old boy. In that case, have at it, you’re going to love this shit. Honestly, that goes for pretty much everything Todd McFarlane has ever done. (I know, I know, there’s the debate about who actually created Venom, but McFarlane influenced what the character ultimately became more than anyone else, and this the film largely draws from his work, so…)
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Did you know Lady Gaga is a phenomenal singer? Apparently only Bradley Cooper does, which is the basic premise for his directorial debut, yet another remake of A Star is Born. Which also happens to be yet another movie where a mediocre white dude is the only one who truly recognizes how talented, remarkable, and beautiful the central female figure is. So, that’s obnoxious. The movie is actually very good and emotional and romantic and all the other superlatives bandied about—to degrees—but there’s that one massive hurdle to get over, so your mileage may vary.
Monday, October 1, 2018
Because your movie watching doesn’t contain nearly enough “symphonic post-apocalyptic reindeer-grinding Christ-abusing extreme war pagan Fennoscandian metal,” Finnish import Heavy Trip is here to rectify that glaring oversight.