Movies and video games share many similarities and much effort is being made to investigate the interplay between these two different, yet similar forms of media. There is no doubt that since video games started to garner more attention in the mainstream, it established a strong bond between itself and its movie counterpart.Read More
I initially saw and reviewed Joe Talbot’s “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” back at Sundance in January. It was met with uproarious applause at the famous Eccles theater but goddammit if it wasn’t the most overrated movie of the entire festival. Now my fears have been confirmed, the rest of American’s critics, that had yet to have seen the film, have joined the bandwagon for this “woke” movie (which open in theaters this past Friday). A 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 84 on MC. The vast amount of virtue signaling going on right now in film criticism is the reason why this minor work is being hailed and its director deemed to be the second-coming of Spike Lee.Read More
If David Fincher has been channeling Hitchcock for the last two decades, Brian De Palma has been doing it for the last five decades. De Palma has referenced Hitch by constantly casting blondes as leading ladies, using Hitchcock regular Bernard Hermann’s scores and – more importantly – copying camera techniques of such classics as "Vertigo," "Rear Window" and "Psycho." Of course De Palma has still managed to infuse his own auteur voice into his films; he’s one of the very best filmmakers for the long take/tracking shot and his constant use of the split screen has been nothing short of revolutionary. His familiar obsessions still linger inside him as he continues making movies decade after decade, but there’s mistaking the fact that he’s been in an obvious funk these last 20 or so years.Read More
20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise is going out with a whimper. Early estimates are saying “Dark Phoenix” will open with a $35 million intake. That would make it the lowest opening for a live-action X-Men film, behind The Wolverine‘s $53 million take in 2013.
Terrence Malick premiered his World War II era drama A Hidden Life at Cannes Film Festival, after three years of production, I thought it was a messy return to narrative storytelling for the legendary writer-director. Regardless, the film was picked up by Fox Searchlight and will be released later this fall for Oscar contention.Read More
There’s a 100th anniversary celebration of Pauline Kael’s favorite films happening at The Quad in New York City. Kael was/is justifiably considered the messianic figure of American film criticism; her reviews could be very harsh but when she loved a movie, it felt revolutionary. Her acerbic wit and smartly attuned description of films are sorely missed today. IndieWire’s David Ehrlich has a nice little roundup of her 15 most famous reviews, all of which will screen as part of the Quad’s Kael celebration from June 6th to June 20th.
The Quad lineup of films: Bonnie & Clyde, Blue In Love, The Fury, The Gauntlet, The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Hannah and Her Sisters, Jaws, La Notte, Last Tango In Paris, Chloe in the Afternoon, Loving, Nashville, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Re-Animator, Richard Pryor Live In Concert, Shampoo, Shoot the Moon, Something Wild, The Story of Adele H, Taxi Driver, True Stories, The Warriors, Weekend, The Wild Bunch and Jackie Brown.
When it does focus on its main character, plus-sized 27-year-old woman Brittany (Jillian Bell) the movie is nothing short of a pleasure to behold. Much of the film’s initial success is carefully stitched together by its debut writer-director Paul Downs Colaizzo’s and Bell’s star-making performance, as a millennial deciding to take charge of her life and lose the fat.Read More
I do wonder how I missed the Fangoria q & a between Jordan Peele and “Midsommar” director Ari Aster. The quote most outlets are using is Peele’s rave of Aster’s film, which is said to play heavily on pagan cult horror, much like “The Wicker Man.” No surprise then that, given Peele was on-stage with Aster, the “Get Out” director had over-the-top praise for Aster’s upcoming movie: “I think you’ve made the most idyllic horror film of all time. You’ve taken Stepford Wives and shattered the attractiveness of that movie with this one. That alone is a feat. This movie is just so unique. This hasn’t existed yet, and anything after Midsommar is going to have to contend with it. I mean, this usurps The Wicker Man as the most iconic pagan movie to be referenced.Read More
I wrote this about Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will” on 2.13.15:
“Was there ever any doubt that this – quite possibly the most influential film of all time – would not make the list? “Triumph of the Will” is a Nazi propaganda film that, despite its disturbing subject matter, revolutionized the way movies were made. Filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl single-handedly rewrote the language of cinema with her use of cinematography and music. This is a work of staggering brilliance with shots that are still hard to achieve to this very day. Filmmakers such as Peter Jackson, George Lucas and Ridley Scott have all admitted to having studied and copied Rifenstahl’s masterpiece. Watching the film with attention to all the details on screen is an incredible experience; add in the fact that this was meant as a propaganda tool by the Nazis and you have one of the most harrowing cinematic experiences imaginable.”
Yesterday, YouTube decided to set up a new rule for uploaded content. Pure and simply, any videos “alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status,” would be banned [official statement posted here]. For some reason, they decided to include Riefenstahl‘s Triumph of the Will.
YouTube did specify the film’s ban by indicating that it “promoted or glorified Nazi ideology, which is inherently discriminatory.”
Iv’e said it before and I’ll say it again: the film is one of the most influential in the history of film, not for its Nazi ideology, but more so for its groundbreaking technical prowess. Without ‘Triumph’ there would be less advancement in sports broadcasting camerawork — hell, Riefsentahl is even credited as introducing slow-motion in cinema, among many other camera and editing tricks in this masterful film.
Of course, it is no surprise that such a ban has been enforced, but this is a very idiotic road we’re going down. It’s easy to defend speech when you agree with it. Controlling it is dangerous. Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past. So, sure, let’s erase history so we forget what evil actually is like.
It’s bad. It’s really bad. I mean, what was the point of even making another one?
The whole thing feels like a messy excuse to reboot Godzilla for nostalgia-hungry moviegoers. The actors in this latest entry are a talented bunch (Sally Hawkins, Vera Farmiga, Ziyi Zhang, Ken Watanabe) but this is, what, the 36th feature based on the Japanese Gojira? Despite all the talent, we don’t even care about any of the characters on-screen. However, the biggest sin of “King of the Monsters” is that it really doesn’t know what kind of movie it wants to be. Maybe it should have stuck with the campy moments, which are hampered down by the self-serious dialogue. I do wonder where Universal will go from here, they wanted to reboot all the classic monsters they owned the right to. They already messed up “The Mummy” starring Tom Cruise — Wolfman and Frankenstein were supposed to be next, I would just put a nail in this coffin and move on to other things.
Michael Douglas’ “Traffic” co-star Benicio Del Toro interviewed him as part of an “Actor on Actor” series [via Variety]. The real gimme of this chitchat is the fact that Douglas truly believes that he missed out on the Cannes 2013 Best Actor prize due to Steven Spielberg’s bias against television. Spielberg was the Jury president that year and Douglas’s film was the HBO-produced Liberace biopic “Behind the Candelabra.”Read More
By all accounts, Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood” was met with a distinctive shrug by the Cannes jury, as the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarittu-led crew gave the film zero awards during the closing night ceremony. However, American critics seem to really like the movie, judging by its 88 Metascore and a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. And yet, all people seemed to be wanting to talk about, which I refused to cover given how much I loved the film and didn’t want this overshadowing it, was the now-infamous press conference, where Tarantino got visibly upset when someone asked about the film’s “violence against women” and Margot Robbie’s lack of screentime (QT’s now infamous reply “I reject your hypothesis!”).Read More
I did not review “I am Mother” when I saw its premiere at this past January’s Sundance Film Festival. Mostly because it doesn’t bring anything new to the genre. We already know that if you’re making a sci-fi about artificial intelligence then you most likely will have to deal with the, ahem, downside in accepting robots as “one of us.”Read More
This colorful and eye-popping new poster for Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman 1984” (June 2020) was tweeted out via Jenkins’ Twitter account. In that tweet she captioned, “By now you’ve heard: WB isn’t going to Hall H this year. We’re so sad to miss you there! And waiting until Dec. to start our official #WW84 campaign in full-- But the truth is… we can just… barely… wait…”Read More
“Dark Phoenix” is supposed to be the X-Men finale before Disney takes over the franchise. Written, directed and produced by Simon Kinberg, the result is an embarrassing movie that is undeserving of this series’ best moments. Hell, it may very well be the worst X-men movie ever made, even more excruciating than the infamously bad “X-Men: The Last Stand.”Read More
We finally have a trailer for James Gray’s “Ad Astra,” a long-delayed artsy sci-fi epic in space. I have been an advocate of Gray’s classicist style for quite some years now, or ever since I saw his excellent 2007 family saga “We Own the Night,” but, more importantly, the immaculate 2009 romance “Two Lovers.” He followed those up with “The Immigrant” and “Lost City of Z,” both critically acclaimed works. However, “Ad Astra” is a whole other monster. The just-released trailer has parallels to Nolan’s “Interstellar,” Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” and Cuaron’s “Gravity.”Read More
It’s been a tumultuous last 20 or so months for Woody Allen, what with American distributors all but blacklisting the legendary writer-director, all due to dubious, already twice settled-in-court, claims, made by his ex-wife Mia Farrow, which resulted in the director’s “A Rainy Day in New York” being shelved by Amazon and never released in U.S. theaters. With all that being said, Allen has gotten back the rights to the film, which is set to premiere, according to my sources, at the Venice Film Festival next September and will then roll out in most of the major European movie markets.Read More
Horror movie fans have been anticipating Ari Aster’s “Midsommar” ever since the project was announced, right around the time his debut “Hereditary” was about to be released last summer.. A24 has confirmed to IndieWire that the movie will clock in at a rather risky 140 minutes. That is quite the ballsy move on the part of Aster, for his sophomore effort.Read More
John Travolta's career looks like it desperately needs a second comeback. We thought it might happen with his excellent turn as OJ Simpson's lawyer, Robert Shapiro, in 2016’s “The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.” Ever since then? Nada. Zilch. Zero.Read More
An upcoming World of Reel critics poll will give us an indicator of what were the best reviewed films of the year thus far, but Eric Kohn and his IndieWire crew (David Ehrlich and Kate Erbland) have decided to be quick on the trigger and answer that question for us. According to them, in no particular order, “Us,” “Booksmart,” “Diamantino,” “High Life,” “The Beach Bum,” “Her Smell,” “Apollo 11,” ”The Souvenir,” “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” and “Diane” were the bees knees of the first six months of the movie year.Read More