Rather inexplicably, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the best Spider-Man film made to date. It is hard to imagine that an animated film about multiverse theory and multiple incarnations of a single comic book character coming together to fight a rogue’s gallery that is only recognizable to fans would not only be an inspired origin story for Spider-Man, but also be an entirely accessible experience.
It is the busiest time of year for the film world. With awards season on the horizon, studios are juicing voter ballots with For Your Consideration screeners. As I was recently granted membership into the Online Film Critics Society, this the first year where I myself have been given the honor of receiving these promotional screeners.
Vox Lux appears to be a scathing commentary on the cynical pop music industry (and the cynical nature of fame in contemporary culture) while simultaneously being a sympathetic endorsement of the pop star as a burdening position of symbolic courage and confidence. These two narrative aims clash throughout Brady Corbet’s film, causing both tension and befuddlement.
Jason Reitman’s The Front Runner is Altman without Altman. The opening scene mimics The Player, albeit it less impressively than the eight-minute long take Altman achieves in his 1992 film. The camera pans back and forth across a chaotic scene of media and politics in overlap. Characters talk over each other, their relative distances from the camera dictating how much we can discern of the conversations.
Steve McQueen is achieving something rare in modern filmmaking: he is a known-name director who does not adhere to auteur theory. With four feature films under his belt, McQueen has ventured into multiple genres, engaging with them using different filmmaking styles.
It is 1927. Imprisoned wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) is being transferred from New York to London to be tried for his crimes (in case you forgot Grindelwald was a criminal, see title). Known to be a silver tongue, conning others into doing his bidding Charles Manson-style, we are informed that the Magical Congress of America has removed his tongue (we learn later, inexplicably, that this is untrue). When Grindelwald is set out on flying carriage, it is revealed that he used his seductive trickery to coax a Congress employee into springing him free.
Once free, Grindelwald has two goals: kill Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and create a genocidal cult of wizard supremacists.
Ryan Coogler’s 2015 Creed successfully revitalized the Rocky franchise in almost every way. It satisfied the modern industry requirements for a soft reboot, thereby being the most accessible to mainstream audiences and maximizing financial security. It pivoted Sylvester Stallone’s role from aging fighter to aging mentor, netting him a Golden Globe win and an Oscar nomination as a result. It harnessed the inherent swagger and star power of Michael B. Jordan. It zapped life into the visual display of two men boxing each other to a bloody pulp. It was an undeniable crowd-pleaser.