Most of the media attention surrounding the release of Crazy Rich Asians addresses the rarity for a major Hollywood studio release to feature a predominantly Asian cast. This certainly marks a positive moment for representation in Hollywood, and the film presents a bunch of bankable acting talent that Hollywood could be utilizing more often.
Sometimes it takes a movie like The Meg to make you wonder at how perfect a movie Jaws is. Of course, The Meg isn’t trying to be Jaws. It’s more self-aware than that. It’s Sharknado with a budget. It’s dumb fun meant to inflate the popcorn market.
Right? I mean, it seems to take itself pretty seriously. When it’s in on the joke, it’s all in. Most of the time, though, Jason Statham and pals maneuver their way straight-faced around a giant mythological shark. It is harder to Continue reading The Meg (2018) Movie Review→
Gus Van Sant is a bold filmmaker. Hyper-restrained, brutal meditation on teenage violence in Elephant. Shakespearean adaptation populated by post-beatnik prostitutes and street rats in My Own Private Idaho. Prescient commentary on a dangerous media landscape in To Die For. Ill-advised and ultimately disastrous remake of a classic in Psycho. Even when they don’t work as intended, his films offer something unique and often refreshing.
Following what is arguably his biggest achievement in Milk, Van Sant fell into a slump with the flat, uninteresting Promised Land and the critically-panned, audience-ignored The Sea of Trees. Now he’s back with a return-to-form film, for better and worse.
Susanna Fogel’s The Spy Who Dumped Me reminds me of The Hitman’s Bodyguard, but it probably shouldn’t. Both are two-hander action comedies. Both feature comic characters journeying across European countries toward a singular goal. Both were released in August, the dying-end of the Summer movie season.
Otherwise, comparison doesn’t seem warranted. The Hitman’s Bodyguard is incompetently shot and flat. The Spy Who Dumped Me exhibits a level of competency in its action filmmaking that exceeds what is required for an action comedy. In most respects, the action is Continue reading The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018) Movie Review→
There are two very different movies wrapped up in Disney’s new live-action adaptation, Christopher Robin. One is an optimistic family film about a grown man named Christopher Robin (Ewen McGregor) learning to, for the better, think like a kid again. The other is a horror film about abandoned sentient toys who track Christopher down and lure him back into the foggy, ominous Hundred Acre Wood.
In this sense, the beady black eyes of honey-loving bear Winnie the Pooh (Jim Cummings) are both abstract enough to be endearing and dead enough to be terrifying. Whichever way you perceive it, Christopher Robin is a film that Continue reading Christopher Robin (2018) Movie Review→
Imagine a world where over 90% of all children die from a strange, highly contagious disease. Does the government, for the sake of the future, take every precaution to protect the few that remain? Of course not!
No, U.S. President Gray (Bradley Whitford) has the military round up all of the surviving children, who are all carriers of the disease and thus have one of five distinct color-coded powers. Kill the ones that can’t be controlled. Imprison the rest of them in labor camps.
Bo Burnham is a stand-up comic with a distinct style. Semi-musical, semi-poetic, always frantic and unpausing, he skewers media and self-reflexively dissects the public perception of artistry. “Art is dead,” he sings in one song. “Some people think you’re funny / how do we get those people’s money?” His seemingly cynical take on the entertainment industry is curbed by his indictment of self. He implicates himself—“My drug’s attention / I am an addict / but I get paid to indulge in my habit”—in order to subvert the creator-as-god mentality.