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.
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→
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies begins with a reel of comic book panels flipping rapidly. It appears like a title card from a Marvel film. However, the camera pulls out to reveal a person flipping through a comic. After dispatching (sort of) a giant bubble supervillain, the Teen Titans—Robin (Scott Menville), Starfire (Hynden Walch), Cyborg (Khary Payton), Raven (Tara Strong), and Beast Boy (Greg Cipes)—sneak into a movie premiere, where the film “Batman Again” is screening. The auditorium is jam-packed with DC comics superheros, some attending in order to watch themselves on screen.
Christopher McQuarrie’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout is the sixth installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise, and like all long-lasting Hollywood franchises it serves a steady-handed formula.
The plot of Fallout, then, needs little explanation. American secret agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is tasked with finding and retrieving a series of MacGuffins. To do so he reassembles a familiar team. Hunt will dangle high in the air. He will run at top speed. He will go rogue. All in pursuit of a narrative fueled for the contrived sake of action set pieces. All of which are stellar, so who am I to complain.
Sorry to Bother You is the sort of film that wants to do so much, and delights so much in each thing that it attempts to do, that it is hard not to get caught up in the manic world and unique artistic voice. On the other hand, the further you go into unpacking the densely-packed funhouse of oddities in the film, the harder it is to wrap your head around why you enjoyed the viewing experience in the first place.
To be clear, it is difficult to explore this funhouse without delving into crucial plot details that are better experienced untarnished, as predictability is a word that holds no meaning in the final third of the film. But there is something that Continue reading Sorry to Bother You (2018) Movie Review→
No film in theaters today is more of its time than Unfriended: Dark Web. In the Internet Age (at this point we may as well move into a new age, given how different the internet is in 2018 compared to 1991), a constant influx of computerized content is the norm. We live, breathe, and are governed on the internet.