In Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, the new re-imagining of the ’90s cartoon IP, the eponymous rangers are washed up celebrities, has-beens of an earlier time only faintly remembered by the few fans who wax nostalgic. Mostly, though, no one has any clue who they are. Chip (John Mulaney) has retired from the spotlight and has made a good go of it as an insurance salesman. Dale (Andy Samberg), meanwhile, still clamors for the high of fame at fan conventions at a booth in “Retro Alley.”
I have a distinct feeling that Alex Garland planted things in Men, the writer-director’s new film starring Jessie Buckley and a bevy of Rory Kinnears, which I have not entirely picked up on. Namely, allusions to religion and mythology which fly outside my knowledge structures. Yet what I did understand about Men, what was left after those allusions are stripped away and narrative and theme remain, was altogether so blunt and superficial that I in moments thought I was watching a parody of a specific breed of arthouse film. A parody of the exact film Men is.
Every once in a while, you might see something online about how the late comedian George Carlin was ahead of his time. That if he was still around he would eviscerate America in its current state. That he in some ways already did eviscerate modern America by criticizing topics decades ago that are still relevant today. These sorts of comments speak to the staying power of a singular comic figure. Similarly influential and boundary pushing comics — Lenny Bruce, for instance — don’t seem to get the same retrospective appreciation. What did Carlin do, exactly, to allow his comedy to seemingly transcend time?
Audrey Diwan’s Happening, which won last year’s Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, finds itself with a U.S. release date incidentally coinciding with legislative changes which make it all the more timely. It is a frank film about unwanted pregnancy and rigid abortion laws in 1960s France. Viewing it with American eyes, I imagine one’s appreciation for the content in the film may rest on individual politics. That, or one’s patience for quiet drama and arthouse chic.
In my review for Spider-Man: No Way Home, I didn’t call it superhero fatigue that fueled my lack of enthusiasm for Marvel. It was ambivalence. No greater evidence do I need for this ambivalence than meeting the trailer for a movie directed by Sam Raimi, one of my favorite directors, called Doctor Strange in the Multiverse ofMadness with a resolute shrug of the shoulders.
I think Robert Eggers is one of the most fascinating American filmmakers working today. The Witch is my favorite horror movie of the 2010s. It was an accomplished debut. Instead of going down the road of the “horror auteur,” though, Eggers turned to something more experimental in The Lighthouse, a film which sits unsteadily on the boundaries of multiple genres (I would call it a psychological horror fantasy dramedy sea shanty fever dream, maybe).
An idealistic group of pornographers are looking to find stardom and profits in the late-1970s, just as the home video market is knocking on the door. But this is not Boogie Nights. The group of (mostly) young couples land at a remote homestead in rural Texas to run-and-gun this film, where the threat of violence seems to be just outside the frame. But this is not The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, either.
In 1979, six Houston natives rent a guest house from an elderly couple in rural Texas. The homeowners are wary of the young folks — they certainly wouldn’t take too kindly to them shooting an amateur adult film on their property.
Earlier this week, I put out some admittedly half-hearted Oscar predictions. I have not had my ear to the ground this awards season, but I did want to address the Best Picture race once more. (Mainly, I wanted to give some credit where it was due to CODA for being this year’s awards season darling. But more on that later). I think there are more shades to uncover than my original prediction took into account.
As such, I want to briefly rank the Best Picture nominees, from least likely to most likely to win.
Deep Water, following a rocky release schedule hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic, finally landed on Hulu this weekend. It is a less-than steamy erotic thriller from Adrian Lyne, a director known for his work in the genre (most notably the 1987 film Fatal Attraction). The film is Lyne’s first crack at directing in 20 years, and it stars former couple Ana de Armas and Ben Affleck as spouses whose marriage is on the rocks.
Vic (Affleck), a retired microchip engineer, has tolerated a tacit agreement with Melinda (de Armas) in which she escapes their passionless marriage by making “friends” with a few local bachelors. Her flirtations and flings are Continue reading Deep Water (2022) Movie Review→
With many iterations of DC Comic’s caped crusader littering the last 40 years of blockbuster cinema, Matt Reeves’ The Batman may seem at first blush simply another go around the same old song and dance. It is certainly not without its comparisons. Most clear among them is this film’s affinity with Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, which DC has taken noticeable steps to visually and tonally distance itself from in recent years. Perhaps that is why this critic—more a fan of Nolan’s Batman than Zack Snyder’s—was immediately more engaged by Reeves’ take on the character.