I was fortunate enough to attend a screening of Get Out earlier this week, and hoo boy, that right there is one fine motion picture. Our beloved Editor-in-Chief Matt Singer made as much clear in his ringing endorsement from Sundance, but take it from me: very spooky, very funny, has something to say, insanely well-cast and even more well-acted. It’s an easy movie to love, and while the box-office receipts from this upcoming weekend will rule on whether audiences agree, the critics of America have already made their voices heard. And those voices are ringing out in perfect unison, a harmony sounding out as if from an angelic choir: “THIS MOVIE RULES.”
Quick, without thinking: greatest American film of the ’90s? Martin Scorsese’s decade-spanning gangster epic Goodfellas is probably the answer that pops into most heads, and rightfully so. It was a success under every criterion, amassing a tidy profit that‘s only grown through infinite televised syndication and home-video releases, earning Joe Pesci an Academy Award for his turn as the short-fused Tommy DeVito, and leaving a titanic influence on pop-culture in the years to follow. It has earned the distinction of “masterpiece,” right in the thick of any conversation on Scorsese’s finest accomplishment. But man, at first, people hated it.
How do you say “sike!” in Japanese? Master animator and Studio Ghibli cofounder Hayao Miyazaki dun got us again, totally convincing us that he was really retiring this time by saying things like “I am done making movies” and “This time is for real.” We believed him like a bunch of fools when he announced a “semi-retirement” following the completion of Princess Mononoke, we believed him when he said he wanted to call it quits after Spirited Away, and we believed him back in 2013, when he declared The Wind Rises to be his final feature. The Boy Who Cried Not Making Any More Movies has pulled the same trick on us all again, with the news that he’ll un-retire one more time for a new feature called Boro the Caterpillar.
Humor me for a moment — is Damien Chazelle‘s old-school romantic musical La La Land really all that far removed from the cinema of David Lynch? Like the avant-melodrama triumph Mulholland Dr., Chazelle’s film is obsessed with the artifice that defines both Los Angeles and the entertainment industry around which it was built. Both films revolve around a pair of people inexorably drawn to one another, linked even as they drift apart due to the vicissitudes of circumstance. Both Lynch and Chazelle are fond of stylistic breaks from reality, exploring a dreamlike or otherwise surreal plane beyond this dimension. Hell, “here’s to the ones who dream” might as well be the mission statement of Lynch’s entire filmography.
With every new studio release, Ridley Scott likes to remind us all of his background in advertising. The director behind the canonized “Nineteen Eighty-Four” Macintosh commercial tends to mount an inventive promotional campaign for each of his motion picture efforts — both Prometheus and The Martian showed off their elaborate, space-ready production design through early faux-featurettes, and Scott has pulled the same move today. This morning saw the release of a “prologue” video titled “The Last Supper” in relation to the upcoming sequel Alien: Covenant, and while it gives viewers a chance to familiarize themselves with the crew of a major interstellar colonization effort, it’s also a chilling bait-and-switch unto itself.
It was back in July that the news of an impending return from everyone’s favorite B-movie mockery program Mystery Science Theater 3000 first broke. Fans of Manos: the Hands of Fate and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians were atwitter with excitement for a revival of the long-running program last seen in 1999, breathlessly speculating on which schlock gems would get roasted this time around. And while the fodder for the upcoming eleventh season has yet to be named, Netflix has finally announced a release date and included a new press photo of the whole wisecracking robotic gang.
[Taylor Swift voice] John Carpenter never goes out of style. The master filmmaker influenced a generation of movie nerds with his hyper-competent, crowd-pleasing genre pictures such as Halloween, The Thing, and They Live. His fingerprints are all over the modern horror canon, with his synths-and-neon aesthetic informing everything from Stranger Things to the widely under-appreciated The Guest. The latest film to kowtow to the Carpenter’s far-reaching legacy is The Void, a new chiller than many readily compared to The Thing when it debuted at Texas’ Fantastic Fest last fall. And with a new trailer available today, viewers can start to judge that for themselves.
While critics and fans alike roundly rejected the Star Wars trilogy of prequels, they agreed that at least one aspect of it was worthwhile: breakout crowd-pleaser Jar Jar Binks. The universally beloved Gungan earned a wide fanbase with his charming dialect made up of screeching and some sort of alien ebonics, and his constant cartoonish bumbling was a welcome reprieve from the series’ usual heroism and valor. Fans cried foul when Phantom Menace’s major supporting character was downgraded to tertiary status in Attack of the Clones and barely present for Revenge of the Sith, but today brings the welcome news that our sweet Jar Jar will get some much-deserved closure in an upcoming Star Wars novelization.
Summer movie season starts a little earlier every year, and in 2017, it has consumed May, April, and even our beloved March. Logan will kick off the big-budget bonanza in the first weekend of March, and then cede the floor to the gargantuan Kong: Skull Island the weekend after. Even so, these two releases in particular inspire hope rather than dread when reflecting upon the studio-fronted franchise releases encroaching beyond their summer stomping grounds. All the previews have suggested that these two films will have something original to bring to the table, and the latest clip for Kong: Skull Island confirms that if nothing else, we’ll have some delectable character acting to enjoy.
Like any job, writing about the latest news in the world of entertainment can wear on you after long enough, so you gotta appreciate the little pearls of amusement where you can get them. Personally, watching the latest solo Batman project fall apart in slow motion has been a perverse thrill over the past couple of months: star Ben Affleck was gonna direct (maybe) the film titled The Batman, then he was definitely gonna direct it, then he backpedaled a little bit, then he requested that people stop asking him about it, then he face-planted onto the sidewalk with the costly flop Live By Night, and then look at that, he wasn’t taking the director’s chair after all. The indignities kept coming, as Warner Bros. ordered sweeping rewrites to this floundering project before landing Planet of the Apes remake maestro Matt Reeves to fill the directorial vacuum.
Rumors have swirled around the gestating production of New Mutants like so many Terrigen Mists since it was first announced around a year ago. We‘ve pinned down The Fault in Our Stars director Josh Boone as the hand on the steering wheel, he’s confirmed that The Witch starlet Anya Taylor-Joy will take one of the leading roles as Magik, and she’s confirmed that James McAvoy will reprise his role of the young Professor Charles Xavier. But even as the production’s projected spring start date rapidly approaches, little else is known for sure about this lower-profile superhero picture.
Cheerio, and cor blimey! The BAFTAs, Britain’s most prestigious film awards program, took place last night in London and recognized the finest achievements of the year on the silver screen. And in 2016, regardless of which side of the Atlantic your awards show happens to transpiring, that means an evening-long salute to awards juggernaut La La Land. With a little less than two weeks to go before Oscar night, Damien Chazelle’s crowd-pleasing musical picked up a few more accolades to pad its portfolio and brighten its chances for the big dance.
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