Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Ready or Not, Here Comes An Awesome Horror/Comedy

Horror/comedy is such a fun genre. Combining seemingly disparate elements like yuks and gruesome scares is one of those mixtures that just works against all odds. It's the cinematic domain that Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson cut their teeth on as directors and other noteworthy filmmakers like Edgar Wright and Wes Craven have excelled in. Want a great modern-day example of this genre? Look no further than Ready or Not, a directorial effort from Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett. Put simply, this movie is a whole heck of a lot of fun to watch, the kind of film that leaves you laughing as often as it leaves you in intense suspense.

In Laman's Terms: Post-World War II Cinema And the Power of Filmmaking as a Tool of Healing

In Laman's Terms is a weekly editorial column where Douglas Laman rambles on about certain topics or ideas that have been on his mind lately. Sometimes he's got serious subjects to discuss, other times he's just got some silly stuff to shoot the breeze about. Either way, you know he's gonna talk about something In Laman's Terms!

When you get a scrape on your knee, you can pour some disinfectant on that sucker and cover it with a band-aid. That process can sting a bit depending on how bad the scrape is, but there's at least a set process for how to deal with that wound. But emotional wounds, there's no instruction manual for how to grapple with those. Everybody goes about confronting those in different ways and it can be tricky to figure out just how to handle them. Do we open ourselves up to other people? Do we keep everything bottled up? Those kinds of questions were contemplated by many when dealing with the end of World War II. The large-scale battle may be over but the more intimate process of grappling with the emotional wounds of this battle were just beginning for a whole assortment of individuals ranging from soldiers returning home to Holocaust survivors to Japanese citizens.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

To Catch a Thief Delivers Charming & Easygoing Caper Antics

Alfred Hitchcock is well-known for delivering movies that chill you to the bone. Sequences in his filmography like the shower scene in Psycho, for instance, are iconic for their power of utterly terrifying viewers. This makes his 1955 motion picture To Catch a Thief an interesting oddity in his catalog of work. What we have here is a feature that has brief flashes of being a thriller but primarily prides itself on being an easygoing romantic heist movie. Yes, I said easygoing. That's not a word you'd normally associate with the works of Hitchcock, which typically are extremely intense pieces of cinema. Like I said, To Catch a Thief is an interesting oddity in Hitchcock's resume.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Man on Wire Brings To Life The People Behind A Wondrous Stunt

As Tangled once thoughtfully pointed out, everybody's got a dream. But few have a dream as audacious as Philippe Petit. This French tightrope walker used his skills to walk across all kinds of landmarks around the world to bring a sense of joy and wonder to the masses. Come the 1970s, he had his sights set on his next feat of tightrope-walking which would also bring his ultimate dream to life. Petit was determined to use a tightrope to walk across the two towers of the then-recently installed World Trade Center. It sounded like utter lunacy and it still does. But it happened. Petit pulled this stunt off. And the documentary Man on Wire, hailing from director James Marsh, is here to interview Petit and the other participants in this mad stunt on how exactly they pulled this off.

Killer of Sheep Paved The Way For A New Age of American Indie Cinema

Charles Burnett is an inspiration to aspiring filmmakers everywhere. With only $10,000 to his name, Burnett spent two years in the early 1970s filming his debut directorial effort Killer of Sheep. Though legal problems related to music employed in the film prevented it from getting a general theatrical release (it played at film festivals in the late 1970s), it finally got released to the public in 2007 and has since become regarded as an important historical artifact in the history of independent cinema. Burnett's accomplishments here feel like a precursor to legendary 1990s indie filmmakers like Kevin Smith, Robert Rodriguez and Cheryl Dunye who also went out and made deeply personal cinema on shoestring budgets. Even if it didn't get a conventional theatrical release until the 21st-century, the very existence of Killer of Sheep paved the way for then-future cinema by showing what was possible with independently produced filmmaking.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Take An Amiable Trip To Texas With David Byrne In True Stories

I've managed to review a bunch of low-key movies lately but none of them are as laidback as David Byrne's True Stories. The lone feature film directorial effort from Byrne, who is most famous for being a founding member of Talking Heads, explores the lives of the inhabitants of a small Texas town by the name of Virgil with all the urgency of a tranquil Sunday stroll. Such a style of pacing is a perfect fit for Byrne, who, in the role of The Narrator, wants the viewer to have time to soak in all the finer details of this town and its inhabitants. This characters fascination with Virgil, Texas results in a delightfully unique entry in the canon of Texas cinema.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Here's All The News Announced At The Walt Disney Studios Panel At D23 2019

Well, the Disney+ panel at D23 certainly got the job done in terms of generating excitement for Disney's new streaming platform. Showing off an impressive trailer for The Mandalorian as well as announcing new Marvel Studios (Kamala Khan!!!) and Lizzie McGuire TV shows got a lot of positive publicity for Disney+. Next up in terms of high-profile D23 panels is the one for Walt Disney Studios, which will show off upcoming films from Disney's big theatrical studios that provide family-friendly content (so no 20th Century Fox or Fox Searchlight), Walt Disney Studios, PIXAR, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm.

Blinded by the Light Hits A Decent Amount of High Notes

You ever have the urge to just leave this podunk town, grab your lover and chase your dreams? Javed Khan (played by Viveik Kalra and a fictional character representing real-world writer Sarfraz Manzoor) constantly feels like that. A Pakistani sixteen-year-old living in Luton, England with his sisters, his mom, Noor Khan (Meera Ganatra) and stern father Malik Khan (Kulvinder Ghir). His Dad just wants Javed to focus on his classes and pursue a "real job" but Javed harbors secret dreams of pursuing a career in writing. Feeling isolated from his family and rampant bigotry against Pakistani's in his town make him feel alone...but he finds salvation in the music of Bruce Springsteen, whose tunes resonate on a profoundly personal level with Javed.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Here's All The News Announced At The Disney+ Panel At D23 Expo 2019

Disney+, Disney's new streaming service meant to rival Netflix, kicked off its marketing campaign in earnest at the start of this week and that campaign is about to head into overdrive thanks to a D23 panel dedicated to showing off what original movies and TV shows are debuting on the streaming service. I'll be using this post as a place to post big news that gets announced during the panel and my responses to those pieces of news (I can follow along thanks to this live feed from I'll also be sure to embed into this post any trailers (how about a trailer for The Mandalorian?) that drop during the panel.

Police Story Saw Jackie Chan Establish Himself As The Buster Keaton of Action Movies

The 1980s were the era of action movie stars as the likes of Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and all the other people who nowadays headline direct-to-Redbox fare were titans of the silver screen as they beat up nefarious foes in an R-rated fashion and delivered corny one-liners. America wasn't the only country where an action movie star established his prowess in the 1980s, though, Hong Kong also saw Jackie Chan solidify himself as an action movie leading man with a whole array of iconic titles. One of those titles was Police Story, which saw Chan stepping behind the camera to direct the proceedings. In the process, he depicted so much creative flair that it was clear that Chan was clearly something special in the world of action movie stars.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Peanut Butter Falcon Is A Pleasant And Charming Affair

Zak (Zach Gottsagen) is an adult man with Down Syndrome who has spent the last two years looking at the outside world from a distance. State authorities have kept Zak locked up in a nursing home with people considerably older than him and with no chance to go out there and pursue his dream of becoming a pro-wrestler. One night, he manages to break out of the nursing home and begins to make the trek to a wrestling camp run by his hero, The Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church). Along the way, he runs into Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), a man on the run from a pair of vicious redneck hooligans (one of which is played by John Hawkes). Tyler didn't plan to have company on his voyage to Florida but since the wrestling school is on his way, he and Zak team up for an impromptu road trip, with both the redneck hooligans and nursing home employee Eleanor (Dakota Johnson) hot on their trail. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Doomed! Is A Documentary Ode To A Never-Released Superhero Movie

In the history ofcrummy superhero movie creative decisions, outright shelving a nearly finished Fantastic Four movie, originally slated for a theatrical release in 1994, has gotta be up there. It's a bold move that left all the creative participants in the project shocked to the core and turned this Roger Corman-produced motion picture into a legend overnight. 25 years later, no official release of the project has seen the light of day, it's stuck in some vault somewhere at Marvel Headquarters. While we all wait for the Disney monopoly, er, corporation, to maybe possibly release this thing once and for all, the documentary Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman's Fantastic Four allows the creative participants of this fabled film to finally tell their experiences about being a part of the big blockbuster that never was.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Law Abiding Citizen Is Another Gerard Butler-Headlined Disaster

In each era of American history, the then modern-day American political climate seems to always seep into our countries action movies. Sometimes they manifest in interesting ways but other times history has shown that action cinema chooses to reflect the real world in toxic ways that try to soothe the frayed nerves of privileged members of society in order to ensure that everything is just hunky-dory with the actually troublesome status quo. Much like Rambo and other testosterone-fueled action movies of the 1980s were very much made as responses to the post-Vietnam climate of the country, Law Abiding Citizen is a movie made for the era of the PATRIOT act as good guy detectives proudly deliver “heroic” lines like “Fuck his civil liberties” and a mayor played by Viola Davis makes a sweeping speech to urge law enforcement officers to bend the law to take down Gerard Butler’s baddie. The end justifies the means for Law Abiding Citizen, a thriller seemingly handmade for people who would dismiss Taxi to the Dark Side as “fake news”.

Women on the Verge of a Breakdown Makes For A Great Introduction To Pedro Almodovar Cinema

And in the newest edition of Iconic Filmmakers Douglas Laman Has Somehow Never Watched Before Now, let's turn to Pedro Almodovar. One of the most iconic Spanish filmmakers of all-time, Almodovar has had a steady string of successes as a director for nearly four decades now across a multitude of genres and early acclaim for his newest movie, Pain and Glory, indicates his successful creative streak is in no danger of ending anytime soon. However, his 1988 motion picture Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown was the movie that brought him to a whole new level of worldwide prominence as a filmmaker and in retrospect, it's neat to see that this feature was able to resonate so deeply with worldwide audiences. Not just because it's a good movie (which it is, for the record) but also because it's such a unique creation, it's not a conventional feature by any stretch of the imagination and to see audiences respond to it with such positivity is wonderful to see.

To Be or Not to Be Generates Laughs By Making a Mockery of Nazi's

For a long period of time, American cinema refused to acknowledge the growing threat of Nazism in Europe. Much like today, major American pop culture has a nasty habit of trying to remain neutral in the face of fascism or all sorts of other horrors affecting oppressed communities so that they don't lose the potential spending of fascists and bigots, all while marginalized communities suffer at the hands of fascists. Eventually, though, the horrific realities of the Nazi regime did get recognized in American cinema. and one film to confront Hitler's reign of power head-on was Ernst Lubitsch's satirical comedy To Be or Not to Be. Though that may not be the first genre you'd imagine using to explore then modern-day horrors, it turns out to be the perfect domain to both take the piss out of Nazi's and to produce some mighty witty comedy.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Dial M For Murder Is More Constrained But No Less Thrilling Hitchcock Feature

This review originally appeared on The-Solute as part of their Year of the Month series.

Like Jackass 3D or Hoodwinked Too!: Hood vs. Evil, Dial M for Murder was made in 3D. The brief 3D craze of the 1950s included this Alfred Hitchcock directorial effort, though, apparently, test audiences reacted so negatively to the 3D that it was primarily shown in 2D. It’s odd to watch Dial M For Murder and imagine it being thought of as ideal for the process of 3D. Rarely do objects come towards the camera or other similar gimmicky moments associated with 3D movies of this era, it’s all mostly a restrained dialogue-reliant affair that would seem ill-suited for this format. After all, a crackling thriller like Dial M for Murder doesn’t need a gimmick like 3D to be extremely immersive!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Kitchen Makes A Mixed Bag of a Mobster Mayhem Movie

Kathy Brennan (Melissa McCarthy), Ruby O'Carroll (Tiffany Haddish) and Claire Walsh (Elisabeth Moss) have something very important in common beyond them all being the lead characters of the new mobster drama The Kitchen. They're all spouses of critical figures in the Hell's Kitchen mobster scene circa. 1979. All of their husbands have recently gone to prison and while the remaining mob figures have promised to take care of the trio financially, they're not getting anywhere near enough money to take care of their lives. That's when Kathy, Ruby and Claire decide to take it upon themselves to take control of their lives and run their own mob racket that begins to expand in power to such a profound degree that it upsets the previous mobster status quo in New York City.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Where'd You Go, Bernadette Is Shockingly Lifeless

After more than a decade doing independently financed arthouse fare, director Richard Linklater, one of the best directors currently working today, uses a film adaptation of the Maria Semple-penned book Where'd You Go, Bernadette as his return to more broadly appealing commercial fare, a domain he hasn't traipsed into since that Bad News Bears remake in 2005 that history has left to be forgotten. Linklater has been on an incredible hot streak in the 2010s with films like Bernie, Before Midnight and Boyhood, which makes it all the more profoundly disappointing how underwhelming his final feature of the decade ends up being. Linklater's well-known for making quiet films but they've never been as lacking in a pulse like Where'd You Go, Bernadette.

Harvey Has Big Rabbit Energy


Share Is An Appropriately Hard Watch From Writer/Director Pippa Bianco

CW: Discussions of sexual assault follow

In Laman's Terms: Six 2019 Movies You Need To Catch Up On

In Laman's Terms is a weekly editorial column where Douglas Laman rambles on about certain topics or ideas that have been on his mind lately. Sometimes he's got serious subjects to discuss, other times he's just got some silly stuff to shoot the breeze about. Either way, you know he's gonna talk about something In Laman's Terms!

If you're like me, then there's plenty of 2019 cinema you need to catch up on. Me personally, I'm still trying to watch High Life and Fast Color as well as a whole trove of new foreign-language films that never came remotely near me during their theatrical release. As for your own 2019 cinema catch-up voyage, I thought I could try and help be helpful by compiling six 2019 titles that I feel deserve far more love and attention than they've gotten. I've made sure to list with each title where you can rent or purchase them as well as if they're streaming for free on any of the many streaming services out there.

Let's start this look at 2019 films you need to catch up on with a movie that hits a high note and then some!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

One Child Nation Emphasizes the Human Cost of Blindly Following a National Policy

For people like myself who were only vaguely aware of China's One-Child Policy that was implemented in the country from 1979 to 2015, the new documentary One Child Nation will prove to be highly informative and fascinating experience. Directed by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang, the feature follows Wang returning to her home country of China to uncover more answers regarding this policy. Now that she's a mother herself, the idea of living in a country where the Government controls how many kids you can and cannot have is one that unnerves her. At first interviewing her relatives and individuals tasked with implementing this policy, Wang and Zhang's documentary gradually uncovers a whole slew of deeper sinister conspiracies within this policy in a timely tale of the human cost of dangerous blinding loyalty to nationalism.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Filmmaking Gone Awry Proves To Be Captivating In Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau

It's a common occurrence in the modern blockbuster landscape to hear stories of a director originally set to helm a splashy high-budget project get taken off the project during pre-production, reshoots or even principal photography due to that age-old excuse of "creative differences". Josh Trank on Fant4stic, Phil Lord & Chris Miller on Solo: A Star Wars Story, Stephen Gaghan on that upcoming Dolittle movie, oh, the list goes on and on. But few of these departures were as chaotic as when Richard Stanley was fired a few days into filming on his passion project, a feature film adaptation of The Island of Dr. Moreau. What led to Stanley taking this gig in the first place, his firing and the fallout of this decision is chronicled in the documentary Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Winter's Bone Propelled Jennifer Lawrence To Stardom And For Good Reason

Let's go back in time to 2010. It's the start of another decade. The iPad is the newest gizmo from the mind of apple. Kate Gosselin is trying to make Kate Plus Eight a thing. The House That Built Me is dominating the Billboard Country Music charts. And in June 2010, Winter's Bone got released to widespread acclaim and in the process, launched the career of one Jennifer Lawrence. Only the fourth movie she ever appeared in, Winter's Bone immediately propelled Lawrence onto the pop culture radar and her place on that radar would be cemented in the years to come with major hits like The Hunger Games and Silver Linings Playbook.

Technology-Focused Documentary The Great Hack Works Best In Its Most Human Sequences

America's 2016 Presidential Election has turned the entire planet upside down in countless respects, but it's especially upended how we perceive technology and the impact it can have on the real world. The Great Hack is a new documentary exploring this through the eyes of a number of people, most notably Professor David Carroll. Here's a fellow who has always been interested in technology and the internet but in the wake of the scandal associated with companies like Cambridge Analytica and Facebook taking peoples personal information without their consent, he begins a quest to get his own information back from Cambridge Analytica. While his extended struggle to get his personal information back is underway, both the British and U.S. governments begin to interrogate people associated with these attacks, most notably former Cambridge Analytica employee Brittany Kaiser.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Universal Has Cancelled The Hunt And That's Not Good News

An image from The Hunt
The next major release from Universal/Blumhouse, a partnership that's yielded movies like Get Out, Glass and the 2018 remake of Halloween among many others, is The Hunt. Hailing from director Craig Zobel and written by Damon Lindelof, the project tells a tale of about a dozen Red State individuals plopped into a closed-off area where they're hunted by Blue State individuals. The former group is framed as the good guys, particularly Betty Gilpen's protagonist, while the villains are explicitly rendered as Liberals led by Hillary Swank's villain. The trailer debuted in theaters on Crawl and then dropped online a few weeks later. It didn't seem to make much of an impression and registered to me as a cheap-looking (yet somehow apparently cost a whole lot more than usual Universal/Blumhouse fare) Centrist mash-up of The Purge and The Hunger Games.

Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark Gets Its Frights Right

Children love a good scare. Kids literature has proved this countless time over the centuries, dating back to all those gruesome Grimm Brothers Fairy Tales. In the modern era, the likes of R.L. Stine and Neil Gaiman have delivered books that give youngsters chills they can't get enough of. The book series Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, penned by Alvin Schwartz, has proved to be such a popular example of kids horror literature that it's a shock it's never been adapted into a film before now. Such an adaptation has finally come to life from director Andre Overdal as well as from producer Guillermo Del Toro, who also penned the screenstory for this feature.

Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling Delivers A Delightful Return To O-Town


Holy heck, Rocko's Modern Life is back! That beloved animated cartoon that aired on Nickelodeon in the 1990s has returned for a 45-minute special entitled Static Cling that, after being put on a shelf for multiple years, finally debuted on Netflix yesterday. Like many classic Nickelodeon projects, the original Rocko cartoon was widely praised for how it managed to resonate just as much with adults as it did with kids, the plights of Rocko and pals typically involved filtering mundane parts of circa. 1990s adulthood life, such as doing laundry, through a highly wacky cartoony visual sensibility. Such a balance is maintained for Static Cling under the direction of Cosmo Serguson and original show creator Joe Murray.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Desk Set Finds Charming Yuks In An Office Romance

Richard Sumner (Spencer Tracy) has come to the research department of Manhattan's Federal Broadcasting Network with a singular purpose in mind consisting of him being the person who has to organize the arrival of a high-tech supercomputer that will be the new default source of information for people calling into the research center. Of course, he can never tell people of this purpose because they immediately get terrified the machine will take their job so he just lingers around the research department under a vaguely defined purpose all while becoming closer and closer to the head of this research department, Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn).

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Slacker Saw Richard Linklater Hit The Ground Running As A Filmmaker

Having already written an extensive piece about Slacker for The Spool, I've already said plenty about this Richard Linklater directorial debut. But though it may be as casual as a gentle breeze floating through the air, Slacker offers up so much to viewers that there's still plenty to talk about in regards to this motion picture. Said motion picture follows the lives of a whole assortment of Austin, Texas citizens which feels in line with how writer/director Richard Linklater has frequently found plenty to be enamored with in the casual lives of everyday people. Unlike the majority of his films concentrating on that subject matter, though, Slacker doesn't have a protagonist to serve as a recurring fixed point for the audience to return to.

The Manchurian Candidate Is The Kindest, Bravest, Warmest, Most Wonderful Movie I've Ever Known In My Life


Returning home from War is always a difficult process and that couldn't be truer for Korean War veterans Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) and Captain Bennett Marco (Frank Sinatra). Shaw at least has returned home a hero and with a plush job at a high-profile newspaper to help make his adjustment back to civilian life reasonably easy. Meanwhile, Marco and the other members of the platoon he belonged to begin to have the strangest dreams, ones in which they're all lined up in front a gathering of Communist leaders in order to show off how effectively American soldiers can be brainwashed. In order to demonstrate how deep this brainwashing goes, Shaw kills two of his own men without hesitation as an obedient soldier of enemy forces.

Believe It or Not, The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then Bigfoot Is A Contemplative Film

With a title like The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then Bigfoot, you'd reasonably expect this feature film from writer/director Robert D. Krzykowski to be a schlockfest that Cannon Films could have released had it come out in the 1980s. To be sure, there are moments in here that do evoke such films, such as the opening title screen that seems to have been ripped straight out of a Grindhouse motion picture. Even more prominent in how its influenced by those types of films is the whip-fast editing and frantic camerawork used when the titular protagonist, Calvin Barr (Sam Elliot), looks over a wide assortment of weapons to pick out what he'll use to fight the legendary Bigfoot.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Mads Mikkelsen Excels In Arctic, Which Strips Its Story Down To The Bone

Arctic begins in media res with protagonist Overgard (Mads Mikkelsen) already having been stranded in the Arctic Circle for an undisclosed amount of time. We never see how he got here, what his life was like before being stuck here, we only know him as a man trying to survive the unforgiving icy wilderness. One day, Overgard believes his nightmare is over as he spies a nearby helicopter and begins to signal to it for help. However, the helicopter crashes to the ground and leaves just one unnamed survivor (Maria Thelma Smaradottir). Overgard now has to take care of this survivor as he makes a perilous trek to a terrain that has a slim chance of bringing him closer to help. It's a chance he has no choice but to take.

In Laman's Terms: The Light-Hearted Creative Gruesomeness of Gore Verbinski's Works

In Laman's Terms is a weekly editorial column where Douglas Laman rambles on about certain topics or ideas that have been on his mind lately. Sometimes he's got serious subjects to discuss, other times he's just got some silly stuff to shoot the breeze about. Either way, you know he's gonna talk about something In Laman's Terms!

When I was a child, me and my family went on a vacation that saw us all staying at this little house on the beach. In the house, there was a television accompanied by a VHS player and two VHS tapes. One of those tapes for Mouse Hunt, a movie whose cover featuring a perplexed Nathan Lane and a cute mouse immediately garnered my attention. Five minutes into the film and a scene where a character chokes to death disturbed me so greatly that we had to turn off the movie and find some other way to amuse myself. Like many movies (E.T. especially) that traumatized me as a child, I have a newfound appreciation for Mouse Hunt as an adult, particularly in how it set the stage for how director Gore Verbinski would incorporate the macabre into seemingly pedestrian mainstream feature films.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The First Non-Silent Cinematic Take On Little Women Soars In Its Most Quiet Moments

Louisa May Alcott’s book Little Women proved to be such an enduring literary phenomenon once it was published at the end of the 1860s that it was inevitable the artform of cinema, as it got underway in the dawn of the 20th century, would attempt to tackle it. Hollywood loved to make movies out of beloved source material as much in 1919 as they do in 2019! Two silent movie takes on the material had emerged before the 1920s had even finished but the most expansive adaptation of Little Women yet would come about in 1933 courtesy of director George Cukor, who assembled a stellar cast to bring this text to life.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Steven Soderbergh's The Limey Is Brilliantly Written and Edited


Typically, Steven Soderbergh movies have more than a touch of comedy to them. Sometimes the comedy manifests itself in more pronounced ways like in his features Logan Lucky or The Informant!, other times it emerges in more subtle ways, but usually Soderbergh delivers movies that are likely to deliver a chuckle for every bit of inventive piece of camerawork. His 1999 crime drama The Limey has moments of comedy to be certain, like an amusing sight gag of a server passing out drinks as police officers and ambulance workers try to take care of a dead body. But it's one of the more melancholy Soderbergh directorial efforts I've seen and that turns out to be the proper tonal choice for this specific story.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

The Savages Is Another Authentically Messy Achievement From Tamara Jenkins

Who exactly are the titular family of The Savages? Well, they're an eclectic group mostly consisting of a father, Lenny (Phillip Bosco) and two adult children named Wendy (Laura Linney) and Jon (Philip Seymour Hoffman), with Wendy serving as the stories protagonist. Both Wendy and Jon are trying their best to muddle through their lives when they get the news that their distant father is having extreme issues related to a newly formed case of Dementia in Arizona on the other side of the country. Wendy and Jon bring their father back to their neck of the woods in Buffalo, New York and set him up in a nursing home. As she tries to chart a course for where her life needs to go, Wendy decides to live with Jon so that she can be nearby if their father has any issues.

Keanue Reeves Played A Neo-Noir Superhero In The Enjoyable Constantine

DC Comics has struggled to get quite as many of its comic book characters to spawn big-screen franchises compared to their Marvel Comics counterpart (2010s Red was the first DC Comics adaptation that wasn't based on Superman, Batman or Swamp-Thing to spawn a sequel), but they've still got a bevy of memorable standalone movies to their name. Case in point: the 2005 Francis Lawrence directorial effort Constantine based on the comic book character of the same name. Though initially, it received mixed reviews and fanboy disdain for deviating from the comics, it's since garnered cult classic status and for very good reason.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Easy Rider Is A Fascinating Melancholy Look at The Cost of Being A Rebel

I’d heard from a lot of people in recent years that Easy Rider was incomprehensible to modern viewers due to not having aged properly. It's a sentiment so widespread that Craig Ferguson even made it a joke between himself and his mute horse Secretariat. Having finally watched this landmark motion picture, I can its' certainly a product of the era in which it was made, Easy Rider is as deeply interwoven into the fabric of 1960s culture as any movie. But as someone young enough to have not known what was going on with Tonya Harding before seeing I, Tonya, I was outright shocked by how much I outright adored Easy Rider, it's a great film in its own right as well as a remarkable exploration of those who belonged to the 1960s counterculture movement.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Find A Better Place To Stay Than The Red Sea Diving Resort

Remember the movie Million Dollar Arm? It was a May 2014 inspirational sports movie from Disney about three young male cricket players hailing from India who are recruited to be baseball players in America. They now have to adjust to an unfamiliar culture and the pressures placed on them to succeed in this specific world of sports. Despite having some fascinating challenges to overcome, they are not the lead characters of Million Dollar Arm. The lead character is Jon Hamm as the guy who recruits the trio of cricket players to come to America. His main struggle is figuring out how to score a date with his next-door neighbor Lake Bell. It's clear which characters have the more interesting story in Million Dollar Arm, but Hollywood has made it clear time and time again that the character with the white skin is always the one that gets to headline the story no matter how boring their tale is.

Clue Is Easily The Best Film Adaptation of a Toy (Exempting The LEGO Movie)

Movies based on toys haven't taken off to the same extreme as comic books or TV shows since, like video games, artistic properties that place most control over to the audiences tend to be difficult to translate into a more strictly molded medium of storytelling like film. Still, we have seen our fair share of movies based on toys, especially in the last twelve years since Transformers became a box office juggernaut. Before most of those motion pictures came Clue, one of the very first movies to be based on a toy. A 1985 directorial effort from Johnathan Lynn, Clue took the characters and murder mystery set-up of the original 1949 board game of the same name and in the process took what could have been a cashgrab for Hasbro into something mighty hysterical.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Chloe Zhao's Directorial Debut Songs My Brothers Taught Me Aches With Reality

Right now in London, director Chloe Zhao is directing The Eternals, the twenty-fifth entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This Angelina Jolie-headlined motion picture will be the fourth directorial effort from Zhao but it will easily be the biggest motion picture she's helmed. Up to this point, Zhao has directed indie features so small in scale that they make the earlier works of fellow MCU directors like James Gunn or Jon Favreau look like Cecil B. DeMille epics by comparison. However, such an intimate storytelling approach has worked exceedingly well for the fascinating stories Zhao (who is tied with Ryan Coogler and Taika Waititi as the most talented director Marvel has ever snagged for one of their movies) has chosen to tell. Such films have included The Rider, one of last years best movies, and her directorial debut Songs My Brothers Taught Me.

Wild Rose Is So Good It'll Lead Even The Most Cynical Viewers To Bellow "Yee-Haw!"

The best country music, like the best music in any genre really, tends to tap into some sort of relatable human emotion. Dolly Parton's Jolene, for instance, captures a sense of romantic vulnerability that we've all experienced at one time or another while Johnny Cash's I Walk the Line encapsulates the personal sacrifices we make for the ones we love. In these tunes and so many others, the genre of country music is used as a way to remind listeners that they aren't the only ones feeling heartbreak, joy, confusion or so many other emotions. Those classic country tunes would certainly be proud of the 2019 movie Wild Rose, specifically the way it uses the story of an aspiring singer for something that channels experiences and emotions straight out of reality.

The Farewell Phenomenally Grapples With How To Say Good-Bye

When I was a kid, I thought of all the adults in my life as permanent fixtures. My Uncle's, my Grandparents, family friends, they were all there when I was born, they were there so often when I was young, why wouldn't they be like the sun or the moon and always be around? But growing up means coming to terms with the fact that everyone is mortal. Even the ones you love dearly and never want to see go. Now an adult, I thought I had long since accepted this notion but it's one thing to accept that notion and a whole other to confront it firsthand. Losing a Grandmother and a dearly beloved Uncle in the span of three years made me realize how nobody is ready to say goodbye to those people you once thought of as permanent.