When we last left Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel), in the boringly-yet-appropriately titled The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), he was installed as the leader of the Necromongers, a race of humanoids bent on turning everyone in the universe into Scientologists. Whatever else happened in The Chronicles of Riddick has been long forgotten, mostly because it’s […]
“Tremendously shitty.” That’s the best phrase to describe the new Ethan Hawke-Selena Gomez (!) driving thriller Getaway, a movie in which characters can break the Internet in fewer than five seconds and a car can be armored to prevent total destruction, but the guy who armored it forgets long enough to send someone to shoot it up who didn’t bring armor piercing bullets.
Sorry, peeps. The World’s End just isn’t as good as Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, the other features in the Simon Pegg-Nick Frost-Edgar Wright canon. Luckily, The World’s End is still a lot of fun, and Pegg and Frost prove once again to be captivating screen presences and fully committed, especially when dealing […]
When we last left Mindy/Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Dave/Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), one was fatherless and the other had blown up Chris/Red Mist’s father with a bazooka. It was some truly primal shit, made all the more bizarre by the fact that Hit Girl’s dad, Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage), was not revealed to be […]
It’s a good thing the heart of Lee Daniels’ The Butler is Forest Whitaker, because the movie has a great story to tell but gets in its own way. Whitaker keeps the movie centered amid the barrage of huge star cameos, corny dialogue, and choppy storytelling—plot threads come and go, unresolved—as Cecil Gaines, a White […]
We’re the Millers has the kind of story that can be hammered out in about 15 minutes, if its writers follow the “Save the Cat” formula. (Read this outline before you see it and you’ll actually see the story beats play out when you watch the movie.) The central plot—a pot dealer recruits three people […]
Now that we’re six films into the X-Men series, it’s about time we got one that can stand on its own. It’s not that viewers should skip all the other X-Men films—but seriously, skip Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand, the truly wretched X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and Bryan Singer’s original X-Men—but Hugh Jackman is captivating […]
Give Kristen Wiig credit: She’s clearly not interested in repeating the Bridesmaids formula. And though Girl Most Likely has, at least on the surface, some plot threads in common with Wiig’s breakthrough movie—she’s a loser who moves home with her mother (Annette Bening)—it’s a decidedly more somber picture. That’s not to say Girl Most Likely […]
There’s an episode of “Magnum P.I.” in which Magnum (Tom Selleck), who played for Navy’s football team during his time at the academy, can’t watch that season’s Army-Navy game live on television. There’s a case or someone gets shot or something—you know how it goes with Magnum. This is all from distant memory, but Magnum […]
Many years ago, when summer action blockbusters were a new-ish thing, my mother would say at their conclusion, “That movie was so loud.” It wasn’t really a complaint. It was an observation that, at 10 years-old, I found spurious. Maybe they were loud, maybe they weren’t. I was probably more interested in disagreeing with her. […]
How does a reformed supervillain, Gru (Steve Carell), have anything to do in a sequel in which he’s not made the villain? Simple: He’s recruited by an international crime-fighting organization led by Silas Ramsbottom (ha, yeah; he’s played by Steve Coogan and resembles an obese James Fox) and partnered with Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) to […]
In case you missed it, lots of people are angry over Johnny Depp’s decision to play Tonto in the manner he plays Tonto in The Lone Ranger. There’s further anger over the decision to have a white man play Tonto. And the dead bird on his head. Et cetera. Sorry, peeps: The redface is a […]
Brad Pitt’s attack on zombies fails to capture the trend It’s not that World War Z is bad. Any movie with star Brad Pitt and director Marc Forster—whose resume swings from Stranger Than Fiction to Machine Gun Preacher-—can’t be bad. It can, however, be pretty mediocre. Fans of Max Brooks’ novel World War Z would […]
It’s the perfect time of year to discuss a longstanding moviegoers’ gripe: “The book was better.” Or “they changed the ending.” Or World War Z is an in-name adaptation only. (To be fair, that last statement, sort of uttered by World War Z novelist Max Brooks, isn’t a gripe. It’s the book’s fans who are […]
After seeing Man of Steel, the Christopher Nolan-iphied Superman update, it’s become clear: Nolan is limited. He needs real-world characters who can supply real-world solutions, even if those real-world characters are fighting The Joker or swimming in someone else’s dreams. Starting off on an alien planet? It’s just too otherworldly for him to make worldly. An alien infant crash-landing on Earth needs a […]
This is the End is so devoid of good ideas, smarts or laughs that it’s hard to understand just what its purpose is. I can only conclude it’s to get the six leads together who appear on the poster—James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson—and let them riff. And, boy, […]
Will Smith and M. Night Shyamalan made a movie together. See, they’re both into patterns. After all, in a recent interview in New York Magazine, Smith said, “I’m a student of patterns.” Shyamalan made a movie, Signs, about crop circles (which, really, are patterns). And finally, they’re both in a holding pattern of making shit movies, so it should be no surprise they combined their talents for After Earth.
Wow. Where does one begin? The insipid dialogue? Paul Walker’s non-presence? A plot that makes almost no sense? Stunts that defy the laws of physics? Nah. Let’s start here: I can’t believe how much fun I had watching Fast & Furious 6. Don’t get me wrong. It’s so absurd and stupid that it doesn’t really […]
A great trick director J.J. Abrams and screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman pulled with Star Trek (2009) was to shake the Etch-a-Sketch and start over. After all, how does one deal with the monster that is the Star Trek universe? One doesn’t. Abrams destroyed, on screen, nearly everything that came before him. It’s disheartening […]
Now that The Great Gatsby is out, there’s just one relevant question: To whom is this film targeted? It can’t be people who read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel when it was first released. They’re dead. Is it for recent high school graduates? The millennials, who are plugged into everything all the time and don’t seem to have the attention span for Fitzgerald? Or is it for hip-hop lovers?
Hollywood is content to blow shit up in the months before May and after August in a way it never used to be, but the dog days are still the time* to find the most literal bang for your dinero. Here’s what the studios are pushing, and what we think. The Great Gatsby Does […]
It may seem strange to suggest that a movie about the survival of the human race doesn’t have high stakes, but Oblivion, a movie about the survival of the human race, doesn’t feel as if it has high stakes. What Oblivion does have is a unified vision, excellent production design, camera work and computer graphics, […]
Thankfully, 42 isn’t sanctimonious and Jackie isn’t sage-like. From the movie’s perspective, he’s just a boring guy who wants to play baseball. Jackie also knows that he has to be the coolest head on the field; Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) tells him as much.
Gory resurrection If you see only one bodily dismemberment movie this year, see Evil Dead. If you see only one demon resurrection movie this year, see Evil Dead. Whew! Those opening sentences are a stretch, kind of like Evil Dead itself. It’s two-thirds of a great horror movie. Even though it loses steam during the […]
It’s spring, and you know what that means: A young man’s fancy turns lightly to thoughts of love. Tennyson doesn’t appear to have thought of the old men or women at all, so let’s assume they’re all thinking about baseball, or as I call it at home, love. Normally I wouldn’t put together a post […]
Forget that this story recalls not only Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but also Robert Heinlein’s The Puppet Masters and John W. Campbell’s Who Goes There?—better known to most people as Howard Hawks’ The Thing from Another World or John Carpenter’s The Thing. Because, really, this story is about liking boys. And Jesus, sort of.