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Out in Theaters: ‘MORGAN’

When you assemble the likes of Kate Mara (House of Cards), Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones),  Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight) and Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) you’d expect all the girl power onboard to make for some exceptionally high voltage x-chromosome electricity. I mean we’re talking Ygritte, Sue Storm, Thomasin, Daisy Domergue and Wai Lin all huddled under one hot tin roof, sermonizing, philosophizing and fisticuffing under the purview of a Ridley Scott protege. But all the estrogen in the world can’t overpower Morgan’s tepid and over-familiar “lab monster” plot nor fuel its running-on-fumes third act.
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Blu-Ray Review: ‘THE JUNGLE BOOK’

Synopsis: “Raised by a family of wolves since birth, Mowgli (Neel Sethi) must leave the only home he’s ever known when the fearsome tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba) unleashes his mighty roar. Guided by a no-nonsense panther (Ben Kingsley) and a free-spirited bear (Bill Murray), the young boy meets an array of jungle animals, including a slithery python and a smooth-talking ape. Along the way, Mowgli learns valuable life lessons as his epic journey of self-discovery leads to fun and adventure.” Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘MORRIS FROM AMERICA’

Debuting in a time where discussion on race in American cinema is at an absolute fever pitch, Morris From America explores the idea of cultural and personal identity through the lens of a 13-year old black aspiring free-styler living with his father (Craig Robinson) in the little white-washed German village of Heidelberg. Directed by Chad Hartigan, who won Sundance’s Best of Next prize in 2013 for This is Martin Bonner, Morris may be relatively light viewing but with fine performances across the board and a semi-charmed approach to talking about race and culture, Morris is a crowd-pleasing success story that could find love outside the festival circuit. Read More

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Second Opinion: ‘DON’T BREATHE’

It dawned on me nearly immediately while watching Fede Alvarez‘s new horror film, Don’t Breathe, that from this point forward, whenever I hear associates bemoan the lack of good feminine roles in Hollywood, I’m holding up the horror genre as one of the few places in the system that actually nurtures and supports strong female leads. These hardworking actors, deemed, unfortunately, scream queens, make a tidy living in a film class thought more of as performance art than actual art. There are juicy roles available for any actress willing to dive into the grime and swim with the hatchet murderers and zombies.

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Out in Theaters: ‘SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU’

First there was the rom-com. Then the zom-rom-com. Now we have the world’s first obam-rom-com. That characterization may not be entirely fair but it as effective a quick description as can be applied. Southside With You is a romantic drama, hemmed with political hues and tempered with racial tribunals though it may be, that stars Parkey Sawyers and Tika Sumpter as the to-be 44th POTUS and his First Lady respectively that sees Barack woo the future Mrs. Obama over the course of one fated-in-the-stars totally-not-a-date. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘DON’T BREATHE’

Let me be clear, you probably can’t handle Don’t Breathe. Hitchcockian in concept and French New Wave in execution, the batshit bonkers new horror film from Fede Alvarez is a sanguine-stained guillotine of heinous intensity. The Uruguayan director has issued French extremity an American passport, inviting a true-to-form, heart-stopping gang bang of insane tension to inseminate the United States homeland. Consider everyone at last night’s world premiere unmistakably impregnanted by its brutal brilliance. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘LO AND BEHOLD: REVERIES OF THE CONNECTED WORLD’

Werner Herzog‘s dulcet tones ripple from the screen, warming the audience with his distinctive Herzogian accent and lolling cadence. His latest topic of interest: the internet. As can be expected of the revered German filmmaker and documentarian, Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World is a thoughtful study of the past, present and future of this thing we call the internet; how it originated, how it binds us, and how it could lead to the end of times. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘BEN-HUR’

Before he was ever accosted by apes, Charlton Heston galloped to Oscar gold for his performance as a Jewish prince turned slave in the 1959 historical epic Ben-Hur. The film was the most expensive of its time and yielded great financial and critical success to the tune of 11 Academy Award wins and label of second-highest grossing movie to date. It was a remake.

Many fail to acknowledge that their celebrated Ben-Hur is not in fact the first of its ilk. Rather, it’s a “remake” of a not-so-proliferated 1925 silent film, which was in turn a “remake” of a 15-minute film fiasco from 1907. But all this “remake” business seems a big hogwashy once we peel back some layers. I mean seriously is 2016’s Ben-Hur really to be thought of as a remake of a remake or a remake? Remake has become an ugly and ubiquitous term, one that depending on the circumstance can be thrown with the bathwater if we merely interpret the phrase. After all, how does one delineate “remake” from “adaptation”, particularly when we are discussing films that have been adopted from novels? Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS’

If there was ever any doubt that the circle of awesome that began with Coraline, Paranorman and The Boxtrolls would be broken, breathe relief. First-time director Travis Knight has led the masterful animators at Laika to victory once more with Kubo and the Two Strings. With the precision and delicacy of a samurai, Knight and his roundtable of figurine tinkerers carved out my heart and left it a fluttering mess, crafting a spellbinding adventure that thrums with wistful soul and spirited poignancy. In an age of skepticism and cynicism, Knight and the Laika wizards prove real alchemy exists. Marrying resplendent visual imagination with potent mature themes, they have made gold. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘BLOOD FATHER’

In this summer of blockbuster ipecac, a little gritty revenge thriller goes a long way. We’ve seen one bankrolled mega-flick after another failing to deliver even the most basic of popcorn inertia. By contrast, the lightweight, low-budget action-thriller Blood Father makes it look easy. Well, easyish. Dispensing with the narrative gristle and computer-animated window-dressings, Paris native Jean-François Richet applies the paddles to this most derelict of seasons and squeezes, bringing back to life a blockbuster run that, for all intents and purposes, has proved DOA throughout. All he needed, it turns out, was Mel Gibson and a dash of piss and vinegar. Read More