post

Sporadically Gruesome ‘BRIGHTBURN’ Could Burn More Brightly

Man of Steel meets We Need to Talk About Kevin in Brightburn, the James Gunn-produced “What if Superman bad?” movie that’s had folks buzzing since its mysterious announcement last year. Gunn, who cut his teeth in the Troma movie scene – a disruptive production company infamous for splatter and farce-fueled horror movies like Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead and The Toxic Avenger – before becoming a big shot with The Guardians of the Galaxy series, has his gore-tastic fingerprints scattered throughout Brightburn, though the superhero script-flipper’s signature touch is decisively missing, Brightburn lacking the mark of a seasoned filmmaker with keen editorial prowess, a knack for subjective horror, and Gunn’s dark, cruel wit. Read More

post

Disney’s Lifeless ’ALADDIN’ Remake is the Opposite of Art

As far as I’m concerned, Aladdin is the worst movie of the year. There is not one ounce of artistic value in this soiled remake ostensibly from director Guy Ritchie (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.), not one element that was not a clunky and borderline offensive down step from the original 1992 animated film, no attempt to refurbish the material and put any semblance of fresh spin on it. This is “filmmaking” as black magic – the result of someone burying the original Aladdin V/H/S in a Pet Sematary, its shambling resurrected corpse showing up on marquees pretending to be a real movie.   Read More

post

‘BOOKSMART’ a Sincere (And Sincerely Funny) Ode to High School Ride or Dies 

In August of 2007, Superbad hit theaters and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I had graduated from high school three months earlier and though I’d never sat in a ride along with infantile po-po, or forced to sing karaoke to a room full of coke heads, the theme of life’s defining crossroads and their inevitable effect on friendship struck a nerve. Underneath the playful sheen of a raunchy teen comedy, Superbad spoke to the challenges of an unknowable future and the tectonic shifts that crackle in the multitudinous friendships you’ve curated over the years. A few days after Superbad, I left for college.  Read More

post

 ’JOHN WICK 3 – PARABELLUM’ Is Like Dipping Your Eyes in Pop Rocks

When you buy your ticket for John Wick 3, prepare for war. The third (and evidently not final) installment in Keanu Reeves’ increasingly trendy no-fuss no-frills action franchise is an idyllic distillation of the draw of the series, amped up to the Nth degree, slurping down a snifter of brandy, armed with Schubert on vinyl, locked, stocked, loaded, ready to tango. There’s someone to kill around every corner, alongside a brain cell or two, if you fancy buying into all the bloody mayhem. The weapons are more plentiful, the armor is thicker, the violence is more violent. Hell, even the blood is bloodier. As the criminal underworld puts the titular invincible assassin squarely in its seemingly ubiquitous crosshairs, it’s John Wick versus the world. The odds are less than even.  Read More

post

‘DETECTIVE PIKACHU’ Solves Mystery: Video Game Adaptations Still Not Great

Did you know that Pokémon is already the highest grossing media franchise of all time? At 90 billion dollars in total franchise revenue, its total haul triples that of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, eclipsing the net worth of Winnie the Pooh, Hello Kitty, Mickey Mouse & Friends, Mario, and the entire Disney Princess collection. To say it’s an international sensation is to put it mildly. After the recent resurgence of the pocket monsters in the form of the popular augmented reality game Pokémon Go, Pokémon fever has been at a new all-time high and for the first time in nearly 20 years, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu marks the long-awaited return of Pokémon, Pokémon trainers, and their pokéballs of steel to the big screen.   Read More

post

Hammy Quaid Almost Makes Trashy Thriller ‘THE INTRUDER’ Worthwhile

Self-taught director Deon Taylor, who directed the embarrassing Mike Epps spoof movie Meet the Blacks, has a familiar way of staging a scene. That is to say, at the Christmas potluck that is Hollywood, he’s brought nothing new to the table. Despite modern trappings, this is a movie that feels trapped in the 90s, both in story and storytelling technique. From the totally awkward over-use of R&B music on the soundtrack to the sleek but rarely suspenseful camerawork, Taylor’s creation feels like a product released after its expiration date, but one that lives and dies by its unintentionally ironic and campy sense of uncool. Fittingly, The Intruder is the dad bod of psychosexual thrillers, past its prime and flailing for relevance, maintaining its rangy charm by sheer force of will. It’s the Dennis Quaid of movies.   Read More

post

Politically Tinted ‘LONG SHOT’ a Rogen-Theron Rom-Com Hit

God bless Seth Rogen. The Canadian-born comedian and Freaks and Geeks alum has made a career playing lovably disheveled stoners, his public persona often aligning with the characters he plays, if reliably less successful. In Long Shot, Rogen’s third collaboration with director Jonathan Levine (50/50, The Night Before), Rogen steps into familiarly stoney, snarky shoes as a left-leaning journalist named Fred Flarsky who rekindles a relationship with his old babysitter Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), who is currently running for president. Read More

post

Awesomely Poisonous ‘HER SMELL’ Turns Elisabeth Moss’ Punk-Rock Stardom into Horror Show

There’s a heartbeat cadence throbbing in the background of Her Smell. Racing like a speed addict’s BPM, undulating and omnipresence, it thrums. Maybe it’s the pulsing cry of the expectant crowd. Or the muted surge of an opening act bleeding through thick subterranean walls. But it’s there, subtly informing the uneasy tension and amplifying the sense that things could go desperately wrong at any given moment. With Becky Something, disaster – in the form of a looming overdose, public implosion, or full mental break – lurks in every corner. Read More

post

‘TEEN SPIRIT’ Gives MTV Spin to Tale as Old as Time

In Max Minghella’s flashy debut Teen Spirit, Elle Fanning plays a modern-day immigrant dreaming of a greater existence. Blessed with a ripping set of pipes but stuck in the dead-end-ville that is the Isle of Wight, Fanning’s Violet is a Polack living in the far reaches of the UK who embarks down a well-trod rags-to-riches road, one that makes a point of name-checking iconic humble-beginnings-princess Cinderella. There is little novel that defines Violet’s underdog arc but Fanning’s magnetic turn and a sensitive approach to character development make this poppy toe-tapper an irresistible power ballad, if one you’ve definitely heard play on repeat since the advent of film. Read More

post

Punishing ’THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA’ Will Make You Cry Tears of Boredom

The Curse of La Llorona is why people say they don’t like horror movies. In an age of Us, Hereditary, The Babadook, The Witch, Get Out, Raw, It Follows and so so many more outstanding horror movies, it’s why some still think they don’t like the genre. Why they falsely assume it’s inferior cinema. Sure, this particular movie isn’t retroactively responsible for the distaste of scary movie avoidant moviegoers en masse but this brand of slick, soulless sludge is. With nothing more than an anorexic concept held loosely together with poorly-telegraphed jump scares, children constantly screaming and countless scenes of creeping through creaking casas in the dark, The Curse of La Llorona is the laziest pedigree of studio horror fare, coasting on brand familiarity and age-old genre tropes to pass the minutes by with nothing in the way of inspiration to lift it up or differentiate it from the pack. Read More