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Review: Ready or Not

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Yes Not Maybe So: Bombshell

" I am not liking this trend of portraits of terrible women, like Meghan and Phyliss Schafly, unless it's camp." - Jane

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Entries in Mark Wahlberg (8)

Sunday
Aug192018

Crazy, Now Richer Asians

by Nathaniel R

The past two years have definitely been a huge wakeup call to Hollywood -- American audiences are demanding more diversity onscreen. It wasn't just the sleeper smash of Get Out, or the bigger than Batman/Superman numbers for Wonder Woman, or the record-breaking figures for Black Panther. Add Crazy Rich Asians to the increasingly large stack of hits proving to the powers that be that people value representation onscreen and movies that reflect the ethnic diversity of real life and the fact that the human race is 50% female. 

Weekend Box Office Estimates
(August 17-19)

W I D E
800+ screens
PLATFORM / LIMITED
excluding prev. wide
1. 🔺 CRAZY RICH ASIANS  $25.2 (cum. $34) *NEW* Review, Michelle Yeoh
1. THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS $498k on 276 screens (cum. $10.5) Review
2. THE MEG $21.1 (cum. $83.7)  Review 
2. 🔺  PUZZLE $217k on 108 screens (cum. $733k)
3. 🔺  MILE 22 $13.6 *NEW*
3. 🔺  THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST $138k on 72 screens (cum. $404k)  PodcastInterview

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec232017

Review: "All the Money in the World"

by Chris Feil

On its surface, All the Money in the World has enough stodgy elements of familiarity to convince you it is something you have seen dozens of times. Stately period detail, imposing masculine figures, Ridley Scott’s sheen of seriousness over its true story. The kind of thing where its grey color palate reflects our engagement with its narrative. Luckily the film is surprisingly thrilling and its chillier aspects make an interesting embodiment of the monolith of its steely upper upper class villain. Or even the indifference of a world that allows his greed to thrive.

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Tuesday
Sep192017

YNMS: "All The Money In The World"

Chris here. This year is going to have quite a bit of late breaking Oscar hopefuls based on fact, including Steven Spielberg's The Post (is that what it's called today?) and maybe a Clint Eastwood film about a true life thwarted terrorist attack in France. Ridley Scott is looking to quickly bounce back from the tepid response to Alien: Covenant with a real story of his own that wrapped a mere month ago: All the Money In The World. The film follows the famous Getty kidnapping and cruel patriarch J. Paul Getty's refusal to fork out the ransom dough.

Don't expect to hear "unrecognizable" dubbed just to Gary Oldman this year for Darkest Hour - this film is going hard on selling/taunting us Kevin Spacey as the billionaire in heavy prosthetics. We'll see if this ends up being a supporting or lead actor play, but might the film have awards chances elsewhere? Is it enough of a showcase for Michelle Williams to break through a stacked Best Actress race as the mother of the kidnapped younger Getty?

The film is set to close AFI Fest and opens December 8. Take a look at the new trailer and we'll break down the Yes No Maybe So...

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Wednesday
Jul052017

The Irony in "Transformers: The Last Knight"

By Spencer Coile 

Since 2007, we have all come to expect the same qualities from Michael Bay's Transformers franchise: lengthy action sequences, stilted performances, and nonsensical storylines. With his latest entry into the world of Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and co. with Transformers: The Last Knight, it seems as though Bay has thrown all logic out the window (alongside characterization). Heralding back to Medieval Ages and tracing the origin of the transformers to the days of Merlin, Bay dips his artistic vision in the realm of magic, surrounding his audiences with a silly and convoluted story of redemption and surrealism. 

The movie is not particularly good...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan022015

Linkcatcher

Forbes a curious realization. Nearly half of the 20+ sequels coming in 2015 are sequels to 2012 films from Magic Mike XXL to Pitch Perfect 2 and beyond
Erik Lundegaard great movie quotes of the year 
Film Stage unused concept art for an Alien film from Neill Blomkamp (of District 9 fame)


Deadline talks to rising DP star Bradford Young (Selma, A Most Violent Year) about lensing black films 
Variety Selma will be screened for free in its titular city
/Film Yes, Emily Blunt is aware that the internet would like her to play Captain Marvel in the upcoming Marvel film
LA Times on Robert Elswit, another fine cinematographer with two films this year (Nightcrawler, Inherent Vice)
Boy Culture Mark Wahlberg pic (the headline for pic is A+)
The Feminist Spectator is justifiably miffed that Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game can't be bothered to pay more attention to women or pass the Bechdel Test (though I actually think Theory of Everything technically does due to that unintentionally hilarious "you should go to church. bye" scene) 
YouTube Avengers: Age of Ultron commercial. I know this is par for the course now but it never fails to amaze and amuse and depress me that commercials (all trailers are commercials) now get their own commercials (premiering on January 12th!) when they themselves are sequels to commercials (third trailer!). What a world. FWIW this ant-size commercial for the upcoming Ant-Man commercial is pretty clever.

a few more 'best of' lists
Kyle Turner's top 14 from Mommy to Gone Girl
Scott Feinberg's unusual top ten, critical hits of various ilk and... Magic in the Moonlight?  
Pop Culture Crazy's "foolhardy" top ten construction from Life Itself on upward 

Happy New Year NPH

 

Dave and Mark Schulz in Olympic timesOscar Campaign Pot Holes
Pretty much every website is writing about Mark Schultz absolute freak out over Foxcatcher (that links takes you to the fullest recap I've seen with his "Die! Die! Die! deleted tweets and all) so I figure it doesn't need its own post. But it is the juiciest current movie explosion going on now that the Sony e-mail hack story has slowed down. The former Olympian didn't seem to have a problem with the film in which Channing Tatum plays him until several months after he first saw it. Interestingly his U turn happened during Oscar voting. Hmmmm. He says he is contractually obliged to support the film making this very public rage even more complicated. His about face appears to stem from a delayed realization of the film's homosexual subtext... which we only very recently discussed on our podcast and weren't all that impressed with as a choice. Schultz has since apologized for the outburst but is sticking with his claims of total inaccuracy.

Variety suggests that what's going on with Imitation Game and Selma is smear campaigns but is it really? Disputes about accuracy of biographical pictures are plentiful throughout history no matter the subject or Oscar heat. But for what it's worth people are saying that Selma's depiction of LBJ is problematic (sorry Tom Wilkinson - not what we needed disputed if we want to avoid that Robert Duvall nomination!). Now even a former Presidential aide to LBJ is chiming in on the controversy. For what it's worth, director Ava DuVernay, who used to be a publicist so knows this game, is very smart about dodging these attacks and keeping a cool head with her statements.

Disputes over Selma's screenplay credit aren't half as gripping, if only because this just happened last year with 12 Years a Slave and it seemed a lot bitchier then. Remember Steve McQueen's airclapping when the screenwriter won his Oscar?

Sunday
Nov162014

AFI Fest's Gala Premieres: 'The Gambler' and 'The Homesman'

Margaret here, reporting from the LA festival beat with short takes on some would-be Oscar contenders.


The Gambler
Screenwriter William Monahan (The Departed), director Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), and star Mark Wahlberg joined forces on this remake of the 1974 James Caan movie of the same name, and the result is certainly stylish. It's well-shot, coolly assured, and smartly paced. Wahlberg leads the movie capably as Jim Bennett, a man from a rich family with a solid career who has nonetheless dug himself to rock bottom with extravagant compulsive gambling. 

The film is at its best when it engages with the question of why someone whose life is granted so much privilege so systematically pisses it all away. John Goodman, typically scene-stealing as a dangerous loan shark, makes many salient points about Jim's decisions, which are either self-destructive or indefensibly stupid.  To its detriment, the film ultimately succumbs to the impulse to romanticize its protagonist, asking the audience to cheer and respect him when he  finally makes his first sound decision.

The supporting cast is largely excellent; it will surprise no one that Jessica Lange wrings every ounce of personality, pathos, and curdled maternal affection from her few minutes of screentime. Even so, she makes little impact on the movie because, like the protagonist, it brushes her away. The Gambler can claim the dubious achievement of completing the Stock Female Character hat trick: (1) a maternal figure who exists to thanklessly prop up the male lead, (2) a pretty young thing (Brie Larson) who we're told is a stone-cold genius, but is given no development arc and has inexplicable romantic interest in the lead, and (3) a passel of nameless and faceless strippers. Slow clap. 

These are not deal-breakers for every moviegoer, but they're emblematic of the film's general reliance on familiar beats instead of showing us something new.

 

The Homesman
BREAKING NEWS: Tommy Lee Jones smiled upwards of twice when introducing his newest film at AFI Fest. He had glowing things to say about the whole cast, particularly  "the miraculous Hilary Swank", who more than earned her praise. The Homesman is a stubbornly unromantic and prickly western, but Swank anchors it with a very fine, emotionally vivid performance.

The Homesman's portrait of life in the Nebraska Territory is bleak; life is hard, and heroism a luxury. When a town meeting is called to order the transport of three mentally ill women (Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, and Sonja Richter) back to family in Iowa, their husbands shrink from the task. The staunchly moralistic Mary Bee Cuddy (Swank) takes on the assignment, knowing it will be a miserable and dangerous enterprise, because no one else will do it and she knows it must be done. Upon acquiring a traveling companion in a self-interested claim jumper who may be named George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones), she sets off with her dead-eyed charges.

There are many well-conceived notes in the movie. A knife fight over a disinterested captive, Mary Bee silently playing an embroidered set of piano keys for lack of a real instrument, a flashback to a passenger's slow break from sanity-- each hints at a poignancy that never feels realized in the film as a whole. The tone occasionally veers into incongruous places-- Tommy Lee Jones' introduction is oddly slapstick, and there's a vengeful sequence in the third act that would have been more at home in Django Unchained-- and while the story doesn't conform to any expected trajectory, neither does it end as strongly as it began. 

The movie didn't leave me sure exactly what story its makers wanted to tell, or at least, it never convinced me of why they were telling it. Even so, it's at times both moving and starkly beautiful, and will not be easy to forget.