Sunday, October 2, 2016


There are times when addressing a film-maker's personal ticks textually in their films can be a bad idea. Super 8 tried to be both a semi-autobiographical look at a young director and a tribute to the director's obvious influence of E.T., but J. J. Abrams wasn't quite able to meld his two narratives together. Zack Snyder was so well-suited to lurid superhero deconstruction of Watchmen that putting him in charge of the "playing it straight" icons of the DC Comics fiction has proven an increasingly bad idea.

But for all that Tim Burton's recent doubling down of his own aesthetic (when not necessarily to the benefit of the story) has resulted in a rather sour quality record since 2003's Big Fish, something finally woke him up. And while he's always been a filmmaker who's aesthetic sensibilities and storytelling quirks have seemed a bit unstuck in time, his most recent Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children doesn't just play with that idea, that's the literal plot of the film.

And here, it does work.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN - Swaggeringly Proficient

Cowboys were the original superhero. Before caped crusaders and super soldiers, before men of iron and gods and monsters, a costume was a wide-brimmed hat and a set of six-shooters. In fact, given the undeniable influence of Zorro on the creation of Batman, you could argue the cowboy as the a direct predecessor to the larger-than-life icons of our modern blockbuster cinema.

Now that masks and mutants rule the silver screen, it seems more than appropriate that, when tasked with remaking The Magnificent Seven, director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen) approached it like a superhero movie that just happened to be set in the old west.

And it works.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


I wouldn't be surprised if 2016 goes down as an absolute banner year for animation. Not only have films like Zootopia and Finding Dory proven that Disney and Pixar have still very much "got it," and this year saw the stateside release of near-legendary anime films Only Yesterday and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time as well as the new Mamoru Hosada joint The Boy and the Beast, but now. . .

Well, now a studio that has already gotten more than a few kind words from me in the past may well have made their masterpiece.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

STAR TREK BEYOND - To Infinity, Boldly

The guy who made 3 of the 4 best Fast & Furious movies just released probably the best Star Trek film in at least 20 years.

Yeah, I know it sounds crazy. But I'm not joking.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

GHOSTBUSTERS - Back Off, Men - They're Scientists

I'm not generally a fan of remakes, especially not of singular 80's comedies working off of one-in-a-million premise and cast combinations. I am, however, a huge fan of the original Ghostbusters, and I adored the way director Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy's previous genre effort, Spy, was both a cracking action comedy and a commentary on women being muscled out of the work place.

Luckily, Feig and McCarthy as well as Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon (as well as Chris "No One Should be Allowed to be This Talented AND This Handsome" Hemsworth) bring both an easy and affable chemistry, a bevy of winning jokes, and a capital letter Idea upon which to hang this remake. And they wind up with a film that's only a couple missing beats away from greatness.

Sunday, June 26, 2016


1996's Independence Day wasn't the kind of smash hit you could predict or even engineer. Sure, it was designed to be a big movie - there's a reason it was released on the holiday after which it was named - but not one person thought they were making the biggest blockbuster hit this side of Lucas and Spielberg.

If they had, they might have left slightly more room for the sequel. Which is one of the film's many many problems.