Saturday, April 16, 2016

Barbershop: The Next Cut and The Jungle Book's great reviews

The fall of film criticism as we know it is finally upon us. I dreaded this day for a long time, as each and every one of the most literately intelligent films critics in the country kept getting laid off starting in -I'd say- 2005 or so, maybe 2006. I don't think there are many left anymore. There's Kenneth Turan and Manhola Dargis over at the L.A. Times, The N.Y. Times' A.O. Scott, The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy, N.Y. Post's Lou Lumenick and Rolling Stone's Peter Travers. These are the critics that I grew up reading that are still with us, the rest have either resorted to freelance journalism, opted to retire or passed away. I am of course not counting the Film Comment crew or some of the brilliant "alternative" writers that either write for alternative media outlets or barely survive through their own personal online ventures. This post is more about the major papers or print media writers.

The lack of these indelible voices is part of the reason why we have Barbershop: The Next Cut at 91% fresh on RottenTomatoes. There are too many run-of-the-mill fanboy-driven "critics" these days and not even mavericks with deep, personal and intelligent opinions. I will probably now have to go see Barbershop now, but my expectations are fairly low. I did, however, see Disney's live-action version of The Jungle Book and it is pretty good. Even though the predictability of the narrative is evident, there is still enough visual stimuli here to satisfy both the eyes and the mind. It currently stands at 94% on RT and I can kind of see why. It's beautiful directed by Jon Favreau who's turning out to be a pretty darn competent filmmaker with this, Chef, Iron Man and Elf all having their fair share of shining, mainstream moments. Reading some of these Jungle Book reviews you'd think the critics have seen the second-coming of cinema, which it is not the case. In fact, The Jungle Book is a safe, well-made, but still safe, mass-marketed product placement meant to rack in as much money as possible for the intention of a sequel. It's as simple as that, just like all the other comic book movies out there, that's what movies aim for these days, the chance to be successful and follow it up with a sequel. That's why Barbershop: The Next Cut exists and that's why The Jungle Book exists. Give me a hard-edged, nasty B-movie like Green Room any day of the week over these films.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Captain America: Civil War reviews - Too good to be true?

Captain america: civil war (2016)


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Emma Stone and Steve Carell will star as Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs

First Look: Emma Stone And Steve Carell in Billie Jean King Tennis Movie 'Battles Of The Sexes'

The PlaylistBy Jordan Ruimy | The PlaylistApril 13, 2016 at 3:09PM
Battle Of The Sexes
Cameras have started rolling on "Battle Of The Sexes," and the first look of Emma Stone and Steve Carell in the picture, about the historic tennis match between the 29-year-old, number two-ranked Billie Jean King, and the retired, boorish champ Bobby Riggs, has arrived.
Elisabeth Shue, Andrea Riseborough, Alan Cumming, Sarah Silverman and more join Stone and Carell in the film, and given the chemistry the lead duo had in "Crazy Stupid Love,” this seems like a solid ensemble all around. "Battle Of The Sexes" is directed by Jonathan Daytonand Valerie Faris ("Little Miss Sunshine") and was penned by the talentedSimon Beaufoy, known for writing Danny Boyle classics "Slumdog Millionaire" and "127 Hours.
The 1973 "Battles Of The Sexes" tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs captured the imagination of not only tennis enthusiasts, but of the whole world. There has always been the persistent rumor that Riggs threw the match to settle the debts he had with the mob. Whether or not the movie will tackle this part of the subject has yet to be determined. Here's the official synopsis:
The electrifying 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) was billed as the BATTLE OF THE SEXES and became the most watched televised sports event of all time.  The match caught the zeitgeist and sparked a global conversation on gender equality, spurring on the feminist movement. Trapped in the media glare, King and Riggs were on opposites sides of a binary argument, but off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles. With a supportive husband urging her to fight the Establishment for equal pay, the fiercely private King was also struggling to come to terms with her own sexuality, while Riggs gambled his legacy and reputation in a bid to relive the glories of his past. Together, Billie and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis courts and animated the discussions between men and women in bedrooms and boardrooms around the world.
No official release date yet, but keep an eye out in 2017. Check out the first look above.

Perfectly explained "Green Room" blurb - B-movie heaven!

Only a limited number of things can happen in this kind of movie, of course, but Saulnier manages pace, tone and storytelling so adroitly that you won't quite expect any of them to happen when they do, or even how.
Full Review… | April 13, 2016
 Top Critic

God's Not Dead 2 - A delightful review

NOTE: I don't normally post the reviews I write here, but I think an exception must be made for God's Not Dead 2, which is as ludicrous as one might expect from such a premise. If any movie could be used as an example for a forthcoming apocalypse, this would be it.
To call God’s Not Dead 2 “bad” would be doing this abomination of a movie a disservice. It is not only a bad movie, but in fact it’s more than that. It’s an insult to our intelligence, a belief that there are still people out there that would buy such a concept, such a movie. The sad truth is that there are people, somewhere out there in the stratosphere, who will watch Harold Cronk’s movie and rejoice in its unabashed sentimentality and “Christianity conquers all” theme, but I sure hope that our readers are a smarter, more adventurous bunch and will see through its condescending grasp and call it for what it truly is: A two hour sermon about blind belief.
The story is set in Hope Springs, where Grace Wesley (Melissa Joan Hart) teaches her high school students about history. Let us for a minute pause and realize that this is in fact the same Melissa Joan Hart best known for her role as Sabrina the Teenage Witch many eons ago on ABC’s TGIF. Her acting skills have sadly not improved since then. Joan Hart’s Grace loves Christ, with an unadorned passion for the love and values he brings. She decides to talk about Jesus in class, teaching about him in a historical context alongside Martin Luther King and Gandhi. This comes to the attention of the school’s principle, as played by Robin Givens, who asks Grace to apologize. She refuses, which leads to a firestorm.
That’s when the bad guys show up: the atheists. Most prominently a civil rights attorney as played here by Ray Wise in an over-the-top, laughably amusing role. He wants a court decision that will prove that Christ never existed and should never be used in classrooms as “history.” If the Christians in the film are depicted as good natured, law-abiding citizens, the atheists are completely devoid of any good qualities — they are the scum of the earth and represent the lowest of lows for their refusal to believe in a higher power.
That’s the setup for a film that wants to be about the triumph of religion over atheism, but ends up pandering to its audience. Although it’s supposed to be a “family” film, it is one of the more paranoid films you’ll see this year, injecting its audience with fear and pessimism and repeated hints of the widespread persecution of all Christians in the eventual future. The film’s message is to fight these oppressors and never let them have the freedom of opinion. There will likely be no scarier movie released this year.

Homeland Season 5? No thank you.

It used to be a great show, for three seasons, but gave up last year amidst all its euro-centric, spygame hyperbole. Once they got rid of Brody it spiraled down into a "we-can-start-fresh" phase that just didn't work amidst the overall construct the series had built up until that point. 

Indy 5? Yes, but with a grain of salt

'Indiana Jones 5' Will Be A "Continuation" Of 'Crystal Skull,' Frank Marshall Says Harrison Ford Will Be The Only Indy

The last Indiana Jones was a complete and utter mess. Spielberg admitted it, Ford admitted it. The screenplay was terrible, it took them almost 20 years to write something concrete and all they could come up with was a half-cooked plot about aliens and nazis? It seems to me like Spielberg is trying to make up for it and give it another shot. George Lucas won't have anything to do with this one, which is great. but another part of the reason the last Indy didn't work was that you had to suspend disbelief and pretend a 70 year-old Harrison Ford could pull off all those stunts. He's going to be 75 years old by the time this thing gets released ... The first two films are still the golden standard.

Monday, April 11, 2016

A second look at this year's Best Picture winner

Oldman is not wrong. Spotlight is a very fine movie, but far from being "the best" thing released last year. I think over time we will probably realize that it didn`t merit the win, but nevertheless I`d much rather it wins than The Big Short, which I found was too facile and full of itself to really garner any respect. If I had to choose, Mad Max: Fury Road would have swept the whole ceremony. Gary Oldman Doesn't Think 'Spotlight' Had The "Pedigree" Of A Best Picture Oscar Winner

Gary Oldman Doesn't Think 'Spotlight' Had The "Pedigree" Of A Best Picture Oscar Winner

Photo of Kevin JagernauthBy Kevin Jagernauth | The PlaylistApril 11, 2016 at 10:51AM

I do like and respect Oldman quite a bit. He is saying what most of us know, but there is enough "admirable respect" for Spotlight that we don't really bother say it. It's NOT All The President's Men, it tries to be, but it just doesn't that have that je ne sais quoi to attain that level. I will give it another shot eventually, in the near future.

My rankings:

Mad Max: Fury Road A
The Revenant B+
Room B+
Brooklyn B+
The Martian B
Bridge of Spies B
Spotlight B
The Big Short C

Suicide Squad Trailer repeats the same ol' same ol'

The fact is this: Superhero movies are all bloody, useless, uninspired mass-marketed trash that are made for overgrown schoolboys struggling with their masculinity. With that being said, “Suicide Squad“ looks decent enough to warrant some kind of curiosity. I can respect the "meta" aspect it seems to be bringing in the trailer. but how many damn movies these days have to be "meta" just to be part of the cool kids? I do look forward to Leto's joker and will probably have to review it anyway. Just go in with an open mind, but don't expect the second-coming like many people online seem to be - Just look at what happened with Batman v Superman.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The People v O.J. Simpson MVP: Sarah Paulson

If there is anyone who sticks out in the incredible cast of The People v OJ Simpson it's Sarah Paulson. You might remember her from Todd Haynes' excellent Carol or Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave, but this actress is bound to get much awards love for her touching portrayal of California district attorney Marcia Clark. With every gesture or facial expression you are mesmerized by Paulson's Clarke. It's the best performance I've seen by any actor or actress this year, TV or movies.

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