ENJOY THE SHOW
This year's new Star Wars movie is unlike any Star Wars movie we've seen before. To some, this seems to be frustrating and upsetting - it's not what they wanted to see, or were expecting, and it doesn't deliver in some ways. For me, however, it's a refreshing and exciting movie that gives us something different and still packs a punch. To jump right into this I will say up front, even after 3 viewings, I still don't quite "love" The Last Jedi (some of the humor still makes me cringe). I very much like it, and I enjoy it, and there are some moments and some parts I love. But overall, the movie isn't one of my favorites this year (it won't be on my Top 10). That said, there's still so much to it (not only to discuss) but to admire and appreciate and learn from. Note: this review contains spoilers to discuss everything that happens, so only read if you're ready.
The list of nominations for the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards (of 2018), the yearly precursor to the Academy Awards, have just been announced today - you can find all the film nominees below. The infamous Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced the nominees this morning from The Beverly Hilton. The selection this year is interesting, but as always it's full of some weird and confusing picks, and a few snubs (like Greta Gerwig and Jordan Peele from Best Director). The top nominees are The Shape of Water with 7 noms, plus The Post and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri with 6 noms each. Lady Bird and Get Out at least did get Best Film noms. Another intriguing year of picks but not that surprising for the HFPA.
"We build our legacy piece by piece, and maybe the whole world will remember you…" Another year end countdown video looking back at the best movies of 2017. "The Moviejerk" has released a video called Best of Cinema: 2017 Edition that features clips from his favorite films edited together to songs from the films this year, similar to David Ehrlich's year end recap. Janz Anton-Iago is "The Moviejerk" and runs the site of the same name. He includes footage from Pablo Larraín's Jackie in this, because it was released in the UK in 2017 (even though it was released in 2016 in the US). He explains in the intro that this is more of a "video mood-piece" capturing his feelings of the best films he saw throughout the year. It's totally worth a watch.
It's that time again! With the end of the year approaching, everyone begins revealing their own Top 10 best of the year lists. One of our favorite lists that kicks off this time is from filmmaker John Waters' - his Top 10 favorite films from this year. For 2017, Waters has chosen yet another (expected) eclectic mix of films, lead by Edgar Wright's musical action thriller Baby Driver (which is not really an eclectic choice) and ending with the biopic about the Finnish man who introduced kinky leather fashion to the gay world, Tom of Finland (watch the trailer). I always like hearing about Waters' favorites because he has such unique taste. Plus it's a good way to start the discussion about everyone's favorites as we get closer to the end of the year.
"Sometimes to love someone… you have to be a stranger." Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049 is a unique creation. It comes 35 years after Ridley Scott's original masterpiece, which is a cult classic that was almost unanimously rejected at its original release by both audiences and critics. It's a sequel to a moody, atmospheric science fiction film being advertised as an event blockbuster. While Blade Runner 2049 is not an action film, it definitely should be viewed as an event. While mainstream audiences may not be swarming in large masses to see the film, there is no question to the film's majesty and beauty. Let's take a closer look at why Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049 is the perfect sequel and a singular creation in its own right.
The latest film made by auteur filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, titled Mother!, is now playing in theaters eveywhere. Aronofsky is a remarkably unique filmmaker, who tells very emotional, visceral stories through intimate filmmaking. Back in 2008 and 2010, Aronofsky made two of his best films - The Wrestler and Black Swan. Both films received many awards, including Venice's Golden Lion for The Wrestler, and the Best Actress Oscar for Natalie Portman in Black Swan. Editor H. Nelson Tracy (who also made the Captain Fantastic book video) has put together a new video essay examining how these two films are very similar, essentially companion pieces, looking at aspects including structure, style and story. This is worth a watch.
Time for a quick look back at movie posters over the last 60 years. We're all used to seeing Photoshopped movie posters these days, with massive floating heads, explosions and lighting effects, and plenty of other cheesy design tricks. However, movie posters have a glorious history, originating as hand-painted pieces of art that were just as iconic and unforgettable as the movie itself. This new infographic takes a look back at "The Evolution of Movie Posters", featuring 12 different designs ranging from the 1950s to the 00s. It highlights some of the best movie posters in Hollywood history, and discusses how the design and style of posters has changed over time. The Jaws poster is one of the best ever made, and the designs for E.T. and Star Wars are also perfect. Check out the infographic below to dive even deeper into the history of posters.
Spider-Man finally swung home. Back in February of 2015, I wrote about why Spider-Man swinging back to Marvel Studios would be a good thing for the famed webslinger. Now, two years later, we have Spider-Man: Homecoming, the sixth Spider-Man film that actually feels like the first. The film, which stars Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Michael Keaton as The Vulture, is exhilarating, extremely well-made and most excitingly of all, refreshing. It shows how you properly reboot a character like Spider-Man, cementing Kevin Fiege and Marvel Studios as creative powerhouses who truly care about these characters. Let's take a look at why Homecoming was the perfect Spidey reboot - and what's in store for him after this.
What a crazy few weeks it has been for Hollywood. As we all know, directors Phil Lord & Chris Miller were shockingly fired from Disney's still-untitled Han Solo project a few weeks ago. It was shocking because they were already several months into filming the new Star Wars Story movie, with only a couple of weeks remaining. Lucasfilm eventually announced that Ron Howard had been hired to replace them. Lord & Miller aren't the first directors to not work well within the studio system as of late. Jon Favreau, Edward Norton, Patty Jenkins and Edgar Wright have all faced similar problems in recent years. So, are auteur filmmakers doomed? Let's take a look at why studios like Disney & Marvel still need auteur filmmakers.
When a movie has the word "amazing" in the title, it comes with certain expectations. For The Amazing Spider-Man movies, however, they often failed to live up to their title. After Sam Raimi decided not to try to leave the franchise on a high note making Spider-Man 4, Sony and Columbia fast-tracked their plans to reboot Spider-Man. The response was mixed. After all, Spider-Man 3 had just come out a couple years before. Was a reboot needed so soon? That didn't stop the studio, however. The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, would revisit the origin story over two muddled films, star Andrew Garfield & Emma Stone and would be directed by 500 Days of Summer helmer Marc Webb. In the last installment of our Spider-Man retrospective series in anticipation of Spider-Man: Homecoming arriving, let's take a look at how Marc Webb's Amazing Spider-Man movies were, unfortunately, less than amazing.
Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3, released in May of 2007, is one weird movie. It suffers from the curse of the "threequel", a film with potential that is overwhelmingly disappointing. In my previous editorial in this ongoing Spider-Man retrospective series, I talked about how Spider-Man 2 swings among some of the best sequels in cinema history. If Spider-Man 2 is the Superman II of the Spider-Man series, then Spider-Man 3 is the Superman III of the franchise - but with considerably weirder dance sequences. In the newest edition of our "Looking Back" series, let's take a look at why Spider-Man 3 begins the series of diminishing returns for Spider-Man movies as one of the most disappointing threequels in modern superhero film history.
When it comes to sequels, there an expectation to raise the bar. If you think of some of the best sequels of all time, whether that's The Empire Strikes Back, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan or Aliens (to name a few), each film improved upon the foundation of the first in major ways. In the second part of our weekly Spider-Man retrospective series leading up to the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 7th this summer, we take a look at how Sam Raimi raised the bar for not only Spider-Man movies, but the entire superhero genre itself with Spider-Man 2. The superhero sequel hit theaters on June 30th, 2004 (that's 13 years ago!), just a week before 4th of July, and it once again went on to set records at the box office and beyond.