Current Film

by Matt Lynch Current Film

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back | Edward Zwick

October 21, 2016
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2012’s Jack Reacher was, at its best, an amusingly bare-bones action movie with a level of simplicity that may have felt a bit like a gritty ’70s throwback to some, but that more realistically resembled a made-for-cable movie circa the early ’90s. Never Go Back doubles down on the latter vibe and the result is virtually indistinguishable from something you might have watched on TNT in 1993 starring Michael Pare or James Remar…

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by Paul Attard Current Film

Under the Sun | Vitali Mansky

October 11, 2016
under-the-sun

From the opening credits, something seems off about Under the Sun, and the “truth” it projects. “My father says that Korea is the most beautiful country in the eastern part of the globe,” asserts eight-year-old Lee Zin-mi, staring directly into the camera. Director Vitali Mansky—given a script by the North Korean government—was tasked with shooting a documentary about this young girl and her average life with her family who live in the greatest country on earth…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

American Honey | Andrea Arnold

October 6, 2016
american-honey

At the start of American Honey, Jake and Star, its two lead characters (played by Shia LeBeouf and newcomer Sasha Lane, respectively) meet and somehow immediately fall for each other as Rihanna’s “We Found Love” blares over a Wal-Mart PA. “We found love in a hopeless place…” goes the song, and it seems like that’s the only working thesis for this deliberately grungy (yet undeniably gorgeous), busted pop fairy tale.…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

Sully | Clint Eastwood

September 7, 2016
sully

Late in Eastwood’s chronicle of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger’s emergency water landing of US Air 1549 (dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson”)—and the investigation that follows—Sully (a white-haired Tom Hanks) turns to his co-pilot (Aaron Eckhart), saying, “We did our job.” That pretty much sums up this simple story of pragmatic, unassuming, collective heroism and cool thinking in a state of crisis. Sully manages to save every passenger on board and is hailed as a hero by the media.…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

Hell or High Water | David Mackenzie

August 12, 2016
HR6A2015.CR2

Initially presenting as another in a long, increasingly ossified line of rural neo-noirs (see also Out of the Furnace, Cold in July, Bad Turn Worse, on and on), Hell or High Water eventually manages to tease out a modestly novel threat to tug on as far as the subgenre’s general motivators of economic desperation and thwarted masculinity go. After the opening scene in which divorced dad Toby (Chris Pine) and his ex-con brother Tanner knock over a West Texas bank, you’d…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

Suicide Squad | David Ayer

August 4, 2016
Suicide Swuad

It takes almost 30 minutes to introduce most (somehow still not all) of the major characters in David Ayer’s DC Comics adaptation Suicide Squad. A couple even get introduced twice. Coming on the heels of tepid response (despite relatively massive box office) to like-it-or-not mega-franchise kickoff Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Ayer’s effort bears all the hallmarks of not just ordinarily clunky studio filmmaking but a frantic attempt to retool a film nobody expected to have to bear the burden of both meeting its planned release date and…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

Ghostbusters | Paul Feig

July 14, 2016
Ghostbusters

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: the new Ghostbusters remake/reboot/whatever isn’t a bad movie because it stars four women instead of four men. It isn’t bad because it somehow tarnishes the legacy of an alleged 80s classic either (honestly, there isn’t much to tarnish; Ivan Reitman’s 1984 film is merely fine). It’s bad because Paul Feig directed it. Feig is quite evidently good at collecting some very talented performers and getting them to improv a bunch of one-liners while…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

The BFG | Steven Spielberg

July 1, 2016
The BFG (2016)

Steven Spielberg’s attempts at whimsy have historically paid low dividends. The impulse has been responsible for weaker elements in films like the otherwise under-appreciated Always, or the more notorious crime of cinema, Hook. So while it probably seemed like a good idea at the time, Spielberg may not have been the best choice to adapt the slippery, often macabre childrens’ work of Roald Dahl—whose beloved late novel The BFG pinwheels through sweet flights of fancy, as a young girl is taken on a fantastic journey with a…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

De Palma | Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow

June 17, 2016
De Palma (2016)

Comprised of almost nothing but movie clips and interview footage, De Palma features none of its subject’s formal innovation, and so it’d be easy to write off as a glorified bonus feature. Very few of those, however, are as wildly entertaining as this one. Directors Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow have leveraged their long friendship with Brian De Palma into something that could have quite easily been a bunch of bland making-of info but instead is a still-lively filmmaker reflecting on his…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

The Nice Guys | Shane Black

May 20, 2016
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With Lethal Weapon, almost thirty years ago now, Shane Black practically invented the mismatched buddy formula that’s stood ever since. He infused the oblique conspiracies and terse dialogue of someone like Chandler with modern doses of vulnerable masculinity, elaborate profanity, and ugly violence, all of which he uses to redeem his lovable but seriously damaged and occasionally borderline incompetent losers. The Nice Guys shows that along with his many imitators, Black’s not too interested in meddling with that formula. Aside from the 1977 setting…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

Captain America: Civil War | Joe and Anthony Russo

May 4, 2016
Marvel's Captain America: Civil War

L to R: Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), and Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan)

Photo Credit: Film Frame

© Marvel 2016

As the Marvel Cinematic Universe steamrolls into its thirteenth entry, it’s seeming to be less and less constructive to bemoan the super-franchise’s apparent inevitability. Sure, Captain America: Civil War pretends at ambiguity when its reactionary politics couldn’t be clearer (these superheroes are the ultimate “good guys with guns”). Yes, the film is bloated, with endless Cuisinart-edited shaky-cam fight scenes and a villain so non-threatening you might even forget he’s in the movie.…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

Midnight Special | Jeff Nichols

March 30, 2016
MIDNIGHT SPECIAL

As in his own Take Shelter and Mud, director Jeff Nichols’s Midnight Special laces a story of filial and marital angst with sudden violence and off-kilter genre trappings, creating, as many have noted, a strange mix of early Spielberg, golden age John Carpenter, and maybe a little vintage Stephen King. Nichols’s primary stroke of genius is an almost ruthless lack of exposition: We’re thrown in with Roy (Michael Shannon), his young son Alton (Jaeden Lieberher), and State trooper Lucas (Joel Edgerton), all apparently on the run from a shady…

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