Current Film

by Matt Lynch Current Film

Hell or High Water | David Mackenzie

August 12, 2016
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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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by Matt Lynch Current Film

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice | Zack Snyder

March 24, 2016
Batman v Superman (2016)

Eighteen months after the leveling of Metropolis at the conclusion of 2013’s Man of Steel, the world must come to grips with Superman (Henry Cavill), a seemingly benevolent but nevertheless godlike being with the ability to destroy the planet. Meanwhile two billionaire technocrats—Bruce Wayne aka Batman (Ben Affleck) and Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), both infatuated with their own wills to power—compete to either subdue or destroy him. Superman busies himself with being a rather objectivist version of Earth’s savior…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

10 Cloverfield Lane | Dan Trachtenberg

March 11, 2016
10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

When Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up chained to the wall in an underground doomsday bunker after a car accident, she finds herself the captive of obvious lunatic Howard (John Goodman), a conspiracy nut who, along with his other “guest,” Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) tries to convince her that he is not a serial murderer but in fact her rescuer. Supposedly there’s been some sort of catastrophic attack, and the poisoned air will liquefy anyone unlucky enough to still be outside. Like a…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

London Has Fallen | Babak Najafi

March 3, 2016
London Has Fallen (2016)

London Has Fallen is objectively a trash fire. It’s gleefully violent, front-to-back idiotic, desperately crummy-looking despite a reported budget of over one-hundred million, and politically reprehensible. You’d be forgiven for wondering if it’s a secret parody, formally indistinguishable from the real thing and otherwise so slightly exaggerated that you might not notice. Don’t worry, it’s not, but its mercenary commitment to insidious cheap thrill…

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by Calum Reed Current Film

Fort Buchanan | Benjamin Crotty

March 1, 2016
Fort Buchanan (2016)

Despite a slew of savvy would-be war-propaganda films in the 1940s (headed by David O. Selznick’s Since You Went Away) that made the plight of army wives their central focus, more recent efforts in this tradition, such as American Sniper, have tended more often to treat the emotional turmoil of the army spouse as only a fleeting consideration, lest too much be taken away from the real action of war’s front lines. In detailing a community of people at a retreat for soldiers’…

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