Film

Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Mile 22 | Peter Berg

August 16, 2018
Mark Wahlberg stars in MILE 22

Releasing a steady stream of vaguely jingoistic docudramas all starring Mark Wahlberg as a hero/patriot, Peter Berg has become a bit of a joke as a filmmaker over the last few years. So it’s easy to forget that, even given their fluctuating levels of overall quality, earlier Berg efforts like Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, The Kingdom, and yeah even Battleship were at least crafted superbly, from a technical standpoint; sported effectively-cast supporting ensembles; and above all featured action sequences that displayed a tight command…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

The Meg | Jon Turteltaub

August 10, 2018
The Meg

Here’s a movie about Jason Statham fighting a gigantic killer prehistoric shark. That’s all it is. The Meg spends not much time setting up its premise (lifted from Renny Harlin’s Cliffhanger), with Statham’s washed up deep-sea rescue diver being pressed back into service after an on-the-job tragedy. We’re barely 20 minutes in before he’s had his first encounter with the movie’s namesake (short for Megalodon, a thing wikipedia tells me is real but not nearly as big as this stupid movie claims).…

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by InRO Staff Festival Coverage Film

Japan Cuts 2018

August 3, 2018
Japan Cuts 2018

Japan Cuts—the largest program of new Japanese films in North America—just wrapped its 12th annual edition earlier this week. Our one and only dispatch from the fest this year includes a passion project from octogenarian auteur Nobuhiko Obayashi (Hanagatami), a new work from iconoclastic anime director Masaaki Yuasa (The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl), the festival’s opening night film (Eric Khoo’s Ramen Shop) and its centerpiece presentation (Shûichi Okita’s Mori, the Artist’s Habitat).…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Mission: Impossible – Fallout | Christopher McQuarrie

July 27, 2018
MIF

The Mission: Impossible series has gone from a gauzy star vehicle to a very referendum on said star as (to quote a character from the last movie) the “living manifestation of destiny.” The highlight of the first film was a guy hanging from the ceiling. The latest one, Fallout, is an absolutely relentless series of lengthy, extraordinary setpieces loaded with insane stunts, shock beats, masks being ripped off, last-minute reveals, double crosses, and did I mention the insane stunts?…

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Blockbuster Beat by Lawrence Garcia Film

Unfriended: Dark Web | Stephen Susco

July 20, 2018
unf2

It could be that Stephen Susco, the first-time director of improbable horror-sequel Unfriended: Dark Web, is just a previously-undistinguished virtuoso, here aided by a team of tech wizards. More likely, it’s that the film’s text (i.e., the “dark web” of the Internet) is so generative — and the corresponding tools so under-explored in cinema — that the result is just riveting. The hacking at the outset here is its own self-contained joke, serving not just as sleek exposition, but as…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

The Equalizer 2 | Antoine Fuqua

July 20, 2018
The Equalizer 2

The Equalizer provided a perfectly serviceable delivery device for bloody violence. The 2014 film starred Denzel Washington as former C.I.A. assassin-turned-neighborhood do-gooder Robert McCall, who memorably carved up, blew up, dismembered, or otherwise mangled a dozen or so bad guys in a hardware store during the film’s climax, all guided by the mostly competent if unspectacular action hand of Washington’s longtime collaborator, Antoine Fuqua.…

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by InRO Staff Festival Coverage Film

New York Asian Film Festival 2018 – Dispatch 2

July 18, 2018
NYAFF2

The 17th edition of the New York Asian Film Festival came to a close last Sunday. We already published one dispatch from the fest, focussing on some of its “Main Competition” films. For our second and final dispatch, we look at a handful of other notable selections from this year’s program, including a new film from recent Palme d’Or-winning Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda; Hong Kong filmmaker Dante Lam’s latest, which has become a juggernaut at China’s box office; a South Korean indie that won a pair of prizes at…

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by InRO Staff Festival Coverage Film

New York Asian Film Festival 2018 – Dispatch 1

July 13, 2018
NYAFF1

The 17th edition of the New York Asian Film Festival comes to a close this Sunday, and as usual the program offers a massive, sprawling slate that we’ve tried to navigate selectively. Our first of two dispatches from the fest focuses on five titles from NYAFF’s “Main Competition,” and includes one film from China, one from South Korea, two from Japan, and one from Hong Kong. Check back next week when we look at some of the more high profile titles at NYAFF this…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Skyscraper | Rawson Marshall Thurber

July 12, 2018
skyscraper

Nearly 30 years on, to the day, from the release of Die Hard — the movie about a guy fighting terrorists in a really tall building that spawned dozens of knockoffs that people continue to refer to using the construction: “Die Hard on a…boat/spaceship/rollercoaster, whatever — finally, we have Skyscraper, which is, you guessed it, Die Hard in a really tall building.…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Ant-Man and the Wasp | Peyton Reed

July 12, 2018
Ant-Man-Wasp

Just as 2015’s Ant-Man felt like a welcome respite after world-exploding Avengers entry Age of Ultron, so too does its sequel come as a balm after Infinity War killed pretty much everyone. Almost completely ignoring the whole thing with that purple alien man conducting intergalactic genocide, Ant-Man and the Wasp also corrects most of the stuff that wasn’t so interesting in its own franchise’s first installment. This time,…

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by InRO Staff Feature Articles Film Year in Review

Top 10 Films of 2018 (So Far)

July 10, 2018
HalftimeFilm

Yesterday, we presented our Top 10 Albums of the Year (So Far). Today, we do the same for film — which also gives us the chance to offer takes on some films that haven’t been covered in our regular Blockbuster Beat reviews. (In fact, not a single “blockbuster” made the list, unless you count that dog movie we failed to review during its release.) Generally speaking, our best films of 2018 are actually from 2017: festival premieres from Toronto, Cannes, Sundance, etc. that took…

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Blockbuster Beat by Daniel Gorman Film

The First Purge | Gerard McMurray

July 9, 2018
The First Purge

Just in time for an ironic Independence Day release, The First Purge is another meaningless prequel that answers questions no one asked or needed answered. While it seems undeniably important that the film’s action/survival narrative revolves around an oppressed African-American population rising up against a government that is systematically and unapologetically eradicating them — and that it bothers to show how the ‘scientific’ basis of The Purge is immediately skewed by lack of a control group and confirmation bias…

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