Blockbuster Beat

Blockbuster Beat by Daniel Gorman

Hereditary | Ari Aster

June 15, 2018
hereditary

No other company right now is playing the is-it-or-isn’t-is-a-horror-film game quite like A24. Blumhouse has their straightforward genre thrills down pat, with the occasional Purge film to expand their scope and dabble in some totally unsubtle social messaging. But A24, whether working in horror with sci-fi elements or horror as historical drama or horror with apocalyptic, mankind-is-the-real-enemy overtones has collected a roster of polished, deliberately scary arthouse films…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Incredibles 2 | Brad Bird

June 13, 2018
Incredibles 2

In the 14 years since The Incredibles, the superpowered Parr family hasn’t aged a day. This sequel picks up right where the first film left off — except director Brad Bird has gotten older, and he sure feels a lot of ways about a lot of stuff. Bird is weirdly concerned with shifting gender roles, even though Elastigirl was basically the heroine of the first movie; he thinks an untrustworthy media is poisoning the judgment of the clueless masses…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Solo: A Star Wars Story | Ron Howard

May 24, 2018
solo

Solo: A Star Wars Story feeds us the origin and backstory of the galaxy’s favorite space pirate in what’s sort of a version of the opening sequence of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: a backstory that completely explains everything about Han Solo (who’s usually played by Harrison Ford), except instead of being one sequence, it’s 140 minutes long. Most of that runtime is spent on a fun, rambunctious caper film that bounces quickly from set-piece to set-piece without getting too bogged down in plot, but the sense of distractedness…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Deadpool 2 | David Leitch

May 17, 2018
deadpool

Did you like the first Deadpool? Its constant allegedly clever meta-references? The look-how-edgy-this-is shock humor? The graphic violence? Deadpool 2 has more of those things, so you will enjoy this one too. Although, this time, Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is depressed for various spoilery reasons and wants to die, just like Wolverine, only he can’t, just like Wolverine. So, again, just like Wolverine (he’s sort of obsessed with Wolverine), he throws himself into good deeds as a form of therapy and attempted absolution. In…

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Blockbuster Beat by Daniel Gorman Film

Tully | Jason Reitman

May 15, 2018
Tully

Too often Hollywood wants to project the idea of motherhood as an innately beautiful thing, all soft lighting and angelic babies cooing at their beatific mothers. Tully isn’t having any of that. Jason Reitman’s film instead begins by detailing the misery of motherhood in almost excruciating detail. It’s a bracingly realistic look at the exhaustion, the anger, the guilt and sheer exasperation of taking care of little human beings. Reitman is not a particularly…

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Blockbuster Beat by Daniel Gorman Film

Ready Player One | Steven Spielberg

May 1, 2018
Ready Player One

Now that the dust has settled and the hype machine has moved on to newer, bigger spectacles, let’s examine the reception of Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One. Neither a runaway success nor a financial disaster, the film seems to have found the limits of a certain kind of nostalgia marketplace. The original novel has, by some accounts, had its popularity tarnished by the ensuing push-back against toxic masculinity in nerd culture — and that’s the biggest problem…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

A Quiet Place | John Krasinski

April 6, 2018
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The opening of of A Quiet Place leaves you primed for an arthouse-inflected genre film, like something A24 would release, or that Alex Garland might direct. Shot with moody lighting and Malick-y closeups, a family silently raid an abandoned pharmacy, on what we’re informed is “Day 82” of something. All the actors sign their dialogue, and their big round eyes cringe at the slightest sound. But just as you start to worry that the whole film might be like this, all somber and serious, a little kid gets eaten by…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Pacific Rim: Uprising | Steven S. DeKnight

March 22, 2018
pacrim

Picking up 10 years after the events of Pacific Rim, Pacific Rim: Uprising follows Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), the son of Idris Elba’s Stacker Pentecost from the first film, as he does that thing where he finally confronts and accepts his destiny and his father’s legacy by doing the same thing the old man did, which in this case means saving the world from gigantic invading alien monsters by punching them with a giant robot. And that’s pretty much it. Uprising rockets through the bare minimum…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Unsane | Steven Soderbergh

March 22, 2018
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Unsane is a nifty little movie, a cheeky, intelligent thriller shot in secret on an iPhone and slipped into theaters in the space of a few months. That’s not to say that it’s anything other than another of Steven Soderbergh’s genre-infused larks. Claire Foy stars as Sawyer Valentini, a troubled young woman who finds herself involuntarily committed to a mental hospital, where she discovers that one of the nurses is the creep (Joshua Leonard) who previously stalked and threatened her. Or is it all…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Tomb Raider | Roar Uthaug

March 15, 2018
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What’s the use of rebooting a successful video game franchise if you can’t reboot the mediocre film series that it spawned? That appears to be the motivation behind the new Tomb Raider, which resembles nothing so much as a perfunctory early 2000s action programmer except that it has much nicer special effects. Alicia Vikander replaces Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft, heiress to an incredible fortune and daughter of Lord Richard (Dominic West), who disappeared on a treasure hunt seven years ago. When Croft discovers…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

A Wrinkle in Time | Ava DuVernay

March 9, 2018
wrinkle

Madeline L’Engle’s beloved A Wrinkle In Time is, if you haven’t read it lately, short on incident and quite long on dialogue and metaphysics. L’Engle used her early iteration of YA fantasy as a foundation for a treatise on spirituality and self-actualization aimed at kids. So there’s a lot to root for with Disney handing a black female filmmaker an enormous budget for a movie version. Sadly, Ava DuVernay’s adaptation mostly replaces the book’s broad ideas with a stale “believe in…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Death Wish | Eli Roth

March 2, 2018
deathwish

There’s probably a good remake to be made of 1974’s Death Wish, a seminal bit of vigilante-themed violence porn from the late, great sleaze-peddler Michael Winner. The story of a wealthy white man (Charles Bronson in the original, Bruce Willis here) who takes the law into his own hands after a brutal crime committed against his wife and daughter would certainly take on a host of complicated dimensions in a climate of mass shootings, economic inequality, white/male privilege, sexual assault, and…

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