Blockbuster Beat

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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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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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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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom | J.A. Bayona

June 21, 2018

The first and certainly most beloved of the Jurassic Park films sums up the entire franchise with a single line, when Sam Neill’s Grant first sees a dinosaur and exclaims, “It’s a dinosaur!” Even when directed by a genuine master like Steven Spielberg (and especially when they’re not), these films always have a pretty low bar to clear. One can pine all they want for the sense of awe and wonder in the face of nature that was maybe evoked by…

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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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