Blockbuster Beat

Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Baby Driver | Edgar Wright

June 27, 2017
Baby Driver

Fanboy darling Edgar Wright has certainly earned his reputation as a passionate pastiche artist and intricate stylist; his genre-infused films pair narratives of arrested male development with whiplash camerawork and razor-sharp editing. That skill and craftsmanship is fully on display in Baby Driver, but it’s undercut here by a trite screenplay and an overweening sense that the film’s twee brand of coolness, inextricably linked to a jukebox of pop songs, is somehow irresistible.…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story | Gareth Edwards

December 13, 2016
star-wars-rogue-one

Soon, just as there are plenty of adults who no longer remember a world before The Simpsons, nobody will recall a time when, for good or ill, there was not a new annual Star Wars movie. It’s no longer enough (neither for shareholders nor pop culture at large) to expect a new installment of the core saga every few years (let alone every other decade), so with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Disney kicks off a line of one-off adventures. This one, set…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them | David Yates

November 18, 2016
fantastic-beasts

The Harry Potter franchise officially becomes an Expanded Cinematic Universe with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first in what Warner Bros. promises will be five J.K. Rowling-scripted original films, prequels to the Potter‘s proper. Centering around conservationalist wizard Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), who travels the globe capturing said fantastic beasts and shoving them into…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Doctor Strange | Scott Derrickson

November 3, 2016
doctor-strange

If the source material for Doctor Strange, the 14th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, suggested the company might finally be open to the surreal potential of their comics, what with sorcerers and cross-dimensional antics, the payoff is surprisingly dull, despite some frequently amusing eye-candy. The final third of last year’s Ant-Man was ultimately much trippier (and funnier), even though both films share the same problem…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Hacksaw Ridge | Mel Gibson

November 3, 2016
hacksaw-ridge

Based on the true story of Army Medic Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield here), a devout Seventh-Day Adventist and conscientious objector who rescued dozens of soldiers while refusing to kill an enemy or carry a weapon, Mel Gibson’s latest directorial effort is both a simple, deliberate Johnny-Goes-To-War melodrama and an incredibly brutal depiction of combat.…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch 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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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch 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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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch 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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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch 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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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch 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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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch 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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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch 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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