by Matt Lynch

#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Widows | Steve McQueen

November 16, 2018
Widows

After celebrated prestige pictures like Shame and 12 Years a Slave, you’d be forgiven for expecting something less disreputable from Steve McQueen than Widows. But McQueen’s normal tendencies toward making “important” work (not to mention his gorgeous, tactile images) add essential texture to what’s basically a rambunctious exploitation movie dressed up in classier clothing. The action kicks off after Harry (Liam Neeson) and his thief club get blown up by the cops.…

Continue Reading

#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

The Girl in the Spider’s Web | Fede Álvarez

November 9, 2018
girl-dragon-claire-foy

David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was less about the mystery of a serial killer picking off women, more about investigating its lead character, Lisbeth Salander. Nearly a complete enigma, Salander nevertheless served as a nodal point for Fincher’s obsession with digital/analog contrasts and his penchant for leaning into pulp tropes with a knowing, pandering smirk.…

Continue Reading

#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

The Predator | Shane Black

September 14, 2018
THE PREDATOR

The stripped-down premise and formal exactitude of John McTiernan’s 1987 Predator are precisely not present in Shane Black’s The Predator, the latest attempt to drag-out and elaborate on a franchise that shouldn’t be burdened by much more than ‘scary monster kills people.’ This new installment collapses under the weight of four separate groups of characters whose plot strands strain to intertwine before the show can get rolling — and what’s worse, Black’s film bears all the hallmarks…

Continue Reading

#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Peppermint | Pierre Morel

September 7, 2018
Peppermint

Riley North’s (Jennifer Garner) retribution in Peppermint doesn’t begin with her husband and daughter being murdered by drug dealers. It begins with some other, more wealthy mom lecturing her for selling girl scout cookies in the wrong parking lot. Then Riley has to skip her own kid’s birthday party to work a closing shift at the bank (don’t banks close at 5 pm?). Only later that evening do the scary Latino dudes (one of them actually has a face tattoo that says “LOCO”)…

Continue Reading

#BlockbusterBeat 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…

Continue Reading

#BlockbusterBeat 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).…

Continue Reading

#BlockbusterBeat 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?…

Continue Reading

#BlockbusterBeat 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.…

Continue Reading

#BlockbusterBeat 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.…

Continue Reading

#BlockbusterBeat 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,…

Continue Reading

#BlockbusterBeat 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…

Continue Reading