by Matt Lynch

#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Glass | M. Night Shyamalan

January 17, 2019
glass

There’s a lengthy, terrific scene in Glass, in which the protagonists — three people with extraordinary abilities — are confronted both by each other and by a psychologist who is determined to prove to them that they aren’t superheroes, that they’re merely insane.…

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#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Aquaman | James Wan

December 21, 2018
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Imagine a script development meeting where everyone involved in making Aquaman sat down to solve one all-important question: “How do we make Aquaman cool?” Now imagine if the answer was, “What if we don’t?” After the DC comics cinematic universe failed to take off as confidently as Marvel’s, Aquaman seemed doomed to failure.…

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Bumblebee | Travis Knight

December 20, 2018
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It’s kind of hard to imagine that the multi-billion-dollar Transformers franchise has never previously leaned hard on nostalgia for the beloved ’80s toys and cartoon series that inspired it. Michael Bay’s films — all five of them — are anxious corporate cacophony; expensive commercials for themselves, sure, but they’re more about maximalist image-making and pop plasticity than any actual affection for the source, which seems strange given the fealty audiences have shown they have for this sort of thing.…

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by Matt Lynch Film

The Favourite | Yorgos Lanthimos

December 7, 2018
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Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos has developed quite a novel shtick: He sets up extremely schematic scenarios that force his characters into very bleak decisions as a means of interrogating behavioral and moral codes he thinks are arbitrary or too rigid. That said, his sense of humor is so hilariously gnarly, and his style so self-consciously antiseptic, that it’s…

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by Matt Lynch Film

Roma | Alfonso Cuarón

December 7, 2018
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Although a bit of a scaling down from his previous tech-heavy outings, Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma is nothing if not a fully realized vision: a deeply felt black and white love letter to the director’s youth, and more specifically, to the young maid who raised him. But the film lacks much in the way of insight beyond trite platitudes regarding class separation and blunt allusions to lost innocence. Cleo (Yalitza Aparacio), the younger of two maids, works for an upper-class Mexico City family.…

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#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Creed II | Steven Caple Jr.

November 21, 2018
C2_08795_RC
Michael B. Jordan stars as Adonis Creed and Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa in 
CREED II, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures film.
Credit: Barry Wetcher / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures / Warner Bros. Pictures
© 2018 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

Whereas 2015’s Creed transcends its station as essentially the seventh Rocky due in large part to director Ryan Coogler’s reliance on his actors’ emotional intelligence, and his ability to balance character nuance and broad narrative strokes, Creed II resembles not much more than a generic Rocky sequel. Coogler’s out, and new director Steven Caple Jr. abandons the complex aspirational working class perspective that defined the first Creed (and the original Rocky) in favor of mounting yet another bland sports story about male pride redeemed and women standing by and worrying.…

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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.…

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The Girl in the Spider’s Web | Fede Álvarez

November 9, 2018
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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.…

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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…

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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”)…

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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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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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