by Matt Lynch

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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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Annihilation | Alex Garland

February 22, 2018
anni

Annihilation practically sits up and begs to be regarded as high-minded genre cinema. But really, it’s a thuddingly literal handful of barely engaged ideas and dangling plot threads standing in for conceptual and narrative ambiguity. Extremely loosely based on a novel by Jeff VanderMeer, writer/director Alex Garland’s film streamlines a work of really haunting interiority and curiosity into a mostly straightforward soldiers-meet-monsters exercise, substituting melancholy uncertainty and a genuine sense of awe in the face of the inexplicable with expository backstory and…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Black Panther | Ryan Coogler

February 16, 2018
bp

Black Panther arrives with a lot of fanfare; it’s sure to generate discussion about its status as a genuinely progressive piece of representation, and it should — but it’s also a seriously entertaining pop confection, not-infrequently visually arresting, idiosyncratic, and loaded with engaged performances from a stacked cast. It has actual dramatic stakes, which are not usually encountered in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And it snowballs into possibly the most satisfying crowd-pleaser the franchise has managed so far. The pop bliss on display isn’t…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Star Wars: The Last Jedi | Rian Johnson

December 12, 2017
lastjedi

Perhaps in answer to fans who complained that The Force Awakens was just a collection of rehashed elements and nostalgia with a shiny paint job, Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, the might-be Empire Strikes Back of this new trilogy, is the most unusual and stealthily satisfying Star Wars-anything since at least 1983. It similarly opens on a breathless battle that could serve as a climax to any of these entries, but Empire‘s perfect romantic adventure has been replaced by a ramshackle narrative…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

The Foreigner | Martin Campbell

October 13, 2017
The Foreigner

The Foreigner has the same elements as any number of generic procedurals: innocent victims are killed in a terrorist bomb blast, law enforcement officers track down leads and analyze forensics, and a crusading politician has his career put on the line. What none of these people (indeed, maybe not even the audience watching them) have reckoned with is that one of the victims’ fathers in all this mess is an ex-Viet Cong sapper played by Jackie Chan—and he is pissed.…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Blade Runner 2049 | Denis Villeneuve

October 6, 2017
Blade Runner 2049

It’s worth remembering that, at the time of its 1982 initial release, nobody really knew what to make of, or much cared for, Blade Runner. Ridley Scott’s one-time sci-fi flop (now duly reclaimed and canonized, and available in 5 different cuts) was deliberately meandering, opaque, and portentous—as well as drop dead gorgeous, a hypnotic drone, and a fabulous technical showcase (even in its sort of nascent original theatrical form). Blade Runner 2049 is basically all of these things, but often to a much greater degree.…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

mother! | Darren Aronofsky

September 15, 2017
mother

It’s difficult to argue that Darren Aronofsky’s films are poorly executed, at least on a formal level; his largely allegorical works are often manic, intense, portentous, and meticulously designed, it’s just that they’re also so sophomorically pleased with themselves, rarely approaching their allegories from a perspective of any real insight. Requiem for a Dream is a whirlwind of a viewing experience, but it boils down to little more than a rote (and relatively misogynistic) cautionary tale about drug abuse.…

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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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