by Matt Lynch

by Matt Lynch by Sam C. Mac Features Festival Coverage

BAMcinemafest 2016

June 17, 2016
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The Brooklyn Academy of Music kicked off its 2016 “cinemafest” this week, and as per usual it’s an eclectic showcase of international and domestic indies with an underdog spirit. This year especially seemed like a festival of gambles, from horror luminary Ti West trying his hand at the western to Tim Sutton taking on the Aurora shootings. Inevitably, some pan out better than others, but even failures at this fest often seem more admirable for following the ambitions that got them there. Our writers…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

De Palma | Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow

June 17, 2016
De Palma (2016)

Comprised of almost nothing but movie clips and interview footage, De Palma features none of its subject’s formal innovation, and so it’d be easy to write off as a glorified bonus feature. Very few of those, however, are as wildly entertaining as this one. Directors Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow have leveraged their long friendship with Brian De Palma into something that could have quite easily been a bunch of bland making-of info but instead is a still-lively filmmaker reflecting on his…

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by Matt Lynch Current 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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by Matt Lynch Current 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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by Matt Lynch Current 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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by Matt Lynch Current Film

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice | Zack Snyder

March 24, 2016
Batman v Superman (2016)

Eighteen months after the leveling of Metropolis at the conclusion of 2013’s Man of Steel, the world must come to grips with Superman (Henry Cavill), a seemingly benevolent but nevertheless godlike being with the ability to destroy the planet. Meanwhile two billionaire technocrats—Bruce Wayne aka Batman (Ben Affleck) and Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), both infatuated with their own wills to power—compete to either subdue or destroy him. Superman busies himself with being a rather objectivist version of Earth’s savior…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

10 Cloverfield Lane | Dan Trachtenberg

March 11, 2016
10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

When Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up chained to the wall in an underground doomsday bunker after a car accident, she finds herself the captive of obvious lunatic Howard (John Goodman), a conspiracy nut who, along with his other “guest,” Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) tries to convince her that he is not a serial murderer but in fact her rescuer. Supposedly there’s been some sort of catastrophic attack, and the poisoned air will liquefy anyone unlucky enough to still be outside. Like a…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

London Has Fallen | Babak Najafi

March 3, 2016
London Has Fallen (2016)

London Has Fallen is objectively a trash fire. It’s gleefully violent, front-to-back idiotic, desperately crummy-looking despite a reported budget of over one-hundred million, and politically reprehensible. You’d be forgiven for wondering if it’s a secret parody, formally indistinguishable from the real thing and otherwise so slightly exaggerated that you might not notice. Don’t worry, it’s not, but its mercenary commitment to insidious cheap thrill…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

Triple 9 | John Hillcoat

February 25, 2016
Triple 9 (2016)

So unreconstructed that it barely registers, John Hillcoat’s Triple 9 is a slickly crafted, but almost ruthlessly conventional crime thriller, winding up a handful of cops and crooks like little toys (all played to the hilt by a prestige cast) and watching them stumble into each other in a bloody climax. There’s almost nothing in it that doesn’t feel prescribed. You’ve got your young cop in a new department (Casey Affleck), the hyper-competent thief with a conscience and an estranged kid (Chiwetel Ejiofor), his…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

Hail, Caesar! | Joel & Ethan Coen

February 5, 2016
Hail Caesar (2016)

Sticking to a reliable and remarkably elastic formula, the Coen brothers’ 1950s Hollywood farce Hail, Caesar! is, like Burn After Reading or Raising Arizona, another deceptively fluffy screwball comedy belying a search for deeper meaning. Josh Brolin stars as Harry Mannix, head of production and fixer for Capitol Studios (certainly not coincidentally the same studio that tormented Barton Fink), who spends his days sweeping minor scandals under the rug and keeping the studio machine well-oiled, a business he often finds unseemly. He bounces between many hilarious,…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi | Michael Bay

January 15, 2016
13hours

Despite admonitions in the press materials and interviews with the principals, Michael Bay’s (maybe appropriately) dreaded Benghazi movie can’t possibly read as completely apolitical. Non-partisan, sure, fine: President Obama’s voice is only heard briefly, Secretary Clinton isn’t even mentioned. But no American film about military power in the last decade-plus has been able to ween itself away from depictions of groups of Arabs as either dangerous mobs or encroaching hordes, and it may…

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by Matt Lynch Current Film

The Hateful Eight | Quentin Tarantino

December 24, 2015
The Hateful Eight (2015)

The Hateful Eight often plays like a mean prank, and maybe that shouldn’t come as a surprise from Quentin Tarantino, who’s simultaneously one of the most powerful storytellers working and a self-indulgent loudmouth provocateur. This time he’s practically daring fans and detractors alike with a deliberately unpleasant (to say the least), violent-even-by-his standards Agatha Christie riff, at once an epic western throwback and a chamber piece mystery…

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