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20th Century Fox

#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.…

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#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…

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#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Deadpool 2 | David Leitch

May 17, 2018
deadpool

Did you like the first Deadpool? Its constant allegedly clever meta-references? The look-how-edgy-this-is shock humor? The graphic violence? Deadpool 2 has more of those things, so you will enjoy this one too. Although, this time, Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is depressed for various spoilery reasons and wants to die, just like Wolverine, only he can’t, just like Wolverine. So, again, just like Wolverine (he’s sort of obsessed with Wolverine), he throws himself into good deeds as a form of therapy and attempted absolution. In…

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by Matt Lynch Film

Joy | David O. Russell

December 8, 2015
Joy (2015)

Joy begins with an on-screen dedication to “daring women” and a scene from a hypothetical cheesy soap opera in which two women argue about the men in their lives, the love that they want, and the power that they deserve. It’s a surreal introduction to another of David O. Russell’s worlds, where outsized, almost folk-ish popular narratives (like those of a faded boxer’s comeback, or a team of con-artists) are populated with seriously neurotic, often very damaged people.…

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#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

The Revenant | Alejandro González Iñárritu

December 4, 2015
the-revenant

Combining what some have called his propensity for “arthouse miserablism” in films like Babel or Biutiful with a newfound fetish for conspicuous formal audacity (see Birdman’s much-discussed faux single take), Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant is a simultaneously uneven and thrilling combination of grisly violence, immense portent, and for the most part immaculate technical craft. Primarily the truly harrowing ordeal of a frontier scout (Leonardo DiCaprio) left for dead by a murderous…

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#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Bridge of Spies | Steven Spielberg

October 14, 2015
Bridge of Spies (2015)

It’s not new to describe Steven Spielberg as a sort of father figure in Hollywood filmmaking. A film like War of the Worlds, just to take a somewhat recent example, is so skillfully unnerving it might as well be a bedtime story told by a parent with intimate knowledge of what will terrify their child. His latest, Bridge of Spies, is the kind of simple but fiercely moral lesson that feels all of a piece with that paternal instinct, and its executed with an…

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#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

The Martian | Ridley Scott

September 30, 2015
the martian

In addition to the spectacle of characters struggling to outlast the elements, survival-specific adventure films typically involve some sort of additional antagonist. Some guy’s trapped in the woods? There’s probably a hungry bear around. Stranded on a desert island? Maybe cannibals, or some kind of prehistoric lizard. Even Interstellar, a film primarily concerned with the unforgiving vastness of time and space and inevitable loss, went ahead and dragged poor Matt Damon out as a bad guy astronaut…

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#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Fantastic Four | Joshua Trank

August 11, 2015
Fantastic Four (2015)

The Comic book iterations of the Fantastic Four are often called Marvel’s First Family. Their stories take place in a bright four-color world where the heroes are a band of endlessly squabbling world-famous celebrities, sort of a Hard Day’s Night with pop superscience, where a man who can stretch really far feuds with his rock monster best friend one minute and in the next they battle a Mole Man. The basic skeleton of Josh Trank’s new film Fantastic Four is the same…

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#KickingtheCanon by Tom Elrod Film

Miller’s Crossing | Joel & Ethan Coen

July 13, 2015
miller

The Coen Brothers have a habit of using an innocuous object as a catalyst for many of their convoluted plots. This is slightly different from Hitchcock’s favored “MacGuffin,” the thing everybody in the story wants though nobody really cares what it is. Think of the stolen car in Fargo, the Dude’s rug in The Big Lebowski, or the cat from Inside Llewyn Davis. …

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#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Magic Mike XXL | Gregory Jacobs

June 29, 2015
Magic Mike XXL (2015)

2012’s Magic Mike got a lot of folks into the theater on the promise of a fun romp about male strippers, then, along with all that hunky flesh, also served them a post-2008 financial collapse story about the breakdown of personal relationships reduced to economic exchanges. It eventually turned into a scold about drug abuse and the shady life of a sex worker, but people didn’t seem to mind too much (maybe they’d come to expect a hangover from all that partying).…

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#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Kingsman: The Secret Service | Matthew Vaughn

February 12, 2015
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)

Kinsman: The Secret Service is ostensibly both a rebuke to the increasingly self-serious spy genre and a tongue-in-cheek nod to the good old days of 007 in a tuxedo and megalomaniacs in super-fortresses. But is amping up the violence and suspect gender politics the most effective way to parody these well-worn tropes? The Bond films have been around for more than 50 years, and even if they’ve hewn to a basic formula of 007 saving the world and romancing sexy women…

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#KickingtheCanon by Matthew Lucas Film

The Thin Red Line | Terrence Malick

February 9, 2015
91z6Ll5r9WL._SL1500_

Whenever anyone mentions the 1998 Oscars, the conversation inevitably turns to the great “injustice” of Shakespeare in Love beating Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan for Best Picture. But the real injustice of the 1998 Oscars wasn’t denying Ryan the top prize, it was in not rewarding Terrence Malick’s masterpiece, The Thin Red Line. After directing Days of Heaven in 1978, the notoriously reclusive director seemingly disappeared from filmmaking for two…

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