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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

A Quiet Place | John Krasinski

April 6, 2018
qp

The opening of of A Quiet Place leaves you primed for an arthouse-inflected genre film, like something A24 would release, or that Alex Garland might direct. Shot with moody lighting and Malick-y closeups, a family silently raid an abandoned pharmacy, on what we’re informed is “Day 82” of something. All the actors sign their dialogue, and their big round eyes cringe at the slightest sound. But just as you start to worry that the whole film might be like this, all somber and serious, a little kid gets eaten by…

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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

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

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back | Edward Zwick

October 21, 2016
reacher-2

2012’s Jack Reacher was, at its best, an amusingly bare-bones action movie with a level of simplicity that may have felt a bit like a gritty ’70s throwback to some, but that more realistically resembled a made-for-cable movie circa the early ’90s. Never Go Back doubles down on the latter vibe and the result is virtually indistinguishable from something you might have watched on TNT in 1993 starring Michael Pare or James Remar…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch 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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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch 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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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

The Big Short | Adam McKay

December 17, 2015
The Big Short (2015)

News to absolutely nobody: in 2008 a mounting, toxic combination of sheer cluelessness and outright lawbreaking caused the US housing market to collapse, leading to a massive taxpayer-funded government bailout of several enormous financial institutions. In the wake of this, very little new legislation was presented to avoid a similar future problem, virtually nobody was punished (except for, you know, the average citizen who lost a job or home or saw their savings decimated), and everyone went back to business…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation | Christopher McQuarrie

July 30, 2015
Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation (2015)

Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, the fifth installment in this franchise, finds hero superspy Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise, but you knew that) battling a sinister organization of ex-operatives called The Syndicate in a relentlessly convoluted plot of double-agents and double-crosses so cloudy that the villains’ goal is only vaguely articulated at the very end. And yet that doesn’t matter one bit, because the spectacle on hand is at once classical and modern, complicated and totally simple…

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Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Terminator Genisys | Alan Taylor

July 1, 2015
Terminator Genisys (2015)

Terminator Genisys (don’t ask about the spelling) is, by most counts, the third attempt to kickstart a new trilogy of movies in this franchise. Let’s hope it’s the last. The fifth film in this series (which is seemingly as unkillable as its eponymous cyborg) begins with a character who has now been played by three different actors reciting, in voiceover, the details of the previous movies’ backstory. The imagery is equally rehashed. Sunny playgrounds and busy cities suddenly decimated…

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by Veronika Ferdman Film

The Gambler | Rupert Wyatt

December 23, 2014
EXCLUSIVE FOR FIRST USE WITH USA TODAY SNEAK PEEK ON 10/08/14 0R 10/09/14. MUST APPEAR IN PRINT FOR ONLINE USE Mark Wahlberg as Jim Bennett and Jessica Lange as Roberta in a scene from the motion picture "The gambler." CREDIT: Claire Folger, Paramount Pictures.  [Via MerlinFTP Drop]

If you haven’t seen Karel Reisz’s 1974 The Gambler before seeing Rupert Wyatt’s new Mark Wahlberg-starring remake, don’t watch it in close proximity to the new version. Here is yet another classic case of an original that makes the flaws of the remake seem that much harsher. There’s some wonderful mise-en-abyme surrounding Reisz’s original. James Toback wrote the heavily autobiographical script about a Jewish college English professor with a deeply self-destructive gambling problem…

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by Matt Lynch Film

Interstellar | Christopher Nolan

November 5, 2014
interstellar

The self-consciously “epic” epic Interstellar is wildly ambitious, massive in scope, gorgeous to look at, often clumsily sentimental, very serious, and frequently overly expository. In other words, it’s the usual from director Christopher Nolan. The film follows Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a one-time pilot, now farmer, living in a near future amid…

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by 
Drew Hunt Film

Men, Women & Children | Jason Reitman

October 3, 2014
men-women-children

Jason Reitman’s latest Oscar shill, the formally inert and thematically overconfident Men, Women & Children, aspires to illustrate how humans — horny high school students and their horny parents, specifically — interact in this new technological world of ours. The characters are all but glued to the computers and handheld devices they use to text, tweet, and instant-message each other all the sordid, depraved and depressing things they don’t dare speak aloud. Digitally composed text fields — basically the 21st-century equivalent…

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