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#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Shaft | Tim Story

June 13, 2019

Gordon Parks’s 1971 Shaft is now almost 50 years old. The film didn’t begin the blaxploitation subgenre, but it was certainly its most popular example up until that time — and both the title character and the actor who played him, Richard Roundtree, quickly became icons of Blackness and Black cinema. Shaft is a slow-moving detective film, not a thriller or an action picture, and the character is defined less by his race (in the source novel Shaft is white, as was…

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#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Bumblebee | Travis Knight

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…

December 20, 2018
#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

A Quiet Place | John Krasinski

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…

April 6, 2018
#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Annihilation | Alex Garland

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…

February 22, 2018
#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

mother! | Darren Aronofsky

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…

September 15, 2017
#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back | Edward Zwick

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…

October 21, 2016
#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

10 Cloverfield Lane | Dan Trachtenberg

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…

March 11, 2016
#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi | Michael Bay

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…

January 15, 2016
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