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Universal

#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Us | Jordan Peele

March 21, 2019

Us begins with a sincerely spooky prologue taking place in 1986, when young Addy wanders away from her bickering parents at the Santa Cruz boardwalk and encounters what appears to be her own smirking, scary double, an experience that apparently leaves her traumatized. Cut to the present, and adult Addy (Lupita Nyong’o) and her husband (Winston Duke) and two children (Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex) return to their summer home near that same beach. Even while Addy feels constantly on edge…

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#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Glass | M. Night Shyamalan

There’s a lengthy, terrific scene in Glass, in which the protagonists — three people with extraordinary abilities — are confronted both by each other and by a psychologist who is determined to prove to them that they aren’t superheroes, that they’re merely insane.…

January 17, 2019
#BlockbusterBeat by Lawrence Garcia Film

Unfriended: Dark Web | Stephen Susco

It could be that Stephen Susco, the first-time director of improbable horror-sequel Unfriended: Dark Web, is just a previously-undistinguished virtuoso, here aided by a team of tech wizards. More likely, it’s that the film’s text (i.e., the “dark web” of the Internet) is so…

July 20, 2018
#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Skyscraper | Rawson Marshall Thurber

Nearly 30 years on, to the day, from the release of Die Hard — the movie about a guy fighting terrorists in a really tall building that spawned dozens of knockoffs that people continue to refer to using the construction: “Die Hard on a…boat/spaceship/rollercoaster, whatever — finally, we…

July 12, 2018
#BlockbusterBeat by Daniel Gorman Film

The First Purge | Gerard McMurray

Just in time for an ironic Independence Day release, The First Purge is another meaningless prequel that answers questions no one asked or needed answered. While it seems undeniably important that the film’s action/survival narrative revolves around an oppressed African-American population rising up against a government that is systematically and…

July 9, 2018
#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Pacific Rim: Uprising | Steven S. DeKnight

Picking up 10 years after the events of Pacific Rim, Pacific Rim: Uprising follows Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), the son of Idris Elba’s Stacker Pentecost from the first film, as he does that thing where he finally confronts and accepts his destiny and his father’s legacy by doing the…

March 22, 2018
#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Hail, Caesar! | Joel & Ethan Coen

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…

February 5, 2016
#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Crimson Peak | Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro’s sympathies have always been with his orphan, discarded monsters: the aging vampire in Cronos, the beautiful, malevolent creatures of Pan’s Labyrinth, or the dying fairy kingdom of Hellboy II. They may be cruel and violent but they are also irreparably misunderstood, tragically separate from…

October 14, 2015
#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Steve Jobs | Danny Boyle

It’s hard to tell if Steve Jobs is better or worse for its general avoidance of “how we live now” handwringing. Even The Social Network, to which this is certainly meant as some sort of foll0w-up given its Aaron Sorkin fact-based tech-biography screenplay, concerned itself with our…

October 14, 2015
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