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Universal

#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Cats | Tom Hooper

December 19, 2019

Arguably the most indelible Broadway show of all time, it might be surprising that Cats took nearly forty years to be turned into a movie. At least until you see the movie they made. The King’s Speech’s Tom Hooper has put away the 18mm lens that gives his movies that weird fish-eye effect and substituted it with motion-capture tech and something called digital fur. He’s gathered a huge roster of stars and thrown as much money at it as it…

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#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Queen & Slim | Melina Matsoukas

A Tinder date between the two title characters in Queen & Slim (Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya, respectively) goes horribly wrong after they get pulled over by a cop (Sturgill Simpson, weirdly) so cartoonishly racist that he draws his gun when Slim mentions that…

November 26, 2019
#BlockbusterBeat by Steven Warner Film

Last Christmas | Paul Feig

Universal’s marketing department has been working overtime to sell the new romantic comedy Last Christmas as some sort of spiritual cousin to what is now apparently considered a modern-day holiday classic: Love, Actually. Remember Emma Thompson, who appeared in just one of that film’s myriad…

November 8, 2019
#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Us | Jordan Peele

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…

March 21, 2019
#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
In Review | Online film and music criticism