Browsing Tag

Warner Bros.

Blockbuster Beat by Daniel Gorman Film

Ready Player One | Steven Spielberg

May 1, 2018
Ready Player One

Now that the dust has settled and the hype machine has moved on to newer, bigger spectacles, let’s examine the reception of Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One. Neither a runaway success nor a financial disaster, the film seems to have found the limits of a certain kind of nostalgia marketplace. The original novel has, by some accounts, had its popularity tarnished by the ensuing push-back against toxic masculinity in nerd culture — and that’s the biggest problem…

Continue Reading

Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Tomb Raider | Roar Uthaug

March 15, 2018
tr

What’s the use of rebooting a successful video game franchise if you can’t reboot the mediocre film series that it spawned? That appears to be the motivation behind the new Tomb Raider, which resembles nothing so much as a perfunctory early 2000s action programmer except that it has much nicer special effects. Alicia Vikander replaces Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft, heiress to an incredible fortune and daughter of Lord Richard (Dominic West), who disappeared on a treasure hunt seven years ago. When Croft discovers…

Continue Reading

Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Blade Runner 2049 | Denis Villeneuve

October 6, 2017
Blade Runner 2049

It’s worth remembering that, at the time of its 1982 initial release, nobody really knew what to make of, or much cared for, Blade Runner. Ridley Scott’s one-time sci-fi flop (now duly reclaimed and canonized, and available in 5 different cuts) was deliberately meandering, opaque, and portentous—as well as drop dead gorgeous, a hypnotic drone, and a fabulous technical showcase (even in its sort of nascent original theatrical form). Blade Runner 2049 is basically all of these things, but often to a much greater degree.…

Continue Reading

Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them | David Yates

November 18, 2016
fantastic-beasts

The Harry Potter franchise officially becomes an Expanded Cinematic Universe with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the first in what Warner Bros. promises will be five J.K. Rowling-scripted original films, prequels to the Potter‘s proper. Centering around conservationalist wizard Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), who travels the globe capturing said fantastic beasts and shoving them into…

Continue Reading

Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Sully | Clint Eastwood

September 7, 2016
sully

Late in Eastwood’s chronicle of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger’s emergency water landing of US Air 1549 (dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson”)—and the investigation that follows—Sully (a white-haired Tom Hanks) turns to his co-pilot (Aaron Eckhart), saying, “We did our job.” That pretty much sums up this simple story of pragmatic, unassuming, collective heroism and cool thinking in a state of crisis. Sully manages to save every passenger on board and is hailed as a hero by the media.…

Continue Reading

by Matt Lynch Film

Suicide Squad | David Ayer

August 4, 2016
Suicide Swuad

It takes almost 30 minutes to introduce most (somehow still not all) of the major characters in David Ayer’s DC Comics adaptation Suicide Squad. A couple even get introduced twice. Coming on the heels of tepid response (despite relatively massive box office) to like-it-or-not mega-franchise kickoff Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Ayer’s effort bears all the hallmarks of not just ordinarily clunky studio filmmaking but a frantic attempt to retool a film nobody expected to have to bear the burden of both meeting its planned release date and…

Continue Reading

Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

The Nice Guys | Shane Black

May 20, 2016
niceguys__article-hero-1130x430

With Lethal Weapon, almost thirty years ago now, Shane Black practically invented the mismatched buddy formula that’s stood ever since. He infused the oblique conspiracies and terse dialogue of someone like Chandler with modern doses of vulnerable masculinity, elaborate profanity, and ugly violence, all of which he uses to redeem his lovable but seriously damaged and occasionally borderline incompetent losers. The Nice Guys shows that along with his many imitators, Black’s not too interested in meddling with that formula. Aside from the 1977 setting…

Continue Reading

Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Midnight Special | Jeff Nichols

March 30, 2016
MIDNIGHT SPECIAL

As in his own Take Shelter and Mud, director Jeff Nichols’s Midnight Special laces a story of filial and marital angst with sudden violence and off-kilter genre trappings, creating, as many have noted, a strange mix of early Spielberg, golden age John Carpenter, and maybe a little vintage Stephen King. Nichols’s primary stroke of genius is an almost ruthless lack of exposition: We’re thrown in with Roy (Michael Shannon), his young son Alton (Jaeden Lieberher), and State trooper Lucas (Joel Edgerton), all apparently on the run from a shady…

Continue Reading

Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice | Zack Snyder

March 24, 2016
Batman v Superman (2016)

Eighteen months after the leveling of Metropolis at the conclusion of 2013’s Man of Steel, the world must come to grips with Superman (Henry Cavill), a seemingly benevolent but nevertheless godlike being with the ability to destroy the planet. Meanwhile two billionaire technocrats—Bruce Wayne aka Batman (Ben Affleck) and Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), both infatuated with their own wills to power—compete to either subdue or destroy him. Superman busies himself with being a rather objectivist version of Earth’s savior…

Continue Reading

Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

In the Heart of the Sea | Ron Howard

December 10, 2015
In the Heart of the Sea (2015)

You actually get two movies in In the Heart of the Sea. One is a reasonably tight seafaring adventure yarn based on the true story of the survivors of a whaling ship sunk by a pissed-off alabaster sperm whale in 1820, and the other is a pointlessly dull framing device in which Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) interviews the sole living survivor of the voyage (Brendan Gleeson) so that he can one day write Moby Dick. That first movie isn’t necessarily outstanding,…

Continue Reading

Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

Black Mass | Scott Cooper

September 17, 2015
Black Mass

Director Scott Cooper has a knack for casting up unremarkable films with great performers and turning them loose, depending on them to transcend otherwise unremarkable material. Crazy Heart had Jeff Bridges filling in for Robert Duvall in a Tender Mercies knockoff (Duvall was also in it anyway). Out of the Furnace had Christian Bale scowling through another blue-collar noir, a subgenre paying increasingly low dividends. In Black Mass he’s got Johnny Depp, in a typically physical, idiosyncratic…

Continue Reading

Blockbuster Beat by Matt Lynch Film

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. | Guy Ritchie

August 13, 2015
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. doesn’t have much to do with its 50-year-old TV source material beyond the basic skeleton of its premise: two secret agents, one American and one Soviet, team up to stop bad guys at the height of the Cold War. The series was a cheap but slick Bond ripoff with cardboard sets, sexy girls, and a couple of charismatic leads. A pop artifact. Here Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) must recruit the daughter (Alicia…

Continue Reading