Ghost in the Shell: Ghost in the Philip K. Dick
At some point us as a culture are going to have to ask Hollywood why they keep doing these anime adaptations. No one asks for them, they don't do well in the box office and 9 times out of 10, they're gonna rub people the wrong way. By this token, it seemed like Ghost in the Shell would be the last IP that the west would think about touching (except for maybe Grave of the Fireflies). The 1995 classic, besides being one of the most impressive feats of animation of the time and arguably all time, is also a hefty narrative, that asks questions on identity, metaphysics, eastern spirituality, philosophy, cybernetics, consciousness, and the future and history of japan, all in 82 minutes. So it's disappointing, yet not surprising, that a film that nearly a half hour longer manages to contain none of this.
It's Pretty I Guess?
Beauty and the Beast is Disney's latest in the series of remakes of their animated classics, which include the mediocre to bad Alice and Wonderland (2010)and Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016) the pretty good Jungle Book (2016) and Maleficent and the GREAT Cinderalla (2015). The thing about these remakes is that, for better or worse, they tried to put a new spin on the original. AIWL, while flawed, went from being loosely tied together vignettes to a LOTR-esque epic fantasy; Cinderella was reframed to ACTUALLY be about Cinderella and give her some actual character (go back and look at the film. The main characters are the mice); The Jungle Book became centered around actual emotional and societal connection between Mowgli and the animals, and Maleficent was a Grendel level subversion of the tropes of fantasy good and evil.
It Has Something to Say
Get Out is Jordan Peele's (Of Key & Peele and Madtv fame) directorial debut and jesus christ, he is not playing around. Get Out is the best (and most original) movie to come out this year, and it's amazing that this is Peele's first film, and not his fifth.
Not Quite a Homerun, but close
Fences is the adaptation of the August Wilson play of the same name, and Denzel Washington's 3rd film as a director-actor (after Atwone Fisher and The Great Debaters).
An Imperfect, but Sincere Love Letter
La La Land is pure, unadulterated, unsubtle nostalgia flick. Taking the tone and pseudo-fantasy elements from musicals of Classical Hollywood, slaps on new technology, and the new Grant/West in Gosling and Stone, Director/writer Damien Chazelle (of Whiplash fame) film that is a well acted technical marvel even if the story doesn't quiet cut it.
The God Incarnate is Back
Shin Godzilla (or Godzilla: Resurgence) can best be described as a post modern reboot. That is, it re-tells the first time the Japanese government and people encounter Godzilla, but the filmmakers are aware that you have definitely heard of Godzilla before so it chooses to forgo any elaborate back story of the creature, of the characters, or of the world Godzilla is in, and hops right to the task of making a well scripted, well directed, dialouge driven, suspenseful monster masterpiece
First of all, I want to apologize for that horrible play on words. I know, it's terrible, but I literally couldn't think of anything more appropriate for this movie. The Birth of a Nation is Braveheart with black people. I'm serious. That's the best description I have for it. It's a pretty good movie set around a violent historical event/period, which forgoes historical accuracy for the sake of pathos and making a myth out of the man at hand.
Pretty Good Remake to a Pretty Good Classic
The original 1960 film, The Magnificent Seven, is in a weird place in American pop culture. While it's usually considered one of the major classic Hollywood westerns, it's never been considered to be particularly great.
Better Than I Thought
Skiptrace is the latest film by Martial Arts legend, Jackie Chan and it has already done gangebusters (140 million) in China. I knew this movie had come out in July in China, and its US release date kinda snuck up on me. I wasn't actually looking forward to it for 3 key reasons.
A Sigh of Relief
Don't Breathe is another example of what seems to be a common theme this summer: high concept horror movies that are way better than they have any right to be( the other movies that fit this description are Lights Out and The Shallows). Don't Breathe is a really good, a tightly packed horror movie that doesn't overstay it's welcome and keeps you feeling tense the whole way through
Dead on Arrival
Believe me, no one was rooting for this movie as much as I was. That first trailer was great, probably created more hype for DC than Batman vs Superman. All the pieces were there. A great action director in David Ayer, the man behind Fury, End of Watch, and Street Kings; a star studded cast including Will Smith, Jared Leto, and Margot Robbie; a goldmine source of the Suicide Squad, a covert team of Super Villains saving the day, and after the abject failure that was BvS, Suicide Squad was the movie that was supposed to save the day, and bring hope to the DCEU.........So what the hell happened?
HOLY hell, I was not expecting this one. There was alot of hype and infamy surrounding this movie at Sundance. A new film with former Harry Potter star, Daniel Radcliffe, first time directors, and news that the movie caused walkouts because of farting and boners. One would think it would be a hot mess. Then the damn movie won best Director at Sundance and boy did it deserve it. Swiss Army Man is a beautiful film about the human experience, marvels of the body, and loneliness
The Future Aint As Bright
Independence Day: Resurgence, isn't a "bad" movie per se. It is about as good as movies like San Andreas, or Battle Ship, which I don't consider "bad"films; it just is so uninspired that it treads the waters of mediocrity, and that's a shame given how good (or at least earnestly endearing) the first film was.
Batman V Superman is not a good movie. Is it Green Lantern bad? No, because to Snyder's and his teams credit, they have some business making a superhero movie. But not being as bad one of arguably the worst major motion pictures in 20 years isn't a hard hurdle. No, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (inappropriate title for most of the movie) is bad because it's Snyder, Goyer, Terrio, DC and WB at their worst as artists and a business. BvS is a HOT mess stemming from trying to play catch up to Marvel, while also trying to be some supposed opposite it, which is apparently the opposite of good.
A Bloody Mess
Spectre is not a good movie. In fact it is a bad movie. In fact it may be one of the worst 007 movies. Yes worse than Moonraker and Die Another Day, And Quantum of Solace. At least those movies were goofy enough where the bad at least had breaks of pure unintentional hilarity. This movie doesn't even have that. This movie doesn't have much of anything beside a bloated run time (2.5 damn hours) and a "twist" that will piss you off because the pure level of asinine writing it took to write it.
A Story With Ghosts in It
Yeeeeeahhhh.....this movie ain't for everyone. That's not to say it's bad, but just know if you became a fan of Del Toro from Hellboy, Pacific Rim, or The Strain, you're probably gonna leave a little disappointed. Crimson Peak is a movie about Edith Cushing ( played by Mia Wasikowska of Stoker, and In Treatment)a well to do young woman living in late 19th who aspires to be a writer....oh and she can see ghosts. Due to various circumstances she ends up married to Thomas Sharp (Tomas Hiddleston), a baronet falling on hard times, and living at his Family home 'Crimson Peak' with his sister Lucile (Jessica Chastain) and shit goes down.
Carol: Simply Beautiful
Carol, for all intensive purposes, isn't a movie that's trying to do much. This is Director Todd Hayne's 6th feature length film and arguably his most grounded film, but I'll be damned if it isn't one of his best.