When talking about genres due for a revival, the musical and western genres tend to draw all of the attention, when there’s one genre that has been long underserved in this regard: The classic film genre of hot-merman-sex.
Justice League is cynical.
Don’t get me wrong, the Marvel films are cynical too. It’s all cynical. Hollywood is a cynical industry.
It strikes me, however, that Justice League is an example of the cynicism of Hollywood gone horribly awry.
That’s not to say that it’s terrible, or even that bad. It’s certainly far better than Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad. But for all their faults, those films at least presented a consistent worldview. Justice League feels tonally consistent, at odds with itself, in unnatural ways.
There’s an alternate universe where CBS picked up the “How I Met Your Mother” spinoff starring Greta Gerwig, which has been on the air for 3 years now, and as a result, we never got Lady Bird. I’m convinced that that is the darker timeline – though, on the other hand, 3 seasons of a TV show starring Greta Gerwig might be worth it.
I’ve been a big fan of Greta Gerwig ever since I saw her in the gloriously delightful Frances Ha, which she co-wrote. It was clear from that film that this is a woman with a really specific and unique vision, even beyond any creative spark that was imbued upon the film by co-writer and director Noah Baumbach. So it’s safe to say that I’ve been looking forward to Lady Bird ever since it was first announced.
Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (Valerian from here on out) is a hallucinogenic science fiction epic that, despite its many flaws, manages to be a fun excursion into outer space.
Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s idiosyncratic vision may not be for everyone, but there’s no denying that it’s bold and original; his is a challenging lens, one which is darkly comedic, questioning, dizzyingly suspenseful, but ultimately satisfying if somewhat bewildering. Coming out of his Palme d’Or-winning 2017 feature, The Square, I couldn’t help but feel this entire wide array of emotions, even as I felt that I may not have “gotten” Östlund’s vision.
Battle of the Sexes is two movies that have seemingly been combined together in a way that really shouldn’t work, and yet it does. This is largely on the strength of an excellent lead performance by Emma Stone as tennis legend Billie Jean King, as well as a strong supporting cast.
Thor: Ragnarok is the funniest Marvel movie yet, and the best of the three films in the Thor franchise… If this sounds like damning this film with faint praise, it really shouldn’t – while these marks absolutely represent a low bar within a broader moviegoing context, the fact remains – Thor: Ragnarok is quite good.
The gleefully over-the-top sequel to what was already a joyful ripoff of the James Bond movies, Kingsman: The Golden Circle goes bigger, bolder, and more over the top, expanding the Kingsman mythology and world in exciting ways that make for a promising future to this franchise. If you didn’t know that Kingsman was based on a comic book franchise, The Golden Circle makes that fact quite clear, both for better and for worse.
Happy Death Day feels like the type of movie that could go on to have a long shelf life as teens will watch it over and over at parties and sleepovers. This movie, pitched with an easy-to-understand high concept, falls in at a perfect darkly comedic wavelength that makes it accessible even for those who are not big horror fans. It’s Scream meets Groundhog Day, and if Happy Death Day can’t live up to either of those pieces of source material, it comes surprisingly close.
American Made is a less successful collaboration between Tom Cruise and Doug Liman than 2014 sci-fi action thriller Edge of Tomorrow, but it’s not Cruise’s fault. In American Made, Cruise continues to be insanely charismatic, here depicting American pilot and notorious arms & drugs smuggler Barry Seal, a larger-than-life figure out of a sordid era of American foreign policy.