Image: Warner Bros.
I don’t tend to get excited for movies. (You see enough Transformers or Madea vehicles and it’s easier to just let yourself be pleasantly surprised by the gems.) And, sacrilegious as it is to say, I’ve always felt Blade Runner was an overrated movie. Incredibly innovative and paradigm-shifting to sci-fi, don’t get me wrong; but not a perfect film from a narrative point of view.
Yet Blade Runner 2049 has been my most anticipated movie in the back half of 2017. Part of it was the brilliance of the first trailer, part of it was seeing the world Philip K. Dick and Ridley Scott envisioned with modern CGI, but the crux of it was director Denis Villeneuve.
Villeneuve has made three movies. He debuted in 2013 with the fantastic Prisoners, followed it up with the even more intense Sicario, and topped it all off with last year’s Best Picture-nominated Arrival. All three masterpieces, and each better than the one prior. It set the expectations for his fourth, Blade Runner 2049, so high for me the movie couldn’t meet them. But it comes close.
For a genre that people always say is dead, the movie musical is reborn really often. Three years ago, Frozen brought the genre back from the brink. Before that it was Sweeney Todd and Once, after Chicago and Moulin Rouge! did the same. The musical may be just as common today as in prior decades, but that doesn’t make the masterpieces any less special when they flitter into theatres. La La Land is one such delight.
A love letter not just to the classic movie musicals of the ’50s and ’60s but also to sweeping romances and the glitzy mythology of Hollywood, La La Land has been the buzzed-about movie this year, since first storming Toronto International Film Festival in September. In a rare instance of hype being on the mark, everything you’ve heard about the Best Picture frontrunner is true.
Photo: Warner Bros.
“Spiritual sequels” are a peculiar lot. They don’t directly follow or necessarily have anything narratively to do with their predecessors, but are usually constructed by the same people, creating a similar tone or style, to such an extent that they elicit all the same feelings in audiences (ideally), even though they’re a brand new story. Such is the case with The Nice Guys. Continue reading
Photo: Paramount Pictures
Many of the characters in The Big Short are hotshot brokers and bankers who trade in millions daily (before the financial crisis of 2008). Two, though, are younger guys who’ve never had the chance to land a big deal and just want a shot at the grown-ups table.
Adam MacKay is a talented director who’s always been held back a bit by the comedies he’s made: Step Brothers, The Other Guys, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, and both Anchormans. He wasn’t the logical choice to direct a movie that has no shrieking, streaking, or Will Ferrell. The Big Short is his big shot. Continue reading