Archive for the 'New This Week' Category
A Belated Sequel Worth the Wait
Decades-in-the-making sequels have been all the rage lately. Recently, we have received belated sequels to hits like Independence Day, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Bridget Jones’ Diary, and The Blair Witch Project. Even the last two Star Wars movies fall into this category. Joining their ranks now is this sequel to the 1996 cult favorite Trainspotting. While most of these sequels feel more like cash grabs than anything else, T2 Trainspotting actually feels like a story that is worth telling. The characters are ones whom we are interested in catching up with and director Danny Boyle—then an up-and-comer, now an Oscar-winner—peppers the movie with the same creative flourishes that made the original so much fun to watch.
Long Live the King
Marvel may get credit for kicking off the current cinematic universe trend, but giant monster movies did it first when the two biggest stars of the genre, King Kong and Godzilla, faced off in 1962. So it makes sense with the current trend that the giant monster movie genre would join the party. It is largely thanks to the success of 2014’s Godzilla, America’s second and much-improved attempt at a take on the Japanese icon, that we now have Kong: Skull Island, the adventure film that will officially kick off what is currently being called the “Monsterverse.”
Creepy Horror Done Right
Actor and comedian Jordan Peele is best known for his recently-ended comedy sketch show Key & Peele and the basic premise for his new movie Get Out sounds like ripe material for a sketch. The concept of someone taking their significant other of a different race home to meet their parents has certainly been mined for comedy before, but for his first movie behind the camera, Peele decided to go in a different direction. Taking his inspiration from movies like Night of the Living Dead and The Stepford Wives, the writer/director instead gives us a nerve-wracking, creepy horror flick of the first order, while still remembering to give us a break every now and then with some perfectly timed comic relief.
Not so Great
We all like to say that filmmaking is about art and expression, but the truth is that, for the most part, moviemaking is about making money. Lately, one of the easiest ways for the studios to make a lot of money is to make a movie that has mass appeal in China, a country with a large population that is ready to spend their money on big-budget blockbusters. The new action fantasy The Great Wall may just be the most blatant attempt to capitalize on that financial gold mine.
Gun Fu with Style
The original John Wick movie came out in 2014 with little fanfare, but very quickly became a word of mouth hit, especially on home video. It revitalized the career of Keanu Reeves, giving the actor his most talked about role since the Matrix trilogy. Following its surprise success, making a sequel was a no-brainer. John Wick: Chapter 2 is immediately poised to become a much bigger success than its predecessor and fortunately, that success will be justified. This is a film that will have the audience oohing, ahhing, and cringing in equal measure.
Not Very Shiny
In the middle of the last decade, Stephen Gaghan seemed to be a filmmaker on the rise. He won an Oscar for writing the script for Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic and then directed George Clooney to an Oscar in Syriana, a movie which earned him another screenwriting nomination. But after that he disappeared from features for a full decade before returning this year with Gold, the latest in what has been an ongoing parade of Matthew McConaughey award-season bait over the past few years. It is a very showy performance from the actor in what by all accounts should be a fascinating story, but unfortunately it is told in such a way that it is not at all interesting.