Get Out Gets into the Frightening Reality of the Black Experience Feb25

Get Out Gets into the Frightening Reality of the B...

Synopsis: A black man goes to visit his white girlfriend’s family for a weekend getaway, but they offer more than he bargained for. Universal Pictures; Rated R; 103 minutes. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: The set-up, the racial minority reluctantly going to meet the family of his/her white significant other, is one that we’ve become accustomed to across media, particularly in film. Played for romance, laughs, and drama, the racial tension created amongst interracial couples has become one of American storytelling’s great stage acts. But none of these racially-loaded meet and greets have been downright horrific. Sure, there have been some...

The Girl With All the Gifts is a Lukewarm Crowd Pleaser Feb24

The Girl With All the Gifts is a Lukewarm Crowd Pl...

Overview: A group of soldiers and scientists transport a girl through a zombie-like wasteland in an effort to save humanity. Saban Films; 2017; R; 111 minutes. Here We Go Again: It’s hard not to let the general malaise about zombies affect a viewing of The Girl With All The Gifts. It’s a subject that’s so tired, people are not just tired of it, they’re tired of talking about how tiring it is. But it wasn’t always this way. The zombie concept has been around since the 8th century (1932 on the silver screen). Most of the influence essentially comes from a bastardization of Haitian Voodoo, witch doctors with a mysterious powder that left...

Deserted Wanders Into Nothingness Feb24

Deserted Wanders Int...

Overview: Just out of prison, Jae and her brother head to a music festival in the desert along with a crew of strangers only to find themselves stranded together and at the end of their rope. Winterstone Pictures; 2016; Not Rated; 92 minutes. The Set Up: Stories about surviving the elements...

XX is an Unbalanced Nightmare Feb24

XX is an Unbalanced Nightmare

Anthologies are tricky. How do you cram a full story of content into 15-20 minute segments without sacrificing quality? How do you end them well without leaving too much on the plate? XX is the first all female-directed, female-starred horror anthology that tackles these – and many more – problems. Some players are better at it than others, but it’s almost a guarantee with such a varied assortment of creatives involved every viewer can find something to love and appreciate. XX boasts 4 different horror stories by Jovanka Vuckovic, Annie Clark, Roxanne Benjamin, and Karyn Kusama, respectively. Tied together with wonderfully...

The Great Wall Is A Complex Structure Feb21

The Great Wall Is A Complex Structure

Overview: Two mercenaries stumble upon the Great Wall of China and discover a secret military order tasked with fending off a horde of monsters that attack every sixty years. Universal Pictures; 2017; PG-13; 104 minutes. Two Westerners Walk Up To A Wall: “What God made these things?” Tovar (Pedro Pascal) asks William (Matt Damon) after they experience the first of many brutal attacks upon the Great Wall by the Taoteis, a horde of creatures which rises from the earth every sixty years or so. “None that we know,” William shoots back. It’s a brief exchange to highlight the characters’ otherness and...

Tampopo is a Food Lover’s Paradise Feb17

Tampopo is a Food Lover’s Paradise

Overview: A trucker and his wild connections dedicate their time to helping a woman create the perfect bowl of ramen. Toho; 1985; Not Rated; 114 minutes. Open Wide: Hailed as a ramen western, Jûzô Itami’s Tampopo charmed North American viewers with its veritable smorgasbord of genres and its lighthearted charm after Roger Ebert praised it in 1987. Recently The Criterion Collection and Janus Films put out a restored print so the film could be enjoyed once again in theatres after several decades. Tampopo tells the story of, well, Tampopo (Nobuko Miyamoto) a young widow who struggles to create the quality of food she knows she has within...

A Cure For Wellness Pursues Radically Influenced Filmmaking Feb16

A Cure For Wellness ...

Overview: A young corporate executive grows suspicious of the Swiss Alps treatment facility to which he has been sent to retrieve his company’s CEO. 20th Century Fox; 2017; Rated R; 146 Minutes. A Composition: The minute that Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) steps onto the grounds of the strange...

Wayne’s World 25th Anniversary: It DoesnR...

You can quote the hell out of Wayne’s World. The movie is a catchphrase factory. In its every scene, the script co-authored by the movie’s star Mike Myers, who made his big screen debut in the now-iconic comedy, presents at least one famous snippet of dialogue. Wayne’s World introduced or popularized quite the collection of quotes within the pop culture lexicon—some that are still in currency (“We’re not worthy!” and “That’s what she said…”), others that have lost their value (“Ass sphincter says what?” and “Ex-squeeze me? Baking powder?”), and still others that feel as if maybe they missed  widespread circulation the first time through...

Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day Special Funny, Weird, and Sexy Feb14

Michael Bolton’...

Overview: A sexy Valentine’s Day special hosted by Michael Bolton. Netflix; 2017; 54 mins Cool: At the height of his fame in the 1990s, Michael Bolton was the epitome of uncool: a long haired romance novel-looking lothario singing love songs that made your mum’s heart melt....

The Lego Batman Movie Offers Both Celebration & Satire Feb10

The Lego Batman Movie Offers Both Celebration ...

Overview: When the Joker unleashes a dastardly new plot to destroy Gotham City, the emotionally ill-equipped Batman must learn the value of his relationships with his allies, villains, and the city he’s sworn to protect. Warner Bros.; 2017; Rated PG; 104 minutes. The Brick Knight: In his 78-year history, we’ve seen nearly every variety of tone and take imaginable for the caped-crusader. He’s been a medieval knight, a Cold War revolutionary, a vampire, an alien, a Western hero, and a grounded vigilante, and he’s survived through all of it. Yes, he’s even been George Clooney, and he survived that, too. The elasticity of Batman is largely what...

Fifty Shades Darker Has A Few Bright Spots Feb10

Fifty Shades Darker Has A Few Bright Spots

Overview: Anastasia and Christian are up to their old tricks, but this time . . . they’ve got company. Based on the novel by E.L. James. Universal Pictures; 2017; Rated R; 118 minutes. How Many Shades of Grey Are There Really?: When the credits rolled on 2015’s Fifty Shades of Grey, there was a sense that the movie salvaged something in its closing. That film, based upon the first entry in the cash grab erotic trilogy from E.L. James, was never going to overcome its wooden dialogue and its clumsy narrative feet, but it did stick the landing in terms of structuring its character development, the elevator doors of its conclusion...

John Wick: Chapter 2 is a High Art Action Film of Mythic Proportion Feb08

John Wick: Chapter 2 is a High Art Action Film of ...

Overview: When a former ally forces John Wick to make good on an old debt, he finds himself caught in a whirlwind of repercussions with a bounty on his head. Summit Entertainment; 2017; Rated R; 122 minutes. Working Again: Before we even get to the opening credits and title card for John Wick: Chapter 2, the film quickly dispenses with the plot that any standard action sequel would go for by wrapping up the threads from John Wick. Reclaiming the car that was stolen from him in the first film and dealing with the threat of Viggo’s brother Abram (Peter Stormare), Wick destroys any notion that we’re about to see Chapter 2 play out on the same...

T2 Trainspotting Comes Close To Greatness Feb07

T2 Trainspotting Comes Close To Greatness

Overview: Twenty years after abandoning his friends, Mark (Ewan McGregor) returns home to Edinburgh to make amends. Meanwhile, Simon (Jonny Lee Miller) and Begbie (Robert Carlyle) plot their revenge on him for the money he stole. TriStar Pictures; 2017; Rated R; 117 minutes. Choose Your Future: The question of how to make a great sequel, especially over two decades later, is one that is often asked but rarely answered satisfactorily. With legacy sequels, you have a wide range of uses of nostalgia. There’s Harrison Ford’s, “Chewie, we’re home,” that made people cry simply watching a trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and on the other...

Weekly Clickables: James Baldwin & Films About American Immigration Feb06

Weekly Clickables: James Baldwin & Films Abou...

In this week’s Weekly Clickables, we have a review, a few lists, and some fan art. Plenty to soothe your post-Super Bowl blues (or to entertain you in a regular way). First, a review of the new James Baldwin documentary I Am Not Your Negro, which by almost all accounts is life-changing, and which I was supposed to see and review on Friday until they canceled all showings at the theater near me. Not that I’m bitter or upset in any way. This review at least gives a taste of what seeing the film might actually be like, courtesy of The Guardian. Next, the The AV Club provides a list of films capturing the experience of immigrating...

Rings Is Terrifyingly Boring Feb06

Rings Is Terrifyingly Boring

Overview: When her boyfriend goes missing at college, a young woman finds out he’s discovered a cursed video tape that kills everyone who views it. Paramount Pictures; 2017; Rated PG-13; 102 minutes. Before the Franchise Dies: It doesn’t matter if you have seen The Ring, Gore Verbinski’s 2002 masterpiece American remake of the Japanese classic, or the forgotten 2005 sequel The Ring Two. Rings, the third installment in the series, tells you everything you need to know to keep up really quickly. In its first cold opening (and there are multiple ones), in which a passenger on a plane meets his fabled seventh-day fate in a...

Chapter & Verse Is Indulgent Viewing Feb03

Chapter & Verse...

Overview: A recently paroled ex-gang member struggles to re-acclimate himself into society after serving eight years in prison. Paladin; 2015; Not Rated; 97 minutes. Tough Crowd, Tough Crowd…: One of the film critics I find myself returning to over and over again for inspiration is the...

Heed its Warning and Beware The Slenderman Jan31

Heed its Warning and Beware The Slenderman

Overview: An internet bogeyman inspires two Wisconsin girls to attempt murder in an effort to earn his approval, as recounted in this documentary that takes a closer look at the case and surrounding phenomenon. HBO; Not Rated; 2016; 114 minutes. “Some kids are just big believers”: Beware the Slenderman, premiering on HBO this week, is a long-awaited look at the story behind the vicious near-fatal stabbing of a young Wisconsin girl by two of her friends in 2014. The story gained national attention not just for the outlier aspect of its perpetrators—two 12-year old girls—but because of their declared motivation: To appease someone known...

20th Century Women & The Distance Between American Generations Jan30

20th Century Women & The Distance Between Ame...

Overview: In 1979 Santa Barbara, single mother Dorothea struggles to raise her son Jaime and seeks the help of two young women. A24; 2016; Rated R; 118 minutes. Mama Can’t Buy You Love: Director and writer Mike Mills, recently nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, has more than proven his mastery of incorporating personal yet universal themes in his work. Mike Mills’ most recent feature, Beginners (2010) was simple yet profound, heartbreaking yet hopeful, and creatively crafted. 20th Century Women certainly feels larger, and while in some ways it is a more adventurous endeavor, it is no less personal and no less...

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter Is Exactly What You’d Expect Jan30

Resident Evil: The F...

Overview: Alice must race back to The Hive to stop Umbrella and The Red Queen once and for all. Screen Gems; 2017; Rated R; 106 minutes. Evil Comes Home: If you’re into the Resident Evil film series, at this point nothing should stop you from watching Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. If...

Smokin’ Aces: 10 Years of Dead Reckoning, Sl...

To call Smokin’ Aces sleazy is an understatement. It’s a shotgun blast of nihilism with the bullets made out of compact flesh from a rusty meat-grinder. Once the trigger is pulled, the shrapnel propels itself into a block of cheese that will not be satisfactory to everyone’s tastes. But Joe Carnahan isn’t interested in taste here. The focus is on watching a menagerie of degenerates and people in way over their heads get lost in the shuffle of what we can refer to as a “gaggle-fuck” of bad decisions and worse combatants. It also stars an assortment of fantastic character actors doing some of the weirdest work in their careers. The...

A Patch of Fog Backtracks Into Predictability Jan26

A Patch of Fog Backt...

Overview: After he’s caught shoplifting by an obsessive security guard, a famous writer finds himself pulled into a maniacal and possibly deadly forced friendship. XLrator Media; 2015; Not Rated; 92 minutes. Caught in the Act: Almost 25 years ago, Sandy Duffy released his first and only book....

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage is a Satisfying Relaunch Jan24

xXx: The Return of X...

Overview: The death of an ally brings Xander Cage out of self-imposed exile to stop a series of terrorist satellite attacks. Paramount Pictures; 2017; Rated PG-13; 107 mins. Fast & Furious: xXx: The Return of Xander Cage reintroduces the audience to Vin Diesel, as Xander Cage over a...

Kuro Challenges the Way We Think of Storytelling Jan23

Kuro Challenges the ...

Overview: While caring for her paraplegic lover Millou, Romi recounts for him the story of a time they spent in Japan, caring for a man named Mr. Ono. 2017; Not Rated; 84 minutes. Space: There’s a lot of in-between space inside of Kuro, the new film from directors Joji Koyama and Tujiko...

The Founder is Almost Golden Jan23

The Founder is Almost Golden

Overview: Ray Kroc turns a single hamburger stand into one of the most successful business models ever—often at the expense of those along the way who help him. The Weinstein Company; 2016; Rated PG-13; 115 minutes. American Dreams: Rarely do the trailers before a film factor into its review, but it was impossible to miss something interesting that was happening in the 15 minutes before The Founder began. If film is a kind of projection of our collective psyche, right now we’re awfully anxious. And the studios seem to sense our fear. The previews I caught were about, in turn: Stalin’s 1932 takeover of Ukraine and the famine that followed;...

The Twist Is We’ve Always Needed More Movies Like Split Jan21

The Twist Is We’ve Always Needed More Movies...

Overview: Three teenage girls are held captive by a man suffering from Disassociative Personality Disorder which manifests as 23 different personalities. Universal Pictures; 2017; Rated PG-13; 117 Minutes. In the Grand Scheme Of Things: It’s almost impossible to review an M. Night Shyamalan film in a vacuum, separate from the rest of his career. Historically, when it comes to constructional precision, Shyamalan has always been something of a revolutionary, a sort of Kanye West-ian artist who pours finely measured elemental arrangement into a pop-culture cookie sheet. His best work (Unbreakable, Signs, and The Visit) is kind of like cinema’s...

Elle Offers Captivating Condescension Jan17

Elle Offers Captivat...

Overview: An affluent French businesswoman is violently assaulted in her own home and subsequently mounts her own private revenge against her unknown attacker. Sony Pictures Classics; 2016; Rated R; 130 minutes. Violence & Condescension: Isabelle Huppert is an undeniable screen performer...

Patriots Day is a Jingoistic Power Fantasy Jan17

Patriots Day is a Ji...

Overview: Police and armed forces begin a manhunt for the people responsible for the Boston marathon bombings. Lionsgate; 2016; Rated R; 133 minutes. Started at the Relatively Decent: Peter Berg’s directorial form has never been an issue. Shot composition is broad, never atmospheric but lays...

Silence, the Problem of Pain, & the Challenge of Cinema as Religious Text Jan16

Silence, the Problem of Pain, & the Challenge...

Overview: Upon hearing that their mentor has apostatized, two 17th Century Jesuit priests venture into Japan, where Christianity is outlawed, to find him. Based on the novel by Shūsaku Endō. Paramount Pictures; 2016; Rated R; 161 minutes. What’s In The Frame?: Martin Scorsese famously said, “Cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out,” a sentence that might be as useful as any working definition that has been offered for the art form as it hits its toddler stage. But the sentiment is also useful in its implied reductive comparison. What is and is not in the frame, that which does and does not happen, what we see...

Monster Trucks is Harmless Children’s Entertainment Jan16

Monster Trucks is Ha...

Overview: A subterranean creature befriends a high school senior and gives his truck the upgrade of a lifetime. Paramount Pictures; 2017; Rated PG; 104 minutes. For Kids: When it comes to children entertainment, the “it’s for kids” claim shouldn’t be an excuse for poor filmmaking qualities....

Red Dog: True Blue is Heartwarming Family Fare  Jan13

Red Dog: True Blue i...

Overview: The story of a boy and his dog as they grow up together on a cattle station in rural Australia. Roadshow Film Distributors; 2017; Rated: PG: 88 minutes. New and Old: 2011’s Red Dog is a classic of the sad but beautiful dog movie genre. In the short time since it’s...

Live by Night is a Frustrating Misstep Jan12

Live by Night is a F...

Overview: Based on Dennis Lehane’s novel, Live by Night follows a bandit who, through a series of unfortunate circumstances, rises as a successful crime boss during the Prohibition era. Warner Bros. Pictures; 2016; Rated R; 129 minutes. Sleep by Day: The opening narration, mumbled by Ben...

Hidden Figures Favors Drama Over Impact Jan11

Hidden Figures Favors Drama Over Impact

Overview: Three black women employed by NASA in the early 1960s solve mathematical equations essential to the success of the space program’s manned missions. 20thCentury Fox; 2016; Rated PG; 127 minutes. Women in History: In the early 1960s, a team of black women worked for NASA as mathematicians and engineers to help the U.S. beat the Soviets in the race to space – and none of us knew about them. Hidden Figures shines the spotlight on three real-life women: Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), a brilliant mathematician who graduated high school at 14, college at 18, and taught math before becoming the most skilled mathematician in...

A Monster Calls Succeeds by Failing as a Fairy Tale Jan10

A Monster Calls Succeeds by Failing as a Fairy Tal...

Overview: A monster helps a young boy come to terms with losing his terminally ill mother. Focus Features; 2016; Rated PG-13; 108 minutes. Messily Ever After: A Monster Calls is a garbage fairy tale. The wicked grandmother is far from wicked. The handsome young prince is sort of petulant and makes every effort to not be a hero. The midnight-visiting monster is better at telling confusing stories than doing any of the standard things that a monster would do. And the ancient magic tree does not cure a damn thing. But J.A. Bayona-directed adaptation of the fantasy novel from Patrick Ness concedes its intention to fail at being a fairy tale...

Go North: A Gorgeously Filmed Debut With Missteps Jan10

Go North: A Gorgeous...

Overview: After an unidentified disaster wipes out the adults of the world, a community of children and teenagers descends into dangerous chaos run by a rowdy crew of high school jocks. Desperate for freedom, friends Josh and Jessie run away in search of other survivors and hope for the...

Fences is a Performance Powerhouse With Questionable Follow-Through Jan09

Fences is a Performance Powerhouse With Questionab...

Overview: Based on August Wilson’s Pulitzer-Prize winning play, Fences examines the struggles of an aging black man in the 1950s as he tries to provide for his family, while his personal failures isolate him. Paramount Pictures; 2016; Rated PG-13; 139 minutes. August Personage: We’d be hard pressed to find a writer who so exquisitely captured the voices of black Americans during the 20th century like August Wilson. Wilson’s works carry blackness within their very punctuation, each break, stammer, or interruption illuminating a great soul of humanity, each one beautiful, damaged, and as individually complex as the laws, regulations, and...

 The Controversies of Straw Dogs 30 Years Later

“Bloody Sam” Peckinpah made a name for himself with his vicious western The Wild Bunch in 1969. After controversy surrounded his professional methods, he took to England to film Straw Dogs, a movie that 30 years later remains as controversial as the director himself. Straw Dogs is certainly a frustrating film to watch. Those familiar know that it’s generally praised or condemned for its content to two extremes: is it a misogynistic, self-fellating film or an insightful look at humanity’s savagery? Looking at it on its 30th anniversary I aimed to ask, why can’t it be both? The truth is that it is both – but not equally or without...

Assassin’s Creed Fails To Rise Above the Video Game Adaptation Curse Dec26

Assassin’s Cre...

Overview: A man becomes drawn into a centuries-old war between the Assassins and the Templars when he is forced by the modern-day latter to use a machine called the Animus which allows him to relive the experiences of his ancestor, an assassin in the Spanish Inquisition. 20th Century Fox;...

Sing Hits a Flat Note Dec21

Sing Hits a Flat Not...

Overview: To reignite interest in the declining state of his theater, an ambitious and optimistic koala holds a singing competition. Universal Pictures; 2016; PG; 110 minutes. The Demise of the Tell-All Trailer: Within the series of three main trailers launched to promote Sing, the rise, the...

Jackie Is All Towering Performance Dec21

Jackie Is All Toweri...

Overview: In the week after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, his wife, Jackie, is tasked with making impossible decisions to preserve his legacy while grieving publicly and privately. Fox Searchlight Pictures; 2016; Rated R; 100 minutes. “A man may die, nations may rise and fall,...

Going Back and to th...

JFK is 25 years old this month. It is still a fascinating movie that is unique in so many ways. It is essentially a three hour accusation against the US government of killing John Kennedy made by a three-time Oscar winner with an all-star cast. It won two Oscars and 16 other movie awards, and...

Beavis and Butt-head Do America: Still On the Couc...

Based on the hit MTV animated series, Beavis and Butt-Head Do America was the feature length directorial debut of Middle America provocateur Mike Judge. After several offers were made and turned down by Judge for a motion picture production based on his original cast of characters, a Beavis and Butt-Head movie finally began to go into production in 1994, with co-writer Joe Stillman attached to develop the an original screenplay. Eventually, Stillman and Judge developed what became one of the most successful December releases of all time, making back $20,114,233 on a $12 million budget. Taking the form and inheriting the narrative tradition...

Hysteria & Heartbreak: The Devil Dec16

Hysteria & Heartbreak: The Devil

Overview: A man is rescued from prison by a strange character who leads him through a dark look at his life. Facets Media; 1972; Not Rated; 119 minutes. Sophomore Effort: The Devil is Andrezj Żuławski’s second film and the first to be a victim of censorship by the Polish government, having been banned for 16 years for its political statements. The film opens on a fiery ordeal in 1793 Poland. A scattering frenzy of soldiers and bloody screams greet the viewer as we’re led into a world of oppression. At the end of a war to protect the constitution from the Russian invasion, The Polish Commonwealth ultimately lost a total of 307,000 km² of...

Rogue One Is Beautiful and Bloodthirsty Dec14

Rogue One Is Beautiful and Bloodthirsty

Overview: A ragtag group of rebels try to steal the plans for the Empire’s newest weapon, The Death Star. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; 2016;  PG-13; 133 Minutes. Long Odds: Disney and Lucasfilm, much like the characters in the newest Star Wars film, had a huge mission. With their acquisition of the Star Wars brand, Disney announced a seemingly endless franchise with a new Star Wars movie every year for  the near future. Some chapters would be continuing episodes of the original saga while others would be spin-offs. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the first of these spin-offs and, in terms of the new business model, the most...

Children of Men Ten Years Later: We Couldn’t...

“And therefore I looked down into the great pity of a person’s life on this earth. I don’t mean that we all end up dead, that’s not the great pity. I mean that he couldn’t tell me what he was dreaming, and I couldn’t tell him what was real.” – Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son It’s easy now, isn’t it? Almost too easy. Today, there is a clear and topical reason to discuss the film beyond just its upcoming ten year anniversary. Do a Google search of the title with the words “relevant” or “accurate” any time over the next few weeks, as we move toward an inauguration of a president whose anti-immigration platform might have been pulled directly...

Kill Ratio Is A Charmless Slog Dec14

Kill Ratio Is A Char...

Overview: After getting caught in the crossfire of an Eastern European coup, it’s up to one ex-CIA agent to defeat the bad guys and save democracy. XLrator Media; 2016; Not Yet Rated; 86 minutes. A Brief Word About Trash Cinema: …And people say Cannon Films died in the 90s. The infamous...

Hysteria & Heartbreak: Possession Will Still Leave You Shaken Dec13

Hysteria & Hear...

Overview: A husband and wife face their own monsters within through a horrifying divorce. Gaumont; 1981; Rated R; 124 minutes. I’ll Be the Way That She Wants: In 1981 Andrzej Żuławski released what would become the most prominent and enduring piece of work in his lifetime. Much like...

Office Christmas Party Offers By the Numbers Holiday Cheer Dec13

Office Christmas Party Offers By the Numbers Holid...

Overview: A gang of corporate misfits and wannabe executives come together to throw the office holiday party to end all office holiday parties. Paramount Pictures; 2016; Rated R; 105 minutes. Who’s Been Naughty: Sporadic studio comedy filmmakers Josh Gordon and Will Speck have come together for the third time to offer a feature film that aims to please general movie-going audiences. Office Christmas Party stars second-time lead performers Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston–who previously co-starred in Gordon and Speck’s unfortunately under-seen sophomore effort The Switch in 2010–who portray dueling executives of a national tech...

La La Land is a Story of Dreams, Reality, and the Search for Artistic Fulfillment Dec13

La La Land is a Story of Dreams, Reality, and the ...

Overview: In La La Land, a jazz pianist and aspiring actress struggle with the reality of pursuing their artistic dreams in Los Angeles while falling for each other. Summit Entertainment; 2016; Rated PG-13; 128 minutes. California Here I Come: La La Land, written and directed by Damien Chazelle, is an impressive follow-up to the director’s most recent film Whiplash. With his newest, Chazelle follows Whiplash with another film about the compromises and sacrifices that accompany creative ambition, albeit with an entirely different tone. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) are both struggling artists aiming to maintain their...

Hairspray Live! Nearly Perfects Musical Television Dec12

Hairspray Live! Nearly Perfects Musical Television

Overview: A live television adaptation of the 2002 broadway musical, Hairspray, which follows Baltimore teenager Tracy Turnblad who lands a job dancing on her favorite tv show in the midst of integration in the US. NBC; 2016; Not Rated; 180 minutes. (Almost) Live Theater: We should all take some time to appreciate the golden age of television in which we are currently living. On top of reaching new heights of long-form narrative storytelling, there is no other time in the history of the medium where a televised, live musical could dominate during prime time hours. Thus, over the past few years, stage musicals with their unique ability to...

Bangarang! Hook Turns 25

Originally published December 12, 2016.  Hook was the first movie I ever saw in a theater. I was just three years old when the magic of the experience was made known to me. I was enamoured with those thick plush seats, the enormous screen, and the smorgasbord of treats available. More importantly, it was Steven Spielberg who introduced me through Hook to the joy and awe of being transported somewhere unbelievable when its magical scenes were first burned into my tiny toddler mind. It’s because of memories like these that this film holds a special place in the hearts of so many people who saw it as youngsters. Watching it as an adult 25...