Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around


Review: Jason Bourne

Jul 29 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
[embed]220732:43028:0[/embed] Jason BourneDirector: Paul GreengrassRelease Date: July 28, 2016Rating: PG-13  Let’s talk about that name: Jason Bourne is an epically lazy name. The first three Bourne movies were named like novels, which makes sense because they were named after novels, though weren’t really based on them. The Bourne Legacy was also a novel. Since then: The Bourne Betrayal, The Bourne Sanction, The Bourne Deception, The Bourne Objective, The Bourne Dominion, The Bourne Imperative, The Bourne Retribution, The Bourne Ascendency, and (very recently) The Bourne Enigma. All of these are, I guess, perfectly accepted names for a new movie. Perhaps it’s because Jason Bourne wasn’t in the last film, and they really, really wanted you to know that Matt Damon was back to kick ass. Or maybe they just got bored taking names from books. I’m not sure which of those names would be most appropriate for Jason Bourne, but a little bit of creativity would have been appreciated. Then again, look at the number of Jason Bourne books there are. The original trilogy was written by one man, Robert Ludlum, over 10 years. Then he put down the mantle, and it was picked up by Eric Van Lustbader two years after the , who’s been pumping them out ever since. I can’t speak to the quality of any of these books, but it says something about franchising more broadly. Here was a trilogy that set out to do a thing, did that thing, and then its creator was done with it. Years later, someone else decides to continue it.  Jason Bourne feels like that. Sure, Paul Greengrass, who directed Supremacy and Ultimatum, helms this one as well, but it feels like a story that haphazardly thrown together just… because. I mean, Cinema Sins is going to have a field day with this movie; there are so many different levels on which the narrative doesn’t really work, but the problem for me was less the incoherence than the ludicrousness of its attempts to sound modern. I don’t really remember the earlier movies well enough to know how much technology was being used to track everything, but I know that technology plays a much more fundamental role in the world today and the film makes attempts to use that. There's a big narrative Point about the question of privacy versus security, centered around a Google/Facebook-analog called Deep Dream (which constantly made me think of Daydream, Google's upcoming Android VR platform), and it comes down pretty firmly on the side of governmental access to privacy. Normally, I might delve into that topic here, but honestly the film doesn't deserve it. It makes some vague platitudes about helping the good guys (i.e. the government), but it doesn't really do anything worthwhile with it, and it doesn't make any real arguments. Normally, I'd probably deconstruct it here... but it's just not worth it. The bigger issue than the film's politics is just how silly the use of tech is. You don't need to know much to know that the things these characters do are completely impossible. (My favorite moment is when a flip phone is remotely hacked into by the CIA and how that action somehow allows for a nearby laptop to have its hard drive wiped (lolwut); the "ENHANCE" moment is pretty good too (and, ya know, good on Alicia Vikander for not laughing while doing it).) In a film that's very, very serious, overtly ridiculous actions like these undermine any sense of drama. This is a fantasy film set in a fantasy world. The fairly realistic intrigue that I'm pretty sure the original trilogy had is nowhere to be found in Jason Bourne. But what we do have are some genuinely fantastic action sequences. Whether they're close-quarters fights or city-spanning car chases, Jason Bourne delivers that visceral intensity that I wanted from the movie. Yeah, the shaky cam is in full effect, making certain moments a bit, well, impossible to follow, but it's still more effectively utilized than 90% of the films that have aped the style since. It's disorienting, but it's just coherent enough that you can tell a whole bunch of awesome stuff has happened and that your brain will be registering it in 3... 2... WHOA THAT WAS COOL. And that's the film. In its narrative moments, it layers on the twists and double crosses and triple crosses seemingly at random, failing to create an ultimately satisfying series of events (though I'll be honest, I did like the ending, because I think it sets up a potentially more interesting (inevitable) sequel than I was expecting based on the previous few scenes). In its action moments, it hits hard and just keeps on hitting. I know some people who found it a bit overwhelming and almost desensitizing, but I didn't think that was the case. The scale keeps expanding, and the sequences themselves are different enough to make each new setpiece feel unique and exciting. You know, sort of, how it's going to end (someone with lines is going to die, but it won't be Jason Bourne), but how it gets there is consistently and thoroughly enjoyable. If you go into Jason Bourne expecting anything other than great action loosely strung together by stupid, stupid character moments, you're going to be sorely disappointed. But if you know what you're getting yourself into, then you can just sit back and enjoy it. Jason Bourne is not as good as the Matt Damon films that preceded it, but it's still a perfectly decent way to spend a couple of hours.
Jason Bourne Review photo
Punch punch crash crash boom
My memory of the first three Bourne films is a bit like Jason Bourne’s memories of, well, everything: It’s fuzzy, jumpy, and full of Matt Damon hitting things. I remember liking the movies, though being disoriente...

Women Texas Film Festival photo
Women Texas Film Festival

The first Women Texas Film Festival is coming (and worth paying attention to)


Also, I'm in it (just sayin')
Jul 29
// Alec Kubas-Meyer
It feels like, at any given moment, there are at least 25 film festivals going on that I'm supposed to be watching out for. There are big ones that everyone knows and small ones that no one will ever know and everything in be...
 photo

M. Night Shyamalan's Split trailer with James McAvoy being what the kids call creepy


Jul 29
// Rick Lash
James McAvoy in a dress. Twist! Sold! Twist-master M. Night Shyamalan is back and if you didn't expect to see this twist coming, neither did we. Split, releasing in theaters January 20, 2017, tells the tale of "Kevin," a char...
Beetlejuice 2 photo
Beetlejuice 2

Michael Keaton pretty sure Beetlejuice 2 isn't happening


Another rumored sequel bites the dust
Jul 28
// Matthew Razak
No matter how many times you repeat the word Beetlejuice it appears the ghost with the most is most likely not going to appear. Though rumors (bordering on confirmations) have been constantly swirling about a sequel Michael K...

Hacksaw Ridge photo
Hacksaw Ridge

First trailer for Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge


Someone is still giving him money
Jul 28
// Matthew Razak
Mel Gibson isn't a good guy. He's also a really talented director. This kind of sucks because it's hard to watch his stuff without being sick with yourself for watching his stuff. I'm running into that problem after watching ...
 photo

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles done Invader Zim style


Featuring the cast of Workaholics!
Jul 28
// Geoff Henao
Fans of the cult classic Invader Zim can attest to how ridiculous (re: genius) Jhonen Vasquez is. While we might still be lamenting the series that left us too soon (as can be said for a multitude of Nicktoons over the years)...

NYAFF Capsule Review: The Mermaid

Jul 27 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
[embed]220644:42996:0[/embed] The Mermaid  (美人鱼)Director: Stephen ChowRelease Date: February 8, 2016Rating: NR 
The Mermaid Review photo
I... don't understand
It's always fascinating to me to see blockbusters from other countries. The Mermaid is the highest grossing Chinese film of all time; that's a big flipping deal. Apparently the lead actress was chosen out of literally 100,000...

 photo

Diana's in the trenches in this new Wonder Woman image


Just like another shield-wielding hero
Jul 27
// Matt Liparota
We're certainly getting our share of Wonder Woman news lately. After getting a glimpse at the first poster and that phenomenal trailer last week courtesy of Comic-Con, we now have a brand-new still courtesy of Empire, this ti...
Nine Lives Contest photo
Lets talk about cats, baby.
Do you like movies? Do you like cats? Then I've got good news for you. To celebrate the release of Nine Lives, a film where Kevin Spacey is trapped in a cat body, Flixist and Europacorp are giving away a Nine Lives prize pack...

 photo

Mandy Moore shark thriller 47 Meters Down gets theatrical run


Didn't Blake Lively just do this? YES.
Jul 27
// Rick Lash
Bob and Harvey Weinstein may have just made the biggest tactical error of all time: selling the North American theatrical distribution rights for Mandy Moore's "survival adventure" 47 Meters Down from their Dimension Films to...
Office Christmas Party photo
Office Christmas Party

First trailer for Office Christmas Party delivers on title


A party at an office during Christmas
Jul 26
// Matthew Razak
It's basically a new holiday tradition that an R-rated Christmas comedy comes out every year now. R-rated comedies are so hot right now, and Christmas is a great time to juxtapose tradition with sex jokes. Last year we got Th...
Suicide Squad photo
Suicide Squad

See Suicide Squad early and free


Washington DC and Baltimore screenings
Jul 26
// Matthew Razak
After Batman v Superman bored us all into a superhero coma it was hard to get excited for Suicide Squad, but after a host of awesome trailers and basically the entire cast saying all the right things there might not be a...
Max Landis Pokemon pitch photo
Max Landis Pokemon pitch

Max Landis discusses his rejected Pokemon pitch because he is Max Landis


Max Landis is gonna Max Landis
Jul 25
// Hubert Vigilla
Last week we reported that Legendary will bring Detective Pikachu to the big screen some time in the future, a project propelled in part by the popularity of Pokemon Go. Detective Pikachu seems like an unexpected way to do a ...

Review: Lights Out

Jul 25 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
[embed]220670:42995:0[/embed] Lights OutDirector: David SandbergRelease Date: July 22, 2016Rating: PG-13  You wouldn't know that David Sandberg directed Lights Out if you had just seen the trailer. The only name I remember from it was James Wan, who produced the film. I saw The Conjuring 2 in theaters just a couple of weeks ago, and I can see why the comparisons were made. I will also say that I found Lights Out to be both more and less compelling than Wan's film. (I'm curious how long before we start seeing Sandberg's name on trailers for movies he didn't direct.) Those trailers tell you two things about the film: The mother is unwell, and the monster can only be seen in the darkness. The light turns on, and she (it) disappears. This plays out in the trailer as a red light from outside a character's window brings the shadow thing in and out of being. I remember watching the trailer thinking, "Is this the whole movie?" In the opening scene of Lights Out, the first time the monster appears, the woman who sees it flips a light switch at least six times. The audience started to laugh. The woman tells the father of the children in the trailer (and husband of the not-well mother) that something weird is going on and he should be careful. The only thing I could think was, "I don't remember this dad character from the trailer. He's going to die, isn't he?" (Yup.) A lot of Lights Out plays out the way you would expect it to. It's genuinely scary at times, though this is in large part due to the ease of jump scares when your monster effectively teleports. But it works (mostly). This is true because the monster itself is interesting. The origin story of Diana is sort of convoluted, and part of me wishes that they'd done less with it. There's a lot of detail for something that ultimately doesn't matter very much. You can grasp the fundamentals pretty quickly, without the hyper-expository (though admittedly creepy) flashbacks, but... whatever. It's fine. The more interesting thing is what Diana represents. It's not a spoiler to say that Diana is the specter of an abusive relationship. The way she treats the mother and terrifies her kids; the hold she has on everyone and everything. The way she explodes when anyone tries to get in her way. (And refuses to listen to the only "instruction" she's ever given.) The best monsters are ones that play on real fears, that represent terrible things. Ways for a fantastical version of a real horror as a way for audiences to confront that in a way that feels a bit less visceral but nonetheless meaningful. Diana is that. Lights Out does that. It's not effective all the time, in part because Diana periodically falls into the trap of being Just A Movie Monster on a few occasions (most obviously in a very creepy sequence lit by black light, where her reveal reads too "THIS IS A MOVIE JUMP SCARE" and not enough "THIS IS A REAL THING THAT MAKES SENSE"), but overall she's a fairly unique take on a ghost. I liked what they tried to do, and think they were more successful than not. But, there's a problem, one that has almost nothing to do with Diana. I want to talk about the ending. Spoilers, obviously, to follow: Lights Out ends with a suicide. The suicide of the mother (whose name is Sophie) in order to save her children. Diana only exists as long as Sophie is under her spell. Sophie suffers from severe depression, and Diana feeds off of it. Something terrible happens (the death of her husband, which is never really discussed, and no one seems to question it, despite the particularly horrific circumstances of it). Sophie goes off her meds, and Diana is there to pick up the pieces. She is Sophie's only friend. In order to keep Diana away, Sophie needs help. Therapy, medication, hospitalization, whatever. She clearly needs something, and just when you think she's going to get it, she kills herself. In that moment, it is truly the only way to stop Diana. I get that. I understand that her suicide is the "correct" thing to do. The person I saw it with said, not incorrectly, that Sophie made her bed (with Diana) and was forced to lie in it. She subjected her kids, her husbands, to the horror, and paid the price. But on a purely visceral level, I reject the notion that suicide is the correct answer. I reject the notion that the narrative had to go down that path. Given the path it went down, sure; but I don't see that as the inevitable path. It's only inevitable because of the tension the sequence created. The slow, methodical treatment of the mother from the brink wouldn't have made for a particularly satisfying resolution, but that doesn't mean that the film had to take the road it did. Unfriended should have ended in suicide rather than one last jump scare, because that's what the film was about. It would have brought everything full circle in a horrific (but meaningful) way. In Lights Out, it comes seemingly out of nowhere. It doesn't really build to that moment. It just happens. And then the movie is over just a couple minutes later. Maybe there will be a sequel where the kids have to grapple with what they witnessed (though the return of Diana would undermine rather than highlight the tragedy of Sophie's martyrdom, and would only make me angrier), but that's not what we get here. I have a problem with that. I have a serious problem with that. And it's unfortunate, because I liked so much of what Lights Out does and is. It's a well-crafted film, one that's absolutely worth watching. There is a fascinating divisiveness out there that I don't really understand (and would love to talk to someone who disagrees with me on any or all of this), because I think it's as effective a PG-13 horror movie as I've seen in quite some time. It's more effective than most R-rated ones I've seen recently. But I just can't abide by that ending.
Lights Out photo
What's in an ending?
Last April (man, time flies), I saw a film called Unfriended. I liked it well enough, but as is so often the case, the things I didn't like about it were more interesting than the things I did, so I ended up writing an obscen...

Star Trek photo
Star Trek

CBS Star Trek gets name and ship


Ugly, but wonderful
Jul 25
// Matthew Razak
CBS has been keeping their new Star Trek TV series under tight wraps, but at SDCC this past weekend during the Star Trek 50th anniversary panel they finally gave us some new news. First the name of the show will be Star ...
 photo

DC Universe's Suicide Squad breaks out new extended trailer at San Diego Comic-Con


Margot Robbie's butt breaks out of pants
Jul 25
// Rick Lash
Suicide Squad is ramping up promotions as we near its August 5 release date. As part of that effort, Warner brothers unleashed a new three minute-plus trailer featuring increased roles for several characters (notably, Will Sm...
MST3K Netflix photo
MST3K Netflix

The Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival will be on Netflix


And some familiar faces are back
Jul 25
// Hubert Vigilla
After breaking Kickstarter records, the new cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000 has found a home. And no, I'm not talking about the Satellite of Love. They announced during San Diego Comic-Con that the MST3K revival will be ...
 photo

Kurt Russell joins Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 cast as Star-Lord's father


Kurt Russell in, Escape from the Galaxy!
Jul 24
// Rick Lash
So the twist in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy was the reveal by Yondu and gang that they didn't just kidnap Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, aka Chris Pratt, they were hired by his father to do so. It wasn't exactly explosively r...
Ghost Rider photo

I'm not going to sit here and pretend I've kept up with Agents of SHIELD. I had watched four episodes back in season one before I gave up, but I've been hearing that it got interesting around season two. But the fourth season...

Legion Trailer photo
Legion Trailer

Check out the trailer for Fox and Marvel's Legion TV series


Jul 24
// Nick Valdez
With X-Men doing so well in theaters, Fox has been wanting to do a television series for quite a while. But since Marvel holds the rights to X-Men TV shows, it had to wait until the two companies could work together. Thankful...
Kingsglaive: Final Fantas photo
Kingsglaive: Final Fantas

Watch the official trailer for Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV


I assume Sean Bean's character will die
Jul 24
// Hubert Vigilla
Earlier in the year we mentioned there'd be a CGI Final Fantasy XV movie as well as other spin-offs set in the world of the game. Now just two months before Final Fantasy XV's release, we have a full trailer for one of these ...
 photo

Watch Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them San Diego Comic-Con trailer


Stupify! New Harry Potter, muggles!
Jul 24
// Rick Lash
With lesser Potter works seemingly growing on trees of late (plays, illustrated editions of the existing books, Daniel Radcliffe as some kind of magic zombie with a boner) we were due for something more serious from a franchi...
LEGO Batman Movie photo
LEGO Batman Movie

LEGO Batman Movie San Diego Comic-Con trailer has lots of Robin


Jul 24
// Nick Valdez
After The LEGO Movie pleasantly surprised, it naturally led to a number of planned sequels and spin-offs. With the actual follow up to the LEGO Movie not hitting theaters until 2019, our first taste is a spin-off featuri...
The Walking Dead photo
The Walking Dead

Watch the Walking Dead Season 7 Trailer from San Diego Comic-Con


That's right, we're your saviors ...
Jul 24
// Rick Lash
When last we saw our friends (aka the most unfortunate human beings ever) during the finale of AMC's The Walking Dead way back on April 3, we were left in what some in the industry like to call ... a cliffhanger. Someone...
Doctor Strange SDCC photo
Odd.
Marvel's taken their strangest hero and given him quite an impressively stacked film. Not only is Doctor Strange packed to the brim with crazy talent (with Cumberbatch, Mads Mikkelsen, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, and Chiwe...

Captain Marvel photo
Captain Marvel

Brie Larson confirmed as Captain Marvel


Nailed it
Jul 24
// Matthew Razak
Rumors had been swirling to the point of confirmation that Brie Larson would be taking on the role of Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers, but last night at Comic Con Marvel finally confirmed it. It's a pretty spot on choice as Danv...
LOTHT Trailer photo
LOTHT Trailer

Watch the Legends of the Hidden Temple movie trailer from San Diego Comic-Con


Coming to Nickelodeon this fall
Jul 24
// Nick Valdez
With Nickelodeon tapping into the 90s kid frenzy with The Splat and shows like Hey Arnold! getting a resolution, they have also been re-working some of their old properties. Case in point is Legends of the Hidden Temple. Base...
Kong: Skull Island photo
Kong: Skull Island

Watch the Kong: Skull Island trailer from San Diego-Comic Con


The king has returned
Jul 23
// Nick Valdez
When Legendary Pictures, the company behind giant monster movies like Godzilla and Pacific Rim, moved King Kong over to Warner Bros in order to have him fight Godzilla eventually, I've been looking forward to the first look a...
 photo

San Diego Comic-Con reveals Hulk gladiator Armor from Thor: Ragnarok


Jul 23
// Rick Lash
Instagram is blowing up with pictures from Marvel, Marvel employees, and San Diego Comic-Con attendees. One such gem: gladiator armor that the Hulk will wear in 2017's Thor: Ragnarok (November 3). While plot details of Thor: ...
Justice League footage photo
The Flash, you kidder
Big things happening today for the DC Cinematic Universe. In addition to the Wonder Woman trailer at San Diego Comic-Con, here's your first taste of Zack Snyder's Justice League movie. It seems goofier and more lighthearted t...


Auto-loading more stories ... un momento, corazón ...