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Box Office photo
Box Office

Can August be over yet?


Box office recap
Aug 21
// Matthew Razak
The end of August sucks for movies. It's too late in summer for the studios to care anymore, and it's only on very rare occasions that some studio also-ran or indie gem surprises us. This August especially sucks, with not eve...
World of Tomorrow sequel photo
World of Tomorrow sequel

Don Hertzfeldt teases a World of Tomorrow sequel, life is good


EVERYBODY DANCE!
Aug 21
// Hubert Vigilla
Gosh I love Don Hertzfeldt. The indie animator's handmade, in-camera works made a major impression in the 1990s and early 2000s thanks to shorts like Lily and Jim and Rejected. Hertzfeldt went on to received major critical ac...
Jabba the Hutt movie photo
Jabba the Hutt movie

Jabba the Hutt is getting a Star Wars spin-off movie for some reason


Huttastic Jabbas and Where to Find Them
Aug 20
// Hubert Vigilla
Han Solo and Obi-Wan Kenobi have their own forthcoming standalone/spin-off movies, so why not other characters from the Star Wars universe? Makes sense, right? This may explain Disney & Lucasfilm's nonsensical decision to...
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Your Bad Movie Night Guide, Vol. 5: Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama


I apologize in advance
Aug 18
// Rick Lash
The 80s were a sort of B-movie paradise where creating content cheaply to satiate the demands of home video viewers drove the production of endless films that otherwise might not have seen the light of day. As such, it's litt...

NYC: Old School Kung Fu Fest 2017 is all about martial arts wonder women

Aug 18 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]221831:43735:0[/embed] We can start by tying this into last year's Old School Kung Fu Fest, which showcased the films of Golden Harvest. The one Golden Harvest film this year is 1972's Hapkido, starring Angela Mao, Sammo Hung, and Carter Wong. (Both Mao and Hung made appearances in the Bruce Lee classic Enter the Dragon.) The boys do a lot of the fighting against the Imperial Japanese baddies during the first half of the film, which is set in 1930s China. Mao eventually takes center stage to avenge her brothers and the oppressed people of both China and Korea. Lecherous thugs from imperial Japan and Chinese turncoats generally make for solid baddies in kung fu films set during this time--they're the equivalent of Nazis and saboteurs. The word "forbearance" comes up throughout Hapkido. It's a keystone in many martial arts, and both patience and self-restraint help Mao's character survive until she can exact revenge. There's a scene in which Mao's pride is insulted in a dojo full of goons, and rather than take on all the laughing hyenas around her, she clenches her fist and seethes. Wait, her body language seems to say, or you'll be overwhelmed. Mao's fight scenes are fierce and well-choreographed. Though it's not the mega-quick, rhythmic/metered fighting of the later 1970s and the 1980s (a style that Hung would help pioneer), it's eye-catching for the era and brutal and rooted in story. [embed]221831:43737:0[/embed] Three of the movies at this year's Old School Kung Fu Fest are from the great King Hu, one of the maestros of wuxia pictures and kung fu cinema. The films are A Touch of Zen (1971), Come Drink with Me (1966), and The Fate of Lee Khan (1973). Hu's undergone a major critical reassessment in the west over the years, praised for his lush productions and style. He's influenced filmmakers as disparate as Hong Kong action madman Tsui Hark to staid Taiwanese arthouse director Tsai Ming Liang. In recent years, Hu's films have played a number of retrospectives, and two of his masterpieces, A Touch of Zen and Dragon Inn, have been released by the Criterion Collection. Though I haven't seen The Fate of Lee Khan, there's always been a strong woman as a central player in Hu films I have seen. In Come Drink with Me, it's Cheng Pei Pei as the hero Golden Swallow, seeking to rescue a political prisoner. Western audiences probably know Cheng best as Jade Fox in Ang Lee's 2000 wuxia homage Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. In A Touch of Zen, it's Feng Hsu as a hero named Yang on the run in an artsy adventure that's also about Buddhist spirituality. I'm going to try to catch The Fate of Lee Khan this weekend and see if I can tease out some bigger idea about King Hu and his badass women. Like Dragon Inn, The Fate of Lee Khan is centered around an inn. I'm left wondering if the martial prowess of the women in the movie (Mao, Hsu, Li Li Hua) leads to gender confusion, which is a common and universal trope in many action/adventure stories--"You can fight, bu- bu- but, you're a woman?!" Such revelations are often disarming for the villains as well as the heroine's allies. [embed]221831:43736:0[/embed] It wouldn't be old school kung fu without something from Shaw Brothers Studios. This year's Old School Kung Fu Fest has two very different kinds of Shaw Brothers films nearly a decade apart. First there's 1972's Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan, Chor Yuen's brothel-based wuxia picture that plays a bit like a semi-sexploitation/revenge movie, albeit a well shot one. There's sexual violence, a little lesbianism, and some S&M for good measure, with a kind of luridness that I wasn't expecting from an early 70s Shaw Brothers production. And on the other hand, there's Lau Kar Leung's My Young Auntie (1981), a broad Cantonese comedy starring Kara Hui as a demure martial arts master trying to keep a family's fortune away from the hands of greedy relatives. My Young Auntie is kooky and delightful (though maybe a fight-lite affair for some action movie fans), and might play a good double-feature with Lau's pseudo-screwball comedy martial arts picture Heroes of the East (1978). While the tone of both these Shaw Brothers films is different, Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan and My Young Auntie are, broadly speaking, about women seeking empowerment, justice, and dignity in their own ways. The newest film at the Old School Kung Fu Fest is 1985's Yes, Madam, a very merry 1980s Hong Kong action movie. The movie stars Michelle Yeoh and Cynthia Rothrock as a pair of female supercops busting criminals and making them take insane, breakneck falls. It's so "Hong Kong in the 80s" that it features appearances by Sammo Hung and recurring players from the Lucky Stars movies. Yes, Madam kicked off the "girls with guns" HK subgenre, which basically meant action movies led by femme fatales. Other films in the genre include Magnificent Warriors (1987), Naked Killer (1992), Black Cat (1991), and Angel Terminators (1991). [embed]221831:43738:0[/embed] Yeoh is one of the biggest Asian actresses in the western world, though her Yes, Madam co-star, Cynthia Rothrock, is probably one of the most unsung female action stars of her era. Rothrock was an accomplished martial artist prior to getting into action movies. While her American output tended to be of low quality and direct-to-video, she made many great films in Hong Kong during the 1980s as a star or supporting player. Yes, Madam is easily among her best, but also keep an eye out for 1986's Righting Wrongs (co-starring Yueen Biao), 1987's The Magic Crystal (co-starring Andy Lau), and 1988's Righting Wrongs 2: Blonde Fury. Seven movies and one weekend isn't enough to cover the breadth of wonder women in kung fu cinema. An entire program might have been built around King Hu's output or Angela Mao's films alone using a similar theme. Though the 1990s isn't old school enough yet, I was hoping to see something familiar from my teenage years in the fest. For instance, I remember loving movies with Brigitte Lin (particularly The Bride with White Hair), in which the "You're a good fighter but you're not a man?" gender confusion was to be expected. There's also Johnnie To's Heroic Trio films, which starred Yeoh, Maggie Cheung, and Anita Mui as three ladies saving the day in a dystopian future. (Maybe in the seventeenth edition of the Old School Kung Fu Fest.) I suppose I bring those other movies up since Wonder Woman, Atomic Blonde, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens signal a genuine hunger for female-led action movies. People want stories in which the women aren't just damsels in distress or trophies for the heroes. Even Doctor Who finally acknowledged the need for more gender representation in male-dominated genres, naming Jodie Whittaker as the thirteenth Doctor. This need goes back decades, and maybe in this particular year these kinds of stories seem more necessary than before. Girls to the front, and don't be afraid to kick anyone who gets in your way. Cheng Pei Pei did it 50 years ago, and so can you.
Old School Kung Fu Fest photo
Those females are strong as hell
The seventh Old School Kung Fu Fest kicks off today in New York City at The Metrograph. The event runs all weekend, and celebrates the kick ass women of classic martial arts cinema. The official theme is "Wonder Women of the ...

Review: The Hitman's Bodyguard

Aug 18 // Matthew Razak
[embed]221830:43734:0[/embed] The Hitman's BodyguardDirector: Patrick HughesRated: RRelease Date: August 17, 2017 The Hintman's Bodyguard ain't nothin new. It's one of those buddy cop assassin movies in the vein of 48 Hrs. where a straight laced guy, Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds), needs to escort a loudmouth criminal, Darius Kincaid (Jackson), in order to take down an ever worse criminal. In this case that criminal is Gary Oldman playing a dictator with a funny accent, which only adds to the cliche of the whole plot. You know how this goes. Things don't go to plan, wise-cracking occurs, friendships are made, cars blow up, Salma Hyak curses a lot in Spanish. If you really must know the story, Kincaid is a professional assassin who must get to the Hague to testify against Oldman's villain, and after INTERPOL is infiltrated Bryce, a down on his luck professional security agent, is the only man for the job. With films like these its much less about the story and much more about how the two leads play off each other, and if the screenplay gives theme enough to work with. Will they get to their goal on time? It's almost a certainty. Are we going to enjoy the trip is the real question. Thankfully the casting choices for this movie are perfect because it basically just needs Reynolds to be Reynolds and Jackson to be Jackson. The two play off each other fantastically and are charming as hell. Any scene with them bantering is at the very least fun to watch and at the best times hilarious. They both play well in their overly cliche roles and at times seem to be reveling in the stupid simplicity of every action movie trope they walk into.  Those tropes are actually handled acceptably by director Patrick Hughes, who won't be winning any awards for his action direction, but also can keep a car chase coherent. That probably shouldn't be high praise, but after this summer where even the Fast and the Furious failed to hold its car chases together, I'm all set to give him an Oscar. The movie doesn't have the creativity of Baby Driver, but it at least keeps its pace going and never feels overblown. Part of that might just be the fact that its a lower budget action flick that falls squarely into the B-grade range of film, but credit where credit is due. The fight sequences don't suck either, though again, they're just above par. We're not talking The Raid or anything. The film does have some tonal problems that stem from the fact that everyone involved is a killer of multiple people in one way or another. While the banter and near-parody love story try to keep things light, there is a running background of a mass-murdering, psychopathic dictator with no qualms about shooting children in the face. It's no fault of the film's, since I'm guessing they didn't plan to have Nazis all over the news the week before release, but set against the backdrop of current events it often seems flippant with the idea of genocide. It will shift dramatically in tone within a single scene, especially near the end when one-liners interrupt photos of mass graves.  I know I may seem like I'm flopping back and forth on this movie, but that's just because it is such a terribly cliche action flick, and yet it works as it needs to. Maybe I was just let down so much this summer that a return to the tried-and-true action movie formulas of summers gone by just hit the spot. Whatever the reason, I found The Hitman's Bodyguard to be enjoyable despite the highest compliment I am able to pay it is that it is competent.  Darius Kinca [embed]455494:69246:0[/embed] The Hitman's BodyguardDirector: Patrick HughesRated: RRelease Date: August 17, 2017 The Hintman's Bodyguard ain't nothin new. It's one of those buddy cop assassin movies in the vein of 48 Hrs. where a straight laced guy, Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds), needs to escort a loudmouth criminal, Darius Kincaid (Jackson), in order to take down an ever worse criminal. In this case that criminal is Gary Oldman playing a dictator with a funny accent, which only adds to the cliche of the whole plot. You know how this goes. Things don't go to plan, wise-cracking occurs, friendships are made, cars blow up, Salma Hyak curses a lot in Spanish. If you really must know the story, Kincaid is a professional assassin who must get to the Hague to testify against Oldman's villain, and after INTERPOL is infiltrated Bryce, a down on his luck professional security agent, is the only man for the job. With films like these its much less about the story and much more about how the two leads play off each other, and if the screenplay gives theme enough to work with. Will they get to their goal on time? It's almost a certainty. Are we going to enjoy the trip is the real question. Thankfully the casting choices for this movie are perfect because it basically just needs Reynolds to be Reynolds and Jackson to be Jackson. The two play off each other fantastically and are charming as hell. Any scene with them bantering is at the very least fun to watch and at the best times hilarious. They both play well in their overly cliche roles and at times seem to be reveling in the stupid simplicity of every action movie trope they walk into.  Those tropes are actually handled acceptably by director Patrick Hughes, who won't be winning any awards for his action direction, but also can keep a car chase coherent. That probably shouldn't be high praise, but after this summer where even the Fast and the Furious failed to hold its car chases together, I'm all set to give him an Oscar. The movie doesn't have the creativity of Baby Driver, but it at least keeps its pace going and never feels overblown. Part of that might just be the fact that its a lower budget action flick that falls squarely into the B-grade range of film, but credit where credit is due. The fight sequences don't suck either, though again, they're just above par. We're not talking The Raid or anything. The film does have some tonal problems that stem from the fact that everyone involved is a killer of multiple people in one way or another. While the banter and near-parody love story try to keep things light, there is a running background of a mass-murdering, psychopathic dictator with no qualms about shooting children in the face. It's no fault of the film's, since I'm guessing they didn't plan to have Nazis all over the news the week before release, but set against the backdrop of current events it often seems flippant with the idea of genocide. It will shift dramatically in tone within a single scene, especially near the end when one-liners interrupt photos of mass graves.  I know I may seem like I'm flopping back and forth on this movie, but that's just because it is such a terribly cliche action flick, and yet it works as it needs to. Maybe I was just let down so much this summer that a return to the tried-and-true action movie formulas of summers gone by just hit the spot. Whatever the reason, I found The Hitman's Bodyguard to be enjoyable despite the highest compliment I am able to pay it is that it is competent.  Darius Kinca
Hitman's Bodyguard photo
I won't always love you
It's August, and that means we're entering the second span of doldrums for movie releases for the year (the first being the beginning of the year). From now until late September, when all of the horror films start rolling in,...

Fast and cheap Inhumans photo
Fast and cheap Inhumans

Interview with Inhumans director doesn't inspire confidence in fast, cheap IMAX TV series pilot


Scott Buck strikes again
Aug 17
// Hubert Vigilla
Judging from the first trailer and the San Diego Comic Con trailer, The Inhumans might be a bona fide disaster. Excuse me, a bona fide disaster shot in IMAX. A bigger screen won't fix bland, and this looks like the second Mar...
Obi-Wan spin-off movie photo
Obi-Wan spin-off movie

That's no moon, it's an Obi-Wan Kenobi stand-alone Star Wars movie in the works


This is the IP you're looking for
Aug 17
// Hubert Vigilla
Even though the stand-alone Han Solo movie has gone through some major problems, Disney isn't giving up on Star Wars spin-offs. Heat Vision confirmed today that an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie is in the works. Academy Award-nominated...
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Gremlins 3 sequel may be happening with Chris Columbus attached


Don't read after midnight
Aug 17
// Rick Lash
Talks of a third Gremlins film have been on the winds for going on two decades now. Original director Joe Dante apparently indicated at one point the sequel was dead because the technology made to create Gremlins and Gre...
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AMC threatens legal action against MoviePass


My lawyers will beat up your lawyers!
Aug 16
// Drew Stuart
Yesterday, MoviePass, a company that allows its subscribers to see unlimited movies for a monthly fee, slashed the price of that fee. The internet ran with it, and now MoviePass is trending all over the web, especially on red...
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New Thor: Ragnarok Trailer teases Doctor Strange


I'm really glad this movie isn't boring
Aug 16
// Drew Stuart
If you saw our coverage of SDCC two months back, you may have seen this incredible trailer for the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok and thought to yourself, "Jeeeez that looks like a hell of a lot of fun!" I wouldn't blame you, it's w...
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Netflix will spend $7 Billion on Original Programming in 2018


That's...quite the downpayment.
Aug 16
// Drew Stuart
Netflix has had its share of ups and downs lately. They've outperformed all of their competitors, have exceeded their own growth expectations, and have seen their stock soar more than 10% in a day. However, with Disney p...
Killing of a Sacred Deer photo
Killing of a Sacred Deer

Trailer: The Killing of a Sacred Deer showcases unnerved Nicole Kidman & Colin Farrell


Yorgos Lanthimos gonna Yorgos Lanthimos
Aug 16
// Hubert Vigilla
I'm guaranteed to watch anything from Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos. Dogtooth haunted and disturbed me, and two-thirds of The Lobster is some of the best commentary on modern love I've seen. Lanthimos is back with his late...
Adam Sandler photo
Adam Sandler

Adam Sandler's next Netflix movie, The Meyerowitz Stories, has a trailer


Could Sandler actually act this time?
Aug 16
// Matthew Razak
Here's a dirty little secret Adam Sandler seems intent on keeping under wraps: the man can act. Back in the day he seemed to be on the verge of pulling his comedy career into something more with films like Punch Drunk Love, b...
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Officially Official: Daniel Craig returning for Bond 25


Super confirmed
Aug 16
// Matthew Razak
There was a bit of a kerfuffle yesterday when Daniel Craig mentioned on a radio interview that nothing was finalized with him being in Bond 25. Turns out that was a lie as the actor had obviously agreed to super duper double ...
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Nosferatu remake will reteam The Witch star and director


I'd like to unlive deliciously
Aug 16
// Anthony Marzano
On Tuesday it was confirmed that Anya Taylor-Joy, star of The Witch (which I will henceforth refer to by it's much cooler stylized title) and M. Night Shyamalan's Split was in talks to reunite with director Robert Eggers for ...
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Moviepass just slashed its price from $50 to just $9.95


...and the internet is eating it up
Aug 15
// Drew Stuart
It's no secret that movie theaters have been struggling lately. With so many movies available online; on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, the average person sees little need to go out of their own way to see a movie in theaters. I m...
Old School Kung Fu Fest photo
Old School Kung Fu Fest

NYC: Watch wonder women kick ass at the Old School Kung Fu Fest (August 18-20)


Subway Cinema returns to The Metrograph
Aug 15
// Hubert Vigilla
Subway Cinema's seventh edition of The Old School Kung Fu Fest is back this weeked at The Metrograph, running from Friday, August 18th through Sunday, August 20th. Last year's Old School Kung Fu Fest celebrated Golden Harvest...
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You can now watch the full first episode of the new Ducktales on YouTube


Can anyone spare a lucky dime? Anybody?
Aug 15
// Rick Lash
Maybe you knew, maybe not, but there’s a Ducktales reboot. The original series ran from 1987 to 1990 and was most definitely a kid’s show (I would know, I was one). The new iteration tries something a li...
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Game of Thrones Season 7 Recap: 'Eastwatch'


Please don't turn me into a marshmallow,
Aug 14
// Rick Lash
YOU WERE RIGHT AND I WAS WRONG: BRONN is spelled with a double n. It's been a while since I've seen all these names in print! That said, my main point of contention with earlier season 7 episodes continues to problematic...
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Willem Dafoe says you can't eat your ice cream inside in The Florida Project trailer


I will return on the third day for rent
Aug 14
// Anthony Marzano
It's a dark world out there, no matter how you look at it. There's bills a plenty, and not that much money to go around. The saying "you gotta do, what you gotta do" is more prevalent now than ever before. We've seen a lot of...
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Do you want more Conjuring/Annabelle movies?


And why would anyone buy that doll?
Aug 14
// Matthew Razak
I liked The Conjuring well enough, and I do find creepy dolls really creepy, but of all the horror franchises in existence to have a horror "universe" born out of it I would not for a moment have guessed it would be...
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Your Bad Movie Night Guide, Vol. 4: Tango & Cash


The original shower buddy cop movie
Aug 11
// Rick Lash
Imagine a time when movie heroes were heroes not for being pretty, metrosexual types capable of playing a broad range of characters aptly displaying a broad spectrum of emotions, but because they had big muscles, or knew kung...
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mother! trailer with Jennifer Lawrence makes you wee in your pants a little bit


Just a drop or two, but still!
Aug 11
// Rick Lash
I've always thought Jennifer Lawrence (Passengers, The Hunger Games) and Javier Bardem (Skyfall, No Country for Old Men) would make a great couple. Like, they have so much in common, and obviously there'd just be so...
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Lionsgate CEO says more Twilight, Hunger Games coming soon


Vampires never say die!
Aug 10
// Rick Lash
Jon Feltheimer, formerly known as the CEO of Lionsgate, now known as the man who made teenage dreams come true, told Wall Street investors that there is no way his studio won't make more Twilight movies about angsty teenage v...
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Disney plans to pull all its movies from Netflix, start its own streaming service


With Blackjack! And Hookers!
Aug 09
// Drew Stuart
We have some big news today. Disney announced during its earnings report on Tuesday that all of its movies will be taken off of Netflix. The two corporate monoliths inked a deal back in 2012 stating that Disneys future proper...
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Karl Urban is open to starring in the Dredd TV Series


Attention, citizens of Peach Trees...
Aug 08
// Drew Stuart
Back in 2012, Dredd was the sleeper-hit action movie none of us knew we wanted. Sure, it seemed like just another phoned in action-flick, but director Pete Travis took the campy premise to amazing heights with solid execution...
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Game of Thrones Season 7 Recap: 'The Spoils of War'


Everyone loves reunions
Aug 08
// Rick Lash
Last week, we left Game of Thrones feeling the episode was "effective and satisfying." Well, HBO heard our applause and answered the call for an encore, delivering us The Spoils of War, which at 50 mi...
Annabelle photo
Annabelle

See Annabelle: Creation early and free


Washington DC and Baltimore screenings
Aug 04
// Matthew Razak
If you had told me that The Conjuring would spawn a franchise of horror films over the coming years from its release I would have been pretty surprised. Yet here we are with a sequel to a spin-off from that film. Who kno...
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The Dark Tower TV series is still happening and has a producer


Another chance at another turn
Aug 04
// Matthew Razak
The Dark Tower movie is out and it's a bit of a let down, but that isn't going to stop production companies MCR and Sony from trying to move this thing into a full blown franchise. News has come that Glen Mazzara of...

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