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Hubert Vigilla

Marvel Phase Three photo
Marvel Phase Three

Watch a rundown of Marvel Phase Three movies up to Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers gradually assembling
Feb 21
// Hubert Vigilla
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is running pretty darn smoothly, all things considered. There are nine MCU films scheduled through 2019, closing out with a new Avengers film that's currently awaiting a title. The other day, Mar...
Sandberg directing Shazam photo
Sandberg directing Shazam

Lights Out director David F. Sandberg in talks to helm Shazam

Well, at least there's that, DCEU
Feb 20
// Hubert Vigilla
Both The Flash and The Batman are having problems finding a director, which puts the DCEU in a pickle. In the case of the latter, Ben Affleck stepped out of the director's chair and Matt Reeves recently declined the job....
The Void US teaser photo
The Void US teaser

US teaser trailer and poster for The Void instills cosmic dread by way of 80s horror

John Carpenter and HP Lovecraft
Feb 20
// Hubert Vigilla
Last week we shared the UK teaser trailer for The Void, a cosmic horror film with shades of John Carpenter, H.P. Lovecraft, and Hellraiser II. Even though it was just 30 seconds long, it packed in lots of gore and dread. Toda...
Zatoichi/Motorhead combo photo
Zatoichi/Motorhead combo

A Zatoichi/Motorhead mash up is something you didn't realize you needed until now

Zatoichi is metal as f**k
Feb 19
// Hubert Vigilla
The Zatoichi series includes some of the most badass samurai films around. Starring Shintaro Katsu, the story centers on a blind swordsman who turns a new leaf as a traveling masseur. His violent past follows him wherever he ...

The Batman falls photo
The Batman falls

Matt Reeves will not direct Ben Affleck in The Batman after talks break down

Hello Dr. Zaius my old friend
Feb 19
// Hubert Vigilla
The Batman may be broken. Warner Bros. was in talks with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes/Let the Right One In director Matt Reeves to helm the new Batman film for the DCEU. According to The Hollywood Reporter/Heat Vision,...
Trailer: The Void photo
Trailer: The Void

NSFW teaser trailer for The Void is a gory blend of John Carpenter and H.P. Lovecraft

I'm sold
Feb 16
// Hubert Vigilla
I was completely unaware of The Void until last night. Now it's one of my most anticipated movies of the next few weeks. (I mean, come on, it looks great, but I don't want to oversell it, right?) Written and directed by Jerem...
Mel Gibson Suicide Squad? photo
Mel Gibson Suicide Squad?

Mel Gibson among the directors courted for Suicide Squad sequel

Also Jonathan Levine and Ruben Fleischer
Feb 15
// Hubert Vigilla
While Suicide Squad didn't set critics on fire, it looks like a sequel is coming because we can't have nice things. Warner Bros. is hoping to keep the DCEU alive with its misfit band of killers and criminals, and they're...
Harrison Ford's plane photo
Harrison Ford's plane

Harrison Ford landed his plane on the wrong runway/taxiway, nobody was harmed

Indiana Jones and the Mistaken Runway
Feb 14
// Hubert Vigilla
Harrison Ford had a serious case of life imitating art back in 2015 when he had to make an emergency landing in a vintage plane on a Venice, California golf course. Thankfully he survived the crash and no one was harmed. His ...
Happy Valentines Day photo
Happy Valentines Day

These David Cronenberg Valentines transform body horror into bloody romance

Long live the new flesh, and our love
Feb 14
// Hubert Vigilla
It's Valentine's Day, which means you are obligated to do something special-ish because greeting card companies own you. If you are single, this means your parents will guilt you into having children because the biological im...
Affleck may not be Batman photo
Affleck may not be Batman

Rumor: Ben Affleck does not want to play Batman anymore, negotiating with Warner Bros.

Goodbye Batman my old friend
Feb 13
// Hubert Vigilla
Just as Ben Affleck's The Batman was getting back on track with director Matt Reeves in the wings, it's rumored to have hit another snag. It's a big rumor, too, so get your salt ready. According to sources cited by John Campe...
Video Essay on propaganda photo
Video Essay on propaganda

Video essay explores the propaganda methods and rhetoric of Triumph of the Will

"Not a triumph of cinema but of budget"
Feb 13
// Hubert Vigilla
You might recall a video essay from Folding Ideas about the crummy editing of Suicide Squad. It was an informative look at the lessons a person can learn from poor cinematic craft. The video essay was a much better watch than...
Fangoria lives... sort of photo
Fangoria lives... sort of

Fangoria issues official statement, says publication will continue in 2017

A vague and apologetic statement
Feb 13
// Hubert Vigilla
Just as our piece on Fangoria possibly folding went live, the publication released an official statement about its future. Brief, vague, and apologetic, Fangoria President and Owner Tom DeFeo said the following: I&rsquo...
Fangoria Magazine dead? photo
Fangoria Magazine dead?

Horror magazine Fangoria may be dead as a print publication, future murky

An official announcement coming soon
Feb 13
// Hubert Vigilla
In its heyday, Fangoria was the premiere horror genre publication. Started in 1979, Fangoria covered mainstream releases, cult gems, and held weekend-long fan conventions that celebrated all things horror. A lot of my love fo...
Melissa McCarthy SNL photo
Melissa McCarthy SNL

Watch Melissa McCarthy savage Sean Spicer again on SNL

Still an accurate impersonation
Feb 13
// Hubert Vigilla
Melissa McCarthy returned to Saturday Night Live over the weekend to portray White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Like the previous Spicer sketch, McCarthy went to town on that prevaricating jabroni, and it just got more ...

Here's a complete list of 2017 BAFTA award winners

Feb 13 // Hubert Vigilla
Best Film La La LandArrivalI, Daniel BlakeManchester by the SeaMoonlight   Best Director Damien Chazelle (La La Land)Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)Ken Loach (I, Daniel Blake)Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester By the Sea)Tom Ford (Nocturnal Animals)   Best Actor Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals)Ryan Gosling (La La Land)Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)   Best Actress Emma Stone (La La Land)Amy Adams (Arrival)Emily Blunt (The Girl on the Train)Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)Natalie Portman (Jackie)   Best Supporting Actor Dev Patel (Lion)Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals)Hugh Grant (Florence Foster Jenkins)Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)   Best Supporting Actress Viola Davis (Fences)Hayley Squires (I, Daniel Blake)Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)Naomie Harris (Moonlight)Nicole Kidman (Lion)   Best Original Screenplay Manchester By the SeaHell or High WaterI, Daniel BlakeLa La LandMoonlight   Best Adapted Screenplay LionArrivalHacksaw RidgeHidden FiguresNocturnal Animals   Outstanding British Film I, Daniel BlakeAmerican HoneyDenialFantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemNotes on BlindnessUnder the Shadow   Best Debut by a British Writer, Director, or Producer Under the Shadow – Babak Anvari (writer/director), Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill, Lucan Toh (producers)The Girl With All the Gifts – Mike Carey (writer), Camille Gatin (producer)The Hard Stop – George Amponsah (writer/director/producer), Dionne Walker (writer/producer)Notes on Blindness - Peter Middleton (writer/director/producer), James Spinney (writer/director), Jo-Jo Ellison (producer)The Pass – John Donnelly (writer), Ben A Williams (director)   EE Rising Star Award Tom HollandAnya Taylor-JoyLaia CostaLucas HedgesRuth Negga   Best Cinematography La La LandArrivalHell or High WaterLionNocturnal Animals   Best Editing Hacksaw RidgeArrivalLa La LandManchester by the SeaNocturnal Animals   Best Animated Film Kubo and the Two StringsFinding DoryMoanaZootropolis   Best Documentary 13THThe Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring YearsThe Eagle HuntressNotes on BlindnessWeiner   Best Film Not in the English Language Son of SaulDheepanJulietaMustangToni Erdmann   Best Special Visual Effects The Jungle BookArrivalDoctor StrangeFantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemRogue One: A Star Wars Story   Best Original Music La La LandArrivalJackieLionNocturnal Animals   Best Sound ArrivalDeepwater HorizonFantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemHacksaw RidgeLa La Land   Best Make Up & Hair Florence Foster JenkinsDoctor StrangeHacksaw RidgeNocturnal AnimalsRogue One: A Star Wars Story   Best Costume Design JackieAlliedFantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemFlorence Foster JenkinsLa La Land   Best Production Design Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemDoctor StrangeHail, Caesar!La La LandNocturnal Animals   Best British Short Film HomeConsumedMouth of HellThe PartyStandby   Best British Short Animation A Love StoryThe Alan DimensionTough   Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Curzon Group BAFTA Fellowship Mel Brooks
2017 BAFTA Awards photo
La La Land scoops up overseas
The BAFTAs last night awarded several top prizes to Damien Chazelle's La La Land, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress (Emma Stone), and Best Original Music. It may be a preview of what's to come at the Oscars. Ot...

Matt Reeves Batman photo
Matt Reeves Batman

Matt Reeves in talks to direct Ben Affleck in The Batman

Dawn of the Planet of The Batman
Feb 12
// Hubert Vigilla
Last month, Ben Affleck announced he would no longer direct the new Batman movie. There was speculation that the actor was bummed out by the negative response to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and his recent directorial e...
Avengers: Infinity War photo
Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War promo video teases start of production, Guardians of the Galaxy team-up

Some Avengers assembly required
Feb 12
// Hubert Vigilla
Avengers: Infinity War and its untitled sequel started filming on January 23, 2017. We won't see the finished films until May 18, 2018 and May 3, 2019, respectively, but Marvel Studios released a new promotional video ab...
Netflixvania photo

Netflix Castlevania: Producer Adi Shankar says 2 seasons in works, both written by Warren Ellis

Feb 09
// Hubert Vigilla
The animated Netflix Castlevania series was announced yesterday, although it was buried in a press release. Producer Adi Shankar, who teased the series back in 2015 on Facebook, took to social media again to share some small,...
Netflix Castlevania photo
It's on like Donkey...vania
Netflix is making a series based on Castlevania, which will debut later this year. The first season of the series has been written by comics scribe Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan, Iron Man, Planetary). According to Poly...

Fast and Furious Live photo
Fast and Furious Live

The Fast and the Furious is becoming a live touring arena stunt show

Cirque du Furieux
Feb 08
// Hubert Vigilla
The Fate of the Furious will be in theaters on April 14th, just in time for Easter. If you're looking for another Fast fix, you won't have to wait that long. The Fast and the Furious will become a live, touring arena stunt sh...
World War Z 2 photo
World War Z 2

David Fincher may still direct Paramount's delayed World War Z sequel

The ball is in Paramount's court
Feb 08
// Hubert Vigilla
Paramount Pictures recently killed off the Friday the 13th reboot and delayed World War Z 2: The Zquel. As they figure out how to rework and retool World War Z 2 for a potential 2018 or 2019 release, there are rumors that Dav...
Toni Erdmann remake cast photo
Toni Erdmann remake cast

Jack Nicholson and Kristen Wiig will co-star in Toni Erdmann remake

Jack Nicholson's first role in 7 years
Feb 08
// Hubert Vigilla
While Maren Ade's Toni Erdmann didn't live up to its initial hype for me, I came to appreciate the film's thoughtful, funny, and rather sad exploration of child/parent relationships in adulthood. The movie made my top 15...
Paramount nixes movies photo
Paramount nixes movies

Paramount nixes Friday the 13th reboot and World War Z sequel from release calendar

Ka-ka-ka-ka... kill-kill-kill-kill...
Feb 07
// Hubert Vigilla
If you were looking forward to the Friday the 13th reboot and World War Z 2 (aka A World War Zequel), you're going to have to wait a bit longer. You may be waiting indefinitely. Paramount Pictures has removed both of these fi...
First look new Lara Croft photo
First look new Lara Croft

Tomb Raider set photos offer first look at Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft

Looks promising
Feb 06
// Hubert Vigilla
It's taken a long while, but the Tomb Raider movie reboot is officially underway, with Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft and Norwegian director Roar Uthaug at the helm. There's also Walton Goggins on board a...

Watch the controversial 84 Lumber Super Bowl commercial in its entirety

Feb 06 // Hubert Vigilla
Yeah, they went there. Donald Trump's border wall. Of course, this the doing of 84 Lumber, so the wall is open, albeit with a "big beautiful door"; still, it seems like a different one than the wall Trump intends to build with US funds. The ad ends on a high and hopeful note about welcoming those willing to work and sacrifice. You know, that good old fashioned American idea that seems so quaint these days--now it's a slogan for a building materials supply company. (Capitalism. Ain't that America? Yes, this is an ambivalent parenthetical.) As pointed out by numerous people online, there might have been something conciliatory about the stuff surrounding the Super Bowl this year. Just consider the commercials, the pre-game, and the halftime show. There was an emphasis on inclusiveness and unity throughout. Black NFL Hall of Famers were spotlighted and honored, The Schuyler Sisters from Hamilton added sisterhood to their rendition of "America the Beautiful", and Lady Gaga performed, which was like Prince playing the halftime show but 20 times queerer. Budweiser's ad celebrated the company's immigrant roots, KIA had Melissa McCarthy as a slapstick eco-champion, and Airbnb and Coca Cola took stances on diversity, immigration, and multiculturalism. None of it was subversive. In the end, these were just ways to sell more sports and sugar and corporate things. I mean, gosh, some jamooks in the oil/petroleum industry shelled out good money to make fossil fuels seem hip and edgy--what the hell was that? But it was nice to see a few gestures toward higher ideals and a better tomorrow as one nation indivisible rather than a nation divided. Consider it a brief but welcome respite. And the game was good, too. I suppose it says something when nods to good old American decency seem like radical action. We live in interesting times. [via 84 Lumber on YouTube]
84 Lumber Super Bowl ad photo
The second half of the ad
Last night during the Super Bowl, 84 Lumber aired part of a commercial about an immigrant mother and daughter on a journey to the border. It was somber and well-shot, and seemed more like a short film than an ad. The commerci...

The Blackcoat's Daughter photo
The Blackcoat's Daughter

Watch the moody, unsettling trailer for The Blackcoat's Daughter

Indie prep school horror
Feb 06
// Hubert Vigilla
Originally titled February, The Blackcoat's Daughter is an indie horror film from writer/director Oz Perkins. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival back in 2015 and has received some generally positive revie...
Justice League pic photo
Justice League pic

New Justice League pic has Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Cyborg about to fight or something

Still not sure about this, guys
Feb 06
// Hubert Vigilla
Justice League is on Flixist's most anticipated films of 2017 list, though it's out of morbid curiosity than anything else. Wonder Woman looks promising enough, sure, but then there's dreck like Batman v Superman and Sui...
Melissa McCarthy SNL photo
Melissa McCarthy SNL

Watch Melissa McCarthy skewer White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on SNL

An accurate impersonation
Feb 06
// Hubert Vigilla
You probably heard about it already, but Melissa McCarthy made a surprise appearance on the most recent episode of Saturday Night Live. And she pretty much killed it. Her sketch involved White House press secretary and professional gaslighter Sean Spicer. I'm not going to do it any justice describing it, so just give it a watch below.
Groundhog Day photo
Groundhog Day

Watch every day from Groundhog Day played at the same time

All day, every day, Groundhog Day
Feb 02
// Hubert Vigilla
Harold Ramis' Groundhog Day has only gotten better with age. A somewhat unassuming 1993 Bill Murray vehicle upon first release, it's now regarded as a heartfelt comedy classic. It's a major favorite among Buddhists; I might b...
Clive Barker contest photo
Clive Barker contest

Clive Barker and Shudder offering $300,000 to an aspiring horror filmmaker as part of contest

Barker will executive produce the film
Feb 02
// Hubert Vigilla
Clive Barker may never direct a horror movie again, but he wants to help young talent make their first movie. The author, artist, and filmmaker is participating in a contest with the horror streaming service Shudder and Adapt...

Ben Affleck will no longer direct the new solo Batman movie

Jan 31 // Hubert Vigilla
According to Variety, unnamed sources say that Affleck's decision was not prompted by the poor reception to his film Live by Night. Other sources with Variety say that Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) is on the shortlist of directors Warner Bros. would like to takeover the reins of The Batman. Other rumored directors whose names have popped up online include George Miller, Gavin O'Connor, and Denis Villeneuve. This is just the latest setback for DC's cinematic universe. Last week various outlets reported that the Flash film is undergoing a page-one rewrite from Joby Harold. Seth Grahame-Smith (who wrote the initial screenplay) and Rick Famuyiwa were previously attached to direct The Flash, but each left due to creative differences. The Flash is still looking for a director as of this writing. It's unclear if it is still on track for a 2018 release. What do you think about Affleck stepping away from The Batman as a director? Who do you think should helm the film? Let us know in the comments. [via Variety]
Affleck not directing Bat photo
Hello Batman my old friend
Ben Affleck won't direct the next Batman movie, according to an official statement released yesterday by the actor. While Affleck is out of the director's chair, he is still the star, co-writer, and one of the producers of Th...

Apocalypse Now: The Game photo
Apocalypse Now: The Game

An Apocalypse Now video game is looking for funds on Kickstarter

I love the smell of crowdfunding
Jan 28
// Hubert Vigilla
Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now is a dark, maddening, sprawling masterpiece about the horrors of war. It's still one of the best movies about Vietnam and its impact on the American psyche, and it's often ranked among th...

RIP John Hurt (1940-2017)

Jan 27 // Hubert Vigilla
RIP John Hurt photo
He was 77 years old
John Hurt, legend of stage and screen, has passed away. He was 77 years old. Hurt's decades-spanning career took off in the 1960s thanks to Fred Zinneman's A Man for All Seasons. Just a few of his many other notable film...

Hubert's Top 15 Movies of 2016

Jan 26 // Hubert Vigilla
15. The Lobster I'm not in love with Yorgos Lanthimos' The Lobster, but I like it a whole lot. Its first half is a brilliantly awkward send up of modern love. People pick their mates for the most superficial reasons, single people are pathetic sport for hunting, adults forced to be genuine are reduced to gawky teens unsure of what they feel. Yet I go back and forth about the second half of the film, which is so one-note. So much going on in the first half, and a kind of sparseness there in the second. And yet there's a lot to love about what's there. So maybe I do love The Lobster--love is strange. Read our full review of The Lobster 14. Hunt for the Wilderpeople The mismatched buddy comedy is like the platonic version of the misfit romance--two weird people come together trying to escape the awfulness of their lives. Kindness and generosity ensues. I liked Taika Waititi's Hunt for the Wilderpeople when I initially saw it, but my fondness for the movie has grown in the months after. It's a throwback to an 80s comic adventure with touches of Edgar Wright and Pixar's Up. Sam Neil is his Sam-Neil-iest, and I really want to see star Julian Dennison in more stuff. Waititi is a Kiwi filmmaker I'll keep my eyes on, and his work has gotten me excited for the next Thor movie of all things. 13. Toni Erdmann On the note of movies that have grown on me, my appreciation for Toni Erdmann has increased the further I get away from the hype. Maren Ade's nearly three-hour film is not as hilarious or bonkers as some make it out to be. It's funny, sure, and there's some unexpected kink involving petit fours, but as a whole the film plays out like a long episode of The Office--a grounded silliness. Toni Erdmann offers a thoughtful and occasionally sad look at the love/hate relationship that grows between children and parents as they get older, and why family is so difficult and yet ultimately worthwhile. Lately I've been thinking about me and my father in terms of Toni Erdmann, and it helps me understand why I love my dad. Read our full review of Toni Erdmann 12. Weiner If The War Room was the political documentary of the 1990s and Street Fight was the political documentary of the 2000s, I think Weiner may be the political doc of the 2010s. Behold the demise of a well-intentioned man driven by hubris and his need to get off on the web. And yet, there's a admirable spunkiness to him. And yet, Christ, what an asshole. Directors Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg have (perhaps unintentionally) given people an inside look at a campaign in crisis, and by extension the dissolution of a political marriage. This is the cringe-comedy that our politics have become. Read our full review of Weiner 11. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Rogue One is a Star Wars movie that captures the feeling of playing Star Wars as a kid--let's do cool stuff in this universe we love. It also gets at the feeling of playing Star Wars as an adult--let's throw in our big ideas about resistance and conflict. A little bit suicide mission, a little bit WWII movie, Rogue One surpasses The Force Awakens on so many levels. Even though its story is entirely contingent on the first Star Wars film and I have qualms with its CG performances, there's something refreshing and lively about Rogue One. It's enjoyable for what it is, just like playing with action figures in a sandbox. Read our full review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 10. The Witch The bleakness and isolation of Robert Eggers' The Witch lingered with me a long while after seeing it. Whenever I think about The Witch, I keep going back to the note it strikes at the end. Those closing moments can be read in different ways, and I enjoy that delicious ambiguity. All that repression throughout, and just outside the confines of that home is the threat of nature, free and amok. Teasing it out, the film may be offering a rebuke of American puritanism or the rigid structures of religion and fundamentalism. Like the family in the film, such structures might all be teetering at the brink. The thing is, the big tip over might not be so bad. 9. Green Room Whenever I talk about Green Room with friends, I usually prefer to it as Punk Rock Die Hard or Punk Rock Straw Dogs. Jeremy Saulnier's made such a compelling thriller where every one of our protagonists feels like they're in mortal danger. While we're just given the barest sense of their backstories, I felt a connection to all of the young punks, and was continually surprised by the mayhem they endure. Saulnier and his cast imbue the film with primal, squirming dread, from Patrick Stewart's "been there, done that" attitude about extermination to the late Anton Yelchin's wounded, desperate acts of retaliation. This is a great action film and a great horror film, and it's also punk as fuck. Read our full review of Green Room 8. Tower Tower took me by surprise, and it's one of the most gripping documentaries of 2016. The film recreates the events of the 1966 UT Austin tower shooting, one of America's most infamous yet least talked-about mass shootings. Director Keith Maitland combines rotocope animation with interviews/transcripts from actual witnesses/survivors to restage the horror of that day. The results are beyond moving. I think the animation removes the pressures of filming the period in real life (i.e., fashion and hairstyles, minute period detail, film grain/quality), allowing the witnesses to tell their stories in an abstract yet hyperreal emotional space. Tower is such an intense visual oral history, and what stands out most are the little moments of heroism and humanity that emerge in the face of such troubling times. 7. Arrival Denis Villeneuve's made a mournful, contemplative, and yet hopeful science fiction film in Arrival. Adapted from a story by Ted Chiang, the film feels so grey and foggy much of the time, as if we're watching the moods brought on by a drizzly day. Amy Adams' performance and Johann Johannsson's score have a similar overcast quality. At the heart of Arrival is this longing for utopian understanding, as well as a meditation on free will and how we deal with unavoidable and inevitable heartbreak. I'm reminded of how the science fiction and fantasy that sticks with me most tend to be existential stories in which human dilemmas get to play out using elaborate toys and toy sets. Read our two-part discussion of Arrival 6. Moonlight Barry Jenkins' Moonlight is brimming with life. I could have watched a feature film version of its three different sections. Each stage in Chiron's maturation has its own tone and color and weight to it. I still marvel at how Jenkins built a continuity between these sections, one that works both because of and in spite of the lacunae between chapters. What happened in those intervening years? Where did this character go? Did they lose touch? The fact I'm left wondering what happened to certain characters and what events may have transpired speaks to the life--the lives--going on off the screen. There's so much to to process about sexuality and blackness and family and the connections we make; the fact it's such a gorgeously lensed film is a gift. Read our full review of Moonlight 5. Manchester by the Sea There are plenty of emotional highs and lows in Kenneth Longergan's Manchester by the Sea, but they work as parts of a whole. This is largely thanks to Lonergan's writing, which bravely and recklessly acknowledges that while someone may be in the throes of unremitting despair, another person is doing their own thing in their own way that isn't necessarily complementary or parallel. Hence the grief-stricken man forced to look after a horndog teenager. Ditto the tearful attempts at reconciliation with a self-flagellating so-and-so who finds his actions irredeemable. The performances help sell the ups and downs, with everyone their own island attempting to reach out and not feel quite so alone anymore. If these people are Venn diagrams, there's just a sliver between circles that keeps them together. But what a sliver. Read our full review of Manchester by the Sea 4. O.J.: Made in America Just in terms of scope, no film this year can match Ezra Edelman's five-part, seven-and-a-half-hour documentary epic O.J.: Made in America. Each of the five sections exists as its own cinematic essay, covering O.J. Simpson as a sports icon and celebrity, race in America, police violence against the black community, the tragedy of Nicole Brown's life, the circus of the criminal trial, and Simpson's sordid days in Miami. It's such a compelling watch, and I mainlined all five parts over the course of a night and a morning. It's the rise and fall of a one-time hero, and also the irresolvable difficulties of a divided United States. By the end, I was left speechless and numb. I was astonished by what Edelman had achieved, obviously, but more so by what he expressed about about America using Simpson as a symbol and a pretext. 3. Sing Street I watched John Carney's Sing Street on a whim one day last spring, and it immediately became one of my favorite movies of the year. There's no other film I can think of that captures the initial exhilaration of learning to play music, writing your own songs, and believing, even briefly, in the redemptive power of making your own art. It's such a teenage feeling, but one that resonates with adults who feel like they're no longer allowed those kinds of delightful indulgences. I keep listening to the Sing Street soundtrack, particularly "Drive It Like You Stole It", "Brown Shoes", and "Up", which are some of the best songs in any move last year. Maybe what speaks to me most in Sing Street is its blend of the misfit romance and the mismatched buddy comedy. These kids may or may not make it--real life favors the latter, sadly--but it's beautiful that they believed something together, anything together, was possible. 2. The Handmaiden (아가씨, Agassi) Thematically, Park Chan-wook's The Handmaiden might be 2016's Mad Max: Fury Road. Here are two women oppressed by a toxic patriarchy, relegated to servitude or providing some kind of sexual pleasure. Now watch them try to fight the forces of the citadel. Okay, that's an oversimplification of what Park has crafted here. The Handmaiden is a sexy, sumptuous, audacious, twisty thriller that had me in its grips from the beginning. So much of the movie is artfully composed, from its seductions to its violence to its sex scenes. Yet Park uses painterly restraint when it comes to way he shoots the sex (i.e., this is not Blue Is the Warmest Color all over again), and emphasizes character and emotion to make these expressions of passion come alive. The Handmaiden might have dethroned Old Boy as my favorite Park movie--time and multiple watches will tell. 1. Paterson Paterson isn't just the movie I needed in the darkness of 2016. It's the movie that I need as a writer. Here's a fount of optimism and contentment, even when all hope seems lost. I likened the movie to Jim Jarmusch giving people a reassuring push on a swing. Rather than succumb to the dumb cliches of writing life--depression, substance abuse, obsession with notoriety--Paterson presents a working artist who is content with what he's been able to build. Regardless its size, it is something, and that something is worthwhile because it exists. Adam Driver exudes kindness just as much as co-star Golshifteh Farahani; she's not a manic pixie dream girl, but just one of two dreamers each trying to live a modest dream. I'm reminded of that final chord struck by Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life: "No man is a failure who has friends." Paterson the man also has writing to fill the time alone. What a wonderful world. Read our full review of Paterson [embed]221176:43355:0[/embed] Honorable Mentions There are few noteworthy movies that fell outside of this list of 15 that need some special recognition. The backlash to Damien Chazelle's La La Land has been loud and extreme, especially now that it's awards season. While the movie's thrall has precipitously worn off on me, I found La La Land technically proficient and generally charming. Gosh, that sounds like faint praise, doesn't it? But I did like the movie quite a bit. Also, "Someone in the Crowd" is a far better song than La La Land's Oscar-nominated duo of "City of Stars" and "Audition". But all the moxie and pizzazz of "Someone in the Crowd" is still not as good as Sing Street's "Drive It Like You Stole It". Ava Duvernay's 13TH is another great doc from last year that will stick with me, and in retrospect offers a chilling snapshot of the current political moment we're living in. For a double feature, it could easily be paired with Craig Atkinson's Do Not Resist, a chilling doc about the current state of police militirization in America. [embed]221176:43369:0[/embed] Lightening the mood, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping was unjustly ignored. It's a much better music mockumentary than it has any right to be. I also have to give a nod to Shane Black's The Nice Guys, a Pynchon-esque period romp by way of a bumbling PI comedy. Kubo and the Two Strings was gorgeous and magical and the sort of kids movie I'd have loved growing up, and it makes me wonder what Laika will do next. I also really admired Swiss Army Man (aka Art House Fart Corpse) for sticking with its bizarre premise as a way to critique the toxic masculinity of indie movie protagonists. And a shout out to Bill Morrisson's Dawson City: Frozen Time, which is a hypnotic documentary on lost fragments of films as well as the history of a lost time and place. And, dammit, I kind of love Ip Man 3. It's my favorite entry in the Donnie Yen/Wilson Yip wing chun trilogy since it's such an odd duck. More than that, Ip Man 3 is a great Ip Man movie about Ip Man movies. [embed]221176:43357:0[/embed]
Hubert's Best of 2016 photo
Well... that was a weird year
By plenty of measures, 2016 was a pretty crummy year. 2017 probably isn't going to be much better, to be honest. But we keep going. We may need to lean on family and friends to get us through, but we keep going. And like any ...

2017 Academy Award nominees announced, here's a full list of the Oscar contenders

Jan 24 // Hubert Vigilla
Best Picture Arrival Fences Hacksaw Ridge Hell or High Water Hidden Figures La La Land Lion Manchester by the Sea Moonlight   Best Director Denis Villeneuve, Arrival Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge Damien Chazelle, La La Land Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea Barry Jenkins, Moonlight   Best Actor Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge Ryan Gosling, La La Land Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic Denzel Washington, Fences   Best Actress Isabelle Huppert, Elle Ruth Negga, Loving Natalie Portman, Jackie Emma Stone, La La Land Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins   Best Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali, Moonlight Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea Dev Patel, Lion Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals   Best Supporting Actress Viola Davis, Fences Naomie Harris, Moonlight Nicole Kidman, Lion Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea   Best Original Screenplay Hell or High Water La La Land The Lobster Manchester by the Sea 20th Century Women   Best Adapted Screenplay Arrival Fences Hidden Figures Lion Moonlight   Best Film Editing Arrival Hacksaw Ridge Hell or High Water La La Land Moonlight   Best Cinematography Arrival La La Land Lion Moonlight Silence   Best Production Design Arrival Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Hail, Caeasar! La La Land Passengers   Best Costume Design Allied Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Florence Floster Jenkins Jackie La La Land   Best Make-up and Hairstyling A Man Called Ove Star Trek Beyond Suicide Squad   Best Original Score Jackie La La Land Lion Moonlight Passengers   Best Original Song "Audition", La La Land "Can’t Stop the Feeling", Trolls "City of Stars", La La Land "The Empty Chair", Jim: The James Foley Story "How Far I’ll Go", Moana   Best Visual Effects Deepwater Horizon Doctor Strange The Jungle Book Kubo and the Two Strings Rogue One: A Star Wars Story   Best Sound Editing Arrival Deepwater Horizon La La Land Sully   Best Sound Mixing Arrival Hacksaw Ridge La La Land Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 13 Hours   Best Foreign Language Film Land of Mine A Man Called Ove The Salesman Tanna Toni Erdmann   Best Documentary Feature Fire at Sea I Am Not Your Negro Life Animated OJ: Made in America 13TH   Best Documentary Short Extremis 4.1 Miles Joe’s Violin Watani: My Homeland The White Helmets   Best Animated Feature Kubo and the Two Strings Moana My Life as a Zucchini The Red Turtle Zootopia   Best Animated Short Blind Vaysha Borrowed Time Pear Cider and Cigarettes Pearl Piper   Best Live-Action Short Ennemis Interieurs La Femme et le TGV Silent Nights Sing Timecode
2017 Oscar nominees photo
La La Land lands 14 nominations
The 2017 Oscar nominees have been announced. The leader of the pack this year is Damien Chazelle's La La Land, which garnered 14 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay, a...

Star Wars: The Last Jedi photo
Kylo Ren = The Shogun of Space Harlem
It's official, ladies and gents. Star Wars Episode VIII from wirter/director Rian Johnson is titled The Last Jedi. One might have expected this to be the name of the the third film in the new trilogy, following the naming con...

Watch Ryan Scafuro's Election Night, a short documentary about America's long evening

Jan 17 // Hubert Vigilla
It's fascinating to witness the entire tone of that pub change. Once there was optimism, then there was deflation and disbelief; both of the latter linger without leaving like some awful fog. It's not a be-all or end-all statement on election night, but it's a chronicle of moods that many are still dealing with. We're days away from a new President of the United States, and I sense a lot of this country and the population overseas continue to be stuck with that uncertain feeling captured at the end of this film. It's morning in America, and it's raining. If Scafuro's name sounds a bit familiar, he was the producer and director of photography on the excellent strong man documentary Bending Steel, directed by Dave Carroll. Both Scafuro and Carroll have also worked on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. How was your election night? How are you feeling now? Chime in down below in the comments. [via Short of the Week]
Election Night photo
Democracy's rainy hangover
Inauguration Day is this week. It's also my birthday on Inauguration Day. If you've seen some of my previous film and TV-related posts about Donald Trump on this site, you probably know how I feel about this. It's a glum and ...

Review: We Are the Flesh

Jan 12 // Hubert Vigilla
TRAILER IS NOT SAFE FOR WORK (NSFW) [embed]220963:43146:0[/embed] We Are the Flesh (Tenemos le carne)Director: Emiliano Rocha MinterRating: NRRelease Date: January 13, 2017 (limited)Country: Mexico  We Are the Flesh reminds me of early Clive Barker splatterpunk stories; one scene in thermal vision even recalls Barker's little-seen short film The Forbidden. There's also a hint of Shinya Tsukamoto's Tetsuo: The Iron Man, though it's shorn of the technological madness and kinetic stuff--this transgression is luridly organic. Maybe Tetsuo by way of Gaspar Noe, with occasional outbursts of hysterical excess straight out of Andrzej Zulawski (Possession). The film also has some moist, mucus-rich makeup effects that wouldn't be out of place in a Brian Yuzna movie (Society, From Beyond). This paragraph is either a warning or a recommendation--if you want blood, you got it. There's a man with a demonic smile (Noe Hernandez) who lives in an abandoned building. He gets high on homemade gasoline and gets off on solitude. A boy (Diego Gamaliel) and a girl (Maria Evoli), siblings, enter his building. They're desperately in search of food and shelter. The man lets them stay as long as they help him construct a claustrophobic landscape within the building. Think of something like a cave and a uterus complete with a pseudo birth canal; a psychoanalytic hellscape where the id can thrive. All the while, the man tries to coerce the boy and the girl to break social, sexual, and interpersonal taboos. Minter builds up dread through whispers and shouts as he mounts transgressions upon each other. There's incest, rape, murder, cannibalism, on-camera sex, and necrophilia, and even now I can't say what it all adds up to. We Are the Flesh may not add up to anything, to be honest. Even though Hernandez and Evoli give the film their all--Evoli in particular goes for psychotic broke--the movie may just be images and noise with the intent to shock. I think there's a political allegory about Mexico and poverty, that a lack of means reduces us to some base state of nature in which social mores no longer matter. But it's a bit of a guess. It might be a stretch. Sometimes extreme cinema is just extreme cinema, but I can't help but sense something more meaningful behind all of this given how repulsed yet affected I felt. When someone lets out a blood-curdling scream, there has to be a reason, right? Maybe? Or was it just the desire to scream? This struggle for meaning is probably an intentional provocation from Minter. When confronted with something shocking, I usually feel challenged to interpret it. Yet Minter evades overt meaning making. There seems to be 10 minutes missing from the final act of the 80-minute film. Several events take place off camera unexplained, and it leads to total narrative disorientation. We Are the Flesh was a feverish nightmare already, and then that skimpy dream logic breaks down completely. No order, not for this this movie. What Minter provides is a sustained sense of unease, however. That feeling remained with me even after a less than satisfying conclusion. Even if We Are the Flesh only prompts exasperation and disgust, it's such a strange trip into the abyss I want to send others down there into the dark who are willing. Minter, like or hate it, is a Mexican filmmaker to watch. I'm reminded of something Clive Barker said about movies once (paraphrased): I want to feel something, even if it's just disgust; better that than thinking, okay, let's go for a pizza. After We Are the Flesh, pizza was the last thing I wanted.
Review: We Are the Flesh photo
The ecstasy of pure id
Reviewing We Are the Flesh from writer/director Emiliano Rocha Minter is tricky. On the one hand, it's a deeply flawed film aimed at a limited audience. It's transgressive in the extreme, sexually explicit bordering on pornog...

Uncharted movie photo
Uncharted movie

Joe Carnahan has finished Uncharted script, movie may finally get made, honest

Shawn Levy is still on board to direct
Jan 09
// Hubert Vigilla
Sony has been trying and trying and trying to make an Uncharted movie for years. Now in 2017, they may actually start making the movie. Finally. Really. Well, maybe. We'll see if Shawn Levy sticks around to direct. Joe Carnahan has finished the screenplay for the film, and he posted about it on his Instagram account:
Home Alone with Blood photo
Home Alone with Blood

Home Alone with Blood adds gore, turns Kevin into a heartless killing machine

Keep the change, ya filthy animal
Jan 09
// Hubert Vigilla
We know that in real life Home Alone's booby traps would be a hyperviolent collection of severe bodily trauma. A full paint can to the noggin is not so pleasant. In fact, it's some straight-up horror movie stuff. That's the c...

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