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Matthew Razak

Jason Bourne photo
Bond vs. Bourne again
The Bourne franchise was supposed to be going its own merry way without Matt Damon, but after The Bourne Legacy failed to be a mega hit the actor was lured back to the character to help the universe out again. The first ...

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Awwwww

Red Ban trailer for Keanu brings us Key and Peele and kitten


Greatest movie name since Die Harder
Jan 21
// Matthew Razak
Parody movies come in all shapes and sizes, but most of us think of something like Scary Movie when we think of them.Those can be funny, but truly great parody comes from creating something original that riffs on tropes...
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First concept art for Justice League movie appears


Not my Flash
Jan 19
// Matthew Razak
You best be ready for a true onslaught of DC movie stuff. After Batman v. Superman lands we'll be getting Marvel levels of DC comic book movies and the campaign really kicks off now. Ahead of tonight's TV special is goin...
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Screenings

See The 5th Wave early and free


Washington DC and Norfolk
Jan 19
// Matthew Razak
Ready for some low-grade January destruction movie stylings? Early every year we get a slew of these types of movies and sometimes they can be really fun. The 5th Wave could be fun. It definitely has some interesting sla...

Review: 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Jan 15 // Matthew Razak
13 Hours: The Secret Solidiers of BenghaziDirector: Michael BayRated: RRelease Date: January 15, 2016 [embed]220292:42774:0[/embed] For anyone running into 13 Hours hoping for some sort of political charged hit piece (on either side of the aisle) you'll be heavily disappointed. This movie is all Michael Bay and no Michael Moore. While there are a few snide remarks here and there, the movie is surprisingly apolitical, choosing to instead focus on the action-packed adventures of six CIA military contractors who protect a secret CIA base after the attack on the US "embassy" in Benghazi. Of course, if you go into the film believing in a certain narrative of what took place that night this movie is going to do nothing, but reaffirm your beliefs. It is stuffed full of Bay's die hard patriotism and love of people shooting things to solve problems.  The movie focuses on Jack Silva (John Krasinski) as he arrives in Benghazi just before the attacks on the embassy. He's introduced to the job by the team's lead Tyrone 'Rone' Woods (James Badge Dale) and then everything starts to catch on fire. The rest of the movie is a beefed up version on what may or may not have happened that night in Benghazi. While the film opens station that this is a true story it is very clearly Michael Bay's version of a true story. What does that mean? Prolific gun fights and plenty of explosions that may or may not have actually occurred. Block long drives, that were most likely very tense at the time, are turned into all out car chases. Bodies are mowed down left and right as bullets rip through them. A bus explodes in grandiose fashion. Men all have six packs and women -- sorry, make that woman -- are all gorgeous. It's pure Bay or it would be if it wasn't about an actual attack and incredibly politically charged. What's horribly annoying is this is probably Michael Bay's most competently made action film in quite some time. Despite it running longer than it needs to, Bay actually pieces together his action sequences with some understanding of the basic of film editing and pulls off an impressively decent pace for the film. The characters, while trite at times, are all given surprising emotional depth and handled with even more surprising care. As Pain & Gain showed us, when Bay wants to actually focus on something other than women's legs and explosions the results can actually be interesting.  However, it is nearly impossible to separate this film from the "true story" it is telling. The producers definitely didn't want to as they kept the horrendous subtitle attached to 13 Hours for all the promotion. In the case of saying something the movie fails again and again. It's blind belief in the heroism of the American soldier and inability to get out of its own cookie cutter cliches lead it from something that could offer some actual commentary into a simple, though emotional, action flick. Ignoring the politics of the subject matter might be both the worst and best thing the movie does, simultaneously making it work and fail at the exact same time. It can probably be best summed up by a point near the movies end after a truly tense 30 minutes of film one of the characters turns to the encampments translator and deadpans, "Your country's gotta figure this shit out." It's deep thoughts like that that rip away at the good parts of the film. Krasinki is probably the highlight and a brilliant bit of casting. His affable nature imbues Jack Silva with a humanity that defies the stereotypical tough-guy stuff. His performance adding layers to the normal bravado we get from patriotic cinema, and in turn pulling out more from the actors around him. It can't truly elevate the film above what it is, but damned if he doesn't try. Despite all the pretense and marketing and "true storying" 13 Hours turns out to be just a decent Michael Bay film made worse by its connection to a political scandal it seems to want nothing to do with. It turns out you can't have it both ways. Either you're making a movie about Benghazi or you're not. Bay tried so hard not to it ironically overwhelms everything else. 
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Not so secret
(Editor's Note: This review was written before the knowledge that there was a 10 Cloverfield Lane trailer before the movie. Press did not get to see that trailer. If I had the film would have gotten a 10/10 off of the wa...

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Yea, that's pretty much perfect
If you were ever a child at some point the illustrations from the book Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark haunted your dreams. If you're an adult now they probably still do. The series of books collected some pretty solid...

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See Kung Fu Panda 3 early and free


Washington DC, Baltimore and Norfolk
Jan 14
// Matthew Razak
Has the shine worn off the Kung Fu Panda franchise yet? It's a long time between these sequels and I've just gotten less and less enthused about the series, but both 1 and 2 were enjoyable so maybe three will w...
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Industry

Legendary is bought by China's Wanda for $3.5 billion


Prepare for a lot more China in movies
Jan 12
// Matthew Razak
It's a good time to be Legendary Entertainment. The studio is known for its genre films that started out small, but eventually led to things like the Dark Knight trilogy and Godzilla, but thanks to a spate of wise invest...
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House of Cards

House of Cards trailer makes me want to watch


So this show is good, huh?
Jan 11
// Matthew Razak
Please don't kill me, but I haven't watched a single episode of House of Cards. It's not that I don't want to, it's just that I haven't. Yes, I've probably been watching a bunch of other shows that aren't as good, and I keep ...

The Golden Globes have their winners

Jan 11 // Matthew Razak
Best Motion Picture – Drama“The Revenant” (WINNER)“Carol”“Mad Max: Fury Road”“Room”“Spotlight” Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical“The Martian” (WINNER)“The Big Short”“Joy”“Spy”“Trainwreck” Best TV Series – Drama “Mr. Robot” (WINNER)“Empire”“Game of Thrones”“Narcos”“Outlander” Best TV Series – Comedy“Mozart in the Jungle” (WINNER)“Casual”“Orange Is the New Black”“Silicon Valley”“Transparent”“Veep” Best Animated Feature Film“Inside Out” (WINNER)“Anomalisa”“The Good Dinosaur”“The Peanuts Movie”“Shaun the Sheep Movie” Best TV Movie or Limited-Series“Wolf Hall” (WINNER)“American Crime”“American Horror Story: Hotel”“Fargo”“Flesh and Bone” Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language “Son of Saul” (WINNER)“The Brand New Testament”“The Club”“The Fencer”“Mustang” Best Director – Motion PictureAlejandro G. Iñárritu (“The Revenant”) (WINNER)Todd Haynes (“Carol”)Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”)George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road”)Ridley Scott (“The Martian”) Best Screenplay – Motion PictureAaron Sorkin (“Steve Jobs”) (WINNER)Emma Donoghue (“Room”)Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer (“Spotlight”)Charles Randolph, Adam McKay (“The Big Short”)Quentin Tarantino (“The Hateful Eight”) Best Actress in a Motion Picture – DramaBrie Larson (“Room”) (WINNER)Cate Blanchett (“Carol”)Rooney Mara (“Carol”)Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”)Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”) Best Actor in a Motion Picture – DramaLeonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”) (WINNER)Bryan Cranston (“Trumbo”)Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”)Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl”)Will Smith (“Concussion”) Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy Jennifer Lawrence (“Joy”) (WINNER)Melissa McCarthy (“Spy”)Amy Schumer (“Trainwreck”)Maggie Smith (“The Lady in the Van”)Lily Tomlin (“Grandma”) Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or MusicalMatt Damon (“The Martian”) (WINNER)Christian Bale (“The Big Short”)Steve Carell (“The Big Short”)Al Pacino (“Danny Collins”)Mark Ruffalo (“Infinitely Polar Bear”) Best Supporting Actor in a Motion PictureSylvester Stallone (“Creed”) (WINNER)Paul Dano (“Love & Mercy”)Idris Elba (“Beasts of No Nation”)Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”)Michael Shannon (“99 Homes”) Best Actress in a TV Series – Drama Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”) (WINNER)Caitriona Balfe (“Outlander”)Viola Davis (“How to Get Away With Murder”)Eva Green (“Penny Dreadful”)Robin Wright (“House of Cards”) Best Actor in a TV Series – DramaJon Hamm (“Mad Men”) (WINNER)Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”)Wagner Moura (“Narcos”)Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”)Liev Schreiber (“Ray Donovan”) Best Actor in a TV Series – Comedy Gael Garcia Bernal (“Mozart in the Jungle”) (WINNER)Aziz Ansari (“Master of None”)Rob Lowe (“The Grinder”)Patrick Stewart (“Blunt Talk”)Jeffrey Tambor (“Transparent”) Best Actress in a TV Series – ComedyRachel Bloom (“Crazy Ex Girlfriend”) (WINNER)Jamie Lee Curtis (“Scream Queens”)Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”)Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”)Lily Tomlin (“Grace & Frankie”) Best Supporting Actress in a Motion PictureKate Winslet (“Steve Jobs”) (WINNER)Jane Fonda (“Youth”)Jennifer Jason Leigh (“The Hateful Eight”)Helen Mirren (“Trumbo”)Alicia Vikander (“Ex Machina”) Best Actress in a Limited-Series or TV MovieLady Gaga (“American Horror Story: Hotel”) (WINNER)Kirsten Dunst (“Fargo”)Sarah Hay (“Flesh & Bone”)Felicity Huffman (“American Crime”)Queen Latifah (“Bessie”) Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited-Series, or TV MovieMaura Tierney (“The Affair”) (WINNER)Uzo Aduba (“Orange is the New Black”)Joanne Froggatt (“Downton Abbey”)Regina King (“American Crime”)Judith Light (“Transparent”) Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited-Series or TV MovieChristian Slater (“Mr. Robot”) (WINNER)Alan Cumming (“The Good Wife”)Damian Lewis (“Wolf Hall”)Ben Mendelsohn (“Bloodline”)Tobias Menzies (“Outlander”) Best Actor in a Limited-Series or TV MovieOscar Isaac (“Show Me a Hero”) (WINNER)Idris Elba (“Luther”)David Oyelowo (“Nightingale”)Mark Rylance (“Wolf Hall”)Patrick Wilson (“Fargo”) Best Original ScoreEnnio Morricone (“The Hateful Eight”) (WINNER)Carter Burwell (“Carol”)Alexandre Desplat (“The Danish Girl”)Daniel Pemberton (“Steve Jobs”)Ryuichi Sakamoto Alva Noto (“The Revenant”) Best Original Song“Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre” (WINNER)“Love Me Like You Do” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”“One Kind of Love” from “Love & Mercy”“See You Again” from “Furious 7”“Simple Song No. 3” from “Youth”  
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Rocky! Rocky! Rocky!
The Hollywood Foreign Press is a strange group that really shouldn't have the second biggest award show around, but through marketing and a willingness to get famous people drunk they do. And so we once again bring you the wi...

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Screenings

See 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi early and free


Washington DC screening
Jan 08
// Matthew Razak
Michael Bay has gotten into the habit of doing "smaller" films while he isn't making progressively worse Transformers movies. The last one was the surprisingly adept Pain & Gain and now he's returning the "true ...
Transformers photo
Transformers

Michael Bay confirms he is back for Transformers 5


Rumors of 50 dump trucks full of money
Jan 05
// Matthew Razak
Michael Bay has made progressively worse Transfomers  movies since the original film was released and they have made progressively more money. Despite the fact that he's constantly talking about leaving the franchise he ...
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Screenings

See The Revenant early and free


Washington DC and Baltimore
Jan 04
// Matthew Razak
Most people this year were probably excited for The Hateful 8 to land, but if you've been paying attention The Revenant is really the western you want to see. It's a bold, artistic landmark of a film according to us...

Review: Sisters

Dec 18 // Matthew Razak
[embed]220235:42741:0[/embed] SistersDirector: Jason MooreRated: RRelease Date: December 18, 2015  Sisters is about Tina Fey and Amy Poehler playing sisters Maura and Kate Ellis. Maura is the goody-two-shoes and Kate is the partying train wreck and despite the fact that they clearly didn't do anything together as children they grew up the best of friends. But now their parents are going to sell their childhood home and so the two decide to throw one last "Ellis Island" party recapture their youth and get Maura a new man.  The comedy revolves around the somewhat tired trope of old people doing young people things. Because of this the movie really only survives on the strength of its two leading stars. As is par for the course Poehler and Fey turn it performances and chemistry that elevate the quality of the entire film. A lot of the jokes would just be flat out bad if you they weren't the ones delivering them, and the fact that they clearly act like sisters in real life makes it all the more fun to watch them joke around on screen. There's nothing special about the comedy here, but they make it work. The rest of the film is kind of perfunctory at best. The usual cast of SNL alum march out to deliver whatever comedy they've been assigned and most of the movie is taken up by the big party, during which a ludicrous amount of things go on. This includes the destruction and complete drywalling of an attic ceiling as if it was a ten minute project. I can suspend disbelief for most things, but as someone who has put up drywall this is just completely unbelievable. Thankfully it was followed up by a pretty hilarious scene where Ike Barinhotz gets a ballerina music box stuck where the sun don't shine. It's this really weird balance of Fey and Poehler's honest comedy and the far out slapstick that makes Sisters feel entirely unbalanced. At one point you're enjoying it thanks to the cast and at the next you're wondering how you accidentally started watching Grown Ups 2. That's not entirely fair. One shouldn't just throw around an insult like that. I went to far and I apologize. The point being that Sisters is a movie with some jokes that work and some jokes that don't. It features funny comedians who can take tepid content and turn it into something decent to good. You will laugh and you might even at some point feel something, despite the movie's insipid ending.  To conclude: this is a movie that is not Star Wars and there really isn't much more to say. 
Sisters Review photo
Movies that aren't Star Wars
For some reason someone out there thought that releasing a film the same week as Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a good idea. You can kind of see the logic in releasing Sisters this week, I suppose. The studio is h...

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Ghostbusters

Four new Ghostbusters photos accompany first official image


No beams crossed yet
Dec 17
// Matthew Razak
The new, all-female Ghostbusters is coming and it is probably going to fantastic considering the cast is awesome and Paul Feig is directing. However, we haven't had any official looks outside of a few social media posts....
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Gods of Egypt

New trailer for Gods of Egypt has sand


White people
Dec 17
// Matthew Razak
Two years ago I made an early call that The Legend of Hercules would be the worst film of that year. I was right. Now, I'm going to make an even earlier call: Gods of Egypt will be the worst film of 2016. After...

Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Dec 16 // Matthew Razak
[embed]220217:42739:0[/embed] Star Wars: The Force AwakensDirector: J.J. AbramsRated: PG-13Release Date: December 16, 2015 After the conclusion of Return of the Jedi Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) has disappeared and no one knows where to find him (Sidenote: In the meta world of J.J. Abrams this plays right into Hamill's absence from all advertising). In his absence the dark side has begun to establish itself once again in the form of The First Order, which is basically the Empire reconstituted. They are led by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), a Sith lord in training and pupil of the Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). Meanwhile the Resistance, commanded by General Leia (Carrie Fisher), is fighting back with the support of the Republic behind it. More importantly, though, on a small desert planet a map to Luke Skywalker ends up inside a droid called BB-8, who is subsequently found by a scavenger named Rey (Daisey Ridely). She is joined by a fleeing storm trooper named Finn (John Boyega) and a few other familiar faces as they try to get the map to the Resistance.  An adorable droid with a secret message found on a desert planet. A group of rag-tag rebels fighting against a militaristic empire. A dark lord in a black helmet. A young hero drawn into the fight through chance. Sound familiar? It should. You can simply pop in A New Hope and you'll have most of the plot for this one.  Much like J.J. Abrams did with Star Trek: Into Darkness he has taken a beloved movie and remade it for the fans. Almost everything is a throwback to the original movies, and only the original movies. It's very obvious that Abrams does not want anyone even remotely thinking about Episodes I-III. As such this is a giant film of fan service from throw away lines to cameos to plot to visuals. If it's a memorable moment from Episodes IV-VI it's probably somewhere in this movie. Whether you consider that a good thing or not is up to you, for this fan it was awesome, despite some concern that we're just seeing a bit of misguided fan placation like Into Darkness. Last week Lucas let slip his opinion of the film and he said that the fans would love it. It's easy to see why that's his opinion. The movie doesn't really break new ground, which is probably its most disappointing aspect. It definitely has plenty of twists and surprises for fans, but this isn't really a universe expanding premise. It feels more like a reset. The Force Awakens is the palette cleanser that's wrapping up everything with its nods to the old guard and its introduction to the new. Hopefully, it's the new that's going to stick around. The best part of the film are our two new heroes and villain, Rey, Finn and Kylo Ren, respectively. While old faces showing up is fun and all, it's these three newcomers who breath life into the movie. It's these characters that change the movie from a bunch of fan service into something genuine and good -- something that feels like Star Wars. They are us on screen: awed by the legends they're walking with, cowed by the power they have, and establishing a new struggle between dark and light. If these are the characters we'll be joining on this new journey then we're in good hands. With Abrams sticking around we'll be in good directing hands as well. To start, someone talked with him about lens flares and despite all the opportunities that lightsabers offer for such an effect he is impressively restrained with their use. This applies to his entire style for the film, which feels closer to the gritty-ness of the original trilogy than the high gloss of the second set. You'll also be happy to hear that Lucas' stilted dialog and wooden characters are gone. The screenplay is charming and witty and without any Jar Jar Binks type antics. While the plot relies on what can only be described as a Death-Star-sized McGuffin in a space opera such as this that's exactly how it should be. Abrams also isn't going to pull any punches. He's got this franchise in his hands and it's very clear from this movie that he's going to do whatever he wants with it. Thankfully what he wants to do is make you love it again.  That is probably most evident in the fact that actual star wars occur in this Star Wars. The action is superb and creates that sense of wonder you felt watching the original trilogy's outerspace dog fights. It makes you think back to the awe you felt watching the final attack on the Death Star in A New Hope. Part of that might be the fact that much of the direction steals directly from that film, but if you're going to "pay homage" might as well go all out. It's also ironic that it's the old school special effects (actual droids, no CGI when not needed) that make the film look even better. This franchise got its legs thanks to its advanced real-world special effects, and it's finding them again by going back to them. All this said, The Force Awakens is definitely only the beginning of something, and it can feel like that. There is a lot of necessary exposition that takes place to catch folks up. Abrams does his best to make you miss it, but it starts to stand out by the end. The film is also carrying the duty of establishing a new universe after Disney wiped the entire expanded universe from canon. They're doing a lot in this one film and it can make the movie feel a little heavy handed. Then again subtlety was never the franchise's strong point. This is the beginning of something, however. It's a farewell to the old guard and a welcome to the new. As such it's hard to begrudge the film its plethora of callbacks, repeated plot line and heavy exposition. These things are necessary to pull off what is needed in order to make new Star Wars movies that can stand on their own and don't alienate the fans, who already got burned once. This is a movie that honors what came, but leads into what is to come. Hopefully, when Episode VIII rolls around it can truly be its own thing.
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This is the Star Wars you're looking for
Sixteen years ago Star Wars returned, but it wasn't the return we were all hoping for. It was the return George Lucas wanted, which turned out to be not so good. Fans had constructed decades worth of universe and build up in ...

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Screenings

See Concussion early and free


Washington DC, Baltimore and Norfolk
Dec 15
// Matthew Razak
I'm not sure why, but Will Smith's performance in Concussion is flying a bit under the radar. Yes, he's getting nominations, but no one is considering him a contender and they really should be. Don't believe me? Check ou...
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Mad Max

Black and white Mad Max: Fury Road may get theatrical release


Shiny and chrome
Dec 14
// Matthew Razak
Back when Mad Max: Fury Road first came out George Miller let it drop that his original intention was to film the movie in black and white, and we might all see a black and white cut on the Blu-ray. That never happened, ...
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Screenings

See Daddy's Home early and free


Washington DC screening
Dec 10
// Matthew Razak
A little while ago Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferell made a fantastic comedy called The Other Guys. I think we were all looking forward to them teaming up again, but I don't know if Daddy's Home is the movie we were hoping for. W...

The Golden Globe Awards have their nominees

Dec 10 // Matthew Razak
Motion picture, drama "Carol""Mad Max: Fury Road" "The Revenant" "Room" "Spotlight"  Motion picture, comedy "The Big Short""Joy""The Martian" "Spy" "Trainwreck"  Actress in a motion picture, drama Cate Blanchett, "Carol" Brie Larson, "Room" Rooney Mara, "Carol" Saoirse Ronan, "Brooklyn" Alicia Vikander, "The Danish Girl" Actress in a motion picture, comedy Jennifer Lawrence, "Joy" Melissa McCarthy, "Spy"Amy Schumer, "Trainwreck"Maggie Smith, "The Lady in the Van"Lily Tomlin, "Grandma" Actor in a motion picture, drama Bryan Cranston, "Trumbo" Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Revenant"Michael Fassbender, "Steve Jobs"Eddie Redmayne, "The Danish Girl" Will Smith, "Concussion" Actor in a motion picture, comedy Christian Bale, "The Big Short"Steve Carell, "The Big Short"Matt Damon, "The Martian"Al Pacino, "Danny Collins"Mark Ruffalo, "Infinitely Polar Bear" TV series, drama "Empire""Game of Thrones""Mr. Robot""Narcos""Outlander" TV series, comedy "Casual""Mozart in the Jungle""Orange Is the New Black""Silicon Valley""Transparent""Veep" Actress in a TV series, comedy Rachel Bloom, "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"Jamie Lee Curtis, "Scream Queens"Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"Gina Rodriguez, "Jane the Virgin"Lily Tomlin, "Grace and Frankie" Actress in a TV series, drama Caitriona Balfe, "Outlander"Viola Davis, "How to Get Away with Murder"Eva Green, "Penny DreadfulTaraji P. Henson, "Empire"Robin Wright, "House of Cards" Actor in a TV series, drama Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"Rami Malek, "Mr. Robot"Wagner Moura, "Narcos"Bob Odenkirk, "Better Call Saul"Liev Schreiber, "Ray Donovan" Actor in a TV series, comedy Aziz Ansari, "Master of None"Gael García Bernal, "Mozart in the Jungle"Rob Lowe, "The Grinder"Patrick Stewart, "Blunt Talk"Jeffrey Tambor, "Transparent"  Actress in a supporting role in a motion picture  Jane Fonda, "Youth"Jennifer Jason Leigh, "The Hateful Eight"Helen Mirren, "Trumbo"Alicia Vikander, "Ex Machina"Kate Winslet, "Steve Jobs" Actor in a supporting role in a motion picture  Paul Dano, "Love & Mercy"Idris Elba, "Beasts of No Nation"Mark Rylance, "Bridge of Spies" | Review | Q&AMichael Shannon, "99 Homes"Sylvester Stallone, "Creed" TV movie or miniseries "American Crime""American Horror Story: Hotel""Fargo""Flesh and Bone""Wolf Hall" Actress in a TV movie or limited series Kirsten Dunst, "Fargo"Queen Latifah, "Bessie"Felicity Huffman, "American Crime"Sarah Hay, "Flesh and Bone"Lady Gaga, "American Horror Story: Hotel" Actor in a TV movie or limited series Oscar Isaac, "Show Me a Hero"Patrick Wilson, "Fargo"Idris Elba, "Luther"David Oyelowo, "Nightingale"Mark Rylance, "Wolf Hall" Supporting actor in a TV series, limited series or TV movie Alan Cumming, "The Good Wife"Damian Lewis, "Wolf Hall"Ben Mendelsohn, "Bloodline"Tobias Menzies, "Outlander"Christian Slater, "Mr. Robot" Supporting actress in a TV series, limited series or TV movie Uzo Aduba, "Orange Is the New Black"Joanne Froggatt, "Downton Abbey"Regina King, "American Crime"Judith Light, "Transparent"Maura Tierney, "The Affair" Animated feature film "Anomalisa""The Good Dinosaur""Inside Out""The Peanuts Movie""Shaun the Sheep Movie" Director Todd Haynes, "Carol"Alejandro G. Iñárritu, "The Revenant"Tom Mccarthy, "Spotlight"George Miller, "Mad Max: Fury Road"Ridley Scott, "The Martian" Screenplay Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, "Spotlight"Aaron Sorkin, "Steve Jobs"Quentin Tarantino, "The Hateful Eight"Emma Donoghue, "Room"Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, "The Big Short" Original song "Love Me Like You Do" ("50 Shades of Grey")“One Kind of Love” ("Love and Mercy")"See You Again" ("Furious 7")"Simple Song #3" ("Youth")"Writing's on the Wall" ("Spectre") Foreign language film "The Brand New Testament" (Belgium/France/Luxembourg)"The Club" (Chile)"The Fencer" (Finland/Germany/Estonia)"Mustang" (France)"Son Of Saul" (Hungary) Score Carter Burwell, "Carol"Alexandre Desplat, "The Danish Girl"Ennio Morricone, "The Hateful EightDaniel Pemberton, "Steve Jobs"Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto, "The Revenant"   Motion picture, drama "Carol" | Review"Mad Max: Fury Road" | Review"The Revenant" "Room" | Review"Spotlight" | Review Motion picture, comedy "The Big Short""Joy""The Martian" | Review"Spy" | Review"Trainwreck" | Review Actress in a motion picture, drama Cate Blanchett, "Carol" | InterviewBrie Larson, "Room" | Video Q&ARooney Mara, "Carol" | InterviewSaoirse Ronan, "Brooklyn" | Video Q&AAlicia Vikander, "The Danish Girl"| Video Q&A | Interview Actress in a motion picture, comedy Jennifer Lawrence, "Joy" Melissa McCarthy, "Spy"Amy Schumer, "Trainwreck"Maggie Smith, "The Lady in the Van"Lily Tomlin, "Grandma" Actor in a motion picture, drama Bryan Cranston, "Trumbo" | ReviewLeonardo DiCaprio, "The Revenant"Michael Fassbender, "Steve Jobs" | Review | InterviewEddie Redmayne, "The Danish Girl" | Review | InterviewWill Smith, "Concussion" Actor in a motion picture, comedy Christian Bale, "The Big Short"Steve Carell, "The Big Short"Matt Damon, "The Martian"Al Pacino, "Danny Collins"Mark Ruffalo, "Infinitely Polar Bear" TV series, drama "Empire""Game of Thrones""Mr. Robot""Narcos""Outlander" TV series, comedy "Casual""Mozart in the Jungle""Orange Is the New Black""Silicon Valley""Transparent""Veep" Actress in a TV series, comedy Rachel Bloom, "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"Jamie Lee Curtis, "Scream Queens"Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"Gina Rodriguez, "Jane the Virgin"Lily Tomlin, "Grace and Frankie" Actress in a TV series, drama Caitriona Balfe, "Outlander"Viola Davis, "How to Get Away with Murder"Eva Green, "Penny DreadfulTaraji P. Henson, "Empire"Robin Wright, "House of Cards" Actor in a TV series, drama Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"Rami Malek, "Mr. Robot"Wagner Moura, "Narcos"Bob Odenkirk, "Better Call Saul"Liev Schreiber, "Ray Donovan" Actor in a TV series, comedy Aziz Ansari, "Master of None"Gael García Bernal, "Mozart in the Jungle"Rob Lowe, "The Grinder"Patrick Stewart, "Blunt Talk"Jeffrey Tambor, "Transparent"  Actress in a supporting role in a motion picture  Jane Fonda, "Youth"Jennifer Jason Leigh, "The Hateful Eight"Helen Mirren, "Trumbo"Alicia Vikander, "Ex Machina"Kate Winslet, "Steve Jobs" Actor in a supporting role in a motion picture  Paul Dano, "Love & Mercy"Idris Elba, "Beasts of No Nation"Mark Rylance, "Bridge of Spies" | Review | Q&AMichael Shannon, "99 Homes"Sylvester Stallone, "Creed" TV movie or miniseries "American Crime""American Horror Story: Hotel""Fargo""Flesh and Bone""Wolf Hall" Actress in a TV movie or limited series Kirsten Dunst, "Fargo"Queen Latifah, "Bessie"Felicity Huffman, "American Crime"Sarah Hay, "Flesh and Bone"Lady Gaga, "American Horror Story: Hotel" Actor in a TV movie or limited series Oscar Isaac, "Show Me a Hero"Patrick Wilson, "Fargo"Idris Elba, "Luther"David Oyelowo, "Nightingale"Mark Rylance, "Wolf Hall" Supporting actor in a TV series, limited series or TV movie Alan Cumming, "The Good Wife"Damian Lewis, "Wolf Hall"Ben Mendelsohn, "Bloodline"Tobias Menzies, "Outlander"Christian Slater, "Mr. Robot" Supporting actress in a TV series, limited series or TV movie Uzo Aduba, "Orange Is the New Black"Joanne Froggatt, "Downton Abbey"Regina King, "American Crime"Judith Light, "Transparent"Maura Tierney, "The Affair" Animated feature film "Anomalisa""The Good Dinosaur""Inside Out""The Peanuts Movie""Shaun the Sheep Movie" Director Todd Haynes, "Carol"Alejandro G. Iñárritu, "The Revenant"Tom Mccarthy, "Spotlight"George Miller, "Mad Max: Fury Road"Ridley Scott, "The Martian" Screenplay Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, "Spotlight"Aaron Sorkin, "Steve Jobs"Quentin Tarantino, "The Hateful Eight"Emma Donoghue, "Room"Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, "The Big Short" Original song "Love Me Like You Do" ("50 Shades of Grey")“One Kind of Love” ("Love and Mercy")"See You Again" ("Furious 7")"Simple Song #3" ("Youth")"Writing's on the Wall" ("Spectre") Foreign language film "The Brand New Testament" (Belgium/France/Luxembourg)"The Club" (Chile)"The Fencer" (Finland/Germany/Estonia)"Mustang" (France)"Son Of Saul" (Hungary) Score Carter Burwell, "Carol"Alexandre Desplat, "The Danish Girl"Ennio Morricone, "The Hateful EightDaniel Pemberton, "Steve Jobs"Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto, "The Revenant"
Awards photo
Mad Max, FTW!
All year I've been wondering if the stuck-up world of award givers would actually recognize Mad Max: Fury Road as one of the best movies of the year or ignore it because "action." As the early critics awards have shown i...

Screenings photo
Screenings

See Alvin and the Chipmunks early and free


Washington DC and Baltimore
Dec 08
// Matthew Razak
Look, I've got these free passes to Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip here and you can have them if you want. You just have to click on the link below. Maybe you think your kids will enjoy the film or something. The...
Awards photo
Mad Max walks away with other top awards
Today the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association, of which I am a member, revealed its award winners for the past year. Spotlight was named the best picture, but George Miller pulled in the award for best director for Ma...

Screenings photo
Screenings

See Macbeth early and free


Washington DC screening
Dec 04
// Matthew Razak
Shakespeare. Being smart. Acting. You can experience these things by going to see Macbeth for free. Who wouldn't want to be smart and see acting? It's just an easy decision to make, especially when Justin Kurzel is direc...
BvS photo
You can basically skip the movie
The first Batman v. Superman trailer was fantastic. It raised a lot of tension, but kept the film's plot a mystery. It drove curiosity and interest. This new trailer for the film is the exact opposite. Revealing almost e...

Mission: Impossible photo
Mission: Impossible

Christopher McQuarrie confirms he's directing M:I 6


Jack and pot
Nov 30
// Matthew Razak
One of the bigger surprises in my movie going life is the resurgence of the Mission: Impossible franchise. I could have sworn to you that this thing was dead in the water after the fourth film, but it blazed back into ac...
FF photo
The first family comes in last
I'm not sure the comic movie world will ever forgive Fox for what they did to Fantastic Four, but despite being torn to pieces and making no money the film was going to get a sequel. It was scheduled to release on June 9, 201...

Lost in Space photo
Lost in Space

Netflix making a Lost in Space series


Pun about being found
Nov 23
// Matthew Razak
I've never quite gotten the love for Lost in Space. Aside from the greatest robot ever the series always felt bland when I caught it on reruns. Then again, I thought the film adaptation was actually kind of interesting so tak...
Parody photo
Parody

Fifty Shades of Black trailer actually plays parody well


The Wayans can get it right sometimes
Nov 19
// Matthew Razak
We have to thank the Wayans family. If it weren't for them the movie spoofing genre would have completely died with Leslie Nielsen. Now you may be thinking, "Matt, that would be a good thing," but believe it or not there some...
NSFW photo
NSFW

Dirty Grandpa red band full of a dirty grandpa


Cussing is evidently comedy
Nov 19
// Matthew Razak
I'm going to take a stab at this one and say that Dirty Grandpa isn't going to be very good. When the basis for most of your comedy is Robert DeNiro cussing you've got some work to do. The new red band trailer does show ...
Fast and Furious photo
#Family... but divided up
Cinematic universes are all the rage thanks to Marvel and their ability to print money with theirs. Universal has been desperate to get their own, but the best thing they have to offer is turning their classic monsters into s...

Dark Tower photo
Dark Tower

Matthew McConaughey up for villain role in The Dark Tower


The Man in Black is all right, all right
Nov 17
// Matthew Razak
If you said to me that Matthew McConaughey was going to star in The Dark Tower films being made I'd instantly think he'd be playing Roland, the Stephen King series's protagonist. However, Variety is reporting that he's b...
Screenings photo
Screenings

See The Night Before Early and free


Washington DC, Baltimore and Norfolk
Nov 16
// Matthew Razak
As far as Christmas comedies go we haven't had a good one in a while, but that could change with The Night Before. It's got the casts and the director to become an instant classic... for adults. Sometimes you need a little cu...

Review: The 33

Nov 13 // Matthew Razak
[embed]220135:42699:0[/embed] The 33Director: Patricia RiggenRated: PG-13Release Date: November 13, 2015 What is this story we're talking about? Back in 2010 33 Chilean miners got trapped when a very large chunk of rock collapsed the mine they were working in. Against all odds, and while the entire world watched, the 33 were eventually rescued. This is ostensibly their story of survival, but it's also the story of how they were rescued. It is a plot so full of happiness, wonder and cliche that if it weren't for the fact that it actually happened you'd be reading a review about how the film was too unbelievable.  To be sure The 33 probably plays it a little loose with events and characters. While the miners themselves, led by Mario Sepúlveda (Antonio Banderas) and Don Lucho (Lou Diamond Phillips), are treated pretty well their above ground counterparts get a lot of fluffing. Laurence Golborne (Rodrigo Santoro), Chile's minister of mining, gets a very flattering coat of paint with the casting of a ridiculously good looking actor and the insertion of hints of romance with one of the miner's sisters. Luckily the plot line never bores out, but it speaks to just how rote the film can be. The movie hits every survival plot point it can with the emotional gusto you expect, but nothing actually special. This is especially true in the latter half of the film. While the miners are struggling to survive and the rescuers are desperately drilling down to them the film is actually surprisingly tense. Riggen does a fantastic job of developing the 33 as people and a group. The stress of being trapped in the mine is reflected and paralleled with the desperate attempts to rescue the miners. A particularly good scene brings the miners into the realm of fantasy as they eat their last supper around a long wooden table. The heavy hints of what faith means to these men reflected in the visuals of the scene. Riggen may get a bit heavy handed with her visual metaphors for faith, but she plays them well. Unfortunately the moment the drill pierces the cave it all seems to get lost. The screenplay jumps from subtle character study, to obvious social commentary as the miners become international sensations and a miniature revolution starts to occur. The moment the focus is taken off the minors and put onto the rescue the film jumps into cliche and begins to hamper everything that was built in the first half. Riggens visuals fall away as the screenplay struggles to keep the miners relevant for the months they must wait for rescue. Once survival is not longer the driving factor it seems the movie doesn't know what to do with them. It definitely grinds the performances to a halt as well. Banderas is powerful as Mario in the first half of the movie, lacing a relentless force into his performance while Phillips plays behind him, worn and afraid. I was seriously leaning towards Oscar thoughts as I watched Banderas rally the miners in the key survival speech, but as his character devolves into the film's representation for the corruption of the outside world (before, of course, redeeming himself quickly) his performance suffers. We lose the connection to the miners as the plot opens up and in turn lose the connection to the performances. What's most tragic is that The 33 never confronts anything. At the end of the film text points out that the mining company was never punished and the miners never got an retribution from them. However, the movie never really addresses this situation it's so focused on being triumphant for its last half. It hits its dramatic points just fine, but never pushes to the next level where were allowed to talk about what happened. This movie should never need to be made, but instead of looking into that fact when it has the chance it instead revels in its glorious rescue. It's a great rescue story for sure, but The 33 could have been more. 
The 33 Review photo
How do you say 'meh' in Spanish?
You could mess up the story of The 33 I suppose. It would be hard, but not impossible. You could get over melodramatic, but you'd have to try hard because the story its based on is damn melodramatic. You could screw up t...

Screenings photo
Screenings

See Brooklyn early and free


Washington DC screening
Nov 13
// Matthew Razak
Brooklyn is getting a lot of buzz and could be a film you hear about once awards season really takes off. What's that mean? It means you should see it for free and then you'll be able to sound all movie smart with your friends when they wonder what that Brooklyn movie everyone is talking about is. Grab the passes below and you'll be all set to check it out. 
Fifty Shades photo
Will shoot back-to-back
Fifty Shades of Grey was a really bad movie that featured even worse behind the scenes trouble between the director, Sam Taylor-Johnson, and the book's author, Can't Write Well (possibly not her actual name). That meant ...

Rocky! Rocky! photo
Rocky! Rocky!

30 for 30 does Rocky IV


Ending the cold war one punch at a time
Nov 12
// Matthew Razak
A few week's ago College Humor brought us a parody of ESPN's 30 for 30 programming by creating a hilarious short on Angels in the Outfield. It worked and it worked well. It looks like they'll be continuing the series as ...
Flop photo
Flop

Jem and the Holograms made no money so now it's gone


Seriously, it made no money
Nov 10
// Matthew Razak
There are flops and then there are flops. Jem and the Holograms is the latter. It didn't just flop for Universal it broke records while doing it. The movie pulled in just $1.37 million its opening weekend, and could...
 photo

Enjoy the first trailer for Finding Dory


Memory lapses abound
Nov 10
// Matthew Razak
Finding Dory is finally here... in trailer form. Of all the hotly anticipated Pixar films (which is all of them) I'm most hotly anticipating this one. This first trailer gives us a little hint at the story, which finds D...
Screenings photo
Screenings

See Love the Coopers early and free


Washington DC screening
Nov 09
// Matthew Razak
Are you ready for Christmas cheer? What? Just because it's before Thanksgiving doesn't mean it's too early to start watching holiday movies. We're the Coopers is coming out this week! You can see it early by grabbing pas...

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