Matt Singer is the managing editor and film critic of the website ScreenCrush.com. For five years, he was the on-air host of IFC News on the Independent Film Channel, hosting coverage of film festivals and red carpets around the world. He’s been a frequent contributor to the television shows CBS This Morning Saturday and Ebert Presents At the Movies, and his writing has also appeared in print and online at The Village Voice, The Dissolve, and Indiewire.
Matt Singer Biography
Harrison Ford might be a superhero. This, according to Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams, who was on set for Ford’s unfortunate accident last year, when a hydraulic door broke his leg. (As Abrams’ describes it in the clip above, his ankle was at a, gulp, 90-degree angle to the rest of his body. Ew.) Thankfully, Ford was okay. Then he later got into a plane crash and was mostly okay after that too. Because, again, Harrison Ford is a superhero.
There are many ways to rank the works of Tom Cruise. One might consider the quality of his performance, the overall caliber of the production, or the skillfulness of the action sequences. Those are all valid measurements, but I prefer to judge them according to what really matters: the uncanny beauty of Tom Cruise’s hair.
Over the last several years, Relativity Media has produced and released some of Hollywood’s more adventurous genre films, including Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire, the Bradley Cooper brain-drug thriller Limitless, and the music melodrama Beyond the Lights. But they’ve yet to make an out-and-out blockbuster; per Box Office Mojo none of their 34 releases have ever broken $100 million in domestic grosses (2011’s Immortals came closest, with $83.5 million in the U.S.) and some of their flops have been extreme, like Machine Gun Preacher with Gerard Butler, which cost a reported $30 million and made less than $1 million domestically. Amidst mounting disappointments (and millions of dollars in unpaid loans) Relativity filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier today, and will sell its film and television operations at auction.
There has been much dispute lately regarding the matter of who, in the event of a ghost-related emergency, ya gonna call.
Netflix has come a long way from the company that used to send you little red envelopes in the mail. Their original programming slate is expanding exponentially; after making major inroads into television and documentaries, they’re now expanding their feature film division as well. Their ambitious slate of movies includes Beasts of No Nation, the new project from Cary Joji Fukunaga, the director of the first season of True Detective (but not, it should be noted, the second season).
All right, so Room has nothing to do with The Room. (Unfortunately.) It is not a remake of the camp classic, with the fabulous young actress Brie Larson in the Tommy Wiseau role (although I would pay all of the monies to see that on the big screen). Instead, it’s a new film from Lenny Abrahamson, the director of the recent indie hit Frank, about a woman (Larson) and her son (Jacob Tremblay) who’ve been imprisoned in a tiny underground cell for years, which they’ve dubbed “Room.”
Full disclosure: I missed the last 10 minutes of Vacation. Last night’s press screening started 20 minutes late, then began without any sound, which lead to a 10 minute delay to correct the technical difficulties. With an unbreakable engagement elsewhere, I had to sneak out right before the very last scene. So take this review with as many grains of salt as you’d like. If you think those final minutes might recontextualize everything that came before to transform a generally miserable comedy into a beacon of transcendent hilarity, so be it. Having sat through the previous 90 minutes, I’m of the opinion that nothing short of the long-lost missing footage from Orson Welles’ Magnificent Ambersons could have redeemed this dreadful film.
One of the cool things about Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation are its subtle nods to the first film in the franchise. Both movies begin with a cold open action sequence; both then immediately segue into very similar looking credits sequences (with Lalo Schifrin’s classic Mission: Impossible score). Then the hero of the film receives his top secret mission; first, he has a heavily coded conversation with a woman, who hands him a piece of analog recording technology that contains his briefing. The difference is that in the original Mission: Impossible from 1996, the analog device (a small video cassette) represents the cutting edge of entertainment technology. In Rogue Nation, that analog recording (a vinyl record) is now wildly archaic.
I’m currently working on an essay that considers Sandler as an artist and filmmaker. I don’t like Pixels (or Grown Ups [or Jack and Jill (or Just Go For It [or The Cobbler])]) but I have liked Adam Sandler movies in the past. My college dorm room VHS collection included Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore, and I was thrilled when he collaborated with Paul Thomas Anderson on Punch-Drunk Love. I think You Don’t Mess With the Zohan is an underrated movie (seriously; it’s funny and sweet). Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, I think he’s a talented guy with creative days ahead of him.
In an interview with VICE, Ahmed Best, best known as the man who appeared in three less-than-enthusiastically received Star Wars prequels as the less-than-beloved Jar Jar Binks, says that while he was the one who ended up winning the role, there was a far more famous superstar who really wanted to play everyone’s ninth-favorite Gungan. And that man was Michael Jackson.