People really like The Angry Birds. The video game has been downloaded over three billion – yes, billion – times and is one of the most popular mobile apps ever. Why? I have no idea.
The Nice Guys opens with a shot of the Hollywood sign in 1977, dilapidated and covered with graffiti. While modern film nerds look back at that era as a kind of Golden Age, the Los Angeles of The Nice Guys is a place that has lost its luster. The town is swimming in smog and porn; it is literally and metaphorically dirty from top to bottom. The crumbling Hollywood sign is historically accurate, but it also makes a convenient symbol, not just of the place as it was, but as it still is — particularly at this time of year, when everything is based on something else and it sometimes feels like the studios are remaking movies that were just released a few weeks earlier.
When it opens on Friday, Money Monster will be the most preposterous film currently in theaters. No easy feat at a time when multiplexes also feature a superhero saga about a genius in a suit of flying armor fighting a man who spent 75 years frozen in an iceberg and an adaptation of a cartoon about a boy who can talk to bears and snakes.
In 2013, Spike Jonze delivered one of the most poignant and thoughtful meditations on the complexities of relationships and humanity with Her. Two years later and Yorgos Lanthimos has given us what is perhaps the most definitive relationship film in years with The Lobster, a movie that explores the full spectrum of relationships with impeccable wit, delightfully dark humor and insights so sharp they verge on deadly.
When Nightcrawler broke into the White House at the start of 2003’s X2, it felt like more than a watershed moment in the history of comic book movies; it felt like a miracle. Here was one of comics’ most fantastical characters — a blue-skinned, three-fingered German demon with a pointy, prehensile tail and teleportation powers — brought to life with all of his outlandish quirks and powers intact, showcased in a sequence that was thrilling and utterly convincing. It was something no one had ever seen before. It was truly uncanny.
When it comes to art, how far is too far? For Annie and Baxter Fang’s performance artist parents, there were no limits.
When Marvel Studios began ambitiously building towards the first Avengers movie, many openly wondered: how can they do this? Many times over the years, notably in Sam Raimi’s bloated Spider-Man 3, too many characters had clogged up the screen, diluting those films of any real focus. This was a legitimate concern for Marvel and for The Avengers, a movie that was going to star not one, but seven superheroes. Flash forward to 2016 and seven superheroes suddenly seems like an intimate gathering. Now Marvel has arrived with Captain America: Civil War, the latest in their progressively expanding franchise, with a lineup that includes 12 superheroes and three villains. Have we reached peak superhero? Is this finally, once and for all, just too much? NOPE.
There’s no silence quieter than the one in a movie theater during an bad comedy. At times during Mother’s Day, director Garry Marshall’s newest debasement of a beloved holiday, a hush fell over the theater to rival the quietude at a Benedictine monastery. When the laughter finally came, it’s always at the movie’s expense. This disaster is less deliberately funny than the last movie titled Mother’s Day, and that was a violent horror film.
Take the comedic talents of Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key, add an intensely adorable kitten, the musical stylings of George Michael, and a riff on John Wick, and you get Keanu — an action comedy that is mostly enjoyable, until it stretches its premise a little too thin and falls victim to the narrative demands of a feature-length film. Perhaps fittingly enough, Key and Peele’s first film outing is at its most lively when the titular kitten is on screen. Remove the kitten from the equation and you have a film that adheres a little too closely to the action flick formula it seeks to emulate, particularly during the lengthy third act.
What do you get when you cross ‘Death of a Salesman’ with ‘Eat Pray Love’? The latest Tom Hanks movie, a dramedy about a middle-aged sad white guy.