Movie Reviews - Page 4

‘Furious 7’ Review: One Last Ride, and It’s a Good One

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by Matt Singer April 3, 2015 @ 5:21 AM
Universal
Furious 7 almost certainly won’t be the last Fast & Furious movie. But at times it feels like a series finale. There are numerous callbacks and homages to the franchise’s entire 15-year history. The setpieces are bigger and crazier than ever; it’s hard to imagine anyone topping them. And before the chases really get rolling, the mood is often downright mournful. Two different scenes are set in graveyards, and characters talk about taking “one last ride” together.

‘Get Hard’ Review: Two Hilarious Actors, One Bad Movie

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by Britt Hayes March 27, 2015 @ 7:00 AM
Warner Bros.
Individually, Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart are undeniably hilarious guys. Bringing two major comedic forces together on the big screen just makes sense on both a commercial and entertainment level. Unfortunately, Get Hard largely squanders the talents of Ferrell and Hart on an outdated premise with tired jokes, delivering what essentially amounts to one overlong joke about the terrors of prison rape.

‘While We’re Young’ Review: Noah Baumbach’s Ben Stiller Comedy Has Mass Appeal

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by Mike Ryan March 25, 2015 @ 11:00 AM
A24
To date, the most successful movie that Noah Baumbach has been involved with grossed $530 million worldwide. This is an astounding and somewhat surprising figure until it’s revealed that the movie in question is ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ – a movie that Baumbach co-wrote with the writer of the other two 'Madagascar’ movies, Eric Darnell. As a director, Baumbach’s most successful movie to date is 2005’s ‘The Squid and the Whale,’ which grossed a little over $7 million domestically. This will all change when ‘While We’re Young’ – which premiered in Toronto and was the New York Film Festival’s Surprise Screening on Sunday evening – reaches theaters next year. Noah Baumbach has made a commercially viable film.

‘Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck’ Review: Documentary Exposes a Man Who Resented Exposure

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by Britt Hayes March 21, 2015 @ 3:48 PM
HBO
There are few mysteries more grim than that of a suicide, particularly of such a beloved and iconic celebrity. That death can blur the line between fandom and the entitled urge to know more about their private lives — as was and still is the case with Kurt Cobain, guitarist and frontman of prolific ‘90s grunge outfit Nirvana. Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck gives us unprecedented access to the mind and soul of someone who never took interviews seriously and resented his overnight rise to fame.

SXSW Review: ‘Raiders!’ - The Story Behind the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made

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by Matt Singer March 15, 2015 @ 7:16 PM
Courtesy of SXSW
Movies are often compared to dreams. If that’s true, then filmmakers are dreamers. When Eric Zala and Chris Strompolos were kids, they dreamed of making movies, so they spent most of their childhood summers in Mississippi making a shot-for shot remake of Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. The project eventually consumed seven years of their lives and nearly destroyed their friendship, but in the end, Zala and Strompolos completed their film, which they called Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation.

SXSW Review: ‘Ex Machina’

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by Matt Singer March 15, 2015 @ 1:59 PM
Universal
Ex Machina is Alex Garland’s first film as a director but it’s very simpatico with his screenplays for movies like 28 Days Later, Sunshine, and Dredd. As a writer, Garland likes to work in compact universes — an abandoned city, a spaceship headed to the sun, a gang-infested high-rise — where characters are trapped together and pitted against one another. In Ex Machina’s story of a brilliant technologist who creates artificial intelligence, he’s found a man who fashions himself as something of an inquisitive god, and there’s a bit of that notion in Garland’s work as well — he builds little petrie dishes of life, testing mankind’s resolve under extreme stress to see whether we crack under the pressure. His findings are usually not promising.

SXSW Review: ‘7 Days in Hell’

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by Matt Singer March 14, 2015 @ 7:00 PM
If comedy filmmakers weren’t already jealous of their television brethren, they will be after they watch HBO’s 7 Days in Hell, which uses the cable network’s permissive attitude toward adult material to tell envelope-pushing jokes that no mainstream movie could ever hope to get past the MPAA. 7 Days in Hell is funny enough to play in a multiplex (even if, at 50 minutes, it’s not quite feature length), but its hilariously vulgar jokes would definitely saddle it with a box-office poisoning NC-17 rating. On HBO, though, anything goes, and thank goodness because director Jake Syzmanski and writer Murray Miller were able to produce a mockumentary that giddilypulses with a sense of absolute freedom — freedom from content restrictions and freedom to experiment with weird strains of comedy that would never fly in a mainstream Hollywood film.

SXSW Review: ‘Unfriended’

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by Matt Singer March 14, 2015 @ 1:04 PM
Universal
Unfriended wants to do for social media what The Ring did for VHS tapes — take a piece of everyday technology and turn it into an object of uncommon terror. A bunch of teenagers on Skype have their group call interrupted by an intruder who claims to be a dead classmate who killed herself after she was cyberbullied. The entire movie takes place on a computer screen as one of the girls in the group, Blaire (Shelley Hennig), browses the Internet, checks her Facebook, and chats with her friends about the anonymous assailant who abuses and threatens them and then starts picking them off one-by-one. What follows becomes an original gloss on a very unoriginal subgenre. Its very clever and creepy merging of movie and technology is nearly ruined by a stale horror clichés.

‘Cinderella’ Review: This Old Fairy Tale Still Has Some Magic

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by Matt Singer March 12, 2015 @ 7:22 AM
Walt Disney Pictures
The name “Disney” brings to mind images of fair princesses, charming princes, magical fairy tales, and simple happily ever afters. In recent years, though, Disney has begun rethinking their classic properties, and releasing more thematically complex versions of their famous films. Sleeping Beauty became Maleficent, which turned a wicked witch into a sympathetic anti-hero; a whole mess of fairy tales turned into Into the Woods, where happily ever after preceded a whole bunch of death and tragedy. The ranks of Disney Princesses grew to include women like Merida, the bow-slinging heroine of Brave, and Anna and Else from Frozen, who rescued each other from an prince, rather than the other way around. Every value and concept that Disney had established and reinforced through decades of repetition was seemingly up for reconsideration and revision.

‘It Follows’ Review: How a Sexually Transmitted Ghost Helps Revive the Horror Genre

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by Britt Hayes March 11, 2015 @ 8:39 AM
Radius-TWC
The last few years in horror have felt rather stale, but hot on the heels of watching the terrifying and refreshing 'The Babadook' at Fantastic Fest comes 'It Follows,' the sophomore effort from writer/director David Robert Mitchell. Similar to the lo-fi tone of his debut film, 'The Myth of the American Sleepover,' the comparisons end there for Mitchell's follow-up, which smartly and horrifically explores the politics of young adult sexuality.