Swiss Army Man finds the heart of humanity in vulgarity

Every year, there’s one movie that touches me like few others ever have and no other film that year does. A film that induces a reaction that can only be called something close to religious ecstasy, a flashing neon sign from the heavens of why I do what I do and love what I love.

Once it was a romance between a man and his operating system, one of the most poignant meditations on love and isolation. Once it was a thrilling tale of rebellion and hope in a post-apocalyptic world gone mad.

This time, it’s a farting corpse (Daniel Radcliffe. That’s right, Harry Potter) saving a man, Hank (Paul Dano), stranded alone on an island.

I’m not fucking with you. Really.

Continue reading Swiss Army Man finds the heart of humanity in vulgarity

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Mid-Year Check-In or MAN THIS SUMMER SUCKS (MOSTLY)

Can I level with you folks? I love going to the movies in the summer like few other things do. The huge budgets, the spectacles, the stars, the sheer capitalistic excess of imagination that gets plastered across the multiplex every summer is why I do what I do.

Except this summer.

Summer 2016 seems to be one of the deadest in a long time, offering so little in the way of imagination, spectacle, or even fun. Just a lot of entertainment that ranks cynical at best and jaw-droppingly stupid at worst. I dread every major release, and even the ones I’m liking tend to arise pretty tepid reactions overall.

2016 is so far a year of small films, the little engines that could chugging along and bringing a certain verve, vibe, and life that makes me remember why I love going to the movies.

This fall is bringing a bit more big ticket excitement, but as we slog through the rest of this summer, let’s take a look back at the top 5 of the year so far and the 5 I’m most looking forward to.

LOOKING BACK

5) Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

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Pitch-perfect parody with commitment galore and an infectious spirit.

4) Green Room

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Sheer unrelenting tension with masterclass filmmaking skill.

3) High-Rise

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A dark heart wrapped in a dark exterior; Clever, brutal, and inducing a level of self-reflection that makes the mirror uncomfortable. 

2) Captain America: Civil War

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The apex of the shared-universe model creates a film that is exciting and emotional in way that only 8 years of history could make it. 

1) The Witch

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Like standing in the presence of sheer evil, a film that is terrifying and beautiful in every frame.

LOOKING FORWARD

5) Suicide Squad

While I won’t let myself get attached just yet, there’s a creativity and a life here sorely missing from its predecessor.

4) Kubo and the Two Strings

A proven track record melds with a distinctive style and an epic-seeming story.

3) Manchester by the Sea

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If this movie has half the emotional power the critics have mentioned and half the skill this cast can put on display, welcome to the Best Picture winner.

2) La La Land

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How could I not be in love with an old-school jazz musical by the Whiplash director starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone?

1) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

An expansion of the Star Wars universe in a way that Force Awakens wasn’t seems the unstoppable juggernaut of this year.

A Few Thoughts on: The Winds of Winter

SPOILERS…BUT SERIOUSLY…YOUR ASS NEEDS TO SEE THIS RIGHT. NOW.

THIS IS THE BEST SEASON OF GAME OF THRONES

I don’t see any reason to open this up any other way. I’ve been saying it and after last night, I’m ready to declare it. Season 6 is my personal favorite season of Game of Thrones, and honestly I think the best period.

Continue reading A Few Thoughts on: The Winds of Winter

What exactly is The Neon Demon?

There are two Nicolas Winding Refns, set apart by time and aesthetic concerns. The first is one of the most respectable (a loaded term when I complete this sentence, but hold with me) and clever directors of genre pictures. This Refn weds American B-picture crime and thriller delights with an eye that puts him in spitting distance of the great European art cinema directors.

The second is the “visionary director of Drive.” The title seemingly plunges the “visionary director of Drive” into all visual aesthetics and art cinema concerns that, thanks to Only God Forgives and now The Neon Demon, has Refn rightfully accused of disappearing up his own ass. It’s indulgent neon and pulsing electronic and long, langorous silence that creates films of space and style first and story maybe 800th.

Continue reading What exactly is The Neon Demon?

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