‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Reviews: What the Critics Are Saying

‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Reviews: What the Critics Are Saying
Four years after his last solo film, the Norse god Thor returns to the big screen in “Thor: Ragnarok.” Currently sitting comfortably at 97% with 30 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, most critics agree that this lighter, less brooding take on the character and his mythos is far superior to the two previous entries in the Thor series and finally gives the character a personality.

That’s not to say the film’s perfect, however. While it’s been praised for its humor, a few critics pondered if there actually might be too many jokes in the action-packed romp.

Loosely borrowing from the Norse doomsday myth, “Thor: Ragnarok” finds the hero banished to a distant planet and forced to fight gladiator battles against his “friend from work,” the Hulk, essentially giving fans a “planet Hulk” movie despite Marvel repeatedly denying that fans would see the popular storyline in a film. At the same time, the thunder
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Jay-z Makes An Amazing ‘La La Land’/’Moonlight’ Oscar Fail Reference on Standout ‘4:44’ Track

Jay-z Makes An Amazing ‘La La Land’/’Moonlight’ Oscar Fail Reference on Standout ‘4:44’ Track
Jay-z is back in the music spotlight with the release of “4:44,” his thirteenth studio album that finds him more vulnerable than he’s ever been. Amongst tracks in which he talks about his martial strife with Beyonce and admits to womanizing, the Brooklyn rapper builds an entire song around the infamous “La La Land”/”Moonlight” Best Picture screw up that was the talk of the Oscars this year.

Read More: Jay-z and Mark Romanek Unveil ‘4:44’ Animated Video for ‘The Story of O.J.’

The eighth song on the 10-track album is called “Moonlight,” and it includes the hook: “We stuck in La La Land/ Even when we win, we gon’ lose/ We got the same fuckin’ flows/ I don’t know who is who.” Speaking with iHeart Radio following the album’s release, the rapper confirmed both the title and the hook was a reference to the infamous Best Picture gaffe.
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Wonder Woman’ Reviews: What the Critics Are Saying

‘Wonder Woman’ Reviews: What the Critics Are Saying
Audiences and critics alike rooted for Warner Bros.’ latest attempt with “Wonder Woman” to leverage DC’s properties to the lofty heights of Marvel, and it appears their goodwill was well-placed.

With an early score of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” is being praised for its more hopeful take on what could have been yet another gritty DC entry and its ability to finally provide a satisfying superhero for DC audiences. Variety‘s Andrew Barker described the film as “a welcome respite from DC’s house style of grim darkness — boisterous, earnest, sometimes sloppy, yet consistently entertaining — with star Gal Gadot proving an inspired choice for this avatar of truth, justice and the Amazonian way.”

The biggest complaint across the board is with regard to the ending of the film’s last act: typical of DC, the film goes too hard on the finale, resulting in a bloated,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

‘Baywatch’ Critical Roundup

‘Baywatch’ Critical Roundup
The reviews are in for “Baywatch,” which opens in theaters this Thursday, May 25. Seth Gordon’s feature film remake of the iconic ’90s series about a group of very hot lifeguards stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as devoted rescuer Mitch Buchannon (the role played by David Hasselhoff in the original series), who has a really hard time with a reckless new recruit named Matt Brody (Zac Efron). Priyanka Chopra co-stars as the villainous vixen, Victoria Leeds, Alexandra Daddario is Summer, Ilfenesh Hadera is Stephanie and Kelly Rohrbach takes on the role of C.J. Parker (originally played by Pamela Anderson).

In her B- review for the film for IndieWire, Judy Dry describes it as “a splashy summer hit full of dick jokes,” adding that “something about the blow-up floaties, the water rescues, and the red suits just screams summer blockbuster.
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Moana’ Critical Roundup: Disney’s Latest Dazzles, But Doesn’t Quite Make Waves

‘Moana’ Critical Roundup: Disney’s Latest Dazzles, But Doesn’t Quite Make Waves
Just when you thought you were safe from an animated female protagonist venturing into an unknown wilderness singing about her destiny, here comes Disney Animation Studios’ latest feature, “Moana.” The film follows the titular princess and navigator (newcomer Auli’i Cralvaho) who, alongside the demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson), embarks on a journey to discover the mystical evil that threatens to destroy the ocean. While it’s set in the much more tropical Polynesia, “Moana” seems poised to follow in the footsteps of 2013’s “Frozen” in the hopes of snatching up award season buzz for best animated feature.

IndieWire’s Eric Kohn noted that the film is a step in the right direction for a studio oft-plagued with criticisms of cultural insensitivity and whitewashing, writing in his review, “Visually dazzling and loaded with charm, the movie is also blatant in its quest for cultural sensitivity: It has memorable songs by ‘Hamilton
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Criterion Reflections – Capricious Summer (1968) – Es 32

David’s Quick Take for the tl;dr Media Consumer:

Capricious Summer is fairly easy to watch (a slight 76 minute feature, in color), summarize (a whimsical sex comedy about three middle-aged men in a small rustic town are shaken out of their routines when they’re distracted by the arrival of an itinerant magician and his beautiful assistant) and compartmentalize (coming at the tail end of the Czech New Wave, this is Jiří Menzel’s less celebrated follow-up to the Oscar-winning Closely Watched Trains.) But just as conveniently as the film might fit within those pigeonholes, there’s a serious risk of underestimating what Menzel places before us here.

Comfortably nestled within a volume of the Eclipse Series expressly dedicated to the aforementioned Czech New Wave, Capricious Summer is at risk of being regarded as simply one of six quirky, enjoyable treats in that box. Each film has its own distinctive feel,
See full article at CriterionCast »

The Eclipse Viewer – Episode 33 – Three Wicked Melodramas from Gainsborough Pictures

This podcast focuses on Criterion’s Eclipse Series of DVDs. Hosts David Blakeslee and Trevor Berrett give an overview of each box and offer their perspectives on the unique treasures they find inside. In this episode, David and Trevor discuss Eclipse Series 36: Three Wicked Melodramas from Gainsborough Pictures.

About the films:

During the 1940s, realism reigned in British cinema—but not at Gainsborough Pictures. The studio, which had been around since the twenties, found new success with a series of pleasurably preposterous costume melodramas. Audiences ate up these overheated films, which featured a stable of charismatic stars, including James Mason, Margaret Lockwood, Stewart Granger, and Phyllis Calvert. Though the movies were immensely profitable in wartime and immediately after, Gainsborough did not outlive the decade. This set brings together a trio of the studio’s most popular films from this era—florid, visceral tales of secret identities, multiple personalities, and romantic betrayals.
See full article at CriterionCast »

The Eclipse Viewer – Episode 32 – Pearls of the Czech New Wave, Part 2

This podcast focuses on Criterion’s Eclipse Series of DVDs. Hosts David Blakeslee and Trevor Berrett give an overview of each box and offer their perspectives on the unique treasures they find inside. In this episode, David and Trevor conclude their two-part discussion of Eclipse Series 32: Pearls of the Czech New Wave.

About the films:

Of all the cinematic New Waves that broke over the world in the 1960s, the one in Czechoslovakia was among the most fruitful, fascinating, and radical. With a wicked sense of humor and a healthy streak of surrealism, a group of fearless directors—including eventual Oscar winners Miloš Forman and Ján Kadár—began to use film to speak out about the hypocrisy and absurdity of the Communist state. A defining work was the 1966 omnibus film Pearls of the Deep, which introduced five of the movement’s essential voices: Věra Chytilová, Jaromil Jireš, Jiří Menzel,
See full article at CriterionCast »

Get me 250 dogs going feral in Budapest: keeping it real in the face of SFX spectacle

No CGI was harmed or even used in the making of Kornél Mundruczó’s new film White God. Steve Rose weighs up the believability of digital versus practical effects, from Ben-Hur to Star Wars

It wasn’t easy to find a leading actor for White God, admits director Kornél Mundruczó. The new movie’s central character, Hagen, has to make the emotional journey from gentle and lovable to violent and aggressive. “He had to be a bit like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. You had to be really comfortable with him when he was happy so that then you feel sorry for him when he goes wild. And I had to build the rest of the team under him, so he was crucial. The search took two months.”

All part of the casting process, perhaps – except that Hagen happens to be a dog. Not only that, he’s one of
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

From Network to Nightcrawler: why has Hollywood got it in for TV news?

Jake Gyllenhaals accident-chasing cameraman is a direct descendant of characters in classics such as Network, Broadcast News and even Anchorman. Steve Rose scans cinema history for a small-screen newshound who isnt an amoral egomaniac

Interview: Jake Gyllenhaal on Nightcrawler

Here are the headlines: the TV industry is solely concerned with ratings; it puts garish entertainment over principled journalism; corporate interests trump public interest; and news networks are largely populated by vain airheads, borderline sociopaths and ambitious screw-ups with no lives outside their careers usually women. At least thats what its like according to the movies. The dynamics of TV news have made for some of the best cinema of the past 50 years, but when it comes to being fair and balanced, you start to wonder.

The latest recruit to this shady industry is Jake Gyllenhaal in Dan Gilroys bracing new satire Nightcrawler. Armed with a camcorder, a police radio and
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

The Riot Club cast: 'The aristocracy is crumbling. This is where they hide' video interviews

Actors Max Irons, Douglas Booth and Sam Claflin talk to Steve Rose about their new film The Riot Club, a drama about a hedonistic upper-class dining society not dissimilar to the Bullingdon Club, whose past members include David Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson. The cast describe meeting former club members who had taken part in ritualised excess and say the prime minister is looking forward to seeing the film Continue reading...
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Bill Nighy on Pride: 'It's amazing no one knows the story' video

Star Bill Nighy and writer Stephen Beresford tell Steve Rose about their new film, Pride, based on the true story of a group of gay and lesbian activists who arrive in a Welsh mining town in support of the 1984 coal strike. Nighy plays miner Cliff, heading an all-star ensemble cast including Imelda Staunton, Dominic West and Paddy Considine. Pride is in UK cinemas on Friday Continue reading...
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Starred Up, Labor Day, Yves Saint Laurent: this week's new films

Starred Up | Labor Day | Yves Saint Laurent | Gbf | The Robber | The Machine | Salvo | The Unknown Known | A Long Way Down

Starred Up (18)

(David Mackenzie, 2013, UK) Jack O'Connell, Ben Mendelsohn, Rupert Friend. 106 mins

We've seen enough prison movies to know the drill, but this is closer to A Prophet than The Great Escape – a bracing mix of brutal thriller, institutional critique and complex character drama. Conviction is key, both in the day-to-day details and the natural performances, particularly O'Connell – a young offender violent enough to be housed with the grown-ups, including his own father. It feels like things could kick off with every scene.

Labor Day (12A)

(Jason Reitman, 2013, Us) Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith. 111 mins

The Juno director tries nuanced domestic drama – and it doesn't really suit him. Erotic tremors are a given when Brolin's escaped convict shacks up with Winslet's lonely single mum, but you'll need to park your disbelief.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Belfast Film Festival, Bradford International Film Festival: this week's new film events

Belfast Film Festival | Bradford International Film Festival | Drive In Film Club | The Double Q+A

Belfast Film Festival

The new films at this eclectic festival encompass everything from an Icelandic human/equine romcom (Of Horses And Men to a Kristin Scott Thomas/Daniel Auteuil marriage drama (Before The Winter Chill) to a Liam Neeson-narrated doc on Northern Irish motorbike racing (Road) – not to mention a Siberian heist movie involving telekinetic dwarves (The Distance). There are cult screenings, social-outreach documentaries, films in choice venues (The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou on the Belfast Barge), Dawn Of The Dead with a live score by giallo greats Goblin, and Mark Cousins and David Holmes sneaking a short snippet of their new film I Am Belfast.

Various venues, Thu to 5 Apr

Bradford International Film Festival

You want international? How about a British film about Chinese women in Dubai? Or a French study of
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Scarlett Johansson calls for Black Widow spin-off movie

The co-star of Captain America: The Winter Soldier confirms she'd be keen for a standalone movie for her character

• First look review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Scarlett Johansson has called for the Black Widow to get her own spin-off Marvel movie.

Speaking last night at the London Leicester Square premiere of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in which she once again portrays the Russian S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Johansson said she was ready to headline her own film if audiences demanded it.

"If you want to see a Black Widow spin-off movie, then I want to see it," she told reporters on the red carpet. "We'll see. We will put the request into Marvel tomorrow."

Johansson once again takes a supporting role in The Winter Soldier, a sequel to 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger, which is due in UK cinemas next Wednesday. Fans of Marvel
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

The Rocket, Under The Skin, The Zero Theorem: this week's new films

The Rocket | Under The Skin | The Zero Theorem | Suzanne | Veronica Mars | Need For Speed | Plot For Peace

The Rocket (12A)

(Kim Mordaunt, 2013, Aus/Thai/Laos) Sitthiphon Disamoe, Loungnam Kaosainam, Thep Phongam, Bunsri Yindi. 96 mins

Children are often the best ambassadors for world cinema and so it proves here, in a Laos-set tale that's sympathetic but never condescending. The story centres on a displaced boy burdened by a perceived "curse". But it's told with documentary-like conviction and distinctly local details, from James Brown-worshipping war vets to the unexploded ordnance littering the landscape.

Under The Skin (15)

(Jonathan Glazer, 2013, UK) Scarlett Johansson, Paul Brannigan. Krystof Hádek. 108 mins

Glazer's delectably mystifying sci-fi makes Glasgow look like another planet – as seen through the eyes of Johansson's alien seductress, on the prowl for unsuspecting males. It sounds like a highbrow Species, but the imagery and sustained strangeness put it in a realm of its own.

The Zero Theorem (15)

(Terry Gilliam,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Wales One World, BFI Flare: this week's new film events

Wales One World Film Festival | BFI Flare Festival | Human Rights Watch Film Festival | Flatpack Film Festival

Wales One World Film Festival, Cardiff & Aberystwyth

The world comes to Wales and brings with it a programme of 18 films from such far-flung destinations as Paraguay, Kenya, Iran, Poland and, er, Aberystwyth: Delight is a world premiere about a love affair in the Welsh town. Other fresh offerings include Argentinian supernatural thriller The Second Death and the latest from Iran's Asghar Farhadi, The Past. There's also something of an Indian flavour – The Lunchbox is a Mumbai romance – plus Bollywood Brass Band perform live.

Various venues, Fri to 30 Apr

BFI Flare Festival, London

Last year, the Guide suggested the London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival find a more succinct and inclusive name, and you know what, it has. But there are still a huge number of offerings highlighting the joys, dramas and traumas of sexual difference.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

International Women's Day, 1982 Rulez: this week's new film events

International Women's Day | Under The Skin + Jonathan Glazer Q&A | 1982 Rulez | The Hippodrome Festival Of Silent Cinema

International Women's Day, Bristol & London

Bristol's Translation/Transmission takes International women's day at face value with a documentary survey of women's activism around the world. The scope is equally diverse, from a 1970s deconstruction of Rapunzel to poet Audre Lorde's Berlin years. Each screening is accompanied by discussions and/or introductions. Taking a different tack, April's Birds Eye View film festival launches with a BFI screening of doc Wonder Women! The Untold Story Of American Superheroines, a celebration of female super-empowerment taking in the likes of Xena, Riot Grrrl and, of course, Lynda Carter.

Watershed, Sun to 30 Mar; BFI Southbank, SE1, Sat

Under The Skin + Jonathan Glazer Q&A, London

Blending his visual virtuosity with a mystifying Scottish sci-fi story, Glazer's latest movie is beguilingly strange and highly anticipated. But the questions just
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

The Grand Budapest Hotel, 300: Rise Of An Empire, Paranoia: this week's new films

The Grand Budapest Hotel | 300: Rise Of An Empire | Wake In Fright | Paranoia | The Stag | Escape From Planet Earth

The Grand Budapest Hotel (15)

(Wes Anderson, 2014, UK/Ger) Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, F Murray Abraham, Willem Dafoe, Saoirse Ronan. 100 mins

You wonder how long Anderson can keep accumulating star actors and creating ever more elaborate microcosms but, judging by this, he's a long way from running out of steam. It's a witty caper-within-a-reminiscence-within-a-flashback set in interwar Europe, through which Fiennes's debonair concierge must flee, protege lobby boy in tow, after an heiress's murder. It's breathlessly paced and breathtakingly designed, but with a solid core – like a fancy cake with an iron file concealed inside.

300: Rise Of An Empire (15)

(Noam Murro, 2014, Us) Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Rodrigo Santoro. 102 mins

With the bar for violent historical silliness raised by Game Of Thrones, this sequel pitches recklessly into another orgy of fetishised classical warfare with comic-book effects.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Av Festival, Cinema Made In Italy: this week's new film events

Av Festival | Goldfrapp: Tales Of Us | Viva! Spanish & Latin American Film Festival | Cinema Made In Italy

Av Festival, Newcastle upon Tyne

This imaginative festival mines the rich theme of "extraction" this year, with a host of films and events exploring human appropriation of raw materials in the broadest sense. It's a very literal theme for Chinese film-maker Wang Bing, whose epic films (such as the 14-hour Crude Oil and The Ditch) convey the full scope of industrial activity. There's music too, as Test Department regroup to bring industrial site Dunston Staiths – a massive structure on the Tyne – back to life for a series of outdoor audio-visual events.

Various venues, Sat to 31 Mar

Goldfrapp: Tales Of Us, Nationwide

No self-respecting music artiste indulges in mere music videos these days. Like Sigur Rós, Kanye West and Beyoncé before her, Alison Goldfrapp has taken things a stage further, producing a 30-minute
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »
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