16 items from 2017
Author: Liam Macleod
Hot Property clearly wants to be a screwball comedy about the vapid, materialistic members of London’s corporate world. Even if it knows precious little about them. Protagonist Melody (MyAnna Buring) is a ruthless corporate spy concerned only with keeping her central London flat. Her nemesis, Laurie (Kate Bracken), is a rising online journalist working for Melody’s ever inconstant sister-in-law Saskia. Melody is aided by her hapless brother (Sam Phillips), an officer worker now occupying her parents’ home, and boyfriend Harmony, an oversexed chef forever trying to start a pop-up business.
Director Max McGill, here making his debut feature, makes the right choice tonally, leaning fully into the absurdity of these overprivileged caricatures. It’s just that the writing fails to capitalise on them on a consistent basis. Melody’s object fetishism and Laurie’s millennial obliviousness are suitably cartoonish examples that barely get any showcasing. »
- Liam Macleod
The All I See Is You actress revealed that Reynolds’ social media stories about his two daughters, such as burying 2-year-old James in the sand (only to return the following day) or dropping their 10-month-old Ines off at Burning Man, are entirely fabricated.
“He may as well work for the Enquirer,” Lively, Glamour‘s September cover star, told the magazine. “When he says ‘my daughter,’ he’s never, ever talking about her. Everything is a completely made-up scenario.”
She continued, “He’ll »
- Stephanie Petit
One of the breakout web series of the past year is back with new episodes. Hot Ones, in which host Sean Evans interviews his guests as they eat their way through a lineup of hot sauces, has launched its first season on the Complex Networks-run channel First We Feast.
As each episode of Hot Ones moves along, Evans and his guests must consume buffalo wings that are covered in sauces of increasing hotness. As they do, Evans’ questions get more pointed. After previously revealing the “hot sauce lineup” for Hot Ones’ fourth season, Evans has now resumed his Scoville-breaking interview format. Cara Delevingne, the star of the upcoming film Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, is the first guest who must sit in the so-called “hot seat.” As she consumes her portion of wings, Evans asks her about everything from Burning Man to celebrity eyebrows.
This season is Hot Ones’ fourth, »
- Sam Gutelle
I'm not sure if you heard the news, but Game of Thrones returned on Sunday. Before I confuse anyone with the ridiculousness of this post, I need to make one thing clear: I do not watch the show, sue me. For the past six years, I've been bothered, pestered, and straight-up begged to watch the show by my diehard fan of a brother. My friends didn't help either. With every single social media feed inundated by Westeros weirdness, I was understandably overwhelmed and confused, like, I thought Jon Snow was dead, why is he trending on Twitter? Why would I start a show that everyone already was obsessed with? I had trouble justifying binge-watching seasons that just look *cold*, and who has that kind of time? I've clearly done a lot of thinking about why I shouldn't watch the show, but on Sunday, I said f*ck it, time to »
- Perri Konecky
Ana Lily Amirpour seems like the ultimate counterpunch to Hollywood’s diversity problem. She’s an Iranian woman director raised in America, directing inventive genre movies with an anarchic sensibility all her own. While much of the country celebrated the feminist leanings of “Wonder Woman,” Amirpour had already finished “The Bad Batch,” her horror-sci-fi-western hybrid about a dystopian world in which a young woman battles cannibals in a desolate wasteland. The movie, which premiered at the festivals last fall, confirmed Amirpour’s capacity for exploring marginalized figures through the empowering lens of ferocious female characters first seen in her acclaimed debut, “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.”
Which was why, eight months into her promotional tour for “The Bad Batch,” Amirpour was astonished to find herself accused of racism. During a post-screening Q&A for “The Bad Batch” in Chicago, Amirpour was confronted by a woman named Bianca Xiunse, »
- Eric Kohn
With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit platforms. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.
Ana Lily Amirpour’s second feature shoots for Harmony Korine meets Mad Max and would have nearly almost hit the mark were it not for the gratingly aloof attitude and the swaths of directorial license being taken. The Bad Batch — an ambitious, expansive dystopian sci-fi western which features partying, drugs, and cannibals — might come as music to the ears of diehard fans of films like Spring Breakers and Gummo (a kid doesn’t quite eat spaghetti in a bathtub, but a kid does eat spaghetti after being in a bathtub). However, beneath its dazzlingly hip surface the script and characters leave much to be desired. It’s like taking a trip to Burning Man: a pseudo-spiritual, uniquely punky experience perhaps, but one that’s full of annoying rich kids and ultimately emotionally shallow. – Rory O. (full review)
Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes
Though it may not feel fully inspired so much as competently pre-visualized, Kong: Skull Island fits snugly into the growing canon of reboots that exist within ever-expanding movie universes. That’s a first sentence to a positive review that perhaps reads a bit more cynically than intended. Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts and written by a bunch of dudes (Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly with a story credited to John Gatins), this umpteenth version of the King Kong story pulls from every available pop-culture source in building a fun creature feature. Much of the credit goes to the breathtaking effects and brisk pace, which distract from some lofty line readings and silly plot devices. – Dan M. (full review)
Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google
One of the greatest prison escape dramas of all-time, Jacques Becker’s recently-restored Le Trou is a masterclass in tension. By putting us both in the physical and psychological headspace of our protagonists, it’s an enveloping experience as we see a number of close calls, leading up to one of the most unforgettable endings in cinema. – Jordan r.
Where to Stream: Mubi (free 30-day trial)
Moana (John Musker and Ron Clements)
It’s time for another Disney Princess movie, and you know how it goes. Disney knows too, and wants you to know that it knows. When the title character of Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) denies that she’s a princess, claiming that she’s merely the daughter of her island’s chief and the next chieftain, her adventuring partner Maui (Dwayne Johnson) asserts, “Same difference,” and that, “You wear a dress and have an animal sidekick. You’re a princess.” But Disney is doing its best to make the culture rethink cinematic fantasy princesses, countering the stereotypes of helpless femininity (which the studio largely put in place) with a new roster of highly capable action heroines. And Moana is, as they call it, a good role model. And the movie around her is fine. – Dan S. (full review)
Where to Stream: Netflix
Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press uses a salacious story and website as the launching pad to discuss where we currently are, so much so that I imagine director Brian Knappenberger — who uses footage from President Trump’s infamous press conference only a few days before the film’s Sundance premiere — may wish to stay on the story. Gawker, a site spun out of Gizmodo, was founded to share the types of stories mainstream news outlets would often shy away from, including celebrity sex tapes, outings, drug use, and allegations that have swirled but not picked up traction. They’ve featured Rob Ford smoking crack, Bill Cosby’s multiple accusers, Hillary Clinton’s emails, Tom Cruise’s prominent role in Scientology, and the one that brought them down: the infamous Hulk Hogan sex tape recorded for private use by Hogan pal and infamous Tampa shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, best known nationally for his stint on Howard Stern’s satellite channel. Bubba’s antics will no doubt some day be the subject of a documentary of their own, from his role in both the Hogan affair to his odd appearance in the David Petraeus saga. – John F. (full review)
Where to Stream: Netflix
Jim Jarmusch proved he was back in a major way with Only Lovers Left Alive a few years ago, and the streak continues with Paterson, a calm, introspective drama with such positive views on marriage and creativity that I was left floored. In following the cyclical life of Adam Driver‘s Paterson, a bus driver in Paterson, New Jersey, who also has dreams of being a poet, Jarmusch superbly shows that one’s own life experience — however seemingly insubstantial — is the only requirement to produce something beautiful. Moreso than any other film in 2016, this is the kind of world I want to live in. – Jordan R.
Where to Stream: Amazon Prime
After the pleasant fluff of its kick-off installment and the frog march of unpleasantness that was Into Darkness, the rebooted Star Trek film series finally hits a fun median between big-budget bombast and classic Trek bigheartedness with Star Trek Beyond. Does the franchise’s full descent into action, with only the barest lip service paid to big ideas, cause Gene Roddenberry’s ashes to spin in their space capsule? Probably, but in the barren desert of summer 2016 blockbusters, this is a lovely oasis. – Dan S. (full review)
Where to Stream: Amazon Prime
Perhaps a point of contention on New York Times’ top 25 films of the 21st century list, Olivier Assayas’ Summer Hours is a commendable top 10 pick. Led by Juliette Binoche, Charles Berling, Jérémie Renier, and Kyle Eastwood, this drama follows a family reuniting following the death of their mother. Like the best of Assayas’ films, it’s an impeccably-crafted, subtly-moving experience, one that wades in the ideas of the value of what we hold on to and a graceful reflection on the passage of time. – Jordan R.
Where to Stream: FilmStruck
The world of Daniel Clowes is one without manners, glamour, and tact, but it is also one of uncomfortable truth, as scathing as it might be. One may have never verbally conveyed the discourteous musings of his characters to the extent to which it is their everyday vernacular, but we’ve all had similar thoughts when life isn’t going our way. The latest adaptation of his work comes with Wilson, directed by Craig Johnson (The Skeleton Twins), featuring a role Woody Harrelson is clearly having the time of his life with. Despite his commitment to a lack of civility, there’s a darker film lying in the cynical heart of Wilson, one that gets squandered by its mawkish aesthetic and lack of interest in exploring these characters beyond their crudeness. – Jordan R. (full review)
Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google
The Zookeeper’s Wife (Niki Caro)
The Zookeeper’s Wife begins with those five famous words that hold the power to either become a film’s dependency (and therefore downfall) or its empowering catalyst, laying the foundation to convey a poignant tale: “Based on a true story.” Fortunately, The Zookeeper’s Wife sticks with the latter, and the true tale being told is one for the ages. Niki Caro‘s drama follows a couple who hide Jews in their zoo and use it as a point of passage and escape during the Nazi takeover of Warsaw. The narrative is a simple one, allowing The Zookeeper’s Wife to shine in its performances, imagery, and storytelling, which it pristinely accomplishes. – Chelsey G. (full review)
Where to Stream: Amazon, iTunes, Google
Also New to Streaming
Night School (review)
Rodeo and The Moment of Truth
Who Are You, Polly Maggoo? and Quadrophenia
An Actor’s Revenge
Mubi (free 30-day trial)
The Train to Moscow: A Journey to Utopia
Lost in Lebanon
Molly’s Theory of Relativity
The Stanford Prison Experiment (review)
Discover more titles that are now available to stream. »
- Jordan Raup
"Stop pretending like you might not go to Bonnaroo this year," my boyfriend said a few months before last year's festival. I attended the Manchester, Tn, music festival for the first time in 2015, and as the June date approached for the 15th-annual event, I was still coming to terms with the fact that I'd become a Bonnaroovian. I've attended countless music festivals over the past 20 years - including Lollapalooza and Pitchfork in Chicago and Outside Lands and Treasure Island in San Francisco - but Bonnaroo felt different. For years, I've dismissed the Burning Man people who've tried to tell me I just won't understand until I try it, because I'd always rather spend my money on live music. But after just one time attending Bonnaroo, I think it's my Burning Man. I attended for the second time this year, and I doubt it will be my last. Fair warning: Bonnaroo is not for everyone. »
- Nancy Einhart
May kicked off the summer movie season, but June brings some studio tentpoles actually worth seeing (yes, we didn’t like that one everyone else did last month). Along with popcorn entertainment, there’s some of the finest independent films of the year, ranging from a long-delayed final feature from a late master to Sundance favorites and more. We should also note that, despite getting a release last year, IFC seems to be putting the Palme d’Or-winning I, Daniel Blake back in theaters this week, and we recommend seeking it out if you missed it.
Matinees to See: Past Life (6/2), Band Aid (6/2), My Cousin Rachel (6/9), Megan Leavey (6/9), Score: A Film Music Documentary (6/16), Maudie (6/16), Harmonium (6/16), The Journey (6/16), All Eyez on Me (6/16), Lost in Paris (6/16), Pop Aye (6/28), The House (6/30), and The Little Hours (6/30).
15. It’s Only the End of the World (Xavier Dolan; June 30)
Synopsis: It would have been a lovely family dinner. »
- Jordan Raup
"I'm not supposed to be talking about this with you. This is not something that is supposed to be happening right now," musician Ben Harper says at the beginning of the new Spike TV documentary I Am Heath Ledger. "Some people are just bigger than the world has room for."
Harper, a close friend of the actor who died in 2008 of an accidental drug overdose, is one of several friends, peers and family members who discuss both the actor's singular talents and constant search for adventure and creative pursuits. The poignant film, »
Don’t read on unless you’ve seen “It’s a Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt World,” the fifth episode of the third and final season of HBO’s “The Leftovers.”
On March 10, I got an email telling me that episodes of “The Leftovers” had been posted on HBO’s media site. Like any fan of crying, Wu-Tang tattoos, beards and America, I watched the seven episodes HBO made available as soon as I could.
During the last two months, my patience has been tested. My endurance reached its limit more than once. There were moments when I just didn’t know if I could take it any more.
I’m not talking about the trash fire that is much of the national political scene.
No, my long struggle has involved three little words that I have desperately longed to say, scream, write in the sky, and set to iambic pentameter. For »
- Maureen Ryan
If action figures and posters aren’t your kind of movie memorabilia, perhaps this will be more to your liking: the bus from “Captain Fantastic,” which is for sale on Craigslist. Viggo Mortensen isn’t included in the transaction, unfortunately, but for the low, low price of just $6,000 you can get the vehicle being alluringly advertised as “1993 Bluebird bus, Built for the movie ‘Captain Fantastic.’ Still has set dressing props in it.”
Read More: Why Viggo Mortensen Deserves to Win the Oscar for Best Actor — Consider This
Among the other accoutrements: “2 A/C units mounted on roof” and the ability to “build out like you want it.” The fuel is diesel, the title is clean and the transmission is automatic. If you feel like turning your family into a survivalist clan out in the wilderness, there’s really no other option.
- Michael Nordine
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night was one of our favorite debuts of its respective year, an impeccably photographed vampire tale that brought new blood to the subgenre. fter a fall festival premiere at Venice, followed by a stop at Tiff, Ana Lily Amirpour‘s follow-up The Bad Batch is now finally arriving this summer. With a cast featuring Jason Momoa, Jim Carrey, Keanu Reeves, Suki Waterhouse, Diego Luna, and Giovanni Ribisi, distribution shifted to the newly minted Neon and now they’ve launched the wild second trailer for the dystopic cannibal western.
As we said in our review, “Ana Lily Amirpour’s second feature shoots for Harmony Korine meets Mad Max and would have nearly almost hit the mark were it not for the gratingly aloof attitude and the swaths of directorial license being taken. The Bad Batch — an ambitious, expansive dystopian sci-fi western which features partying, drugs, »
- Nick Newman
Barcelona– A new event in major city, the Barcelona-Sant Jordi Intl. Film Festival (Bcn Film Fest) will launch April 21 at the Verdi cinema theaters, a legendary Mecca for local film-goers situated in Barcelona’s bustling inner-city neighborhood of Gràcia.
“Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer,” directed by Joseph Cedar whose credits include “Footnote,” which won a best screenplay plaudit at Cannes 2011, will open the fest. Star Richard Gere and Cedar will present the movie at the event.
Among competition contenders, the Bcn Film Fest will world premiere “Churchill,” directed by Jonathan Teplitzky (“The Railway Man”). Sold by Embankment Films, and starring Brian Cox, Miranda Richardson and James Purefoy, “Churchill” depicts the historic U.K. leader on May 23, 1944, as tensions rose in the prelude to the allies’ D-Day invasion of Normandy.
A passion project of Verdi founder Enric Pérez, Bcn Film Fest lineup will focus on history, »
- Emilio Mayorga
“Before rumors or falsifications get out of hand, we can confirm that Orlando and Katy are taking respectful, loving space at this time,” a statement to People from both of their reps reads. The couple dated for a little over a year.
The stars were spotted at the annual Vanity Fair Oscars party on Sunday after weeks of jet-setting travels apart.
The two continued their tradition of only posing together inside events, and cozied up for the camera – Perry, 32, in a shimmering, bronze gown and still sporting her platinum locks and Bloom, »
- Char Adams and Julie Jordan
Paris Hilton has lived her life in the spotlight. She launched a music career, modeled around the world, built a fragrance empire and she’s responsible for one of the most famous catchphrases in reality TV history. But there are still some things about the 36-year-old star you may be surprised to know.
“All of my male fans have been writing me every single day, millions of messages from people asking for a new men’s cologne because it’s been so many years, »
- Brittany Talarico
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night was one of our favorite debuts of its respective year, an impeccably photographed vampire tale that brought new blood to the subgenre. fter a fall festival premiere at Venice, followed by a stop at Tiff, Ana Lily Amirpour‘s follow-up The Bad Batch is now finally arriving this summer. With a cast featuring Jason Momoa, Jim Carrey, Keanu Reeves, Suki Waterhouse, Diego Luna, and Giovanni Ribisi, distribution shifted to the newly minted Neon and now they’ve launched the wild first trailer for the dystopic cannibal western.
We said in our review, “Ana Lily Amirpour’s second feature shoots for Harmony Korine meets Mad Max and would have nearly almost hit the mark were it not for the gratingly aloof attitude and the swaths of directorial license being taken. The Bad Batch — an ambitious, expansive dystopian sci-fi western which features partying, drugs, and »
- Leonard Pearce
16 items from 2017