How many times in your life have you snuck up on someone and scared them? Three, maybe four times? The Lazarus Effect is the kind of horror movie where people do that constantly. It’s basically their standard greeting; instead of “Hello!” they jump on people from behind, sometimes while wearing pig masks. It doesn’t make much sense, but they’re not doing it because it’s logical — they’re doing it because this is a bargain basement horror film and you take the scares wherever you can get them.
It’s been a decade since Will Smith was “Will Smith” onscreen. Sure, he’s made movies in the last ten years; science-fiction pictures, dramas, comedies. He even played Satan, once. But none of them riffed on that classic Will Smith persona that everyone loves; the infectious charm, the seductive smile, the cocky but casual swagger. (What’s that? Men in Black 3? No, they never made a third Men in Black. You must be confused.)
For most people, Valentine’s Day means flowers, chocolate, and romantic dinners. For cinephiles (or people too cheap or lazy to leave the house), Valentine’s Day means snuggling on the couch and watching a romantic movie. If you’re planning a Netflix night this weekend, picking the right film is key. There’s nothing worse than inviting that special someone over for a private screening, lighting a few candles, pouring a glass of wine, and then killing the mood by putting on In the Ream of the Senses.
So Sony and director Paul Feig have found their new Ghostbusters: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon. This whole idea of an all-female ‘Ghostbusters’ reboot came together after the passing of original series star and co-writer Harold Ramis, when director Ivan Reitman relinquished the franchise’s director’s chair and everyone involved finally gave up on trying to convince stubborn (and probably very wise) Bill Murray to make a second sequel to the original film.
For a while, the party line on the possibility of an ‘Iron Man 4’ was that it was not going to happen. And, at least technically, that’s still true—because instead Robert Downey Jr. is co-starring ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ where his Tony Stark and Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers will get into an epic superhero tussle.
On the list of uncinematic activities, computer hacking has to rank near the top, somewhere between small-business accounting and taking a nap. It’s tedious, static, and solitary work, and what little’s interesting about it is largely incomprehensible to those without advanced degrees in computer science. In a lesser filmmaker's hands, a hacker movie like ‘Blackhat’ would be terminally boring. But ‘Blackhat’ is in the hands of Michael Mann, and that means it’s also stylish, moody, and punctuated by intense action scenes.
Google “Gone Girl” and “Hitchcockian” and you get 37,400 results. (37,401, once this piece goes up.) Critics and viewers hailed David Fincher’s adaptation of author (and screenwriter) Gillian Flynn’s domestic drama as a superb modern version of an old-school thriller by the Master of Suspense. Whether that was Fincher and Flynn’s goal all along, or simply an interesting byproduct of their work, it’s interesting in light of today’s news that Fincher and Flynn are looking to reteam—along with their ‘Gone Girl’ star, Ben Affleck—on a remake of one of Hitchcock’s most beloved films, 1951’s ‘Strangers on a Train.’
The former CIA operative turned full-time rescuer of his perpetually kidnapped family at the center of the ‘Taken’ series is famous for—as he put it to the men who took his daughter in the first film—a “particular set of skills” that make him “a nightmare” for bad guys. Here now is a partial list of the particular skills Bryan Mills—played by the 62-year-old Liam Neeson—displays in ‘Taken 3’:
Dig this, blockheads: The ‘Peanuts’ gang, originally created by cartoonist Charles Schulz, have appeared in so many incarnations in their 65-year history. They’ve been a comic strip, a series of much-beloved television specials, a Broadway musical, greeting card staples, and even the successful pitchmen for life insurance. Now, for the first time, they’re becoming a 3D feature film, with this year’s ‘The Peanuts Movie.’
“Nothing is over!” These are the words of Col. John J Rambo, the hero of ‘First Blood’ (better known as ‘Rambo’) and then ‘Rambo: First Blood Part II’ and then ‘Rambo III’ (the only one people call by its actual title and then ‘Rambo’ (better known as ‘Old Rambo’). After what basically amounts to a movie-long chase, ‘First Blood’ concludes with a heartfelt speech from star Sylvester Stallone, explaining how nothing (meaning the Vietnam War) is over for him; that his mind is too scarred from his brutal deeds and by the cruel treatment he’s received on the homefront. It’s a powerful (if occasionally incomprehensible) scene.
Full details are still forthcoming, but it looks like ‘The Interview’—Seth Rogen’s ultra-controversial comedy about an American assassination attempt on North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un—will open on Christmas after all. Sony initially cancelled their planned December 25 release after hackers threatened theaters that dared to show ‘The Interview’ with terrorist attacks, and many of the biggest exhibitor chains in the country (including Regal and AMC) subsequently decided not to run the film.
J.J. Abrams is famous for keeping secrets. His whole schtick as a director is the “mystery box”—finding pleasure in the unknown, and in the tease of that uncertainty. He didn’t show the monster in the trailer for ‘Cloverfield’; hell he didn’t even show the title of the movie in the trailer for ‘Cloverfield.’ If J.J. Abrams could release a movie without telling you anything about it, he probably would.
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