Is anyone really surprised that one of the biggest companies in the world had a less-than-pristine start? The story of how Ray Kroc took over McDonald’s isn’t a secret, as I recall first hearing about it in my teenage years. It’s not like the shady story has dampened its revenue in any way, so why bother trying to keep all the wheeling and dealing a secret?
Have we all let the farting corpse premise sink into our bones enough to not get distracted? Remember, a movie is not its pitch or its three-line synopsis or even its trailer. The conversation about Swiss Army Man seems to be getting stuck on these points, and as eye-catching as they are, it’s leaving us in danger of settling for knee-jerk reactions instead of giving the movie an honest chance.
Director Ang Lee returns with his first film in four years, following up the critically and commercially successful Life of Pi with another book adaptation boasting some noteworthy use of technology. Lee has carved out a unique place for himself as an auteur, not looking back longingly to the days of film but exploring and pushing modern digital techniques to enhance character-based filmmaking. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk sees him combining 3D, 4K resolution, and a very high 120fps frame rate to make the film look as close to natural human sight as possible.
The winner of 2015’s Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, From Afar creeps into theaters with some serious credentials. It wouldn’t have come this far if it didn’t, as the story of a complicated relationship between a middle-aged man and a young gang member in Caracas doesn’t exactly scream marketability. If first-time feature director Lorenzo Vigas had been peddling it on his own, it likely wouldn’t have made it out of the festival circuit, no matter how good it was.
Jaws really screwed up humanity. I mean, we’ve always had monster stories, but Jaws gave sharks a terrifying reputation, one that’s so universal that even landlocked kids like me would jump in a pool and immediately hear the John Williams score in our heads. We knew to fear sharks as if it were instinct, and it was a captivating thrill.
The comedy trio The Lonely Island made their name in the shorts scene, contributing 5-minute pieces to the monthly festival Channel 101 before becoming synonymous with the Saturday Night Live segment Digital Short. Since then, they’ve only become more popular, making the feature film Hot Rod and performing their hit song Everything is Awesome at the Oscars, while member Andy Samberg has become a household name. You may not recognize the other two members, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, but I guarantee that you’ve seen bits that they either wrote, directed, or featured in.
Those who argue that there’s never been a good movie based on a video game may have to change their tune come December, because that’s when the much talked about Assassin’s Creed finally hits theaters. Sure, there’s some optimism about this summer’s Warcraft with Duncan Jones at the helm, but that project pales in comparison to the deep pedigree behind Assassin’s Creed. Producer and star Michael Fassbender (who does so many movies that I’m skeptical he actually sleeps) has been attached to the project since 2012.
The adult thriller continues its comeback with The Girl on the Train, as the ever-changing landscape of the movie industry seems to be shifting back towards these sturdy moneymakers. They’re solid fillers for studios with time in between tentpoles, and while many aspire to the breakout success of Gone Girl, even smaller entities like Eye in the Sky earn steady returns. The Girl on the Train is clearly trying to be the former, providing a juicy, twisty plot that will divide audiences into those who have read the bestselling book of the same name and those who haven’t.