It’s a tradition! Here once again I choose a dozen movies due in the next three months for which I’ve got medium-high hopes.
The barely-screened-for critics Independence Day: Resurgence is not by any stretch a good movie, but neither was Independence Day, a film I saw at least twice and possibly three times during the grim summer of 1996. I’d even go so far as to say I enjoyed this barely-coherent follow-up a little more. Here’s my alien autopsy, for the Village Voice.
The Nice Guys, which I expect history shall remember as my favorite film of the summer of 2016, came out last week; Captain America: Civil War, probably the best of the Marvel bunch, is old news. But Memorial Day weekend is still the traditional start of the summer movie season. Here, for the third consecutive Memorial Day weekend, is my Village Voice list of summer movies I want to see. Light up a phone in any of these and you’ll hear from me.
It’s Memorial Day weekend, which a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away used to signal the start of the summer movie season. Sometime around the turn of the century, the summer movies began arriving the first weekend in May. In recent years the first weekend in April has become a perennial launchpad for Marvel movies and Fast & Furious flicks.
But I’m the sentimental type, so I (and The Village Voice and L.A. Weekly) waited until this week to post my look at ten releases coming up in roughly the next 10 weeks for which I’ve got grand or at least moderate hopes. Plus Magic Mike XXL, which I was asked to add so the list wouldn’t be “too straight.” I am aware that Channing Tatum is what the former John “Cougar” Mellencamp would call “a real good dancer,” but Steven Soderbergh is not un-retiring from theatrical filmmaking to direct this sequel, so I’d probably rather see Jurassic World or Ant-Man, neither of which made the cut.
Have a great summer, movie lovers.
The thrice-delayed, not-screened-for-critics thriller No Good Deed opened at No. 1 this weekend. Box Office Mojo reports its audience was 60 percent female and 59 percent over age 30. I’m an over-30 straight white dude, so WTF do I know, but to me the film — which was written by a white woman and directed by a white guy — felt incredibly insulting to its target audience of black women. In my Village Voice review, I tried to unpack the cynical, unkind assumptions it makes about the primary demographic paying to see it. Without making the piece as much of a drag to read as the movie was to watch.
I had a great time sitting in on this week’s Voice Film Club podcast with my Village Voice editor Alan Scherstuhl and L.A. Weekly film critic Amy Nicholson. Alan invited me on to talk about my essay demanding the death of Han Solo, but before we get to that we have a long chat about the perplexing career of Tom Cruise (working off of Amy’s marvelous cover story about him) and Amy’s review of X-Men: Days of Future Past, which I won’t get to see until tonight. You can hear the podcast below or here.
It was actually my pal Village Voice Film Editor Alan Scherstuhl who pitched me on this piece. When Disney announced the other week that Harrison Ford would be returning for at least one more Star Wars movie, Alan figured — and I immediately concurred — that it’s high time for Han Solo to receive the heroic demise that Ford wanted to give him in Return of the Jedi, 31 years ago. With apologies to Mike Ryan, whose work I admire, here’s why Solo gotta go-lo.
Both of Sabotage’s prior titles, Ten and Breacher, make more sense than the one it ended up with. Actually, the title is no more nonsensical than the convoluted plot of David Ayer’s gruesome, vulgar, throughly disreputable dirty-cop thriller. It’s only just barely an Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle, which is part of why it’s the most satisfying picture he’s made in 20 years. I reviewed it for The Village Voice. Continue reading
Thanks to Village Voice film editor Alan Scherstuhl and L.A. Weekly film critic Amy Nicholson for having me on the Voice Film Club podcast this week to talk RoboCop, and to listen in rapt mostly-silence while they discuss Vampire Academy. I’ve not seen the latter but I certainly will, based on the impression HAHAHAHAHAHAjokes it made on Amy and Alan.
I saw José Padilha‘s new remake of Paul Verhoeven‘s classic sci-fi satire RoboCop the other night. It reminded me of what it feels like when someone with a pleasantly melodic voice covers a song by Leonard Cohen or Bob Dylan: It’s technically “better” in all the ways that don’t matter, and worse in all the ways that count.
In this week’s Village Voice, I review the documentaries Mercedes Sosa: The Voice of Latin America, Life Is Strange, and Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys. That last one, which is about reindeer herders in Finnish Lapland, probably sounds like the hardest sell subject-wise but it’s the best of the trio by a good margin.
It’s just a capsule review, but any excuse to revisit this terrific low-budget, high-concept sci-fi flick is a good one. I prefer this over more beloved John Carpenter flicks like The Thing and Escape from New York.