Tag Archives: The Village Voice

Presenting my fourth annual Village Voice Summer Movie Preview

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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.

Bay Twelve, Please: Independence Day: Resurgence, reviewed.

INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE

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.

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Air-Conditioned Fun in the Summertime 3: Presenting My Third Annual Village Voice Summer Movie Want-List

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.
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For The Village Voice, L.A. Weekly, and affiliates, Ten Summer Movies I Hope Don’t Suck

Disney•Pixar's "Inside Out" takes us to the most extraordinary location yet - inside the mind of Riley. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions - Anger (voiced by Lewis Black), Disgust (voiced by Mindy Kaling), Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Fear (voiced by Bill Hader) and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. Directed by Pete Docter and produced by Jonas Rivera, "Inside Out" is in theaters June 19, 2015.

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.

Miss Sogyny by Any Other Name: No Good Deed, reviewed.

no-good-deed-taraji-idris

Stars/executive producers Idris Elba & Taraji P. Henson should know better.

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.

Air-Conditioned Fun in the Summertime: 10 Movies I Want to See in the Next Three Months

Time was, the summer movie season — when blocks got busted and Oscar contenders got out of the way — began Memorial Day weekend and had shot its wad by mid-July. Once in a while you’d get a great late-summer picture, like The Fugitive, released Aug. 6, 1993 (and nominated for Best Picture, come to that.) But generally the big action pictures, which gradually gave way to the superhero flicks, needed six or seven weeks before kids got marched back into school so studios could benefit from repeat business.

In the 21st century, the summer movie season advanced to the first weekend in May, a date that in recent years has belonged to Marvel Comics adaptations, whether they’re made by Marvel Studios, like The Avengers, or by other studios, like the Spider-Man pictures (both the Raimis and the Webbs) from Sony, or the X-Men series, from Fox.

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The Career of Tom Cruise, X-Men, Han Solo, and the Wrath of Cannes. I’m on the Voice Film Club podcast this week.

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.

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Bring Me the Head of Han Solo

Harrison Ford believed Han Solo should die, and he was right. So let's kill him.

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.
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French (Double) Dip: Brick Mansions, reviewed.

David Belle and Paul Walker in "Brick Mansions."
When I was sixth grade I was in a terrible musical wherein the lady who would become, some years later, my first real girlfriend sang a song called “It always sounds better in French.”

My review of Brick Mansions, the subpar American remake of the Francophone parkour movie District B13, is on The Village Voice now. Rest in peace, Paul Walker.

Listen, all y’all, this is (my Village Voice review of) Sabotage.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joe Manganiello in David Ayer's "Sabotage."

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

Podcast: Young RoboCop, Old RoboCop

robocop2014-vs-1987

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.

You can hear the episode here. I can’t believe I forgot to plug the good RoboCop remake.

The Big Engine That Couldn’t: Why RoboCop‘s Hopeless ED-209 is One of the All-Time Great Movie Robots

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.

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Documentaries Documented

Jessica Oreck's "Aatsinki" is beautifully photographed and almost wordless.

Jessica Oreck’s “Aatsinki” is beautifully photographed and almost wordless.

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.

I Came Here to Chew Bubblegum and Review 1988’s They Live for The Village Voice

In "They Live," special Wayfarers reveal the subtext of the industrialized world.

In “They Live,” special Wayfarers reveal the subtext of the industrialized world.

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.