Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic world fallen kingdom

Those of you who read my Worst of 2015 know that I was no fan of Jurassic World.  Among its greatest faults was its insistence on bludgeoning its audience with slavish callbacks and references to the series’ first installment.  Jurassic World’s follow-up manages to escape the shadow of its revered progenitor, but creates new headaches in the process. Continue reading

The Fast and Fentress Film Discussion Podcast Episode 5: Now You See Me 2

Now you see me 2

In this episode, my cousin Zack (of his own podcast, Pulpdiction) drops by to talk about the 2016 magic-based action film Now You See Me 2. We’ll discuss Woody Harrelson’s daring dual role as twin brothers, the excessive Britishness of the villains, and more.

Avengers: Infinity War

avengers-infinity-war-la-1ere-bande-annonce-est-epique-23941

It seems that every Marvel movie somehow manages to generate even more hype than the last, and Avengers: Infinity War is no exception.  It’s the movie that the last dozen-or-so films of its universe have been leading up to, focusing on the titular band of superheroes doing battle with Thanos (Josh Brolin), the much-ballyhooed big-bad of the Marvel universe.  Infinity War brings with it the creative challenges posed by its two predecessors: juggling a massive cast of characters, maintaining a brisk pace for a hefty running time, and keeping the stakes high in a franchise that has rather cheapened the threat of global destruction. Continue reading

Rampage

rampage

Video game film adaptations haven’t had the best track record.  They’ve been historically maligned by critics; some justly (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li is, in fact, that bad), others unjustly (Mortal Kombat remains a 90s camp classic).  Now we have Rampage, based on the classic giant monster arcade game, being marketed as “the best-reviewed video game movie of all time.”  But despite this dubious designation, Rampage can barely be called an adaptation.  It deviates from and adds so much to its narratively sparse source material that it’s essentially its own beast.  Continue reading

A Quiet Place

A quiet place

During his heyday, Alfred Hitchcock coined the term “the ice box scene,” which refers to a movie scene whose plot issues become apparent to the audience sometime after the fact.  A Quiet Place could be described as the ice box movie – thoroughly watchable in the moment, but logically wanting when given any serious thought.  Continue reading

Ready Player One

Ready Player One

Back in my college days, I read Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One – believe it or not – for a class.  It was a light, fast-paced read; the kind of book that’s hard to put down and easy to plow through.  But despite its fleeting pleasures, the moment I finished I could feel my inner critic starting to wake up.  The more thought I gave Ready Player One, the more cynical my attitude towards it became.  Could this collection of pop-culture references tacked onto a generic treasure-hunt plot even be called a novel?  These doubts grew so quickly that they completely tarnished my previous enjoyment of the book, and soon I felt duped for having bought into it in the first place. Continue reading

Annihilation

annihilation

Annihilation is a hard movie to categorize; not because defies genre categories, but because it samples so many of them.  Like the strange creatures that inhabit its world, it’s a hybrid; blending together science-fiction, drama, and horror to potent effect.  The structure of its first-act setup is pure adventure, beginning with the return of Lena’s (Natalie Portman) husband Kane (Oscar Isaac) long after he went missing on a classified government mission.  It’s immediately clear that something is very wrong with him, both physically and mentally.  When Lena tries to get her husband to the hospital, the government swoops in and abducts them both to a secret location, where they isolate her and reveal what’s responsible for his condition.  Continue reading