In this age of endless reboots and remakes, it’s heartening to see that a good old-fashioned unoriginal movie can still get made. To its credit, Beast isn’t a direct rip-off of any particular man-vs.-nature flick, but it has no interest in doing anything new with the genre, and that’s fine by me.
“Now eventually you do plan to have dinosaurs in your dinosaur movie, right?”
As the (alleged) finale of its franchise, Jurassic World Dominion clearly wants to be a bigger, better movie than its two predecessors. It expands its scope by letting the dinosaurs run rampant across the globe, and what’s at stake is that reliable old chestnut, the survival of mankind. But these attempts at escalation backfire, cheapening the dinosaurs as well as the plot. By making the dinosaurs a part of everyday life, the movie robs them of their mystique; and by threatening us with an ending far too bleak for such a corporate piece of filmmaking, it renders the stakes non-existent.
Jaws is the best shark movie; this is not up for debate. What is up for debate is the still-prestigious mantle of the second-best shark movie. While the oft-cited Open Water and The Shallows are formidable contenders, my pick for the true heir to the post-Jaws throne is 1999’s Deep Blue Sea. Continue reading →
The Edge, much to my pleasure, is a hard movie to classify. It’s a survival adventure but not a survival adventure, a killer-animal flick and not a killer-animal flick, a two-hander yet not a two-hander. It skirts that rare line of mass entertainment and highbrow drama, chiefly thanks to David Mamet’s sly script, which never sacrifices smarts for action – or vice versa. Continue reading →
As an avid fan of killer-animal movies, one thing I’ve learned is that they are shockingly easy to fuck up. For every Deep Blue Sea there are a dozen Shark Nights, for every Alligatorcountless Primevals. But within the pantheon of trashy creature features, my favorite has to be Anaconda. The movie has never enjoyed the warmest of receptions – its critical response was mixed at best, and it’s often used as a bad-movie punchline – and it’s not hard to see why.It’s unapologetically cheesy, old-fashioned, and lowbrow.But I believe that Anaconda’s true intended audience is the die-hard fans of its genre, and for those of us in that group it’s an absolute corker. Continue reading →
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 →