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In his 2012 directorial debut, Drew Goddard quite literally deconstructed the horror genre in his dextrous and clever “The Cabin in the Woods.” The film plays on many tropes familiar to the genre, all culminating in a perplexing final act that defies all logic and expectation but still manages to entertain.
Powerful and chilling from start to finish, “The Hate U Give” is a riveting movie based on the best-selling novel by Angie Thomas. The novel and film deals with the heated ideological debate between Black Lives Matter, an activist organization creating a world without “anti-blackness,” versus Blue Lives Matter, a support organization for law enforcement agents.
Movies about stardom tend to be too self-aggrandizing. “Maybe Hollywood isn’t interested in making fine art, but hey, we are!” is usually how the script goes. Now, peppered with some song and dance, and boy have you got a mediocre picture. It’s just that films of that nature don’t have anything important to say aside from the happy Hollywood ending the story already told.
In the late 19th century, the last thing France seemed to want was an intellectual, romantic and self-assured woman authoring the most popular novel of the time.
What is the role of the documentarian? Should they maintain a certain distance in their filmmaking or is it their duty to insert themselves in their art and take a stand? Should they let the facts speak for themselves or tell us what to make of the bits and pieces presented? Is documentary filmmaking a form of journalism or simply a glorified Op-ed?
The movie theater subscription service MoviePass has been in the news quite a bit recently -- for all the wrong reasons. Amid mounting skepticism as a result of the myriad changes to its business model, CEO Mitch Lowe sent an email to subscribers saying, “MoviePass members will be able to see up to three standard movies a month for $9.95, and be given up to a $5.00 discount to any additional movie tickets purchased.” While still a great deal, this is a far cry from their previous too-good-to-be-true model that allowed subscribers to see as many movies as they wanted for the same low price.
“Support the Girls” is a fun, earnest comedy that takes an honest look at a day-in-the-life of the staff of a small-time Texas “breastaurant” and its long-suffering general manager Lisa, played with attention-grabbing sincerity by Regina Hall (“Girls Trip,” the “Scary Movie” series). Over the course of one stressful day, Lisa tries to span the gap between the waitresses she has vowed to take care of and the demands of an unsympathetic business; all while dealing with her own personal crises.
Directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland, “Love, Cecil” is a dive into famous British photographer and designer Cecil Beaton’s diaries. The diaries are incredibly personal, and reveal to us the artist’s suppressed emotions, reflections of his life, the mistakes he’s made, how his childhood formed him and his inspirations for the work that he did. But what makes this documentary more interesting is seeing Cecil’s constant attempts to become part of the elite, and rub shoulders with the most famous and powerful, and how he does it through art.
“Mission: Impossible” is not the first thing that comes to mind when considering Hollywood blockbuster franchises, but maybe it should be.
We often correlate high school to uneasiness and anxiety. Bo Burnham relates it to the frightened thirteen-year-old in us all in “Eighth Grade,” a film about the final week of eighth grade for Kayla Day (Elsie Fisher). She records YouTube videos speaking words of motivation and advice for her next-to-invisible audience but struggles with shyness in day-to-day life and worries about her impending high school social life. Kayla’s father (Josh Hamilton) tries his best to make her feel okay about her situation, usually falling on earbud-filled ears.
“I immediately started crying.”
The season of the summer blockbuster is upon us. That overcrowded action-film-packed time of the year where most movies feel distinctly similar and clichés run amok at cinemas across the country. Gear up for the latest superhero flick, or get ready for another heart throbbing rom-com. Then, there stands “Sorry to Bother You,” a movie that is so crazy and wild, so fresh and new, that it could perhaps provide a cure (if only temporary) to that blockbuster fatigue.
The United States’ treatment of indigenous peoples is one of its paramount national sins. The release of “Woman Walks Ahead,” a film that attempts to grapple with this scar on American history, seems deftly placed two days after the country’s symbolic birthday.
The summer, while usually reserved for the blockbuster smashes of superhero action flicks, has found a darling in Boots Riley’s first feature film, “Sorry To Bother You.” The film centers on Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) as he descends into the seedy underworld of telemarketing while discovering his “white voice.” The film is out now and has been a project of Riley’s for some time: the original script was finished in 2012 and published as its own paperback in 2014. Starting his career as a musician, Riley is used to creating socially conscious pieces of art within various different mediums.
The United States’ battle with opioids has been well documented at this point. From frequent news coverage, the Trump Administration’s decision to enact the death penalty on drug dealers and even other documentaries, it has become a cornerstone in our nation’s political discourse.
“The King,” directed by Eugene Jarecki and produced by Errol Morris, presents the current state of America through the prism of Elvis Presley, the king of rock n’ roll. It also rationalizes the American definition of success as analogous to the massive rise and tragic fall of Elvis, thus exploring the unhealthy relationship Americans might have with the “American dream”. The documentary follows Presley’s 1963 Rolls Royce across state lines during the 2016 election, inviting people to sit in it and talk not only about what Elvis meant to them, but also about what’s been plaguing them in their daily lives and how they want the country to move forward.
Motherhood has always been an integral plot element in storytelling. Fantine (Anne Hathaway) is a woman who has to resort to extreme measures to feed her daughter in “Les Misérables,” and Ellen Page plays a girl who has to reckon with how her life will be different after her teen pregnancy in “Juno.” But often overlooked is the simplicity of the relationship between a mother and her family and how it is in itself is a compelling story story.
Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson direct “Ghost Stories,” a British anthology film starring Nyman as Professor Goodman, a man who dedicates his life to debunking the psychic and the supernatural. The film is an homage to great British anthologies released in the 1960s and 70s by Amicus Productions. Low-budget films like Asylum, From Beyond the Grave and Tales from the Crypt are some of the studio’s notable releases that tell different stories linked by an overarching narrator.
It has all led up to this. Ten years of entertaining films, character development and world-building have culminated in Marvel’s latest addition to their cinematic universe, “Avengers: Infinity War.”
Filmmakers have always glorified men who live life in pursuit of a single goal. From Charles Kane’s final utterance of “Rosebud” in “Citizen Kane” to more recent films like “Whiplash” where the protagonist is dead-set on becoming the greatest drummer to ever live, suffering through endless abuse from his instructor along the way.