Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem
Despite their hue, not all TMNT films deserved to be greenlit.
Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird created The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles back in 1984. Now almost 40 years later, what started as a comic book has inspired seven movies, five television series, and countless amounts of merchandise. This week the four ninja tortoises return in a new animated incarnation, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. Considering I’ve been a fan of the Turtles since six years old, this seems like the perfect time to put an official rating on four decades of movies. Some are gnarly, some tubular, and there’s always a whole lot of cowabunga. Continue Reading →
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem
For characters who started in part as an affectionate homage to and goof on the character-defining Frank Miller-written Daredevil comics, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are remarkably flexible. This is true in-universe: being bendy is a package deal with being a master of ninjitsu. But I'm talking more about the sheer variety of Ninja Turtle projects. Continue Reading →
Fantasa International Film Festival gets wild.
Animals feature prominently in our first three films of the 2023 Fantasia International Film Festival. From the bottom of the ocean to the reaches of the Arctic, these films mix their natural settings with unnatural mediums to create enchanting works that are wondrous to look at. Though they have different objectives, these films remind us that cinema is a world of dreams that combines things from our lived reality with our limitless imagination. Continue Reading →
Joy Ride is a film filled with rude and crude jokes throughout and often fairly ramshackle in its construction. Those with more delicate constitutions may be chagrined to discover it tends to reduce its few Caucasian characters of note to little more than punchlines. It also contains—let me consult the next page of my notes—more big laughs than any other film I’ve seen so far this year. Plus, carefully layered among its more outrageous elements, you’ll find a surprising amount of heart. The result is both a genuine delight and a wonderful alternative to the soul-deadening blockbusters that have glutted multiplexes this summer. Continue Reading →
When it comes to prestige limited streaming series, horror movies (especially of the more grotesque persuasion) don’t tend to be common fodder. But with Rachel Weisz at the helm, Prime Video’s latest thriller series, Dead Ringers, looks to David Cronenberg’s 1988 film of the same name. Though undoubtedly a formidable showcase for Weisz, who pulls double duty as twins Elliot and Beverly, Dead Ringers struggles to remain fresh and interesting, often overstaying its welcome and retreading familiar territory. Admittedly, swapping the genders of its protagonists makes for an interesting approach to the subject matter. But Dead Ringers lacks the killer instincts and stylistic flair that makes the film so fondly remembered. Continue Reading →
Episode one begins with a chorus of pig screams. The camera pans through endless cages with the poor little oinkers cramped inside. Then we cut to a woman being strangled. We can’t see her face or who’s attached to the hands squeezing the life out of her. The victim cries out, but we can’t hear anything over the pigs. Continue Reading →
Michael Bay, whose 1990s actioners are—for good and ill—iconic parts of the decade’s cinema, and whose 2000s and 2010s work is reliably fascinating (from the terrific Pain & Gain to the baleful Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) delivers a bombastic chase movie that doubles as a damn good character study. Loving but criminal brothers (Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) take an ambulance hostage to escape a heist gone sideways. Along for the ride are a masterful EMT (Eiza González) resigned to personal apathy, and a critically injured cop (Jackson White). Amidst the carefully shaped chaos of burnt rubber and bullets, Bay makes space for Gyllenhaal (frenzied and in denial about how badly everything’s gone) Abdul-Mateen II (trying to keep cool even as that becomes impossible) and González (who must break out of her self-built walls if she is to survive) to bounce off each other in a pile of compelling ways. [JH] Continue Reading →
Park Chan-wook fans can rest assured that the director who gave us the twisty, blood-soaked passions of Oldboy, Stoker, and The Handmaiden has returned with another romantic crime-fueled drama. His latest, Decision to Leave, is high-grade neo-noir, the newest installment in Park’s ongoing exploration of the genre. Continue Reading →