The modern age of streaming shows has delivered countless programs that boast in their press releases about being “just long movies.” The new Netflix limited series Florida Man continues this trend. Worse, it puts its own insufferable spin on the mold by stretching out a late-1990s Quentin Tarantino knock-off to nearly seven hours of storytelling. Yearning for a return to the era of non-linear crime dramas embracing the notion that F-bombs and shady behavior turn the story into the new Reservoir Dogs? This Donald Todd-created series will make you giddy. Unfortunately, everyone else will likely come away irritated. Continue Reading →
I'll say this for Simon Kinberg: he's got to be just about the nicest man in show business. After all, how do you get a second chance at the director's chair after the unmitigated disaster that was X-Men: Dark Phoenix? According to interviews, he only got that gig at the insistence of Jennifer Lawrence, who would only do the film with him in charge (he was reportedly very easy to work with when Bryan Singer went AWOL on X-Men Apocalypse, forcing Kinberg to pick up the baton). While working on Dark Phoenix, Jessica Chastain approached Kinberg with the idea of starring in and producing a female-led spy franchise a la Mission: Impossible; and so we have The 355, a film seemingly tailor-made to be the kind of mid-budget dross we get every January. Look out, Liam Neeson, you've got competition! Continue Reading →
The phenomenon of Disney adapting its own theme park rides to the silver screen will never not be fascinating to me. It's the ultimate act of corporate synergy: watch Disney movies, come to Disneyland to experience them in real life, come ride our rides, then watch the movie based on the rides. What's even more fascinating are the ones that work: Gore Verbinski's Pirates of the Caribbean pulled off a minor miracle in adapting a pretty groan-worthy theme park ride into a vibrant, Errol Flynn-like adventure. And in an attempt to recapture that kind of heat, we now have Jungle Cruise, which gets points for referencing the right things, even as it refuses to reinvent the wheel. Continue Reading →
Dr. Death borrows its tantalizing title from the Wondery podcast, which similarly breaks down a harrowing true story about a neurosurgeon who — for whatever reason — keeps killing or permanently harming his patients on the operating table. Continue Reading →
Samarth Mahajan’s documentary about life on India's borders is engaging, involving, and dense.
Too often, filmmakers think they can make a documentary simply by picking a good subject. But the mark of a good documentary is not the importance or controversy of its subject, but the way that its filmmaker convinces their audience that the subject is worth exploring. Samarth Mahajan’s Borderlands accomplishes just this, and does so by pulling off the difficult task of spinning what could be disjointed or arbitrary subjects into a compelling thread that speaks to the history and dynamics of a region.
Borderlands focuses on the communities of people who live near the different national borders of India. India is currently bordered by seven different countries – Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, China, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. The history of these borders is vast and dense, consisting of major wars, invasions, imperialist conquest, and political turmoil. Continue Reading →