Josh Forbes’ uneven horror-comedy goes nowhere after a while, but has fun getting there.
Apartment life means having to give up most expectations of peace and quiet. I’ve had a neighbor who spent most of his days listening to disco music set at eleven on the volume dial, occasionally letting out a joyful “woo!” Another would tunelessly noodle on a keyboard for hours at a time. A third sounded as if he offered Irish step dancing lessons for extra income. Some people talk a good game about not putting up with noise, but most of us just learn to deal with it, usually by grumbling about it and making our own noise to cover it up.
Every now and then, however, a person will just snap, and then you end up with Destroy All Neighbors, a likably silly horror-comedy that compensates for a lack of plot and character development with gory practical effects and a memorable performance by Alex Winter. Continue Reading →
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom
A decade's worth of superhero movies goes out with a big, stupid grin on its face.
One would hope that a film franchise with as much money poured into it as the DC Cinematic Universe would rage, rage against the dying of the light. Yet here we are, limping towards the end of a slate of superhero flicks marred by terrible reviews (Shazam! 2), controversy (The Flash), or sheer too-little-too-late-ness (Blue Beetle). As the superhero genre continues to flag in a year of duds, DC's set for a reinvention, a clean slate courtesy of former Marvel it-boy James Gunn and co-head Peter Safran. Before they can wipe the board and start all over with the label's slate of classic capes, though, there's a few rounds left in the last guy's chamber to fire off. That's what Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom feels like, easily the least objectionable of the DC films to come out in 2023. Problem is, that's not saying much.
A sequel to Aquaman should have been a slam dunk: Director James Wan's 2018 take on the King of Atlantis was a welcome breath of neon-soaked pop art in a franchise studded with Snyderesque dourness, leaning into the innate silliness of an underwater take on Flash Gordon. Jason Momoa is as effortless a casting as you could imagine for DC's hardest-to-pin-down superhero, brimming with giddy frat-boy energy. At its best moments, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom leans into its star's goofiness and even lets it infect some of the rest of the cast. But there's no escaping the feeling of weariness, both for a cast and crew who are just repeating the novel beats of the first and an audience that's just plain starved for something new. Continue Reading →
The low-budget confines of Blumhouse movies mean that any idea can become a movie, including bold original visions like Whiplash or Get Out. Unfortunately, it also means a lot of subpar stuff can easily get the green light. The latest example is the new Amazon/Blumhouse collaboration, Totally Killer. Hailing from director Nahnatchka Khan, Totally Killer dares to ask a question no reasonable soul was pondering. “What if Happy Death Day and Hot Tub Time Machine had a tedious baby?” Buckle up, horror devotees. Here comes yet another dose of 1980s nostalgia and some frighteningly lousy editing. Continue Reading →
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
As the Marvel Cinematic Universe got bigger and bigger and bigger, it was downright refreshing to see something as fittingly small and low-stakes as the Ant-Man films break up all the universe-ending tension. It was nice; after watching the Avengers punch through an exhausting sea of robotic baddies and set up a bunch of Infinity Stone dross, along came Paul Rudd as a smirking, kinda-dumb thief who lucked his way into a shrinking suit he used on a tech heist. After Thanos snapped half the universe away, we flashed back to good ol' Scott Lang on a caper to bring his mentor Hank Pym's (Michael Douglas) wife Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) back from the Quantum Realm. They were lighter, more carefree, a much-needed sitcom wing of the MCU. Continue Reading →
There is something delightfully ghastly about Netflix fictionalizing the existence of that last Blockbuster location on Earth. It’s the streaming equivalent of you or I parading the carcasses of our slain enemies through the town square. Alas, this “really rubbing salt in the wound” touchdown dance of a move is about the only thing unique about the sitcom. Continue Reading →
True Story with Ed & Randall
Before the Chicago improv theater, iO, closed from the pandemic in the summer of 2020, they used to play a game called “The Dream” during shows. An audience volunteer (usually tipsy) would walk on stage and an interviewer would ask them about their day in detail. The cast of the show, listening intently from downstage, would then recreate their day, beat by beat, with heightened physicality and bits. Most nights it was barely watchable, but if anyone saw it and thought, “This should be a TV show,” then Peacock's got the show for them. Continue Reading →
Admit it: we're all preemptively exhausted by Disney+'s seemingly endless onslaught of new films and franchise shows set to premiere over the next few years: we're going to be practically drowning in content, all geared toward immersing us in the brands and IPs they mercilessly control and asking audiences to buy into an ever-overwhelming web of interconnected stories. That said, ifWandaVision is a bellwether for the level of experimentation and creativity we can expect from some of these shows, we might not be in the worst hands. Continue Reading →