If you have finished watching the film Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) and are looking for other movies like it, here is a list of options to consider.
Most films don’t come with homework. The same cannot be said of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s new movie, The Marvels. Unless you’re a devoted MCU fan with an encyclopedic knowledge of both the movies and the Disney+ TV originals, it’s difficult to understand the mechanics of this disastrously convoluted entry in the floundering franchise. It feels like being dropped headfirst into a crossover episode based on three shows you’ve never seen -- mostly because it is. The Marvels kicks off with a bit of genuine visual interest (that never appears again) in the form of hand-drawn comics created by teenage superhero-slash-Captain Marvel fangirl Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), aka Ms. Marvel. Vellani, who previously appeared as Kamala on the little-seen Disney+ series Ms. Marvel, is a spunky, hilarious teenage heroine whose impressive comedic timing buoys the leaden, disjointed script. She so thoroughly steals the show that it’s disappointing this movie wasn’t just about her; instead, it's a confused mix of storylines involving Kamala, Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), and astronaut Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris, Candyman). It feels like the powers that be made a huge mistake in consigning her story to a poorly publicized streaming original, instead of letting her headline a film on her own. Continue Reading →
If Sorcerer’s sole highlight was Roy Scheider's descent into hallucinatory madness amidst an almost lunar rock field, it would still be a special movie. Scheider is Jackie Scanlon, an American getaway driver turned washed-up exile in the isolated Columbian village of Porvenir. He’s the last survivor of a desperate mission to transport increasingly unstable dynamite to a burning oil well. The blaze is so bad that only controlled explosions to burn off its fuel stand a chance of extinguishing it. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong, including Jackie’s kibashed truck giving out a long walk from the well. Haunted by—or just plain hallucinating—the laughter of his dead co-driver, he stumbles forward. Surrounded by the surreal with nothing but a rickety crate between him and the hair-trigger death, it’s all he can do besides die. Continue Reading →
My mother was not much of a movie fan. They just never interested her that much, but when it became obvious that I was obsessed with them by the time I reached preschool age, she did nothing to discourage me. Every once in a while she'd let me know that the feature on the The 3:30 Movie (my primary outlet for watching films in those pre-cable, pre-VCR days) was something that I had to watch. Oddly, her instincts often proved to be correct and I was exposed at a very early (perhaps inappropriately so age to such films as The Producers, Duel and the Joan Rivers-penned TV movie The Girl Most Likely To. . ., all of which would be long-standing favorites of mine. Continue Reading →
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
The blockbuster landscape shifted with Michael Bay's 2007 Transformers movie. It fit his directing style, with his love of explosions and male gazing, but what it amounted to was a guy playing with big, expensive cinematic toys. There was knowledge gained from those five previous installments when the 2018 spin-off Bumblebee had more personality and excitement than any of its predecessors. Continue Reading →
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
A lot's happened since we last saw the Guardians of the Galaxy (well, besides their brief cameo in Thor: Love and Thunder). Writer/director James Gunn was fired from Marvel in 2018 after some problematic tweets joking about pedophilia were unearthed, in one of the few instances of a successful cancellation from the right wing. Of course, it didn't last long, considering how thin the ground was for said cancellation in the first place; and in the interim, he swanned off to DC, made the fantastic The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker, and eventually found himself sharing the throne of a newly-revamped DC movie universe. Continue Reading →
The Super Mario Bros. Movie
It’s been almost 40 years since that little plumber in the red hat jumped into a warp pipe and into our hearts. Super Mario Bros., released for the original Nintendo system in the US in 1985, is still the perfect video game. It’s simple (you just got to jump around), it has iconic music, and its colorful world is hypnotic even with all those cute creatures trying to kill you. Continue Reading →
The latest from oddball extraordinaire Riley Stearns is a sci-fi curio about scrambling to find your will to live.
(This review is part of our coverage of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.)
Writer/director Riley Stearns introduces the viewer to the offbeat world of Dual through something of a Hunger Games or Twilight Zone knock-off, with a bloody duel between two men who look exactly the same as an audience watches. It’s a smart and captivating start, one flooded with Sterns’ usual dark sense of humor, and one that introduces the core premise succinctly: in a world where you and your double both want to live, how willing and able are you to survive a duel to the death? Continue Reading →
Peggy Sue Got Married
As Gena Radcliffe laid out in her keynote, Francis Ford Coppola’s work most often reflects an ambition to blow out plot points to near-operatic proportions. Coppola makes it literal in The Godfather series, but one can observe it throughout his career—in Harry Caul’s outsized paranoia, the psychological horror of Apocalypse Now, the costuming of Dracula (and everything else come to it), the teen and gang dynamics of both The Outsiders and Rumble Fish and so on. Continue Reading →
Not many artists have stretches of greatness so profound that they transcend their medium. They’re not looked at as just a musician or athlete or director, but part of the fabric of modern pop culture at a particular time. What The Beatles meant to the 1960s, or what Michael Jordan meant to the 1990s, is how Francis Ford Coppola defined the 1970s. Continue Reading →