If you have finished watching the film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) and are looking for other movies like it, here is a list of options to consider.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes
Despite a challenging premise and an overlong runtime, the Hunger Games prequel makes the most of the hand it’s been dealt.
The character of Coriolanus Snow is an odd choice for a Hunger Games hero. In the original books and films, as played by screen giant Donald Sutherland, Snow was a cold-hearted, cruel dictator clearly meant to echo real world fascist leaders. Here, in the prequel story The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (say that five times fast), Coriolanus (Tom Blyth) is just a sensitive, emotional teen dreamboat whose main goal is to provide for his family in the wake of the violent revolution that tore apart Panem, the country formerly known as the United States of America.
It’s difficult to understand why author Suzanne Collins, who wrote the novel Songbirds is based on, made the decision to try to humanize a violent authoritarian when a core theme of the original Hunger Games books and movies was lashing back at systemic oppression. Nonetheless, director Francis Lawrence (Catching Fire, I Am Legend) and his enthusiastic cast of talented performers make the best of the rather thematically confused story arc they’ve been given, turning in one of the most exciting, emotionally arresting entries in the franchise. Continue Reading →
Even before the internet, certain movies had reputations they didn’t quite live up to. Some, like Salo or 120 Days of Sodom, earn their mythical status as movies designed to make your skin crawl and your stomach clench. Others, like the Faces of Death series, while unpleasant to watch, were just empty, acting as a controversy delivery devices and nothing more. Others still, like William Friedkin’s Rampage, never courted outrage. But unlike those others, whatever reputation it earned before the public got a chance to see it didn’t much help. As a result, at least partially, it remains one of the more obscure releases in Friedkin’s filmography. Continue Reading →
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Though their core plots aren’t similar, all three movies in Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy share the common thread of emotionally immature men clinging to the relics of their youth, often to the detriment of their friendships and romantic lives. Specifically men of Generation X, who tend to glorify their younger days, and the pop culture associated with it, at a level that borders on delusional (and as a Gen X woman I can tell you we’re not much better about it). Continue Reading →
Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken
It’s not easy being a teenager. It’s especially not easy being a teenager like the titular protagonist of Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken. As that title would suggest, Ruby Gillman (Lana Condor) is a Kraken living in a seaside town with her family. Her parents and younger brother seem to have no trouble assimilating to the broader world, while Ruby struggles. All she wants is to blend in as a normal human-- albeit one with blue skin and no spine. However, to be an average teen, she’ll likely have to break some of her mom’s strict rules, namely, never going near the ocean. Continue Reading →
Something Wicked This Way Comes
In the wake of the death of its founder and namesake, the Walt Disney Company found itself in a bit of a tailspin in the late 60s and 70s. They were unwilling to stray too far away from being purveyors of family entertainment but failed to recognize shifting audience tastes. For about a decade after Disney’s passing, the studio’s cinematic output consisted of regular reissues of their animated classics and decidedly juvenile live-action offerings. New animated films were few and far between due to spiraling costs. Their live-action films were lousy with place-kicking mules, hirsute district attorneys, and the further adventures of Herbie the Love Bug. Herbie proved their last significant box-office hit when it (he?) debuted in 1969. Continue Reading →
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
As Puss in Boots: The Last Wish begins, it’s evident that this movie is aiming for a different vibe compared to not only the first Puss in Boots but the greater Shrek series as a whole. A visual aesthetic that evokes hand-drawn animation and rapid-fire editing summons memories of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse or fellow 2022 DreamWorks Animation project The Bad Guys rather than Shrek the Third. Even the handful of pop culture references are more specific and idiosyncratic—Nicolas Cage’s take on The Wicker Man, for instance—than the very broad references the original Shrek movies became famous for. Continue Reading →
In the age of streaming, any movie, short of maybe Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, can become a TV show. It doesn’t matter if your original film was a box office turkey, these channels just want “content” and any previously established brand name will do. Through this phenomenon comes MacGruber, a continuation of a Saturday Night Live character and the star of a 2010 movie that crashed and burned financially. But when Peacock desperately needed something, anything, to release over the holidays, MacGruber rose from the aches like a conceited phoenix. Continue Reading →
KinoKultur is a thematic exploration of the queer, camp, weird, and radical releases Kino Lorber has to offer.
I’ll admit it. I believe in sea monsters. We know more about space than we do about the Earth’s watery, cavernous depths. I don't know what's out there! But what I do know is that the monsters in my mind, like all-natural monsters throughout history, embody all that is awesome and terrifying about Nature.
Deep Rising (1998) and The Strangeness (1985), two films recently released on home video by Kino Lorber, render such monsters on screen. They play on our deepest fears about the unknown natural world as well as our precarious place within it. Though opposites in terms of budget and financing, both of these pictures touch on similar themes and deliver similar results. Tangled together, these two tentacular tales teach us both about movie making and the deep anxieties lurking beneath the surface of our culture. Continue Reading →
The Green Knight
It’s no more than a few minutes into its 132-minute runtime that The Green Knight lays its cards on the table. It doesn’t really subvert expectations here; it’s not like it immediately carves out its identity. Rather, it makes itself clear in the most literal of ways, although in one that doesn’t register as such immediately. After an opening in which Sir Gawain (Dev Patel) wakes up hungover and half-naked, the camera tracks him from behind through sweaty medieval corridors and out into the cloud-covered morning. As he walks through the village, text flashes across the screen declaring itself “a filmed adaptation.” Continue Reading →