19 Best Movies To Watch After The Dark Knight (2008)
If you have finished watching the film The Dark Knight (2008) and are looking for other movies like it, here is a list of options to consider.
The latest chapter in Sony's Spider-Man Universe makes Morbius look like a masterpiece.
In an age where the Marvel Cinematic Universe has categorically lost its luster, it's tempting to imagine how green the grass is on the other side of the hill. To imagine that someone, somewhere, is doing inventive work with some of America's most pervasive modern myths -- without the heaving strain of an interconnected narrative, a cast of over-it actors, or visual effects teams stretched beyond their breaking point. You won't find it, however, in the strangely-dubbed "Sony's Spider-Man Universe" -- that casually connected series of antihero films (the Venoms, Morbius) that attempts to cobble together its own Sinister Six from the contractual scraps Disney left Sony after its acquisition of Marvel Studios. And Madame Web, the latest grasp at superhero relevancy in a dying comic book movie landscape, is easily its messiest, most forgettable shrug in that direction.
It's astonishing to think that Sony could put out a worse product than 2022's Morbius -- a misfire of a mad-scientist picture that at least contained a few interesting images and the perverse sight of Matt Smith gnashing his pointy vampire teeth through a chopped-up villain performance -- but boy, Madame Web manages it. It's a passive whisper of a film, one that barely registers its own existence. The only reason someone would even deign to make it is because they're contractually obligated to maintain a specific character's intellectual property, not to mention a heaping stake of product placement from Pepsi. 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 →
Upon the news of the passing of William Friedkin, every headline reporting on the news focused on two films. It’s not surprising that the media spent so much time talking about The French Connection and The Exorcist, two bona fide masterpieces that paved the way for a new era of American filmmaking. What was disappointing was this seeming willingness to reduce a cinematic legend’s legacy to a burst of time in the early 1970s, thus dismissing the five decades that followed as either negligible or outright unworthy of interest. Continue Reading →
Thinking about getting into the Saw franchise 10 movies in? Here’s what you need to know.
This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the work being covered here wouldn't exist.
With an inevitability that is oddly comforting in such a scary and uncertain time, a new Saw movie is coming out at the end of this week. As you could assume by the “X,” Saw X is the tenth film in a franchise that, just based on its lack of continuity alone, could conceivably continue for the next three decades or so. If you’re thinking about now, after all this time, finally getting into the Saw franchise, here are a few tips to aid you in your journey towards redemption by way of giant bear traps clamping down on one’s skull. Continue Reading →
A Field in England
This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movies being covered here wouldn't exist. Continue Reading →
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.
Writers Note: This list doesn’t include the recent Netflix installment Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie, a TV-movie crossover Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or the live recording of the 1990 Coming Out of Their Shells stage show. That one you can catch on YouTube, although I don’t know why you would. Continue Reading →
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
One of the things I enjoy most about the moviegoing experience is coming out of a film feeling as if I've actually learned something that I didn't know before, or had not even occurred to me in the first place. That's exactly the feeling that I got while watching Sam Pollard’s The League, a documentary about the history of Negro baseball leagues in America. Going in, I suppose I knew the basics about the subject and could name such key figures as Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige, but Pollard, who previously directed MLK/FBI, and executive producer Questlove delve much deeper, and the results are indeed fascinating. Continue Reading →
I do not like hating movies. I make a point to try and find something good even in otherwise crummy pictures—Adam Driver's fine leading turn in the otherwise dull 65, for example. 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 →
Disaster vacation films are a dime dozen. Audiences see a sun-drenched location and they know – something is afoot. Nonetheless, Hulu is looking to join the genre with their newest, The Drop. Directed by Sarah Adina Smith, The Drop follows a group of friends as they gather for a destination wedding, only to have a shocking incident disturb the celebration. The Drop may not reinvent the “trip gone wrong” trope. Still, its stellar cast and sharp director know how to dig deep to find the weird unease hanging around friends on vacation. Continue Reading →
We’re officially in the third decade of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson being a movie star. The former WWE legend made his cinema debut in the forgettable sequel to The Mummy, where he’s introduced as the dreaded Scorpion King, one of the most infamous early CGI debacles. Special effects have since improved, along with Johnson’s abilities as an actor and charismatic leading man. However, it feels like now we’ve come full circle with DC’s Black Adam. Continue Reading →
Werewolf by Night
For the brave trick-or-treaters who venture to the front door of the old abandoned MCU Manor, a spooky treat awaits. All courtesy of one of Marvel’s more obscure characters—Werewolf by Night. Continue Reading →
On a chilly December night, mobsters in 1920s Chicago have nowhere to go but a tailor’s workshop. Apologies; not a tailor. A cutter. This isn’t like any man you’ve met, not at least while looking for someone to fix your favorite suit. He’ll put together the suit you’ll wear at your office Christmas party, but he may also be the cleverest strategist on the block. And that tension is at the heart of The Outfit, a surprisingly taut, stagelike thriller with some great performances at its center. Continue Reading →
Thor: Love and Thunder
It's no understatement to say that Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok was a welcome shot in the arm for both the titular God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth) and the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. There's something to be said for cutting out the creaky Shakespearean grandeur of the first two Thors in favor of whiz-bang sitcom theatrics, with a dash of Guardians of the Galaxy's signature irreverence thrown in, all leather and ironic needle-drops and "well that happened"s. The result was a whiz-bang sci-fi action comedy that made a buttload of cash, extended Thor's lease on cinematic life, and catapulted Waititi into Hollywood's A-list. Continue Reading →
Jacques Audiard’s Paris, 13th District opens on a Parisian building. More specifically, on a young woman named Émilie (Lucie Zhang in her feature debut), a struggling telemarketer, singing naked in her apartment. Next to her is Camille (Makita Samba), a literary professor, her new roommate, new lover, future ex-roommate, and future ex-lover. Broken credits chop up the action, staggered throughout the first lengthy scene. There’s an ephemeral nature to all of it, the sex and romance just as fleeting as the credits only fully shown for a moment, though Audiard has no problem spending longer with the revolving bodies of this story. Continue Reading →
With the release of The Rise of Skywalker and the upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the term “fan service” has come to mean going to extremes in order to please fickle audiences of a TV series or film franchise. Though framed as an acknowledgment and appreciation of fan support, it feels forced and phony, an Easter egg hunt where a plot should be. While David Gordon Green and Danny McBride’s 2018 reboot of Halloween was far from a perfect film, they were determined to make it their own, rather than continuing the same interminable, by then thoroughly ridiculous storyline. Its sequel, Halloween Kills, however, feels like whatever Green and McBride were originally trying to do was shoved aside in favor of winks and nods at the “true” fans of the series. The body count is much, much bigger, and almost laughably gory, but if you’re looking for any kind of coherent plot and characters not doing anything but the stupidest things imaginable, look elsewhere. Continue Reading →
The Godfather Part II
What Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather films portray is a perfect amalgamation of the magical and limiting aspects of Hollywood cinema in a perfectly composed, morally ambiguous fantasy. I’m only discussing the first two here because of their proximity to one another and them embodying a 70’s theme and aesthetic that prided on American stories – Five Easy Pieces, Nashville, Patton, Breaking Away, Dog Day Afternoon, and Rocky to name a few – make them distinctly different for what I want to say than the third movie, which seems like a forgotten stepchild of the 90’s. Continue Reading →
While the first movie in the series was stylish & unexpectedly moving, it was tainted by cheap, empty sequels that forgot what made it special.
You don’t have to have seen The Crow to know the story behind it. It’s one of the great Hollywood tragedies, like the Twilight Zone crash, or the Poltergeist curse, where watching them feels a little forbidden and eerie. That’s particularly true for The Crow, because the scene in which star Brandon Lee was accidentally killed with a prop gun was left more or less intact. Granted, there’s some clever editing and use of a body double, but it’s close enough to raise the hairs on the back of your neck.
I shan’t spend too much time recounting The Crow, because, again, even if you haven’t seen it, you’ve sort of seen it (and also it’s already been written about at length on this very website). I will say that I rewatched it for this project, and was surprised to see how well it holds up. It might be perhaps the most early 90s movie ever made, but unlike, say, Reality Bites, it’s in a way that’s still cool and stylish. The swooping urban landscape shots, created almost entirely with miniatures, are still a feast for the eyes, and would be put to even greater use four years later by director Alex Proyas, in his masterpiece Dark City. Sure, the villains, who have names like “Tin Tin” and “Funboy,” are laughably over the top, but they’re balanced by Lee, undoubtedly a rising star, who plays doomed hero Eric Draven with subtlety and genuine human emotion. Continue Reading →