There have been numerous film adaptations of the work of H.P. Lovecraft, featuring everyone from Sandra Dee (The Dunwich Horror) to Nicolas Cage (Color Out of Space). However, it was the late filmmaker Stuart Gordon who best managed to capture the peculiar and often perverse charms of Lovecraft’s work. With their combination of weirdo humor, bizarre imagery, kinky sex, grisly bloodshed and better-than-expected performances, his Re-Animator and From Beyond became instant cult classics and unquestioned high points of the entire horror genre in the 1980s. Continue Reading →
Outside of Janicza Bravo’s Twitter thread turned feature film Zola, viral social engagements have rarely yielded great art. Nonetheless, Buzzfeed Studios wades into the fray with the horror film Dear David. Based on a series of Twitter threads from their former comic artist Adam Ellis, the story chronicles Ellis’s experiences with a possible supernatural presence in his New York apartment. That may seem like a fresh idea, but the film traffics in standard scary movie tropes, a stunted look, and an overreliance on the concept. Continue Reading →
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 →
On a Wing and a Prayer
It’s 2009: Owl City changed the way people looked at fireflies, America was gripped by the reality TV exploits of a couple with eight kids. Oh, and an ordinary man with little flying experience named Doug White had to land a private plane with his family onboard after the pilot fell unconscious. The year of Balloon Boy was a wild one. Continue Reading →
Shazam! Fury of the Gods
If only there were a word I could scream that would turn me into a superhero. I wouldn’t fight crime or fly in the heavens above. Instead, I would run really fast until time went backward. Then I would sprint into the DC Film offices circa 2020 and yell, “Please do not make Shazam! Fury of the Gods. Nobody needs this!” Alas, I have no such power. So, here we are. Continue Reading →
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
How do we move on from a devastating loss? A close friend, a family member, a spouse -- or, in the case of Wakanda Forever, the twin losses of both Chadwick Boseman (who died unexpectedly in 2020 of colon cancer) and the character of T'Challa, King of Wakanda and the reigning Black Panther. But rather than recast T'Challa for the sequel (a movement that has itself garnered quite a lot of attention leading up to this), writer/director Ryan Coogler chose the harder, more innately interesting path: Follow a world, a people, a family without the nucleus around which they orbited. See what the world of Black Panther does without its central figure, and watch the mighty ensemble of Black women around him scramble to pick up the pieces of their lives and figure out what to do next. 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 →
Pregnancy sucks. Though we do it all the time, because otherwise god forbid more women would choose to not subject themselves to it, it seems almost morally wrong to sugarcoat it. Even an “easy” pregnancy is uncomfortable at best, when foods you normally love become repulsive, and even tasks as simple as putting on shoes become a comedy of errors, if your feet can even still fit in them. Childbirth itself is the most excruciating pain the human body can endure, and the effort for such a “natural and beautiful” process can result in vaginal tears that can make future intercourse difficult. Mostly, we just get real weird about pregnant people. Pregnancy is perceived as a communal event, with everyone, even casual friends and co-workers pushing advice and suggestions, while often dismissing (if not shutting down outright), the pregnant person’s needs and concerns. Ilana Glazer and John Lee’s False Positive is a chillingly effective look at an expectant parent’s sharp decline from excitement to unease to paranoid terror. Her fears are brushed off as part of “mommy brain,” but there may be something to it. Continue Reading →
Toni Collette has recently made a name for herself in the broader movie-going culture as a queen of creepy, suspense cinema, with her fantastic performances in Ari Aster’s Hereditary and Charlie Kaufman’s dark and whimsical I’m Thinking of Ending Things. It’s fun to see this resurgence of popularity nearly two decades after she gave what I consider her best performance of her career in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense. Continue Reading →
The first feature-length documentary dedicated to Tina Turner leaves out too much to be truly engaging.
“This film, and the musical, are a kind of closure” says executive producer Erwin Bach, who's also partner to Tina Turner for over three decades. The music icon has, in many ways, been asked to tell the same story over and over again. Even when Turner attempted to silence the nagging questions by “journalists” about the abuse in her past by writing a biography (the now infamous I, Tina), the story of her life remained outside of her control.
Directors Daniel Lindsay and T.J Martin attempt to bring an end to the unceasing cycle of questions with their new documentary, Tina. Featuring new private interviews with Turner and those closest to her, along with a stunning array of archival footage, this is the definitive documentary on the pop and soul legend. Most of her, anyway. Continue Reading →