Meg 2: The Trench
Ever since James Cameron boldly wrote “S” after ALIEN on a chalkboard and then changed it to a dollar sign, the quickest way to sequel-ize your killer extraterrestrial/reptile/mammal/whatever has been to add more of it. You scored a hit with people fighting one giant mosquito? Great, here’s a sequel with six of them. Continue Reading →
In a media landscape with fewer and fewer options actually targeted toward adults (often tied to the death of the mid-budget movie), audiences take the scraps they're given and make the best of them. This is the space that Jules occupies, a sci-fi fairy tale about the specific loneliness of senior citizens who feel isolated, ignored, and afraid. It’s also a thin, often ham-fisted take on a tale that could have had real legs in more capable hands. Continue Reading →
Talk to Me
Things have been very bad for much of the world for a very long time, and they won’t improve any time soon. I don’t mean to start things off on a bummer note, but to point out that from such dire circumstances comes one benefit: the horror movie renaissance that started in the late 2010s only seems to be getting better. Just this year we’ve gotten the low-fi nightmares Skinamarink and The Outwaters, horror comedy with M3GAN and Cocaine Bear, another mostly solid entry in the Scream franchise, too many indie horror films to list here (Bad Girl Boogey and Brooklyn 45 are but a couple), and the roaring return of the Evil Dead series. Even if there weren’t another release for the rest of the year, it’d still be a great year for horror. Continue Reading →
She's Gotta Have It
Every month, we at The Spool select a filmmaker to explore in greater depth — their themes, their deeper concerns, how their works chart the history of cinema and the filmmaker’s own biography. For March, we celebrate the birthday (and the decades-long filmography) of one of America's most pioneering Black filmmakers, Spike Lee. Read the rest of our coverage here.
The world still isn’t ready for Spike Lee. In 1986, Black cinema wasn’t in a renaissance. In fact, it had barely been uplifted, except for a few short spaces of time. Oscar Micheaux (often heralded as the first major African-American filmmaker) produced his own works in Chicago during the ’20s and ’30s: He made race films in fact—and did so when filmmaking still ran akin to the Wild West. Like Micheaux’s works, Blaxploitation flicks during the early ‘70s were originally made by Black directors and existed outside the traditional Hollywood system.
But when Black creatives did hold some agency, even during these brief periods, the economics of the Hollywood system would change that. Race films, for instance, were stymied when World War II began and Hollywood absorbed the Black actors who starred in them (like Sidney Poitier). In the '70s, white directors began to take over Blaxploitation films from its Black originators, the form losing its boldness under the guise of stereotypes. Continue Reading →