So I Married an Axe Murderer
If anyone should be ripe for a huge comeback any minute now, it’s Mike Myers. Myers is largely responsible for two of the most iconic comedies of the 90s, Wayne’s World and Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. If you weren’t there and cognizant of it then, it’s impossible to explain the grip both movies had on 90s pop culture, particularly Austin Powers. Even now, 25 years later, it’s very likely that you’ll occasionally hear someone say “One hundred…billion…DOLLARS” in the voice of Dr. Evil, or refer to a person’s lookalike child as their “Mini-Me.” Its closest competitor in the zeitgeist is probably Clueless, and Clueless didn’t get two sequels. Continue Reading →
Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody
Look, I grew up a lonely gay kid. Locking myself in the dark and blasting Whitney Houston is what I do best. If Kasi Lemmons set out to make a divinely mixed greatest hits experience for Whitney fans to do so collectively, then she has certainly succeeded. Continue Reading →
The Woman King
Gina Prince-Bythewood is indisputably one of the most interesting directors working in Hollywood today. Since breaking out with the hit sports romance Love & Basketball, her work has ranged from intimate family dramas and love stories (The Secret Life of Bees, Beyond the Lights) to action-packed superhero movies (The Old Guard). It took Prince-Bythewood seven years to bring her new film, The Woman King, to the screen. Epic, thrilling, and jam-packed with delightful character beats, The Woman King understandably feels like the culmination of Prince-Bythewood’s work so far. As masterful at shooting stunning fight sequences as she is wringing emotions from intimate dialogue scenes, Prince-Bythewood delivers a crowd-pleaser for the ages. Continue Reading →
Adapted from Matthew Logelin’s Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love, written/directed by Paul Weitz, and co-written by Dana Schwartz, Fatherhood follows Matt (Kevin Hart), a father forced to raise his daughter alone when his wife Liz (Deborah Ayorinde) dies just after giving birth. Hart’s first big foray into dramatic acting has some heartwarming moments but is too bogged down by an awkward script and lack of dramatic weight. Continue Reading →
In the 30 years since it made its infamous debut, there have been bigger critical and commercial catastrophes unleashed upon multiplexes than Hudson Hawk (1991). And yet, while most of those disasters have been duly forgotten, it continues to loom large as the ultimate Hollywood cautionary tale of what can happen when a performer riding the absolute peak of their cultural ascendancy is given the chance to make literally anything that they want and it turns out to be something that evidently no one else wanted. 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 →
Ricki and the Flash
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 February, we’re celebrating acclaimed genre-bender Jonathan Demme. Read the rest of our coverage here.
2015’s Ricki and the Flash doesn’t know what’s about to happen. It doesn’t know it would silence the successful string of Singing Streep films. It doesn’t know it’s Jonathan Demme’s final film. And it doesn’t fully realize the changing conservative political tide that was about to crest over America the following year.
Ricki and the Flash is a rock ‘n roll fable about Ricki, a prodigal mother (Meryl Streep) who returns to bourgeois Indiana from her life as a working-class musician to help estranged daughter Julie (Mamie Gummer) through her divorce and suicide attempt. Her return reignites hostilities with ex-husband Pete (Kevin Kline) and sons Josh and Adam (Sebastian Stan and Nick Westrate). But with a little classic rock, the atypical family learns to accept one another. Sorta. Continue Reading →