Category Archives: Film Features

Exclusively for film related features and op-ed pieces.

“James Bond 25” Director Search: Yann Demange Eyed for Job, But Isn’t It Time for a Woman to Pilot This Franchise?

Bond PilotWe’re not going to throw names out there, but we can’t really see Kathryn Bigelow stooping to direct a Bond movie, so hold that hot take this week as Detroit hits theaters.

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Focus Features Still Suffering Growing Pains at 15 (Studio Series)

atomic blondeIt’s tough to have one’s cake and eat it, too, but Focus is certainly trying. If you doubt it, look at the success of 2016 and, though the first seven months of 2017 have been the company’s worst since 2010, the list of upcoming releases is as impressive as anyone’s. In the 15 years since its creation, Focus it is responsible for some of the very best examples of what independent film is and can be.

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Has San Diego Become the Con of Diminishing Returns?

SDCC“When you add it all up and factor in the role the internet plays in all of this, it means the exclusivity and uniqueness that used to be the main attraction of San Diego Comic-Con since 1970 is over,” writes John Steven Rocha.

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Batfleck, We Hardly Knew Ye

ben affleck excerptIn the midst of a mostly humdrum news weekend that was focused primarily on Comic-Con, a story suggested that Ben Affleck’s days are numbered as Batman in the DCEU. Everyone involved denied it, of course, when the question came up at the Justice League panel and presentation in Hall H on Saturday, but the writing has been on the wall for a while now.

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Isn’t It Fun to Be Shakespeare?

Will ExcerptRight now, William Shakespeare is as in vogue as he’s been in quite some time. There are two current TV shows about him, a plethora of stage productions (garnering attention for a variety of reasons), and several film adaptations in the works. Want a quality IP? Look no further than this dead English guy.

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“Wonder Woman’s” Success Puts Myth of Female-Led Superhero Films to Rest as It Paves the Way for More

Wonder Woman Excerpt“To paraphrase Queen Hippolyta, “we do deserve her,” and every great female-led superhero movie that Hollywood now makes because of Wonder Woman. If that’s not heroic, I don’t know what is,” writes John Steven Rocha.

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Open Road’s Interesting Strategy Needs to Start Working Better — Now (Studio Series)

Open Road ExcerptWhat’s interesting about Open Road’s history is how much of an outlier a film like Spotlight was, and whether or not anything like it will come from them again anytime soon. Regardless, what is very evident is that the soft grosses of the last couple years can’t persist for too much longer, or else we could see Open Road fall to the second division of indie distributors.

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“Apes” Star Andy Serkis Proves Motion-Capture Actors Deserve Awards Love Too

Andy Serkis Apes OscarMo-cap work demands more of actors emotionally, physically and mentally, because they are using their imagination to create the environment, establish relationships and set the scene. The visual effects exist to serve the physical performance, not “enhance” it, writes John Rocha.

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As “Scarface” Loses Another Director, Here Are Our Picks to Replace David Ayer, Including Nate Parker

Scarface RemakeVeteran directors Michael Mann and Danny Boyle are two of the best in the business if you catch them on the right day.

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Roadside Has Become More than Just Another Indie Attraction (Studio Series)

Roadside Attractions ExcerptA big part of success is finding the right plan and sticking with it to fruition. If we judge Roadside by that measure, and by the quality of the projects they put on screens, then we also have to acknowledge that Roadside Attractions is one of the better examples out there of just what an independent film distributor should be.

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How In the World Is the Best High School Movie In Years a Superhero Movie?

Spiderman Homecoming ExcerptWhat’s amazing about Spider-Man: Homecoming is just how brilliantly the film captures the feeling, the spirit, the tone, the essence of high school, in a way that none of the other five movies featuring the character ever have. It’s at least partly, for this reason, that the movie was such a box office sensation over the weekend, because it was putting a new spin on an old character.

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Summer Movie Season Mid-Term Report: Franchise Fatigue — It’s Real, and It’s Spectacular

The Mummy ExcerptIf this is the midterms section of the summer movie season, we’re looking at a D, and that grade is right on the precipice of a D-minus. Because we’re bored. We are bored to tears of the same old, same old. It’s possible that the second half of the summer could surprise us and come up with enough hits to balance things out, but don’t count on it. Truth be told, it’s just too late to save 2017.

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Fox Searchlight Needs a Hit, But Luckily, There Might Be a Few On the Way (Studio Series)

fox searchlight excerptFox Searchlight is not in any trouble, but they need to make sure their miserable 2016 doesn’t become a habit. However, both the company’s history and its upcoming slate suggests the future is far more promising than the past.

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Marvel, Original Content, and How Edgar Wright Made the Best Move of His Career

Baby Driver ExcerptEdgar Wright did something right by leaving Marvel. MRC did something right by giving him the chance to do something different with Baby Driver, and Sony did something right by putting it in theaters for us to enjoy as proof that people still desperately want to see original content.

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A24’s Rise to the Top of the Film World Has Been Fast and Furious (Studio Series)

A24 ExcerptIn the world of independent film, and the distributors involved, having a definitive identity is a major part of the battle. It’s a battle that, for now, A24 appears to be winning.

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Warner Bros. Is Contemplating Some Interesting Moves, But Are They the Right Ones?

Warner Bros ExcerptAny studio these days needs anything it can get, in regard to both profit and prestige, but at Warner Bros., new head Toby Emmerich is making various big decisions, such as no longer working with “auteur directors” who have final cut, might not be such a good thing.

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What the Lord and Miller Firing Means to the Overall World of Lucasfilm

Phil Lord Chris Miller ExcerptDoes Lucasfilm have itself a Director Problem? Because let’s face it — at this point, what has become obvious is that the vision to be fulfilled, from here on out, is Kennedy’s, and woe be to any director who thinks differently.

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There Are No Bad Guys in the “Han Solo” Movie Debacle, But There Are Rules

Han Solo Cast Photo ExcerptWhen it comes to the recent shake-up of the upcoming Han Solo film, it isn’t fair to blame either party, even if it is more exciting to take the sides of creators against a bureaucratic power. But if one’s going to play in the sandbox, they also need to play by the rules.

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STX Looks Like It’s Not Doing So Well, Until You Look Closer (Studio Series)

STX ExcerptThings aren’t perfect at STX, far from it. But considering how long it’s been around, and how far it’s come in that time, things could be a whole heck of a lot worse, with a future that doesn’t look anywhere near as bright as STX’s does.

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When It Comes To True Stories Like “All Eyez on Me,” What Do Filmmakers Owe to the Truth?

All Eyez on Me ExcerptUltimately, any time you’re telling a story based on something that actually happened, it’s a delicate balance. Inherently, there has to be some fictionalization involved, but there should also be an adherence to the spirit of the truth. The use of Jada Pinkett-Smith in All Eyez on Me, instead, feels exploitative.

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“Spider-Man: Homecoming” and When Studios’ Marketing Plans Can’t Get Out of Their Own Way

Spider-Man Homecoming ExcerptRecently, a Spider-Man: Homecoming spoiler was revealed thanks to the movie’s novelization. But when a studio like Sony is so secretive about its product, thus buying into the idea of Spoiler Culture, it cannot be nearly as careless about the marketing and licensing attached to said product.

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Cristela Alonzo, Kerry Washington Revved Up About Female Empowerment in “Cars 3”

kerry-cristela-excerptConsidering we are living in a progressive age where Wonder Woman is slaying the box office and gender equality is rightfully taking center stage, Cars 3 gives an unexpected dose of female empowerment. At the movie’s press conference, stars Cristela Alonzo and Kerry Washington talked about how the for the Cars universe, the future is female.

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Does “Rough Night” Have Any Scenes After the End Credits?

Rough NightSee, a diamond heist factors into the plot, and we’re never quite sure what becomes of the expensive gems.

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Lionsgate Does Something Nobody Else Does, Which Is a Good Thing (Studio Series)

Lionsgate ExcerptWhat to make of an outfit like Lionsgate? The company has established itself very firmly as the maker of mid-level films that the studios don’t often make anymore, as well as genre fare and, now and again, the kind of franchises that lead to huge international box office, but it still can’t be lumped in with the Big Six.

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Movies Based on Video Games, and the Famed Definition of Insanity

Assassin's Creed ExcerptThe relentless pursuit of video game movie adaptations, despite a proven track record that they don’t work for the most part, falls back on the famed definition of insanity, that being the repetition of behavior and expecting a different result. But at some point doesn’t there have to be a communal understanding these projects don’t work?

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From Jerry Maguire to Lestat, Tom Cruise’s Top 10 Performances Will Make You Forget All About “The Mummy”

Tom Cruise CollateralSo while you wait for the Mummy backlash to blow over, why not take a trip down memory lane and witness how Tom Cruise became one of the greatest movie stars Hollywood has ever seen.

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This Business About Sony’s “Clean Version” Movies Is Really a Non-Issue

sausage party exceprtSony announced this week that it will soon be making “Clean Versions” of its movies available to consumers at the same time that the original versions are. The panicked reactions to this new venture, however, are extremely short-sighted.

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It’s Summer Time, and, for Universal, the Livin’ Is Easy (Studio Series)

universal-studios-excerptUniversal is chock full of the successful partnerships and franchises so key to success in today’s marketplace that it’s continually vying for the top spot alongside current Hollywood powerhouse Disney. Could it dethrone the Mouse House this year? Not likely, but it’s still set up for a tremendous year nonetheless.

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“Wonder Woman” Embraces History and Politics and That’s What Makes It Soar

Wonder Woman ExcerptWonder Woman was always going to be relevant and revolutionary — it’s the first female-led film in the current wave of superhero films and it’s helmed by a female director, after all. But media is never created or consumed in a vacuum and now, its relevance is singular and powerful.

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With “Wonder Woman,” a Star Is Made, a Movie Is a Hit, But Now What?

Wonder Woman ExcerptIt’s tough to imagine that Gal Gadot can break out and where her career will go now, for various reasons, including, quite simply, she is now tied forever to the role that is making her a star. For better or worse, she is Wonder Woman.

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