‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’: A Master Class in Action Filmmaking

I blame my taste in action movies on Jackie Chan. Police Story 3: Supercop left quite the impression on me as a kid. I grew up during the action boom of the ‘90s. Movies like Speed, Hard Boiled, The Professional, Point Break, and Lethal Weapon (to name a few) were more memories to me than movies. Supercop is a particularly cherished one.

When Jackie Chan is dangling off that helicopter, or when Michelle Yeoh is hanging onto that truck for dear life, I was immediately engaged. They could fall! Indeed they do. When they fight teams of bad guys, it looks like they actually got hit, or hurt. They do, and when you see the end credits, you know that they did many times over. Both Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh did superhuman things, but they always came across as unpretentiously human. To me, that’s what makes a great action film.

I thought a lot about Supercop as I watched Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Continue reading

In Praise of David Fincher’s ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’

“She’s different,” Armansky says, words that mark the worldwide iconographic appeal of the title-heroine. “In what way?” Dirch Frode asks. “In every way.” I can’t think of a more unique blockbuster in recent memory. No, not the R-rated drama aspect of David Fincher’s lurid and underrated gem. The hard-R studio adult franchise, or the promising start of one. Considering Fincher never got to see through to a trilogy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo remains as a defiant standalone movie that’s wholly unique and of a blockbuster caliber that’s rarely been attempted since. Continue reading

A 2018 Look at ‘Spider-Man 3’

Last night, before heading off to watch Venom, some friends and I gathered to behold the modern-day masterpiece known as Spider-Man 3. I’m half being ironic here because we expected to cover our eyes out of cringe-inducing embarrassment. What we found instead was a much more watchable film than any of us remembered. Spider-Man 3’s problems, like its unaffecting villains, are still there, but they are no more outrageous than the sins committed by some of today’s biggest studio misfires. Spider-Man 3 may have emerged as an unexpected gif-sensation, but it is also an interesting case study as far as where Sony was with its veritable Spider-Man franchise and, unfortunately, where it still is.  Continue reading

Best Summer Movies 2018

Summer movie season officially came to an end last week, but that’s hardly a bummer because in terms of studio filmmaking it’s been a truly remarkable one. I’m still pinching myself at all the movies we got to see. (I’m 70% sure M:I – Fallout was just a dream.) TIFF and Telluride are well underway with lots of buzz for the upcoming Fall slate. Don’t get pretentious with them Oscar bets just yet. Here are my picks for this year’s best summer movies.  Continue reading

Comic-Con 2018 – Best Trailers

No, I didn’t change my Twitter handle to obnoxiously brag about my attendance this year. I experienced Comic-Con like the rest of you – vicariously through social media. Compared to the usual bombast, it was a rather light year for sneak-peeks. Disney, Marvel Studios, and Lucasfilm sat this one out, though it’s hardly a loss because they’ve got the D23 Expo. (Disney’s Comic-Con, basically). Not even HBO was in attendance, presumably because Game of Thrones is in the midst of shaping its feature-length final season.

With the usual suspects gone, Warner Bros. emerged as Comic-Con’s undisputed champ. AMC and BBC also debuted footage of their sizzling IPs, so literally everyone who’d typically be overshadowed by Marvel got their due justice this weekend. In standard ranking fashion, here’s a list of sneak peeks that’ll get the hype train going for me all summer long.  Continue reading