‘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

What We Talk About When We Talk About Cancelling People

TV shows get cancelled. Movies get cancelled. Clothing lines and parades get cancelled. Cancelling people is trickier to grasp, but we do it all the time. Someone says something that doesn’t align with our values so we un-follow. We shame, ridicule, threaten a boycott; demand for a swift removal from their jobs and the public sphere. Cancel is a button we hit when shaming isn’t enough. It is, as far as public image goes, its own Thanos finger-snap. Right now, we’re snap-happy. This has attributed to an entire culture on social media that relishes the takedown of anyone remotely problematic, high-profile figures especially. (The bigger they are…) Anyone on any day of the week might get hit with the C-word, but what does it mean exactly? What does any of it mean if James Gunn gets cancelled, while someone like Les Moonves gets the benefit of the doubtContinue reading