The Grinch Review

Illumination Delivers Another Perfectly Acceptable if not Necessarily Exceptional Animated Diversion in this Re-Telling of the Dr. Suess Classic.

Bohemian Rhapsody Review

This Queen biopic Fails to Transcend the Genre the Way its Subjects Transcended the Music Scene, but at Least the Music is Good.

Overlord Review

Overlord Combines the Terror of War with the Terror of a Zombie Apocalypse and Accomplishes Exactly what it Means To.

The Nutcraker and the Four Realms Review

An All-Star Cast Attempts to Usher The Nutcracker Story to a New Generation Via Disney Blockbuster, but Unfortunately the Results Fall Short of the Ambition.

A Star is Born Review

Bradley Cooper Writes, Directs, Sings, and Stars in this Fourth Incarnation of this Story Alongside Lady Gaga to Rapturous Results.

New Trailer for THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS

The House with a Clock in Its Walls, despite being a straight-up kids movie with a release date in the dead of September, is one of my most anticipated of the fall if not of the entire year. Why you might ask? Well, first there is Jack Black who has done well to understand the current phase of his career and with last year's Jumanji sequel as well as Goosebumps he is kind of establishing himself as the guy that will be fondly remembered by the tweens and younger teens of the current generation for being the funny dude in all of their favorite movies-that is, if this turns out to be as good as it promises to be. Better even, when those same kids get older, they can go back and discover even more of Black's rather impressive collection of work. Second, this is a kids movie with Cate freakin' Blanchett in it. Now, I know Blanchett has been doing a more commercially viable popcorn work lately with the last Thor film and Ocean's 8, but it seems it would take a really great script or idea or whatever it is at the heart of this story that is based on John Bellairs' 1973 novel of the same name to entice her into doing something explicitly for the children. That said, the actress looks as if she is having a great time with this role as she gets to play a witch who lives next door to Black's Warlock as he introduces his young nephew (Daddy's Home alum Owen Vaccaro) to a world of magic and sorcery. Third, and this is more a point of curiosity than intrigue, is the fact Eli Roth is directing. Yes, that would be the Eli Roth who made Cabin Fever and Hostel and who starred in Inglorious Basterds, but who hasn't had a hit movie since maybe The Green Inferno (maybe? It barely made it's $5 million budget back, but it created a fair amount of conversation at the time). All of that taken into account, it will be interesting to see how the guy who's already re-made Death Wish earlier this year fares with full-on kids material. My hope is that with his sensibilities, if they were well-balanced, he was able to keep the film appropriately scary while injecting an underlying quality of sincere terror. The point being, I'm always down for a movie aimed at kids that looks as if it could become a Halloween staple and this certainly seems to have all the ingredients to create such a favorite. The House with a Clock in Its Walls also stars Kyle MacLachlan, Colleen Camp, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Vanessa Anne Williams, Sunny Suljic, and opens on September 21st, 2018.

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM Review

Come what may, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a curious middle chapter that will likely be remembered more for its curiosities than its contributions to the overall arc of this new trilogy. What will allow the World trilogy to always have an upper hand over that of the will-always-be-superior original and its two less than successful follow-ups is that of the coherency this new set of films will seemingly possess and thus is what initially makes Fallen Kingdom so intriguing. Intriguing in a morbid curiosity kind of way as the first act of the film would have one believe it was something of a task to bring together our protagonists from the first film. Bryce Dallas Howard's no longer high-heel wearing Claire Dearing has become a voice for the dinosaurs left abandoned on Isla Nublar as a volcano is set to erupt at any moment threatening another extinction-level event. Convenient, right? Well, as it turns out this is not only an opportunity for writers Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow to move the action off of the island (a good thing), but it also creates inspiration for Claire to reach out to now ex-boyfriend and "raptor wrangler" Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) so that they may reunite in an effort to rescue as many dinos from the island as they can. Is it necessary that Owen be brought back into the action? Not entirely and Fallen Kingdom does Pratt's character no favors by giving him little to do other than become a human super hero who in turn becomes more of a dinosaur whisperer than a trainer that is also doomed to repeat the romantic beats of the first film with Claire, but to not have the star of the first film return would feel weird as well. It makes sense to a degree, but this contradiction of sorts in need versus obligation is symbolic of what seems will come to define the shortcomings of this new trilogy as well. Owen is a fun and charismatic character that functioned well for the plot of the first film, but who is only called on to be fun and charming in this sequel despite the function of his character within the plot being largely pointless (though this wouldn't be as glaring if there were more depth to the character). The movies themselves are breezily enjoyable and often times massively entertaining, but the plots on which they function will seemingly only feel more and more strained the further they push this. In essence, other than for financial reasons is there a story worth telling that justifies the existence of more of these movies? The moral dilemma of should man do something simply because it is capable has been obliterated as yet another genetically engineered dino is at the heart of Fallen Kingdom with this film moving more into should these dinosaurs be regarded in the same way as other endangered species despite being created in a lab. Much in the same way Owen is charming and fun to have around even if his presence is mostly unnecessary Fallen Kingdom only brings up said points to try and validate its existence without ever exploring them enough to make this movie feel necessary.

First Trailer for CREED II Starring Michael B. Jordan

There is both much to be excited and much to be pessimistic about when it comes to Creed II. This sequel to the 2015 Ryan Coogler-directed film that continued the story of former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa as he served as a trainer to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend Apollo Creed, is a sequel MGM and Warner Bros. wanted to move forward with despite Coogler's obligation to Marvel and Black Panther. That is the first point of concern as Coogler, who had made only one feature prior to Creed, the cutting Fruitvale Station (also starring Michael B. Jordan), is/was a voice on the rise and it was his touch that made Creed a vital part of the Balboa mythology rather than just another way to capitalize on a known brand. For the sequel, the studios brought in Steven Caple Jr. who has also only directed only a single feature thus far, but has a fair amount of TV work on his résumé including episodes of Grown-ish and the documentary miniseries, Rapture, about hip-hop's impact on global culture that is now available to stream on Netflix. I haven't seen any of Caple's previous work, but judging by the look and feel of this first trailer it seems the guy has a capable pair of hands that this franchise has thankfully been placed in. They say the greatest weapon in a director's arsenal is a strategically placed song and even if Caple had no input on the trailer itself the use of Kendrick Lamar‘s “DNA” is a perfect pairing that indicates what is hopefully the overall tone and style of the picture. The other aspect that is somewhat concerning is the fact Sylvester Stallone penned the script for this thing along with Luke Cage scribe Cheo Hodari Coker, but to what degree they collaborated is unknown. Yes, it's a nice thought the writer/director/star of the original Rocky film has such a heavy hand in continuing the arc of characters born out of his original franchise, but given the plot details we know thus far it seems reasonable to worry this might be a re-hash of what has come before rather than Jordan's Adonis and his family unit making the franchise their own. Then again, I did enjoy 2013's Homefront so what do I know? All of that said, this trailer is indeed pretty great and if the final film carries out the energy and drama hinted at here I can't imagine being disappointed in what Caple, Stallone, and Coker have cooked up. Creed II also stars Florian Munteanu, Dolph Lundgren, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Wood Harris, Andre Ward, Russell Hornsby, and opens November 21st, 2018.

INCREDIBLES 2 Review

It has been fourteen years since the Parr family, including Bob (Craig T. Nelson), Helen (Holly Hunter), and their three children-Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huck Milner), and Jack Jack (Eli Fucile)-were introduced to audiences through the magic of Pixar and the imagination of writer/director Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, Ratatouille, and arguably the best Mission: Impossible movie-Ghost Protocol). In those fourteen years since the first Incredibles film Pixar has steadily upped its output of sequels going from only a single sequel in Toy Story 2 as of 2004 to Incredibles 2 being the seventh Pixar sequel of some sort. Does this say anything about the studio outside of the fact they enjoy making money and are not immune to capitalizing on IP's the same way every other studio does? No, not really, but it does always feel like something of a missed opportunity when Pixar releases something that re-hashes a striking original rather than releasing what is hopefully another striking original. This is all to say that while The Incredibles always seemed like the most obvious choice for sequels, it was also a stand-alone film that didn't necessarily require any type of continuation. Thus bringing us to what is probably the most impressive thing about Bird's Incredibles 2 in that not only does the film seem to effortlessly pick up right where the original left off, but it validates itself thoroughly and makes its case that not only is its existence justified, but rather that the original needed this extension of the story to exist. And while this is impressive for obvious reasons it is the ideas the film dolls out as well as the engaging if rather complex without actually feeling convoluted premise that will earn Incredibles 2 this sterling reputation as a sequel that both earns its place alongside the original as well as one that improves upon it. Incredibles 2 will undoubtedly please the generation that grew up on it and are now entering their early twenties, but as someone who was among the Toy Story faithful, Pixar blossoming just before we did, I was getting ready to enter my senior year of high school when The Incredibles was released and feel no inherent connection to that original whatsoever. Due to this and the fact we live in a time where the market is saturated by super heroes it was genuinely surprising how much joy came from watching a family of super heroes strike a balance between feeding the machine and rebelling against it. Which, as Pixar sequels go, is par for the course. 

On DVD & Blu-Ray: June 12, 2018

HEREDITARY Review

It's not difficult to appreciate the craft and attention to detail in first time feature director Ari Aster's Hereditary. What is difficult to appreciate is the narrative path Hereditary follows and how much it ultimately feels patched together in order to execute horror tropes that, in all honesty, it is too good for. There is one aspect of Hereditary that feels right at home exploring the continued ramifications and deep-seated issues that are passed from one generation to the next while being more than willing to take on and explore how family can really mess you up given the most extreme of circumstances, but there is another side to the film that wants to utilize this most extreme of family dramas to paint itself definitively into the horror genre and this is where the movie kind of falls apart. The upside to this is that Hereditary only begins to really become or at least fully embrace this unnecessary narrative evolution in the last fifteen to twenty minutes or so. Prior to this, Aster shrouds so much of what is actually going on in this questionable state of what might be happening and what is actually happening by building Toni Collette and her Annie's mental state to a point where her actions are in total question of reality. We're made aware of her family history and their bouts with depression and mental health issues very early while throughout the course of the film Annie experiences incredible and unthinkable traumas that would undoubtedly bring such issues to the forefront, but while the devolving security of Annie's mental state is what ultimately brings about the true, genuine horror in Hereditary it is also this avenue, this idea of how bad parents can mess up their children that is placed on the backburner in favor of the more genre-specific plot elements. It is something of a shame it's with this familiar bang that Hereditary decides to go out as it leaves something of the wrong impression on the audience given the majority of what comes before the final revelation is an unsettling more than it is scary exercise in pacing that boils each individual party to an intentionally uneven place of uncertainty, exhaustion, and just...pure misery. Hereditary is one of those movies that is easier to admire than it is to necessarily enjoy, but it seems Aster only ever meant to paint a portrait rather than entertain a mass. It's not difficult to appreciate the camera, sound design, and especially each of the very committed performances in Hereditary, but that this twisted dysfunctional family drama ends up being more dysfunctional than it does pure family drama leaves a simplicity to be desired.

OCEAN'S 8 Review

Very early in this spin-off of director Steven Soderbergh's trilogy of movies about George Clooney's ultra-smooth, ultra-smart thief we are introduced to what is and arguably always has been the most fascinating thing about these movies not to mention heist and/or crime dramas in general. This being the fact that the type of people who find themselves in such scenarios have enough self-confidence and charisma to be able to pull-off whatever facade they wish to carry. It's not about what you may or may not be hiding on the inside or what you know about yourself that you believe everyone who sees you immediately assumes as well, but more it is utilizing your appearance, age, and swagger (or lack thereof) to allow those who see you to make those first, quick assumptions only for you to then deliver upon them so as they don't think about you again. It is an awareness of sorts that Clooney's character never fully utilized, he was always the cool guy in the nice suit, but it is almost immediately that his sister, Debbie Ocean, as played by Sandra Bullock utilizes this tool. And then she uses it again. And again. Hell, if her character's tastes weren't so expensive she could make a fine enough living as a salesperson given the way she is able to adapt to and go with whatever environment she finds herself in and whatever people she finds herself in front of, but this is a movie that is meant to both continue the Ocean's legacy while expanding on the diversification of those gender and ethnic gaps that are being actively addressed in Hollywood as of late. Whether you are in support of this or moronically opposed for one reason or another this agenda doesn't really factor into the execution of the film save for one very pointed line of dialogue that is delivered in such a fashion so as to provide reasoning if not necessarily a justification for this movie's existence. Whether this was an Ocean's movie or not though, what gives the film its pulse is this throughline idea of knowing how to interact with people by scanning them upon meeting them and figuring out what type of person they want in their life and immediately becoming that person. Bullock and a few of her co-stars are able to explore this in a few different ways, but it is mostly Bullock who presents a surprisingly layered approach to this train of thought as we see her Debbie battle with how long such a lifestyle can remain exciting as masked by intentions of justice and vengeance. It's a shame the movie itself doesn't follow through on these instincts as the movie Bullock presents us with and allows us to assume Ocean's 8 might become is far more fascinating than the fun, but ultimately derivative one it ends up being.

First Trailer for HALLOWEEN Starring Jamie Lee Curtis

Universal Pictures and Blumhouse have released the first trailer for the new sequel to John Carpenter's original 1978 slasher film, Halloween. This titled exactly-the-same, forty-year-later sequel is said to pick up in real time after the events of the first film, disregarding all subsequent films, and follows the residents of Haddonfield on another horrifying Halloween night as Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode faces her greatest fears when Michael Myers escapes the asylum where he’s been locked up since his first killing spree. Naturally, Strode has attempted to move on with her life and seemingly has as this movie will feature Judy Greer as Laurie's daughter, Karen, as well as Andi Matichak (Orange is the New Black) as her granddaughter. Where the narrative will go outside the "one final confrontation" remains to be seen as this teaser trailer more or less plays up the return of the series to its roots more than it does offer any insight into what the actual movie will contain-which is more than fine as it does this in an effective manner-but this is no doubt the point of most concern and curiosity. Curiosity due to the fact the screenplay was penned by new franchise director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Stronger) and one of his past collaborators in Danny McBride (yes, that Danny McBride). There is no doubt Green is a capable director who has the ability to ride any genre of film to success (see All the Real Girls, Snow Angels, Prince Avalanche, and Joe) and there is even less doubt that McBride is a capable writer with a twisted mind (see The Foot Fist Way, Eastbound and Down, and Vice Principles), but to see both of these guys go in on and come up with their interpretation of one of the original and greatest horror films in cinema history seems an experiment too good to actually have been funded. There will undoubtedly be a lot of influence from the original film at play here and I'm anxious to see how Green decided to balance that with his and McBride's interpretation, but mostly-and in part thanks to this teaser-I'm just really excited to see a fresh take on classic material considering the interesting and intelligent people they've recruited to accomplish that task. The film will also star Will Patton, Virginia Gardener, Dylan Arnold, Drew Scheid, Toby Huss, Miles Robbins, and will feature the return of the original Mike Myers, Nick Castle, in the iconic role with stuntman and actor James Jude Courtney helping to bring "The Shape" back to life. Halloween is set to open on October 19th, 2018.

Official Trailer for HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD

By the time this third How to Train Your Dragon film opens next March it will have been a longer period of waiting in between the second and third installments of the series than it was between the first and the second and that wait for the initial sequel seemed like forever. It was because of that longer than usual wait that it seemed the box office for 2014's How to Train Your Dragon 2 was not what either writer/director Dean DeBlois hoped for or what DreamWorks Animation was betting on. The film made only $177 million domestically on a $145 million budget, but thankfully there was the internations totals for the film which garnered this thing another $444 million bumping its worldwide haul to that of just over $620 million. And so, it is likely DreamWorks lowered the budget a bit, but was still happy to have DeBlois cap off his trilogy of films with the continuing adventures of Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless. In this third and presumably final film (though there will no doubt be plenty of television series and maybe even spin-off movies should the brand endure) we see Hiccup fulfill his dream of creating a peaceful dragon utopia while Toothless' discovery of an untamed, elusive female Night Fury draws him away from his longtime friend. Of course, when danger mounts at home and Hiccup's reign as village chief is tested, both dragon and rider must make impossible decisions to save their kind. I've always had something of a soft spot for these films as they have both proved to be far better and far more enchanting and ambitious than I both expected them to be and in comparison to what DreamWorks usually rolls out in the animation department. There is a weight to these characters and their world and the emotion brought forth in both chapters thus far is notable in the beauty with which they are conveyed in the animation. That level of quality doesn't seem to have been diminished here despite that likely cut in the budget. The film looks flawless with it's sweeping landscapes and the characters look and feel as endearing as ever. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World features the voice talents of America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett, Kit Harington, Craig Ferguson, F. Murray Abraham, T.J. Miller, Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and opens on March 1st, 2019.

First Trailer for A STAR IS BORN Starring Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga

If you looked at my Top 10 of 2017 article then you'll know I'm a big Lady Gaga fan and so it goes without saying that I'm fairly excited to see her big screen debut in a feature especially when that feature is the third remake of the 1937 film of the same name. A Star is Born was first re-made in 1954 starring Judy Garland and James Mason and then again in 1976 with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. This latest incarnation of the story deals in a country star helping a young singer find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral, will not only be Gaga's feature debut in a starring role though, but it will also serve as her co-star, Bradley Cooper's, directorial debut. The screenplay has been reformatted for what I'm presuming is a modern day if not just a slightly different take on the material by more than a handful of screenwriters, the latest of which includes Cooper himself and veteran Nicholas Sparks adapter Will Fetters (The Best of Me, The Lucky One), but fear not as there have also been drafts done by the likes of Eric Roth (Forrest Gump) and Christopher Wilkinson (Ali) that lend an optimism to what was certainly a daunting project to take on as a directorial debut. If Cooper's particular brand of passion and commitment bleed into this as it typically does his performance work I can only imagine the heights this one might reach. And certain heights it seems this thing is destined to reach as the trailer already demonstrates its mass appeal (the country music demographic as well as Gaga's?) and potentially even awards season contention if the locked picture is anywhere near as good as this first official look at the film suggests it to be. I'm loving the look of Cooper's Jackson Maine and how natural the actor seems to be at having slipped into this type of role in this very specific kind of world. Furthermore, Gaga AKA Stefani Germanotta looks to have been a perfect fit to fill this modern day take on a story we've all seen before, but maybe (hopefully) never like this. A Star is Born also stars Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chappelle, Sam Elliott, Michael Harney, Bonnie Somerville, Anthony Ramos, and opens on October 5th, 2018.

Teaser Trailer for BUMBLEBEE Starring Hailee Steinfeld

The first trailer to a movie I really can't believe was greenlit, sent through to production, and is now ready to be released has been released and, to my surprise, looks much better than I would have ever expected. After last year's massive drop-off in returns for Michael Bay's fifth Transformers film, The Last Knight, it would seem Paramount and Hasbro might collectively be trying to figure out what to do with the future of this franchise and to be fair, they probably are as Bumblebee was already in production when The Last Knight, for lack of a better term, tanked last year. Just as a reminder, The Last Knight garnered a worldwide total of "only" $605 million while the previous two installments had amassed over a billion a piece. That said, for the first time in the franchise's history the studio and toy brand are bringing in a different creative head to put together a Transformers-based film and it is in this that we find hope in a new live-action Transformers feature for the first time in over a decade as the last time I remember being genuinely excited for one of these things was for that of the first sequel in 2009 and we all know how that turned out. With Bumblebee, the studio appointed LAIKA CEO and director Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings) the man for the job while giving the screenwriting gig to a single writer in Christina Hodson (Unforgettable) rather than handing it over to a writers room tasked with plotting out an entire series of films. With these factors in place and the first trailer now having been released it can't help but feel as if this is a much smaller film with lower stakes if not still including some fantastical action sequences in the vein of something like Iron Giant (there are some serious Iron Giant vibes to be taken away here). Heading all of this up in front of the camera is Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) who consistently seems to be improving her brand/public persona and while this might have initially felt like a step back for the actress and singer if she and Knight can put their own unique and compelling mark on the property I look forward to seeing where this invigorated franchise could go from here. Bumblebee also stars John Cena, Pamela Adlon, Kenneth Choi, Megan Pryce, Martin Short, and opens on December 21st, 2018.

First Trailer for THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART

It was a given that The LEGO Movie would eventually get a sequel, but it's kind of crazy it will have been five years since the first film came out by the time the second movie arrives early in 2019. It seems much of this has to do with the behind the scenes issue of the revolving people in the director's chair as The LEGO Movie co-director Chris McKay was originally set to direct, but departed when Warner Bros. opted to make The LEGO Batman Movie first which he went on to direct and made a seriously great follow-up to the original out of. Community alum Rob Schrab next signed on to take the reins, but left the project after a year of "creative differences", at which point Trolls director Mike Mitchell was brought on board and was joined thereafter by original The LEGO Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller after they dropped out of the Solo: A Star Wars Story project and signed up to fill more than their producer roles as they then helped craft the screenplay. Speaking of the screenplay, this first teaser seems to indicate that things have only gotten worse after the events of the first film with Chris Pratt's Emmett is in denial about the ramifications of everything that has recently occurred. Prompting new conflict though, is not the return of President Business, but the arrival of LEGO DUPLO® invaders from outer space, wrecking everything faster than they can rebuild. This is a pretty great idea in terms of how to continue to expand this universe while using the stable of toys they have to work with to their greatest advantage. The trailer features some pretty solid gags, an on point utilization of a Beastie Boys track, and-naturally, some commentary on the capability of Elizabeth Banks' Wyldstyle in contrast to the inability of Emmett who was still deemed the "special" and "hero" of the first film. I mean, I get it and am all for championing the strength and independence of women, but do we have to constantly put down men-even the dumb if not well-intentioned ones-every time? This probably wouldn't feel as glaring did it not follow a similar jab in that Wreck-It Ralph trailer yesterday, but alas-the times they are a changin' and that's fine, it's for the better, but let's find some new ways to convey what is meant to be empowering without constantly demeaning. The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part also features the voice talents of Channing Tatum, Will Arnett, Jonah Hill, Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz, Arturo Castro, and opens on February 8th, 2019.

On DVD & Blu-Ray: June 5, 2018

Official Trailer for WRECK-IT RALPH 2: RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET

Disney has unleashed a second trailer for the highly anticipated sequel to 2012's Wreck-It Ralph subtitled Ralph Breaks the Internet. While Ralph was always one of those movies that seemed ripe for a sequel I've re-watched that original quite frequently as of late given my three-year-old had that stretch where it was the one movie she liked to watch again and again and I couldn't help but to wonder how they might credibly follow the film up given the first ends with everything seeming to be set-up so nicely. Of course, I was only more nervous after the title of the film was revealed even if that initial teaser trailer made the premise look a bit more promising and naturally intriguing. With this full, theatrical trailer though-I'm totally in the bag for this thing. Sure, it looks more like The Emoji Movie given all the product placements and timely jokes/references than I would have ever imagined, but there's seemingly no chance Directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston's sequel will measure up to that ungodly travesty that tried to capitalize on both a hot cultural and cinematic trend and just didn't work at all. In Ralph Breaks the Internet, John C. Reilly's titular character and Sarah Silverman's now Princess Vanellope must head to the Internet in order to find a replacement part to save Vanellope’s game. Yes, there are nods to Amazon, Google, Twitter, and such aplenty, but what is kind of surprising but shouldn't be is how much Disney is both tooting its own horn and utilizing everything under its umbrella at the same time. There is blatant Star Wars and Marvel name-dropping, of course, but Disney also draws from its own catalogue as a scene feature the mouse house's cavalcade of princesses is sure to be what people remember from the trailer and look forward to in the finished film. Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet also stars Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, and opens on November 21st, 2018.

First Trailer for WIDOWS from Director Steve McQueen

The latest from director Steve McQueen (Shame, 12 Years a Slave) is without a doubt one of my most anticipated of the rest of the year and was documented as being in my top 10 most anticipated films of the year. And while the film doesn't open until the heart of Oscar season today brought the first look at McQueen's follow-up to his Best Picture-winner and this thing looks good. Elizabeth Debicki, Daniel Kaluuya, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall, Jon Bernthal, Michelle Rodriguez, Carrie Coon, André Holland, Jacki Weaver, Viola Davis, and Liam Neeson make-up what might be the best and biggest cast of the year in a story based on the 1983 ITV series of the same name. The screenplay was written by McQueen and Gone Girl scribe Gillian Flynn which only adds more reason to be excited about the movie to a movie that already has plenty of reasons to be excited about it. What might be most interesting about the film though, is that while this certainly looks like an epic crime drama of sorts-and it probably is-it isn't necessarily another heavy drama by way of McQueen's previous features. The film chronicles four widows, including Davis, Rodriguez, Debicki, and Cynthia Erivo, of four deceased armed robbers who were killed in a failed heist attempt and whose wives must step up to finish the job and settle their husband's debts. The trailer itself ratchets up the tension making us believe McQueen is just as assured in this type of genre filmmaking as he's been in his more serious-minded work in the past. Teaming once again with cinematographer Sean Bobbitt the look of the film feels critical to the tone and overall vibe McQueen intended to exude with this feature. The film will also see McQueen and composer Hans Zimmer team up for the first time which, if nothing else, should make for an even more tension-riddled experience. Hit the jump to watch the first trailer for Widows and be sure to catch it when it opens in theaters on November 16th, 2018.

ADRIFT Review

To properly assess Adrift, the latest lost in the wild adventure, it would seem the most logical thing to do is compare it to that of the wave of recent films with similar premises and or ideas with the main objective being to determine whether or not it does anything different or at least attempts to bring new ideas or layers to the experience. While Adrift doesn’t necessarily add anything new to the genre or say anything that hasn’t been said before it does stand to reason that no matter how similar the circumstances included in these stories of desperation and survival tend to be one is typically as harrowing as the next and, if executed in an effective enough fashion, will still hit all the necessary marks and retain enough suspense to be both entertaining as well as eye-opening. If Adrift is anything it is effective in its execution; this likely has to do with director Baltasar Kormákur's (2 Guns, Everest) experience in bringing these true to life, but often times gruesomely heartbreaking events to life in an honest, but completely cinematic fashion. Kormákur takes this based on actual events story (as most of these are) and intertwines the survival narrative with that of a blossoming love affair between two young/beautiful people that are unaware how much their wills and fresh love are about to be tested. As corny as that may sound or as cheap as that storytelling trick may seem, Kormákur somehow manages to pull it off with a certain level of credibility that lends the familiar beats a sense of urgency which is good as, if one is clued in at all, they will be able to see the plot devices at work. This potentially undercuts what Kormákur and screenwriting team the Kandell brothers (Jordan and Aaron) are counting on as the emotional anchor (pun totally intended) they pull out from under the audience at the beginning of the third act. Fortunately, Adrift still works no matter your disposition thus leaving the overall impression the film leaves to once again rely on how effectively what we as an audience have been trained to know is coming is conveyed. In the tradition of films where people are stranded and left to contemplate the meaning of their now-seeming small existence in relation to the expanded world around them Adrift ranks somewhere a bit below Life of Pi and a fair amount above that of last year’s The Mountain Between Us.