Movies

Published Date – 2022-05-10 14:09:02

In Everything Everywhere All At Once, we follow Chinese-American laundromat owner Evelyn Wang, who is recruited to save the universe from an incoming multiversal threat. As she leans into the power and skills of her alternate self from other dimensions, she learns more about herself and her family. The chaotic genre-jumping spectacle manages to pull a wide range of elements together around a powerful emotional core, delivering a hilarious and deeply affecting two hours. 

This film is built around two phenomenal performances from Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn, and Stephanie Hsu as her daughter Joy. Yeoh shows an incredible amount of range, and while we’re used to seeing her as a badass fighter in shows like Star Trek: Discovery or her many martial arts movie appearances, it’s rarer (especially in her Western work) for her to be able to show real vulnerability.

She also feels remarkably normal, in that you completely buy she’s only just about making it through life, with the biggest threat she faces being the IRS. Still, she owns the action hero moments as she embraces her newfound abilities, but it’s nonetheless a gradual process where the badassery feels earned – when she punches someone in the face, she still winces at the impact.

Image via A24

The counterpoint to Yeoh’s strained restraint is Hsu, who gets to be cool in a different way. As the reality-hopping shenanigans occur, she gets some incredible outfits designed by Shirley Kurata, carrying them with confidence and presence. At the same time, the moments where she’s desperately trying to connect with her mother (a distance in part caused by the family’s homophobia), are deeply emotionally affecting. The pain she exudes throughout is palpable, even just in the tone of her voice as she tries over and over to get her mother to listen. 

When the pair are together on screen, it’s like all the chaos slips away, and you’re focused solely on the struggle of their strained relationship at the heart of the picture. Other performers also do great jobs, most notably Ke Huy Quan as Evelyn’s endearing, bumbling, but good-hearted husband Waymond. The combination of his performance and the script give the role a surprising amount of depth – particularly in the back half. Jamie Lee Curtis also gives a drily fun turn as a scene-stealing auditor, while the broader ensemble all play their bit-parts with just the right amount of heightened, light-hearted silliness to make it work. 

Everything’s irreverent humour continues in the incredibly imaginative conception of what can be done with the boundless possibilities of infinite parallel worlds. There are very outlandish universes like the already-famous one where humans evolved to have hot dog fingers, and while this is played largely for laughs, these worlds get a deeper exploration than you would expect.

Jamie Lee Curtis in 'Everything Everywhere All At Once'
Image via A24

Writers and directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, collectively known as Daniels, additionally provide some striking homages to other works, particularly Wong Kar Wai’s sweeping romances and traditional martial arts cinema. Somehow, these wildly different styles are executed sharply by director of photography Larkin Seiple, with the aspect ratios and color grading being manipulated to make this work. It’s as if they took the lovingly-crafted pastiche style that the likes of Edgar Wright and Quentin Tarantino specialize in, but gave it a beating heart.

In spite of all the constantly-moving insanity, there’s still an impressively persistent emotional core to everything that unfolds and remains continually reinforced, particularly in relation to the lead performers. This is a film about finding love and connection when you’ve been ground down. Even the bizarre hot dog-handed world gets to have its own deep moments that will likely make you cry. At times, it can feel a little too eager to tie up its own loose ends without giving the invocation of heavier subject matter time to breathe, particularly surrounding the family’s alienation of the queer daughter. However, there’s an earnestness which means that even the oversimplified emotional beats hit hard.

Everything Everywhere All At Once understands that the world is infinitely big and scary, and that we often feel like we are the worst versions of ourselves. And yet, it manages to effectively advocate for us to keep going, to seek the connections and moments that make life worth it. From the irreverent humour to homages via several standout performances, we are reminded that in a world where it feels like nothing matters – we have to find those little moments to live for.



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Published Date – 2022-05-04 13:31:18

This article contains major spoilers for the Moon Knight season finale

Moon Knight‘s season finale has just been released and we’re happy to report the show ends on a high note. The episode delivered on showing Moon Knight / Mr. Knight kicking ass in unison, introduced an incredible-looking new hero in Layla/Tawaret, and showed us a killer kaiju battle between Khonshu and the giant crocodile god Ammit.

But it is the last moments of the episode that really get fans talking. Throughout the show, we’ve seen hints that Spector’s third personality from the comics, taxi driver Jake Lockley, is also present. His appearances so far have been very subtle, but we got a major hint that he was present mid-way through the episode when neither Marc nor Steven brought down Harrow in Cairo.

The episode closes with Khonshu apparently fulfilling his promise to free the pair, though the mid-credits scene shows it’s not quite as simple as that. Khonshu may have released Marc and Steven, but it seems that Jake Lockley is still very willing to carry out Khonshu’s homicidal wishes.

And so we see the (Spanish-speaking) Jake retrieve Harrow from the (cutely named) Sienkiewicz Psychiatric Hospital, putting him in the back of a limo, and cold-heartedly shooting him in the head.

The episode didn’t close with a promise of a second season as Loki did, but this dangling plot thread feels like it needs to be resolved, so chances are good that Moon Knight will one day return. However, Oscar Isaac is a busy man and thus there might be a delay before we get to binge on the future adventures of Marc Spector/Steven Grant/Jake Lockley. Let’s hope it’s not too long.

Moon Knight is available to stream in full on Disney Plus.



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Published Date – 2022-04-19 13:50:50

Plenty of famous Hollywood faces have played themselves on the big and small screens before, but it goes without saying that there’s never been an actor quite like Nicolas Cage. With that in mind, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is a movie that simply wouldn’t have worked with anyone else in the lead, not least of all because few top talents would be able to leave their ego firmly at the door and embrace the unbridled self-aware insanity of Tom Gormican’s bonkers meta action comedy.

Cage is the cinematic equivalent of a mystery wrapped in an enigma, who remains shrouded by his own unique levels of mystique; he’s an Academy Award winner that’s been lauded by many of his peers and contemporaries as an all-time great, but he’s also slummed it through a succession of banal VOD thrillers.

He was one of the biggest box office draws in the business at the peak of his powers, but also a relentless source of fascination and memes, with his signature and bespoke performative style making him the butt of as many jokes as he has been the subject of overwhelmingly enthusiastic acclaim.

Cage knows this, and admitted that The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent was the ideal opportunity to embrace it. The screenplay from Gormican and co-writer Kevin Etten is fully cognizant of the leading man’s life and times, as well as his ups and downs, using it to the fullest by dropping the semi-fictionalized Nick Cage into a zany story of birthday parties, newfound friendships, drug cartels, kidnappings, family drama, the CIA, and so much more.

After missing out on a role in David Gordon Green’s new project by overzealously monologuing in a thick Boston accent, Neil Patrick Harris’ agent Richard Fink outlines in no uncertain terms that Cage is in mountains of debt and short on options. Throw in the strained relationship with Sharon Horgan’s soon-to-be ex-wife Olivia, not to mention the growing distance from Lily Sheen’s daughter Addy, Nick finds himself in the midst of a personal, professional, and existential crisis.

That’s without mentioning the fact he’s haunted by the ghost of Nicky, a younger and power-hungry hallucination of himself that urges Nick to stop focusing on being an actor, and reclaim his place as an A-list movie star. They talk, they argue, and they even make out at one stage, because that’s the sort of offbeat idiosyncrasies we’re conditioned to expect from the first minute.

Accepting the million-dollar offer of Pedro Pascal’s Javi Gutierez, Nick finds himself accosted by Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz’s federal agents, who task the action hero to go undercover on a special assignment to help them crack a high-profile abduction, but Cage soon finds himself developing a genuine bromance with Pascal’s superfan, which is cemented over a screening of Paddington 2.

The bulk of that setup is packed into the first act of Massive Talent, but once the lay of the land has been established, things escalate into fantastically outlandish territory. You don’t have to be a Cage enthusiast on the scale of Javi to appreciate the film, with most of the wink-wink references relegated to name-drops of popular titles, or Cage resolutely affirming the underrated status of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin or Guarding Tess.

the unbearable weight of massive talent

Instead of playing the premise for the broadest of laughs, the best moments of Massive Talent come from Cage looking inward, while still reflecting on his storied legacy. He repeatedly insists that it’s not a comeback because he never went away, he just needs the right part to help him cement his credentials once again. The fact this particular project puts the exclamation point on exactly that only serves to add another coincidentally brilliant wrinkle to the entire operation.

Similarly, while it would have been easy for Cage to go as broad as possible in his performance (which he admittedly does at points, although it’s done in the most pleasingly knowing fashion), he hits some emotional beats that you wouldn’t expect to find in such a wacky story. He acknowledges his weaknesses as an actor, father, husband, and friend, which is where the lines between Nicolas and Nick are at their most blurred.

It isn’t a one-man show by any stretch of the imagination, either, with Pascal proving to be an absolute hoot as Javi. An aspiring screenwriter hoping to make his personal and professional dreams come true with a single wave of his checkbook, he puts in just as much effort as his opposite number to ensure the heartwarming dynamic between the two leads remains the driving force of the narrative, which isn’t an easy thing to do when Massive Talent was always going to be The Nicolas Cage Show first and foremost.

Despite Cage’s initial skepticism at being a hired party guest, he and Javi develop an instant chemistry that carries the narrative and storytelling load. They jump off cliffs, drive around the picturesque Spanish coastline, get high on LSD and freak out, help each other become better and more understanding men, declare their love for each other, and get involved in shootouts, fistfights, and car chases. The two of them hold nothing back, whether it’s the quiet and intimate moments or the bravura blockbuster shenanigans plastered all over the marketing, with Pascal’s penchant for understated comedy adding yet another impressive weapon to his expanding arsenal.

nic cage perfect rotten tomatoes rating
Image via Lionsgate

The weakest part of Massive Talent by far is the third act, which isn’t all that much of a surprise when it abandons the decidedly deep and thought-provoking examination of who both audiences and Nick think he really is, in favor of standard action comedy beats that don’t bring anything new to the table other than nefarious forces making constant references to the absurdity of a famous actor being involved. It isn’t a coincidence that the story sags when nuance and authenticity are abandoned in favor of spectacle, but it’s a minor quibble in an otherwise excellent genre-bending celebration of all things Cage.

Nicolas Cage the actor playing Nick Cage the fictional creation, who in turn is haunted by the specter of Nicky Cage in a film that meditates and ruminates on the past, present, and future of both the real and fictional Cage under the guise of an action comedy that ultimately ends with Nick Cage watching Nicolas Cage in an in-universe movie about the adventure Nick Cage has just experienced is enough to make your head spin if you think about it for too long, but The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent delivers an adrenaline rush of sheer joy that’s destined to enjoy a long-lasting life as a stone-cold cult classic, not to mention one of the bravest, boldest, and cleverest things the star has ever done.



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Published Date – 2022-04-10 01:57:43

This April has seen Sony’s latest Spider-Man Universe movie drop in the form of Morbius. Starring Jared Leto in the title role, the horror-tinged superhero film introduces audiences to Dr. Michael Morbius, a brilliant scientist with a rare blood disorder who accidentally transforms himself into a “Living Vampire” when searching for a cure.

Morbius is releasing at an interesting time for the wider Marvel multiverse as Marvel Studios is also about to tackle Blade, the iconic vampire hunter, with Mahershala Ali set to take on the role made famous by Wesley Snipes in the original Blade trilogy of the late 1990s/early 2000s. In fact, Ali already made a vocal cameo at the end of Eternals.

So with a living vampire and a vampire hunter both appearing on the big screen, it’s interesting to ponder the connection between the characters. But are Morbius and Blade enemies? What is their history in the comics? And, the most important question of all, could they get to meet in the movies?

Morbius and Blade’s comic book rivalry, explained

Image via Marvel Comics

After Morbius was written into The Amazing Spider-Man in 1971 and Blade was created for Tomb of Dracula in 1973, it didn’t take Marvel long to have the bright idea to pit vampire and vampire slayer together. The pair first battled it out in October 1974’s Adventures of Fear #24. As you would expect, they started out as bitter enemies, with Eric Brooks being Morbius’ number two nemesis after Peter Parker. Over time, however, their relationship got much more complicated…

Though Blade despises all vampires, after his mother was killed by one while giving birth to him, he eventually overcame his prejudice towards Morbius due to his origins being of scientific, not supernatural, origin. They even served together on the darker-edged superhero team the Midnight Sons. But when Morbius fell under the sway of supervillain Hunger, he became a rampaging monster. In 1999’s Peter Parker: Spider-Man #8, Blade set out to hunt him down and was bitten by the vamp in the process.

In the same year’s Blade the Vampire Hunter #1, it was revealed that Morbius’ bite had had a surprising effect on Brooks and turned him into a Daywalker — this was Marvel’s way of bringing the character closer to the movie version. Blade’s origins were later retconned, however, establishing that the bite Deacon Frost gave his mother is the real source of his powers, thereby removing Morbius from the equation.

Morbius and Blade almost faced off on film

While we wait to see if Morbius and Blade’s complex comics history could ever be replicated on screen, it’s worth noting that the duo almost came fang to fang in Blade II.

1998’s Blade was originally set to end on a major tease at what was to come in the sequel, with Morbius dropping by for a cameo. The deleted ending was even shot, and a low-quality print of it later emerged online (which you can watch above). As you can see, the Living Vamp was only supposed to stand on a rooftop and look menacing, but Marvel fans in the late ’90s would’ve lost their minds at this, considering that world-building and sequel-baiting were not typical in superhero movies at the time.

As for why Morbius was cut, we unfortunately have Guillermo del Toro to blame for that. When he signed on to direct Blade II, he wanted to draw from his own impressive imagination rather than the established Marvel universe so he turned down the opportunity to use Morbius. That meant his cameo in the first film’s final moments had to go.

Can Morbius and Blade meet in the MCU?

jared leto morbius 2022 grammys
Image via Sony Pictures

23 years on from this deleted scene, and we’re still waiting for that Blade/Morbius showdown. But could it finally happen soon? That’s a tricky question to answer…

First of all, the two categorically exist in separate universes, with Leto’s bloodsucker dwelling in the Sonyverse and Blade operating in the MCU. However, Morbius builds on both Venom: Let There Be Carnage and Spider-Man: No Way Home establishing that travel between the two realities is possible, so a crossover isn’t impossible. In fact, Morbius may be about to join the Sinister Six. The villain group will likely be based in the Sonyverse, but they could feasibly hop over to the MCU to battle Spider-Man. Maybe Morbius could tussle with Blade while he’s there.

Alternatively, perhaps the pair could become uneasy allies instead. Moon Knight‘s Oscar Isaac has teased that the Midnight Sons are about to form in a future project — with Blade among them. While Isaac didn’t list Morbius as a potential team-member, he has been part of the roster on the page so the option is there to bring him aboard.

Though it’s been critically mauled, Morbius has performed well at the box office so Sony will no doubt be keen to do more with the anti-hero. Who knows whether that involves Morbius and Blade coming to blows, but history has shown us the stakes would be high if they ever did.



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Published Date – 2022-03-26 21:08:36

Michael Bay is one of modern cinema’s great enigmas, in that he’s one of the very best at what he does, but his singular talents and impeccable penchant for crafting pulsating action sequences and practical in-camera mayhem are often wasted on tedious blockbusters with one-note characters, awful scripts, and uninteresting stories.

Make no mistake, Ambulance ticks all of the boxes you’d expect from a Bay blockbuster (for better and worse), but there’s enough about his latest feature to place it comfortably among his upper echelon. It isn’t quite on a par with Bad Boys or The Rock, but it’s a damn sight better than any of his five Transformers flicks, or Netflix’s self-indulgent 6 Underground.

The plot is simple, straightforward, and makes very little sense, so we immediately know we’re on familiar ground from the off. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is decorated war hero and family man Will Sharp, back home and struggling to find the money to pay for his wife’s surgery. He lies to her about having acquired the funding, heads out to meet up with his adoptive brother Danny (as played by Jake Gyllenhaal), who then convinces him in a matter of minutes to join his crew for a $32 million bank heist that starts almost immediately, and we’re off to the races.

Some of the marketing may have painted Ambulance as a heist thriller, but the gung-ho crew are out of the bank by the end of the first act, many of them splattered into mincemeat. The cops and the feds are both on the scene, forcing the Sharp siblings to hijack the titular mode of transport, which also involves them attempting to save the life of a rookie officer that Will had literally just shot twice for trying to apprehend his brother immediately beforehand.

Once Will, Danny, Eiza González’s Cam, and Jackson White’s Officer Zach (yep, that’s his name in the credits) are aboard, things take a rapid detour into pure, unadulterated Bayhem. As soon the thieves and their captors hit the road, we’re treated to almost two hours of vehicular insanity, implausible subplots, occasionally awe-inspiring camerawork, and the requisite sh*t getting blown sky high.

A recurring criticism of Bay’s career is that he’s refused to evolve even the slightest bit since breaking out as the action genre’s newest wunderkind almost three decades ago, but he knows it, with Ambulance revealing a playful level of self-awareness that may as well have someone wink at the camera.

He knows people dunk on his work for repeating the same tricks over and over again in perpetuity, but he’s also savvy enough to accept that audiences would reject him if he didn’t, so he knows exactly what he’s doing when he has two characters discuss The Rock during an early scene of Ambulance, before one of them refers to the pair as “bad boys”.

Ambulance is everything you’d want from the frenetic filmmaker, but he’s added several new tricks to his arsenal in order to add a layer of freshness that’s been missing from his work for some time. Sure, as has been the case for years, the humor is terrible, none of the one-liners land, a farting dog becomes integral to an early set piece, the running time drags on for at least 30 minutes too long, the slow motion grows old very quickly, and there’s a distinct lack of emotion beyond the superficial, but people don’t pay to see Michael Bay movies for the nuance.

Two-thirds of Ambulance is pitched somewhere between Speed and Mad Max: Fury Road, and when the various visual elements are firing on all cylinders, it can be an absolute joy to behold, and even comes mighty close on several combustible occasions to living up to the potential of being the bastard love child born from two unadulterated classics.

Stumbling upon the notion of attaching cameras to high speed drones is inspired, too, because only an auteur with Bay’s unique sensibilities would even consider doing what he does with the technology, opening up the playing field to some truly impressive and even mind-blowing shots as we weave in and out of the action at full pelt.

At points, you’ll scarcely believe that Ambulance is daring to present such wild storyline developments with an entirely straight face in the middle of what’s basically a 90-minute extended set piece, especially when Will and Cam hold a conference call with her surgeon ex-boyfriend and two trauma specialists, so that they can split a dude’s guts open to pull a bullet out of him, only for his spleen to burst right when she’s about to secure it with a hair clasp.

This is a thing that happens, and it’s as insane as it sounds, but you can’t help but admire Bay taking such incomprehensibly detailed swings when he’s immediately smash-cutting to things like a customized lowrider fitted with a Gatling gun mowing decimating a police roadblock, the Sharps engaging in a fistfight from the driver and passengers seats, or a fortuitous blood transfusion at 100 miles per hour.

Will, Danny, and Cam are the only roles that matter in the slightest, though, but Bay deserves at least a little credit for trying to flesh them out a touch, even if they remain broadly archetypal. Mateen does his best to try and add some conflicted complexity to his reluctant accomplice, while Gyllenhaal pitches his performance as increasingly deranged the longer the story continues. Gonzalez would have been given the Megan Fox in Transformers treatment had Ambulance been made a decade ago, but thankfully she’s given a decent amount of screentime without being reduced to window dressing or eye candy.

If you’re not a fan of Bay’s, then Ambulance is going to do absolutely nothing to change your mind. However, if you’ve got a soft spot for ridiculous action movies that take place in a heightened version of something resembling reality, then there’s plenty to enjoy.

With a $40 million budget, Ambulance is Bay’s second-cheapest production since 1995, but he makes the most of the stripped-back aesthetic to prove that he doesn’t need $200 million and an overabundance of CGI to deliver something that’s entirely in keeping with both his back catalogue and reputation.

Based on the evidence displayed from the first minute to last, perhaps the maestro of incendiary entertainment should stick to smaller budgets for the foreseeable future, because the no-frills approach isn’t just signature Bay with a fraction of the budget; it’s comfortably his best movie in years.



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Published Date – 2022-03-17 12:56:18

Image via Marvel

Daredevil fans were understandably distraught when the Netflix show was killed off in its prime back in 2018. While Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones were all arguably past their best, Marvel and Netflix’s take on the Man Without Fear was going from strength to strength each season. But, over the last few months, that misery has turned to joy.

Charlie Cox returned as Matt Murdock for an incredible cameo in Spider-Man: No Way Home and Vincent D’Onofrio tore it up as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin in Hawkeye. Kevin Feige and Charlie Cox have also underlined that they have big plans for the future and now evidence is mounting that the wheels are in motion.

The latest issue of Production Weekly (via Comicbook.com) lists “Daredevil Reboot” as having entered production with Kevin Feige and The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Marvel’s Behind the Mask‘s Chris Grey listed as producers. The word “reboot” will likely have some fans nervous, though this likely just refer to the new project not being a direct continuation of the Netflix Daredevil, but a sequel series.

It’s also in line with Cox’s recent comments that a new MCU Daredevil show would be “reimagined” and “slightly different”.

This also comes after last week’s news that Marvel Studios and Disney have formed a new production company called ‘Blind Faith Productions,’ which certainly sounds like it’s related to Daredevil. We tracked down the application to form the company, which not only confirms that the forms were filed on February 22 but also reveals that its executive address is 500 Buena Vista Street, Burbank (i.e. Walt Disney Studios) and that the form was signed by Disney Vice President Chakira H. Gavazzi.

Either way, these are exciting times for Daredevil fans. Let’s hope we get a full announcement soon.

Daredevil is now available to stream on Disney Plus.

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Published Date – 2022-03-04 20:54:52

We’re never too far away from a Batman adaptation of some kind, whether we’re talking about film, television, live-action, animation, video games, or anything else. That makes it increasingly difficult for anyone to put a fresh spin on a pop culture icon that’s become about as ubiquitous as it gets for decades, and that’s without mentioning the three different actors playing the role in a pair of blockbuster Warner Bros. releases this year alone.

However, Matt Reeves is fully aware of that fact. He also knows that from the second The Batman was first announced, comparisons to Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and The Dark Knight were lurking around every corner. While that could be a daunting prospect for a lot of filmmakers, the director fully embraces the pressure he’s under to give audiences the best of both worlds, at least as it pertains to the title hero.

Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne isn’t a rookie like Christian Bale was when we first met his version back in 2005, nor is he anywhere close to being the established vigilante Michael Keaton was in Tim Burton’s 1989 film, or the grizzled veteran played by Ben Affleck in the mainline DCEU. As a result, The Batman luxuriates in presenting the established tropes and trappings audiences have come expect over the last 30+, but handles them with a fresh perspective and unique insight.

We don’t see Thomas and Martha Wayne being murdered for the umpteenth time, but their fingerprints are all over the story, and a key part of their son’s fractured psyche. Selina Kyle has been a regular sparring partner of Batman’s on the big screen for what feels like forever, but Zoë Kravitz paints the future Catwoman as a fully-realized character that plays to her strengths, one with a substantial arc of her own.

Jim Gordon is always along for the ride as the straight arrow in a world of corruption, but Jeffrey Wright makes it feel new, and there’s even an unlikely buddy cop element to his rapport with Pattinson. Sadly, Andy Serkis gets surprisingly little to do as Alfred other than dispense helpful exposition and become reduced to a plot point, but he still manages to imbue Bruce’s trusted butler and confidant with heart and gravitas.

Movies featuring arguably the most tortured superhero of them all are also required to be dark as a matter of obligation, and while The Batman is almost completely humorless, the somber tone never threatens to become oppressive. Everything you want and hope to see is there on the screen, and yet it somehow manages to feel one-of-a-kind and exciting. Well, almost always.

Diving into the various plot machinations would run the risk of giving too much away, but it wouldn’t be a spoiler to say that the marketing has done an incredible job of showing a ton of footage that reflects exactly what The Batman is, without actually putting any major cards on the table. Sure, you’ll recognize many of the scenes and images from the promo materials, but they don’t unfold when or why you’d expect.

During his second year on the job protecting Gotham City, Batman finds himself drawn into a citywide conspiracy that dates back decades, with Paul Dano’s Riddler at the center. As the bodies keep dropping, the World’s Greatest Detective actually lives up to his name for once, as he unravels a series of clues that pile revelations on top of tragedy.

Kravitz’s Catwoman is heavily involved in almost every major subplot, as is Colin Farrell’s Penguin, but neither in exactly the way you may have been led to believe. In fact, it’s John Turturro’s Carmine Falcone who surprisingly acts as the eye of a sociopolitical storm that invokes everything from hard-boiled film noir to sleazy exploitation stories, via murder mysteries, doomed romances, and everything in between. The fact that it works, especially in within the parameters of a $200 million Batman tale, is a testament to what Reeves and his team have pulled off.

Once you manage to reconcile yourself with the fact that it’s the handsome Irishman under the prosthetics, Farrell is comfortably one of the standout performers among a cast that’s never anything less than excellent across the board, even if Oswald Cobblepot is the only character that’s been allowed to even nibble on the scenery, never mind chew on it. With an HBO Max series on the way, you’ll be dying not just to find out what his next move is, but champing at the bit to see Oz take center stage.

At the end of the day, though, it’s a Batman vs. Riddler story, which remains true from the first scene almost to the last. Dano is lauded as one of the most underrated talents in the business for a reason, and you completely buy his Edward Nashton as a person who would go to such extreme lengths to right what they believe to be a serious wrong they’ve taken extremely personally.

That being said, some people might not be completely sold on a performance that aims for chilling, cerebral and maliciously calculated, but may be interpreted otherwise by certain viewers. At the end of the day, though, Dano is utterly convincing as the byproduct of unmatched intelligence bolted onto unbridled fury.

While his performance is entirely a matter of taste and personal preference that could prove polarizing, it’s not going to be controversial to say the third act of The Batman is the weakest by far. Reeves spends upwards of two hours crafting an intense, tightly-plotted serial killer thriller unfolding in the sandbox of a heightened comic book reality, and it’s as if someone from Warner Bros. tapped him on the shoulder midway through production to remind him that he’s making a big budget tentpole that requires effects-driven spectacle.

The climactic action sequence is well-staged and offers occasional bursts of excitement, but the pacing is all over the place. There’s a stop/start, almost hurried nature to what’s supposed to be the grandstanding finale to an epic story, but it feels out of place when compared to the taut structure and gradual turning of the narrative screws that had largely defined The Batman up until that point. That’s without even mentioning the overt sequel tease that follows, which feels completely out of place and tacked on for the sake of generating buzz for the incoming BatVerse.

That’s the only time The Batman feels like a three-hour movie, and it’s a minor quibble in what’s an otherwise phenomenal piece of filmmaking. Peter Craig’s cinematography is positively stunning and regularly breathtaking, while Michael Giacchino’s score is a minimalist masterpiece.

The world-building should also be singled out for special praise, because this is arguably the first time that Gotham and its citizens feel like active participants in the story, rather than backdrops for the action and unimportant cogs in a machine that serve only to act as window-dressing for the household names that exist around them.

The Batman is both contained and enormous, intimate yet sprawling in scope, and a hell of a way to introduce Reeves and Pattinson’s take on the mythology to the masses. With multiple HBO Max spinoffs and sequels on the way, we can’t wait to see what comes next.



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Published Date – 2022-02-21 12:34:55

via NBC

From 2011 to 2017, Grimm was one of the most entertaining shows to watch, since it’s filled with supernatural moments, magical creatures, and a ton of action. A detective from Portland named Nick Burkhardt does everything in his power to defend his city from evil creatures known as Wesen. Wesen beasts are part animal, part human — and fully up to no good.

Burkhardt teams up with his partner Hank, his colleague Sergeant Will, his friend Monroe, and his potential love interest Rosalie. Together, they go head to head against supernatural forces, both internal and external. At one point, he even has to go up against his Police Captain, Sean Renard. There’s so much to love and respect about a show like Grimm, including its incredible cast. David Guintoli plays the leading role of Burkhardt and does an incredible job. There’s also Bitsie Tulloch, Russell Hornsby, Silas Weir Mitchell, Claire Coffee, and Sasha Roiz backing him up. Here are some other shows that might remind you of Grimm.

Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy hollow is an adventure show that premiered in 2013. It lasted for four seasons and tells the story of Ichabod Crane, who suddenly wakes up after being dead for 250 years. Waking up in the future comes with a lot of responsibility. He must solve a pressing mystery that dates back to when the founding fathers walked the earth. Thanks to a magical blood spell cast on the battlefield where he walked during the revolution, he must also go head to head against the infamous Headless Horseman on his journey.

Beauty and the Beast

The story of Beauty and the Beast has been told plenty of times over the years. In fact, there’s an animated movie and a live-action movie that have both been produced by Disney. This particular TV drama lasted four seasons after it premiered in 2012. It’s about a detective named Catherine Chandler who discovers a clue while investigating a creepy murder. The clue leads her straight to Dr. Vincent Keller, which is more shocking than she can believe, since he’s supposed to be dead already. He supposedly died in Afghanistan back in 2002, but now that she’s figured out he’s alive, it turns her world upside down.

Once Upon a Time

Viewers who love diving deep into fairytale stories will adore Once Upon a Time. It offers seven seasons of magical fairytale legends colliding with modern-day life. Emma Swan is living a relaxed and comfortable life as a bonds collector until her life gets completely upended. 10 years prior, she gave up a son for adoption. After she’s moved on, he suddenly shows up at her door to confront her. What makes the situation even more interesting is that her son believes she is the birth daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming.

Salem

There’s a lot of supernatural hysteria that takes place in Salem. It’s about a woman named Mary Sibley who holds the title of being the strongest and most powerful sorceress in all of Salem, Massachusetts. Her husband is extremely wealthy, but she mainly gets assistance from her ageless friend Tituba. Since Tituba doesn’t age, Mary’s able to lean on her in her most vulnerable moments and share her most pressing secrets with her. Mary knows deep down that Tituba will be around for the long haul.

One of the major questions asked in this show is: what truly fueled the infamous and deadly witch trials of the 17th century? The Salem Witch Trials led to the unfair deaths of 25 people. More than 200 people were accused of witchcraft and black magic in colonial Massachusetts in the 1600s. Interestingly enough, none of the people accused who were found guilty were burned at the stake. 19 individuals were executed by hanging. Salem touches on a bit of the history that inspired the show in the first place.

Being Human

Being Human is the perfect show to watch if you’re looking for the perfect blend of horror, comedy, and drama. The television series is based on a BBC series of the same name and follows suit with a similar premise to the original. It’s about three supernatural individuals who live together under one roof. One is a vampire, one is a ghost, and one is a werewolf. They all deal with their own separate issues, trying to blend in with normal human beings without sticking out like sore thumbs.

The vampire in the house is constantly battling his desire for human blood and flesh. The werewolf in the house is trying to make sure he doesn’t transform into a beast at the wrong moment. The ghost in the house wants to make sure she doesn’t disappear into the afterlife permanently. They each have a lot to worry about and focus on, but fortunately, they have each other to discuss their concerns. This show premiered in 2011 and lasted for three seasons.

Siren

There aren’t a lot of supernatural shows that focus on mermaids, but Siren is certainly one to check out if mermaid entertainment is what you’re looking for. It’s about a mysterious area called Bristol Cove that was allegedly once the home to thousands of mermaids. When a secretive new girl named Ryn moves to town, she also brings along possible proof that the mermaid stories are indeed true. A local marine biologist named Ben finds himself drawn to Ryn and realizes he wants to investigate the potential of mermaid life more than ever before.

He takes it upon himself to go on a quest to uncover the truth about what exactly happens beneath the water at Bristol Cove. There are a handful of other mermaid shows to watch like H2O: Just Add Water, Mako Mermaids, and Tidelands. None of these shows are as dark and gritty as Siren though. A lot of the time when people think of mermaids, they think of Disney’s The Little Mermaid which is bright, poppy, colorful, and innocent. But Siren boasts seriousness and weight, instead.

Ghost Whisperer

Ghost Whisperer is a mystery series that premiered in 2005 and stars the stunning Jennifer Love-Hewitt, David Conrad, Aiesha Tyler, and Christoph Sanders in leading roles. The show is about a young woman named Melinda Gordon who somehow has the magical ability to communicate with earthbound spirits of individuals who have already passed away. In other words, she can easily talk to ghosts. The only ghosts who reach out to her are generally the ones who are in need of dire help. She uses her powerful ability to relay important messages and significant information to people who are alive around her on earth.

Since a lot of the messages she receives tend to be confusing, messy, and intense, she doesn’t always know how to convey them as perfectly and properly as the ghosts might hope she will. Love-Hewitt has starred in a multitude of shows and movies over the years, but Ghost Whisperer is certainly one of the best series she signed on to be part of. A lot of people wish they could still communicate with family members and loved ones who have passed away. This show sheds light on what it would be like for such a thing to actually be a possibility.

The Order

The Order is a drama that premiered in 2019 and lasted for two seasons. It’s about a student named Jack Martin who attends Belgrave University. He joins a secret society called the Hermetic Order of the Blue Rose and learns about a surprising world of magic that he never knew about before. Some of the magic is beautiful to experience, but it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. He must also face off against various monsters and daunting villains while avenging his mother’s death and fighting back against dark magic practices and werewolves. 

Legion

Legion is one of the best sci-fi shows to binge-watch if you’re missing Grimm. Legion focuses on a young man named David Haller who deals with a schizophrenia diagnosis as a child. He gets moved around from one psychiatric institution to the next throughout his entire life. When he reaches his early 30s, he meets a fellow patient named Syd with whom he falls head over heels in love. After some emotional interactions with Syd, he realizes that the voices he sees and hears in his head might actually be legitimate. 

The Magicians

The Magicians is a fantasy show that lasted for two seasons about a grad student named Quentin Coldwater. Since childhood, he was obsessed with magical fantasy realms and worlds. When he reaches his 20s, he learns that there is a magical world he can possibly access if he figures out the proper way. The only issue is that entering the magical realm might pose a dangerous threat to humanity as he knows it. He must make a difficult decision of whether or not he wants to ignore the magic he’s discovered or explore it further. Fans of Grimm can easily appreciate what The Magicians offers.



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Published Date – 2022-02-09 01:27:51

Image via Netflix

Adam McKay’s apocalyptic comedy Don’t Look Up secured a Best Picture nod when the 2022 Academy Award nominations were announced on Tuesday morning, to both the surprise and chagrin of cinephiles everywhere.

“Surprise” might be stretching it, since the ham-fisted, 138-minute euphemism about climate change seemed tailor-made to appease older, out-of-touch liberal Academy voters. Although the Netflix film set a record for the most viewing hours in a single week and went on to become the second most-watched film on the platform within 28 days of its release, it received a fairly lukewarm critical reception, with just a 56 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.

And yet, here we are. In addition to Best Picture, Don’t Look Up also received nods for Best Original Screenplay, Editing, and Score, though none of the actors in the star-studded ensemble were nominated for individual awards. (Leonardo DiCaprio, in particular, was believed by some to have been snubbed over the exclusion.)

But even though the inclusion of Don’t Look Up among the 10 Best Picture nominations seemed all but inevitable, that doesn’t mean people have to be happy about it. Shortly after the nominations were announced, Twitter lit up with commentary about which other films were perhaps more deserving, such as Passing and tick, tick…BOOM!, in particular.

Thrillist writer Emma Stefansky suggested that Moonfall should have taken the place of Don’t Look Up, despite the fact that it wasn’t yet eligible for consideration.

Others took broader strokes with their criticism, deriding the Oscars as a whole, or reacting with GIFs to convey their amusement or displeasure.

IndieWire film critic David Ehrlich likened the metaphor to the fact that “the Oscars are bad.”

“Don’t look up is the nepotism baby of the oscars,” tweeted user @strawberritom.

And one thing is for sure. If The Power of the Dog, which led with 12 nominations, somehow manages to get passed over for Best Picture, we can probably all guess which film is going to take home the coveted award. As writer and pundit David Klion pointed out, we all better just get used to the idea now.

“Meanwhile, in my little corner of Twitter, we’ll be complaining about how 2021’s best movie about climate change, Dune, was robbed,” Klion added. We already can’t wait for that day on the internet.



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Published Date – 2022-02-08 21:53:29

Resurrection is a psychological horror from the mind of writer-director Andrew Semans, who never lets his audience disembark the film’s rollercoaster 103-minute ride, which is kept on track by a spectacular performance from central cast member Rebecca Hall. As a survivor of domestic abuse, Hall plays Margaret, who, on the surface, seems fully in control of her life. With the composure and focus of a seasoned athlete, she balances work and play, whilst finding time to spend with her daughter Abbie.

However, in between engaging in an illicit affair, exercising ferociously and helping counsel a co-worker through a controlling relationship, something odd starts to happen. Eerie orchestral cues creep into the score, fleeting glimpses of an old boyfriend send Margaret into free-fall, and then there’s that smoking oven.

In many ways, Resurrection walks a familiar path, as it employs dream sequences and jump scares alongside voyeuristic camerawork to unsettle. Tim Roth offers up a seemingly placid antagonist in David, who spends his time walking round department stores and loitering on park benches, with any exchanges that happen between himself and Margaret verging on the mundane, even if the psychological hold he has on her verges on violence. Which is why so much has been made of the intensity Rebecca Hall musters throughout this film.

Without her front and center as in this role, there would be precious little to carry things along. Her combination of paranoia and overprotective behavior pushes everyone away, including Grace Kaufman’s Abbie and part-time lover Peter. To be honest, beyond Tim Roth in mildly self-effacing creepy mode, Michael Esper is the only one who is memorable enough to register.

Assuming stress positions, retelling her abusive story in unflinching close up, or slipping back into conditioning mode, Rebecca Hall remains riveting. Her stick thin frame, mentally ravaged demeanor and wired presence gives Resurrection all the horror it needs. Seedy hotels, twitching curtains and lingering close-ups of long healed injuries do the rest. That being said, as much as this is brazenly formulaic in construction, there is no doubt it remains a solid thriller.

By mirroring the closed in claustrophobia of her psychological state through angular office blocks, production designer Anna Kathleen also compounds the narrative journey through stark visual choices. Clean cut high rise living implies an ivory tower mentality, which in turn suggests strength and confidence. When the façade starts to slip and door locks are reinforced, Margaret’s fortress morphs into a prison cloaked in paranoia. Similarly, cinematographer Wyatt Garfield ensures that his color palette is stripped of warmth, except when Margaret and Peter are together. However, even then the camera is too close and their intimacy feels suffocating, rather than languid or loving.     

Andrew Semans is cunning in his construction of the relationship between Margaret and David, while those more unsettling elements ask audiences to work a bit harder. To a certain degree it does tip a hat to Eraserhead, if only for the body horror elements, but everything else is pure psychology. Resurrection also does a good job of subverting the concept of empowerment from a gender perspective, especially in those final moments.

As the film drifts further and further towards the surreal in its concluding third, tables are inevitably turned and retribution is gift wrapped for an audience seeking closure. However, for all the theatrics of that denouncement, Margaret’s psychosis overshadows everything. Which, oddly enough, means that the villain ceases to be threatening, as their final confrontation turns into something mediocre.

After the sustained build up and excellent opening act, which saw this powerful businesswoman self-destruct, for things to devolve so quickly is disappointing. In truth, Tim Roth’s David feels both underused and underwritten, in a role which sees him become little more than a bystander. Horror films need to have the ability to linger after lights out, which Resurrection fails to do. There is no monstrous presence lurking in the dark, nor a hint of untethered terrors intent on causing chaos.

At its best, this film could be classed as a social commentary fable with razor sharp teeth, where gender in the traditional sense has undergone a deconstructive process. A transformation which now makes labels based on sex a subjective thing, determined by the individual, free of judgement. But then again, perhaps Resurrection is just another psychology thriller with a strong female lead, why overcomplicate things?



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