The Walk

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Sony | PG | Robert Zemeckis
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Come on, bro. Seriously. Seriously come on. It’s not funny anymore.

8(Note: The following review was originally published at Consequence of Sound.)

Look, we all agree, Man on Wire is incredible. A Hollywood adaptation was never necessary. But The Walk is here, and that’s that.

Maybe that sounds bitter, but this film’s release is not a bad thing at all. How about this: The Walk has arrived, and it’s an outrageously likable crowd-pleaser. Here’s a love letter to the preposterousness of dreams that actually smiles its way out of the question of why anyone would tightrope across two 110-story buildings. The Walk is a considered and caring continuation of Robert Zemeckis’ body of work as a daring digital portfolio. (more…)

The Green Inferno

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Open Road | R | Eli Roth
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 Roth watching suicide videos on 4chan, probably.

1The Green Inferno is a film that will leave those few still clamoring for its endlessly delayed release to come to fruition wondering, in short, “…that’s it?” No shortage of genre movie apologists have argued for the relative merits of Eli Roth as a filmmaker in recent years, and for valid enough reason. The early promise of Cabin Fever gave way to the surprise breakout success and ubiquity of Hostel as a preeminent work of the torture porn era, and to the revelation of Roth as an avid student of horror cinema past and present who’s in it for the love of the game. Long has it been said by many (this writer included) that Roth needed only the right material to finally make his masterpiece. (more…)

The New Girlfriend

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Mars Distribution | R | Francois Ozon
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Mysteries abounding, all the time.

9(Note: The following review was originally published at Consequence of Sound.)

Look at how clever that title is, and how we’re immediately asked to test our often limited terminologies for understanding gender, identity, and sexuality. Girlfriend, in the most general sense (or primarily the American), is a term we affiliate with a woman in a relationship with another person. Right? Or, what if it’s a kind of 1940s gal pal usage, like our grandmothers would often do? The New Girlfriend thinks it can be both, and that’s so cool. (more…)

Everest

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Universal | PG-13 | Baltasar Kormakur
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He outran cold in The Day After Tomorrow, only for it to catch up.

4(Note: The following review was originally published at Consequence of Sound.)

Welcome to Dude Mountain. It’s a special place where men go to die, but not before wearing kicky and colorful clothes, made possible by Patagonia, Hally Hansen, and other nature emporium purveyors. Dude Mountain, where the fellas climb high and the women stand by the phones to hear their men die. Dude Mountain. They brought up one woman and you practically have to move mountains to get her some dialogue. (more…)

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

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20th Century Fox | PG-13 | Wes Ball
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“Yes, I’m here for the gangbang?”

5(Note: The following review was originally published at Consequence of Sound.)

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials takes the franchise filmmaking mentality to new heights. Not only is the film a sequel to last year’s hit YA novel adaptation, but The Scorch Trials ends up changing genres, tones, villains to a point, and generally feels like a very different film than its predecessor by almost any measure. To a point, this is a virtue; Scorch at least feels more like a feature-length film than The Maze Runner, which played like a sizzle reel for another film that would eventually follow it. It doesn’t shed all the problems of that prior installment, but it’s a start. (more…)

The Perfect Guy

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Screen Gems | PG-13 | David M. Rosenthal
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“Why, yes… I would love peas… and murder.”

(Note: the following review was originally published at Consequence of Sound.)

2You guys remember The Boy Next Door? You know the one, that nutso, but kind of maligned domestic thriller?

Anyway, the best that could be said of The Perfect Guy is that it makes The Boy Next Door look like a masterpiece. Same premises, basically. One woman’s post-relationship fling begets devastating results as scorned men lash out in hot-headed, highly dramatic, and dangerous ways.

But last January’s Jennifer Lopez vehicle was so much more fun than the newly openingThe Perfect Guy, a perfectly blasé fall thriller. In 2015, if you’re going to make a house and garden chiller, you have to either ace your storytelling, and ratchet tension, or, you have to go well beyond reason and screw with your audience as to leave them gob-smacked.The Boy Next Door’s inept shock moments allowed camp status to be bestowed on that film and it made for compulsive popcorn watching. J. Lo was embarrassingly teaching The Odyssey (“and its themes”) to high school, and that movie’s teen villain practically had staring contests with the camera. That movie elicited a certain trashy tittering, a distinctionThe Perfect Guy could have gained from. (more…)

The Visit

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Universal | PG-13 | M. Night Shyamalan
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Ready for her close-up, Mr. DeMille.

7Declaring that The Visit is the best M. Night Shyamalan film in over a decade feels like cheating; it’s not exactly a bold declaration to claim that everything since The Village wasn’t up to the standard set by his early works. But even so, and tabling the endless conversation about the once-promising filmmaker’s decline into various failed and soulless studio projects, The Visit is a nasty, quick, and often wildly entertaining return to form. (more…)

Turbo Kid

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EMA Films, Timpson Films | R | Anouk Whissell, François Simard, Yoann-Karl Whissell
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(Note: the following review was originally published at Consequence of Sound.)

7How to make a Turbo Kid: in a blender, add mixed 1980s genre elements (preferably stale sci-fi), grindhouse chaff, BMX money shots, and the scent of Cannon or Troma films. Whip. Then add toys and souvenirs from your friends’ and grandparents’ basements. Cassette players, View-Masters, and those tacky little pens that undress ladies with ink will do.  Blend more. Add Capcom sound effects, some Power Rangers-grade costumes, and some Indiana Jones goofballs. Pulse. Throw in ample sweeteners and at least a few buckets of corn syrup blood. Take the blender outside to either a quarry or your friends’ backyard. Those’ll bring out the best in the recipe. Play electronic music in the vein ofJohn Carpenter, while continuing to blend those prior elements for upwards of 90 minutes. Garnish with a lawn flamingo or gnome on top.

Voilà. Turbo Kid: a chunky, colorful, Salvation Army-textured kitsch-splosion. (more…)

Z For Zachariah

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Magnolia | PG-13 | Craig Zobel
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Few poses carry more quiet strength than the Seal pose.

7In a gesture that can’t help but feel just a little bit reactionary to the modern spate of big-budget dystopian nightmare films, Craig Zobel’s Z For Zachariah cuts out all the large-scale destruction and post-apocalyptic skylines to reduce the concept to its barest bones. The film is more curious about what it is to live as a lone individual in a world long since perished, and whether the ideologies of the old world die in those who live long enough to survive it. (more…)

The Transporter Refueled

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Europa | PG-13 | Camille Delamarre
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Not Bond. Not James Bond.

5(Note: The following review was originally published at Consequence of Sound.)

Up to this point, the Transporter series has served as the Corn Nuts of modern action cinema. It’s better than the worst of its ilk you could find, while simultaneously bearing no resemblance to any options of truly superior quality. It satisfies a need (the woeful dearth of latter-day car movies) and disappears quickly. It’s not particularly great for you, and you know it, and yet there’s a pleasure inherent in watching Jason Statham, and now his replacement Ed Skrein, punch villains of indeterminate European origin in the face and/or legs while wearing impeccable suits. (more…)