Jeff Goldblum Welcomes Us to Jurassic World in Final Trailer

Even though Goldblum's back as Ian Malcolm, he looks and sounds so different now that he's kind of unrecognizable to me.  Other than that, this sequel to Jurassic World actually looks a lot like 1997's The Lost World, where the dinosaurs came back to the city (or at least the T-Rex did) and terrorized the people there. The last one was big, loud and dumb and this one looks very similar, so...I guess it'll be a big hit? I still can't believe that last movie is one of the top five highest grossing movies in the U.S. Nostalgia is really strong, I guess.

Milos Forman 1932-2018

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A great filmmaker passed away this morning at the age of 86. Milos Forman was a director, writer, and actor from the former Czechoslovakia, who made films there as part of the Czechoslovakian New Wave (1965's Loves of a Blonde and 1967's The Fireman's Ball were both nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar) until leaving for the United States after the 1968 invasion. He continued to make movies here, producing a limited but monumental filmography that included One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), Hair (1979), Ragtime (1981), Amadeus (1984), The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996) and Man on the Moon (1999). He is one of the few directors to have two of his films (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus) win Best Picture and Best Director at the Academy Awards.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest trailer:

Amadeus trailer:

Hair trailer (I think this movie's underrated):

The Met Gala is Robbed in New 'Ocean's 8' Trailer

As silly as the idea of an Ocean's Eleven spinoff movie starring Danny Ocean's equally criminal mastermind sister Debbie sounds, I have to admit I'm kinda into it. It looks like the perfect cast to sell this kind of thing (Anne Hathaway aside, but at least she's the villain), and it doesn't look half bad to me. I could be wrong of course, and maybe it'll be a disaster, but Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett look like the ideal female counterparts to George Clooney and Brad Pitt's smooth twosome from the original. I'd also be shocked if there wasn't a Clooney cameo in this.

More Han, Lando and Chewie in New 'Solo' Trailer

So this trailer finally gives us more Alden Ehrenreich as Han, and the result is...not great. Does anyone see Han Solo (and by that I mean late 70's Harrison Ford) in this performance? The guy looks, sounds, acts nothing like him. Plus he's like five inches shorter than him. I just think this was terrible casting that can't be fixed, even if the movie itself managed to overcome its many, many reports of production problems with the script, acting, reshoots, etc. I also don't think Donald Glover resembles Billy Dee Williams' Lando in any way, now that I get a longer look at him. Solo's premiering at the Cannes film festival before opening in the U.S. on that same weekend in May. Still not sold. Chewie may turn out to be the star of the movie.

John Krasinski and Emily Blunt's 'A Quiet Place' Gets Rave Reviews

Here is another Sundance film that's coming out tomorrow and is currently at Rotten Tomatoes with a 99% score. Supposedly a near silent horror movie, this was co-written and directed by Krasinski and the consensus seems to be unexpected surprise that he had something like this in him. I'm not sure how much stock to put in that near perfect score, since it's also being described as small scale and I didn't exactly hear astonishing reception out of Sundance a couple months ago. It could be a lot of "pleasant surprise" reactions to a guy like John Krasinski having made it- he's directed a couple of things in the past, none of which made much of a splash. Still, it might be a cool alternative to check out this weekend.

Asghar Farhadi's Thriller 'Everybody Knows' to Open the Cannes Film Festival

This looks interesting! Iranian filmmaker and two-time Oscar winner Farhadi (A Separation, The Salesman) will open Cannes with his latest, a thriller starring Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. The trailer just came out today and definitely looks intriguing, even if you can't tell exactly what happened that's causing all the drama with the kids (all his trailers are kind of ambiguous like this). I'll be eagerly awaiting reactions to this one.

Cate Blanchett and Jack Black Star in the Gothic Fantasy 'The House With a Clock in Its Walls'

Hmm. Not quite sure what to make of this one. Never heard of the book it's based on, but apparently it's a gothic children's novel from 1973. That you can tell, but the movie is directed by Eli Roth (yes, of Hostel and Cabin Fever), so it's a little weird for him to be doing a kids movie, right? Also, it doesn't look terrible, but the September release date makes me think Universal's a little unsure about it too. Big family films tend to go for holidays or summer if they've got the goods. Maybe some tonal issues, or they're uncertain what audience it's for? Given the director, I could see it turning out like that.

Top 10 Movies of 2017

It’s finally time to put 2017 behind me with the official posting of my top ten list. Having recently reviewed every film I saw last year, I will waste no time in unveiling it. Here were my favorite films of the past year:

1. THE FLORIDA PROJECT

 An examination of abject poverty from a child’s point of view, and an exploration of the forgotten men and women who struggle to survive on the fringes of society

An examination of abject poverty from a child’s point of view, and an exploration of the forgotten men and women who struggle to survive on the fringes of society

2. JANE

 A paean to the life and work of one of the world’s most admirable women

A paean to the life and work of one of the world’s most admirable women

3. MUDBOUND

 The tragic saga of two American families in the South, one black and one white in the aftermath of the second world war

The tragic saga of two American families in the South, one black and one white in the aftermath of the second world war

4. LADY MACBETH

 A dark period chamber drama about simmering passions unleashed, the consequences of which destroy lives

A dark period chamber drama about simmering passions unleashed, the consequences of which destroy lives

5. GET OUT

 Jordan Peele’s horror satire that reveals stark truths about American racial attitudes

Jordan Peele’s horror satire that reveals stark truths about American racial attitudes

6. PHANTOM THREAD

 A Hitchcockian psychodrama that takes you into the world of high fashion and mad obsession 

A Hitchcockian psychodrama that takes you into the world of high fashion and mad obsession 

7. DARKEST HOUR

 A stylized behind the scenes political drama featuring a dominant performance from star Gary Oldman

A stylized behind the scenes political drama featuring a dominant performance from star Gary Oldman

8. THE SHAPE OF WATER

 Guillermo del Toro’s adult fairy tale and ode to cinema of the past, with political parallels to the present day

Guillermo del Toro’s adult fairy tale and ode to cinema of the past, with political parallels to the present day

9. LOGAN

 Hugh Jackman bows out as Wolverine in a violent, brutal western that takes no prisoners and spares no sentiments

Hugh Jackman bows out as Wolverine in a violent, brutal western that takes no prisoners and spares no sentiments

10. BPM (BEATS PER MINUTE)

 Unforgiving docudrama about the passions and protests of AIDS activists fighting for their right to live in the early 1990’s

Unforgiving docudrama about the passions and protests of AIDS activists fighting for their right to live in the early 1990’s

Melissa McCarthy is Lee Israel in 'Can You Forgive Me?'

This looks...interesting? It looks like McCarthy's going for a dramatic role, although this still looks a tad more comedic, just not in her usual raunchy way. It's from Marielle Heller, the director of Diary of a Teenage Girl, so I assume it's more of a drama (plus it's based on a Lee Israel's actual memoir, so the true story factor comes into play) and the presence of Richard E. Grant would suggest the same thing, but l would guess it falls more into the "dramedy" vein. 

My (Year Late) Top 10 Movies of 2016

Before I post my official top 10 list for 2017, it’s time for me to briefly recap my extremely belated (like over a year late, yes I realize this) top 10 list for 2016, since I never quite got around to posting that one either. I realized I wanted to quickly mention them, since there were a lot of good movies on this list (I think overall I preferred 2016 to 2017 anyway- I could watch every movie on this list again right now) and I didn’t want to let them get away from recommendation, so here they are:

TOP 10 OF 2016

1. I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO

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A superb, mesmerizing, brilliant documentary narrated in James Baldwin’s own words from his unfinished and finished works, in the subdued (for once) voice of Samuel L. Jackson. The movie is a trip through time and the history of civil rights, race relations and popular culture, especially the images we as consumers absorb and how it shapes our worldview and prejudices. I could watch it again and again.

2. JACKIE

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A radically unconventional biopic from Chilean director Pablo Larrain, which stylizes the days after JFK’s assassination from Jackie Kennedy’s perspective, as played by Natalie Portman in a transformative performance. Intimate, personal, political and experimental, it’s a look at the American icon from an outsider’s point of view, which is sometimes the best way to see something new in the highly familiar.

3. ARRIVAL

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In this era which seems to bring a new big budget sci-fi film every year (a good thing, as far as I’m concerned), this has been my favorite. Amy Adams carried the movie as a translator attempting to bridge the linguistics gap between humans and visitors from another planet. An intelligent and highly emotional script paired with Denis Villenueve’s deliberate, meditative direction leaves a devastating, yet hopeful impact.

4. TONI ERDMANN

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German filmmaker Maren Ade really pulls off a hat trick here of making what seems like a highly familiar story (freewheeling dad loosens uptight, workaholic daughter) into something utterly new and different. The balance lies in the striking mix of tones, which veer from comedy to drama to flat out farce- moment to moment you think you know what might happen, but you have no idea how, and the meandering on through all 161 minutes is part of the boldness. How can a movie seemingly so familiar feel so completely new and unpredictable? It’s a triumph of originality and freshness of perspective. 

5. MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

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Kenneth Lonergan’s tragic story of death, forgiveness and atonement manages to be life affirming in spite of the heavy weight hanging around the audience and Lee Chandler’s (Casey Affleck) necks. Sensitive direction and stellar performances from Affleck, Michelle Williams, and Lucas Hedges bring this one home hard.

6. ZOOTOPIA

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A delightful movie about predators and prey struggling to get along together in a kind of animal populated Chinatown, this was one animated film that had a lot to say re: present day political parables, all the more remarkable for Disney’s famous avoidance of just these very topics.

7. SING STREET

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John Carney is a guy whose talent lies in making modern original musicals- for me, this was the musical of 2016, not La La Land. A movie that felt effortless and non-oppressive in its cheery nostalgia for 1980’s Dublin, as a teenager tries to put together a band, win the love of a girl, and make his own music videos set to his own original tunes. It’s laugh out loud funny, charming, and just wonderfully openhearted from start to finish.

8. THE HANDMAIDEN

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This South Korean psychodrama from Park Chan-wook is one crazy ride, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. A thriller that bounces from one point of view to another, a period film set in Japanese occupied Korea, and a passionate love story between two women, it blends genres like the best South Korean films and can veer so far into tastelessness that it comes right back around again to elegance and style. Tarantino’s got nothing on this guy. You’re immersed in full pulp and excess here, and everything is explicit, from violence and sex to riches and food. You can practically taste this movie in every frame, and it could not be a more deliciously guilty pleasure.

9. DEADPOOL

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I fell hard for Deadpool’s filthy, subversive take on the superhero action movie, and the mile a minute gags, go for broke direction and over the top style didn’t take away its beating heart, which lay in Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool’s unabashed and unashamed love for his lady. Romance is jettisoned in all of these other action movies, while here it’s the driving force. What a romantic. 

10. BARRY

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Vikram Gandhi directed this movie about young Barack Obama’s college years at Columbia University in the early 1980’s, and despite the obvious distraction of the subject matter regarding such a famous figure, Obama’s life experience was so different from any other American president that it provides for fascinating content in its own right. It becomes a movie about fitting in when you don’t belong to any one group, and a time capsule for early 80’s America, the country that produced a man like this in the first place. It helps that Devon Terrell is a dead ringer for a young Obama and gives a sensational and convincing performance, while Anya Taylor-Joy from The Witch, also gives a soulful turn as his first serious girlfriend, Charlotte.