Aug 17, 2017

Ranking the Members of Netflix's "The Defenders"

Scene from The Defenders
The moment has finally arrived. After five seasons of TV, Netflix's partnership with Marvel has finally produced their TV equivalent of The Avengers. The Defenders is an eight part series that follows street heroes as they fight crime where Captain America and Iron Man refuse to fight. While each series hasn't had long to introduce itself and leave a lasting impression, it's exciting to see a diverse team of heroes join together for what will hopefully be one of the best superhero TV series of the year. In preparation for that series, here's a look at how each of the heroes rank based on each of their series as well as their general appeal as characters. 

Why "Superbad" Continues to Draw Us In 10 Years Later

Scene from Superbad

Along with Knocked Up, there was no movie that revitalized the R-Rated comedy quite like director Greg Motolla's Superbad. As the genre was going stale, it took Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's script that they wrote in high school to turn things around. It was a story that had a simple premise of teenagers buying booze in a film that ended with a montage of phallic drawings. It was edgy and solidified the rise of actors Michael Cera and Oscar nominee Jonah Hill. It was also the first film of Oscar winner Emma Stone. It's an insane pedigree to have, and the film's crass heart that couldn't go long without cursing all over itself has managed to endure not only because of the jokes, but in large part because Rogen and Golberg knew what made high school so important: the confusion that comes with friendship.

Aug 15, 2017

Congratulations to "Baby Driver" Crossing $100 Million at the Domestic Box Office

Scene from Baby Driver
There's no denying that Edgar Wright is a filmmaker of immense talent. Going back to his work on Spaced and Shaun of the Dead, he has subverted genres while proving his technical prowess as one of the most unique directors working today. Despite this, his box office success cannot claim to match the general enthusiasm for films like Hot Fuzz or Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. For over a decade, he's been closer to a cult filmmaker with those who like his work seeking it in its brief theatrical runs. That is why, in 2017, it's so exciting to report that Wright has done something incredible. His latest film, Baby Driver, has grossed over $100 million in the United States. It's an honor that is more incredible when you realize how few original films (especially of Baby Driver's budget) nowadays can cross that threshold. If nothing else, this is a moment to celebrate if only briefly the moment when a cult filmmaker became accepted by the masses. 

Aug 13, 2017

After 35 Years, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" Still Knows How to Party

Every generation gets the iconic high school movie that they deserve. For the 50's, it was Rebel Without a Cause. For the 70's, it was American Graffiti. Still, the experiencing of growing up and finding your own personality has never felt more contemporary than the Cameron Crowe-penned, Amy Heckerling-directed Fast Times at Ridgemont High. To some critics like Roger Ebert, it was a misguided film that was tonally inconsistent. However, it has persevered not only as a great movie, but one that set off the 80's and onward's trend towards more "realistic" and honest school experiences, where teenagers worked, had awkward relationships, and got extremely high from time to time. It was a movie that was funny as it was sad, and it was all because it treated its characters like the in-betweener adults that they were. 35 years later, it's still hard to not notice at least some of these characters in your high schools across this country. In fact, those who love the film are now the teachers. It may be gnarly and everyone may be on dope, but it's all the better for it.

Aug 4, 2017

Review: "The Dark Tower" Isn't the Worst Stephen King Adaptation Ever, Just the Most Disappointing

Scene from The Dark Tower
There's a lot to consider when developing a movie around someone's self-proclaimed magnum opus, especially as one as expansive and heady as Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" saga. It's a world of fantasy, western, horror, and every possible genre. It's the story that supposedly connects everything that he's written over his 40+ year career. Considering that this is far from the first Stephen King movie, does director Nikolaj Arcel's The Dark Tower learn anything from what worked before to make King's arguably greatest and lengthiest story into its own visual masterpiece? Not exactly. In fact, far from it. What the film does is cut out everything that makes the world interesting and favors a bare bones approach that will appeal to those who don't know one iota of plot details from the books. The "fans" who would have patience for the film's butchering of continuity will likely ask for their money back. Unlike the book, it's far from the greatest Stephen King adaptation in existence. In fact, it may actually hold the honor of being the most disappointing, instead.