Baywatch May24

Baywatch

Oh boy, is Baywatch dumb.  Those were my exact words as I left the movie on Tuesday, word vomit that I could barely contain.  It’s not that The Rock, Zac Efron, Kelly Rohrbach, Alexandra Daddario, Ilfenesh Hadera, Priyanka Chapra and Jon Bass aren’t aware (they seem to be EXTREMELY aware) but despite their best efforts they can’t contain it.  That’s not to say you’ll be repulsed by the stupidity…I mean…what do you expect from Baywatch (shit what did I expect from Baywatch!?)

Alien: Covenant May18

Alien: Covenant

In 2012 Ridley Scott revived the Alien franchise with Prometheus – a mildly effective but ultimately disappointing return to his xenomorph littered hellscape. The film reached for depths never even hinted at in the earlier films – attempting to expand the universe while raising intense philosophical debates about the birth of mankind. Scott’s signature anamorphic style was on display but his characters were so dumb, so unreasonable that it undercut the bigger, meatier questions that lurked underneath. I still defend Prometheus as a valiant attempt to wrestle with these questions while still being a summer horror blockbuster but it’s faults are apparent.

Snatched May11

Snatched

First of all, Snatched is a completely harmless, forgettable comedy that will have a long life on cable. It nabs a laugh here and there mostly on the backs of the very capable cast, but it’s little more than that. What’s incredible is Amy Schumer somehow got Goldie Hawn to come out of retirement. The Oscar-winning actress hasn’t worked since 2002’s The Banger Sisters and, although she’s underused here, I hope she continues.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword May11

King Arthur: Legend ...

I think it’s safe to say after two-decades we know what we have in Guy Ritchie. The man is a gifted filmmaker who’s been shaped by his contemporaries and not necessarily for the better. Contemporary Ritchie is a weird combination of Tarantino and Michael Bay churning out studio blockbusters with faint whiffs of his gangster movie past. He surprised everyone in 2015 by releasing The Man from U.N.C.L.E. that combined his schizophrenic style with a 60’s spy aesthetic that was charming and fun.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Capsule Review) May08

Guardians of the Gal...

In 2014 Guardians of the Galaxy single handedly kept me interested in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This, mind you, was no easy task. The well was by no means dry in the MCU just incredibly stale, with cookie cutter sequels and blue energy beams to outer space. Then, seemingly out of nowhere stepped a wild group of space misfits, thrust together for one reason or another to defend the universe against a blue Lee Pace with black goo dribbling down his chin. Let’s get weird Marvel!

The Lost City of Z Apr20

The Lost City of Z

“So much of life is a mystery” – says Charlie Hunnam’s Percy Fawcett – an early 20th century British explorer with a penchant for grand philosophical musings.  It’s the thesis of The Lost City of Z as well as the driving motivation for Fawcett’s Amazonian exploits.  Discovery and danger pulls him away from his family for years at a time while Fawcett believes he is moving closer and closer to a discovery that could “change the course of human history.”

Free Fire Apr20

Free Fire

When a movie is clearly borrowing heavily from a classic it can be a massive detriment and at the very least distracting.  Given the dearth of Tarantino imitators out there since his early-90’s rise to fame it’s obvious when another one hit’s the market – and is usually met with a healthy eye roll.  Initially this was my reaction when I saw the trailer for Free Fire – a single location shoot em up with an A-list cast and 70’s leisure suits. 

The Fate of the Furious Apr12

The Fate of the Furi...

Every two years we are blessed with a new Fast & Furious movie (you’re welcome America) and each time I still marvel at the miracle of it all.  A little franchise that started with little fanfare in 2001 and was left for dead after its third time around the track in Tokyo in 2006 has somehow become one of the largest franchises in the history of cinema.  We are on #8 for god’s sake – The Fate of the Furious (easily the worst, laziest name yet)

T2 Trainspotting Mar23

T2 Trainspotting

The infamous dive into the toilet.  The baby on the ceiling.  The foot chase through Edinburgh, culminating in the most famous movie smile of the 90’s.  Danny Boyle’s breakthrough Trainspotting roared into the pop-culture lexicon in 1996 and remains just as relevant today.  Boyle’s classic combines his now ubiquitous style (quick cuts, freeze frames, oddly placed subtitles) with the travails of a group of heroin addicts in the hellscape port of Leith.

Beauty and the Beast Mar15

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast was the first animated film ever to be nominated for Best Picture.  In 1991 it was considered ahead of its time – featuring a heroine who was into BOOKS and LEARNING (mouths agape.)  Sure, she fell in love with her captor but it sort of seemed by her own volition… and he had adorable singing furniture so, ya know.  But above the normal trappings of plot soared one (if not the most) iconic soundtracks in the history of cinema.  One by one the songs of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken swept over you, leaving their indelible print in your memory.  It’s Disney at its most powerful and memorable.

Kong: Skull Island Mar09

Kong: Skull Island

Count me as a fan of Peter Jackson’s 2005 love letter to one of his inspirations, King Kong.  It was self-indulgent, way too long and entirely dated – but I found much of it inspired.  Jackson could never capture the poetry of the 1933 original but his homage was admirable (not to mention the state of the art effects that brought Kong to life.)  Every few decades the King returns, for better or worse to wreak havoc on unsuspecting humanoids.

Logan Mar01

Logan

Anyone who has read even a modicum of my superhero coverage on DrunkSunshine knows I’m not particularly fond of the recent output from the Marvel or DC Universe.  Over the last 3+ years I’ve come to mostly loathe the cookie cutter nature of each plot, the dull character developments and predictable action beats.  There have been exceptions (Guardians of the Galaxy, Deadpool) that haven’t exactly broken the mold but at least messed with the playdough.

John Wick: Chapter 2 Feb09

John Wick: Chapter 2

When John Wick hit theaters in early-2014 it was a shock to the cinematic system.  Not only did it contain a return to form from America’s favorite savior Keanu Reeves but it was a stunning spectacle, harkening back to the real stunts of the 70’s-grindhouse era combined with Steve McQueen physicality.  It was exactly what it was and nothing more, a refreshing middle finger to the bloated slate of spandex and robot punching that pollutes our summer months.  John Wick has far more in common with The Raid than Transformers and was so much better for it.

Split Jan19

Split

Count me in the (I’d assume growing) faction of online critics who is rooting for the Shyamalanaissance.  The man has thrilled us in a myriad of ways over the year – whether it was seeing dead people, a seemingly unhurtable man with a calling or aliens who go bump in the night – his modern Hitchcockian yarns have been wonderful and spooky.  That said, he’s also slipped – like face on the concrete slipped. 

Top Ten of 2016 Jan06

Top Ten of 2016

2016 was a year filled with momentous moments…mostly all of them horrific or just plain bad.  Surprisingly, outside of the typical summer slate of garbage – the Cineplex delivered.  To come up with a Top Ten this year was next to impossible…so I included 11.  I could’ve included 20.  So in a year that took so much at least we were given time to escape. Without further ado, the DrunkSunshine Top Ten (11):

Silence Jan04

Silence

It’s been reported leading up to the release of Silence that Martin Scorsese has been trying to get it made for roughly three decades. Hollywood’s preeminent struggling Catholic has scraped tooth and nail between projects to get this film made, to reckon with his own faith, his own doubts. It’s all at once a noble effort and one that threatens to alienate even his most ardent fans.

La La Land Dec15

La La Land

“Here’s to the fools who dream,” is the beautiful refrain that carries the dazzling new La La Land. It’s a simple throwback to the musicals of the 1950’s that simultaneously celebrated and revered Hollywood in all its glamour. Damien Chazelle squeezes every ounce of that nostalgia on screen through his beautiful lead actors and gloriously over-the-top song and dance numbers.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Dec14

Rogue One: A Star Wa...

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is unique for many reasons. It finds new and interesting ways to contribute to the Star Wars canon while simultaneously indulging in deeply satisfying fan service. It’s by far the most diverse cast ever assembled in the galaxy with a cast that includes a woman, Asian, Mexican, Muslim and a disabled person. Even with those wonderful attributes the most freeing aspect of Rogue One is it’s the first movie ever that is (nearly) completely removed from the Skywalker family.

Office Christmas Party Dec08

Office Christmas Par...

A movie called Office Christmas Party doesn’t have to accomplish a whole lot. It has to, at a base level, feature a party…preferably in an office. If it can clear that incredibly high bar it should probably be funny, or at the very least amusing. Office Christmas Party accomplishes one of those things. The point is, to even be a passable comedy that gets a decent annual run on TNT it doesn’t have to accomplish a lot.

Allied Nov22

Allied

Over the last decade Brad Pitt has slain a lot of Nazi’s. Whether it was as Lt. Aldo Raine in Inglourious Basterds or Wardaddy Collier in Fury – the man has done his fair share in WWII. Now he’s back as Max Vatan in Allied – a handsome Canadian-fly boy with a penchant for undercover Nazi murderin. If Pitt keeps this run up he may have to switch wars.

Arrival Nov11

Arrival

Twelve 1,500 foot alien hockey pucks appear in seemingly random locations across the globe. The collective population descends into panic – evacuating businesses and schools while scrambling a swift military response. It’s an eerily resonant response that doesn’t feel a bit outside of what we might expect. Earth’s first visitors have arrived.

Doctor Strange Nov03

Doctor Strange

Anyone who knows me knows I have a bit of a problem with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s not that it hasn’t produced entertaining films or interesting characters, in fact they’re littered through the MCU. It’s simply that it’s so familiar, the formula so cut and dry that no risks are ever taken. At this point the MCU is the McDonald’s of the Cineplex – satisfying in the moment but ultimately just a fleeting memory and an upsetting dump before work.

Hacksaw Ridge Nov03

Hacksaw Ridge

In a classic late 2000’s episode of South Park – Tomorrowland Part 1, Mel Gibson fresh off his most recently Jewish-tirade gives the military a profanity laced description of how basic film plotting works. After interviewing the likes of Michael Bay and M. Night Shyamalan the men staring at a shirtless Gibson twisting his nipples say exasperatedly, “Say what you want about Mel Gibson, but the son of a bitch knows story structure.”

The Accountant Oct12

The Accountant

When Keanu Reeves graced us with his presence as John Wick in 2014 it was perhaps the most welcome surprise at the cinema that year. Two old Hollywood stuntmen (Chad Stahelski & David Leitch) knew the power of Keanu and placed the man in a series of increasingly wild situations to shoot his way out of. The man barely even spoke (if there was ever a better example of understanding Keanu’s strengths…I haven’t seen it) – like any great action star, he let his punching do the talking.

The Girl on the Train Oct05

The Girl on the Trai...

The erotic thriller has been dead at the movies for some time. In the 1980’s Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas seemed to have the genre on lockdown, steaming up the screen every other year. The genre was very popular but ultimately gave way to the blockbuster and gangster movie explosion of the 90’s. Lately the genre has been attempting a small comeback. In 2014 David Fincher gave us Gone Girl – based on the obscenely popular book by Gillian Flynn.

Deepwater Horizon Sep29

Deepwater Horizon

US Airways Flight 1549 and the BP Oil Spill are two of the most harrowing moments of the last decade. They are singular moments in American history where working class people overcame enormous odds to achieve the impossible. Both are inherently cinematic if for one small problem – the events surrounding them are slight, random humanity.

Sully Sep07

Sully

There is no more reliable A-lister at this point than Tom Hanks. He mixes Oscar-worthy performances (Bridge of Spies, Captain Phillips) with watchable, middle-of-the-road cable fodder (Saving Mr. Banks, A Hologram for the King) with ease. He’s always recognizable, even with his weird hair choices (Da Vinci Code series I’m looking directly at those wispy locks) yet somehow believable as he bobs and weaves between roles.

The Light Between Oceans Sep01

The Light Between Oc...

Alicia Vikander and Michael Fassbender met on the set of The Light Between Oceans. They are an upsettingly attractive couple. They are two Oscar-nominated actors (Vikander is a winner) that are enjoying peak career moments. So when writer/director Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) decided to adapt a heart-wrenching book of a couple on the emotional brink it must have felt like fate for the pair. What a romantic story in such an angelic setting.

War Dogs Aug16

War Dogs

Director Todd Phillips doesn’t exactly have a wide range. Since his debut movie Road Trip (2000) he has gone on to mine bro culture while creating some of Greek Rows most revered figures. Frank the Tank (Old School,) Alan, Stu and Phil (The Hangover) are synonymous with dorm room walls and frat parties, sure to be part of the lexicon for as long as boys will be boys.

Suicide Squad Aug03

Suicide Squad

It’s extremely clear after witnessing the new DC-Comics adaptation Suicide Squad this week that Warner Bros. has a problem on their hands. In their haste to build an interconnected, Marvel-esque world they have made grave mistakes. What made the original Avengers a landmark film was how carefully planned and plotted it was. Each character was given standalone origin movies (some weaker than others but you know the drill) with unique personalities that were given hours of screen time to develop.