Kingsman: The Golden Circle Sep21

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Kingsman: The Secret Service was released in 2014 to little fanfare. A relatively unknown spy property with some established talent (Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson) introducing a new leading man (Taron Egerton) from the Director of Kick Ass (Matthew Vaughn) would make most Hollywood studios queasy. But the risk paid off as Vaughn imbued Kingsman with a manic, almost cartoon like energy as Eggsy (Egerton) was recruited to a secret underground agency by Merlin (Mark Strong) and Gallahad (Firth.) It was one of the best blockbuster surprises of that year. So, of course the honest impulse of any good executive is following such a rousing debut is, “let’s franchise this shit!”

IT Sep06

IT

When Stranger Things debuted in July last summer it was instantly a phenomenon.  Not only was it an impeccably made series but it also paid homage to our intense nostalgia-pangs for the 1980’s.  All 10-episodes were peppered with references to John Carpenter, Steven Spielberg, Goonies and most obviously Stephen King.  King’s 1986-opus IT was a clear inspiration for the brigade of tweens as they hunted for their friend in the upside-down.

Ingrid Goes West Aug24

Ingrid Goes West

You’ve seen the photos on Instagram:  The perfect plate of tuna tartar, then immaculately framed “candid” shot at the top of a craggy mountain ridge, the sunrise over Maui so stunning it makes you want to barf.  The corporate world has a term for these people, “influencers.”  What are they influencing exactly? Typing that makes me feel like Matt Damon transforming into his old self at the end of Saving Private Ryan.  The entire nature of the enterprise is smug and cynical but to deny their existence in a marketing portfolio is to have your head in the sand.  Influencers have reach and reach equals eyeballs, eyeballs attached to wallets.

The Glass Castle Aug10

The Glass Castle

In 2005 Jeannette Walls released her memoir The Glass Castle. To put it lightly, the book touched on a variety of personal stories from Walls slightly “non-traditional” upbringing. And these stories aren’t just slightly unkempt anecdotes about Walls life on the road with her 3-siblings, mother and a father who’s dreams always massively outweighed his reach. These stories were dark and upsetting, powerfully so. It’s a story of the redemptive human spirit and one that touched millions of readers. It also lends itself to film in a perfect sense. Walls story is tailor-made for Hollywood which unfortunately is the film’s biggest curse.

Atomic Blonde Jul27

Atomic Blonde

In 2015 a legend decided to revive a franchise, lying dormant for nearly 30-years and in doing so created the best action film of the decade.  That man was George Miller and that revival was Mad Max: Fury Road.  At the center of the film was the titular Max played by Tom Hardy (in one of a seemingly endless string of performances where his beautiful face is covered by a mask) but the film had other priorities.  The real beating heart though was Imperator Furiosa played by the always riveting Charlize Theron. 

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Jul20

Valerian and the Cit...

Once upon a time in the land of the early-90’s an oddly revered sci-fi romp called The Fifth Element graced the silver screen.  Sure, it was derivative, oddly paced and featured Bruce Willis in full Die Hard mode while surrounded by alien beings but it had a certain verve (and a breakout Mila Jovovich) that has cemented it as a nostalgic burr in our minds.  Director Luc Besson had a string of interesting work in the 90’s and has worked steadily since, with less success.  His 2014 film Lucy had ScarJo as a supped-up experiment gone wrong that was as stupid as it was mind-blowingly bat shit.