Category Archives: Commentary

Whatever comes down the pipeline that tickles my fancy.

Sean Parker’s Screening Room is a subtle assault on cinema

Never in the eight years that I have been writing about film in a journalistic capacity have I dedicated an entire post to news about a startup. But today we have a precedent broken. Until now, perhaps startups didn’t really possess the potential to alter the industry to the degree that Sean Parker’s Screening Room just might. Or more frighteningly, perhaps now cinema is finally reaching the pinnacle of its vulnerability in the face of television, streaming, youtube, and even snapchat. Continue reading Sean Parker’s Screening Room is a subtle assault on cinema

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Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Will Smith, and Tommy Lee Jones ma all be part of a Men in Black Jump Street extended universe.

Is the ‘Jump Street/Men in Black’ crossover film an extended universe?

In an odd turn of events last summer, Sony announced they would be taking the Jump Street franchise that thus far consists of two very successful, but relatively straightforward adaptations of the classic TV show, and creating two spin off films. The first is a female driven version of the franchise to be written by Lucia Aniello and Paul Downs of Broad City. The second is, for some reason, to be simultaneously a reboot of the Men in Black franchise and a crossover Men in Black/Jump Street film. Continue reading Is the ‘Jump Street/Men in Black’ crossover film an extended universe?

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Spotlight wins best picture at the Oscars.

A quick look at how the Oscars went down

As promised, I am providing a quick overview of what happened at the Oscars, following my predictions. In part this is just a fun assessment of how I did against the supposed “professional” Oscar prognosticators. And in part this is going to be a review of the show itself and the awards dished out. The Oscars are traditionally a silly, three-hour, masturbatory industry insider celebration. This year was no exception. But this year the Oscars did provide few fun upsets throughout the night and offered a host ready to address the issue of race at the Oscars head on. Continue reading A quick look at how the Oscars went down

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The Oscars, to be awarded tonight.

Complete Guide to Predicting the Oscars

Every year I make personal predictions on at least the top eight categories at the Oscars. And on a couple of occasions I’ve written broad prediction pieces that glossed over the major awards. But I realize, to my surprise, that this is the first time I will be providing a complete list of all twenty-four categories. I will also follow up tomorrow with a list of the winners and an analysis of how I did against the experts. But the chief purpose of this post is to provide a framework for anyone with limited knowledge to watch the show with a little more context. Continue reading Complete Guide to Predicting the Oscars

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Ava Duvernay, Disney's new director for the A Wrinkle in Time movie.

Ava DuVernay’s long road to ‘A Wrinkle in Time’

A couple of days ago it was announced that Ava Duvernay, the esteemed director of Middle of Nowhere and Selma, had signed on to direct an adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time for Disney. These kinds of announcements come about once a week so it took a second to register with me just how exciting this news really is. It took a while for me to piece together the different reports I’d heard about Duvernay over the course of the past year and contextualize this news within her career. Continue reading Ava DuVernay’s long road to ‘A Wrinkle in Time’

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Ice Cube and son say "fuck the police" in F. Gary Gray's Straight Outta Compton, a major player in #OscarsSoWhite.

A brief overview of #OscarsSoWhite

When did #OscarsSoWhite start? As an online movement it exploded last year when Ava Duvernay’s Selma garnered a measly two Oscar nominations. Industry analysts were estimating it to land closer to six and have a serious shot at winning the top prize. It was nominated for best picture. But in Vegas the odds on its victory were worse than twenty to one by night of the ceremony. And that wasn’t the beginning of #OscarsSoWhite. In fact, it wasn’t even the first time that the media had tried to address the racial imbalance of the entertainment industry through the lens of the Academy Awards. Continue reading A brief overview of #OscarsSoWhite

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Jessie Eisenberg and Jason Segal play a pair of Davids in The End of the Tour, which feels more like Cameron Crowe than Aloha.

Cameron Crowe’s career, ‘Aloha,’ and the David Foster Wallace movie ‘The End of the Tour’

Two seemingly unrelated cinematic events occurred this week. First, on Thursday A24 released this trailer for The End of the Tour, a Sundance bought indie flick about David Foster Wallace that stars Jason Segel and Jessie Eisenberg. Second, Cameron Crowe’s latest film was released. That film, as you may or may not know due to bad publicity and those involved trying to distance themselves from it, is Aloha.  Despite it’s low profile, it stars Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Alec Baldwin, John Krasinski, and Bill Murray. And it costs over 40 million dollars to make. I’ll get to how these two events are connected later. First let’s take a look at Cameron Crowe’s career. Continue reading Cameron Crowe’s career, ‘Aloha,’ and the David Foster Wallace movie ‘The End of the Tour’

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Cannes sounded a little awkward this morning as ‘Dheepan’ took the Palme

I can’t speak too specifically about an event I did not attend. But my experience of the Cannes award ceremony made the thing feel like it landed with an air of uncomfortable awkwardness. I spent a solid twenty minutes this afternoon refreshing my webpages on both The Guardian and In Contention for live blogging updates of the ceremony, reading the occasional tweet about it as well. Mostly this was to see how well my predictions from yesterday fared. Continue reading Cannes sounded a little awkward this morning as ‘Dheepan’ took the Palme

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Dheepan, this year's unexpected winner at Cannes.

So what exactly happened in Cannes in the past two weeks?

What I would have done to be able to attend Cannes, I can’t quite put into words. But just as I predicted, this year’s slate is being praised by attendees as a very strong year indeed. Although Cannes notoriously opens with mainstream fare such as Midnight in Paris, Moonrise Kingdom, Robin Hood, or Up, this year set a dark and ominous tone with troubled youth drama Standing Tall. It got a muted, but respectful response, with Paste Magazine stating that “the sincerity of the endeavor outpaced its execution.” Continue reading So what exactly happened in Cannes in the past two weeks?

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Michael Fassbender looks a lot like his namesake in the new Steve Jobs trailer.

‘Steve Jobs’ teaser bears strong resemblance to ‘The Social Network’

Other than Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, I can think of no film I’m more excited about this year than Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs. The project was announced about six months after Jobs’ death, with Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) attached to write the script. Then it fell into production limbo and one wondered whether or not it would ever see the light of day. I’m guessing the 2013 Sundance film Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher beating it to the punch had something to do with the delay. Continue reading ‘Steve Jobs’ teaser bears strong resemblance to ‘The Social Network’

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