The term “biopic” has turned into a dirty word for a lot of moviegoers and critics alike. The assumption, of course, is that the story at hand will follow the tropes of the genre so closely that the resulting tale will end up leaving audiences with a sense of déjà vu and ultimately the inability to distinguish the film they’ve just seen from many other just like it. That stigma may be even stronger for releases covering the lives of popular musical artists, as Oscar-winning films like Ray and Walk the Line – both solid in their own right – have demonstrated a certain template of personal struggle set against the creation of indelible music. Somehow, Straight Outta Compton both conforms to these standards and transcends them into something perhaps greater than moviegoers might expect.
In this brand-new weekly section, we’ll offer three short reviews of recent films that just might be worth a look. This time around, we look at the latest Denzel Washington action thriller, an Oscar-winning Julianne Moore performance and the third stop-motion adventure from Laika Entertainment (Coraline, Paranorman).
Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart are two performers who have such well-established onscreen personas – thanks to films like The Social Network and the Twilight saga – that it’s hard sometimes not to take that baggage into the theater with you whenever either actor appears in a film. Perhaps it’s fitting then that the duo who shared the screen in 2009 comedy Adventureland are back together in American Ultra, a film which allows each of them to stretch their acting muscles (if only slightly).
Considering how far-fetched ghouls and goblins really are, the fact that supernatural creatures and unkillable slashers (pointing my finger at you, Jason Voorhees!) are so inextricably linked to big-screen chills and thrills rings more than a bit false. While vampires, werewolves and assorted other creepy-crawlers are fun to watch, the real world has always been far more terrifying. People are often riding an emotional rollercoaster based on the life they’ve led and the experiences that have shaped them (as Pixar brilliantly taught us this summer). Sometimes, these same individuals can turn on those around them, even the people they call friends.
In Episode 12 of the Crooked Table Podcast, Rob tackles the complicated mess left in the wake of the Fantastic Four reboot. What exactly went down between director Josh Trank and Fox executives? Will Marvel ever get the rights back to the characters? Can one man really ramble on about superheroes for half an hour? Find out… at least that last answer here!