Fall movie season is upon us, which means the studios are gearing up for their Oscar campaigns by releasing the kind of thoughtful, intelligent, adult-oriented movies that the indies have been cranking out all damn year. But the art houses aren’t shutting down for the season. Here are just a few of this month’s limited and VOD releases that are worth your… Read More
The Labor Day weekend doesn’t begin until end of day tomorrow, but c’mon, who’re we kidding — you’ve already checked out for the week, and it’s time to start making plans. And while we know some of you (shudder) sociable types will be heading out to lakes and barbeques and such destinations to enjoy the end of another summer, we’re catering (as usual) to the shut-ins, who’re taking the three day holiday weekend to catch up on some long-delayed nothing-doing. So here are a few of the recent(ish) additions to Netflix and Amazon Prime to add to your holiday weekend viewing lists; just click the title link to watch them right now.
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The overwhelmingly positive reviews that are greeting the new Tom Cruise actioner Edge of Tomorrow (out, erm, tomorrow) are a hearty mix of enthusiasm and surprise — enthusiasm at the film’s brainy wit and overall inventiveness, surprise that such elements are contained in such a blandly titled, seemingly generic Summer Action Blockbuster. Some have decided that the responsible party here is Tom Cruise, and the appreciations have followed suit; LA Weekly’s Amy Nicholson dubs him “our last real movie star,” Movies.com’s Jacob S. Hall calls him “the greatest living movie star.” Fair enough; Cruise has a long and storied filmography, a history of well-chosen collaborators, and he’s terrific in the film. Yet oddly little of this high praise has made its way to Edge of Tomorrow’s director, Doug Liman. Then again, this is nothing new; Liman is one of the most successful and reliable directors in Hollywood who somehow still has not become a household name.
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On paper, The Monuments Men sounded unstoppable: A killer ensemble cast (including Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, and Cate Blanchett) backing up co-writer/star George Clooney’s dramatization of how a crew of art historians, artists, and architects saved scores of stolen art in the last days of WWII, a kind of Dirty Dozen by way of Ocean’s 11. This very site put it on our “most anticipated movies of the year” list — not once, but twice.
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When Rounders hit theaters 15 years ago today, it looked like the next giant hit for mini-major Miramax. The star was Matt Damon, fresh off his Oscar win for Good Will Hunting, and the trailers (showcasing a scene in which his poker savant blind-reads a table of judges’ hands) did their level best to remind viewers of that connection. Damon’s co-star was Edward Norton, still flying high from his 1996 nomination for his film debut, Primal Fear. The female lead, Gretchen Mol, was an unknown, but a Vanity Fair cover that very month asked, “Is she Hollywood’s next ‘It’ Girl?” The supporting cast was loaded with terrific character actors, including John Turturro, Martin Landau, Famke Janssen, and John Malkovich. The director was John Dahl, who’d directed the moody indie fave The Last Seduction. It looked like a surefire hit. And then it was released… and it tanked.
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If you needed further affirmation that, yes, movies are going to get better this fall, here you go. Behold… Read More