Solo provides the easy fan service that The Last Jedi daringly denied us

After a brief hiatus, A.V. Club film editor A.A. Dowd and staff critic Ignatiy Vishnevetsky are back with a new edition of Film Club, discussing Disney’s latest trip to the galaxy far, far away, Solo: A Star Wars Story. Wherein the last entry in the Star Wars saga broke from convention (to the chagrin of some die-hard…

Will Smith’s lone rom-com muddled its message about pickup artists and romance

For a movie that features a professional pickup artist as its romantic leading man, Hitch has a surprisingly insightful central thesis: It’s sleazy, misogynistic dudes who make contemporary dating difficult for both women and men. The existence of these creeps forces women to be guarded and to couch their true…

Mary Shelley's Haifaa Al-Mansour isn't sweating the title of "first female Saudi film director"

Filmmaker Haifaa al-Mansour is Saudi Arabia’s first female director. Her feature film debut, 2012’s Wadjda, received critical acclaim and became the country’s first official Oscar submission (for Best Foreign Language Film) although it wasn’t nominated. Al-Mansour’s follow up is Mary Shelley, the story of the…

200 years after Frankenstein, a tired biopic tries to breathe life into Mary Shelley

C

Frankenstein, Or The Modern Prometheus, an exceptional piece of moody teenage fiction that the young Mary Shelley (née Godwin) first published anonymously in 1818, gave the world a new myth of creation gone wrong: the story of Victor Frankenstein, a scientist consumed by obsessions, and the nameless monster he brings…

Han Severals: 16-plus characters who smuggled inspiration from Han Solo

Han Solo is based on a familiar archetype: Star Wars’ lovable scoundrel can trace his roots back to our earliest myths, while there are progenitors of his world-weary cynicism in Humphrey Bogart’s movies, his charming roguishness in Douglas Fairbanks’, and his reluctantly outlaw heroics throughout the samurai films…

Wannabe punks meet real aliens in the vapid Neil Gaiman adaptation How To Talk To Girls At Parties

C

How To Talk To Girls At Parties, John Cameron Mitchell’s fourth feature and first in seven years, tries to be many, many things. It’s a coming-of-age tale about wading through the murky waters of adolescent sexuality. It’s a painfully sincere love story between a sensitive boy and a mysterious girl from out of town…

From Fargo to Napoleon Dynamite: Haifaa Al-Mansour picks the 5 films that influenced her the most

Filmmaker Haifaa al-Mansour is Saudi Arabia’s first female director. Her feature film debut, 2012’s Wadjda, received critical acclaim and became the country’s first official Oscar submission (for Best Foreign Language Film) although it wasn’t nominated. Now al-Mansour’s following up her debut with Mary Shelley, the…

Advertisement

The Phantom paid tongue-in-cheek homage to old-timey do-gooders but never got its due

They kept trying it. All through the 1990s, movie executives were greenlighting big summer movies based on mostly forgotten ’30s-vintage pulp superheroes. Clearly, people placed high within Hollywood’s largest studios thought that the teenagers of the ’90s, kids who had grown up buying gold-embossed collectors’…

Simon Pegg and Vaughn Stein’s new film Terminal draws influence from Blade Runner and 1984

The A.V. Club recently sat down with writer-director of the new film Terminal, Vaughn Stein (The Dark Knight, Sherlock Holmes), and star Simon Pegg, to discuss the advantages of indie filmmaking versus the typical big-budget, studio fare. Additionally, they discuss the cinematic influences that informed the look of…

The best movies of Cannes 2018, plus a serious Palme D’Or threat at the end of the festival

Apologies to anyone hoping for a first impression on the closing night film of Cannes, Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. It’s premiering right now, as I type this, but I’m on a flight to New York instead, ready to return to real life after 11 days in the bubble. I’ve missed or am missing a few other…

Elle Fanning and the cast of Mary Shelley didn’t know much about the author before reading the script

Haifaa al-Mansour’s new film Mary Shelley tells the story of the world-famous novelist when she was know as Mary Godwin. Starring Elle Fanning as the eponymous author, the film begins when Godwin is just 18, and follows the events in her life that inspired her to write Frankenstein, including her relationship with…