Score one for the phonies: Rebel In The Rye is an embarrassing J.D. Salinger biopic

D+

Given how ferociously J.D. Salinger guarded his privacy, he likely would have objected to being the subject of any biopic, no matter how intelligent and respectful its portrait of him might be. There’s a special cruelty, though, in consigning Salinger—an author whose most famous character incessantly rails against…

Colin Trevorrow will no longer direct Star Wars: Episode IX

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Colin Trevorrow has dropped out of directing Star Wars: Episode IX. Disney and Lucasfilm have confirmed the news, releasing a statement that says the studios and Trevorrow have “mutually chosen to part ways.” It adds that Trevorrow has been a “wonderful collaborator throughout the…

Rami Malek does a good Freddie Mercury in this Bohemian Rhapsody teaser photo

The surviving members of Queen had a lot of trouble getting their Freddie Mercury biopic off the ground, mostly because original star Sacha Baron Cohen had a different vision for it than they did, but things seemed to get back on track when director Bryan Singer hired Mr. Robot star Rami Malek to star. Now, …

With Spettacolo, the team behind Marwencol travels to a Tuscan town that plays itself

B

Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen’s documentary Spettacolo ostensibly operates as a story of creation, but it’s really one of decay and exhaustion. The film follows the residents of Monticchiello, a small Tuscan town perched atop a hill, who have put on an annual summer play about their lives for the past 50 years.…

Weirdly convincing conspiracy theory: There are no dinosaurs in Jurassic Park 

With the rising proliferation of information and connectedness, the suspension of disbelief that once ensured we didn’t overthink the irrelevant aspects of entertainment is slowly dissipating. Once upon a time, we gladly accepted the ludicrous science of a fantastic film like Face/Off, our second favorite film of 1997…

Here's why The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is still so effective

Last week Tobe Hooper died at the age 74, leaving behind a legacy of innovation in horror films that indisputably began with his lurid masterpiece, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. In part because of his roots as a documentarian, there’s a rawness to the film that still makes it infinitely compelling today. But, as a…

Fantastic Fest's new "satellite festivals" will bring cool movies around the country

The downside of most cool film festivals is that they’re not happening anywhere near wherever you happen to live (unless you happen to be a Cannes or Park City native, which sounds like it would be annoying), so the people behind Austin’s Fantastic Fest have decided to take some of their cool movie fun around the…

George Miller's Justice League movie would've been Wonder Woman V. Superman

A few years before ignoring all of the warning signs and diving headfirst into its own cinematic universe with Zach Snyder, Warner Bros. tried to make a big-budget Justice League movie with Mad Max director George Miller. He had even assembled an interesting cast, with Armie Hammer as Batman, Common as Green Lantern,…

Black Panther’s production designer talks bringing the nation of Wakanda to life

Marvel’s upcoming Black Panther film will mark the first solo outing for the character and the first live-action depiction of his home, Wakanda. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Wakanda imagines an isolated African nation whose borders have never been penetrated by colonizers or conquerers—at least none who can…

Read This: The real life friendships that made Superbad 

Ten years after its initial release, Superbad continues to live on in the American zeitgeist. Like other comedy hits before it, references to the film’s jokes have gone from being hilarious, to annoying, to nostalgia-inducing, to hilarious again. And even after a decade of everyone and their mother misquoting McLovin,…

New genre festival Cinepocalypse descends on Chicago with its first wave of programming

For the past several years, every summer a suburban Chicago multiplex has played host to the Bruce Campbell Film Festival, a low-key younger sibling to genre film festivals like Fantastic Fest and Fantasia. Well, this year, the festival’s organizers have said, “fuck that,” and expanded it into a full-on, week-long…

It floats and the Kingsman returns, plus 27 other movies coming this September 

So many movies, so little time. Every week brings a new crop of them, opening in multiplexes and arthouse theaters across the nation, and arriving in increasingly high volumes on streaming platforms like Netflix. How’s a voracious moviegoer to keep up? That’s where The A.V. Club comes in. The first week of every…

Anyone could be the turncoat in the too-twisty-by-half espionage thriller Unlocked

C+

Espionage thrillers traffic in uncertainty, but there’s a difference, for a spy, between wondering who you can trust and being surrounded by an all-star cast of potential turncoats. Unlocked stars Noomi Rapace as CIA agent Alice Racine, who’s been lying somewhat low after failing to prevent a terrorist attack in…

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Takashi Miike celebrates 100 films with the ultraviolent samurai epic Blade Of The Immortal

Japanese director Takashi Miike’s career has run the gamut, from direct-to-video trash to kids’ movies to prestige period films to our pick for the greatest horror movie of the 21st century. His new film, an adaptation of the infamous samurai manga Blade Of The Immortal, seems to draw from all of these, combining…

Straw-man arguments interfere with the relationship comedy of Lake Bell’s I Do... Until I Don’t

C

One of the most lamely persistent tropes in modern romantic comedies—especially of the indie persuasion, and even more especially if they’re about characters of a certain middle-class means—is the character who boldly proclaims that marriage is an archaic, illogical, and/or meaningless institution. Almost any…

Seann William Scott is Last Of The Enforcers in an inferior sequel to Goon

C+

Great sequels tend to enrich or build upon the appeal of their predecessors. Lousy sequels misplace that appeal or obscure it by making everything way bigger. Somewhere in the middle lies a movie like Goon: Last Of The Enforcers. Co-writer, co-star, and now director Jay Baruchel has reassembled most of the cast of his…

The team behind Marwencol visits a town that is also a play in this Spettacolo trailer

The 2010 documentary Marwencol is about a man who tries to find solace after a vicious beating by building a miniature WWII-era European town in his backyard, and if that movie is about one guy using tiny people to create stories, then the next film from Marwencol’s Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen is about a bunch of…