Review: Pixar's Cars 3

Starring Owen Wilson, Armie Hammer, and Cristela Alonzo

Review: Rough Night

Starring Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, and more

Review: 47 Meters Down

Starring Mandy Moore and Claire Holt

Review: The Book of Henry

Directed by Colin Trevorrow

Review: The Hero

Starring Sam Elliott

6/28/2017

Khalil’s Take: ‘Baby Driver:’ The Perfect Blend of Music, Cars, and Guns!


Edgar Wright finally got to make his own superhero movie without the constraints of oversight, and boy is it great!

Wright is an interesting filmmaker, known for his comedic and visually arresting films including such now cult classic films like Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and The World's End.  Each of these films he put his own signature flair on, each of the films was not made in the States, and each film helped cement him as a great and not cultish director.  Before his most recent film, he was attached to direct Marvel’s Ant-Man, but left over “creative difference.”  There’s no doubt that Ant-Man is an Edgar Wright movie, the only thing missing from it is him physically directing it.  So when his next project was going to be a mainstream Hollywood film, some fans might have grumbled and thought the mostly indie director was selling out.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Baby Driver, is like nothing you have ever seen.  The film is basically what would happen if you placed a non-super agent/non-superhero/non-unstoppable Fast and Furious movie, mixed it with a little Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack-wise, and threw in a little Martin Scorsese old school Organized Crime movies in an Edgar Wright blender.  The film has a dynamic and standout cast, incredibly cool car sequences (that used as many practical effects as possible), a believable romance, and above all else, a killer soundtrack.  It’s the perfect blend of perfection rolled into a movie.


The film follows the titular character Baby (Ansel Elgort) who after a childhood accident has a constant hearing problem as his ears constantly ring in his head.  To drown out the endless annoyance, he pops in his iPod and listens to his tunes.  Oh, and he’s one of the best getaway drivers in all of Atlanta.  After a run in with the wrong gangster (Kevin Spacey), he now works for him as his getaway driver for his bank heists all over the city, escorting his dysfunctional yet interesting crew (Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Jon Bernthal, and Eiza González) as they carry out various heists throughout the city.


Baby is great at what he does, but a few things in his life make him reconsider.  For one, he’s only in this to pay off a debt.  Another reason is because of the people in his life.  His adoptive father Joseph (CJ Jones) wants him to get a real job as they communicate solely in sign language as Joseph is deaf (great way of mainstreaming disabilities in the film as Baby has tinnitus and his adoptive father is deaf).  The second person he sees himself making a change for is Debora (Lily James), a waitress he meets at a diner and has an instant (and realistic) connection with.  However, the more you try to get out, the harder you get pulled back in,

So many things in this movie work flawlessly.  The biggest thing of Baby Driver is the soundtrack.  Although this and Guardians of the Galaxy are completely different genres, they both to a great job at incorporating timeless classic songs into the film, setting the tone and theme for countless scenes of the movie.  The opening number of the movie shows us just what type of movie we are going to get as we not only see Baby walking down the street jamming to music, but some very awesome cinematography as we see the lyrics to the song I the background as signs, graffiti, and restaurant menus.  That opening alone sets the tone for a fun, inventive, and great film that’s in store.


Ansel Elgort, who is primarily known for appearing in YA films like the Divergent films and The Fault in Our Stars really gets a chance to shine as Baby.  He plays confidence well, but not in a bragging way.  At the same time, he delivers a believable romance with Lily James’ Debora.  The two start off your usual flirting, which organically develops into a stronger relationship.  His interactions with Joseph is also touching as the two have a deep bond.  You don’t get to see the history of how this elderly deaf black man became a father to a young white kid, and you don’t need to as Elgort and CJ Jones have great nonverbal chemistry together.


In regards to the supporting cast, everyone brings their A-Game.  Kevin Spacey is Doc, the criminal mastermind who organizes the bank robberies across the city.  He’s ruthless.  Yet at the same time, he is also trying a father-type role for Baby, just in the criminal mastermind parental type of way.  Jon Hamm (why is he not yet a movie star?!?) also really shines in this movie as Buddy.  As the film progresses, you see his villainous side manifest tenfold and you start to wonder if he might have been a great Negan alternative to Jeffrey Dean Morgan on The Walking Dead.  Another one the bank robbers is Eiza González as Darling, Buddy’s girlfriend who he’s dangerously insane for.  Jon Bernthal is also a part of the crew as Griff, as he continues to play Shane from Walking Dead.  Rounding out the bank robbers in Jamie Foxx as Bats.  Foxx hams it up in typical Jamie Foxx fashion and has one of the best moments of the film as he goes trigger happy while jamming to the “Tequila” song.

Edgar Wright has completely knocked it out of the park in Baby Driver.  Not only does the soundtrack, and actors work, but the overall plot works.  The film has a surprisingly realistic ending that has been missing in countless heist films for quite some time.  While Wright has a massive cult following, this is his first “big time” Hollywood film and will probably go down as the sleeper hit of the summer.  The nearly flawless film truly shines from the first frame to the last.  It perfectly meshed music into the film, that it almost operates as a musical.  The soundtrack will surely soon be an ITunes/Spotify top seller as it has every genre of music: from the Beach Boys to Big Boi and Killer Mike (after all, it is set in Atlanta).  Hopefully, this movie will be a box-office draw.  However, expect this to have a long life afterward for home viewing.

Rating: 5/5


Aubrey Plaza Is Obsessed With Elizabeth Olsen In The 'Ingrid Goes West' Trailer


Few actress can do dark comedy better than Aubrey Plaza, and she's become a staple at Sundance for showing off that ability. This year she was there with the social media satire, Ingrid Goes West, which received some of the festival's best reviews, and now a new trailer is here for what could be one of the summer's late surprises.

Plaza stars alongside Elizabeth Olsen, O'Shea Jackson Jr., and Wyatt Russell in the film about a social media celebrity who gets stalked by an obsessive fan who thinks she's #perfect. Here's the synopsis:

Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) is an unhinged social media stalker with a history of confusing “likes” for meaningful relationships. Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) is an instagram-famous “influencer” whose perfectly curated, boho-chic lifestyle becomes Ingrid’s latest obsession. When Ingrid moves to LA and manages to insinuate herself into the social media star’s life, their relationship quickly goes from #BFF to #WTF. Built around a brilliantly disarming performance from Aubrey Plaza, Ingrid Goes West (winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at Sundance) is a savagely hilarious dark comedy that satirizes the modern world of social media and proves that being #perfect isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Directed by Matt Spicer, Ingrid Goes West opens August 11th, but you can check out +Mae Abdulbaki's review from Sundance here.

Trailer For Sean Penn's Critically-Panned 'The Last Face', Which You Probably Forgot About


Hey, heard much about The Last Face? I bet you haven't. And that's despite being directed by Sean Penn and starring Charlize Theron, Javier Bardem, Jean Reno, Jared Harris, and Blue is the Warmest Color's Adele Exarchopoulos.  If you recall, the film got massacred when it debuted at Cannes, and that was pretty much the last anybody heard about it. There's been not one bit of press for the film, and now today it's being unceremoniously dumped into theaters and DirecTV, with a trailer released at the same time. Ooof.

Why waste more time on this Liberia-set love story? Here's the synopsis:

Set against the devastating backdrop of war-torn Liberia, Miguel and Wren must find a way to keep their relationship alive in extraordinarily difficult conditions battling their mutual passion for the value of life matched by the intensity of their diametrically opposed opinions on how best to solve the conflict that surrounds them.

Maybe it's good? Chances are I'll never know, but if you check it out let us know your thoughts.

Review: 'The Beguiled' Starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, & Elle Fanning


In Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled, the male gaze cranks up the sexual tension within the walls of an all-girls school during the height of the Civil War. But don't think this is about the War at all. Coppola has the special ability to create little fantasy worlds that exist outside reality, where characters seem to be shielded from the outside world. Think Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson's Japanese romance in Lost in Translation, or the daydreaming boys of The Virgin Suicides, Elle Fanning and Stephen Dorff's hotel adventure in Somewhere, and Marie Antoinette's lavish (and pop music-infused) existence during the French Revolution.


The Beguiled feels like those movies, only darker and with a touch of madness. Not quite as insane as Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood's 1971 version of the film, which took the simmering relationships within those classy walls to not-so-classy places, and made more of a statement on the Civil War and most especially on slavery. In fact, the remake has removed the two African-American women from the story completely in a move that's questionable at best, but allows Coppola to focus on her strength which is female dynamics, not racial ones. Coppola's version of The Beguiled is more expertly directed and refined, until this cultured drama sheds its skin and reveals the nutty horror underneath.


Headmistress Miss Martha Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman) leads the few young charges left at the school, keeping a stiff spine and upper lip with the war so closeby. Along with school teacher Edwina Morrow (Kirsten Dunst), they conduct classes as normal while cannon fire can be heard just outside. They exist in their own little world until the war finds its way inside when young Amy (Oona Laurence) stumbles upon injured Union solder Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell). With him near death, Amy decides the only thing she can do is to bring him back to the school, where Martha decides they will care for him until he's healed. Then they can turn him over to the Confederate troops as they pass by. How easily the wolf is led into the chicken coop.


Like any wolf, John is different things at different times, but always there is an agenda. As the one who saved his life, Amy is the one he says is his "favorite". But he also begins making romantic overtures to Edwina, who longs for a life far away with a handsome gentleman. He becomes a confidante and drinking buddy to Martha, after wearing down her concrete defenses. And with Alicia (Dakota Fanning), who is at the age of peak sexual awareness, he sees a lustful encounter, a roll in the hay.


It's a film of deep sexual repression and social hierarchy, with a mood set by ominous candlelight.  The tension among the women ratchets up first between them, as John plays his manipulative games. But you wish there was more relationship between the females other than just jealousy. In her effort to streamline Thomas Cullinan's novel, and avoid some of the issues she isn't as comfortable with, she loses much of its complexity. What she does capture is the crushing sense of longing each of them experience, trapped inside by the War raging outside. And it isn't just a sexual desire burning within them, but the female desire to be free from the expectations that have been or will be placed on them. This has long been one of Coppola's core themes and The Beguiled bathes in it, politely, like any good Southern woman would.


That tension ultimately turns against John, and Coppola goes somewhere she's never been before, which is horror territory. The stitching of nasty wounds somehow looks nastier against the gossamer backdrops, and the ladies' mannered banter takes a darker tone. Kidman's "Bring me the anatomy book!", is worth a chill and a good laugh, one of many as the film teeters to a sinister conclusion. Her performance, as well as that of Farrell and the others, take on different layers. Revealed are levels of deception and devilry previously hidden during the French classes and sewing circles. When it all comes to light, Coppola's trademark restraint is understood and appreciated. For like the polite women of Miss Farnsworth's school, The Beguiled's genteel nature is just a way to lure you in.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5



Daniel Craig Is A Southern Bomb Maker In New Trailer For 'Logan Lucky'


What's one good summer heist movie when you can have two? With Baby Driver hitting theaters today, we're getting a new trailer for the next original, star-studded crime flick to open during blockbuster season, Steven Soderbergh's Logan Lucky, and it looks like it may be just as much fun.

Starring Channing Tatum, Daniel Craig, Adam Driver, Seth MacFarlane, Riley Keough, Katie Holmes, Katherine Waterson, Dwight Yoakam, Sebastian Stan, Brian Gleeson, Jack Quaid, and Hilary Swank, the story follows a pair of brothers looking to pull a dangerous heist at Charlotte Motor Speedway. And this is filled with the kind of big, crazy characters that Soderbergh loves, including Craig sporting a deep Southern accent that I'm not totally sure works, and yet it's perfectly okay in this world.

Logan Lucky hits theaters on August 18th.

'Deadpool 2' Adds 'Hunt For The Wilderpeople' Star Julian Dennison, Hopefully As Pool Boy


If you haven't yet caught up with Taika Waititi's Hunt for the Wilderpeople, now might be a good time to see the Thor: Ragnarok director's charming comedy. While the zany New Zealand setting is a big part of its attraction, the real show-stealer is young star Julian Dennison, who gives co-star Sam Neill all he can handle. And it's good to see that Dennison is moving on up, up so far that he's now riding on Ryan Reynolds' back in Deadpool 2.

Reynolds revealed via a hilarious Instagram photo that Dennison has joined the Deadpool sequel. That's all we know and all we need to know.  He joins Josh Brolin, Zazie Beetz, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller, Jack Kesy, Shioli Kutsuna, and Leslie Uggams in the film from John Wick director, David Leitch.

Maybe Dennison can play Pool Boy? Pretty please? Deadpool 2 opens June 1st 2018.

A post shared by Ryan Reynolds (@vancityreynolds) on

Hugh Jackman Dazzles As P.T. Barnum In First Trailer For 'The Greatest Showman'


In the works for years, and constantly pushed off by Hugh Jackman's insane schedule, P.T. Barnum biopic The Greatest Showman is finally here, and with it comes the first trailer. The film, directed by Michael Gracey in his feature debut, will give Jackman the chance to sing and dance in a way that Logan never afforded him. It's why he's been the project's biggest champion all along, and now we're getting a look as to why.

The film takes a curious route in portraying Barnum as a champion of the underdog, who rallied outsiders to become acts in his circus. But it's probably better than what he actually was, which is a guy who would stoop to any level to make a buck, saying of himself, "I am a showman by profession...and all the gilding shall make nothing else of me."  That said, Barnum wasn't always a wealthy showman, and the film will follow him from poverty to when he put together The Greatest Show on Earth.

Also starring Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Paul Sparks, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen, The Greatest Showman opens Christmas Day.

First Red Band Trailer For 'A Bad Moms Christmas' Takes Back The Holidays


A surprise hit last summer, Bad Moms was one of those films everybody was talking about, and really helped pave the way for the run of raunchy female-centric comedies of late. And STX Entertainment didn't waste time expanding on what they had, teasing a Bad Dads spinoff that thankfully didn't happen, and rapidly moving on a true sequel. But do audiences really want more so fast? There's no better way to find out than with a holiday movie, and now we have the first trailer for A Bad Moms Christmas, and of course it's for Adults Only! Go ahead and tuck the little kiddies in.

Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, and Kristen Bell are back and this time they are fed up over Christmas and how moms never have any fun during the most joyous time of year.  Although they look pretty happy shakin' their butts in Santa's face. Not half as happy as he looks, though. And there are more moms than ever now with Christine Baranski, Susan Sarandon, and Cheryl Hines joining in on the fun.

I'm still surprised there hasn't been more of an uproar over decidedly male writer/directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. You'd think there would have been an outcry for a female to come in and help out on the script or something. Guess not.

A Bad Moms Christmas opens November 3rd.



Neil Marshall Promises His 'Hellboy' Will Be Bloody And Emphasize Practical Effects


Considering the years fans of Guillermo Del Toro and Ron Perlman's Hellboy movies have been asking for a sequel, it's going to take some convincing for them to warm up to Neil Marshall's reboot. A good start was by promising an R-rated take co-written by creator Mike Mignola, and by casting Stranger Things star David Harbour to be under all of that red makeup. But if there are still some doubts, Marshall addressed them during an appearance on the Post Mortem podcast.

Marshall wanted to assure fans of two things: that the R-rating will be respected and that practical effects will be used as much as possible. Both very good things.

“It’s definitely going to be as practical as we can possibly make it. I love to do stuff in camera whenever I possibly can, and use CG as the amazing tool that it is, to enhance or expand upon the world, but not to use it to replace reality, when you can do it [for] real.”

“We’ve been granted permission to do it R-rated, which for me is just like taking the cuffs off. It’s like, okay, so now we can just make the movie we want to make. It’s not like I’m going to force it to be R-rated, but if it happens to come out that way, just because of my own sensibilities, then fine. And nobody’s going to stop us. So, that’s the main [difference]. And I’m sure, obviously, the success of things like Deadpool and Logan have not hurt that cause. But, also, when you go back the original material, it is kind of bloody, so I’m going to embrace that.”

This is how you tell the fans exactly what they want to hear, but I suspect there will still be plenty of skepticism. Marshall does know how to get bloody and gory, though. That may not make for a widely-accepted version of Hellboy, though.

Matt Reeves Wants 'The Batman' To Be A "Noir-Driven' Detective Story


There's still a couple of weeks before Dawn of the Planet of the Apes hits, and hopefully becomes a huge smash, but already a lot of attention has turned to director Matt Reeves' next project. When that film is The Batman, it's to be expected, and of course he's getting asked about it while doing press for 'Apes', which is unfortunate. But if he's going to talk about it, he's at least saying the right things.

Talking with New Trailer Buzz, Reeves says the thing all of us Batman fans want to hear, and it's his desire to emphasize the detective aspect of the Dark Knight, which has been sorely missing the last few years...

“One of the reasons I was drawn to [The Batman] is that I had a similar obsession to Batman when I was younger that I had with the Apes series, which I was obsessed with. I see a parallel emotionally between Caesar and Batman, in that they’re both tortured and trying to sort of grapple within themselves to try and do the right thing in a very imperfect and, to some degree, corrupt world. It’s really that emotionality that I’m interested.”

“In all of my films, what I try to do, in an almost Hitchcockian sense, is use the camera and use the storytelling so that you become that character, and you emphasize with that point of view. There’s a chance to do an almost noir-driven, detective version of Batman that is point-of-view driven in a very, very powerful way, that hopefully is going to connect you to what’s going on inside of his head and inside of his heart.”

Can we get a Caesar vs. Batman movie someday, please? Oh wait, different studios. Anyway, a film noir Batman detective movie would be amazing, especially from Reeves who is at the top of his game right now. It's also very similar to what Ben Affleck wanted to do when he was writing the script and directing, so you know he likes the sound of this, too.  Look for The Batman to arrive some time in 2019, unless things get fouled up again.