Independence Day: Resurgence
It’s just dull and hollow—a massive waste of time and money.
* This filmography is not intended to be a comprehensive list of this artist’s work. Instead it reflects the films this person has been involved with that have been reviewed on this site.
A new breed of female lead; A tale of two Fishers; Penn's hate-watch for the ages; "Paterson" is perfection; "The Salesman" marks Iran's post nuclear deal cinematic resurgence.
Ken Loach's "I, Daniel Blake" wins the Palme d'Or at the 69th Cannes Film Festival.
A review of the latest from Olivier Assayas and Jeff Nichols.
Ben Kenigsberg introduces the Cannes Film Festival's sidebars and discusses Pablo Larrain's "Neruda."
A preview of Cannes 2016.
A look at the devolving marketplace in America for foreign language films.
An interview with writer/director/editor Stephen Cone about "Henry Gamble's Birthday Party."
The writers of RogerEbert.com on some of our favorite performances of 2015.
An interview with director Kent Jones about his documentary "Hitchcock/Truffaut."
Tina Hassannia reports on three docs from TIFF about artists.
A review of Kent Jones' "Hitchcock/Truffaut" from the Telluride Film Festival.
An interview with "Eden" director Mia Hansen-Løve.
A bi-weekly feature on the best new streaming and Blu-ray releases, including "Comet," "L'Avventura," "Les Blank: Always For Pleasure," "Starry Eyes," and more.
A tribute to Isabelle Huppert as the 2014 Chicago International Film Festival plans to do the same this weekend.
A preview of the 2014 Chicago International Film Festival.
A fest dispatch on "Eden" and "Horse Money" from the New York Film Festival.
Odie Henderson went to TIFF 2014 and shares his favorites from this year's fest, along with a glimpse of what's it like on the ground at a fest like Toronto.
A report from the Toronto International Film Festival on "Nightcrawler," "Clouds of Sils Maria," "Bird People," "The Tale of Princess Kaguya," and "The Dead Lands".
An interview with the stars and author of "If I Stay."
May 2014 Blu-rays of note.
The Competition section of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival ends with Olivier Assayas' "Clouds of Sils Maria" with Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, and Chloe Grace Moretz.
Barbara Scharres previews the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.
An exhaustive list of Top 10s by RogerEbert.com contributors.
The biggest taboo in American cinema may be the direct-to-video (DTV) market. Director John Hyams was dropped by his agent after making the DTV "Universal Soldier: Regeneration." Fellow director Isaac Florentine has said "I discovered that being a straight to DVD director is…worse than saying you have malaria." To some extent, one can understand why DTV films have such a bad reputation: just watch the SyFy channel on Saturday night, or Cinemax at 2 am any night. Yet there's a certain freedom in making genre films without the budget to use extravagant CGI effects, and Hyams and Florentine have put it to good use. Over the past few years, a handful of critics, like ex-con Steven-Seagal-expert Vern and RogerEbert.com contributor Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, have championed their work. As the concept of vulgar auteurism has become a hot topic among the cinephile blogopshere recently, something's gotten lost in all the debate about whether Michael Bay and Tony Scott should be taken seriously. At heart, what seems worthwhile to me about vulgar auteurism is its championing of the best DTV genre films. Most 1950s intellectuals would have been horrified by the notion of taking Edgar G. Ulmer's "Detour" or Sam Fuller's "The Steel Helmet" seriously, and today they're considered essential. Isaac Florentine's "Undisputed III: Redemption" (2010) suffers from a surface cheesiness that manifests itself in several ways. The most obvious is the fact that the cast seems to have been assembled as much for its fighting ability as its acting talent. However, that turns out to be a strength in the end. Vin Diesel, pumped-up muscles and all, is no longer so convincing as a tough guy. Scott Adkins, who has teamed up with Florentine six times, is thoroughly believable as a man who's spent years in jail, and the rest of the actors who play prisoners look equally rough. Adkins plays Boyka, a Russian boxer forced to compete in a contest where eight prisoners fight each other for the amusement of depraved gamblers and jailers; the winner supposedly gets his freedom.The Smashing Machine," about boxer Mark Karr, seems relevant here.) I'm not sure where the film was shot, but one can practically smell the odor of industrial decay. Cinematographer Peter Hyams, the director's father and an accomplished director in his own right, livens up the film, particularly its fight scenes, with an array of blue, red, gray and gold filters. Rarely does "Regeneration" look naturalistic—it creates its own world, with a distinctive and unique feel. Like Florentine, Hyams avoids CGI, apart from blood-splatter effects."Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning" brings back van Damme, Lundgren and Arlovski, and introduces Scott Adkins to the "Universal Soldier" world, yet it feels very different from "Regeneration". It begins with the murder of John's (Adkins) wife and daughter by a group of thugs led by Luc. He falls into a coma and wakes up after nine months, but he seems to be suffering from mental problems. "Day of Reckoning" shows off Hyams' cinephilia, drawing first-person camerawork from Gaspar Noe's "Enter the Void," ominous walks down corridors from Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" and a boat trip down a swamp from Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now." It's slightly less stylized than "Regeneration"; shot in Baton Rouge, its images sometimes resemble the real world, but that only makes John's psychological collapse more disturbing. Dozens of sci-fi films have drawn from Philip K. Dick's novels over the past thirty years; "Day of Reckoning" is one of the few to get his sense that everyday life could turn into a hallucination at any moment."Day of Reckoning" relies on the notion of living and dealing with implanted memories for its emotional charge. But what is cinema if not the art of implanting false memories? The film's DVD box features two separate quotes touting its brutal nature, and it is indeed startlingly violent. (Hyams himself describes the NC-17 cut as an endurance test.) Yet there's more to the violence than meets the eye. In an interview with Sara Freeman for the website MUBI, Hyams shows that he's thought seriously about the ethics of depicting bloodshed. "Day of Reckoning" takes place in a world where life is spectacularly cheap due to the proliferation of clones. This technology allows it to bring back a character who died in "Regeneration." Its ending shows a man dying and immediately being replaced by his clone. Both in its treatment of violence and the theme of memory, "Day of Reckoning" evokes the visceral power of good fiction and its ultimate artificiality. It's not cynical: its final scenes affirm the force of emotion, even if separated from real life.Hyams, Reine and Florentine's work seems at once part of a Hollywood tradition—their fight scenes look like Raoul Walsh or Allan Dwan compared to the chaotic blur of mega-budgeted blockbusters like "World War Z"—and hyper-modern. Beyond the genre tropes, they capture the physical and psychological pressures of the world we're living in. Florentine and Reine's films are less ambitious, but "Undisputed 3: Redemption" and "12 Rounds 2: Reloaded" evoke the same kind of weight as Hyams' "Universal Soldier" films. They may be working in the DTV ghetto—technically, "Day of Reckoning" played for one week in a New York theater last year—but they're describing the same world as a more prestigious filmmaker like Olivier Assayas. (Without making a big deal of it, Florentine uses casts drawn from all over the world.) I can't say that I've been impressed by the entire vulgar auteurist canon, but in the DTV arena, its critics have made some real discoveries.