Johnny Szlauderbach

REVIEW: ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,’ empire of the senseless

By Johnny Szlauderbach / June 21st, 2018 / 0 Comments

  When Steven Spielberg unleashed Jurassic Park exactly a quarter century ago, the wunderkind responsible for the ur-blockbuster finally synthesized the apex summer tentpole. The material was junk, but Spielberg transformed Michael Crichton’s schlocky, pseudoscientific tome into a featherweight behemoth of all-ages movie magic. Other, more interesting directors were considered; imagine the cruel splatter-fest Gremlins’s…

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REVIEW: ‘Hereditary,’ genetic disorder

By Johnny Szlauderbach / June 6th, 2018 / 1 Comment

  Psycho birthed the modern horror genre and, quite appropriately, fractured it in two: the shrewd and the artful. Shameless about their own junkiness, the former function explicitly as thrill rides (The Shining, The Conjuring); the latter harbor transcendent ambitions, couching their frights in atmosphere and metaphor (The Innocents, It Follows). There’s some crossover, of…

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REVIEW: ‘Isle of Dogs,’ elements of style

By Johnny Szlauderbach / April 5th, 2018 / 0 Comments

  It’s easy to read a kind of progression into each new Wes Anderson movie. The last two have seen Anderson retreat even further from a recognizable reality and deeper into his own obsessively appointed imagination while, for the first time, invoking something bigger than the emotional immaturity of privileged men.   The amorphousness of…

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REVIEW: ‘Ready Player One,’ sim city

By Johnny Szlauderbach / March 30th, 2018 / 0 Comments

    Reality is an ill fit for Steven Spielberg. The man is an adolescent boy at heart, perfectly suited to Ready Player One’s future where virtual reality has triumphed over the real thing. During the breathlessly expository opening, as teenage hero Wade Watts narrates a tour of an online simulation called the Oasis, one…

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Blade Runner

“Blade Runner 2049,” artificial intelligence

By Johnny Szlauderbach / October 2nd, 2017 / 0 Comments

At last, there’s a sense of urgency in a Blade Runner movie. (That title, borrowed from Burroughs, evokes so much movement that grafting it onto Ridley Scott’s 1982 movie always felt like a bad joke.) The newest model, Blade Runner 2049, may not possess the fleet outline—four replicants, four set pieces—of the original or its…

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Battle of the Sexes

“Battle of the Sexes,” double fault

By Johnny Szlauderbach / September 29th, 2017 / 0 Comments

In May 1973, Bobby Riggs challenged Margaret Court to a tennis match. Riggs was 55 and had been retired for 22 years. Margaret Court was 30 and the number-one ranked female player in the world. Riggs smashed Court, beating her 6-2 in game one and 6-1 in game 2. It was the height of the…

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“American Made,” cruise control

By Johnny Szlauderbach / September 29th, 2017 / 0 Comments

Tom Cruise isn’t like other movie stars. Even without the personal baggage, he’d be an anomaly. There have always been outsized screen personalities—Bette Davis, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Lee Marvin, Brad Pitt, George Clooney—but even they stretch themselves within their niches, test their artistic limitations. Outside of a few obvious departures (Magnolia, Eyes Wide Shut),…

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“Mother!,” god complex

By Johnny Szlauderbach / September 15th, 2017 / 0 Comments

Darren Aronofsky has never shied from ambition. His first movie, Pi, managed to present a unified theory of the universe despite its miniscule budget; Requiem for a Dream remains the loudest public service announcement ever made. Aronofsky’s follow-up was supposed to see Brad Pitt hop through 1,000 years of history in a quest for eternal…

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