Would You Pay $10 For Unlimited Monthly Movie Theater Visits?

Almost two decades ago, Netflix offered an appealing option to fine-weary movie lovers: Unlimited DVD rentals that customers could keep for as long as they wanted. A company run by one of the founders of Netflix is trying a similar tactic to get movie fans back into theaters by letting customers have unlimited visits for a flat fee. The cost: $10 per month, and signing over your movie habits to Big Data.

How it works

MoviePass has been around since 2011, but you may not be familiar with it. Customers carry a card that they use like a debit card when buying tickets. The card pays the cost of one ticket for 2D, non-IMAX movies.

Theaters don’t have to join any networks or buy extra equipment: Instead, customers can supposedly just use the card at any movie theater that accepts debit cards, or around 91% of theaters nationwide, including independent theaters and the big chains like AMC, Cinemark, and Regal.

What changed today?

The previous MoviePass pricing scheme wasn’t a bad deal, starting at $15 and going up to $50 on a tiered plan according to your usage.

The price has fallen to $10 per month across the board because MoviePass has a new investor: Helios and Matheson Analytics, a firm that provides, in its own words, “big data, artificial intelligence, business intelligence, social listening, and consumer-centric technology.”

MoviePass is losing money now. CEO Mitch Lowe, who formerly helped found Netflix and ran Redbox, told Variety that its long-term plan is to prove how much the service boosts movie attendance, and share some of the proceeds with theater owners.

You are the product

It’s pretty obvious what Helios and Matheson gets out of this deal: you. Specifically, the viewing habits of the service’s users. In a press release, the companies note that after subscribing, MoviePass customers attended twice as many movies, and were much more likely to attend showings in the middle of the week.

“With our big data and artificial intelligence platforms and other technologies that we own, we will be able to bring a significant technological advantage to MoviePass,” Ted Farnsworth, Chairman and CEO at Helios and Matheson, said in a statement. “Our mission at HMNY is to continuously be innovating, and this blending is a natural fit to take us up to the next level and beyond.”

Disney To Pull Movies From Netflix and Launch Its Own Streaming Service

Disney has announced plans to pull its content from streaming behemoth Netflix, as it readies its own service dedicated to Disney and Pixar movies.

During its latest earnings report, the house of mouse said it would be divorcing itself from Netflix towards the end of 2018, ending the distribution deal and replacing it with a new Disney-centric service planned to launch in 2019.

Netflix Original Marvel series such as Jessica Jones and Daredevil will remain on Netflix, but it’s uncertain what the move would mean for Marvel and Star Wars movies. No specific mention was made of these properties, but it’s very likely Disney will want to shift them to its own platform.

“We continue to do business with the Walt Disney Company on many fronts, including our ongoing deal with Marvel TV,” said a spokesperson for Netflix.

Disney’s exclusive deal with Netflix was settled in 2012 but only came into action last year. The announcement will come as a major blow for Netflix, left watching some of its most valuable assets leave like Toy Story’s Woody watching the other toys drive away in a removal van.

“This acquisition and the launch of our direct-to-consumer services mark an entirely new growth strategy for the company, one that takes advantage of the incredible opportunity that changing technology provides us to leverage the strength of our great brands,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement.

Disney’s new service will be built using technology from Major League Baseball (MLB)-owned platform BAMTech, and will initially be directed at US viewers. Alongside its backlog of movies and shows, Disney will launch its streaming service with exclusives of upcoming films Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2. The company has said it will also launch an ESPN streaming service for sports next year.

It’s not all bad news for Netflix. In a move reminiscent of Disney, this week it was also announced that the service had acquired comic-book company Millarworld, and that it would be adapting existing material as well as commissioning new projects. Owned by Scottish comic book writer Mark Millar, the studio is responsible for titles including Kick-Ass and Kingsman: The Secret Service. There may soon be an Iron Man-shaped hole in Netflix’s lineup, but the service could fill this with its own comic-book creations. The Adventures of Buffer Dude and Time Eater, perhaps.


Two New ‘Harry Potter’ Books To Hit Stores This Fall

On Oct. 20, 1997, the world of Muggles was changed forever when author J.K. Rowling introduced us to the character who would become a worldwide phenomenon, spawning a seven-book series, eight movies, an amusement park and millions of dollars in merchandise.

This fall, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the publication of the first novel in the “Harry Potter” series, two new books will be released, much to the delight of wizarding fans in every corner of the globe.

Before you get too excited, these books are not a continuation of the beloved “Harry Potter” series. In fact, that aren’t even authored by Rowling, although she has collaborated with the publisher on their production.

The books, “Harry Potter: A History of Magic” and “Harry Potter: A Journey Through a History of Magic,” have been released as part of an upcoming exhibition at the British Library which will include “rare books, manuscripts and magical objects from the British Library’s collection.”

(That first book, by the way, was “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” In the U.S., it was published as “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”)

“Harry Potter: A History of Magic” is billed by publisher Bloomsbury as “a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration between Bloomsbury, J.K. Rowling and the brilliant curators of the British Library,” according to the publisher’s website. The book is described on Pottermore, Rowling’s Potter-themed website, as an “adult edition,” featuring interviews with the museum exhibit’s curators and photos of images from its archives. The book promises to give an in-depth look at many of the classes taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, including Alchemy and Potions, Herbology, and Care of Magical Creatures.

“Harry Potter: A Journey Through The History of Magic” is for the young and young at heart — or really anyone who feels the need to possess all things HP. Bloomsbury describes this book as “an irresistible romp through the history of magic, from alchemy to unicorns, ancient witchcraft to Harry’s Hogwarts.”

It includes illustrations by Jim Kay, the original illustrator of many of the Harry Potter books as well as “weird, wonderful and inspiring artifacts that have been magically released from the archives at the British Library.”

For those of us who may not make it to the exhibit at the British Library, these two new books may be as close as we get to learning about the history of mandrake roots or discovering what witches really use their brooms for. The book are available for pre-order now with a publication date coming in October.

First Official Look at Cable From ‘Deadpool 2’

After recently giving you a first look at Zazie Beetz as Domino for Deadpool 2, a teaser image of Deadpool’s long-time friend and time-traveling maniac Cable has finally emerged following the announcement of Josh Brolin confirmed to play the character back in April.

Courtesy of Deadpool aka Ryan Reynolds himself showcasing the first glimpse via Twitter, an even better look provided by Cable co-creator Rob Liefeld is given.

While the image suggests Josh Brolin’s filming scenes are already underway, the comic-book comparison looks to be spot on as well, so fans shouldn’t be that disappointed.

Deadpool 2 hits theaters on Friday, June 1, 2018.

These Are the Best Movies and TV Shows Coming Out in August

As the summer season draws to a close and the heat dissipates, those movies and TV shows to-watch lists dwindle down a bit. But as the biggest summer-movie tentpoles have already arrived and the fall contenders have yet to debut, that doesn’t mean August has nothing to offer. The month starts out with a long-awaited Stephen King-based fantasy epic in The Dark Tower and the latest from The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirtydirector Kathryn Bigelow in Detroit. August also offers up a few not to be missed indie films including Robert Pattinson‘s stellar NYC crime saga Good Time and Sundance Film Festival‘s Patti Cake$.

Over on the small screen, VICELAND brings you new original series Nuts + Bolts from Tyler, The Creator and What Would Diplo Do? starring James Van Der Beek, while Netflix‘s major Marvel crossover, The Defenders, brings together Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Check out the list below for some of the must-see releases to the more under the radar films and TV shows to look forward to in August.


The Dark Tower – August 4

The big-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s fantasy series has been sitting on Hollywood’s back-burners for a while. Set in a magical land inspired by the Old West, the notorious gunslinger, played by Idris Elba, roams the landscape in search of the Dark Tower, in the hopes that reaching it will preserve his dying world. Matthew McConnaughey plays his nemesis, The Man in Black. The Dark Tower is set to be one of this summer’s biggest blockbusters.

Detroit – August 4

Directed by Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt LockerZero Dark Thirty), Detroit tells the emotional story behind the Algiers Motel incident during the summer of ’67 where three young African-American men were killed. The film stars John Boyega (Stars Wars: The Force Awakens), John Krasinski (The Office) and Will Poulter (The Revenant). Detroit will be released in theaters August 4 in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the riots.

Icarus – August 4

Hitting Netflix on August 4, Icarus documents a major Olympic cheating scandal, which was uncovered by accident by American documentary filmmaker Bryan Fogel and a Russian scientist. The film captures the politics behind doping within sports plus the involvement of Vladimir Putin and the Russian government.

Wind River – August 4

Taylor Sheridan (known for writing 2015′s hit Sicario) makes his directorial debut in the upcoming thriller about an FBI agent who teams up with the town’s veteran game tracker to investigate a murder that occurred on a Native American reservation. Wind River is a look at life on the edge of an imposing wilderness, where the rules of law is overshadowed by the laws of nature. The film stars Jeremy Renner as Cory Lambert, the local game tracker who discovers the woman’s body in the snow while Elizabeth Olsen portrays Jane Banner, the no-nonsense FBI agent assigned to the case. Jon Bernthal and Kelsey Asbille also star. Wind River, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and recently screened at Cannes.

Good Time – August 11

Distributed by powerhouse A24, Good Time stars Robert Pattinson as Constantine Nikas as he embarks on a twisted adventure through New York City’s underworld trying to free his brother from prison after a botched robbery. The action takes place over the course of one night as Constantine descends into violence and mayhem as he races against the clock.

Ingrid Goes West – August 11

Indie flick Ingrid Goes West stars Aubrey Plaza as Ingrid Thorburn who becomes obsessed with Instagram-famous “influencer” Taylor Sloane played by Elizabeth Olson. When Ingrid moves to LA and manages to insinuate herself into the social media star’s life, their relationship quickly breaks down leading to comical results.

Pilgrimage – August 11

After helping to revamp the Spider-Man film series, actor Tom Holland finds himself caught up in the medieval thriller, Pilgrimage. The film follows a band of Catholic monks who soon encounter a dangerous stranger. The end result is an extraordinary period drama piece crossed with an action-laced road movie. Pilgrimage stars Tom Holland, Richard Armitage (The Hobbit), Jon Bernthal (The Walking DeadFury) and Stanley Weber (Outlander). Having already made its premiere at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, Pilgrimage sees a wider release this August 11.

Gook – August 18

Having already made its premier at this year’s Sundance Film Festival — evening taking home the Audience Award in the NEXT category — Gook tells the story of two Korean-American brothers, Daniel and Eli, who run a shoe store in a predominantly African American area of Los Angeles. As the brothers try to chase after their dreams and keep the store afloat, racial tensions start to build, leading to the LA riots of 1992. Gook releases in Los Angeles on August 18, followed by a wider release across the country on August 25.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard – August 18

The Hitman’s Bodyguard stars big name actors, Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson. In the film, Reynolds plays the world’s top bodyguard and is tasked with protecting Jackson’s character, a hitman who must testify at the International Court of Justice. The situation is not an easy ride for the pair as they must survive bullets, assassins, Gary Oldman and each other.

Logan Lucky – August 18

Starring Channing Tatum and Adam Driver as brothers Jimmy and Clyde Logan, the two decide to pull off a large-scale heist at a NASCAR event being held in North Carolina. To help with the heist, the two brothers enlist former bank robber Joe Bang, played by Daniel Craig. Logan Lucky also stars Seth MacFarlane and Katie Holmes.

Patti Cake$ – August 18

Patti Cake$ tells the story of an up-and-coming female rapper looking to make it in the hip-hop game. Starring Danielle Macdonald as the lead of Patti, her performance in the film garnered her as one of Sundance Film Festival’s breakout stars. Directed by Geremy Jasper, this indie flick hits theaters on August 18.

Birth of the Dragon – August 25

WWE Studios has reinterpreted the final days of Bruce Lee in the upcoming biopic Birth of the Dragon. The film centers around the younger years and early career of the martial arts king, along with his controversial fight with Chinese martial artist and teacher, Wong Jack Man. Originally screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2016, the film hits statewide on August 25.

Death Note – August 25

Hollywood has created a live-action version of the legendary Japanese manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. Adam Wingard (Blair Witch 2016) takes the director’s chair on the story of a student who uses a supernatural book, named Ryuk, to kill criminals as an act of vigilante justice. However, his righteous, albeit contagious, killing spree garners the attention of an acclaimed detective named L who desperately wants to unravel the person and mystery behind these ongoing murders. Willem Dafoe takes on the voice of Ryuk.

The Villainess – August 25

The latest Korean flick looking to dominate worldwide box offices — after last year’s hit Train to Busan — arrives as an action-packed revenge story titled The Villainess. Having already made its premiere at the 70th Annual Cannes Film Festival, the film starring actress Kim Ok Bin received a four-minute standing ovation. The Villainess tells the story of a ruthless female assassin named Sook Hwe (Kim Ok Bin) who from an early age has been taught to kill. After becoming a sleeper agent for South Korea’s Intelligence Agency, two men from her past show up, bringing out her darkest secrets.


Surviving Escobar – Alias JJ – August 1

This Netflix original series follows the man who once assisted Pablo Escobar as he struggles to find himself after the fall of the Medellin Empire. After willingly turning himself in, Pablo Escobar’s No. 1 hit man struggles to stay alive and gain respect in the prison hierarchy.

Nuts + Bolts – August 3

Twenty-six-year-old Tyler, the Creator is a media maven. Next on his list is the new VICELAND show Nuts + Bolts. The show, as described by Tyler, is a behind-the-scenes look at his own unique interests and a peek at “how everything that I think is awesome is made.”

What Would Diplo Do? – August 3

What Would Diplo Do? stars Dawson’s Creek alum James Van Der Beek as a fictionalized EDM DJ Diplo, a “guy who can bring 60,000 people to their feet… but kind of sucks one-on-one.” Inspired by a Mad Decent Block Party promo video where Van Der Beek portrayed Diplo, the show was written by Van Der Beek and “shepherded” by Oscar-winning director and VICELAND Co-President Spike Jonze. What Would Diplo Do?marks VICELAND’s first scripted series and lands on August 3.

Voltron: The Legendary Defender – August 4

This 1980s classic makes a return thanks to Netflix’s streaming platform. Aiming to cater to its original fans from back in the day, the reboot is also set on correcting its problems and to appeal to a newer audience. The latest installment stays true to its audience as a group of space explorers and five gigantic robotic lions work together to fulfill missions regarding the fate of the world.

Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later – August 4

Netflix has reprised the cult classic camp-based picture Wet Hot American Summer which takes place 10 years later — though its actually been 16 years since the original movie. Serving as a sequel to 2001 film and a prequel for 2015′s Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, the latest revival sees most of the original cast returning. Michael Ian Black, Molly Shannon, Paul Rudd, Janeane Garofalo, and Michael Showalter join new cast members Alyssa Milano, Adam Scott, Samm Levine, and more.

Carpool Karaoke – August 8

The forthcoming series will feature original host James Corden as well as a slew of celebrities including Will Smith, John Legend, and Ariana Grande. The 16 episode run will be a spin-off of the successful segment originally featured on The Late Late Show with James Corden. Though Corden appears in the trailer, he will not be hosting every episode of the Apple Music-exclusive show. The new series will also take place outside of the car and include conversational topics on movies, sports and so on.

Naked – August 11

This summer comedy stars Marlon Wayans who plays a nervous man about to get married. Until Anderson can do the right thing on his wedding day, he’s caught in a time loop and forced to relive the same few crazy hours leading up to the ceremony. Naked also stars Regina Hall, Dennis Haysbert, Loretta Divine and Brian McKnight, among others. Watch for Naked to hit Netflix on August 11.

The Defenders – August 18

The Defenders will see a major crossover for Netflix’s Marvel series which will star Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. The four heroes will be facing off against Alexandra and the Hand, the undead ninja group that has been working behind the scenes since Daredevil’s first season. Tying all the series together is Claire Temple played by Rosario Dawson who mediates between Luke and Danny. The Defenders premieres on Netflix August 18.

Critics Are Calling ‘The Emoji Movie’ One of the Worst Films of All Time

If you were thinking of going to see The Emoji Movie this weekend, you may want to rethink your plans. The reviews are in— and they’re absolutely brutal.

Critics overwhelmingly hated the movie, despite the involvement of big name comedians like Silicon Valley‘s T.J. Miller, Broad City’s Ilana Glazer, and The Late Late Show host James Corden.

All the reviews agreed that the film was bad — where they diverged was just how bad it was. The worst reviews called it “dark” and “evil,” the middling reviews thought it was a “catastrophe,” while the rest simply called it “meh.” Read some of our favorite takes below.

It’s definitely very bad

This movie’s “believe in yourself” message is borne out, in a perverse way, by the very fact that it even exists. And yet the whole thing remains nakedly idiotic.

 Glenn Kenny, New York Times

It is a soul-crushing disaster because it lacks humor, wit, ideas, visual style, compelling performances, a point of view or any other distinguishing characteristic that would make it anything but a complete waste of your time, not to mention that of the diligent animators who brought this catastrophe into being.

 Alonso Duralde, TheWrap

The Emoji Movie shows how low Hollywood will sink for easy 💰.

 Jordan Hoffman, New York Daily News

It’s not bad, it’s evil

The Emoji Movie is a force of insidious evil, a film that feels as if it was dashed off by an uninspired advertising executive.

 Charles Bramesco, The Guardian

It is one of the darkest, most dismaying films I have ever seen, much less one ostensibly made for children.

 Emily Yoshida, Vulture

Hear that? It’s the end of the world.

 Johnny Oleksinski, New York Post

It’s not evil, but it’s extremely meh

The good news is The Emoji Movie, co-written and directed by Tony Leondis, is not evil. The bad news is it’s just mediocre, or in emoji parlance, simply “meh.”

 Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press

There could be far worse ways to spend 86 minutes. But maybe, just maybe, it’d be the better choice to spend those 86 minutes outside, or reading a book, or talking face-to-face with another human being. Because The Emoji Movie could not be more meh.

 Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times

Netflix Announces New Movies and Shows for August 2017

The dog days of summer have arrived in full force, so snuggle up like the sweaty little pup you are and check out these new additions to Netflix’s movie selection.

This month, you can finally stream the long-anticipated live action version of Death Note and see how it stands up next to the original. If you’re feeling out of touch, jolt yourself back into reality with the Matrix trilogy and refresh your memory before the Warner Brothers reboot hits theaters. Or you could take a trip down to Camp Green Lake with Holes and reminisce about the Golden Age of Shia Laboeuf.

No matter your taste, there’s bound to be something in month’s list of new arrivals for you. Happy ‘flixing!

Available on August 1:

A Cinderella Story (2004)

Bad Santa (2003)

Cloud Atlas (2012)

Crematorium: Season 1 (2011)

Funny Games (US) (2007)

Innerspace (1987)

Jackie Brown (1997)

Lord of War (2005)

Maz Jobrani: Immigrant — NETFLIX ORIGINAL

Nola Circus (2015)

Opening Night (2016)

Practical Magic (1998)

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Small Soldiers (1998)

Surviving Escobar – Alias JJ: Season 1 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL

The Addams Family (1991)

The Astronaut’s Wife (1999)

The Bomb (2015)

The Hollywood Masters: Season 1

The Last Mimzy (2007)

The Matrix (1999)

The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

The Number 23 (2007)

The Royal House of Windsor: Season 1 (2017)

The Truth About Alcohol (2015)

The Wedding Party (2016)

Tie The Knot (2016)

Who Gets the Dog? (2016)

Wild Wild West (1999)

Available August 2:

Jab We Met (2007)

The Founder (2016)

Available August 3:

Sing (2016)

The Invisible Guardian (2017)

Available August 4:


Voltron: Legendary Defender: Season 3 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL

Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later: Season 1 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL

Available August 5:

Holes (2003)

Available August 8:

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Season 7 Episodes 1-13 (2017)

Available August 9:

Black Site Delta (2017)

Available August 10:

Diary of an Exorcist – Zero (2016)

Available August 11:

Atypical: Season 1 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL

Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh: Season 3 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL


True and The Rainbow Kingdom: Season 1 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL


Available August 13:

Arthur and the Invisibles (2006)

Hot Property (2016)

Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo (2017)

Available August 14:

The Outcasts (2017)

Urban Hymn (2015)

Available August 15:

Brad Paisley’s Comedy Rodeo — NETFLIX ORIGINAL


A New Economy (2016)

All These Sleepless Nights (2016)

Donald Cried (2016)

Murderous Affair: Season 1 (2016)

My Ex-Ex (2015)

The Sweet Life (2016)

Available August 16:

Gold (2016)

Available August 18:

Dinotrux: Season 5 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL

Glitter Force Doki Doki: Season 1 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL

I Am Sam (2001)

Marvel’s The Defenders: Season 1 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL

What Happened to Monday — NETFLIX ORIGINAL FILM

Available August 19:

Hide and Seek (2005)

Available August 20:

Camera Store (2017)

Available August 21:

AWOL (2016)

Bad Rap (2016)

Beautiful Creatures (2013)

Gomorrah: Season 2 (2016)

Unacknowledged (2017)

Available August 22:

Lynne Koplitz: Hormonal Beast — NETFLIX ORIGINAL

Sadie’s Last Days on Earth (2016)

Available August 23:

Feel Rich (2017)

Available August 25:

Disjointed: Part 1 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL


DreamWorks Dragons: Race to the Edge: Season 5 — NETFLIX ORIGINAL

Once Upon a Time: Season 6 (2016)

Available August 29:

Ryan Hamilton: Happy Face — NETFLIX ORIGINAL

The Good Place: Season 1 (2017)

Available August 31:

Be Afraid (2017)

Why Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ Is the Best Film of the Year So Far

Christopher Nolan’s new war drama is one for the history books. To celebrate its release, we break down why it deserves the title of 2017’s finest film.

When it comes to movie releases, the hot, money-crammed month of July is usually reserved for storming franchise reboots and more comic book films than you can shake a stick at. But it’s not so surprising that Dunkirk, a dark, nerve-shredding new film about British WWII soldiers staring death in the face, bows this weekend in a prime popcorn-friendly slot. The man behind it is Christopher Nolan, one of the few directors who manages to make masterful creations that often break the $1 billion box office barrier. It’s a hard feat, not least for a man who pushes original ideas over mainstream conformity, and makes films that are all the better for it.

We may have barely approached the half-way point of the year, but it looks like we already have a hearty contender for the best film of 2017. Few films dare to subject multiplex moviegoers to the kind of hellish experience that this film manages to put you through. Intense and visceral, Dunkirk holds you in its icy grasp for 106 minutes and refuses to let go.

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To prep you for the film’s worldwide release this weekend, we caught a glimpse of the film to explain why this will be the critical and box office hit of the summer.

Land, sea and air: this suspenseful story is told from multiple perspectives

The year is 1940, and in the beaches of Dunkirk, nearly half a million British WWII soldiers are waiting anxiously to be transported across the English channel to safety as German forces loom in the distance.

The story starts on land, following a young army private attempting to flee the town with his fellow troops back to Britain. In the air, two RAF fighter pilots are in charge of keeping German planes at bay, shooting them down as they approach the beach. While at sea, a mariner, his son and a rag-tag stowaway are heading towards Dunkirk by boat while everybody else heads in the opposite direction, hellbent on rescuing as many British soldiers as they can.

The film splits the elements into different stories that seamlessly come together by the time the credits roll. It’s this factor that makes it an unmistakable Christopher Nolan feature: ambitiously structured, with an expert execution.

Believe the hype: Dunkirk is Christopher Nolan’s greatest film to date. Those familiar with The Dark Knight trilogy and his complex, sci-fi spun features that followed it might find themselves surprised by how simple his latest is. Instead of wrapping Dunkirk up in complex stories to make his film feel smart (let’s not lie, does anyone really understand what’s going on in Inception?), Nolan rids the film of every overused military movie trope that most tend to fall victim to.

By bringing 1500 extras on set and using real Spitfires, warships and explosions over CGI, Nolan creates a film that can be praised for allowing its dazzling visual elements to move the story forward rather than relying on dialogue. Barely a memorable line is spoken in the film. Instead, you’ll remember Dunkirk by the way you feel once it’s over: shocked, on edge and gasping for breath.

How often is it that you watch a film and fear for your life at the same time? By avoiding clunky speeches and cringeworthy heroic dialogue, Nolan and his supervising sound designer Richard King have let the whistle of bombs, explosions and hail of bullets do the real talking. Watching this in theatres feels as though you’re being truly transported to wartime Dunkirk, in amongst the action with the film’s petrified characters.

Hans Zimmer’s simmering score heightens that gruelling tension, and it can be heard in practically every scene, bubbling under and waiting to blow when the conflict kicks off. As a result, it gets really scary on the rare occasion things get quiet. Suddenly, you’re aware of the danger hurtling towards the soldiers on screen.

Chances are, the vast majority of people will be seeing Dunkirk in its easiest and most available format: on a digital projector at the multiplex. Of course, it’s a stellar enough film to stand on its own two feet on any screen, but if there was ever a chance to fork out an extra few dollars to see a film truly come to life (don’t bother with the overdone 3D bullshit), now is the time.

Nolan himself has said that the best way to experience the movie is on an IMAX screen in 70mm. Sound geeky? Well, this video explains why Nolan felt the IMAX experience was important. We can speak from first hand experience that Nolan’s wishes to make a film feel like “VR without the goggles” is a feat he pulls off perfectly.

While most directors would settle for the reliability of a man in his late-20s pretending to be a teenager, Chris Nolan wanted to make this true story feel as realistic as possible. As a result, most of the younger cast members are newcomers who convincingly act as though this suspenseful situation was unfolding before their eyes.

Props go to Fionn Whitehead in particular, a 19-year-old British boy who the film follows the closest. Being dragged from the streets to the beaches, from ships into the sea, he’s the focal point of Dunkirk and owns every one of his scenes. You might be surprised to discover that former One Directioner Harry Styles manages to shine in his few key moments too, and is gifted with the delivery of the films only “F bombs”.

He might have left the growling Bane voice behind, but Tom Hardy continues to hide behind a mask much like he did in The Dark Knight Rises. It’s an equally riveting performance though; one that sees him assume the hero role rather than the dastardly villain.

Movie Review: War for the Planet of the Apes

Comparing the current, mostly enthralling series of Planet of the Apes movies with their Sixties and Seventies counterparts is like comparing an iPhone with a rotary-dial Bakelite monstrosity. Yet War for the Planet of the Apes, the third in the current run of films, has such a stately respect for allowing the story to unfold gradually through images that it’s also a throwback to the mid century style of, say, John Ford. It’s fitting that a movie that features both crossbows and laser-guided rifles, tanks as well as horseback riding feels classic and contemporary at the same time.

The title is a bit misleading: the promised all-out war between ape and man still hasn’t taken place by the film’s end. If anything, there was more fighting in the previous entry, 2014’s superb Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The new film, directed (as was Dawn) by Matt Reeves, strikes a more elegiac and soul-searching tone. Even before the start of the picture, the famous 20th Century Fox drumroll-led fanfare is replaced by a subtler and more foreboding jungle-style drumming.

We’re still a generation before the events depicted in the original, 1968 film Planet of the Apes. After a virus has wiped out most of mankind but also created a race of hyper-intelligent monkeys, the wise, peace-seeking ape leader Caesar (created by a combination of digital effects and the intensely focused acting of Andy Serkis) has killed his murderous, Stalinesque rival Koba and seeks only for his kind to be left alone in the forest by the humans. Yet bands of human infantry are roaming those woods on search-and-destroy missions, even wearing slogans on their helmets (“Monkey Killer,” “Bedtime for Bonzo”) suggesting a Vietnam allegory that doesn’t develop the way you expect. (Later in the film, an authoritarian will command his legions to build a wall, yet even that doesn’t equate to a facile parallel with Trumpism.) The humans are led by a fierce colonel, McCullough (Woody Harrelson) — yes, the rank is relevant. Among his legions are turncoat apes known derisively as “donkeys” and treated like slaves. The scenario is strange and shivery, much more eerie and compelling than in most post-apocalyptic movies.

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Shattered by the colonel’s attacks, Caesar tries both to lead his apes out of the Northern California forests toward Monument Valley (suggesting the next film in the series will be a neo-Western) and to draw fire away from the mass of the ape population by striking out on his own, except for a small band of lieutenants. Along the way, Caesar rescues a strange human girl who doesn’t speak. (Yes, this is also what happened in Logan, 20th Century Fox’s other blockbuster this year. Hollywood screenwriters all seem to drink from the same fountain of ideas.) There is also a wizened comic-relief ape who provides some helpful exposition and is responsible for a few welcome moments of levity in an otherwise quiet and somber picture.

Deliberately working toward a big payoff, Reeves keeps the shaven-headed, obsessive colonel figure cloaked in mystery for most of the film, so even describing who he is and what he’s about may be a bit of a spoiler, but the parallels with Apocalypse Now are unmistakable even before we see an “Ape-ocalypse Now!” graffito scrawled on a cave. What’s interesting about this tyrannical, cultish colonel, though, is that despite the rabid followers who treat him like a god, he isn’t quite insane. From his point of view, what he’s doing makes perfect sense: The only way to save the human race is to kill those who give indications of being infected with a mutated version of the virus — without his desperate fast-forward eugenics program, the apes will take over Earth. (We know how that turns out: We’re even introduced in this film to the baby Cornelius, the chimp who befriended Charlton Heston’s character Taylor in the original film.)

I probably will never tire of Apocalypse Now, so that parallel is fine with me, and Reeves’s commentary on Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece is elegantly interspersed with traditional elements of the Apes franchise. Elements of Spartacus are skillfully added as well, as when the captured apes carry out an uprising against the threat of crucifixion. I often complain that 21st-century moviemakers don’t seem to have any frame of reference except earlier movies — most seem to grow up in a kind of multiplex version of Plato’s Cave, blissfully unsullied by reality — but if you must raid film history for character inspiration, Spartacus and Col. Kurtz are two pretty solid choices. And when a film is as gorgeously shot and smartly executed as War for the Planet of the Apes, I can’t help but revel in its cinematic self-awareness. Upon the strength of the vampire film Let Me In, Dawn, and this entry, Reeves has earned himself the right to be considered one of the top blockbuster directors of his generation, and I hungrily await his next opus, in which Ben Affleck reprises his role as The Batman.

The ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Reviews Are In And They’re Pretty Good

Clear your schedule this weekend, the Spider-Man: Homecoming reviews are in — and they’re amazing. Critics were pleasantly surprised by the reboot, which is the sixth Spider-Man film made in the last 15 years.

The film is currently at a 94 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. To compare, Andrew Garfield’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is at 52 percent, while Toby Maguire’s Spider-Man 3 is at 63 percent.

Honestly, it was hard to find negative reviews for the movie, it was so overwhelmingly well received. Critics loved Tom Holland’s portrayal of the iconic superhero, as well as the realistic teen-focused storyline. One critic even said it was one of the best Marvel movies ever.

That said, a few reviewers weren’t so thrilled, citing lackluster action scenes and too much Iron-Man as negative. See a selection of our favorite reviews below.

The Great

“This third time’s the charm in Marvel’s pantheon of Spider-Man portrayers. Tobey Maguire was pretty good, Andrew Garfield was so-so, but Holland … Well, when you’ve got it, you’ve got it.”

 Soren Anderson, Seattle Times

“An authentic, refreshingly nerdy and high-spirited reboot of the well-worn Marvel franchise ..”

 Michael O’Sullivan, Washington Post

“Watts nails the timeless cornerstones of adolescence: the crippling anxiety mixed with brash confidence, the life-or-death dimensions of a crush, the impatience to grow up.”

 Angie Han, Mashable

“It’s not only the best Spider-Man movie — it’s one of the best films in Marvel’s cinematic universe.”

 Mark Daniell, Toronto Sun

The Good

“No cobwebs on Spidey – Spider-Man: Homecoming feels breezily, pleasingly fresh.”

 Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

“Beginning with a score that riffs on the late-’70s cartoon and closing with a slyly funny after-credits scene, it’s as sure-footed as its arachnid namesake.”

 Sara Stewart , New York Post

“If they’re going to be as fizzy and funny and warmhearted as this, keep ’em coming.”

 Chris Klimek, NPR

The Bad

“For long stretches, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is an above-average young-adult movie with some super powers thrown in”

 Christopher Lawrence, Las Vegas Review-Journal

“The movie breaks no new ground, and action sequences that were intended to be thrilling – such as an epic battle on the Staten Island Ferry – just sit there on the screen, incapable of stirring a single pulse, but content in their competence.”

 Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

“A Spider-Man movie trapped in an Iron Man movie.”

 Fred Topel, We Live Entertainment