Matt Singer’s piece at ScreenCrush about The Director and The Jedi, the making-of documentary included on the Blu-ray release of The Last Jedi is spot-on in a number of ways, including how quality behind-the-scenes features never really had a chance to come into their own. He also identifies how streaming and VOD services haven’t made bonus features a priority, though iTunes has offered Extras, which include similar material, for a while now.

Where I don’t think Singer quite completes his thought is that he doesn’t see how the tactic hasn’t been abandoned, it’s just been adapted to meet changing consumer habits and preferences.

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you were never really here poster 2Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) is a violent man with a gentle soul in the new movie You Were Never Really Here. He’s a Gulf War veteran who has found a new line work as hired muscle, though only in the service of finding and rescuing missing teenagers. His reputation as someone who’s brutal but gets results brings him to the attention of a Senator whose daughter Nina (Ekaterina Samsonov) has gone missing and may be in serious trouble.

As Joe investigates outside the law he gets closer to Nina but also deeper into a world where he has trouble telling truth from fiction. His long-running attempt to use attempts to save innocents as a way to deal with the guilt of his own actions is failing and he’s increasingly paranoid and desperate. Even if he succeeds in finding Nina, the implications of his actions and the after-effects of his descent into a particularly-seedy world may have unintended consequences.

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It’s been used when discussing the upcoming reboot/sequel for 9 To 5.

It’s been used when describing new and recent movies like Flower, Unsane and Half Magic.

It’s been used when discussing developments regarding a potential Batgirl movie.

It’s been used when writing about Justine Bateman’s upcoming directorial debut.

I’ll admit I’ve used it quite a few times myself. Or I’ve danced around it by using a phrase like “current cultural moment.”

“…for the #MeToo generation.”

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a quiet place posterSome sort of invasion of Earth has taken place in the new movie A Quiet Place. The creatures have wiped out vast swaths of the human population and the survivors have learned the only way to stay alive is to remain absolutely quiet because, as the marketing tagline goes, if they hear you, they hunt you.

Providing our viewpoint on this terrifying and largely silent world is a family of four headed by Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and Lee (John Krasinski) and which includes their kids Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Regan (Millicent Simmonds). The family has to keep moving to find safety, but movement produces sound, so the dangers are around them at all times. The sci-fi-tinged thriller was directed by Krasinski as well.

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Reading the news about new casting on the eve of production on Captain Marvel included this post by Graeme McMillan about the possibility of the movie “reverse engineering” the Kree-Skrull War, a pivotal comics moment that has some connection to Carol Danvers, played by Brie Larson in the film.

The images he uses in that post, pulled straight from the comics, reminded me of the one thing I really hope isn’t included in the movie: Mar-Vell.

That’s right, the original Captain Marvel is the primary story point I want to see as little as possible of in the movie.

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chappaquiddick poster 2For decades Ted Kennedy served in the U.S. Senate on behalf of the people of Massachusetts. He did so largely under a cloud of controversy stemming from an incident that took place in 1969 that always remained shrouded in mystery. Those events are revisited and retold in this week’s new film Chappaquiddick, named after the island where they transpired.

Jason Clarke stars as Ted, the scion of one of America’s oldest and most politically-powerful families and the one anointed as the next to ascend to high office after the deaths of his brothers John and Robert earlier in the decade. After an event honoring the women who worked on Robert’s presidential campaign, Ted and one of the women, Mary Jo Kopechne (Kate Mara) go driving. When the car he’s driving skids off a bridge and into the river he escapes but she drowns and dies. Concerned about how this looks, Ted seems to be less than forthcoming with the truth while the rest of the family circles around him to protect what remains of the Kennedy name and legacy.

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Last week I saw someone had started a GoFundMe to raise money to buy tickets so underprivileged kids could go see Avengers: Infinity War when it opens a month from now. That’s just the latest such effort, with other recent examples including campaign to take kids from poor neighborhoods to see Black Panther and A Wrinkle In Time. The Avengers initiative seems to be based solely around the idea that it’s a big, fun super hero movie, which is slightly different from the motivations around the other movies.

In both those cases there was the angle that the stories represented, in some way, an underserved audience. Specifically, both movies included black or mixed-race leads and casts that looked different than what Hollywood usually offers. So people wanted to make sure the communities that casting represented could actually see the movies themselves. Along those same lines, Wrinkle director Ava DuVernay held a special screening of her film in Compton but had to use another facility because the neighborhood lacked a theater of its own.

These are all great programs that are doing good work by, in one way or another, bringing these audiences movies that are culturally important to them. I have no doubt the motives of those behind the campaigns are pure.

The problem is that they’re necessary.

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blockers poster 2John Cena, Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz play the parents of a group of teenage girls in the new movie Blockers. Their daughters are all friends and are all making plans for prom. Those plans, the parents discover, involves a pact to all lose their virginity to their dates. The parents are understandably upset by this revelation, believing for various reasons that the girls aren’t ready for such a milestone.

So they set out to track the group down and upset the evening. Of course things don’t go nearly as smoothly as they hope as the trio of adults gets into all sorts of trouble, unable to find their daughters even when they get close. Still, they remain determined to put themselves between their daughters and the boys they’re dating. The movie is the first directorial effort from Kay Cannon, who previously has written the Pitch Perfect movies.

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Pacific Rim Uprising

There’s been a lot of press, exemplified by this story, about John Boyega’s role not only in front of the camera but also as a producer on the film and how he sees that as a natural part of his career arc.

This is also a really great op-ed about how Uprising represents something unusual: A cinematic universe *not* based on 60 year old IP.

The Greatest Showman

Commercials like this one for the home video are designed to specifically appeal to the segments of the audience who called for a sing-along theatrical release of the movie, something that happened earlier this year.

The Cloverfield Paradox

Paramount COO Andrew Gumpert confirmed in this interview that the decision to sell the movie to Netflix at the last minute was based on the studio having questions about its commercial viability.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

last movie star posterVic Edwards (Burt Reynolds) is an aging movie star whose best career days are well in the rearview mirror in the new movie The Last Movie Star. He’s pretty much resigned to talking about the glory days and wondering why he isn’t more loved.

One day he receives an invitation to a “film festival” in Nashville where he’s being given a lifetime achievement award. With no real reason to decline he heads down. With a young woman named Lil (Ariel Winter) as his guide and chauffeur, Vic finds there are worse ways to spend your days than telling old war stories to a bunch of young movie fans, thrilling them with tales of the old Hollywood ways. In addition to that, Vic decides to mend some personal fences before it’s too late.

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