When’s the last time you sat around for 10 hours watching phone call transcripts and courtroom video? Unless you had CourtTV during the O.J. Simpson trial, never is probably the answer. Well, Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi’s Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer might just change all that. The streaming TV service’s first foray into true crime film is engrossing and infuriating, in spite of runtime that’s more about binge watching than storytelling.
Hot Girls Wanted is about as solid a documentary on the “amateur” porn industry and sex work as we could possibly expect. But I can’t really blame the filmmakers, even though I should. That statement says more about our culture and its relationship with sex and sex work than it does about the documentary, produced by Rashida Jones of Parks & Rec and distributed by Netflix. I could hate Hot Girls Wanted, but I don’t. I could be offended by it, but I’m not. Why? Because this was an opportunity that was so easy to miss that it’s hard to hold it against one single, softball movie.
I’ve never hated a movie as quickly as I hated Disney’s Tomorrowland. Maybe five minutes into the film, after a clumsy but otherwise benign opening, we’re thrust into the future past of star George Clooney’s younger self. Besides the fact that the child actor in question is immediately grating, the boy’s introduction to the world of dreamers known as Tomorrowland is filled with enough saccharine 60s nostalgia to make old Walt himself roll his eyes. From this whitewashed Space Age, we jump ahead to modern times where only The Secret can save our world. And that’s not as bad as it gets.
It Follows is heralded as a film that can move horror forward, something incredible in an increasingly un-incredible genre. For certain, gone are the days of Castles, Carpenters, Cravens and Cronenbergs. Instead of Romero, today we have Roth. And instead of Powell, we have Peli. Visionaries like Herschell Gordon Lewis, Dario Argento, Alfred Hitchcock and Lucio Fulci seem so far in the past. At the same time, modern standouts, like James Wan, Neil Marshall and Adam Wingard, are drowned out by countless high-end horror remakes, which simply make glossy the last great moment in the genre, and low-end VOD movies, which can’t muster the courage to do anything as interesting as VHS-era titles.
Reading the reviews that have come in for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, you would think that the sequel to the blockbuster surprise Rise of the Planet of the Apes was something special. Truth be told, there’s a special movie in it somewhere. But it’s the stuff that’s so desperately ordinary that keeps it from differentiating itself from any given summer blockbuster.