Film Reviews

In His New Netflix Special "Inside," Bo Burnham Is a Mess Just Like You

The comedian returns with a poignant comedy special made almost entirely by himself at his home during the pandemic.

Courtesy of Netflix

Content warning: This article contains brief mentions of suicide.

Bo Burnham's had a rough year.

The comedian-turned-filmmaker drives this point home less than two minutes into his new Netflix special, Bo Burnham: Inside. "Robert's been a little depressed," he sings with glossy AutoTune, referring to himself by his legal first name like a doctor delivering a prognosis to a patient's anxious family.

Keep Reading Show less
Music Lists

7 Bo Burnham Songs That Still Hold Up Now

To celebrate his appearance in Promising Young Woman, we're looking back at the comedian's best musical moments.

courtesy of Bo Burnham

What's not to love about Bo Burnham?

Talented, acutely self-aware, and really, really tall: There are plenty of reasons that, despite being only 30 years old, Bo Burnham has been one of the most popular and influential comedians of the last decade. From his humble beginnings on YouTube to his full-length specials on Comedy Central and Netflix, Burnham's musical comedy is full of self-deprecating digs, clever puns, and topically relevant meditations on humanity.

Keep Reading Show less
Film Reviews

Does "Promising Young Woman" Fail Sexual Assault Survivors?

The rape-revenge thriller is up for five Oscars, but it might perpetuate the harmful stereotypes it tries to abolish.

Content Warning: This article contains mentions of sexual assault.

Promising Young Woman, the directorial debut of The Crown star Emerald Fennell, has racked up five nominations for this year's upcoming Academy Awards.

The feminist crime thriller stars Best Actress nominee Carey Mulligan as Cassie, a barista and medical school dropout who spends her weekends at clubs alone pretending to be drunk to teach a lesson to the sordid men who attempt to take advantage of her in her faux-powerless state.

Keep Reading Show less
Film Features

How A24 is Saving Movies

How the Small Distribution Company is Giving a Much Needed Voice to First-Time Directors

a24films.com

My first proper date with my first ever girlfriend was to see Spring Breakers, the weirdest movie granted a wide theatrical release in 2013.

Directed by the mostly-underground Harmony Korrine, the film became notorious for James Franco's performance as Alien, an off-beat, very colorful gangster with a head covered in dreadlocks and an accent somewhere between a Tallahassee truck driver and Marcellus Wallace. I saw that movie in theatres. I didn't know it at the time, but the A24 Productions logo that kickstarted the experience would go on to become one of the most important symbols you could pin to a movie in the 2010's. It's since become a mark of excellence. Now, in 2020, you see a movie distributed by A24, and you know one thing: that movie will certainly be awesome, but might even be visionary, too. A24 is very quietly saving movies, and they're doing it by going against the most time-held and obvious of box office rules: They invest in uncertainties.

Keep Reading Show less
FILM

The Best Netflix Comedy Specials of the 2010s

It was so bad, it was funny.

Everything in life is funny.

Remember that the next time you feel creeping alarm about climate change, impeachment proceedings, or Brexit. As George Carlin once said, "There's a humorous side to every situation. The challenge is to find it." But in the age of Twitter and op-eds about bad dates with comedians, it's hard to keep track of what's funny and what's cringey. In the last decade, we've been treated to all variations. From critics lamenting that Hannah Gadsby's emotional comedy isn't "real" stand-up to Dave Chappelle returning to say exactly what's on his mind regardless of the political climate, our cultural understanding of what constitutes comedy is currently in flux.

Keep Reading Show less
FILM

Robert Eggers' "The Lighthouse" Actually Looks Like an Original Movie Concept

In a world of remakes and sequels, "The Lighthouse" shines.

The trailer is out for horror director Robert Eggers' new movie, The Lighthouse, and amazingly, it looks like a totally original Hollywood movie.

Is this even possible? Would Hollywood really, truly release a movie in 2019 that isn't a sequel, prequel, reboot, or generic, derivative, paint-by-numbers? Watch the trailer and see for yourself:

The Lighthouse | Official Trailer HD | A24 www.youtube.com

Eggers' first film, The Witch, established him as a fresh, original voice in the horror genre. From the looks of it, The Lighthouse will solidify his spot in the modern horror canon.

The aesthetic is deeply unique. The black and white color scheme coupled with intriguing set design (a diagonal ceiling, a spiral staircase) recall silent Expressionist horror of the 1920s like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. At the same time, Eggers' use of harsh lighting and tight, close shots on his two lead actors (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson) feel reminiscent of a theater production.

The movie already received rave reviews after its premiere at Cannes, with critics lauding the direction, horror, and performances of both leads in equal measure. Willem Dafoe's greatness should probably come as no surprise, but it's great to hear that Robert Pattinson holds his own, too.

The Lighthouse looks excellent, and more importantly, unlike anything else that's hit theaters over the past few decades. Considering the current state of the Hollywood landscape, this is quite the feat. Let's hope it delivers.

Make sure to check out The Lighthouse in theaters on October 18th.