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‘Prey’ Review: The ‘Predator’ Movie We’ve Needed For Years

Don’t beat a dead horse. As morbid as the saying is, it’s an essential lesson that Hollywood has to learn. Hollywood studios have constantly taken the safe route (financially, not critically) and opted to revisit old franchises that are clearly on their last legs. The Predator franchise has had the life sucked out of it for decades now, and despite seven entries, any new creative ground has not been broken until now with Prey.

Don’t get me wrong, Prey is no masterpiece, but to breathe life into a franchise after Predators (2010) and The Predator (2018) is no easy task.

Critical bomb after critical bomb (the 2018 entry more so than 2010), the Predator franchise needed this, and it was a welcome surprise. Dan Trachtenberg has proven his directorial prowess with hits such as 10 Cloverfield Lane. That film is an edge-of-your-seat sci-fi thriller featuring two of the most exhilarating performances you’ll ever see from John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Thanks to 10 Cloverfield Lane, we learned that Trachtenberg knows how to get the best out of his actors, and he certainly did that here.

Prey features numerous actors with limited experience, most notably the actor behind Taabe, the protagonist’s brother, portrayed by Dakota Beavers, and the actor behind the Predator itself, Dane DiLiegro. Every single lead brought their A-game in this one, fueling the tension and surprisingly touching tale of self-discovery and coming into one’s role. The self-discovery aspect comes with our protagonist, Naru, portrayed by Amber Midthunder. She bravely battles man, nature, societal expectations, and colonizers, all in a 99-minute runtime.

Hulu

Prey is surprisingly emotionally cogent for a Predator film. From the jump, we see the training for what is to be Naru’s Kuhtaamia, a hunter’s rite of passage, the kill or conquest that makes them officially respected as one of them. Our leads don’t realize at this point what exactly her Kuhtaamia would turn out to be.

From struggling to wield a weapon, “You need a leash for your weapon,” remarks one of her misogynistic Comanche tribe members, to using alien technology and observational skills against the Predator itself. The growth on display is significant; it must be when you are burdened with grief like she is. To put it lightly, this isn’t a feel-good movie; the bloodshed along the way piles up, leaving Naru grizzled and forced to grow into this apex predator role. Naru’s ascent up the food chain is steady and subtle, but it’s significant, and I can say it’s the best character arc in the franchise.

Hulu

As I mentioned earlier, creative life was breathed into this franchise confidently and definitively. What was once a franchise I wished would end has become one I wouldn’t mind sequels from. The creative liberty taken in this is not only due to the emotional gravity but due to the diversity of tension-building options. Prey leans into the contemplative, slow, suspenseful brand of thrills more than any other entry in the saga. For better or worse, regardless of your preference, it certainly feels fresh.

Not only this, but the situations Naru finds herself in are brimming with creativity, and the way she finagles her way out are even more clever. Constantly innovative, from escaping the Colonists to using an Uno reverse card on the Predator, to setting up intricate traps, endless props to the writing team for not gunning for the same monotonous options. The complex traps set up by Naru leave us wondering who the ‘Prey’ really is. The kills are equally brutal and clever as well, most notable being the Wolf kill, which elicited an audible “HOLY SHIT” from my onlooking family. The film also has a brilliant use of gore to evoke a significant emotional response and uses it sparingly enough to make it not feel overdone.

Hulu

Lastly, I’d like to touch on the representation of indigenous peoples. Great of the filmmakers to integrate an Anti-colonialism subplot, though it does feel a bit forced given the short runtime. This story cannot be told without referencing the mistreatment and evildoing of colonizers, a tale that has been swept under the rug many times. Casting real indigenous peoples in their roles as opposed to casting outside of race is refreshing to see, even though it should be the norm. And lastly, the fact that Hulu included a Comanche dub is something that may not get a lot of coverage, views, or attention. The inclusion of this shows that an insane amount of care and effort went into making it as properly representative as possible, and I applaud that.

Prey is a sequel that shouldn’t exist, but I’m happy it does. In its short runtime, it does everything right compared to previous entries in the overdone franchise. Give Prey a watch. You’ll be glad you did.

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Popular Culture

All 10 Quentin Tarantino Movies, Ranked

Consistency. Consistently controversial, consistently provocative, consistently masterful. There are very few filmmakers who can match the critical consistency that Quentin Tarantino achieves year in and year out. Every single film has achieved some level of critical success, from Oscar winners to niche cult favorites, and I am no different than the academy. I love and have great admiration for every single Tarantino film, which makes ranking his filmography a herculean task that is bound to cause some disagreements. It’s tough but here are my rankings for all 10 Quentin Tarantino movies.

10. ‘Kill Bill: Vol. 2’

Starting off strong, but I swear this is my only controversial pick. The Kill Bill series is one that features so much stylistic flair and creative brain power that to me the well ran out on the second attempt (despite the two films being intended as one entity). The more Kill Bill you watch, and even more Quentin Tarantino films you watch the more the badass facade of the bride fades, and the hollow-ness beneath is revealed.

Negativity aside, would you believe me if I still said this film is an all-time favorite for me? View it as a testament to Tarantino’s mastery in the director’s chair, because this is a staple in the cinematic canon for good reason. This, along with its predecessor, is potentially the Tarantino film that packs the heaviest emotional punch, and for that, it deserves some credit.

Watch on HBO Max
https://www.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GX7hXuQrRf4IDjgEAAADt
9. ‘Jackie Brown’

No fault of Jackie Brown‘s, but (aside from Death Proof) this has become the most ignored film in Tarantino’s catalog, and I’m not particularly sure why. Jackie Brown has all the usual hits of Tino films, off-the-cuff violence, relentless use of profanity, and high-stakes action feuds, but it goes forgotten in the grand scheme. Jackie Brown is fully epitomized by imperfection.

Every character is a rugged, older version of who they would be in a typical Tarantino joint. An aging bail bondsman, an over-her-head flight attendant, a drugged-out college-aged girl, and forgetful and imperfect ring leaders make up the cast of characters. I suspect the reason this has gone underappreciated is that it lacks the flash and narrative boldness that is present in the most well-received Tarantino outings (Pulp Fiction), but that’s what makes it so good. Jackie Brown is complex in its own way with a web of intricate character dynamics and the “Who is working with who” factor. With some of the most likable protagonists present in any of his films, Jackie Brown is one that is sure not to disappoint, and one that is not to be overlooked (despite its “low” placement on this list of Quentin Tarantino movies.)

Watch on HBO Max
https://www.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GYGX9VAU5R5e6wgEAAAB2
8. ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’

Quentin Tarantino’s most recent outing has proven to be a polarizing one and for good reason. If Jackie Brown was a step away from the style we all know and love, then Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a whole stroll away. This film serves as both a love letter to Hollywood and a dark retelling of some of its not-so-desirable, abusive, violent past.

OUATIH is filled to the brim with Hollywood lore that I can’t even begin to get into in this measly blurb. Some seem to be off-put by the more reserved, day-in-the-life type narrative presented here, but even those people will be pleased with the finale of this film. OUATIH truly has something for everyone despite how polarizing and scattered it can be. I could see a good argument for it at any slot in this ranking of Quentin Tarantino movies.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Once-Upon-Hollywood-Leonardo-DiCaprio/dp/B07VF3XQCW/ref=sr_1_3?crid=3NI0TS9VKVESH&keywords=once+upon+a+time&qid=1659379373&s=instant-video&sprefix=once+upon+a+time%2Cinstant-video%2C118&sr=1-3
7. ‘Kill Bill: Vol. 1’

Almost surely Tarantino’s most stylish outing. Kill Bill: Vol 1 is yet another love letter to the films I can guarantee he fawned over as a child. With odes to the samurai films of the east, spaghetti westerns, gore-filled splatter films, and exploitation. Kill Bill is the favorite of many, and I am not denying its greatness. This film is endlessly quotable and absolutely thrilling. Quentin Tarantino is a master of the genre form, leaning into the most indulgent aspects of each genre he draws inspiration from and making it his own. Truly a one-of-a-kind creation that gracefully adapts, borrows, steals, and swipes from the greats that came before it.

Watch on HBO Max
https://www.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GX7hX4Qn4isJApgEAAABu
6. ‘Django Unchained’

Comedically violent at points. Django Unchained is the revenge film that we have come to love Tarantino for, period piece style. Kill Bill leaned into the spaghetti western flare, but Django truly doubles down. Stylistic in the most overt way, and when I say comedically violent, I mean it. Over the top in the best possible way, both in terms of the action, the ideologies, the dialogue, and the performances. The only fault of Django for me is the overall pacing, a film that begins as brilliantly as this one deserves a greater final act (particularly one that includes more Christoph Waltz).

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/dz-en/title/70230640
5. ‘The Hateful Eight’

I’m nothing if not a sucker for the claustrophobia and thrills of a contained action movie like this. A monumental feat of tension creation with limited actors, limited space, and limited creativity, but you wouldn’t know it from this three-hour epic. Visceral, snappy, disgusting, and chock-full of grandiose expressions of violence.

Political and intricate, the characters in this film have to decipher what is what when caught in “a plot of betrayal and deception”. Shocking that a film of this caliber, this length, can exist, not even to mention the extended cut which clocks in at a whopping 210 minutes, without a single down, unexciting moment. Potentially Tarantino’s most thrilling relative to its length, but not his most thrilling period.

watch on netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80064515#:~:text=Watch%20The%20Hateful%20Eight%20%7C%20Netflix
4. ‘Death Proof’

Tarantino’s most underrated work without a doubt. One half of Grindhouse, an epic double feature with Planet Terror put together by two phenomenal talents, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. It features two absurd, schlocky, violent feature films, and in between the two are fake trailers by the likes of Edgar Wright, Eli Roth, and Rob Zombie.

A star-studded crew makes up an unforgettable experience, but this isn’t about the full Grindhouse experience, this is about Death Proof. This film is gritty, over the top, thrilling, and most of all Self-Aware. Not only that, but it’s an absolute breath of fresh air when compared to the controversially masculine nature of his other films. Death Proof will take you somewhere you don’t expect to be with a Tarantino feature, and the ending is something to behold.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Grindhouse-Death-Proof-Rosario-Dawson/dp/B009TGW4CI/ref=sr_1_1?crid=11FZI9VFX20GS&keywords=death+proof&qid=1659388206&s=instant-video&sprefix=death+pro%2Cinstant-video%2C104&sr=1-1
3. ‘Pulp Fiction’

What is there to be said about Pulp Fiction that hasn’t already been said? When you think of Quentin Tarantino movies, you think of Pulp Fiction. Darkly comedic, with a bold narrative with a nonlinear style. The film that catapulted Quentin Tarantino into becoming one of the most acclaimed directors of all time, and for good reason.

In this film, he clearly defines the style that would come to define him in later years, and he did so so effortlessly. Characterized by charm out the ass, fastly paced dialogue/action, jaw-dropping lines of dialogue, and of course the violence and crime that is present in his entire filmography.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Pulp-Fiction-John-Travolta/dp/B008Y6W4I8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=29TIUJNX4JAFA&keywords=pulp+fiction&qid=1659389612&s=instant-video&sprefix=pulp+ficton%2Cinstant-video%2C163&sr=1-1
2. ‘Reservoir Dogs’

The most audacious directorial debut, ever. Reservoir Dogs is a blood-spurting, heartrate-boosting, fractured narrative film with deeply flawed, prejudiced, asshole characters… sound familiar? Quentin Tarantino established his signature style immediately out of the gate, with Reservoir Dogs. This film is shocking, exciting, and hilarious and does not falter for a single second, with twists and turns that some call predictable, but I don’t feel the same.

On the first watch, and even on subsequent viewings, I have been strapped to my chair and even shocked at the events that transpire. Darkly comedic in the same way that his other early films are, Reservoir Dogs features various self insert rants, lines, and characters that talk about nonsense for extended periods of time, and it’s hilarious. Absolutely essential, and absolutely a contender for his best film ever.

Watch on Hulu
https://www.hulu.com/movie/reservoir-dogs-8705427f-2863-4d99-871a-364805cb5f27
1. ‘Inglorious Basterds’

Not a unanimous no-brainer decision to place this in first place on a ranking of Quentin Tarantino movies, but I am confident in my choice. Inglorious Basterds is one of the defining films of the 2000s, with its audacious nazi-killing centric plot, shocking thrills even from the first scene with the great Christoph Waltz, and surprisingly graceful humor. As we’ve seen in the past with films like Jojo Rabbit, tiptoeing around nazi humor is tricky, and many were displeased, offended, or straight-up disgusted by the way it was presented in that film, but I have never seen that complaint leveled against Inglorious Basterds. Snappy dialogue and brilliant subtlety even with such a “loud” subject matter, combined with the usual Tarantino staples make for a proper masterpiece of the 21st century. Unforgettable and unmistakable, Inglorious Basterds demands to be seen.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Inglourious-Basterds-Brad-Pitt/dp/B002UEW31I
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Popular Culture

‘Five Days at Memorial’ Review: 4 Feet High and Rising

When the levees broke and the floodwaters rapidly rose in New Orleans in the days following Hurricane Katrina‘s assault on the city, people found themselves resorting to increasingly desperate measures not just to stay safe but, in many cases, survive. AppleTV+’s upcoming limited series 5 Days at Memorial depicts just one of the many battles waged by doctors and emergency services to save lives and hold back the tide of death.

Per AppleTV+, “Based on actual events and adapted from the book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sheri Fink, Five Days at Memorial chronicles the impact of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath on a local hospital. When the floodwaters rose, power failed and heat soared, exhausted caregivers at a New Orleans hospital were forced to make decisions that would follow them for years to come.”

Featuring an ensemble cast that includes Vera Farmiga, Adepero Oduye, Cornelius Smith Jr., Julia Ann Emery, and Cherry Jones, Five Days at Memorial is a brutal and harrowing watch that asks the question: What is the value of human life?

When things were at their lowest at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans, even the doctors and nurses, who were used to these sorts of scenarios before, didn’t have the answer. A lack of readiness on the part of the hospital as well as the city left many defenseless and unprepared for what was to come. It wasn’t a single failure that caused this chaos; it was an institutional failure, from the federal government down to the hospital administration.

The series also, with great effect, splices news footage from the aftermath of Katrina’s landfall into episodes as well. There is only so much that a television production can do regarding authenticity, so using real clips, sounds, and images from Katrina lends a serious emotional impact and gives real weight to what is unfolding. Watching the blend of drama with reality is harrowing and tragic but also important.

AppleTV+

Days after Katrina hit and people across the city found themselves without power and underwater, rumors and misinformation ran rampant. It was the days before social media, but rumors and false narratives still permeated the populace.

As the days wear on, the staff is forced to deal with accusations of patients being forcibly discharged, people being euthanized, and nurses and staff being assaulted outside of the hospital. The show uses a sometimes confusing framework when dealing with these issues, as various perspectives are given to fuel the drama. It makes for an interesting story, but a tighter focus on the truth would have been helpful as an audience member.

They are able to hone it in when it comes to criticizing the healthcare system at large. It’s a broken system; doctors, nurses, and medical professionals often bear the brunt of many frustrations, and you feel it here. The companies who operate both hospitals (Memorial and LifeCare—a separate operation occupying the same building) left the staff to their own devices in many cases.

AppleTV+

Telling the story across eight episodes, Five Days at Memorial is split into two different narratives: The events during Katrina, how the hospital reacted, and the investigation following it. As we learned early on, 45 people died throughout the five days at the hospital.

The investigation into those deaths is, for the most part, successful but is paced very strangely. There are moments, sometimes all within the same episode, where time jumps ahead by months. If the series had a little more room to breathe, whether through longer episodes or an extra one, the second half probably would have worked a bit better.

AppleTV+

Five Days at Memorial is a tragic tale of what happens when acts of nature, human ineptitude, and misinformation combine with devastating consequences. The entire cataclysmic event is perhaps best summed up by Dr. Anna Pou (Vera Farmiga): “All I did was try to help people. That’s all I did.”

What is the value of a human life? How do you weigh one life against another? Who is more deserving of life?

There are no right answers in these scenarios, and as we see with stories like Five Days at Memorial, no one is prepared for those situations. The show isn’t always the most effective, but it proves that this was a story that needed to be told.

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Popular Culture

The 25 Best Movies Like ‘Superbad’ To Watch Right Now

It’s like trying to catch lightning in a bottle twice. To recapture the magic of Greg Mottola’s 2007 Superbad would be to capture the hearts of a generation. The earliest screenwriting exploits from gut-busting duo Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg proved to be the launching pad for their already blossoming careers. Hawaiian organ donors, dirty cops, and boozy teenagers characterize this 21st-century classic. It has yet to be replicated, but a handful of films with palpable similarities exist. Here are 25 of the best movies like Superbad.

1. ‘American Pie’

The teen sex comedy that has come to define sex comedies. Following a similar basic formula, American Pie is a quest for over-zealous high schoolers to lose their virginity. A pact is made between friends to complete this task before graduation. What follows is a raunchy, desperate trip through the hopeless sex life of horny high schoolers. Very similar to Superbad in terms of tone and humor, and it might even get more raunchy.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/American-Pie-Unrated-Jason-Biggs/dp/B0039NCJFO
2. ‘Neighbors’

Not a Seth Rogen screenwriting exploit, you’ll have to wait until the sequel for that, but similar to Superbad nonetheless. Raunchy and hilarious for the entire runtime. Neighbors follows new parents who have been forced into the dire situation of living right next to a fraternity. They first try to be civil and even try to become friendly with the neighbors, but a war erupts after the police get involved. Hysterical, emotional, and likable at the very least. Neighbors and Neighbors 2 are pleasant watches that will satisfy the Superbad craving.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Neighbors-Seth-Rogen/dp/B00K7WZGPA/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1R3N5IF62AMI4&keywords=neighbors&qid=1658418079&s=instant-video&sprefix=neighbors%2Cinstant-video%2C106&sr=1-1
3. ‘Neighbors 2’

The follow-up to Neighbors ups the ante by incorporating a sorority and teaming the former foes up to fight a common enemy. While not quite as funny as the original, Neighbors 2 still has plenty of laughs that will definitely keep you entertained.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Neighbors-Sorority-Rising-Seth-Rogen/dp/B01FV451NK
4. ‘The Hangover’

One of the most quotable comedies of the modern era, The Hangover is adult Superbad if it were to exist. With a star-studded cast that mirrors the archetypes presented in Superbad, Phil, Stu, and Alan go through hell and back in both this film and the whole trilogy. A vegas story where three friends battle through a nasty hangover to save their friend at any cost. The Hangover is an absurd take on the dark sex comedy that is loosely(very loosely)based on true events, and it demands to be seen.

Watch on HBO Max
https://www.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GYL_Z7AW4ppXCCQEAAADa
5. ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’

Scratch what I said about American Pie, this is the real high school sex comedy pioneer. Fast Times at Ridgemont High is a film about high schoolers doping and finding love in SoCal. Incredibly witty with a million-miles-per-hour pace, this film has it all. Stereotypical characters that may be viewed as groan-worthy in the modern lens, but when viewed as a product of their time it proves to be hilarious and a great look into a bygone era of high school.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Fast-Times-at-Ridgemont-High/dp/B008RK163K/ref=sr_1_1?crid=LI0JYYQX8909&keywords=fast+times&qid=1658419291&s=instant-video&sprefix=fast+tim%2Cinstant-video%2C120&sr=1-1
6. ‘The Daytrippers’

Greg Mottola’s films have a certain unexplainable charm to them, and I think The Daytrippers exemplifies that perfectly. This is a film that, thanks to the Criterion Collection, has seen a bit of a resurgence of appreciation, and that’s something I’m very happy about. Nearly as funny as Superbad but in an entirely unique way, Mottola shows off his comedic range by providing us with a road trip comedy with complex, hilarious family dynamics. Every character in this film developed at length in such a profound way, that it’s no surprise that it packs an emotional punch towards the end.

Watch on HBO Max
https://www.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GXpEXPQvXVh-auwEAAATS
7. ‘Adventureland’

Yet another entry in the Mottola comedy multiverse. Once again he shows off his comedic range by incorporating notoriously awkward character actors Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg, who have continuously proven to have incredible chemistry(See: Cafe Society). A story of people being pulled together by a commonly shared anchor, a shitty summer job. A great example of how deep Mottola’s comedy bag goes, and a film definitely worth watching.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Adventureland-Jesse-Eisenberg/dp/B006S053K8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=N6GUKPZ8QT3D&keywords=adventureland&qid=1658420192&s=instant-video&sprefix=adventureland%2Cinstant-video%2C78&sr=1-1
8. ‘Good Boys’

Superbad aged down, is something not a lot of people think they want until they see Good Boys. A delightfully funny, quaint comedy that has been labeled as forgettable in recent years, but it doesn’t deserve that title. Childish with childlike stakes, but still fun for people of all ages. A quest to fix a drone before they get in trouble turns into a journey into adolescence, and with joke after joke it proves to be Superbad-lite, absolutely worth watching

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Good-Boys-Jacob-Tremblay/dp/B07W5JWKQ9/ref=sr_1_1?crid=20MQ7JDMOK87D&keywords=good+boys&qid=1658420517&s=instant-video&sprefix=good+boys%2Cinstant-video%2C70&sr=1-1
9. ’21 Jump Street’

My personal most quoted movies of all time. 21 Jump Street. and its successor 22 Jump Street. reign supreme as the most unique undercover cops movie out there. Hilarious and endlessly unique. Schmidt and Jenko are fighting against drug lords and performing slam poetry about dying for our “Cynthias”, and it hits every single time. Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, and the extensive writing team which includes the likes of Jonah Hill have a knack for comedy that ranges from delightful subtlety to grand performances of hilarity.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/21-Jump-Street-Jonah-Hill/dp/B0081L37Z0/ref=sr_1_1?crid=27J45SCHISOH5&keywords=21+jump+street&qid=1658420613&s=instant-video&sprefix=21+jump%2Cinstant-video%2C69&sr=1-1
10. ’22 Jump Street

Taking things out of high school and onto college, 22 Jump Street is one of the best comedy sequels you’ll ever watch.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/22-Jump-Street-Channing-Tatum/dp/B00KVLQOBW
11. ‘Project X’

This is how I imagine Superbad would have gone down had Seth, Evan, and Fogel thrown the party. In Project X, things spiral out of control in ways that are unimaginable. A movie that clearly wants to be Superbad, but is only a little bad. Project X is the little brother that shines when it’s doing what it’s made to do but falters when it tries to reach the heights set by big bro. Living in Superbad‘s shadow is not something to be ashamed of though. This film is respectable and desires admiration in its own right. Raunchy, unique, and batshit crazy, Project X has to be seen to be believed.

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/70221487
12. ‘Blockers’

A crazy night from the perspective of the parents. Similar formula but spun on its head. A trio of girls vows to lose their virginity at and after prom, their parents find out about this plan and hatch an intricate plan to stop it in its tracks. Endearing, witty, and constantly funny, Blockers is a raunchy new spin on the teen sex comedy that I would highly recommend.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Blockers-Leslie-Mann/dp/B07BVXPF5S/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1JNZ4NLHDVWNL&keywords=blockers&qid=1658425585&s=instant-video&sprefix=blocker%2Cinstant-video%2C80&sr=1-1
13. ‘Dazed and Confused’

The first and superior entry into Richard Linklater’s stoner school comedies. Dazed and Confused follows a group of teens on their last day of school, it flows between social groups and is effortlessly funny. A glorious, exciting, drug-fueled adventure through a teenage wasteland. As is to be expected with Linklater dialogue it’s snappy and full of chemistry, your facial expression will range from a slight grin to hysterical laughter and never falter.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Dazed-Confused-Jason-London/dp/B003WLQGC0/ref=sr_1_1?crid=15QB8WK4856TU&keywords=dazed+and+confused&qid=1658427005&s=instant-video&sprefix=dazed%2Cinstant-video%2C102&sr=1-1
14. ‘This Is The End’

The directorial debut from the hottest comedic duo working is This Is The End, and unsurprisingly it became a big hit. This film has already solidified its spot in the comedy pantheon after only 9 years, and for good reason. A “who’s who” of a cast with the most chemistry you’ll ever see, an insane, apocalyptic storyline, and witty, hilarious writing that mirrors Superbad. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have a knack for writing hits, and This Is The End proves that.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/This-End-Seth-Rogen/dp/B00EP0MVGW/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2NDPP2ZXJ3HHN&keywords=this+is+the+end&qid=1658427494&s=instant-video&sprefix=this+is+the+en%2Cinstant-video%2C79&sr=1-1
15. ‘Sausage Party’

Raunchy doesn’t even begin to describe it. Sausage Party is a screenwriting bout from the aforementioned duo and Jonah Hill, and it is one of the more controversial movies to hit theaters in a minute. Countless parents bringing their kids to what they expected was a kids’ movie only to be met by the most sexual animated film ever made. Although it’s not similar to Superbad at all content-wise, it shares the same bedroom humor that so many people love about Superbad.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Sausage-Party-Seth-Rogen/dp/B01JBARY4O/ref=sr_1_1?crid=30WBBJ40Z9MG8&keywords=sausage+party&qid=1658430014&s=instant-video&sprefix=sausage+party%2Cinstant-video%2C84&sr=1-1
16. ‘Pineapple Express’

A stoner comedy classic. Seth Rogen and James Franco star in an intense action-packed take on the subgenre. Almost all of the gags hit, and until the end, where many would argue the film jumps the shark, the comedy is consistent. Similar to Superbad in a sense, one that fans of Rogen are sure to love, and definitely one of the best movies like Superbad.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Pineapple-Express-Seth-Rogen/dp/B001N4TBLG/ref=sr_1_1?crid=22B1FRWFA3EFO&keywords=pineapple+express&qid=1658773022&s=instant-video&sprefix=pineapple+express%2Cinstant-video%2C90&sr=1-1
17. ‘Boogie Nights’

From acclaimed director Paul Thomas Anderson, Boogie Nights is an ensemble cast film that is a step above Superbad in the realm of sex. Characterized by an ensemble cast and eccentric sex workers. Charming and witty, Boogie Nights provides a good time with its suggestive comedy and deep look into the sex work industry.

Watch on HBO Max
https://www.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GX07XsQZFaXOVpQEAAAEX
18. ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’

The Judd Apatow school of sex comedies. The 40-year-old Virgin is a directorial outing by the king of the subgenre. The film is exactly what it seems, Superbad brand comedy but fast-forwarded. Steve Carell gives a charming performance as the titular character, and through his friends and romantic conquests he sets off on an incredible adventure.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/40-Year-Old-Virgin-Steve-Carell/dp/B009CG28RQ/ref=sr_1_2?crid=3SLWF3BF8398V&keywords=40+year+old+virgin&qid=1658437396&s=instant-video&sprefix=40+year+old%2Cinstant-video%2C99&sr=1-2
19. ‘Booksmart’

A night to remember is a phrase that can summarize both Superbad and Booksmart. Charming and increasingly crazy over the runtime, Booksmart doesn’t share the same raunchy, sexual comedy as its predecessor, but it does have the same focus. At the heart of each film is great interpersonal dynamics, between Seth and Evan, and between them and their love interests. Booksmart accomplishes a similar feel with its saccharinity and heart.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Booksmart-Kaitlyn-Dever/dp/B07T8KSZSH/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3P4CPHOB5TZQT&keywords=booksmart&qid=1658438177&s=instant-video&sprefix=booksmar%2Cinstant-video%2C79&sr=1-1
20. ‘The Night Before’

Perfect for Christmas time or any time in between. The Night Before is an endlessly funny, often real stoner-sex comedy. One of my personal favorite Rogen films that I return to nearly every year around the holidays. Joined by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie, this trio of on-screen lifelong friends exudes heaps of chemistry and charms. The characters go through realistic lows and absurdist highs, and it provides a fantastic time for the viewer every single time.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Night-Before-Joseph-Gordon-Levitt/dp/B018AEXT82/ref=sr_1_1?crid=6Z8AVPFTP8Z9&keywords=night+before&qid=1658438467&s=instant-video&sprefix=night+before%2Cinstant-video%2C63&sr=1-1
21. ‘Everybody Wants Some’

Another teen comedy from Richard Linklater, a director who has proven he knows how to write entertaining, realistic young people dialogue even in the later years of his career. A comedy where friends try to manage their newfound freedom in unsupervised adulthood. Creative, hilarious, and unique with its hangout feel. If you like Dazed and Confused you’ll love this.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Everybody-Wants-Some-Will-Brittain/dp/B01DMZX1PU/ref=sr_1_1?crid=15CCAWRYNTODR&keywords=everybody+wants+some&qid=1658438692&s=instant-video&sprefix=everybody+wants+some%2Cinstant-video%2C66&sr=1-1
22. ‘Napoleon Dynamite’

The 2000’s comedy with the greatest cult following is Napoleon Dynamite. Similar to Superbad mostly in terms of legacy and quotability, both stand the test of time and cement themselves as iconic pillars of comedic brilliance. A silly comedy that chronicles social awkwardness while dealing with big crushes and unbearable bullies. A different style of comedy than Superbad, but similar in terms of how the comedy comes to be, definitely worth watching

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Napoleon-Dynamite-Jon-Heder/dp/B009EEUD00/ref=sr_1_1?crid=13YA6JEI1NX96&keywords=napoleon+dynamite&qid=1658770045&s=instant-video&sprefix=napoleon+dynamit%2Cinstant-video%2C236&sr=1-1
23. ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’

One of the most underappreciated comedies of the 2000s is Nicholas Stoller’s 2008 Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Notable for its emotional reality and complicated relationships, this film is charming in its depiction of romance in a semi-realistic way. Following Jason Segel as a struggling musician, it is equally hilarious, charming, and horrifyingly awkward.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Forgetting-Sarah-Marshall-Unrated-Jason/dp/B009CG8T5G/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3URP82VPF99LL&keywords=forgetting+sarah+marshall&qid=1658771449&s=instant-video&sprefix=forgetting%2Cinstant-video%2C160&sr=1-1
24. ‘Zack and Miri Make a Porno’

Starring Superbad alum Seth Rogen and frequent collaborator Craig Robinson and Elizabeth Banks, this film is full of the raunchy awkwardness of Superbad while touching on the hardships of adult life and the perils of mixed-gender friendships. When faced with the titular task, long-time roommates Zach and Miri realize it’s more difficult than they thought. Directed by Kevin Smith, who has an eye for this style of comedy, Zach and Miri Make a Porno is guaranteed to provide some laughs.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Zack-Miri-Make-Porno-Rogen/dp/B009TGWW70/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3V45UQAARV7EQ&keywords=zach+and+miri+make+a&qid=1658772555&s=instant-video&sprefix=zach+and+miri%2Cinstant-video%2C100&sr=1-1
25. ‘Take Me Home Tonight’

An aimless MIT grad works at a video store in part as an act of rebellion when he runs into his crush from High School. What unfolds for the rest of the film is reliving the more mature glory days of High School parties while being faced with the usual adulthood hurdles, sex, drugs, and corporate assholes. It has similar character archetypes to Superbad too, the lovable big guy who goes crazy over the course of the film in his own way, and the lead just searching for love. Take Me Home Tonight is nothing mind-blowing but it is an underseen 2010’s comedy that shares numerous similarities to our comedic golden boy.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Take-Home-Tonight-Topher-Grace/dp/B005DD7CKU/ref=sr_1_1?crid=277MTEKLH1DFW&keywords=take+me+home+tonight&qid=1658773688&s=instant-video&sprefix=take+me+home%2Cinstant-video%2C115&sr=1-1
Categories
Popular Culture

Meet Carlos Agudo, The Man Changing The Way We Consume Food Through Olive Oil

Food is love, and the ability to use food and food products to spread love, joy, and happiness is a gift.

Meet Carlos Agudo, founder of a new fresh olive oil geared at setting a new standard for sourcing, transparency, and flavor. Most olive oils available in the United States are full of filler ingredients and can remain on shelves for up to 7 years after harvesting date, significantly compromising quality and flavor, while some newer brands do not work with expert tasters or focus on elevated flavor profiles for gourmands and at-home chefs.

Branche

This is where Carlos comes into help. Tasting over a hundred arbequina (a varietal of olives) oils from Italy, Greece, Spain, California, Turkey, and Chile, Carlos has since become a professional olive oil taster and worked with masterful millers to land on a single farm in Spain to distill two high-quality oils.

Born  and raised in Spain, Carlos moved to the U.S. at age 18 and became a software developer before burning out and deciding to pivot into a new career. He then began working as a member of the IOC panel Applied Sensory under Sue Langstaff, leader of the U.C. Davis Olive Oil Taste Panel. 

It was there that he learned about the many problems with the olive oil industry in the U.S. and developed the concept of a new company aimed at solving the industry’s problem of transparency that would create expertly crafted oil for the American palate and gourmands, which now leads to this newest olive oil from Branche. We spoke with Carlos more to learn about the product, and the future of the olive oil industry.

Branche

ONE37pm: Let’s start with the beginning. You moved to the U.S. at age 18 where you worked in software. How did you make this career pivot? 

Carlos: I moved to the U.S. at 17 to learn English, then went to college and got a software engineering degree. I worked as a software engineer for a few years and eventually felt like I needed a career shift. 

I worked on a few more hands-on and standalone projects, like a software stock-keeping system for a fresh produce company on the docks of San Francisco. I also worked for a European olive oil exporting company, which gave me great visibility into the industry. During this time, I visited numerous farms and learned about the fraud in the global olive oil industry. I also found that with higher consumer awareness around food quality, there was a real demand for fresh olive oil that tasted better than what was on the market but also had a level of traceability that hadn’t existed in the industry before.

ONE37pm: Tell us a little more about your time at Applied Sensory.

Carlos: In 2018, I had just started learning about olive oil tasting and had decided to become an olive oil sommelier. I knew if I was going to craft something that would sit at the pinnacle of the olive oil category, I needed to become an expert. A few months later, I coincidentally met the leading olive oil sensory expert in the U.S., Susan Langstaff, a family friend and the lead taster at Applied Sensory. 

Applied Sensory was started at the U.C. Davis Olive Center, the leading research center for olive oil in the United States. The panel is responsible for grading olive oils – Extra Virgin, Virgin, Olive oil, and Lampante – and verifying that oils graded as Extra Virgin truly are. Believe it or not, 70% of the oils sold in the U.S. don’t meet this standard despite their labeling. Applied Sensory is the only tasting panel in the U.S. that is accredited by the International Olive Council to legally grade olive oils in the United States.

Branche

Sue invited me to attend a course at U.C. Davis and immediately after, I joined the panel as an apprentice, where I spent 2.5 years learning as much as I could about olive oil. This not only taught me about theory, but I also learned to blind taste olive oil for sensory defects and taste descriptors. We tasted hundreds of oils for all major olive oil companies that sell in the U.S. to verify the olive oil quality and assign unique taste descriptors, much like the way wine is tasted.

ONE37pm: What are some of the problems in the olive oil industry that many might not be aware of?

Carlos: One big issue is that the industry needs to raise its standards to show more visibility to consumers. Things like the month and year of harvest, single-origin sourcing, and packaging of the olive oil are all important. Olive oil is best when fresh, but the majority of olive oils on shelves in the U.S. are 3-6 years old and blended from many different countries.

When we created Branche, we wanted to share the whole story, and that starts with the farmer. We’re giving the consumer an insider view of the farm, the precise conditions under which our olives are grown, and how we craft our two distinct flavors. We believe giving them a plethora of details gives them a more insightful experience, from farm to table.

ONE37pm: How did you craft this oil and come up with the packaging? It’s beautiful by the way!

Carlos: I spent over two years tasting hundreds of oils and learning to understand the spectrum of aromatic and tasting notes of olive oil. Our goal from the start was to approach olive oil like wine, and create two flavor profiles that chefs and gourmands around the U.S. would want to include in their dishes and recipes. For No. 2, we wanted to create a buttery oil with nutty and fruity undertones that would pair well with lighter dishes. For No. 1 we focused on a greener flavor profile. It is herbaceous and grassy with notes of green olive, artichoke, and green tea. Perfect for heartier dishes.

Branche

As for the packaging and design of the bottles, and I iterated through dozens of bottle shapes, cap types, colors, and textures until we found something that felt just right for our oils. The bottle texture is a nod to the ceramic containers that were used to store olive oil and wine by ancient Greeks and Romans – Amphora.

Our bottles became an obsession for a very long time because they needed to convey everything about the product, from the care that went into crafting our oils to the flavor each blend has and which dishes they would inspire our community to use them with.

ONE37pm: What else are you working on?

Carlos: Branche is taking all of my attention at the moment, but through the ideation process and bringing the company to life, it became apparent to me that this would be a multidimensional company and not simply an olive oil company. The ethos of our brand is to inspire more meaningful connections to and around food, and that starts with intention and care around everything that goes into making our product.

This ethos carries through many projects that could be developed under the brand. I’m really focused on making the brand into an innovative and satisfying experience for consumers and also for the people that work on it.

Categories
Popular Culture

The 18 Best Shark Movies to Watch During “Shark Week”

The summer months are well underway, and everyone is enjoying their peaceful, serene swims at the beach. It’s hard to believe anything could possibly come in the way of that. But alas, Shark Week is upon us, striking fear into the hearts of home viewers one episode at a time. It doesn’t have to hold you back though, you can embrace the horror and excitement of Shark Week by watching some of the best shark movies of all time.

1. Jaws

The shark movie to end all shark movies. What is there to be said about Jaws that hasn’t already been said? A monumental feat of suspense and practical effects. A movie that changed the film industry as we know it by essentially creating a blockbuster culture for better or for worse. Characterized by an iconic score, an endlessly quotable script, and unforgettable moments, Jaws is remembered as a classic, and for good reason.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Jaws-Roy-Scheider/dp/B008LY5VHE
2. The Shallows

In a subgenre without a ton of variety, The Shallows served as a breath of fresh air upon release. Anchored by a phenomenal performance from Blake Lively and featuring what was undoubtedly the best practical effects since Jaws, this film beautifully mixes them and CGI to create a chilling experience. Jaume Collet-Serra is a filmmaker well known for his action spectacles, but what I find phenomenal about his films is the tension building. Whether the shark is present or not, every moment is a threat. He succeeds at making the environment just as scary as the predator.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Shallows-Blake-Lively/dp/B01HBVI3FE/ref=sr_1_1?crid=22QSXUVWDTIPX&keywords=the+shallows&qid=1658250096&s=instant-video&sprefix=the+shallows%2Cinstant-video%2C87&sr=1-1
3. Open Water

Just like The Shallows that came after it, Open Water is a short and sweet isolated thriller with a minimal cast. This film is very strange aesthetically, looking like a found footage film quality-wise due to the film being partially based on true events, but it doesn’t lean into that style much. Regardless, Open Water is a great feat of tension building with minimal resources. Clocking in at only 78 minutes it is a prime choice for a time-killing shark flick.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Open-Water-Saul-Stein/dp/B09TGD5SMD/ref=sr_1_2?crid=RKRZXVYXA1JZ&keywords=open+water&qid=1658256824&s=instant-video&sprefix=open+water%2Cinstant-video%2C86&sr=1-2
4. Deep Blue Sea

Deliciously dumb and thoroughly enjoyable, Renny Harlin’s Deep Blue Sea is an absurdist take on the shark thriller. Following a group of researchers on the undersea Lab Aquatica who must fight for their lives against smarter, faster, and more dangerous genetically modified sharks. It can be described as Jaws on steroids, but it’s really much more. Deep Blue Sea is a film that demands to be seen and is sure to provide viewers with a ridiculously good time.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Deep-Blue-Sea-Saffron-Burrows/dp/B000GOZ0ZK/ref=sr_1_1?crid=153149RNU1QBS&keywords=deep+blue+sea&qid=1658257137&s=instant-video&sprefix=deep+blue+sea%2Cinstant-video%2C90&sr=1-1
5. The Meg

Following the same basic formula of insanity that Deep Blue Sea outlined before it. The Meg is a big-budget popcorn movie that is way more fun than it has any right to be. Filled with delightful jump scares and jokes that will make you realize that the film is self-aware of its own absurdity. The Meg is a grand action/horror spectacle that will certainly have you jumping out of your seat. Also worth noting that the sequel, Meg 2: The Trench is scheduled for release in August 2023, just in time for next year’s Shark Week.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Meg-Jason-Statham/dp/B07JWDVB8W/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=2E5SNZHT2I4GT&keywords=the+meg&qid=1658257581&s=instant-video&sprefix=the+me%2Cinstant-video%2C147&sr=1-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzVVYyMDc0R1NVOEVZJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNjU2ODk2WTJYTFFDREJBOUo5JmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA3MDA2MDgyRVVKMk9TVEI3UUwmd2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGYmYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl
6. Jaws 2

Haven’t had enough Jaws? Well, we can’t really help you, because Jaws 2 does not live up to its predecessor. Some have even deemed it one of the most negatively impactful films ever, due to it causing the Hollywood trend of beating a dead horse when it comes to franchises. Despite this negative connotation, Jaws 2 is a beyond-solid movie, that might deserve a little more credit than it gets. This film is really where the world’s premier shark franchise “jumped the shark”. It ups the ante in terms of ridiculousness and slims down on the tension, but still produces a good time, and is definitely worthy of being labeled one of the best shark movies of all time.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Jaws-2-Roy-Scheider/dp/B008LY5XUE/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2L5C04TL0FG13&keywords=jaws+2&qid=1658258253&s=instant-video&sprefix=jaws+2%2Cinstant-video%2C113&sr=1-1
7. 47 Meters Down

Been a while since we’ve seen a shark movie take itself seriously, and 47 Meters Down isn’t going to change that. Absurd, and it knows it, but formally pretty well done. 47 Meters Down is a film that oozes creativity, it manages to keep the same isolated horror concept fresh for the entire runtime whether you find it cheesy or not, and in a subgenre known for its lack of diversity, it is worth noting when something feels fresh.

Watch on Hulu
https://www.hulu.com/movie/47-meters-down-11cb418c-90df-499f-bdd8-aef8f5610fdd
8. The Reef

Stranded, capsized, whatever, it’s another one of these. The Reef is noteworthy for its realism for impeccable suspense building. While not groundbreaking or wholly unique in any way shape or form, this film is up there among the best shark flicks thanks to its lightning-fast pace and somewhat inventive/creative usage of underwater footage. Another one that is based on real events, so if knowing that there is real terror behind those screams helps you get immersed, The Reef is made for you.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Reef-Damian-Walshe-Howling/dp/B07PH3YKC5/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2IYBQJ9AVIOAP&keywords=the+reef&qid=1658259102&s=instant-video&sprefix=the+reef%2Cinstant-video%2C398&sr=1-1
9. Sharknado

You were waiting for it and you got it. Which Sharknado you may ask, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th? Well, I’m happy to make this a joint entry, because god knows they are all worthy of a slot here. Sharknado has become infamous for its “so bad it’s good” charm, and I think that’s respectable. A Syfy/The Asylum original that has become synonymous with those brands. The Sharknado franchise is full of short, enjoyable laughing stock movies that need to be seen to be understood.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Sharknado-Tara-Reid/dp/B00EY73NKY/ref=sr_1_1?crid=SQBFMXADB28Z&keywords=sharknado&qid=1658259454&s=instant-video&sprefix=sharknado%2Cinstant-video%2C173&sr=1-1
10. Shark Tale

We’ve had enough horror for today. A short break into the realm of children’s animation. Shark Tale is an iconic outing from Dreamworks that has been made into memes for years. Featuring beautiful animation, great comedy for all ages, and stellar voice performances from the most unexpected sources. Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, and Ziggy Marley round out the cast. Worth watching if you want something fit for the whole family, but still want to satisfy that shark movie craving.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Shark-Tale-Bibo-Bergeron/dp/B079HQTQ8Z/ref=sr_1_1?crid=Y5GTZHHXTWEF&keywords=shark+tale&qid=1658264994&s=instant-video&sprefix=shark+tale%2Cinstant-video%2C85&sr=1-1
11. Finding Nemo

Maybe we’re getting ridiculous, but isn’t Finding Nemo a shark movie? And if it is, it’s certainly one of the best shark movies. Although the protagonists aren’t apex predators of the ocean, the finned menaces we know and love are still featured, and in a humorous yet nerve-wracking way. The famous scene with Bruce and his pals has been quoted to death by those who grew up with the film, while also striking fear into the hearts of child viewers who want to see their heroes come out on top.

Watch on Disney+
https://www.disneyplus.com/movies/finding-nemo/5Gpj2XqF7BV2#:~:text=Watch%20Finding%20Nemo%20%7C%20Full%20movie,journey%20to%20bring%20him%20home.
12. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged

Even more ridiculous than the previous entry in the franchise, but that might be for the best. 47 Meters Down: Uncaged is a film that strangely has experienced a slight reappraisal, many hailing it for its ridiculousness and fun tension building. A slasher film that is bursting with stylish directorial choices from Johannes Roberts, it’s no Jaws, but it certainly gives the first 47 Meters Down a run for it’s money.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/47-Meters-Down-Sophie-N%C3%A9lisse/dp/B07WJLJQ35/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3JIL2641W6G32&keywords=47+meters+down+uncaged&qid=1658260624&s=instant-video&sprefix=47+meters+down+uncag%2Cinstant-video%2C294&sr=1-1
13. Bait

A disasterpiece of epic proportions. Bait is a whole different beast, and a good one. This is a film that is guaranteed to get your heart pumping and lead to you having a good time. Entirely unique when compared to the other films on this list, Bait uses its supermarket setting to completely distance itself from the other entries in its subgenre. Realistic-looking sharks and creative tense moments with the unique terrain make this a nail-biting experience from end to end.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Bait-3D-Adrian-Pang/dp/B07XWFK8KV/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=bait&qid=1658260932&s=instant-video&sr=1-1
14. Sharkwater

Maybe not the best film for Shark Week. If you want films that will expand the shark mythos with horrifying tension and violent kills this is not the film for you. Sharkwater is Rob Stewart’s passion project in defense of these creatures, he hoped to debunk myths and stereotypes associated with the ocean’s apex predator and many who have seen the film would agree. Perfect for someone trying to gain more appreciation for nature, or for someone trying to get over their fear. Clocking in at 89 minutes long, Sharkwater is an upsetting watch, but worth your time for sure.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Sharkwater-Rob-Stewart/dp/B006UQ5FM6/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=sharkwater&qid=1658261395&s=instant-video&sr=1-3
15. Shark

A relatively forgotten film of the late ’60s. Shark is an underseen Samuel Fuller outing that has been described as “proto-jaws”. I may be biased given that Samuel Fuller is one of my favorite filmmakers, but what doesn’t scream exciting about a Burt Reynolds sunken secluded shark thriller? Right from the thrilling, seat-strapping opening scene you will be hooked and will likely never let go. Though not quite as good, if you are trying to recapture the magic of Jaws, this may as well be your best bet.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Shark-Burt-Reynolds/dp/B01KF7CHXU/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2A1VBYZHC45RM&keywords=shark+1969&qid=1658261684&s=instant-video&sprefix=shark+1969%2Cinstant-video%2C593&sr=1-1
16. Deep Blue Sea 2

Low budget, low quality, and low expectations for the viewer. Deep Blue Sea 2 doubles down on the insanity of the first, but with a lesser budget. Keeps the mystique of the first film active and operates with quite a bit of ingenuity to keep such a low-effort thing fresh. You may think to yourself, how bad can something be before it transcends “so bad it’s good” and just becomes bad. Well, in the shark subgenre, the limit does not exist.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Deep-Blue-Sea-Rob-Mayes/dp/B079SQMNV4/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1HYIA5DVP8CVO&keywords=deep+blue+sea&qid=1658264382&s=instant-video&sprefix=deep+blue+se%2Cinstant-video%2C75&sr=1-2
17. Sanctum

A James Cameron-produced underwater thriller is all you need to know Sanctum is worth watching. Unnatural acting is the downfall of this one, but the claustrophobia of the film is second to none. Properly full of suspense, thrills, and chills. Although it doesn’t fully feel like a James Cameron film (he didn’t direct it after all), it’s still one to mark down due to its brisk pacing and intense anxiety-inducing adventure sequences that will get your heart pounding.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Sanctum-Richard-Roxburgh/dp/B004VS4PZS/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1K3KJEHN9IVAD&keywords=sanctum&qid=1658264401&s=instant-video&sprefix=sanctum%2Cinstant-video%2C92&sr=1-1
18. Of Shark and Man

Rounding out the list with a stunningly beautiful and daring documentary. A passion project, and a love letter to one of nature’s greatest threats, or so we think. A film that talks about successful and unsuccessful conservation efforts and chronicles one man’s journey to get as close to the world’s biggest bull sharks as possible. With a short runtime and endless passion, Of Shark and Man is a must-watch, but maybe after you enjoy the Shark Week festivities.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Shark-Man-Rusiate-Balenagasau/dp/B073DVJ7N2
Categories
Popular Culture

The 12 Best Michael B. Jordan Movies You Should Watch ASAP

A champion boxer, a comic book villain, a legit dramatic actor, the sexiest man alive for 2020, and soon-to-be a director all in one. Michael B. Jordan is one of the hottest working actors in Hollywood today. Throughout his career, he has starred in some truly awful films, most notably Josh Trank’s infamous Fantastic Four, or “Fant4stic” as it has been dubbed by “fans.” Despite this, there are some gems and underrated works that round out his filmography. Here are the best Michael B Jordan movies.

1. Fruitvale Station

Telling the tragic story of Oscar Grant, who was killed by police at the Fruitvale Station stop of the BART line in Oakland. Harrowing and powerful even today, perhaps even more so today, Michael B. Jordan puts forth a stellar performance as he interacts with family, friends, rivals, strangers, and everything in between before facing his fate. A sad experience for sure, but an entertaining one. It will keep you glued to your seat as Ryan Coogler films tend to do. Coogler at his most raw, before the fame and before he was pulled away from the simplicity of this by Marvel Studios. Worth a watch to see what Jordan is like at his dramatic best.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Fruitvale-Station-Michael-B-Jordan/dp/B00HDZ23VY
2. Just Mercy

Director Destin Daniel Cretton works with previous collaborators and Michael B.Jordan for this law tale about fighting injustice and discrimination. This film features killer performances from Jordan, Brie Larson, and Jamie Foxx. A film that understands empathy and human emotion more than most. Another one that will bring out some sadness, but is worth it, confronting the horrors prejudice brings on the big screen is always an important watch. 

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Just-Mercy-Michael-B-Jordan/dp/B082YJGRGM/ref=sr_1_1?crid=7SBET9CNW9MM&keywords=just+mercy&qid=1657659320&s=instant-video&sprefix=just+mercy%2Cinstant-video%2C81&sr=1-1
3. Creed

People were skeptical when this was announced, but were quickly proven wrong. Another Coogler and Jordan team up. Impeccably shot and full of emotion and excitement. Fight scenes that rival and potentially surpass the original Rocky, and stories of family, heart, and perseverance that pack a punch. A rare example of a faithful follow-up so many years later, in part thanks to Michael B. Jordan’s stellar performance.  

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Creed-Michael-B-Jordan/dp/B017WRCYYI/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2U6GQ99JFZ4SX&keywords=creed&qid=1657659348&s=instant-video&sprefix=cre%2Cinstant-video%2C140&sr=1-1
4. Chronicle

Josh Trank’s first shot at a Michael B. Jordan feature, and it worked out! Short and sweet, and full of intrigue. Fascinating sci-fi concepts are presented in a mixed style, both found footage and a superhero-esque film. Cheesy at times but full of strange realism in terms of human reactions. An exciting watch if you can endure some aspects that have aged poorly over the years.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Chronicle-Dane-DeHaan/dp/B007YJ8ZRK/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1V9OUOC6IOWOI&keywords=chronicle&qid=1657659377&s=instant-video&sprefix=chronicle%2Cinstant-video%2C69&sr=1-1
5. Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox

Michael B. Jordan’s real best superhero film. Sorry, Black Panther. DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers animation has always killed the game when it comes to films. A truly underappreciated medium. Adapting one of the most iconic DC comics story arcs of all time in a way as faithful as it can get without being confusing and convoluted. A complex story with layers upon layers of wondrous content. Jordan voices Victor Stone (Cyborg) in a killer vocal performance, proving he’s worthy of sharing the role with Ray Fisher. 

Watch on HBO Max
https://www.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GXeOMyQhfX5uAuwEAADwH
6. Black Panther

Although I prefer Flashpoint, Black Panther is a banger in its own rite. A comic book film so acclaimed that it was nominated for Academy Awards. Whether or not that was deserved is not up to me, but it is really saying something about the quality people see in this. Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther is incredible, and it’s a shame he was taken away from us so soon. Michael B. Jordan puts up a good fight, giving a performance that nearly is as good as Boseman’s. Dramatic and thrilling, and quite nice looking. 

Watch on Disney+
https://www.disneyplus.com/movies/marvel-studios-black-panther/1GuXuYPj99Ke
7. Creed II

Not quite as good as its predecessor but still a banger. Fails to learn the lessons that it had to from the Rocky franchise. As you further into a boxer’s career the more likely it is to get generic. So, yes, more generic than the first, but still exciting and emotional. A film with killer performances and full of themes of masculine pride and battles between generations. Fascinating and well directed. 

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Creed-II-Michael-B-Jordan/dp/B07KQ23PG1/ref=sr_1_1?crid=34JI1VCBKTPO1&keywords=creed+ii&qid=1657659464&s=instant-video&sprefix=creed+ii%2Cinstant-video%2C94&sr=1-1
8. That Awkward Moment

Underrated. Tom Gormican is a filmmaker who I believe doesn’t get nearly enough credit. He also directed a notable surprise this year with The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent starring Nicolas Cage. That Awkward Moment is a charming film about a trio struggling with relationships and letting loose. Not his funniest, or best, but a solid romantic comedy that deserves to be seen, especially in the wake of Gormican’s recent success.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/That-Awkward-Moment-Zac-Efron/dp/B00IGDK61G/ref=sr_1_1?crid=22M8LUPL59W6W&keywords=that+awkward+moment&qid=1657659488&sprefix=that+awkward%2Caps%2C128&sr=8-1
9. Kin

Directing duo Jonathan and Josh Baker’s 2018 output Kin is an underseen film with yet another stellar Michael B. Jordan performance. Don’t go in expecting a balls-to-the-wall thrill of science fiction greatness, but for those looking for a quiet interesting watch with Sci-Fi elements with a small hint of Michael B. Jordan, this is the one for you.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Kin-Jack-Reynor/dp/B07H1419R5/ref=sr_1_3?crid=3QL7VE5CQB6UC&keywords=kin&qid=1657659518&s=instant-video&sprefix=ki%2Cinstant-video%2C233&sr=1-3
10. A Journal for Jordan

It’s in the name. A Journal for Jordan, stars Michael B. Jordan. A Denzel Washington-directed film that depicts a true story in an accurate way, and has the heart in the right place. Based on the true story of First Sergeant Charles Monroe King, it is worth a watch just to learn the story of a man dedicated to his family. 

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Journal-Jordan-Michael-B/dp/B09PNXZV1L/ref=sr_1_1?crid=UTF3YG9C4OT1&keywords=journal+for+jordan&qid=1657659543&s=instant-video&sprefix=journal+for+jordan%2Cinstant-video%2C229&sr=1-1
11. Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse

A slightly underappreciated film in action circles, this entry in Tom Clancy’s film adaptations catalog is an action slugfest that never lets up from wire to wire. Jordan puts forth an impressive performance that can wow a viewer easily. Sort of feels like a throwback to action blockbusters of old. Not incredible, but worth a watch.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Clancys-Without-Remorse-Michael-Jordan/dp/B08VFD1Y3B/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3TW1T7B8J38T2&keywords=without+remorse&qid=1657659568&s=instant-video&sprefix=without+remorse%2Cinstant-video%2C69&sr=1-1
12. Hardball

A struggling coach trying to save his boys from the falls of Gang life, Hardball features an early performance from Michael B. Jordan. The movie stars Keanu as a gambling addict struggling for cash who turns his life around by coaching a little league baseball team. He ends up helping his team, dad vibes from Keanu and great young performances round out the film. A great early example of how phenomenal his performances would shape up to be, and surely one of the best Michael B. Jordan movies.

Watch on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Hardball-Keanu-Reeves/dp/B000JG80BG/ref=sr_1_1?crid=19QVZHOVE05W2&keywords=hardball&qid=1657659593&s=instant-video&sprefix=hardbal%2Cinstant-video%2C85&sr=1-1
Categories
Popular Culture

The 10 Best Movie Theaters In NYC That Any Film Fanatic Needs to Check Out

New York City has always been a hub of culture. From dramatic performances on Broadway to luxurious musical performances in Madison Square Garden, all the way to the glamour of high culture with the Ballet and the Opera. The city has it all. Everyone knows that New York has great film culture, but not everyone knows where to find it. That said, here are the best movie theaters in NYC.

1. Movies Under the Stars

Location: Parks around the city in all five boroughs

A grand social event in some of the city’s most incredible parks, NYC Parks’ ‘Movies Under the Stars’ is one of the great things to return to the city following the pandemic. Weather permitting, families, friends, and solo moviegoers all gather for an unforgettable experience that brings the memories of drive-in theaters of old back to life.

Not to mention the killer selection, ranging from the past year’s hottest releases (Spider-Man: No Way Home, Encanto, and Space Jam: A New Legacy), all the way to older favorites like Before Sunrise, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Movies Under the Stars truly has something for everyone and is essential to hit at least once this summer.

check it out
https://www.nycgovparks.org/events/movies-under-the-stars
2. Metrograph

Location: 7 Ludlow Street

Quaint, yet unmistakable. New York’s premier theater for cinema lovers. I’ve had the pleasure of attending the Metrograph on multiple occasions and their selections and accommodations are one of a kind.

With choices ranging from hot new releases to classics of yesteryear, to films that have been tragically left out of the cinematic canon, that they wish to bring to the public eye. The most peaceful moviegoing experience in the city also might just be the best. Not only that, but you can catch dinner and a drink at the Metrograph Commissary. A classy yet unpretentious spot that has to be experienced.

check it out
https://metrograph.com/
3. Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn

Location: City Point BKLYN (445 Albee Square W)

One of the more well-known spots on this list. The Alamo Drafthouse is well known for its early screenings of big-time blockbusters. Just recently they hosted an early screening of Thor: Love and Thunder, while simultaneously hosting screenings for Escape from New York. Perhaps the widest variety of any theater on this list, the draft house has it all. A multi-faceted, enjoyable film viewing experience that is sure to impress anyone.

check it out
https://drafthouse.com/theater/downtown-brooklyn
4. Film Forum

Location: 209 West Houston Street

Showing a vast selection of classics from the states and abroad. The Film Forum is a must-do in the West Village. With classics such as The French Connection and Bull Durham, and a wide selection of themed series with killer selections far and wide, Film Forum has something for everyone. What originally served as an alternate screening space for independent films has evolved into so much more.

check it out
https://filmforum.org/
5. IFC Center

Location: 323 6th Avenue

With upwards of fifteen screenings a day, IFC is overflowing with choices for those trying to catch new releases and film lovers alike. Luxurious seating, stellar surround sound, and 4k image are only a few of the defining features of this stellar theater in Greenwich Village. Definitely check this one out, there is guaranteed to be a film for you on the docket!

check it out
https://www.ifccenter.com/
6. Nitehawk Cinema

Location: 136 Metropolitan Avenue and 188 Prospect Park West

With two locations across Brooklyn, Nitehawk Cinema is a cozy cinema experience with a perfect mix of new releases and deep cuts. Showing blockbusters like Thor: Love and Thunder, and Elvis, while preparing the theater for deeper cuts like Devil in a Blue Dress, Panic Room, Paprika, and The Descent. Not even to mention modern classic Good Burger. A nice independent cinema experience with table service, drinks, and a full menu to choose from.

check it out
https://nitehawkcinema.com/
7. Roxy Cinema

Location: The Roxy Hotel (2 6th Avenue)

In terms of having an abundance of selection, the Roxy is likely in last place. With only a few screenings a day they make it known that they are trying to choose very carefully and cautiously. This may seem like a negative, but hell, they know how to choose a good lineup.

Whether it be the scarily relevant 4 Months, 3 weeks, and 2 days, a recent cult favorite with Crimes of the Future, or 2000s smash hits like The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Roxy Cinema has it all. Self-described as a “hat tip to the 1920s motion picture palace”, it provides the consumer with a classy, authentic experience that you can’t find anywhere else. Specializing in 35mm, first-run independent films, and archival prints, it should be a go-to for people looking for a unique moviegoing experience.

check it out
https://www.roxycinematribeca.com/category/now-showing/
8. AMC Lincoln Square 13

Location: 1998 Broadway

What’s an AMC doing on here? As phenomenal as AMC Theaters are, it must be surprising to see one make its way onto a “Best Movie Theaters in New York City” list, but it deserves it. Well known for its early screenings of big hits and premieres, the Lincoln Square AMC is the perfect place to catch a movie. If you just can’t wait to see the newest blockbuster, this is the theater for you.

check it out
https://www.amctheatres.com/movie-theatres/new-york-city/amc-lincoln-square-13
9. Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas Chelsea

Location: 260 West 23rd St

An underrated, cozy movie theater experience right in Chelsea. Occasionally showing non-current releases, currently boasting a screening of Mad Max: Fury Road, but typically just covering every current release, from the obscure to the popular. Great for those who want a big-time theater experience but with less of the hustle and bustle. Cinépolis‘ theaters feature reclining chairs and pull-out tables making for an extremely comfortable theater experience.

check it out
https://www.cinepolisusa.com/our-locations/x0qt2-cinepolis-chelsea
10. The Paris Theater

Location: 4 West 58th St

The Paris Theater is a legendary, single-screen movie theater experience. Scratch what I said about the Roxy, this is the theater with the least selection, but it is definitely not a bad thing. The Paris Theater provides an entirely unique experience that you simply cannot find anywhere else. One cinema screen with 571 seats. This is the longest-running arthouse cinema in New York City, and for good reason. It provides a classy experience with dual screenings that give you great insight into the mind of a director. Definitely worth checking out, and definitely one of the best movie theaters in New York City

check it out
https://www.paristheaternyc.com/
Categories
Popular Culture

Legendary Rock N Roll Magazine CREEM Is Back and Better Than Ever

Put another dime in the jukebox baby. It’s not very often that a magazine from a certain time period is revived, and yet here we are. CREEM magazine was a monthly publication that ran from 1969 to 1989, and was known as “America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine.” Now, over thirty years later, the iconic magazine is back, having launched a free digital archive with every single issue from its original 1969-1989 run available online for the first time ever, as well as a new editorial website and newsletter.

CREEM

And that’s not all either people. This Fall, CREEM will return to print as an oversized subscription-only premium quarterly. Already, the online version has fresh interviews with Molcahat Doma, Kathleen Hanna and more. In fact, CREEM returns as an oversized subscription-only premium quarterly on September 15. 

The feature is also slated to bring back classic columns like Stars Cars with Slash & The Who, as well as newer faces like Viagra Boys & Special Interest, with more to come.

CREEM

Additionally, CREEM also just released a new Boy Howdy! cartoon, which follows the return of the CREEM mascot and rock icon from the clutches of death 33 years ago, aboard a headless bat, then a heaven-bound rocket ride on Lester Bangs himself.  The cartoon was created in partnership with animation studio Lobo, original music and SFX by Human Worldwide, and title/editorial help from Uppercut Edit.

So what does the near future hold for CREEM Magazine? The new CREEM magazine will cover multiple generations of innovative artists with contributors ranging from established writers and photographers to up-and-coming new voices. It will embrace the best of rock ‘n’ roll, as a mentality rather than a genre, which all of us rock heads can agree on. 

CREEM

Lynyrd Skynyrd dude (throws up the rock sign).

Here’s what CREEM CEO John Martin had to say about what more to expect from CREEM.

CREEM

“Creem was always the most iconic American brand of my rock n roll infused memories,” Martin said. “After seeing the documentary and meeting JJ, I knew there was a huge opportunity to bring the company back for the modern era.

In 2022 the pendulum is swinging and the vibe shift is real: young people and music fans of all ages want some cathartic release, to laugh and have fun again, and not take themselves too seriously. That’s Creem, and that’s rock n roll – a cruel temptress I found impossible to resist.”

We hope you are just as excited as we are, and we can’t wait to get our hands on the print version. Until then, rock on! Also, check out some of their up-and-coming artists here.

Categories
Popular Culture

The Inspiration Behind Your Favorite 2010s Movies

Every director starts somewhere. Many men have said that there are no prodigies in film, and that’s true. However, rising stars always have this uncanny ability to take inspiration from others, without taking from others. Just as current aspiring filmmakers look up to greats such as Quentin Tarantino, The Safdies, Paul Thomas Anderson, and more, they too looked up to those that came before them.

From titans of the industry like George Lucas, Stanley Kubrick, and Alfred Hitchcock, to more niche directors from all over the world. Every filmmaker has their inspirations, and they all apply them to their own work differently. It’s worth noting some of this is theory-crafting, based on clues left in their movies, and some of it directly from the horse’s mouth, with that being said, here are the inspirations behind your favorite 2010’s movies

The Safdie Brothers and ‘Good Time’
A24

Some of the biggest stars to emerge from the 2010s. Josh and Benny have cinephiles in a chokehold with their panic attack brand of cinema, and seemingly one-of-a-kind style. But this style didn’t become so refined without the help of the great directors of old. 

‘Good Time’ x ‘After Hours’
Warner Bros.

Two stories about guys having what is without question the worst night of their life. As each story progresses our leads, Paul Hackett in After Hours, and Connie in Good Time, obstacles of almost cartoonish proportions come out of nowhere to interfere with their mission. Frantic editing choices are present in both to increase the anxiety-filled nature. Edits that make it seem like our protagonists are moving at hyper speed. The Safdies themselves have expressed their love for this film previously in interviews, and I think it’s clear that it influenced them into creating their own version of a 90-minute panic attack. The inspiration is also present in their subsequent film, Uncut Gems, but slightly less so.

‘Good Time’ x ‘Walkabout’
20th Century Fox

Right from the horse’s mouth, this one comes. From After Hours came the general ambiance, and from Walkabout comes more intricate editing sequences. In their criterion closet video, the Safdies cite Walkabout, a 1971 Nicholas Roeg film, as a wild inspiration in their decision to frame a montage sequence the way they did. 

Paul Thomas Anderson and ‘Licorice Pizza’
United Arts Releasing

A legend in his own right already. Since the late 90s PTA has been cranking out masterwork after masterwork, from romance to thrillers, all with their own raw understanding of human behavior. His 2021 release, Licorice Pizza is among his best and is the best he’s done in his career so far in terms of faithfully taking inspiration from those who came before him.

‘Licorice Pizza’ x ‘American Graffiti’
Universal Pictures

An obvious one. Licorice Pizza directly pays homage to George Lucas’ ode to 1962, but 21 years later in 1973. This film actually takes place the year American Graffiti was released, and what better way to honor that than to recreate one of the more iconic scenes from the film, the cherry bomb bathroom scene. In addition to this, the general ambiance and character dynamics are mirrored here, with rogue high schoolers running around partaking in unrealistic events and seeking love, they both even feature a potentially controversial age gap pseudo-romance plot.

‘Licorice Pizza’ x ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’
Universal Pictures

Stylistically, nothing is as present as Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Known and praised for its unmistakable late 70’s, early 80’s feel. To capture this unconventional tale of comedy and romance in the San Fernando valley he had to take inspiration from the likes of Ridgemont, both films are all about what it means to be young in the 70s and 80s. 

Christopher Nolan and ‘Inception’
Warner Bros. Pictures

One of the darlings of early cinephilia. Almost every modern film lover, and aspiring filmmaker cites Christopher Nolan as one of their earliest loves. Nolan is the filmmaker who has most succeeded in terms of bridging the gap between the average viewer and true film lovers, by attempting to challenge audiences with plots and feelings that demand your attention more than the average blockbuster. This is most evident in Inception, which despite being a creative piece in its own right, doesn’t lack direct influences.

‘Inception’ x ‘Paprika’
Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan

Perhaps the most direct inspiration on this list. Paprika(2007) is about a dispute between a dream “terrorist”, and a researcher. In the film the terrorist uses a device to enter dreams to plant nightmares and share dreams, while the researcher takes on the role of a detective to try to stop this. Sound familiar? A faithful adaptation that makes up for the somehow less incredible immersion with stunning set pieces and action.

Jordan Peele and ‘Get Out’
Universal Pictures

Peele’s rise to the top was a quick one and a welcome one at that. His approach to horror with Get Out has been refreshing in a cinematic environment that(at the time) was lacking great mainstream horror. He, among others who have risen to the top in the same time frame, leave the horror genre in good hands, but it didn’t come without big inspiration from filmmakers of old. 

‘Get Out’ x ‘The Shining’
Warner Bros.

Unsurprising. It could be said that all horror filmmakers have been inspired by Kubrick in some way, shape, or form, whether direct or indirect. But Jordan Peele has cited The Shining directly, so it warrants a mention, Aside from the general tone of psychological horror that is present in both films, Peele notes that he took inspiration from the creation of an uneasy environment that was done through meticulous attention to detail and subtle horrifying inserts. This applies to all dialogue, set creation, shot choice, and every directorial decision there is to be made.

‘Get Out’ x ‘The Stepford Wives’
Paramount Pictures

Two films about uncovering a mass secret. Both the 1972 novel and the 2004 Frank Oz adaptation have served as true inspirations to Peele. Peele mostly cites the original novelist, Ira Levin, whose writing has characteristics that closely resemble the style Peele goes for. Slow descents into true horror through the use of psychological horror, and emphasis on stressing the viewer with a lack of understanding of the character’s behavior. There is no way for the viewer to truly understand what the protagonist is feeling in any given situation, and Peele seeks to properly put that to the screen.

Dennis Villenuve and ‘Arrival’
Paramount Pictures

Yet another 2000s indie darling that has turned the way of modern blockbusters. Just this past year Villeneuve released part 1 of Dune, a sprawling epic that adapts the insanity of that novel just about as well as it could. But before Dune, and even before Blade Runner 2049, came Arrival

‘Arrival’ x ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Why not feature more Kubrick? Just as he had, and always will have a profound impact on the horror genre, he serves as a perpetual inspiration to Sci-Fi creators in the filmmaking world. The environment in both is deeply immersive and that familiar seeming alien world could not have been made so effective without Kubrick’s 1968 mastery.

‘Arrival’ x ‘Under The Skin’
A24

Under the Skin is one that Villeneuve cites directly. One of his favorite films of all time, and to my knowledge, his pick as best of the decade. Jonathan Glazer is a phenomenal filmmaker in his own rite, so it’s no surprise that his contemporaries look at him as an inspiration. Daring in narrative and style, both films feature aliens who have potentially deadly and just straight-up deadly impacts on the world around them. The ambiance in both is unnerving, yet thrilling.

Paul Schrader and ‘First Reformed’
A24

One of the most acclaimed screenwriters out there, having worked with Scorcese on hits such as Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, and is also known for his directorial chops, with films like Mishima, and Blue Collar. Well known for being purposefully provocative both in his films and his film takes. Schrader is a one-of-a-kind personality and force in the modern film industry. He has always been transparent about his inspirations, but it’s most evident in his 2010’s output, specifically First Reformed. 

‘First Reformed’ x ‘Winter Light’
Janus Films

Call it a remake, call it an adaptation, call it a redux, whatever it is, it’s faithful, in two senses of the word. Both films, First Reformed(2017), and Winter Light(1963) share the same base plot, a local priest struggles with his faith. Taking inspiration from Bergman is nothing new if you are well versed in film, but no one has done it more faithfully than Schrader. This film serves as both an ode to his predecessor and as a passion project of its own, reflecting Schrader’s own religious background and upbringing. 

‘First Reformed’ x ‘Taxi Driver’
Columbia Pictures

Taking inspiration from your own film? Only Schrader. This one is straight from the source, Schrader himself notes that they follow the same arc. Taxi Driver follows Travis who hurts himself in a loop of self-destruction while frustrated about the faults of society. A tale of redemption and self-fulfillment. First Reformed is the same, in a drastically different environment, with a personal religious touch. 

Damien Chazelle and ‘La La Land’
Lionsgate

This is a unique one. Chazelle paved his own way in his early cinematic endeavors. Passion projects about jazz and music as a whole that accomplished appeal beyond his wildest dreams.

Chazelle took, and continues to take inspiration from musicals of old. Greats like Vincente Minnelli, Gene Kelly, and Busby Berkeley. There are too many films to even list that serve as an inspiration for La La Land. The movie itself is packed full of references to Singin’ In The Rain, An American in Paris, Umbrellas of Cherbourg, It’s Always Fair Weather, and more. Chazelle is a champion of the public, but his films also serve as the eagle-eyed film lover’s dream at times, and for that I commend him.