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Watch: A Whole New IT (2019 ALADDIN Mashup Trailer)

2019 is proving to be "a whole new world" indeed! This past Sunday night, during a commercial break for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards, Disney dropped a surprise TV spot of their upcoming live-action remake of Aladdin. It gave us our first look at Will Smith as the Genie, a role made legendary by the late Robin Williams in the 1992 animated feature.

While it's unfair (and definitely too early) to say whether the film -- or Smith's complete performance -- will be a massive failure, it is fair to say that the visual effects rendering of Smith as the larger-than-life blue Genie is anything but impressive. In fact, it's a downright frightening creation. It's crude and looks like a movie meme brought to life.

After watching this new TV spot several times, I began to draw movie connections and then reimagined Aladdin's Cave of Wonders as Pennywise the Clown's lair in the 2017 remake of It.

In short, Will Smith's Genie gave me more goosebumps than the cl…
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Finally, The 60 Best Films Of 2018

Don't @ me.

Hereditary Directed by Ari AsterShoplifters Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda BLACKkKLANSMAN Directed by Spike LeeThree Identical Strangers Directed by Tim WardleFirst Reformed Directed by Paul SchraderCapernaum Directed by Nadine LabakiDid You Wonder Who Fired The Gun? Directed by Travis Wilkerson24 Frames Directed by Abbas KiarostamiThe Rider Directed by Chloé Zhao Annihilation Directed by Alex GarlandHappy As Lazzaro Directed by Alice RohrwacherYou Were Never Really Here Directed by Lynne RamsaySpider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey & Rodney Rothman Widows Directed by Steve McQueenDon’t Worry He Won’t Get Far On Foot Directed by Gus Van SantMission: Impossible - Fallout Directed by Christopher McQuarrieWhite Boy Rick Directed by Yann DemangeWildlife Directed by Paul DanoUnsane Directed by Steven SoderberghRoma Directed by Alfonso Cuarón Blaze Directed by Ethan HawkeIf Beale Street Could Talk Directed by Barry JenkinsÚltimos Días En La…

Watch: ALL OF VENOM: Mashup of “All of Me” and “Venom”

Venom, the latest Marvel (anti) superhero film, limps into theatres this weekend with an unimpressive 30% on Rotten Tomatoes. However, I'm sure that won't prevent it from making boo koo bucks at the box office. What I'm more interested in is how Venom will fit into the annals of film history -- because it does!

While this isn't my first Venom mashup video (see my The Venom Drop teaser trailer), I do think that my new mashup, All Of Venom, really speaks to what Venom ultimately will be remembered for: Tom Hardy's committed physical performance and how it plays as a companion piece to the 1984 romantic fantasy comedy All of Me starring (Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin). In Venom, Hardy's character Eddie Brock gets possessed by an alien symbiote and must learn to share his host body with said being. In All of Me, Martin's character gets possessed by the soul of the recently deceased Edwina Cutwater (Tomlin) and -- yup, you guessed it -- must learn to share his ho…

#InformedImages: “Heat,” “The Dark Knight,” “Cliffhanger” and “Mission: Impossible - Fallout”

#InformedImages is a Free Cinema Now series that studies and brings to light influential films and other examples of moving images that informed and inspired specific visuals in later works.

Christopher McQuarrie's Mission: Impossible - Fallout is a triumph for the M:I franchise. Not only is it a superior sequel in the series, it's the best of the films since the original M:I entry (directed by Brian De Palma). Watching Fallout in theatres this past summer was one of the most exciting screening experiences I've had in a very long time. Each action sequence delivers the thrills and each is exceptional in their own right (from an electric HALO jump sequence to a bloody bathroom brawl in a nightclub).

Since Fallout is an important achievement in the action film canon, it is just as important to understand why this film rises above most other action films. A big part of that achievement, of course, comes from the writing, directing, editing, music and the amazing conviction tha…

Watch: "Surveillance & Police States in Night of the Living Dead"

One of the enduring traits of the video essay genre is its invitation to revisit films that -- in all other instances -- have been exhaustively talked about, studied or celebrated and still be able to find new enlightenment in them. Caleb Hutchinson's video essay Surveillance & Police States in Night of the Living Dead covers some big ideas (political upheaval, societal unrest and ecosystems, etc.) within its modest three-minute running time. Hutchinson is working on a parallel of plane of thought to George Romero's iconic Night of the Living Dead and it's fitting that both Romero and Hutchinson subtly instigate so much (inside the viewer) with so little (as far as production resources go).

Enough from me. Go ahead and watch for yourself.

#FreeCinemaNow Moves From Chicago To Los Angeles

Some personal news here. For those who don't follow me on social media: I recently made the move from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California in early April. The move was spurred by a new daytime television job with CBS, following my previous three seasons with NBCUniversal and Endemol Shine North America. That is why this site hasn't had any new content since late March. As you can imagine, it's been a very busy -- and sometimes stressful -- transition but it's all for a bigger purpose. 
Now that I'm a little more settled into Hollywood, my plan is to continue creating both written and moving image content for this site (especially for my #InformedImages video essay series). I also plan to take my DIY Chicago video art aestheticism and embed it into the scene here in Los Angeles. I think it's time to bring that street flavor to west coast...
Anyways, that's it for now. More soon!
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Note: that image at the top is from one of the great Los Angeles-set …

Mashup Trailer: Sweet Baadassss Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Last year's Roman J. Israel, Esq., starring legendary screen actor Denzel Washington, was one of 2017's significant cinematic disappointments. Considering director Dan Gilroy's impressive directorial debut Nightcrawler (starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Riz Ahmed), Roman was more than just textbook "sophomore slump" material, it was a perplexing exercise that kept viewers asking themselves, "What am I watching?" and "What were the filmmakers thinking?"

Roman told the story (I guess) of an idealistic lawyer (Washington) who gets in over his head once he takes over a hostile criminal case from his late mentor and boss...but already I'm making the film sound much more interesting and exciting than it really is. Colin Farrell co-stars as a hot shot attorney and marginal friend to our protagonist but he's underused in the role. As I reflected on the dud that this movie is, not the mention how it unbelievably scored Washington a Best Actor Oscar …