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Archive for the 'Movie Reviews' Category

‘The Boss Baby’ Deserves A Time Out (Movie Review)

He’s a boss and a baby. He’s a Boss Baby. The Boss Baby pitch meeting could not have been much simpler than that, but I guess that wouldn’t give credit to the original children’s picture book by Marla Frazee. Of course, that book is only 36 pages (and I’m sure The Bossier Baby isn’t much longer), where this DreamWorks computer-animated movie needs to fill at least 90 minutes. That was apparently a struggle and it shows. While the novelty of the premise is one thing, sitting through this entire feature didn’t exactly have me wishing for a promotion to sit even higher among the other boss babies of the world.

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Power Rangers (Movie Review)

“Power Rangers” is one of the most bizarre action films to be released in some time. Scenes are so visually and tonally inconsistent that they seem to have been directed and edited by completely different people. Sequences are repeated so often that the story never truly seems to get off the ground. The cast is likable enough, but they’re never given much to do besides look frustrated in a film that is not necessarily at war with itself, but oddly unaware of itself.

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Forgotten Friday Flick – “Starman”

With the 80’s and fine films ala John Carpenter going hand-in-hand, there’s more than enough past picture work to hail.  So let’s get to it – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  This week we’re getting a little more romantic and melancholy as we step to the side of the terror tales via the master of horror and visit a story with some surprisingly sweet sentiments in spades. It’s a fish out of water journey that fully explores what it is to be human…even if you’re an alien.  Loss, love and learning all rolled into one out of this world adventure about a few days on earth through the eyes of…Starman!

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‘Life’ Is As Tension Filled As My Own (Movie Review)

Despite loving all things sci-fi and horror Life is a movie I’ve been against ever since I saw the very first trailer on television last year.  I felt like it was such a ripoff of Alien that it did not even warrant my attention.  The one thing I could not deny was what an absolutely fantastic cast.  I have to admit that having Rebecca Ferguson (not related to Sean Ferguson by any means) made it more manageable to get me in the door.  Well that and my fiancee’s constant nagging that she was so excited for it.  She does so much for me that I have to take one for the team for her every so often.  Ha ha.  Fifty Shades Darker comes instantly to mind in that category.  LOL.  But I digress.  Today we’re here to talk about Sony/Columbia Picture’s new sci-fi picture, Life, not the Milton Bradley board game or the Venom movie spinoff. Continue reading ‘‘Life’ Is As Tension Filled As My Own (Movie Review)’

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Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Four New Indie Titles

Only a few indie outings covered this week, but the months ahead promise to be fruitful for smaller films for sure.  But in the meantime tales of war woe, odd ghost stories, revenge plans and strong women with no affinity for the almighty all make up the subjects of the four flicks in this weeks edition of Encapsulated Movie Reviews.  Check out the skinny on Frantz, Personal Shopper, Dig Two Graves and The Most Hated Woman In America below!

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‘Life’ Can Be Harsh (Movie Review)

A couple weeks before seeing man tackle Life, I was able to witness the man versus nature in Kong: Skull Island. Both films feel similar in terms of their approach and inspiration. The situations presented are not unfamiliar and the filmmakers seem happier taking advantage of the means afforded to them in playing out their wildest cinematic genre movie fantasies, rather than dwell on deep character building. As a result, while I was a bigger fan of Kong, Life also functions as a condensed thriller influenced by a variety of other movies and video games. That’s the name of the game with these younger filmmakers and this sci-fi horror show is another example of seeing how branching out from familiar territory can pay off.

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‘Power Rangers’ Is A Serious And Silly Reboot With Attitude (Movie Review)

Unsurprisingly, Power Rangers is the best film yet, as far as seeing the cinematic treatment applied to the popular kid’s action TV series. More surprising is how well this film manages to work in spite of itself. There are some terrible choices made in regards to the direction and delivery of plot. However, as a coming-of-age film that happens to end with a giant kaiju battle in broad daylight, there is something to be said for Lionsgate’s efforts to compete with the bigger studios in terms of large scale action movies.

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Meatball Machine Kodoku (SXSW Review)

This is just the kind of midnight movie I was waiting for at SXSW! Meatball Machine Kodoku has tons of ridiculous gore effects (actually 4 tons of fake blood were used on the film according to the director), an insane plot that doesn’t need to make any sense, and completely over-the-top action scenes. This is a direct sequel to 2005’s Meatball Machine from the same director, Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police), and by direct sequel I mean it shares almost the same exact plot as the original, but with better effects and a tighter plot (plot, in this case is a very loose interpretation of the term). This movie is a hilarious, blood-filled, wackily Japanese, complete crazefest of a blast! Continue reading ‘Meatball Machine Kodoku (SXSW Review)’

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Forgotten Friday Flick – “Christine”

With a slight divine diversion last week, we’re back to the past picture prowess of all things 80’s – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  Today we’re heading down the road in one good-looking car from hell guaranteed to get your cinematic wheels turning.  It’s a tasty terror tale ala one of the movie masters of suspense John Carpenter (we’re gonna be paying tribute to his work the next few weeks – deal with it!) that features an unusual relationship between a man and his…Plymouth Fury?  Obsession, jealousy and plenty of car carnage awaits when you ride shotgun inside…Christine!

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The Good, The Meh, and The Messy Films of SXSW (SXSW Review)

When a person watches 23 films over 9 days, it can be difficult to find the time to write enough about all of them. Also, with over 150 different films to choose from, it is nearly impossible to pick all winners. I have tried to cover the bigger films of the festival this year and getting those reviews out has been a priority. However, I have seen a bunch that kinda fall into this middle ground that when I sit down to write about them, I can’t really find a lot to say… and then I have to rush out to catch another film back in downtown Austin. So, I have encapsulated (if I might borrow a term from my colleague on this site) some thoughts on the more average or somewhat bad films I have seen here in this post just to put the thoughts somewhere. Continue reading ‘The Good, The Meh, and The Messy Films of SXSW (SXSW Review)’

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Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Seven New Indie Titles

Indie films stretch vastly over high and low dog ratings this week – not to mention covering the full spectrum of genres to boot!  Unlikely superheroes, ex-boyfriend and father bonding, sci-fi wackos, elder basketball star docs, horrific curses, deadly office games and damaged gals seeking revenge fill out the seven films that make up the Encapsulated Movie Reviews this week.  Check out the cinematic skinny on They Call Me Jeeg, All Nighter, Atomica, Coming Back To The Hoop, Johnny Frank Garrett’s Last Word, The Belko Experiment and Psychos below!

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The Big Sick (SXSW Review)

The Big Sick is an uproariously funny comedy that had to tread a very difficult line since a major portion of the film takes place in a hospital and has one of the major characters in a coma. A film written by and starring Kumail Nanjiani (“Silicon Valley”), directed by Michael Showalter (Wet Hot American Summer), and produced by Judd Apatow (Trainwreck) should, on those names alone, have enough buy-in to get lovers of comedy into the theater. Once in the theater, though, this movie will surprise audiences with its tenderness and heart and then leave them straining to hear lines as laughter fills the auditorium. A tone-perfect, Apatow-style rom-COM, The Big Sick will be the summer date movie that has everyone falling out of their seats.

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G-Funk (SXSW Review)

Where Straight Outta Compton showed the hard-edge, down and dirty, fighting-for-justice story of NWA, G-Funk, in a way that somewhat mirrors the musical sound itself, documents the smoother and sweeter turn that Warren G, Snoop Dogg, and Nate Dogg brought to West Coast hip-hop music in the early 90s. First time director Karam Gill and producer Warren G assembled some big musical names from the era to tell a number of entertaining stories or drop memorable lines that make the film highly entertaining and a must watch for any fan of music from that time period. The music in the background of these interviews and clips should be enough to get someone in the door, but the overall story is well crafted, with an infectiously optimistic undercurrent that stands on its own. Continue reading ‘G-Funk (SXSW Review)’

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Boyle Cooked Up Another Solid Round With The ‘Trainspotting’ Crew (Movie Review)

Say whatever you want about the reasoning, but director Danny Boyle has finally determined it was time to make his sequel to Trainspotting. While Shallow Grave was the debut for Boyle, Ewan McGregor and writer John Hodge, Trainspotting was their breakout hit from back in 1996. Now, over 20 years later, while not a direct adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s Porno, the sequel novel to his Trainspotting, we have what amounts to a mostly enjoyable check-in with the same characters. While T2 Trainspotting may not be willing enough to stick to capturing a sense of the moment like the first film, it does work best when it allows for perspective to settle in on this older crew of former junkies and criminals.

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The Full Modern Malick Effect Continues In ‘Song To Song’ (Movie Review)

It can be mean, alienating and condescending to tell something they don’t “get” a movie. Terrence Malick, a filmmaker who has gone from reclusive and rarely making films to prolific, yet still reclusive as a person, seems to be making a conscious effort to challenge the notion of understanding cinema. His recent output has maintained a level of focus in terms of key characters, but still plays as challenging works of art that feel practically like what dreams could look like on a more grounded level. Song To Song falls right in line with Knight of Cups and To The Wonder, let alone a part of the fallout that came from his magnum opus, The Tree of Life. The results are once again oblique and bound to divide audiences, but that hasn’t stopped Malick from standing as one of the most original voices currently working.

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Becoming Bond (SXSW Review)

Becoming Bond is a funny and intriguing blend of documentary and reenactment based around the story of the one-time James Bond, George Lazenby. The story is told by Lazenby in interview and some parts are filled in with actors in the style of the television series “Drunk History” to add some visual comedy to these over-the-top tales. The film succeeds at both helping to clear up the rumors behind what led to Lazenby only playing the iconic role in a single film and being a kind of origin story of the man himself as he retells nearly his entire life in amazing detail and honesty. Being a Bond fan is not a prerequisite for having a blast with this film, which will be on Hulu later this year. Continue reading ‘Becoming Bond (SXSW Review)’

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‘Beauty And The Beast’ Has Humans Again, But Only Adds So Much (Movie Review)

With Disney currently raking in enough piles of money to put Scrooge McDuck’s Money Bin to shame, it seemed like only a matter of time before audiences would get a live-action re-imagining of one of their modern classics. Beauty and the Beast is special for many and it represents a high water mark for the Disney Renaissance. Given how well the live-action remakes of The Jungle Book and Cinderella turned out, one could justify the existence of this latest film quite easily. However, the reverence for this relatively recent (1991) classic seems to have been part of its own undoing. While confidently made and enjoyable enough, this beast seems to have little going on underneath the surface.

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Free Fire (SXSW Review)

Having only seen one of director Ben Wheatley’s (Kill List) films before, I had a distinct skepticism about the idea of waiting in line for his next release, Free Fire. The premise of a gun deal gone wrong didn’t really promise much in the way of depth and I knew from his previous work that he had a talent for veering off in completely unnecessary directions in his films, leaving them a disappointment. This film is not a disappointment. It is a tightly directed, charming, funny, and playful action comedy with a great cast and superb sound mixing that remains completely entertaining all the way up to the end. Continue reading ‘Free Fire (SXSW Review)’

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