Archive for the 'Movie Reviews' Category

Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Six New Indie Titles

Some wild and fancy free flicks out this week as far as indie film outings go – a diverse trip indeed.  Movies about the chaotic world of schizophrenia, a candid doc on a singing superstar, a second horror helping about the dangers of extreme haunts, a comedy about being yourself, a tale of switching genders and a singing ode to the union movement all get covered cinematically via this edition of Encapsulated Movie Reviews.  Check out the critical skinny on Elizabeth Blue, Gaga: Five Foot Two, The Houses October Built 2, The Tiger Hunter, Second Nature and Footnotes all below!

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Minor Victory For ‘Battle Of The Sexes’ (Movie Review)

There are times when certain films acquire a different sort of position thanks to an altered context within the present. Hidden Figures felt like a movie that gained a lot of steam last winter thanks to being a positive film about black women in a time when that felt like something much needed in theaters. Battle of the Sexes feels like a movie that was being developed at one point in time but is now arriving in theaters following unexpected turns in history. That makes the crowd-pleasing elements all the more enjoyable, even if the film feels fairly paint-by-numbers, with not enough edge going beyond obvious thoughts of why certain ways of thinking are wrong.

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‘The LEGO Ninjago Movie’ Packs A Punch And Some Laughs (Movie Review)

I’ll say upfront that The LEGO Ninjago Movie is a fun blend of action and comedy. Of the three theatrical films in the LEGO cinematic universe so far, this is the most kid-friendly, as far as the scale of which side a majority of the jokes/visuals lean on. However, it should also be noted that Ninjago is the least of the three films in this moneymaking series. Given the surprising amount of emotional resonance in the prior two films, let alone the excellent balance of humor to please both adults and children, I may have had fun again, but I hope the continuation of this LEGO series finds a way to hold onto what made these films work best.

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The Year of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” Continues In Kingsman: The Golden Circle (Movie Review)

The Kingsman Golden Circle Movie ReviewFirst there was Matthew Vaughn and Mark Millar’s Kick-Ass in 2010 and then there was Kingsman: The Secret Service (Aaron Neuwirth’s review of it all here and mine) in 2014.  Needless to say I’m a big fan of both.   Now we have a September 22nd sequel titled Kingsman: The Golden Circle.  This is one film I can’t say enough good things about way before I even sat my butt down in the press screening’s theater seat this past week.  You see I was one of the lucky ones to be able to attend the Hall H Comic-Con panel in San Diego for this action spy flick this past July (see Jordan Grout’s coverage of it all here).  Not only did I get a unique tuxedo t-shirt and a rad Kingsman spinner, but I also witnessed the entire opening sequence, which is quite breathtaking, and two awesome clips that whet my appetite greater than the thought of Red Robin’s steak fries covered in that yummy sodium laced seasoning of theirs.  You picking up what I’m dropping?  While Kingsman: The Golden Circle may not include the exotic mummy, Sofia Boutella, this time around (for obvious reasons) it does have one hell of an all-star studded lineup.  If you choose to accept this mission, then let me fill you in on everything below. Continue reading ‘The Year of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” Continues In Kingsman: The Golden Circle (Movie Review)’


Kingsman Royale (Movie Review)

2015’s Kingsman: The Secret Service was a sleeper hit that reveled in being a Roger Moore-era Bond flick wrapped in modern sensibilities and kinetic, R-rated violence. Kingsman: The Golden Circle is less successful because it feels more like an attempt to hold onto what emotional strengths worked the first time around. Perhaps if this movie came after a more standalone second entry, the connection could have felt more beneficial. Regardless, there is still a lot of good fun to have in a film that serves as a globetrotting spy movie homage, complete with gadgets, robodogs, and a maniacal villain holding the world hostage.

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Forgotten Friday Flick – “Let It Ride”

What the world needs now is love, sweet lov….wait, forget that!  What it needs is a good comedy to keep the spirits up and this week’s selection doubles down on the funny film stuff – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  Today we’re checking out hidden gem that not only is rolling in laughs, but dough as well.  Seems a down on his luck gambler is provided with an opportunity to finally make good – if he can swim through the sea of money grubbing sharks along the way.  Betting big, winning big and contemplating what to do next – Let It Ride!

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Nothing Will Prepare You For ‘Mother!’ (Movie Review)

It is amazing that a gonzo film like Mother! exists. That doesn’t take away from the many weird movies that are out there, some heralded as masterpieces, but Mother! is not some indie debut or the product of a decade continually spewing out originality. Here is a film full of A-list talent, produced by a major studio and opening on over 2,000 screens for audiences to experience. I have no doubt the film will serve as an endurance test for many, but that does not take away from the achievement of this movie. Writer/director Darren Aronofsky has made an incredible piece of work that is somehow being pushed as a mainstream horror movie. Audiences may not be ready for what they get, but Mother! is here to mess with everyone’s head.

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Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Five New Indie Titles

This is why I adore about indie outings – no matter if there are any studio movies being released or not there are always a slew of smaller flicks on a regular basis a film fan can count on to keep the cinematic good times rolling.  No exception this week either as docs, features and genre movies alike hit hard and here all get their lesser known film fare dissection due.  From tales of man vs. machine in a closed space and the dangers of spending time in abandoned dark spaces to docs on everything from surviving World War II, tragic big game hunting and rats, we’re checking out what the indie scene has to offer this week via Encapsulated Movie Reviews.  Check out the short opinions on Infinity Chamber, Red Trees, Trophy, Against The Night and Rat Film below!

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‘Brad’s Status’ Update: Fine (Movie Review)

There’s a point in Brad’s Status where Ben Stiller’s character is called out for what he considers to be his stumbling blocks in life. He’s told he falls under white, male privilege, with first-class problems. There’s no doubt Brad is an entitled character who spends the film providing voiceover about how his respectable, decent life is not sufficient. The key to this film’s enjoyment comes from just how writer/director Mike White configures the story to comment on how obviously oblivious Brad is to everything that he has going for him. Plenty of small comedy-dramas seem to find (white, male) directors pouring their hearts out on the screen when it comes to exploring their dissatisfaction. Brad’s Status does just enough to not make it sound like too much whining.

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‘American Assassin’ and Other Tired Ideas (Movie Review)

American Assassin is a film so aggressively mediocre that it actually comes off worse as a result. Based off one of the many novels from a series by Vince Flynn, it somehow took four screenwriters to put together this story of a black ops recruit with attitude. Not that the actors involved are not game to play along, but a scene chewing Michael Keaton only goes so far in a film that comes up lacking in the way of action filmmaking and uses phrases like “stolen Russian plutonium” to supposedly generate excitement. This movie is a relic from another era of action films, and the self-seriousness only hurts this initial entry in what could amount to a terrifically bland series of films, given the types of stories being told.

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Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Four New Indie Titles

A handful of indie films dissected this week to offer a little counterprogramming to a killer clown that will definitely dominate the weekend box office.  A murder mystery set in 19th century London, a tale of past memories coming back to haunt, a troubled teen forced to count on an absentee father and a sci-fi tale where perfect genetically engineered humans become suddenly flawed all make up the films covered in this edition of Encapsulated Movie Reviews.  See the critical opinions of The Limehouse Golem, Rememory, Jesus and Beyond The Trek all below!

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Get Over ‘It’ (Movie Review)

There’s a lot of anticipation out there for It, the best-selling horror novel by Stephen King that doubles as a pronoun-based nightmare for writers explaining the story. It’s understandable, as so much iconography has come out of this novel, let alone various forms of media devoted to tales of children dealing with trauma in different forms. Now, 2017’s It doubles as the first cinematic attempt to bring this story to the big screen, as well as a kind of nostalgia for King fans and those who have been primed over the years with movies and TV shows from Donnie Darko to Stranger Things. The problem is, this film can only go so far since it chooses to do little more than crank up the volume when it’s time to be scary.

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I Loved IT! (Movie Review)

I wish I could be cool and say I love Stephen King’s 1986 novel IT.  The truth is I’d be lying.  Not only did I never read it but nor have I ever seen the 1990 network television miniseries either.  I know.  I suck.  It goes unsaid that I lived a very sheltered childhood up in Cleveland, Ohio.  Thank goodness I left there five years ago and grew into the responsible young adult you all know and love now.  So let’s fast forward some 30 years here since the book first came out and now IT receives a modernized (so to speak as still set in the 80’s) adaption on the big screen.  It’s actually part of something bigger too as this American Rated-R horror film is just the first installment of a planned two parts.  You had me at Rated-R.  Let’s take a closer look down below at what IT (also known as IT: Part 1 – The Loser’s Club) is all about.  Join me down below and you’ll float too.  I’m just saying. Continue reading ‘I Loved IT! (Movie Review)’


Forgotten Friday Flick – “Up The Creek”

Since summer is almost at an end we’re veering into past wet and wild comedy territory as a last hilarious hoorah to celebrate the end the sunny cinematic season – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  This week features an 80’s outing complete with charismatic cads and lusty ladies that also throws a great deal of slapstick and sun in for good measure.  Seems some unscholarly unsavory types are chosen by their university to compete in a local rafting race and win – and it’s not a request.  Dangerous rapids, cute co-eds, smart dogs, flying banana splits and crows that just won’t shut up make up this shameful blending of Animal House and Porky’s.  (And that’s just the cast!)  They may have passion, perseverance and even paddles, but these hapless gents are still…Up The Creek!

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Remastered ‘Close Encounters’ Continues To Deliver The Ultimate In Spielberg Wonder

Close Encounters of the Third Kind is important. It means something. The real wonder of this 1977 sci-fi classic persists to this day, capturing the imagination of many over the last 40 years. Now the film has been restored and remastered in 4K with a one-week re-release that will hopefully bring many back to the theater to see Close Encounters again, let alone inspire newcomers to take in a film so special to many.



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Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Seven New Indie Titles

An interesting mix of smaller movie notables this time out (T2-3D aside!) with a few films from previous weeks that I just saw in my humble effort to keep the all ardent cinefiles up to date.  (Plus the empty month of August sure has some slim pickins!)  Killer robots from the future now in 4K and 3D, comedies about the sanctity of marriage, tales of CIA ‘unlockers” of info, the tough road becoming a classical ballerina, a book that does your killing billing, alien abductions via found footage and second helping hockey comedies all make up the flicks in this edition of Encapsulated Movie Reviews.  Check out the short critical views on Terminator 2: Judgment Day 3D, I Do…Until I Don’t, Unlocked, Polina, Death Note, Phoenix Forgotten and Goon: Last of the Enforcers below.

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Forgotten Friday Flick – “Ruthless People”

With the consensus on last week’s past picture selection featuring the wacky wares of the jerky Judge Reinhold being positive, why not keep his everyman appeal going by saluting even more of his meaty comical fare – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  This week it’s time to get down and dirty for a black comedy filled with lust, laughs and ludicrous lads and ladies abound.  Seems a high-class woman has been kidnapped and her rich husband will do anything NOT to get her back – a modern marriage to truly admire!  Scheming millionaires, shrill housewives, honest electronics salesmen, fashion designers turned criminals, wide-eyed serial killers, two timing mistresses and the stupidest person on the face of the earth are all in their own way…Ruthless People!

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Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Three New Indie Titles

Only a trio of indie items cinematically covered this week, but as my movie loving Dad always says some is better than none.  (Even flawed flicks should have their dissection day!)  Family holidays gone awry, what happens after the honeymoon is long over and kidnapping the wrong person all fill the movie void as far as smaller film fare goes. Check out the Encapsulated Movie Reviews of Red Christmas, After Love and House On Willow Street below!


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