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Archive for the 'Movie Reviews' Category

‘Brigsby Bear’ Is Full Of Quirky Heart (Movie Review)

How much do you love your favorite TV show? That’s just one of the questions asked in Brigsby Bear, a quirky comedy co-written by and starring Saturday Night Live’s Kyle Mooney. Here is a film that sets up a strange premise, twists our perception and finds a way to make it all feel oh so earnest. There is a very subdued sense of humor here that goes along with the familiar indie vibe, but a level of drama that plays well into this film’s story. There’s a nice journey to watch here, and it comes with the establishment of a children’s show that calls to mind nostalgic love for what 80s entertainment for adolescents had to offer.

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SDCC 2017: World Premiere of Batman and Harley Quinn

Comic-Con 2017Warner Brothers Animation brought the entirety of the new Batman animated film Batman and Harley Quinn to show in Ballroom 20 at San Diego Comic Con this year. This event included Q&A with a panel of voice actors returning from “Batman: The Animated Series” Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester, new voices, for this production, Paget Brewster (“Criminal Minds”) and Kevin Michael Richardson (Literally a man of hundreds of voice acting credits), as well as writers Bruce Timm (“Batman: The Animated Series”) and Jim Krieg (Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox), and Director Sam Liu (“Green Lantern: The Animated Series”). The film feels perfectly like a continuation of the Batman animated TV series with a little bit more PG-13 added in. A great addition to the DC animated oeuvre by any count and likely to be a must own for fans of the animated series when it releases in August.

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Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Six Studio Films Past, Present & Future

I’ve been away on a vacation these last couple of weeks so the indie factor has gotten a tad harder to keep up with (nobody does smaller films in volume like LA!), but I have seen some studio fare and wanted to share some cinematical views.  For this particular article I’m delving into big budget flicks from recent past, present and even future to cover more of the movie spectrum and get back up to date.  Offbeat rom-coms, new spidey stories, more apes adventures, sprawling space sagas, 70mm war flicks and a little ass-kicking female action all get covered via the Encapsulated Movie Reviews that follow.  Check out the critical skinny on The Big Sick, Spider-Man: Homecoming, War For The Planet Of The Apes, Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets, Dunkirk and Atomic Blonde below. Continue reading ‘Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Six Studio Films Past, Present & Future’

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Brian Takes A Vacation With Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets (Movie Review)

ValerianMake no mistake about it two of my most treasured 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray releases, The Fifth Element and Lucy, are Luc Besson movies.  Therefore, it should come as no surprise when I tell  how excited I am to finally have seen his newest body of work, the sci-fiction feature Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets.  The film comes to us from a little studio who that has pretty much had their hands in everything as of late, Bad Moms, The Free State of Jones, The Gift, just to name a few.  Their business model behind the scenes is quite intriguing with their smorgasbord lineup of investors and partners.  Truth be told a Broadway producer friend of mine actually knows the owners too.  I guess you can say because of that I feel a personal connection to them.  Ha ha.  Digression aside, I’m excited to see them tackle an ambitious project like this, but more so because of my adoration of Besson’s work.  So buckle up folks.  We’re going to go on a magical space ride below.  This is the world seen by Valerian! Continue reading ‘Brian Takes A Vacation With Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets (Movie Review)’

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‘Valerian’ Packs An Incredible World Into One Big, Visual Rollercoaster (Movie Review)

About halfway through writer/director Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, my main thought was how I just wanted more of this. The film had not even concluded, but I had already bought so much into this sci-fi/fantasy world that I was ready to see further adventures of Valerian and Laureline. Fortunately, the film is based on a French comic from the 1960s with plenty of additional stories and Besson is a filmmaker full of imagination, with a deep investment in this series. That’s great news, as even when Valerian feels more like it’s just taking diversions for the sake of seeing more funky-looking creatures, this movie is a joy to watch.

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‘Dunkirk’ Spirals Upwards Into An Intense And Superb Experience (Movie Review)

In the time since seeing Dunkirk, writer/director Christopher Nolan’s tense World War II survival story, I’ve thought a lot about how essential the use of structure and time was to the film. Nolan played around with narrative structure in his early films such as Memento and Batman Begins. He used time as a primary narrative conceit in his previous film, Interstellar. Time is a theme that’s less talked about for the acclaimed filmmaker, compared to other noted elements in his films. For Dunkirk, time plays a critical role, as Hans Zimmer’s score literally functions as a ticking clock. Keeping structure in mind, it’s amazing how these two particular components combine to deliver such a precise film that deserves to be viewed on the biggest screen possible.
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Forgotten Friday Flick – “The Brood”

King of his own wild and wacky cinematic castle, David Cronenberg and a dissection of all the eerie early gems he embodies continues this week with an oddity about family that’s finger licking good – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  Today it’s all about the importance of kin (creepy or not!) as we explore an outing that’s thick on dread – both in tone and story.  Seems a family is being torn apart by both an unsettling doctor and some small hidden menaces in a cult driven ditty guaranteed to give you a didn’t-see-that-coming gut punch.  They may be part of your ancestral clan, but watch out for…The Brood!
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Forgotten Friday Flick – “Scanners”

We’re keeping the early creepy cinematic conundrums of Canadian auteur David Cronenberg going this week with past picture pick guaranteed to bend the mind – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  Head-trips and telepathy carnage are the order of the day as we delve into a strange story about people who use their brains to do damage.  Seems a gang of both good and bad telekinesis folks are out and about and trying to do each other in – plus anyone who gets in their way.  There’s a new breed of human weapon on the market so watch out – they call themselves…Scanners!

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Loneliness Found In ‘A Ghost Story’ (Movie Review)

Writing about A Ghost Story feels similar to deciphering the recent films from Terrence Malick. That may already sound like a nice comparison for this movie from writer/director David Lowery, but I’m getting more at the nature of these movies. How do you critique a mood? Sure, plenty of actors and filmmakers were involved in committing this story to the cinematic medium, but a careful analysis of a film so deliberate in its execution only allows for so much analysis when little time has passed after one screening. Were A Ghost Story to have a significant impact, it could be discussed more in years to come, with a better handle on what else was under the covers of this film. For now, I’ll just have to go into what I’ve initially gotten out of this atypical haunted house film.

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Baby Driver “Excel”erates From Start to Glorious Finish (Movie Review)

Okay so I’m very much late to this Baby Driver party.  Sue me.  I rectified that problem today once and for all.  When our staff’s Top 5 of the year thus far in 2017 posted here yesterday I realized something.  Pretty much everyone had Baby Driver on their lists (two even had it as their top selection), but it was nowhere to be found on mine.  Why was that?  Well it’s quite simple.  Despite having three opportunities to see it via usual press channels down here in Austin, TX I somehow managed to avoid each and every one.  That’s my bad.  Now there’s also another strike against it for me too.  I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Edgar Wright’s previous work.  I know I am in the minority and it takes a big man to admit it, but I find his Cornetto Trilogy of films to be boring.  That’s just me though.  They’re not my proverbial cup of tea.  Again, if you don’t like what I have to say, sue me.  However, I don’t want to sound like a complete jackass either as I have the utmost of respect for Wright as a filmmaker and as a person in general.  When we got the chance to interview him years ago over here he was kind as can be to us.  I was even very excited to see his take on Marvel’s Ant-Man too, but we all know the history there.  Everything happens for a reason and I believe Baby Driver is just that.  Read on… Continue reading ‘Baby Driver “Excel”erates From Start to Glorious Finish (Movie Review)’

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Forgotten Friday Flick – “Rabid”

Now that the looming task of taking on two film fests back to back has finally come to a close, it’s time to come back to an old friend that was merely on pause and not forgotten…welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  For the next few weeks we’re gonna concentrate on the early works of one of the oddest and most original auteur filmmakers working still today.  A master of fantastic visuals and askew stories that never ceases to amaze – filmmaker David Cronenberg!  Up for initial dissection this week is a terror tale that combines the director’s staple of sins of the flesh with the mass spread of a disease that can’t be named outright, but leaves the infected feeling rather…Rabid!

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The Perks Of Being A ‘Spider-Man’ (Movie Review)

There’s a sequence in the very enjoyable Spider-Man: Homecoming where Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is in pursuit of a van and taking shortcuts through the backyards of a neighborhood. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off so clearly inspired the scene that director Jon Watts (Cop Car) even shows a clip from that film playing on a TV in one of the yards. Fun fact: ska punk band Save Ferris got its name from that 80s John Hughes classic. I only mention this because the fun of this whole sequence feels like the result of the unofficial “Save Spider-Man” project that has come from Sony teaming up with Marvel Studios to produce this movie.

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‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Mixes Things Up & Spins A Fresh, New Web of Tales (Movie Review)

Spider-Man- Homecoming Movie ReviewI think I’m one of the few people in the world who liked the third Sam Raimi Spider-Man film and you better believe it that I was bummed when the fourth in the series was nixed.  However, I did also adore Andrew Garfield as the next incarnation of Spider-Man and had high hopes for how they could pull off a Sinister Six film.  Sadly both of these projects also fell by the wayside too.  While I have nothing against Tom Holland as the rebooted Spidey I just don’t like how he was shoehorned into the Civil War storyline sans backstory or anything of the sort.  What made it worse for me was his Spidey suit is completely Stark tech.  While I never really believed a high school student could make such a cool superhero costume I am just not enamored by the fact that minus the web shooters its all Stark’s creation.  So now that I have all that off my chest it’s time to digress because like it or not we have the start of yet another Spider-Man franchise dubbed Spider-Man: Homecoming.  The only difference is this time our Spidey lives in the heart of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).  Let’s talk more. Continue reading ‘‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Mixes Things Up & Spins A Fresh, New Web of Tales (Movie Review)’

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Hail Caesar In ‘War For The Planet Of The Apes’ (Movie Review)

I remember feeling fairly alone in my anticipation for 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The franchise had lain dormant since Tim Burton’s 2001 remake, and the idea of a prequel/reboot didn’t seem to build into genuine anticipation for many. Regardless, the film was a surprise hit, leading to the massive critical and financial success that was Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Now there’s War for the Planet of the Apes, a strong third chapter in a series that takes organic turns as far as the overarching story and makes another incredible case for giving serious awards attention to Andy Serkis. That in mind, his motion-capture performance as Caesar is just one of the many things that have made this iteration of Planet of the Apes so successful.

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‘Despicable Me 3’ Finds The Right Zany Balance (Movie Review)

I’ve been somewhat harsh on Illumination Entertainment over the years. With no real affinity for minions, in particular, it’s been hard to jive with their Looney Tunes-inspired antics. It’s a shame, as I like the premise for the first Despicable Me and really would have liked to have taken to it. Well, perhaps I’ve been worn down or maybe Sing was the start of a new breed of Illumination films, as I enjoyed Despicable Me 3. It may not be trying as hard to hit certain emotional beats like the first two films, but perhaps that worked in its favor. The zany antics kept me smiling, there were new, catchy Pharrell songs to be heard and best of all, I was amused by the minions this time.

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LA Film Festival 2017 – Best Of Fest ‘Wrap Up’

While a cinematic calm has come over the recent LA Film Festival 2017, there’s still some final thoughts for us here at WhySoBlu.com.  Amidst the gems and duds reviewed there were a few special notables that require a secondary shout out as being stellar damn fine film contributions.  So as is standard with any cool fest coverage for a finale we’re highlighting those who stood and let their movie moves wash over us like a smooth silky cinematic wave.  Stand and be recognized for the genius you embody (and we appreciate you!) – here are our picks of the….

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And The Feel Good Movie of the Year Award Goes to ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ (Movie Review)

Considering that both Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes were two of my favorite films in the years they came out I felt confident War for the Planet of the Apes is set up for success.  After all, how could it not be under the studious care of Matt Reeves in the director’s chair once again?  That’s what you call a rhetorical question ladies and gentlemen.  This final chapter in the trilogy is both an emotional rollercoaster and cinematic event not to be missed.  I could go on and on about how much adoration I have this one, but to do so would kind of be like putting the cart in front of the horse in this review proverbially speaking.  So let’s back up, take it slow and ease into this review by covering all the who’s who in War for the Planet of the Apes, the third installment thus far in the Planet of the Apes reboot series.  What say you?  I’m ready to get this war started! Continue reading ‘And The Feel Good Movie of the Year Award Goes to ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ (Movie Review)’

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‘Baby Driver’ And The Beats (Movie Review)

There was really no world where I wasn’t going to enjoy Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver. As a filmmaker, Wright speaks a cinematic language that I quickly picked up back with Spaced and Shaun of the Dead. Like his other films, Baby Driver takes a central concept, strips other movies for parts, and builds a Frankenstein monster of a finished product that is so wonderful to watch it’s scary. In this case, we have a car chase/heist movie that also happens to be a musical. However, Baby Driver is not a musical in a traditional sense. Music informs the film in a way that allows for a great sense of rhythm to play throughout this fun ride.

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