That’s right. I said it. While I have been completely disgusted by what has been transpiring with the American public these past couple days (rioting, violence, destruction) since the Inauguration there’s no doubt about it, the women very much have the power in XXX: Return of Xander Cage. Feminists cannot argue that. Without the many women players in this particular outing our titular hero would not have been the smashing success he is. You hear that feminists? Equal opportunities are everywhere in this new Paramount outing, which if you’re keeping score is the third film in this wild XXX action franchise. So now that I have my little political rant off my chest, as I too feel like a piece of meat at times, let’s talk about the good, the bad and the ugly in XXX: Return of Xander Cage. Continue reading ‘Feminists Rejoice! Xander Cage Returns! (Movie Review)’
Archive for the 'Movie Reviews' Category
On January 19th, I was able to attend the screening of the first film to be shot live and broadcast simultaneously into theaters in England and the U.S. While one would expect an experience like this to be the brain child of some indie filmmaker making his name, a new, unexpected Cloverfield movie, or some found footage experience coming out of Blumhouse Productions, it actually came from the mind of Woody Harrelson. Lost in London is the result of an idea Harrelson had for a film, following an actual experience he had in London back in 2002. As the film opens, we are told “too much of this is true” and are then off and running on a unique odyssey shot in one take, with one camera.
Keeping in tune with the current 80’s theme, but adding a little humor to the mix (I think we all need it today!) it felt like time to celebrate cinema with a little raunchy in the reels – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick! For today’s selection we’re getting rid of political correctness, throwing caution to the wind and taking a swig off a stiff one all in the name of unbridled 80’s comedy. Starring a man who went on to become an acting icon alongside an eclectic cast of misfits, deviants and malcontents, it’s the tale a small get together that turns into one of the craziest soirees in movie history. Drugs, booze, guns, fire trucks and everything that makes life worth living for – Tom Hanks may be embarrassed by it but today we hail…Bachelor Party!
There is a point in xXx: Return of Xander Cage where Vin Diesel starts wearing a giant fur coat, as if to suggest this 49-year old skater/adrenaline junkie/tattoo harvester/former spy was not cool enough for audiences already. The coat is not a huge part of the film (and thinking about it now, I’m curious if it is possible for it to even come back for a sequel), but it represents the utter ridiculousness that is this movie. With that in mind, this is also a film that embraces its ridiculousness. With all the action films that treat themselves so seriously or provide cool thrills at the expense of groups that continue to be vilified, here’s a cartoon-come-to-life that mixes bro moments with diverse fun.
The story behind McDonald’s is almost as fascinating as the world’s obsession with the McRib. The Founder is a straightforward attempt to tell that story (of the history, not the pork sandwich), with a focus on Ray Kroc, the man who turned McDonald’s into what it would come be today, for better or worse. Given what took place, the topic is ripe for a solid film, but despite a screenplay full of ideas and potential to morph into something cinematically great, the film feels undercut by fairly standard direction that takes less of a bite into the material than the customers do into their Big Macs.
Both my breakdancing and 80’s vibe are in full boogaloo swing as I continue to check out high hair flicks – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick! This week it’s all about comedy and crazy characters as we head into what can only be described as Tootsie in high school with a side of Yentl. Featuring a fed up gal who decides to see how the other sex lives, there’s plenty of laughs, love and teen debauchery (courtesy of the great Billy Jacoby!) running rampant as a very fetching female tries to be…Just One Of The Guys!
Filling in the slot for requisite January horror film, The Bye Bye Man seeks to push a new supernatural baddie on audiences and hope the thrills he brings are worthwhile. Married duo Stacy Title (director) and Jonathan Penner (writer) have put together a fast-paced thriller that brings together elements from many horror favorites, including Candyman, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween. Working with a decent budget (for horror standards), The Bye Bye Man does plenty to reward viewers on a sensory level, but it doesn’t do much with its concept to build any sort of clever mythology or engage beyond simple horror delights.
There’s going to be some major Park City film coverage taking over this month, so before I head out thought I’d leave you film fans with a quick current critical film sneak peek to tide you over. So in my very first Encapsulated Movie Reviews column of 2017 I lost some sleep and took on a whopping seven films that you can check out while I’m movie binging in Utah. A doc on family vs. religion, a heist flick by a gal who’s been making movies since she was twelve, a dark drama about disappearance, a graphic novel come to life, a suspense story told from two different perspectives and two horror tales that both scream beware of strangers – WHEW! Check out the skinny on the films An Act Of Love, Coin Heist, Claire In Motion, Bad Kids of Crestview Academy, Detour, We Are The Flesh and The Bye Bye Man all below!
Remember that 80s cartoon Monster Trucks? It was about a strange creature from underground that inhabited a kid’s truck. The monster, the kid, his girlfriend and a scientist would go on to have adventures, while G-man came after them. If this isn’t ringing a bell, it’s because I made all of that up. Not made up is this film, a live-action cartoon made for a family audience. It’s not particularly deep and it’s quite rough around the edges, but it’s also a movie we really don’t see much of these days – a live-action, PG-rated, adventure film. That doesn’t make the film’s ridiculousness inconsequential, but I also can’t say there isn’t fun to be had in this wacky concept.
It wasn’t until I completed my Christmas Eve review of Underworld on 4K Blu-ray (here) that I realized how hated the franchise was in my inner circle of confidants. I felt like a minority for the first time in my life. However, that’s not to say there aren’t fans out there because there totally are. All you have to do is look no further than the endless forums of fans proclaiming their love for the 2003 film now on 4K Ultra HD to realize there’s still a viable fanbase out there. Although I don’t think any one of them can honestly look me in the eyes without smirking and say 2012’s Awakening was the strongest of the franchise and deserved a follow-up. I would have been A-okay if that was the final nail in the coffin, but low and behold we have a new entry in the seemingly never-ending franchise, that truly lives up to its subject matter…vampires. It’s 2016 folks. Once again the new Underworld film, this time dubbed Blood Wars, sees a spectacular January release date. We all know what that means for films like these so let’s now take a look at how well it fairs down below. Continue reading ‘‘Underworld: Blood Wars’ Sucks The Final Blood Out of the Franchise (Movie Review)’
A new year begs for a new category focus and with my massive and comprehensive examination of the Miami Vice: The Complete Series DVD up this week it felt time to head back to the 80’s – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick! Going back to a decade with seemingly lighter and more out there film fare, we’re starting things off with a obtuse, but oh-so entertaining flick about a gaggle of guys who are hot to get their friend back – no matter what the cost. Filled with a notable cast, some great action and a director who at the last minute jumped ship, time to man up and dammit…Let’s Get Harry!
Currently watching Fences, a play turned movie that feels a tad stagnate, it reminds me that this week’s current stage to screen hidden gem is once again due to delight – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick! Today’s selection is a great example of how to take a former piece of theater and make it cinematic. Expanding on characters and locations, taking inspiration from real life people and matching it with the style of the controversial voice of the day are surefire signs of a movie to remember. So let’s hit the airwaves for some quick witted opinions via our humiliation loving host. He’s crass, he’s crude, but most of all he’s got ratings in the world of…Talk Radio!
This is it short review film fans – my final edition for 2016! I’m still combing the cinematic remains of year end films to possibly fill out the Top Ten list but these are the last titles I’m giving you critical skinny on. Taking on missing daughters, politicians and religion check out the Encapsulated Movie Reviews for Julieta, Miss Sloane and Silence below!
Martin Scorsese has never backed away from involving religion in his films. We’ve seen overt attempts to tackle his perception of certain topics like in The Last Temptation of Christ. There have also been instances where his characters are given extra dimensions based on their religion, like with Mean Streets. Silence is a strong push back into overt territory and he challenges himself by addressing the perils of devotion to a belief in a manner that strips him of many qualities associated with his films. The result is a bleak and solemn challenge to the audience that can expect a level of detail and committed performances, while also being placed in a troubling scenario with the characters we follow.
If Deepwater Horizon was a solid warm up for director Peter Berg earlier this year, then Patriots Day is the hit he was going for. Working to portray an intense, real life situation without exploiting it, Berg carefully balances tragedy with heroics spread through a variety of characters simply doing their job. Minus some final minutes, this is a fictional film that provides a level of entertainment based out of horrific circumstances that does not succumb to too much showiness. With strong actors and a deft touch, Patriots Day is a winning look at how Boston held strong during a time of sadness.
A colleague of mind constantly claims how studios should have at least been able to accidentally make a great video game movie at this point. Assassin’s Creed is unfortunately not the accident we’ve been waiting for. In those terms, sure there have been films of this ilk that have found success (the Resident Evil films), but it is strange that not one of the many films in this sub-genre has been able to find success on both financial and artistic terms for the majority of audiences. Given the game in question, I wouldn’t have pegged Assassin’s Creed as the one to solve this problem, but there surely could have been better choices made for this adaptation.
Why Him? is ordinarily not the kind of film I would go see in the theaters. Had it not been for two key factors I don’t think I would have gone. First it has the very irresistible and hilarious trailers on its side. That Red-band one is insane. Although I’m hoping all the funny parts were not included in said trailers. Second, there’s the nod to “from the makers of I Love You Man.” I love that comedy! So as you can see right from the get go I’m walking into Why Him? ahead in the count. Now is the moment of truth and also the chance to have fun with the title’s question mark. What did I think of Why Him? That is the question we are all pondering here, right? Why Him?
Continue reading ‘Why Him? Spreads The F-ing Holiday Cheer (Movie Review)’
The current theme of stage to screen provides a vast amount of cinematic selections so let’s get back at it with a biting flick that proudly sports saucy slang and pitch perfect performances – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick! Today we’re heading back into David Mamet (we’ve already explored House of Games film fans!) land for a poignant peek into the cutthroat world of real estate. Seems the suit and tie guys here are itching to be top of the board and are willing to go to some extreme lengths to get there. Getting good leads, always be closing and brass balls – welcome the salesmen of…Glengarry Glen Ross.