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Archive for the 'Movie Reviews' Category

‘Everybody Wants Some!!’ And You Should Want This Film Too (Movie Review)

everybody wants some thumbI sometimes wonder how difficult it is to make something look easy. Writer/director Richard Linklater has largely specialized in putting together films that depict people acting natural enough, talking (sometimes philosophically) and occasionally involving themselves in some kind of activity. From his simpler efforts like Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight to his acclaimed epic, Boyhood, this filmmaker style has been permeating throughout his career. It applies once again to Everybody Wants Some!!, an incredibly enjoyable hangout movie, with some wonderful depth hidden just beneath the surface.

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‘I Saw The Light’ And It Was Pretty Dull (Movie Review)

i saw the light thumbA biopic like I Saw the Light feels like the result of a film that relies on a well-cast lead performance to make up for everything it lacks. With this film specifically, there is a lot that it lacks due to its unfocused nature and a misunderstanding of what it means to display the mystique of it subject. Tom Hiddleston puts his all into the role of Hank Williams, but this film has very little to offer.

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Darkness, Camera, Action! ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ (Movie Review)

Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice Movie ReviewIt seems like forever since the mighty Aaron Neuwirth wrote of the manic news that broke at San Diego Comic-Con 2013 here, which surprised the six thousand plus fans in attendance with news that the direct follow-up to the very divided Man of Steel entry would not necessarily be a solo outing, but also would include the infamous Caped Crusader, Batman.  Reports then quickly poured in that the film would also prominently feature Wonder Woman in a somewhat lead role and service as a launching pad springing viewers right into the fabled Justice League movie everyone has been asking for long before The Avengers became so wildly successful.  You remember that George Miller incarnation, don’t you?  So here we are some three years later.  I thought this day would never come.  While I was not the biggest fan of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel (review here), I wanted to come out of Tuesday’s press screening of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with a huge a$$ grin from ear-to-ear on my face.  However, before we jump the gun and talk about what really went down, let’s kick this movie review off with the quote that gave both the boys and girls in attendance within Hall H at Comic-Con 2013 instant boners. Continue reading ‘Darkness, Camera, Action! ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ (Movie Review)’

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‘Batman v Superman’ Is Gorgeous And Grim, With Little Room For Fun (Movie Review)

batman v superman thumbAt its very best, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice depicts sequences ripped straight out of an Alex Ross comic book. When at its worst, this is a cold, muscled-up film that has the feel of something written by Frank Miller, minus the irony. There is far too much on display for me to call one of the biggest superhero movie match-ups of all time bad or not worth your time, but the direction this film takes does see some of the biggest fears being realized. The story and characters fall flat in a gorgeously filmed world that, while mostly exciting, often misplaces the fun.

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‘Midnight Special’ Provides A Stunning Close Encounter With Complete Filmmaker Freedom (Movie Review)

midnight special thumbThere’s something pretty cool about seeing an indie director with a knack for human drama take on a genre film. Okay, so that applies to almost any newbie director handed the keys to a franchise, but how about one who has developed the story himself and is allowed by a studio to make such a movie completely in his own voice? Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter, Mud) has accomplished such a task with Midnight Special, a fantastic sci-fi chase movie that is undeniably a film he developed and put to screen.

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SXSW Review: Miles Ahead

SXSWCan we just give Don Cheadle all the awards right now? Miles Ahead, Cheadle’s directorial debut, which also showcases his talents as co-writer and lead actor, is a unique and moving biopic about a unique and moving individual, Miles Davis. Not satisfied to just check off the boxes of events in Davis’ life, Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda, Boogie Nights) has crafted a masterpiece of cinema, jarringly jumping around in time to show events that help the audience better understand the complexity of a troubled, but genius mind. This is a perfect blend of scenes that fold in on each other with quiet subtlety and simultaneously explode outward with grandiose vigor, mirroring the effect that the music of Miles Davis had a tendency to create. Combining all those elements with a virtuoso acting performance from Cheadle, a soundtrack that spans Davis’ long career as a musician, surprisingly adept comedy beats, tight, gripping editing, and stellar support from Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting, Big Fish) and Emayatzy Corinealdi (“Hand of God”) creates a triumphant, striking work of art. Continue reading ‘SXSW Review: Miles Ahead’

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‘Allegiant’ Fights Against Tired Ideas (Movie Review)

allegiant thumbThere is something to be said for the third film in a franchise (based on three books) that can essentially reboot itself with the same characters. While the Divergent series wasn’t over, Insurgent did leave things in a curious position. Now we are getting more answers, but while Allegiant may be an improvement over the previous entry, its ideas and concepts are bleeding together with other stories of similar ilk.

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Make A Thrilling Stop On ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ (Movie Review)

10 cloverfield lane thumbPutting aside the marketing and whatever connections made to another monster movie, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a nifty little thriller that delivers on tension and performances. Shrouding a film like this in secrecy works as an interesting experiment, but what matters is how effective it is. As a result, regardless of where this flick came from, a fine job has been done in bringing a slick sense of discovery to a very simple setup.

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‘Eye In The Sky’ Targets Tricky Subject Matter (Movie Review)

eye in the sky posterIn an age where drone warfare has become a go-to topic for many action blockbusters dabbling in societal commentary, Eye in the Sky pauses everything to go over what it means to carry out one drone mission. With a fine cast in place, director Gavin Hood manages to build plenty of tension over the course of 90 minutes where characters debate whether or not to press a button.  Working well to provide insight on the legalities of these matters, I found the level of engagement with this film to be quite high.

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The Big Short (Blu-ray Review)

the big short coverAdam McKay, the director of Anchorman and Step Brothers, has now won an Oscar for making a film that works tremendously well as a scathingly funny indictment of America’s most recent financial crisis. Here is a movie that eschews proper characters arcs in favor of being a terrifying lecture about how things went so wrong in the form of a greatly entertaining film. With an all-star cast and plenty to say, The Big Short is a big winner. Now learn how the Blu-ray stacks up.

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‘Knight Of Cups’ Is An Auteur In Overdrive (Movie Review)

knight of cups thumbIt may be more worthwhile to examine the ‘what if’ scenario of what a superhero film directed by Terrence Malick would be like, rather than try to decipher his latest feature, Knight of Cups, but I’m going for it anyway. At the risk of repeating himself to the point of self-parody, one of the most elusive auteur directors has returned with an LA odyssey that could easily be rated ‘O’ for obscure. It almost defies reason to label the film as good or bad, but depending on one’s appreciation of Malick’s style as of late, there will be varying levels of tolerance for what this film has to offer.

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‘The Wave’ Is A Successful Hollywood Disaster For Norway (Movie Review)

the wave posterIt can be tricky watching a film about a small town versus a tsunami, as it means wanting to get enough involvement with certain characters, but not feeling too manipulated. It is this kind of fine line that makes certain disaster movies work and other stumble, no matter how good the effects are. Norway’s answer to Hollywood disaster films, The Wave, makes things incredibly simple, as the focus is confidently narrow and the premise is quite understandable.

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‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot’ Has Tina Fey At Her Best (Movie Review)

whiskey tango foxtrot thumbPushing convention aside, it is great to get a comedy where smart characters actually do and say smart things. That should be simple enough, yet so many films fail to deliver. Time and time again, we watch supposedly smart characters commit the most idiotic of actions to drive a plot forward. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is a war comedy that may not push any sort of agenda very hard, but does well by its characters.

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‘London Has Fallen’ Down A Deep Hole (Movie Review)

london has fallen thumbI did not see this coming, but London Has Fallen proves to be the movie that shows what nuance Michael Bay can bring to his films by comparison. This generic and borderline offensive sequel to 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen is downright schlocky in the way it proposes to back up its $100 million budget with attempts at pro-American grace. Rather than be innovative, this is an action film that replaces any sense of wit and craft with a poor handling of action and an even worse sense of justice.

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‘Zootopia’ Presents Profound Discourse In A Fun Family Film (Movie Review)

zootopia thumbHere’s a simple claim right off the bat – Zootopia is a true triumph for Disney. The animation studio has had something of a resurgence in recent years with films such as Frozen and Big Hero 6, but Zootopia feels like an actual classic. That is high praise for the Mouse House, but the balance of humor, visuals and social commentary makes Zootpia a stupendous example of what great films can offer.

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‘Gods Of Egypt’ Goes All In On Goofiness (Movie Review)

gods of egypt thumbTo say Gods of Egypt is in a league of its own would be an understatement. This fantasy adventure, functioning as a combination of space opera an Ancient Egyptian mythology brought to life, is gloriously stupid in a way that should be fun-bad, but sadly becomes too repetitive to hold onto even that sort of acclaim. One can praise this film for having a ridiculous amount of (poor) CGI used to create a compellingly goofy original feature, but that does mean sitting for over two hours to try and enjoy it.

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‘Eddie The Eagle’ Soars A Little Higher Than Middle Ground (Movie Review)

eddie the eagle thumbThere is nothing extraordinary about Eddie the Eagle and that seems completely fitting for the film that tells the story of an earnest young man who simply had a dream. We see lots of sports movies and some approach the genre with fresh eyes, while others revel in clichés. Given the accomplishments of the real Eddie Edwards, it seems only right that the film is a success based on achieving the minimum requirements for being a rousing feature.

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‘Race’ Runs Through Jesse Owens’ Achievements And Leaps Over Deeper Meaning (Movie Review)

race 7There is nothing wrong with celebrating our heroes by recreating their legacy through film. Race is another sports biopic that delivers strong enough performances matching scenes recreating important events in history, with an ending featuring ‘wrap it up’ text over photos of the real people involved. It is simple enough to admire, but falls in the category of biopics that have little to offer other than the facts.

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