Damien Chazelle’s FIRST MAN is a grueling, and realistic look at the effects of heroism and the pressure that it places on those who choose to do it, not because it is easy, but because it is hard.
TEEN TITANS GO! TO THE MOVIES, from directors Aaron Horvath and Peter Rida Michail, takes the beloved Teen Titans Go! TV series and gives it the animated cinematic experience fans have been waiting for. The film stars the original cast from the TV series which includes Scott Menville as Robin, Khary Payton as Cyborg, Tara Strong as Raven, Hynden Walch as Starfire, and Greg Cipes as Beast Boy. Additionally, Will Arnett, Kristen Bell, and Nicolas Cage lend their voices to this superhero infused animated film.
TOMB RAIDER, the lastest film from Roar Uthaug (The Wave), is an action-packed adventure that shows both Lara Croft’s fierce determination, strength, and heart. It’s a film that doesn’t undermine the character of Croft with overly revealing outfits, mansplaining, or useless romantic interludes. Instead it shows how she rises to become the Lara Croft we all have come to love and respect while still showing a vulnerability in her ever increasing strength and badassery. The film stars Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) as Lara Croft, along with Dominic West (“The Wire”), Walton Goggins (“Justified”), Daniel Wu (“Into the Badlands”), and Kristin Scott Thomas (Darkest Hour).
Welcome witches and warlocks,
Today I will be reviewing the science fiction opera STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (2017) by writer/director Rian Johnson. To best describe the story, I will turn to the IMDB plot summary:
"Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares for battle with the First Order."
Let me preface this review by saying that I am not a big comic book fan like most of those that watch these films. I think it's important to know that I'm not approaching this review knowing the delicate intricacies of these characters; rather I watched the film as an avid fan of movies and a constant filmmaker. I suppose that, in itself, gives me a critical eye when watching films. In truth though, I love the superhero movies that have been released in the last five years or so. Taking into consideration that these are superhero movies, they seem to be consistently made bigger and bigger which I suppose there in lies the fun in movies such as these.
WALKING OUT, the latest film from directors Alex Smith (The Slaughter Rule) and Andrew J. Smith (The Slaughter Rule), is a survival tale told through the lens of a father and son who encounter a brutal attack in the wilderness. The film stars Matt Bomer (The Normal Heart), Josh Wiggins (Max) and Bill Pullman (Independence Day).
When Independence Day was released in 1996, it truly felt like an event that everyone had to attend. The idea of aliens arriving on Earth was nothing new, but giving it the disaster movie treatment was all we needed to create a summer blockbuster that's left a rather large impact on pop culture. What elevated the first film wasn't just the jaw dropping special effects at the time or having a superstar lead like Will Smith attached, but the fact the movie also had a charm to it. There was something for everyone and everyone could see themselves in it. The cast was diverse and promoted a story of everyone coming together and put aside our differences for survival. Then there was the humor and wit that came with to help ease any tension of the onscreen violence. This is everything that GEOSTORM lacks.
Welcome witches and warlocks,
Today I will be reviewing the war/thriller DUNKIRK (2017) by writer/director Christopher Nolan. To best describe the story, I will turn to the IMDB plot summary:
"Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II."
The 4K home video releases that have been churning out over lately are a mixed bag. There are some that I’ve upgraded, spent the extra money and didn’t see a difference. Then, there’s the gorgeous Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children that was probably the most stimulating visual home video experience. This DC universe has also been a bit of a letdown as now I simply can now just see more of the grain effect used in many of Zach Snyder’s films. Luckily, that trend stops here with the most welcome superhero surprise in Patty Jenkins’ WONDER WOMAN.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 is directed and written by James Gunn. The original cast returns starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker with Vin Diesel as the voice of Baby Groot and Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket. In this new chapter, the Guardians of the Galaxy must once again work together to fight the evil beings of the universe while learning how to be a family and unraveling the mystery of Peter's (Star Lord) father, Ego (Kurt Russell).
What makes an action film? Explosions, bullets, muscly dudes, big vehicles, more explosions and of course, the total babe that the most muscly dude of all saves at the end of the film, right? Well, sometimes, but if there's one thing that no action film can survive without it's a basic story that we, as the audience, can get behind. Explosions and really hard punches are awesome and all, but they can get tiresome (believe it or not) if we don't believe, or even care, in what our hero is trying to accomplish. Unfortunately, I don't think that Tim Smit, and the team behind this year's KILL SWITCH, got that memo.
KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD is the latest film from director Guy Ritchie that incorporates breathtaking visuals and a hypnotic score, with surprisingly sub-par acting from the leads. The film boasts an array of A-list actors that include Charlie Hunnam ("Sons of Anarchy"), Astrid Bergès-Frisbey (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides), Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes), Djimon Hounsou (Gladiator) and Eric Bana (Munich).
I love a domestic thriller and UNFORGETTABLE really delivers on that subgenre with over the top dialogue and performances to match. The Lifetime Channel has found plenty of success in pouring out TV movies about women pushed to the brink and will do what it takes to claim what is theirs. Hollywood has embraced this and found that there's money to be made. The right casting can make it all the more intriguing and seeing Katherin Heigl outside her comfort zone was pure pleasure for me.
There aren't many films that leave a lasting impression on me, especially when they were first released 20 years ago. This could partly be because I have a horrible memory but also because they aren't a lot of films that really get under your skin and nestle there for years to come. With that said, there are two films that immediately come to mind when I think back to the mid-90/early 2000s: TRAINSPOTTING and REQUIEM FOR A DREAM. I couldn't tell you where I was when I first watched either film, but I can tell you that each of those films has stayed with me since.
With the recent passing of Adam West, what better time than to watch a BATMAN movie? I received the opportunity to watch THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE for the first time and was super stoked. I love anything to do with BATMAN and I've only heard good things about this one. So, did it live up to its Batty-goodness?
Ben Affleck has been one of my favorite directors of the decade thus far, crafting masterful films such as THE TOWN and the Academy Award-winning ARGO. The actor/director had an up-and-down 2016, making bank at the box office with two films he starred in, BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE and THE ACCOUNTANT, but struggling to find success critically (though I'd argue that THE ACCOUNTANT is the most underrated movie of last year). Unfortunately, at the tail end of 2016, Affleck was responsible for another film that fared poorly, this time as a star, writer, director, and co-producer.
This past weekend I had the chance to check out the Blu-ray release of Ben Affleck’s THE ACCOUNTANT. I’m always on the fence when it comes to Affleck, even though the majority of the time, I really like what he directs and acts in (and that goes for Batman as well). Obviously, this film is not a horror one, but there is enough action, intrigue, and death to have kept me on my seat for the 2+ hour runtime. Though THE ACCOUNTANT isn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen, it still managed to captivate me while also sending a positive and heartfelt message to the viewers.