Ah, Transformers. Love the franchise or hate it, there’s something to be said about mindless action that provides a sense of levity. I’m not going to lie, the Transformers films aren’t perfect by any means; in fact, looking at them through the lens of a critic, most of them are downright awful. But Michael Bay couldn’t care less about what you think, and that’s what makes them so much fun. There are some films you can tell right off the bat everyone involved is making the film for nothing more than the paycheck, or don’t understand the nature of the product they’re delivering. Neither can be said for Bay (or Mark Wahlberg, for that matter), who knows what he likes and puts every last ounce of that passion into these silly movies about alien robots and their love/hate relationship with Earth and the humans who occupy it. Read Full Review
What is a hero? Merriam-Webster defines it as: a) a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability; b) an illustrious warrior; c) a person admired for achievements and noble qualities; and d) one who shows great courage. While everyone is focused on a fictional female superhero that can certainly be defined by both a and b definitions, we seem to sometimes forget about those noble heroes that highlight the c and d definitions. One such hero, Megan Leavey, isn’t all flash and brute force like one Diana Prince, but as a veteran of the armed forces who served in Iraq as a K9 handler, what she lacks in god-like powers, Megan makes up for in courage and fortitude. Read Full Review
There aren’t a lot of movies out there that leave me without a lot to say. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is one of those. It sits in a weird pocket of enjoyment and confusion, where it’s difficult to put my thoughts into words. On one level, it’s a cute movie that kids will no doubt love for its joviality and simple message. But in some ways, that’s exactly why it fails to capture your attention for more than two minutes at a time, turning what could have been a clever, subversive movie that kids of all ages could enjoy into nothing but a story your six-year-old might come up with on a hot summer day at the beach. Then again, I believe that’s the point since the entire movie is told through the juvenile minds of a couple of 1st grade boys. Read Full Review
Matt Brody, the cocky, selfish new blood protecting the beaches of Baywatch, may be well-known around the world as the “Vomit Comet” for his unfortunate mishap during an Olympic swimming event, but his portrayer, Zac Efron, is that much closer to being dubbed the “Dick Whisperer”. It’s hard to find a recent comedy Efron has been in that doesn’t involve some drawn out joke involving the male appendage. And though there are plenty of other comedians (Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill among them) that rely heavily on this body part to squeeze out comedy, it seems Efron makes sure it’s written into his contract. I’ve seen it done right in movies like “There’s Something About Mary,” where the joke itself has more importance than simple embarrassment, but when a film focuses so much time and attention on two unoriginal dick jokes that overstay their welcome well before they ever appear, something has gone horribly wrong. Read Full Review
Leaving something on the cutting room floor. The phrase has been around since the beginning of cinema, when editors would literally cut strips of film from the reel to leave lying on the floor until it was time to sweep up for the night. There are many things that would warrant a piece of dialogue or a scene be cut from a film, including shortening the length or removing unnecessary or repetitive sequences. For anyone who’s watched deleted scenes of their favorite movies, for the most part the choices the director, producer or studio make are for the better. But there are some things that are cut out that actually would have improved the film, and answered questions left, well, on the cutting room floor. Read Full Review
When Goldie Hawn first broke onto the scene in Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, she was a highly energetic performer who didn’t mind taking comedic risks. Yet compared to the majority of comedy we see today, her sensibilities were pretty conservative in their opulence. However you perceive her style, what made Hawn so funny was her maturity in how she delivered and reacted to whatever situation she might find herself in. Even if the ideas and characters around her were heightened, she was smart enough to know when to pull back on the comedy to keep it from becoming absurd.
Fast forward thirty years, where that line has moved so dramatically, comedy has become more about who can be the loudest, crudest or most abusive, pushing the limits for the sake of pushing the limits while stepping on eggshells to keep from offending any one person’s sensibilities. Amy Schumer fits comfortably in this new excessive style, specializing in laid-back crudeness that tries to be shocking but comes off as desperate. I’ll admit, Schumer is as smart a comedian as Hawn — she understands herself and her audience, expressing a subtle, knowing debasement of the world and her inconsequential place within it. This style worked well in Trainwreck, but was much more grounded in a genuine reality than Snatched, where these differing styles keep the film from finding a reliable foundation to build anything substantial. Read Full Review
For a science fiction space adventure with both a talking raccoon and a talking tree (or in this case, a talking root), it may be hard to believe it when I say I felt Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 at times felt a bit too cartoony. Let me explain. Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) aside, the original Guardians of the Galaxy was still grounded in the same Marvel realism that had been set up by all the previous films in the franchise, although with a subtle wink and vibe that differentiated it from the pack. Even if the stakes were a little over-exaggerated, it still felt as if they were part of the universe occupied by the likes of Captain America, Iron Man and Thor.
Guardians Vol. 2, however, chips away slightly at that aesthetic. Peter Quill, aka Starlord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and the rest of the ragtag team of misfits still bring the same acerbic wit and charm that we all fell in love with three years ago, and I can’t wait to see Rocket and Tony Stark bromancing it up with some sarcastic banter over a new technological marvel that will save the galaxy. But director James Gunn tends to take some of the silliness a little too far at times during this second outing, pushing the tone a bit too far into far-fetched goofiness and pulling you out of the movie, if only for a few brief moments. Read Full Review
I’m not sure if anyone’s noticed, but I’ve been all but MIA from social media for, oh, a couple of months now. There have been a couple of posts littered here and there throughout Instagram or Twitter, but I’ve been mostly silent on both Facebook and this very blog. (If you follow my movie reviews, you probably noticed a major dry spell between Rings and the recently posted The Circle!)
This absence hasn’t been because I chose to step away from social media. I still check my stats and see what everyone else is up to on a daily basis, and if I feel compelled, comment on posts and what have you. In fact, I schedule posts for all of my social media channels each week. No, the real reason I haven’t been social lately is because of work. What Have I been Up To?
What is your privacy worth to you? Would you be willing to give up your every moment of privacy if it meant nurturing world peace? Every minute of your day (except for a few minutes when using the facilities) would be recorded and stored and accessible to anyone. Not one moment, not one sentence, not one email or text or comment would be out of reach of a world ready to cannibalize and scrutinize every happy thought, every consumption of food, every last dark secret.
If you’re thinking we’re already there, you wouldn’t be completely wrong. With our current vitriolic political spectrum and the reliance of so many on social media to feel needed and important, lies and secrets are exploited to the nth degree, using every word, no matter how innocent, into a systematic war of opposing viewpoints. But The Circle, the new film based on Dave Eggers’s novel of the same the name, would have you believe that war and hostility could come to an end simply when everyone in the world becomes entirely transparent. Read Full Review
The hero of any story is the hero for one simple reason — they triumph over evil. A hero (for all intents and purposes) fights the good fight and does everything they can within the limits of their own conscience to vanquish the men and women attempting to harm good, innocent people. They are strong and they are mighty and everyone cheers for them to win. So why is it, then, that the villain of the story is much more fun to write? It’s simple.
Villains are, for the most part, more complex than any other character and the majority of them represent the id lurking in the shadows of us all, waiting to be released. What type of Villains are there?