Archive for category Movies

Movie Mayhem – mother!

I’m not quite sure what to make of Darren Aronofsky’s mother!. On the one hand, I was intrigued by what the writer/director was attempting to do and how he navigated the first half (or two-thirds) of the film. On the other hand, the last third is so bizarre and so disjointed and removed from all semblance of sanity, it’s hard to understand the point of the whole thing. To say the end comes out of left field would be an understatement; it felt like an abandoned child who appears out of nowhere and claims to be related to someone who just won the lottery. Aronofsky has the right to make whatever movie he likes, and he certainly has pushed the boundaries over the years with bizarre, sometimes sickening character studies. This time, though, he may have gone a bit too deep into his own head where he wasn’t quite able to find his way back from the edge of his own self-indulgences. Read Full Review

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Movie Mayhem – Home Again

Back in the early 2000s, Reese Witherspoon was the go-to girl-next-door. She was adorable sweetness wrapped in a fun, lovable piñata of joy. Her rise to fame was quick, beginning in the late nineties and culminating in 2001 with her breakout film, Legally Blonde. For several years more years, she starred in a number of fun, lightweight romantic comedies with a few dramatic parts thrown in for good measure. But as fame tends to do when actors grow older — and new rising starlets started to take roles she normally would have secured — Witherspoon fell off the blockbuster map for several years, occasionally appearing in mediocre Hollywood tripe or small indie films where she could show off her Oscar-worthy talents.

As she continued to become yesterday’s news in Hollywood’s eyes, many probably forgot how lovely she is when she’s allowed to blossom with the right material. Enter Nancy Meyers, who also found some great success in the early twenty-first century as a writer, director and producer with romantic dramedies. Now, with the help of her daughter, Hallie Meyers-Shyer, who wrote and directed Home Again, the two romantic stalwarts have teamed to bring together a fun, lighthearted romantic comedy that does everything it’s supposed to do while never taking itself too seriously. Read Full Review

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Movie Mayhem – Leap!

The one thing animation studios must do in order to give their characters life is create emotion within the eyes of those characters. It’s not easy to do; even some real-life actors are incapable of producing any type of energy within their facial features. But they say the eyes are the window to the soul, and if you aren’t able to capture that essence, audiences are unable to connect with the character because they feel fake. And giving them a strong voice doesn’t help if their eyes feel like glass, or the features in their face don’t allow for strong, true emotion. This is the main problem with Leap!, a new animated film distributed by The Weinstein Company — no matter how fun the movie may be, it grows bland because the characters all feel too plastic. Read Full Review

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Movie Mayhem – The Hitman’s Bodyguard

If they were to accurately title The Hitman’s Bodyguard, it would actually be called The Hitman and His Bodyguard. By making the title possessive, as they do, you would assume the focus of the film would be on bodyguard as opposed to the hitman, and though the bodyguard does have the stronger character arc, director Patrick Hughes tends to steer focus away from Ryan Reynolds’ Michael Bryce (aka the bodyguard) and onto Samuel L. Jackson’s Darius Kincaid (aka the hitman). It makes sense; Kincaid is the funner character, and this is a buddy action comedy reminiscent of eighties action comedies (a little Lethal Weapon meets Midnight Run), so by keeping the two characters equals in the title would have given a better sense of the film from the get-go. Read Full Review

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Movie Mayhem – The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature

I am part of the problem. What problem? The overabundance of sequels, prequels, retreads, reboots, spinoffs and the Hollywood assembly line. I wrote a speech for a class in college denouncing sequels and their brethren, claiming we should get rid of them all but confessing my own culpability in keeping them alive by continuing to feed the beast with the purchasing of tickets. I can hide under the guise of being a movie critic, but unlike professional critics, I don’t get paid to see every movie that’s released, which means every choice I make when it comes to movies is of my own volition. At the same time, you never know when you’ll find a real gem of a film. There are plenty of sequels that build on the original story, add to the lore and give a sense of closure in some areas — sequels that give us more than we thought we wanted. On the flip side, there are films like The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature, a sequel to a forgettable throw-away animated film that does nothing to enhance anything but the studio’s bottom line. Read Full Review

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Movie Mayhem – The Dark Tower

Ever since Stephen King published Carrie in 1974, movie studios and producers have been clamoring to adapt his work to the big screen (the first remake of Carrie being in 1976), making King one of the most adapted authors of all time. But with this gluttony of films, it’s inevitable that there would be just as many duds as there are masterpieces. For every Carrie, Misery, Stand By Me, or Shawshank Redemption, there’s a Needful Things, Maximum Overdrive, Dreamcatcher and Thinner. Now, with two adaptations coming out in consecutive months (and two television series based on his work currently on the air), we’re getting to see that dichotomy unfold on a compressed timeline. Previews for the newest adaptation of It look incredible, so it’s only fitting that The Dark Tower fails to live up to King’s sprawling opus. Read Full Review

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Movie Mayhem – Atomic Blonde

There’s a lot to like about Atomic Blonde: James McAvoy draws you in with every wry smirk; Charlize Theron is magnetic as ever; and the action sequences blow away the competition. One scene in particular that bridges the second act into the third is a remarkable cinematic achievement. Filmed in one fluid uncut shot that lasts for at least ten minutes, the scene gets almost everything right, from the pace to the effects, adding in some brutal stunts and realism for good measure. By the end of this crazy ballet, Lorraine Broughton (Theron) is bruised, bloody, but most importantly (and unlike any action movie has ever done to portray their hero), winded and exhausted. It’s a scene that’s worth the price of admission. Unfortunately, that’s all this movie has going for it. Read Full Review

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Movie Mayhem – Dunkirk

Over the last couple of decades, Christopher Nolan has become one of the most unique directors in the industry. As aging stalwarts like Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, and Ron Howard have shown some creative fatigue, so-to-speak, Nolan’s river of inventiveness continues to flow through original stories heightened by ingenuity, incredible acting and mind-bending ideas that never fail to capture your imagination. Having Nolan’s name on a film all but guarantees quality — there’s a high level of excitement in seeing what’s next. So you can understand how much it pains me to say that with Dunkirk, Nolan’s new World War II drama, Nolan seems to have finally shown some cracks in his prolific armor. Read Full Review

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Movie Mayhem – War for the Planet of the Apes

One of the biggest twists in film history is at the end of the original 1968 classic, Planet of the Apes, when Charlton Heston’s George Taylor discovers that he was on Earth the entire time after coming upon the broken, worn Statue of Liberty. Not so long ago, Twentieth Century Fox planted the seeds of that iconic reveal for the basis of what can only be deemed a modern classic, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, creating an origin story that allowed for the natural birth of a more intelligent ape species that also led to a devastating virus that eventually wiped out the majority of the human population, all while delivering a realistic vision of apes through motion capture technology and performances that generated true emotion. Six years later, the geniuses at Weta Digital continue to use these great performances to create their own fully-realized characters in War for the Planet of the Apes, the third chapter in the rebooted franchise. Read Full Review

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Movie Mayhem – Spider-Man: Homecoming

Before we begin, I would like to report that Michael Keaton has ditched his old DC stomping grounds to sail the high seas in the SS Marvel, once again donning wings, this time as a desperate father who leaves his day job as a construction clean-up foreman to become a bird man who collects alien tech so he can sell custom-made weapons to spite the heroes who all but took his livelihood.

This semi-meta description lays the foundation for what Spider-Man: Homecoming, the newest entry to the unstoppable Marvel Universe, does so well. Sony made a wise decision when they chose to share custody of one of the most famous Marvel Comic characters, allowing him to become part of one of the most lucrative and beloved film franchises in history. As a non-origin origin story, the two producing titans offer up a fun, inventive story with a set of brand new characters that hold their own against the ones we know and love. Read Full Review

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