Archive for category Movies

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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Transformers – The Last Knight

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

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Movie Mayhem – Megan Leavey

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

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Movie Mayhem – Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

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

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Movie Mayhem – Baywatch

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

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Movie Mayhem – Alien: Covenant & Everything, Everything

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

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Movie Mayhem – Snatched

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

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Movie Mayhem – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

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

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