Archive for category Movies
Way back in 2008, Liam Neeson did what very few actors over the age of fifty are capable of doing — after crafting a healthy career in dramatic leading roles, Neeson became a legitimate action star with a particular set of skills. He had been steadily moving in that direction for a few years prior (with roles in Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Batman Begins), but it wasn’t until Bryan Mills first sought vengeance on those who kidnapped his daughter that he was able to move away from the “stoic mentor” and parlay his path into a tremendous new audience that wholly embraced him as an action icon. The only question was, how long would it last before Neeson (and audiences) got burned out? With Cold Pursuit opening this weekend, we finally have our answer, as I don’t know if I have ever before seen a movie so bored with its star, its premise, or itself.Read Full Review
Some movies are great; they captivate your mind, heart and soul. Something about them viscerally connects with you; all of the elements fall into place so perfectly, it’s hard to criticize them for anything. Other movies are terrible; nothing about them is genuine. They’re sloppily made with poor direction and acting, or have a poorly executed story and pace, making them simply boring with nothing much to say. Still others, like the new cartel actioner, Miss Bala, fall somewhere in between; not special enough to sing its praises, but not bad enough to complain about.Read Full Review
The story is as old as time: someone ordinary, going through the motions of a mundane life, suddenly discovers he’s extraordinary and is the only person who can stop an impending evil from destroying the world. One reason this scenario is timeless is because it’s a fantasy everyone shares on some level. At one point or another, we all hope one day we’ll find our true purpose in this world, so the idea resonates on a subconscious level. The Kid Who Would Be King clearly knows this, going out of their way to mention other books and films that have done this very thing — Star Wars and Harry Potter, to name just a couple — and mixes the idea with the legend of King Arthur, a young orphan who became king when he pulled a sword from a stone.Read Full Review
When a comedian starts out in the industry, their main goal is to make people laugh. But, just as any other profession, that can only last so long before they start to want more. Doing the same thing over and over can become labored; the soul needs more than simple repetition. This is one reason a lot of comedians at some point in their careers slowly begin to work their way into dramatic roles. Some fail to find a way to successfully transition (Will Farrell comes to mind), while others have incredibly long careers because of it (see: Tom Hanks, Robin Williams and most recently, Steve Carell, to name a few). It doesn’t mean they’ve lost touch with their comedic roots, it’s simply their way of widening their audience, and on a personal level, growing into a better performer. In The Upside, Kevin Hart becomes the newest comedian to step foot across the aisle into drama, and he’s given the perfect mentor to seamlessly make that transition.Read Full Review
As with any other year, 2018 saw a slew of both good and bad films, however, some films that may appear on other critics’s lists may not appear here, either because I didn’t like it as much as them, I didn’t get a chance to see it, or it was a Netflix exclusive, as I can be more selective with my choices. That doesn’t mean I didn’t see plenty of mediocre films that deserve to be part of the worst, however, the scales were a little imbalanced this year. I saw 125 movies, 61 of which scored an A- or higher (which is pretty much in line with past years), while only 10 scored a C+ or below.
As I point out every year, this list is compiled of only movies I saw from January 1 to December 31 (with the exception of Mary Poppins Returns, which I saw in the first week of 2019, but prior to compiling this list). With that said, here are my picks for the best and worst of 2018!Read Full List
There’s a mid-credits scene in Vice that writer/director Adam McKay deliberately uses to get out in front of those who will say his new politically polarizing film is nothing but biased propaganda. In the scene, a member of a focus group questions the film for being biased, in which another member retorts that it’s based on facts. This eventually leads the ignorant redneck to start a fist-fight. The scene represents everything that’s wrong with American politics today, and by placing it in the film at all validates the fact that McKay is well-aware of his own personal bias — and doesn’t care. A quarter of the audience will love the film for putting a knife into former Vice President Dick Cheney (Christian Bale), another quarter will hate it for the same reason. It’s the middle half, of which I believe I am a part, that will feel as though, even if the film is based on fact, nothing portrayed can be believed because it’s been tainted by McKay’s obvious preconceptions. Read Full Review
I always tend to enjoy films that play with the imagination as a means of dissecting abstract emotions. Whether it’s a guy breaking from his mundane life to achieve an adventure beyond his wildest dreams, or kids creating their own fantastical world to cope with the suffering of those they love, these films give us permission to escape into ourselves in order to work through depression, fear and loneliness, and secure a strong, healthy pathway to heal. Welcome to Marwen, the true story of man fighting to overcome the demons that haunt him through the stories he creates with a set of dolls, portrays its hero in a serious way without taking away from inventiveness of the human mind. Read Full Review
In Return of the Jedi, as the Rebel Alliance attacks the second Death Star, Lando Calrissian pilots the Millennium Falcon into the core to set off a few ion charges and start a chain reaction that will ultimately destroy it. As he does so, Luke Skywalker is on board the Death Star helping Anakin Skywalker find redemption. As the explosions start burning away at the core, both characters — as well as that infamous ship — are in danger. By the time the Falcon blasts from within the fire to come out (relatively) unscathed, we’re all cheering in excitement because we want to see these heroes we’ve grown to love survive. There’s a similar sequence in the new post-apocalyptic adventure, Mortal Engines, that falls extremely flat, mostly because unlike the sequence in Jedi, we aren’t invested in any of the characters enough to have that same breathless urgency. Read Full Review
Along with holdovers and independent releases, there were three major films that made an attempt to dominate the box office this Thanksgiving. Because I all but haunted the cineplex over the long weekend, I decided to give a quick take on all five of the films I went to see. Read Full Reviews
In 1993, Robin Williams starred in a film about a man so desperate to see his kids after separating from his wife (Sally Field), he turned to cross-dressing as a nanny to spend time with them every day. The film, of course, is Mrs. Doubtfire and was an instant classic, not only for its clever humor (and Williams’s winning performance), but because at its core was a strong respect for parents and children who have gone through divorce. It didn’t try to pander to anyone while depicting the hardships in sharing custody and provided an uplifting message that when a couple at odds with one another can find it in their hearts to put their children’s interest first, parents can make things work for the best.
Instant Family treads in the same waters as Mrs. Doubtfire even as it tackles a different subject altogether — foster care and adoption. Though the premise may be slightly different, what remains is the pure heart the filmmakers have for the subject and the respect they have for those individuals who truly care about giving kids in unfortunate circumstances a better, more prosperous life. Read Full Review