Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Is a Superior Sequel!

Kingsman: The Golden circle – Eggsy (Taron Egerton), Harry (Colin Firth), and Agent Whiskey (Pedro Pascal) – Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

There are a handful of sequels that are as good as (or better than) their progenitors – The Godfather 2, Superman II, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and The Dark Knight come to mind – and now Kingsman: The Golden Circle joins that elite list.

Following the heavy expositional load of the thoroughly entertaining first film, The Golden Circle expands character development (of Eggsy, at least) and introduces a delightfully pragmatic villain who has the best of intentions (and hopes to profit handsomely from them, too).

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American Assassin – Meet Damaged Assassin Mitch Rapp!

American Assassin – Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) – Photo courtesy of CBS Films.

American Assassin is based on the book of the same title by the late Vince Flynn, and introduces us to Mitch Rapp – a wounded young man who saw his fiancée killed by terrorists and decides to go after them himself.

It could have been a pedestrian thriller by committed performances by Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton and Taylor Kitsch – and a very grounded script (and muscular direction) keep it from descending to that level.

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mother! the Metaphor

Jennifer Lawrence is in the middle of unexplained events and horrors in mother!

mother! is the story of nameless people and objects who serve as proxies for life and art. Jennifer Lawrence stars as a woman who spends her days building and styling a remote house that is in desperate need of repair and shine. In between chipping away at odd jobs around the derelict domicile, she often worries with lament about her husband, Javier Bardem, a struggling poet who is currently devoid of inspiration. Then the strangers appear. Continue reading mother! the Metaphor

IT – Stand by Me Via Hell!

IT – Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) – Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

The seemingly bucolic town of Derry looks like a place you could settle down – if only it weren’t its high statistics for people going missing (with adults it’s 6% higher than the average; with kids it’s ‘much higher’).

When kids start to go missing, for the rest of the town that means missing posters on telephone posts and in shop windows – for Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher), it’s barely noticeable until his younger brother, Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) goes disappears while floating a waxed paper boat in the gutter.

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Logan Lucky – Steven Soderbergh’s Southern-Fried Heist Flick Soars!

Logan Lucky – Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) – Photo courtesy of eOne.

Steven Soderbergh is back from his retirement from filmmaking four years ago – with a fierce heist flick that gives Channing Tatum and Daniel Craig a chance to have some real fun.

Logan Lucky is about a heist by a group of redneck/hillbilly/good ole by types who look and sound dumb – but probably ain’t!

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Wind River: The Land of You’re On Your Own!

Wind River – FBI Agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olson) and Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) – Photo courtesy of The Weinstein company.

Taylor Sheridan’s directorial debut – from his own script – is a harsh, breathtakingly beautiful film that a lot to say – but cagily presents it in the guise of a gritty western thriller.

The film’s propulsion is set off by a lone female figure running barefoot in the snow until she falls over and dies. Why was she running? What was she running from?

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The Hitman’s Bodyguard: Late Summer Action Comedy Leans on Its Leads!

The Hitman’s Bodyguard – Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) and Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) – Photo courtesy of Lionsgate.

We’re entering the dog days of summer and the last of the summer blockbusters has opened (or maybe closed – it’s been that kind of summer). Into that void comes The Hitman’s Bodyguard – a movie that would be a B-movie if not for its high powered leads.

After his Triple-A rated protection agency goes ‘Pffft!’ following losing a client, Michael Bryce (the world’s top bodyguard) gets a major gig shepherding Darius Kincaid (the world’s top hitman) to the World Court in The Hague. Things do not go smoothly.

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Annabelle: Creation – Hello, Dolly!

Annabelle: Creation – The Annabelle doll and Janice (Talitha Bateman) – Photo by Justin Lubin/Courtesy of New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures.

Full disclosure: I have not seen any of the films from The Conjuring universe and it doesn’t matter, because Annabelle: Creation is, in terms of the series’ mythology, is the origin story that kicks off the events of all the others.

That said, Annabelle takes some stock ideas, dresses them up with carefully modulated pacing, light and sound – and a very game cast – and kicks out the jams!

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The Dark Tower – No! Just No!

Roland (Idris Elba) in Columbia Pictures’ THE DARK TOWER.

It’s been a couple decades since I read The Dark Tower but I chose not to re-read it before seeing the movie. Big mistake!

Like City of Bones: The Mortal Instruments, The Dark Tower is more a collection of key moments from the book (as I recall it) and absolutely none of the connective tissue – like plot, explanations (of anything – not just how the Man in Black’s magicks work – let alone why Roland is immune to them).

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Dunkirk Is Shattering!

Dunkirk – Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) – Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon/Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Is it possible for a war movie top give you PTSD?

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, in IMAX, is a harrowing, edge of your seat thriller that practically drags you into the World War II evacuation of over 300,000 soldiers from the beach at Dunkirk.

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