Category Archives: Movie Reviews

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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Dunkirk: Gorgeously Exhausting

British officers size up the dreadful situation of their stranded army in DUNKIRK.

Dunkirk is the true story of how in the middle of World War II British forces found themselves stranded and pinned on the beaches of France. 400,000 men trembled as German forces picked them off the sand from the air, as officers scrambled to load as many soldiers onto naval destroyers with minimal success. When word of the plight reached English soil, many took up the call for assistance in variety of ways. Continue reading Dunkirk: Gorgeously Exhausting

The Big Sick: The Best Romantic Comedy of the Decade!

The Big Sick may be the latest entry in the Judd Apatow lifts gifted comics to the next level sweepstakes, but it is very much not a Judd Apatow film.

Written by Kumail Nanjiani and his wife, Emily Gordon, The Big Sick is the mostly true story of how the couple met, fell in love, broke up and would probably never have seen each other again if she hadn’t gotten so sick she needed to be placed in a medical coma.

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Spider-Man: Homecoming – The Superhero Movie John Hughes Never Made!

Spider-Man: Homecoming – Spider-Man scales the Washington Monument – Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures.

Throughout its development and shoot, practically everyone on the Marvel Studios team would talk about how Spider-Man: Homecoming would a John Hughes-styled high school movie with the bonus of superheroics.

Everyone involved somehow managed to make that thought reality. Spider-Man: Homecoming is a unique mix of John Hughes and Marvel.

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Spider-Man: Homecoming Review! It Bugs Me!

My two favorite super hero films remain X-Men 2, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 and The Avengers. For me those three films couldn’t be more different and represent the pinnacle of the Super-Hero genre. I’m not one of those blind “Marvel can do no wrong” fan girls. Spider-Man: Homecoming isn’t a perfect film, but it’s damn fun if not slightly disappointing. You can skip all this great prose and go directly to my incoherent video review at the end of the review!

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Despicable Me 3 – Reliable Fun!

(L to R) Gru (STEVE CARELL) faces off against Balthazar Bratt (TREY PARKER) in “Despicable Me 3.”

After reinventing itself for Despicable Me 2, with Gru becoming a good guy and finding love, DM3 introduces soap and superhero trope the twin brother and adds a villain who styles himself after the ‘80s kids show he starred in before adolescence got it cancelled.

The Minions, of course, are back in the way they are best used – short, sweet, frequently inspired scenes that play counterpoint to the main story.

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Baby Driver’s Got The Beat!

Baby (ANSEL ELGORT, front right), Bats (JAMIE FOXX, front left), JD (LANNY JOON, back right), Eddie (FLEA BALZARY, back left) wait in the car in TriStar Pictures’ BABY DRIVER.

I can imagine the pitch for Baby Driver, ‘It’s a coming of age story about this young guy who’s the best getaway car driver ever – because he has tinnitus and listens to music to drown it out. When he falls in love with a diner waitress, he wants out.’

When you strip Baby Driver down to its most basic, that’s the essence of it. That’s what it comes down to – and it works beautifully.

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Transformers: The Last Knight Is Not a Good Night!

Mark Wahlberg plays Cade Yeager in TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT, from Paramount Pictures.

Transformers: The Last Night is either action or exposition and on so many fronts it has trouble keeping itself straight – let alone letting the audience do so.

I’m going to be completely upfront here: my inner 12-year old was bored; my outer 65-year couldn’t doze off because the movie was too loud, and I finished my big drink with more than half-an-hour left before the closing credits (and a rather unintriguing tag) began to roll.

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