Warner Brothers has done something no one would have predicted a year ago – released to good-to-great superheroes inside a calendar year. (No, they’re nowhere near Marvel consistently, but they’re moving in the right direction.)
Justice League maintains the portentous/brutalist look that director Zack Snyder set for the DCEU, but following the few faint glimmerings of wit in Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman – and the wit, charm and adventure of Wonder Woman – the film maintains the levels of danger and conflict from earlier DCEU films while making a point of balancing its darkness with genuine fun.
Warner Bros. has long touted their approach as hiring great directors and letting them stamp their own style on the DC movies.
Marvel has been doing that since Jon Favreau directed Iron Man – and they’ve done it again with Thor: Ragnarok. No one but Taika Waititi could have made this delightfully oddball comedy of a superhero movie.
My main issue with the other two Thor movies were how cheap both of them looked. That’s not the case with Thor: Ragnarok. Director Taika Waititi delivers a fast paced, quip filled movie that has a rainbow of cotton candy colors and riotous set design work that still left me feeling a bit let down. It’s perfectly innocuous entertainment that’s worth watching once and enjoying. However, you’ll most likely forget about it after you leave the theater.
In one of the weirder studio emails I ever received, the studio asked us to not call Director Marc Forster’s latest film All I See Is You a “Thriller.” No it’s an drama or an “obsessive love story.” So I’m going to go with the later description. Or better yet, let me make up my own, it’s an impressionistic art piece that tries really hard to be a compelling movie worth watching.
When I sat down to watch Happy Death Day, I was hoping for the best. After all the recurring day trope has provided some interesting and entertaining movies and several brilliant episodes of otherwise not so great TV shows.
What I wasn’t expecting was a genuinely clever series of variations on a theme that yielded some wildly divergent variations and a few really subtle ones. Also, plenty of wit and some great laughs.
The Kingsman: Golden Circle was one of the best times I had at movies all year long. The movie is over the top, frenetic, and at times funny as hell. If you asked me, and the studio did, I would have said it’s one of my favorite films of 2017. Damn being a critic, I had to think about it for a few days before writing my review and the issues that I had with the movie kind of sucks away some of my, from the gut, enjoyment of it. Long story short, go see it and enjoy it for what it is – a fun, bombastic take on the spy movie genre. If you want to nitpick it to death, read on.
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).
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.
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.
Post-grad student Lucy is on her way home to introduce her boyfriend to her grandmother while on a break. As they head for the train, they realize that it’s unusually quiet – then in the empty subway station, the silence is broken by a man on fire.