Movie Review: THE DARK TOWER – you don’t have to be a King fan to be offended by this horrendous adaptation or McConaughey’s insultingly bad performance.

I have no personal stake in The Dark Tower, I should say.  After trying numerous attempts to read The Gunslinger, book 1 of Stephen King’s magnum opus, I finally threw my hands up in defeat and gave up.  Not that I didn’t like King’s work at the time – quite the opposite, in fact.  In the mid to late 80s, I was a yuge fan of his work, and read his stuff voraciously, sometimes palpably impatient waiting for the books to finally be released in Scotland.  I still consider Pet Sematary one of my all time favourite books.  But when I tried to read The Dark Tower, it just didn’t feel like a Stephen King book.  A little later, me and Uncle Stevie just kind of drifted apart.  His work in the early 90s left me feeling unimpressed, so I stopped reading., and never got around to thinking of picking up the series again.

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Movie Review: ATOMIC BLONDE – some terrific fight scenes liven up an otherwise sub-Bourne action spy thriller.

The action movie genre has produced some notable game-changers in the last 35 years.  For me, these are movies that hit the still waters like an obnoxious kid doing a cannonball in your pool.  They might not have that massive instant impact, but the effect ripples out across the surface.  First Blood, Commando, Die Hard, Predator, Terminator 2The Matrix, and The Bourne Identity are the movies I’m referring to.  The splashes they made had a cumulative effect on the genre.  Without these movies, who knows where the action movie genre would be right now?  The Bourne Identity took The Matrix’s balletic violence to street level, and simultaneously muscled into the action spy thriller, whose main player up to that point was the Bond franchise.  Matt Damon, arguably at his peak in these movies, was a bone-crunching, take no prisoners mano-a-mano combatant, and it forced movies into a new era of fight choreography, where the scenes still have that videogame lack of consequence, but look and sound more natural.  The influence is most strongly seen in the post-Bourne Bond franchise, where Daniel Craig’s Bond is a return to the “enforcer” type played by Sean Connery, and in Marvel’s Captain America franchise.  The latest movie featuring this kind of hand to hand combat is this year’s Atomic Blonde.

Continue reading “Movie Review: ATOMIC BLONDE – some terrific fight scenes liven up an otherwise sub-Bourne action spy thriller.”

Movie Review: SUN CHOKE – Exploitative nudity and a deliberately evasive screenplay make for a frustratingly hollow movie.

It’s unfair to say I disliked Sun Choke, because it has a few good things going for it, but after getting around to finally watching it after about six months, I came away from it mostly unimpressed and though I wasn’t angered by it, it prompted me to take to Twitter to get a couple of things off my chest.  I’ll preface this review by letting you know that it’s being written in the immediate aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.  What does that have to do with this dark psychological drama?  Read on …

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Movie Review: BLADE RUNNER 2049 – a mediocre story is shored up by terrific visuals and a truly impressive score

Mediocre story, you might ask?  How can the movie that has shot into the top 100 sci movies of all time have a “mediocre story”?  How can a movie that has quickly become beloved to many sci-fi fans across the globe be described by anyone as being “mediocre”?  Well, it’s all a matter of opinion, of course.  As in Captain America: Civil War, or the ongoing national debate over Left v Right Twix, this is a movie where, after watching, you’ll definitely feel as if you have chosen a side.

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Movie Review: MR.HOLMES – Ian McKellen gives a typically great performance, but this Sherlock Holmes movie might not be what you expect.

Mr. Holmes is the adaptation of the novel A Slight Trick Of The Mind, by Mitch Cullin, a different take on the oft-portrayed Sherlock Holmes.  In a way it’s as different a take as Guy Ritchie’s overplotted action/adventure movies that starred Robert Downey Jr, with the major difference being that Bill Condon’s movie is much more enjoyable.  The trouble is, if you go in looking for a “typical” Sherlock Holmes movie, you might feel hard done by.

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Movie Review: COLD MOON – cheaply made and mostly forgettable adaptation of a classic 80s horror novel

This is a movie I would have reviewed anyway, even if I hadn’t received a screener copy to review by the company promoting the movie, or the invitation to attend the LA premier at the Ahrya Fine Arts Center on Wilshire Blvd, and that’s because I remembered reading and enjoying the novel upon which its based – Cold Moon Over Babylon, by the late Michael McDowell, which is one of the books Stephen King recommends at the end of his non-fiction work Danse Macabre.  High praise, and I recall it being worthy.  The question on my mind was, would the movie adaptation be any good?

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Movie Review: AMERICAN MADE – this highly glossed over version of the Barry Seal story is Tom Cruise’s best film – and performance – in years.

I’m not ashamed to admit, I’m a fan of Tom Cruise movies.  Not a fan of Tom Cruise the person, I should add, having never met him, but I have enjoyed his screen presence for about thirty years now.  I think he’s a pretty decent actor too, when he tries – something he hasn’t done a lot of in a long time.  Having watched his last offering The Mummy fall on the critics’ sword, and mostly fail to capture the imaginations of the paying public, his career badly needed a shot in the arm.  It so happens that American Made, his second cinematic release of 2017, does exactly that.

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