Movie Review: AD ASTRA – Brad Pitt sleepwalks through an intimate space journey that doesn’t deserve the hype.

You know, when some people liken ANY science fiction movie to 2001: A Space Odyssey, I’m immediately skeptical.  Not only is the Kubrick Klassic one of the few actual science fiction movies out there (sorry, Stars Trek and Wars don’t count), it also happens to be one of my all-time favourite films.  So I was skeptical but curious enough to watch it.  Admittedly though, the draw for me was Brad Pitt.

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Movie Review: JOKER – A mesmerizing performance from Joaquin Phoenix charts the rise of a villain, not an anti-hero.

Image result for joker movie poster

I have to go back to the summer of 1985 to a movie that inflamed so many Loud Voices to compare the phony hysteria currently surrounding the latest DC movie, Joker.  That movie was Rambo: First Blood Part 2.  The sequel to one of the greatest action movies of all time crossed the Atlantic on a tidal wave of what we now identify as hashtag-outrage.  Ireland banned it, the rest of mainland Britain did not, so I was able to see it … and wonder what the fuss was all about.  After today’s viewing of Joker, my reaction is basically the same.

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Movie Review: PERSONAL SHOPPER – Kristen Stewart’s performance elevates this supernatural-tinged “American abroad” drama about grief and loss..

I can’t really think of many actors whose name inspires sight-unseen mockery and ridicule than Kristen Stewart.  Granted, these feelings are most commonly expressed by trolls from the safety of their keyboards, so I take these with a bucket of salt.  Of course, the same vitriol is directed at Robert Pattinson so you know the common thread here: the Twilight series, where they played Bella Swan and Edward Cullen respectively.  I haven’t seen any movies n this series, so my exposure to Stewart is pretty limited, but based on what I have seen, I’ve nothing against her, and in Personal Shopper she acquits herself quite well as the lead character.

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Movie Review: POSSUM – If you’re going to create a feature from a short story, be prepared to add material. If you don’t, you end up with this.

In the end credit roll for Matthew Holness’s Possum, you see in the fine print that it was based on his short story of the same name, published in the anthology The New Uncanny: Tales of Unease.  Weird that the source material would be buried in the credits and not shown during opening titles, as it is in most cases.  I haven’t read the short story but I’m going to track it down now that I’ve seen the movie.  I suspect it’s not going to be all that different from the movie, because even though it has a running time of an hour and a half, there’s perhaps only about half an hour of story.

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Movie Review: ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD – Not even close to Tarantino and DiCaprio’s best work. but Pitt is outstanding.

I’m a big fan of Quentin Tarantino’s work.  Ever since Reservoir Dogs I was hooked.  He was a breath of fresh air on the movie scene which was, at that point, struggling to define itself for the new decade.  I consider both this movie and Pulp Fiction as two of the ’90s most important movies because of the seismic effect they had on the industry.  The ’90s was a decade of great cultural change, and Tarantino was a big part of that.  In 1997, I was fortunate enough to play the role of Mr. Pink in a stage production of Reservoir Dogs, and preparing for the role gave me an even greater appreciation for Tarantino’s ear for dialogue.  It’s not real, but he sure makes it sound like it should be.

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Movie Review: GREEN BOOK – Mortenson and Ali give life to the movie, but the story plays it safe

Green Book is one of those movies that are so often described as the “feel-good movie of the year!” in marketing blurbs, and to me that generally describes something that’s wholesome to its core, generally involving good people doing good things (Forrest Gump), or mean people finally unlocking their inner good selves after learning some life lessons (Scrooge from A Christmas Carol).  Green Book doesn’t flip the script here, nor does it make any kind of valiant attempt to disguise its lack of ambition.  With this approach you sometimes end up with something closer in spirit to a Lifetime TV movie, but sometimes the talent involved can elevate the material, and that’s what saved Green Book for me.

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MOVIE REVIEW: MIDSOMMAR had the potential to be a terrific horror movie, but some unfortunate decisions towards the end reduced its power.

I was a fan of 2017’s Hereditary, unexpectedly so, considering I actually mocked the trailer when I first saw it.  I think I decided to watch it only because I’d heard it was worth watching, and while I saw a movie full of flaws – some pretty bad ones too – I was hugely impressed by the ending, which I now consider one of the greatest in horror.  This time around, Ari Aster’s second movie Midsommar is almost a reverse of that, where the ending threatened to undo what I liked about the movie.

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