Movie Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE – DC’s answer to the Marvel juggernaut is phenomenal only for the sheer lack of quality.

I finally saw Justice League last night – on the backs of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Wonder Woman, I can’t say I had a lot of interest in seeing it on opening weekend, and from its relatively disappointing opening domestic gross ($90 million), I wasn’t alone in putting it off.  As it turned out, it was the worst possible night to see it: winter finally roared into the Twin Cities, and driving back to my new home was a tense nightmare, thanks to 25 feet visibility and an icy, sleety mess.  Serves you right, the elements seemed to say, serves you right

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Movie Review: THOR: RAGNAROK – Marvel’s latest franchise entry succeeds by taking the comedic route, but at the expense of a compelling story

I confess, even though I had a busy November (moving, buying furniture, Thanksgiving, tight deadlines on other projects), I mostly am only just getting to review this movie due to laziness, having seen it way back on opening weekend.  Movie watching is also down, but I hope to bounce back bigly in December.  ANYWAY, here is what I have to say about the latest Marvel movie, and specifically the latest Thor movie!  Enjoy!

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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.

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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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Movie Review: KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE – this time around, it’s like watching the Austin Powers sequel nobody wanted.

Back in 2015, when I watched  the original Kingsman: The Secret Service, I found a number of things to like, despite finding the story too faintly ludicrious, and, frankly, poorly written.  I greatly enjoyed the performances of both Colin Firth and then-newcomer Taron Egerton, and mostly liked Matthew Vaughn’s direction, whose style seems like a cruder version of Guy Ritchie’s.  The script, by both Vaughn and Jane Goldman failed to engage me on most of its plot points, though.  This time around, Vaughn and Goldman return with a sequel, subtitled The Golden Circle, and I ran out of patience from the first scene.  This is one of the worst sequels I’ve ever sat through.

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Movie Review: KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE – Impressive debut from Taron Egerton, and Matthew Vaughn’s smart direction just about saves this James Bond parody from being a total disaster.

***Caveat: This review was written as a mere Facebook post upon viewing the movie upon its original US release, in February 2015, but I thought I’d post it here to give some kind of reference to the sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle.***

The clumsily-titled Kingsman: The Secret Service is Matthew Vaughn’s latest adaptation of a Mark Millar comic book, in this case, The Secret Service, by Mark, and legendary Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons. I never finished the actual mini series, but I read enough of it to know that this adaptation is more Wanted than Kick Ass, in terms of how faithful it cleaves to the source material.

Continue reading “Movie Review: KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE – Impressive debut from Taron Egerton, and Matthew Vaughn’s smart direction just about saves this James Bond parody from being a total disaster.”

Movie Review: SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING – not the greatest title, but this latest version of the character is a BIG step up from both Maguire and Garfield’s.

Since I watched Spider Man: Homecoming, The Amazing Spider Man 2 has been on heavy rotation on TBS, and I’ve caught a few sequences over the past few days – enough to remind me how mediocre it was – indeed, some parts just descend into outright awfulness.  I was never a fan of Andrew Garfield’s two movies – the first one was serviceable, but I joined the naysayers because of the rebooted origin.  If there’s anyone alive who knows the character, they already have the origin story down.  Dressing it up a little differently and adding a veneer or familial mystery didn’t disguise the fact it was a stupid idea to essentially reboot the character as if the Raimi movies never happened.  At the very least, this is what Spider Man: Homecoming gets right.

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