Movie Review: ANT-MAN AND THE WASP – fun sequel that could have been better with a more focused script

If there’s one thing that Marvel Studios do best, it’s casting. Arguably, the entire franchise may not be where it is right now if Robery Downey Jr had not been given the now-iconic role of Tony Stark in 2008’s Iron Man, but it seems like every major casting decision they’ve made has been perfect.  A few years ago I couldn’t have imagined an actor like Paul Rudd fitting in anywhere in the Marvel cinematic universe, but then along came Ant-Man, completely putting that notion to rest.

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Movie Review: BLACK PANTHER – Marvel’s latest cinematic property captures the zeitgeist of today – it’s flawed but good in all the right places.

I have to admit, I don’t place “importance” on genre movies, and I’m mystified by those who do.  Both Wonder Woman and Mad Max: Fury Road were described in such glowing terms when they were released, and I flat out don’t get it – especially given that both movies had major problems, and were not really that great.  Both movies had strong, well portrayed female heroes, and while that’s a great thing, it’s not a strong enough attribute when so much else is weak.  Now it’s the turn of Marvel Studios to capitalize on strong public sentiment, with Black Panther!

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Movie Review: STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI – Hard to like and badly written, this movie is more like episodes 1-3, than 4-7.

When we saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi on December 28 of this year, that day was notable for three reasons – my brother’s birthday, my wedding anniversary, and 40 years to the day I went to see the first movie in the franchise.  40 years – that’s almost half a century.  Amazing.  This was back in the day when the UK would get a movie literally months after it’s initial US release.  Over the Christmas period, and a little after, it was almost a competition to see how many times you could see it more than your friends.  I don’t recall if I beat anyone, but I went to see that movie 13 times in maybe a three week period, staying in the cinema to watch it two or three times in a row.  That won’t be happening with the latest in the franchise.

Continue reading “Movie Review: STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI – Hard to like and badly written, this movie is more like episodes 1-3, than 4-7.”

Movie Review: BRIGHT – Netflix’s first “big” original movie is fully loaded … with missed potential

I’m not a fan of Will Smith, and yeah, it’s partly because of his role as the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, but mostly because he starred in two cinematic travesties that, inexplicably, have a fan base: I, Robot, and I Am Legend.  In both cases, these movies were adaptations of capital L Legendary works of genre fiction and were spectacularly awful in their execution.  I was never a huge fan of Asimov’s ponderous prose, but Richard Matheson’s seminal vampire novel remains a great favourite of mine.  Fresh Prince and the Zombie Vampires was the worst of the three adaptations – maybe someone will eventually do it right.

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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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