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: 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.

Continue reading “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.”

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: 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: 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: IT – Very enjoyable adaptation of Stephen King’s iconic novel, but Super 8 and Stranger Things have stolen its mojo.

I read Stephen King’s seminal novel It as soon as the paperback dropped in Scotland, which would be around 1987.  I’d been on a voracious King kick ever since discovering his work in 1980, following the BBC broadcast of the Salem’s Lot miniseries.  King’s work was the perfect reading material for my teenage years, and with the exception of The Dark Tower series (which I’ve still never read), I consumed his books like fire engulfs dry wood.  I have a strong memory of being excited when I read of the then-upcoming novel.  Even the title – It – was evocative to me.  I was already well versed in the works of HP Lovecraft by the time I was 16, and the title, this one, simple little word, was something that Lovecraft would have used.  Oddly enough, as excited as I was to finally read the book, very few memories of actually reading it have remained (and I haven’t read it since), so my review of It, the 2017 movie, is probably going to sound ignorant to some of you.  🙂

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