Movie Review: 1922 – Based on a Stephen King novella, this movie has good production values, but is smothered by terrible pacing

As someone who used to be a huge Stephen King fan, and is currently going through a kind of King renaissance thanks to Audible, I’m finding both why I liked King so much in my teens, and why I didn’t as I grew older: in terms of premise and plot I like King just fine, but when it comes to characters and exposition, his prose gets drowned, submerged as if wearing concrete shoes.  1922, a Netflix-released adaptation of the story in King’s Full Dark, No Stars collection feels pretty similar, but this time it’s the pace at which the story unfolds.

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Movie Review: THE DISASTER ARTIST – Franco’s best directorial effort yet makes this biopic of “the worst move ever made” a must-see.

Back in 2010, I saw The Room.  By then it had started to gather a head of steam as “the worst movie ever made” (and there’s a compelling argument for that, not just hype), and the beginning of the cult following that fills theaters these days.  In those days it wan’t so much the event movie it is today, where everyone attends thinking they’re the next ironic comedy genius, riffing as the movie unreels.  I don’t normally watch movies like that (though when Star Wars:TOT was rereleased in the late 90s, a friend and I got ejected for riffing on The Empire Strikes Back.  Mea culpa, mea culpa …), I love and respect the medium too much to do that.  The Room is, to me, simply a piece of shit movie.

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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: 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.

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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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