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: LIFE AFTER BETH – good performances from Dane DeHaan and Aubrey Plaza keep this low key zombie comedy from flatlining.

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I finally got around to watching Life After Beth ,a zombie “comedy” starring Dane DeHaan (Chronicle, A Cure For Wellness), and Parks and Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza.  The movie, written and directed by Jeff Baena concerns the return from the dead of Beth, Zach’s girlfriend, and the gradual deterioration of things both inside and outside both character’s families.  Doesn’t sound like a comedy, right?

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Movie Review: THE HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE – a sweet, good natured movie about two kindred souls who share the adventure of a lifetime.

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I had a fairly good idea what to expect from The Hunt For The Wilderpeople, Taika Waititi’s follow up to the fantastic vampire horror comedy What We Do In The Shadows, but I’d be lying if I said I was right.  I only knew that it was a bonding story; set in rural New Zealand, a troubled kid is sent to live with foster parents.  It’s his last chance before getting cast into the system as a juvenile delinquent, but then he bonds with those people and all is well.  Seen it before, right?  Seems like it’s something that would be on Hallmark or The Family Channel – a feel good, Disneyfied slice of Midwest apple pie.  That’s what it sounded like to me from my ignorant lack of knowledge about it, anyway!

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Movie Review: SWISS ARMY MAN – movie’s heartfelt core almost cancelled out by quirk overdose

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I don’t typically dismiss a movie based on a trailer, and I wouldn’t say I’m particularly prescient about a movie based on a trailer either, but when I caught the trailer for Swiss Army Man, I balked.  I remember coming away from it thinking, whaaaaat? and probably wasn’t alone.  But I generally like Paul Dano’s characters, and while I can take or leave Daniel Radcliffe, I’m impressed with his continuing efforts to escape the career event horizon known as Harry Potter, so I figured I would see it at one point.  Last night was that point.

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Movie Review: GHOSTBUSTERS (2016) – dumb and unfunny, this reboot doesn’t deserve the fanboy rage, or your time.

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Hands up who remembers the tidal wave of vitriol that greeted Paul Feig’s announcement that he was going to reboot Ghostbusters with an all female cast?  C’mon now, it was only two years ago.  I remember it quite well because of the perniciousness of the hatred.  It’s hard to write a review of Feig’s movie without mentioning that phenomenon.  It’s well documented if you feel like checking it out.  I don’t want to speak too much of it, but it reminded me of the same brave souls who took to the internet to issue death threats against critics who slammed The Dark Knight Rises – a movie that deserved all of the criticism that came its way.  On a personal level, I recall being in a crowded theater when Benedict Cumberbatch’s character was revealed to be Khan during Star Trek: Into Darkness, and a guy who was old enough to know better loudly exclaiming his displeasure with some expletives.

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Movie Review: WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS – brilliant. does for vampires what Shaun of the Dead did for zombies

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I fully admit I put off watching this movie for quite some time.  Not that I wasn’t a fan of Flight of the Conchords, the HBO series starring Jemaine Clement, with some episodes written and directed by Taikia Waititi (the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok) – no, it was a wholly illogical and unreasonable devotion to certain kinds of vampire movies that put me off this movie.  If you want to pop over to my reviews for A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night and Only Lovers Left Alive, that’ll give you the reasons why in better detail, but to sum it up: I’m a purist.

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