Movie Review: ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD – Not even close to Tarantino and DiCaprio’s best work. but Pitt is outstanding.

I’m a big fan of Quentin Tarantino’s work.  Ever since Reservoir Dogs I was hooked.  He was a breath of fresh air on the movie scene which was, at that point, struggling to define itself for the new decade.  I consider both this movie and Pulp Fiction as two of the ’90s most important movies because of the seismic effect they had on the industry.  The ’90s was a decade of great cultural change, and Tarantino was a big part of that.  In 1997, I was fortunate enough to play the role of Mr. Pink in a stage production of Reservoir Dogs, and preparing for the role gave me an even greater appreciation for Tarantino’s ear for dialogue.  It’s not real, but he sure makes it sound like it should be.

Continue reading “Movie Review: ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD – Not even close to Tarantino and DiCaprio’s best work. but Pitt is outstanding.”

Advertisements

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.

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

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: SUN CHOKE – Exploitative nudity and a deliberately evasive screenplay make for a frustratingly hollow movie.

It’s unfair to say I disliked Sun Choke, because it has a few good things going for it, but after getting around to finally watching it after about six months, I came away from it mostly unimpressed and though I wasn’t angered by it, it prompted me to take to Twitter to get a couple of things off my chest.  I’ll preface this review by letting you know that it’s being written in the immediate aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.  What does that have to do with this dark psychological drama?  Read on …

Continue reading “Movie Review: SUN CHOKE – Exploitative nudity and a deliberately evasive screenplay make for a frustratingly hollow movie.”

Movie Review: BLADE RUNNER 2049 – a mediocre story is shored up by terrific visuals and a truly impressive score

Mediocre story, you might ask?  How can the movie that has shot into the top 100 sci movies of all time have a “mediocre story”?  How can a movie that has quickly become beloved to many sci-fi fans across the globe be described by anyone as being “mediocre”?  Well, it’s all a matter of opinion, of course.  As in Captain America: Civil War, or the ongoing national debate over Left v Right Twix, this is a movie where, after watching, you’ll definitely feel as if you have chosen a side.

Continue reading “Movie Review: BLADE RUNNER 2049 – a mediocre story is shored up by terrific visuals and a truly impressive score”

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.

Continue reading “Movie Review: MR.HOLMES – Ian McKellen gives a typically great performance, but this Sherlock Holmes movie might not be what you expect.”

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.

Continue reading “Movie Review: AMERICAN MADE – this highly glossed over version of the Barry Seal story is Tom Cruise’s best film – and performance – in years.”