Movie Review – THE LIGHTHOUSE. Coupled with The Witch, Robert Eggers has become a niche moviemaker. We need more like him.

I’m writing this review in the wake of a handful of “name” directors speaking up in the press about their dislike for the Marvel movies.  As much as I enjoy them, everyone is entitled to their opinions, and while I don’t get the strength of their dislike (Coppola said they were despicable – surely there are bigger things in the world that justify that pejorative), they make a good point: by being so globally successful, their appeal blinds younger viewers to the power of cinema, the art of it.  When all young people hear about is cinematic superheroes, the risk is that greater movies don’t gain traction in the minds of the next generation of moviegoers, who instead become conditioned to spectacle.  If that happens, it will be a shame, because it leaves moviemakers like Robert Eggers relegated to that of niche status.

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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.

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Movie Review: US – Jordan Peele’s follow up to Get Out is doing big business, but I found little to like.

The review title says it all, doesn’t it?  Consider that a tl:dr, if you don’t want to read a dissenting opinion, but if you’re curious as to why I seem to be in the overwhelming minority when it comes to this movie, plough your way through.

I’ll say at the top that I wasn’t a great fan of Get Out either.  I thought the hype and critical praise for a mostly just good movie was startling.  My own daughter, whose opinion generally aligns with mine on horror movies, was one of those people who thought Get Out was fantastic, and I approached it with some excitement, as someone who generally feels let down by most movies in the genre.  It happened with Get Out, and to an even greater degree with Peele’s sophomore work, Us. Continue reading “Movie Review: US – Jordan Peele’s follow up to Get Out is doing big business, but I found little to like.”

Movie Review: THE ENDLESS – an ambitious story hamstrung by budget and self-indulgence

Right off the bat, I’ll start by saying that not only am I a fan of the writing/directing team of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, I also predict they’re going to be big in the near future, whether that’s by continuing to make a name for themselves in the world of weird horror, or by succumbing to big money studio deals – and regardless of what I think of their newest movie The Endless.  I urge you to seek out their previous two features, Resolution and Spring, and feel free to check out my spoiler free reviews before or after if you do.  You’ll definitely want to see Resolution before The Endless, however.

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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: FROM A HOUSE ON WILLOW STREET – what starts off as a reasonable genre fusion, devolves into a silly, underwritten mess by the end.

Watching From A House On Willow Street last night, I was reminded of The Atticus institute in a number of ways, but what went through my mind was not so much the end result, but of the premise itself, and how the filmmakers completely failed to exploit it.  In The Atticus Institute, the premise is: what if demonic possession was a real thing, and could it be weaponized?  Of course, that’s not what the actual movie was about, but to me the real story should have been that laid out in the premise.  In From A House On Willow Street, the premise actually is the actual plot, but it’s handled badly: a group of would-be kidnappers abduct the adult daughter of a wealthy family, only to discover that she is possessed by a demon.  Ransom meets The Exorcist.

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Movie Review: DIG TWO GRAVES – half-baked, would-be supernatural “gothic” revenge plot with a grossly uncommitted script

The title of Dig Two Graves comes reportedly from the writings of Chinese philosopher Confucius, who emphasized the cultivation of character virtues and wisdom above action.  It’s debatable whether or not he’s actually responsible for the phrase, which essentially is a warning to those seeking vengeance.  Of the two graves, one is for the quarry, but the other is, metaphorically, for the death of the soul of person seeking that vengenance.  In effect, it’s saying that the cost of vengeance on those seeking it is greater than the sense of justice one expects to come from achieving it.  Upon watching the movie, I mostly disagree with using the phrase as the title.

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