The Hateful Eight

No Comments
The Hateful Eight

The Hateful Eight is one of those films that I suspect I will grow to love over time. It’s probably about 30 minutes too long, it’s noticeably uneven, and it’s Tarantino’s most overly-talky film to date, but yet I cannot find enough reasons to not highly recommend it. Its gratuitous violence seems a bit over the top even for Tarantino. Blood spills all over the place in this one, but it isn’t at all cartoonish violence like we saw in Kill Bill. The movie is ugly and truly “hateful”, but damn it if it isn’t one of the most entertaining
Continue reading...

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

2 Comments
The Force Awakens

The Force Awakens is much more than a new installment in the one of the biggest movie franchises of all time, it’s also an event of grand magnitude for hundreds of thousands of fans. You can tell director J.J. Abrams paid close attention to that fact when he brought this new installment to the big screen. This new movie wastes no time on giving rabid fans what they want and drives our nostalgia at warp speed. (Minor Spoilers to follow) We get right to it when the film opens up on the planet Jakku, where hotshot X-Wing pilot Poe Dameron
Continue reading...

Black Mass

No Comments
Black Mass

There are moments in Black Mass where it seems like there’s getting ready to be a big payoff, or the film is finally going to hit on all cylinders, but when it finished I realize those moments never came.  Bland, and ultimately pretty boring Black Mass tries its best to be your typical paint-by-numbers gangster movie, but lacks the energy or charisma of classic mobster flicks. It’s a film that could’ve greatly benefited from a light dressing of cliches as opposed to being drenched in them.  It hits every mark on the mob movie cliche hit list including gratuitous language and
Continue reading...

Straight Outta Compton

No Comments
STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON

  Biopics are a tricky thing.  If you have a compelling story based on true events, then they can really be effective.  But, if you have an actor portraying an icon it’s easy for that performance to appear as bad impersonation, distracting you from the journey.  That’s not the case with Straight Outta Compton.  The story of one of the first big rap groups N.W.A., pioneers of Gangster Rap, is not only surprisingly poignant, but it’s quality film making at a high-level. There are great performances across the board, and none of which feel like hokey imitations.  Strong turns by
Continue reading...

Mad Max: Fury Road

No Comments
FURY ROAD

You’ve probably heard it all about Mad Max: Fury Road.  “Non-stop action thrill-ride.” “Best summer movie in years.” “Genius” “Masterpiece.”  ALL TRUE. The almost unanimous early buzz shouldn’t be seen as mere fanboy hyperbole, but serve as a ringing endorsement to get off your butt and go see this movie on the big screen. It’s really hard to find a critique of a film that is almost perfect in every way.  Fury Road is the reason we go to the cinema.  A modern day Stagecoach that is no doubt likely to resurrect a lost old school style and flare of
Continue reading...

Avengers: Age of Ultron

No Comments
Age of Ultron

The gang’s all back together and then some as director Joss Whedon and company try to top the commercial and critical success of Marvel’s The Avengers. There’s a lot going on inside this mega follow up. New characters, all kinds of subplots to aid into Marvel phase 3 flicks, and the ante has been upped with all the major action sequences. The story is way too crowded, the battle scenes are pretty flat, yet somehow Avengers: Age of Ultron overcomes its sequel shortcomings to be an overall satisfying experience, especially for the hard core comic fans. The strength of this
Continue reading...

Chappie

No Comments
Chappie

The most frustrating thing about potential is that it generally sets our expectations so high that anyone that has shown great promise or been tagged as the next wunderkind rarely reach the apex critics and audiences everywhere anticipate them achieving. Frankly that’s not fair. But life’s not fair. The bottom line is that Neill Blomkamp has major film making chops. We saw it in District 9 and we saw flashes of it in the visually stimulating, but uneven, Elysium.  Blomkamp is back with Chappie, a cautionary tale in a familiar setting (an embattled Johannesburg, South Africa) and it’s a hodgepodge
Continue reading...

A Critic’s Dozen: Best Films of 2014

1 Comment
Inherent Vice

  1. Inherent Vice Two things stood out to me in a big way about Inherent Vice: 1) After I saw it the first time, I immediately wanted to revisit it.  2) The enchanting way it manages to achieve mystique, sadness, and absurd humor all at the same time. A lot of people have been asking, “What is Inherent Vice about?” That’s easy. It’s about America. Power. Class warfare. Hiding. Dirty hippies. Dope. Free love. The seventies. Cults. Pancakes. Charles Manson. California beach life. Boats. Nazis. Dentists. Sex. Love. Lust. Detectives. Politics. Ex-girlfriends. Loyalty. The LAPD. Mortal enemies. Dope. And
Continue reading...

Jupiter Ascending

No Comments
Jupiter Ascending

Man oh man what a wild ride The Wachowski’s filmography has been so far.  With the ground-breaking blockbuster “The Matrix” and the two disappointing sequels that almost ruined it, to a psychedelic Speed Racer movie, to a move about reincarnation and love that bordered on genius, to this…”Jupiter Ascending”.  To say the least it’s been very interesting.  Their latest is another of great ambition, something the sibling filmmakers Lana and Andy never seem to be short of.  But for the many reasons it falls short, the one that stands out most is the lack of character development that causes pure
Continue reading...

American Sniper

No Comments
TA3A5741.DNG

From the opening moment, American Sniper is an effective war movie.  Our protagonist draws a beat on his target, a woman who could possibly be an Iraqi insurgent, then suddenly a boy appears in his cross hairs and appears to be carrying something under his clothes and walking towards a U.S. military convoy.  This sets the tone for what life in combat was like for Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper). War is hell and Chris Kyle is the trigger man stuck in the middle of fighting for his country that he feels so deeply about and the moral unease that comes
Continue reading...