movie reviews

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Whether you are an optimist and view a glass of water as half-full or a pessimist and view it as half-empty, the fact is that there’s only water in half the glass. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a lot like that. Sure, half the glass is filled with terrific imagery and an impressively designed world. There are creatures, gadgets, and CGI aplenty. And even when the sci-fi plot gets a bit dicey it still has a cohesive plot (which is more than I can say for all films released this week). It would be easy to praise Valerian for only the things it does right and just as easy to slam it for all it gets wrong. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

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Dunkirk

by Cap'n Carrot on July 20, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

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Christopher Nolan‘s Dunkirk is surprisingly bad for such an accomplished director. Set during the Dunkirk evacuation of mostly British troops surrounded by Axis forces during World War II, Nolan brings his talents to bear in crafting a visually impressive film. However it’s three-part story, amateurishly cut together in confusing fashion, featuring a migraine-inducing overbearing score (which the director has been infatuated with ever since Inception), without a single trace of emotional resonance, left me detached from both characters and events for most of its running time.

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Spider-Man: Homecoming presents a problem that Marvel and it’s tightly-connected Marvel Cinematic Universe has been able to avoid… until now. Having not yet relaunched any of the Marvel Cinenamatic characters, Marvel hasn’t had to deal with recasting and repackaging the same old stories. Working with Sony, there’s no doubt this is a MCU movie, and not only because of the appearances of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), and a cameo so good I wouldn’t think of ruining it here. For the most part, writer-director Jon Watts and his five (FIVE!?) other screenwriters succeed in building on the character’s small role in Captain America: Civil War.

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The Big Sick

by Cap'n Carrot on July 7, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

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Well, here’s an unique love story. Adapted from the true events of his own life, and co-written by his wife, The Big Sick stars Kumail Nanjiani as comedian and Uber driver Kumail whose relationship with Emily (Zoe Kazan) goes into a rough patch just prior to her being put into a medically-induced coma for an illness doctors struggle to properly diagnose. With Emily hospitalized, Kumail finds himself in the uncomfortable position of dealing with her parents (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano), and the expectations of his own parents (Anupam Kher and Zenobia Shroff) concerning his future.

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The Beguiled

by Cap'n Carrot on June 30, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

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The Beguiled is a remake of 1971 film starring Clint Eastwood as a wounded soldier brought into and tended by the residents of a Southern all-girls boarding school. Choosing to remake the film more from the perspective of the women rather than the male intruder in their lives, Sofia Coppola‘s version of The Beguiled is highlighted by strong performances all around but it’s sadly also the least-interesting movie of the talented director’s career.

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The Hero

by Cap'n Carrot on June 30, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

the-hero-posterThe Hero is a fairly straightforward film about an aging actor coming to terms with his mortality after a troubling medical diagnosis forces him to reexamine his life. Western star Lee Hayden (Sam Elliott) is known really for only one role over his long career (which now consists mostly of commercial voice-over work for barbecue sauce). Elliot is well-cast, and makes the most of the character as he tries to mend fences with his estranged daughter (Krysten Ritter) and try to understand his new relationship with a younger woman (Laura Prepon) who walks unexpectedly into his life.

While not as ambitious as I’d like, director and co-writer Brett Haley delivers just what you’d expect from a film with this premise, ultimately The Hero fails or succeeds on the performance of Elliot who shoulders most of the film’s emotional weight. Thankfully he’s up to the task. I was a bit unsure about Prepon and her character, but her influence does drive some of the film’s best scenes which include Hayden’s audition won when his drug-controlled behavior at an awards show goes viral over social media. The Hero is a solid film. It won’t wow you, but like it’s leading character, it’s slow and steady. Sometimes that does win the race.

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Baby Driver

by Cap'n Carrot on June 28, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

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Written and directed by Edgar Wright, Baby Driver is a fast-paced crime thriller overfilling with plenty of humor and music. Centered around a getaway driver named Baby (Ansel Elgort) attempting to pay-off a debt to local gangster (Kevin Spacey), the film is a mix of over-the-top action and characters and much more realistic violence and emotion. At times Wright struggles balancing the two sides of the film, especially in the final act which drags on with multiple epilogues, but when it works it’s a joy to behold.

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Cars 3

by Cap'n Carrot on June 16, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

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I unapologetically love Cars and think Pixar’s 2006 film is an underrated classic snubbed by those who have more trouble buying into its concept than any flaws in the film. It succeeds in creating a fully realized and imaginative world while providing us the best looking Pixar film to date. While I admit Cars 2 isn’t in the same class, I still enjoy the sequel for the continued exploration of the world, its style, and the fun spy plot (even if it does feature too much of the franchise’s most annoying supporting character).

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Kill Switch

by Cap'n Carrot on June 16, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

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There’s an interesting set-up in Kill Switch that sadly get lost by the one-note gimmick of the film’s first-person presentation. While the flashbacks pull back and allow scenes to unfold naturally, every scene taking place in the present is shot like a first-person shooter (which becomes even more obvious once our protagonist starts to pick up weapons). Had director Tim Smit been more interested in making hard-core sci-fi the results could have been more compelling.

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It’s been more than eighty years since the first Mummy movie was released by Universal Pictures. Over the years the studio has put out other versions of the story, most recently with the increasingly disappointing films starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. With The Mummy not only does the studio hope to reboot the entire franchise but use the film to relaunch several of their other classic movie monster properties as part of their new interconnected Dark Universe.

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