movie reviews

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I’ve been waiting all year for a front-runner, a film to set the standard to which every movie that follows will have to try to measure up. I don’t have to wait any longer. Writer/director Martin McDonagh takes us to a little-used patch of road in rural Missouri where the sudden use of three derelict billboards begin to raise the eyes of the local community.

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Coco

by Cap'n Carrot on November 22, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

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Pixar’s nineteenth feature isn’t one of the studio’s best, but it does display plenty of heart. We open to extended narration setting up the life and family of young Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) whose family’s hatred of music makes the first-half of the movie seem like Footloose with dead people. More than anything in the world Miguel wants to be a musician which, through a somewhat convoluted series of events, sends him into the netherworld on Día de Muertos when the spirits can leave the Land of the Dead and visit their living relatives (only if their families have remembered to place their picture in the family ofrenda, or altar).

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On television, stage, and in film there have been plenty of adaptations of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol over the years (Mickey Mouse and Bill Murray have provided two of my favorites). The latest from director Bharat Nalluri and screenwriter Susan Coyne, based on Les Standiford‘s book, doesn’t add much new to the proceedings, but proves to be an enjoyable holiday romp focused on the turmoil in Dickens’ (Dan Stevens) life and the creation of one of his most famous works. The script follows a familiar path seen before with authors talking directly to their characters and stealing names and lines from real-life to work into their writing. The later reminded me of Shakespeare in Love, which had far more wit than we find here.

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the-killing-of-a-sacred-deer-posterWriter/director Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster) is known for unconventional storytelling, and his latest certainly fits that bill. Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) is a respected surgeon with a wife (Nicole Kidman), two children (Raffey Cassidy and Sunny Suljic), and secretive relationship to the son (Barry Keoghan) of a former patient with an equally strange mother (Alicia Silverstone, in a surprisingly small role). When Steven’s son develops odd symptoms that can’t be explained, the doctor is confronted by Martin (Keoghan) who makes veiled threats while suggesting that he is somehow responsible.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a frustrating movie. The film is visually stunning with a haunting score, but every time an actor delivers a torturous line-reading (more appropriate to a group of lonely souls reading publicly from their Twilight fan fiction) the spell is broken. There’s a stiltedness to every performance, no character speaks naturally, and even their reactions, movements, and manners are so affected it will make you wonder if you missed the note explaining that everyone in the film is autistic.

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Justice League

by Cap'n Carrot on November 15, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

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Built from the worst foundation possible laid by the disastrous Man of Steel and the trainwreck which was Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it’s a wonder that Justice League is even watchable let alone entertaining. Don’t get me wrong, the latest from “visionary” director Zack Snyder is beset with multiple problems, but thankfully being a dumpster fire isn’t one of them. Despite issues with character, plot, editing, acting, and cinematography, Justice League does produce a flawed yet entertaining film bringing DC heroes together against a common threat. It’s not the follow-up to Wonder Woman DC fans were hoping for, but it’s a fair bit better than I expected from Zack Snyder and company.

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2017’s Murder on the Orient Express isn’t the first adaptation of Agatha Christie’s work, nor is likely to be the last. Director Kenneth Branagh, who also stars as Christie’s famous detective Hercule Poirot, offers a stylish version of events featuring an all-star cast as mystery and murder unfold on the renown luxury passenger train which gets stuck in an avalanche with a murderer onboard. And, to make sure his performance won’t be forgotten, Branagh sports some of the most bizarre facial hair you’ll see on film (at least one not filed under Science Fiction).

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Thor: Ragnarok

by Cap'n Carrot on November 2, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

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Marvel has struggled with creating a consistent and fully-realized film for either Thor or the Hulk. Sure Thor is okay. And The Incredible Hulk is fine, but neither is likely your favorite Marvel movie. The solution to throw the two together with a Ragnarok (end of Asgard)/Planet Hulk mash-up proves to be just what the doctor ordered. Oh, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is here, too. Thor: Ragnarok marks the first time in four films that Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has actually been more interesting than Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Don’t get me wrong, Hiddleston is still charming as hell, but taking Thor away from Earth and (mostly) Asgard frees the character up considerably for one hell of a fun ride that rivals Guardians of the Galaxy for Marvel Studios’ best space adventure.

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Goodbye Christopher Robin

by Cap'n Carrot on October 27, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

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Based on the true story of writer A. A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) and his creation Winnie-the-Pooh, Goodbye Christopher Robin is more than it initially might seem. Much like Milne himself, returned from war with PTSD and struggling with getting back to work as a writer, the script by Frank Cottrell Boyce and Simon Vaughan struggles before getting the man and his family into the setting which would eventually help create one of the world’s most-beloved fictional characters.

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Suburbicon

by Cap'n Carrot on October 26, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

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I really wanted to like director George Clooney‘s Suburbicon. Sadly, the mix of dark comedy, murder, racial injustice, and social commentary flails about for far too much of its 104-minute running time without ever coming together. Clooney produces an only somewhat interesting film with admittedly intriguing pieces and strong performances, but sadly the film never really clicks.

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Blade Runner 2049

by Cap'n Carrot on October 2, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

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Good news, bad news. Blade Runner 2049 isn’t as good as the original. It’s also far better than I expected from a sequel no one really ever wanted to see made. While I’d expect the initial reception to be better than the original Blade Runner, the sequel’s plot does have serious plot holes which multiple viewings are likely to further expose.

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