movie reviews

Black Panther

by Cap'n Carrot on February 15, 2018 · 0 comments

in Film

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While ultimately falling into the category of a lesser Marvel film, there’s still quite a bit to enjoy about Black Panther which develops the African country of Wakanda (which is far more advanced than almost anyone in the outside world suspects). Black Panther seems a bit out of place as Marvel gears up for its big crossover cosmic event in Infinity War as it is arguably the least connected film to the larger overall franchise since the first movies premiered a decade ago.

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Hostiles

by Cap'n Carrot on January 19, 2018 · 0 comments

in Film

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Hostiles is a wagon train movie, without the wagon train. Christian Bale stars as Capt. Joseph J. Blocker, a career solider who has spent the better part of two decades fighting Native Americans in the late 19th Century. A reluctant Blocker is ordered to escort an old enemy (Wes Studi) and his family (Adam Beach, Xavier Horsechief, Q’orianka Kilcher, and Tanaya Beatty) from New Mexico to Montana and deliver them safely home after years of being prisoners of the Union Army. Along the way, the group will pick-up a woman (Rosamund Pike) whose family was brutally killed in the film’s opening scene and a prisoner (Ben Foster) with a connection to Blocker’s past.

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I, Tonya

by Cap'n Carrot on January 12, 2018 · 0 comments

in Film

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I, Tonya is a compelling, if flawed, look at the life and career of Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) memorable mostly for the terrific performances of Robbie and co-star Allison Janney (as Tonya’s mother). Framed as flashbacks told through a series of current interviews (which were actually shot as reference for the script) we watch a young Tonya struggle with acceptance in ice skating despite her obvious talent, her troubled relationships with her mother and husband (Sebastian Stan), and the events leading up to the attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver).

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Molly’s Game

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

in Film

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In choosing to adapt Molly Bloom‘s true story, writer/director Aaron Sorkin begins with an already intriguing subject matter which is only helped by his trademark pacing and smart dialogue. Jessica Chastain is terrific as the failed amateur skier whose life took a dramatic twist after washing out of Olympic qualifying to become the what tabloids dubbed the “poker princess.” Filled with celebrities and high rollers, Molly Brown ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game for almost a decade before being arrested by the FBI. Sorkin rounds out the cast with Idris Elba as Molly’s lawyer, Kevin Costner as Molly’s father, and Michael Cera as one of the regulars at Molly’s games.

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Screenwriters Kay Cannon and Mike White bend over backwards the third time around to find a plausible reason to reunite the Barden Bellas for a final chance to sing and compete for glory. Given the glut of game shows which are music-based it would seem pretty easy to do. However, Pitch Perfect 3 goes old school and instead sends our ladies overseas to perform on a USO tour for American servicemen abroad. And, because everything in this series has to be about competition, the Bellas are pitted against the other bands competing for an opening act spot for prestigious musician DJ Khaled (playing himself).

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Downsizing

by Cap'n Carrot on December 21, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

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Downsizing is an odd film with an intriguing premise and unusual concept that gets a little lost along the way as the film takes a hard-right turn leaving you unsure, exactly, where the story is ultimately heading. Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig star as a couple who decide to take part in an unusual scientific adventure which will shrink them to only a few centimeters tall. Initially created as a way to preserve the world’s dwindling resources, downsizing gains popularity as a middle-income family like the Safraneks can live like kings for only a fraction of the price in ritzy miniature communities. Of course, things don’t go exactly as planned.

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1995’s Jumanji isn’t a great adaptation of the award-winning children’s book about a game which brings jungle chaos to the real world, but it works well-enough as a family-friendly adventure. Fast-forward to 2017 and Jumanji is reinvented as a video game, a concept which gives the sequel/remake the ability to cast big name stars playing kids trapped in the game. While the concept is initially interesting, nothing about the plot makes sense in the structure of a video game as the script quickly devolves into a hot mess.

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I never thought I would see Hugh Jackman upstaged by Zac Efron. Jackman stars as the flawed but good-natured conman and showman P.T. Barnum, whose dreams and drive will lead the unemployed clerk into creating the world’s first circus. Director Michael Gracey‘s elaborate musical has several problems, including (but no limited to) the film is far less epic than intended, most of the musical numbers are forgettable, plot issues are immediately solved with minimal effort (sometimes even off camera), and its main character is the least interesting thing about the entire project. Other than that, it’s an okay show.

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Guillermo del Toro puts his own spin on the Beauty and the Beast tale in The Shape of Water which stars Sally Hawkins as a mute janitor at the the Occam Aerospace Research Center who discovers just what the scientists and military men are studying. Doug Jones, who worked with del Toro before in the Hellboy films and Pan’s Labyrinth, is transformed by practical and CGI effects into a creature who is part Abe Sapien and part the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Never given a name, nor able to speak (just like the woman who falls for him), the design of “the asset” is terrific.

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Ferdinand

by Cap'n Carrot on December 14, 2017 · 0 comments

in Film

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2017 wasn’t the best year for animation. Although there are several solid films, including two from Disney/Pixar, there was no clear standout. Based on the 1938 children’s story, Ferdinand is another solid animated feature which is surprisingly moving coming from Blue Sky Studios (best known for the more comedic Ice Age franchise) as the combination of six writers work to build out the simple story of a bull who would rather smell the flowers than fight, into a feature film. The result is a funny, but also unexpectedly clever (including the best possible bull in a China shop joke) and heartfelt, film.

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