Wednesday - October 5, 2022

Archive for the ‘ Reviews ’ Category

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A Journalist of Some Repute (Movie Review: Confess, Fletch)

September 29th, 2022

I’m fond, perhaps too much, of saying that two things can be true at the same time. The first thing is that attempting to reboot a long-dormant franchise is foolish. Nobody is clamoring for a revival of Francis the Talking Mule. Millions of people online aren’t pestering studio bigwigs for an updated Ma and Pa Kettle. Some things, once cinematically dead, should stay dead. So it was for the Fletch franchise. At least, I thought so. Long, long ago, Chevy Chase was one of the world’s biggest stars. 1987’s Fletch was a solid hit for him, and understandably so. It’s Chase’s favorite film... Read More

Revenge Is Like a River (Movie Review: Saloum)

September 29th, 2022

I’ve seen enough American movies to know what they look and feel like. Odds are you’re the same way. Whether you’ve seen an A24 horror film, an entry in the MCU, or a prestige Oscar contender, you have a pretty good sense of the expected beats. That doesn’t mean that every film released in this country is predictable, but what it does mean is that American movies are generally made with American sensibilities in mind. There’s a vast and fascinating world of cinema beyond our borders, and one of the most fun aspects is to gauge how those foreign sensibilities are both different and similar... Read More

The Bracelet (Movie Review: Ava: A Twist in the Road)

September 12th, 2022

Independent film exists because studios exist. Show business, particularly these days, has an almost sociopathic focus on the “business” side. Due to the coming merger of streaming behemoths HBO Max and Discovery+, nearly completed films were shelved and declared to be tax write-offs. TV programs that were deemed to be not profitable enough were canceled and/or removed entirely from the streaming library. In the end, money rules all with the studios. No big surprise there, and the reason that Marvel Studios is the name in four-quadrant popular cinematic entertainment is that the movies make... Read More

Family Ties (Movie Review: Take the Night)

September 12th, 2022

Perhaps more than any other genre, crime films are my jam. Everyone who’s into film has that one genre they prefer just a bit more than the others. Even snooty old film critics will give a pass to their beloved “elevated horror” films or to historical dramas. It’s never been about bias, just personal preference. A film that focuses on scumbags up to assorted scumbaggery? Great, sign me up! I can hang with the sweeping L.A. crime saga of Heat, the chilly nihilism of No Country for Old Men, the jittery panic of Training Day; the list goes on. While I’m not sure the crime genre has quite... Read More

Actionable History (Movie Review: The Woman King)

September 12th, 2022

As recently as 2019,* an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal trotted out that hoary old chestnut about women in the military. You’ve heard this before, the idea that women aren’t as strong as men, are injured far more often, and that by reducing the physical standards of recruits, the lethality of the military will be reduced and the odds of invasion by our hated enemy, Canada, will only increase. Plus there’s the concern that a coed military means a sexually active military, and we certainly can’t have that!** The fact that this lame old argument keeps being made says to me that the people... Read More

Fight Or Flight (Movie Review: Prey)

August 19th, 2022

Imagine you’re a filmmaker. You have an idea. It feels like a good one, a very good one. You start writing, and after multiple screenplay drafts, you think you’re in good shape. Then, after assembling a cast and crew, you begin the Sisyphean task of making the movie. Amazingly, you finish without having too many nervous breakdowns. Then, you oversee the editing. After all that, your creation is released into the world, and…people love it! Your movie becomes both beloved and profitable. What happens next? Everybody wants a sequel. Your success is the good news, but the bad news is that sequels... Read More

To Capitalism and Beyond! (Movie Review: Lightyear)

July 5th, 2022

Is Pixar the greatest animation studio in the history of film? Possibly. It can certainly compete with Disney, its quasi-parent, along with the mighty Studio Ghibli of Japan. For my money, Pixar slightly edges out Studio Ghibli and comes out on top due to two factors — the quality of animation and innovative storytelling. From 1995 to 2010, nearly every Pixar release could be considered a classic. I’ll grant you that Monsters, Inc. is well-meaning fluff, and I recognize that Cars is less geared toward families and more aimed at young children. But Wall-E, Up, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille... Read More

Running and Screaming (Movie Review: Jurassic World: Dominion)

June 17th, 2022

There’s an old belief that all little boys go dino-mad for a minute. I have no idea if that’s accurate, but I do know I was no exception. Back then, I recall a zoo of molded plastic critters, everything from the T-rex to the Stegosaurus. I remember junior paleontology books and a bemused father* taking me over and over and over to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science so that I could gawk at the fossils. I love dinosaurs. I always have. Even now. I recently finished the very good book The Last Days of the Dinosaurs by Riley Black.** Odds are I’ll stop loving them right around the time... Read More

Flyboy (Movie Review: Top Gun: Maverick)

May 24th, 2022

The first time I saw Top Gun, I hated it. As a wee lad, I remember seeing it in a packed theater in 1986. I remember the whooshing of the jets, the omnipresent soundtrack, and the unnerving intensity of Tom Cruise. I remember the buzz of the audience walking out. People adored it, and I remember looking around and thinking, “What movie did you guys just see because that sucked.” Is it still that bad, though?* Of course not, and it’s yet another example where the movie isn’t the problem; I’m the problem. I should like it. Consider that, despite what you might think of his personal life,... Read More

Weird Creature of the Night (Review: The Batman)

March 15th, 2022

There aren’t many fictional characters that have as many character facets as Batman. You could go in a number of different directions beyond horror if your story involved Dracula — comedy, romance, action for starters. I think the same could be said for Sherlock Holmes. If you compare just Robert Downey Jr’s action-oriented take with the more cerebral approach of Benedict Cumberbatch you’ll see that the character of Holmes provides storytellers with a good amount of flexibility. The nature of superheroes, however, is to be iconic, and that iconography can be limiting. Superman is an icon... Read More