film review

Film Review: The Great Wall

by Chad Liffmann on February 17, 2017

White male hero leads dumpster fire movie to a forgettable fate.

Do we LOOK like we’re having fun?

I chose the above picture for very specific reasons. I could’ve chosen a more beautiful shot of a heroic looking Matt Damon atop The Great Wall of China. But no, I preferred this one for the way it captures the feeling one has while watching The Great Wall — the feeling of trudging through the sewer, acting unfazed while knowing deep down that the journey will result in nothing but a sh*tty mess. If you were considering watching The Great Wall as a fun activity this weekend (or at some point), let me save you the two hours you’d never get back. First, The Great Wall is offensive for its white savior narrative. Second, it’s poorly shot and edited. And third, it features cartoonish special effects and thus can’t even manage to string together two minutes of respectable cinema without an embarrassing element restarting the clock.

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Fifty Shades Darker: A movie for people who like their boyfriends to be creepy stalkers

Another scene where Christian Grey is creepy as fuck.

I’m not crazy; I think you already know if you want to watch Fifty Shades Darker, and I would be surprised if anything I could say would change your mind. However, I’m sure there are some people who are just curious about exactly how disgusting of a commentary it is on our current sad culture, and I’m happy to satisfy your curiosity on that point. [read the whole post]

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John Wick proves once again that style can be substantive

Baba Yaga is coming!

In 2014, John Wick combined a Taken-esque simplistic revenge tale with the unrelenting action of Korean and Indonesian action films like The Raid and doused it in stylized modernity. Directed by first-timer Chad Stahelski, who was the stunt coordinator and choreographer for dozens of action titles including multiple Keanu Reeves films like The Matrix trilogy, the film was highly regarded for its action sequences and instantly iconic central protagonist — a solemn hitman with an uncanny ability to kill. John Wick: Chapter Two continues mere hours after the first story left off, if not a day, and it maintains the same action sensibilities of the first film, including the knack for avoiding action cliches like checking bullet proof vests in the middle of gun fights and disregarding armed baddies after “offing” them with a single punch or non-fatal shot. The sequel also expands upon the original’s soft intro to an alternate world in which a secret society of assassins exists, with assassin currency and assassin leadership. This element may be exciting to some and a bit boring to others who prefer the franchise’s most prominent strength—lavishly choreographed action sequences. And still, John Wick: Chapter Two is a stellar sequel that packs a slick punch, in which carefully staged gun fights transcend violent skirmishes to become blood-splattered works of escapist art scored by cool electronic thumps.

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BLAP! ZLOTT! KAPOW! LEGO Batman punches its way to be one of the most entertaining DC movies yet

Batman is reeeaaally annoyed by Robin.

Fresh off the disappointing start to the expanded DC cinematic universe with Batman v Superman and Suicide Squadin swings The LEGO Batman Movie, a refreshingly funny meta action flick. Will Arnett reprises his vocal role as the caped crusader, his second feature film appearance since stealing the show in the 2014 smash hit The LEGO MovieIt was only eight months after The LEGO Movie‘s initial theatrical release that Warner Bros. announced that Arnett/Batman was to get his own flick, ultimately helmed by Robot Chicken producer Chris McKay. The quick trigger finger wasn’t without merit. Inspired by Christian Bale’s most recent take on Batman in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, and with the endless ability to skewer the super hero universe and genre that have been constantly under the microscope lately, LEGO Batman was a sure bet. And, indeed, the bet paid off. The LEGO Batman Movie is a fun, frenetic, visual marvel with a little less witty humor and heart than its LEGO film predecessor. But with enough laughs and dazzling animation to ensure its blockbuster status, it also places among the best superhero films of the last few years.

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Film Review: Split

by Chad Liffmann on January 20, 2017

Shyamalan works really hard to avoid his own traps, and manages to deliver an entertaining thriller.

Creepy personality #1

I really wish M. Night Shyamalan would share a writing credit for once. His screenplays are constantly in need of supervision and a seasoned story writer to cut the fat. The stunted dialogue, contrivances, and lecture hall exposition can sometimes take precedent over plot progression. The same is nearly the case in Split, Shyamalan’s newest film and the most promising return to his mid-late 90s form after many disappointing tries. Split is a tense thriller and features a tour de force from James McAvoy. The film still succumbs to a few stereotypical pitfalls of the thriller genre, but the final product is still an entertaining, and at times chilling, experience featuring shades of Hitchcockian tactics.

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Film Review: Silence

by Chad Liffmann on January 6, 2017

Scorsese has, at long last, delivered his faithful long-lasting delivery on faith

Bless me Andrew Garfield, for I have sinned.

I’m not opposed to a film with a 160+ minute running time. What I do mind is when that movie doesn’t utilize its extended running time properly. It’s hard to fault Martin Scorsese for ensuring that his new film, Silence, runs a simmering 160 minutes. After all, he had wanted to film this story for nearly thirty years. If you were to finally fulfill a 28 year journey to make a film, it’s likely you wouldn’t want to sacrifice one bit of your efforts onto the cutting room floor, either. There is an arguable purpose to Silence‘s slow pace and narrative repetition, which I’ll get to, but it’s ultimately not enough to warrant the length of the final cut. That being said, the film is more of a cinematic triumph than a failed attempt. Yes, it is a historical religious epic, fraught with troubling but effectively choreographed depictions of religious persecution, but Silence is also much more invested (to the point of fallible self-indulgence) in exploring our contentious personal connections to human nature, faith, and spirituality.

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Film Review: Assassin’s Creed

December 21, 2016
www.youtube.com/watch?v=4haJD6W136c

The long wait for a good video game adaptation continues. Callum Lynch sits in the mess hall of a secret lab, having just been ported into the memories of a master assassin, his ancestor. He holds an apple firmly in his hand and says, “what the fuck is happening?” Mr. Lynch, you took the words right […]

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Film Review: Passengers

December 21, 2016
www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BWWWQzTpNU

Half male fantasy, half space actioner, all catastrophic. Bro, imagine you have your own giant resort space ship and you can do whatever you want, right!? Now imagine you get this hot chick with you and then you both get to do whatever you want. WHATEVER. YOU. WANT! How sweet would that be?! Okay, so this stupid […]

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Film Review: Jackie

December 9, 2016
www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUP9gY_5MzI”>YouTube

Jackie isn’t a normal biopic, allowing for a deeper understanding of its subject. It’s only due to my familiarity with Natalie Portman, having seen so many of her films, contrasted with Jackie Kennedy’s unique accent and vocal delivery, that it took me a few scenes to grow accustomed to Portman’s version of the former first lady’s speaking style and mannerisms. […]

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Film Review: Office Christmas Party

December 9, 2016
www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4PHjxRiT2I

This party is less than the sum of its party-goers. Office Christmas Party must’ve been conceived when the six writers credited with the story and screenplay (red flag!) compiled a list of “Crazy sh-t that can happen at a Christmas Party!” Unfortunately, they then attempted to create a plot to surround the list of items in order to […]

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