movie review

Film Review: Life

by Marie Carney on March 24, 2017

Life shows us how a few complacent space people can endanger our entire existence

Maybe Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare) should take growing Martians more seriously.

When I first found out I was reviewing Life, I was super excited. I love big budget space movies! I love sci-fi! Then I remembered that I am terrified of aliens. Whoops. Soon the question became — will I actually be able to watch the movie without having a panic attack? Much like everything to do with this movie, that answer is unclear. I sat in my chair nervously twitching, waiting to be terrified and got my shoulder muscles knotted up, but I never had to cover my eyes and had no trouble falling asleep when I got home. It was an intense thriller, but maybe just too predictable to actually be scary. [read the whole post]

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Kong delivers without monkeying around.

This guy really needs to hold on tighter.

I’ll admit that I was more than skeptical when Kong: Skull Island was first announced. A new King Kong movie, really? Peter Jackson’s 2005 version still felt fresh in my mind, perhaps because it’s been playing on TV so often. But Kong: Skull Island was supposedly a different type of Kong movie. It was gonna be more modern, more action-oriented, and part of a larger monster movie series (see MonsterVerse). That all sounded nice and dandy but I wasn’t going to believe it until I saw it. Then, I saw it. I saw it in IMAX 3D. And whaddya know, it’s really good. Kong: Skull Island delivers just about everything you’d expect from its marketing campaign and PR promises. The action is exciting, the special effects are fantastic, the acting is non-distractingly serviceable, and there’s nothing else to it. As pure cinematic escapism, Kong: Skull Island reigns king. 

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Finding Dory gives you another big ocean adventure and all the feels

The charmingly grumpy Hank helping Dory

The charmingly grumpy Hank helping Dory

Let’s start with some full disclosure. Finding Nemo is my favorite Pixar movie and Dory is my favorite part of it. To say I was excited to see Finding Dory would be an extreme understatement. I spent all day telling telling everyone I saw “I’m seeing Finding Dory tonight!” not for any particular reaction, but just that I was so excited it just jumped out of my mouth like crazy fangirl word vomit. Luckily it seems like most people are excited to see Finding Dory so my spastic exclamations were pretty well received. The audience at the screening seemed excited as well, even if it was smaller than usual due to the Warriors game. Seemed strange to me people would pick a basketball game over the movie, but maybe the game was better? [read the whole post]

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Perfectly thrilling from beginning to end.

Howard is always watching.

Howard is always watching.

10 Cloverfield Lane is the “sequel” of sorts to the J.J. Abrams produced 2008 found-footage monster movie, Cloverfield. At least that’s what its meant to be — or rather a spin-off/anthology story. In all honesty, I’ve never seen a “sequel” be so distinct in style and substance from its predecessor. And this is for the best, since 10 Cloverfield Lane is a remarkable old-school thriller that aims to build upon the world set up in Cloverfield, rather than be confined by the latter’s story elements. It’s also been a while since I’ve been so nervous watching a film! Once 10 Cloverfield Lane hooks you in, you’re strapped in for an intense, unrelenting ride executed to near perfection via sharp direction and A-game acting.

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Fantastic Four is short and to the point, but pointless.

Four horsemen of the apocalypse, without the horses, and with one woman.

Four horsemen of the apocalypse, without the horses, and with one woman.

If you were clamoring for a reboot of the Fantastic Four movie franchise ever since 2007’s Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, you can probably assume that you’re in a small minority. I can safely say that not many people were interested in a new Fantastic Four movie, nevermind watching an attempt to relaunch the franchise in a more dark, gritty, and “character driven” storyline, a la X-Men: First Class and just about every superhero movie these days. Not all super hero movies need to follow the same exact formula again and again and again. It’s getting tiresome. The new Fantastic Four is no different. Even considering its weak editing and laughable story structure, it still manages to fall victim to comic book adaptation formula. I will concede one small victory to it—a reasonably short running time of 1 hour 45 minutes. It was nice to see a comic book film stay under 2 hours, though it was quite apparent that the F4 editors had no idea how to keep the pace and plotline efficient within that timeframe. In the end, Fantastic Four is not strong enough to stand on its own few merits, nor is it able to push a disappointing franchise forward.

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‘Fifty Shades’ is caught between a book and a hard place.

Must.  Stare.  To.  Create.  Intense.  Chemistry!

Must. Stare. To. Create. Intense. Chemistry!

I sort of feel sorry for Francine Maisler, the casting director of Fifty Shades of Grey.  Francine was given an impossible task — to cast the role of Christian Grey with an actor whose every physical characteristic would accurately reflect the subjective sexual fantasies of millions of female (and male) readers.  100 million, to be more exact.  Once a Grey was found, the rest should’ve fallen more easily into place.  To the filmmakers credit, and to Maisler’s, the casting job is almost as good as it could’ve been.  Jamie Dornan makes for a sexy steely-eyed (see what I did there?) Christian Grey and Dakota Johnson makes for a very strong pretty-yet-plain Anastasia Steele.  Oh, but there’s one problem…they have to have great chemistry together in order to pull it off.  Oops.  Fifty Shades of Grey is not as bad as you may think or hope, and if you’re brave enough to refrain from poking fun of it to look cool, it’s not hard to notice some strong cinematic merits and a strong yet simply central plot with a lot of interesting potential.  Sadly, the lack of actor chemistry and the screenwriter’s loyalty to the book’s popularity sours the overall impact of the film, which, despite its effectiveness in pushing the boundaries of sex in a rated R film, should’ve had a stronger impact.

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Film Review: Tracks

September 26, 2014
www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-DiOyxCQQI

Life is a journey– make sure you have enough camels. Tracks is based on the true story and National Geographic article (and subsequent memoir) of Robyn Davidson, the Australian woman who made a nine month journey on foot across the Australian desert in 1977 — a distance of about 1700 miles.  Throughout her journey, accompanied only by […]

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Film Review: 22 Jump Street

June 13, 2014
www.youtube.com/watch?v=06rvPK8ydZo

School in the summer has never been so awesome. The unlikely success of 2012’s 21 Jump Street prompted the production and release of the sequel, 22 Jump Street, which ends up being funnier, more ridiculous, and more exciting than it’s predecessor.  Phil Lord and Christopher Miller must be on cloud nine right now since the writing/directing duo has experienced unbelievable success […]

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Film Review: Maleficent

May 30, 2014
www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-XO4XiRop0

I don’t know you, I may have walked with you once upon a dream… …but honestly, who are you? This is not the Maleficent from Disney’s 1959 animated classic, Sleeping Beauty.  There’s a physical resemblance, sure.  For about 10-15 minutes, the story and tone seems to reflect the Disney version as well.  But mostly this is […]

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Fanboy Ramblings: “The Avengers”

May 4, 2012

For a well-thought-out, articulate, reasoned, educated review, I strongly suggest you click over to Jason LeRoy’s official review of The Avengers. For the ramblings of someone who’s read too many comics, seen too many comic movies at midnight, and overanalyzes every darn thing past the point of usefulness, read on.

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