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  1. #826
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    JOHN WICK CHAPTER 3: PARABELLUM
    2.5/5

    The third installment in the John Wick saga falters and slips following in the footsteps of its predecessors. While the two earlier entries in the series contained their fair share of violent action, they also hid a buried a sense of subtelty and mystery lying just underneath all the gun fire and blood spatter. Here, however, it’s all about one over-the-top action sequence after another, after another, after another... Sure, the early action sequences bristle, but there’s nary a break in the mayhem over the course of the 130- minute running time which means that by the second act you’re easily as exhausted as Wick looks throughout the film itself. In short: the seemingly non-stop barrage of bullets and fisticuffs soon escalates into a mind-numbing game of one-upmanship in the form of number of guns fired and asses kicked.
    To add to the action-on-auto-pilot vibe we get tossed some serious miscasting (Angelica Huston as a Russian mob matriarch and Halle Barry as a former assassin-turned-Morocco hotel manager), a kind of groveling John Wick casually begging for foregiveness and his life at every turn, and the complete destruction of the mystique of the underworld created in the first two installments. The end result is a film that pales in comparison to either of the previous entries in the series.
    This isn’t to say JW3 a complete waste of your time. The first act is visually kinetic, both in terms of choreography and cinematography; it’s teeming with slick imagery--NYC drenched in rain and neon-- plus some engaging and creatively gonzo fight sequences.
    Things start to fall apart, however, once Wick leaves The Big Apple and journeys to the assassin mecca of Morocco. Once there, the inevitable ensuing gun fight is long, laborious, and filled with “magic bullets” (Barry’s character never once reloads her gun during the extended battle!). If that weren’t enough, Wick ends up wandering in the desert and is eventually granted an audience with the head of the High Table in a scene cribbed from Lawrence of Arabia; this segment of the film is obviously intended to be somewhat existential, but instead is rather hokey.
    By the film’s end everything is on overkill, even down to the Enter The Dragon-by-way- of-The Lady From Shanghai-influenced final fight, which, while visually intriguing, ultimately feels lackluster and anticlimactic (not to mention just a tad too long). It’s all capped off with an ending that blatantly screams “John Wick 4 Coming Soon!” (the fourth chapter was recently greenlit, btw) as opposed to the more enigmatic endings of the two previous films.
    All of this said, I have half a mind to go see it again just to make sure I didn’t miss anything lurking between the flying bullets and broken bodies.
    "Man, we killin' elephants in the back yard..."

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  2. #827
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    BRIGHTBURN
    1.5/5

    This is the worst kind of action-horror film there is: it takes an intriguing idea and does absolutely nothing interesting with it.
    Straight out the gate there is zero exposition in terms of setting up the story. Instead the film starts with a meteor crash on a farm and then fast-forwards 12 years. Our protagonist, a young lad named Brandon, is apparently a prodigy who is also an outcast at school (nevermind that we hardly see any scenes of bullying or other instances that would shape his personality). Soon, however, young Brandon is donning a creepy cape and cowl and carrying on in a most viloent manner. Where he gets the idea for the costume is lost on me as we never see him reading comic books, watching superhero movies, or the like. Not to mention that the kid literally becomes evil overnight with no reason other than a creepy glowing spaceship hiding out in the barn.
    The violence is ho-hum. The gore sparse. The suspense is lacking. Hell, there isn’t even a single good jump-scare moment lurking within the film’s 91-minute running time. Not to mention that just about everything that happens is utterly predictable.
    Add to this a bevy of one-dimensional characters, such as the clueless mother who refuses to believe her son is evil even though everything points to him being so, the “you’re just imagining things” aunt, the generic dad and uncle, and the small town sheriff who knows something is amiss but really doesn’t do anything about it.
    In regards to the rest of the story, the entire film exists in a vacuum of vagueness were everything is inferred and the audience is left to assume and then accept what is happening onscreen by filling in the gaps of the plot themselves. My quasi-intellectual self told me that perhaps the film was meant as an allegory for adolescence, but if that’s the case the filmmakers failed miserably.
    To top it all off the gratuituously trite and rather lackluster ending leaves things wide open for sequels (here’s hoping that poor Box Office performance will squash that plan, though one cannot discount some streaming service picking it up for an ongoing series).
    In the end the whole film feels like an extended elevator pitch for a potentially better film that never got made.
    "Man, we killin' elephants in the back yard..."

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  3. #828
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    psyched to see Lion King & Toy Story 4 with my son
    I ski the east.

  4. #829
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    Quote Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
    non-plussed by Ragnarok
    Well, that seals it, you're my personal movie critic from here on out, pending one further test before we can make it official. What's your quick, numbers review of the following movies (no justification required):
    Jurassic Park
    The Dark Knight Rises (The concluding film in the Batman Begins trilogy)
    Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Bay Transformers 2; or if you haven't seen it, any of Michael Bay's Transformers movies)
    "If you don't got Olin, then your store could use some fixin'"

  5. #830
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    Quote Originally Posted by CS2-6 View Post
    Well, that seals it, you're my personal movie critic from here on out, pending one further test before we can make it official. What's your quick, numbers review of the following movies (no justification required):
    Jurassic Park
    The Dark Knight Rises (The concluding film in the Batman Begins trilogy)
    Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Bay Transformers 2; or if you haven't seen it, any of Michael Bay's Transformers movies)
    Jurassic Park: 4/5 (saw it when it came out in theaters, but have not re-visited it, so that's from memory...I have always stated that in the grand scheme of special effects movies, it's one of the greats, since the CG in it was pioneering. Plus the story is pretty good and Spielberg keeps the pacing quick.

    The Dark Knight Rises: 2/5
    I was not a huge fan of either Nolan's first Batman or this one. Anne Hathaway's Catwoman was weak and the fact that you couldn't understand a single word coming out of Bane's mouth was equally lame. The Dark Knight, however, 5/5. So, in my book Nolan is 1-for-3 when it comes to Batman.

    I have seen the first 3 Transformers movies (whichever ones had Shia LeBouef in them). Have not seen any of the rest. Wait, I may have seen one of the ones with Marky Mark, but I have no recollection of it. And I did see Bumblebee (reviewed it in this thread). So... I would give the first Transformers a 2/5 overall, but a 5/5 for special effects and sound effects; the way the Transformers changed was mind-boggling, especially on IMAX, and the sound effects were killer...the story? Meh.

    But what do I know?

    "Man, we killin' elephants in the back yard..."

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  6. #831
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    Quote Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
    But what do I know?
    Well, I know I'll be following your reviews from now on. I'd disagree with you a little on all three of those movies, but I can see your reasoning. On top of that, we seem to have a similar comicbook background.

    And I fully agree that The Dark Knight is one of the best movies I've ever seen.
    "If you don't got Olin, then your store could use some fixin'"

  7. #832
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    There's a plethora of stuff at the cineplex, but honestly I can't get motivated to trek the 37-minutes to Reno to see any of it:
    Rocketman
    Godzilla: King of Monsters
    Men In Black International
    X-Men: Dark Phoenix
    The Dead Don't Die (I LOVE Jim J.'s films, but for some reason I feel like they gave away all the best parts in the trailer, thus making it sort of a non-issue to see the whole film).

    I have heard good things about Booksmart (the trailer looked hella funny), but I missed it during its local run.

    Honestly, the two movies I'm most looking forward to are:

    1. Midsommer (the second film from the writer/director of Hereditary...the trailer looks wicked).

    2. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (because even if Tarantino sucks, he's still better than the rest).

    Also, Anna looks like it could be somewhat entertaining, even if it's coming off like Atomic Blonde Lite.
    "Man, we killin' elephants in the back yard..."

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  8. #833
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    MBI:int. was mildly entertaining, but I wouldn't give it but 2 stars out of 5; tired story line and alien pawn was annoying.

    Anna was very predictable but still adequate - I'd go 2.5+. Nothing like Atomic Blond.

  9. #834
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    Quote Originally Posted by PB View Post
    MBI:int. was mildly entertaining, but I wouldn't give it but 2 stars out of 5; tired story line and alien pawn was annoying.

    Anna was very predictable but still adequate - I'd go 2.5+. Nothing like Atomic Blond.



    You're not enticing me to make the effort to get to the theaters, yo!

    "Man, we killin' elephants in the back yard..."

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  10. #835
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    Quote Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
    enticing me to make the effort to get to the theaters
    Quote Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
    Godzilla: King of Monsters
    Well, that one is pretty fucking rad (provided you're into that kinda shit) and worth your time & money to see it on the big screen.
    "If you don't got Olin, then your store could use some fixin'"

  11. #836
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheeseburger King View Post
    psyched to see Lion King & Toy Story 4 with my son

    saw Toy Story 4 3D last Thursday- my son was loving it & laughing. makes it worth it.
    I ski the east.

  12. #837
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    So ..... without a son I shouldn't go see it??

  13. #838
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    Quote Originally Posted by PB View Post
    So ..... without a son I shouldn't go see it??

    no, definitely go see it

    I love the Toy Story series.
    I ski the east.

  14. #839
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    ROCKETMAN
    
2.5 / 5

    For whatever reasons, this film just sat on the screen and merely unfolded before my eyes, ultimately failing to really reach out and grab ahold of me. Now there’s no denying that it’s visually stunning and Taron Egerton in the title role is one of the most tour de force performances of 2019, but there just didn’t seem to be much else to it. Perhaps it came too close on the heels of Bohemian Rhapsody, as it shares a pretty similar story: musical genius grows up suppressing his homosexual orientation, becomes huge pop star, surrounds himself with toxic people, becomes dependent on drugs and alcohol, alienates himself from those he really cares about, and eventually accepts who he is and comes out on top. It’s an all-too-familiar story in the entertainment industry and while here it is delivered with over-the-top bravado (especially if you dig Broadway musical oppulence), it just ends up feeling kind of empty, as if it were merely going through the motions. The music of Elton John was just as ubiquitous during my childhood (heard it all over AM radio growing up) as the music of Queen, yet watching this film made me realize that it never resonated with me all that much beyond that period of my life; to wit, I’ve never once felt compelled to go out and purchase any of his albums. In fact, the only time I can recall really being moved by an EJ tune was in Almost Famous during that airplane scene where the band starts singing “Tiny Dancer”.
    If you are a hardcore fan of Sir Elton, then this cinematic endeavor may very well butter your toast. If you’re only a passing fan, you can probably save your $$ and just listen to one of his early albums (if you own any) in the comfort of your own home instead.

    RIYL
    Moulin Rouge; Mama Mia; Rock of Ages; Tommy; Broadway Musicals
    "Man, we killin' elephants in the back yard..."

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  15. #840
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    Surprised it didn't give you the itch to revisit the music. He's an exceptional musician. Perfectly suited for film and stage.

  16. #841
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    Lion King 2.5

    Flat. Voices don’t fit the story. Scar is ok but other than that the voices and music just underwhelm. Visually it’s a marvel but movies need a story. This visual rehash of the original animation is lifeless. Also, darkening the story seems misplaced as an attempt to appease the adult audience.

    A good example of a children’s movie that also entertains adults is The Black Stallion.

    It’s a shame movies like LK, Avengers, and the latest Star Wars are the standard for movie success. Hollow stories supported by cgi fireworks just don’t inspire me.


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  17. #842
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    MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL
    2.5 / 5

    This was on my backburner list, meaning that I didn’t put high precedence on seeing it in the theater. Alas, when I first attempted to see Yesterday (on opening day, actually), the theater was packed with only the front row seats left, so I ditched out and went to see MIB:I instead as it was the only other film showing at the same time.
    Truth be told, I don’t remember anything about MIB3 and all I recall about MIB2 is that Linda Fiorentino was in it. I’m also a bit dubious when Hollywood feels the need to reboot a franchise some 7 years down the line and without any of the original cast.
    MIB:I was pretty much what you’d expect: lots of CG action enveloping a rudimentary plot. The story actually appears decent enough while you are watching the film, mostly because the pacing is so lightning quick and the effects are so overwhelming that you don’t have time to dissect the story until the film is over. Once you’ve caught your breath and actually have time to reflect you quickly realize that the story was pretty ho-hum, not to mention terribly predictable, and that you were a victim of classic bait-and-switch, here the tactic being the non-stop barrage of explosions, action, and interesting aliens that overwhelm (and eventually numb) your senses.
    The cast is decent enough, although Hemsworth just seems to be coasting along on his good looks and leftover Thor charm (the meta reference to his turn as the Norse God of Thunder seen in the trailers falls pretty flat in the film, fwiw). Tessa Thompson is charming, as well, but she, too, just seems to be along for the ride. The scene stealer happens to be Pawny, a diminutive green alien who drops some of the best quips and actually makes the proceedings rise slightly above mediocre. The rest of the cast, which also includes Emma Thompson, Rebecca Ferguson, and Liam Neeson, are serviceable in their roles, but ultimately underutilized.
    In the end the film is nothing more than a semi-amiable time waster that, like a generic piece of candy, is sweet to the taste, but eventually forgettable once it has melted in your mouth. Oh yeah, I’m pretty confident that we won’t be seeing Men In Black: International 2, unless, say somebody like Netflix ponies up for a streaming series.
    "Man, we killin' elephants in the back yard..."

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  18. #843
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    YESTERDAY
    4/5

    Written by screenwriter Richard Curtis (best known for Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love, Actually) and directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting), Yesterday exudes large amounts of charm and character intermixed with plenty of visual flair.
    At its core this engaging little gem, while ultimately predictable, is a quirky and highly likable romantic comedy masquerading as an-ever-so-slight sci-fi fable. It’s the fantastical elements of the story which really keep things interesting. That and the top-rate cast. Himesh Patel shines in the leading role of Jack, a struggling musician whose fortune changes after a worldwide blackout. The rest of the cast, which includes Lily James as the love interest Ellie, Kate McKinnon as a savage entertainment manager, and Joel Fry as the lovable stoner Rocky, shine just as brightly and help create a warm and bustling atmosphere.
    If there’s one drawback to the film it’s the presence of Ed Sheeran. I can’t tell if the filmmakers are taking the piss in their not-so-subtle comparison of his music/popularity to that of The Beatles or if they are being serious. And while I will never understand the appeal of his music, I am willing to concede that he’s probably a likable bloke in real life. But he’s not a terribly good actor and his moments on screen are awkward and diverting.
    In the end I cried. I laughed. And while at times I felt that my emotions were manipulated, I really didn’t mind all that much because the acting and the music were so engaging.
    RIYL: Love, Actually; Four Weddings and a Funeral; Withnail & I; the music of The Beatles
    "Man, we killin' elephants in the back yard..."

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  19. #844
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    Quote Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
    YESTERDAY
    4/5

    Written by screenwriter Richard Curtis (best known for Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love, Actually) and directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting), Yesterday exudes large amounts of charm and character intermixed with plenty of visual flair.
    At its core this engaging little gem, while ultimately predictable, is a quirky and highly likable romantic comedy masquerading as an-ever-so-slight sci-fi fable. It’s the fantastical elements of the story which really keep things interesting. That and the top-rate cast. Himesh Patel shines in the leading role of Jack, a struggling musician whose fortune changes after a worldwide blackout. The rest of the cast, which includes Lily James as the love interest Ellie, Kate McKinnon as a savage entertainment manager, and Joel Fry as the lovable stoner Rocky, shine just as brightly and help create a warm and bustling atmosphere.
    If there’s one drawback to the film it’s the presence of Ed Sheeran. I can’t tell if the filmmakers are taking the piss in their not-so-subtle comparison of his music/popularity to that of The Beatles or if they are being serious. And while I will never understand the appeal of his music, I am willing to concede that he’s probably a likable bloke in real life. But he’s not a terribly good actor and his moments on screen are awkward and diverting.
    In the end I cried. I laughed. And while at times I felt that my emotions were manipulated, I really didn’t mind all that much because the acting and the music were so engaging.
    RIYL: Love, Actually; Four Weddings and a Funeral; Withnail & I; the music of The Beatles
    I definitely enjoyed Yesterday, but the ending didn't sit well with me. It felt like they didn't know how to end it, so they just basically punted on the whole thing. Instead of building up to the big moral dilemma, it seemed to just fizzle away into a pleasant nothingness.

    Also, I realized I had no idea what Ed Sheeran looked like in real life.

  20. #845
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    MIDSOMMAR
    4.5 / 5

    Continuing to mine the folk horror sub-genre, writer/director Ari Aster side steps the dreaded sophomore slump and delivers yet another taut exercise in grinding, slow-burn intensity and gut gnawing apprehension. While he treads somewhat familiar territory by having yet another psychologically damaged female protagonist a la the disturbing and dividing Hereditary, Midsommar switches things up by taking the action abroad and creating a scenario in which one might seriously think twice about traveling in the rural areas of Sweden (or any other Scandinavian country, for that matter).
    The proceedings come out the gate with a muted, yet no less jarring “bang!” and then the quietly creepy sensibilities never really let up for the film’s 2 hour-and-27-minute duration. Aster is rather deft at building tension and creating a smoldering kind of subdued terror which is delivered with a confidently even pace.
    One of the many interesting aspects of the film is just about everything that happens onscreen is easily predictable to the discerning horror/thriller fan. Yet despite the fact that stuff happens just as you’d guess it would, there is still sufficient built up around the action so that when things do happen as expected, they still manage to resonate with shocking elements of surprise.
    Another cool thing Aster relies on is that he has a lot of action happen off-screen, using audio to impart what’s going on. He also has off-screen/out-of-shot characters talking over other characters who are in the frame at the time, making for a nice, rich aural tapestry that is like a mutant riff on Robert Altman’s signature chaotic approach to dialogue in films.
    In terms of the cast, Florence Pugh is great in the lead role of Dani, expertly becoming the uber cute, yet dreadfully cloying girlfriend. Will Poulter continues to amaze at his dexterity playing complete asshats (he’s so good at portraying whiny, bloated Americans that I never knew he was a Brit until a few years ago; in many ways he reminds me of a young BIll Paxton in terms of the types of characters he seems to gravitate towards). The acting of Jack Reynor left me a little flat, but then again his character is supposed to be a wishy-washy douche, so perhaps he nails it after all.
    As with Hereditary, the ending of this film definitely goes for shock and awe(fulness) in terms of its twisted gore factor. In many respects, the film could have easily ended 10-minutes earlier than the bloody and fiery finale, taking the very last shot and transposing it on the final portion of the May Queen ceremony; it would have made the film a bit more enigmatic, leaving the ending up to the audience, but also being no less potent and malevolent.
    When all is said and done, Midsommar is a thought provoking, little horror film that eschews jump scares and over-the-top blasts of gore in favor of a more nerve-wracking and harrowing sense of paranoia and uneasiness.

    RIYL:
    Hereditary; The Killing of a Sacred Deer; Rosemary’s Baby; The Wicker Man (the 1973 original); It Comes At Night; Us; The Lair of the White Worm; “The Lottery” short story by Shirley Jackson
    "Man, we killin' elephants in the back yard..."

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  21. #846
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    BOOKSMART
    3/5

    There’s a moment in Booksmart, at the end of the second act, where a supporting character states that he hopes to make billions of dollars designing airplanes and then take that money and finance Broadway musicals; he stresses that they will be “original” and not revivals. He then goes on to lament about how there is nothing new anymore and how everything is either a revival, rehash, or reboot. It’s a blatantly forced ironic meta mini-moment as practically nothing in this little film is original.
    While not specifically a revival, Booksmart certainly is a rehash of just about every post-John Hughes teen comedy one can muster their gray matter to think of. The one that came to the forefront of my mind whilst watching this much hyped indie comedy was,1998’s Can’t Hardly Wait. But the film it rips off the most, um, I mean most resembles, is Superbad. Seriously, I can practically see the pitch made to producers: “Think Superbad, but with girls as the leads!” There’s the meek skinny girl and her chubby, bossy bestie (who not-so-coincidentally methinks, happens to be Jonah Hill’s sister in real life). Naturally this odd couple are the two outsiders at their high school and the film gets underway when they realize on the last day before graduation that they wasted the past 4 years in the library instead of partying. Naturally, they decide to crash the biggest senior bash. From there the film dips into semi quest territory as they attempt to locate said party. This was an intriguing twist and for a quick moment I thought I was going to be privy to a teenaged homage to After Hours. Sadly, the filmmakers didn’t go that route and the film quickly sinks back into routine teen comedy tropes.
    Even though pretty much everything in this film is pastiched from other films, I did find myself laughing out loud several times, so it wasn’t a complete waste of time. In fact, it’s deja vu-styled familiarity lends the film a kind of nostalgic, warm-n-fuzzy-yet-raunchy vibe.
    There is no question that leading ladies-- Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein (Hill’s sibling) -- have great chemistry, plus many of the tertiary characters are brilliantly acted and steal scenes whenever they get the chance (keep an eye out for Gigi, portrayed by Carrie Fisher’s daughter, no less), and the soundtrack is killer (although I have to question just how many 18 year old Class of 2019 graduates actually listen to DJ Shadow, Run the Jewels, and The Handsome Boy Modeling School; those guys are contemporaries of mine!). Sadly, none of this helps to mask the fact that the story is full-on “seen it all before” action.
    In the end, Booksmart is an entertaining enough diversion, and as much as I want to hate on it for being completely unoriginal, it was funny-as-f&$k a lot of the time. That said, it’s not even the least bit necessary to spend $12 to see on the Big Screen. Seriously, if you are hankering to be reminded of your wasted, misspent youth, then wait for it to show up at Redbox or on your favorite streaming service, that way you can get hella lit in the comfort of your own home and regale in all the vag and queef jokes.

    RIYL: Can’t Hardy Wait; Superbad; American Pie; She’s All That
    "Man, we killin' elephants in the back yard..."

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  22. #847
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    This looks like it will be good. Saving Private Ryan, WWI edition.

  23. #848
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    SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME
    3.5/5

    I feel the need to admit that I am suffering what the entertainment pundits have been calling “superhero fatigue.” I honestly have not gotten all that excited for any of the tent pole Marvel and DC films that have dropped over he past several years. Sure, I eventually go see them, but it’s more out of some twisted obligation (perhaps because I’m already invested having seen all the previous films?) than actually having a strong desire to see them. So it was with the latest Spidey adventure, which I avoided seeing until I got bored one afternoon and figured “what the hell?”.
    I went into this film with considerably low expectations. And you know what? Like the recent Shazam! film, I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly entertained. This may actually be one of the best Marvel efforts to date.
    Now if you even have a passing knowledge of Spider-Man and his exploits, it won’t be hard to figure out what’s going to happen in the film, especially in regards to Mysterio. Predictability aside, there’s enough cool visual flair to keep your eyes glued to the screen, but what really stands out here is the script. Not so much the story, mind you, but rather the dialogue, which is smart, clever, and, well, often feels genuine. It's funny, too. On top of that, the interaction between Peter Parker and his sidekick Ned comes off natural and never feels forced. Ditto for the chemistry between Peter and MJ. Perhaps this is a testament to the actors involved, but I tend to think that a good deal of this is coming from the words written by Erik Sommers and Chris McKenna (who incidentally, co-wrote Homecoming, but with 4 other screenwriters; methinks having just two writers on this film helped to make things cleaner and a bit more streamlined).
    In short, Spider-Man: Far From Home is what you want from a superhero movie: decent action augmented by a decent story, all wrapped up in solid dialogue and great chemistry between all of the actors involved.
    That said, the film looses a few points for yet another cosmic battle of "epic" proportions (we can thank all of the Avengers films for setting this now boring and bloated bar), as well as the “twist” ending, which was kind of lame and most likely meant to be “ironic” (t's not). In the end this is an almost steller summer popcorn bonanza.
    Oh yeah, if you are a gung-ho superhero movie nerd then be advised that there are two post-credit “bonus” sequences.

    RIYL: Spider-Man: Homecoming; Avengers: Endgame; All the other Marvel films; Shazam!
    "Man, we killin' elephants in the back yard..."

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  24. #849
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    CRAWL
    2.5 / 5

    This film is pretty much what you would expect, which is a shame as the limited plot definitely had potential. While teeming with some great jump scares and moments of white-knuckle inducing intensity, it sadly falls victim to unnecessary and cliched maudlin drama; the story revolves around an estranged daughter and her overbearing father. The film would have fared better had it just focused on the alligators and their human prey without all the sappy trappings. To top it all off we are additionally treated to a completely saccharine ending. What’s worse, is that there were several fleeting moments--the looters, the gator eggs, the family dog-- that easily could been turned into something more substantial, ultimately fleshing out the film a bit. The potential for some nasty twists was there, too. Unfortunately, these moments just ended up being wasted opportunities that went nowhere.
    What stands out the most in this endeavor are the CG alligators, which actually look pretty damn real. Mind you, I’ve never been in close proximity to a real gator, but these ones looked scary and mean. Kudos to the FX team for that. And kudos to both Kaya Scoderlario and Barry Pepper for enduring what was probably a grueling shoot consisting of weeks in the water and muck; that’s no small feat.
    Sadly, cool gators and amphibious actors do not a great movie make. So, despite a lot of untapped potential, Crawl kind of flounders.

    RIYL: 47 Meters Down; Piranha 3-D; The Shallows
    "Man, we killin' elephants in the back yard..."

    http://www.blizzardsportusa.com/

  25. #850
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Truckee, CA
    Posts
    5,525
    THE ART OF SELF DEFENCE
    4/5
    This dark and often surreal comedy walks the line between deadpan brilliance and over-the-top outlandishness. I inadvertently glanced at a review which spoke about the film’s skewering of toxic masculinity. I guess you could say it does that. But it also touches upon misogyny, bullying, transformative experiences, the cult of personality (and, well, just cults as a whole), the need to belong, fear of being weak, and myriad other subjects. But honestly, all of that came to mind after I watched the film and stewed on it during my drive home. In the moment, TAOSD is an absurdist jaunt into the life of a glorious sad sack who finds redemption in karate. Kind of. The film is teeming with foreshadowing and, in a way, is pretty predictable, but it moves at such a wonderfully succinct pace that you kind of forget about the breadcrumbs that have been dropped until BAM! they smack you in the face and you say “Damn, I should have seen that coming!” I dig films like this, you know, ones where seemingly innocuous events that occurred in the beginning of the film come back into play at the end; it’s like a tightly woven tapestry of
    Jesse Eisenberg plays the socially awkward protagonist to great effect, perhaps a smidgen over-the-top in terms of how stiff and detached he is from reality and social norms. Then again, that seems to be the film’s major ploy: fucking with the balance of impassive and camp. Imogen Poot is equally enthralling, giving an earnest, yet smoldering performance. And Alessandro Nivola as the off-kilter karate sensei is wonderfully malevolent.
    On top of it all there’s plenty of good old ultra-violence sprinkled throughout, which offsets the droll satire nicely and helps create an atmosphere where you never really know what’s going to happen next. Okay, I did mention all of the blatant foreshadowing leading up to predictable moments, but the violence often works as a jarring red herring.
    If you like your comedies swinging from the gallows, but in an irreverent and left-of-center manner then this is an entertaining and engaging effort.

    RIYL: The Lobster; Safety Not Guaranteed; After Hours; Withnail & I; Repo Man
    "Man, we killin' elephants in the back yard..."

    http://www.blizzardsportusa.com/

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