Posts in 1 STAR
MOVIE REVIEW: Dark Phoenix

Whereas Days of Future Past was a face-lifting and jump-starting franchise savior, Dark Phoenix following X-Men: Apocalypse has become the moment of collapse. And it’s not solely because Fox was bought by Disney. Simon Kinberg and company have run out of juice to tell an interesting story sufficiently after multiple chances. When you watch this new movie and actually miss the gaudy theatrics of X-Men: The Last Stand because it at least tried, that’s a very surprising and telling thing.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Kings

Take Kings as how a foreigner sees our plights, troubles, and history.  Ergüven has talent but comes across as tone deaf when trying for tribute out of this script that she’s been sitting on since 2011.  What should be a spike through the heart gets washed away by the time a sunny Motown cover song tries to become a palette-cleansing “everything’s fine” coda and exhale moment in the end credits.  Even as pure dramatization, Kings is an irresponsibly aimless one.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Krystal

Fashioning itself as a coming-of-age dramedy, Krystal scratches out frank dialogue emoting on behalf of overly honest hearts.  It banks on mixing sentiment built on pleasantries laced with profanity. All kinds of abrupt dysfunction and daffy discombobulation try to be endearing entanglements for entertainment, but the result is a really uneven piece of batty humor and grating romance

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MOVIE REVIEW: Downsizing

The pairing of Matt Damon and writer/director Alexander Payne should have been a match made in heaven on paper to bring out the comedy side of Damon we seem to only see in snippets anymore or late night comedy bits.  Crumble up that paper, dip it in gasoline, and light it on fire.  By golly, if Matt Damon wasn’t Matt Damon Downsizing would be bad enough to sink a lesser star’s career.  It is the worst film of his disastrous 2017 trio.  

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Dark Tower

Add all of The Dark Tower up, the ineffective length, the nonsensical plot, threadbare mythology, leashed acting, and limited thrills, and you get the lowest sum of calculations. You get the sheer absurdity we started with.  I'm sure it's all meant to be substantial and worthy of audience investment, but how is any of it supposed to give us gravity to grasp if it's all presented in such a cursory degree?

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MOVIE REVIEW: Passengers

Mixing romance with science fiction always seems to be a dodgy proposition of preposterousness.  The emotionality of love is not something readily explained by science, unless some smarty pants cites neurotransmitters, adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin.  The marketing and publicity push of “Passengers,” starring the hot ticket names of Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, want you believe that you’re stepping into “Titanic in Space.”  Hey now, come out of hyperdrive or drop out of warp speed (your choice, fellow geeks) and pump your space brakes!  The only apt comparison between “Passengers” and “Titanic” is the metaphorical sinking.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Sing

The new animated musical “Sing” from Illumination Entertainment bills itself as containing more than 85 memorable tracks from legendary performing artists and one new original song collaboration from Ariana Grande and Stevie Wonder.  When you divide the 110 minutes of the film by 86 songs, that averages out roughly to one song every 78 seconds.  A mashup like that plays well as a recurring Jimmy Fallon/Justin Timberlake bit on late-night television, but it’s exhausting and tiresome when stretched to nearly two hours.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Collateral Beauty

As entertainment, movies are an ideally suited artistic medium to motivate or stimulate emotional responses.  The smartly composed narratives among them can pull that off naturally.  Others force it.  When such happens, manipulation replaces motivation.  For an example, look no further than “Collateral Beauty” starring Will Smith and directed by David Frankel.  It is one of the most egregious miscalculations of filmmaking and marketing in recent memory.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Wiener-Dog

Commonly, there are only two general reactions to witnessing an elaborate intentional joke of dark comedy.  You either admire the effort to relish the measured malice or you are appalled and disconnected to the sense of humor being exploited.  There will be very little gray area between those reactions for Todd Solondz’s “Wiener-Dog.”  Make no mistake.  For lack of a better term, this is a filmmaker being an asshole on purpose because he can and he doesn’t care.  You will either champion or loathe that supposed brilliance and brashness.  Buyer beware, honest and true dog lovers need to stay far away from this film.

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MOVIE REVIEW: The BFG

Faithful and imaginative as “The BFG” may be, the proceedings lack contagious inspiration that should come from a film of this intended caliber.  Other than “whizpopper” humor, the slivers of cuteness present are ineffectual and the intended themes on dreams are lost in yawns.  The silliness misses any chance at meaning.  The film is too ridiculous to be approachable and too bizarre to be endearing.   Meet Steven Spielberg's worst film.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Warcraft

Here's the worst part of what "Warcraft" tries to execute.  With its riffs on exotic worlds, magic, warring factions, and monstrous creatures, it fashions its to be high fantasy and epic spectacle right there with "The Lord of the Rings" and "Star Wars."  Universal Pictures thinks it is sitting on a crossover franchise that will sells merchandise and recruit new gamers by the millions.  You cannot make the bizarre endearing without substance behind it. 

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MOVIE REVIEW: Knight of Cups

The title of "Knight of Cups" from polarizing filmmaker Terrance Malick refers to the tarot card of the same name, a symbol that represents someone "constantly bored, in constant need of stimulation, but also artistic and refined."  You don't say?  That label may just apply to anyone in the audience watching this film.  Your copacetic taste is better than this film and you will be spiritless and dispassionate, matching the assigned astrology.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Love

French filmmaker Gaspar Noe's new film, "Love," demands audience acceptance of seeing art in the explicitness of sex.  When you bring up the idea of explicit sex, the immediate label is "pornography."  Lead by trio of unknown leads and shot in exploitative 3D, "Love" is going to have a hard time (go ahead and start inserting "that's what she said" at every opportunity) shaking that label of "pornography" in favor of "art." 

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ADVANCE MOVIE REVIEW: Pan

Like all of the failed live-action fairy tale remakes, the two largest missing components are restraint and charm.  The timeless stories being attempted by films like "Pan" have no idea how to let a good narrative flow build or a poignant moment breathe before stepping to the next unrelenting set piece.  The original written sources of these films have that restraint and quality.  Blasts of action and sound have replaced subtle imagery and brevity.  "Pan" lacks any and all charm to enamor the audience into what made Barrie's tale lovable and enchanting.  Charm is replaced by dissonance and pandering.

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MOVIE REVIEW: No Escape

"No Escape," the rudderless and violent thriller can't muster a strong political statement to back up what it's selling.  This is a horror film disguised as an expat drama.  To its credit, the action is unpredictable, unnerving, and flies at a white-knuckle pace.  However, its purpose and delivery is senseless and nearly reprehensible.  It lacks the spine to make the proverbial wringer the characters are put through matter in some way, shape, or form outside of exploiting our fears and senses.  "No Escape" undoubtedly has an edge, but it's a raw and misshapen one.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Self/less

WARNING: The following picture attached this website's review is an actual image from the film "Self/less" but it may indicate what your own facial expression will look like either live while watching "Self/less" or after seeing the film in its entirety.  The timing and severity of this effect will vary among each audience member, but, make no mistake, this is the end result.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Welcome to Me

"Welcome to Me" is a Mobius strip of a trainwreck.  The film is a trainwreck... of a trainwreck.  Starring an extremely invested Kristen Wiig, the film is, to its credit, a bold character piece and black comedy that seeks to put a trainwreck of a person on display in an effort to preach larger moral questions.  As bold as it is in that intention, "Welcome to Me" doesn't achieve that and overshoots every landing possible.  It's that really well planned gag or stunt that can't match the real thing because it's been too manufactured to where the unpredictability is taken away or feels forced.  It's the second coming of "Dinner for Schmucks," in terms of cringe comedy, and that film was bad but at least funnier.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Chappie

The title robot at the center of "Chappie," the latest science fiction film from Neill Blomkamp ("District 9" and "Elysium") lacks the qualities to become anywhere close to one of the best movie robots of all time.  Both the film and the robot lack impact, presence, purpose, distinction, and, worst of all, uniqueness.  It's a shame too because there were some intriguing "big ideas" floating around in "Chappie" that could have developed into something that had the chance to be impactful, purposeful, distinct, unique, and resonating.  

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