Posts tagged 2017 Summer Movies
MOVIE REVIEW: Crown Heights

Director Matt Ruskin’s Crown Heights presents a true story incarceration as it happened to an innocent man.  Just when you think two undue years awaiting trial are shameful enough, it turns into twenty over the course of four presidencies and 99 tidy minutes.  To tell the story of Colin Warner is to tell a story shared by too many thousands of other wrongfully incarcerated people within the U.S. prison system.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Logan Lucky

The buzzing North Carolina public within the film Logan Lucky dub the central robbery a “hillbilly heist” and an “Ocean’s 7-11” perpetrated by “redneck robbers” and “Hee Haw heroes.”  With diegetic puns like those being thrown around, how could you not be entertained by Steven Soderbergh’s first feature film in four years?  It’s almost an invitation to pile on.  How does “clodhopper caper” sound?  What about “Podunk pilfering” or “backwoods buffoonery?”  I’ll settle for “hayseed hijinks.”  

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Glass Castle

Mulling over the many layers and events of Destin Daniel Cretton’s film adaptation of Jeanette Wells’ memoirs The Glass Castle, I keep coming back to the same essential question: "Who am I to judge someone else's life story or life choices?"  If the real Jeanette Wells is able to make peace with the events of her childhood, how can I, or anyone, tell her she's wrong?  The answer is we can’t (and shouldn’t) and that’s a hurdle not everyone has shown to be prepared for or able to separate from critique.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Wind River

Through every snowflake and gunshot, Taylor Sheridan cuts to the marrow and keeps Wind River firmly on track with its layered stages of discovery.  Tighter than Hell or High Water and more humane than Sicario, this film creates a tone of toughness balanced adroitly by human realities occurring in a dangerous place with a different set of rules.  The end result is a highly engrossing mystery with the edge we have come to appreciate and admire from Sheridan.

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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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MEDIA APPEARANCE: Discussing July and the top films of 2017 on the "Reel Talker" podcast

Fellow CIFCC critic and director Jim Alexander of Reel Talker extended the invitation for me to co-host a new episode of his podcast.  On this installment of the Reel Talker podcast, Jim and I discuss the July movie releases and which we consider hits or flops.  Also, he and I disclose our Top 10 movie lists through the halfway point of 2017.  Jim and I had very different picks, chock full of surprises!

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MOVIE REVIEW: Detroit

For a film like Detroit with difficult content thrust upon audiences to endure, this is not a place to seek entertainment or joy. Instead, Detroit is a challenge of cementing respect and achieving an empathy deeper than basic sympathy. Step into a beyond-cautionary tale of history that school books skipped or have forgotten.  Let Detroit stir and inspire conversations.  Let the emotions, good and bad, come and talk about them.

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MOVIE CLASSROOM: War for the Planet of the Apes

It's time to call the prequel trilogy of Planet of the Apes one of the best movie trilogies of all-time.  It's time to give serious Oscar consideration to Andy Serkis as Caeser.  It's time to see what is, so far, the best film of 2017.  Hear those thoughts and more in my "Movie Classroom" interactive whiteboard video review for War for the Planet of the Apes as it appears published on the Every Movie Has a Lesson YouTube channel.  See this film immediately.

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MOVIE CLASSROOM: Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming, starring Tom Holland as a true and proper teenage Spider-Man/Peter Parker, is a welcome and refreshing clean slate for the character.  It's too bad it took three franchise attempts to get here.  Filled to the brim with both easter eggs, supporting characters, swell touches of character, and zesty heart, this is the Spider-Man film you've always hoped for.  Enjoy my full spoken review layered with an interactive whiteboard lesson for the latest "Movie Classroom" video review on this website's YouTube channel:

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MOVIE CLASSROOM: Baby Driver

Edgar Wright's new film Baby Driver falls in the category of sub-genre of action films that I like to call "kinetic films."  Hear that genre definition, how Baby Driver fits the bill as ideal summer entertainment and more as I present the spoken form of my full review of the film accompanied by an interactive whiteboard lesson via the ShowMe app.  Enjoy the latest video review in my "Movie Classroom" series on this website's YouTube channel:

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MOVIE CLASSROOM: The Beguiled

Sofia Coppola's film may have been lauded at the Cannes Film Festival, but The Beguiled was a bit of a miss for me, despite its rich aesthetics.  Here my full review, complete with new intro music and title card, and watch an interactive whiteboard lesson of notes and fun created by the ShowMe app for iPad over on my YouTube channel and "Movie Classroom" series.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: Guest on "Feelin' It" quick take on "The Beguiled"

Feelin' Film host Aaron White and I hashed out our thoughts on Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled, debuting this weekend in theaters after wowing the Cannes Film Festival last month.  It hit Aaron more than it hit me, but this counts as a wickedly entertaining remake from Coppola. We try to inform you so you can decide whether this seductively complex, yet simple, film is one for you.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming counts as a clean slate for Peter Parker’s web-slinger.  Now nestled into the established Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tom Holland is a true teenage Spider-Man, one that was never successfully conveyed by two previous franchises and their over-aged actors.  Aiming to please and bursting with effervescent zest at every flip, swing, and turn, John Watts’ Spider-Man: Homecoming succeeds as a brand new jumping off point for a character that badly needed course correction.

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MOVIE REVIEW: War for the Planet of the Apes

A significant shift in attention and investment has occurred in this series.  Our hearts and allegiances swayed from rooting for the madness of our own mankind to the superior traits of humanity exhibited by Caesar and his ape brethren.  A transformation of empathy like that is downright miraculous.  War for the Planet of Apes is a full-bodied epic of glory and pain that matches and then exceeds the moving importance and heart this rebooted franchise has established in two previous knockout films.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Baby Driver

The films of Edgar Wright pulse with a signature flair for visual comedy built on wildly imaginative stylings in the areas of music, framing, camera movement, sound effects, and editing.  His creative trickery wins for looks, but it also constantly advances the storytelling at hand.  For that and so much more, Baby Driver is first-rate example of a kinetic film and joins the top ranks of Wright’s filmography.

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Beguiled

The transitive verb “beguile,” as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means “to engage the interest of” or “lead by deception.”  Hoodwink and divert are synonyms.  Director Sofia Coppola’s remake of The Beguiled means to charm our corsets and britches off right in line with its title’s root definition.  Methodically and dastardly, the film wishes to seduce us with a heightened intrigue of challenged sexual repression.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Lost in Paris

Lost in Paris is an exceedingly charming ditty of a comedy from the writing, directing, and starring duo of Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon.  Three overlapping character-coded chapters follow a wayward character’s pratfalls and screwups through the course of their fateful intersections.  Lost in Paris weaves its yarn with clever panache.  It’s a surreal jaunt that juggles the cheekily uncouth with the innocently sweet inside its ever-present sense of whimsy.

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Book of Henry

Grant Focus Features, director Colin Trevorrow, and debuting feature writer Gregg Hurwitz all the balls in the world for putting out a movie this daringly original during the summer marketplace.  Ambition notwithstanding, the extreme tonal shifts, while effective at keeping you invested in The Book of Henry to see what happens next, only half work in totality.

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