With hints of the charming, hopeful UK propaganda films of WWII, Their Finest can be labeled a comedy, but doesn’t shy away from showing the agonies of wartime Britain. A powerful, sweet, and sometimes heartbreaking comedy. In this instance, yes that makes perfect sense. Grade: A
Promising start, horrible-in-a-bad-way finish. In-between is a whole lot of horror padding, and a waste of gorgeous cinematography and production design. If you must head out to see this derivative mess, watch the first 40 minutes, then head home and write the rest in your head. I guarantee it’ll be better than what goes on onscreen.
Sequel slump averted – this film has scares, chills and creepyness just like it’s predecessor. The horror is upped a bit here, but it’s still got that claustrophobic chill director James Wan does so well. Recommended for all horror fans. Horror lightweight? You may want to stay home…or wait ’til Netflix, when you can watch with the lights on. Grade: A
At a hair over two hours, Warcraft feels like four. That’s a hint and a half for your poor theater-seat tuchas, and your poor confused brain. Confused? Yep; because all through Warcraft there will be one overwhelming question on your mind:
What the [RADIO EDIT] is going on here?
I don’t know. Wish I could tell you. And apparently the screenwriters, director and cast don’t know either. Pity. The trailer was awesome. Really had me psyched for this. Unfortunately, a muddled script that feels like nobody bothered to check continuity when rewrites hit, hobbled this film. Crippled it beyond any hope of salvation.
Pity, as the cast is as game as they can be, considering they all have the shell-shocked look of ones who know they’ve made a horrible, horrible mistake that they’ll never be able to walk away from.
Plot? Here ’tis: stop the Orcs. That’s it.
Writer/Director Duncan Jones obviously got too close to his film, and apparently had nobody to tell him that nothing made sense. And that’s a
pity crying shame, because Warcraft is gorgeous to look at. Art direction, costuming, set design; it’s all very well done.
Don’t bother, unless you’re a diehard D&D, Fantasy or of course a WoW fan.
Light, fluffy romance that has a core of real-life tragedy that’s never fully explored. But Clarke and Caflin are amazing together, and it’s beautiful to look at. Bring tissues, and your ability to sail past the idea that perhaps this romance never would have happened if he wasn’t blessed with the money to keep the all too real daily hardships deep under cover. Grade: B
A whole lot funnier – and, surprisingly, sweeter – than I anticipated. Then again, I anticipated sheer crap. Director Gary Marshall manages to take what could have been a hideous train wreck of sap and turns it into a light, fun piece that may not stick with you for very long, but won’t cause any lasting damage either. A full grade bump-down for an absolutely horrible, bouncy sap-fest end credits song. Grade: B-
Director John Carney proves he can put lightning in a bottle anytime he likes. Sing Street echoes his earlier films Once and Begin Again, channeling the character’s emotions and times through the music that they make. And what sweet music it is.
Wobbly bits of characterization and plot can’t stop this beautiful music from making an impact. Expect original songs “Drive It Like You Stole It” and “To Find You” to hit radio stations in 3…2… Grade: A-
Liked Dazed and Confused, with it’s ensemble cast and “day in the life of” vibe? Well then, Everybody Wants Some!! will be more of the same, straight from D&C‘s Richard Linklater. Everybody is a cool-ass trip for those of us who grew up in the 80s, but could scare a lot of kids who don’t really wanna know what their parents were up to when they were young.
Everybody starts off at fictional Southern Texas University in August, 1980, with baseball-scholarship frosh Jake getting to his digs for the year. The baseball team has been given two houses just off campus, to help with the overcrowding at the dorms. Jake meets his teammates, bon-vivant Finn (Glen Powell, Scream Queens), stoner Willoughby (Wyatt Russell), laid-back Dale (J. Quinton Johnson), badass Mac (Tyler Hoechlin, Teen Wolf) and many more. He’s one of four freshmen added to the roster that year, so in the days before school officially starts, he’s got to navigate the new world of college as well as the bro-culture bonding of his House. Not to mention finding the time to figure out who that cute girl is he saw when he first arrived. (That’d be Beverly, played by Ringer‘s Zoey Deutch…) No problem. Bring on the keg stands! [Read more…]
Nutshell: 10 Cloverfield Lane is a worthy successor to the original Cloverfield, actually beating the sophomore slump and rising above the first film. Not in the handheld/found-footage genre (there’s nary a shakey-cam moment to be found) , but in the sense of dread, terror of the unknown, and a screenplay that manages to keep the adrenaline pumping. The climax is well-executed crazy, thanks to this film’s game ensemble cast. But are there monsters, you ask? Depends on your definition of monster… Grade: A-
“I focused on being prepared. And I was…. And here we are.”
If you’re a kaiju nerd like I am, you were stoked for Cloverfield. And while it wasn’t exactly the huge monster throwdown many of us were hoping for – that’d be Pacific Rim, a movie that actually grew on me on repeat viewings – Cloverfield‘s hints at a strange, unsettling mythology had me hooked. Not exactly fully invested in its teasingly vague story, but willing to sit for more. So? More! Well, kinda. J.J. Abrams still sticks with the producer role, and with Cloverfield director Matt Reeves also going the producer route in this sequel-ish film, Dan Trachtenberg gets his first feature-film directorial shot. With a smaller ensemble cast – a mere three actors – this film is a sequel to Cloverfield in its ability to unsettle, play with your expectations, and leave you wanting more.