Avengers, Infinity War (in theaters this week!) No spoilers for the MCU faithful. I was pleasantly surprised the film could squeeze that many heroes into a storyline and still manage to give the viewer a sufficient helping of each including backstory. This has to be the most ambitious MCU film to date in terms of effects and sheer firepower on display. Josh Brolin (Thanos) is a great villain who is surprisingly not one-sided. Be prepared for an ‘Empire Strikes Back’ type ending where you are both elated at the possibilities for the storyline while simultaneously being a bit depressed. For the diehards, there is one post-credit sequence and it’s all the way at the end of the credits but it’s worth waiting for as it caps the film off and gives a great teaser to what’s coming next. B+ (Weekend Box office prediction: $265M domestic)
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson stars in the latest movie based on a video game BIG SCREEN BLOCKBUSTER, “Rampage”.
Taking queues from monsters movies of years past and the video game of the same name (and a classic 80’s game at that) you have a movie that delivers lots of destruction, lots of ‘The Rock’, and a thin yet fun to watch plot. Grade: 3 out of 5 stars
Oh, if only Freed had built upon the promise of Fifty Shades Darker. Instead of getting better, it took a step back and mimicked Fifty Shades of Grey in lack of coherent plot. Pity, as Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan have developed a sweet chemistry, and the script delights in poking fun at itself. For completists only. Grade: D+
No spoilers here, this was an awesome episode in the series and if you’re a fan of Star Wars, you will not be disappointed. Last Jedi picks up the story line with Rey (Daisy Ridley) recruiting a reluctant Luke Skywalker to rejoin the resistance fight and be the spark that lights the fire of the rebellion. All the while, the First Order led by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) & The Supreme Chancellor Snoke, are carrying out a relentless campaign to snuff out the rebellion & Luke. The creature creations, the sets, the story-line, and even some good laughs carry you through this episode with a series of adventures giving you answers to some old questions, but not answering them all to keep you hooked for Episode IX. The 3rd act will have you on baited breath and assuming that every pivotal sequence your witnessing will be abruptly cut-off to rope you in for Episode IX. I could finish that thought, but no spoilers – get your tickets now! A- #starwarslastjediBaltimore #Iwanttobeajedi
Murder On The Orient Express (2017), B-. Kenneth Branagh directs and stars in this reboot of the Agatha Christie classic showcasing the whip-smart and renowned Detective Hercule Poirot. Poirot is reluctantly pulled into a murder investigation aboard a train ferrying 12 eclectic and somewhat eccentric personalities of which any one could be the culprit. The film feels good, and it looks good especially the cinematography with the train in motion. The performances are solid, and I admit I had no idea that was Daisy Ridley of Star Wars fame until the credits rolled, even though I knew she was cast in the film. Branagh was capable as Poirot but short of David Souchet from the original. Derek Jacobi made me smile again with his accent ability – that man deserves a lifetime Oscar before he sunsets and I love that he and Branagh circled back to work together after 26 years! (1991’s Dead Again – one of my top 10 American films). Murder/Orient starts full of mystery and wonder but culminates in a slightly lesser version of the original. You’ll love the performances but none are Oscar worthy. Weekend box office prediction: $21 million.
TwitView: A Bad Moms Christmas, B+ If you have a love/hate relationship with your Mom that culminates around the holiday season, this one’s for you. Mila Kunis, Katherine Hahn and Kristen Bell join Susan Sarandon, Cheryl Hines and the divine Christine Baranski in this raucous, insane and if you let it – truly touching comedy. The trio all get surprise visits from their Mum’s who each has their own idea of what Xmas should be and forces it onto their over-worked and under-valued daughters. This one’s a mix of ‘Lampoon’s Xmas Vacation’ (if it were R rated for potty mouth humor) and ‘Love Actually’ as it seamlessly mixes family holiday angst and the insanity that ensues when chasing the perfect Xmas. Hahn is just as zany as the original but not overly done which was a pleasant surprise. It does get emotional, and I shed a tear (shhh, don’t tell anyone). It works as a date movie, but is so much better and relatable to any mom out there who has a mom. #badmomxmas #badmoms #nonuditylotsofpottymouth
TwitView: American Assassin, A- (in theaters now) The popular book series springs to tense and gut wrenching life and you will be gripped from the opening scene to its penultimate conclusion. Story centers on a young, brash and fragmented man recruited into a CIA assassin program ran by Keaton. Together they work to stop a rogue operative whose spinning the globe to assemble the money, brains and tech to make a nuclear weapon. Film is filled with exotic world locales and just the right amount of sass and brass from the lead. This is a spy suspense-thrliler that achieved in one film what the Bourne series couldn’t do in 5 iterations. Keaton shines as the hard ass former Black Ops agent turned instructor. Box office prediction: $24M opening but word of mouth will take this taut thriller to $100m easy #americanassassinBaltimore #keatonstaysabadass#americanassassinreview
TwitReview: Spider-Man: Homecoming is the next chapter in the expansive Marvel Cinematic Universe. Great fun! No “origins” told. Surprises for everyone! 4 stars!
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