This week’s BuRStS features an 8-pack of films with a box office juggernaut that leeched success from its Harry Potter roots (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), an overlooked film that received some Awards chatter (20th Century Women), another Berg/Wahlberg project (Patriots Day), one of the many James Franco movies from 2016 (Why Him?) and not one but two films that the mere presence of Liam Neeson improves (Silence and A Monster Calls). Read on to find out about the two unmentioned releases and which films MHT recommends to buy, rent, stream and skip for the week of March 28:Read More →
Hot Take: The only thing disappointing about Power Rangers is that I was completely ready to write, “No, no Power Rangers!” as the Hot Take. Then I watched it and I actually enjoyed it!
Rarely are reboots something I look forward to. Power Rangers was not the exception to the rule. If you ever caught a glimpse of the ’90s live action TV show, you’d expect this reboot to be nothing more than a cash grab. However, Power Rangers delivers something unexpected. No, not just because it doesn’t suck. Director Dean Israelite and writer John Gatins take the cheesy concept of the ’90s show and update it by serving up meatier characters and then glazing them with the cheese of the show but without ever fully losing its new identity. It’s weird to say it but Power Rangers is done well enough that its opening box office numbers and the thought of its inevitable sequel don’t make me cringe. That’s actually saying a lot.Read More →
Hot Take: There’s enough of Gravity and Alien here that Life has a hard time standing on its own. There’s more positives than negatives though which makes Life a decent Sci-Fi horror flick.
You’ve seen Life before. Some people won’t get past the fact that the plot is so similar to Alien and borrows more than it should from Gravity. That’s a shame because Life is an adequate Sci-Fi horror/thriller. If you dismiss Life solely on these obvious glaring issues, you’ll miss some very good performances from a committed cast, sleek visuals and a suspenseful build up to a huge third act payoff.Read More →
It took 16 days longer to reach 25 movies in 2017 than in 2016. I’m blaming the flu. Per previous milestones, it’s now time to reveal the grades (from 0 to 5 stars) for the first batch of movies watched in 2017. Last year, there were 3 movies — Zootopia, The Witch and Deadpool — with 4 stars or more but only 1 — Logan — in 2017. Only 7 films received a Thumbs Up last year, though. This year 10 movies graded out to a Thumbs Up and none (not even Rings) received 0 stars. Here are the first batch of grades of 2017:Read More →
Hot Take: If you’re looking for a throwback to the old series, move along. If you’re looking for a crude, awkward, inappropriate, sexist, occasionally hilarious and completely silly premise based on characters from an old TV show, CHiPs might work for you.
Having not been someone who has seen an entire episode of CHiPs, it might be unfair for me to dismiss the new movie based on the TV show that ran from 1977-1983 as completely unlike the original show outside of the name of the two main characters and their job as members of the California Highway Patrol. However, as the central plot revolves around dirty cops and Francis Llewellyn “Ponch” Poncherello being an undercover FBI agent and his partner Jon Baker being the youngest rookie on the California Highway Patrol and a former X Games competitor, you can start to see where the movie veers away from the show. When you add in the central themes of the jokes of the movie — sex addiction, homophobia, dick bumping and other assorted dick jokes, analingus and constipation (among other inappropriate and crude jokes) — you get a clearer picture of how quickly this film took the off-ramp from a more nostalgic look at the show that ran 6 seasons and trotted out a reunion TV movie in 1998.Read More →
Hot Take: Sometimes you see a movie that was a novel and think, “Maybe this should have stayed a novel.” Meandering and pretentious with a mysterious subplot that isn’t all that mysterious… or interesting.
When you read this review, you’re going to get the sense that I hated The Sense of an Ending. I didn’t. However, it’s so easy to be critical of this highly recognized novel adapted into a largely unseen box office curmudgeon which has grossed under $1 million through two weekends in limited release that this review is going to come across as vitriolic when it’s more of disappointment of a film that felt like it could have been better but settled for being okay.Read More →
With 6 options this week, there’s something for almost everyone. There’s a character-driven drama (Miss Sloane), something for the family (Sing), another try at bringing a video game to the big screen (Assassin’s Creed), an unintentionally funny gangster flick starring Ben Affleck (Live by Night), a pretentious James Franco film (In Dubious Battle) and one of those films where you recognize the entire cast but never remember the movie making it to theaters (A Kind of Murder). Without further adieu, here is what to buy, rent, stream and skip for the week of March 21st:Read More →
Hot Take: The entertaining escapism of a B-movie creature feature is enhanced by an A-list cast and AA-sized budget. It is what it is but it at least doesn’t try to be something it isn’t.
Usually, movies like Kong: Skull Island are reserved for the summer. Seeing a March release date with a cast featuring Academy Award winner Brie Larson, Academy Award nominee Samuel L. Jackson and other reliable talent — Tom Hiddleston, John Goodman, John C. Reilly — as well as some newer faces who have impressed recently — Jing Tian (the only thing good about The Great Wall), Jason Mitchell (breakout performance in Straight Outta Compton as Eazy-E) — makes it easy to get your hopes up for something a little deeper than a creature feature continuation of the King Kong mythology. Hopes may end up being dashed for something more but the talented cast and solid casting do enhance the end result and putting this in March gives this popcorn flick the opportunity to own March rather than getting lost amongst all of the other popcorn flicks we’ll get in the summer months.Read More →
Hot Take: It’s great to see a live action version of one of Disney’s greatest films. Emma Watson is wonderful. Did it need to be more cartoonish than the cartoon though?
After the financial success of The Jungle Book, bringing any animated tale to life makes fiscal sense for Disney. The choice of Beauty and the Beast, though, is a no brainer as it is one of Disney’s best and must human cartoons of all-time. There’s so much humanity and emotion in the original animated version, it was nominated for Best Picture in 1991 eventually losing to The Silence of the Lambs. That does pose a challenge for the live action update as it has rather large shoes to fill unlike The Jungle Book which was never really one of Disney’s best films.
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Hot Take: Doesn’t really make you think. Not a lot of fun. If it’s aim were social commentary, it’s the sophomore college essay equivalent of such an exercise.
James Gunn gets a lot of credit for Guardians of the Galaxy and the work done there. Somehow people have completely forgotten he’s responsible for Movie 43, the 2013 Golden Raspberry Award winner for Worst Picture, Worst Screenplay and Worst Director. Gunn is also responsible for 2006’s Slither which is one of the goriest horror comedy films of the last 15 years. It feels like Gunn — the film’s screenwriter — is going for the same vibe in The Belko Experiment but with some layer of social consciousness that gets completely lost in the gory sauce.Read More →