September is a snapshot of the movie industry in 2017. There’s not a lot to get excited about and even those that are worth anticipating have some baggage. Whether it be It which looks awfully scary BUT we’ll be comparing it to the two-part TV movie from 1990 or American Made starring Tom Cruise who is fresh off one of the worst movies of 2017 in The Mummy or Mother! which features Jennifer Lawrence and is directed by Darren Aronofsky but neither showed up well in their last effort (Passengers for Lawrence and Noah for Aronofsky) or a handful of smaller films that might catch lightning in a bottle (Battle of the Sexes, Rebel In the Rye, Woodshock, Lucky, Stronger) but are conspicuous by their absence of a wider release in a soft month. There’s a big sequel — Kingsman: The Golden Circle — which has had such a quiet release that has to make you wonder. There’s a remake — Flatliners — which looks to have too many bells and whistles and is likely to lose some of the original’s appeal. There’s Tulip Fever… again! Seriously, how many times am I going to put Tulip Fever on my anticipated releases list? I’m starting to feel like Charlie Brown and I think Tulip Fever is Lucy.Enough about how sketchy the September release slate is. Here’s all 35 expected releases ranked in order of anticipation:Read More →
Hot Take: I’m conflicted. Most of me thinks Birth of the Dragon wasn’t very good but damn if part of me didn’t thoroughly enjoy it and would probably watch it again.
I’m not sure what to make of Birth of the Dragon. First of all, I’m not entirely sure it was a Bruce Lee biopic since it is not entirely accurate. It’s more an “inspired by true events” re-imagining of Lee’s life which, I guess, can technically still be a biopic. Second, while I saw many flaws in the storyline, plot and performances, I couldn’t help but find myself thoroughly sucked into the tale and chomping at the bit during not one but two very entertaining martial arts sequences. Again, this isn’t an endorsement of quality but definitely one of entertainment, especially if you happen to enjoy older ’70s martial arts films starring the movie’s subject.Read More →
A 6-pack of releases are headed your way this week with Disney’s Earth Day release, Born In China, leading the way and the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Zac Efron-led Baywatch big screen conversion pulling up the rear. Here’s what to buy, rent, stream and skip for the week of August 29, 2017:Read More →
Hot Take: An original and artistic endeavor that requires some patience from you as the viewer. You may love it, you may hate it but it will definitely solicit a strong reaction.
Want to know whether or not your up for even the possibility of enjoying the experience of watching A Ghost Story? Early on in the film, after Casey Affleck’s character has died and becomes a voiceless shape under a sheet, we watch Rooney Mara’s character eat a pie… for 8 minutes. In context, it’s grueling and gutwrenching and relatable for anyone who has struggled with coping with grief. Out of context, it sounds silly. As A Ghost Story stretches out over 87 minutes, you must invest in observing much like the ghost does as the rest of the world moves on and continues on without him. It’s an exercise in patient observation which is odd to say since all watching a movie normally requires is observing but, in most cases, it is the movie’s ability to immerse you in the action, drama or comedy and perceive you are doing more than just observe that makes it a worthwhile experience. However, here, in A Ghost Story, the film just asks you to watch and feel.Read More →
Hot Take: A casualty of Relativity Media’s financial crisis, Kidnap was supposed to be released in 2015 but delayed until 2017. If only the master copy could have been lost between then and now, maybe no one would have been subjected to this terrible garbage.
The expectations for Kidnap were about as low as they could get. When considering all of the challenges this film faced to just get released and previous disappointing films tied to Relativity Media (The Disappointments Room and Masterminds) that were delayed due to their financial situation and finally released and factoring in that Kidnap was delayed even longer, what Kidnap had to accomplish to meet expectations would have been the equivalent of a basketball star jumping over a phone book. After seeing Kidnap, it’s safe to say that if it were a basketball star trying to jump over a phone book, it would have tripped and fallen flat on its face. Read More →
Hot Take: It seems like Aubrey Plaza has a way of committing herself to every role she has no matter how stupid or ridiculous and she finally gets a role that’s really worth sinking her teeth into as Ingrid.
Each week I get an e-mail that tells me how many Twitter followers I’ve gained and lost. This week I netted a double digit gain. I remember getting a little excited to read that. That’s about as far as my obsession with social media goes. Ingrid Thorburn, the main character played by Aubrey Plaza in Ingrid Goes West, takes that social media obsession to another level. The unstable Ingrid and the satirical and insightful look at the current state of social interaction via social media makes Ingrid Goes West a home run of a flick and gives summer a quirky boost before it ends.Read More →
Hot Take: An educational, timely and a little bit ominous (Thank you, Mr. Trump) journey back to climate change with Al Gore and graphs. Lots and lots of graphs!
I feel your reaction to An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power will be impacted by how much you care about climate change or if you believe in it at all. I’m not sure how you could sit in a theater for 2 hours (4 if you saw the first movie) and see all of the evidence presented and dismiss what you can see right in front of you. Then again, you might think Al Gore isn’t being honest, the graphs are manipulated or made up and the whole thing is propaganda. It was really cold last winter so how could there be global warming, right?Read More →
It’s the lightest week in some time on the home video front highlighted by the third biggest box office film of 2017 (so far) in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Only 2 others will join GotG2 this week, so let’s get right to what to buy, rent, stream and skip for the week of August 22nd:Read More →
Hot Take: Based on a true story, it’s like Captain Fantastic… if the father was a drunk, irresponsible and unable to provide actual parenting for his children and the mother was a whimsical artist who thought art was more important than, well, anything. So, maybe it’s not really like Captain Fantastic.
Jeannette Walls had a rough upbringing which she details in the best selling memoir The Glass Castle. While I haven’t read the memoir, from most accounts, the resulting Hollywood version has a thick coat of glossy polish over the actual story. That would explain why I’m trying to figure out what’s so damn sentimental about neglectful parents who can’t hold a job, move dozens of times, force their children to cook for themselves at a young age (to the point where Jeannette sets herself on fire making a hot dog) and barely provides anything other than hardship and examples of what not to do.Read More →
Hot Take: You have to wonder if Steven Soderbergh came out of retirement because he knew how easy it would be to make a redneck version of Ocean’s Eleven? It’s not bad but it’s not great either.
If I were in a bad mood when I walked into Logan Lucky, I would have found plenty to hate on. I’m of the opinion that Steven Soderbergh’s return from a self-imposed hiatus is highly effected by what floor your mood elevator is on. That happens sometimes with mediocre films. The formulaic Logan Lucky has plenty of delightful and entertaining scenes to help someone justify calling it a good film but there’s a number of less than adequate moments that anyone wanting to slam it can lean on, too. Read More →