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 →
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 →
Hot Take: Dark comic vibes pulse through a dramatic thriller with quirky, eccentric characters that jabs at you until the third act then BLAM!
Ever feel like you’ve had enough? Ruth (Melanie Lynskey) hits her breaking point after her house is broken into, her laptop is stolen, her depression medication is lifted and, worst of all, her grandmother’s silverware was taken. After getting nowhere with the cops, she’s set off by one more act of violation when she finally catches which neighbor (Elijah Wood) keeps allowing their dog to poop in her yard. After confronting him, she takes to the neighborhood to ask if anyone has seen anything unusual. Eventually, she comes back to the same neighbor — Tony — who seems to be the only one interested in her case.Read More →
Hot Take: Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s cold out there today. IT’S GROUNDHOG DAY!!!… meets MEAN GIRLS!!! (And it’s actually not terrible.)
There are a lot of similarities between the way Before I Fall tells its story and two classic films with ardent fans who will likely not be too pleased with Before I Fall. It’s the nature of moviegoers to not particularly care for something that seemingly rips off something you find to be both high quality and original. The two movies — Groundhog Day and Mean Girls — along with the Lauren Oliver novel the movie is based on, shape Before I Fall into what ends up being an adequate film that can never escape the shadow cast by the two other films.Read More →
Hot Take: It won’t be the best of 2017 but it’s the best of 2017 so far. A fitting tribute to the end of Hugh Jackman’s run as Wolverine… if it’s the end, of course.
While the X-Men tales aren’t necessarily part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the films featuring the mutants of X-Men have been mostly good. Surprisingly, the weakest offerings have been the standalone Wolverine movies despite Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine being one of the most interesting characters of the ensemble features. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is practically unwatchable and 2013’s The Wolverine was an improvement but overstayed its welcome on screen and, by the end, became just another superhero flick.Read More →
Hot Take: Warm and soft as its subject matter and slight at 80 minutes. The documentary does enough to create a narrative around the excellent cinematography.
Although Kedi centers around cats and kittens to drive its visuals and attempts to create characters out of some of its featured felines, human kindness is actually at the film’s heart. The street cats of Istanbul are highlighted in this 80-minute documentary from Turkish-born filmmaker Ceyda Torun and focuses on 7 cats, in particular — Sari, Duman, Bengu, Asian Parcasi, Gamsiz, Psikopat and Deniz. While the focus is on the cats, we learn about the kindness of the people of Istanbul in their love and affection for these stray cats who take residence pretty much wherever they feel they’d like to take residence amongst the citizens of Istanbul.Read More →