Justice League has seemingly been on the way forever and has endured one of the more tortured roads to the screen of any blockbuster in recent memory. First it was two films; then it was one. Then backlash from Batman vs. Superman changed things; then success from Wonder Woman and input from the always meddlesome WB demanded reshoots. Then director Zack Snyder’s family tragedy caused him to drop off the picture. Then Joss Whedon (who was already on-board to do the reshoots) took over the picture and cut the running time by 50 minutes, and then the tone was changed to be more in line with the hopeful note set by Wonder Woman. Take a second to breathe. So after all of that, what is the dominant impression walking away from Justice League? There isn’t one. It’s a film that makes no impact, has no presence, or lasting punch. So many cooks have been in its kitchen that the final product is just an average, bland waste of an opportunity. Continue reading Movie Review: Justice League (2017) *Just Mediocre*
It’s difficult to know how to review Murder on the Orient Express. Should it be judged against the 1970s film? Should it be held against the Agatha Christie novel it adapts? In the end, I decided to judge it on its on merits as a standalone film. To that standard, the picture is well-acted with a great ensemble. Kenneth Branagh does well as the lead, but in the direction and especially the screenplay the film is choppy and almost unbearably expository in its climax. It looks absolutely fantastic, but I doubt Murder is going to inspire a Christie renaissance or have a tremendous impact on the box office. It’s not awful, but it’s not anywhere near what it should be, and that won’t be enough to attract an audience not already in love with the source material.
Continue reading Movie Review: Murder on the Orient Express (2017) *The Scenery Is Nice, But The Ride Is Bumpy*
Thor: Ragnarok makes the MCU three for three in 2017. Three excellent additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe that could not be more different from each other, except that they all brought the funny. Thor’s third solo outing is his best, ably directed by relatively unknown Kiwi director Taika Waititi. If all you need to know is if the film is worth the rave reviews that it is getting: it is. If you want to know if, unlike Guardians 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming, if this film has big MCU plot twists in it: it does. And if you just want to know how many post-credits scenes there are: two. I don’t do spoilery reviews of MCU movies, but that’s all you need to know if you were on the verge about going or not. Continue reading Movie Review: Thor Ragnarok (2017) *A Cosmic Comedy Epic Forever Changing the MCU*
We’ve now been at war overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan for 13 and 16 years, respectively. When soldiers came back from Vietnam, an entire generation of veterans didn’t receive the care they needed or deserved. One would think we’d have learned from the past, but we haven’t. Soldiers come back from persistent trauma with both physical and mental injuries that the VA and our country aren’t treating with the speed and devotion these men and women deserve. You don’t have to agree with the wars to know that those fighting them are doing so voluntarily for our benefit, and David Finkel’s Thank You For Your Service was a stark examination of exactly how little benefit they are receiving in return. The movie adaptation fails to create a narrative that is as compelling as Finkel’s, but it’s still a movie people should see to remind them there are people all around us in pain as a result of decision to provide service to their country. Continue reading Movie Review: Thank You For Your Service (2017) *When the War Follows You Home*
I love a good bad movie. There’s a sweet spot of bad in a movie, and this has to happen at home (not in the theater) where you begin to sync with the awfulness of a film and it ends up being an enjoyable campy experience. That is 100% the reason I watched 47 Meters Down, but unfortunately the film is a little too good to be a good bad movie and not good enough to be just a flat-out good movie. But Mandy Moore does cage-fight great white sharks! Continue reading Movie Review: 47 Meters Down (2017) *Mandy Moore vs. Sharks: CAGE FIGHT!*