Category Archives: Review

Movie Review: The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) “Good, but not Awesome.”

lbm-70910-thumbs

2014’s The LEGO Movie may be the most absolutely delighted I have been by any film since starting this site, and I named it my Movie of the Year.  The film was beloved by many, so naturally now there is an entire slew of LEGO films on the way (two this year alone).  The first features the breakout star of The LEGO Movie‘s supporting cast: Will Arnett’s Batman.  Is it the awesomeness of The LEGO Movie or that the trailers seemed to promise?  No.  Sadly, in that respect, it’s a bit of a disappointment, but that doesn’t mean The LEGO Batman Movie is not a quality outing into the LEGOverse. Continue reading Movie Review: The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) “Good, but not Awesome.”

Movie Review: Split (2017) “Is the Nightfall Over?”

James McAvoy, Split, Anya Taylor Joy

Once upon a time, in 1999, a remarkable, astounding, amazing film called The Sixth Sense came out and blew the collective minds of the world.  The director was a wunderkind named M. Night Shaymalan.  Night followed The Sixth Sense with Unbreakable, which did not get near the critical acclaim and box office The Sixth Sense did, but nothing was going to do that.  His first film turned into a global phenomenon.  Unbreakable is, in many ways, heavily influential to the grounded reality of the tack comic book movies took when that era began around the same time.  Night’s third film, Signs, did a little better than Unbreakable, but isn’t half the film.  Then came the fall.  Horrible film after horrible film after horrible film followed Signs.  Studios would still throw $100 million budgets at him hoping that he could turn it around, but things digressed to the point where his name was such an audience deterrent that it was removed from promotional posters.  I have been reluctant to pay money and go to the theater to see Split.  The film, made for only $9 million, won the box office three weeks in a row, generated great word-of-mouth, so I finally gave in and went and saw my first M. Night Shaymalan film in the theater since The Village (aka THE BEGINNING OF THE FALL).  So is he back?  I think he just might be.  Split is no home run, but it’s only a little below Signs in his canon and, like his best films, the ending was not only a mind-blower, it promises an exciting future. Continue reading Movie Review: Split (2017) “Is the Nightfall Over?”

Movie Review: John Wick Chapter 2 “A Ballet of Blood”

Keanu Reeves, John Wick Chapter 2

I think the best compliment you can give a sequel is not only is it a better film than the one it follows, but it makes that original film better in retrospect.  I was not an enormous fan of John Wick when it came out (you can read my underwhelmed review here, which I would now probably bump up several points).  I think it was a combination of it being one of those cult movies that gets overhyped  by the time it gets to you and you can no longer be pleasantly surprised along with some thematic material in John’s origin that whacks certain personal buttons with me (btw, we’ll try to stay spoiler free on Chapter 2, but if you read on, I’m assuming you saw the first film).  John Wick Chapter 2 takes everything that worked in the first film, amps it to 11, and ends up being a much better movie that earns both its own existence and the inevitable Chapter 3 to come. Continue reading Movie Review: John Wick Chapter 2 “A Ballet of Blood”

Movie Review: Lion (2016) “Beautiful Story A Bit Long in the Telling”

Dev Patel, Lion

Every now and again when the Academy announces its nominees for Best Picture they manage to throw me a curveball of a film I’ve heard absolutely nothing about (and that’s kind of hard to do).  I remember two years ago when Whiplash got nominated and I thought, what is this?  A movie about a jazz band?  How good can that be?  Phenomenally good.  This year’s curveball was Lion, and while I have my issues with it and it’s certainly no Whiplash, I probably never would have seen this amazing story without the spotlight of the Oscars, so I big them a rare thank you (I know, it’s shocking; don’t worry, I’ll make up for it on Oscar night and the world will return to….what passes for normal now). Continue reading Movie Review: Lion (2016) “Beautiful Story A Bit Long in the Telling”

Movie Review: Patriots Day (2016) *Boston Strong*

Mark Wahlberg, Patriots Day

The Boston Marathon bombings are still a fresh wound for the country, even more so in Boston, so a movie about them so quickly at first glance seems too soon.  However, enter Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg who are on a roll turning horrific tragedies and current events issues which normally spiral off into larger debates (The War in Afghanistan, environmental impact, terrorism) into focused stories on the heroism of  the day.  Some people go their whole lives without having a day.  But if you’ve had one, you know that the rest of your life is viewed in light of what happened before that day and what came after.  It’s for the people who had these days that Berg is making these films.  Deepwater Horizon (which only came out months ago) reminded us that it wasn’t just a horrid environmental disaster; it cost 11 people their lives.  Patriots Day‘s scope is larger than Deepwater’s by a factor of ten. It’s Berg’s best film yet, Mark Wahlberg’s best performance of his career, features an outstanding cast of some of the best character actors working, and the end result is a memorial to a city that stood strong during a day that will forever be etched into its psyche. Continue reading Movie Review: Patriots Day (2016) *Boston Strong*