As the third attempt at adapting Ben Edmund’s cult classic comic book for the small screen, Amazon Studio’s take on The Tick is perhaps the most liberating. Unshackled from the binds of network television, the superhero show can venture into any territory it feels free; from dark pathos to bloody action, to more blatant adult situations. It’s this freedom that gives the latest interpretation of the big blue hero’s world a plethora of potential, even if it has yet to fully tap all it’s worth.
Continue reading ““The Tick: Season 1” (2017) Review”
If the previous Tomb Raider films were ridiculous renditions of a sexy James Bond heroine blazing her way through an Indiana Jones plot, this reboot is a gritty female action picture trapped inside a been-there-raided-that treasure hunting story. It does away with all the silly gadgets, skimpy outfits, and ludicrous setpieces to present a film that turns Lara Croft into a female cross of Rambo and John McClain. It even plays it safe by replicating the most recent and gritty video game. If only the writers and director had the foresight to recognize that treasure hunting movies are goofy and not take Tomb Raider so seriously that it turns into the very corny film it was trying to avoid.
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A Wrinkle in Time encourages for children to succeed with the same embarrassment of parents getting too into your school sporting event. It is a film where multiple times the preteen girl protagonist must be reminded that she is special and can change the world. How she can do this is never made clear, making the inspiration in the picture about as effective as a “Hang in there” cat poster. Well, if that poster had fantastical worlds and magic.
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Perhaps it should have been prophetic that Eli Roth’s Death Wish remake had to be rescheduled after the Vegas shooting and is still debuting at the wrong time with the recent Florida shooting. At a time when gun control is the hot topic of debate, the gun-loving insanity of Death Wish comes with bad timing. Or, if you have a throbbing love of guns to an absurd degree, the right time. Yes, I know a film this violent and giddy shouldn’t be approached with a political bias against it, but when a film this bizarre rubs its nose in the issue without saying anything, you can’t help but get a sour taste in your mouth.
Continue reading ““Death Wish” (2018) Review”
There is a lot of pressure in the tsunami of cinematic superheroes to make something that will stand out from the crowd, but Ryan Coogler is more than up to the challenge with Black Panther. He doesn’t merely give the hero first introduced in Captain America: Civil War a standard solo film to showcase his powers, world, and rogues gallery. Coogler loads his picture up with a unique style, purpose, and, yes, even politics, to create one of Marvel Studio’s best films and not just a bridge to Avengers: Infinity War.
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I know the story of Peter Rabbit, the blue-jacket wearing rabbit that didn’t listen to his mother and was almost killed by Mr. McGregor for entering his garden. Ah, but this isn’t that same Beatrix Potter tale. Some executive or producer thought that classic book was too old and lame to be hip with today’s kids. Today’s Peter Rabbit needs to be a character that is rude, crude, and condescendingly snarky with his slapstick battles against McGregor set to the tune of today’s top radio music. Also, he kills people.
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“But did you know those actors were the real people from the true events?” Yes, I’ve heard it everywhere. From the TV interviews to the word-of-mouth buzz, to even the usually blank comment cards at the press screening. It’s an admirable gimmick from Clint Eastwood and a surefire way to garner easy praises of patriotism for a film that holds real heroes up on the screen. It may even be an ironclad way to avoid criticism, making a case that those who don’t like the film don’t like the heroes. The truth is I do like the real-life trio brought together for this film that stopped a terrorist on a train. I like them so much I didn’t want to see them flounder on screen with a film that has little to say about them past being average men that did average things in a surprisingly average movie adaptation.
Continue reading ““The 15:17 to Paris” Review”
There was a time when I considered Mobile Suit Gundam Wing one of the most thoughtful, mature, and entertaining anime series out there. To know why you must understand the era. Wing was the first Gundam TV series to hit US television in 2000. It aired in an afternoon time slot on Cartoon Network. An anime about giant robots that dealt with politics, psychology, and the nature of war was so uncommon to see on afternoon television that I naturally gravitated towards the show. It’s only when pulled back from the weekday airings of my youth that I finally understand how deeply flawed this show was in nearly every aspect. Some anime was just better when you were a kid.
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You can usually tell when a film about Americans doesn’t feel as though it’s directed by one. If you watched Hacksaw Ridge, you could see that Mel Gibson gave the story of Desmond Doss a real perspective and a purpose. Despite the abundance of bloody war scenes, it wasn’t just about the war, but a philosophy on saving lives in a time of violence and how one person can do so much. This is not the case of 12 Strong, a film that seems more concerned with staging cool shots of soldiers on horses than taking in the more personal aspects of such an operation.
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2017 was certainly an interesting year of movies. Marvel Studios did the same old thing with Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, a brand new thing with Spider-Man: Homecoming, and slap a technicolor coat on Thor: Ragnarok. DC Comics finally delivered a solid effort with Wonder Woman, only to go back to their messily reshot ways with Justice League. Star Wars tried something uniquely different with The Last Jedi and severely divided fans. Alien: Covenant tried a compromise of philosophies and horror and severely divided fans. No division on Universal’s action-oriented approach to the Dark Universe with Tom Cruise’s The Mummy; most everyone hated that film. But that’s not what’s on this list. These are the best movies of 2017, compiled from the 200+ I’ve watched this year.
Continue reading “The Best Movies of 2017”