Friday, July 21, 2017

Dunkirk movie review.

It seems customary that at some point in their careers, every director that achieves fame is bound to create a World War II movie. As one of the most significant periods in history, the long and arduous war was a series of battles with numerous outreached arms, taking place on battlefields not just of violence and bloodshed, but sanity and humanity. The perspectives it provides are so versatile, and the scope so expansive, that any director can find a new spin on an already well-documented event.

So if any modern director seemed destined to create one, it had to be Christopher Nolan. Having already carved his name with epics the likes of The Dark Knight trilogy, showing he had a knack for full-scale explosive action and practicality, it seemed only a natural fit for one. But being such a cerebral-based filmmaker, the question still remained if his stylistics would truly blend with the traditional format. Yet while less scientific than his usual repertoire, heady it still remains, in very visceral, intentionally overwhelming ways, more of a thriller and suspenseful horror under the guise of a war movie.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Brief thoughts on Spider-Man: Homecoming - 300th Post!

How many times you gonna do it, Spidey? Sam Raimi's original Spider-Man films were crucial events in the infancy of modern Superflicks, perfecting the mold that had been established with X-Men, and delivering on all the fabulous campiness, lightness, sweetness, and even downright horror of Peter Parker's universe with the definitive representation of the character to date. Unfortunately, this came crashing down when Sony (the holders to the production rights) decided to interfere with Raimi's work by overstuffing Spider-Man 3.

Cut to five years later, and in an attempt to keep the rights from reverting, as well as to copy the successful moves of his former owners at Marvel, decided to create their own expanded universe, leading to the apathetic Amazing Spider-Man that retread the familiar origin story, and the spectacular disaster of its sequel, not to mention laughable proposals like a spin-off with Sally Field's Aunt May as a secret agent. Having reached an agreement to share the character rights, Sony's partnership with Marvel finally allowed the beloved webhead to join the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, first debuting the character in Civil War.

This seemed to be a move that indicated great things to come, especially since Tom Holland's Spidey made for a great scene-stealer in his limited screentime. But upon exiting Spider-Man: Homecoming, I can't help but feel my apathy resurfacing yet again. This is my first true disappointment of Marvel's otherwise highly enjoyable universe.

Friday, July 14, 2017

War for the Planet of the Apes movie review.

As someone who never considered himself a fan of the Planet of the Apes series, the newly rebooted franchise following Caesar and his clan's rise to power and freedom has made for some of my favorite blockbusters of this decade. Starting with Rise, the series decided to shift focus from the humans onto the apes, creating a rousing, and well-built origin story that made the most of their primate cast and motion-capture, even if it meant the humans were generally boring.

Cut to Dawn, when the film went even more ambitious and brutal, managing to make these "Animals" feel  human, delivering on blockbuster excitement without sacrificing mood or character, even making the humans better defined in the meantime. Of course, both movies featured beautiful, lifelike motion-capture from Weta Digital, and outstanding central performances from Andy Serkis. Now with Dawn's seeds sewn for all out war between humans and apes, we join the clan once more for a no less suspenseful, rich, and poignant closer to the new trilogy.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Brief thoughts on Baby Driver.

As his criminal allies wander into the bank to rob its riches, a lone getaway driver waits in his sleek car, drowning out the noise with his rockin' tunes, pounding and drumming to the music in rhythmic pace. Even when the group make their big getaway, his keen sense of rhythm still chugs along, weaving and bobbing through traffic in time to his soundtrack like a devil behind the wheel. One could say that the rhythm of these songs is like a heartbeat to him; a frantic, unruly, but also soulful heartbeat acting as something of an odd moral compass, that suggests numerous deep and unexplored layers with each new track. As is the case with this man (his name's Baby), so too is with the film he is attached to, a film so rousing and hyper-kinetic that you'll be left breathless by the time of its closing moments. This is Baby Driver.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Brief thoughts on The Beguiled.

A lonely, but idyllic all girl's school sits within the woods of Virginia during the Civil War. A student of this school comes across the badly injured John McBurney (Colin Farrell), a Union soldier that the students and teachers take in until his injuries are healed. The location seems tranquil and unassuming, but soon that surface reveals a web of seduction, infighting, and cruelty as the occupants spend more time with their unlikely guest. For all these reasons and more, Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled seems destined to be among the most beautifully twisted films of the year.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Wonder Woman movie review.

With DC now four movies into their cinematic universe, their efforts to clone the success of their rivals at Marvel have not panned out for the better. Because of the studio's frantic and misguided production schedule, they've painted themselves as this wayward ship whose crew has no idea how to steer it, leading to underwhelming clunkers like Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, and the absolute failure Suicide Squad.

For those reasons, I was never eager for Wonder Woman, not because I wanted it to fail, but I was afraid of how the studio could botch it. It's no secret that we've been desperately starving for good female-led superhero films after bombs like Catwoman and Elektra, but with how aimless and lost Warner Brothers is, I was terrified that seemingly the most surefire victory they could possibly ever be handed, would instead become yet another notorious trainwreck...

...Which is why I'm thrilled to report that Wonder Woman finally rights all those wrongs, and does justice to its iconic source material.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales movie review.

The surprise success of the Pirates of the Caribbean film series cannot be understated. Back when The Curse of the Black Pearl graced us with its presence, few would have seen it becoming the smash hit that it did, and no one would ever have imagined that Johnny Depp would receive an Oscar nomination for his performance as Captain Jack Sparrow, an eccentric and anarchic character who took the world by storm. Seeing the successful results, it didn't take Disney long to see that they had a new star franchise on their hands, greenlighting and releasing several sequels in the years since.

Unfortunately, very rarely did those sequels ever manage to capture the same spirit of the original, and after a very convoluted and reviled third entry, the studio tried to restore the series back to basics, with the result being the underwhelming On Stranger Tides. This summer sees the fifth entry Dead Men Tell No Tales, that intends to act as a farewell to the franchise, and to Jacky boy himself. Unfortunately if this film is anything to go by, a more accurate response would be good riddance.