Movie Reviews 

Alice Through the Looking Glass

by Alan Rapp on May 27, 2016

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Alice Through the Looking Glass
  • IMDb: link

Alice Through the Looking GlassOther than the bizarre Burtonian designs of the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) and the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) I remember almost nothing of 2010’s Alice in Wonderland. Six years later Tim Burton reassembles the cast for a sequel one studio executive, and possibly some other people somewhere, thought would be a good idea. Six years from now I wonder if I will remember anything about this film.

With Burton taking a backseat as producer this time around, James Bobin (The Muppets, The Muppets Most Wanted) steps into the director’s chair. Burton’s fingerprints are all over the film so we can’t really call it Bobin’s movie, but there are some humorous touches that could come from the director.

Set several years after the first film, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is now a ship’s captain who is pulled back into Wonderland by either A) a friend in need or B) her inability to deal with the stress losing her ship to her ex-fiance. You can decide for yourself whether you believe Alice is an adventurer or a troubled young woman with mental problems she deals with through detailed hallucinations.

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X-Men: Apocalypse

by Alan Rapp on May 26, 2016

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: X-Men: Apocalypse
  • IMDb: link

X-Men: ApocalypseX-Men: Apocalypse is a bloated film that wants more than anything to be epic in scale. Stuck with a ponderous first 45 minutes resetting up the world of the X-Men one decade after the events of X-Men: First Class (where apparently only some of our characters have actually aged) the movie has to spend far too much time catching us up on current events. With the script hamstrung by the need to properly introduce not only the movie’s villain Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), which means flashbacks to ancient Egypt, but also several new characters who will make up both Apocalypse’s Four Horseman (Olivia Munn, Ben Hardy, Alexandra Shipp) and the new version of the X-Men (Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Lana Condor) it takes quite some time before director Bryan Singer‘s movie gets on track.

With the resurrection of Apocalypse, who begins recruiting new mutants for his army, the movie begins in earnest with Mystique‘s (Jennifer Lawrence) return to the mansion and Professor X‘s (James McAvoy) abduction. After an appearance by Stryker (Josh Helman), used only to shoehorn in a cameo of Singer’s favorite mutant, Mystique will gather a few mutants together to reform the X-Men.

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The Nice Guys

by Alan Rapp on May 23, 2016

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: The Nice Guys
  • IMDb: link

The Nice GuysIn his latest film writer/director Shane Black returns to a formula he knows well. Set in the 1970s, The Nice Guys delivers on the buddy-cop genre by pairing hired thug Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) with drunk private detective Holland March (Ryan Gosling) on a case involving a missing girl (Margaret Qualley), a murdered porn star (Murielle Telio), political activism, and the United States Justice Department.

The Nice Guys is an attempt to recapture the brilliance of Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang by similarly throwing together an unlikely pair to solve a case involving a missing woman. The Nice Guys lacks the snappy dialogue of Black’s best film and the pulp detective and noir elements add an entire layer to Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang which is missing here. Given their similarities, it’s impossible not to compare them, but even if his latest doesn’t quite measure it still delivers in its own ways.

Gosling and Crowe work well together, but it’s the addition of Angourie Rice (as March’s daughter Holly) that ultimately makes the pairing work. Even if the murder plot is a bit convoluted, it’s a joy to watch them slowly uncover the truth.

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Captain America: Civil War

by Alan Rapp on May 6, 2016

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Captain America: Civil War
  • IMDb: link

Captain America: Civil WarThe most ambitious Marvel Studios’ movie to date, Captain America: Civil War attempts to merge aspects of Marvel’s two best movies (The Avengers and Captain America: Winter Soldier) into a cohesive whole while telling a very streamlined version of the comic event of the same name. You know what? It’s pretty damn good. It may not be the best of the Marvel movies, but it’s certainly more successful than Avengers: Age of Ultron and halts the backslide we’ve been witnessing in the quality of the Marvel films since Winter Soldier.

Beginning with tragedy in Africa, the Avengers are called to task by the governments of the world who believe a group of powerful super-heroes must be made to answer to someone other than themselves. While Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and War Machine (Don Cheadle) are in favor of putting the group under the oversight of the United Nations, Captain America (Chris Evans) opposes any such move. As the Avengers choose sides things take an even more dramatic turn with the return of the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) only further dividing the group with his latest actions.

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Mother’s Day

by Alan Rapp on April 29, 2016

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Mother’s Day
  • wiki: link

Mother's DayFollowing the pattern of his last two films (Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve) director Garry Marshall‘s Mother’s Day is a cookie-cutter ensemble dramaedy set around a particular holiday. Filled with paper-thin characters who all can be described by a single characteristic who are marginally connected through themes of mothers and their daughters, Mother’s Day is a lazy film filled with sitcom humor and blase drama that asks the bare minimum of its cast. If it were a meal, Mother’s Day would be a lukewarm McDonald’s extra-value meal that no one bothered to put under the heat lamp. If it were a color it would be beige.

The stories include divorced mother (Jennifer Aniston) of two sons (Caleb Brown and Brandon Spink) struggling with the news that her ex-husband (Timothy Olyphant) has married a much younger woman (Shay Mitchell), grown sisters (Kate Hudson and Sarah Chalke) hiding their romantic relationships from their conventional parents (Margo Martindale and Robert Pine), a widower (Jason Sudeikis) and his two daughters (Ella Anderson and Jessi Case) struggling to move on a year after his wife’s death, a career-minded Home Shopping Network star (Julia Roberts) with what passes for a dark secret in this movie, and a waitress (Britt Robertson) unable to commit to her boyfriend (Jack Whitehall).

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