Movie Reviews 

The Fate of the Furious

by Alan Rapp on April 14, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: The Fate of the Furious
  • IMDb: link

The Fate of the Furious movie reviewHow did this franchise manage eight films? When The Fast and the Furious was released in 2001 to mixed reviews I doubt anyone foresaw the series generating seven sequels. Following in the path of the previous films, The Fate of the Furious is a pretty dumb film that provides entertainment mostly through the more ridiculous pieces of its plot (and let’s be honest, it’s all ridiculous).

When the series began there was a focus on racing, real stunt work, and fast cars. Over the recent entries the series has devolved a bit into a live action cartoon making it impossible to take anything seriously. Remember the last (almost completely forgettable) movie had a tank and cars jumping through buildings? Well this on has a submarine!

Playing on the themes of friendship and family, the latest entry pits Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) against the team he put together when the world’s best hacker known as Cipher (Charlize Theron) blackmails him into joining a crew that actually doesn’t need his help (seriously, every piece of Cipher’s plan is only made harder by Dom’s involvement, as it brings in his team to stop them).

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Colossal

by Alan Rapp on April 14, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Colossal
  • IMDb: link

Colossal movie reviewAnne Hathaway stars as Gloria, an unemployed alcoholic who is forced to move back home to her parents’ abandoned house after her boyfriend (Dan Stevens) kicks her out. Back home, she reconnects with childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) while struggling not to fall back into old patterns. All the pieces are here for an entertaining dramedy focused on Gloria, her questionable choices, and the people in her life. However, writer/director Nacho Vigalondo has something far more unusual in mind.

At the same time Gloria returns home a giant creature appears on the streets of Seoul, South Korea. Watching news footage, Gloria can’t help but notice some similarities between the creatures mannerisms and her own and quickly discovers that at one spot in her town, and one specific time, she causes the creature to manifest halfway around the world and controls its actions (be that wanton destruction or goofy dancing). From here the movie could devolve into a wacky comedy, but once again Vigalondo has something more interesting in mind as the film takes an unexpectedly dark turn.

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Donald Cried

by Alan Rapp on April 7, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Donald Cried
  • IMDb: link

Donald Cried movie reviewCreating an small independent movie centered around two generally unlikable characters presents some problems. In Donald Cried, Peter Latang (Jesse Wakeman) returns to his the home town he’s avoided like the plague for more than two decades to deal with the the recent death of his grandmother. With no other family in sight, and having lost his wallet somewhere along the journey, Peter is forced to enlist the help of his old friend Donald (Kris Avedisian). Hoping to squeeze some cash and a ride to the funeral home from Donald, Peter is quickly guilted into spending the entire day with the odd man.

A glimpse into Donald’s sad life only exacerbates the situation and makes it harder for Peter to extricate himself from the clingy Donald, even after leaning that for the past few years Donald had been masquerading as Peter at his grandmother’s retirement home.

The strength of Avedisian’s film, who wrote, directed, and saved the choicest part for himself, is we can see all these situations playing out in real life. Donald is a quirky loner, but knows how to use that to his advantage.

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Power Rangers

by Alan Rapp on March 31, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Power Rangers
  • IMDb: link

Power Rangers movie reviewBoy, is this movie dumb. Imagine mashing up Breakfast Club with Suicide Squad, removing Margot Robbie, casting an even worse version of the Enchantress, and then inexplicably throwing Voltron and the Dinobots in at the end, and you might understand what you are in store for with Power Rangers. I have no attachment to the 1990s television show Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in which five teens from the same town find magic alien discs and fight various monsters (mostly pulled from stock footage of Japanese shows) every week to protect their home of Angel Grove, California, and felt lost early on in the gradually intensifying insanity.

The film has the multi-cultural breakfast club leave detention to be granted super-powers. Power Rangers hits most of the archetypes of John Hughes‘ classic. We get a troubled football star (Dacre Montgomery), the nerd (RJ Cyler), the beautiful girl (Naomi Scott), the outcast (Ludi Lin), and the crazy girl (Becky G.). These characters are all given names, but since they are only really differentiated by the color of their skin and threadbare character motivations, it’s not worth the space to go into further detail.

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Life

by Alan Rapp on March 24, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Life
  • IMDb: link

Life movie reviewLife is the exact opposite of Kong: Skull Island. Whereas Kong knew exactly what it was and embraced it, Life is a pretentious wannabe that flails around for far too long before ultimately turning into a cliche and running out of gas long before the credits roll.

Wanting desperately to be a genre-shaking art film which takes the science seriously and has something to say about extraterrestrial life, like the original Alien, instead director Daniel Espinosa‘s (Safe House) movie is a plodding, somber affair with nothing we haven’t seen multiple times before. Very early on, I lost track of number of extended sequences showing off the film’s art design set to ominous classical music. I get it, you guys liked 2001: A Space Odyssey. Unfortunately this isn’t the kind of movie you are making here.

Life is a bottle-show monster flick with a small group of people trapped with a creature they can’t understand let alone defeat. By the time Life gets around to throwing the pretension of actual science out the window and becomes a monster movie there’s little the latest tentacle monster can offer in way of surprise, let alone general horror.

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