Movie Reviews 

The Hitman’s Bodyguard

by Alan Rapp on August 18, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: The Hitman’s Bodyguard
  • IMDb: link

The Hitman's Bodyguard movie reviewWhen searching for something, anything, positive to say about a bad movie you can almost always fall back on “Well, at least it was in focus.” Sadly, I can’t even offer that most basic of compliments to The Hitman’s Bodyguard in which any strong ambient light destroys the focus of the shot, highlighting characters in a fuzzy glow while blurring out the entire background in a bizarrely amateurish manner.

Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson star in an uninspired buddy comedy about a once-proud bodyguard and his newest client, a man who has attempted to kill him on numerous occasions, who he needs to deliver in time to testify against a bland movie villain (Gary Oldman) for reasons that only makes sense in a script where things explode for no reason whatsoever.

Although there are some minor chuckles to be had (mostly from the pair adlibbing), and one strong chase sequence around the canals of Amsterdam, The Hitman’s Bodyguard is an uninspired mess featuring two actors screaming at each other for the better part of two hours.

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Atomic Blonde

by Alan Rapp on July 28, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Atomic Blonde
  • IMDb: link

Atomic Blonde movie reviewIt’s easy to compare Atomic Blonde to John Wick. Charlize Theron stars as a talented killer who will leave a wide swath of bodies in her wake through a series of well-executed stunt sequences. Director David Leitch (who was un-credited for directing some scenes in the previously-mentioned Keanu Reeves action flick) takes the helm and brings the same energy and feel to this project. However, the comparison only goes so far.

One of the things that makes John Wick work is the simplicity of its premise. Wick is a revenge story without the need for plot to get in the way. The character is wronged and spends the rest of the film seeking vengeance. Adapted from the comic of the same name, Atomic Blonde is an entirely different animal. Rather than a stylish revenge fantasy, the new film is a spy story that relies on several twists and turns. These begin to drag out (especially during a convoluted final act) before eventually getting us to the end of secret agent Lorraine Broughton’s (Theron) journey. It doesn’t help that Leitch fails to take advantage of the setting (this movie never feels like a Cold War spy thriller) or that many of the twists are either easy to see coming and/or create some large plot holes no one is eager to address.

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  • Title: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
  • IMDb: link

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets movie reviewsWhether you are an optimist and view a glass of water as half-full or a pessimist and view it as half-empty, the fact is that there’s only water in half the glass. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a lot like that. Sure, half the glass is filled with terrific imagery and an impressively designed world. There are creatures, gadgets, and CGI aplenty. And even when the sci-fi plot gets a bit dicey it still has a cohesive plot (which is more than I can say for all films released this week). It would be easy to praise Valerian for only the things it does right and just as easy to slam it for all it gets wrong. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

The latest from director Luc Besson is based on the French comic series Valérian and Laureline. As in the comic, our story centers around a pair of spatio-temporal agents Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Sergeant Laureline (Cara Delevingne). The script offers a glimpse into the contastly flirting partners’ lives aboard their ship and a mission that gets out of control before the film begins in earnest as the pair are called back to Alpa (the future version of the Intranational Space Station with thousands of aliens on board hurtling through space).

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Dunkirk

by Alan Rapp on July 20, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Dunkirk
  • IMDb: link

Dunkirk movie reviewChristopher Nolan‘s Dunkirk is surprisingly bad for such an accomplished director. Set during the Dunkirk evacuation of mostly British troops surrounded by Axis forces during World War II, Nolan brings his talents to bear in crafting a visually impressive film. However it’s three-part story, amateurishly cut together in confusing fashion, featuring a migraine-inducing overbearing score (which the director has been infatuated with ever since Inception), without a single trace of emotional resonance, left me detached from both characters and events for most of its running time.

The film inter-cuts three separate plot threads of vastly different lengths creating all kinds of trouble when the threads have to be woven together later in the film. The shortest of these centers around Tom Hardy as a fighter pilot whose action takes place mostly far above the fray. The next, in terms of length, involves a civilian boat hired to help evacuate soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk. And the longest story centers around soldiers on the beach, most notably Fionn Whitehead and Aneurin Barnard, desperately searching for any way off the coastline before the German army arrives.

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Spider-Man: Homecoming

by Alan Rapp on July 7, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • IMDb: link

Spider-Man: Homecoming movie reviewSpider-Man: Homecoming presents a problem that Marvel and it’s tightly-connected Marvel Cinematic Universe has been able to avoid… until now. Having not yet relaunched any of the Marvel Cinenamatic characters, Marvel hasn’t had to deal with recasting and repackaging the same old stories. Working with Sony, there’s no doubt this is a MCU movie, and not only because of the appearances of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), and a cameo so good I wouldn’t think of ruining it here. For the most part, writer-director Jon Watts and his five (FIVE!?) other screenwriters succeed in building on the character’s small role in Captain America: Civil War.

Tom Holland returns as Peter Parker. Other than being a bit too buff, Holland’s take works well. Despite his good intentions and smarts, Peter continues to get himself in over his head (both in and out of costume) while failing to juggle his life as Peter Parker and as a web-spinning vigilante. And while I’m on the subject of webs, let me say that the comic nerd in me is happy that the new franchise has kept web-shooters as Peter’s creation rather than Sam Raimi‘s choice to go with organic web-shooters.

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