Movie Reviews 

Cars 3

by Alan Rapp on June 16, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Cars 3
  • IMDb: link

Cars 3 movie reviewI unapologetically love Cars and think Pixar’s 2006 film is an underrated classic snubbed by those who have more trouble buying into its concept than any flaws in the film. It succeeds in creating a fully realized and imaginative world while providing us the best looking Pixar film to date. While I admit Cars 2 isn’t in the same class, I still enjoy the sequel for the continued exploration of the world, its style, and the fun spy plot (even if it does feature too much of the franchise’s most annoying supporting character).

Cars 3 may not measure up to the original either, but it does fall closer in-line with the themes of the first film while bringing Lightning McQueen‘s (Owen Wilson) story full circle and making a satisfying conclusion to the franchise. Now the old man of the racing circuit, McQueen has seen old friends and rivals replaced by newer, faster, and more aerodynamic competition. A crash in the final race of the year has many expecting the car to retire. With the help of his perky personal trainer, and some friends (both old and new) McQueen will struggle to find a way back into the sport before time paces him by.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Kill Switch

by Alan Rapp on June 16, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Kill Switch
  • IMDb: link

Kill Switch movie reviewThere’s an interesting set-up in Kill Switch that sadly get lost by the one-note gimmick of the film’s first-person presentation. While the flashbacks pull back and allow scenes to unfold naturally, every scene taking place in the present is shot like a first-person shooter (which becomes even more obvious once our protagonist starts to pick up weapons). Had director Tim Smit been more interested in making hard-core sci-fi the results could have been more compelling.

The premise of screenwriters Charlie Kindinger and Omid Nooshin‘s script is a company has found a cheat for clean energy. Their new invention will create a parallel Earth from which we will be able to steal all the resources we need. Will Porter (Dan Stevens) is aggressively approached by the group to join their team. And when things go wrong, like vehicles from the parallel Earth dropping from the sky through portals, it’s up to Will to travel to the other side and set things right. And surprise, the world isn’t devoid of sentient life as the scientists hypothesized. Instead it’s full of doppelgangers (including coworkers Bérénice Marlohe and Tygo Gernandt) in a mirror reality devolving into chaos.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

  • Title: The Mummy (2017)
  • IMDb: link

The Mummy movie reviewIt’s been more than eighty years since the first Mummy movie was released by Universal Pictures. Over the years the studio has put out other versions of the story, most recently with the increasingly disappointing films starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. With The Mummy not only does the studio hope to reboot the entire franchise but use the film to relaunch several of their other classic movie monster properties as part of their new interconnected Dark Universe.

From the first trailer I thought this looked like a trainwreck. Although it proves to be more entertaining than expected, I certainly wasn’t wrong. The bar for horror is pretty low, and the film does provide its share of fun even as it struggles with plot and pacing.

The movie opens by awkwardly jumping around several years and locales before finally settling in during modern day with a pair of soldiers (Tom Cruise, Jake Johnson) seeking a hidden treasure in Iraq. Let’s just say they unearth more than they bargained for. With the help of archaeologist Jenny Halsey (Sofia Boutella), whose connection to the U.S. Military is never really explained, the pair unearth the tomb of a forgotten queen of Egypt.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Megan Leavey

by Alan Rapp on June 9, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Megan Leavey
  • IMDb: link

Megan Leavey movie reviewBased on the true story of US Marine Corporal Megan Leavey and her four-legged partner Rex who served two deployments in Iraq finding hidden explosive devices and insurgent weapons, Kate Mara stars as a lost young woman who finds purpose as a K9 handler. With the potential pitfalls of being both an uplifting military tale and a movie about a woman and her dog, director Gabriela Cowperthwaite and screenwriters Pamela Gray, Annie Mumolo, and Tim Lovestedt do a fair bit of work to not let things get too schmaltzy over the film’s 116-minute running time (although at certain times in the film this becomes a losing battle).

As someone who doesn’t mind a little schmaltz, as long as it serves the story (and it certainly does here), Megan Leavey delivers an engaging tale. Kate Mara may not be the typical idea of a Marine, but Leavey’s story is hardly typical and the casting works. While she and the dog are the true stand-outs here, a grizzled Bradley Whitford (who it took me a moment to recognize) steals a scene or two as Megan’s father. Harry Potter‘s Tom Felton also has a small role as a fellow dog handler. Less effective are the one-note performances of Edie Falco and Will Patton as Megan’s mother and her boyfriend.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Wonder Woman

by Alan Rapp on May 31, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Wonder Woman (2017)
  • IMDb: link

Wonder Woman movie reviewIt took four movies, but the DC Extended Universe has finally delivered a true super-hero movie. With Wonder Woman, for the first time, DC gives us a protagonist who is actually a hero (rather than one brought up to be selfish about his gifts, a group of killers brought together for a good cause, or one obsessed with murder and vengeance). I doubt the limited input of Zack Snyder or the lack of involvement from David Goyer is a coincidence. There’s a lesson to be learned there, if anyone at DC or Warner Bros. is paying attention.

Credit goes to director Patty Jenkins and screenwriter Allan Heinberg in taking the best aspects of Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor and merging them into a film better than either of the two. Wonder Woman isn’t without its flaws. It drags on (especially during its CGI-heavy final act) and it can’t quite shake free from Snyder’s hard-on for slow-motion action scenes (although Jenkins is mercifully more adept and not prolonging or overusing the technique). What it gets right is its choice of stars and, for the first time in the combined DC movie universe, a willingness to give the central character heart (something sorely lacking in DC’s previous films).

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }