Movie Reviews 

The Big Sick

by Alan Rapp on July 7, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: The Big Sick
  • IMDb: link

The Big Sick movie reviewWell, here’s an unique love story. Adapted from the true events of his own life, and co-written by his wife, The Big Sick stars Kumail Nanjiani as comedian and Uber driver Kumail whose relationship with Emily (Zoe Kazan) goes into a rough patch just prior to her being put into a medically-induced coma for an illness doctors struggle to properly diagnose. With Emily hospitalized, Kumail finds himself in the uncomfortable position of dealing with her parents (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano), and the expectations of his own parents (Anupam Kher and Zenobia Shroff) concerning his future.

Not as dark (or unconventional) as it sounds, The Big Sick fits pretty easily in the dramedy category with pieces of the real events exaggerated for either comedic or dramatic effect (or sometimes both). While it certainly has some romantic comedy leanings, the best parts of the movie come not from the conflict but the building of relationships, first between Kumail and Emily and later between Kumail and her parents. If you’ve seen the trailer you’ve seen almost all the film’s best jokes, but there’s still an enjoyable (if predictable) story to watch unfold.

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The Beguiled

by Alan Rapp on June 30, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: The Beguiled
  • IMDb: link

The Beguiled movie reviewThe Beguiled is a remake of 1971 film starring Clint Eastwood as a wounded soldier brought into and tended by the residents of a Southern all-girls boarding school. Choosing to remake the film more from the perspective of the women rather than the male intruder in their lives, Sofia Coppola‘s version of The Beguiled is highlighted by strong performances all around but it’s sadly also the least-interesting movie of the talented director’s career.

The remake casts Colin Farrell as Union Corporal McBurney who is found by one of school’s tweens (Oona Laurence). With the bleeding soldier loosing consciousness on arrival, the headmistress Miss Martha (Nicole Kidman) chooses to tend to the soldier’s wounds. As he heals the charming man makes effort to separately woo the various women of the house (whose number also include Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Angourie Rice, Addison Riecke, and Emma Howard) winning them all over to his side. However, the soldier certainly can’t keep his empty promises to all the girls which leads to a dark turn and lots of conflict in the film’s final act as the women discover the fox they’ve let into their hen house.

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The Hero

by Alan Rapp on June 30, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: The Hero
  • IMDb: link

The Hero movie reviewThe Hero is a fairly straightforward film about an aging actor coming to terms with his mortality after a troubling medical diagnosis forces him to reexamine his life. Western star Lee Hayden (Sam Elliott) is known really for only one role over his long career (which now consists mostly of commercial voice-over work for barbecue sauce). Elliot is well-cast, and makes the most of the character as he tries to mend fences with his estranged daughter (Krysten Ritter) and try to understand his new relationship with a younger woman (Laura Prepon) who walks unexpectedly into his life.

While not as ambitious as I’d like, director and co-writer Brett Haley delivers just what you’d expect from a film with this premise, ultimately The Hero fails or succeeds on the performance of Elliot who shoulders most of the film’s emotional weight. Thankfully he’s up to the task. I was a bit unsure about Prepon and her character, but her influence does drive some of the film’s best scenes which include Hayden’s audition won when his drug-controlled behavior at an awards show goes viral over social media. The Hero is a solid film. It won’t wow you, but like it’s leading character, it’s slow and steady. Sometimes that does win the race.

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Baby Driver

by Alan Rapp on June 28, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Baby Driver
  • IMDb: link

Baby Driver movie reviewWritten and directed by Edgar Wright, Baby Driver is a fast-paced crime thriller overfilling with plenty of humor and music. Centered around a getaway driver named Baby (Ansel Elgort) attempting to pay-off a debt to local gangster (Kevin Spacey), the film is a mix of over-the-top action and characters and much more realistic violence and emotion. At times Wright struggles balancing the two sides of the film, especially in the final act which drags on with multiple epilogues, but when it works it’s a joy to behold.

With Baby driving for Doc’s (Spacey) crew on multiple jobs, we meet an assortment of criminals including the romantic pair of Buddy (Jon Hamm) and Darling (Eiza González), Griff (Jon Bernthal), and Bats (Jamie Foxx). We also learn while others are quick to underestimate Baby, there’s more going on with the young man who drowns out the noise of the outside world with his constantly playing iPod than meets the eye. We meet his foster father Joseph (CJ Jones), while seeing tragic flashbacks to his mother (Sky Ferreira) and father (Lance Palmer), and are introduced to Baby’s new love interest in the beautiful waitress Debora (Lily James).

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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.

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