Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
  • IMDb: link

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales movie reviewHow does a movie based off an amusement park ride end up with four sequels? Taking a page out of the book of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the latest entry into the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise goes back to the beginning to try and recapture the magic of its best film. Although it delivers not much more than a pale imitation of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, borrowing heavily from every major plot point, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is easily the least shitty sequel in a franchise that knows something about shitty sequels.

See if any of this sounds familiar: A man (Brenton Thwaites) with a pirate father and a woman (Kaya Scodelario) too independent for her time befriend the crazy pirate Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) while being pursued by a ship of undead cursed souls seeking a treasure that can save them and led by a captain (Javier Bardem) who hates Jack.

While all a bit too familiar, the choice to allow Jack to be more part of an ensemble rather than the central character certainly helps the film. Although even with less screentime the character grows tiresome at times.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Baywatch

by Alan Rapp on May 25, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Baywatch
  • IMDb: link

Baywatch movie reviewBased on the 90s television show not good enough for network television which earned a following in syndication by providing soap opera style plots that often had little to do with the characters’ actual jobs of lifeguards, comes a new feature film version of the franchise. Dumb, almost entirely forgettable (I can’t name a single plot from the show either), and mostly an excuse to put beautiful people in swimsuits and have then run around on-camera, the movie is exactly what you’d expect.

With a generic script which could have been easily adapted from any number of other properties, the set-up is fairly simple. Former Olympic swimmer turned failed human being Matt Brody (a ripped Zac Efron) arrives on the beach as one of the lifeguards’ new recruits. The others include the underdeveloped Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario) and the goofy comic relief Ronnie Greenbaum (Jon Bass). While Brody immediately clashes with the lifeguard leader Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne “It’s Okay to Call Me The Rock Again” Johnson), Ronnie is given his own subplot involving his attraction to the beautiful C.J. (Kelly Rohrbach).

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur

by Alan Rapp on May 11, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
  • IMDb: link

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword movie reviewWhen I first heard that Guy Ritchie was going to direct a King Arthur movie my reaction was that this could well be the worst idea for a movie I’d ever heard. By that standard, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is actually better than I expected. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a full-on trainwreck in innumerable ways, but it wasn’t altogether unwatchable. (Let’s see them work that ringing endorsement onto the poster.)

This movie is (supposedly) about King Arthur, played here by the often shirtless Charlie Hunnam, and his magic sword which apparently can freeze time while also creating shock waves and explosions. (Who knew?) However, it becomes blatantly obvious Guy Ritchie (who both directed and co-wrote the movie) has no real idea who Arthur is. It’s like he saw a poorly-translated anime on the subject and decided to make his own movie. It’s so bad that this movie should come with a disclaimer that any relation to King Arthur or his legend is purely coincidental.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

by Alan Rapp on May 5, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  • IMDb: link

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 movie reviewLess ambitious than the original film, the sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy attempts to focus a bit more on relationships and family while, of course, still leaving plenty of time for hijinks and misadventure. As he proved in Guardians of the Galaxy, writer/director James Gunn is right at home with the later, but if the sequel has a major weakness it’s that more subtle emotion isn’t his forte.

Not to take anything away from the sequel which proves to be an enjoyable summer romp, but Gunn struggles mightily during emotional beats which are hamfistedly repeated, underlined, bolded, recalled, and given at least three exclamation marks. While this works for the bawdier humor, exploring the relationships between Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and her sister Nebula (Karen Gillan) or Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and relationships to both his long-lost father (Kurt Russell) and his surrogate father Yondu (Michael Rooker) in repetitive exposition leads to some awkward scenes that drag on far too long. And, because there’s not much to the script other than a focus on these relationships, it’s hard not to be at least a little disappointed in Vol. 2.

[click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

  • Title: The Dinner
  • IMDb: link

The Dinner movie reviewWriter/director Oren Moverman‘s film, based on the novel by Herman Koch, is a claustrophobic acting exercise that would seem to be more at home on stage than in a movie theater. The film centers around four unlikable people brought together at a ridiculously posh restaurant discussing, or rather talking around and avoiding discussing, events of recent days concerning a horrible act committed by the two couples’ teenage sons. The more time we spend with the two couples and their sons the less likely we are to care what happens to anyone involved.

Our cast includes Congressman Stan Lohman (Richard Gere) and his second wife Katelyn (Rebecca Hall), the politician’s brother Paul (Steve Coogan), a former teacher suffering from some form of early-onset dementia, and his wife Claire (Laura Linney). Other characters come and go including various wait staff (Michael Chernus, among others), Stan’s ex-wife (Chloë Sevigny), and the politician’s aides (most notably Adepero Oduye), but everyone aside from these four core characters (including the flashbacks to the boys themselves) prove to be superfluous to the plot.

[click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }