Movie Reviews 

Pete’s Dragon

by Alan Rapp on August 12, 2016

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Pete’s Dragon
  • IMDb: link

Pete's Dragon1977’s Pete’s Dragon is a goofy live-action kid’s movie about an orphan who gets into trouble thanks to a clumsy invisible dragon named Elliot. Something around the lines of The Apple Dumpling Gang mashed up with Mary Poppins, it’s a movie I remember from my childhood, but not well. To be honest, the announcement of a remake didn’t really interest me. However, Disney’s entirely new take on the tale proves to be a far more memorable adventure.

As much, if not more, descended from King Kong, Mighty Joe Young, and The Jungle Book than the original film, Pete’s Dragon is a surprisingly engaging and moving story about a lost kid named Pete (Oakes Fegley) and his pet dragon Elliot who finds the youngster in the middle of the woods after a tragic accident leaves Pete alone in the world.

If we’re stuck in an age of remakes, reboots, and sequels, Pete’s Dragon is an example of how you can improve on the original by adding depth to what was originally little more than a kiddie film. Although the 3D didn’t impress me, as the movie looked too dark in spots, the story lit up the screen.

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Suicide Squad

by Alan Rapp on August 4, 2016

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Suicide Squad
  • IMDb: link

Suicide SquadMaybe DC should shy away from its major heroes and concentrate on the fringes of the DCU. I don’t know that you should call a $175 million theatrical release with an excessive marketing campaign a B-movie but that’s exactly what Suicide Squad is. Writer/director David Ayer delivers an unapologetically trashy B-movie that, despite its faults, is fun.

Sure, the script spends far too long awkwardly introducing the various super-villains thrown together by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) for her super-secret black ops squad. And yes, the final act suffers from a villain more interested in putting on a giant light show than presenting a coherent threat. However, somewhere in-between these problematic areas Ayer provides room for his cast of malcontents to shine.

Make no mistake, this is Margot Robbie‘s film. Unfortunately this means the movie is full of more of Jared Leto‘s Joker than I’d like (sorry, still struggling with Mr. J. as a hip-hop gangster). On the plus-side Robbie in infectious while bringing several of the character’s trademark qualities to the big screen.

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Jason Bourne

by Alan Rapp on July 29, 2016

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Jason Bourne
  • IMDb: link

Jason BourneLargely ignoring the events of The Bourne Legacy, Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass return to the Bourne franchise. In the years since The Bourne Ultimatum Jason Bourne has become a wandering nomad and underground street fighter. With his memories restored he lacks the purpose which drove him in the first three films of the series.

The return of Nicky (Julia Stiles) and her quest to expose the government’s new black ops programs will shock Bourne out of his malaise when she provides him additional information about Treadstone and his recruitment into the program asking questions he desperately needs answers to.

Resurfacing after years, Bourne immediately becomes the focus of a manhunt by CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) and his new hot-shot protege Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) who begins to wonder if the CIA wouldn’t be better off attempting to bring Bourne in rather than assassinate him. Vikander’s addition, similar to a younger version of Joan Allen‘s character from the third and fourth films (with a questionable accent), allows for some conflict within the CIA as to Bourne while setting up potential ally for our protagonist within the agency.

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Nerve

by Alan Rapp on July 27, 2016

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Nerve
  • IMDb: link

NerveEmma Roberts stars as Venus “Vee” Delmonico, an amalgamation of every secretly-cool high school nerd ever, whose introverted personality is tested when she chooses to sign-up for a super-secret (AKA everyone knows about it) online game of truth or dare known as NERVE.

Against the advice of her friends (Emily Meade and Miles Heizer), Vee finds freedom in the dares far away from her over-protective mother (Juliette Lewis) and drab life. Paired with the mysterious Ian (Dave Franco) by the game’s Watchers, the two Players will be put through a series of increasingly bold and dangerous dares until the movie basically loses any interest in common sense or reality and devolves into a battle between the pair and the underground hacker community responsible for the game.

Starting with an interesting idea, and timed perfectly to coincide with the popularity of Pokémon GO, Nerve is a tonal nightmare that wants to be both a fun high school flick and dark techno thriller (which it doesn’t have the brains or technical expertise to pull off). While the first works at times, the later leads to an unimaginative final act and questionable conclusion.

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Star Trek Beyond

by Alan Rapp on July 22, 2016

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Star Trek Beyond
  • IMDb: link

Star Trek BeyondThe third time’s the charm. After a lackluster first film and a clusterfuck of a sequel, the rebooted franchise finally gets it right with Star Trek Beyond. No longer awkwardly straddling the original and new continuities, the latest Star Trek film offers a wholly original story and the first really good movie in the Star Trek franchise in 20 years.

Opening with a humorous scene of Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) struggling with a delicate diplomatic mission which plants the first seed of the story, Star Trek Beyond really gets going when Kirk and the Enterprise are tricked into a rescue mission that leaves the Enterprise in pieces and most of its crew prisoners of a warmonger known as Krall (Idris Elba) who is after an ancient weapon which could change the balance of power in the galaxy.

While not offering much of the bigger themes of the original series’ best episodes, director Justin Lin (Fast & Furious) does deliver one hell of an action film (which looks even more impressive in IMAX 3D) that is still driven by the core relationships of its characters. For those of us dissatisfied with the recent additions to the franchise, this is the movie we’ve been waiting for.

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