Movie Reviews 

Emma Watson and the Beast

by Alan Rapp on March 17, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Beauty and the Beast
  • IMDb: link

Beauty and the Beast movie reviewDisney’s new Beauty and the Beast isn’t so much an adaptation of their 1991 animated film as a live-action reproduction of the original. The new film follows the pattern so closely that when it diverges at any point something feels a bit off. In a loving remake, director Bill Condon and his team bring the magic of the original back to the big screen in a way which should please fans.

After the brief interlude which sets up the film’s plot involving the curse, we’re reintroduced to Belle (Emma Watson) and the small French town in which the modern woman sticks out like a sore thumb. Watson’s casting is pure genius. The actress shines, delivering everything the role calls and more (including a singing performance far more impressive than another Emma who just took home an Academy Award). Effortlessly, she brings Belle to life.

As in the first movie, Belle’s father (Kevin Kline) is held captive by the Beast (Dan Stevens). One of the changes to the film is to flesh out Belle and Maurice‘s relationship a bit more, and add in some backstory to fill in for Belle’s missing mother.

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Kong: Skull Island

by Alan Rapp on March 9, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Kong: Skull Island
  • IMDb: link

Kong: Skull Island movie reviewFar more focused than Peter Jackson’s bloated three-hour mess, Kong: Skull Island is a film with a clear agenda of what it is and what it wants to do. Sadly, King Kong hasn’t had the greatest career in the movies with far more disappointments than successes. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts and screenwriters Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, and Derek Connolly strip away much of the Kong story to focus only on the discovery of the giant ape and the mysterious island which is also home to other monstrous beasts the outside world can only imagine.

Piggybacking on a separate government geological survey, a small group from the secret government organization called Monarch heads to the unexplored island hidden behind constant storms. In the peaceful eye of that storm Randa (John Goodman), Brooks (Corey Hawkins), the mostly silent San (Tian Jing), their military escort led by the obsessed Lt. Col. Packard (Samuel L. Jackson), the mercenary-with-a-heart-of-gold guide (Tom Hiddleston), and their anti-war photographer (Brie Larson) discover the impossible. Monsters are real, and chief among them is one very large ape.

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Logan

by Alan Rapp on February 28, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Logan
  • IMDb: link

Logan movie reviewFinally learning that bigger isn’t always better (see X-Men: Apocalypse and X-Men: The Last Stand), 20th Century Fox has moved away from the super-sized team film. With both Logan and Legion (FX’s new series based around the X-Men character of the same name), the X-Men universe is taking some interesting turns with a darker tone and smaller character-driven stories. Logan may not be as entertaining as Deadpool, but it definitely ranks as one of the better X-Men films (and easily the best of the Wolverine standalone movies).

Set more than a decade in the future, Logan gives us a Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) we haven’t seen before. Inspired by Old Man Logan, the Logan we see has aged considerably since the events of Days of Future Past and his healing factor has begun to fail him. In a world where mutants are all but extinct, Logan works as a limousine driver making ends meet and keeping himself, Caliban (Stephen Merchant), and Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) out of the limelight. Of course that changes when a young girl (Dafne Keen) with very similar abilities to his own shows up on his doorstep hunted by those who want her dead.

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The Red Turtle

by Alan Rapp on February 26, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: La tortue rouge
  • IMDb: link

“Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.”
Zhuangzi

The Red Turtle movie reviewIt begins with a man lost at sea in a storm. Shipwrecked on a deserted tropical island, for eighty-minutes without a single word of dialogue being spoken (other than a guttural grunt or two) our nameless protagonist attempts to survive but finds his attempts to escape the island thwarted by a giant red turtle. Initially believing the turtle to be and adversary to be overcome, the increasingly-confused sailor struggles to deal with what his eyes show him and the consequences of his actions as he lives out a life he never thought possible.

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John Wick: Chapter 2

by Alan Rapp on February 10, 2017

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: John Wick: Chapter 2
  • IMDb: link

John Wick 2 movie review2014’s John Wick was a thoroughly-enjoyable throwaway action flick. A simplistic revenge story with style and some unforgettable stunts, director Chad Stahelski‘s film knew exactly what it was and just how to deliver. A callback to 80s-style of gun-toting heroes who shot first and asked questions later, the movie ignored modern trends of cutting action scenes into an unrecognizable mess and kept the camera still to allow us to see the awesome unfold on screen. Stunts we could actually watch and enjoy, imagine that.

The sequel is a little more muddled than the original. After the pre-credit sequence wraps up the lone outstanding piece of John Wick’s revenge murder spree, the film slogs through a good 15-20 minutes of exposition, world building, and over-convoluted plot before remembering what it is and why it exists. Once the action ramps back up the film runs full blast to the closing credits, and perhaps beyond. John Wick: Chapter 2 ramps up the headshots and body count to an absurd degree with a handful of memorable kills that even put those from the first film to shame. At its best, it’s running 180 MPH with its burning rubber on fire, but when it idles the vehicle nearly stalls. Okay, no more car metaphors.

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