Movie Reviews 

Tomb Raider

by Alan Rapp on March 15, 2018

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Tomb Raider (2018)
  • IMDb: link

Tomb Raider (2018)Lara Croft is back. After the pair of financially successful (if pretty dumb) films starring Angelina Jolie in the early 2000s, the most famous video game archaeologist (sorry Mr. Jones) returns to the big screen. Because origin stories are all the rage, the latest Tomb Raider (following in the footsteps of the character’s more recent comic adventures) takes Lara back to the beginning to showcase how she became the world’s best tomb raider.

Alicia Vikander is a solid choice for a younger version of the character showcasing skills she hasn’t yet completely mastered. More grounded, with less emphasis on staging sequences for the sole reason to make her look cool, it’s certainly a more dramatic role that Jolie was given. The storyline, while taking a bit long to get going, is also better than either of the previous two movies as this time around Lara goes all Oliver Queen on a lost island where evil mercenaries hope to uncover a dangerous tomb. As an action film based on a video game Tomb Raider is surprisingly successful, even if, at times, certain sequences feel based more on questionable video-game logic than solid writing.

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A Wrinkle in Time

by Alan Rapp on March 8, 2018

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: A Wrinkle in Time
  • IMDb: link

A Wrinkle in Time movie reviewI don’t know if writing the original story required heavy doses of LSD, but I have a hard time believing that there wasn’t some serious drug use putting this film together. Based on Madeleine L’Engle‘s 1962 novel of the same name, A Wrinkle in Time stars Storm Reid as troubled teenager who, along with her younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), heads of on a fantastical adventure with three total strangers (Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling) who inform the children that their missing father (Chris Pine) is alive, trapped in a far off world, and needs their help. Oh, and Meg’s classmate (Levi Miller), who isn’t really even a friend, comes along as well. Because why not?

The film’s strengths lie in its overabundance of CGI and young stars. While somewhat emotionally empty, the settings which Meg finds herself in are visually appealing (even if it appears there’s little actual thought put in to how things work). While the various adult actors appear to be having fun making a kid’s film, all the emotional weight is left for Reid to shoulder. And McCabe succeeds in jumping from quirky to downright creepy when required.

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Red Sparrow

by Alan Rapp on March 1, 2018

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Red Sparrow
  • IMDb: link

Red Sparrow movie reviewAdapted from Jason Matthews2013 novel of the same name (which apparently “borrowed” heavily from Black Widow‘s comic history), and starring Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, Red Sparrow is a disappointment in every since of the word. This movie is B-A-D. A slow burn spy thriller, with jolts of quick-cut stylized action, plot holes big enough to drive the Death Star through, and sex scenes so laughable only Showgirls fans can truly appreciate them, the film is a complete waste of time for everyone involved. For the audience, it’s an excruciating, although sometimes laughably bad, experience.

We open with a career-ending injury for Russian prima ballerina Dominika Egorova (Lawrence) leading her uncle (Matthias Schoenaerts) to ship her off to become a spy trained trained not in espionage, weapons, or spycraft, but only seduction. After a relatively short stay, Dominika is thrown into the field to seduce an American agent (Joel Edgerton) in hopes that he might give up the name of a mole within the Russian government. Of course our girl, with no real training, will out-fox both American and Russian spies to further her own agenda.

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Love, Simon

by Alan Rapp on February 27, 2018

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Love, Simon
  • IMDb: link

Love, Simon movie reviewI’m a sucker for a good coming of age story. In many ways Love, Simon is fairly by the book. We’re given a likable high school student dealing with school, friends, and his first crush. The difference from most of these types of mainstream films, is that Simon (Nick Robinson) is gay. What makes the film work is that while Simon frets about what others will think of him if they learn the truth, his gayness doesn’t solely define him as a character.

Simon’s friends include longtime platonic pal Leah (Katherine Langford), jock Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), and newcomer Abby (Alexandra Shipp). He’s also got a loving father (Tad Hamilton), mother (Jennifer Garner), and younger sister (Talitha Bateman). Discovering another closeted gay student at his high school, Simon begins trading emails with “Blue.” As the relationship deepens, Simon imagines various people standing in for the mysterious stranger. Complicating matters are a annoying classmate (Logan Miller) who discovers Simon’s secret and uses it to blackmail Simon into helping him score with one of Simon’s friends. While the weakest aspect of the film, it still contains some genuine moments.

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Annihilation

by Alan Rapp on February 22, 2018

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Annihilation
  • IMDb: link

Annihilation movie reviewI love Ex Machina (enough to name it my favorite film of 2015), but holy hell is director Alex Garland‘s follow-up project a clusterfuck. Based on the novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation focuses on a biologist and former soldier (Natalie Portman) who chooses to journey into a rainbow-curtain rift (referred to as a shimmer) with four other female scientists (Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tuva Novotny, and Tessa Thompson) in hopes of understanding what is happening inside and what the anomaly did to her husband (Oscar Isaac) who was the only soldier sent from any of the previous expeditions to make it out alive.

Although hardly original, the film starts out with an interesting enough premise. Some of this is fulfilled within the group’s early moments inside the altered reality, although the existence and nature of it also creates several of the film’s biggest plot problems. Existing and expanding for three years, viewable by satellite, radar, and the human eye, and having swallowed up whole towns that had to be evacuated, we are led to believe the somehow the military has kept the existence of this anomaly secret from the world the entire time? Seriously?

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