Movie Reviews 

  • Title: X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  • IMDb: link

X-Men: Dark Phoenix movie reviewAbandoning any further attempts to reconnect with the original timeline in Bryan Singer’s X-Men, Dark Phoenix offers Sony a second chance at the “Dark Phoenix Saga,” so thoroughly botched in X-Men: The Last Stand. Set in the early 1990s where the X-Men have gone from outcasts to national heroes, the film centers around Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner as X-Man Jean Grey struggling to deal with new powers after exposure to a cosmic entity that overwhelms her personality and breaks down walls in her mind meant to hide traumatic events.

Dark Phoenix clears the lowest bar fairly easily, it’s better than X-Men: The Last Stand. Then again, so is a lukewarm Diet Coke. While Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, and James McAvoy are all holdovers from X-Men: First Class, the film primarily focuses on Jean Grey who was only introduced in (the mostly forgettable) X-Men: Apocalypse forcing fans to think back to Famke Janssen‘s performance to have any real connection to the character. It doesn’t help that Jean’s main relationships in the film are with the bland Tye Sheridan as the boyfriend with which she shares no on-screen chemistry or Professor X (McAvoy) in full-on asshole mode for most of the film.

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Godzilla: King of the Monsters

by Alan Rapp on May 30, 2019

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Godzilla: King of the Monsters
  • IMDb: link

Godzilla: King of the Monsters movie reviewGodzilla: King of the Monsters is a big dumb action movie, dumb being the operative word. The full title may as well be Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Humans: Dumbest Fucks on the Planet. Even for a horror movie, the motivations and decision making of every single human character, from child to soldier to politician, are stuptifying. Seriously, you begin to wonder how people this dumb don’t drown in the shower or walk directly into traffic. (And some of them are supposed to be scientists?!) In a series that continues to place a large amount of focus on the human storylines adjacent to the creatures, Godzilla: King of the Monsters makes you wonder if the human race is even worth saving.

The movie is also filled with innumerable plotholes, continuity problems, a misunderstanding of distances across the globe and the time to navigate them, timeline problems, and plenty of insane choices from every character presented on screen. The monsters, however, are pretty cool. It’s just a shame that the movie only really works when two or more are battling on-screen (which, sadly, takes place during far less of the film’s running time than it should).

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Photograph

by Alan Rapp on May 22, 2019

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Photograph
  • IMDb: link

Photograph movie reviewWriter/director Ritesh Batra‘s Photograph offers audiences a low-key romance between a tourist photographer (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) struggling to scrape money together to pay off family debts and the daughter (Sanya Malhotra) of a well-to-do family unhappy with both the current state of her life and her parents’ plans for her future. Neither is all that happy with their lives, but until their meeting neither of them has ever thought about attempting to make a change, either.

A chance encounter between the two leaves Rafi (Siddiqui) with Miloni’s (Malhotra) photograph, taken at the Gateway Of India. Hoping to ease the worry of his grandmother (Farrukh Jaffar), Rafi includes the stranger’s photograph in a letter suggesting that he has finally found love. When the grandmother decides to come into town to meet her, Rafi scrambles to find the stranger and convince her to play along for a few days. What could just as easily have been a throwaway plot to a regrettable Hollyood romcom works fairly well here, as the unusual offer comes at just the right time as Miloni feels oppressed by the expectations of by her own family.

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John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

by Alan Rapp on May 19, 2019

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
  • IMDb: link

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum movie reviewJohn Wick was simple revenge story stylized with a flourish of memorable action scenes (and an absurd amount of killshots to the head). John Wick: Chapter 2 brought back Keanu Reeves as the notorious hitman featuring a more convoluted story that was designed to help expand John Wick’s world. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum returns, at least initially, to the clear focus of the original by offering a set-up of Wick declared excommunicado and on the run from the very organization he has worked for, with an ever-increasing price on his head, numerous assassins looking to cash in, and all the usual help and support once available now denied.

For the first-half of the film, Chapter 3 works quite well as our protagonist runs for his life and calls on the few remaining debts owed to him. However, about halfway through the film the story shifts and, despite several impressive action scenes, never works quite as well as the writers once again over-complicate what should be a relatively straight action tale while instead focusing on more world building and setting up the next inevitable sequel. Parabellum doesn’t so much as come to a close as run out of time with the story left unfinished (and me left unfulfilled).

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Pokémon Detective Pikachu

by Alan Rapp on May 9, 2019

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Pokémon Detective Pikachu
  • IMDb: link

Pokémon Detective Pikachu movie reviewDespite having no connection to Pokémon, I really wanted to like Pokémon Detective Pikachu which casts Ryan Reynolds as the voice of a talking Pikachu only he can understand. The cute creature, who apparently no one ever thought to name, is the Pokémon partner to missing Police Detective Harry Goodman. Despite its amnesia, the Pokémon convinces the estranged son (Justice Smith) of its partner that the Pokémon can uncover the truth of what happened to Harry.

The world created by director Rob Letterman and his team is visually stimulating which makes it all more confounding that the script is so bland and uninteresting. How can a movie that looks this good be so boring? Even Reynolds, whose toned-down PG wisecracks and adorable furry on-screen visage, can’t save the film from a convoluted murder mystery that never leads anywhere interesting (other than a complete rip-off of the climax of Tim Buron’s Batman). Fans of the franchise happy just to see the character on the big screen may be able to overlook the project’s many flaws, but for the rest of us it’s hard to see Pokémon Detective Pikachu as anything more than an uninspired mess of untapped potential.

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