Movie Reviews 

Mortal Kombat

by Alan Rapp on April 23, 2021

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Mortal Kombat (2021)
  • IMDb: link

Mortal Kombat movie reviewThe 2021 adaptation of the Mortal Kombat video games has a higher budget, better special effects, and a cast at least as talented as the 1995 film. So why is it less entertaining? It probably has something to with the flaws of the earlier film feeding into joys of a B-movie, while the more serious approach this time around is just flawed. Oh, and if you are going to do a Mortal Kombat movie, you may want to include a Mortal Kombat tournament in it.

The entire film takes place prior to a tournament and involves the minions of Shang Tsung (Chin Han) being sent to kill the warriors of Earth despite the fact that all evidence suggests Earth has no chance in winning the tournament. However, there’s a prophecy that a descendant of Hanzo Hasashi (Hiroyuki Sanada), who we see murdered in the opening scene, will prevent Outworld from winning Mortal Kombat.

Our heroes are former MMA fighter Cole Young (Lewis Tan) who turns out to be a poor substitute for Liu Kang as the hero of destiny, and Special Forces officers Jax Briggs (Mehcad Brooks) and Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee).

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Godzilla vs. Kong

by Alan Rapp on March 30, 2021

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Godzilla vs. Kong
  • IMDb: link

Godzilla vs. Kong movie reviewA year ago, summer was called off, theaters were closed, and studios pulled their largest potential blockbusters from the calendar. Although far from perfect, and with too much of the Godzilla story built on the ashes of the weakest film of the series (Godzilla: King of Monsters), Godzilla vs. Kong delivers the kind of big dumb summer blockbuster audiences have been waiting two years for. The culmination of Legendary’s MonsterVerse wastes little time getting both King Kong and Godzilla on-screen. And, clocking in at under two-hours, director Adam Wingard knows not to overstay his welcome.

As the film opens, Godzilla appears to be out of control, attacking the Florida coastline without warning (although his choice of target, Apex Cybernetics, allows some to question the kaiju’s motives). Having defeated the last of the Titans, only Kong, who has remained in Monarch captivity on Skull Island, remains. With Godzilla’s increasingly erratic actions a choice is made to return Kong to the Hollow Earth, both for his own protection, and in a businessman’s (Demián Bichir) hope that something long hidden can be found to defeat Godzilla.

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The Courier

by Alan Rapp on March 19, 2021

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: The Courier (2020)
  • IMDb: link

The Courier movie reviewBased on true events, director Dominic Cooke‘s The Courier offers a solid period thriller surrounding Soviet scientist Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) and British salesman Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) who becomes a vital piece in Cold War espionage by smuggling Soviet secrets out Moscow for Penkovsky and into the waiting arms of MI6 and the CIA in the months leading up the the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Penned by Tom O’Connor (The Hitman’s Bodyguard), The Courier fits easily into its genre. The structure of the film, following events from beginning to end in chronological fashion, does offer a rather large shift in The Courier‘s final half-hour which may have been avoided by more imaginative editing and structure. Cumberbatch and Ninidze will gather the most interest here. The women of the story don’t fare as well. The film has a lesser interest in Wynne’s wife (Jessie Buckley) and almost no interest in Penkovsky’s family. Even Rachel Brosnahan as the CIA agent who brings the case to MI6’s attention and pressures them to make good on their promises, isn’t given anything all that interesting to do.

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Raya and the Last Dragon

by Alan Rapp on March 1, 2021

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Raya and the Last Dragon
  • IMDb: link

Raya and the Last Dragon movie reviewThrough an extended opening sequence, heavy on narration, we’re introduced to the divided nation of Kumandra which was once threatened by the film’s underdeveloped boogeyman monsters known as the Druun (think less scary version of the creatures in Edge ofTomorrow). Years later, the last guardian of magic (Daniel Dae Kim) and his daughter Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) are betrayed by the selfishness of humanity as the Druun escape leading Raya in search of the last dragon who was able to stop the Druun centuries before.

After a flashforward restarts the movie again, a handful of years later, we’re introduced to an adult Raya and her search for Sisu (Awkwafina). Raya is a solid addition to the Disney Princess line, even if her movie is hellbent on telling her story as awkwardly as possible at times. Along the way she’ll meet other survivors the Druun haven’t yet turned to stone. As a Disney film, it should be no surprise that we’ll get some cute animal characters as well in Raya’s traveling companion Tuk Tuk (Alan Tudyk) and a band of thieving Ongis who take care of the young Noi (Thalia Tran).

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The Father

by Alan Rapp on February 26, 2021

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: The Father
  • IMDb: link

The Father movie reviewThe Father offers a view at the world through the eyes of an 83 year-old man (Anthony Hopkins) fighting Alzheimer’s and dementia. Events and characters are jumbled due to Anthony’s (Hopkins) confusion about where he is living, and even the identity of the the people around him who are only sometimes recognizable. Events are often incomplete and shown out of order, to allow the audience to stumble through Anthony’s reality with him before enough is finally revealed to piece together more of his reality than he seems capable of fully understanding.

Olivia Colman, Olivia Williams, Mark Gatiss, Rufus Sewell, and Imogen Poots all come and go throughout the film as Anthony struggles to remember who each is as his frustration leads to anger and resentment. Hopkins is the glue which holds the film together, but each actor adds another level to the Anthony’s distorted world. Director Florian Zeller adapts his own award-winning play Le Père for the screen offering a heartbreaking account of one slowly loosing their grip on reality that is often soul crushing in its honest and bleak examination of dementia and how it affects an individual as well as those around him.

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