Category: Movie Reviews and Essays

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The Bad Physics of Ad Astra

a review of Ad Astra MULTIPLE SPOILERS AHEAD, IF YOU CARE TO SEE A TRUE STINKER When Brad Pitt’s newest sci-fi flick was forthcoming, it looked chock full of promise: an intriguing plot, Tommy Lee Jones as the long lost father, beautiful photography and special effects, and the trailers didn’t give away too much of the story, just enough to keep it interesting. In it’s attempt to be a legacy film, Ad Astra takes/steals/borrows straight plot points and even imitates shots from legendary entries in the sci-fi cinema corpus, most notably 2001: A Space Odyssey, Interstellar, Gravity and others.  That’s not...

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China Takes to the Skies

a review of The Wandering Earth NO SPOILERS AHEAD Recently, Netflix released the Chinese blockbuster sci-fi epic The Wandering Earth (May 6, ’19). Having made over $700 million worldwide, the film made good bank on what has been called “China’s first full-scale interstellar spectacular”.1 As you would expect, it is a mixed bag, with moderate highs and usually unintentional lows. Science-wise the file is problematic, but epic in scale, heroic in scope. One of the main problems is when the Earth — which is Wandering (duh) — is approaching Jupiter.  There is a sudden, unexpected burst of gravity from Jupiter, called...

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US and Peele

a review of Us NO SPOILERS Us (2019) is the 2nd major film from 5 season “Mad TV” comedic actor Jordan Peele.   After the maddening demise of that beloved variety show, he collaborated with (Detroit’s own) Keegan-Michael Key on the Comedy Central sketch series “Key & Peele” (2012-15).  His breakout “black horror film” Get Out (2017) is only the 2nd horror film to win the Oscar for Best Picture. Wow. He could rest on his laurels, but that just wouldn’t be the route of a talented and maybe even brilliant filmmaker in the tradition of his heroes, including Rod Serling, Alfred...

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Not So Marvelous

a review of Captain Marvel SPOILERS MAY ME LURKING IN THE NOOKS AND CRANNIES OF THIS REVIEW Think of a comedian. The material is fair, but brought down a few notches by the delivery. Several of the comedian’s jokes are colorless, lifeless, even shockingly lame.  Let’s not even discuss having more gaps in logic and continuity than the Old Testament. Welcome to Captain Marvel, the latest contribution to the MCU, the Marvel Comic Universe. While still not nearly as bad as the first Iron Man, CM – first of all – has one of the great hallmarks of origin stories, asking...

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A Near-Perfect Movie, Fucked by One Dialogue

a short review of A Star is Born 2018 I WILL WARN YOU BEFORE THE SPOILERS Cooper is Gold Bradley Cooper has done considerable good with his career since his breakthrough appearance in the excellent comedy The Hangover (2009), where he sailed by on more than his good looks.  With Silver Linings Playbook (2012) he displayed his (semi-)serious acting chops.  In this film he goes dozens of steps forward: almost every major craft position has either his sole or shared name.  He is the director, star, soundtrack producer and co-writer for this film.  With this film, my respect for his talent...

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10 Cloverfield, 5 Issues

“Not a Sequel, Not a Prequel, but an Equal” a review of 10 Cloverfield Lane  WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD How Did We Come To This? Wunderkind movie producer/director J. J. Abrams, like so many of us with ADD, was influenced, it seems, by minutiae. While in a toy store in Japan, he thought “We saw all these Godzilla toys . . . we need our own American monster, and not like King Kong. I love King Kong. King Kong is adorable. And Godzilla is a charming monster. We love Godzilla. But I wanted something that was just insane and intense.” This quote,...

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Ready To Ignore One

a review of Ready Player One WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD, BUT SINCE I’M RECOMMENDING YOU AVOID THIS TRAINWRECK IT DOESN’T MATTER Spielberg Speaks Legendary motion picture virtuoso Stephen Spielberg stated in a featurette1 his motivation for making his latest movie: “When I read Ready Player One I was completely wowed by it.  I suddenly saw a future and it wasn’t that far away from what I think is going to happen.” What ends up happening is that almost anyone and everyone is hooked up w/ VR headsets to “The Oasis”, which is an immersive computer simulation game with m/billions of users and...

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So Low Solo

THIS REVIEW IS IN THE WORKS In the modern day trade of blood diamonds, human cargo, forced servitude, kidnappings for shackled dungeon sex bondage, and with the rise of authoritarian right-wing totalitarianism, it’s not at all refreshing to know these attributes are evident in a galaxy far, far away and a long time ago.  Well, honestly some of these things are not touched upon in Solo: A Star Wars Story, but you get the idea. This is the world shady young galactic hustler Han Solo has to navigate, find his way through, and build his business and reputation. And where each...

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The Force Has Awakened

Yes, Everything Old Is New Again WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD, BUT I PROMISE NOT TOO, TOO MANY Mea Culpa Voluntaria I am proud to say many things regarding my moderately-immersive involvement in the universe known as Star Wars (although ‘galaxy’ would be more retentively accurate). I have seen every movie, excepting the first made, on opening day. The first, the original Star Wars (later retitled A New Hope), had to wait about a week for this young padawan’s presence. I did, however see it in one of the first limited-run 70mm prints. Wow. I have been alone in an elevator with the...