movie reviews


kingsman-the-secret-service-taron-egerton-colin-firth

Bullets and bad guys and puppies with sad eyes. And Colin Firth kicking butt–what more do you need? Check out my review of Kingsman: The Secret Service at tabloid.io.

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Chappie-2015

I’ve got a new gig reviewing movies at tabloid.io. Follow the link to see what I had to say about Chappie, Neill Blomkamp’s new film about the next generation of robots. Lots of good social commentary, plus explosions! What more could you ask for?

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Maybe this one was just too French for me.

It’s an ambitious film with an interesting structure, but even some solid action scenes couldn’t keep me engaged. See my full review at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
I wanted to like this movie.

It had everything going for it: Scarlett Johansson’s immense talent, a great concept, the always likeable Morgan Freeman, and the promise of tons of action and special effects. But it fell flat.

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It’s been years since I saw a movie in the theater twice in as many days–Guardians of the Galaxy is that special.

An excerpt:
Guardians of the Galaxy throws you in at the deep end and turns away, confident you’ll love what you’ll see, but not really giving a darn if you do or not. And it blasts “Cherry Bomb” on a boombox at you the whole time.

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a stunning triumph for motion caption afficionados as it seamlessly integrates new technology to bring the simian cast members to life in a non-distracting why. This leaves the way open to focus on character development and plot, creating a richly realized world.

Planet of the Apes fandom encompasses three different generations of movies, both a live action and an animated TV series, comic books, magazines, tie-in novels–yet there are still more stories to be told.

And in this case, told very well. See my full review at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
The world has become a tiny place.

One that has a lot of Planet of the Apes movies in it.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes sits firmly at the top of the heap.

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The Purge: Anarchy is ambitious dystopic near future, with a few too many plot lines crammed in. It gives you a glimpse into a frighteningly possible world, from the rich who do whatever they please to the poor who try to survive, and the politicians who run things. My full review is at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
The Purge: Anarchy is bigger than the first film, but not necessarily better. There’s a solid look into the world here, this time focusing on the disadvantaged–those who can’t afford to hide behind expensive security systems, with all the safety money can buy.

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This summer’s tentpole movies have been kind of hit-or-miss so far, with some high points in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and X-Men: Days of Future Past, and some serious meh in Transcendence and Maleficent.

Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction, the latest in everyone’s favorite toy robots disguised as cars, trucks, etc. franchise falls solidly on the meh side of the line, but in a very compelling way. Even as you search for a plot, you’ll be distracted by the shiny special effects, numerous explosions, and wholesale destruction. My full review can be found, as always, at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
I love a movie full of explosions and good special effects, but even I want some plot once in a while. There’s some fun here, but it’s pretty mindless. Make that extremely mindless, with whipped cream and an explosion on top.

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I have been terribly remiss in keeping up. Life sometimes gets the better of all of us. Several reviews have gone up on buzzymag.com and I haven’t shared! Here are links for your edification: X-Men: Day of Future Past, Maleficent, and How to Train Your Dragon 2.

Some tidbits–here’s what I had to say about Peter Dinklage playing the villain in X-Men: Days of Future Past:
A man who truly believes that mutants are a threat to homo sapiens. They will lead nations out of war with each other to unite in a common cause to destroy all mutants. He absolutely sells it. Trask Industries is a very real threat to mutants everywhere.

What I had to say about the acting in Maleficent:
Angelina Jolie is definitely the star of the show. She does a magnificent job with what she has to work with. This movie sinks or swims on her ability, and much of its success should be laid at her feet. She is by turns vulnerable, furious, vindictive, tender, naive, protective, and aggressive–the list goes on.

And a nibble about How to Train Your Dragon 2:
A great job showing what being able to travel dragon-back has done for the Vikings of Berk. The world is now a bigger place, growing the focus of the film to more than just Berk, and adding a bunch of characters. And a bunch of dragons. Lots of dragons. Tons of dragons.

Full reviews, as always, available at buzzymag.

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Godzilla plushie

The Toho Japanese monster movies were a staple of my childhood, and my love of them has never faded. This is a really fun updated version and I enjoyed every glimpse of the giant lizard (Blue Oyster Cult’s 1978 hit played in my head every time he showed up). See my full review at Buzzymag.

An excerpt:
All of the traditional characters are represented: the scientist who is looking for answers, the man who knows more than he’s willing to tell, the heroic family man stuck in something beyond his control, the stubborn military man, and even the obligatory cute kids.

Graphic at the top is a 50th anniversary plushie, complete with light-up eyes and Godzilla roar.

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a great movie for fans of the comic book–it’s got the “look and see” of traditional Spidey in all his teenaged angsty goodness. Both Spidey and Peter Parker pack a ton of growth into a really solid movie, with a great cast of supporting characters. See the full review at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
It is not power-packed with action sequences, chases, and special effects (although all are present!), instead opting for a larger dose of character development. The result: like the Spider-Man comic books of old, the viewer is drawn into Peter Parker’s complicated, angst-filled life, where decisions are more complex than just how to defeat a particular foe, and every action has a consequence.

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