Category: Movie Reviews

Review: “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms”

You’d think that Disney had touched almost every fairytale or classic story there is to tell right? Well one of the few stories they had yet to truly put their own stamp on was “The Nutcracker”. The legendary ballet has seen countless other renditions from cartoons to stage shows and television specials. For Disney’s spin on the story they decided to attempt to turn the production into an epic fantasy expanding the scope of the story beyond the limits of the source material. A lot of times Disney hits a home run with their own unique take on a story, but with a respected work like “The Nutcracker” it’s a huge risk even for one of the world’s most successful studios. So, does Disney do justice to “The Nutcracker’s” legacy or does this new live action rendition fall flat? Let’s take a look. This is my review of “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms”.

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Review: “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Growing up I was introduced to rock-n-roll through the music of two bands, Stix and Queen with the later teaching me the true nuance and artistry of the genre. Honestly, I was thrilled when I heard that the band, and mainly lead singer Freddie Mercury, would be the subject of a biopic to be released this year. However, the film endured development hell as well as a change to its leading man and controversy over the continued disappearance and odd behavior of director Bryan Singer who was fired with two weeks left in principal photography. So there were many who questioned whether or not this film would do the legacy of its subjects justice based on its rocky development alone while others have been anxiously awaiting this biopic the same way countless fans embraced the music of the band back in the day. So did this movie live up to the hype or do an injustice to the story of a treasurer musical icon? Let’s find out. This is my review of “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

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Review: “Mid90s”

Growing up in the 90s my generation is one obsessed with nostalgia. Whether it’s television shows, video games or movies the 90s were an awesome time for kids like me and apparently kids like Jonah Hill who was born in the 80s but did, in fact, do a lot of his own growing up in the mid-90s which is probably why this popular comedic actor chose that era as the focus of his directorial debut appropriately titled “Mid90s”. The previews made this a must see for me if for no other reason than the nostalgia and the promise of a great story from a proven talent. So does this film live up to my lofty expectations? Let’s take a look in my review of “Mid90s”.

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Review: “The Hate You Give”

In 2017 a little novel made its debut called “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas focusing on a young woman becoming a voice after a black friend is shot by a white cop. The book skyrocketed to instant popularity with 20th Century Fox getting the jump on the film rights a year before the book was even released. Now in 2018 that cinematic adaptation is finally in theaters and it’s one of several films this year to tackle the issue of race discrimination by cop. After having seen the overlooked masterpiece that was “Blindspotting” earlier this year I decided to give “The Hate U Give” a shot and see how well it holds up. So is this popular social justice-themed film a pretentious mess or a legitimately insightful look at a race-related issue to wake up the masses? Heck, is it both? Let’s dive in. This is my review of “The Hate U Give”.

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Review: “Halloween” (2018)

The “Halloween” franchise is legendary. The original John Carpenter classic still holds up today despite feeling a bit dated and the murders of Michael Myers made him one of the horror genre’s most famous icons. Forty years later Myers has returned to the big screen in a big way. After ten films and nine sequels director David Gordon Green and writers Green, Jeff Fradley and Danny McBride of all people have brought a true “proper” sequel to the masses ignoring all previous sequels and exploring the official rematch between Laurie Strode and Myers in “Halloween” (2018). This film promises to be one of the biggest hits of 2018, so I HAD to see it for myself and experience the latest chapter in this franchise on the big screen. Does “Halloween” live up to the legacy of its legendary predecessor or is it an over-hyped slasher flick driven by nostalgia and familiarity? Let’s take a look. This is my review of 2018’s “Halloween”.

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Review: “Bad Times at the El Royale”

Drew Goddard is one of the brightest film writers of our time. In addition to contributions to awesome television shows like “Alias”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and my personal favorites “LOST” and “Daredevil” he’s also become well known for his contributions to film. He wrote “Cloverfield” and World War Z” and the screenplay for “The Martian”, a film that garnered him widespread acclaim in the industry. His one directorial effort was “The Cabin in the Woods”, a stylish genre subverting horror flick that, again, is one of my personal favorites. So when I heard he was returning to the director’s chair and also writing a new film called “Bad Times at the El Royale” I was instantly hooked, even though it took me longer than I would like to actually see the film. Now I have and I’m ready to have my take on it. To be honest right off the bat it’s a criminally underappreciated work. How underappreciated? Well let’s dive in. This is my review of “Bad Times at the El Royale”.

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Review: “Goosbumps 2: Haunted Halloween”

Growing up I was a big fan of “Goosebumps”. Actually, to be honest I was more a fan of the books than the television show they inspired but they were both entertaining. So when the legendary series of children’s horror novels by R.L. Stine got their own theatrical film in 2015 I didn’t think it was half bad. Three years later the film has a sequel in theaters just in time for Halloween. While many saw some charm and fun in the first film, including critics, this sequel is not receiving as much love and focuses on a more original Stine story rather than established novels. So is this sequel worthy of the critical shaming it has received or is it more enjoyable than it’s getting credit for? Let’s take a look. This is my review of “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween”.

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Review: “First Man”

The Apollo 11 mission to the moon is one of the most important moments in modern history, so why is that moment seldom depicted in cinema unless it’s used in a montage or to justify the plot of science fiction films? Well considering how important that moment was and the legacy of the men who landed on the moon I personally believe many directors just don’t want to do them an injustice so instead of focusing on the real story they incorporate it into fiction to justify creative changes or inaccuracies. You also see a lot of focus on Buzz Adrin because the first man who walked on the moon, Neil Armstrong, was considered by many to be a recluse after his mission before he passed away in 2012. Well after years of this fantastic story going untold on the big screen we finally have a serious cinematic adaptation of not only the first walk on the moon but the life of the man who made those astonishing first steps called “First Man”. Does this film do justice to one of America’s most inspirational accomplishments of the last hundred year or does it fall flat in trying to capture the life and mission of an American hero? Let’s take a look in my review of “First Man”.

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Review: “Mandy”

I don’t review a lot of “on demand” movies. I try to see most films in the theater when I can but occasionally one comes along that has a release so limited but is still so popular that I just have to seek other ways to view it ASAP. One film lately that has gained a lot of buzz is “Mandy”, an action horror film that, to be blunt, is one heck of an odd ride. I’ve had a few people ask me to review this movie and even more have recommended I watch it regardless so I finally did…TWICE…and boy was it an interesting ride. So is “Mandy” the must see horror experience everyone is making it out to be or is it more overrated than we’ve been led to believe? Let’s take a look. This is my review of “Mandy”.

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Review: “Venom”

Remember back in the early 2000s when superhero movies were just regaining their legitimacy? After a series of flops the genre was in need of some major fine tuning and the likes of “Spider-Man” and “X-Men” helped revive the genre for a new generation with a combination of campy mind-numbing action, fun villains and humor. Over the years the genre has evolved with filmmakers taking the stories and characters more seriously with more sophisticated and timeless humor. While I love what superhero films have become I do find myself longing for the old days of careless action now and then which is why my take on one of 2018’s most divisive wide released films, “Venom”, may not be on par with the rest of the critics out there. To say this movie has problems would be a small understatement but to say it’s unwatchable would be a gross exaggeration. With so many people weighing in on Sony’s first entry in its proposed “Spider-Verse” I gladly gave “Venom” a watch. Does it stand out as a fun, less serious comic book adaptation or does its dependence on an old formula hold it back? Let’s find out. This is my review of “Venom”.

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Review: “The Wife”

Over the last few years female empowerment has reached a whole new level of relevance on the national stage. Feminism, neo-feminism, and the #MeToo movement have all played a hand in trying to inspire women to be stronger than the limits society has set upon them. While several films have touched on this movement one movie in particular that was released just a few weeks ago has quickly become a favorite and has begun to earn respect as a modern feminist classic. That film is “The Wife”. Based on the novel by Meg Wolitzer “The Wife” has gained a lot of attention for shedding some light on the sacrifices a wife makes for the sake of her husband’s success and the performances alone have made it a must see according to critics. With all the buzz surrounding it I final got to see it for myself and the big question is does “The Wife” balance its social commentary with grace or is it just another heavy-handed film living off the emotional weight of a modern movement? Let’s take a look. This is my review of “The Wife”.

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Review: “A Star is Born”

While a lot of films have amazed me over the years it takes a special movie and story to leave me sitting as the credits role taking a moment to fully absorb what I just watched. That was my reaction last night after I was privileged to view the local premier showing of “A Star is Born”, the fourth incarnation of a classic story of two artists falling in love and how fame and fortune impacts their love life. There’s been a lot of buzz around this movie. It’s Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, it’s a modern take on a classic that was remade twice already and now it’s received early Oscar buzz as awards season approaches. I may have already given away my thoughts on the film in this intro alone but I have a review to do and besides the question still remains: does “A Star is Born” live up to the hype? Let’s take a look. This in my review of “A Star is Born”.

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