REVIEW: Avengers: Endgame [2019]

I love you three thousand. The best thing Marvel ever did was split their Avengers 1.0 saga’s final chapter in two since it allowed Infinity War to deliver what no other entry could: stakes. Despite knowing they were always false due to the giant gauntlet in the room that literally bends time and space to its whims, they hurt nonetheless simply because we were forced to sit with those results for a full year before discovering how things might be put right. Had Anthony and Joe Russo conversely fixed everything…

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REVIEW: Bad Times at the El Royale [2018]

Why even have a bell? Writer/director Drew Goddard‘s affinity for voyeuristic set-ups continues with Bad Times at the El Royale‘s “pervert hotel” aesthetic. His first feature-length screenplay (Cloverfield) was found footage, his directorial debut (The Cabin in the Woods) had a two-way mirror as well as a science fiction surveillance conceit, and now we get a hidden corridor of nefarious delights on the border of California and Nevada with windows spying upon every guest who so chooses the titular accommodations to rest his/her head. You can’t blame him for returning…

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REVIEW: Avengers: Infinity War [2018]

He’s never fought me twice. It’s been ten years since we met Tony Stark on the big screen. Ten years of serial storytelling with massive budgets, character crossovers, television offshoots, and Stan Lee cameos that took Hollywood and the box office by storm. Not even steward Kevin Feige could have predicted that type of longevity with twenty films by 2018’s completion, but here he and we are at the culmination of all those carefully laid plans. It’s been an enjoyable journey with origin tales, rights swapping, tonal shifts, and more…

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REVIEW: 12 Strong [2018]

There are no right choices here. War films generally come in two varieties: a gray introspective look at its emotional and psychological cost and black and white jingoistic propaganda. The former is generally acclaimed as award worthy while the latter is dumped during winter months so its target audience of NRA-loving Republicans in American flag tees has something to watch during a drama-heavy, liberally slanted awards season. (I jest.) This doesn’t, however, inherently mean one route is “better” despite valid arguments to the contrary. And for those who vehemently disagree,…

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REVIEW: Thor: Ragnarok [2017]

Good luck with that, new Doug! Marvel fatigue has officially hit me, but not like a ton of bricks as much as a nagging sense that the studio is merely going through the motions. Unfortunately this slow unraveling is worse than a huge misstep because it means that a shift back onto the rails is less likely, especially with everyone hailing Thor: Ragnarok as a franchise entry that “breaks the rules.” If that means “push plot to the background for bloated excess dragging pacing out to the point of realizing…

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REVIEW: Ghostbusters [2016]

“Ain’t no bitches gonna bust no ghosts” They lied. I walked out of Paul Feig‘s Ghostbusters reboot to find my childhood intact. Memories didn’t disappear as the run-time progressed with cooties-infested women replacing the nerdy, elitist dickheads in jumpsuits who ran amok in New York City years ago. In fact, these 21st century scientists actually know more science than blind comedic references about proton-packs being compact nuclear reactors strapped to their backs. Who knew women could be nerdy dickheads too? Who knew they weren’t simply vessels to breath heavy and…

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REVIEW: The Huntsman: Winter’s War [2016]

“Do not love. It’s a sin and I will not forgive it.” They tricked me. Yes, the deflective, vague, and completely false marketing campaign had me believing—no matter how slim the chances were considering my lack of feeling anything for Snow White and the Huntsman—that The Huntsman: Winter’s War had something special under its sleeves. It did away with the least interesting character of the first movie (thank you Kristen Stewart/Rupert Sanders sex scandal), decided to go prequel on us with the Huntsman’s back story (Eric is his name), and…

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REVIEW: Vacation [2015]

“I’m as hard as a faucet right now” I smelled trouble as soon as Ed Helms was cast in Vacation as the now father-of-two Rusty Griswold. While the perfect surrogate for Chevy Chase‘s bumbling Clark in a remake of the original National Lampoon’s Vacation, he’s a far cry from the character he’s meant to play in this half reboot/half sequel. I made the mistake of rewatching that first entry into the Griswold’s saga to realize it coupled with the equally fantastic Christmas Vacation prove Rusty was always the one family…

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REVIEW: Avengers: Age of Ultron [2015]

“It wasn’t a nightmare. It was a legacy.” He may not have been there at the start, but Joss Whedon stewarded the Marvel Cinematic Universe through its make or break stage. It was one thing to give the world high-tech flying fun via a sarcastic playboy, otherworld fantasy come to earth courtesy of a haughty royal, and the ‘aw shucks’ patriotism necessary for a bona fide WWII hero on their own terms. Bringing them together along with even more allies was anything but. Yet Whedon—fearless when it comes to delving…

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REVIEW: Blackhat [2015]

“How badly do you need this guy?” Is there a way for a village to get wiped out—buildings and people—and still ensure the dogs are safe? No. So why do Michael Mann and Morgan Davis Foehl write Blackhat in a way that forces its lead to speak unnecessary truths intrinsic to his initial declarations? Talk about a surefire way to alienate your audience by treating them like imbeciles who need to be reminded that a city’s annihilation entails all its contents being destroyed too. And don’t think I’m being nitpicky…

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REVIEW: Thor: The Dark World [2013]

“I’ll just stay here and say ‘sea bass’ alone” There was something off with Thor in 2011 besides its horrid post-conversion 3D. While many believe Iron Man 2 was nothing but an evolutionary bridge for its hero to move closer towards what The Avengers needed, it was actually the Norse God of thunder who provided the most obvious bit of prequel exposition by introducing himself, extraterrestrial life, and that forthcoming blockbuster’s main villain, Loki. Captain America: The First Avenger also brought us a new character’s origin, but his story—like Tony…

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