REVIEW: Top Gun: Maverick [2022]

It’s time to let go. Director Joseph Kosinski pays homage to the late Tony Scott by opening his thirty-plus-years-in-the-making sequel Top Gun: Maverick with the exact same music cues, similarly propulsive aircraft carrier b-roll, and text-based intro (adding “and women” to “the handful of men”) as Top Gun. Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” kicks in to whisk us back to the 1980s if only for a couple minutes before entering an aging Navy garage with Captain Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell (Tom Cruise). His dogfighting days over the Indian Ocean are over. After…

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REVIEW: Dumbo [2019]

Let’s get ready for Duuuumboooo! We’re a long way away from 1941 and the days of pure frivolity in your animated films are over. That’s why Disney evolved their glorified sing-along The Jungle Book into a weighty dramatic adventure and why their sweet little flying elephant Dumbo can no longer sustain himself as a metaphorical hero teaching kids lessons about believing in themselves. There needs to be raised stakes and a bona fide antagonistic force to combat to hold our attention now. So screenwriter Ehren Kruger repurposes the original film’s…

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REVIEW: Transformers: The Last Knight [2017]

“You’re running out of tomorrows” Fact: Transformers: The Last Knight is its franchise’s most entertaining entry. While I definitely felt ready to nod off during my original trilogy refresher course this week—and actually shut my eyes a couple times during Age of Extinction—this latest installment had me wide-eyed and interested throughout its 149-minutes (the series’ shortest runtime since its 144-minute original). Sometimes that interest was in the insane retrofitted King Arthur plotline padded by manageable excess, but mostly it was attuned to an unhinged and manic Anthony Hopkins having a…

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REVIEW: Transformers: Age of Extinction [2014]

“I know you have a conscience because you’re an inventor like me” There’s a problem when the first, expository-heavy hour of a three-hour Transformers action extravaganza shines above the rest. Michael Bay has looked upon this franchise from the start as an excuse to put explosions and destruction onscreen alongside cheesy and sometimes offensive comedy to satisfy the young children of parents (uninterested in shielding their ears from the oft swear word) that grew up in the 80s. He excelled at this mix with the first installment, casting the sarcastically…

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REVIEW: Ghost in the Shell [2017]

“I give my consent” **Spoilers included** The backlash against Rupert Sanders‘ Ghost in the Shell remake has been fierce and constant—for good reason considering it’s inarguably racist. Is that racism intentional? Not necessarily, but it exists just the same due to choices made. While hyperbolic declarations about it being “the reverse Get Out” are exaggerated on an intellectual scale, they aren’t on an emotional one. You cannot decry people of color for getting incensed when a property very specifically connected to a race other than white is usurped by white…

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REVIEW: Transformers: Dark of the Moon [2011]

“You all read ‘Humpty Dumpty’” When Transformers came out in 2007, it was all the rage. Nostalgia, explosions, over-the-top summer blockbuster laughs, and even a smidgeon of heart were thrown into Michael Bay’s ultimate orgasm of action, sex, and metal. It was fun despite its corniness and therefore left a desire for a sequel, one where we knew all the major players and could watch their continuing saga. But 2009 came and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen underwhelmed. I still maintain that if liking one means liking the other because…

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