REVIEW: Mission: Impossible II [2000]

Who wants to be decent? It shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s seen the movie to read a 2016 interview and learn how screenwriter Robert Towne came aboard John Woo‘s Mission: Impossible II after the big action sequences were already set in stone. His job was to therefore connect those choreographed behemoths into a cohesive enough story to invest audiences beyond the requisite quick-cut fisticuffs and volatile explosions. Towne was more or less set-up to fail and there’s nobody but Tom Cruise to blame, especially since the two worked together to bring…

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REVIEW: Solo: A Star Wars Story [2018]

You said never improvise. Nine movies into the cinematic world of George Lucas‘ Star Wars—three of which extend past his control over the franchise—and we remain tethered to the Skywalkers. It makes sense. In order for Disney to commoditize the property, they must first reconnect with old fans and familiarize the new. So they stuck with Luke, Leia, and Anakin’s continuing legacy (even if they threw out extended universe material once considered canon). They began with a rousing remake, continued with a spin-off expanding upon a moment we knew occurred…

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REVIEW: Gringo [2018]

Why’s everyone talking about gorillas all of a sudden? You wouldn’t be wrong to view the trailer for Gringo and think, “I’ve seen this before.” You wouldn’t be wrong to assume it gave away the entire plot either—mild-mannered American is used by his ruthless bosses to perform a dangerous job they refuse to attempt and is kidnapped by a Mexican cartel for his trouble. Will he survive the chaos? Will his bosses save him or extricate themselves from blame? Or will the hapless victim of an increasingly escalating ordeal somehow…

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REVIEW: Beloved [1998]

Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all. Love creates and destroys. Mix in post-traumatic stress disorder and you’ll never know which until it’s too late. Evil can permeate your soul and color your psychology in ways that merge right and wrong into a singular goal seeking survival. To endure horror is to alter everything you were, your innocence lost no matter how hard you try to reclaim it. The thought of experiencing the nightmare again—or having it find you within a place you believed safe—is enough…

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REVIEW: Half of a Yellow Sun [2014]

“Go and tell your fellow witches you did not see my son” For writer/director Biyi Bandele, adapting Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s acclaimed novel Half of a Yellow Sun was more than simply a job. He read her very personal account—the revolutionary at its center is based heavily on her father while each additional character and event is a slightly varied take on an authentic tale she heard during research—and saw a love story amidst the volatile war that raged outside his parents’ door when he was brought into this world. Focusing…

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REVIEW: 2012 [2009]

“We are taking the Bentley” Go figure, Roland Emmerich actually didn’t bore me to death with his latest disaster porn flick, ominously titled 2012. Oh he tried, padding this beast to over two and a half hours, that’s for sure, but for some reason—I can’t believe I’m saying this—it wasn’t horrible. Please don’t expect any critical acclaim or awards coming in, no, I didn’t say it was good, however, if you saw the trailer and thought it would be a successful choice to sit back and stuff your face with…

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REVIEW: RocknRolla [2008]

“Was it a slow dance?” Is Guy Ritchie back? Has the impending divorce brought back that violent edge we fans have been missing? I guess it is somewhat idiotic of myself, and others, to dismiss Ritchie as though he’s left the playing field. Sure Swept Away couldn’t have been good as art let alone for his career, but besides that and what some consider a bloated mess in Revolver, Ritchie hasn’t imploded. The guy made two great cockney gangster flicks and with his newest film, RocknRolla, continues the tradition, pulling…

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REVIEW: W. [2008]

“Bushington” I’m going to start this review by saying I have no idea why Oliver Stone thought his new film W. would have any effect on the upcoming elections. The guy gave himself almost no time to edit his footage so that it could be released two weeks before Election Day. Don’t get me wrong, the film is constructed very nicely, he did a great job in that short time, all I’m saying is that he didn’t need to rush. I mean if he was trying to show the world…

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REVIEW: Run, Fatboy, Run [2008]

“A son? Did you know he had a son?!” Do not let the Hollywood marketing machine fool you. Yes Simon Pegg stars in Run, Fatboy, Run and yes he has cowriter credit on it, however, this is not a Pegg/Wright/Park production like Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, and “Spaced.” No this is a story from the warped mind of Michael Ian Black, he of “The State” fame. It appears from the “story by” credit to Black that maybe Pegg came in late with some tweaks and rewrites after he…

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REVIEW: The Pursuit of Happyness [2006]

“He must have had on some really nice pants” The genre of uplifting, against all odds type stories is probably the second most common behind the against all odds sports tale. Every once in awhile one will come out that just blows the other away, however, they are mostly all just carbon copies of each other. These types of films have a built in formula of acts to keep the audience emotionally attached. You see the happiness taken away, you see the trials and tribulations and failures along the way,…

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REVIEW: Charade [1963]

“Punch and Judy” After seeing the dismal Jonathan Demme film The Truth About Charlie, I was left aghast. The film had so much going for it. But it was a major letdown besides the surreal New Wave feel of the sequence just before the end credits. I flipped the disc over upon completion to check out the bonus movie Charade on which it was based. I fast-forwarded a bit and discovered the dialogue was pretty much the same in that part, so I took it out and returned the rental.…

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