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Movie Review: Annabelle: Creation
eelyajekiM   |  @   |  

Annabelle: Creation

Annabelle Creation
Director: David F. Sandberg
Screenwriter: Gary Dauberman
Cast: Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman, Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto, Samara Lee
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Rated R | 109 Minutes
Release Date: August 11, 2017

All the possessed portraits, toys, and haunted spirits we’ve seen in James Wan‘s Conjuring films leaves plenty of room for world building. As such spinoffs are released to expand upon that world, though it has been met with mixed results. For one thing, Annabelle: while a commercial success, the spinoff was a critical disappointment. But studios are more concerned with the former, so of course, we’re going to get a continuation of that poorly received spinoff.

But here is the surprising thing about Annabelle: Creation, it’s actually pretty good. Lights Out director David F. Sandberg‘s latest effort uses all the traditional horror tropes that deliver plenty of chills and thrills. But because it uses all those familiar elements, it all suffers from the same pitfalls. Still, it is a prequel spinoff that gets the job done, and really, that’s all you could ask for. Check out my full review below.

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Movie Review: The Dark Tower, 4DX Experience
Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  

The Dark Tower Idris Elba as Roland Deschain

The Dark Tower
The 4DX Experience
Directed by Nikolaj Arcel
Screenplay by Akiva Goldsman & Jeff Pinkner, Anders Thomas Jensen & Nikolaj Arcel
Based on the novels by Stephen King
Starring Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor, Claudia Kim, Fran Kranz, Abbey Lee, Jackie Earle Haley
Sony/Columbia Pictures
Release date: August 4, 2017

My wife and I got a chance to take in Regal’s newest way to watch… check that, experience a film, 4DX. 4DX takes the normal theater experience and combines it with a day at the amusement park, making movie-watching a full-body occasion. The film we watched, The Dark Tower, is based on the Stephen King book series and lent itself quite nicely to the tricks 4DX had up its sleeves.

The 4DX Experience

The first thing I noticed was how big the seats are, which are individually numbered and complete with their own footrests and massive armrests. I would not want to use the cupholders, however. 4DX is not for the weak, and they actually have warning signs outside the theater akin to what you’d see in front a rollercoaster. My wife laughed when she saw each armrest had a “water on/water off” option. We figured what the hell, and left it on. Before the trailers started, the audience gets a preview of the effects 4DX offers, including seats that rock side by side, lean forward and back, jolt you from behind, and yes, splash you with spritzes of water as well as gusts of air. Imagine sitting for 90+ minutes watching a movie on a theme park ride on a day with mixed weather. We even had a fog cloud in our theater! During that preview as our chairs started hurling us around, their was audible laughter and excitement from the crowd.

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Movie Review: Atomic Blonde
eelyajekiM   |  @   |  

Atomic Blonde review header

Atomic Blonde
Director: David Leitch
Screenwriter: Kurt Johnstad
Cast: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella, Toby Jones
Distributor: Focus Features
Rated R | 115 Minutes
Release Date: July 28, 2017

Usually, when “atomic” is used as an adjective it means something that is propelled by atomic energy. Or if you prefer to use one of Urban Dictionary’s definitions, it’s a “devastating experience of epic proportions from which nothing is salvageable.” So when you have John Wick co-director David Leitch direct Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde, an adaptation of the famed The Coldest City graphic novel, you’d expect something to leave an impact that is befitting its title. But Atomic Blonde is anything but atomic, at least from a narrative standpoint. It’s thin, has very few characters to care about, and casually shoehorns in 80s British pop songs. But if you are looking for a film with some great action and excellent framing, plus the occasional consumption of vodka, then Atomic Blonde is your kind of film.

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Movie Review: War For The Planet Of The Apes
Adam Frazier   |  @   |  

Twentieth Century Fox's War for the Planet of the Apes, starring Andy Serkis as Caesar

War for the Planet of the Apes
Director: Matt Reeves
Screenwriter: Mark Bomback, Matt Reeves
Cast: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Amiah Miller, Karin Konoval, Judy Greer, Terry Notary
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Rated PG-13 | 142 Minutes
Release Date: July 14, 2017

“Apes. Together. Strong.”

In 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a scientific experiment gives rise to a species of intelligent apes, and a virus that brings humanity to the brink of extinction. The sentient apes flourish in the absence of humans until they’re discovered by a small band of survivors in 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The species struggle to coexist, but their fragile peace is shattered by Koba, a former lab chimp so consumed with hatred for the humans that he betrays his leader, the noble chimpanzee Caesar, to incite war against them.

Enter War for the Planet of the Apes, the third and final chapter of 20th Century Fox’s critically acclaimed series. Directed by Matt Reeves (of Cloverfield, Let Me In, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), War delivers a powerful and poignant climax to one of the greatest film trilogies of all time, with complex characters, soulful performances, and the most impressive special effects I’ve ever seen. Not only is it one of the best movies of the summer, it’s one of the best films of 2017 — an unparalleled work of blockbuster filmmaking that is as thought-provoking as it is awe-inspiring.

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Movie Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming
Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming
Written by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley & Jon Watts & Christopher Ford & Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers
Directed by Jon Watts
Starring Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Tyne Daly, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr.
Sony Pictures
Release date: July 7, 2017

The general consensus amongst critics and die-hard comic book movie fans alike is that no matter how great the MCU films get, the pinnacle of the genre was achieved back in the early 2000s with Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man (2002) and Spider-Man 2 (2004). Interestingly enough, two of the dirt worst superhero movies since then also featured the webslinger: Raimi’s awful Spider-Man 3 in 2007, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 2014, which killed the rebooted franchise before it could even make the planned Sinister Six film it spent 2 hours setting up. Marvel Studios and Sony were able to come to an agreement since that debacle, which led to the best Spidey on screen in 12 years with Tom Holland’s appearance in Captain America: Civil War last year. A year later, Sony & Marvel again united to bring us Spider-Man: Homecoming, and maybe because I’m writing this an hour after seeing it, without time to properly marinate… but Homecoming is the best standalone Spider-Man movie since… ever.

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Movie Review: The Little Hours
Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  

The Little Hours movie review

The Little Hours
Written & Directed by Jeff Baena
Starring Aubrey Plaza, Kate Micucci, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Fred Armisen, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Dave Franco, Paul Reiser, Jemima Kirke, Paul Weitz
Gunpowder & Sky
Release date: June 30, 2017

When looking for inspiration for modern comedy, I know what you’re thinking… the 14th century! For The Little Hours, writer/director Jeff Baena turns to an odd source, Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron. Written in the late 1300s after the Bubonic Plague ripped Europe apart, The Decameron was a collection of novellas about ten young people living in a secluded villa. The atmosphere and period setting made me instinctively think of Monty Python and the Holy Grail while the tone of the comedy — sex-based and vulgar — brought to mind There’s Something About Mary and Superbad. Somehow these two angles come together to form an oddly unique film that is intriguing throughout and laugh out loud funny at times.

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Movie Review: The Beguiled (2017)
Adam Frazier   |  @   |  

Movie Review: Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled (2017) starring Nicole Kidman

The Beguiled
Director: Sofia Coppola
Screenwriter: Sofia Coppola
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Colin Farrell
Distributor: Focus Features
Rated R | 94 Minutes
Release Date: June 23, 2017

Sofia Coppola‘s first short film, 1998’s Lick the Star, follows a clique of teenage girls led by Chloe, who is obsessed with V.C. Andrews’ novel, Flowers in the Attic. Chloe orchestrates a plan with her girl gang to “weaken” the boys they don’t like at their school by poisoning their lunches with arsenic. The 14-minute black and white 16mm short film shows early signs of Coppola’s fascination with the themes of isolation and identity, sexual awakening, and the trauma of adolescence.

Since then, Coppola has explored these ideas in the 18th, 20th, and 21st centuries with Marie Antoinette, The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, Somewhere, and The Bling Ring. Now, the writer-director journeys to the 19th century with The Beguiled, a remake of the 1971 film of the same name, based on the 1966 Southern Gothic novel, A Painted Devil, by Thomas P. Cullinan.

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Movie Review: Baby Driver
eelyajekiM   |  @   |  

Baby Driver Header

Baby Driver
Director: Edgar Wright
Screenwriters: Edgar Wright
Cast: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Bernthal, Eiza González, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx
Distributor: TriStar Pictures
Rated PG| 113 Minutes
Release Date: June 28, 2017

Edgar Wright‘s Baby Driver can be best described as a musically charged gangster film full of colorful zany characters all looking to make a big score. If Wright could write music – and he probably could – they would look, sound, and feel like this movie.

While recent car chasing heist flicks have been focusing on the big action set-piece spectacle that may look spectacular but lacks spirit and heart, Baby Driver proves that you don’t need to jump out of planes (be it exploding or not) to be hip and cool. You just need a driver, the girl of your dreams, music, and the road to travel to some unknown destination.

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Movie Review: The Bad Batch
Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  

The- Bad Batch Header

The Bad Batch
Written & Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour
Cast: Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, Giovanni Ribisi, Jim Carrey, Jayda Fink
Annapurna Pictures | Neon Films
Rated R | 115 Minutes
Release Date: June 23rd, 2017

In 2014’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour showcased her unique style, blending genres while maintaining a minimalist approach. Her Iranian vampire/spaghetti western film earned international acclaim, but also garnered a lot of reviews uttering the phrase “style over substance.” In her latest film, The Bad Batch, she adheres to all of these traits, positive and negative, again. The Bad Batch is at times brutally violent, at times wonderfully poignant, and all together completely bizarre. It’s one of those films where it ends and you kind of just sit there pondering for a few seconds as the credits roll. What did I just watch? Did I love this movie or hate it? The one thing that sticks with me is what I wrote mid-film, “This is like if Mad max f*cked The Neon Demon.”

Spoilers below.

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Movie Review: Transformers: The Last Knight
eelyajekiM   |  @   |  

Transformers: The Last Knight feat Bumblebee

Transformers: The Last Knight
Director: Michael Bay
Screenwriters: Matt Holloway, Ken Nolan, Art Marcum
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel, Laura Haddock, Isabela Moner, Jerrod Carmichael, Jim Carter, John Goodman, Ken Watanabe, Omar Sy, Peter Cullen
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Rated PG| 149 Minutes
Release Date: June 21, 2017

Transformers: The Last Knight continues the franchise’s long line of large-scale visuals, epic explosions, poorly written scripts, and lack of care for its own continuity. Even after four of these films, the new Transformers installment fails to learn from any of the previous lessons, and instead, chooses to double down (or should I say quadruples down) on them. So let’s not stand on ceremony and just say what we already know: Transformers: The Last Knight is just another two and half hours’ worth of explosion porn fest with a nonsensical script that has plenty of sexual overtones and characters that play to their racial stereotypes. Oh, and let’s not forget all those explosions and shouting matches. Check out my full review below.

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