One of the strongest aspects of this year’s IT was its youthful cast. So with the closure of Chapter One, one of the biggest questions for fans was, “Who’s gonna play who in the sequel?” As you may or may not know, Pennywise is an ancient evil that emerges for a period of time every 27 years to feed in the children of Derry.
Spoilers follow, so if you’re not wanting to be spoiled about the ending of IT or the surviving characters then you’d best turn away NOW. At the end of IT the Losers are able to successfully defeat Pennywise and force him into his 27 year slumber without feasting on a member of their club. To celebrate, the group makes a blood pact to return to Derry to fight Pennywise should It ever return to wreak havoc on the town again. (more…)
Busy time of year folks, so apologies to anyone who actually looks forward to my latest reviews. I didn’t want everything I’ve seen to fall by the wayside, so here are some brief thoughts on everything I’ve seen so far in 2017 but haven’t had time to sit down and put full write ups on. Sit back relax and “enjoy” some candid hot takes on these 2017 releases!
Kong: Skull Island – Come for the star studded cast then shove them aside for the awesome creature fights. Kong is visually impressive, but it lacks humanity in a pretty comical way. The characters very much feel like empty shells taking us from one place to another to be bait for the eventual breathtaking spectacle of the Kong fights. In spite of the lack of characters to hang your hat on this was still a pretty tremendous and crowd pleasing theater experience. Rating: B+
Gifted – Sort of let this one get lost in the shuffle. This is a very understated film. There was almost no marketing push and it just sort of appeared in theaters with little to no fanfare. If its still out there though, get out and see it. I could have used a little more closure for some of the relationships and perhaps a little more emotion out of Chris Evans’ character, but this has been the most affective dramas so far this year that also happens to have a pretty delightful sense of humor. Rating: A-(more…)
Let’s be honest with one another–the Fifty Shades series is an easy target for snarky critics. There’s not much of a challenge in sitting down and pinpointing every illogical turn the movie takes and every laughable line of dialogue uttered by actors who seem as tickled about what they are saying as we are hearing it. It’s hard to take a breath, collect oneself and approach a movie like Fifty Shades Darker and pick out why you should see it–and trust me, no one involved has made it easy.
For every one thing good you can say about James Foley’s film there are a handful more pushing into the spotlight to ruining it for the rest of us. Yet we march on–Fifty Shades Darker picks up shortly after the first film as Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) continues to creepily pine for the plain Jane, Anastasia (Dakota Johnson). After a half-hearted attempt to brush him off, Anastasia agrees to meet with Christian to renegotiate the terms of their “arrangement”. As they embark on their new relationship Christian’s past and Anastasia’s vanilla sex appeal proves to be a little more complicated than they anticipated. (more…)
Turbulent, clever and frightening. Those are just a few of the most important takeaways from Adam Wingard’s, Blair Witch. Enthusiastic reviewers all over the internet like to throw around some lofty and hyperbolic quotes such as “game changer” or “one of the scariest movies ever made,” with the best of intentions. While the enthusiasm is catchy, Adam Wingard’s Blair Witch doesn’t fully embody either of those aforementioned descriptors.
Folks just can’t stay out of the Black Hills Woods as James (James Allen McCune) discovers a video online recovered from the outskirts of the woods that he believes shows his sister, Heather. Convinced she’s still alive James corrals three of his closest friends to venture into the Black Hills to figure out what happened to her.
Screenwriter Simon Barrett and director Wingard obviously use the original film as the basic bone structure for their unique take. The duo deviate from what we know about The Blair Witch Project simply to extrapolate a mythology of their own based on aspects of what we’ve already seen or suspected. This results in some of the film’s most interesting aspects, without innovating within the genre itself. (more…)
With each movie there’s one thing that never changes about James Wan- the auteur is a genius with the camera. His vision tells a story all its own in addition to what’s going on with the characters carefully framed on screen. It’s a good thing too, because every so often the screenplay isn’t nearly as strong as the director’s visual style. Such is the case of The Conjuring 2- a film that replicates a lot of the chilly atmosphere of the first, but at times hulks into something more bombast.
Wan’s subject matter this time is the Enfield poltergeist- an entity/event that’s undergone a couple treatments including a BBC mockumentary by the name of Ghostwatch as well as a television series. The event as well as the film surrounds a family suffering a possible haunting with the majority of the negative energy being focused on Janet Hodgson (Madison Wolfe). The film touches on skepticism but it is important to remember that this is a movie and liberties will be taken- many of which come in the form of jarring special effects, and perhaps even the involvement of Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga). (more…)
It’s been a while and there are plenty of movies in my rear view so to conserve some space you can check out my reviews of some recently released flicks all in one place- as well as beer recommendations to go with. Read on to check out some reviews for the following: Warcraft, Angry Birds, Captain America: Civil War, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Manson’s Lost Girls, and The Ones Below!
Zero. That is exactly the amount of not hours, not minutes, but seconds I’ve spent playing World of Warcraft. So what business have I to attempt to review a film that is so obvious in its attempts to please its fans? Technically none. As a fan of cinema and someone who tries to see anything and everything that I possibly can it behooves oneself to have a voice amongst those who are like me, but maybe are on the fence about spending money to see it. (more…)
To celebrate the long awaited release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it seemed long overdue to bring back a favorite feature of mine, Brew & View. It’s been a long long time–and in a galaxy far away if you will–since we last saw the likes of a Brew & View. Even still, this will not be your typical Brew & View–let’s call it, View & Brew to be a bit more accurate. The following will be a spoiler free review of The Force Awakens, followed by the beer pairing for the film. The beer in question, Toppling Goliath’s Light Speed Pale Ale.
First things first though. It was only a few years ago that J.J. Abrams rejuvenated a series that this reviewer previously had no allegiance to. Abrams successfully injected a sense of enthusiasm and fandom into me that was previously void, so the monumental wait for the filmmaker to tackle a franchise where enthusiasm and fandom already existed was almost unbearable. J.J. tackled the unenviable task of reviving a series that was nearly destroyed by its creator with an uncommon poise and emerged on the other end having given the franchise a much needed infusion of modern tastes that brings Star Wars into a new generation with extreme spectacle.
The Force Awakens picks up some time after the events of Return of the Jedi, wherein Luke has disappeared following a failed attempt to train a group of Jedis. In that time a new threat, the First Order, has risen from the ashes of the Empire, but the Resistance is seeking to ensure that they do not succeed. Both are searching for Luke knowing that he could be the key to stopping the First Order. (more…)
The revolution continues in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2. At this point in the series there is seemingly no need for introduction, but Katniss finds herself in the final stages of a face-off with her natural enemy President Snow as she and the rebels of District 13 prepare for war with the Capitol.
Once again Jennifer Lawrence continues her masterful portrayal of Katniss Everdeen, but in a series that in it’s final incarnation seems to be treading water. The transition from Part 1 to Part 2 certainly seems to justify being split into two films, but simultaneously feels a bit long winded. Additionally, director Francis Lawrence has made some questionable choices in terms of story details that serve only to bloat the runtime, and short changes certain characters to the point that their impact on the film’s conclusion leaves much to be desired. In the director’s defense though, his source material does much of the same. (more…)
It’s been over 20 years since Steven Spielberg wowed us with his dino extravaganza Jurassic Park. Since then Joe Johnston and Spielberg himself couldn’t quite catch the same feeling of wonderment in their respective sequels. Now, 14 years after Jurassic Park III Colin Trevorrow has taken the unenviable task of taking audiences back to Isla Nublar for more dinosaur shenanigans in Jurassic World. Fortunatly, Trevorrow managed to find a way to breathe new life into the franchise even if he does stumble a bit out of the gate.
Jurassic World takes place 22 years after the events of Jurassic Park. The park has since evolved and enjoyed a decades of success, however, audiences are getting bored with the attractions and want bigger, better, and scarier reasons to attend. The park’s administrator, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) had the scientists cook up a new dino called the Indominus Rex that’s bigger and faster than the T-Rex. Claire enlists Owen (Chris Pratt), the park’s resident dino expert, to check the enclosure that houses the Indominus Rex to ensure it’s up to snuff. Somehow the Indominus Rex escapes its confinement and begins making its way around the island and toward the crowd killing everything and everyone in its path. (more…)
Everyone has that song that they hear on the radio that they hate, but once it claws its way into your brain it’s almost impossible to forget for hours- Pitch Perfect was the cinematic version of that for this reviewer. At the time, the flick was a surprise hit due in large part to the surprisingly likable cast, catchy A Cappella covers from chart topping tunes, and a surprising level of effective comedy. Unsurprisingly, the sequel hums the same tune, but in a slightly different key.
Elizabeth Banks steps in to make her directorial debut and picks up with the Barden Bellas in the midst of their senior year. After an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction while performing for the president the Bellas are suspended from competing at A Cappella functions- with the exception of the World Championships. Becca (Anna Kendrick) and the gang strike a deal that if they win the World Championship they can be reinstated, but standing in their way is the uber talented European team. With a new recruit, Emily (Hailee Steinfeld), the Bellas get to work to restore their former glory.
There’s a pretty disappointing trend happening among sequels to ultra popular first films- the urge to recycle the same formula. We saw it happen to a exaggerated degree with The Hangover: Part II and Pitch Perfect 2 falls into a similar vein. Unlike something like The Hangover: Part II this sequel is not a carbon copy of the first film, but it does hit similar notes. (more…)