12 Strong (2018) Movie Review

There is a lot on the surface of 12 Strong that has been done in war films before, again and again. Grunt soldier characters act like they do in every other movie. Fire-fight sequences involve everyone we don’t care about falling down dead, and everyone that has been established as a character surviving despite being amid insurmountable danger. Themes of camaraderie and learning to think differently about your fellow man abound. Etcetera. Etcetera.

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With this, there is plenty of scenes that play out, down to the lines themselves, exactly as you would expect.

Our boys have to Continue reading 12 Strong (2018) Movie Review

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Proud Mary (2018) Movie Review

Stop me if this sounds familiar. A hired gun is looking to get out of the game. She kills the wrong person. She finds herself in a relationship that adds empathy to a job that requires apathy. Based on circumstances outside of her control, her own crew turns against her. Now on her own, she has to leave a trail of bodies behind if she wants to get out and make a better life for herself.

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Yeah, Proud Mary is that movie. Taraji P. Henson plays Mary, a hitwoman who has been following a kid, a young boy named Danny (Jahi Di’Allo Winston) whose father she assassinated a year earlier. She works for a Continue reading Proud Mary (2018) Movie Review

Paddington 2 (2018) Movie Review

Paddington 2 has a simple message, but one that is nevertheless easily forgotten. Be nice to people. Pay it forward. Yadda yadda. It sounds obvious, and it sounds like it would play saccharine in a children’s film about a naive little bear. But, for the second time, it doesn’t.

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I would like to make the argument that this second film is Continue reading Paddington 2 (2018) Movie Review

The Post (2017) Movie Review

One could look at The Post, the latest from veteran director Steven Spielberg, and see a current and scathing indictment of executive authority to undermine freedom of speech vis a vis journalism, a critique of modern political decorum by way of an examination of the past.

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Ignoring the politicization of this message, the grand-standing done in the final 30 minutes of this film, in which Continue reading The Post (2017) Movie Review

The Commuter (2018) Movie Review

The Commuter, the next installment in the Liam Neeson Taken-on-vehicle-x series, begins with a barrage montage of his character’s daily routine. Michael MacCauley (Neeson) bangs off his alarm, is given a book to read by his son, is dropped off at the train by his wife, etc. etc., again and again over the course of days and weeks.

It is not an entirely shabby way of opening the movie—it introduces us to our central character and his way of life, as well as the routine that will define his central conflict later on—but it is edited in a jarring way over the opening credits in a manner that is off-putting.

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The film co-stars Vera Farmiga—mostly via voiceover—as the instigator of a psychological game on MacCauley’s daily commuter train. She tells MacCauley that someone on the train does not belong, and if he can find that person Continue reading The Commuter (2018) Movie Review

2018 Academy Awards Predictions – Best Production Design Nominees

Production design is what captures the setting of a film. Undoubtedly necessary and often overlooked, set dressing and set design are pivotal yet hard to compare.

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The Nominees:

Continue reading 2018 Academy Awards Predictions – Best Production Design Nominees

2018 Academy Awards Predictions – Best Costume Design Nominees

Costume design is perhaps the most visually present thing to judge when it comes to film awards. It can be difficult to determine what films deserve to be nominated for an award like Best Editing. But costumes? Extravagant and showy and you’re in, right?

Not necessarily. Extravagance is certainly a variable, but costumes vary wildly from film to film and from genre to genre. A film like Beauty and the Beast is going for flashiness, where a film like The Shape of Water is going for period authenticity or a film like Blade Runner 2049 is going for a science-fiction sleekness.

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The Nominees:

Continue reading 2018 Academy Awards Predictions – Best Costume Design Nominees

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