Mile 22 (2018) Movie Review

The first 20 minutes of Mile 22 has a promising setup. The cold open is an efficient and tight action sequence, in which James Silva (Mark Wahlberg) and his skeleton crew of ghost mercenaries breach the isolated home of bomb-building terrorists. It is not the most elegantly-staged of set pieces, but it does the job in relating to us the characters that we will be following for the next 90 minutes.

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Following the cold open, we move to an undefined East Asian country, where Silva and his team are working on an errant police officer, Li Noor (Iko Uwais). Li arrives at the U.S. embassy with an encrypted hard drive. Once detained, the hard drive immediately begins deconstructing itself, a ticking clock that gives Silva a limited time before Continue reading Mile 22 (2018) Movie Review

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Crazy Rich Asians (2018) Movie Review

Most of the media attention surrounding the release of Crazy Rich Asians addresses the rarity for a major Hollywood studio release to feature a predominantly Asian cast. This certainly marks a positive moment for representation in Hollywood, and the film presents a bunch of bankable acting talent that Hollywood could be utilizing more often.

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Crazy Rich Asians might not live up to the expectations of its outspoken buzz—a film doesn’t need to be a masterpiece to feature positive representation—but it does provide Continue reading Crazy Rich Asians (2018) Movie Review

The Meg (2018) Movie Review

Sometimes it takes a movie like The Meg to make you wonder at how perfect a movie Jaws is. Of course, The Meg isn’t trying to be Jaws. It’s more self-aware than that. It’s Sharknado with a budget. It’s dumb fun meant to inflate the popcorn market.

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Right? I mean, it seems to take itself pretty seriously. When it’s in on the joke, it’s all in. Most of the time, though, Jason Statham and pals maneuver their way straight-faced around a giant mythological shark. It is harder to Continue reading The Meg (2018) Movie Review

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot (2018) Movie Review

Gus Van Sant is a bold filmmaker. Hyper-restrained, brutal meditation on teenage violence in Elephant. Shakespearean adaptation populated by post-beatnik prostitutes and street rats in My Own Private Idaho. Prescient commentary on a dangerous media landscape in To Die For. Ill-advised and ultimately disastrous remake of a classic in Psycho. Even when they don’t work as intended, his films offer something unique and often refreshing.

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Following what is arguably his biggest achievement in Milk, Van Sant fell into a slump with the flat, uninteresting Promised Land and the critically-panned, audience-ignored The Sea of Trees. Now he’s back with a return-to-form film, for better and worse.

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot is a biopic of the late cartoonist John Callahan (Joaquin Phoenix). It focuses predominantly on his life-long struggle with Continue reading Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot (2018) Movie Review

The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018) Movie Review

Susanna Fogel’s The Spy Who Dumped Me reminds me of The Hitman’s Bodyguard, but it probably shouldn’t. Both are two-hander action comedies. Both feature comic characters journeying across European countries toward a singular goal. Both were released in August, the dying-end of the Summer movie season.

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Otherwise, comparison doesn’t seem warranted. The Hitman’s Bodyguard is incompetently shot and flat. The Spy Who Dumped Me exhibits a level of competency in its action filmmaking that exceeds what is required for an action comedy. In most respects, the action is Continue reading The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018) Movie Review

Christopher Robin (2018) Movie Review

There are two very different movies wrapped up in Disney’s new live-action adaptation, Christopher Robin. One is an optimistic family film about a grown man named Christopher Robin (Ewen McGregor) learning to, for the better, think like a kid again. The other is a horror film about abandoned sentient toys who track Christopher down and lure him back into the foggy, ominous Hundred Acre Wood.

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In this sense, the beady black eyes of honey-loving bear Winnie the Pooh (Jim Cummings) are both abstract enough to be endearing and dead enough to be terrifying. Whichever way you perceive it, Christopher Robin is a film that Continue reading Christopher Robin (2018) Movie Review

The Darkest Minds (2018) Movie Review

Imagine a world where over 90% of all children die from a strange, highly contagious disease. Does the government, for the sake of the future, take every precaution to protect the few that remain? Of course not!

No, U.S. President Gray (Bradley Whitford) has the military round up all of the surviving children, who are all carriers of the disease and thus have one of five distinct color-coded powers. Kill the ones that can’t be controlled. Imprison the rest of them in labor camps.

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Thus is the dystopia of The Darkest Minds, Jennifer Yuh Nelson’s adaptation of the young adult book series from writer Alexandra Bracken. From the jump, the film Continue reading The Darkest Minds (2018) Movie Review

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