Category Archives: Genres

Hotel Transylvania: Summer Vacation (2018) Movie Review

Hotel Transylvania is a strange equation. Take Sony Pictures and add much-acclaimed animator Genndy Tartakovsky, a script co-penned by Robert Smigel, and a cast of voice actors featuring Adam Sandler and his frequent collab buddies. Sounds like a too-many-cooks disaster.

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It was a hit. Two sequels later, not much has Continue reading Hotel Transylvania: Summer Vacation (2018) Movie Review

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Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) Movie Review

San Francisco. It is a bleak, ash-covered world. Lost and devoid of hope, survivors futilely search for meaning after a battle at Wakanda changed the universe with a single snap.

Just kidding! Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, the sequel to Peyton Reed’s 2015 film Ant-Man, is set weeks prior to the events of Avengers: Infinity War. Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), aka Ant-Man, is at the tail-end of his house arrest, which he landed after helping out Captain America during the events of Captain America: Civil War.

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The FBI are constantly looking over Lang’s shoulder while also looking for Lang’s co-conspirators Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). Hope and Hank, meanwhile, are working to Continue reading Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) Movie Review

The First Purge (2018) Movie Review

I’m going to be transparent about something up front: I’m going to the mat for The First Purge. Not only do I think it is a passable movie, but I think it is the only good Purge film to date.

The Purge is a franchise whose premise showed so much promise from the beginning. An American political system in which an annual event allows all crime to be legal for one night. It has B-movie schlock written all over it.

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Why, then, was The Purge a quaint home invasion movie? Sure, it had the high concept marketing gimmick of people in creepy masks (a concept that has reached pique kitsch by the fourth installment). But otherwise it was no different, narratively, from a Funny Games or a Panic Room (both of which: superior artistic efforts than The Purge).

Exciting to hear, then, that Continue reading The First Purge (2018) Movie Review

Uncle Drew (2018) Movie Review

Uncle Drew. A feature length, wide-release Hollywood film based off of those Pepsi commercials I don’t remember. On paper, it sounds like a corporate scheme. Let’s round up a couple basketball stars, some hot-right-now comedians, and throw them into a sports movie template with enough empty space in the set dressing for product placement.

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It could have been a cynical business move. Surprisingly, though, Uncle Drew shows more integrity than that. There isn’t a blinding amount of corporate sponsorship on display. There are some Pepsi and Gatorade logos, and Aleve is both name-checked and on prominent display in the film’s climactic location. Still, it is no Continue reading Uncle Drew (2018) Movie Review

Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018) Movie Review

There are two reviews I can write about Sicario: Day of the Soldado. One compares the drug cartel thrill-drama to its inarguably superior predecessor. The other views it in a vacuum. One of these reviews disparages the film. The other provides a half-hopeful shrug of the shoulders.

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To write this first review would be easy. With Sicario 2, director Denis Villeneuve is replaced by less-seasoned Italian director Stefano Sollima. As such, Continue reading Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018) Movie Review

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) Movie Review

“Why is anyone doing anything in this movie?”

I scrawled this note—thin and chicken scratched—in my notebook about an hour into J.A. Bayona’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the sequel to Colin Trevorrow’s smash-hit 2015 film Jurassic World (itself being a soft reboot of the Jurassic Park franchise envisioned by Steven Spielberg).

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Now, I only quote myself (at the risk of immediately coming off pedantic) in order to correct myself. It isn’t that the characters in Fallen Kingdom lack motivation. But I found myself Continue reading Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) Movie Review

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2018) Movie Review

Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood ran for 33 years, beginning in 1963 and ending in 2001. During that time, Fred Rogers did not revolutionize children’s television—it is safe to say other network producers did not, and have not, caught on to what made his show so pervasive. But he did create something unique: a platform to communicate to children, rather than pander to or exploit them.

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Upon seeing the negative influence of television, Rogers left the seminary to do what he could to buck the trend. Within a matter of years, he was Continue reading Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2018) Movie Review