Category Archives: Action/Thriller

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Rampage (2018) Movie Review

Rampage is a 1980s arcade game in which three giant, mutated animals—a gorilla, a lizard, and a wolf—stomp through city skylines. The monsters tear down buildings, destroy military vehicles, and eat people. All for points. The game was popular enough to be ported over to multiple video game consoles.

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The video game has no story and few characters (the monsters are given names, at least). Yet, somehow, Hollywood has managed to give the intellectual property both of these things. At least, enough of these things to produce a marketable movie.

It isn’t as if the creatures of Rampage are Continue reading Rampage (2018) Movie Review

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Let the Corpses Tan (2018) Movie Review

A band of robbers hide away in a hamlet in the Mediterranean desert after stowing 250 kilos worth of gold bars in the trunk of their car and picking up a family of hitchhikers on their way back from the heist. Two police officers show up, and the whole thing devolves into a shootout.

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It is an exceedingly simple premise to a film, one that reeks of a cliched action-crime genre re-hash. But Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s Let the Corpses Tan is anything but simple, and Continue reading Let the Corpses Tan (2018) Movie Review

Beirut (2018) Movie Review

Mason Skiles (Jon Hamm) is a negotiator. In 1972, he works for the U.S. government in Beirut. At a dinner party, he sums up the situation in Lebanon by calling the country a “boarding house without a landlord” that was thrown into confusion when the Palestinians “moved in.”

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He continues talking in this politically-savvy way, as if he understands that the country is headed toward civil war. When he is brought back to Beirut 10 years later, however, he seems surprised at what he sees when he touches down.

In 1972, at the aforementioned dinner party, a person close to him is killed in the crossfire of a shootout. In 1982, Skiles is tasked with Continue reading Beirut (2018) Movie Review

Revenge (2018) Movie Review

The rape-revenge genre is certainly not the most approachable one. It is one of the more controversial, to be certain. A squeamish one, for sure. Rarely can a film in this genre be called “fun.”

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At its most primal, Coralie Fargeat’s debut feature Revenge is a bloody good time. In the tradition of its New French Extremity predecessors, the film goes full throttle into a place best described with words like Continue reading Revenge (2018) Movie Review

A Quiet Place (2018) Movie Review

The first sequence in A Quiet Place is one of the more immediately tense openings to a horror movie in recent memory. Without fully understanding the world, we understand almost from the first shot what sort of situation we have entered into. The film opens in an abandoned pharmacy, where a family is quietly perusing the aisles for supplies. The family speaks only in sign language, even though only the daughter (Millicent Simmonds) is deaf. It is clear that something bad comes with too much noise, so they don’t make a sound.

Until they do.

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It’s a completely effective opening to the film. Continue reading A Quiet Place (2018) Movie Review

Ready Player One (2018) Movie Review

Ernest Cline’s science fiction novel Ready Player One is not just laced in nostalgia; it is fully marinated in it. The story takes place in 2045, where most people in the world are deeply entrenched in an MMO-style VR video game dubbed The Oasis. With the death of the video game’s creator, James Halliday (Mark Rylance, in the film adaptation), a massive game-wide hunt is afoot for an Easter Egg that will give its finder control over The Oasis.

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In essence, it is a story about Easter Eggs created by a person with a strong fondness for Easter Eggs that itself is littered with Easter Eggs. It is a nostalgia vehicle. This is not inherently a bad thing.

And yet, because of its affinity for nostalgia, Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Ready Player One feels like Continue reading Ready Player One (2018) Movie Review

Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018) Movie Review

In Pacific Rim: Uprising, the sequel to Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 film Pacific Rim, one-time military cadet Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) rips off junkers in a war-torn city to make his living. 10 years prior, Jake’s father (Idris Elba) sacrificed himself to stop a breach in the sea floor that allowed building-sized Kaiju into the world.

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After a run-in with the law, Jake is brought back into military service as a ranger tasked with Continue reading Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018) Movie Review