Category Archives: Action/Thriller

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Superfly (2018) Movie Review

From moment one of Superfly, the remake of the 1972 blaxploitation film of the same name, there is over-indulgent bombast. Not to demean the song that kicks off the film. Future curates the original music throughout, which is lush and appealing, if not an impossible comparison to Curtis Mayfield’s scoring of the original film (his “Pusherman,” which is one of the best original songs made for a film, gets reprised in this movie).

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Music, in fact, might be the strongest aspect of Director X’s vision of enigmatic Atlanta drug pusher Youngblood Prince (Trevor Jackson). It makes sense, given the man’s lengthy history as a music video director.

That also likely explains why the plot of the film begins in a highly-active strip club. This sequence is, more or less, a hip-hop music video. And the rest of the film Continue reading Superfly (2018) Movie Review

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Ocean’s 8 (2018) Movie Review

Gary Ross’s Ocean’s 8 is an all-female reboot of the wildly popular Ocean’s trilogy from the 2000s (those films directed by Steven Soderbergh). In the film, Danny Ocean’s sister Deborah (Sandra Bullock) gets paroled from prison after almost six years of detention. During those five plus years, Debbie planned an intricate heist of a $150 million Cartier diamond necklace.

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Debbie and her partner (Cate Blanchett) round up a crew of criminal specialists (Helena Bonham Carter, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina) to pull off the heist during the Met Gala, where they have arranged Continue reading Ocean’s 8 (2018) Movie Review

Hotel Artemis (2018) Movie Review

Hotel Artemis, the science fiction crime film set on the backdrop of the rioting streets of 2028 Los Angeles, could be described as clunky. Bloated. Over-loaded. An exploitation action film in the clothing of a classier sheep. A lot of slick talk with little substance.

It is all of these things. And quite blatantly. But Drew Pearce’s film is also a helluva lot of entertainment value stuffed into a 93-minute feature.

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The film finds a disparate group of injured criminals taking refuge in the eponymous hotel, a building of antiquity that could be Continue reading Hotel Artemis (2018) Movie Review

Upgrade (2018) Movie Review

Leigh Whannell is a known horror screenwriter, having penned the Insidious films and the first three entries in the Saw franchise. His first directorial effort was Insidious: Chapter Three. (No offense to Leigh, but it is arguably the black sheep chapter of the series).

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With Upgrade he has, dare I say, upgraded his ability for genre filmmaking. What remains in this gritty, futuristic action flick is Whannell’s penchant for high energy gore and viscera. What is added is Continue reading Upgrade (2018) Movie Review

Deadpool 2 (2018) Movie Review

Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool, is a Canadian mercenary turned cancer victim who is presented with a cure via a branch of the Weapon X program. Turned into a mutant, Deadpool receives Wolverine’s healing factor, full-body deformity, and increasing mental instability. He often exercises psychopathic tendencies and suffers breaks from reality that manifest themselves as fourth-wall breaking banter. At his most stable, he is a member of X-Force or X-Men. At his most unhinged, he slaughters every superhero in the Marvel universe.

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In the Ryan Reynolds iteration of the character, Deadpool plays nice. Comparatively. Deadpool 2 makes clear up front that it is a film about Continue reading Deadpool 2 (2018) Movie Review

Breaking In (2018) Movie Review

I have very little to say about Breaking In. My main takeaway is that it is the definition of average. A conventional home invasion movie that takes itself more seriously than a home invasion movie of this sort ought, there is little to chew on here.

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The story is thin enough that the runtime can be graciously under 90 minutes, but it is also thin enough to make 90 minutes feel too long. Shaun Russell (Gabrielle Union) takes her two children to a hideaway estate in upstate Wisconsin. It is the high-security home of her deceased father, who had some vague ties to criminal Continue reading Breaking In (2018) Movie Review

Bad Samaritan (2018) Movie Review

Dean Devlin is a producer known for work on big budget, blockbuster action movies: Independence Day, Godzilla (1998), etc. Last year, he made his big screen directorial debut with the heavily panned Geostorm, which itself was a big action film aiming to be a blockbuster.

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With Bad Samaritan, Devlin returns to feature directing. Only, this time the subject matter is a lower-budget dramatic thriller. Sean Falco (Robert Sheehan) is a wannabe photographer who works a valet business with his buddy Derek (Carlito Olivero). To make ends meet, however, the two of them run scams using Continue reading Bad Samaritan (2018) Movie Review