Category Archives: Action/Thriller

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Widows (2018) Movie Review

Steve McQueen is achieving something rare in modern filmmaking: he is a known-name director who does not adhere to auteur theory. With four feature films under his belt, McQueen has ventured into multiple genres, engaging with them using different filmmaking styles.

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In Widows, his latest, he takes on the heist genre. With shades of Continue reading Widows (2018) Movie Review

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Creed II (2018) Movie Review

Ryan Coogler’s 2015 Creed successfully revitalized the Rocky franchise in almost every way. It satisfied the modern industry requirements for a soft reboot, thereby being the most accessible to mainstream audiences and maximizing financial security. It pivoted Sylvester Stallone’s role from aging fighter to aging mentor, netting him a Golden Globe win and an Oscar nomination as a result. It harnessed the inherent swagger and star power of Michael B. Jordan. It zapped life into the visual display of two men boxing each other to a bloody pulp. It was an undeniable crowd-pleaser.

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Creed II loses Coogler, and it loses a portion of its energy as a result. Steven Caple Jr. was given a tough task filling those shoes, especially Continue reading Creed II (2018) Movie Review

Overlord (2018) Movie Review

On June 6, 1944,  the dawn of D-Day, a plane of American soldiers are crossing over enemy lines with a crucial assignment: take down a German bunker sited under a church tower so the military fly boys can give cover to the boats landing on the beaches. As we learn this mission, sitting in the rattling confines of the flyer where characters’ voices are muffled under the constant thrum of the war around them, the plane is shot out of the air. The few survivors must pick up the pieces of the fractured mission and carry on, knowing that failure to set explosives on the tower could mean the failure of the entire D-Day operation.

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Oh, and there are Nazi zombies, as well.

Overlord, the new film from Julius Avery and produced by J.J. Abrams, takes the concept of insidious WWII Mengele-inspired experimentation and broadens it to horror genre extremes. B-movie horror extremes, in particular.

Now, to call this Continue reading Overlord (2018) Movie Review

Outlaw King (2018) Movie Review

David Mackenzie’s Outlaw King, dictating a semi-historical retelling of the leg of the Scottish War for Independence led by Robert the Bruce (Chris Pine), presents itself as a modern update of Braveheart. Picking up the thread where William Wallace’s uprising ends (we see a limb of Wallace’s quartered body hanging as an instigator for Robert the Bruce’s rebellion), Mackenzie commits to a similar level of visceral bloodshed that Gibson did in his 1995 film.

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Opening with an impressively-staged, swirling long take, we meet the composed yet quarrelsome Bruce, who immediately falls into a duel with the Prince of Wales (Billy Howle) after Continue reading Outlaw King (2018) Movie Review

Bad Times at the El Royale (2018) Movie Review

In Lake Tahoe, 1969, four guests arrive at the El Royale, a motel that sits at the borderline between Nevada and California. A painted line divides the parking lot and the motel interior in half. “You can choose to stay in the great state of California,” desk clerk Miles (Lewis Pullman) explains, with a practiced sweep of his arm. “Or you can choose to stay in the great state of Nevada.”

Miles seems to be the sole employee in the establishment. He does the housekeeping. He tends the bar. He doles out the keys. And he watches who management tells him to watch.

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The El Royale hasn’t seen much business since the place lost its gambling license the year prior, according to the all-talk vacuum cleaner salesman Laramie Seymour Sullivan (Jon Hamm) waiting for service at the counter. But on this particular night Continue reading Bad Times at the El Royale (2018) Movie Review

Venom (2018) Movie Review

Venom is a notable part of Marvel’s Spider-Man universe, acting as both a part of the web-swinger’s rogue’s gallery and an occasional anti-hero. Comprised of an alien “symbiote” that needs a host to achieve a full physical form, Venom initially bonded with Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man) before finding Parker’s enemy Eddie Brock.

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Ruben Fleischer’s 2018 Venom has plenty of alien symbiotes bonding with hosts. It has an Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), the rueful journalist hungry to bring down the corrupt Life Foundation. But beyond that, it is Continue reading Venom (2018) Movie Review

Assassination Nation (2018) Movie Review

Fear of shattered privacy. Aggression and bigotry stemming from deep-seated insecurities. The fetishization of the female figure, leading to the suppression of the artistic expression of the naked female form. The potential outcome of arming oneself, literally, against the patriarchy. The depiction of the inability for modern punitive powers from preventing internet trolls. And, more or less, a The Purge scenario.

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This is only a handful of the disparate ideas tackled in Sam Levinson’s Assassination Nation, a film about four teenage girls (Odessa Young, Hari Nef, Suki Waterhouse, and Abra) stuck in Continue reading Assassination Nation (2018) Movie Review