Category Archives: Quickie Reviews (<400 Words)

The Accountant (2016) Movie Review

Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck), once an army brat raised under the strict militaristic rule of his father, is a crackpot accountant whose Asperger’s syndrome and radical upbringing create an eccentric skill set.

Armed with a poorly-motivated narrative deadline—do the job in time or go to jail—Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) is an analyst in the Treasury Department tasked with finding a “black money” operator who has worked with numerous terrorist cells, a man who is none other than Christian Wolff.

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The narrative of The Accountant weaves in and out of chronologies, perhaps needlessly, in order to Continue reading The Accountant (2016) Movie Review

The Secret Life of Pets (2016) Movie Review

In The Secret Life of Pets, scrappy dog Max (Louis C.K.) finds his home dynamic thrown off kilter when his owner brings home a new dog, Duke (Eric Stonestreet). As a result of their differences, Max and Duke both find themselves taken hostage by animal control, sprung free by vengeance-seeking stray animals, and in a race through New York City to get back home.

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The voice acting in the film is fairly strong across the board. Jenny Slate and Kevin Hart are perfectly cast into their roles and steal the show on the charisma front, although Hart Continue reading The Secret Life of Pets (2016) Movie Review

Central Intelligence (2016) Movie Review

Two high school peers: one, Calvin (Kevin Hart), is destined for greatness, and the other, Robert (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is relentlessly bullied into submission. 20 years later, Calvin is at a dead end job with no hope of upward mobility and Robert is looking to reconnect. Only, this seemingly innocent encounter promises to be something much more impactful on Calvin’s life.

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This is the basic setup. Hart plays the straight man and Johnson plays the odd man. Johnson here plays a character with Continue reading Central Intelligence (2016) Movie Review

Finding Dory (2016) Movie Review

In this sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo, an infant Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) is separated from her parents (Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy) and aimlessly searches for them throughout her life until…the narrative of Finding Nemo begins.

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A year after the events of that film, Continue reading Finding Dory (2016) Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 (2016) Movie Review

Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), framed by the magician-Robin Hoods The Horsemen and now behind bars, is looking for revenge. Meanwhile, The Horsemen are given orders by the mysterious magician activism syndicate The Eye to engage in their next caper.

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This initialization of the plan is sequenced with wonderful pacing and wit. The plan itself is logical nonsense, but it sure is Continue reading Now You See Me 2 (2016) Movie Review

The Nice Guys (2016) Movie Review

In The Nice Guys, two private investigators, one licensed (Ryan Gosling) and one unlicensed (Russell Crowe), go after the same lost woman who has strange ties with the adult film industry.

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Shane Black directs this 1970s crime noir comedy. The film visually feels like a Continue reading The Nice Guys (2016) Movie Review

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016) Movie Review

Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) sell their house under contractual escrow, so they must ensure that nothing in their neighborhood screws up their chances of moving out. Three college freshman (Chloe Grace Moretz, Kiersey Clemons, and Beanie Feldstein) ditch the inherent misogyny of Greek life by creating their own sorority conveniently located next door to the Radners.

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This is Neighbors 2, and, based on its premise, it is Continue reading Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016) Movie Review

Darkman (1990) Movie Review

Sam Raimi’s Darkman is an early superhero film in which scientist Peyton Westlake (Liam Neeson) is brutally attacked and left for dead by the mob. Heavily scarred and bandaged, the faceless Westlake becomes the Darkman, and, using his scientific research on artificial skin, assumes others’ identities in order to exact revenge on his attackers.

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This film, in spite of being inescapably ’90s in aesthetic, is an Continue reading Darkman (1990) Movie Review

Money Monster (2016) Movie Review

Stock company IBIS Clear Capital loses $800 million dollars when a trading algorithm “glitches” inexplicably. Lee Gates (George Clooney) hosts a gimmicky, Mad Money-style stock show that gets hijacked by a gunman (Jack O’Connell) as a result of this stock collapse. Our hijacking criminal is trying to reveal the real criminals: the Wall Street bigwigs. How topical.

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The film is littered with logical pitfalls and narrative conveniences, but we can let these slide, because Continue reading Money Monster (2016) Movie Review

Demons (1985) Movie Review

In Demons (aka Demoni), the 1985 B-movie horror film from Lamberto Bava and Dario Argento, a mysterious film screening is suddenly infested with infectious demons, with the helpless audience trapped inside the theater.

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The ’80s horror movie uses dated B-movie effects work. This said, a lot of the practical effects are well-staged, on top of being Continue reading Demons (1985) Movie Review