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Gary Dowell

Professional film critic, journalist, Byronic hero.
Gary Dowell has written 549 posts for movie ink™

Movie review: “Halloween”

Halloween wasn’t exactly the first slasher flick when it hit the screens in 1978, but John Carpenter’s low-rent classic established the template for the sub-genre. It’s been a rocky road since then, with countless knock-offs and remakes littering its wake. Even though they’re treading well-worn ground, writer-director David Gordon Green and co-writers Danny McBride and … Continue reading

Movie review: “Bad Times at the El Royale”

Much as he did with The Cabin in the Woods, writer-director Drew Goddard (The Martian) has taken a hoary old premise and re-invigorated it with deft plot twists (often delivered with shocking, sudden violence), black comedy, and genre satire. Bad Times at the El Royale plays like a long-lost Agatha Christie potboiler by way of Quentin Tarantino. … Continue reading

Movie review: “Venom”

You’d think a movie about a down-and-out reporter who teams with a cannibalistic blob of space goo to become a super anti-hero would be fun, especially now that comic book flicks are getting a tad more experimental. Alas, director Ruben Fleischer (Gangster Squad) and screenwriters Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner, Kelly Marcel, and Will Beall attempt to combine the … Continue reading

Movie review: “The Predator”

The Predator is best watched with expectations checked. Writer-director Shane Black engages in cinematic cannibalism, lifting numerous tropes from past installments, as well as falling back on some of his go-to moves, up to and including a precocious moppet (twist: this one’s autistic), a squad of bad-ass soldiers (twist again: they’re all insane), and a … Continue reading

Movie review: “The Nun”

After the runaway success of the Conjuring movies and the Annabelle killer doll spin-off sub-franchise, a movie based on the demon nun of The Conjuring 2 must have seemed like a no-brainer. Sadly, there are indeed no brains to be found in The Nun. Director Cory Hardy (The Hallow) falls back too often on predictable jump scares … Continue reading

Movie review: “The Happytime Murders”

Despite what the hype would have you believe, The Happytime Murders is not the most inappropriate puppet movie ever made (Peter Jackson’s Meet the Feebles still retains that honor). There is a lot of fluff wrapped around its hard-boiled innards, but somewhere in there is also a gleefully raunchy subversion of film noir and an … Continue reading

Movie review: “Mission: Impossible — Fallout”

It’s safe to say that writer-director Chris McQuarrie and mega-star Tom Cruise have hit their collaborative stride with Mision: Impossible — Fallout. McQuarrie has learned how to properly wind Cruise up and let him loose to do his thing, resulting in an enjoyable over-the-top slice of spy-fi full of misdirection, disguises, and double crosses within … Continue reading

Movie review: “Skyscraper”

Towering Inferno meets Die Hard Lite, Dwayne Johnson’s latest action spectacle plays like a tepid throwback that makes little use of its leading man’s two main strengths: his imposing presence and impeccable comic timing. Skyscraper is too predictable for its own good. Let’s be honest: A large part of the fun of watching a movie … Continue reading

Movie review: “Sicario: Day of the Soldado”

Hard-boiled with a dash of absurdist pulp, Sicario: Day of the Soldado lacks the subtle nuances and gritty realism of the original but earns points for taking chances without slipping into spectacle, as well as for moving its character arcs forward in a manner that doesn’t betray what came before. Much of the credit goes to … Continue reading

Movie review: “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”

[Note: This review contains potential spoilers.] Inconsequential, toothless, and unwilling to drift from the series’ safe space, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom doesn’t even satisfy the lowest of expectations. It’s a frustrating slog that plays like a two-hour teaser for the movie we really want to see. This time around, a volcano is on the verge … Continue reading

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