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Gary Dowell

Professional film critic, journalist, Byronic hero.
Gary Dowell has written 506 posts for movie ink™

Movie review: “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”

At this point, being five movies and 14 years into the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is like being five hours into a Gilligan’s Island marathon: It’s gone on way too long, the novelty has worn off, and we’re starting to realize how lame the gags were to begin with. Is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead … Continue reading

Movie review: “Alien: Covenant”

Although Alien: Covenant doesn’t answer all of the questions or tie up all of the loose ends stemming from Prometheus (2012), it goes a long way towards cleaning up that hot mess, and it’s easily the most satisfying Alien film since the 1980s. (Note: That definitely should not be interpreted as damning with faint praise.) Director Ridley Scott and screenwriters … Continue reading

Movie review: “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”

Generic sword & sorcery fantasy wrapped in pseudo-Arthurian legend, Guy Ritchie’s ill-conceived, atonal King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a frustrating and incoherent mess with the occasional flash of brilliance. Granted, it couldn’t have been worse; if it had been, that would have made it more entertaining. This story is a drastic re-imagining of Arthur’s origins, … Continue reading

Movie review: “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”

Familiarity and a bit of sequelitis creeps in at times, but overall Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is as entertaining, goofy, and irreverent as its blockbuster predecessor. There’s a lot of pressure to deliver on this one, as the first movie was an under-the-radar production unburdened by much in the way of expectation. It was a wild experiment that … Continue reading

Movie review: “Ghost in the Shell”

As emotionless and robotic as its lead character, the live-action remake of the 1995 cult classic cyberpunk anime Ghost in the Shell is a self-conscious imitation of its predecessor. It takes a few liberties to differentiate from its source material, but the changes are arbitrary and add up to little more than a tiresome origin … Continue reading

Movie review: “Life”

Judging by the non-stop string of failures by Ph.D.s under pressure in Life,  NASA’s employment standards must be slipping. The ratio of horror movie stupidity to real-life common sense in Life is lower than usual, but that still doesn’t prevent the six-person crew of the International Space Station from being consistently outwitted by a space … Continue reading

Movie review: “Beauty and the Beast”

There is arguably more to like than dislike about Bill Condon’s live-action version of Disney’s 1991 animated musical Beauty and the Beast, but there really isn’t much to love about it. It’s a serviceable (read: slavish) adaptation content to coast on the novelty of CGI rather than ink-and-paint animation. The story is the same: After being rude to … Continue reading

Movie review: “Kong: Skull Island”

There are a lot of pretty pictures and pretty actors in Kong: Skull Island, as well as some suitable splashy and occasionally scary set pieces, but there’s also a shallowness to it. It’s less of a slog than Peter Jackson’s tedious 2005 remake of the original, but it’s just as over-populated with stock characters, up to and including … Continue reading

Movie review: “Logan”

With Logan, Hugh Jackman’s tenure as the gruff, haunted, acerbic mutant anti-hero Wolverine comes to an end in with an impressive bang. Director James Mangold and his co-screenwriters Michael Green and Scott Frank send him off with gritty style, and deconstruct the character and the superhero genre while they’re at it. The story is set … Continue reading

Movie review: “The Lego Batman Movie”

Though it’s not as consistently or as unrelentingly hilarious as The Lego Movie, Chris McKay’s comic book spin-off is nevertheless a clever and enjoyable spoof of comic book movies in general, and the Dark Knight in particular. After the morose beat-down that was the ludicrously self-important Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, it’s a much needed … Continue reading

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