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Gary Dowell

Professional film critic, journalist, Byronic hero.
Gary Dowell has written 555 posts for movie ink™

Movie review: “Captain Marvel”

Breezy and light on gravitas, Captain Marvel doesn’t shake up the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it does find a few new ways to perk up the umpteenth superhero origin story. It falls short of the intensity that propelled Black Panther and Wonder Woman, but most do. Set in 1995, the movie introduces us to Vers (Brie Larson), a member of … Continue reading

Movie review: “Alita: Battle Angel”

There’s not a lot below the surface of Alita: Battle Angel, mostly because it puts everything it has front and center. For what it lacks in subtlety, it makes up for in visceral action, vivid world-building, and sci-fi melodrama. This long-gestating project — a labor of love for co-writer/producer James Cameron and director Robert Rodriguez that the … Continue reading

Movie review: “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part”

Almost everything is awesome in Mike Mitchell’s (Trolls) obligatory sequel to Chris Miller and Phil Lord’s breakout 2014 animated feature. The gags are still fast, furious, and often deeply referential; the animation still impressively blurs the line between CGI and super-convincing stop-motion; and the songs are still maddeningly catchy — especially the one titled aptly … Continue reading

Movie review: “Destroyer”

It’s a shame that Karyn Kusama’s Destroyer was released in during the last week of 2018, lost in the shuffle of holiday blockbusters and awards fodder. A sun-washed yet grimy and nihilistic slow-burn neo-noir doomed to obscurity, it boasts one of Nicole Kidman’s most compelling and fearless performances. She goes all-out as alcoholic, dissolute LAPD detective … Continue reading

Movie review: “Aquaman”

Perhaps the most comic-booky of comic book movies to hit the screen since Superman (1978), Aquaman is rough around the edges but nevertheless an enjoyably silly ride that unabashedly embraces the cheesiness and weirdness of its world and runs — er, swims — with it at full speed. It doesn’t hurt that charismatic Jason Momoa is … Continue reading

Movie review: “Mary Poppins Returns”

There’s more than a spoonful of sugar to be had with Disney’s sequel to Mary Poppins (1964), which is content to play it safe with a rehash of the original’s plot and equally derivative musical numbers. Nevertheless, it’s an bubbly concoction that goes down easy, and the adolescent target audience isn’t likely to nitpick. The borderline remake … Continue reading

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

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