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Gary Dowell

Professional film critic, journalist, Byronic hero.
Gary Dowell has written 557 posts for movie ink™

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

Movie review: “Solo: A Star Wars Story”

Solo: A Star Wars Story is easily the lightest, breeziest Star Wars movie to date. The stakes are low, the fate of the galaxy isn’t in the balance, and the drama is personal but not on an operatic scale. Ultimately that’s a good thing, allowing the movie to be what a Han Solo origin movie should … Continue reading

Movie review: “Avengers: Infinity War”

There’s almost no point in writing a review of Avengers: Infinity War; Marvel’s über-ambitious movie juggernaut has built momentum behind itself for 18 movies over the course of a decade, and moviegoers made their decision whether or not to see it some time ago. Let’s be honest: all you really want to know is if … Continue reading

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