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Movie review: “Dark Phoenix”

Dark Phoenix represents not so much the end of an era as it does a mercy killing, and the late Fox Studios X-Men franchise ends with sound and fury punctuated by a fizzle. AIt makes more of an attempt to adapt Chris Claremont’s classic 1980 storyline than X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) did, and fails even … Continue reading

Movie review: “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”

Arguably a case of “Be careful what you wish for…”, Godzilla: King of the Monsters represents a hard turn away from the more elegant less-is-more approach of Godzilla (2014), which left many hardcore fans unsatisfied by its lack of gratuitous giant monster mayhem-porn. King of the Monsters makes up for that shortcoming and then some; on … Continue reading

Movie review: “Avengers: Endgame”

Avengers: Endgame is the satisfying culmination to Marvel Studios’ 11-year, 22-movie experiment that changed the movie landscape. That it succeeds isn’t a surprise — Marvel has filtered and refined its formula to a degree that even its weakest performers have the kind of box office performance that most can only dream of. The real surprise … Continue reading

Movie review: “Hellboy”

After the decision was made to relaunch the Hellboy film franchise, die-hard fans spent more time kvetching about who was going to be underneath the prosthetics than who would be writing it. The sorry surprise is that David Harbour (Stranger Things) proves to be a worthy successor to Ron Perlman, only to be undone by … Continue reading

Movie review: “Shazam!”

Shazam! joins the ranks of Wonder Woman and Aquaman as a dose of much-needed levity for the DCEU. In fact, it lands nicely between the two: more light-hearted than the former, and more tightly plotted and focused than the latter. The movie is based on the original Captain Marvel, who debuted in the 1940s and … 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: “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: “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: “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: “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

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