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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

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

Movie review: “Rampage”

A big slice of “meh” dumped into the no man’s land between Ready Player One and a certain high-profile Marvel movie, Rampage is an afterthought that barely qualifies as a distraction for those waiting for the summer blockbuster season to kick off in earnest. To be fair, it’s not that it’s bad per se, just … Continue reading

Movie review: “Pacific Rim Uprising”

Steven S. DeKnight’s sequel to Guillermo Del Toro’s 2013 love letter to anime and kaiju movies is more coherent than a Transformers movie but not much smarter, Pacific Rim Uprising is at its best when it drops all pretenses and focuses on giant CGI robots fighting giant CGI monsters. The actual flesh-and-blood characters are paper … Continue reading

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