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Movie review: “War for the Planet of the Apes”

A heady and surprisingly effective blend of war movie, westerns, Shakespearean drama, and Biblical allegory, War for the Planet of the Apes is a top-notch conclusion to what stands as an unexpectedly epic series that continues to punch above its weight class. Its arrival during a summer increasingly defined by franchise fatigue gives a spark of … Continue reading

Movie review: “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets”

Luc Besson’s long-awaited return to space opera and pop sci-fi isn’t the worst movie of 2017, but bless his heart he definitely makes a sincere attempt at claiming that honor. Based on the long-running French comic book series, it’s pretty to look at, but also a shallow, loud, dumb and aimless test of one’s patience. … Continue reading

Movie review: “Baby Driver”

Drive by way of La La Land, The Fast and the Furious with brains, Heat meets jukebox musical — Baby Driver is each of those, but in a good way. It marks an intriguing and promising change of course in the career of filmmaker Edgar Wright, who shows more freedom, focus, and confidence as a writer and director … Continue reading

Movie review: “Transformers: The Last Knight”

It will come as no surprise if audiences no longer give a damn about another bombastic Transformers movie, especially now that it seems director Michael Bay no longer does. It’s not evident at first, but as the 149-minute slog of giant CGI robots pounding the holy bejeezus out of each other again starts to drag on … Continue reading

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: “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: “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: “Ben-Hur”

It’s almost impressive that director Timur Bekmambetov (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) had the gumption to remake a cinematic icon. Unfortunately, that’s the extent of his daring. He opts to play it safe and more than a little toothless with the godfather of Biblical epics, rather than going for broke with a more stylized interpretation. As a result, there’s not of … Continue reading

Movie review: “Suicide Squad”

It was a flawless premise in theory: an adaptation of a comic book series in which a team of low-level super-villains are pressed into going on deadly, off-the-books missions in exchange for time off for sort-of-good behavior, written and directed by the talented David Ayer (End of Watch, Fury) and starring a gaggle of A-listers, … Continue reading

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