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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

Movie review: “Jason Bourne”

It’s ironic and inevitable that after four movies a franchise about a super-spy/super-soldier with amnesia would start to develop a feeling of deja vu. Its predecessors have always been cutting edge, gritty, faced-paced, timely, and raw in their sensibilities; but with Jason Bourne the world seems to have caught up with the franchise. Its style has … Continue reading

Movie review: “Star Trek Beyond”

There was a lot of concern when Justin Lin was announced as the director of Star Trek Beyond, and it was amplified when the action-oriented first trailer for it dropped. It turns that some new blood and a fresh perspective was exactly what the franchise needed. Free of the origin story requirements of Star Trek (2009) … Continue reading

Movie review: “Ghostbusters”

Paul Feig’s relaunch of Ghostbusters was slimed by controversy from the get-go. Depending on whom you asked, it was A. Hollywood at its money-grabbing and creativity-bankrupt worst; B. a feminist broadsides of some sort; or C. some much-needed nostalgia subversion. Truth be told, it’s a little of each. It’s also what your average summertime megaplex fodder is supposed … Continue reading

Movie review: “The Legend of Tarzan”

Less pompous than Greystoke (1984) but more cartoonish than Disney’s 1999 animated version of the material,  The Legend of Tarzan is pretty to look at but ultimately hollow and occasionally shoddy. This latest adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough’s pulp character hinges on a clever premise with a built-in conflict, mainly the early days of King Leopold II … Continue reading

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